I thank you for your honest response.
My principal thought is that you claim to be an atheist and yet you don't live like it. You can't. Your conscience is screaming at you that true injustice and evil exist in the world. But if atheism is true, there's no such thing as Overriding Cosmic Objective Justice or Good. There's just what you think, what I think, and what happens. If I think vanilla ice cream is tasty and you think it's disgusting, and you decide to kill me over that quarrel, so what? You just shortened my existence by ~50 years. In the course of eternal heat death, which is where the universe is heading if atheism is true, that means nothing. You changed the configuration of my molecules, reduced the gene pool by one more weak set of genes who couldn't defend itself, rid the world of my mouth to feed, my thirst to satisfy, my carbon footprint. You probably toughened up my children by making them adapt to their environment more rudely and quickly than otherwise; they now have to defend themselves at a younger age. And that makes the race last longer. So what, so what, so what?
All men are simply bags of protoplasm trying to pass on our genes to the next generation, if atheism is true. And in fact, all high-sounding but empty platitudes of "we can rise above our genes" (as expressed by Dick Dawk in the last chapter or two of The Selfish Gene and echoed ad infinitum by many others) aside, given that "rising" and "above" are moral statements and atheism offers no foundation by which we can know objectively good morality from objectively bad morality nor a telos or purpose toward which we should aspire, I don't see why rape (as long as you're strong and clever enough not to get caught) wouldn't in fact confer an evolutionary advantage on the rapist. Each agent in an evolutionary scheme is motivated to pass his genes on to the next generation, and in this competition, agents vying against each other, the stronger tend to emerge and tend to pass on their genes more successfully. "Advancing" and "evolving" is the closest an evolutionary atheist will get to a telos, and impregnating dozens of females (as opposed to, say, one) is probably a successful strategy. Do you criticise dogs in heat for their willingness to jump on anything that moves that is approximately dog-sized?This was my response:
But deep down you know that's not true, and that's why you express outrage over evil. Now, take the next logical step. Admit that atheism has nothing to offer, that you cannot be consistent if atheism is true, and that you have committed wrong things. Then ask yourself why you think you've done wrong, why you think you feel guilt. It's not b/c guilt is an evolved mechanism - for what purpose? Please! Rather, it was put there by God Himself to turn you to Him to ask Him for forgiveness and mercy! You can't be the ultimate foundation for morality, and you can't show me one unless it be God Himself. He commands you to repent, or you will be judged for your wrongdoing. But if you repent, He will forgive and give you eternal life, for free, b/c He has already paid the judgment that you so richly deserve. I pray you will do so.
Begging the question in favour of naturalism is but one tool in the atheists' repertoire ;)
In all seriousness, if you were that concerned, why would you have failed to post back? You had ample time, and have been active since then....
Well, w/e. Regardless, you have been honest and I appreciate that. I will go through and point out the things I took issue with, and I hope you will, if you happen to agree with anything I said, actually attenuate your conceptions, as many theists seem not to do in my experience. (Of course, atheists do the same).
I find intellectual honesty to be very important, and a lack thereof to be very irritating, so when someone like Ray Comfort is corrected on a point, and then you see him reiterate his original statement over and over and over despite being corrected numerous times, in order to maintain his strawman status quo.....it's grating.
I myself have had to correct misconceptions on my part. For example, concerning the historicity of Jesus, or the whole Horus thing. I expect others to do the same, otherwise, I won't discuss with them any further.
....Okay, tangent aside, here goes:
And again, as I said to you previously, this is a specifics issue, not a presuppositionalist thing. We're coming from polar opposite places here, and neither one of us is likely to change the others' mind, but we can come to agreements on certain specifics.
...Sorry...I'm a tangent freak....
"I thank you for your honest response.Amazing presumption, but let's move on as you are working towards something.
My principal thought is that you claim to be an atheist and yet you don't live like it."
"But if atheism is true, there's no such thing as Overriding Cosmic Objective Justice or Good. There's just what you think, what I think, and what happens. If I think vanilla ice cream is tasty and you think it's disgusting, and you decide to kill me over that quarrel, so what? You just shortened my existence by ~50 years."Do you think I actually think killing you is acceptable because I do not believe that there is a god?
Do you really, really think that?
You want to talk about question begging, but that's exactly what you are doing. Why is it, exactly, that the existence of a god=morality, but the lack of said existence=immorality/amorality/anarchy?
You are also just making arguments from perceived consequence, but failing to argue TRUTH, and that's the issue here. Not which is more comfortable, but which is TRUE.
" In the course of eternal heat death, which is where the universe is heading if atheism is true, that means nothing."....Uh, no. Heat death is a reality if the science is correct (which it seems to be). This is irrespective of the truth of theistic claims.
"You changed the configuration of my molecules, reduced the gene pool by one more weak set of genes who couldn't defend itself, rid the world of my mouth to feed, my thirst to satisfy, my carbon footprint. You probably toughened up my children by making them adapt to their environment more rudely and quickly than otherwise; they now have to defend themselves at a younger age. And that makes the race last longer.I'm actually insulted here. Do you think I have no compassion? No love? No concern? No empathy? No sympathy? You said I did this and I did that, but what about destroying a family? Robbing them, and you, of experiences, both together and apart? Impoverishing the lives of people around you?
So what, so what, so what?"
Come on man.....
"All men are simply bags of protoplasm trying to pass on our genes to the next generation, if atheism is true."So? You're getting dangerously close to revealing that the problem is atheism CAN'T be true, because you cannot accept such a reality.
Also, a naturalistic view of life does not preclude one from emotion, value, etc. We are what you just stated, but we're also sentient, feeling, loving, hating, fighting, working, stealing, etc etc creatures.
A computer or a painting are no less wonderful because we understand how they work.
"atheism offers no foundation by which we can know objectively good morality from objectively bad morality nor a telos or purpose toward which we should aspire...."NOT. THE. JOB. OF. ATHEISM. That is outside the scope of atheism. Atheism is the lack of a belief in god(s). That's it. You are attacking it for not offering things that you claim religion offers, WHEN IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO.
"Do you criticize dogs in heat for their willingness to jump on anything that moves that is approximately dog-sized?"Do dogs have the same cognitive faculties we do? Do they understand morality, consequence, etc the same way we do? Do they have the same social dynamics as we do?
Come on man....
"Admit that atheism has nothing to offer"Okay. It doesn't offer a thing. Your point? It's not supposed to. You might as well say that I must admit that typing this response to you does not increase the size of my deltoids.
Atheism is not a comprehensive system of beliefs, edicts, tenets, etc. It does not prescribe any one moral or other understanding to anyone, save for that one critical point: Any understanding of the world is a godless one.
Your main problem seems to be that a godless world means a world of relative and subjective morality.
That's what we have, and that's what we see.
And I ask you.....So?
We are still able to continually work towards bettering society, and we have seen this as we have progressed. In fact, it is secular morality that has dragged religion kicking and screaming into a more advanced morality.
You imply that a god=objective morality. Why? If it is coming from a sentient being, it is subjective by nature. At least it seems that way to me on the surface, but I suppose you could say that your god is omniscient and therefore his morality is objective because he knows/has all of the available.....data....for lack of a better word.
Then again, he created that data/the rules....how objective is that? I don't know, I don't feel too strong on this point, and it is not something I have considered much. I am sure you probably have a good response to it.
Here's my main point: You seem to be arguing not only strawmen, but you seem to be making emotional appeals and arguing that atheism cannot be true because of perceived unacceptable implications. What you are NOT doing is arguing truth. You are not providing evidence for the existence of your god. You can point out all of the problems (legit or not) with atheism until you are blue in the face, but until you have provided evidence that not only a god, but your god, exists, you have done nothing but made an emotional argument from incredulity. "I cannot accept this, there must be more." You are doing what the intelligent design people do. Try to attack evolutionary theory because they are operating under this idea that disproving one proves the other. This is a false dichotomy. It's also not how evidence and proof work. You don't get to attack one opposing idea and then insert your own. You must meet the demands of the burden of proof and PROVE YOUR CASE.
Maybe you should embrace reality and learn that we can work towards making the best of this, and we need not have a cosmic overseer to keep us in line. You can argue that we're just bags of protoplasm here for a finite amount of time and therefore nothing matters, but I say to you that rather than measuring meaning in duration, you should measure it in depth and effect.
For example, I am 28. My wife is 28. Our 2 min pins are 6 and 3. Our daughter is almost 2. If we assume a life span of 15 years for the miniature pinschers, 75 years for us and our daughter, (I know, females>males but sake of argument) my wonderful wife and I have 9 years left with Rocky, 12 years left with Maya, 47 years with Hannah, and 47 more years with each other (this is all barring early death, divorce, etc).
Now, do you really think I could, would, or should say that "oh well, I only have 9 years left with Rocky, and then he will die, so what's the point? Might as well kill him now! Ditto for the rest of them too, since they are all going to die. Maybe I should just kill everyone, since it's all so finite and therefore pointless.
Do you see how a simple deconstruction of your logic to its' bizarre implications (reductio ad absurdum, to be pretentious and precise)reveals how silly what you said is?
Is that kiss any less wonderful because it ended? Is that song worthless because the enjoyment of it ends when the song ends? Is a happy 60 year marriage a fruitless endeavour because it ends?
Or are these things MORE important and enjoyable BECAUSE they do not last forever? Perhaps we should cherish what we have precisely because it will one day be gone?
Tell me, have you ever recalled fondly a book you read, a friendship you once had, a compliment someone gave you, because of the joy it brought you? If so...why? Weren't they meaningless and pointless because they ended?
Now, let me ask you a question.
If you found out tomorrow that there was in fact no god, would you sudden;y throw away all of your morality and do all of the things you stated here (rape, murder, etc). Is the only thing stopping you from being an immoral, hideous person the guy watching you from upstairs and the idea of eternal life?
I certainly hope not. If, however, it is, please remain a believer forever, and if you ever do become an atheist, move to a remote island and live alone.
Also, you make this case that atheism leads to this that and the other thing......yet this is not what reality shows us. Why, then, if you think these things, do you not see atheists doing all of these things en masse, in record numbers? Why are modern, majority atheistic nations so healthy by all of the various markers (crime rates, health, gdp, happiness, etc)? Why aren't these countries in total chaos? Why is it that the most religious nations are often the most unstable?, least happy and healthy, have the most crime, etc?
Have you ever actually researched the origins and development of morality? Have you read any of the work on moral behaviour in infants? Morality is something that is ingrained within us, and it starts to manifest at a VERY young age. Infants demonstrate moral behaviour, and they also demonstrate a proclivity to want to associate, and identify with, moral agents as opposed to immoral ones. This has been demonstrated in psychological research.
We are moral by nature. And the reasons why are pretty obvious. We are a species that RELIES on co-operation and communal living to succeed. And in order for us to not die off, in order for us to work together, we need to you know, not kill eachother and take eachothers' stuff. Is there a selfish component to this? Of course. The gene proliferation stuff you alluded to in your comment is true, however, you have a flawed understanding of it. Morality does not contradict the genetic component of evolution, it is imperative to it. Those who work together get more done, engender good will and subsequent future reciprocation (there's your selfish aspect of it) and have better survival rates. 1 human vs. a lion in the time before guns (and possibly still) equalled 1 dead human and no food for the family. 5 humans vs said lion equalled food for all and the chance to spend another day trying to ensure those genes of yours get passed on and survive to the point of their own passage.
Ever notice how moral behaviour increases standing amongst potential mates? Another way in which morality enhances the survival of the fittest vs detracting from it. Survival of the fittest is not this old school strong man wins over the weak man thing. At least, not entirely, and especially not in social groups that rely on social dynamics and co-operation to survive (like humans).
Overall, the fundamental problem with your comment is that you aren't demonstrating that there is a god. All you are doing is demonstrating that reality scares you. As I stated a few paragraphs back, you don't get to attack one opposing idea and then insert your own. You must meet the demands of the burden of proof and PROVE YOUR CASE. Until then, I am axiomatically correct in being an atheist. I do not accept a proposition until it is proven to be true. Until then, I hold the position that, without further evidence to the positive, the claim is false. If new evidence is revealed, my position will change accordingly.
Oh, before I conclude, let me briefly respond to the proselytizing part of your comment.
“But deep down you know that's not true,”Again, amazing presumption for someone who does not even know me.
“Now, take the next logical step. Admit that atheism has nothing to offer, that youOkay, for fun I will go with this. Atheism has nothing to offer...duh, it's not suppose- ah, sorry, just supposed to run with it...Okay, atheism has nothing to offer. Atheism renders me inconsistent. I have committed wrongs.
cannot be consistent if atheism is true, and that you have committed wrong things.”
“Then ask yourself why you think you've done wrong.”Depends on the wrong. Mostly because I am human, and therefore fallible.
“Ask yourself why you think you feel guilt. It's not b/cDo you have evidence of this? Or are you just committing a bare assertion fallacy and contradicting the psychological research into guilt, shame, social attractiveness, altruism, etc that exists? Let me give you a hint. It's number two. Again, you're just asserting things, contradicting knowledge, and providing no evidence. Guilt is a manifestation of the failing, on our part, to live up to societal, personal, and interpersonal expectations, and the basis for it, as is the basis for other feelings like pride, is in the brain (specifically the neocortex). Guilt modifies behaviour in asuch a way that it promotes moral, altrusitic, etc behaviour, and it also increases survival by 'keeping us in line.' No guilt=more bad behaviour which=more retaliation, less cohesion, and evolutionary disadvantage.
guilt is an evolved mechanism - for what purpose? Please! Rather, it was put there by
God Himself to turn you to Him to ask Him for forgiveness and mercy!”
And yet again, you are not providing evidence for your claims. Please! is not a good argument, and it is certainly not evidence.
“You can't be the ultimate foundation for morality, and you can't show me one unless it be God Himself. He commands you to repent, or you will be judged for your wrongdoing. But if you repent, He will forgive and give you eternal life, for free, b/c He has already paid the judgementMany other religions make similar claims. How do you know they are not correct? How do I know which of you to believe?
that you so richly deserve. I pray you will do so.”
I need evidence, otherwise it's just empty words.
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