Morals? Some unbelievers do ‘ave ’em!

j__mars: God bless you as well! Suggestion, instead of attacking someone for asking legitimate questions, you can try to respond gently and lovingly! 1st Peter 3:15 says to always be ready to give a defense of the hope that lies within, but do so with GENTLENESS and RESPECT. Just for future reference. Love you!

xurnnn: ur right brother, my apologies

asmanytruethings: We all have moments of weakness bro. It’s ok. I was a little bristly too so I apologize for that.

j__mars: it’s all good! We all learn!

asmanytruethings: You have some interesting points here. Do you mind if I ask further questions on them?

j__mars: sure, go right ahead! You want to take this to direct messaging?

asmanytruethings: Yeah, I don’t like people feeling like they have to put on a “debate performance” or something so I will DM you if you’re cool with that

j__mars: that’s cool!

carlo4: frededich nietzche albert camus bertrand russel jean paul sartre richsr dawkins told that is no God is not a moral absolute

asmanytruethings: Thanks, but I don’t understand what you’re saying. Can you maybe use punctuation and full sentences?

trystanvierra: and what if people agree on, say, committing genocide? Is this morally permissible?

carlo4: who said that is not an objetive moral werent believers. Who said and affirmed that is not good or bad were atheist like Protagoras, Frederick Nietzche, Albert Camus, Bertrand Russel, Jean Paul Sartre, Richard Dawkins

asmanytruethings: No, of course not, but to them it would be. That is why we must do our best to ensure that our values do not become supplanted by systems of belief that are harmful. It is up to us. Another point of view: an atheist objectivist (like Sam Harris) would argue it is always wrong for humans because it causes harm to our fellow human beings.

trystanvierra: but why is causing harm to your fellow human beings wrong?

asmanytruethings: Because we don’t want it done to us, and we are a prosocial species and have enough empathy to realize it causes suffering (which we wouldn’t want ourselves). We realize that we don’t want to live in a group which allows such behaviors and so the group rules exclude those behaviors. We need to live in groups like this to further our genes. I mean, monkeys and dogs and other animals have been shown to share these kinds of morals too. Pretty amazing.

trystanvierra: you have stated why harming people is inconvenient, especially with the sapience to understand that the same could be done to yourself, but you haven’t told me WHY it is wrong. Someone could say “well, I don’t want that to happen to me but I don’t care if I do it to someone else”. So you need to tell me why it’s wrong.

asmanytruethings: I never said it was convenient (your word there). Perhaps in some cases it is inconvenient! I answered why it is wrong and you don’t like my answer. I don’t see why you’re looking for “oomph” here.

Someone could say that they don’t care if something happens to someone else, but we are all smart enough to know intuitively that everyone else could say the same thing about us! Therefore the only way to prosper is by furthering prosocial behavior. Much of this development (as evidenced by other prosocial animals) seems to have arisen without even an ability to reflect upon it with higher intellect, and hence seems engrained in our consciences.

cormackytyrone: I think Lewis wrote on this really well. We might call a tree “good” because they provide just the right amount of what we need (e.g. shade, shelter, etc.) We’d call another bad because it’s not right for our purposes. In the same way, without an objective standard by which to measure good behaviours from evil ones, we’re left with that “good” as useful language. I don’t believe thoughtful Christians need God to somehow order rights and wrongs, they see Him as necessary for there to truly be rights and wrongs.

asmanytruethings: Good talk. Say, do you think that what is good for God might really suck for us? Perhaps it’s like how it’s good for us to eat chicken sandwiches but bad for the chicken. Perhaps when people go on and on about how good God is, they’re not even saying that He’s good for them! There’s a thought!

I see that you are thoughtful, and I think it’s very clever that you set aside using God for ordering rights and wrongs (thereby sidestepping the issue that Christian morality is itself relative and continues to constantly change, as well as sidestepping the issue of the multiplicity of denominations with their own moralities). Instead you say we need god for there to BE rights and wrongs.

Of this I am not convinced. Even if god is real, we have no idea if he is moral or not, let alone the arbiter of morality. Perhaps he is evil (from our point of view), or a mixed bag. Further, supposing he does exist, I must as Euthyphro’s question of him and find whether things are good because he does them or whether he does things that are good. If it’s the former (and morals do come from him), then morals remain subjective, but if it is the latter, then morals exist independent of him, there for our access and He is subject to them.

Read the reply!

Afterthoughts

I remembering being very underwhelmed by asmanytruethings, largely because when they received push back on their original argument they went into the old “we can’t know any of this” material. Throw in the euthyphro dilemma to boot and you’ve got yourself a whole lot of topic dodging. By that point I knew it was pearls before swine, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t continue, keeping the topic in focus and avoiding those attempts at changing the subject.

I’ve long held onto the difference between knowing and showing, and typically after you’ve shown something to be true, atheists then demand you make them know it’s true, which is equivalent to believing for them (or at least conforming to their tired pony verificationism.)  “Show me show me! How do we know it?!” Is in my experience an invitation to futile argument, because after the showing they refuse to take part in the knowing. Open people aren’t normally demanding the challenge, asking for evidence (“evidence” carefully defined), instead they’re just around, wide eyed and ready to have their minds blown.

Asmanytrue things really kicks the legs out from under morality then demands that it stand, which reminds me of an article I read only last night. It was about euthanasia, or assisted dying, as people call it today, and I know for anyone who’s had some life experience it’s an important topic. In the article we read through the incredible (incredibly sad) story of an elderly woman who was refused an assisted death, so she stops taking her medication and her condition deteriorates massively. The article argues powerfully in favour of “assisted dying,” but for all of the wrong reasons.

The story is personal, again the wrong angle, because the consequences of ending our own lives reaches wider than our own person, it impacts family, friends and threatens to knock on and cause the death of strangers, strangers who didn’t want to go when the doctor drops the “dignity” bomb on them. The beauty of life is never protected under the assisted dying model, because by ending life we are no longer considering life itself as standalone valuable, but rather the quality of life is the valuable part. So when you (or someone else) decides that the quality is no longer there, it’s time to bow out.

In the same way, asmanytruethings wants to snub “bad morality,” but by divorcing morality from a divine mind they both destroy the foundation of morality and disarm us of any moral authority to issue commands. The loss of both results in no morals and no recognisable moral standard, the laws are gone and so is the law maker. The last topic of interest was asmanytruethings arguing about the divine element of the Old Testament, which was probably the most valuable part of the topic for us both, sadly he ended communications there. I imagine this was part of him walking away from his faith.

It looks as though the writer was once part of the Hebrew roots movement, a group I have very little experience with. I suppose from my experience here that this group don’t stress the indwelling of the Spirit, or asmanytruethings surely would have seen my point coming. His idea was to learn about “Yeshua” you need to “read the NT,” and this couldn’t help us prove the OT scriptures, as if to argue that the strongest argument in favour of knowing about Christ is books written about Him, that’s not my belief though. That’s probably not the belief of any Christian while they are experiencing the presence of God, because that’s a greater tell as to who Jesus is than anything else.

My point was that first an unbeliever should avail himself of the relevant historic material, come to a place of sureness on their reliability and the truth of events contained therein, then take a step of faith and believe, the exact thing it says in the gospel of John. “These things are written so that you may believe…” After that you can take part in the Bible’s promises, sharing in the holy Spirit, hopefully having joy, peace, patience, and not feeling burdened by your faith. It’s supposed to be our joy, not shame. God bless everyone and enjoy the material.

― T. C. M

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