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23 comments | Saturday, April 08, 2006

As a Christian, I ought to act in a certain way, as I am to strive for a Christ like temperament. Everything I do and say represents the Christian faith, and as a good ambassador, I am to represent the values and love by expounded by Jesus Christ. As Christians are to maneuver wisely when interacting with opposing viewpoints, we also challenge bad thinking in accordance to how the bible teaches us to do so.

Atheists are fully aware of our commitment to gentleness and charity and are not afraid to call us out on our own terms of character. When a Christian illustrates hate toward others, the atheist who accurately points it out is correct in his observation. However, does the atheist have any ground to stand on to expect compliance? No.

The “Reluctant Atheist” (RA) has made this observation in his post “Where is the Love, the Love they expound upon?” However, rather than expound the love that Christians ought to in return, he has excluded himself from the principal, because he has not committed himself to any principal as Christians have. What the atheist wants is for the Christians to turn the other Cheek, while they take as many shots and low blows as they want. The only problem is that when an atheist denies the existence of objective moral standards, atheist cannot point out hypocrisy without refuting himself. When he huffs and puffs about Christians not following their moral code, he presuppose a moral code of following your moral code. But this is denied as we will see.

Below, is the dialogue I had with RA that reveals the self refutation of requiring compliance: To better differentiate, RA’s words will be in Orange. You will also note the atheist “harlessmonkey” and his radical skepticism. His words will be in Yellow.

In my first response to his post, I said the following:

RA,While I generally agree with your post, let me make a few comments. 1) Don’t expect Christians to roll over with their tail between their legs every time their challenged 2) Christians are human too, we may have our occasional slips, but so do you and everyone else. 3) There are occasions where calling reprehensible arguments what they are (insert whatever ‘belittling’ comment here) is necessary insofar as they are justified 4) both atheist and theist would do better if they lighten up and develop thicker skin. Also note that as you said “Atheists say they constantly are reduced to stereotypes” and provided a supporting quote. Well, theists are constantly reduces to stereo types too:Quote: It's difficult to have a conversation with a theist, when the automatic assumption is that we're all 'tools of Satan', 'losers', the auto-assumption of 'self-worship', the 'lost soul', 'there are no atheists in foxholes', etc, etc, ad nauseum. So you’re making a stereotype ascription to theists as well.I respect the fact that you want to eliminate the ad homs, but let’s not act as if you (or more often other atheistic blogs) have set the standard of the harmonious exchange of ideas when you bash, belittle, disparage, mock, and ridicule what Christians believe and the Bible ad nauseum (note this especially in comment sections, where dialogue occurs). Don’t get me wrong RA, I’m all for intellectual freedom, and I support your liberty to disagree, reject, and criticize any belief system including Christianity. But if I go through your atheist blog roll and read the posts what will I find? From a Christian perspective, I see Christianity, for lack of better words, shit on. Equally, there are dumb atheists, and there are dumb theists, and there are smart atheists, and there are smart theists, sometimes which ever boat you’re in, you have to call it the way you see it.

On a side note, I see that you like to take the ‘moral high ground.’ I was wondering if you have posted on your system of morality, or are planning on doing so

In response to my comment, RA replies with the following:


BF:While I generally agree with your post, let me make a few comments. 1) Don’t expect Christians to roll over with their tail between their legs every time their challenged

I’d not expect any such thing from anyone. Sounds like a pre-judgment to me. When does ‘turn the other cheek’ ever apply?

2) Christians are human too, we may have our occasional slips, but so do you and everyone else.

Hey, no argument there.

3) There are occasions where calling reprehensible arguments what they are (insert whatever ‘belittling’ comment here) is necessary insofar as they are justified

Fine, then call the argument that, not the person. What qualifies as ‘reprehensible’, then? Genocide and pedophilia are reprehensible: abortion is not. Hatred is reprehensible. Murder is reprehensible.

4) both atheist and theist would do better if they lighten up and develop thicker skin.

Agreed. However: if you walk past a crazy person once, they make threatening, belittling comments, you never see that derelict again, well, easy enough to shrug it off. But you meet that person every day in some way, and this person does it again, and again, and again, until you dread the next day? This is an illustrative example.

Also note that as you said “Atheists say they constantly are reduced to stereotypes” and provided a supporting quote. Well, theists are constantly reduces to stereo types too:Quote: It's difficult to have a conversation with a theist, when the automatic assumption is that we're all 'tools of Satan', 'losers', the auto-assumption of 'self-worship', the 'lost soul', 'there are no atheists in foxholes', etc, etc, ad nauseum. So you’re making a stereotype ascription to theists as well.

In some ways: it’s also a matter of observation. It’s one of the many items that turned me away from the belief systems of religion altogether. Note that I avoided the blanket statement here: there IS an automatic assumption tacked on, for most. Note that I have two xtian friends, so no, not every xtian does this: but enough to make it a pattern.

I respect the fact that you want to eliminate the ad homs, but let’s not act as if you (or more often other atheistic blogs) have set the standard of the harmonious exchange of ideas when you bash, belittle, disparage, mock, and ridicule what Christians believe and the Bible ad nauseum (note this especially in comment sections, where dialogue occurs).

I’m not acting that way at all. I’m pointing out, that most (no, not all) of your side of the debate behaves quite poorly. YOU folks are the ones claiming higher moral ground: act accordingly.Now why do you think that is? Could it be a knee-jerk response, much like the one white folks encounter, when they seem to look at a black person cross-eyed, and the black person wants to beat the snot out of them? Whenever a minority comes of age, whenever a historically silenced group of folks finally find their voice, there’s going to be acrimony, there will always be anger. Let’s face facts: not until the 20th century, has an atheist even had the ability to speak out, or up. Note the L.A riots (blacks): or the Harvey Milk debacle (gays). Face it: your side has had power for far too long, and has abused it. This is the backlash. This is the aftermath of many decades of bottled resentment. I’m not saying it’s right: but when you fling feces and call foul, you spit on a person and not expect the same treatment in kind, well then, good luck changing human nature.

Don’t get me wrong RA, I’m all for intellectual freedom, and I support your liberty to disagree, reject, and criticize any belief system including Christianity. But if I go through your atheist blog roll and read the posts what will I find? From a Christian perspective, I see Christianity, for lack of better words, shit on. Equally, there are dumb atheists, and there are dumb theists, and there are smart atheists, and there are smart theists, sometimes whichever boat you’re in, you have to call it the way you see it.

See commentary above. Y’all made your bed: don’t complain to me if it’s a tad on the lumpy side.



On a side note, I see that you like to take the ‘moral high ground.’ I was wondering if you have posted on your system of morality, or are planning on doing so.

No, you have it all wrong. Again, your side likes to take the ‘moral high ground’. It’s a stumping point, which irritates me to no end, when few enough actually walk the talk. I’m more than willing to forgive the occasional slip, as we are all human, and prone to error. But your side always seems to do it w/a certain amount of glee. Perhaps as mine does. But we don’t have a book of rules to tell us otherwise: YOU DO. Look up the concept of ‘agape’. No referral to tektonics, please: I find Holding’s ‘extenuating circumstances’ a little on the convenient side. As to morality? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Note that that was espoused by JC, Hillel, and Confucius alike, so no accusations of ‘borrowing’, please. The Golden Rule suits me just fine. Read the post ‘Ahimsa’: I believe that fits it all very well. I don’t need a novel-length explanation of what I do, and why I do it. "Whoever imagines himself a favorite with God, holds otherpeople in contempt."Whenever a man believes that he has the exact truth from God,there is in that man no spirit of compromise. He has not themodesty born of the imperfections of human nature; he has thearrogance of theological certainty and the tyranny born of ignorantassurance. Believing himself to be the slave of God, he imitateshis master, and of all tyrants, the worst is a slave in power."-Ingersoll, Some Reasons Why
11:58 PM, April 05, 2006



By way of reply, I said:

RA,I said I agreed with your post in general. I think that ad homs are an impediment to fruitful discussion. Now, regarding the “Christian Moral Code”: Christianity doesn’t teach that Christians are morally superior to non-Christians. It does teach, however, that Christians ought to advance moral ethical behavior (this is where we agree). However, the Bible also (since you brought it up) advances the periodic mocking to the opposing view point (1 Kings 18:27), and calls non-Christians foolish (1 Cor. 1:20) and fools (Rom 1:22) and corrupt (Psalm 14:1). The Bible also calls unbelievers wicked. And the passages you posted are misused. It seems that you want the Christians to be the wishy washy doormat that any atheist gets to walk all over because they don’t have a “book of rules” and theists do. While acrimony is justified for the atheist due to centuries of oppression (even when they have never personally experiences this historical oppression-if there was such), and the theist gets to respond with a cheesy smile while everything they believe to be sacred, holy, and personal gets shit on. This is more like the fallacy of self exclusion. How would you like it if someone slandered and spat in your mothers face (or someone close to you)? Well, imagine that feeling. I think that many Christians have done well—some not. I’m not arguing that you are completely unjustified; your frustrations are certainly warranted. You do however make some pretty strong moral claims:

"I find the vast (no hyperbole) majority of apologists to be egocentric, sophistic, spiteful malcontents, w/far too much time on their hands and convinced of their moral superiority"

Your “Ahimsa” post blurs some distinctions (well, take into consideration I’m on my first cup of coffee). So maybe you can answer this question so I can better understand where your coming from: The golden rule is catchy, but, according to your moral system are you saying this is wrong because it IS wrong? Or, Is it wrong because you SAY it’s wrong? Contrary to what you may (or may not) think, the golden one liner doesn’t answer the question (or “Ahimsa”).

8:29 AM, April 06, 2006

Another atheist who fittingly goes by hairlessmonkey likes to give his two cents.


bf said:"Christianity doesn’t teach that Christians are morally superior to non-Christians."Huh?What?Come again?Did I hear your lunacy right?Then why is the god of the bible so adamant that none may be worshipped but he?And why does he, by the proxy of his followers, wage war upon those who feel/think/live differenlty?Yeah, riddle me this...
10:34 AM, April 06, 2006



RA Follows up:


Now, regarding the “Christian Moral Code”: Christianity doesn’t teach that Christians are morally superior to non-Christians. It does teach, however, that Christians ought to advance moral ethical behavior (this is where we agree). However, the Bible also (since you brought it up) advances the periodic mocking to the opposing view point (1 Kings 18:27), and calls non-Christians foolish (1 Cor. 1:20) and fools (Rom 1:22) and corrupt (Psalm 14:1). The Bible also calls unbelievers wicked. And the passages you posted are misused.

Okay, so Kings, Elijah's mocking the prophets of Baal. Psalm 14:1 (don't even need to look that up) says that only a fool says there's no god.1 Corinthians 1:20 (King James Version)King James Version (KJV)20 - Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?&22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,Sorry, but nowhere in any of those do I see a license for xtians to resort to mockery. I believe the phrase here, is 'cherry-picking'. & if you'd be so kind, show me how the passages I quoted were misused.

It seems that you want the Christians to be the wishy washy doormat that any atheist gets to walk all over because they don’t have a “book of rules” and theists do. While acrimony is justified for the atheist due to centuries of oppression (even when they have never personally experiences this historical oppression-if there was such), and the theist gets to respond with a cheesy smile while everything they believe to be sacred, holy, and personal gets shit on. This is more like the fallacy of self exclusion. How would you like it if someone slandered and spat in your mothers face (or someone close to you)? Well, imagine that feeling. I think that many Christians have done well—some not. I’m not arguing that you are completely unjustified; your frustrations are certainly warranted.

I would not expect any human being to subject themselves to having a welcome mat on their backs, thank you very much. As to being passionate about something sacred - I take your point. Freedom is my sacred cow, and the bill of rights, so understood.

You do however make some pretty strong moral claims:"I find the vast (no hyperbole) majority of apologists to be egocentric, sophistic, spiteful malcontents, w/far too much time on their hands and convinced of their moral superiority"

You realize, of course, that this can also be an honest assessment of the matter? If you read more of my posts, you'll probably find that I'm something of a hard ass. Atheist or theist. I am on record as having gone rounds w/more than 1 atheist. So if I see something wrong, I'm gonna say so. I don't care who you are, what you believe, if I think an opinion's a crock, or I find a commentary that I personally think is reprehensible, you (or the person who said it) is going to hear it. If the Shrub was an atheist, I'd STILL say he's an incompetent boob. Read my post, 'When Atheists attack!'. I'm big on rules. You agree to the rules, you play by them. I agree to them, so do I. If this makes me unpopular w/my fellow atheists, well, I could give a rat's fart in a whirlwind. If no 1 says anything, silence is taken as assent. To paraphrase John Adams, "Facts are those pesky critters that don't go away."

Your “Ahimsa” post blurs some distinctions (well, take into consideration I’m on my first cup of coffee). So maybe you can answer this question so I can better understand where your coming from:
The golden rule is catchy, but, according to your moral system are you saying this is wrong because it IS wrong? Or, Is it wrong because you SAY it’s wrong?Contrary to what you may (or may not) think, the golden one liner doesn’t answer the question (or “Ahimsa”).

Don't harm others: what else is there to say? Fair & equal treatment, what you expect for yourself, you should give to others. It IS that simple. Empathy. The 'golden 1 liner'? Is that...perchance mockery I hear? ;) Go ahead & re-read it (after the 3rd or 4th cup). I'm curious as to how I blurred the distinctions.
11:17 AM, April 06, 2006



My reply

Monkey,I am just as much as a loser as anyone else (believer or non-believer). I make mistakes, sometimes dumb and immoral ones. There are many non-Christians (read: Gandhi) who have exemplified superior moral conduct than many Christians. So, when I said that Christianity does not teach that Christens are morally superior, it was a correct statement. As I stated before, Christianity does teach that Christians *ought* to be moral, because it’s what God wants and we now have the assistance of the Holy Spirit.I suppose if I accused you of “lunacy” I would be charge with the immoral tendencies to “harangue, harass, belittle, and otherwise behave like children who have been poorly toilet trained.” But I guess “Fair & equal treatment, what you expect for yourself, you should give to others” doesn’t apply if it comes from an atheist.

“Why is the god of the bible so adamant that none may be worshipped but he?”

Because according to the Bible, he is the only true God and a jealous one at that.

“And why does he, by the proxy of his followers, wage war upon those who feel/think/live differenlty?”

He doesn’t

RA, I never said that the passages were a license for mockery. I pointed out that in contrast, the Bible says that unbelievers are fools, wicked etc… and if the Bible teaches it, we are justified articulate biblical expressions and teachings insofar as it’s used in context of how it was used in the Bible. I’m a little more gracious theist, but read this article and it will give the root of what I’m talking about. In regards to Ahimsa, I think you failed to address the following: you did not define evil. Is it your opinion? What is the standard to which you measure it? Where does the standard come from? If it’s your own personal convention why should anyone accept your definition? Does your subjective opinion apply to anyone else? Can you force your morality on anyone? Why? Why not? The golden 1 liner is not mockery, it just doesn’t answer the essential questions, and it’s a cop out. I like how you dodged my question:According to your moral system are you saying this is wrong because it IS wrong? Or, Is it wrong because you SAY it’s wrong?
1:04 PM, April 06, 2006

RA comes back with another retort:


BF:I never said that the passages were a license for mockery. I pointed out that in contrast, the Bible says that unbelievers are fools, wicked etc… and if the Bible teaches it, we are justified articulate biblical expressions and teachings insofar as it’s used in context of how it was used in the Bible. I’m a little more gracious theist, but read this article and it will give the root of what I’m talking about.

Thanks for the article. It was most amusing. I consider that complete sophistry, BTW. Cherry-picking. That's EXACTLY what that article claimed: license for mockery.

In regards to Ahimsa, I think you failed to address the following: you did not define evil. Is it your opinion? What is the standard to which you measure it? Where does the standard come from? If it’s your own personal convention why should anyone accept your definition? Does your subjective opinion apply to anyone else? Can you force your morality on anyone? Why? Why not? The golden 1 liner is not mockery, it just doesn’t answer the essential questions, and it’s a cop out.

Evil=harm. In word or deed. No, I didn't fail to address it at all. No, the 'golden 1 liner' does answer the question, stop poisoning the well.

I like how you dodged my question:According to your moral system are you saying this is wrong because it IS wrong? Or, Is it wrong because you SAY it’s wrong?

Oh, this old dodge. I could see this coming a mile away. Standard talking point. If I say it's wrong because it is, then we have the same old discussion about 'objective morality'. If I say it's because I say so, then it's self-worship.It's wrong because it is. Causing pain is wrong.
10:13 PM, April 06, 2006




I suppose if I accused you of “lunacy” I would be charge with the immoral tendencies to “harangue, harass, belittle, and otherwise behave like children who have been poorly toilet trained.” But I guess “Fair & equal treatment, what you expect for yourself, you should give to others” doesn’t apply if it comes from an atheist.

Listen:A. I didn't call them immoral, I called them hypocritical.B. "As you sow, so shall you reap."Oh, wait: I misused that quote (somehow).Never mind.
10:18 PM, April 06, 2006



Hairlessmonkey given his best:


And so we come back to this,as always:

"Because according to the Bible, he is the only true God and a jealous one at that. "

But since there's no reason to believe (other than -wanting to-)that the bible is the infallible word of said god...well, we just tumble down into the abyss of circular logic.




Monkey, You asked me the question, so I answered. I see that no matter what response I would have given would be insufficient. So why did you ask? Interacting with you, since you auto-reject everything that I say without benefit of argument, is waste of time. Anyone can make assertions, atheist, theist, whatever…, but if you want to claim the intellectual high ground at least back it up.
10:22 AM, April 07, 2006

[This is where the radical skepticism becomes obvious—the Monkey could care less if there is evidence for God/Christianity; he doesn’t want to believe and he doesn’t have to]

So he shows his true colors, again, and again…


Bf.All I asked... hell, all I EVER WILL ask, is that you prove the infallibility of the book you get your morals from.Sorry.. I know that's a tall order.But don't give me your bitchy little, "Well, so are you!",- argument.
11:06 AM, April 07, 2006

It really is very easy.It is incumbent upon those who make extraordinary claims to prove such proclamations.In other words,prove not only that god exists,but that he/she/it conforms to your interpretation of the "rules".If you can manage THAT,THEN I might consider your outpourings as more than mouthiness.
11:11 AM, April 07, 2006



The monkey says:


“But don't give me your bitchy little, "Well, so are you!",- argument. If you can manage THAT, THEN I might consider your outpourings as more than mouthiness.”This must be the empathy RA was talking about.
11:55 AM, April 07, 2006



What kind of evidence would count as proof?


bf.Evidence of the bible's veracity for one.And don't dump a few linksfrom Dembski, Tectonics or, worse,Fall-Down-The-Well.We're not children here.We've been through this before.We'll need actual facts...you know, the kind that allowed man to walk on the moon...not the kind that condemned people for saying the earth had a roundish shape.Another thing would be proving the existence of god...pick a god, any god.In essence, my antagonistic toneaside, why believe when there's absolutely nothing to support it?
2:34 PM, April 07, 2006





Out of your entire rant, you still didn’t answer my question.What kind of evidence would count as proof? In other words, what would you consider as proof?
2:38 PM, April 07, 2006

And again he gives it his best shot:


Plus:"This must be the empathy RA was talking about."Wow. There's that bitchiness again.You want my empathy?Then don't act like a jilted lover,when all I do is ask obviously needed questions, okay?And remove the stick while you're at it, and have a seat.There's a chair here for youand we do value your input.So quit with the petulant facade,sit down and expound.
2:39 PM, April 07, 2006



Is it possible that your criterion for evidence is not reasonable? Even if God appeared before you, would you believe he existed or would you consider it a hallucination of some sort or a trick played on you? How would you know? Skeptics like yourself will always succeed at being a skeptic. Your request is predicated on the assumption that a theistic argument is unsound unless it can meet some apodictic standard of proof. Thus, I’ll pass on your request, because it would never meet your satisfaction.
4:03 PM, April 07, 2006

[As you will see, at least I make good comedy for the atheist]



You do make comedy easy:

"Even if God appeared before you, would you believe he existed or would you consider it a hallucination of some sort or a trick played on you? How would you know? "

Uh... I suppose that ifhe's all-powerful and omnipotentI'd not have a choice.I'd be convinced by the veryfact that I couldn't choose NOT to.

"Thus, I’ll pass on your request, because it would never meet your satisfaction. "

Translated to human-language:"I have no real argument,so I must run".Bye, buddy.Do drop in again.
4:34 PM, April 07, 2006


[For an atheist who flaunts their high moral code, we start to see the double standard—the fallacy of self exclusion. It’s a maneuver called Christians are hippocrates but I’m not]

Here is where RA give's me the you have to be good, but I don’t argument:


BF:This must be the empathy RA was talking about.

Well, at the risk of 'siding' w/HMDK, you HAVE been making the effort to turn the tables on the skeptics in that regard. I've been making the effort to remain civil, but I keep hearing, "What about you?" every time a criticism is voiced.Such as:

But I guess “Fair & equal treatment, what you expect for yourself, you should give to others” doesn’t apply if it comes from an atheist.

Or:

You do however make some pretty strong moral claims:

or:

On a side note, I see that you like to take the ‘moral high ground.’

While normally I consider turnabout fair play, I find the 'Jerry Springer' apologist (no, not you, though you're starting to lean towards it) particularly obnoxious.What I see is an effort to make the other side bend to your rules (a bootless effort: each atheist plays by their own rules, there really IS no set standard). I am all for spirited debate. But unless a set of rules is agreed upon in advance, it's pretty much free-style, isn't it?I feel obliged to point these things out. If I saw a Buddhist who claimed to be a pacifist starting fights all the time, well, you get my drift. I do strive for some kind of standard, though I fumble, as any human does. I find this statement telling:

I am just as much as a loser as anyone else (believer or non-believer).

Perhaps I'm taking this out of context, but this says so much to me.I feel:A. Loser isn't a person, it's a mindsetB. This reeks of original sin& there we have another divide. OS (original sin) is perhaps 1 of the more unbelievable doctrines of xtianity. I find that reprehensible. It stunts the mental potential of every human being that believes it. I find it loathsome: that humanity is some thalidomide baby, purposely stunted by its maker upon existed. What kind, loving being would wish that upon its offspring? & for the sin of the father? I call it cruel: I call it inhumane, I call it many things. & washing 1's sins away in the blood of another, no matter the name? I'm sorry, but that smacks of savagery. In this, I DO take the higher ground. Moral, intellectual, whatever you choose to call it.
As to this:

both atheist and theist would do better if they lighten up and develop thicker skin.

Well, there is a way to do this.Turn the other cheek.Live by your own rules, is my advice. Set an example. & I give you this:"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (First Epistle to the Corinthians Chapter 13, verses 4-8a)"I do not need to abide by these rules, as I've not agreed to them. It is you & yours that lay claim to the higher ground. Justify & represent: that's all I ask. That, & honesty. Make of that what you will.
5:54 PM, April 07, 2006




RA,Let’s take this to its logic conclusion: If “there really IS no set standard,” then there is no standard to which others must follow their own standard. In other words, there are no rules that one *ought* to follow their own rules.
6:43 PM, April 07, 2006



BF:If “there really IS no set standard,” then there is no standard to which others must follow their own standard. In other words, there are no rules that one *ought* to follow their own rules.

I did say this (in its entirety):What I see is an effort to make the other side bend to your rules (a bootless effort: each atheist plays by their own rules, there really IS no set standard).Yes, let's do this. The rules are set by 2 items: the individual's upbringing, and the environment set around the individual. I was talking about debate, failed to qualify, & so we'll talk in circles a bit. My standard is...well, I've given it to you. This was formed by a # of negative experiences as a child, which makes 1 either A. Totally numb, orB. Empathic, or C. SociopathicI went w/B.
Now this:

In other words, there are no rules that one *ought* to follow their own rules.

You have consciously chosen to follow a specific set of parameters, in accordance w/the agreement of your specific clique/herd/choose noun of your choice.In order for any individual in a pack environment to exist w/said pack, there is obviously select patterns to maintain. This is observable in humanity, in nature, w/any living organism (sans the loner animal).There are indeed set social mores, that we're obliged to follow. Set at the core of these, is empathy. If an animal sets itself against the pack, more often than not, that animal is outcast, or destroyed. In your pack, the parameters were set 2000 years ago, by an alpha wolf. Apparently, said parameters were almost impossible to follow. Whereas, in my pack, we have set ourselves outside the majority, ergo, in a manner of speaking, there's a certain amount of isolation. Hence the anger, the frustration. So if you're trying to set up some strawman attack (& if I'm off on this, apologies), that's not going to fly. I still have YET to hear about my misuse of scripture quotation. Oh, & this:

Even if God appeared before you, would you believe he existed or would you consider it a hallucination of some sort or a trick played on you? How would you know?

Perhaps the better question, would be: how would you know yourself? What is your criterion? I'm genuinely curious. Have you had such a thing occur?
11:36 PM, April 07, 2006



RA,
You said:

You have consciously chosen to follow a specific set of parameters, in accordance w/the agreement of your specific clique/herd/choose noun of your choice.

Agreed, but my specific set of parameters qualifies me to its adherence. Someone without any specific set of parameters (Read: rules) has no specific set of parameters (rules) to require those who have chosen to adhere to a certain specific set of parameters to actually adhere to them. It’s not as if just because one has consciously chosen to follow a specific set of parameters, one *ought* to follow those parameters. What if there was a group who’s specific set of parameters was to murder atheists? Would you require them to follow those parameters? I think not (neither would, but actually oppose it). It’s not just about having parameters (or rules), we must be able to appeal to a standard to judge whether or not those rules *ought* to be followed. Hence, if you deny objective standards, you disqualify your own standard of requiring others to hold to their own standard. It’s self refuting.

In order for any individual in a pack environment to exist w/said pack, there is obviously select patterns to maintain. This is observable in humanity, in nature, w/any living organism (sans the loner animal).

According to this, only that “pack” that holds to these values can enforce them. If you have two different “packs,” with two different sets of “pack” values, one “pack” cannot force it’s own values on another “pack.” If it can, then were talking about might makes right and whomsoever can overpower, will be in the right.

There are indeed set social mores, that we're obliged to follow.

And if the standard of society is racism are we obligated to follow? Was Martin Luther King going against his obligation to follow the ‘social mores’? According to this standard, there can never be moral reform in a society, and people in social mores like Nazi Germany were “obligated to follow.”

Set at the core of these, is empathy.

First you say that there is no standard, and then you say that empathy is the standard. Which is it? If empathy is something that everyone *ought* to follow then it is and objective moral standard. If it is an objective moral standard, where does it come from? If empathy objective moral standard, then there no necessary requirement for anyone to follow it.

an animal sets itself against the pack, more often than not, that animal is outcast, or destroyed.

Yes, but if your not in the pack, you don’t get to kick out pack members.

In your pack, the parameters were set 2000 years ago, by an alpha wolf. Apparently, said parameters were almost impossible to follow. Whereas, in my pack, we have set ourselves outside the majority, ergo, in a manner of speaking, there's a certain amount of isolation. Hence the anger, the frustration. So if you're trying to set up some strawman attack (& if I'm off on this, apologies), that's not going to fly.

I am really not tying to set up a straw man. What I am doing is showing where your position logically follows. If you want to show that it’s not where your position logically follows, I’m all ears.

Perhaps the better question, would be: how would you know yourself? What is your criterion? I'm genuinely curious. Have you had such a thing occur?

I don’t know that this is a better question per se; noting that I asked this question in response to monkeys request to “Show me god.” But since it seems that you genuinely asked the question I will do my best to answer. I have not had such things occur. While we don’t have infallible cognition, in my Christian worldview, I would use my faculties as I do any other. Most importantly, I would test the experience with it’s consistence with what God has already revealed in his Word. This is not to say that I could prove God came before me to any one; I can only know that I had an experience. This is why when monkey said to show him God, I knew even that would not suffice. I was not using experience as an argument (not that you were insinuating), rather as an example that no matter what is presented (it seems) — he would not believe—even with an experience. Though, experience is a positive form of evidence; inexperience is neutral on the existence of the object in question. There is a difference between artificial, make-believe skepticism and genuine doubt. I have no problems when people challenging certain claims—they ought to, but skeptics can always be successful at being a skeptic no matter what is presented before them.
1:12 PM, April 08, 2006

The Wall goes up and never comes down:


BF:



Agreed, but my specific set of parameters qualifies me to its adherence. Someone without any specific set of parameters (Read: rules) has no specific set of parameters (rules) to require those who have chosen to adhere to a certain specific set of parameters to actually adhere to them.

So this is your roundabout way of saying, "You can't criticize me?" Nu-UH. Obviously, I have a set of parameters to follow: otherwise, you'd be reading about me in the newspapers, or seeing me on an episode of 'Cops'.

Hence, if you deny objective standards, you disqualify your own standard of requiring others to hold to their own standard. It’s self refuting.

No way, no dice. Nice try. No such thing as 'objective standards'.

It’s not as if just because one has consciously chosen to follow a specific set of parameters, one *ought* to follow those parameters. What if there was a group who’s specific set of parameters was to murder atheists? Would you require them to follow those parameters? I think not (neither would I, but actually oppose it). It’s not just about having parameters (or rules), we must be able to appeal to a standard to judge whether or not those rules *ought* to be followed.

'Do unto others...', see, it still applies. I'm really making an effort here not to resort to 'appeal to ridicule', or the ad hominem: your 'murdering atheist' analogy almost opens up a whole can of worms.

According to this, only that “pack” that holds to these values can enforce them. If you have two different “packs,” with two different sets of “pack” values, one “pack” cannot force it’s own values on another “pack.” If it can, then were talking about might makes right and whomsoever can overpower, will be in the right.

Which is historically verifiable.

And if the standard of society is racism are we obligated to follow? Was Martin Luther King going against his obligation to follow the ‘social mores’? According to this standard, there can never be moral reform in a society, and people in social mores like Nazi Germany were “obligated to follow.”

Again, sadly, historically verifiable. File under 'moral relativism'. However, social mores change, and they DO evolve. There will always be problems, ironed out in time, but evolution gives us the ability to move forward. It takes one mutation, whether that's in the social meme, or in the act of speciation, to change the flow of life.

Yes, but if your not in the pack, you don’t get to kick out pack members.

I'm not in a position to kick anyone out. Honesty impels me to point it out.

I have no problems when people challenging certain claims—they ought to, but skeptics can always be successful at being a skeptic no matter what is presented before them.

Not a cheap shot, but the same claim can be made for religious folk.

Thus far, your successful adoption of my simile sways me not in the slightest. It's simplistic reductionism. As a pack animal, we as a species have evolved a far more intricate, complex set of interactions that (dare I say it? YES!) transcend the simpler format that you've presented. If we were talking about dogs, all of your examples would be correct. But we are talking about a creature w/approx. a billion (guesstimate) separate mechanisms used to interact w/other creatures of the same species. To pare those down to just 1 core ingredient? I'm going to have to go w/empathy. There may be a couple of more.Ingersoll moment - "'Thou shalt not kill' is as old as time itself, as most men object to being killed."& so, regardless of whatever Gordian knots of logic you use, I will, to borrow a metaphor, cut them w/my blade. I haven't named the bloody thing yet. How goes fatherhood, BTW?
2:41 PM, April 08, 2006



RA, Fatherhood is tiring, but magnificent; thanks for asking. I see you’re taking Alexander’s sword to cut through “Gordian Knots.” Well that’s fine, if you refuse take your view to its logical conclusion, then you only proved my point about skepticism. Otherwise, feel free to show how my argument is logically false. I am going to be posting our dialogue on my blog. Don’t be flattered, it’s not that you’re so “fascinating”, but I did spend more than 2 ½ minutes on it so…you can pull your rational card out there if you like.
____
Update:

BF:
Well that’s fine, if you refuse take your view to its logical conclusion, then you only proved my point about skepticism.

I'm sorry, how is that? Likewise:
Someone without any specific set of parameters (Read: rules) has no specific set of parameters (rules) to require those who have chosen to adhere to a certain specific set of parameters to actually adhere to them.
You know, I was actually looking for some honesty. You've shown some. Then you hide behind an article that echoes an old essay of Holding's (see, if they're really AWFUL people, we get to say whatever we want about them!), then you want to quibble on the concepts of standards (another old dodge), & my only error isn't handing you a 500 word essay which you won't agree w/anyways. So in short, you've achieved very little, outside a post on your blog. Except validating your methodology for yourself in a vast labyrinth of sophistry.To quote Merv Pumpkinhead, "I ain't afraid to call a spade a goddam shovel."No offense: I gotta call 'em the way I see 'em.


RA
I think you missed my point. I am not justifying inappropriate personal attacks for myself or anyone else. I told you I agreed with you on that point. I don’t want to push the issue. You can make an observation that someone is not following their code. However, you CANT tell them to follow their own code while rejecting an objective standard without refuting yourself. In effect, you’re saying there are no “codes.” Then you say, you must follow your code. If you *must* follow your code then there is an objective standard; you refute yourself. I think the distinction is between identifying hypocrisy vs. requiring adherence. You can do the former, but you run into problems with your own philosophy when you do the later. That’s all. Anyway, I don’t want to think of our exchange as just another post for me, rather for something we should both think about. Thanks for the dialogue

BF:
I think the distinction is between identifying hypocrisy vs. requiring adherence. You can do the former, but you run into problems with your own philosophy when you do the later.
I'm sorry, I did understand your point...but it does indeed sound very much like, "Well, you're not 1 of us, so therefore, you don't get to criticize."I don't require adherence from anyone: I require adherence from myself, in re: my own code.Sadly, I hope that others look in a mirror, & are honest. I try to be self-aware (agonizingly so), but perhaps it's just naivete, that I expect others to do the same. But I don't need to be an Emperor to say: "The Emperor has no clothes."


It’s not a your not a Christian; therefore, you can’t criticize Christians (or anyone for that matter) type of argument. It’s a: you’re a moral relativist; therefore, you forfeited your right to say that others *ought* to do ANYTHING argument. Simple.

You don’t need to be an Emperor to see that he has no clothes, but you can’t tell the Emperor to get his clothes on because you have no authority; you gave it up when you declared moral relativism.

Which goes to show: The Atheist has no clothes on

I think I can sum our conversation in one sentence: All the truth in the world will not persuade a closed mind.
------------------
Even though we didn’t get much head way, I want to thank RA for continuing the dialogue with me.

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23 Comments:

Blogger The Intolerant One said...

BF:

You freakin' rock brutha! I thoroughly enjoy reading your continued dialogue with RA. I am learnng alot from your responses.

May God bless you as you continue to challenge these men.

4/09/2006 1:39 AM

 
Blogger KA said...

BF:
It’s not a your not a Christian; therefore, you can’t criticize Christians (or anyone for that matter) type of argument. It’s a: you’re a moral relativist; therefore, you forfeited your right to say that others *ought* to do ANYTHING argument. Simple.

You don’t need to be an Emperor to see that he has no clothes, but you can’t tell the Emperor to get his clothes on because you have no authority; you gave it up when you declared moral relativism.

Which goes to show: The Atheist has no clothes on

Oh, man. What utter crap.
Here, lemmee give you the definition of 'moral relativism':
moral relativism
In philosophy, moral relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect absolute and universal moral truths but instead are relative to social, cultural, historical or personal references, and that there is no single standard by which to assess an ethical proposition's truth.

Which everyone practices. Xtian or atheist. What you folk use to explain away crap like slavery, genocide, etc. in the bible.
So I surrendered my 'authority' when I declared WHAT? So, if I'm not a farmer, you dump some el Toro poopoo in front of me, I can't call bullshit?
Yeah, you can steal that too, if you like. Since you lack originality.
I drive a car, I can't criticize our foreign oil policy, same frickin' argument.
How nice you use sophistry to evade honesty.
I do appreciate that you didn't quote me out of context this time.
Babble as you like, the steam will evaporate, & you'll still have to look in the mirror.
I asked for honesty. I get casuistry.
Somehow, I expected better. Guess I'm just naive.

4/09/2006 6:57 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

RA,

You need to check yourself; you’re in my sandbox. If you can’t take it when your position is refuted then that’s your problem. Moral relativism is self refuting, and there is more than *one* type. Regardless, if there is no transcendent standard I can do my own thing. Don’t get huffy and puffy when people don’t do what you like, because you have your rules and they have theirs. And before you try to bring up others peoples written rules; it may be that their moral code is to join groups with moral codes and disregard them. On what basis *ought* they?

You say morals are relative, but you act as if they are objective.

Tell me RA—on what standard *ought* people follow their own rules? Their own? What if their moral personal moral code says not to follow their professed code?

You can’t make sense out of it without contradicting yourself.

Gook luck with that.

4/09/2006 7:26 PM

 
Blogger KA said...

BF:
You need to check yourself; you’re in my sandbox.
Hey, you're talking smack about me: I feel obliged to respond.
If you can’t take it when your position is refuted then that’s your problem.
You're calling me a hypocrite, sport. & you've refuted not a thing.
Fairly standard: declaring victory when there's none to be had.
Regardless, if there is no transcendent standard I can do my own thing.
Sad, sad effort. But you HAVE agreed to a standard. You have agreed to a set of rules. It's not incumbent on me to live up to your rules: it's all you, baby.
Moral relativism is self refuting, and there is more than *one* type.
Which you haven't demonstrated whatsoever. How is it self-refuting? Oh, riiiighhht.
Don’t get huffy and puffy when people don’t do what you like, because you have your rules and they have theirs.
I'm not getting 'huffy & puffy': I don't expect people to 'do what I like': I expect them to walk the talk. They can't? Their problem. But it's theirs. Ain't my fault if they don't appreciate it being pointed out.
And before you try to bring up others peoples written rules; it may be that their moral code is to join groups with moral codes and disregard them.
Here's the thing: it's not about WHO says it - it's about if it's true or not.
You say morals are relative, but you act as if they are objective.
There is 1 motto I live by. But you know that already. Morals ARE relative, like it or not. Ask the Canaanites. Or the Amekhelites.
Tell me RA—on what standard *ought* people follow their own rules? Their own?
Exactly. They're called principles.
What if their moral personal moral code says not to follow their professed code?
It's called hypocrisy. I can't stand hypocrites. What does your book say about those?
You can’t make sense out of it without contradicting yourself.
I just did, w/o the contradiction.
Gook luck with that.
Don't need luck at all.

This is just an effort to further poison the well. "You can't say anything, because you don't have the same set of rules, so shaddap!"

Let's look at this:
What the atheist wants is for the Christians to turn the other Cheek, while they take as many shots and low blows as they want.
Well, honestly, if y'all welcomed atheists w/open arms, instead of treating them like non-humans, you wouldn't be garnering the responses you get.

Honestly, I seriously (I mean SERIOUSLY) considered joining your ranks. I BELIEVED in god, I did. The hypocrisy I encountered turned my stomach. That's only 1 item amongst many that changed my mind.
Can I judge all xtians by 1 standard? Of course not.
But religion brings out the worst in people more often than not.

In order to properly weigh a matter, 1 needs to look at both sides of the argument. Not just the side you agree with.
I used to agree w/yours. Not any more. It's not about what I prefer: it's about the facts. If the facts are inconvenient for me, that's tough stuff. I for 1 don't ignore them.

4/09/2006 11:46 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

RA,

It’s not about whether or not you can criticize, you can; that’s not my argument.

I think you’re getting heated because we were talking about ethics between atheist/theist so you keep missing my distinction. So I will try to neuter that with a neutral example.

This is where I find the issue with your philosophical standpoint:

P(1) Moral Relativist Says: There are no transcendent absolute values

P(2) Moral Relativist Says: These people profess certain rules; however, they do not follow their rules. These people are hypocrites. I have no problem with the observation. Call it like you see it.

P(3) Moral Relativist Says: These people *ought* to follow their own rules. I EXPECT them to walk the talk

P1 and P3 contradict one another.

P3 presupposes a universal standard of honesty. P1 says there is no universal standard of honesty.

When someone combines the principals of P1 and P2 together it is self refuting.

When someone say *there are no rules* and then demands people ought to follow there rules; they are essentially saying “there are no rules; you must follow this rule”.

It’s a hypocritical statement. The very moment you demand *ANY* rule, you contradict yourself. You’re doing the very thing that you’re disapproving of.

Take care,

~BF

4/10/2006 1:09 AM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Oh, and don’t forget I’m critiquing YOUR world view here.

Here is something else to work with:

P1: There are no rules
P2: Some people ascribe themselves to certain rules
P3: Therefore, there is no rule that they must follow their own rules


Take care,

~BF

4/10/2006 9:21 AM

 
Blogger KA said...

BF:
Actually, I was getting heated due to a misunderstanding on my part: I thought we were past the ad hominem, some sort of implicit agreement.
& the title of your post is a back-handed hominem right out the gate.
Here:
However, rather than expound the love that Christians ought to in return, he has excluded himself from the principal, because he has not committed himself to any principal as Christians have.
Hey, I shouldn't have to expound on it. Besides which, I don't need to be on a 'higher moral ground' to criticize others.
You don't want to play by your rules? Hey, I can only point it out.
& actually, you've proven my point (albeit most torturously).
Because the answer, 'Why should I play by my own rules, when you don't have any,' is a cop-out extraordinaire.
If YOU posit absolute values, you bind yourself to them. Or at least, that's the way I see it. I've agreed to a set of rules myself: else, I couldn't live in this society.
Let me ask you this, & answer honestly:
What was behind this post? Agape? I don't see it. I see an excuse to give yourself a free pass. Apologies if I'm off.
Allow me to quote myself:
All I can say, is this: If you don't play by your own goddam rules, why the hell SHOULD I listen to you?
& that stands, whether I'm a child or an adult.
I'm much obliged, & thanks.

Take care.

4/10/2006 9:51 AM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

The title is not meant to be an ad hominem. It’s wasn’t applied to actual deduction to discredit a person. That’s not what I did. I didn’t attack you personally. The argumentum was hypocritical argumentum and the syllogisms (above) prove it.

I think my statements about self exlution were accurate; here is why:

You said:
1. But we don’t have a book of rules to tell us otherwise: YOU DO.
2. What I see is an effort to make the other side bend to your rules (a bootless effort: each atheist plays by their own rules, there really IS no set standard).
3. I do not need to abide by these rules, as I've not agreed to them


Then when a theist like myself is mocked on your blog (to which I did not return the favor) by other atheists, there is no restraint. Like when hairlessmonkey said:


1. Did I hear your lunacy right
2. don't give me your bitchy little, "Well, so are you!",- argument.
3. …I might consider your outpourings as more than mouthiness.
4. There's that bitchiness again.
5. You want my empathy?Then don't act like a jilted lover
6. remove the stick while you're at it, and have a seat.
7. quit with the petulant façade
8. You do make comedy easy


So there are my reasons for saying in essence that you want us to be good (and we *ought* to), but you (as in atheists alike) get to dish it out.

You don’t have to be on higher moral ground to criticize. See proposition P2 in above comment.

The purpose of the post was to

1. Demonstrate inconsistencies
2. To reserve my thoughts where I an can always retrieve them (It’s possible one can delete their blog)
3. To reference my exchange later as I grow in philosophy and faith and see how I can improve my arguments.
4. Hold fast to truth
5. Show how the theist position makes the best sense out of morality
6. To glorify God

I don’t have a free pass for personal attacks. All I did was demonstrate from YOUR world view,---not mine --- that EVERYONE has a free pass. (See syllogisms above)

For you last question: You shouldn’t listen to people don’t who play by their own rules. I think I have. If you show me how calling your accusation hypocritical is a personal attack, or any other statement. I will respectfully withdraw it.


Take care.

4/10/2006 11:05 AM

 
Blogger KA said...

BF:
Well, I'll admit your manners are improving.
If you show me how calling your accusation hypocritical is a personal attack, or any other statement. I will respectfully withdraw it.
Okay.
1. I stipulated a few times (in the posting, as well as other posts), that there are behaviors that are reprehensible. Ergo, I do have standards. & I've also stipulated that no 1 gets a free pass.
2. I've also stipulated that 1 shouldn't harm another. I slip on this sometimes. Words have only the power you give them.
3. The title - 'Hypocritically Pointing out Hypocrisy' - well, I fail to see how that doesn't poison the well. Difficult to see how that's not calling me a hypocrite.
4. I qualified (a little late) that the set standards I spoke of were about debate. I also qualified, that as a member of this society, there are indeed rules that I have to abide by, in order to interact w/it.
Let's draw an analogy here. If you sit down & play a game w/someone, it's pretty much an agreement to play by a specific set of rules. If you play scrabble, you go by the instructions in the booklet. Ergo, you & I play, & unless we agree on a suspension of a rule (say, looking up words prior to your turn), well, that's all fine & good. But then if you pull out a subset of rules for the game, say from Zimbabwe, providing an alternate form of play, & I don't agree to play by them? You get my drift.

I'm playing by the rules set by the environment I live in. You, OTH, are not only playing by those same rules, but by another set of rules, a subset of rules I've not agreed to. I'm old school: if I agree to play by a set of rules, I play by them, good or bad. That's just me.

As human beings, we require structure. Structure translates to rules, a prerequisite to interacting harmoniously w/1 another. You say it's divinely mandated, I say otherwise. But even a moral relativist has to play by the rules. Otherwise, s/he is cut out of the pack, isolated.

I'd define hypocrisy for you, but I'm pretty sure you know the meaning already.

All I did was demonstrate from YOUR world view,---not mine --- that EVERYONE has a free pass.
Well, if I had the time & inclination to do so, I could probably draw up some syllogisms demonstrating that everyone plays by their own rules (all 6 billion of us). But I'm not an average atheist - I prefer to speak simply, & as honestly as I can.

So, in short, no - I don't feel you've amply demonstated that at all. Sorry - it's still your subset of rules that you choose to abide by. I'm still waiting for your examples of how I misconstrued those scriptural quotes, BTW. That is what I'm basing my presupposition on. That, & 'love thy neighbor', I suppose.

But I do appreciate your restraint. I've heard it said, that 1 grows up quickly being a parent. Maybe that's got something to do w/it, maybe not. Just a guess.

Anyways, I'm done here.

Be well.

4/10/2006 4:17 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

RA,

I realize you have standards, everybody does. The ones you listed our most precious and self evident ones.

You play by the rules because everyone *ought* to have empathy for one another. When someone viciously murders and rapes children, we all know what they did is wrong—theist and atheist. In fact, when people do such atrocious things we call them a psychopath. But for “psychopath” to have a true meaning the sanctity of life must be absolute.

As you correctly pointed out, rules are a necessity for any society. Without them, there would be total chaos. Cars crashing into one another, bank account balances suddenly changing and so on. But I am not just talking about rules; I’ talking about Morality itself. Morality is one of the most important issues anyone can explore, and I think everyone should be careful to understand morality. Rules are fine, I live in a society where there are many and I follow them. However, rules don’t determine what is moral. Societies can have rules that are oppressive—even if we, by the environment were in, are required to follow them, they can still be morally wrong.

Moral relativism denies any transcendence of Morality. Once that’s done, all bets are off, because there’s no rule *above* any rule that requires adherence to anything. It gets dangerous when it’s a “majority/society decides” what’s moral and what’s not. Because there can never be moral reform by the minority.

I don’t think I will able to get to the Bible quotes. I have already spent too much time on this blog as it is. Besides, it would be fruitless to the discussion because there is an ample supply of other passages that would support your position. I just think the ones you listed were ineffective to your point. Love thy neighbor is sufficient enough for me as a Christian to give you the respect you deserve as a human being.

My restraint toward mockery is difficult, but honestly (and ironically), you have helped me to think more deeply about how actions reflect upon others. Quit profoundly, you said: “Words have only the power you give them” (Sheesh!) Being a father has had a significant effect also, but this is my 3rd child. I have a 5 year old, 2 ½ your old and a new born. My house is a zoo!

I don’t think the title was a personal attack, or poisoning the well. Perhaps it’s because I have first hand knowledge of my own intent. However, I am changing the title for the following reasons:

1. You seen to be genuinely offended by it
2. I want to maintain a good rapport with you and other atheists. We can learn from each other, as we each see our perspectives more accurately.
3. I want to continue to be welcome to dialogue with you and others at your blog
4. Making you upset gives me a bad conscience
I only hope that you would consider the logical conclusion of Moral Relativism. However, when it comes to these specific issues were talking about (atheist/theist interactions), it’s futile. So hopefully on another occasion we can talk about something not specifically identified as “atheist” or “theist.”

BTW, man—you really put the “Reluctant” in Reluctant Atheist. ;-)

*Peace out*

4/10/2006 5:35 PM

 
Blogger KA said...

BF:
Love thy neighbor is sufficient enough for me as a Christian to give you the respect you deserve as a human being.
Which, if you cut to the core of it, is all most atheists really want. I believe a lot of the anger, the lashing out is the aftermath of mistreatment at the hands of others.
Because there can never be moral reform by the minority.
I can probably dredge up a few examples from history to prove otherwise, but I'll let that go for now.
BTW, man—you really put the “Reluctant” in Reluctant Atheist
Well, 'Ranting' & 'Raving' were already taken (I think the Raving Atheist is a little pissed at me, 'cause now there's 2 RA's, not 1, & I'm a little too well-behaved for his blog anyways), & besides, being angry all the time isn't good for one's health anyways.

Be that as it may, your honesty & class are duly noted, & appreciated.

Thanks.

4/11/2006 1:28 AM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

“Well, 'Ranting' & 'Raving' were already taken”

Heh heh-I almost had milk come out of my nose!

4/11/2006 10:07 AM

 
Blogger HairlessMonkeyDK said...

Well, this is... nice.
If for no other reason
than the fact I'm being quoted on such a prestiguos blog.
But, really, all your words aside, bf, give me a good reason for
believing the bible as is?
You certainly haven't done so.
And you really can't cop out of it,
by saying: "Oh, but you'd -NEVER- believe, anyways".
Because, as I, *sigh*, have pointed out a thousand times,
if the bible is inerrant and the perfect word of the only true god,
then how come it didn't convince me when I read it?
And when I read it again?
And a third time?
So, it fails as an infallible book, doesn't it?
And I'm curious as to your justifications of god's DEEPLY atrocious acts...


P.S.

The next time you want to
debate me extensively,
do have the goddamn courtesy of alerting me to it, okay?
It's bad f'in form that Relucty had to tell me about it.

4/11/2006 7:55 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Monkey,

“Well, this is... nice. If for no other reason than the fact I'm being quoted on such a prestiguos blog.”

Well thank you, but do sense a little backhandedness there?

But, really, all your words aside, bf, give me a good reason for
believing the bible as is? You certainly haven't done so. And you really can't cop out of it,
by saying: "Oh, but you'd -NEVER- believe, anyways".


Look, I don’t have time to write a thesis for you. It’s not as if a sufficient explanation can be summed up in a com box. Based on your incensed tone in our short interactions, I have difficulty believing that you are asking out of honest inquiry. I don’t want to waste my time with some one who is looking to ridicule rather than seek HONEST inquiry.

If you truly seek answers to inerrancy, then let me start you off to a laymen style explanation of the issue. It’s better to start simple, because, some of the articles I have can get extremely lengthy and tiresome. These are three short, but thoughtful blog posts that will help you get started. Part One ; Part Two; and Part Three

If you really want to tackle the issue in depth, then I recommend these two books.Warfield, B. B. (1977 reprint). “Inspiration and Authority of Bible”, and Norman Geisler, ed. (1980). “Inerrancy”.

Because, as I, *sigh*, have pointed out a thousand times, if the bible is inerrant and the perfect word of the only true god, then how come it didn't convince me when I read it? And when I read it again? And a third time?

Well, I really don’t know why you don’t believe. You should, in the privacy of your heart consider why. Also, you might want to consider how you approach the Bible. Are you approaching it with an open mind? Or are you approaching it with a cynical outlook? Don’t answer me these questions; ask yourself—and be honest.

So, it fails as an infallible book, doesn't it?

Your assuming because your not convinced, that’s its not infallible. This is a Non sequitur.

And I'm curious as to your justifications of god's DEEPLY atrocious acts...

And I’m curious as a moral relativist, your justification in saying anything is atrocious. One you can justify that, and then I will be happy to dialogue with you on Biblical difficulties.

P.S.

The next time you want to debate me extensively, do have the [profanity Removed] courtesy of alerting me to it, okay? It's bad f'in form that Relucty had to tell me about it.


Lets get something strait monkey, you’re a guest here, wipe your feet before you get all comfortable and leave the profanity and blasphemy at the door—got it? You may be able to et away with that on other blogs, but not here—so check yourself at the door.

Secondly, I said in the comment section that I was going to be posting our dialogue.

Thirdly, I think you’re flattering yourself. I never said I wanted to “debate you extensively.” There wasn’t any particular issue that you brought to the table relevant to the discussion, besides an objection to something I said about Christian morality—to which I answered.

Fourthly, there is nothing in the post about you that is not already in the com box at RA’s blog. It was a cut and paste. So anything I said here—is said there. Don’t act as if I said anything behind your back. K?

If you want to tackle anything I posted, be my guest. I’m all ears.

4/11/2006 11:58 PM

 
Blogger Jim Jordan said...

By RA moral relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect absolute and universal moral truths but instead are relative to social, cultural, historical or personal references, and that there is no single standard by which to assess an ethical proposition's truth.

BF, This is a fascinating definition that came out of your dialog. He is saying not the absence of any goal posts but goal posts that move around during the game. Either way, moral relativism is useless, even by it's own definition. What good are moving goal posts?

4/14/2006 6:44 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Jim, your absolutely right. How can you kick a field goal if the post won’t stay still? It’s frustrating talking to a moral relativist, because most of them, while their not thinking of their moral relativism, act as if morality is absolute. However, they affirm relativity in their philosophy. Even when you take their position to the absurd it doesn’t even faze them.

4/14/2006 10:19 PM

 
Blogger udonman said...

BF i think the point that is missed in these converstions is there are really 2 morals community morals and personal morals.

Comounity morals are those that are present in a giving comunity
Look at the midwest then look at the bay area homesexuality is just barely tolerated in the midwest (thats why I am not as public with mine) but in the bay area it is tolerted

It goes the same for personal morals I personaly dont see the harm in allowing homosexual marriage,marijuna,and letting women make there own choices but you see it as your personal moral obligation to force your personal morals down the throat of any body within easy reach while seculist tend not to well at least not to the degree as xtians do.

The fact that most of us atheist that you have dealt with are very strong and comfortble with our personal morals and tend to live within the bounds of comunity morals it leads me to think in my own opinion you see us living the good xtian life and we arent xtians does that make you question your own faith that you can live with out your sky voice and does that take the form of trying to justify arguing with people like ra and telling him that he is going to the bad place (hell,the bad side of the mountian,the poor hunting grounds or whatever take your pick) even if you know they dont believe your bull**** and they wont believe your bull**** do you think by converting these heathens you can acomplish the goal of winning a lost soul for your saviour and by doing that it will prove there is a god and you will be granted into (heaven,the good place,the right side of the mountains ,or whatever else you want to believe).

The saddest part of this is you seem to have done your homework on voultion but you seemed to have not learned about it you told hairless

Also, you might want to consider how you approach the Bible. Are you approaching it with an open mind? Or are you approaching it with a cynical outlook? Don’t answer me these questions; ask yourself—and be honest.

when youve researched evoultion have you looked at the evidence with an open mind or are YOU approaching it with a cynical outlook? any way see you later udonman

4/18/2006 4:18 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bf
I can't speak for everyone, but my take on moral relativism is that morals change from society to society and over time and we adjust to them periodically.
Very simplistically, "when in Rome...".

I, for example, am aghast at female circumcision, but have no problem with male circumcision. Odd, isn't it?

I am also dumbfounded by the tribe that separates their young boys from the females at age 7 and uses them daily for oral/anal sex.

But do I have the right to go into their society and say that it is wrong for them to do these things?
What I could do is present to them what is offered as acceptable in my corner of the world and afford a choice. But I cannot mandate the rules I live by for them.
It's not that I don't have some of the same moral code that you have. I don't subscribe to the subset.

You and I live in the same society. You have openly chosen a subset of rules to live by. Why shouldn't I call you on them if you aren't following them?
If you stated you were a vegetarian and came to my house to eat, and began wolfing down my steak, and left your salad, wouldn't you expect me to say something?
Does that make sense?
karen

4/18/2006 8:54 AM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Mr. Udon,

BF i think the point that is missed in these converstions is there are really 2 morals community morals and personal morals.

There is only one set of morals, people act them out differently, but actions don’t make things moral.

Comounity morals are those that are present in a giving comunity
Look at the midwest then look at the bay area homesexuality is just barely tolerated in the midwest (thats why I am not as public with mine) but in the bay area it is tolerted


Your getting confusing because people disagree. Just because there is disagreements on certain complex moral issues doesn’t mean there is no consistent morality.

It goes the same for personal morals I personaly dont see the harm in allowing homosexual marriage,marijuna,and letting women make there own choices

Homosexual marriage is a matter of definitions, you using your moral example ambiguously. Just because someone makes a “personal” choice to do something; even to themselves, it doesn’t follow that it is “morally” right for them to do it.

but you see it as your personal moral obligation to force your personal morals down the throat of any body within easy reach while seculist tend not to well at least not to the degree as xtians do.

While your telling me not to “force your personal morals down the throat of any body” them your forcing your moral of this principal down my throught. You can do it without contradiction yourself. That’s what I have been demonstrating; not that you can’t do it, but as a moral relativist you contradict your self.

The fact that most of us atheist that you have dealt with are very strong and comfortble with our personal morals and tend to live within the bounds of comunity morals

My position is not that atheists are not moral, but rather, can not *justify* morality; there is no basis.

it leads me to think in my own opinion you see us living the good xtian life and we arent xtians does that make you question your own faith

Too much armchair psychology here. I have a strong philosophical position on morality and when I see relativist like you and RA I can easily see the self contradiction. That’s why I point it out.

that you can live with out your sky voice and does that take the form of trying to justify arguing with people like ra and telling him that he is going to the bad place (hell,the bad side of the mountian,the poor hunting grounds or whatever take your pick)

I have never shoved “hell” on you ra or anyone’s throat. Since you brought it up, just because you don’t believe the candle’s flame does harm, it doesn’t follow that you won’t get burned when you out your hand over it.

even if you know they dont believe your bull**** and they wont believe your bull****

Your being disingenuous udon; your assuming Christianity has nothing going for it without the benefit of argument. Even if nobody believes what I say, at least you will have to deal with the philosophical points I made. You know, think for yourself for a change.

do you think by converting these heathens you can acomplish the goal of winning a lost soul for your saviour and by doing that it will prove there is a god and you will be granted into (heaven,the good place,the right side of the mountains ,or whatever else you want to believe).

Converting people doesn’t prove anything in it of itself. Rather, people should just challenge their own presuppositions and seek truth. If I can facilitate in that matter, then great.; if stick your head in the sand that’s fine to its not my loss.

The saddest part of this is you seem to have done your homework on voultion but you seemed to have not learned about it you told hairless

Evolution is a loaded tem. I reject macro-evolution. I have done plenty of homework on the issue (college and otherwise) and I am sure I can hold my own with you or anyone else on the matter. You might learn a thing or two.

when youve researched evoultion have you looked at the evidence with an open mind or are YOU approaching it with a cynical outlook? any way see you later udonman

I approach evolution with the facts. If you strip away you biases then you can see the flaws.

Check out these quotes from your evolution heroes:

Charles Darwin on fossils: "The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed must be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory [of evolution.] Origin of Species, 6th edition, 1902 p. 341-342.

Dr. David Raup: "We have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition today than we had in Darwin’s time," Field Museum of Natural History, vol 50, Jan 1979, p. 25.

Dr. Mark Ridley: "No real evolutionist uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation." New Scientist, June 25, 1981, p. 831.

Dr. Steven Stanley: "Evolution happens rapidly in small, localized populations, so we’re not likely to see it in the fossil record." Bioscience, vol. 36 (Dec 1986) p. 725.

Dr. Douglas Erwin: "All of the basic architectures of animals were apparently established by the close of the Cambrian explosion (530 million years ago according to evolutionists); subsequent evolutionary changes, even those that allowed animals to move out of the sea onto land, involved only modifications of those basic body plans." American Scientist, March/April 1997, p. 126.

Dr. Richard Dawkins regarding the "Cambrian Explosion": "It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists." The Blind Watchmaker, 1987, p. 229.

Dr. D.M.S. Watson: "Evolution is accepted not because it can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible." Nature, Aug 10, 1929, p. 233

Dr. Christopher Wills: "If viruses had a common origin, then one would expect to see intermediates between the various morphological forms. No such intermediates have been found." Science, Oct 18, 1974, p 251.

Dr. Charles Beck: "The mystery of the origin and early evolution of the angiosperms (flowering plants) is as pervasive and as fascinating today as it was when Darwin emphasized in it 1879. We have no definitive answers." Origin and Evolution of Angiosperms, 1976.

Prof. E.J. Corner Cambridge University: "To the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favor of special creation." Contemporary Botanical Thought, p. 97, 1961.

Dr. Gerald Todd on Fishes: "How did they originate? What allowed them to diverge so widely? And why is there no trace of earlier intermediate forms? American Zoologist, vol 20, 1980 p.757.

Dr. Robert L. Carroll: "We have no intermediate fossils between fish and amphibians." Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution, 1988 p. 138.

Dr. Grant Smith: "The discovery of living fossils such as the Metasequoia and the crossorterygian fish Latimeria, once thought to be extinct for tens of millions of years, are reminders of how much we have to discover." Journal of Geological Education, May 1988, p.143.

Lewis L. Carroll: "Unfortunately not a single specimen of an appropriate reptilian ancestor is known prior to the appearance of true reptiles. The absence of such ancestral forms leaves many problems of the amphibian-reptilian transition unanswered." Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, vol 44 1969, p.393.

Dr. Alfred S. Romer: "The origin of rodents is obscure…no transitional forms are known." Vertebrate Paleontology, 1966, p. 303.

Dr. Edwin Colbert: "Unfortunately, the fossil history of the snakes is very fragmentary, so that it is necessary to infer much of their evolution form the comparative anatomy of modern forms." Evolution of the Vertebrates, 1991, p 223.

Dr. Alan Feduccia on birds: "A search for ancestors in the fossil record is not likely to prove fruitful." American Scientist, May/June 1978 p. 302.

Boyce Rensberger: "The popularly told example of horse evolution, suggesting a gradual sequence of changes from four-toed fox-sized creatures living 50 million years ago to today’s much larger one-toed horse, has long known to be wrong. Instead of gradual change, fossils of each intermediate species appear fully distinct, persist unchanged, and then become extinct. Transitional forms are unknown." Houston Chronicle, 5 Nov 1980, p 15.

Dr Robert Martin: "Overall, the fossil record can tell us very little about the early origins of Old World monkeys." Primate Origins and Evolution", 1990, p.69.

Dr. Matt Cartmill: "A myth, says my dictionary, is a real or fictional story that embodies the cultural ideals of a people or expresses deep, commonly felt emotions. By this definition, myths are generally good things – and the origin stories that paleoanthropologists (people who study man like fossils) tell are necessarily myths." Natural History November 1983, p. 77.


According to these few quotes, Evolutionists admit there is no evidence that viruses, plants, reptiles, birds, rodents, fish, amphibians, snakes, horses, monkeys and humans evolved.


Just something to think about.

4/18/2006 9:44 AM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Karen,

I can't speak for everyone, but my take on moral relativism is that morals change from society to society and over time and we adjust to them periodically.
Very simplistically, "when in Rome...".


If this is the case then how do you condemn things of the past?

I, for example, am aghast at female circumcision, but have no problem with male circumcision. Odd, isn't it?

With moral relativism, it boils down to your opinion. In that case, your opinion is no better than any other opinion. That’s sad, that your opinion would be equal to mass murderers.

I am also dumbfounded by the tribe that separates their young boys from the females at age 7 and uses them daily for oral/anal sex.

Here’s where you stuck as a moral relativist. You not “dumbfounded” you are distress because it’s morally wrong to do so. There’s little you can say as a relativist, thus you have bound yourself.

But do I have the right to go into their society and say that it is wrong for them to do these things?

Absolutely. The same right people had to condemn Hitler for slaughtering the Jews.

What I could do is present to them what is offered as acceptable in my corner of the world and afford a choice. But I cannot mandate the rules I live by for them.
It's not that I don't have some of the same moral code that you have. I don't subscribe to the subset.


This is your dilemma as a moral relativist. There are a lot confusions involved here.

You and I live in the same society. You have openly chosen a subset of rules to live by. Why shouldn't I call you on them if you aren't following them?

You have completely missed my argument. Really, lets deal with this logically. It makes since with my position, but let’s look at yours:

Solve this from your moral relativist position:

P1: There are no transcendent rules
P2: Some people ascribe themselves to certain rules
P3: Therefore, there is no rule that they must follow their own rules

Try this one to:


P(1) Moral Relativist Says: There are no transcendent absolute values

P(2) Moral Relativist Says: These people profess certain rules; however, they do not follow their rules. These people are hypocrites. I have no problem with the observation. Call it like you see it.

P(3) Moral Relativist Says: These people *ought* to follow their own rules. I EXPECT them to walk the talk.

P1 and P3 contradict one another.

P3 presupposes a universal standard of honesty. P1 says there is no universal standard of honesty.

When someone combines the principals of P1 and P2 together it is self refuting.

When someone say *there are no transcendent rules* and then demands people ought to follow there rules; they are essentially saying “there are no rules; you must follow this transcendent rule”.

It’s a self refuting statement. The very moment you demand *ANY* rule, you contradict yourself. You’re doing the very thing that you’re disapproving of.

If you stated you were a vegetarian and came to my house to eat, and began wolfing down my steak, and left your salad, wouldn't you expect me to say something?

You missed the point. As a moral relativist you can say “this is inconsistent” however, you refute yourself when you say “you must do this.”

Does that make sense?

I have written more concisely on morality here:

Toothpaste Ethics Part 1

Toothpaste Ethics Part 2

My Rational For the Origin or Universal Morality

You should see if you can reconcile moral relativism after reading the posts.

Take care

4/18/2006 10:04 AM

 
Anonymous Jimmy Li said...

Well done blog!
As a Christian, I find this page edifying thus far from what I see!

4/18/2006 10:38 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bf
I couldn't open your toothpaste threads, will try again later. But I disagree on so many points with your Objective Morality thread, it isn't funny.
I guess the main point would be this one: If God does not exist, then morality is only a human convention and is ultimately meaningless.
But you see, morality IS a human convention. What other species has it? God is also a human convention. Where was god-and I assume you mean your Christian god-when Neanderthal Man was clubbing his neighbor for possession of the good cave?
Morality is hardly meaningless. Some sense of right and wrong provides order amid the chaos. (That's probably THE one benefit of religion-that it bends some people to the law who would otherwise would not be bent.)Maybe you need some final reckoning, some ultimate accountability, to behave fairly and with goodness in this world, but I and lots of others do not.
Your assertion that "good" needs no definition, btw, is nonsense, as is your example of poison being evil. Poison is not evil, but dangerous. Used properly, it can be helpful. What's good for /to one person is not to the next. That's why it's RELATIVE.

If this is the case then how do you condemn things of the past? Have I? I may well have been making an illogical statement. I frequently do. But perhaps you could cite an example for me to defend.
I may have been noting that things were bad in the past and morals-or laws- have since evolved, changed, grown, adapted to better suit current society as a whole. For instance, abolition of slavery; women's suffrage; child labor laws.

With moral relativism, it boils down to your opinion. In that case, your opinion is no better than any other opinion. That’s sad, that your opinion would be equal to mass murderers.If that were true, there would be chaos and everyone would do as s/he pleased.


Here’s where you stuck as a moral relativist. You not “dumbfounded” you are distress because it’s morally wrong to do so. There’s little you can say as a relativist, thus you have bound yourself.

I'm also dumbfounded that christians teach their young to believe in a god and do not teach them to question it. Am I really distressed by that because it's morally wrong?

Absolutely. The same right people had to condemn Hitler for slaughtering the Jews.Hitler, I hope, was an aberration. He was not an entire isolated society that had been practicing a set behavior for generations upon generations. Hitler decided to carry out his plan of genocide within a general society which did not agree that it was morally correct to do so, even tough he was able to sway many to agree with him.
Solve this from your moral relativist position:

P1: There are no transcendent rules
P2: Some people ascribe themselves to certain rules
P3: Therefore, there is no rule that they must follow their own rules

First tell me which definition of transcendent you are using.
I followed this argument and the other when you posed them to RA. I understand this:It’s a self refuting statement. The very moment you demand *ANY* rule, you contradict yourself. You’re doing the very thing that you’re disapproving of.

But you are focusing on transcendent rules. I go by what I, and I believe RA des too, call "rules of thumb. Like Don't kill people, in general. Don't steal. Don't lie. Don't set fire to the bed while someone's in it, etc.
We have rules. We just don't answer to a higher power about them.
Now if you go around saying you DO answer to a higher power and you're therefore "chosen" and will be rewarded at some point and we should be like you and we should allow you to incorporate YOUR subset of rules and your higher power into our everyday lives, we say, "Why should we? You don't even follow your own rules."
It's like my example of being vegetarian, even though you think I missed the point. Why do you call yourself a vegetarian if you aren't going to EAT like a veetarian? If you want to be one, fine. Just do it at your own house, and don't eat my steak at mine.
I'm not saying "You must" do anything.
I am saying it's hypocritical to claim one thing and do another.
You're saying I can't call "foul" because as you see moral relativism, there are no fouls for me. You are mistaken. I just don't need an invisible being shaking its finger at me to get me to toe the line.

karen

4/19/2006 3:33 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Karen,

You’ll find my response posted in the below link:

Some Q&A on Moral Relativism

4/19/2006 9:15 PM

 

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