Thursday, 8 April 2010

Relative Morality, What god Should Have Done, and Historical Context


When pointing out immorality in the Bible, often the rejoinder is that we have to consider the historical context and the time the book was written. Atheists are often accused of being shallow thinkers who haven't considered all the nuance of the historical period in which the book was written. Unfortunately for the Xian, this criticism falls flat on its face when examined.

For example, let's examine the Biblical treatment of women. Women are treated as property in the Bible. We might be tempted to simply shake our heads and say, "Well, that's just how it was back then," but it's not so simple. One of the Xian tenets is that absolute morality exists and is displayed by god (god being perfectly moral and all that). Yet, this defense relies on an appeal to relative morality. This is a big no-no for the Xian, as it directly contradicts the idea of an absolute morality.

To expand on that idea, the Xian is in effect saying either that the treatment of women back in Biblical days was indeed moral, that it was moral at the time but isn't now, or that it was never moral. The first in the list leads to the absurd conclusion that treating women as property is indeed a moral thing to do. I'm not going to waste much space on that idea.

The second leads to the destruction of the idea of absolute morality. If morality changes (treating women like property was good then and now is not) then it is not absolute.

The third leads to the idea that god did not display perfect morality because he instructed, in his holy book, immoral attitudes and behavior. Instead of telling the Israelis that their attitudes and culture were immoral, he sets up rules that enforce and propagate that immorality, which is, in itself, an immoral action.

To anticipate one objection to this, the Xian may claim that god knew the Israelis would not follow certain moral strictures, so he did not promote them. But, this too fails for a couple reasons. The first is that it would still be moral for god to outline his perfectly moral behavior and not simply concede that "Boys will be boys." The second reason is that the story of the OT is one long story of the Israelis rebelling against god's wishes, yet that didn't stop him from putting forth rules that he knew they wouldn't follow in those areas.

In the end, the appeal to relative morality or the culture of the times is a bad appeal and should not be taken with any weight. Instead, we should push to find out why a supposedly perfectly moral god would include immoral instructions in his holy guide to life.

56 comments:

Anonymous (2) said...

Not at all what was argued in the other thread. God never sanctioned the treatment of women as property.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her," Ephesians 5:25

GCT said...

First of all, it was an example. It has nothing to do with the general thrust of the argument.

Second of all, the Bible certainly treats women like property and doesn't seem to speak in defense of women. The verse you pulled up is the only one that may be seen to give women some measure of good treatment, but is right after a passage about how women are owned by their husbands.

Regardless, it's neither here nor there. The post is about the fact that the argument to relative morality fails. Please stay on topic.

Anonymous (2) said...

If we are only considering relative morality in the way that you present it here, then yes... it does fail. I would never argue for a relative morality in the way you have presented it and I hope no honest Christian does either. I'll join you in debating them as this is not the message of the Bible.

Mackenzie said...

If you'd like a debate, perhaps you should present your view of relative morality so we can know what alternate view it is you'd like us to consider.

Tigerboy said...

Morality is determined by the members who participate within a specific community.

Whether it be a small, insular community, or the greater community of mankind, morality is that which becomes generally accepted as the proper way to act.

If one wishes to be accepted by one's neighbors, one must follow socially acceptable rules.

Morality is NOT absolute.

Morality changes, from time to time, from place to place, from circumstance to circumstance.

Universality of moral behavior comes from the fact that we humans all have similar needs and desires--food, shelter, health care, love, sex, companionship, etc.--and so we all recognize ways in which our fellow man treats us kindly, fairly, with empathy, and, alternately, we all recognize ways in which our fellow man treats us badly, unfairly, with malice.

Absolute morality does not exist, because the societies that judge the behaviors of their own members are constantly changing. We're all just flawed human beings. We make the best judgments we can. There is no divine interpreter of right and wrong. Therefore, there is no absolute right or absolute wrong. It's all just judged by people, by societies.

The closest one can come to a universal rule of moral behavior is the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

The recognition by "OTHERS" of our "good intent" is how we become thought of as moral.

The recognition by "OTHERS" of our "bad intent" is how we become thought of as immoral.

There certainly does exist that which virtually ALL people recognize as offensive. We all understand the biggies. Murder, rape, sexual molestation of children, theft, etc., but, even these have complicated extenuating circumstances, which is why we need juries of our peers.

You can't just write down all the rules in a book. We need a situation to be judged by members of society who will hear the particulars, apply some common sense, and come to their own conclusions about good or bad intent. "What would I do?"

"What would Jesus do?" only confuses the issue.

A jury from Jerusalem, circa the Bronze Age would not do the same thing as a jury from Anytown, USA, circa 2010.

Morality is about getting along with the neighbors. That which offends the neighbors kind of depends upon the particular neighborhood in which you happen to live.

And you know what? If you were to live in an absolute social vacuum, that is, you have ZERO interaction with any living entity, you and your life and your behaviors do not intersect with anyone else's (good luck finding that situation), if you were able to live in a TOTAL social vacuum, there is no morality. There would be no one for you to offend.

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." That's morality.

Just we people, doing the best we can, trying to get along with each other.

Tyler said...

Anon: God never sanctioned the treatment of women as property.

Liar.

The most (in)famous example, of course, being the tenth commandment, which regards a married woman as her husband's property, along with his house, his animals, his slaves, or anything else that belongs to him.

Tyler said...

Mackenzie: If you'd like a debate, perhaps you should present your view of relative morality so we can know what alternate view it is you'd like us to consider.

(All 'morality' is relative, but) I'll bite. I like this game.

My view of 'morality' is: Don't intentionally cause harm to anyone who doesn't deserve it.

Your turn.

Mackenzie said...

I was directing my comment toward Anonymous (2)'s
"If we are only considering relative morality in the way that you present it here, then yes... it does fail. I would never argue for a relative morality in the way you have presented it and I hope no honest Christian does either. I'll join you in debating them as this is not the message of the Bible."
..although your offer of "Your turn" could have very well been directed at them, also.

I think Tigerboy has made a good post; not much to be added without a contrasting viewpoint to get a discussion going.
I guess everyone wore themselves out in the previous thread.

Anonymous (2) said...

GCT:

Be honest a moment. Has Tigerboy argued more for my position or yours as presented in the OP?

If anything it seems he is more in favor of moral relativity than I am.

The statement I made in a previous thread, which is what I thought GCT was attempting to take up here, was that moral principles are applied in various ways without violation of the underlying principle. The example I provided was that I believe a man should provide for his family. This can be lived out in practice by a man farming (directly supplying the need) or working in an office (indirectly earning money to supply the need). Hence, two very different practices applying the same moral principle.

Another example: "Honor your father and mother". A wealthy person may do this by providing the help and health care their parent's need when they are older. A poor person living in a third world country may provide some of each day's prepared food as that is all they have to give. Again, different practices, same underlying moral principle.

Two moments of irony which are worth a mention:

1) Tigerboy's statement defends the Biblical morality (if considered from his viewpoint of relative morality). In order to condemn the morality from the Bible Tigerboy must adopt the Bible's view of morality (that it is absolute in principle and not subject to the changing values of the culture we live in). If we were to examine the morality of the Bible in light of Tigerboy's stated view of morality, then the Bible would have been a very moral book in it's time.

2) Tigerboy quotes from the Bible to provide the only possible absolute moral principle he feels exists. If the Bible is the ONLY source of ANY absolute morality (even one) then shouldn't we give it more authority on morality than any other book? (which have all failed to produce even one absolute moral?)

Tyler said...

Mackenzie: I was directing my comment toward Anonymous (2)'s...

Gotcha. Your wording threw me off a bit. :)

Tyler said...

Anon: Be honest a moment.

There's some irony for ya...

lulz...

Anon: The example I provided was that I believe a man should provide for his family.

Is it immoral for a woman to provide for her family?

What if the family consists of a lesbian couple and children?

Is robbing banks to provide for one's family moral?

Anon: Another example: "Honor your father and mother".

What if my father and mother are drug addicts who spend all their time and money on drugs? What if they're serial killers? Am I morally obligated to honor them?

Anon: If we were to examine the morality of the Bible in light of Tigerboy's stated view of morality, then the Bible would have been a very moral book in it's time.

The fact that the bible is patently immoral pretty much destroys this claim.

I mean, unless you're prepared to argue that someone who was being stoned to death for laboring on the sabbath thought the bible was moral. Or the disobedient child who was being stoned to death thought the bible was moral. Or the wife who actually was a virgin - but who was either born with a weak hymen that disintegrated as her body matured, or broke because she'd been masturbating - who was being stoned to death because her husband claimed she wasn't a virgin, thought the bible was moral...

Etc. etc...

Anonymous (2) said...

@Tyler:

You wrote: "I mean, unless you're prepared to argue that someone who was being stoned to death for laboring on the sabbath thought the bible was moral. Or the disobedient child who was being stoned to death thought the bible was moral. Or the wife who actually was a virgin - but who was either born with a weak hymen that disintegrated as her body matured, or broke because she'd been masturbating - who was being stoned to death because her husband claimed she wasn't a virgin, thought the bible was moral..."

Tigerboy wrote: "Whether it be a small, insular community, or the greater community of mankind, morality is that which becomes generally accepted as the proper way to act."

Did Israel accept the Biblical laws as the 'proper way to act'? (Obviously they did if they carried out the acts you describe above.) Then according to Tigerboy's definition... their actions were moral at the time because in general they "accepted the(m) as the proper way to act".

(By the way... you get a huge pass on your mischaracterization of the laws contained within the Torah. In the interest of remaining on the topic of relative morality in general, I'll not take your bait to discuss the specific moral validity of the Biblical text.)

Anonymous (2) said...

Oh yeah... and if Tigerboy's definition is to stand...

then the fact that Christians (a small, insular community?) accept the morals of the Bible suggests, by following Tigerboy's reasoning, that they are (in fact) moral.

I don't agree with Tigerboy, but if any here accept his reasoning (as Mackenzie seems to by way of her commenting "I think Tigerboy has made a good post; not much to be added without a contrasting viewpoint to get a discussion going.") then we are left with no complaint against the morality of the Bible.

You must first accept the Christian premise of absolute morality before you can declare the Bible to be an immoral book. (unless someone [probably and hopefully GCT] wishes to articulate an alternate view which supports the claim of Biblical immorality without invoking absolute morality to do so)

Tyler said...

Anon: Did Israel accept the Biblical laws as the 'proper way to act'? (Obviously they did if they carried out the acts you describe above.)

Obviously not. Otherwise, there wouldn't have been a need for the laws, you idiot.

See, that's what you godbotherers fail to understand when you trot out your stupid fucking morality canards: Laws/legal penalties don't make people moral - they make people either scared of being punished or motivate them to go to great lengths to avoid being caught. The person who doesn't murder because he's scared of being punished isn't moral - he's simply looking out for his own interests. That's not morality - that's narcissism.

And, of course, it goes without saying that the person who goes to great lengths to avoid being caught for murder isn't moral...

Anon: By the way... you get a huge pass on your mischaracterization of the laws contained within the Torah. In the interest of remaining on the topic of relative morality in general, I'll not take your bait to discuss the specific moral validity of the Biblical text.

Feel free to take your very much on topic false accusation and your spineless refusal to back it up and stick it up your ass. :)

Anon: ... the fact that Christians (a small, insular community?) accept the morals of the Bible...

As if christians actually accept the "morals" in the bible...

lulz...

Anon: You must first accept the Christian premise of absolute morality before you can declare the Bible to be an immoral book.

Uhm, please, do explain how one can accept that something is absolutely moral and declare it immoral at the same time.

This I gotta hear...

Tyler said...

By the way...

Anon: The example I provided was that I believe a man should provide for his family.

Is it immoral for a woman to provide for her family?

What if the family consists of a lesbian couple and children?

Is robbing banks to provide for one's family moral?

Anon: Another example: "Honor your father and mother".

What if my father and mother are drug addicts who spend all their time and money on drugs? What if they're serial killers? Am I morally obligated to honor them?

Anonymous (2) said...

@Tyler:

You wrote: "See, that's what you godbotherers fail to understand when you trot out your stupid fucking morality canards: Laws/legal penalties don't make people moral - they make people either scared of being punished or motivate them to go to great lengths to avoid being caught. The person who doesn't murder because he's scared of being punished isn't moral - he's simply looking out for his own interests. That's not morality - that's narcissism."

That sounds very close to what the Bible states the effects of the law are. The problem you have, and it is the problem for the atheist, is that if God does not exist He did not make the laws. The Bible IS an ancient text, however, and so you must figure out where it came from. (if not from God, then from man) The laws of a society typically reflect their moral principles. The reflection of our current discussion is not regarding the EFFECT of the law but rather the MORAL PRINCIPLES behind the law.

You wrote: "Uhm, please, do explain how one can accept that something is absolutely moral and declare it immoral at the same time."

Again, your problem not mine. Tigerboy (I presume) holds the view that the Bible is a book of immoral teaching. He also holds that societies agreed upon values comprise morality. Mackenzie seems to agree with this. Do you? If so, on what basis do you condemn the morality of the Biblical text as immoral? Do you hold that it is only relatively moral to today's society? Or do you believe that it is actually immoral?

You ask: "Is it immoral for a woman to provide for her family?

What if the family consists of a lesbian couple and children?

Is robbing banks to provide for one's family moral?"

1. No. I wanted to accurately summarize what I had said in the previous thread. While I am not in complete agreement with the feminist movement, I don't see a problem with a woman providing for her family. (It happened in the Bible, Ruth for Naomi. David's second wife for her foolish husband. [can look up the names for the latter if you need them]) As I mentioned in the other thread, my wife has worked outside the home and I have never discouraged her from doing so.

2. Then I would hope you would agree that at least one of the "parents" would be responsible to provide care for the children. Or do they get a pass because they're lesbians? (You did want to talk about familial responsiblity and not homosexuality here, right?) To make it clear, if a family consists of a lesbian couple and children, then yes they are morally obligated to provide for their children.

3. No. Of course not. This was answered in the last thread. I never said one moral principle trumped another. I think you're still confused because you're projecting a relative morality that none have yet suggested (IE: that certain moral principles trump others). Is robbing to provide one's family violating the principle to provide for one's family? No. Is it violating another moral principle (don't steal)? Yes.

You asked: "What if my father and mother are drug addicts who spend all their time and money on drugs? What if they're serial killers? Am I morally obligated to honor them?"

Yes. Two wrongs don't make a right. Or do you feel they do? But I'm the immoral monster...

Ok, that was my attempt to communicate with you here. Now please answer my last post in which I placed your comments right next to Tigerboy's. Please actually answer my questions, which you have yet to do. If you prove yourself yet again unable to respond and stay on task, then what I mentioned in the other thread will simply have to apply to you universally.

Tigerboy said...

One cannot declare anything, the Bible included, as absolutely moral, or absolutely immoral.

These absolutes only exist in the minds of those wishing to label the universe in terms of black and white.

I don't for one minute deny that the Bible (and other religious texts) were ancient man's first attempt to find and codify morality.

They are artifacts from another age. They come down to us from the mewling, puking infancy of human philosophy.

There is no doubt that, through the extremely dark and distorted lens of Bronze Age Man's understanding of how the world and the universe operated, the Bible was his attempt to codify proper behavior. These people were attempting to act morally. By their standards, they WERE acting morally.

We good 21st century folk certainly understand that treating women like property, or the enslavement of other human beings, etc., are no-brainer immoral behaviors. While it is tempting to say that those behaviors are, were, and always will be immoral, that is, once again, the seeking of absolute morality. There ain't no such thing.

They were doing the best they could.

Christians (and other believers in an absolute, authoritarian God-figure) are LAYING CLAIM to the universe operating by absolute morality.

If one BELIEVES in an absolute morality, the Bible falls WAY, WAY, WAY short of moral perfection.

Animal sacrifices, slaughters of innocents, rape, pillage, mayhem . . . . it's a freaking bloodbath.

Hardly the demonstration of moral perfection we might hope to find, or even anything close to what we recognize as fair, decent, moral behavior.

Remember, absolute morality supporters, you are claiming this to be the "revealed word" of moral perfection. In an absolute universe, religious texts ought to be WAY more impressive than this. The Burning Bush ought to have taught Moses a hell of a lot better than this.

How about a repudiation of slavery, just for starters. Is that a no-brainer? Why does the "revealed word" of moral perfection not mention slavery as a MAJOR problem? Seems pretty basic.

(The Bible not repudiating slavery not only shows it to be a poor moral compass, it justifies good, southern 19th century folk to use it as a rational for outrageously immoral behavior, up to and including fighting a Civil War to defend their God-given right to whip and enslave other humans. Following Bronze Age dogma leads to big trouble in a modern world.)

Tigerboy said...

Instead of moral perfection, the Bible reflects the morality of its time. It is neither moral, nor immoral. It's a book. It's ancient man's first attempt. It is not "absolutely" anything. (Maybe absolutely boring.)

It's goat herders trying to figure shit out.

It certainly not a deity talking.

It is REVOLTING and DANGEROUS by today's standards.

Living our lives according to these ancient dogmas is misguided and highly divisive. It doesn't bestow GREAT TRUTH. It teaches people that sacrificing animals is the best way to appease an angry God!

This is dangerous shit, yo! This is ancient moral law out of time and out of place! This leads to people flying planes into buildings! This leads to hatred of our fellow man.

This leads to the dividing of our fellow humans into "us versus them." This is very much akin to racism, and it needs to be viewed as dangerous and divisive. Our very survival may depend on it.

In 2010, we have FAR too much destructive technology to survive this divisiveness for much longer. We are xenophobes with nuclear weapons and anthrax powder.

We are running out of global resources.

Remember, moral behavior is about getting along with the neighbors, not arguing over who's worshiping the wrong prophet.

There is ZERO concrete evidence for ANY description of supernatural beings. Zeus, Thor, Osiris, Jesus, or Mohammed on his magic, winged horse.

We have a better chance of getting along with our neighbors, on this planet of ever-shrinking resources and ever-growing populations, if we talk in terms that reflect that for which we have good evidence.

Let's deal in reality, people. Let's try the type of TRUTH that can be demonstrated to the neighbors.

We have a FAR greater chance of getting along with our fellows, if we abandon this childish obsession with ancient superstitious mythology. It's not helping us be better people. It's prolonging ancient xenophobia.

We need to grow-up.

By the way, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" is not original to the Bible, nor to Christianity. Virtually all religions state some version of it.

It is a marvelously pure, simple distillation of moral philosophy.

Christians don't own the copyright.

Anonymous (2) said...

@Tigerboy:

First, thank you for your thorough and thoughtful response to my post.

I just have one question for you. Do you feel that today's moral standards are better than they were during the time the Bible was written?

Tristan D. Vick said...

What does the word "morality" mean?

What does "relative" mean?

How about "relative morality?"

For that matter, what does the word "word" mean?

I don't think we can have a serious discussion until everyone defines their own version of the word, ergo changing the primary meaning to an implied meaning, so we can begin arguing over all the meanings that have nothing to do with what we mean.

I just wrote an article on semantics if you want to skip that bit and get into the nitty gritty of the debate.

I only point this out because Mackenzie asked for a definition of a concept which is readily found in any English dictionary. Not everybody carries around their own meaning of every word, since words do have meanings, but it's our application of these meanings and how we understand them were the confusion arises. Simple semiotics.

Anonymous (2) said...

Just a few quotes... you tell me you honestly think you're in agreement with one another...

From the OP: "When pointing out immorality in the Bible,"

Tigerboy: "It is neither moral, nor immoral. It's a book."

Tyler: "The fact that the bible is patently immoral pretty much destroys this claim."


From the OP: "often the rejoinder is that we have to consider the historical context and the time the book was written."

Tigerboy: "Morality is determined by the members who participate within a specific community.

Whether it be a small, insular community, or the greater community of mankind, morality is that which becomes generally accepted as the proper way to act."



Tigerboy: "the Bible reflects the morality of its time."

From the OP: "In the end, the appeal to relative morality or the culture of the times is a bad appeal and should not be taken with any weight."

Tyler: "I mean, unless you're prepared to argue that someone who was being stoned to death for laboring on the sabbath thought the bible was moral."

Tigerboy: "While it is tempting to say that those behaviors are, were, and always will be immoral, that is, once again, the seeking of absolute morality. There ain't no such thing."

Mackenzie: "I think Tigerboy has made a good post; not much to be added without a contrasting viewpoint to get a discussion going."

Ok, so it seems to be Tigerboy and Mackenzie vs GCT and Tyler. Or is it...

Tigerboy: "The Bible not repudiating slavery not only shows it to be a poor moral compass, it justifies good, southern 19th century folk to use it as a rational for outrageously immoral behavior, up to and including fighting a Civil War to defend their God-given right to whip and enslave other humans."

Oops.. I thought maybe Tigerboy would prefer to stay with his point that morality can be realtive to the values of a given society during a particular time during history...

Ok... so it's really Tigerboy vs GCT, Tyler and Tigerboy... and MacKenzie could be on either side depending on which Tigerboy she agrees with.

Tigerboy said...

Anon 2 said:

---"I just have one question for you. Do you feel that today's moral standards are better than they were during the time the Bible was written?"

Given the fact that the world has a much lower opinion of slavery, yes, we're doing better. (Notice I didn't say that slavery has been eliminated. Hardly.)

Given the fact that the world has much less obsession with virginity and other people's sex lives, yes, we're doing better. (Women are still wearing burkas. Women are still called "whores" for enjoying a normal sex life.)

Given the fact that people with mental illness, or epilepsy, are treated by doctors, instead of exorcists, yes, we are doing better. (Not everywhere.)

Given the fact that the world has a higher opinion of education and opportunity for women, yes, we are doing better.

Given the fact that good, decent people are starting to realize that Bob and Steve, the next door neighbors who love each other, are not a threat to anyone, that they don't need to be beaten and called "sinners", and, in fact, they keep their property looking pretty nice, yes, we're doing better.

Given the fact that a growing number of people realize that they don't need to sacrifice chickens in order to come to terms with the evening weather report, yes, we're doing better.

I would not "throw out the baby with the bath water." Moral philosophy started with religion. Unfortunately, it quickly got mired in obsessions with people's sex lives, and mollifying the whirlwind. We need to move past that.

Human sexuality is perfectly normal. Whom I sleep with need not concern you. I can lose my virginity and still be a good person.

Good people want what's best for their children and their neighbors. I can have a skin color that is different from yours, yet, rest assured, I want the same things for my family (for the world). Safety, security, food, shelter, health care, HBO, whatever.

Empathy is the root of moral philosophy.

Morality should be kept simple. Be empathetic toward your fellow.

Native Americans: "Don't judge your brother, until you've walked a mile in his moccasins."

Hindus: "One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma."

Islam: "Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you."

The Talmud: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is explanation; go and learn."

Confucius: "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."

Sikhism: "The truly enlightened ones are those who neither incite fear in others nor fear anyone themselves."

Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss."

Buddhism: "One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness."

I like the above quote from the Talmud which (to paraphrase) states the Golden Rule and then says "the rest is explanation."

Unfortunately, that explanation, that is to say, all the rest, is where we start fighting about virginity, and witchcraft, and homosexuality, and who's the Antichrist, and who's the True Caliph and who's the Tenth Imam.

Making the attempt to see the world (or any minor or major situation) from the point-of-view of another will take you a long way down the road toward living a moral life.

Tigerboy said...

Having stated that attempts to codify morality should be kept as simple as possible, I would add a second maxim: "Live, and let live."

--Morality Flow Chart

Rule A: "Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you."

If you cannot manage this empathy with your fellow, refer to Rule B.

Rule B: "Live, and let live."

(Rule B does not mean that life is so sacred that you should stand outside abortion clinics hurling insults at scared, pregnant teens. Refer back to Rule A.)

I do have to say that I admire the way the Jews don't try to convert anybody. That is a major improvement over the other two Abrahamic religions.

However, I say that with GREAT trepidation. Even that statement starts us down the road toward "us versus them." It's where "my religion is better than your religion" begins. Which is where xenophobia begins.

We're all just human beings, doing our best to get along. We've got to stop judging people by the standards of ancient peoples with sex and God obsessions.

It does us great harm.

It is also SO tempting to return to the wisdom of the past, to constantly reread that which has been etched in stone, to accord it the adulation "GREAT TRUTH." I have done I bit of that, myself, within this very post.

But, they were just human beings, too. No one is speaking from a deity's mouth.

We need to learn the lessons that do not divide us from our neighbors, and go out and seek newer, better morals for ourselves. Morals change. That's a good thing. Morals change, because we slowly figure out that which will provide our children with a fairer, more decent life.

We should be seeking a greater instinct toward treating our fellow man, woman, and child (dare I include animals? I think I will!) with respect and fairness, not dwelling in the past. With that in mind, I will not quote Jesus again.

Let's modernize it:

"Treat your fellow beings with the same empathy you would wish shown to yourself."

If that's not possible,

"Live your life, and allow others to live theirs."

If your fellow is doing something wrong, he will figure it out, or he will live less happily than you.

You need not hate him.

Do you know the saying?: "Living well is the best revenge." We don't need to call each other "sinner!" We don't need to make everyone live exactly as we do. Respect people, not their archaic religions.

Empathy and "Live, and let live."

We all wish to deliver our children toward a safer, fairer, more decent world. If we work together, if we forgive each other, if we learn to show each other empathy, we can do that. If we play "my religion is better than your religion" we won't.

If we obsess about sin, we're gonna blow ourselves up.

The troubles in the Middle East are a self-fulfilling prophecy, learned from these ancient religious texts.

Teaching our children that these violent, bloody texts bestow GREAT TRUTH does our world no favors.

Anonymous (2) said...

@Tigerboy:

When considering "our" modern morality to the morality in the Bible... how can you honestly say it is better now than it was before? If morality is, as you wrote, "determined by the members who participate within a specific community." then by what standard or measure do you compare ours to theirs and claim it is better?

If you measure it by our own evaluation then your evaluation is meaningless and their morality was just as good as ours and if one day society began to look more like it did back then then their morals would be "better" than ours. I doubt you feel this is possible...

You can veil it all you like... but you still appeal to an absolute morality. In fact, I rather like the quotes you gave from each religion showing that there has been at least one common principle amonst all religions. Considering how very different the messages of each of these religions are (unless you over-simplify) I believe these quotes are a great evidence FOR absolute morality.

Also consider this... when an wicked thing happens in another country... if that society accepts it as moral then who are "we" to question their morals?

GCT said...

Anon 2,
It's painfully obvious that you didn't get the gist of the OP.

"Be honest a moment. Has Tigerboy argued more for my position or yours as presented in the OP?"

Really? This side discussion on whether absolute or relative morality exists (which is what TB was talking about) is tangential to the OP.

"1) Tigerboy's statement defends the Biblical morality (if considered from his viewpoint of relative morality). In order to condemn the morality from the Bible Tigerboy must adopt the Bible's view of morality (that it is absolute in principle and not subject to the changing values of the culture we live in)."

No, that is not correct. You are conflating the idea of absolute morality with Biblical morality. They are not the same. I can look at the moral code laid out in the Bible and point to the instances where god does not live up to the code laid out and not accept absolute morality or the Bible. I could accept absolute morality without accepting the Bible as well. I can also realize that the dichotomy between absolute and relative morality is a false one.

"Then according to Tigerboy's definition... their actions were moral at the time because in general they "accepted the(m) as the proper way to act". "

They may have thought they were acting morally (probably did think that) but today we know better. More on that later.

"...then we are left with no complaint against the morality of the Bible. "

Wrong again. Simply because some Xians think/thought burning witches was moral doesn't make it so - and I need not even evoke your god or absolute morality to say so.

"In fact, I rather like the quotes you gave from each religion showing that there has been at least one common principle amonst all religions. Considering how very different the messages of each of these religions are (unless you over-simplify) I believe these quotes are a great evidence FOR absolute morality."

No, they are actually evidence that we humans are a social animal that have evolved certain traits that we share with all other social animals.

So, what are you missing?

1. The point of the OP is that you can't use relative morality to defend absolute morality, nor can you cite the idea that something was "moral at the time and place" or that we atheists must consider the time, place, and culture that the book was written before we pronounce something as immoral.

2. Your false dichotomy of relative or absolute and from Yahweh is really incorrect. I don't believe that morality is absolute (nothing is AFAICT - and no, that's not an absolute). Nor is morality purely relative. Morality is derived from our shared evolutionary heritage, culture, and objective reason and logic. I don't need your god telling me absolutely that the golden rule is good, because I can objectively reason to it.

Anonymous (2) said...

@GCT:

"I can look at the moral code laid out in the Bible and point to the instances where god does not live up to the code laid out and not accept absolute morality or the Bible."

You have yet to cite even one example. I'm done filling your comments section and making this otherwise drab blog more interesting with my comments (see MacKenzie's comments). I'll come back on occasion to see if you clear the dust from your eyes to make any actual valid point. Until you do so, farewell.

GCT said...

Anon 2,
"You have yet to cite even one example."

A) That wasn't the point of the OP, so I'm going to indulge your OT banter.

B) There are many instances on this blog where I do just that.

"I'm done filling your comments section and making this otherwise drab blog more interesting with my comments (see MacKenzie's comments)."

Your choice, but I'll note that you still haven't dealt with the OP and you still haven't defended your idea that Deut. 22 doesn't refer to rape.

"I'll come back on occasion to see if you clear the dust from your eyes to make any actual valid point. Until you do so, farewell."

OK JD.

Tigerboy said...

@Anon 2

All those quotes demonstrate that humans are humans.

Humans are social animals who realize the importance of getting along with the neighbors.

The way you do that is to develop a social code.

Morality.

Empathy with the neighbor's point-of-view.

It changes, depending on whom you might offend.

From a principled position of "Treat your fellow beings as you would wish to be treated", we can look back through history and say: "They might have convinced themselves that God told them the keeping of slaves was okay, they may have believed they were acting morally, but with a simple examination of this simple maxim--they should have known better."

And, if you really believe in the "revealed word" of moral perfection--absolute morality--then they REALLY should have known better! The Bible, as dictated by the Burning Bush, should have been able to come up with something that basic.

Just because an insular community develops its own morals, does not mean that it may not run into trouble at the point were it intersects with the larger community of mankind.

The larger community of mankind has the final word. They, over huge oceans of time, reach a type of general consensus.

Notice that the keeping slaves is not popular with the larger community of mankind.

Notice that the slaughter of Jews in concentration camps is not popular with the larger community of mankind.

You cannot put a gold-plated tag onto something and declare it moral or immoral. It's an assessment. A judgment.

Different people come to different conclusions at different times.

But, eventually, the greater community of mankind, who's greatest wish is to leave a better world to their children, who wish their children to see them as having done the best job that they could, who wish for their children to be proud of them, the greater community of mankind will eventually run it through the "empathy test" and fix it.

Morality comes from people. Their empathy for others. Their need to get along with others.

Morality is "relative" to the degree to which they have figured it out.

Studying Bronze Age morality confuses people. We're past sacrificing goats in order to mollify the whirlwind.

Tigerboy said...

@ Anon 2

You seem to want to pit me against Tyler and GCT.

I think you will be disappointed to find that the three of us are saying pretty much the same thing.

The bloodbath that is in the Bible does describe actions that are clearly immoral. We can judge those actions to be so, because we are making our own, personal, 21st century judgments.

I am QUITE comfortable with my own assessment that treating women like property, or the keeping of slaves, do not pass my "empathy test." Those things are immoral, and I'm fairly certain that Tyler and GCT will agree. Care to join us?

I'm certain you agree, as well.

We can look back and say: "Those 19 century southern folk should have known better. They were acting immorally." That is our assessment. Does that mean that we own God's big rubber stamp?

"IMMORAL"

There is no big rubber stamp, because there is no God. There is no ultimate arbiter of truth of justice.

We have made our assessments, based on our empathy. We don't agree down to the tiniest detail. We're human. And we share the planet with billions and billions of other humans. They all are in touch with a somewhat different version of that empathy.

We all see things slightly differently.

Since we all SHOULD have enough humanity and empathy in common to agree that the keeping of slaves is wrong, I'm gonna call that one a no-brainer. It's immoral.

The Bush with all the answers (I certainly don't mean George W.) should have told Moses that one. But, since the bush was just a bush, it didn't have all the answers. The talking bush was just a bunch of flawed, 1st century goat herders, doin' the best they could, the bush reflects the somewhat LACKING morality of the time.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the WORLD has reach something close to a GENERAL CONSENSUS that the keeping of slaves is wrong.

Here comes that big rubber stamp:

"IMMORAL"

But, the rubber stamp doesn't belong to God. I don't believe there is a God. The rubber stamp is ours. The only way to reach an ABSOLUTE assessment on all matters of morality is if billions and billions of people all agreed down to the tiniest detail. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

Morality is relative to people, and how empathetic they are, and how much they are confused by hating their fellow man, for whatever reason.

Religion is but one of those reasons that people hate each other.

Tyler said...

Anon: That sounds very close to what the Bible states the effects of the law are.

I'd be curious as to what part(s) of the bible states such a thing, but it doesn't really matter. It's not like anyone with three brain cells to rub together won't come to the same conclusions, no bible required.

Further, assuming this is true, you're saying god knowlingly created laws that people are simply going to obey because they fear retribution or go to great lengths to avoid being caught for disobeying them. Where's the morality in that, exactly?

If god wanted people to be moral, why didn't he just create them in a manner that prevented them from acting morally?

"Because that would remove their free will."

No, it would not. It would simply remove their ability to act immorally, leaving them with the free will to choose the manner in which they act morally, or not to act at all.

Anon: The problem you have, and it is the problem for the atheist, is that if God does not exist He did not make the laws.

How, exactly, is it my/the atheist's problem that a god didn't make laws?

Anon: The laws of a society typically reflect their moral principles.

That doesn't mean the society is moral in any reasonable sense of the term.

Anon: The reflection of our current discussion is not regarding the EFFECT of the law but rather the MORAL PRINCIPLES behind the law.

And the moral principles behind many biblical laws are anything but moral in any reasonable sense of the term.

Anon: You wrote: "Uhm, please, do explain how one can accept that something is absolutely moral and declare it immoral at the same time."

Again, your problem not mine.


Again? You've not demonstrated that it's my problem yet.

Anon: Tigerboy (I presume) holds the view that the Bible is a book of immoral teaching.

It is, by and large. Sure, there are inarguably a few respectable moral prescriptions in the bible, but they're not original to the bible by any stretch, and the overarching immorality of the bible is the haystack that hides the few needles of reasonable moral prescriptions buried in it.

Tyler said...

Anon: ... on what basis do you condemn the morality of the Biblical text as immoral?

Empathy. Fairness.

On what basis do you deem the biblical text absolutely moral?

Anon: 1. No.

What if her husband doesn't want her to provide for the family? Let's go further and say he refuses to let her provide for the family, yet he himself doesn't sufficiently provide for the family - is she morally obligated to submit to his will as the bible commands? If so, how does she satisfy both the moral obligation to submit to her husband's will and the moral obligation to provide for her family?

Anon: While I am not in complete agreement with the feminist movement...

How so, exactly?

Anon: To make it clear, if a family consists of a lesbian couple and children, then yes they are morally obligated to provide for their children.

Except in your vile little world there are to be no lesbian couples heading families. There are no lesbian couples period.

Homosexual male couples? With children?

And here you demonstrate your double standard of claiming one moral standard doesn't trump another while insisting one must trump another...

3. No. Of course not.

Yet god sanctions just that - theft.

Anon: I never said one moral principle trumped another.

Yet your arguments demand exactly that.

Anon: I think you're still confused because you're projecting a relative morality...

The morality I'm projecting is no less relative than yours, you ironic shit.

Anon: Is robbing to provide one's family violating the principle to provide for one's family? No. Is it violating another moral principle (don't steal)? Yes.

So if someone is in a position where theft is the only means s/he has to provide for a family, the latter doesn't trump the former? Should the family suffer in order to uphold the moral principle prohibiting theft?

Anon: You asked: "What if my father and mother are drug addicts who spend all their time and money on drugs? What if they're serial killers? Am I morally obligated to honor them?"

Yes.


Why? What is honorable about drug addicts disregarding the welfare of their children in order to score drugs? What is honorable about serial killers?

Anon: Two wrongs don't make a right.

Sometimes they do.

Anon: Or do you feel they do?

Doesn't matter what I feel.

Anon: But I'm the immoral monster...

Clearly.

Anon: I'm done filling your comments section and making this otherwise drab blog more interesting with my comments...

"The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."

I for one am with ya there, Sparky. The psychology involved in your blithering, inhumane lunacy is quite interesting; blithering lunacy that includes the idea that a forum devoid of your blithering, inhumane lunacy is somehow worse off for that fact.

Anonymous said...

From the OP: "When pointing out immorality in the Bible,"

Tyler: "The fact that the bible is patently immoral pretty much destroys this claim."

Tigerboy: "It is neither moral, nor immoral. It's a book."

Tigerboy: "The bloodbath that is in the Bible does describe actions that are clearly immoral."

From the OP: "often the rejoinder is that we have to consider the historical context and the time the book was written."

Tigerboy: "Morality is determined by the members who participate within a specific community.

Whether it be a small, insular community, or the greater community of mankind, morality is that which becomes generally accepted as the proper way to act."

GCT: "Morality is derived from our shared evolutionary heritage, culture, and objective reason and logic."

Tigerboy: "the Bible reflects the morality of its time."

From the OP: "In the end, the appeal to relative morality or the culture of the times is a bad appeal and should not be taken with any weight."

Tigerboy: "Morality is relative to people, and how empathetic they are, and how much they are confused by hating their fellow man, for whatever reason."

Tyler: "I mean, unless you're prepared to argue that someone who was being stoned to death for laboring on the sabbath thought the bible was moral."

Tigerboy: "While it is tempting to say that those behaviors are, were, and always will be immoral, that is, once again, the seeking of absolute morality. There ain't no such thing."

Mackenzie: "I think Tigerboy has made a good post; not much to be added without a contrasting viewpoint to get a discussion going."

Tigerboy: "The Bible not repudiating slavery not only shows it to be a poor moral compass, it justifies good, southern 19th century folk to use it as a rational for outrageously immoral behavior, up to and including fighting a Civil War to defend their God-given right to whip and enslave other humans."

Tyler said...

Translation:

Anon: I'd miss the point if it came up and kicked me in the face.

Tigerboy said...

The universality of morality comes from the fact that we all have the same human needs and wants, not from a universal law-giver.

The reason morality cannot be truly universal is that billions of different beings will never universally agree.

Even you billions of absolute morality supporters, that is to say, religious people, cannot agree on anything, FAR FROM IT.

If your truth is so golden, why is it such a big mystery? Why doesn't Jesus just make an appearance on "The Larry King Show" and give us all the "good news" in a way that isn't so confusing?

The opposite of "getting along with the neighbors" is called "war."

These days, the opposite of "getting along with the neighbors" is called "WAR, WITH THERMODYNAMIC NUCLEAR WARHEADS AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONRY."

What's the ongoing situation in "The Holy Land?"

War.

At some point, during the argument about who's the True Caliph and why everybody hates the Jews, you religious people are going to kill us all.

That does not speak well of your misguided absolute morality.

I guess calling women "whores" must be a lot more fun than it seems to me.

Godless Randall said...

well shit the arguments were definitely not that tight but the talk on relative morality is interesting

My view of 'morality' is: Don't intentionally cause harm to anyone who doesn't deserve it.

this sounds good but we're not always fit to be judge

The Bible not repudiating slavery not only shows it to be a poor moral compass, it justifies good, southern 19th century folk to use it as a rational for outrageously immoral behavior, up to and including fighting a Civil War to defend their God-given right to whip and enslave other humans.

unfortunately everything after ^compass^ is false, and a really bad argument

Tyler said...

Godless Randall: (Tyler:My view of 'morality' is: Don't intentionally cause harm to anyone who doesn't deserve it.)

this sounds good but we're not always fit to be judge


Not always fit to be judge of what, exactly?

Tigerboy said...

Godless Randall:

--"everything after ^compass^ is false, and a really bad argument."

You think the people of the South didn't use their belief in the Christian Bible to rationalize keeping slaves? You're dreaming.

Did you study some totally different American Civil War than I did?

A greater percentage of the people in the South read the Bible more literally than the people in the North up to the present day! 2010.

The Bible doesn't repudiate the keeping of slaves.

The South went to war, in some large part, to defend its right to keep slaves.

The South is, and always was, deeply Christian. The type of Christian that reads the Bible very literally.

Are you saying that you think that the keeping of slaves, the fighting and dying to keep slaves, and a deep love of and literal interpretation of the Bible are unrelated?

Tigerboy said...

Godless Randall:

Or, did you just read that one quote completely out of context and decide it was a bad argument without having any idea what my argument actually was?

I'm guessing the latter.

I was not defending the morality of slavery.

Just the opposite. Try reading the whole post.

I didn't say they SUCCEEDED in justifying the keeping of slaves. I said they tried. They were deeply confused about a really basic moral question.

What confused them? Their belief in the Bible.

GCT said...

Anon,
What, beyond showing that you are either unable or unwilling to follow and understand the conversation, do you hope to accomplish by juxtaposing quotes that don't connect to each other? Are you hoping that your out-of-context quote mining will start the atheists fighting amongst themselves?

When will you actually deal with the OP?

Godless Randall said...

Not always fit to be judge of what, exactly?

who deserves punishment

I didn't say they SUCCEEDED in justifying the keeping of slaves. I said they tried. They were deeply confused about a really basic moral question.

well that's reassuring. at least the problems are with diction and not logic

Tyler said...

Godless Randall:(Tyler: Not always fit to be judge of what, exactly?)

who deserves punishment


Why not?

When are "we" fit to judge who deserves punishment? (Who is "we"?)

If we're not always fit to judge who deserves punishment, then who is?

Godless Randall said...

Why not?

insufficient intelligence combined with the vast preponderance of evidence suggesting homo sapiens are terribly biased decision makers. not to mention we're just plain wrong a lot of the time

When are "we" fit to judge who deserves punishment? (Who is "we"?)

no black and white answer but in the presence of irrefutable evidence would seem as good a starting point as any

If we're not always fit to judge who deserves punishment, then who is?

that we're not always fit to judge who deserves punishment doesn't suggest that anybody is

Tyler said...

Godless Randall: insufficient intelligence combined with the vast preponderance of evidence homo sapiens are terribly biased decision makers.

This standard, carried to its logical end, appears to dictate no one is qualified to either judge who is deserving of or mete out ill treatment, which means the point of contention holds about as much water as a bottomless cup.

Godless Randall: no black and white answer but in the presence of irrefutable evidence would seem as good a starting point as any

Silly me. I thought we were talking about the day to day interactions between humans (and other sentient beings, for that matter), not the inner workings of courts of law...

Godless Randall said...

This standard, carried to its logical end, appears to dictate no one is qualified to either judge who is deserving of or mete out ill treatment, which means the point of contention holds about as much water as a bottomless cup.

no, my ^statement^, reworded by yourself and then recast as a standard, appears to dictate no one is qualified to either judge who is deserving of or mete out ill treatment. i said ^not always qualified^ you said ^no one is qualified^ so your contention is the one that holds about as much water as a bottomless cup since it doesn't even reflect what i said

Silly me. I thought we were talking about the day to day interactions between humans (and other sentient beings, for that matter),

i was, smart ass

Anonymous said...

I wrote your name in the stars so the world could see who you are. But they chose to stare at the sun, oblivious that the truth was not far. Then I said your name with the crashing waves, but they chose to listen to their own voices, not knowing that the truth was beyond their futile choices. Finally I sent You, my Son, so they could be saved. But they chose the world, never accepting who You are. And I’m left with orphans, never knowing their true Father. Lost sons and daughters who feel abandoned, but it was them who left. I stayed. I am. And you could be too.

GCT said...

When in doubt, proselytize, right? So, god sent his son so that we can be saved from the terrible plans that god has for us. How nice of him to spare a few people from the hell that he destined us and created us all for.

Tyler said...

Godless Randall: no, my ^statement^, reworded by yourself...

I didn't reword your statement, liar.

Godless Randall: ... i said ^not always qualified^...

Without reasonably explaining when one is qualified.

Godless Randall: (Tyler: Silly me. I thought we were talking about the day to day interactions between humans (and other sentient beings, for that matter)...

i was, smart ass


Using a standard and language more oft reserved for courts of law.

Are you seriously suggesting that if someone wrongs an individual that the offended individual should be required gather an impromptu jury of some sort to mull over a "preponderance of irrefutable evidence" that might not even exist in order to decide whether or not the offender is worthy of ill treatment in return?

Seems to be the logical extension of your standard (that you're denying is a standard). If it's not, feel free to clear up my misunderstanding...

(Hmph... falsely accusing me of rewording your statement and calling me a smart ass in one post...

So much for your hypocritical blog whining about atheists acting like total dicks...)

Godless Randall said...

I didn't reword your statement, liar.

the fuck you didn't. i said we're NOT ALWAYS fit to judge. any individual with half a brain and without the urge to argue could see that NOT ALWAYS QUALIFIED doesn't mean NO ONE IS QUALIFIED. in all your brilliance, you came back with,

This standard, carried to its logical end, appears to dictate no one is qualified to either judge who is deserving of or mete out ill treatment

no, it doesn't, that's not what the fuck it means, and it wasn't a standard. it was an answer to a question. so yeah, you reworded my shit

Are you seriously suggesting that if someone wrongs an individual that the offended individual should be required gather an impromptu jury of some sort to mull over a "preponderance of irrefutable evidence" that might not even exist in order to decide whether or not the offender is worthy of ill treatment in return?

no. again, i said ^irrefutable evidence^ and you translated that into some court of law shit

So much for your hypocritical blog whining about atheists acting like total dicks...)

hey, cry me a river. i'm simply holding my ground here and not about to take shit from someone who translates my shit into their shit and then criticizes their shit

i called you a smart ass because you were being one. if you think i'm being a dick check yourself and try starting off on a different foot next time

Tyler said...

Godless Randall: (Tyler: I didn't reword your statement, liar.)

the fuck you didn't.


It was a direct copy and paste, liar.

Godless Randall: blah blah blah more hypocritical total dickness and an exhibition of an apparent inability to actually grasp the points be directed at you blah blah blah...

Well, can't argue with that logic.

No. Really.

Dumbfuck.

Godless Randall said...

apparent inability to actually grasp the points be directed at you

right, while you grab shit out of thin air and attribute it to me

there was no ^lie^ you made my statement into something it wasn't. again, i said NOT ALWAYS QUALIFIED you said NO IS QUALIFIED and i notice you didn't object to that now did you

you say its hypocrisy but my post was aimed at atheists just like you the ones quick to accuse and insult whoever disagrees just like churchfolk

look, the way i see it we got a couple options. back the fuck off and maybe we'll try again another day or just admit that i said NOT ALWAYS QUALIFIED and you said NO ONE IS QUALIFIED and that they mean different things

you also interpreted ^irrefutable evidence^ in a purely legal terms when that wasn't what i meant. you had asked me why i said i didn't think people we're always fit to judge and i said

insufficient intelligence combined with the vast preponderance of evidence suggesting homo sapiens are terribly biased decision makers. not to mention we're just plain wrong a lot of the time

which was reasonable and not even argumentative. then in your next comment,

Are you seriously suggesting that if someone wrongs an individual that the offended individual should be required gather an impromptu jury of some sort to mull over a "preponderance of irrefutable evidence" that might not even exist in order to decide whether or not the offender is worthy of ill treatment in return?

no. you lifted the phrase ^vast preponderance of evidence^ from my answer to a separate question then inserted it to what you thought was my ^standard^ then tried for a second time to make it look like i was talking about ^court of law^ when i was not. i even told you i was not and you still went on. and all over nothing. all over me saying i don't think people are always fit to be the judge of who ^deserves punishment^

there's no need to call people liars on the internet because of some argumental bullshit. if you're so damn proud you're gonna sit here and tell me you know what i meant better than i did instead of just being like ^oh my bad^ then good luck in life you're gonna need it

Tyler said...

Godless Randall: ... just admit that i said NOT ALWAYS QUALIFIED...

(And I'm the one grabbing shit out of thin air...)

I'm not claiming otherwise; never mind the fact that the questions I directed at your claim (that 'we're' not always qualified) make no sense whatsoever in any other context.

What I clearly AM claiming is the extension(s) of reasoning that were formulated based on your claim "we're not always qualified" appear to be logical.

Again, if I'm misunderstanding you, feel free to clear up my misunderstanding. If neither of those seemingly logical extensions of your claims are not logical, feel free to demonstrate why they aren't.

I'm all ears...

Godless Randall: there's no need to call people liars on the internet because of some argumental bullshit.

I'm calling you a liar because you're a liar.

Now, the other option you have is to "back the fuck off" and acknowledge that you're not going to win this little pissing contest you're trying to goad me (and others) into, so put that little dick of yours back in your Sponge Bob underwear and start talking some sense, boy.

Godless Randall said...

If neither of those seemingly logical extensions of your claims are not logical, feel free to demonstrate why they aren't.

i did and you're not listening

1 you said

This standard, carried to its logical end, appears to dictate no one is qualified to either judge who is deserving of or mete out ill treatment, which means the point of contention holds about as much water as a bottomless cup.

no, that's not ^carried to its logical end^ all i said was that people AREN"T ALWAYS qualified

you carried the statement to its illogical end by misconstruing my words to mean what they didn't

2 ^irrefutable evidence^ is relevant in science, history, logic, philosophy and all sorts of places not just courts of law. so it's not logical to interpret as only courts of law

I'm calling you a liar because you're a liar.

fuck you

so put that little dick of yours back in your Sponge Bob underwear and start talking some sense, boy.

right. now we see what it's really about. get a life you pathetic excuse for a rational atheist

no wonder theists don't take you seriously

Tyler said...

Godless Randall: (Tyler: If neither of those seemingly logical extensions of your claims are not logical, feel free to demonstrate why they aren't.)

i did...


No, you didn't.

Godless Randall: you carried the statement to its illogical end by misconstruing my words to mean what they didn't

You've yet to demonstrate how the end(s) was(were) illogical. All you've done is accused me of misconstruing your words.

Godless Randall: fuck you

Is it in yet?

Godless Randall: right. now we see what it's really about. get a life you pathetic excuse for a rational atheist

Man, all this iron-y...

I wouldn't get too close to a strong magnet if I were you...

Godless Randall said...

You've yet to demonstrate how the end(s) was(were) illogical. All you've done is accused me of misconstruing your words.

bullshit. i said we're not always qualified to judge. taking that to mean anything different than it means is illogical. so when you come back with

This standard, carried to its logical end, appears to dictate no one is qualified to either judge who is deserving of or mete out ill treatment,

you're totally illogical. it wasn't a standard and it doesn't dictate anything other than ^we're not always qualified^

consider what we mean when we say

^he's not always a dick^

that means ^he^ is ^usually^ a dick, but not always

so then ^not always qualified^ to judge means ^usually^ qualified to judge, but not always

let my ^not always qualified^ = P
let your ^no one is qualified^ = Q

you evaluate P as Q therefore commit illogic

if this is supposed to be some sort of ^test^ then i can respect that, otherwise fuck off & let me live

Tyler said...

Godless Randall: i said we're not always qualified to judge. taking that to mean anything different than it means is illogical.

What's illogical is ignoring logical extensions of what your half baked claim can be taken to mean.

Godless Randall: you're totally illogical. it wasn't a standard.. and it doesn't dictate anything other than ^we're not always qualified^

Translation: "The more I repeat these unsubstantiated claims, the truer they become."

Godless Randall: ^he's not always a dick^

that means ^he^ is ^usually^ a dick, but not always


So, "not always" can't mean, "seldom," "occasionally," "less oft than not," etc.

Equivocate much?

Godless Randall: you evaluate P as Q...

You claim we're not always qualified - pointing out logical extensions of that claim and asking you to logically illustrate when we ARE qualified is no more equating P with Q than asking you to logically illustrate when it's okay to lie if you were to claim, "It's not always okay to lie."

Liar.

Godless Randall: fuck off & let me live

I'm sorry. I didn't realize I'd chained you to the floor and forced you to post here.

Anonymous said...

"Godless Randall said...
Why not?

insufficient intelligence combined with the vast preponderance of evidence suggesting homo sapiens are terribly biased decision makers. not to mention we're just plain wrong a lot of the time

When are "we" fit to judge who deserves punishment? (Who is "we"?)

no black and white answer but in the presence of irrefutable evidence would seem as good a starting point as any

If we're not always fit to judge who deserves punishment, then who is?

that we're not always fit to judge who deserves punishment doesn't suggest that anybody is"

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

Well guess that finally sets matters straight.Your line of thinking seems to tend to agree with the fact there is really no real good reason for having confidence in a ancient book written by rather harsh superstitious uneducated barbarian goat herders.

That you also seem to agree "we're not always fit to judge" tends to also suggest that you would also agree morality is very much far more likely to be relative to human thought.