yunea

Remind me again of the reasons behind "absolute right and wrong" questions

Recommended Posts

Hey, why is it that Christians may ask me (as an atheist), "Do you believe there are things that are absolutely wrong or absolutely right"?

 

What are they getting at? I can't find my old Christian hat anymore so I could answer myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for your support
Buy Ex-C a cup of coffee!
Costs have significantly risen and we need your support! Click the coffee cup to give a one-time donation, or choose one of the recurrent patron options.
Note: All Contributing Patrons enjoy Ex-Christian.net advertisement free.

The old morality argument.

 

Without god there is no absolute right or wrong. 

 

It's a fallacious argument, you'd have to establish god's existence first, then establish that god is the absolute moral arbiter before that claim actually means anything.

 

Take rape - rape is absolutely wrong most of use would agree. Christians then try and claim there is nothing in atheism that could lead us to say that. (Well no shit, atheism is just no belief in a god).

 

This is similar to William L Craigs "you can't get an ought from an is". This incidentally is wrong. We know rape hurts people therefore we ought not rape.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even with god there is no absolute right and wrong.  There is only morality as is convenient in the moment, or "situational morality".  It was convenient for god to say that killing was an absolute wrong when he was giving out laws on Mr. Sinai; convenient to say otherwise when he was leading the Hebrews into Canaan.

 

The same "morality" is applied by the pastor who rails against abortion until his unwed daughter shows up with her belly tucked under her chin.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh, right, thanks LogicalFallacy and Redneck Prof.

 

As it happens, the Christian I am talking with online is now asking me about whether I think exactly rape is absolutely wrong. He doesn't know yet that I'm Ex-C, I just happened upon his twitter where he said the old thing "I don't know why atheists fight against something they don't believe is real" (the answer to that of course being that people make real, harmful decisions based on their beliefs, whether or not the god is there) and we've been talking sparsely since. 

 

I know the Bible says things like it's not rape if nobody hears screams for help, women are made for men to own, etc. Also, about 25 years back, in my country, the then new law about there being such a crime as the rape of your married spouse was opposed by Christian politicians (thankfully they didn't succeed in stopping it). 

 

Besides didn't Mary herself end up impregnated against her own will?

 

So, I said to him now, "I don't wish rape on anyone. I think measures need to be taken to prevent both new rapists and new victims from emerging". 

 

We'll see where this goes. I'm staying polite and showing my cards slowly, honing my skills at this and making sure I know the arguments behind what I say. 

 

Might be a pleasant conversation in the end, he's finally stopped making these silly " ;) " wink emoticons at me and all. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, yunea said:

Heh, right, thanks LogicalFallacy and Redneck Prof.

 

As it happens, the Christian I am talking with online is now asking me about whether I think exactly rape is absolutely wrong. He doesn't know yet that I'm Ex-C, I just happened upon his twitter where he said the old thing "I don't know why atheists fight against something they don't believe is real" (the answer to that of course being that people make real, harmful decisions based on their beliefs, whether or not the god is there) and we've been talking sparsely since. 

 

I know the Bible says things like it's not rape if nobody hears screams for help, women are made for men to own, etc. Also, about 25 years back, in my country, the then new law about there being such a crime as the rape of your married spouse was opposed by Christian politicians (thankfully they didn't succeed in stopping it). 

 

Besides didn't Mary herself end up impregnated against her own will?

 

So, I said to him now, "I don't wish rape on anyone. I think measures need to be taken to prevent both new rapists and new victims from emerging". 

 

We'll see where this goes. I'm staying polite and showing my cards slowly, honing my skills at this and making sure I know the arguments behind what I say. 

 

Might be a pleasant conversation in the end, he's finally stopped making these silly " ;) " wink emoticons at me and all. 

;)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Yunea, yes, you've been treated to one of the standard Christian apologist arguments, as others have pointed out. I agree with the Prof that even with God, we don't have absolute morality, since a given action is presented as right sometimes and at other times, as wrong. 

 

I think Christians present a false dilemma. They want you to think, either there is objective/absolute morality, for which they'll argue we need a God, or there's NOTHING but individual whim and taste. They expect everyone to shy away from admitting the latter, and they hope people will as the only alternative wind up believing in God, in the belief that only God provides the basis for morality

 

I think there are other answers between the poles of God morality (which is what they mean by "objective" or whatever) and purely subjective, individual morality. So far I think that the correctness of declarations about morality is judged by intersubjective agreement, as it is with language. Utterances in a language can be right or wrong or a mixture (i.e. bad grammar but you know what the person means). The "judge" is the community of speakers. The language is not absolute, because it can change over time. The individual does not decide her/his own private language, so it's not individually subjective. But we don't have to posit a divine language giver. Even non-human species have forms of language, and I think they can differ from one population in a species to another.

 

some features of language are universal, like the law of non-contradiction - which is a feature of thought itself, underlying any given language. the test for it can be left with how well communication works. We can test that the law of non-contradiction is valid because violations of it destroy communication, so we can see that its validity stands. We don't have to say it's valid because God makes it valid or because we know from God that it is valid.

 

I think it's this way with morality, too.

 

along my idea that there are answers between "God/objective" morality and "purely subjective" morality, I think that the answer, "taste," may actually have potential. It's along the lines of Hume's saying that morality rests on right sentiment. Humans have a range of differences in tasting foods from one to another, but most humans agree on basic tastes. I'm wondering whether the "taste" metaphor for morality is like the intersubjective agreement in language comparison.

 

I also think that the apologist's argument is a fallacious appeal to consequences. The apologist doesn't like the consequences of what he imagines would be entailed by disbelief in God. But that's not evidence that God or the God-version of absolute morality exist.

 

Well this is the best I can think of. Tell us more how the conversations develop!

 

---------------------

 

Oh, adding: Mary is in fact represented as being willing to be impregnated by the HS. She says, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, yunea said:

Besides didn't Mary herself end up impregnated against her own will?

 

 

As a quick point I think this line is a poor non argument. The Bible explicitly states "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her." Luke 1:38

 

While you could make a case that she feels helpless, in the context of the story, she realizes she is the prophesied virgin and submits to God's will. This is not the same as being raped - people in relationship submit to others will all the time and quite enjoy it.

 

I know others have used it, but I just feel the Mary line is a very poor line of argument when arguing about rape.

 

 

And I only just read ficino's last line... haha great minds think alike.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, thanks for correcting me re: Mary, luckily I didn't say anything about her yet!

 

I'll tell you what happens. I'm tempted to ask him to switch over to emails because tweets are so annoyingly short for serious conversations, but then again I like that it's all public by default.

 

I really enjoy Ficino's comparison to language & taste, makes a lot of sense to me. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, as others have said, it's a flimsy argument, but one that Christians often resort to. They like to rant against what they often call "relative morality." However, they're ignoring a serious problem that it presents for their own worldview. We have the Old Testament calling on the chosen ones to attack and conquer nations and executing his vengeance, but we have the New Testament saying to turn the other cheek. The Old Testament calls for the stoning of adulteresses, but the New Testament downplays that by saying to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. There is clearly a huge change in moral code, and Christians cannot believe the whole Bible is true without holding to relative morality themselves.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uhoh, I took a look at the guy's website, he believes in Young Earth and that even thinking of wrong stuff means you're going to hell. 

 

I sometimes forget that these people still really exist in my country, my own neighborhoods, using fine technology to shout online that science is false.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, yunea said:

Uhoh, I took a look at the guy's website, he believes in Young Earth and that even thinking of wrong stuff means you're going to hell. 

 

I sometimes forget that these people still really exist in my country, my own neighborhoods, using fine technology to shout online that science is false.

This clown isn't affiliated with the Elim Pentecostal movement, by any chance, is he?  They were pretty prevalent in Northern Ireland, when I lived there back in the early 2000s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/17/2017 at 3:21 AM, yunea said:

Hey, why is it that Christians may ask me (as an atheist), "Do you believe there are things that are absolutely wrong or absolutely right"?

 

What are they getting at? I can't find my old Christian hat anymore so I could answer myself.

Before answering the question (or perhaps just providing an opinion), I would ask the Christian to define "wrong" and "right".  If they immediately go to "right" and "wrong" is what (their) God proclaims, then you are dealing with a person who is married to an assumption and, given the likelihood of deep religious indoctrination, they will not have thought about it any other way.  Given that starting point, the modifier "absolutely" is not relevant (more accurately it is superfluous) to the conversation.

 

Now, understanding where this Christian with whom you speak is coming from, you can then tell him what you think/believe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh come on, this conversation is a good one. 

On ‎3‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 4:15 AM, Citsonga said:

Yeah, as others have said, it's a flimsy argument, but one that Christians often resort to. They like to rant against what they often call "relative morality." However, they're ignoring a serious problem that it presents for their own worldview. We have the Old Testament calling on the chosen ones to attack and conquer nations and executing his vengeance, but we have the New Testament saying to turn the other cheek. The Old Testament calls for the stoning of adulteresses, but the New Testament downplays that by saying to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. There is clearly a huge change in moral code, and Christians cannot believe the whole Bible is true without holding to relative morality themselves.

Doesn't this really speak of an absolute as you have described it?  and subsequent Grace? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

End3

 

When something is absolute it doesn't change. The moral code in the bible changes with the people and there is a move from barbaric practices to less barbaric practices.

 

If it was absolute you'd have a moral code at the very beginning that would not require God/Jesus updating his own code.

 

I think it best if you explain to us what you mean by absolute, because our understandings might be different.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, end3 said:

Oh come on, this conversation is a good one. 

Doesn't this really speak of an absolute as you have described it?  and subsequent Grace? 

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  Hebrews 13:8

 

This is an absolute, End3.  That god does not change.  jesus is the same today as he has always been.  And jesus is god.  Another absolute.  

 

Therefore:  jesus planted the garden of eden, created Adam and Eve, the tree of knowledge, and the Serpent.  jesus repented that he had made man and decided to flood the earth.  jesus allowed the children of israel to suffer in Egypt.  jesus hardened Pharoah's heart, caused the plagues, and slaughtered the firstborn.  jesus commanded the genocide of Canaan.  jesus sent the israelites into Babylon.

 

Then jesus died to save us all from sin because he loves us sooooooo much.

 

Does it sound like jesus changed somewhere along the line?  Somewhere between yesterday and forever, jesus went from being an evil bastard to a tree hugging hippie; and "grace" is just evidence of your god's multi-personality disorder.   

 

Show me one absolute that your god gave us, that he didn't end up breaking himself somewhere between genesis and revelation.  Show me that, and then will call this conversation "good".

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  Hebrews 13:8

 

This is an absolute, End3.  That god does not change.  jesus is the same today as he has always been.  And jesus is god.  Another absolute.  

 

Therefore:  jesus planted the garden of eden, created Adam and Eve, the tree of knowledge, and the Serpent.  jesus repented that he had made man and decided to flood the earth.  jesus allowed the children of israel to suffer in Egypt.  jesus hardened Pharoah's heart, caused the plagues, and slaughtered the firstborn.  jesus commanded the genocide of Canaan.  jesus sent the israelites into Babylon.

 

Then jesus died to save us all from sin because he loves us sooooooo much.

 

Does it sound like jesus changed somewhere along the line?  Somewhere between yesterday and forever, jesus went from being an evil bastard to a tree hugging hippie; and "grace" is just evidence of your god's multi-personality disorder.   

 

Show me one absolute that your god gave us, that he didn't end up breaking himself somewhere between genesis and revelation.  Show me that, and then will call this conversation "good".

 

5s4kkZ1.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not that difficult of concept to grasp....imo.  I view it as the result of residing in the presence of God.  The point being in my mind, when God was WITH humanity in God the Father form...lol, then there was pay to play and more absolutes....someone sinned....bam! you're done, or atone.  I'm not sure that there is a limit on time in which Grace has to be paid for.  In other words, the atonement can be quick or delayed, but the rules are still absolute.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  Hebrews 13:8

 

This is an absolute, End3.  That god does not change.  jesus is the same today as he has always been.  And jesus is god.  Another absolute.  

 

Therefore:  jesus planted the garden of eden, created Adam and Eve, the tree of knowledge, and the Serpent.  jesus repented that he had made man and decided to flood the earth.  jesus allowed the children of israel to suffer in Egypt.  jesus hardened Pharoah's heart, caused the plagues, and slaughtered the firstborn.  jesus commanded the genocide of Canaan.  jesus sent the israelites into Babylon.

 

Then jesus died to save us all from sin because he loves us sooooooo much.

 

Does it sound like jesus changed somewhere along the line?  Somewhere between yesterday and forever, jesus went from being an evil bastard to a tree hugging hippie; and "grace" is just evidence of your god's multi-personality disorder.   

 

Show me one absolute that your god gave us, that he didn't end up breaking himself somewhere between genesis and revelation.  Show me that, and then will call this conversation "good".

We can end this conversation quickly.  Yes, it sounds like God changes, but how would you know. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, end3 said:

Not that difficult of concept to grasp....imo.  I view it as the result of residing in the presence of God.  The point being in my mind, when God was WITH humanity in God the Father form...lol, then there was pay to play and more absolutes....someone sinned....bam! you're done, or atone.  I'm not sure that there is a limit on time in which Grace has to be paid for.  In other words, the atonement can be quick or delayed, but the rules are still absolute.   

 

John 10 : 30

 

"I and the Father are one."

 

Unless you want to split up the indivisible Trinity, End?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, end3 said:

We can end this conversation quickly.  Yes, it sounds like God changes, but how would you know. 

For the bible tells me so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And what is "sin" End3, that we should be atoned for it?  Is lying a sin?  Did god lie when he said Adam would die in the day he ate of the fruit?  Is murder a sin?  Rape?  Theft?  Owning slaves?  Did god not forbid these things?  Did god not also command these things?  How are "sin" and "atonement" absolutes when god commands, and forbids, both?  Or is that the absolute?  That we must have atonement because god created us to sin, commanded us to sin, and hates us for being sinful?  If that is the absolute morality that comes from your god, then he is far more in need of atonement than I.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, end3 said:

Not that difficult of concept to grasp....imo.  I view it as the result of residing in the presence of God.  The point being in my mind, when God was WITH humanity in God the Father form...lol, then there was pay to play and more absolutes....someone sinned....bam! you're done, or atone.  I'm not sure that there is a limit on time in which Grace has to be paid for.  In other words, the atonement can be quick or delayed, but the rules are still absolute.   

 

End,

 

If it's just God the Father in Eden, then please explain who  'us'  is?

 

22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of  us , knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

 

There were only four persons in Eden - God, Adam, Eve and the serpent (Satan).

 

So who is God talking to in verse 22, who knew good and evil before Adam and Eve sinned? 

 

Hint:   It can't be Satan.  He knows only evil, not good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm assuming the reason you have not shown me an absolute that god himself hasn't broken is because you can't find one.  No shame in owning what's yours, son.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

330x182px-LL-7dc6c095_micheal-jackson-eating-popcorn-theater-gif.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

And what is "sin" End3, that we should be atoned for it?  Is lying a sin?  Did god lie when he said Adam would die in the day he ate of the fruit?  Is murder a sin?  Rape?  Theft?  Owning slaves?  Did god not forbid these things?  Did god not also command these things?  How are "sin" and "atonement" absolutes when god commands both?  Or is that the absolute?  That we must have atonement because god created us to sin, commanded us to sin, and hates us for being sinful?  If that is the absolute morality that comes from your god, then he is far more in need of atonement than I.

 

 

You're leaving out the Abrahamic God's great lesson from Job, 'Do as I say not as I do'.  That's a wonderful example of absolute (im)morality from that particular sky fairy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now