Turek and Geisler Say 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist' But They Believe in God's Morality and the Bible

Front Cover (Amazon)
Front Cover (Amazon)

Christian Authors Claim to Prove God

"I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist", jointly proclaim Christian authors Frank Turek and Norman L Geisler ~ but they do have faith in their ability to prove the existence of God.

Turek and Geisler believe in a theistic God ~ the God, whom they find in the Bible.

Turek and Geisler also believe in 'objective morality', and that this is evidence, which can help them to prove that God really is there ~ a 'morally perfect' God!

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But, are they right?!

Does 'objective morality' exist?

Is the God of the Bible the epitome of moral perfection?

Does God exist?

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Let us consider the supposed evidence and the apparent proofs; the ideas, theories, opinions, beliefs, etc; the arguments set forth by Turek and Geisler.

Frank Turek and Norman L. Geisler say:

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist' - From Amazon

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

Paperback ~ Published 2004 ~ Written by Frank Turek and Norman L. Geisler

 

Frank Turek and Norman Geisler - Christian Authors, Debators, Presenter

Frank Turek and Norman Geisler are co-authors of the book: 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist'. (The foreword is written by David Limbaugh.)

Both men take part in theological debates and Frank Turek also delivers presentations, based upon their book, where he provides their 'evidence' for the existence of God.

This evidence comes in several parts, but he concentrates on three of them: cosmological, teleological (both scientific arguments) and moral (a philosophical argument).

In their book, Turek and Geisler devote an entire chapter to the general subject of 'morality': 'Mother Teresa vs. Hitler'.

Turek and Geisler cover a huge area of theological philosophy in their work ~ far too much to cover here.

This article deals with morality:

~ Philosophical moral arguments for the existence of God.

~ General opinions on morality

~ Other Christian arguments and opinions on the subject of morality.

Some relevant videos are available below.

Amazon Cover
Amazon Cover
Paperback Oxford English Dictionary
Paperback Oxford English Dictionary

Author: Catherine Soanes ~ Published: 2006

 

'Morals' in the Oxford Dictionary

Let us first look at the definitions, uses and etymology of the word 'moral' ~ as given by the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.

1. Morality is 'concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour'.

2. Morality is 'concerned with, or derived from, the code of behaviour that is considered right or acceptable in a particular society'. It relates to 'the nature of ethics'.

The word comes from the Latin term 'moralis' ~ from 'mor', meaning 'custom'.

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/moral

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Is morality a code of behaviour related to society and customs ~ or is it based on God and / or religion'?

Apparently, we do not need the Bible to know right from wrong - but it contains many rules and commands!

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Front Cover

Christian Morality: According to Turek, How Does Morality Prove God?

Here are some of Turek's assertions, from the 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist' video:

'There is moral evidence for God'

'Everyone knows basic right from wrong.' **

'There's no way to know what evil is, if you don't know what good is, and there is no standard of good, unless there is a standard beyond yourself'

'God's unchanging moral nature is the standard of measurement'

'You don't need the Bible to know right from wrong ... it is written on your heart ... It comes from God'.

To summarise ~ Turek's 'moral argument for the existence of God':

1. Every law has a law giver
2. There is an objective moral law.
3. Therefore there is an objective moral law giver

Since 'every prescription has a prescriber', the existence of objective morality points to the existence of God ~ a personal God, who might be 'sinned against' ~ because 'moral obligation has to be personal'.

** With regard to 'everyone knowing basic right from wrong', Turek and Geisler note that our reactions to eventualities help us to identify right and wrong. This seems to be true. It is, indeed, easier to identify something harmful and 'bad' ~ wrong or immoral ~ if one can empathise with the person who is suffering. Thus empathy can help our sense of morality to develop.

It does not logically follow, however, to say that 'moral Law is revealed in our reactions'.

Rather, our reactions may result from empathy, which may then affect our moral development, causing us to develop moral standards.

For Turek and Geisler, though, this ability to ~ apparently instinctively ~ know right from wrong indicates that 'theism' is real and true.

But, as Turek, himself, asks: 'Which theism is true?'

Theism: The Beliefs of Turek and Geisler

Turek and Geisler accept 'Theism' ~ but what do they mean by this?

They believe in God, as described in the Bible ~ the Monotheistic God, found in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Trinity, discovered in The Gospels, etc.

They consider both the Old Testament and the New Testament to be true.

Turek and Geisler state that they have been 'conducting a seminar .... [where they] proceed logically .... all the way to the conclusion that the Bible is the Word of God."

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These quotes clarify their opinions / beliefs:

Quotes from Turek & Geisler's Book:

~ 'We claim that there is strong evidence supporting Christianity.'

~ 'It is true that the theistic God exists'

~ 'We believe that the evidence ... shows that the Bible is true beyond reasonable doubt.'

Quotes from Turek (in Turek v Hitchens video):

~ 'I .. carry the cross for theism.'

~ 'Reality is best explained by theism.'

~ 'I think that the evidence we see all around us, and within us, leads to a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, personal, powerful, intelligent, moral creator ~ ie a theistic God.'

What Else Does Frank Turek Say?

As noted, Frank Turek claims that 'without God', there can be 'no objective morality' ~ and it is this 'objective morality' which, apparently, points to the existence of God.

A lack of 'objective morality' would mean that:

~ 'there is nothing wrong with ... anything'.

~ Unless God exists, there is nothing wrong with murder, racism, slavery, rape, child abuse, theft, etc.

Without God, Turek indicates, one might opine that these are 'sad, inconvenient', etc, but this would only be an opinion; they could not be considered 'objectively morally wrong''.

Turek claims that the reason that 'we know they are wrong' is ' because there's a God'.

He comments that 'If there is no God, then you cannot say that the holocaust was objectively wrong' ~ it would just be one opinion against Hitler's opinion. 'If there is no objective morality, then Nazism is not wrong'.

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Geisler and Turek, in Appendix Two of their book: write: '... the supreme moral obligation is love ~ not tolerance ... ... sometimes love requires you to be intolerant. For example wouldn't it be unloving to tolerate murder, rape, theft or racism?'

Moral Perfection

More Turek quotes:

God is 'absolutely morally perfect ~ and personal'.

'If we were perfect we wouldn't need Christ'

'Men love darkness rather than light'

'We need a saviour.'

When he talks about God, he is talking about the God described in the Bible.

Remember:

~ Geisler and Turek consider God to be 'absolutely morally perfect.'

God Creates Man (Adam) - Michelangelo

Sistine Chapel. Painting: 1510 ~ photography: 11/06/2011. Public domain ~ copyright expired. This is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art.  See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:God2-Sistine_Chapel.png
Sistine Chapel. Painting: 1510 ~ photography: 11/06/2011. Public domain ~ copyright expired. This is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:God2-Sistine_Chapel.png | Source

Evil - and God

Some disbelievers say that God cannot exist, because, if he did, (and God is good, and God is love, and God is the creator, and God is omnipotent, omniscient, etc) then surely he could not allow for evil within his creation. (Indeed, if he is the all-powerful creator, then mustn't he have created evil?!) The conclusion must be that, since there is evil within the world, then God cannot exist.

Turek disagrees. He claims that 'evil doesn't disprove God'.

To repeat an earlier quote:

"There's no way to know what evil is, if you don't know what good is, and there is no standard of good, unless there is a standard beyond yourself".

We should infer, from Turek, that, since society and individuals do know, and recognise, the difference between good and evil, then there must be 'an objective standard of good' ~ an 'objective morality'. This moral standard has to be God. Thus, God must exist and God must be the fount of all morality.

According to this logic, 'evil' does not disprove the existence of God ~ but, rather, it actually proves his existence.

Evil and God

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

By Christopher Hitchens ~ Paperback ~ Published 2009

 
Is Christianity Good for the World?
Is Christianity Good for the World?

By Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson

 

Evil - and (Atheist) Christopher Hitchens

Since there is 'no morality without God', Turek argues that 'there can't be evil without God'.

He mentions that the atheist, Christopher Hitchens, claims that 'religion is evil'. (Turek quotes Hitchens using terms such as 'divine tyranny' and 'celestial dictator'.)

Turek implies that, since an acceptance of 'evil' indicates an acceptance of 'God', then it makes no sense for an atheist to state that anything at all can be 'evil'.

Thus, Hitchens must be 'borrowing from Christianity'.

(Hitchen's works include the book: 'God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything'.)

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Christopher Hitchens: "Religion gets its morality from humans"

Christians, Atheists and Morality

Many Christians claim that there is no morality without God ~ thus atheists cannot be moral people. They may ask how, and why, atheists behave decently, when they do not believe in God.

Alternatively, other Christians may assure us that atheists can behave well, but only because they have a God-given conscience ~ thus, even atheistic morality originates with God.

Too many Christians ~ and other believers ~ are convinced that it is not possible for atheists to be moral. This is not true ~ atheists are perfectly capable of being moral human beings.

Those Christians, who do not already do so, need to acknowledge that Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality.

Turek and Geisler Accept Atheist Morality ~ But ...

Frank Turek accepts that:

~ Atheists do know what morality is.

~ Atheists can be moral.

So, if Turek accepts that atheists, who, self-evidently, do not believe in the existence of God, can be as moral as any Christian, then what is the explanation for his (and Geisler's) argument that the existence of morality proves the existence of God?!

Turek believes that, while atheists can, indeed, be moral, they 'can't justify morality, because they have no objective standard' ~ that is, 'atheists have no moral justification.'

Apparently, atheists 'can argue about how we know what is wrong', but this 'doesn't tell us why it is wrong'. They can 'theorize about how we know murder is wrong', but 'atheism provides no immaterial objective standard' as to 'why murder is wrong'.

Geisler agrees: "You can be moral, but you cannot justify that morality', because, for atheists, there is no 'ultimate moral prescriber'." [Dr Norman L Geisler in debate with Dr Paul Kurtz]

Thus, according to Turek and Geisler, atheists ~ without any 'objective standard of morality' (God) ~ cannot, logically, explain or justify who or what is morally right or wrong ~ or why.

The 'objective standard of morality' exists, but atheists either reject it, or are unaware of it. Atheists can live by it, but without realising, or accepting, that it is, supposedly, evidence of the very God, whom they cannot, or will not, accept.

These quotes, from Turek, illustrate what he appears to see as the atheist enigma.

Without God, 'what authority tells us that murder is wrong?'

'How do you get morality from materialism?'

'Why is murder wrong, if there is no God' ~ 'if there is no standard'?

'Why not kill everybody, if there is no God'?

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Is it true, that atheists may be moral, but that they don't know why they are moral?

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: 'Morality Without God?'

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is a Duke University Professor of Practical Ethics.

Two of his books are available from Amazon:
~ Morality Without God? (Philosophy in Action)
~ Moral Skepticisms

This excerpt is from a 'Publishers Weekly' review about the book: 'Morality Without God? ' ~ Quoted on Amazon:

'Sinnott-Armstrong defends nonbelief from accusations of immorality, both at the individual and the societal level by considering surveys and statistics on homicide, discrimination and charity, among other categories.'

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Walter Sinnott-Armstrong ~ quoted from 'Morality Without God?':
"There really is no question of morality without God. There is just plain morality"

Just Morality

Origins of Atheistic Morality - Objective? Or Merely Opinion?

Where does atheist morality come from, if not from God?

'How do atheists know what is moral?' asks Turek ~ and he wonders whether the answer is supposed to be 'society'? Or 'evolution'? Or 'Grandparents'?'

Either way, Turek claims that, without God, 'morality' is not 'objective' ~ it is merely human 'opinion'.

We have already noted this example:

'If there is no God, then you cannot say that the holocaust was objectively wrong' ~ this is just one person's opinion against another's ~ Hitler's.

Turek's conclusion seems to be that one can have an opinion on the subject of morality, but, without God, one cannot 'know who or what is morally right or wrong?'

Ie. It is opinion versus knowledge ~ in the opinion of Turek and Geisler

Turek, Geisler, Morality and Atheism

While Turek and Geisler do acknowledge that Atheists have morals, they still ask 'why?'.

They believe that atheists cannot justify morality ~ because they do not acknowledge God as a higher external objective standard of morality ~ and they wonder: 'why shouldn't people murder, rape, steal to get what they want, if there is nothing beyond this world?"'

It is interesting to note that Turek and Geisler ask why atheists shouldn't / don't commit serious crimes, just because they do not believe in an afterlife.

This, quite clearly, illustrates that these two authors have no real comprehension of morality ~ certainly not of atheistic morality.

One also has to question whether it really is true, that atheists cannot justify morality, simply because they do not accept / believe in God?

Moral atheists are concerned about not causing harm; not causing distress; not making the world a sadder or more traumatic place for their fellow men.

Why would decent human beings want to murder, rape, or steal from their fellow humans, simply because they do not buy into a specific myth?

This is tantamount to saying that it is bizarre that Christians don't do certain things, since they don't believe in Odin or Apollo.

It is not bizarre that Nordic, or ancient Roman, religion is irrelevant to the lives and behaviours of modern Christians.

Similarly, it is not bizarre that Christian opinions are irrelevant to atheists.

Atheistic morality is not concerned with Christian beliefs. Heaven is an irrelevance to them. They do not need God as a justification for morality ~ they have their own ways of justifying their behaviour, based on 'social evolution' and intelligent and empathetic thought.

Atheists are certainly not seeking obscure ways to prove the existence of God. Atheists do not believe in God, so they have no interest in proving his existence.

They 'know' that they can be moral, without God ~ and the statistics prove them right! Surely this is proof against the belief, held by many Christians, that, without a belief in God, there can be no morality?

Paul Kurtz

Front Cover (Amazon)
Front Cover (Amazon)

Paul Kurtz on Morality and Secular Humanism

Some Quotes:

Paul Kurtz: "Secular humanists are generally nonreligious, yet they are also good citizens, loving parents and decent people.

"They look to science, the secular arts and literature for their inspiration, not religion. They point out that religious belief is no guarantee of moral probity ..."

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Paul Kurtz: "The ethics of secular humanism traces its roots back to the beginnings of Western civilization in Greece and Rome ..."

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Paul Kurtz: “How can you be ethical if you do not believe in God?” protests the believer. Perhaps such a person should enroll in an elementary course in ethics .."

http://cfidc.wordpress.com/2008/12/02/paul-kurtz-on-morality-without-religion/

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Book Review ~ Re: 'Forbidden Fruit', from 'Library Journal', on Amazon:


'The ethics of humanism is "forbidden fruit" because it is knowledge of good and evil without God as a grounding principle.'

Re: 'Forbidden Fruit', from About.com


'Paul Kurtz ... has made a case that neither religion nor theism are vital for the existence of a good life. ... 'Forbidden Fruit' contains his most extensive arguments on the subject. He covers issues like the value of theistic morality, the existence of basic moral principles, and the meaning of life itself.

"~ Explains how ethical thinking does not require theism or a god
"~ Explains how theistic ethics is not as solid as supporters claim ...';

http://atheism.about.com/od/bookreviews/fr/ForbiddenFruit.htm

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Who was Paul Kurtz?

Paul Kurtz (1925 - 2012) was a university-educated American skeptic and secular humanist. (He gained his PhD at Columbia). Indeed, he was known as 'the father of secular humanism' and was given the International Humanist Award.

Writer, publisher, teacher, founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and important member of various other associations, he was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Kurtz

Secular Humanism

Atheists Justifying Morality: Why are Atheists Good?

If it is impossible to justify morality, without God, and atheists do not believe in God, then the obvious conclusion would be that atheists could not justify morality.

Indeed, this is what Turek and Geisler claim.

How and why would morality seem right to someone, who cannot justify acting morally?

Perhaps some atheists can justify their morality, but just not to the satisfaction of Turek and Geisler?

Perhaps some atheists really are unable to justify their morality. But does it matter, if someone is not a proficient moral philosopher, provided s/he behaves in a moral manner?

Obviously, morality can and does exist and thrive, without a belief in God.

Of course, believers could ~ and do ~ argue that both God, and Godly morality, exist, with or without the belief of atheists.

Turek and Geisler have to believe that morality is objective and can be justified, because it is this moral justification that they claim as proof of God's existence.

But does morality really prove that God's exists?

Christopher Hitchens

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Christopher_Hitchens_crop.jpg
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Christopher_Hitchens_crop.jpg | Source

Morality and the Atheist: Christopher Hitchens

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS:

" ..,. Our species would not have survived ... if we didn't have, as well as many selfish instincts, the need ~ and often for our own sake ~ to be of use to others, to combine with them, to take an interest in them, to care for them, and to worry when they're in pain.

"No supernatural authority .... is required for this. Morality comes from us ~ religion claims to have invented it on our behalf."

Continue reading on Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/messianic-jewish-in-national/christopher-hitchens-on-good-samaritan-and-god-free-morality-part-1-of-2#ixzz1XSQuT1ZK

Human Morality

Sam Harris

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The permission for use of this work has been verified and archived in the Wikimedia OTRS system. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Source: Laurence Boyce ~ Author: Unknown See: http://en.wi | Source

Morality and the Atheist - Sam Harris

Well known atheist, Sam Harris, believes that science can tell us a lot about values and morals.

Sam Harris:

"Human well-being is not a random phenomenon. It depends on many factors ~ ranging from genetics and neurobiology to sociology and economics.

"But, clearly, there are scientific truths to be known about how we can flourish in this world. Wherever we can act so as to have an impact on the well-being of others, questions of morality apply."

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Richard Dawkins ~ re the work of Sam Harris:

"I was one of those who had unthinkingly bought into the hectoring myth that science can say nothing about morals.

"To my surprise, 'The Moral Landscape' has changed all that for me. It should change it for philosophers too. ...

"As for religion, and the preposterous idea that we need God to be good, nobody wields a sharper bayonet than Sam Harris."

[Quotes from Amazon.com]

Christian Morality?

Morality and the Atheist - Richard Dawkins: Modern Morality Does Not come from Religion.

Richard Dawkins:

"If you look at the moralities that are accepted among 21st century people, we don't believe in slavery any more, we believe in equality of women, we believe in being gentle, we believe in being kind to animals.

"These are all things which are entirely recent ... They are things that have developed over historical time, through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. These do not come from religion."

[Quoted from a video ~ see below]

Charles Darwin

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Public Domain. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Darwin_seated_crop.jpg | Source

'Darwinism' and Atheism

For some reason, many Christians choose to bring Darwin and 'Darwinism' into discussions on morality. (I do not find the term 'Darwinist' useful or helpful. I prefer 'evolutionist'.)

In their book, 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist', the authors ask: 'The Moral Law: What Do Darwinists say?'

I would not expect evolutionists to say very much at all, because they would not, surely, consider this subject to be very relevant to their studies. Indeed, Turek and Geisler affirm, unsurprisingly, that 'most Darwinists avoid the subject completely'.

Edward O Wilson has some opinions to offer, though ~ Geisler and Turek note: 'Wilson says that social morals have evolved because those 'co-operative' morals helped humans survive together'.

Humans seem to have a survival instinct ~ if not for themselves, personally, then for their genes.

Though they acknowledge that atheists can be, and often are, moral individuals, Turek and Geisler seem to be baffled by the morality of evolutionists: "Darwinists cannot explain why someone should obey any biologically derived 'moral sentiment'.

As noted earlier, they ask 'why shouldn't people murder, rape, steal to get what they want, if there is nothing beyond this world?'

Well, some people do murder, rape and steal, etc. It does happen. Evolutionists and atheists are not the only culprits, however. Indeed, I keep reading that atheists are less likely to commit crimes than are believers. Maybe the believers think that they can simply 'repent' and all will be well, whereas the atheists actually consider the inherent rightness or wrongness of their behaviour.

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We might ask why Christians behave morally.

It is not 'morality', to behave well, in order to gain the rewards of Paradise and avoid rotting or burning for eternity, in hell. That is a combination of fear and self-preservation.

Hitler and Darwin - And Newton!

Is Charles Darwin really particularly relevant to the subject of 'morality'?

Darwin presented a scientific theory ~ the theory of evolution.

Newton also presented a scientific theory ~ the theory of gravity.

Hitler's criminal mind used and abused Darwin's scientific discovery and allowed it to contribute to his cruelty to others ~ and people suffered and died.

Some criminals have dropped heavy objects onto trains and onto people. The trouble-makers know that people could suffer and die as a result. The heavy objects will fall and cause destruction ~ because of the laws of gravity.

Should 'gravity' be blamed? Should Newton be blamed?

Of course not.

Similarly, neither 'evolution', nor Darwin, should be blamed, if a criminal mind abuses the theory of evolution.

Hitler - Cruelty and Evil Personified ~ Atheist or Christian?

Why did Hitler torture Jews and others?

From my reading, it seems to me, that many Christians believe that Hitler's evil crimes sprang from two related (Satanic) sources: he was an Atheist and he was a Darwinist.

The 'Darwinism' aspect is a red herring. Many evolutions exist ~ even Christian ones ~ but they do not attempt genocide. It is not the fault of either Darwin, or evolution, that Hitler's mind appears to have been somewhat warped.

Was Hitler an atheist?

Was Hitler a Christian?

It is hard to tell. One can probably find as many quotes indicating that he was a Christian as there are quotes suggesting that he was an atheist.

Did his possible atheistic tendencies result is his horrific cruelty?

Did his possible Christian tendencies result is his horrific cruelty?

Both questions are equally valid.

Do atheistic tendencies usually result in hurting and killing people?

Not usually. It has been shown that atheists are less likely to be criminals than anyone else.

What about Pol Pot and other tyrannical rulers, you may ask.

Well, many tyrannical rulers are very devoutly religious ~ and many supposedly atheistic tyrannical rulers actually behave as if they were devoutly religious. It is as if they have developed their own new personal extreme religion, with themselves as the god at the centre ~ consider Adolf Hitler's rallies, the adulation, the chanting, etc. After all, rulers being considered god incarnate or, at least, divine is not a rare phenomenon.

So, generally, atheists tend to be moral people, who do not want to hurt others.

Do Christian ~ or other religious ~ tendencies usually result in hurting and killing people?

Perhaps not 'usually', but let us look at the evidence: the Spanish Inquisition; the burning of 'heretics'; the Crusades; the ill-treatment of Jews!!!.

The ill-treatment of Jews!

Throughout history, many Christians condemned and hated Jews. Jews were insulted, forced to convert, expelled from their homes, tortured, burned alive.

Why?

Presumably, because Christians believed that the Jews had crucified their lord. They forgot that Jesus, himself, was a Jew!

One might wonder whether it could have been Hitler's Roman Catholic Christian upbringing, which caused him to hate Jews ~ even if Darwin's writings gave him some ideas as to what he should do about it.

I understand that there is another suggestion, which has little to do with religion at all ~ that, for some reason, Hitler considered that the Jews should be blamed for Germany being defeated in the First World War.

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Hitler and Roman Catholicism

Here is a quote from 'Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII' ~ by John Cornwell':

On April 20, 1939, Archbishop Orsenigo celebrated Hitler's birthday. The celebrations, initiated by Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) became a tradition. Each April 20, Cardinal Bertram of Berlin was to send "warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany" and added with "fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars."

Hitler?

Hitler and Mother Teresa

Apparently, we should all recognise, easily, that Hitler was 'bad' and that Mother Teresa was 'good.

This is why Turek and Geisler have related their chapter on morality specifically to these two individuals.

However, Christopher Hitchens seems to question Mother Teresa's morality. This shows that 'goodness' and 'badness' ~ morality ~ may not always be obvious to the beholder.

Turek and Geisler Wonder ...

Relativism

Turek and Geisler:

'If there really is an absolute Moral Law as we have argued, then why so so many people believe that morality is relative?

"And why do so many people appear to have different values?

"Rationally, the reason lies with the failure to make proper distinctions."

***

Apparently, people ....

~ 'confuse what is with what ought to be. What people do is subject to change, but what they ought to do is not'.

~ get confused when looking at 'the absolute moral value, itself', and the known facts alongside which this value is considered for any particular example.

~ confuse the ends with the means.

I assume that these might mean that:

~ while Queen Elizabeth I felt that she had no choice but to have her cousin Mary executed, and thought that this was the right thing to do, it was actually morally wrong.

~ while some courts may have believed that it was morally right to have someone executed for murder, it may have turned out, in some cases, that their information was incorrect and that the victim was innocent. Capital punishment may still be conidered right ~ but only for genuine killers.

~ different people may want the same good moral outcome ~ eg good, decent, well-behaved, children ~ but use different means to reach these ends. One parent may explain right and wrong to their child and get the required result. Another parent may use corporal punishment to achieve their desired result. Both think that they are doing right, but beating a child is actually morally wrong, whatever the situation.

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We should draw the conclusion that what people consider to be morally righteous behaviour may not be morally right, after all. Yet the morally right action / choice was actually there, all along.

The Biblical God - Moral Perfection? - Really?

Turek and Geisler consider morals to be 'absolute', 'unchanging' ~ and God-given, since 'an absolute Moral Law implies an absolute Moral Law Giver'.

They, thus, conclude that God exists ~ and that morality is proof of God's existence.

They believe that God is as described in the Bible and they consider the holy scriptures to be 'true beyond reasonable doubt'.

They believe that God is 'morally perfect' and that his 'unchanging moral nature is the standard of measurement'.

The result is 'an absolute moral obligation', which is 'binding on all people, at all times, in all places'.

When discussing morality, Turek specifically mentions certain obviously heinous crimes ~ including 'murder, rape, child abuse, racism, slavery, theft,' etc.

He believes that, without God's 'objective morality', there would be nothing inherently wrong with any of them.

From this, one should be able to conclude that murder, rape, child abuse, etc are always completely immoral and totally wrong ~ and anathema to God.

Apparently, we humans know that they are wrong, because God makes it clear to us. 'He writes it upon our hearts.'

As well as writing upon men's hearts, God has also written a book.
The Bible is, supposedly, the very word of God.

Since we have access to God's own book ~ the Holy Bible, which is 'true beyond reasonable doubt' ~ we should, surely, be able to find, therein, God's attitude to murder, racism, slavery, etc, etc, etc!

And we can! ~ So let's have a look.

Drunk with Blood - God's Killings in the Bible - Steve Wells

Drunk With Blood: God's Killings in the Bible

Drunk With Blood: God's killings in the Bible
Drunk With Blood: God's killings in the Bible

Author: Steve Wells [see: http://SkepticsAnnotatedBible.com]. Published 2010. Paperback.

 

Murder in the Bible (and Genocide and Baby-Murder)

1 Samuel 15:1-7

God wants the entire Amalekite tribe wiped out ~ and makes a point of saying that children and infants should die by the sword. This would now be classed as genocide ~ murder on a huge scale ~ and particularly immoral and horrific, because of the innocents involved, even, specifically, suckling babies!

As well as murder, this probably includes child abuse, rape, theft and other crimes.

Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley ..... And Saul smote the Amalekites

Baby-Slaughter Ordered by god.

Rape (Kidnap and Murder) in the Bible

2 Samuel 12:11-12
King David's punishment, from God, for killing a man and taking his wife, is for his harem of wives to be publicly raped, and humiliated, in broad daylight:

This is what the LORD says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'

Judges 19:22-27
How about this, from Judges 19?

Now .... certain sons of Belial ... beat at the door ... saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him. And the .. master of the house, went out ..and said unto them, "Nay .. I pray you ... do not this folly". "Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you" ....
... so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning .... and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house ...

****

Judges 21: 10-23

Or this, from Judges 21?

It concerns some 'interesting' behaviour, from God's chosen people, proudly recorded in their scriptures:

They killed almost all members of another tribe ~ including little babies ~ but seized the virgins, who had seen their families murdered, and gave them to strange men, to sleep with them. But there were not enough girls to satisfy all of the men's needs, so they ambushed and kidnapped some more.

And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.

And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.

And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabeshgilead: and yet so they sufficed them not.

Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?

Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel ...

Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught...

Rape Condoned in the Holy Bible

Abraham Sacrificing Isaac

Public domain  ~ 1650. Muse Saint-Denis, Reims. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Abraham.jpg
Public domain ~ 1650. Muse Saint-Denis, Reims. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Abraham.jpg | Source
Public domain  ~ 1635. Hermitage Museum. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_035.jpg
Public domain ~ 1635. Hermitage Museum. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_035.jpg | Source

Child Abuse

Judges 21:10 + 1 Samuel 15:3

This has to be child abuse ~ and child murder!

'Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.'

' ... smite Amalek ... slay both .... infant and suckling ...'

Genesis 22:1-10

And what about the story of Abraham and Isaac?

Abraham ~ who seems to have had a close and special relationship with God ~ was going to sacrifice his beloved son to his Lord ~ on God's orders!

Isaac must have been distraught and terrified. How could he ever trust his father again. This would have been traumatising ~ that is child abuse!

... God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham ... Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest .... and offer him there for a burnt offering ....

And Abraham rose up early in the morning ... and took .... Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering ... and went unto the place of which God had told him. .....

Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

..... And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

God Orders Abraham To Traumatize His Son

Racism in the Bible

Strictly speaking, I understand that the word 'racism' is considered to be largely meaningless ~ since we are all so closely related. However, people know how the word 'racism' is informally used ~ and it is used to denote negative attitudes, or even hatred, towards people, who are from different countries, nations, tribes, cultures, etc. etc.

There are so many tribes mentioned in the Bible, who are hated and fought against, that 'racism' is a regular occurrence.

But what about this?

Numbers 12

There seems to have been sibling unrest over Moses's 'foreign' bride ~ whether she was African Cushite (Ethiopian) or Middle Eastern Cushite:

King James Version:

And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

New International Version:

Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.

Does Racism Rear its Head in the Family of Moses?

Slavery in the Bible

Exodus 20 + 21

Although there are areas in the Bible, where slavery is condemned, there are also areas, where it is condoned. God seems to be condoning it here:

Exodus 20:18-22

.. all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings .. and .. they .. stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us .. but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

Moses said unto the people, Fear not ..... and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. ........

Exodus 21:1-6

Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.

If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.

.. if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges ... and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

Exodus 21:7

There is another 'slavery' rule in Exodus 21:7

... if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

Slavery is Quite Acceptable To God

Theft

Exodus 22:1+3

The Bible does condemn theft ~ which most would class as a much lesser crime than murder, rape, child abuse or slavery:

If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. ........ he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

~ Which brings us back to condoning slavery!

Front Cover (Amazon)
Front Cover (Amazon)

Murder is Wrong

According to Turek and Geisler's book, 'murder is wrong for everyone everywhere'.

But, surely, this depends on one's definition of 'murder'?

Who decides when a killing is 'murder' and when it is not?

Is it God? How do we know what God has decided?

'Wrongness', or guilt, may not always be clear.

People may be legally killed in war, or in self-defence, or as a state punishment. Is it not murder in such cases?

While most of us might agree with the general sentiment, I wonder, is it too simplistic to say that 'murder is wrong for everyone everywhere'?

'How Do You Know What is Wrong?'

If something harms an individual, or a society, without doing anyone any good, then one can only assume that this 'something' is 'wrong'.

This may be something, which causes pain or misery ~ particularly to the innocent.

If it is, self-evidently, harmful ~ then that must be bad.

Something that is 'harmful' or 'bad' is likely to be 'morally wrong'.

It may not always be that simple, but sometimes it is.

Being able to decide, and understand, what is morally wrong does not have to relate to a supernatural being.

Most humans are intelligent enough and empathetic enough to be able to do this, without reference to external forces.

What is considered 'harmful' can change from society to society and from time to time.

Innocence and Harm

'What Makes Something Right?'

If something benefits an individual, or a society, without harming any individual, or society, then one can only assume that this 'something' is 'good'

If it is, self-evidently harmless, but beneficial, then that must be good.

Something 'good', 'beneficial' and 'harmless' is likely to be 'morally right' ~ and not to be 'morally wrong'.

It may not always be that simple, but sometimes it is.

Being able to decide and understand what is morally right does not have to relate to a supernatural being.

What is considered 'beneficial' can change from society to society and from time to time.

Empathy and Co-operation

Murdering, raping, stealing, etc, result in pain, fear, sadness, terror, trauma, loss. Empathy enables us to feel and understand these emotions, in other people, as if they were our own.

Empathy, therefore, causes us not to want to harm others. Empathy helps to produce morality.

Furthermore, social cohesian and success will be increased, if members co-operate ~ trusting each other, supporting each other ~ not fearing each other.

Co-operation helps to produce morality.

Conscience

Immorality

In spite of the fact that most humans seem to have a conscience, or, as Turek and Geisler put it, they have knowledge of right and wrong 'written on their hearts', many people still do immoral acts.

We have acknowledged that murder, rape and child abuse are heinous crimes, but people still commit them ~ as individuals, or in groups.

Even wild animals seem much less prone to such behaviour.

Something seems to have gone wrong.

It is a major subject and it cannot be explained here.

We cannot say that the Biblical God is unhappy with such behaviour, though, because, in the Bible, he actively encourages it ~ he sets the bad example!

Biblical God - Setting an Example?

Does Morality Really Prove the Existence of God?

It seems unlikely that morality proves the existence of God. If this were the case, then one would expect that God's existence would be more obvious ~ particularly to philosophers and moral people ~ and almost everyone would believe!

Is God the Fount of All Morality?

As an agnostic, I simply cannot say whether there is, or was, a mighty power, which might be termed 'God', and which might be the origin of all morally good behaviour. It is possible.

However, Turek and Geisler are not referring to simply any potential 'God' ~ their God is, specifically, the one found in the Bible.

Is it possible, or feasible, that God, as described in the 'Old Testament, could be the objective origin of human morality?

I think that the examples provided, regarding God's supposed behaviour, in relation to murder, rape, child abuse, etc, indicate that God does not act morally. He certainly does not set a good moral example

If God does not act morally, then he surely cannot be the objective fount of all human morality!

Do Biblical Rules Reflect Morality?

The Bible contains many, many rules. Rules and laws might be expected to reflect morality ~ or, at least, a view of morality.

Would these Biblical rules parallel our own ideas of what is morally right?

Let us examine just a few of them ~ including 'The Ten Commandments'.

The Ten Commandments

Turek claims that we 'don't need the Bible to know right from wrong' because it is 'written on our hearts'. Presumably he is talking about our consciences, which he would assume are 'God-given'.

Though we do not, apparently, need the Bible, there are plenty of rules and laws contained within its pages ~ the most famous being 'The Ten Commandments', reportedly given directly to Moses, by God.

'The Ten Commandments' can be found in Exodus 20:2-17 and also in Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

Here is a brief resume of the 'Exodus' version, quoted from the King James Bible, with clarifying additions from the 'New International Version - UK'.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image [not make for yourself an idol]. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them ...

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [not misuse the name of the LORD your God] ....

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. ......

5. Honour thy father and thy mother ...

6. Thou shalt not kill [shall not murder].

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, ... wife, ....

Ten Commandments

'Moses with the Tablets of the Law' ~ Public domain. The Yorck Project. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_079.jpg
'Moses with the Tablets of the Law' ~ Public domain. The Yorck Project. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_079.jpg | Source
Decalogue parchment ~ Public domain because its copyright has expired. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Decalogue_parchment_by_Jekuthiel_Sofer_1768.jpg
Decalogue parchment ~ Public domain because its copyright has expired. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Decalogue_parchment_by_Jekuthiel_Sofer_1768.jpg | Source

More Biblical Rules and Regulations (Other Than 'The 10 Commandments')

Here are some more Biblical rules ~ just a few examples ~ taken from Leviticus and Deuteronomy (King James Version):

Leviticus 11


These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Leviticus 18 + 20


~ thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife
~ the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

~ Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
~ If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

~ Neither shalt thou lie with any beast
~ And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.

*

Deuteronomy 21


If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die ...

Deuteronomy 22


The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

If any man take a wife .... and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid ..... if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die ...

If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

Thou Shalt Not ...

Lobster - An Abomination?

 This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobster
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobster | Source

Abominations, Stoning, Etc.

Putting people to death, because of their sexual behaviour, seems to have been the norm in Biblical times.

In my country, stoning, and other forms of state execution, no longer occur. This sort of punishment would be considered immoral, in itself ~ even though it is a Godly order, from on high.

Even some American states still consider capital punishment to be morally acceptable ~ possibly even morally right.

What is a moral abomination ~ according to the Bible?

There are quite a few things!

According to Leviticus, for example, homosexuals sleeping together is an abomination.

But eating shellfish (lobster, crab, prawns, shrimp, etc) seems to be a greater abomination, since the word is mentioned four times in that connection.

Nowadays, eating shellfish is the norm. Yet God's Holy Word considered it unfit to eat.

That sounds like a major moral change ~ yet morals are supposed to be unchanging.

Most people reject this Biblical rules and eat shellfish! They disobey God's moral orders!

Are we / they abominably immoral to eat shrimps and prawns?

It is quite strange, is it not, that many Christians still consider homosexuality to be an abomination ~ even while they are eating lobster?

Four-Times Moral Abomination

Some Responses and Counter-Arguments

Though Turek and Geisler claim that there is 'a Moral Law' and, therefore, a 'Moral Lawgiver', not everyone would agree.

Certainly there are rules and laws, but the laws are decided, and passed, by people, not by God. The rules of Biblical society ~ with its stonings etc ~ would be considered unethical in many 'Judeo-Christian' societies, today.

Perhaps it is possible to suggest that God allows people to know what is right and wrong, so that they might make these decisions?

~ Well, believers in a personal creator God may think so, and may conclude that the human conscience is God-given ~ but that does not make it so.

Turek and Geisler write that 'An absolute moral obligation is something that is binding on all people, at all times, in all places and an absolute Moral Law implies an absolute Moral Law Giver'.

But different societies and cultures, in different places, at different times may have concluded that different behaviour was morally right. They may have different values and may hold different opinions on morality.

Some societies may have decided that it was morally right to sacrifice their children ~ to God, or volcanoes, or whatever ~ whereas this would now be considered, by most modern societies, to be absolutely morally wrong.

Morals evolve within societies; there does not have to be an external, objective morality ~ or an external law-giver.

Although, at first, it may seem clear that 'absolute values are undeniable', this is not, actually, the case.

Richard Dawkins

 Richard Dawkins at the 34th American Atheists Conference in Minneapolis. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dawkins_aaconf.jpg
Richard Dawkins at the 34th American Atheists Conference in Minneapolis. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dawkins_aaconf.jpg | Source

Richard Dawkins' Theory of Morality


Richard Dawkins' on our sense of morality ~ the desire to do good ~ to or for others:

"In ancestral times, we had the opportunity to be altruistic only towards close kin and potential reciprocators.

"Nowadays that restriction is no longer there, but the rule of thumb persists. Why would it not? It is just like sexual desire.

"We can no more help ourselves feeling pity when we see a weeping unfortunate (who is unrelated and unable top reciprocate) than we can help ourselves feeling lust for a member of the opposite sex (who may be infertile or otherwise unable to reproduce).

"Both are misfirings, Darwinian mistakes ..."

*

Richard Dawkins' book, 'The God Delusion', includes the following chapters:

6. 'The Roots od Morality: why are we good?'

7. The 'Good' Book and the changing moral zeitgeist'.

Dawkins:

Conclusion.

What conclusions may we draw?

Morality seems to exist.

Though there is much in the world that could be classed as 'evil' or 'wrong', generally, people want to live their lives peacefully and safely.

They pass laws which keep the peace, protect the people and retain fairness.

Most members of society agree not to murder, rape, steal, etc ~ and, in return, most members of society are not murdered, raped or mugged. This is how society has developed ~ evolved.

Einstein put it poetically: "... Man is here for the sake of other men ~ above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends"

*

Is there any logic in the Turek / Geisler scenario ~ about God being objectively and eternally moral? ~ Not if they are right about the Bible being largely true ~ with God as the central character.

Turek and Geisler believe that, without God, we could not say that murder, rape, child abuse, etc, etc, were wrong. We would not have the capacity to do so.

But, if God is good, and he represents the right moral response to murder and rape, etc, then the Bible indicates that neither of them are immoral, because God does not condemn them!

But we ordinary humans recognise that they are wrong, even if the God of the Bible condones them ~ and even if many Christians try their hardest to find reasons, excuses and explanations for God's immoral actions.

Thus, humans do, indeed, recognise morality and immorality ~ but this has nothing to do with God.

And, while we would like to think that murder and rape would be considered wrong, by all people, in all places, at all times, they probably aren't. They certainly don't seem to have been considered wrong in Biblical times, even by God and his favoured people.

Consequently, morality does not prove the existence of God.

Proof?

Copyright Etc.

This article ('hub') is copyright Tricia Mason. All Rights Reserved.

This item contains some quotes, from Turek's presentations, and also some from debates, involving Turek and Geisler ~ which are available to watch online.

There are also some quotes from their book, 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist'.

Where I indicate that one or other of the authors said or thought something, I have obtained this information either from the book 'I Don't Have enough Faith To Be An Atheist', or from videos that I have found online. The attributed comments will be direct quotes, or very close paraphrases.

Since the book was jointly written, it is likely that, where I have quoted one or the other of the authors, the opinions might relate to both of them.

I believe and hope that I have quoted Turek and Geisler correctly and also that I have presented their opinions correctly.

I have also quoted certain other parties, eg. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Paul Kurtz and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong.

I believe and hope that I have also quoted them correctly.

I apologise if I have made any errors.

Personal Comment - My 'Research' and 'Qualifications'.

As an agnostic, with a huge interest in theological debate, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching some very interesting videos, featuring Turek, Geisler and others ~ believers, atheists and those in between.

Debates between Turek and Christopher Hitchens or Geisler and Dr Paul Kurtz are entertaining, educational and thought-provoking.

['Debate: Christianity vs Secular Humanism' ]

['Debate: Turek vs Hitchens Debate: Does God Exist?]

I have watched (online) presentations by various Christians and atheists and have read several books concerning Christianity and the Bible, including parts of 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist'.

I have taken part in many related discussions, with interested and knowledgeable people.

I have also read a number of related 'hubs' ~ specifically one written by 'Tsadjatko' (link below).

I have a degree in 'Medieval and Modern History' ~ and 'Medieval History' involves a lot of study of Christian beliefs and behaviour.

I also have two teaching qualifications. For my PGCE, 'History' was my main subject, but one of my secondary subjects was 'Religious Education'.

Watchful Gods & Morality

Watchful Gods & Morality Research
Watchful Gods & Morality Research | Source

An Interesting Post Script. 28th Feb 2016

An article has just been published about some research on gods, beliefs and morality. It seems relevant, so I am posting some quotes and a link to the article.

Do have a look.

*******

Article: Believing in a watchful God makes you more “moralistic”.

By Sedsel Brøndum Lange.

February 28, 2016.

'Religious people who worship an all-seeing punitive God are more generous to their fellow believers, than followers of other types of gods.'

'New research suggests that a belief in a god that punishes bad behaviour makes religious people behave in a more ‘moralistic’ way.'

"People's views on their gods have a direct impact on the way they behave towards other people," says co-author Dimitris Xygalatas, associate professor at Aarhus University, Denmark.

"... those who think of their god as moralistic, punitive, and knowledgeable, tend to behave more fairly towards others, even if they’re not a family member,” [co-author Dimitris Xygalatas, associate professor at Aarhus University, Denmark] says.

'The ‘Big Gods’ theory says that a belief in a moralistic and punitive god made it possible for early humans to develop complex communities, because they regulated human behaviour, morality, and interpersonal skills.'

'Whilst it does not prove the ‘Big Gods’ theory, the new results do seem to point in that direction, according to Xygalatas.'

More here:

http://sciencenordic.com/believing-watchful-god-makes-you-more-%E2%80%9Cmoralistic%E2%80%9D?utm_source=ScienceNordic.com+Newsletter&utm_campaign=7195a27e7f-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3bb7f89ffc-7195a27e7f-239923585

Frank Turek - I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist

Turek on Morality

Turek vs Hitchens Debate: Does God Exist?

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

Richard Dawkins - Religion vs Morality

Hitchens: religion as the source of immorality.

The Evil Character of the Christian God (Christopher Hitchens)

Christopher Hitchens on Morality

More by this Author


Comments 83 comments

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I can see you are struggling against the tide of what the Bible—2000 years ago—called the perniciousness of man's so called wisdom. I see God everywhere in this world. In most good deeds of love in two millennia God can be seen behind them. Open the eyes of your heart. Embrace God and He WILL embrace you. And when He does; you will know it.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello James ~ Good to see you :)

Struggling with the tide?

Maybe, but not the tide of man's perniciousness wisdom ~ more like the tide of man's perniciousness wilful ignorance.

The reason that I looked at Turek's work, was because I felt challenged to do so, by a fellow hubber. He was convinced by Turek and Geisler's arguments. Having checked out the book and the videos, I am not.

I do not have a problem with God, or a belief in God, or the possibility of a God who initiated life. I don't have a problem with this, I just don't know. That is why I am agnostic.

What I do have a problem with, is the fact that so many Christians ~ certainly not all ~ believe that God has to be as described in the Old Testament and that, if we do not worship him, then we are condemned to eternal hell and damnation.

Turek and Geisler believe that this God is the fount of human morality. They also believe that rape and murder are morally wrong. They believe that God 'wrote this on their hearts'.

Yet, according to the Bible, God was responsible for hundreds of horrific deaths ~ even of tiny babies! ~ and several rapes. He ordered or condoned them.

How can it make any sense, whatsoever, that the Biblical God has led us to be moral and to 'know' that murder and rape are wrong, when he is guilty of these crimes, himself? ~ The truth is that it doesn't!

Sadly, the fear of God has been put into too many people. They believe ~ from a cruelly very young age ~ what their parents, teachers and ministers tell them. This is morally wrong, in itself.

The weight of Christianity ~ including the threat of hell ~ should not be weighing down anyone's shoulders ~ least of all, those of children. It is unnecessarily depressing!

My eyes are open, James. I was a Christian ~ usually a questioning one ~ and I didn't like a lot of what I discovered. I am much happier now, as an agnostic.

'Love one another' is the one good thing promoted in the Bible. Why don't we all just try to do that?


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

Hello Trish dear, good ro see you with another magisterial effort. I read some of this; too much for me in total, epecially as I am a dyed in the wool non-believer, as you know. I do offer this. Higher animals like wolves and lions and gorillas, etc, show "love" and affection to one another and the group. No one suggests they have a belief in a god, or gods. It would seem these emotions - and many more - which we see as "Godlike" or "Christian" are merely evolution initiating behaviour which assists the survival of the species...same with humans...Bob


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Diogenes: "I do offer this. Higher animals like wolves and lions and gorillas, etc, show "love" and affection to one another and the group. No one suggests they have a belief in a god, or gods "

Hi Bob :)

Thank you!

That is a very good point!!

And could probably taken as more evidence of evolution, too!

Perhaps some Christians might think that animals, too, have morality written on their heart ~ I wonder ???


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Voting up. I am glad you separate Darwin and his science from the kind of so-called Social Darwinism practiced by criminals such as Hitler who had no real understanding of Evolution. Yes, Evolutionists don't consider morality as being part of their science. Why should they? Those who have tried to tag on a moral message to Evolution have made such an illogical mess that it is best left alone.

Christians today tend to be more moral than what they were during the time of the Crusades. In other words, less likely to go off on killing sprees in the name of God. This may change. I hope it doesn't.


writeronline 5 years ago

Hi Trish

Another deeply intelligent analysis, unfortunately wasted, (as evident from your first commenter’s jingoistic response; “Open the eyes of your heart. Embrace God and He WILL embrace you”), on those whose reliance on myth-based belief and blind faith prevents them from opening their own eyes to the silliness of Turek & Geisler's fundamental assertion;

'We believe that the evidence ... shows that the Bible is true beyond reasonable doubt.'

To me, not wishing to be unduly harsh, the very fact that in the 21st century, two adult, educated men can make that claim without any apparent embarrassment, disqualifies them from expecting any rationally aware members of society to respond to anything else they say with anything other than a polite cough.

Morality has nothing to do with God. Plenty of atheists have excellent morals. Plenty of Christians do not. And vice versa.

Cheers :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Rod :)

Thank you for reading, voting and commenting.

Yes, most Christians are ordinary peaceful folk, going about their daily business ~ but that was also the case at the time of the Crusades and the Inquisition. It was only those with power, who decided on the killing sprees ~ and they had the ability to convince ~ or force ~ their minions to join in.

It was interesting that George W Bush used the word 'Crusade' in a press conference, in September 2001: "This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while."

And the office of the RC Inquisition actually still exists ~ but it has been re-named: 'Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith'.

As for Darwin, that poor man must be turning in his grave, with the horrors that have so wrongly been attributed to him!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Writeronline :)

Thanks for reading and commenting

I have had discussions with many Christians ~ here and elsewhere on the Internet, and in the 'real' world ~ and it is clear to me, now, that, in many instances, we have totally different world views. We see things so totally differently that it is barely possible even to understand each other.

As a historian, I have often said that it is not really possible to judge the behaviour of people from the long-distant past. One can have opinions, of course, but one cannot force our 'modern' views onto their shoulders.

I would add that it is also often impossible to judge people, who live in societies that are very, very different from ours, by our own standards.

Now I see that, even within my own modern society, there are people, whose views are so very different from my own, that we cannot understand each other ~ and just end up feeling very frustrated.

Turek and Geisler actually agree that 'Plenty of atheists have excellent morals. Plenty of Christians do not. And vice versa'. That isn't their argument. It is that morality is external to us and so must come from an external morally perfect 'being' ~ thus proving God.

Turek and Geisler believe in God and the Bible because they believe that they have found proof ~ proof, apparently, that was strong enough to convince some doubters.

One proof was the 'morality' one. I thought that it might be hard, in turn, to prove it wrong. After all, as you say, these men are highly educated, highly qualified experts on the subject.

But I certainly wanted to challenge it.

As it happens, I found it quite easy.

If one believes that the Bible is true, and one believes in the God of the Bible, and one believes that he 'wrote our morals on our hearts', and we consequently know that murder and rape are immoral, then why is it that this same God, in the Bible stories, orders or condones rape and murder!? Since that makes no sense, whatsoever, then the 'morality' argument for the proof of the existence of God becomes non-existent.

There's still a lot more to challenge, though ~ scienctific arguments (or are they pseudo-science??), miracles, etc, etc. These men ~ especially Turek ~ can be very concincing :)


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Trish, during the 2nd World War I get the impression that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was being used to council married couples having trouble with their marriage. This is a far cry from burning witches. So a change of name also apparently came with a change in direction.

Yes, Bush did say some pretty stupid things. You mention the word crusade in Muslim countries and you are a president or a prime minister living in the West and you might as well be shouting holy war. And what Bush said was telecast all over the world.

He was right though about the war on terrorism taking some time. It might have moved a bit faster, more people on side living in other countries if the idea of holy war was left out.

Another dumb thing Bush did was the Axis of evil business. Japan was negotiating trade deals with North Korea that might have relieved some of the poverty in that region of the world. Then Bush comes out with North Korea being part of an Axis of Evil. I can just imagine all those Japanese businessmen groaning. Quite possibly months of hard work thrown out the window by Japan's ally, the USA.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Rod :)

With regard to the RC church, and morality, I think that, when considering this particular office, in view of the 'baggage' that went with it, it would have been better to close it, completely. If they wanted to set up a marriage guidance service, then it have been a new + entirely different thing. (The mind boggles as to how those unmarried men could have been marriage counselors, though :( )


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

The RC Church doesn't like to admit to making mistakes or, more importantly, having to admit that not all past popes have acted well. In the 20th Century there was a pope who claimed that yes, it was still okay for the papacy to sell indulgences to the faithful. Of course this pope and the popes after him didn't sell one single indulgence but it was apparently important to state that there was nothing wrong in doing so and they could start that indulgence thing up again any time they wanted to.

The inquisition was a mistake too. Maybe in changing its name and turning it into a marriage guidance service the church powers at the time wanted to, in some small way, improve the church's image and in some small way make up for torture and witch burning without admitting the church had done the wrong thing in the past.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Rod,

Maybe :)

I wonder what the official RC line is on the Turek / Geisler theory??/

Certainly they must agree that God exists ~ but I wonder if they agree on the proofs offered by these two ~ especially the 'morality' one :)


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Two good questions.


Highvoltagewriter profile image

Highvoltagewriter 5 years ago from Savannah GA.

Hello Trish, it is good to see you been hard at work! I did not finish the hub for I did not bring my flare-gun! ;) Anyway, you made some interesting comments even though you seem stuck on not knowing! When are going to know? Hawkins claims to know, but what he knows seem outlandish to me, for he now states that a universe can be "spontaneously created" WHAT? What happened the billions of years it takes to evolve?

You may want to check out my latest hub "Are We Blinded by Science?" which ponders some of the latest evidence and confusing conclusions put forth by Hawkins. It also explores the views of many scientist that do not buy into evolution.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Highvoltagewriter :)

Some things we know; some things we don't. Some thing we can know; some things we can't. And some people know more than others, about certain matters.

When will I know? It depends. I already know many things; have ideas about many more; but am ignorant on many, many more subjects ~ as are all people. Eg. No-one knows, for sure, about the beginning of 'life the universe and everything'.

I cannot know, for sure, what was at the beginning, and whether there was some 'intelligence' at work.

I also cannot know, for absolute certain, that the Bible is wrong, or that fairies don't live at the bottom of the garden ~ but I feel sure that, sadly, there are no fairies ~ and that God, as described in the Bible, is as mythical as Zeus, Apollo, Odin, Thor, etc, etc.

I loved Hawkins' book 'A Brief History of Time', but, though I have bought his latest offering, I haven't read it yet.

Thus, I can't really respond to his comment about spontaneous creation :)

However, I could suggest a possible explanation. It could be that the universe was 'created' spontaneously, but that the life within it, evolved slowly.

I'll have a look at your hub when I have a few minutes.


Highvoltagewriter profile image

Highvoltagewriter 5 years ago from Savannah GA.

I am also courious about what you would consider to be absolute proofth that God exsist. What would it take for you?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi again :)

Actually, in this hub, I am not stuck on not knowing.

I have to state my point of view, of course, so that readers know where I am coming from. I need to let them know that I am agnostic, as opposed to anything else.

But not knowing?

No. Not in this case.

I know what is considered acceptable behaviour.

Here, I am stating that Turek and co are contradicting themselves, regarding God's morality.

As I said, one way or another, I feel that I have a reasonable sense of morality ~ I feel that I know, generally, what is right and what is wrong.

Killing babies seems wrong to me.

Raping women seems wrong to me.

Handing over one's young daughters, to strangers, for sex seems wrong to me.

Preparing to slit one's child's throat, on a sacrificial altar, seems wrong to me.

I know that most reasonable, sane, civilised people would agree with me.

Turek and co would agree with me.

They say that they know these things are wrong because God wrote it upon their hearts.

They clearly mean the God of the Bible, who, they say, is morally perfect.

Yet, God has either planned, or condoned, all of these evils ~ according to the Bible, that is.

So how can the Biblical God be morally perfect?

It makes no sense.

And if Turek and Geisler, etc, claim that God-given morality is proof of God's existence (and they believe in the Biblical God) then this is no proof at all.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi :)

I really don't know what it would take to prove God's existence to me.

Certainly the mystery of the beginning of everything leaves a gap for God to climb into; the amazing content of DNA is another 'gap'; all unexplained and inexplicable, apparently supernatural, phenomena leave more gaps.

These 'gaps' are the reason(s) for my agnosticism, rather than atheism, but they are not proof of God's existence.

If God does fill any of those gaps, then 'he' still does not have to be as described in the Bible. That description is likely to be as imaginary as descriptions of Venus, Aphrodite, Mars, Thor, Odin, etc, etc.


Andrew Ryan 5 years ago

I've read this book.

A good portion of the text deals with evolution, Charles Darwin etc, but it was impenetrable due to the number of simple but important scientific errors that even a grade-school biology student could spot. It surprises me that someone could publish such a book without proofing the text past a biologist first.

However, the passage that struck me as particularly egregious is where Geisler crows that when debating atheists it is the ones of a Jewish background that he most enjoys engaging with, because then he gets to taunt them about the holocaust. Something along the lines of “If you don’t believe in God, you can’t even say that murdering Jews is actually wrong!”.

Now, you may think he has a point – I don’t, and could argue at length about why.

But leaving that aside, even if I thought I could win a debate with such a tactic, I’d rather lose the argument than stoop so low as to use the murder of millions of people as a tool to score points, especially against someone who very likely lost relatives to the gas chambers. And I’d say the same to an atheist who would bait a bereaved Christian with taunts of “Where’s your God now?”.

To me, this shows a man who is so in love with his arguments that he has lost track of his own humanity.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Ryan :)

Thanks for commenting!

I agree with you ~ personal taunts are not on. Religious debate should be objective.

I was interested in the scientific arguments, put forward by Turek and Geisler, and considered responding to them at some stage in the future, but, not being a scientist, myself, I would need to get my husband's help for that hub :)

Since Biblical morality is something that I have been reading about and discussing for some time, I thought that I would start there.

I have heard Turek chanting that without Godly morality we cannot claim that the Holocaust was immoral, but had no idea that Geisler liked to use this argument specifically against Jewish people ~ as a taunt. That is definitely not the way to conduct an academic debate.

Thank you for adding your thoughts ~ most enlightening!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Sadly, Christopher Hitchens has died today. The world has lost an amazing talent, a great mind and a very entertaining individual.


Righteous Atheist profile image

Righteous Atheist 2 years ago

Nice article. Although - I don't see how religious debate can possibly be objective. Given the complete absence of anything to hang your hat on evidence wise - everything - on both sides - can only be an opinion. The only thing we can do is point out that indeed atheists do seem to be as moral - if not more so - than theists. From this we must draw the conclusion that god belief is of no value whatsoever when determining whether or not one is a moral person. This is from the facts we do have. Not opinion.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Righteous Atheist :)

Thanks for reading and for your comments.

Yes, so much is opinion in this area and debate can become ever more complicated.


Michelle Ascani profile image

Michelle Ascani 2 years ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

Some call it faith, others call it ignorance. What you have is a difference of opinion, but one should not insult the other because of the difference. One day we will all find out who is right and who is wrong, but will it really matter at that point? I seriously wish people could speak their opinions freely and respectfully with being speared back with self-proclaimed facts and name calling.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Thanks for commenting, Michelle. :)

I hope that there hasn't been any name-calling here :)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

It’s true, all sound individuals rely on their innate moral awareness, their conscience. This is why, since time immemorial, even the most primitive cultures, regardless of their metaphysical values, enforced laws and regulations against homicide and various other acts of evil.

But the truth is that, just as with our verbal communication abilities, for instance, our conscience has to be refined, calibrated, made more robust. If not, it could be stunted, or worst, perverted such that evil behavior is deemed good with good ones perceived as evil.

Because of this, the eternal well being and happiness of mankind is inextricably bound to the objective moral values and responsibilities lovingly given to us by our Maker. Without these you have absolutely nothing to guard your conscience from becoming disoriented perhaps even corrupted.

An exceptional instance of this can readily be observed with child soldiers. They are demonstrably much more coldblooded and ruthless when compared to their older counterparts. “More than 300,000 children—some as young as 7—are fighting as soldiers in 41 countries around the world,” said an Associated Press dispatch. Most are between the ages of 15 and 18. “Besides being used as front-line fighters, children are used to detect land mines and also as spies, porters and sex slaves, according to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers.” Drugs are often administered to make children fearless. Those who refuse drugs are killed, said a 14-year-old rebel soldier in Sierra Leone. Regarding his fighting in 1999 when he was 15, a North African youth reported: “They put all the 15- and 16-year-olds in the front line while the army retreated. I was with 40 other kids. I was fighting for 24 hours. When I saw that only three of my friends were alive, I ran back.” The Coalition’s report stated that governments recruit children because of “their very qualities as children—they can be cheap, expendable and easier to condition into fearless killing and unthinking obedience.”

And so we arrive at the heart of our exchange. Whether or not someone possesses a conscience isn’t truly the issue. It’s if or not an individual possess a reliable one, and particularly, if he/she honestly obeys it.

This predicament calls to mind a very old Cherokee lore. It goes, roughly speaking, like this:

“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."”

With that in mind, take into consideration what another equally wise and ancient passage reveals:

“This is what Jehovah has said [] “I, Jehovah, am your God [Creator], the One teaching you to benefit [yourself], the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments. Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” - Isaiah 48:17,18 (Brackets mine.)

As would any caring mother or father, our Creator, Jehovah God, is keenly interested in our well-being. To this end, he instructs us on the best ways to preserve and also make full use of the conscience he produced us with.

To close, here’s a remarkable example of this loving guidance at work as reported in a well known intercontinental journal:

“In Liberia, Alex served as an altar boy in the Catholic Church. But at the age of 13, he joined a warring faction and became a notorious child soldier. To make himself brave in battle, he turned to witchcraft. Alex saw many of his companions killed, but he survived. In 1997 he met Jehovah’s Witnesses and found that they did not look down on him. Rather, they helped him to learn what the Bible says about violence. Alex left the army. As his faith began to grow, he followed the Bible command: “Let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”—1 Peter 3:11.

Meanwhile, a former child soldier named Samson came through the town where Alex now lived. He had been a choirboy but in 1993 became a soldier and got involved in drug abuse, spiritism, and immorality. In 1997 he was demobilized. Samson was heading for Monrovia to join a special security force when a friend persuaded him to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and as a result, he developed a Bible-based faith. This gave him the courage to abandon his warlike ways. Both Alex and Samson now live peaceful and moral lives. Could anything but Bible-based faith make changes in lives that had been so brutalized?” - http://bit.ly/18WopZ0

Has it become apparent to you now exactly why each of us needs to scrutinize and make use of what the Bible teaches?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi :)

It is the family, the friends, the society, the experiences, the education, the upbringing, etc, that fed our morality.

I do not doubt that part of this might be religious but a reading of the Bible, indicating God's acceptance of and even insistence of, child murder, rape and other atrocities, might actually have a detrimental effect, so no I don't think that studying the Bible would make us more moral people.

Some people might be scared into not doing things, though, based on stories of hell.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Happy Monday Trish! :)

If I may ask, where does All-Loving God ever manifest "insistence of, child murder, rape and other atrocities" in the Bible?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Joseph.

Did you not catch this reference in my hib?

2 Samuel 12:11-12

"King David's punishment, from God, for killing a man and taking his wife, is for his harem of wives to be publicly raped, and humiliated, in broad daylight:"


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

2 Samuel 12:

15 Then Nathan went home. And the Lord caused the son of David and Bathsheba ... to be very sick. 16 David prayed to God for the baby. David fasted and went into his house and stayed there, lying on the ground all night. ... 18 On the seventh day the baby died.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

1 Samuel 15:1-7

"Thus saith the LORD of hosts ... Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling ..."

These examples are in the hub.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"Did you not catch this reference in my hib?" [sic]

"2 Samuel 12:11-12"

Where does the Bible state that Absalom raped his father's wives on God's specific orders?

"On the seventh day the baby died."

Do you know what the penalty was in ancient Israel for David's and Bathsheba's crimes, i.e., adultery and murder?

"1 Samuel 15:1-7"

Are you suggesting that the execution of an evil peoples is immoral?


Righteous Atheist profile image

Righteous Atheist 2 years ago

Pretty sure Joseph has never bothered to read his bible. :D


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

" but they do have faith in their ability to prove the existence of God."

They have no faith. If they really had faith in God, they wouldn't feel a need to prove that God exists. Faith doesn't require proof. And if you could prove it, you wouldn't need faith.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph. I'm bewildered by your comments.

2 Samuel 12:11-12King James Version (KJV):

'Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.'

This says that God decided to give one man's wives to his neighbour so that he could have sex with them in public in broad daylight.

Pretty disgusting.

And I doubt that those women and girls would have any choice in the matter.

Can you imagine their pain, their fear, their shame, their humiliation? And it was not their sin!

Horrendous.

And I wonder if you are suggesting that the execution of a little baby is a moral act. Surely not!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

"I wonder if you are suggesting that the execution of a little baby is a moral act."

Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't Elizabeth Bathory, Brian And David Freeman, Nelson Byrdwell, Edmund Kemper, Joshua Phillips, Willie Bosket, Laurie Tackett, Brenda Anne Spencer, Jon Venables, Robert Thompson, Jesse Pomeroy, Mary Bell, Andrew Golden, Mitchell Johnson, Jamie Rouse, Barry Loukaitis, Talat Pasha, Margaret Sanger, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vlad Dracula once babies too?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

"This says that God decided to give one man's wives to his neighbour so that he could have sex with them in public in broad daylight."

Rather it simply meant that he would lose his wives to another man; i.e., they would fall in love with someone else and abandon him.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

'The women would fall in love'? Oh, Joseph, I do not think that it means this at all.

Supposedly, God said that he would take this man's wives and give them to another man who would have sex with them in broad daylight in sight of all Israel.

For a start I don't think that many women would have had the right to choose whom they married, regardless of whom they might fall in love with, so this had nothing to do with their choices. And what women would choose to 'lie with' her neighbour in broad daylight in front of all the tribe?

No. This was women being treated as chattels.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

So, because some babies grow up to do evil things, it's ok to kill every baby in a tribe (along with every other member of the tribe, of course)?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

That's not my contention at all. Rather, God knew that these would inexorably grow up to be evil and ended their lives before they had the chance to wreak unspeakable evils onto their victims.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

"I do not think that it means this at all."

That's fine, you're certainly entitled to your opinion :)

(If you're interested see 2 Samuel 16:20-22)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

And, Joseph, you are entitled to your opinion. However, the stories are recorded in black and while and it seems very clear to me what they mean. And why wouldn't it be clear? There is so much violence in the Bible, condoned by God, that a few more rapes and murders make very little difference.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

As Christ taught, it serves as a very powerful lesson. God does not condone evil. He will always defend the godly from those who insist on being evil. (Cf. Matthew 24:37-39)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, throughout the Bible God condones actions that would be considered extremely evil if performed by anyone else, or if judged by anyone unbiased.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, I looked at 2 Samuel 16:20-22 but I don't know why you wanted me to read this.

'20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give me your advice. What should we do?”

21 Ahithophel replied to Absalom, “Sleep with your father’s concubines he left to take care of the palace. When all Israel hears that you have become repulsive to your father, everyone with you will be encouraged.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

23 Now the advice Ahithophel gave in those days was like someone asking about a word from God—such was the regard that both David and Absalom had for Ahithophel’s advice.'


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

You're not making sense. Whose opinion of evil are you using and why should that be the objective standard by which all acts should be measured?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

As you can see, Absalom did not have sex with his father's concubines in the open public. That is to say, no one could openly see Absalom having sex since he did so sheltered from their eyes.

More importantly, as per Deu 22:25-27, an Israelite woman being raped would ALWAYS scream for help. Since the passage doesn't state David's wives did so we can intuit that these were actually committing adultery with their step-son.

This is further buttressed by the fact that, upon his return from exile, David did not receive these as rape victims but as adulteresses. (2 Sam 20:3)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, I am using the definition of evil that most moral, decent, ordinary human-beings would use; the consensus of most civilised people. Genocide, killing new-born babies, rape and the like are considered immoral by most people and are generally illegal in civilised society.

How does that not make sense? It makes perfect sense.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Quotes from the book of Samuel:

'he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun, thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel'

'they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel'

There is a difference, it seems, between these two comments. One man had sex with the women under a tent; the other under the sun. One seems more public than the other. A minor detail, though.

In each case the women would have had no choice. God decided, or Ahithophel, whose word, for some reason, was comparable to God's. The women did not decide.

If God gives women to a man for sex, without their knowledge or consent, then for most of them it would have been rape - according to my understanding of such a situation. I appreciate that in a patriarchal society this would probably usually be the norm and, of course, the God of the Old Testament is / was a patriarchal god.

Furthermore, I don't believe that 'He' did it anyway. It's just the way the stories were recorded. However, this is the 'God' that modern Christians, etc, worship, knowing that he supposedly ordered genocide, baby-murder and non-consensual sex.

And, as we have seen, according to the Bible, a man's punishment, from God, was for his wives to be given to another man for sex:

'Thus saith the Lord ... I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.'

Is this really the behaviour of a loving creator father god? To treat women like this? Not in my opinion.

As for screaming for help, how do you know that they didn't? And what would have been the point, anyway, in a patriarchal society where they were married to one man but given to another by God as their husband's punishment? What choice would they have had?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

"the consensus of most civilised people." [sic]

So if this consensus agreed that the Holocaust was a great good and not evil, would that make it so?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

"As for screaming for help, how do you know that they didn't?"

There is no mention of it in the record.

"And what would have been the point, anyway?"

Rapists were executed in ancient Israel. See Deu. 22:25-27

"What choice would they have had?"

The could have chosen to do the right thing and not sleep with their step-son.

"Not in my opinion."

And that's all this comes down to, your arbitrary opinion. You can't prove morality or immorality; all you have is your opinion. That being the case, why should your opinion be of any more value than anyone else's?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

But the consensus of most civilised people is not that the Holocaust was a great good, which rather proves my point.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, if it is not abundantly clear to you that for any man or god to give any woman to any other man for sex is immoral, then there is no point in continuing with this discussion.

Yes, ok, it is an opinion - my opinion - that it is immoral for a man or god-man to decide when, where and with whom a woman has sex - and where, when and with whom it is rape, but I would say that the consensus of most civilised people is that when a woman has no real choice it is wrong. When a woman has no real choice it is rape. Women would not have any choice because men made the decisions - the men who owned or controlled them. According to the Bible, this even included God.

The Bible says that the women were given to a man specifically for him to have sex with them and that they were given to him by God. There was no choice for them - and you think that this is ok.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

The point your missing is that, per your world view, the human herd dictates what is moral and immoral - there are no objective moral obligations or duties. Like a pile of dead leaves blown hither and thither by the shifting breeze, wherever the herd impels you is what’s moral or immoral, at least for that moment. This means, for instance, that, had you been living in Stalin’s Russia you would have happily gone along with the various pogroms and the Great Purge. And why wouldn’t you? At the time, it's what these dictated was moral. Without any objective moral values or duties, you would have had no objective reasons not to follow along with their moral paradigm - even though it meant murdering innocents. After all when you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.

As Voltaire put it, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Oh Joseph, :(

I keep hearing this sort of argument from Christians who are trying to maintain the morality of God in spite of his immorality as described in the Bible.

But it's nonsense. Just because sociopaths, egomaniacs and the like do bad things, and just because some people are too weak to fight against the immoral power-crazed or are won over by them does not mean that, for the most part, mankind hasn't got an inborn evolved sense of right and wrong.

We all know that wars allow for killing and we all know that in time of war women are raped and other atrocities are carried out. But a line is drawn and, even in wartime, if that line is crossed then a crime has taken place. This is why there are war-crime trials etc.

I am not saying that humans do not commit dreadful crimes. That would be madness. Of course they do. But human society as a whole has enough morality to know what is and what is not acceptable. We have laws to attempt to prevent / attempt to punish crimes. Most people are not violent criminals. Many violent criminals have brain problems. I hope that we have developed a civilised society where the majority of the people are mostly generally moral beings. I think that we have. The laws that are in place in many countries are evidence of this.

Not everyone was happy about pogroms - or the holocaust, etc - even if they belonged in the country involved. Unfortunately not everyone has the power to overcome the likes of Hitler or Stalin. That does not make their behaviour moral or acceptable; it simply makes it difficult and frightening to fight against. So it does not mean that the specific society has accepted their behaviour as moral. It means that the powerful were strong enough to overcome more peaceful and fearful people.

Indeed what you have described is a society similar to that I mention in those Bible instances, where strong males - god or man - can control those who are weaker. Thus most women did not even have the right to decide whom they slept with.

It is quite right, what Voltaire said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” And those who believe that the God of the Bible condoned, committed or ordered baby murder, genocide, rape etc, are willing to state that this behaviour was not immoral. When such things happen in today's often violent world they are condemned as heinous crimes, yet religion can make Christians believe that a loving father God behaved like this. Both absurd and atrocious. You're quite right.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

It’s true, all sound individuals rely on their innate moral awareness, their conscience. This is why, since time immemorial, even the most primitive cultures, regardless of their metaphysical values, enforced laws and regulations against homicide and various other acts of evil.

But the truth is that, just as with our verbal communication abilities, for instance, our conscience has to be refined, calibrated, made more robust. If not, it could be stunted, or worst, perverted such that evil behavior is deemed good with good ones perceived as evil.

Because of this, the eternal well being and happiness of mankind is inextricably bound to the objective moral values and responsibilities lovingly given to us by our Maker. Without these you have absolutely nothing to guard your conscience from becoming disoriented perhaps even corrupted.

An exceptional instance of this can readily be observed with child soldiers. They are demonstrably much more coldblooded and ruthless when compared to their older counterparts. “More than 300,000 children—some as young as 7—are fighting as soldiers in 41 countries around the world,” said an Associated Press dispatch. Most are between the ages of 15 and 18. “Besides being used as front-line fighters, children are used to detect land mines and also as spies, porters and sex slaves, according to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers.” Drugs are often administered to make children fearless. Those who refuse drugs are killed, said a 14-year-old rebel soldier in Sierra Leone. Regarding his fighting in 1999 when he was 15, a North African youth reported: “They put all the 15- and 16-year-olds in the front line while the army retreated. I was with 40 other kids. I was fighting for 24 hours. When I saw that only three of my friends were alive, I ran back.” The Coalition’s report stated that governments recruit children because of “their very qualities as children—they can be cheap, expendable and easier to condition into fearless killing and unthinking obedience.”

And so we arrive at the heart of our exchange. Whether or not someone possesses a conscience isn’t truly the issue. It’s if or not an individual possess a reliable one, and particularly, if he/she honestly obeys it.

This predicament calls to mind a very old Cherokee lore. It goes, roughly speaking, like this:

“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."”

With that in mind, take into consideration what another equally wise and ancient passage reveals:

“This is what Jehovah has said [] “I, Jehovah, am your God [Creator], the One teaching you to benefit [yourself], the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments. Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” - Isaiah 48:17,18 (Brackets mine.)

As would any caring mother or father, our Creator, Jehovah God, is keenly interested in our well-being. To this end, he instructs us on the best ways to preserve and also make full use of the conscience he produced us with.

To close, here’s a remarkable example of this loving guidance at work as reported in a well known intercontinental journal:

“In Liberia, Alex served as an altar boy in the Catholic Church. But at the age of 13, he joined a warring faction and became a notorious child soldier. To make himself brave in battle, he turned to witchcraft. Alex saw many of his companions killed, but he survived. In 1997 he met Jehovah’s Witnesses and found that they did not look down on him. Rather, they helped him to learn what the Bible says about violence. Alex left the army. As his faith began to grow, he followed the Bible command: “Let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”—1 Peter 3:11.

Meanwhile, a former child soldier named Samson came through the town where Alex now lived. He had been a choirboy but in 1993 became a soldier and got involved in drug abuse, spiritism, and immorality. In 1997 he was demobilized. Samson was heading for Monrovia to join a special security force when a friend persuaded him to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and as a result, he developed a Bible-based faith. This gave him the courage to abandon his warlike ways. Both Alex and Samson now live peaceful and moral lives. Could anything but Bible-based faith make changes in lives that had been so brutalized?” - http://bit.ly/18WopZ0

Has it become apparent to you now exactly why each of us needs to scrutinize and make use of what the Bible teaches?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, how can you tell us that our natural morals are enhanced by 'the objective moral values and responsibilities lovingly given to us by our Maker' when that maker breaks the moral rules that we mere humans make law?

If a human condoned, encouraged, ordered or took part in genocide, slavery, rape, baby murder, genocide, etc, you would say that it was immoral, so why can't you accept that it is immoral when enacted by God?

The thing is, I'm not even saying that God actually did this. I am saying that the Bible tells it this way.

However, the Bible is, of course, the doorway to the Judaeo-Christian God, so that particular immoral view of God is the one worshipped, praised, loved and adored - and understandably feared - by his followers.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

"If a human condoned, encouraged, ordered or took part in genocide, slavery, rape, baby murder, genocide, etc, you would say that it was immoral, so why can't you accept that it is immoral when enacted by God?"

Because the God of the Bible never condoned, encouraged, ordered or took part in any of those things, you're distorted views notwithstanding.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

@Trish: "If a human condoned, encouraged, ordered or took part in genocide, slavery, rape, baby murder, genocide, etc, you would say that it was immoral, so why can't you accept that it is immoral when enacted by Go"

You left out a biggie Trish. Blood sacrifice. Clearly people cannot commit murder in this country and hide behind their religion and claim that they are protected by the first Amendment Free exercise clause. If they claim that God requires a blood sacrifice, then whether human or animal, we have secular laws forbidding that kind of thing. So...what God has deemed moral and required of people; is immoral and condemned as criminal.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

@ Joseph O Polanco : Joe are you a Jehova's Witness? I get that impression because earlier on another thread you provided some links that were to the "Watchtower", which they tend to give out to people. And you mention it in the reference to the soldier.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Yes, Adagio, the apparent willingness of Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and even the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, not to mention the destruction of all earthly life except Noah and his family and animals in a flood. How can anyone condone this - and then praise it?!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph I have shown over and over, using the Bible, that God as described in the Bible did condone immoral and (currently) illegal acts. Others have done so, too. You keep arguing against us but your arguments do not address the supposed 'facts' of the Bible. I am not going to keep repeating the evidence just for you to keep repeating that it isn't true without citing any real evidence to support your stance. I stand by my research and my arguments.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

The question then becomes why did Noah and his family survive the flood?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

The error you all keep making is in conflating dikaiocide with murder and genocide.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Just to clarify, Joseph, I am not actually talking about any real god, I am talking about God as described in the Bible and as worshipped by Judaeo-Christians.

Noah is a character from another culture's mythology. Why is he in the Bible? Probably because he obeyed God regardless of how crazy the instructions seemed to be. And his obedience resulted in protection from the storm.

This is all part of the pattern seen in the OT and NT stories. Obey God or die - and suffer eternal damnation. This helped those who were in power to keep that power. It helped to control the people. Fear is a powerful tool!

And certainly God was to be feared. If you didn't do what he (his earthly minions) wanted then you suffered. And the punishment could include genocide, rape, torture, slavery, blood sacrifice, etc.

Do you mean 'dikaiosyne'? I looked it up on teknia.com. One definition is 'justice'. Also it is 'doing what is in agreement with God's standards, the state of being in proper relationship with God'.

It mentions righteousness, a word often used in sermons, etc, and one which I actually like. I think righteousness is something that we should all strive for - doing what is morally right. I absolutely do not think that we should support baby murder, rape, genocide, etc, etc. That is absolutely NOT righteous behaviour.

So no, Joseph. I am not making an error here; I am noting evil where evil is described and evil is never just or righteous.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

"suffer eternal damnation"

The Hellfire doctrine is a perverse Antichrist mendacity that defames God. As a God of justice and love he would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime no matter how wicked: http://bit.ly/17fVMYm

"Do you mean 'dikaiosyne'?"

No, dikaiocide, that is to say, the just execution of an evil person(s). Do you honestly think it wrong for God to kill in defense of the innocent?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

The innocent?!

According to the Bible God killed newborns.

Nuff sed.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

Would you have preferred it if God let them grow up to victimize innocents? Where's the justice in that?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

All those babies, even the sucklings, even the unborns and the toddlers; little girls and little boys - every single one of them was going to grow up to be a cruel person? Every one? They were all going to grow up to be more cruel than an almighty father god who slaughters little ones?! Just think about it properly.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

Yes, exactly. Given the horrifically violent world we live in, why is that so hard to believe?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

For heavens sake Joseph, be reasonable.

If you heard that a tribe somewhere, today, had been exterminated by another tribe, including the elderly and the new-borns, would you honestly say that it was acceptable and even morally right if the killers said that they believed that the babies would grow up to be their enemies?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

False analogy. Our Creator - and only our Creator - has the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy. That's why his judgments are always above reproach.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

@Joe: "The question then becomes why did Noah and his family survive the flood?

And the answer of course is that God saved them because they weren't wicked. Thereby giving a reason and a justification for killing the planet except for Noah and Co.

To buy that answer, one would have to believe that the Noahs Ark event actually happened. There's no evidence to demonstrate that it did. That kind of argument would never hold up in a courtroom. It's not even a plausible argument besides having no evidence to support it.

Joe...you're using the Bible to prove the Bible. That's a circular argument.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

@Joe: "Yes, exactly. Given the horrifically violent world we live in, why is that so hard to believe?"

Do you think that argument would stand up in court? For example suppose your religion required a blood sacrifice. Do you think you could hide behind the first Amendment free ex clause to justify murder? Suppose you killed somebody and you said God told me to do it because that person was going to grow up to be a mass murderer. Would you say that was a good defense in a court room, and he should he be acquitted? It's hard to believe because it's a contradiction and it uses Special Pleading to justify itself. It again uses the Bible to justify the Bible. God killed innocent kids because he knew they'd grow up to be evil? Future Crime. Why is that so hard to believe?? You're justifying all of this on religious grounds. You wouldn't be able to escape a court of law in this country with that kind of defense.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

Hmmmm....I wrote a comment on this but it doesn't seem to be here anymore. curious.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

I haven't deleted anything, Adagio. I'll check my comments list on my author page.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

there is is. right above the last two.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

@Joe: "False analogy. Our Creator - and only our Creator - has the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy. That's why his judgments are always above reproach."

What are you basing that on Joe? You're making an assertion here, and I'd like to know what it's based on?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Quote Joseph: "False analogy. Our Creator - and only our Creator - has the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy. That's why his judgments are always above reproach."

No Joseph, not a false analogy and not above reproach.

According to the Bible, God did things that man usually finds immoral - and generally man has passed laws against them.

I do not believe that the Bible describes a real God, even if such a god exists. So I am not going to assume that the Bible is right when I consider it to be wrong. You may, if you choose, but then you will not be making logical arguments.

But you cannot deny that God, within the Bible, does indeed do / condone / demand things that a mere man would indeed find disgusting.

If God knows that a baby will grow up to be evil, then why create him in the first place? Why allow evil? Why allow suffering?

God causes suffering according to the Bible. There is no excuse for an all-knowing, all-powerful being to do this. He does not have to slit babies apart with a sword. You say the baby might grow up to be evil but I wouldn't wish that on any baby.

Take a step back, Joseph, and consider just exactly what kind of behaviour you are supporting here.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

The problem of abhorrent commands is the problem that divine command theory appears to entail that even morally abhorrent acts such as rape, murder and genocide could possibly be morally good.

God, being all-powerful, could possibly command rape, murder and genocide. As it happens, he chooses not to, the theist will say, but it does seem to follow from God’s omnipotence that he could issue such commands.

If God were to command rape, murder and genocide, then divine command theory appears to imply that rape, murder and genocide would be morally laudable. The fact that it is possible for God to command such acts therefore implies that it is possible for such acts to be morally laudable.

However, it just doesn‘t seem to most people to be true that if God commanded such abhorrent acts as rape, murder and genocide then those acts would be morally laudable. This thought experiment–”What if God were to command such acts?”–therefore seems to show that divine command theory is false. This is the problem of abhorrent commands. The theist, on order to defend the faith, must accept that abhorrent commands are a possibility with God.

There are three responses to the problem of abhorrent commands that are available to the divine command theory. The first, and most popular, is to hold that God’s will is in some way constrained, and so that it is not possible for God to command abhorrent acts. The second is to hold that if God were to will abhorrent acts then divine command theory would break down, that divine command theory is only true so long as God wills certain types of act. The third is to accept that divine command theory entails that if God were to command abhorrent acts then those acts would be morally good, but to deny that this is obviously false.

The first response to the problem of abhorrent commands, then, is to hold that there are certain acts that God is unable to command. God’s will, on this view, is constrained. It might be, for instance, then God cannot will morally abhorrent acts because he is morally perfect. Or it might be that God cannot will the destruction of his creatures because he is, in essence, loving. There are two dangers that the divine command theorist who takes this route must be careful to avoid.

The first danger is that the first response to the problem of abhorrent commands might appear to give rise to a form of the independence problem. If the divine command theorist appeals to some moral constraint on God’s will–by asserting that God cannot will certain acts because those acts are morally bad and he is morally good, for example–then he implies (twice) that morality can exist independent of God’s will. First, he implies that there are acts that are morally bad prior to God’s deciding what to will and what not to will. Second, he implies that there is some standard of goodness that is independent of God’s will that God meets, and that constrains God’s will. Divine command theory, though, in most forms at least, denies the existence of moral facts that are independent of God’s will. The divine command theorist, then, if he is to respond to the problem of abhorrent commands in this way, must be careful to appeal to a non-moral rather than a moral constraint on God’s will in order to evade the independence problem.

The second danger is that the first response to the problem of abhorrent commands might contradict other central points of doctrine to which the divine command theorist is permitted. This response to the problem of abhorrent commands entails that there are certain acts that God is unable to command. God, though, is supposed to be omnipotent. Omnipotence, though, appears to entail the ability to command any act at all. If the divine command theorist is to pursue this strategy, then, then he will need to be able to explain how it is consistent with divine omnipotence.

The second response to the problem of abhorrent commands is to hold that divine command theory is only contingently true. Divine command theory, on this view, holds only so long as certain conditions are met. It might be suggested, for instance, that divine command theory is only true so long as God is benevolent.

The third response to the problem of abhorrent commands is to accept that divine command theory entails that if God were to command abhorrent acts then those acts would be morally good but deny that this is obviously false. This unattractive position is usually attributed, with some disgust, to the medieval divine command theorist William of Ockham. It is a difficult position to defend, but may in the end be the only position left available to the divine command theorist.

I'm often told by theists that atheists give arguments from the Bible that they don't believe in. But it's not the point of what they believe, but of what the theist believes, and the words from the Bible are used against the theistic argument. It's difficult for anybody to justify what we would consider immoral acts from God. It certainly forces the theist into a set of justifications he'd prefer not to make.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Gosh Adagio, that's a long comment. I'll have to re-read it to be sure I've got the correct message :)

I note that you conclude: 'It's difficult for anybody to justify what we would consider immoral acts from God. It certainly forces the theist into a set of justifications he'd prefer not to make'.

But it seems to me that some people seem to find it quite easy to justify the violence assigned to God by the Bible.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 18 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

@Trish: "But it seems to me that some people seem to find it quite easy to justify the violence assigned to God by the Bible."

Most theists are pretty conservative minded people. And conservatives are total justificationists. I'm not saying that they don't readily jump to justifications for the violence in the Bible. They do that all the time. But I think it makes them feel uncomfortable. They'd probably rather not have to go there, and wish you wouldn't bring that stuff up, because they have to know there is no rational justification for it. It forces them into a hypocritical position that they'd prefer to avoid. I mean how do you justify the killing of millions of innocent children with a flood by claiming that God knew that they'd all grow up to be evil and wicked and sound rational at the same time? It's absurd. It stretches the bounds of reason beyond the breaking point. If it weren't for people like you or me asking these questions they wouldn't have to look to the ridiculous to justify their beliefs.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Adagio,

I agree that it makes some of them think, and that pleases me, and some just say that they don't believe those bits but, based on my own experiences, I am fairly convinced that many Believers are so convinced that God is real, that the Bible stories are true and that God is to be both praised and feared that they simply do not question it.

For one thing it is heresy to question God or his actions and, for another, God, by definition, must always be both right and good. For many, I think that our arguments won't alter that.

Of course, there will be others who, thankfully, will start really thinking about what they believe and what they are willing to accept from the God whom they love and worship.

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