One of the comments I see from atheists on social media all the time has to do with their views on morality. Christians who have studied some philosophy will tell them that, if God did not exist, then objective morals would not either. Since we all know there are real good and evil, then at some level we all acknowledge that God must exist.
Atheists will return with some annoyance, saying that they can determine right and wrong on their own without any god. Often they appeal to empathy. We don’t want to be killed, so we should not kill others. We don’t want to be robbed, so we should not rob others. In short, atheists reject Jesus and then appeal to the golden rule taught by Jesus.
Is that Irony?
I realized that the problem in this conversation has to do with the use of and misunderstanding of the word “morals.” We Christians tend to add the word “objective” to clarify the fact that they are real, outside of us and would continue to be true if no one on earth believed or obeyed them, just as laws of physics would be. If every person on earth rejected “though shall not steal” it would still be wrong to steal just as if everyone on earth rejected the law of gravity, they’d still fall if they jumped off of their roof in a cape and brightly colored underpants.
Thus, I am suggesting that Christians begin to refer to Objective Morals as God’s Moral Law. When we say objectively wrong, we mean it violates the law of God, just as when we say something is illegal that it violates the law of the state. If there is no state there is no law of the state and thus no speed limit or misdemeanors. If no government then no law of man. Similarly if no God, no objective morals because objective morals are the law of God.
As an example- suppose you and a group of friends are exploring the moon on those cool moon buggies. As you prepare to head out, you discuss how fast you can go. Now, mechanically speaking, you can go 200 miles per hour, but if you did, you would surely flip over in the low gravity and die. But what is the speed limit? Very simply, there is none. No government owns or controls the moon. Thus, there is no speed limit. Each astronaut can decide for himself how fast he will go, but none of them can tell the others how fast they SHOULD or SHOULDN’T go. They can give advice based on how fast they can go before it becomes unsafe, but they cannot appeal to the speed limit because there is none and none of them has the authority to impose one on the others.
When an atheist tries to appeal to morality, they are like a driver on the moon. They can pretend there is a speed limit, but there is not. There are physical limitations and potential consequences for different choices, but there is no shouldn’t or should. There is no speed limit. There is no law. There is opinion only. However, we all KNOW that there is good and evil, right and wrong, lawful and criminal. Thus, even the self-professed atheist acknowledges the existence of God, just as a man arguing that words don’t exist must acknowledge in some way that words do exist.
Think about it, won’t you? And don’t forget to wear your seatbelts – it’s the law.
We actually don’t all ‘know’ that good and evil exist. Both are concepts proposed by religious supporters. Not everybody accepts those concepts.
Of course I agree that not everyone professes to know the concepts of Good ad Evil- the world is full of all kinds of differing opinions, especially on social media. But when I say we KNOW good and evil, I mean as a matter of actual fact, the way we accept as actual fact the existence of minds other than our own or the existence of the material universe. Sure, anyone who has seen the Matrix has questioned the external universe, and some people may try to question if it’s really there. But even those who profess to believe we are in a computer simulation will enter a room through a door or a window and be shocked if someone else comes in through a wall, or just pops into being in the chair next to them. Why? Because we KNOW the universe exits outside of our own head.
The same is true of good and evil. People will argue over the proper application of certain moral principles- such as how to best care for the poor or raise our children, but no one is arguing that the poor should be set on fire for sport or our children thrown into the grand canyon. Only a psychopath denies right and wrong in his actions, and even they probably admit in in their responses. Compulsive liars will get angry to find they’ve been lied to. Professional thieves get angry when someone steals from them. We all KNOW there is good and evil- real, actual, tangible good and evil. Moral LAWS- not merely feelings about right and wrong. We simply disagree how to best live those out, and we especially do our best to give ourselves a free pass when we do wrong. You admit this when you make arguments for your own defense when you have lied or lusted or stolen, and you never try to make excuses when you are kind and selfless and generous. Why? Because you know some things are good and others are bad. You are not ashamed of doing good. No one ever is.
Naturally anyone would agree with you that good and evil are concepts proposed by religious supporters, but obviously not ONLY by religious supporters. Atheists have written whole books on their view of right and wrong and how we ought to determine right from wrong. Atheists often ASSUME objective morality in their critique of the church or the bible- or what sense would it make for them to criticize priests for molesting children? What atheist says, “The Bible condones slavery (which of course is not wrong because wrong dos not exist) and thus Christianity is immoral”? They make this (admittedly ignorant) accusation with the belief that slavery is actually, morally wrong. How else could that be an attack on the church? If there is no right and wrong they may as well attack the church for meeting on Sunday, or for allowing people to drink coffee. What difference would there be between allowing coffee and allowing slavery if there really was no good or evil?
Very few are stupid enough to simply attempt to state (or live out) a world truly devoid of moral laws. And of course, morals are not INVENTED by religious persons, or they would no more be moral laws than the rules of major league baseball would be moral laws. God alone can author the laws of right and wrong, and he bases them on his own character and nature. This is another reason why the Biblical worldview and depiction of God is far more rational than any other. Other “gods” are arbitrary and self contradictory and fail the test of internal consistency.
I hope this clears up my meaning for you.
Thanks again for your comment.
My point is that neither good, nor evil are real, absolute or as you say- facts.
In my view, the concept of evil is quite dangerous. It can lead people to distance humanity from those labelled as ‘evil’. We are all one species, we’re in this together. To force some people outside can lead to treatment like capital punishment.
Hey Essiep- I understood your point and I think I explained why your proclamation would be in error even according to your own worldview. For instance, you call the concept of evil dangerous because- you say- it can lead to treatment like capital punishment. Obviously you are suggesting that capital punishment is itself bad and not good, otherwise you could replace “capital punishment” with anything- such as “generosity”, or “a reduction of human suffering”, or “kittens”- and it would carry the same moral point (none). But you are condemning evil, danger, and capital punishment as bad things- as evils. In order to stay consistent with your rejection of good and evil you have to argue that the distancing, dangers, and capital punishment are merely your own feelings and don’t reflect any REAL facts outside of your own brain chemistry, the way your experience of chocolate flavor is inside your own brain chemistry. But of course you don’t mean that. You mean to say that some things are good, just, right, and other things are bad, evil, immoral. Some things are SHOULDs- others are SHOULDN’Ts. You know that as well as I do. Those are real facts. If your atheist (or whatever your worldview is) conflicts with the real observable facts, then you need to be seriously skeptical of that worldview.
And I suggest, look into Christianity. It’s real and true and makes sense of the data of objective morals.
Thanks again for your comments.
I did look into Christianity, especially as a teenager and found its hypocrisy, moral double-standards and biblical contradictions unbeatable. My conclusion are that the world would adapter off without Christianity and the ridiculous beliefs that in with it.
Hello again Esseip,
It sounds like you still have a lot to learn. If you think you know Christianity is as you describe, then I’m not sure what you were studying, but it wasn’t the truth. Sounds like you need better sources. And I’m guessing that by “the world would adapter off without Christianity” you meant “better off.” And again, you clearly have not considered this from a place of actual fact. Christianity is the reason we have all of the branches of modern science, hospitals, orphanages, the US constitution, laws against slavery, etc etc.
But beyond all of that- if you really think you have decided that Christianity is stupid and the world would be better off, then why would you waste the remaining precious minutes of your life reading MY material? Or conversing with me about it? Naturally, I’m happy to answer any questions you have, but I must say I am confused by the declaration that the Bible is so vile and yet here you are on the blog of a Christian apologist.
Anyhoo, I suggest you do some more digging into better sources. Don’t give up Essiep! Do some homework. It’s worth the effort.
and thanks again for your comments.
Are you referring to Yahweh?
ARK! OMGnR my own ARK encounter! This is exciting. I’ve seen MANY of your conversations over at the Comedy Sojourn, but I’ve never found the (presumably) many threads which have caused John and Peaches to stop answering this question, so I literally have no idea where you think the conversation is going! It’s like a choose your own adventure. Remember those? I was going to ask if you are old enough to remember them, but according to your thumbnail you are probably a few thousand years old, so, naturally, the 1980’s are like yesterday to you, right?
Well, first off, welcome to A Bit of Orange.
I’m not sure how to reply, since so many terms get bantered about by people in different ways. For instance the Mormons use MUCH of the same terminology in reference to God and salvation in VERY different ways than Christianity, but I guess I’ll do my best to make my position clear and see what happens.
I am a Christian. I believe in the God revealed in the Bible, and one of the names He is given is YHWH, which we anglicize as Yahweh. So, unless I misunderstand the question- yes. Yes I am.
And you are aware that he is simply a Canaanite or slightly post-Canaanite deity, as well presume?
And even had a wife, too!
So, I am curious as to why you would worship a man-made / make-believe deity?
Greetings again Mr Aten. Are you aware that Akhenaten, known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV, was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC? I don’t think I’ll be going out on a limb to suggest that the name you use is NOT meant to imply that you are the SAME Akhenaten, but rather you’re some guy from Boston who has spelled the name phonetically. Just a guess, but not I think an unreasonable one.
See, like I said previously, names get used by different people in different ways, and that the Canaanites would have borrowed the name of the God who smote all of Egypt is not surprising. That depends on what time period they were using that name. What IS surprising is that people would suggest that the Jews stole a god from some random pagans. Well, not VERY surprising, as Atheists and other anti-Biblical scholars are constantly forced to grasp at straws, as this article about the topic states:
I wonder if you have had the sense to be skeptical of the anti-biblical sources in the same way which you choose to be skeptical of the biblical sources? I mean, I’ve heard this idea proposed by former members of Monty Python, but I would suggest that retired British comedians are no resource for historical truth or Biblical insight. Just because someone proposes some “facts” that disprove the Bible doesn’t mean you should blindly put your faith in that person or their BBC television special. Have the sense to be skeptical of the skeptics too.
All that to say, I do not worship a man made deity, but rather I worship the creator or heaven and earth, Lord, God, Savior and King. The history of the true God begins at the start of time itself, as found in Genesis. Naturally, you expect Biblical ideas and names to be used by pagans, as they are merely a decomposition of a former truth, disseminated over many generations like any history which I passed along in primarily oral tradition (Which is why it is good the Jews were not forced to rely only on oral tradition but also had written accounts going back to the first generations). The God of history is forgotten, and his name may be kept, and certain traits, but like a folk tale based in historical fact, things are added and removed to suit the desires of the story teller. The Flood of Genesis has gone through similar distortions in the more than 200 other versions which exist, but the further back in time, the more they resemble the true account from Genesis. Similarly, the Canaanites may have once remembered God as they were descended from Noah’s sons, as we all are, but eventually they decided to abandon the truth to make the true God more like themselves- as we all tend to do.
Unless you have a clear understanding of the facts, this is, I think, and easy error to make, just as it is understandable with limited knowledge to think that the flood of Noah is just another flood story, instead of the actual account the others derive from.
Keep studying Mr Aten! It can all be made clear to you too.
And thanks for your questions and comments.
Yes, I am fully aware of the background to the name of the Avater I use … thanks very much. It has pointed out on … one or two occasions.
For the record, I simply like the character for personal reasons.
No I am not trying to be purposefully anonymous and if you are capable of typing Google, am pretty sure it would not take ,long to discover my real name is Ethel Millicent Sidebottom.
How, may I ask, would the Canaanites borrow the name of a god that smote(sic) Egypt when no such historical even ever occurred?
The Exodus as described in the Pentateuch is simply a work of geopolitical fiction.
And the evidence is there for any who wishes to make even a cursory inquiry.
There is not a mainstream archaeologist ( that I am aware of) on the planet that believes otherwise, a view I have read expressed by several of the most well known scholars and more importantly, archaeologists active on this field.
Surely you have studied the archaeology by the likes of Devers, Finkelstein, Avalos etc?
If you were looking for scientific evidence then the last people you would read up on would be the likes of Woods, Kitchen and that disgusting fraud, Ron Wyatt?
In fact, as far as I am aware, it is only evangelical Christians ans maybe a few die hard orthodox Jews that believe there was an exodus and conquest.
Kenyon’s dating of Jericho stills stands and has not been refuted by any religious fundamentalist, although a few have tried.
I am curious as to whether you are a geologist,paleontologist or have the relevant qualification in plate tectonics etc that you would even attempt to make a case for Noah’s Flood as historical fact?
Right off the bat you are starting with a faulty assumptions and Unsubstantiated Blanket Assertions- the Exodus never occurred? Of course it did, and there is a great wealth of historical evidence to support every aspect of that, including the eyewitness testimony of Moses among other things. Once again, do a little homework and you will find it. That you don’t know of a single mainstream archeologist who believes it either shows you have not done the homework, or you are guilty of the No true Scotsman fallacy and are rejecting all of the historians who DO believe it BEAUSE they believe it. Either way this assertion of yours is, like the assertion that the Jews stole from the Canaanites, it unfounded and ought to be skeptically rejected.
And as you will find with a little searching, in this realm of inquiry, as in creation/evolution or Big Bang cosmology, the facts which support my position are taught by MANY or MOST scientists in the field, even if they do not accept my conclusions. Conclusions are often based on the starting assumption as much as the data- though I have always found the data, when seen without blinders on, supports the Biblical account. This is why so many have been persuaded to become Christians and Creationist by the data- such as CS Lewis, Lee Stroble, Spike Psarris, J Warner Wallace, Etc.
For instance, I suspect that you and many of the sources from which you get these opinions about the past BEGIN with the assumption that the Bible is false, damn the evidence. You certainly would not be alone there. It’s VERY popular these days, and not doing so is often not tolerated.
As for my qualifications, I am a middle school science teacher (which makes me all of those things), and I am ashamed of you for even putting forth this embarrassing demand for credentials. Really my dearly departed Pharaoh? I need a degree as a geologist to make a case for the flood? In that case I must demand YOUR qualifications as not only a historian, but as a philosopher and theologian (with education in Greek and Hebrew of course) if I am to accept ANYTHING you have to say about history and the Bible.
Let us not be childish Mr A. This kind of thing is beneath us, is it not?
And as always, thanks for your questions and comments.
And do you always moderate? And if so why? Are you afraid of something?
Greetings again Arekenaten,
I do because I want to know what it getting posted to my blog. I find it odd that you have only considered FEAR to be the only possible motivation to take responsibility for what my readers will see when they come to my blog. What ever would I have to be afraid of? Just trying to be a responsible host. That’s all.
But if I can sk a similar question, do you always post under a pseudonym, or do you ever use your real name? And if not, why not?
I shant ascribe a proposed motivation. I’m just curious.
thanks again for your questions and comments.
blockquote>That you don’t know of a single mainstream archeologist who believes it either shows you have not done the homework, ….
I stand to be corrected.
Please provide me with one such mainstream archaeologist.
Here are two:
Historian Dr. Mark Woolmer: Egyptian Chronology and the Old Testament
Egyptologist and Archaeologist Dr. James Hoffmeier — The Exodus from Egypt
Hmmm… But I see what you’ve done there. “Mainstream.” So, if they are Christians who believe in the Bible, you’re going to tell me that they aren’t “mainstream” regardless of their education and career, aren’t you? It’s ok. I’ll pretend to be surprised if you do.
Correct. If they are first and foremost Christian, they are not considered mainstream.
It is just a wonder you didn’t recommend Kitchen.
I am aware of Hoffmeir’s position.
His work may well be excellent in many areas. But not with the Exodus if memory serves. Been a while since I researched him – I think I watched a an entire presentation on youtube some time ago and struck him off my list pretty quickly. Can’t remember exactly what it was for.
You can remind me if you like?
‘Til then …..Strike one.
Oh, and I shall pretend you never saw it coming and feign shock and surprise.
Will that make you happy?
Right … now we got that out of the way.
Find me a secular scholar with no religious presuppositions and then we are really talking.
Until then don’t waste your’s or my time.
This is just the no true Scotsman fallacy. The failure here is yours, and you ought to be ashamed both of the failure and the obvious way in which you had set it up. This is not a discussion, this is a game to you.
And really, “strike one”? You’re going to play the baseball game with me here and get all huffy about it? THAT is your game?
I don’t play baseball.
I have a better idea. Just stop leaving comments and don’t read my site anymore. Think of how much time that will save you.
You can go back to leaving unsubstantiated assertions on other people’s blogs. I’ll bet John Branyan is missing you by now.
But thanks for stopping by. It’s been a slice.
Nope. If the person you recommend is a Christian, and especially a fundamentalist, who is going to discuss the Exodus then I must insist they abide by the same rules as a secular historian.
Evidence first. Not faith.
For anyone reading the comments section- note how this exchange has gone:
1. He claims that NO “mainstream” historian accepts the Exodus as actual history.
2. When provided examples of several which do, he rejects them as being “not mainstream” because they disagree with his position. A classic example of the “No true Scotsman” Fallacy. He does the same when distinguishing between what he calls “Proper” scientists and Creationists- obviously intending to say no Creationist (no matter education, experience, or publications) can be a TRUE scientists (or “Proper” scientist, whatever that means) if one doesn’t put their faith in evolution. A more textbook example of logical fallacy you will never find.
3. Even though the scholars I have linked to DO discuss the evidence at length and build their case on what we DO know about history, he pretends his rejection of them isn’t the “No true Scotsman fallacy” because he is already assuming that they are building their case on faith instead of evidence, though he makes no attempt to even accuse them of doing so, let alone proving it with examples from their lectures or writings. This is itself a combination of Ad Hominem (Personal attack in place of rational response) and Special Pleading (aka: Moving the goal posts).
This is how the case against the bible gets built: Insist that NO REAL (historian, scientist, etc) believes the bible to be accurate. When presented with examples to the contrary, reject them as being NOT REAL (historian, scientist, etc) BECAUSE they defend the bible and then maintain your claim that NO REAL (historian, scientist, etc) believes the bible to be accurate. Not only the No true Scotsman fallacy, but also a fallacious appeal to authority (aka; The bandwagon fallacy) because, even were it true that NO REAL (historian, scientist, etc) believes the bible to be accurate, truth is not determined by taking a vote but by reality and proper argumentation.
This is why you guys need to know your logical fallacies! I recommend this to start your training: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/
What is ironic is that you think that Jesus was the first, and only, one to recommend ‘The Golden Rule’, when it was common knowledge in other cultures and religions long before He (supposedly) existed. 😳
Hey cat holder and cat! First, I don’t technically think that would be ironic. Also, when did I ever say “Jesus was the first, and only, one to recommend ‘The Golden Rule’”? Pretty sure I didn’t say that, especially since all of Jesus teachings can be found in the Old Testament. But if I said that, let me know where.