Evidence for God: Humanness and Moral Knowledge, Part 1

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Part of the extended series Evidence for the Faith

Introduction: Moral Knowledge We All Share

Do you know whether it’s right or wrong for parents to nurture their children? Do you know whether it’s right or wrong for parents to torture their children for fun? Do you know whether it’s right or wrong for a power plant to practice green environmental methods? Do you know whether it is right or wrong for a chemical plant to dump its waste products into the nearest river?

I believe you know these things. This knowledge is rooted in our humanness, and it leads to the knowledge that there is a God.

The Argument Is Not …

That’s my argument here, a version of the moral argument for God. The moral argument for God is so easy to misunderstand, I’m going to begin by explaining what it isn’t. It’s not based on either belief or behavior.

For example, some think it’s based in a claim that Christians are more likely to act morally than non-believers, but that’s not the argument—it’s not about behavior. (There is a time and place to talk about that question, but not here.)

Some think it’s based in the idea that belief in God is necessary for moral knowledge. That’s not the argument either—it’s not that believers in God have greater access to moral truths. For that question, too, there might be an appropriate  time and place, but it’s  not what I’m talking about here.

The Argument Is …

The moral argument for God is often stated like this:

A.

A1. If there is no God there are no objective moral values or duties.
A2. There are objective moral values and duties.
A3. There is a God.

Today I want to take a different tack on it, however, by introducing this proposal:

B.

B1. If there is no God, we cannot know whether any action is really right or wrong.
B2. We know that some actions really are right and others really are wrong.
B3. There is a God

Syllogism B is dependent on A in this way:

AB.

AB1. We cannot know whether any action really is right or wrong unless right and wrong are real.
AB2. We know that some actions really are right and others are wrong.
AB3. Therefore right and wrong are real.
AB4. If there is no God, then right and wrong cannot be real.
AB5. Therefore (AB3 and AB4) there is a God.

For today’s purposes I am using “action” in a broad sense that includes thoughts, intentions, and so on; and I am using the words “real” and “really” as synonyms with “objective” and “objectively:” that rightness and wrongness have objective reality that transcends human opinion and does not depend on human judgment.

The form of the argument is valid, so if AB1, AB2, and AB4 are true, then the conclusion is true: there is a God.

Premise AB2: Easy for Some, Problematic for Others

Many people can see the truth of AB2 without needing to give it a moment’s thought. For them, it’s intuitively obvious that, for example, it’s really wrong to torture one’s children for fun. Others find that problematic. I’ll have some thoughts for that second group to consider, but that’s  going to run a bit lengthy and will require a separate blog post of its own. I’ll publish that in the next few days.

In the meantime, if you are among the many who have no problem with AB2, I believe today’s post should provide you sufficient reason to lead to the conclusion, there is a God. If, on the other hand, you have questions or objections relating to AB2, I’ll ask you to withhold those thoughts until that later post. I know that for you there won’t be enough here to convince you of the conclusion. This could be no more than a step in that direction, but the meat of the discussion is yet to come.

Premise AB1: 1. We cannot know whether any action really is right or wrong unless right and wrong are real.

This should be uncontroversial. Suppose you say, “I know it is wrong for you to rape my daughter,” but that there is nothing really wrong about it. In that case, what is it that you “know”?

I see two possibilities. The first would be that the word “wrong” means nothing at all, in which case obviously it’s also meaningless to say that you know whether anything is either right or wrong: there’s nothing there to be known.

The only way out of this, as far as I can see, is to equivocate on “real.” One might say, “When I say it’s really wrong, what I mean is that it’s really in violation of cultural standards, or evolutionary constraints on humans, or …” But neither of those is identical with “really wrong,” in the sense I’m  using it here, and will use it in my discussion on AB2. The argument I’m making is one that has to do with our knowledge that certain things are really right and wrong in this strong, objective sense, not in any contingent human sense.

(Evolution, by the way, is contingent, not necessary, as evolutionist philosopher Michael Ruse affirms.)

So we cannot claim to know that some action is really wrong without also accepting that there is such a thing as really wrong.

AB4. If there is no God, then right and wrong cannot be real.

If right and wrong are real in the strong sense we’re using here, then they came from somewhere. Where then could that source, or fount, or root of right and wrong be? In human opinion? That would be equivocating on “real” again, as explained above . In nature? I find it hard to see how that could be, if nature is taken just to mean matter and energy interacting according to necessity (natural law) and chance. Atoms and molecules, forces and fields can do a lot of things, but they can’t do them right or wrong.

Some say that right and wrong come from evolution, but that’s imbuing evolution with a competency it doesn’t have. Evolution knows (pardon the anthropomorphism) how to identify genetic variants that are more successful in terms of survival and reproductive fitness. it knows how to produce populations that successfully make babies that make babies. It doesn’t know how to make anything right or wrong. It doesn’t know how to make successful reproduction right. It only knows how to make it happen.

Right and wrong, if they are real, must come from another source. Arguably that source must be personal, for right and wrong are a matter of interpersonal effects and relationships. And it must be transcendent, if it is to be the supplier or source of a reality that applies to humans in all places and all cultures.

Such a being, as Aquinas said, “all men call God.”

Summary So Far

To repeat what I’ve said already, if you accept AB2 as true, and if my very brief arguments for AB1 and AB4 succeed, then it seems you must accept the conclusion, “there is a God.” Since my arguments for AB1 and AB4 have been brief I expect you to raise questions about it here for us to deal with. If you have questions about AB2, I ask you again to reserve them for my next article on this topic.

Evidence for the Faith

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134 Responses to “ Evidence for God: Humanness and Moral Knowledge, Part 1 ”

  1. In your elaboration of AB4 what I would question is:

    What reasons do you have to suppose “real right and wrong” have a source?

    Perhaps its worth clarifying what you explicitly mean by having a source, as I don’t see why the source of something need have the same properties as what it sources (as you suggest in concluding the source must be personal). A tree sources apples but is not a fruit.

    Thank you for the informative post though, I do quite like this clear format.

  2. Alex, thanks for the comment.

    I did not say that a cause need have the same properties as its effect. That’s too general statement for me to have stood up for here. I said, “Arguably that source must be personal, for right and wrong are a matter of interpersonal effects and relationships.”

    If you can find some way to contest that specific statement, I’d be interested to hear it.

  3. “Right and wrong are a matter of interpersonal effects and relations” is simply a description of right and wrong, not saying anything about the source, without further argumentation though surely? (such as the argument I mentioned and took as implied).

  4. To paraphase: could you clarify why right and wrong being about interpersonal effects/relations should mean their source is personal? They seem unrelated points to me.

  5. Just for some clarification here Tom, could you define what you mean by “moral/morality, right/wrong, good/bad?”

  6. Tom,

    AB1. We cannot know whether any action really is right or wrong unless right and wrong are real.

    I am using the words “real” and “really” as synonyms with “objective” and “objectively:” that rightness and wrongness have objective reality that transcends human opinion and does not depend on human judgment.

    My concern is with your definition “real” = “objective”. For example, is color objective? Well, yes and no. For example, color illusions tell us that the mind changes our perception in ways that may not be true to the real world. In the first example, somewhere between the pixels on the screen and my color qualia, my mind decided to get it wrong. This trickery works well most of the time, but in the above case it fooled me about the true nature of the color “out there on the screen”.

    But since color is not strictly objective, does that mean color is not real? That would seem to be a startling assertion. Arguing that there are no real colors seems a difficult case to make. How should we call color: “objective”, “subjective”, “real” or “not real”?

  7. Hi Tom,

    Starting with AB1,

    “AB1. We cannot know whether any action really is right or wrong unless right and wrong are real.”

    My first question is why you limit these things to actions, as actions are grounded in thought. Do you think it’s any less wrong to think about raping then it is to do it? The 10th commandment specifically mentions a thought crime as a sin, so thinking can be just as right or wrong.

    Secondly. I ask for a clarification on ‘know’. How is it different to think or believe? This seems to me to be the main underpin of your argument. We can obviously think or believe something is right or wrong whether there is a God or not. On what basis do you claim that we ‘know’ these things?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  8. My answer to your first question, Shane, is this which I wrote in the OP:

    “For today’s purposes I am using ‘action’ in a broad sense that includes thoughts, intentions, and so on.”

    I’ll get to the knowledge question when I write Part 2.

  9. Alex, I take it that wherever right and wrong come from, it must be personal, simply because I cannot conceive of rightness or wrongness where there is no person. Can you?

    A photon cannot be culpable for the way it strikes a mirror. A rock cannot erode off a mountainside in a morally praiseworthy (or blameworthy) manner.

    Right and wrong in the moral sense have to do with decisions, first of all . Absent any decision, there is no moral value; and decision-making is a personal attribute.

    Related to that, right and wrong also have to do with intent.

    Right and wrong also imply some kind of standard, without which nothing is better or worse than anything else.

    In what manner could rightness and wrongness reside, then, in any non-personal entity? The nearest thing to an answer I can think of is karma. I have plenty of problems with karma as an answer, but I’m not going to go into them now; it would be unusual here in this venue for anyone to call on me to raise a challenge rooted in Hinduism, and I’m not going to spend time answer a question no one is likely to raise.

  10. djc,

    I assume you’re thinking of effects like this one.

    Your point actually serves to underscore mine. You say “color is not strictly objective,” but the whole point of the illusion is that our perception of color can be wrong. If it can be wrong, then there must be some objective “right.” Otherwise why call it an illusion? Indeed you can scroll down that page to discover the rightness of the right answer to that illusion.

    Context affects perception. (It can also affect rightness and wrongness of actions.) That does not mean there is nothing real there to be perceived, or nothing right or wrong to be done.

  11. I’d say color isn’t the right analogy. I’ve made what I think is a better analogy before – warmth and cold.

    In some senses, there’s no such thing as warmth or cold. There’s only temperatures which can be higher or lower.

    But there’s a sense in which warmth and cold do exist – as ways humans relate to the universe. There’s an objective sense in which Antarctica is cold – the temperature is so low that humans cannot survive there without extensive support and effort.

    True, Antarctica may not be “cold” to penguins and seals. They may find it rather comfortable. But, of course, humans aren’t penguins or seals. As a human, I don’t have to agree with them. I don’t care if you call it 233 degrees Kelvin, or -40 Celsius, or -40 Fahrenheit – it’s flippin’ cold from any human perspective.

    “Warmth” and “cold” don’t exist as external absolutes. The same room at the same temperature can be “cold” if you just got out of your warm bed, or “warm” if you just stepped in from a long winter walk. Temperature exists ‘out there’, but “warmth” and “cold” are relationships humans have to temperature. That doesn’t mean warmth and cold don’t exist, though!

    In a similar way, “right” and “wrong”, “good” and “evil” can be relationships to and of human actions.

  12. Tom, Re: #9

    I take it that wherever right and wrong come from, it must be personal, simply because I cannot conceive of rightness or wrongness where there is no person. Can you?

    I would agree that right and wrong apply to persons, yes. (and find it difficult to immediately conceive of it without persons existing but that is another question).

    However, to press my original point, I don’t see right and wrong being applicable to persons, but their source not being personal as implausible or incomprehensible.

    In what manner could rightness and wrongness reside, then, in any non-personal entity?

    I am not here to propose some different hypothesis of my own, I am merely pointing out that the question of whether there is a source of right and wrong (and its nature) seems (superficially at least) an open question. I don’t personally have any significant feeling or inclination either way, so according to my limited understanding it seems “the source of right and wrong is personal” is on a footing with “The number of stars in the universe is odd”.

    The point being that since it is a premise of an argument you are proposing, it remains to be reasoned/argued for, if you want your conclusion to have any weight.

    Edit: to clarify, I am not trying to shoot down your argument, I am just genuinely interested in the theoretical backing of your points. Thanks again for the time.

  13. Alex,

    Source and effect as it relates to a moral first cause is fairly straightforward.

    On Atheism the final source is cultural/individual whim and is thus “personal” in blind axiom’s circularity. But if we refuse such blind circularity we see that if X regresses into Y as the first-cause, X is contingent where Y is not. A good example may be our bodies, which are contingent. They are not immutable nor are they transcendent. They are real, they are really contingent, and they are really ever-changing. So in that sense the word “real” is what it is and no more. Child Sacrifice housing “ought-do-this” is wholly “real” in that sense of the world “real”.

    Tom is discussing, however, the strong use of the word morality, and perhaps that is where your misgiving is. This is not a discussion of God / No God, but this is instead a discussion leading up to that within a preliminary question of Ought / No Ought (in the strong sense).

    Why an interpersonal source?

    Contingency becomes a problem when we look at the word “transcendence” and the word “ought” and the word “real”. Once we grant contingent, all bets are off, as in naturalism. Once we grant an end of regress which falls short of transcendence, nothing is binding in any way at all, not “really”. Once we grant a regress void of interpersonal relations, an uninterpretable epistemology is necessarily born out of such an impersonal ontology. As in: Sam Harris wholly eliminates intention / volition from reality and he is intellectually honest for doing so. Harris scoffs at the sort of thinking that thinks the criminal actually had any choice in the matter. A Moral First Cause that is impersonal, void of volition, deterministic, mutable, and nonbinding (non-transcendent) can be said to be “real” but if that is what morality “really is” then we have that and that alone. We do not magically have more than that. Harris attempted to posit that (A) “flourishing of happy sentient beings” [equals] (B) “ontologically real morality” and ended up with an unavoidably false identity claim at the end of his Moral Landscape. Epistemology so divorced from ontology is a “real epistemology” but does not satisfy the strong use of the word “real”.

    The Trinity and Personhood:

    An example of interpersonal necessity just is housed within the Trinity Who is unique here and provides ontological necessity where no other can. An end of regress which lands amid the Christian God’s “interior milieu” of that fully singular, fully triune interior composition of “Self-Other-Us” satisfies the necessary interpersonal moral first cause of Personhood’s ontological bedrock within morality’s / love’s E Pluribus Unum. Moral love just ends up being triune at bottom even as moral love just ends up being singular at bottom.

  14. Shane,

    This question of “real” must be settled before we can move to the question of “knowing”.

    If there is no such thing as Tom’s strong “real”, then it would be impossible to “know of X” since X is non-entity. Prescriptive and Descriptive here part ways in Atheism and Theism. If we agree that such a necessarily interpersonal and transcendent Entity exists at the end of ad infinitum and moral love thus becomes binding in all possible worlds, then mind (person) knowing mind (person) becomes plausibly transcendent and interpersonal in all possible worlds as that same interpersonal necessity floods all vectors whatsoever. Mind can know mind, or, Self can know Other, and “knowable” becomes not just possible, but perhaps necessary. We can take this just a little further and look inside of the triune God and find (in Him) love’s eternal sacrifice of the self timelessly flowing amid/among the Trinity’s interior composition of “Self-Other-Us”. We find that such a Being as that plausibly manifests within all possible worlds and thus we would expect such a God (as that) manifesting to the bitter ends of Mankind’s own particular volitionally fallen / fragmented world of time and physicality with His arms spread wide, pouring Himself out for, and into, His beloved, who He defines as Mankind. “Real” as posited in the strong sense transcends the barriers of time and of circumstance and of a finite mind. “knowable” seems unavoidable in that sense.

  15. Thank you for the exposition scbrownlhrm. Due to the number of trains of thoughts you’ve raised I may take some time to digest and respond, just to acknowledge I’ve read it and appreciate it in the meantime!

  16. Hi scbrownlhrm,

    “If there is no such thing as Tom’s strong “real”, then it would be impossible to “know of X” since X is non-entity.”

    I’m not sure about that. Harry Potter is not real, but I know he has a lightning shaped scar on his forehead. I could give a brief description of animals that I’m sure you could accurately identify as a unicorn or dragon. Things don’t have to be real in any way to be known by the masses.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  17. Shane,

    Yes, that is true. Fantasy’s are “real” in that sense of the word.

    Which, of course, is what Ought is if No-God, given the “strong” prescriptive/descriptive.

    It doesn’t help to change definitions and then argue about X.

    Equivocation and semantic dances of that sort make it hard to stay on topic. Hence “necessarily interpersonal and transcendent” ends the regress of ontology’s A-Z thus granting the non-circular epistemology. If some other something ends the regress, the “strong” is no longer being discussed. I think the next installment is to deal with the nature of knowledge, though, at least in part. Obviously the Atheist will object to any sort of “Strong” definition being a definition of any actual something and so make the move to pull all such things back down into “perceptional-ism” and then, from there, go on with the discussion. Opaque skepticism, various sorts of idealism, propositional affairs, anti-realism, and so on. For now I think it is: If Strong, Then God.

  18. Hi scbrownlhrm,

    We’ll see what Tom has to say on the issue, but no-one has yet been able to describe how the world’s morality would be different if it were given by God or it were just a subjective personal thing. If there is no difference between these two options, then it is not evidence for God. In my opinion it is evidence against because an added unnecessary level of complexity is required in a model based in theology.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  19. Mereological nihilism is “more simple” than “I exist” isn’t much of an argument, Shane. That is what I take you to be saying.

    A not “really” equating to B is a brutally repeatable (moral) experience as well…….

  20. Shane, RE: #17

    You say this: “Harry Potter is not real, but I know he has a lightning shaped scar on his forehead. I could give a brief description of animals that I’m sure you could accurately identify as a unicorn or dragon. Things don’t have to be real in any way to be known by the masses.”

    I don’t know in what sense you claim to “know” anything about Harry Potter. Surely, you base your “knowledge” about Harry Potter on JK Rowling’s fictional character, which is, as surely we all can agree, is a creature (creation) of Rowling’s imagination. So, when you talk about how you or “the masses” know anything about Harry Potter, you are simply playing along with Rowling’s imagination. The same is true of unicorns. If you and I independently draw a picture of what we imagine when we hear the term unicorn, our pictures will match fairly closely, such that we can agree that our pictures are what we both mean when we talk about a unicorn. This is a function of both imagination and language. We arrive at a convention or agreement on the meaning of a term or concept. And we also agree that neither Harry Potter or unicorns have any real, physical existence but are only composites of real existing elements and features or characteristics of real animals or people.

    So how does this human ability to imagine novel and non-physical composites of real things have to do with God, morality and moral absolutes? Here I refer you to C.S. Lewis’s excellent argument on absolute morality in Mere Christianity for further elaboration. All human beings can and do agree on some fundamental moral principles or laws. We are able to discern what is “crooked” because we all agree on what is “straight.” We do not each merely invent our own sense of morality from scratch (so to speak), but we learn what is “crooked” in reference to our deeper individual, collective and societal knowledge of what is “straight.”

    This is the problem with atheism. Atheism offers no moral paradigm, no way of defining and knowing what is “crooked” because it denies that there even is such a thing as “straight.” And logically, if there is no objective, universal moral “straight” then moral “crooked” is merely a matter of personal and/or societal preference, a matter of opinion. God is the source of “straight” which He has “written on our hearts” and has also articulated in the covenant relationship with the ancient Hebrews as we learn from the Torah (the Law).

    As I see it, our human sense of morality is as integral to our human nature as is our intelligence. Moral intelligence is part and parcel of scientific intelligence, the ability to figure out how the world works. These are aspects of soul and the soul is God-given. There is moral law that is above, beyond and external to humans in exactly the same way that there are laws of nature that regulate, organize and systematize the totality of our reality and are necessary for us to live and thrive in our environment. This is the sense in which I believe that morality is from God and that without God, there is no morality. We are granted free will to obey God’s moral law, or to disobey, but our choices do not negate the existence of God’s law. That, for me, is the bottom (and straight) line.

  21. That’s really beautifully expressed Jenna. And I have yet to see this refuted in any meaningful way. Not only that, but a atheists from Nietzsche to Dawkins have not only failed refute it but have essentially agreed with it. I really can’t understand the atheist objection either. Isn’t this, in essence, what atheists want. A world without any overarching authority. Except, of course, as you say “…our human sense of morality is as integral to our human nature as is our intelligence.”But hey, what’s human nature even mean if you’re an atheist?

  22. Hi scblhrm,

    If all morality is personal and subjective, then the world would be exactly as we see it. That is what I am saying. I have yet to hear an argument to suggest otherwise.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  23. Shane, RE: 74

    Tell us then why you think or believe that Nazism is evil. The Nazi’s appear to not have believed that their ideology was evil, or if they did, they feared no consequences for committing evil acts based on their ideology because most members of the society found no incompatibility between their personal moral beliefs and Nazism.

    Also, explain to us how atheists argue for human and civil rights, in light of this statement from our Declaration of Independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    If our human and civil rights are merely those rights granted by whatever government is in power, then who is to say that Nazism is/was wrong?

    I do not use the example of Nazism merely to intensify or inflame, but because IMO it is an example of the extremes to which rejection of God can take humankind.

  24. Hi Jenna,

    “I don’t know in what sense you claim to “know” anything about Harry Potter. Surely, you base your “knowledge” about Harry Potter on JK Rowling’s fictional character, which is, as surely we all can agree, is a creature (creation) of Rowling’s imagination. So, when you talk about how you or “the masses” know anything about Harry Potter, you are simply playing along with Rowling’s imagination. The same is true of unicorns. If you and I independently draw a picture of what we imagine when we hear the term unicorn, our pictures will match fairly closely, such that we can agree that our pictures are what we both mean when we talk about a unicorn. This is a function of both imagination and language. We arrive at a convention or agreement on the meaning of a term or concept. And we also agree that neither Harry Potter or unicorns have any real, physical existence but are only composites of real existing elements and features or characteristics of real animals or people.”

    This is exactly right. I was addressing the comment that we have to agree on what is real before we can agree on what we know.

    “So how does this human ability to imagine novel and non-physical composites of real things have to do with God, morality and moral absolutes?”

    It obviously means that none of those things have to be real for us to know about them.

    “Here I refer you to C.S. Lewis’s excellent argument on absolute morality in Mere Christianity for further elaboration. All human beings can and do agree on some fundamental moral principles or laws. We are able to discern what is “crooked” because we all agree on what is “straight.”

    This is obviously not correct. There are people that would find themselves justified in doing anything you would find immoral.

    “We do not each merely invent our own sense of morality from scratch (so to speak), but we learn what is “crooked” in reference to our deeper individual, collective and societal knowledge of what is “straight.””

    This last sentence is closer to accurate, but the word deeper is not needed. Our morality is obviously gleaned from our upbringing and our place in society.

    “This is the problem with atheism. Atheism offers no moral paradigm, no way of defining and knowing what is “crooked” because it denies that there even is such a thing as “straight.” And logically, if there is no objective, universal moral “straight” then moral “crooked” is merely a matter of personal and/or societal preference, a matter of opinion.

    Correct. But again, I say this is exactly what we see in the world. Different societies have different moral codes. Different beliefs in acceptable behaviour. Can you point to anything in the world and say, “This wouldn’t be like this if morality was subjective. This proves that there is an objective and absolute morality.”

    “God is the source of “straight” which He has “written on our hearts” and has also articulated in the covenant relationship with the ancient Hebrews as we learn from the Torah (the Law).”

    What evidence do you have to justify this opinion?

    “As I see it, our human sense of morality is as integral to our human nature as is our intelligence. Moral intelligence is part and parcel of scientific intelligence, the ability to figure out how the world works.”

    This is an interesting notion. But it does nothing to help you claim that morality comes from God. The capacity for intelligence is something that has evolved over time. I believe morality has as well.

    “These are aspects of soul and the soul is God-given.”

    On an individual level, this doesn’t make sense either. Personal intelligence is something that the individual develops over the course of their life. We learn and ‘get smarter’ by using our brains/minds/memories. I believe we learn our morality as well as we grow. Not that it is given to us as some absolute that we all know from birth (or conception, if you prefer). Some people have more intelligence than others. The morality of people is just as varied.

    “There is moral law that is above, beyond and external to humans in exactly the same way that there are laws of nature that regulate, organize and systematize the totality of our reality and are necessary for us to live and thrive in our environment.”

    Well know you are removing the moral law away from the individual, where their intelligence is, and making it a universal law. Which is it?

    “This is the sense in which I believe that morality is from God and that without God, there is no morality. We are granted free will to obey God’s moral law, or to disobey, but our choices do not negate the existence of God’s law.”

    This is different to the natural laws then, which cannot be disobeyed. So let’s go back to making it an individual thing given by God. I’ll sum up, and please let me know if I am incorrect.

    Absolute morality – Given by God but we are free to disobey and act how we choose.
    Subjective morality – Free to act how we choose.

    So the real difference between the two is that there is an unnecessary and unprovable layer of “Given by God” in your world view? Other than that, they are identical? If this is correct you cannot use the existence of morality as evidence of God. In fact, as I said earlier, it is one more reason I don’t believe in him, as it makes him unnecessary, Ockham’s Razor, etc.

    Respectfully
    Shane

  25. Shane,

    That last post should read more smoothly as something more like: What I hear you saying, or arguing, is that mereological nihilism is “more simple” than “I am” or “I exist” and therefore it is false that I am, that I exist. The brutally repeatable experience of such (that I exist) is akin to that of volitionality, to that of ought, as all are at bottom a Con being played on us by Deterministic Indifference.

    I think that is the only escape there is by which to avoid the implications of our brutally repeatable experiences, especially when they are of ought and ought not.

    You commented:

    “What morality would have been like….”

    I don’t have any idea what god you speak of.

    I think that you presume to speak of a god other than the Christian God and are mistaken that “he” is the Christian God. This world, our “Now”, is, on Scripture’s definition, the sheer fragmentation of all that is Good. The Law of Moses is defined, by Scripture, as the ministry of death. It can’t bring life, and by “life” we mean the Whole of all that is moral love’s E Pluribus Unum. That necessarily demands Man-In-God, God-In-Man in amalgamation and not in “man outside of love’s e pluribus unum” which is our current juxtaposition.

    If you can’t (or won’t) define things the way scripture defines things, you are not speaking of Christianity.

    There is no piece of, no fragment of, any moral system in Mankind’s fragmented moral systems which are not subsumed by the Trinity’s “interior milieu” of His fully singular, fully triune “innate environment” of “Self-Other-Us.” The “Whole” of moral love is that very same “E Pluribus Unum” and every moral assertion pan-world is, and has been, necessarily some part of that whole wrenched out of place and by isolation swollen into madness. The Trinity (E Pluribus Unum) there at the end of ad infinitum is what C.S. Lewis references as the “Tao” as he comments:

    “What purport to be new systems or…ideologies…all consist of fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such validity as they possess……… the human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary color in the spectrum…..”

    If we want to know what morality would look like in fragmentation, in Man’s privation, just look at this world, our “Now”. However, if we want to know what real morality is, what E Pluribus Unum is, what Morality “would look like when Immutable Love Prescribes It”, then we must look to what it is our brutally repeatable moral experiences have been telling us all along, even in fragmentation, and, also, we must look into the only story on Earth wherein love’s innate milieu of the singular/triune Self-Other-Us, that is to say, where love’s innate milieu of E Pluribus Unum is the end of all regress. In those places we will find something very, very different than that ministry of death and something very, very different than the current state of affairs.

    “Absolute….given by God” ? Huh? You mean the Ministry of Death in the Law of Moses?

    If you can’t (or won’t) accept such terms and definitions then you simply mean to speak of a god that is not the Christian God.

  26. Hi Jenna,

    “Tell us then why you think or believe that Nazism is evil. The Nazi’s appear to not have believed that their ideology was evil, or if they did, they feared no consequences for committing evil acts based on their ideology because most members of the society found no incompatibility between their personal moral beliefs and Nazism.”

    Correct. You understand that is an argument for Subjective Morality, right?

    Very few people deliberately do things that they think is wrong. Everyone’s motivation is to do the right thing. But everyone has a different idea of what is the right thing. Because morality is subjective.

    “Also, explain to us how atheists argue for human and civil rights, in light of this statement from our Declaration of Independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    If our human and civil rights are merely those rights granted by whatever government is in power, then who is to say that Nazism is/was wrong?”

    There is no doubt that human and civil rights are granted by the government in power. And the power of the government is (or it should be) a reflection of the will of the people. If the majority of the people say Nazism is wrong, then it won’t (or it shouldn’t) be reflected by the government.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  27. Shane,

    You commented to Jenna,

    “Very few people deliberately do things that they think is wrong…”

    I wish I could be included in that generalization…….only, I know I cannot.

  28. Hi scbrownlhrm,

    You commented:

    “What morality would have been like….”

    I don’t have any idea what god you speak of.

    I can’t find the sentence where you took this snippet, but I’m pretty sure that I was referring to morality if there were no God. I’m saying that the world is exactly how we would expect to see it if there was no God. Therefore the morality that we see in the world cannot be used as evidence for the existence of God.

    I don’t need to try and fit it in with any definition of any God you might have. I just get rid of God altogether. So to argue that I’m not talking about the same God as you has missed my point entirely.

    Unless you can point to something that could not exist if morality was subjective then I don’t see that there is any case to be made by your side. Please prove me wrong.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  29. Shane,

    You said,

    “Absolute morality – Given by God but we are free to disobey and act how we choose….” Surely you can’t mean the Law of Moses, that Ministry of Death?

    Volition being non-entity in Atheism, I have, in noting my volition, and the sting of my own personal guilt, realized that atheism is a false description of the real world.

    I don’t know what you mean by saying you are “free to….”, if naturalism. Do you mean to just believe the fantasy, the Con being played on you by Deterministic Indifference?

    I don’t know what you mean by referring to any experience, intellectual, moral, or otherwise, as all is but a Con it seems, on your view.

    I don’t know what you mean by these references to the Law of Moses as being somehow tied to Love’s Means and Ends.

    I don’t know what you mean by “few do what they think is wrong”.

  30. Shane,

    In other words, everything is different than what you are describing as nothing you are describing matches our brutally repeatable experiences. And the explanation for any of them just is not found in naturalism. Until you can show me how a billion intentionless quarks piled into a bag magically gets free of nature (not bound to deterministic indifference) then I have no idea what you mean by “I am free to…..”. And the same goes for all of our brutally repeatable experiences, whether intellectual, moral, or otherwise.

    That you steal from a world view the things which your world view cannot account for, and then call all that is mind a kind of “con” being played, and then use that very same inexplicable claim of “it’s all illusion at bottom” as the means to lay claim to what you just stole is simply the incoherent reasoning one must employ in order to avoid the inevitable.

  31. Jenna,

    Notice how Shane didn’t answer your question (“Tell us then why you think or believe that Nazism is evil.”) about Nazism. Lots of bather about subjective morality and morality being established by the society. But they can’t answer why Nazism is evil. They simply lack the vocabulary. It’s sad, really.

  32. Shane, RE: #28

    You are making my argument for me. You say this: “And the power of the government is (or it should be) a reflection of the will of the people. If the majority of the people say Nazism is wrong, then it won’t (or it shouldn’t) be reflected by the government.” Conversely, if atheism is true, if the majority of the people say Nazism is not wrong, then the majority’s subjective morality carries the day and there is no one who can claim that the majority is wrong and no authority with/to whom to hold the Nazis in power accountable for their evil acts.

    As BillT points out, you have not answered my question: Why is Nazism evil according to atheism?

  33. Hi scbrownlhrm,

    “Absolute morality – Given by God but we are free to disobey and act how we choose….” Surely you can’t mean the Law of Moses, that Ministry of Death?

    Well, I’m summing up the position of Tom and Jenna, which I believe means that it is not a written set of morals, but something intangible that we inherently know. Isn’t that the argument that is being made?

    “Until you can show me how a billion intentionless quarks piled into a bag magically gets free of nature (not bound to deterministic indifference) then I have no idea what you mean by “I am free to…..”.”

    This is a different argument to “morality comes from God”, and one you have repeated endlessly in other threads in this series. If you want to talk about Free Will we can post over at https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2014/02/evidence-for-god-humanness-and-free-will/

    Respectfully
    Shane

  34. Shane,

    As per my last two posts, you are misinformed when you say this:

    “….I don’t need to try and fit it in with any definition….”

    Stealing what your worldview cannot afford you and making a claim of ownership won’t justify that claim of “not needing to fit in” because reality is reality.

    And you are prone to misrepresent it.

    As in:

    I’ll be waiting for you explanation of “I am free to…..”

    Did you steal it?
    Did you believe the Con?

    Or is there something free of nature?

    Clearly you stole it from another’s world view, then tagged it, inexplicably and unjustifiably, with the label of “This Is A Con At Bottom”, and you are now using that unjustified label in a misguided game of moving shells as a kind of means in your attempt to lay claim to what you just stole.

    Did you think we wouldn’t notice the switch?

    This is the case with all of our brutally repeatable experiences, whether moral, intellectual, or otherwise. Our brutally repeatable experiences, such as “I exist”, such as, “I am free to do A or B…..”, such as “I volitionally think, and thus I reason…..”, and so on just are brutally repeatable reality. If you mean to tell us that brutally repeatable reality is an illusion (of course even the word “illusion” presupposes meaning, which is going to bring even more trouble for you) then you need to do better than you are doing. Until you do better, I’m going with “I exist” as being very, very informative. Your versions of O’s Razor / Mereological nihilism just have not come anywhere close to being convincing arguments to the contrary.

    The real world is very different than the one you are describing, and on every front.

    That is your game of moving shells.

    You steal. You mislabel. Then you say, “See, nothing in your (the Christian’s) experience is different than my (the naturalist/atheist) experiences”. But your (our) experiences are not the experiences which your worldview affords you. Thus your necessary move of stealing “real” from another’s worldview – followed by your mislabel of the real to “not really real” – followed by what is thus your absurd and unjustified claim of ownership on what you just stole.

    It is thus the fact of the matter that the world is very, very different than the world you are describing. Everything in this world is radically different (in reality) than you are asserting. Everywhere. Thus your worldview cannot be justified. Thus you steal. Thus you mislabel. Thus you make an absurd claim of ownership on what you stole.

    Thus God.

    As for “Absolute morality….”, I hope you’re not referring to the Law of Moses which Scripture defines as that Ministry of Death, for, if you are then your argumentation is, yet again, using something which does not line up with the real world. “We inherently know”? Huh? You mean scripture says Mankind is Inside of the Light and not in the Dark/Outside? You mean “didn’t murder” is the Means/Ends to what Scripture defines as “Life”?

    As for “Very few of us ever do what we know is wrong”, well, that seems to be, again, yet one more part of your argumentation which is not at all in line with the real world. Interior notions of guilt and ought-not-have are experienced by every person I know. Including myself.

    Are you one of the “many”?

    Reality is stubborn.

  35. Hi Jenna,

    “Conversely, if atheism is true, if the majority of the people say Nazism is not wrong, then the majority’s subjective morality carries the day and there is no one who can claim that the majority is wrong and no authority with/to whom to hold the Nazis in power accountable for their evil acts.”

    And what did we see occur in history regarding this?

    And I didn’t answer your question, because I have done so repeatedly on this forum, every time it is bought up as an example. But let’s go round again.

    “Tell us then why you think or believe that Nazism is evil.”

    Because I value the Free Will that Christians seem so intent we have. I think all people should be able to practice it so long as it doesn’t impact on the Free Will of others. The actions of the Nazis are essentially the antithesis of allowing people to live free.

    But you know I believe that. You believe it as well. I doubt there is anyone here at this forum that doesn’t think or believe that Nazism is evil. It’s just that you want to give credit for your beliefs to God. I want to give credit for my beliefs to my parents for raising me the way I am, the society I am in which abhors those actions, and my genetics which have given me empathy.

    Again, the actions of all the people in the world can be explained by Subjective Morality. Do you deny this? If so, what can you point to that could not exist if morality was purely subjective? BillT, this is a question to you as well, obviously. Put forward the evidence that proves me wrong.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  36. Shane,

    Your worldview does not afford you volition. Hence the theft, mislabel, and false (unjustified) claims to ownership. It’s easy to say “no difference” when you deny your own worldview and employ that of another. That you refuse your own worldview is evidence of a very real difference. One which you seem unwilling to own. “It’s a different argument” is just running from what it is you are talking about in all your posts: free will….. free to do…..no difference…. I am free to do….. and he is free to do….. If you mean to employ real things as real, which naturalism cannot justifiably claim as real, then you are employing the Christian’s (theist’s) worldview. It’s easy to say “no difference” when you deny your own worldview and employ the Theist’s worldview………

  37. Hi scbrownlhrm,

    “Until you do better, I’m going with “I exist” as being very, very informative.”

    We are getting off the track, but I’m sure Tom will reign us in when he wants to.

    Your argument “I exist and need an explanation” is at odds with “God exists and needs no explanation.”

    “As for “Very few of us ever do what we know is wrong”, well, that seems to be, again, yet one more part of your argumentation which is not at all in line with the real world.”

    That comment, which was sloppily written, was in relation to the actions of the Nazis. They did not think they were wrong in their actions. They believed they were doing the right thing.

    When was the last time you consciously decided to do something evil?

    Respectfully
    Shane

  38. Shane,

    Yesterday. Feelings of guilt and ought-not-have are experienced by every person I know. Including me.

    You?

    Again, you’re stealing volition and other things which you cannot justifiably own and employing it as the property of the naturalist. “There is no difference” is easy to say when you pit Theism against Theism.

    Try employing naturalism.

    You’re the one basing his whole argument on “I am free to do…. and you are free to do…..” so it’s not a different subject.

    It’s your subject.

    It’s your argument.

    Volition?

    Do our moral experiences, do brutally repeatable experiences, inform us of reality?

    “I exist / God exists” simply fall, just like volition falls, into inferences we make in / from our brutally repeatable experiences. Brutally repeatable reality is illusion or it is informative, just as, volition is absurdity in physical systems. Just ask Sam Harris. He denies brutally repeatable experiences on the presupposition of naturalism, no matter the cost. That is fine. You seem to be holding on to both worlds and calling each of them “yours”. You’re stealing. Unlike Sam Harris.

  39. Hi scbrownlhrm,

    “You?”

    Well my definition is probably a little different to yours, but I can’t remember the last time (or if ever) I consciously choose to do something evil.

    And I am not at all surprised that a religious person experiences guilt on a daily basis.

    Let’s move the Free Will discussion to that thread. Got some questions there for you.

    Respectfully
    Shane

  40. Shane,

    Put forward the evidence that proves me wrong.

    Well this might not prove you wrong but it does show your inconsistency.

    But you know I believe that. You believe it as well. I doubt there is anyone here at this forum that doesn’t think or believe that Nazism is evil. It’s just that you want to give credit for your beliefs to God. I want to give credit for my beliefs to my parents for raising me the way I am, the society I am in which abhors those actions, and my genetics which have given me empathy.

    For now I’ll ignore your continued failure to understand how Gid fits in the picture since you’ve proved yourself resistant to changing your misynderstandings. The interesting thing is that you really seem to think that your parents deserve some kind of credit. That raising you to believe that Nazism is wrong and also that having empathy is praiseworthy. I guess you mean that the horrors of Nazism would be evil for you to commit but we’re not evil for the Nazis. But then isn’t giving credit for having views that are subjectively correct a little strange? It’s a bit like saying well done to yourself for liking chocolate icecream because you like chocolate icecream.

  41. Even a little further, I’ve had the experience of feeling the sting of my own guilt before in this or that (volitional) activity. Not the fleeting sort which I readily dismiss in my own assurance to myself that I did nothing wrong, but the sort which rang true to me.

    Have you ever had that feeling?

  42. Shane,

    I’m looking forward to your answers to #44 / #45.

    Also:

    The following is your entire argument:

    Quote: “Absolute morality – Given by God but we are free to disobey and act how we choose. Subjective morality – Free to act how we choose. So the real difference between the two is that there is an unnecessary and unprovable layer of “Given by God” in your world view? Other than that, they are identical. If this is correct you cannot use the existence of morality as evidence of God……… I’m saying that the world [the moral experience] is exactly how we would expect to see it if there was no God.”

    We’ll forget (for now) about the fact that your definition of “absolute morality given by God” is not the Christian definition and move to Tom’s argument.

    Tom’s argument is simple:

    Our brutally repeatable moral experiences do what all brutally repeatable reality does: inform us of the real world which we awake to find ourselves within.

    You and Tom are both referring to the moral experience as the basis for one’s argument.

    Now, Tom has what you do not in that he has the intellectual ownership of the following turf: “Free to act as we choose”.

    Yet your entire argument rests on asserting that there are no differences in “the way our moral experience looks” with/without God. Unfortunately for you, the world as it really is and our brutally repeatable experiences as they actually are all tell us that something is happening which cannot be happening if there is no God. This is critical for your whole argument as your whole premise is untenable, and thus your entire argument is unsound. “There is no difference in how we experience morality with / without God” is the turf you have based your whole line of reasoning upon.

    This is why you are avoiding the business of the validity of, or the lack of validity of, brutally repeatable reality. “Volition” or “I exist” or “God exists” or “ought not have” or “free will” and so on are not the ground Tom or yourself are standing upon but instead all those “parts” are just smaller components of that initial question of validity housed within brutally repeatable reality from which and in which we make inferences about reality.

    Sam Harris and others are quite up front about this notion of “the validity of brutally repeatable reality” (your entire argument) being something which must be absolutely denied. This is why volition’s validity (again, part of your entire argument) is untenable within naturalism as nothing in nature can be untied from her (from nature) and thus free – at bottom – from deterministic indifference. They are committed to an outcome of Naturalism no matter the cost and so they deny brutally repeatable reality as they are quite aware what “volition” and all those other items would logically infer if taken to be “real”. And so they must in any way possible get “real” to be labeled as “not real”. Some perpetually equivocate semantically, as you are doing, while others display the sort of honesty which at least merits respect, as Sam Harris does.

    It is clear that your whole premise, and thus argument, about “There are no differences in the moral experiences…..” is untenable if you surrender ownership of what you must steal from Tom, which is the intellectual ownership of “Free to act as we choose”.

    As long as you continue to pit “Theistic definitions of brutally repeatable reality” on the one hand against “Theistic definitions of brutally repeatable reality” on the other hand and then, from there, assert “there are no differences in the moral experiences of either” your argument fails.

    Theistic Definitions vs. Theistic Definitions is not an argument and in fact is an intellectual / logical proof of the soundness of Tom’s argument.

    This is why your argument fails and Tom’s succeeds and this is why you are helping Tom’s argument succeed as you continue to grant “real” to what naturalism must label “not really real”.

    We find then that the fact of the matter is that there are clashing differences and thus – per your own logic – there is a God. We can make this more precise with this adjustment: There are irreconcilable differences in our brutally repeatable reality and thus – per your logic – there is a God. It is that or it is opaque meaninglessness. We say opaque meaninglessness instead of illusion because “illusion” presupposes a “straight line” actually existing out there.

    Given all this, your whole argument is unsound and in fact grants soundness (“really real”) to Tom’s definitions.

  43. Hi Melissa,

    “For now I’ll ignore your continued failure to understand how Gid fits in the picture since you’ve proved yourself resistant to changing your misynderstandings.”

    It’s not that I misunderstand what you believe. It’s that it doesn’t offer evidence that God is real. If morality would look the same under either system it can’t be evidence one way or the other.

    “The interesting thing is that you really seem to think that your parents deserve some kind of credit. That raising you to believe that Nazism is wrong and also that having empathy is praiseworthy.”

    Well I used credit to mean my parents were responsible for how I turned out. Surely you don’t disagree that nurture plays an important roll in shaping a child.

    “I guess you mean that the horrors of Nazism would be evil for you to commit but we’re not evil for the Nazis.”

    No, horrors are horrors. Some things in the past can be forgiven due to what was the norm of the day, but murder is murder.

    “But then isn’t giving credit for having views that are subjectively correct a little strange? It’s a bit like saying well done to yourself for liking chocolate icecream because you like chocolate icecream.”

    I never said well done to myself. I was offering an explanation nothing more. I was asked why I believed Nazism is evil (after the presumption that I would think it evil) and gave my thoughts on the matter.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  44. Shane,

    It’s not that I misunderstand what you believe.

    Actually you do, most recently in your comment that we give God the credit for our belief that the Nazis were wrong.

    No, horrors are horrors. Some things in the past can be forgiven due to what was the norm of the day, but murder is murder.

    You really don’t understand what subjective morality entails do you? I’m afraid you don’t get to make a judgement call like that. Maybe if you think they really were horrors, no matter what the Nazis thought, it’s time to reassess your position on morality.

  45. Hi scblhrm

    “Shane,

    I’ve lied on purpose in the past.

    You?”

    I would think so, but not yesterday. I would also think I had a reason to do so, that was not related to personal gain. Maybe to do with keeping a surprise from someone?

    “Even a little further, I’ve had the experience of feeling the sting of my own guilt before in this or that (volitional) activity. Not the fleeting sort which I readily dismiss in my own assurance to myself that I did nothing wrong, but the sort which rang true to me.

    Have you ever had that feeling?”

    Possibly. But not in recent memory.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  46. Hi Melissa,

    “Actually you do, most recently in your comment that we give God the credit for our belief that the Nazis were wrong.”

    Well you argued pretty convincingly that God was the only reason for honesty. Are you now saying that is not the case?

    “You really don’t understand what subjective morality entails do you? I’m afraid you don’t get to make a judgement call like that. Maybe if you think they really were horrors, no matter what the Nazis thought, it’s time to reassess your position on morality.”

    Oh I see what you were trying to say. Yes, in their own minds the Nazis were doing the right thing. This is exactly what I said at #28.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  47. Shane,

    Well you argued pretty convincingly that God was the only reason for honesty. Are you now saying that is not the case?

    Shane you have no idea what was being argued and I doubt further discussion if the point will remedy that.

    Yes, in their own minds the Nazis were doing the right thing.

    And since right and wrong, good and bad are entirely subjective they were actually doing the right thing as well. If someone thinks they’re doing the right thing and morality is subjective then they can’t be wrong about it. They did not consider their actions a horror at all and so they are not (if subjective morality is true).

  48. Shane,

    Well you argued pretty convincingly that God was the only reason for honesty. Are you now saying that is not the case?

    Shane you have no idea what was being argued and I doubt further discussion of the point will remedy that.

    Yes, in their own minds the Nazis were doing the right thing.

    And since right and wrong, good and bad are entirely subjective they were actually doing the right thing as well. If someone thinks they’re doing the right thing and morality is subjective then they can’t be wrong about it. They did not consider their actions a horror at all and so they are not (if subjective morality is true).

  49. Hi scblhrm,

    “Now, Tom has what you do not in that he has the intellectual ownership of the following turf: “Free to act as we choose”.”

    It seems you don’t want to move to the Free Will thread. So tell me how you can justify that statement? How can you demonstrate that men have free will? How can you demonstrate that animals don’t? In short how can you demonstrate that free will is a gift from God rather than a by product of an evolving nervous system and the ability to remember the past?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  50. If you disagree with Sam Harris on the validity of brutally repeatable reality then that is fine. You assert that some part of nature is, at bottom, free of nature and thus free of deterministic indifference.

    Good luck with that.

  51. Hi Melissa,

    “And since right and wrong, good and bad are entirely subjective they were actually doing the right thing as well. If someone thinks they’re doing the right thing and morality is subjective then they can’t be wrong about it. They did not consider their actions a horror at all and so they are not (if subjective morality is true).”

    To them. At the time. Others can have a different opinion. I can understand why the Nazis did what they did at the time. I can understand that the Nazis thought they were doing the right thing. I can also think that their actions were wrong because they are not things I would do. I do this from the comfort of the future, in a different country of course, and who knows what things would have been like if I was a German soldier during World War II.

    Likewise their opinion of their actions in the present could change in the future. The Nazis could do what they did with no qualms, and they could be filled with guilt about it later. Their subjective morality could change.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  52. Shane,

    I can also think that their actions were wrong because they are not things I would do.

    No, what has what you would do got to do with whether what the Nazis did was right or wrong. More correctly, it would be wrong for you to do what the Nazis did but it was not wrong but rather exactly right for the Nazis to do what they did.

    Likewise their opinion of their actions in the present could change in the future. The Nazis could do what they did with no qualms, and they could be filled with guilt about it later. Their subjective morality could change.

    Yes, but that is only because everyone really believes that morality is objective. They would feel guilty because they really believe they were wrong. If they really believed that morality was subjective they would understand that there is no reason to feel guilty because they didn’t do anything wrong.

    If morality is subjective it is irrational for you to judge anything anyone else does as right or wrong and it is irrational for you to think that something you did in the past is wrong just because your understanding of good and bad has changed in the meantime.

  53. Watching Shane explain his position on this subject is fascinating. So Shane believes that what the Nazis did was (objectively) evil (“horrors are horrors”) and the reason they are is because he “…value(s) the Free Will that Christians seem so intent we have.” or that it’s decided by the society or because his parents taught him it was. So the Nazis were evil because “we” say so, the society says so or his parents say so. None of these, of course, establishes what the Nazis did as evil just wrong by someone’s opinion.

    So we have what is undoubtedly the most easily identifiably evil regime in world history. They murdered millions of men women and children, raped their way across Europe and endorsed grotesque medical experiments on humans among other atrocities. Shane knows they are evil but can’t really explain why because he can’t really define evil itself. And so, we have a real life demonstration of the complete moral, intellectual and ethical inadequacy of atheistic, relativistic thought.

    If you have five minutes this will enlighten you further.

  54. Bill, Shane,

    It’s easy to make claims which naturalism cannot justify and pit theistic definitions of brutally repeatable reality up against theistic definitions of brutally repeatable reality and then claim one has made an argument. He (Shane) has to claim “evil is evil” just as he has to claim that our brutally repeatable experiences are valid markers of the truth of reality outside of ourselves, just as he has to claim that some part of nature is – at bottom – free of nature. He has to make all these moves in order to be able to talk in a way that is not an outright denial of brutally repeatable reality. Such denials just ring false. And I think he knows that, and so avoids Harris’ more honest sort of moves. All of this as he claims that he cannot recall ever having any feelings of having ever volitionally done anything wrong. He isn’t sure. He can’t remember any such thing……ever…..

    Shane, I am sorry to dissappoint you, but my memories of my own moral failures are, well, present.

  55. @BillT

    And so, we have a real life demonstration of the complete moral, intellectual and ethical inadequacy of atheistic, relativistic thought.

    And what is the distance that separates from being unable to argue that say, the Nazis were wrong, to embrace the claim that really the Nazis were not wrong, not in any objective way, and finally to, given the “right” circumstances, and given that your heart is “in the right place”, to espouse some of the things they did?

    If one’s view cannot unequivocally distance oneself from such horrors, what is stopping *the rest of us* from legitimately wondering whether said person will in fact embrace such horrors? Faith in the essential goodness of mankind? Now, *that* is ironical.

  56. G. Rodrigues,

    Exactly. And yet Shane says that “…morality would look the same under either system…” But, of course it wouldn’t. Under one system it would look like morality and under the other it would look like, as you point out, nothing at all.

  57. I’ve never understood folks who ask for proof that we have a head when, Pan-World, our brutally repeatable experience informs us that we have heads. Christians believe we have heads, and an atheist who argues that his own experiencing of having a head is a proof that we don’t “really” have a “real head” is another oddity I’ve not understood. And how some part of Nature can be free – at bottom – from Nature and thus be free of deterministic indifference is another claim I’ve never understood. Brutally repeatable experiences and their Pan-World occupations are stubborn things, as are Mankind’s brutally repeatable, and fragmented, moral experiences.

  58. Shane, RE: #54

    In comment # 54, you say this: “In short how can you demonstrate that free will is a gift from God rather than a by product of an evolving nervous system and the ability to remember the past?”

    You attempt to establish a dichotomy using the conjunction “rather than”: either God or evolution or our nervous system and memory. By asking this question you reveal your particular naturalistic bias, which basically says that if something can be explained as a “product of evolution” that explanation eliminates God. This argument carries absolutely no weight and has no credibility whatsoever with those of us who understand evolution as one of the natural processes that exist because God exists and God created/creates everything that exists in the physical, natural world, with all its laws, processes, energies, forces, etc. To paraphrase St. Thomas Aquinas, this is what we speak of when we speak of God.

    Please explain why and how you think, based on naturalism or materialism, that a moral conscious “evolved” in our physiology and our cognitive capacities if all morality is subjective (every man for himself).

    You are digging this hole, which is of your own creation, deeper and deeper, Shane. Your fall-back to evolution as an explanation of humans’ moral conscience and moral consciousness is just another shovel-full of nonsense.

  59. Shane,

    And please add the part where some part of Nature is – at bottom – free of Nature and thereby free of deterministic indifference. Unless of course you agree with Sam Harris that volition (in naturalism) is nonsense and brutally repeatable experiences are to be unjustifiably denied due to presuppositional commitments…. You hint at disagreeing with him so I’m just trying to cover the bases and make some progress.

  60. Hi Melissa,

    “No, what has what you would do got to do with whether what the Nazis did was right or wrong. More correctly, it would be wrong for you to do what the Nazis did but it was not wrong but rather exactly right for the Nazis to do what they did.”

    You seem to be saying that I can’t have a difference of opinion on the actions of anyone else? Why can’t I believe that gay marriage should be legal when you think it shouldn’t? I can understand why you think it is wrong. I can support your right to say so publicly outside of town hall with picket signs. And I can still whole heartedly disagree with you and think you are wrong to do so. I can picket at the same time with my own signs in support of gay marriage.

    Why can I not have a different opinion? Why can I not try to change your opinion?

    “Yes, but that is only because everyone really believes that morality is objective.”

    Everyone believes morality is objective or morality actually is objective?

    “They would feel guilty because they really believe they were wrong. If they really believed that morality was subjective they would understand that there is no reason to feel guilty because they didn’t do anything wrong.”

    Understanding that there is no good reason to feel guilt and not feeling guilt are two different things. Have you never apologised or felt guilty about something that was entirely out of your control or in fact had nothing had to do with you at all?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  61. Opinions – on atheism – have no “differences”.

    An irrationally conditioned itch is an irrationally conditioned itch.

    Borrowing another worldview’s epistemology doesn’t “somehow bypass” that fact.

  62. Hey everyone else,

    “And yet Shane says that “…morality would look the same under either system…” But, of course it wouldn’t. Under one system it would look like morality and under the other it would look like, as you point out, nothing at all.

    So your argument is that the world can only exist in the way it does if morality is objective? Because this is exactly the evidence I was asking for. So specifically, what couldn’t exist if morality was subjective? The last sentence was terribly vague.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  63. You’re the one, Shane, telling us to deny our Pan-World brutally repeatable experience for the sake of your commitment to your presuppositions.

    But you’ve given us no reason to deny them.

    You simply steal definitions and call them your own and thus pit theism against theism and declare you’ve made an argument.

  64. You want us to deny our brutally repeatable experience. But why? Because they tell us we have an objective head?

    Are you an idealist?

    Okay then: on your view our objective head is all in our head.

    You simply assert.

    But you give us no reason to deny the objectivity of our heads. Our brutally repeatable – pan world – experience speaks too loud.

  65. Hi Jenna,

    “By asking this question you reveal your particular naturalistic bias, which basically says that if something can be explained as a “product of evolution” that explanation eliminates God. This argument carries absolutely no weight and has no credibility whatsoever with those of us who understand evolution as one of the natural processes that exist because God exists and God created/creates everything that exists in the physical, natural world, with all its laws, processes, energies, forces, etc. To paraphrase St. Thomas Aquinas, this is what we speak of when we speak of God.”

    This is my natural default position as I was originally a young earth creationist who realised that the age of the universe and the truth of evolution negates God’s majesty and power. We have no doubt that an all powerful God could create the world in 6 days as described in Genesis. We know that he didn’t do that. Adding God to all the naturalistic processes is shoe horning him in where he is not needed. IMO.

    “Please explain why and how you think, based on naturalism or materialism, that a moral conscious “evolved” in our physiology and our cognitive capacities if all morality is subjective (every man for himself).”

    Ridiculously briefly:

    Animals evolved brains allowing them to remember.
    This turned them into social animals living in groups rather than individuals working alone.
    Social animals evolved means of communicating, which adds language and reasoning.
    Language and reasoning adds the ability for animals in the group to express personally feelings which adds emotions and empathy.
    Empathy for others is at the root of morality.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  66. I’ve never understood folks who ask for proof that we have a head when, Pan-World, our brutally repeatable experience informs us that we have heads. Christians believe we have heads, and an atheist who argues that his own experiencing of having a head is a proof that we don’t “really” have a “real head” is another oddity I’ve not understood. Why this desperate need to get us to deny our pan-world brutally, even painfully, repeatable experiences?

  67. Survival, not empathy, is the root of “morality”. Rape fosters the genome and is thus valued (retained) by selective processes.

    If you deny this I’ll loose all scientific respect for you.

  68. Science can drive you away from God but away from atheistic delusion?

    Really?

    What is it, Shane, that selective processes value?

  69. Actually, scblhrm, it’s survival-plus-reproduction. For humans it’s about living to make babies who live to make babies.

    And that is the only thing evolution knows how to promote.

    The only thing.

  70. Shane,

    Until you can show us what part of our brutally repeatable moral experience couldn’t exist if morality were objective you are simply stealing the epistemology of another worldview in your unjustified attempt to ascribe subjectivity to it.

    Our painfully repeatable experience is not even close to the experience which Materialism tells us would be an experience of reality, thus, we need proof that volition (ought, existing, etc.) are all non-entity.

    The question was asked, “How would one distinguish feelings that evolved for social cohesion (such as empathy and guilt) from what I take is your idea of the recognition of the transcendental?”

    Science helps us distinguish because it brings us to that same Y in the road as exists between your “Delusional” and “Objectively Real”.
    Science helps us distinguish because science tells us that there is no physical system that is free of “mother nature” as every physical system, every last one of them, is unyieldingly attached to some other tentacle of nature. This is why Sam Harris insists that despite the fact that every mind experiences volitionality, volition is sheer delusion (and ought dies with it). He tells us that criminals had no choice in acting as they did. It is a Con being played on Man by “deterministic indifference”, by nature.

    If atheism: that is true because, as we briefly saw, there is no part of nature (no physical system) that is – at bottom – free of nature and thus free of deterministic indifference. Every part of Nature is a slave. There is no volitionality (if atheism).

    However:

    All that is Mankind shares in the brutally, even painfully repeatable experience of volition, in the brutally repeatable moral experience of ought.

    They are undeniable.

    But Atheists are telling us to deny them. I once went around and around with an Atheist who questioned his own brutally repeatable experience of existing (and of having a head)…… (he wouldn’t commit to any “really real”).

    The “distinguishing” between God / Materialism is now, at this juncture, a choice one must make. Science is simply telling us of physical systems. It cannot tell us more. Materialism however is telling us that we – all of us – are as Sam Harris has said we are: delusional, that is to say, simply, we are psychotic in that we believe there is a pink elephant in the room, but there is none in the room, and in fact there is no such thing as a pink elephant (the pink elephant being ‘volition’ and ‘ought’ and so on).

    We have to ask you, Shane “how to distinguish” between delusion’s psychosis and objective reality. Materialism tells us we are delusional/psychotic. God tells us we are being informed – in part – of other actualities that exist.

    If we choose to deny the reality of – the existence of – mankind’s (our own) wide array of brutally, even painfully repeatable experiences and choose to tell ourselves that all such information is delusion’s psychosis than that choice is the verb of distinguish-ing.

    That you employ (steal) the theist’s epistemology to describe “being free to choose” does not grant your materialism (or idealism) intellectual ownership of that epistemology. That is why you cannot juxtapose “experiences” and tell us they “are the same”. Our painfully repeatable experience is not even close to the experience which Materialism tells us would be an experience of reality, thus, we need proof that volition (ought, existing, etc.) are all non-entity. Therefore, until you can show us what part of our brutally repeatable moral experience couldn’t exist if morality were objective you are simply stealing the epistemology of another worldview in your unjustified attempt to ascribe subjectivity to it.

  71. Shane,

    You seem to be saying that I can’t have a difference of opinion on the actions of anyone else?

    No Shane, I’m saying you cannot rationally judge the actions and beliefs of others. Which is why I say that your actions are inconsistent with your belief that morality is subjective. But maybe when you appear to be judging others you are not really, but rather enganging in a concious manipulation to convince others to support your particular goals. Either way it’s not good for you.

  72. Shane,

    I’m still waiting for you to show us what couldn’t exist, what wouldn’t exist, if morality were objective.

    You say it is subjective, and yet our (your) painfully repeatable experiences are worlds away from what Materialism tells us our experience should “look like”.

    Given the chasm of difference between our actual, perceived experience and what Materialism tells us is real, the burden of proof is on the outlier, which is materialism.

    Until you can show us a proof of some sort, you’ve not satisfied that burden. The gap between what our experience is telling us and what materialism is telling us unforgivingly puts this burden on the one telling us that all of our perceiving is completely delusional. We say completely because “illusion” would even imply some real “it” out there, and so it falls below even that, into the depths of some kind of meaningless psychic phosphorescence. But, Pan-World, every mind is perceiving a brutally repeatable reality which is light years away from that.

    Given that chasm, until you can show us a proof, or until you can prove to us what wouldn’t exist, or what couldn’t exist if ought/volitionality there in morality were objective, we have no reason to disbelieve such brutally, even painfully repeatable reality and thus, without such explanations from you, we are on solid ground to conclude that all those things speak of objective reality.

  73. Shane,

    I put this in another thread but it seems to fit here as well:

    I find it odd that you would question every mind’s experience of, say, having a head, or of, say, volitionality.

    Like having a head, volitionality is immune to taste, is identical pan-mind, and is thus real until proven otherwise. And since it is real, materialism cannot be true as no physical system is “magically free” of nature’s forces and thus no physical system can be – at bottom – free of deterministic indifference.

    Look at your line of reasoning,

    “The argument that having a head is undeniable is not an argument that we have heads. You need to show how we would distinguish between a real head and just the “perception of a head””.

    Really?

    That is the pesky stubbornness with something that every mind perceives. I know you don’t like that. You want us to differentiate between a head and the perception of a head. But every head we point to, or put in your hands, or drop, or whatever, will be the perception thereof.

    Mind-Dependence, anyone?

    You are the one claiming that every mind is mistaken.

    I’m afraid that assertion will demand a bit of evidence.

    You say it is subjective, and yet our (your) painfully repeatable experiences are worlds away from what Materialism tells us our experience should “look like”.

    The force by which we know volitionality and other such things such as, “I have a head”, are reality as we know it to be, perceive it to be. I have a head. I have volition. We all perceive this. Ought’s painfully repeatable experience comes in as well.

    Now, if materialism were true, our experience should be be one of compulsion.

    But we don’t experience that. The Atheist is the one asserting that our experience “should look like” one of compulsion “because that’s really real

    But that means he has to give us some evidence that every mind’s experience is mistaken.

    But there is nothing in our present experience which is out of place if it is all informing us of objective reality. So what, exactly, if all is objectively real, would be different than our present experience of volition, of ought’s pains (of having a head)? Nothing.

    But if materialism were true, our experience wouldn’t look like it does for it would look like one of compulsion, one void of ought’s pains. What would be different? We can point to all kinds of things that would look different. Yet you just foist without justification that it is subjective, and yet our (your) painfully repeatable experiences are worlds away from what Materialism tells us our experience should “look like”.

    Given the chasm of difference between our actual, perceived experience and what Materialism tells us is real, the burden of proof is on the outlier, which is your assertion of delusion’s psychosis.

    Until you can show us a proof of some sort, you’ve not satisfied that burden.

    The gap between what our experience is telling us and what materialism is telling us unforgivingly puts this burden on the one telling us that all of our perceiving is completely delusional. We say ‘completely’ because “illusion” would imply some real “it” out there, and so it falls below even that, into the depths of some kind of meaningless psychic phosphorescence. But, Pan-World, every mind is perceiving a brutally repeatable reality which is light years away from “that”.

    Given that chasm, until you can show us a proof of delusion’s psychosis, or until you can prove to us what part of our experience wouldn’t exist or couldn’t exist if ought/volitionality there in morality were in fact objective, you’ve simply presented us with no valid reason at all to disbelieve such brutally, even painfully repeatable reality and thus, without such explanations from you, we present a justified, evidence based conclusion that all those things speak of, inform us of, objective reality.

  74. Hi scblhrm,

    “Survival, not empathy, is the root of “morality”. Rape fosters the genome and is thus valued (retained) by selective processes.

    If you deny this I’ll loose all scientific respect for you.”

    What Tom said. The Peacock grows enormous tail feathers to impress the female, and the female chooses which male to mate with. There would be no need for the male to spend such resources as well as making himself such easy prey if he could force himself upon the female.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  75. Hi scbrownlhrm,

    “Until you can show us what part of our brutally repeatable moral experience couldn’t exist if morality were objective you are simply stealing the epistemology of another worldview in your unjustified attempt to ascribe subjectivity to it.”

    I’m not say it couldn’t exist. In the same way I’m not saying God couldn’t exist. But there is no evidence that either of them do. In my opinion they are both constructs of the human mind that fill no unanswered gap. There is no reason for them.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  76. Hi Melissa,

    “No Shane, I’m saying you cannot rationally judge the actions and beliefs of others. Which is why I say that your actions are inconsistent with your belief that morality is subjective. But maybe when you appear to be judging others you are not really, but rather enganging in a concious manipulation to convince others to support your particular goals. Either way it’s not good for you.

    Why? Why does expressing my subjective moral opinion somehow negate it being subjective?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  77. Shane, RE: #82

    You say this: “I’m not say it couldn’t exist. In the same way I’m not saying God couldn’t exist. But there is no evidence that either of them do.”

    You must realize, of course, that to make the claim that there is no evidence that God exists is to claim that you are omniscient.

  78. Hi Jenna,

    “Thanks for more evidence of no God: peacocks that prefer courtship to rape!”

    Was that the point of my comment, Jenna? Schblrm made a ludicrous post that rape must be beneficial for reproducing DNA and I was illustrating the folly in his statement.

    But why is this your first response after my last reply to you? Do you have nothing to say about my thoughts on the mistake of ascribing credit to God for every scientific discovery that gets made? Was there nothing in my very expurgated description of the evolution of morals that needed fleshing out, let alone give you a chance to explain why it just couldn’t be so?

    Respectfully
    Shane

  79. Hi Jenna,

    “You say this: “I’m not say it couldn’t exist. In the same way I’m not saying God couldn’t exist. But there is no evidence that either of them do.”

    You must realize, of course, that to make the claim that there is no evidence that God exists is to claim that you are omniscient.”

    No evidence that I am aware of. No evidence that anyone here has been able to put forward.

    Respectfully
    Shane

  80. Hi schblrm,

    “You say it is subjective, and yet our (your) painfully repeatable experiences are worlds away from what Materialism tells us our experience should “look like”.”

    Please tell me what our experience should look like if Materialism is true. If it is a world away, as you insist it is, then it should be very easy to prove your point. What do we see right now, that would be impossible to see if Materialism were true?

    And to clarify, I mean something specific. Using the phrase “brutally repeatable experiences” does not help your argument, no matter how many times you use it. If you want to make an argument, then give me a specific example that I can relate to and explain how/why it would be impossible under Materialism.

    Cheers
    Shane

  81. Shane,

    It’s detailed in # 79.

    You’re the one asserting the every mind is delusional.

    You need to present proof.

    And I see that you think rape is not successful at propagating DNA. That survival isn’t nature’s bottom line. That’s very unscientific of you teleologically speaking. So I suppose you posit that selective pressures are not the forces which selected for and maintained those neurological constructs which sum to what we call rape, that some “other nature” was at work inside this universe’s nature?

  82. Hi scblhrm,

    “Now, if materialism were true, our experience should be be one of compulsion.”

    Why?

    “What would be different? We can point to all kinds of things that would look different.”

    Give me a specific example, please.

    “And I see that you think rape is not successful at propagating DNA.”

    Please quote where I said that.

    “That survival isn’t nature’s bottom line.”

    And how is that second sentence related to the first?

    As Tom pointed out, I don’t think you appreciate the nuanced selection pressures that can affect the evolution of a species.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  83. “Why should it look different?”

    That’s the wrong question.

    We all, pan-mind, experience having a head, volitionality, pan-mind’s archetypes of ought’s pains, intentional thought, and so on.

    You’re the one foisting on blind axiom that such is delusion’s psychosis.

    The burden is yours.

    Good luck proving psychosis to the psychotic.

    Further, spare me the equivocation on Archetypes being “not found pan-mind thus no moral knowledge” followed by “present pan-mind thus proof of “unifying naturalistic survival packages”.

    As for rape, you see to think there are forces inside this universe besides nature. Something other than the blind forces of phsysics. Again, the burden of proof there is on you. I agree with you, but then I’m not a naturalist.

  84. Shane, RE: #86

    You say this regarding evidence of God: “No evidence that I am aware of. No evidence that anyone here has been able to put forward.”

    Granted, you can claim that you are not aware of any evidence of God, but I find this very hard to believe, quite frankly. Since you are here on this blog arguing that God does not exist or that you are unaware of evidence that God exists, you must have some notion of what the term, name, word, concept of God means. Also granted, your conceptualization and understanding of God can most certainly be one of non-existence. However, for you to claim that no one “here has been able to put forward” evidence of God is simply untrue.

    A few posts back, I stated that I believe that God is whatever or whoever caused the Big Bang. This is the concept or understanding of God as the Creator of everything. Now, what evidence do I put forward that everything is created? I can think of not a single (credible) example of anything that exists that was not caused to exist. The cause of everything existing is what/who I call God so my evidence is everything that exists.

    So, do you still claim that you are unaware of any evidence of/for God’s existence?

  85. Shane, RE: #71

    In this comment, you say this: “This is my natural default position as I was originally a young earth creationist who realised that the age of the universe and the truth of evolution negates God’s majesty and power.”

    How exactly do you think that evolution “negates God’s majesty and power”? I find this to be a rather odd position to take. I find this position to be untenable especially in light of the fact that Genesis 1 lays out a framework for understanding the ancient Hebrews’ understanding that creation was not instantaneous but rather, gradual and taking place in sequential and ordered stages, phases or eras (the meaning of the Hebrew word/term translated as “days) that, in a sense, prepared the universe and the earth for the advent of humankind. Isn’t this evolution? In my mind it is. How does this process in any way detract from God’s majesty and power? According to the Hebrews’ theology of creation, work “worked” and then He “rested” (left things to function according to His plan). I do not see anything in the science of evolution that puts into question the theology of creation that we find in the Book of Genesis or that disturbs my awe and wonderment at the beauty, power and love in/of God’s creation (noun and verb).

  86. Hi scblhrm,

    “As for rape, you see to think there are forces inside this universe besides nature. Something other than the blind forces of phsysics. Again, the burden of proof there is on you. I agree with you, but then I’m not a naturalist.”

    Why do I think there are forces at work besides nature?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  87. Hi Jenna,

    “A few posts back, I stated that I believe that God is whatever or whoever caused the Big Bang. This is the concept or understanding of God as the Creator of everything. Now, what evidence do I put forward that everything is created? I can think of not a single (credible) example of anything that exists that was not caused to exist. The cause of everything existing is what/who I call God so my evidence is everything that exists.”

    1) Particles and anti-particles pop into existence all the time. This is demonstrated by the Casimir Effect.

    2) Other than these particles I know of nothing that has been created since the beginning of the universe so to say you know of nothing that exists without a cause is pretty meaningless. There is a world of difference between rearranging existing particles to make new things and calling something into existence where there was nothing before. Therefore you have no experience or knowledge that you can draw on to make an assumption.

    Now if you want to talk about what you know causes these sub atomic particles to suddenly exist and how that might be related to the creation of the universe then you might have some basis for making your assumption about the creation of things. But there is another problem before you get to that which is

    3) We have no way of knowing what happened prior to the expansion of the universe. We can only see back to slightly after the beginning of the expansion. So we do not know that everything in the universe did not exist before that point. We do not know it was created from nothing.

    “So, do you still claim that you are unaware of any evidence of/for God’s existence?”

    Yes.

    You have also made it very clear in the past about defining God, and not believing in the wrong definition. I think you are being disingenuous when you say your definition is based on the premise of the creation of the universe. Your belief in God is far more specific than that. I think my statements above will make no dent in your belief in a saviour even if you accept that what I say is correct and you no longer use “the Big Bang” as an argument in the future. So this argument you put forward is not really evidence for “your God” anyway. IMO

    Respectfully
    Shane

  88. Hi Jenna,

    “In this comment, you say this: “This is my natural default position as I was originally a young earth creationist who realised that the age of the universe and the truth of evolution negates God’s majesty and power.”

    How exactly do you think that evolution “negates God’s majesty and power”? I find this to be a rather odd position to take. I find this position to be untenable especially in light of the fact that Genesis 1 lays out a framework for understanding the ancient Hebrews’ understanding that creation was not instantaneous but rather, gradual and taking place in sequential and ordered stages, phases or eras (the meaning of the Hebrew word/term translated as “days) that, in a sense, prepared the universe and the earth for the advent of humankind. Isn’t this evolution? In my mind it is. How does this process in any way detract from God’s majesty and power? According to the Hebrews’ theology of creation, work “worked” and then He “rested” (left things to function according to His plan). I do not see anything in the science of evolution that puts into question the theology of creation that we find in the Book of Genesis or that disturbs my awe and wonderment at the beauty, power and love in/of God’s creation (noun and verb).”

    I answered this in the other thread, but adding God to a process that could happen naturally is unnecessary. The fact that you can explain it within the writings of the bible is despite the fact that the explanation isn’t needed. In the same way that the ether is no longer needed to explain how light waves travel through a vacuum.

    An unnecessary thing is, by definition, not needed. Do I need to explain how “not needing God” negates His “power”? And “majesty”?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  89. Shane,

    If you do not believe in anything but blind indifference, then I am relieved. You seemed to be resistant to the teleological fact that rape is valued, favored, nurtured, and maintained by blind and indifferent forces, as there is nothing else at work.

    But of course it is, on naturalism.

  90. Shane,

    Hawking sees the problem: there is a necessary and sufficient cause of all effects standing amid a few effects but not all effects.

    The obvious geography of such a landscape is that of intention.

    But that is unthinkable.

    So, he regresses to an everlasting unchanging which is ontologically real, a kind of imaginary sphere. And then the effects which come/go simply cannot be real, else intention, so time is imaginary, the universe is a hologram, and the imaginary sphere is the ontologically real.

    Now, that is right in line with your denial of every bit of perceived reality solely on the grounds of a commitment to one’s presupposition.

    You say, well, you say it without ever coming out and saying it, but you “say” that every mind is delusional whereas Hawking is bold enough to get to the point and just say it: all of reality is imaginary, and by imaginary he does not mean mind, he means the sort of “unchanging flux” in his imaginary sphere which is “real time” and which is the source of this world’s time, which is imaginary or a hologram. In fact the whole universe just may be imaginary (not ontologically real) and is but a hologram of that unchanging sphere, that necessary and sufficient cause of all effect.

    Yes, effect, singular. It’s a gigantic, static, motionless, unchanging sphere. The “s” on “effects” is not ontologically real and just must be a hologram or a theoretical imaginary sort of something.

    Else God.

    And so on.

    It’s enjoyable to watch Atheists struggle to make such desperate denials of every bit of perceptible reality on sheer blind axiom simply due to the commitment to a presupposition.

    It’s not good science, or good reasoning, nor evidence based, but it is at least enjoyable to watch.

  91. Shane,

    Why is taking the step of adding a layer of a diagnosis of pan-psychosis to avoid the undeniably real necessary? O’s razor……

  92. Jenna,

    As in #97, you’ll note that Hawking and Shane use the same escape hatch once “all of perceived reality” corners them.

    I’m not sure you’ll make headway against Shane’s diagnosis of pan-psychosis or Hawking’s move to pan-hologram or pan-static-imaginary-sphere. All are untestable, all are unmeasurable, all speak against what all available evidence is actually telling us, and all are unknowable, and, once into their desired destination of the unknowable, they have found insulation from reality in all of its brutally repeatable pan-archetypes.

    While you and I are interested in going wherever all of perceived evidence takes us, that is, in reality, others are more interested in a commitment to their presupposition, no matter how intellectually costly.

  93. Shane, RE: #94 and #95

    You say this: “… adding God to a process that could happen naturally is unnecessary. The fact that you can explain it within the writings of the bible is despite the fact that the explanation isn’t needed. In the same way that the ether is no longer needed to explain how light waves travel through a vacuum.”

    Sorry to say, but this is one of the most absurd statements I’ve seen lately in my dialogues with atheists. To call “God” simply “unnecessary” is to express a profound ignorance and misunderstanding of theology. (I’m with Melissa on that one.) Please think again about what it is that we speak of when we speak of “God.” To say that God is unnecessary is to say that the Big Bang is/was “unnecessary” to the existence of the universe, or to say that the union of my parents’ ovum and sperm were “unnecessary” to my existence as me on this earth.

    Whether or not one believes in creation ex nihilo is beside the point. The concept, idea, notion, intellectual cognitive construct of God is of the Creator of everything that exists. No Creator = no existence of anything. “God” is a term or name used within the limitations of human language to signify the whole unified array of forces, energies, processes, natural laws and events that created/create the universe and life as evidenced by the existence of everything, seen and unseen, material and spiritual, in the heavens and on earth; the/a universal creative force, the ultimate reality.

    Of course you are not compelled to worship or deify what we speak of as God, but to claim that the reality that the name God represents is “unnecessary” is to merely express your rejection of the totality of theology. If you reject theology, why in the world are you here on this blog discussing it? If “God” is “unnecessary” then discussing God is meaningless, so why do you do it?

    And yes, I believe that the God who created the universe is the same God who rose Jesus from the grave. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4

  94. Shane,

    Why? Why does expressing my subjective moral opinion somehow negate it being subjective?

    Because, given what you think about morality, a statement from you that the actions of the Nazis were wrong is not a true statement. All you can say is that the actions of the Nazis would be wrong for you to do but they were right for the Nazis. So your expressed opinion that the Nazis were wrong conflicts with your belief that morality is subjective.

  95. Hi Jenna,

    “No Creator = no existence of anything.”

    Except you believe the Creator doesn’t need His own creator. He always existed. If God can always have existed, than why can’t the universe? And why doesn’t that contradiction bother you?

    I said that God is unnecessary for evolution. I am here because maybe someone can give me an example of something that does require God. I am looking for the truth.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  96. Hi Melissa,

    We seem to be going in circles here, so let me ask my question another way.

    “All you can say is that the actions of the Nazis would be wrong for you to do but they were right for the Nazis.”

    Let’s assume that some the Nazis did not agree with the policies of Hitler but went along with them out of fear for their lives and the lives of their families. Assuming morality is subjective would their actions be morally different to the other Nazis?

    Let’s assume again that some other German soldiers refused to go along with the plans and were killed by the Nazis. What would be the morality of their actions compared with the first two groups?

    And most importantly, can these 3 different groups of people living in the same time under the same circumstances have an opinion on the beliefs and actions of the other 2?

    And obviously, I’m not looking for yes/no answers. I want an explanation with regards to subjective morality.

    Thanks in advance
    Shane

  97. Shane

    The universe could self account, except we know it can’t. Thus Hawking leaves time and material behind.

    Hawking sees the problem: there is a necessary and sufficient cause of all effects standing amid a few effects but not all effects.

    The obvious geography of such a landscape is that of intention.

    But that is unthinkable.

    So he invents imaginary things to avoid dealing with the evidence.

    He regresses to an everlasting unchanging which is ontologically real, a kind of imaginary sphere. And then the effects which come/go simply cannot be real, else intention, so time is imaginary, the universe is a hologram, and the imaginary sphere is the ontologically real.

    Now, that is right in line with your denial of every bit of perceived reality solely on the grounds of a commitment to one’s presupposition. Else God.

    If you want truth, you’ll have to stop denying the undeniable. Besides, it looks silly.

  98. Shane,

    If morality is subjective then no, a judgement on another person’s actions is not rationally justifiable. In fact, I’m not even sure it is possible to do wrong. You see, every person acts to achieve something that they consider to be good in some respect. If good is only defined by a person’s subjective preference then it seems to me that every act is then good. What we need is something independent of a person’s felt desires, needs and preferences with which to judge which desires are truly good and should be acted on.

  99. Hi Melissa,

    “What we need is something independent of a person’s felt desires, needs and preferences with which to judge which desires are truly good and should be acted on.”

    Aren’t my subjective opinions independent of the desires, needs and preferences of every other person? Aren’t everybody else’s subjective opinions independent of my desires, etc?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  100. Shane,

    Aren’t my subjective opinions independent of the desires, needs and preferences of every other person? Aren’t everybody else’s subjective opinions independent of my desires, etc?

    How does a comparison of your desires with anyone else’s help you? If morality is subjective then what feels good for you is good for you and what feels good for them is good for them. You really haven’t thought this through much have you?

  101. Melissa captured the conflicted nature quite well: “….your expressed opinion that the Nazis were wrong conflicts with your belief that morality is subjective.”

    Expressing a statement of moral awareness only to then rip it apart only to again express another statement of moral awareness only to again rip it apart, year in and year out, one’s whole life long, just is what it means to exist conflicted. The slightest bit of ought nuanced into the quietest whisper, the faintest thought, the most subtle look on one’s face, qualifies one for the life lived conflicted. Denying the undeniable year in and year out just does tie one into such knots. One will end such a process of wrenching and dry-heaving either as a psychopath chastising the world for its moral loves and moral angers, or, one will break free of the insanity and sight the God Whose Name is Love.

  102. “I said that God is unnecessary for evolution. I am here because maybe someone can give me an example of something that does require God. I am looking for the truth.”

    God seems to be unnecessary for a lot of things!

    Like you, Shane, I’m also looking for something that does require God. I’ve scoured and searched and looked and pondered, but have yet to find anything.

  103. It’s easy to avoid a seamless ontology-epistemology (God) if one chooses to believe, inexplicably, in a wide array of blind axioms, conflicted logic, and Imaginary Spheres.

  104. Chris and Shane,

    Atheists are those folks who have faith that they have successfully defined God out of existence.

  105. “Atheists are those folks who have faith that they have successfully defined God out of existence.”

    That’s not accurate. I haven’t defined God out of existence, I just haven’t found any reason to bring Him into existence, so to speak. And it also appears that Universe gets along just fine without Him.

  106. Chris,

    Defining God out of existence is exactly what you are doing, ignoring what it is that we believers in God speak of as God. It’s intellectual and theological nonsense and only atheists think it is at all clever or meaningful.

  107. Hawking doesn’t need God either.

    He just changes definitions to avoid reality.

    When he encounters what can only be comprised of 1) Timelessness, and 2) Immaterial, and 3) Intentional, he changes definitions and “real” becomes “imaginary” as “imaginary” becomes “ontologically real” and the lack of all-effects in front of the cause of all-effects can only be coherent inside of cosmic intention and, such being undeniable, such effects (like the universe) are redefined as hologram sort of somethings.

    Our brutally repeatable moral Archetypes found pan-world are also redefined to “unrepeatable” in the context of debunking God and then they are re-re-defined back to repeatable (again) in the context of proof of evolution’s ability to fashion survival packages pan-world.

    Changing definitions, denying the undeniable, and embracing the imaginary.

    That is how skeptics avoid “the need for” God.

    This is nothing more complicated than the obvious denial of every bit of perceived reality solely on the grounds of a commitment to one’s presupposition – Else God

  108. scbrownlrhm,

    You say this: “This is nothing more complicated than the obvious denial of every bit of perceived reality solely on the grounds of a commitment to one’s presupposition – Else God.”

    You are right on! Thanks for this pithy and accurate summary.

  109. Hi Melissa,

    How does a comparison of your desires with anyone else’s help you? If morality is subjective then what feels good for you is good for you and what feels good for them is good for them. You really haven’t thought this through much have you?”

    Well you said you needed something independent to compare it to. Aren’t the opinions of everyone else independent? Aren’t the laws of the land, based on the collective majority view independent? Isn’t this exactly what we see at work in the world?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  110. Hi Jenna,

    “Atheists are those folks who have faith that they have successfully defined God out of existence.”

    I did not become an atheist by defining God out of existence. The evidence I have does not support the hypothesis that he exists. It was a long and difficult road to come to the understanding that He isn’t there.

    Why is it that so many Christians try to make the case that atheists need to not believe in God so ignore the evidence. Don’t you find it offensive for us to say that Christians need God and so make tenuous links when none exist? The truth of the matter is that we both believe what we believe because of how we see the evidence. I cannot choose to believe in God and you cannot choose not to believe in him. We believe what we believe because of how we understand the evidence. Pascal’s wager is absurd in that way, because one can’t choose to believe in God just because it is the safest bet.

    Sincerely
    Shane

  111. Shane,

    Well you said you needed something independent to compare it to. Aren’t the opinions of everyone else independent? Aren’t the laws of the land, based on the collective majority view independent? Isn’t this exactly what we see at work in the world?

    Independent of anyone’s subjective preferences, I would have thought that much would be clear. Let’s say I think chocolate icecream tastes best but someone else thinks strawberry icecream tastes best. What does their different but independent subjective preference have to say about my subjective preference? The answer is nothing. If subjective morality is true then the laws of the land are just the majority leveraging their power to impose their subjective preferences on minorities. Neither get you to being able to make the claim that any person’s actions or desires are morally wrong or bad. Making the law of the land the yardstick for morality has the added effect of making all laws moral which we know is untrue. So neither someone else subjective preferences nor the law of the land can be a measuring stick for any individual’s personal preferences and desires.

  112. Shane,

    I think Jenna is very much right in her assessment that atheists define God out of the picture. I can believe that you don’t have evidence for the God you used to believe in but I think often we go looking for a particular God and when he doesn’t appear God is declared not to exist. I don’t believe in you God either, but God is ready to reveal himself if we are willing to let our God concepts out of the tiny boxes we have contained them in.

    Most people’s image of Gid deepens and changes as they move to a more nature faith. My understanding is that this continues all our life if we are open. They encounter God in many and varied ways that challenge their understanding to deepen and broaden it. What is captured in our words about God is only part of who God is and their are many facets to his image as testified by the biblical writers if we will allow the different perspectives to sit together instead of flattening them out in the literal readings that it seems you grew up with.

    God is there, but he may not be who you thought he was and he may show you you what you do not want to see in yourself.

    Lastly you say that we make tenuous links where none exist and yet you have consistently shown that you are in general uninformed about the philosophical reasons to reject materialism. As a result your various beliefs conflict each other. What you call tenuous we know are necessary connections to avoid conflicting beliefs.

  113. Shane,

    Of course Atheists use definitions to define away God.

    Two of the most basic examples:

    Love’s end of regress is, this entire thread, laced throughout your entire array of appeals and all the while the end of regress which ends in a necessarily interpersonal ontology within Immutable Love’s fully singular, fully triune Self-Other-Us Who just is E Pluribus Unum is defined away because, like having a head, all you have available to you are an array of pan-mind perceivings by which to perceive one’s head. Thus the “definition” of “real” is, by denying brutal reality, “defined” to be “unknowable” and “I have a head” is “defined” as “unknowable” (mind cannot know such and such) as “such” is as all claims are: mind-dependent. Thus the definition of “what mind can know” is defined as “being-not” what “mind knows”. So, basically, the re-defining of definition brings the atheist to deny reality by asserting that mind knows that “I have a head”, but that cannot be known by mind because what can be known by mind cannot be what mind knows. Scratching your head on that last sentence? Us too. But then, we have a head to scratch.

    The second basic example:

    As soon as definition necessitates anything approximating the properties of God, definitions are hurriedly loaded full of blind axioms so as to avoid any such God-like topography. A simple example is Hawking and other atheists changing definitions. He knows that this universe cannot self-account and so he (rightly) leaves Time and Material behind. He changes definitions into “timelessness” and “immaterial” because of physics taking him there. So far so good. No “defining away” but only “evidence leading definition”.

    He then confronts the problem of a necessary and sufficient cause of all effects which is found, unquestionably, standing amid a few effects but not all effects. There is only one coherent explanation which does not offend physics and reason which can account for the lack of all-effects given the cause of all-effects standing there: the geography of such a landscape is that of intention. A deterministic machine which is the necessary and sufficient cause of all effects “cannot not manifest all of it”. Intention, of course, picks and chooses and various effects come and go. Effects coming-and-going is deeply troubling to the atheist, given physics. A change of definition is thus employed.

    Intention being the unquestionable, undeniable evidence staring him (and you) in the face, he now redefines pretty much everything in order to avoid the conclusion which so troubles him.

    Cosmic intention cannot be allowed or even considered because such necessitates a cosmic being (God). So, Hawking does what the skeptics on this blog do: deny the undeniable, even if it means questioning “I have a head”. Hawking regresses to an everlasting unchanging imaginary sphere with properties wholly unknown and foreign to anything physics can even imagine – the timeless, the immaterial – and which is ontologically real. So far it matches God in definition but that pesky landscape of Intention brings it to Genesis 1:1 and so must be defined away. Thus the effects which “come and go” simply cannot be real, else cosmic intention, therefore the absurd is embraced in order to define away truth: time is imaginary, the universe and everything in it is a hologram (singular), and the imaginary sphere is the ontologically real.

    Definitions get even further from reality in that the unchanging sphere, that necessary and sufficient cause of all effect, singular, must somehow make any and all motion of, coming and going of, effects (pleural) non-entity, else Intention, else God. So, he just defines reality as unreal and “effect”, singular, is all that can be allowed, else God, and so he embraces a gigantic, static, motionless, unchanging sphere. The “s” on “effects” cannot be defined as ontologically real and just must be a hologram or a theoretical imaginary sort of something, Else God.

    All of this is in line with your own inexplicable denial of every bit of perceived reality solely on the grounds of a commitment to one’s presupposition. Changing definitions is exactly what Atheists do in order to be able to say, “See, there is no evidence for God”. Of course not, because the universe and everything in it cannot be real and our mind cannot know if we have heads.

  114. Jenna,

    “Chris,

    Defining God out of existence is exactly what you are doing, ignoring what it is that we believers in God speak of as God. It’s intellectual and theological nonsense and only atheists think it is at all clever or meaningful.”

    You lost me here. How can I define out of existence something that was never defined into existence to start with? I have not ignored what I’ve been told by Christians and believers, and I feel like I have a very good understanding of what you “believers in God speak of as God”.

    What I need are good reasons to accept all that I’ve been told, and aside from some of the Cosmological arguments which I find interesting, I’ve never seen anything compelling enough for me to take the intellectual leap into Theism.

  115. Chris, RE: #121

    At a very fundamental level, atheists’ desire to talk about God’s existence is an exercise in semantics, which must be based on definitions. Atheists are atheists because they/you reject a definition or all definitions of God, but primarily your own: whatever you define God as, that is what you reject. Many atheists define God as non-existent and therefore do not believe in God. I don’t believe in a non-existent God either and if what I believe about God is that God cannot possibly exist (in any sense of the word), then I wouldn’t believe IN God either. Atheism is really nothing more than an elaborated opinion about how other people conceptualize and understand God and a rejection of other people’s religions that are based on their understanding of God.

    You seem to believe that there are arguments that should or will convince you of God’s existence. We believers in God do not arrive at our understanding(s) of God solely through sound and convincing arguments. Take for example the cosmological arguments that you refer to. These are actually descriptions or definitions of God. For example, I state that I believe that God is whatever caused the Big Bang. There are two things going on here with me intellectually: 1) An acceptance of the science of the Big Bang theory as a description of the natural beginning of the universe and 2) my understanding of the nature of things that everything that is matter and energy is caused to exist (whether we humans know what that cause is) and I call, name, conceptualize, understand that cause to be God. Does a cause exist for the Big Bang? Most certainly, since matter and energy do not cause themselves to exist. But note that the “existence” of a cause is not the same as the “existence” of matter and energy and thus, we avoid two logical fallacies: equivocation and the category fallacy.

    See J.P. Moreland’s discussion of the First Cause argument and definitions of God at this URL:

    http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/faith_in_life/defending_the_faith/who_or_what_caused_god.aspx

    My explanation (call it an argument if you like) as to why I call God whatever caused the Big Bang, may not convince you that what I call God “exists” because you may be, and probably are, conceptualizing God to be something else. But perhaps you can see why arguing about God’s “existence” is futile since we do not having a meeting of the minds about what God is and what it means for God to exist (or not exist, should that be your argument).

    It is obvious that neither you nor I can “prove” God “exists” to one another. I agree with you that an “intellectual leap” is not enough. This is and has been recognized by theologians and religious people throughout history. Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits (1959, 2004) in his book “God, Man and History” calls these experiences “encounters” with God and says this about “proof.”

    “What we as humankind know about God is based on our encounters with God, which we know about both directly from experiencing such encounters ourselves and/or the testimony of others about their encounters with God, individually and collectively. Simply because someone finds (sees, knows, observes) no evidence of whatever it is that you conceptualize to be God, that there are no grounds in reality for belief in God. Belief in God is based on encounters with God. Since God is experienced, there is no need for proof. If God is not experienced, no “proof” is convincing.”

  116. “Since God is experienced, there is no need for proof. If God is not experienced, no “proof” is convincing.”

    Thanks, that was very interesting, and it agrees with how I think most theists think.

  117. ”If God is not experienced, no ‘proof’ is convincing.”

    The truth of this is something we often miss. The purely intellectual within us has before it the undeniable and we see in this thread that the Skeptic who is searching seems to be finding himself denying the undeniable, changing definitions, and embracing absurdities in moves to get “the intellectual” to match up with a re-defined reality in which “no-god” can hold just a little longer. Our justified fear of misreading Actuality leads us into what can only end in metrological nihilism as “I exist” and “I have a head” and “2 + 2 = 4” are defined away into clouds of non-entity and there our justified fear has taken us into unjustified absurdity and incoherency.

    But the courage to face the real universe and real life in all of its costly vividness will only realign the intellectual with the way the world and universe actually are, and this embrace of reality cannot and will not sum to the embrace of God, for God is not the universe, or the real world, our “Man’s Mind”. Such intellectual courage is necessary, but it is not sufficient, for in God the end of matter is that of Mind knowing Mind, Will touching Will, Person amid Person.

    In fact, we can reverse this whole process and take, say, a woman in some place or time who is void of all of our high-brow philosophizing (like embracing imaginary spheres instead of calling the universe and all of its coming-and-going effects real, lest God). Such a woman, should she touch, or be touched by, what C.S. Lewis referenced as that Other and Outer, would there find Mind tasting Mind, Will knowing Will, Person plunging into Person. Now, she has what is necessary and sufficient.

    But how is the former Intellectual arena “necessary but not sufficient” but the latter Person motioning amid Person that which is “necessary and sufficient”?

    There are a few interesting, and rather simple, reasons such is the case.

    Obviously God just is Ever Interpersonal within Himself, for He just is E Pluribus Unum, which is a whole separate discussion on Immutable Love’s innate milieu of Self-Other-Us.

    Another reason, though, is that the Maximally Great Being is found manifest, necessarily, in all possible worlds, and thus the mere physicality of our own particular Earth/Universe is but one of an unknowable possible constructs in which the Created may be found and as such the specific texture of World A or World B just cannot be “necessary to know God” for World A can be swapped out with some whole other World B and the Maximally Great Being is found manifest in all of it as “knowing God” or as “Self/Other” ends as the necessary end of regress in all possible worlds. World-X’s specific textures, being contingent in that fashion, become unnecessary yet retain valid sightlines. Third, the woman in question, once her own Self touches, or is touched by, the Other and Outer, will begin to find the world and universe before her taking on definitions and textures, such as “Man in fragmentation’s privations”, or such as Intention’s fingerprints there at the end of the Universe and the Intellectual – though of utility only within this Possible World – will begin to speak of the Necessary Being’s attributes which are found in all Possible Worlds. But all of those intellectual descriptions will only ever be just that, fingerprints in World A or fingerprints in World B, but will never be the Maximally Great Being Himself.

    The Skeptic thinks he can never taste his wife’s soul and know her simply by reading about her pulmonary artery pressure as it reacts to falling levels of carbon dioxide in the setting of a rise in circulating catecholamines, or by measuring the force of this or that ionic bond within her bile.

    The Skeptic looks in such places to know his wife, that is, for God, and shouts, “You see, there is no one there!” and just the same, as soon as definition necessitates anything approximating the properties of God, definitions are hurriedly loaded full of peculiarly strange blind axioms so as to avoid any such God-like topography.

    Person will always escape World-X’s textures and those who look for the Maximally Great Being in Possible Worlds will find, if they can be courageous enough to embrace reality rather than deny it, only an array of various attributes of His Person, but not His Person, which is helpful in so far as it takes one. Eventually, however, the Man must take his probe out of the bile ducts of the one he wishes to love and know her in the amalgamation that is the self-sacrificing joys of loving the beloved. This is so for no other reason other than that there is always Self-Sacrifice in love, in knowing the Other. But then, that Eternally Sacrificed Self is simply another one of those attributes of the Maximally Great Being by which He manifests in all possible worlds, for within Him we find the Self/Other in timeless motion ever pouring out, ever filling up, ever begetting the Us in ceaseless reciprocity within E Pluribus Unum.

  118. I know you asked to hold off for AB2 (I am not sure if you have since posted something on this), but I am curious that the human moral sense appears to me common to atheists and theists. It looks what is expected it to be if it resulted from natural causes, the advantages of cooperation, and social evolution, i.e., it is as we would expect it to be if God had nothing to do with it.

    If God existed, would we expect theists to be more moral than atheists? There is no evidence for the greater morality of theists. The very fact that humans have a common moral conscience (to a degree to enable a working civilisation) could be taken as evidence against the existence of God.

  119. Scripture tells us the Church will suffer a great falling away – a fragmentation within the arena of sin. That can be read in a few different ways. Presuming our current moral constructs to be “just the way people are” betrays an unawareness of both history’s ebbs and flows and of human morality. I am not sure if the AB2 has been specifically posted. Do You Think About God As He Truly Is?” Posted on Jun 14, 2014 by Tom Gilson has several comments dealing with similar avenues of influences and winds blowing this way and that way within human moral constructs. Unfortunately for the skeptic the Human Stage has embedded within it the engine that has been Christianity’s 5000+ year to 10,000+ year influences upon Mankind’s trajectory of late – in several arenas. Scripture’s entire [A to Z], including Revelations and other End Points, must be included in any discussion of Means and Ends within the arena of the God Who is Trinity, that is to say, the God Who is Love, if we wish to speak of Christianity, Morality, Fragmentation, Wholeness, and History coherently.

  120. Clarification:

    The 5K to 10K year series of influences culminating in the mental constructs responsible for the abolition of slavery, the worth of women, the value of children – even deformed children – and so on and so on is described as a 5K + year to 10K + year engine within trajectory due (in part) to recordable/recorded human history and to the opening vectors of Genesis speaking of the Singular-Us Who fashions Man in His Image, Who houses within Himself the Triune’s tapestry of, Image of, E Pluribus Unum, of “Self-Other-Us“, and so on, as we find such lines both in historical regress and in metaphysical regress.

  121. Thanks scblhrm – Although I don’t quite understand everything you say, I have made an attempt to do so, and I also do appreciate the effort you have made.

  122. GrahamH,

    I know you asked to hold off for AB2 (I am not sure if you have since posted something on this), but I am curious that the human moral sense appears to me common to atheists and theists. It looks what is expected it to be if it resulted from natural causes, the advantages of cooperation, and social evolution, i.e., it is as we would expect it to be if God had nothing to do with it.

    I’m not sure why you think it’s curious that both atheists and theists have a moral sense. Paul noticed that a while ago. It’s exactly what you would expect for creatures created with purposes and with the intellect to (at least to some extent) reason to what will fulfill those purposes.

  123. I’ve never seen anything compelling enough for me to take the intellectual leap into Theism.

    You don’t need to take a purely intellectual leap into theism. It’s perfectly fine to take an experiential (almost scientific!) approach that says (more or less), “God, I’m not sure whether you exist. But if you do, I’d sure like to know somehow”. Combine that with reading one of the gospels, e.g. John, for a few weeks, and see what happens.

  124. If God existed, would we expect theists to be more moral than atheists? There is no evidence for the greater morality of theists. The very fact that humans have a common moral conscience (to a degree to enable a working civilisation) could be taken as evidence against the existence of God.

    Or we have a common moral conscience because we were created with one.

    It’s possible that atheists are more moral than theists. It might be that the less moral you are, the more likely you are to ask for God’s help. Your morality might subsequently improve, but still be far less moral than many atheists.

    What would be more useful is to determine whether a conversion experience had a long-term positive effect on someone’s morals.

  125. No evidence for theists being more moral? What planet do you live on?

    Let’s start with this very recent information. Then let’s consider Who Really Cares. Let’s look at who’s running most of the soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Let’s look down through history at who has led the way in compassionate humanitarian care. Let’s ask who ended slavery in Europe, and put a stop to infanticide in the ancient world.

    Shall I go on? Who developed the first hospitals? Who was first to take education and medical care to people other than their own?

    Would you like me to continue?