An Essay on the Moral Argument
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13-07-2017, 12:28 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
My argument is one of my own devising. I have never seen anything quite like it, despite reading a lot of atheology and theology for many years now. Which is not to say nobody else has ever raised these arguments in quite the same way.

The problem I see is that it utterly undermines Bible fundamentalism and literalism, and leaves liberal theology at sea. Basically, there is indeed a problem of explaining the state of the world if we posit that God is all powerful and impeccable, perfectly good.

As I see it, ancient theologians had the problem that as they raised the concept of God to a perfect being theology, they had to account for why there is so much moral and natural evil. When I take their explicit claims to their logical end, I can see no no way out for the theologian. This sort of argument undermines the glib reasonings often offered for why the world is as it is, despite the supposed existence of a perfectly good God.

It destroys divine command theory, because the Biblical claims about God's sub-goodness are explicit in what we are told in revelation from God or inspired by God. God then does not have a free hand. All the theist can do is abandon the Bible (or Quran) and try for a lesser type of God, perhaps a deist God or Aristotle's prime mover God.

The closet approaches I have seen from Calvin or Luther is to in the end, declare this all a problem, but to take refuge in the claim God is incomprehensible and inscrutable. Luther in his "Bondage of the Will" claims free will is biblically impossible. If so, then God must be responsible for all mankind's moral evil. How to deal with that problem? Declare God as inscrutable. This line of reasoning goes from Paul (Romans 11:33) to Augustine, to the leaders of protestant thought.

But because of the explicitness of the Bible, that is a logical failure and dead end. A species of total rational nihilism.

Romans 11:33
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

When I shake my ignore file, I can hear them buzzing!

Cheerful Charlie
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13-07-2017, 12:36 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
There has long been a tradition in American evangelism of writing books to explain away the "hard sayings" of the bible. Theology is a "hard taskmaster" indeed. The lameness of such books is sometimes startling.

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13-07-2017, 05:04 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(12-07-2017 05:48 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Thanks, Dr. H. I think speaking for my opponent a bit too much may have been a side effect of trying to be conversational and resist the urge to be too formal. Even then, I consciously tried in at least a few places to avoid flirting with a straw man via hedges like, "You might say..." Maybe a better solution would be to say things like, "A typical Christian response would be..."

Yes, that works.

Or even "a common Christian response is ..."

etc.

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13-07-2017, 05:21 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(13-07-2017 01:45 AM)Glossophile Wrote:  Well, for anyone who's interested, here's a second draft. I re-wrote the more straw-man-esque bits to hopefully sound less presumptuous. What do you think?

Better. Still a little "you-y" in the first section, but maybe that's just my personal hang up.

BTW, I think the "you" context is appropriate in the second section, "Personal Experience and Miracles". It works there as relief from a more formal tone in the first part.

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13-07-2017, 05:35 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(13-07-2017 06:30 AM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  My argument starts with claims God is morally perfect. From the Bible we can get various claimed sub-goodnesses. God is just, fair, merciful, compassionate et al.
We also get, mainly from the OT, that God is angry, jealous, and vengeful, willing to punish whoever pisses Him off "seven times" for their transgressions, and also in some cases to punish their children, and their children's children -- through seven generations -- for the sins of the father.

It's an interesting moral code, based on an allegedly perfectly moral being who is at turns merciful and vindictive; compassionate and angry; "fair", and yet willing to punish people for the sins of someone else.

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13-07-2017, 07:03 PM (This post was last modified: 13-07-2017 07:09 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(12-07-2017 03:08 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  In preparation for hopefully making a YouTube video on the Moral Argument, I decided to compile and summarize my thoughts on the subject into a sort of essay. I wrote it as if I were addressing a Christian, and I tried to write in a fairly colloquial style, though that has proven difficult at times when discussing such lofty topics. It is still a rough draft, so I'm sharing it here and inviting anyone who's so inclined to provide their opinions and feedback. I hope at least some of you find it interesting and perhaps even useful.

These sort of arguments tend to lack imagination, and offer a very narrow perspective on the variety of moral perspectives, that would fall into a theistic worldview, many of which are neutral to any particular God concept. While you can limit your argument to whatever concept of the christian God, and interpretation of the Bible you have in mind, the theistic perspective itself is not nearly as limited.

All that's required for me to subscribe to a theistic perspective of reality is belief in moral facts. A reality in which moral facts exists is not an inherently meaningless one, but one akin to that of a story, endowed with meaning, a moral arc.

For me, and I'd say most people, when it comes in particular to things that we find strongly immoral, such as torturing innocent children just for fun, we wouldn't view someone who believes it's a good thing as subjectively wrong, as we might say of someone who disagrees as to whether Bieber is a good singer, but we'd see it as objectively wrong, as we might say someone who thinks the earth is flat.

You can argue that a view of morality in such a way is unfounded, but what you can't argue is that it's subjective. You can your that persons such as myself hold a false belief, but you can't argue that it's subjective. Objective moral beliefs, don't transform into subjective ones by being wrong.

If you or anyone where to tell me something I'm doing or did is subjectively wrong, I'd say fuck you and your subjective morality. If you on the other hand believed that what I'm doing Is morally wrong in a real, truthful way, then I might have to pause and listen to you for a minute. If you try and tie whats right and wrong to the fleeting values of a society, I'd say fuck your society. Because your society don't give a fuck about me, I don't give a fuck about it. We're just business partners.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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13-07-2017, 08:02 PM (This post was last modified: 13-07-2017 08:25 PM by Cosmo.)
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(13-07-2017 07:03 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(12-07-2017 03:08 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  In preparation for hopefully making a YouTube video on the Moral Argument, I decided to compile and summarize my thoughts on the subject into a sort of essay. I wrote it as if I were addressing a Christian, and I tried to write in a fairly colloquial style, though that has proven difficult at times when discussing such lofty topics. It is still a rough draft, so I'm sharing it here and inviting anyone who's so inclined to provide their opinions and feedback. I hope at least some of you find it interesting and perhaps even useful.

These sort of arguments tend to lack imagination, and offer a very narrow perspective on the variety of moral perspectives, that would fall into a theistic worldview, many of which are neutral to any particular God concept. While you can limit your argument to whatever concept of the christian God, and interpretation of the Bible you have in mind, the theistic perspective itself is not nearly as limited.

All that's required for me to subscribe to a theistic perspective of reality is belief in moral facts. A reality in which moral facts exists is not an inherently meaningless one, but one akin to that of a story, endowed with meaning, a moral arc.

For me, and I'd say most people, when it comes in particular to things that we find strongly immoral, such as torturing innocent children just for fun, we wouldn't view someone who believes it's a good thing as subjectively wrong, as we might say of someone who disagrees as to whether Bieber is a good singer, but we'd see it as objectively wrong, as we might say someone who thinks the earth is flat.

You can argue that a view of morality in such a way is unfounded, but what you can't argue is that it's subjective. You can your that persons such as myself hold a false belief, but you can't argue that it's subjective. Objective moral beliefs, don't transform into subjective ones by being wrong.

If you or anyone where to tell me something I'm doing or did is subjectively wrong, I'd say fuck you and your subjective morality. If you on the other hand believed that what I'm doing Is morally wrong in a real, truthful way, then I might have to pause and listen to you for a minute. If you try and tie whats right and wrong to the fleeting values of a society, I'd say fuck your society. Because your society don't give a fuck about me, I don't give a fuck about it. We're just business partners.



Under what philosophical pretense is Yahweh's morality not equally as subjective as our own?

If you think about the word subjective, if Yahweh is in fact the one true deity out of the thousands of gods within ancient polytheistic pantheons, and he is consistently 'subjecting' humanity to his skewed version of right and wrong (why are humans more humanistic than God?) is he not more of a moral relativistic tyrant than any human you can fathom?

Just a thought.

~ The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you ~
-Neil Degrasse Tyson
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13-07-2017, 08:18 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
Interesting read. Any criticism I have has already been covered by other posters.

One thing I might add is some statistics from countries where atheists outnumber theists. Like Japan or northern Europe.

[Image: Sweden.jpg]

If morality is only viable when from a divine source, why haven't these countries gone down in flames?

"Old men make old words holy. - A fool may scrawl on a slate and if no one has the wit to wipe it clean for a thousand years the scrawl becomes the wisdom of ages."

Honorous J. Ancrath
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13-07-2017, 08:45 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(13-07-2017 07:03 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  These sort of arguments tend to lack imagination, and offer a very narrow perspective on the variety of moral perspectives, that would fall into a theistic worldview, many of which are neutral to any particular God concept. While you can limit your argument to whatever concept of the christian God, and interpretation of the Bible you have in mind, the theistic perspective itself is not nearly as limited.

Which is a problem.
An absolute moral code that's open to an infinite number of interpretations stabs itself in the back.
Assuming gods are real, assuming he/she/it/they possess a perfect moral code, and assuming this has been delivered to us without mistakes or intentional errors - it's still useless if we can't agree what it says.

"Old men make old words holy. - A fool may scrawl on a slate and if no one has the wit to wipe it clean for a thousand years the scrawl becomes the wisdom of ages."

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13-07-2017, 08:49 PM
RE: An Essay on the Moral Argument
(13-07-2017 08:45 PM)M. Linoge Wrote:  
(13-07-2017 07:03 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  These sort of arguments tend to lack imagination, and offer a very narrow perspective on the variety of moral perspectives, that would fall into a theistic worldview, many of which are neutral to any particular God concept. While you can limit your argument to whatever concept of the christian God, and interpretation of the Bible you have in mind, the theistic perspective itself is not nearly as limited.

Which is a problem.
An absolute moral code that's open to an infinite number of interpretations stabs itself in the back.
Assuming gods are real, assuming he/she/it/they possess a perfect moral code, and assuming this has been delivered to us without mistakes or intentional errors - it's still useless if we can't agree what it says.

You think he'd be more clear on things considered morally non-negotiable nowadays.

Rape and slavery come immediately to mind. But yeah Drinking Beverage

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