Are there other options than God?

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Tin-Man's picture
@Great Hope Re: "You're too

@Great Hope Re: "You're too old to be watching cartoons lol"

One is never too old to watch cartoons. Keep the child in your heart alive always.

Couldn't help but notice all the comments about fear, as if you must have made some type of remark implying atheists have some sort of "void" within them and for some reason fear the unknown (or something like that). If that is what you think, then I'm afraid you couldn't be further from the truth. (Speaking for myself, at least.) My life now is sweeter and fuller than it has ever been. And that ever-present nagging feeling of dread, uncertainty, and fear I carried around with me for a majority of my life totally VANISHED when I finally made the complete conscious break away from the insidious grasp of religion that kept me second-guessing myself for waaaaay too many years. I am now completely comfortable with myself and my views. Whereas there was a time not too long ago that I felt considerably ill at ease around anybody and anything religious, I have discovered I am now completely relaxed and confident when encountering religious situations or overtly religious individuals/groups. Simply does not bother me anymore. Some situations even amuse me somewhat.

So, hate to burst your bubble, but I can tell you for a fact THIS particular atheist has no "voids" and most certainly does not have any fears.

Cognostic's picture
@ "I do believe athiesm is

@ "I do believe athiesm is the minority."
FFS- What in the hell does that matter. When the idiots created the New Testament they started it with four books because there were four corners to the earth and it was set upon four pillars. When has the number of people believing in something ever had an influence on whether or not that thing was real? NEVER. This is a fallacy known as Argumentum Ad Populum. It's a FAIL.

@ "The afterlife is the most talked about and debated subject in all of history. God designed it in a way that it tests the deepest parts of what we want in our hearts."

Another wild unsubstantiated assertion. You won't even find this shit in your Bible. WTF are you talking about. My heart pumps blood. I use my brain for thinking and feeling. You think there is an afterlife - PROVE IT. All you are doing is bounding about avoiding any real discussion and tossing out assertion after assertion; spirit, afterlife, god.... bla bla bla. You use one imaginary term to support another imaginary term. Why don't you pick a starting point and offer some evidence.

@ "But, has an atheist ever looked into ascending the ranks of the dark arts? The opposition to God is very powerful as well."

I have the Satanic Bible right next to my regular bible, Quaran and Bagavad Gita. There is no more "power" or "art" is the delusions of Satanism than there is in Christianity. Obviously you have never read about or understood Satanism. While your god is the God of do not do this and do not do that, Satan is the god of "Try it all, but do no harm." You haven't a clue of what you are talking about. Satan only kills 8 people in the bible while your God butchers countless millions. Satan never says anything negative about God but God just blabs on and on and on like an old woman harping on a neighbor that she does not like. Of the two of them, Satan is being the bigger man.

What is it you do not understand about ATHEISTS. We do not believe in God or Gods. That second "God" refers directly to Satan or any other god like being you would care to mention. No Gods. Write yourself a note and pin it to your shirt so you do not forget.

@ "God wants to set us free. The opposition does not."
More pure ignorance. Satan does not have rules. God has rules. Satan does not have 10 commandments. Satan does not have 614 laws to follow. Satan does not care about witchcraft, homosexuality, talking back to parents, hating your family, or surrounding him with praise and love. You should probably read the satanic bible before you talk about it. You have no idea at all of what you are talking about.

God sets you free? WTF are you talking about. God has a plan. Do you think you are free to go against God's plan? Where in the FK is your freedom? You can choose to follow God and do as he says or BURN IN THE PITS OF HELL. Please explain where you see freedom in that. Have fun being a slave.

@ "Death will be at our front door soon enough. So it's just common sense to be a little bit prepared. It's so simple lol."
Give up on PASCAL'S WAGER already., If the only reason you believe in a god is so that you can be prepared. You are going to burn in hell. This is not a reason to believe in God. Your own bible tells you that you must love god like a family member. Jesus tells us to hate our family members if we are to follow him. No place will simply fearing death and the wrath of god get you into heaven. You are WRONG. Either that, or you think your god is an idiot and will not know your true reason for professing belief.

Matthew 7:22-24 King James Version (KJV)
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Great hope's picture
@Cognostic "God sets you free

@Cognostic "God sets you free? WTF are you talking about. God has a plan. Do you think you are free to go against God's plan? Where in the FK is your freedom? You can choose to follow God and do as he says or BURN IN THE PITS OF HELL. Please explain where you see freedom in that. Have fun being a slave."

I would love to address all of what you wrote. But I don't have the time nor do I feel that strongly as you do. I really don't care what you believe, and it seems like your mind has already been made. But I will take the time to address this question of yours. Since it does seem like you want to know, but you don't like what you have to do for It.

If God wanted us to be slaves he would have just created robots. Our actions have consequences. "God knows what works and what doesn't and what lasts" It gave us the choice\ with consequence. Like any law maker or parent would do. So God is telling us not to hurt ourselves while we play our own little god roles. If God was just going to force itself on us because then there wouldn't be much of a choice. Like when any parent does that to their child what happens? They rebel. Love by definition, must be freely given. And if God was just going to fix everything? The simplest answer is that It would keep restarting Adam and Eve over and over until there was a scenario where they didn't fall. But then, once again there wouldn't be much of a choice. So why does God let the whole thing play out? Why let it continue? Let's fast forward to Heaven. Unlike the garden, we will no longer have the temptation of sin. We will have the knowledge of it and what it costs. We will all be on the same page about it. We will all be filled with the greatest emotion that can possibly exist, humble gratitude. For not a single one of us earned to be there. That makes us all equals as well. And there won't be a single one who didn't chose to be there. Because we all chose to let God in and give us freedom from death and separation from what gave us life. Then everyone who didn't choose God wouldn't want to be in Heaven, where God is. So they will go to a place of their own choosing. And that might be excruciating seeing that you really missed the boat because God wouldn't do what you wanted. (Hmm, that seems to be such a reoccurring theme.) Or it might be enjoyable? Depending on what's really in your heart. Either way it could seem like a eternity before God's deletion program the lake of fire is implemented. God giving everyone exactly what they want. It could not sound more free.

"W-Wh-Whe -Where's the evidence of this?"

God is calling you. Do you not hear it? All you have to do is let go. Your eyes heart and mind and soul will all open up as you begin to believe and let God in. It does not work when God forces itself on you and then you'll believe. It has to be in your hearts longing to know God and let go of everything coming between you and God. But that's your journey. Im having mine. Yours will not be the same as mine. But if you do want it? Ask yourself. What would I be willing to do for it? "In all your ways acknowledge and your path will be made straight" I love you bro, I hope you find what your looking for. If you do want to know God? Then let God know, it's a lot easier than you think.

I apologise nylarhotep, I have to post this one last time. This video says it all, if you can hear it all the way through. Just make it past the short Pascal's wager part and you'll be fine. Btw I don't know why y'all just sweep Pascal under the rug? It's a huge principal. Anyways if you hear the knock at your heart. Don't be afraid to open the door. For it is Life itself.
https://youtu.be/D1e3HvpBOdk

GH

Talyyn's picture
@Great Hope

@Great Hope

When are we playing litte gods? You talk about parents punishing their children, but are they threatening them with eternal suffering? And then again, we're faced with the free will theodicy...

Imagine i want to study humanities. My parents don't want it and they say to me: " You are going to study economy or else we are going to disinherit you". Is it free will?

Great hope's picture
@talynEarth03

@talynEarth03

Where are you getting this idea of eternal suffering? Scriptures talk about the second death and the Lake of Fire and God can destroy both Body and Soul.

Also God doesn't need to threaten anybody. Its very existence is a threat. Seeing how God is life, life is a threat to death. "Oh death where is your sting" God, just like any parent will tell you. That if you don't choose well? Your going to have to pay for your actions. If you don't choose God? Then why would you want to be in heaven? Where God is???
God won't force you to be there. You chose something else. You chose something other than God. So there is a place perfectly designed for all those who don't want to know or be with God. The lake of fire is the second death. Hence deletion program. It would be pointless to deny everybody's longing for death and nothingness. So God finalizes it for you. Giving everyone exactly what they chose. The times God stepped in and deleted fools is when there was no chance of repentance (change of heart) they were evil at it's top notch raping and killing everything in sight. Their choice was permanently made. God gave them what they chose. God is so good ; )

That's why if it's in your heart to want to know God? Then why would you not test the promises and look for the possibilities? I mean Shuck's. How else do you think it would work? If you don't want to know God? Then just say I don't want to know God and then be done with it. Live your awesomely lucky life and hope none of these powerful people interrupt it with a war or population control... Again and again and again. But if you do want to know God? You have to do it God's way. Because it's the only way that works! And you'll be given new sight and it will show you the way. *Cynical chuckles* *SMH* *#facepalm* *that's impossible**that'll never work * I won't even try* and my personal favorite, which god are we even talking about?**
*zzzzz*

Talyyn's picture
Here five links, that also

Here five links, that also show that your view is by no means the only one christians abide to:

https://www.catholic.com/tract/the-hell-there-is
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_Hell#Nature_of_sufferin...
http://catholicstraightanswers.com/does-hell-exist/
https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4275
https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4275

Some of them stresse that speration from God is not exclusive to other forms of physical torments. The ove confusion is christians trying to reconcile their so called All-Loving God with the doctrine of Hell.

What do you mean by "deletion programm"? Annihilationism?

You say : "Lake of Fire and God can DESTROY both body and soul.

How can you say i am longing for nothingness? I am longing about nothing, i'm just accepting the fact that when i die, it is far more likely that may counciousness will fade away.

Sheldon's picture
Another raft of unevidenced

Another raft of unevidenced claims is all I see. Your deity doesn't exist for me any more than Zeus or Thor, until someone can demonstrate some objective evidence for it, and you can "chuckle cynically" all you want, it's clear from the long list of cliched apologetics and logical fallacies you've trotted out that the joke is on you. Though it's equally clear you are completely oblivious to this fact.

"Then just say I don't want to know God and then be done with it. "

We understand you think this moronic claim is somehow profound, but one cannot choose "not to know" what does not exist, and it won't exist until someone demonstrates some credible objective evidence for it, and please don't waste any more time or bandwidth with the equally asinine idea that believing it is real will eventually convince us it is real, if you can't see how absurd that claim is then again the joke is on you I'm afraid.

Now as I said I'm starting to tire of your endless sententious sermonising, so I suggest you either debate in a reasonable fashion or leave, and find a pulpit to preach from where your nonsense belongs.

"So there is a place perfectly designed for all those who don't want to know or be with God."

That would make an incompetent and sadistic deity to be sure, given the vast majority of people who have ever lived would be entirely unaware of the christian deity, which humans only created a couple of thousand years ago. Where was this deity for the 14 billion plus years the universe has existed for, and what the hell was it doing while humans lived and died for almost 200,000 years completely unaware of it?

David Killens's picture
@ Great hope

@ Great hope

"If God wanted us to be slaves he would have just created robots. Our actions have consequences. "God knows what works and what doesn't and what lasts" It gave us the choice\ with consequence. Like any law maker or parent would do. So God is telling us not to hurt ourselves while we play our own little god roles. If God was just going to force itself on us because then there wouldn't be much of a choice."

So what is it? Is this god a complete incompetent? This god is supposed to be all powerful and knows what will happen. Yet this god totally screwed up creation? Are we supposed to learn on our own? How can that be when the bible is more a set of rules than anything. It tells you what to eat, how to own slaves, how to dress, even to put up a wall to keep visitors from falling off the roof.

Think about this carefully. If your god really wanted mankind to learn on our own, there would be no bible, no prophets, no ten commandments.

Cognostic's picture
@Great Hope: "God sets you

@Great Hope: "God sets you free"
Are you not aware that your own bible identifies god as a "Slave-master with many whips?"

(Ephesians 6:5-9) "Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ,"

And, masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their MASTER and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each man remain with God in that condition in which he was called (1 Corinthians 7:17-24).

How many frigging times does the BIBLE refer to its followers as SAVES TO GOD OR CHRIST.
Another moronic and unfounded assertion made by the GREAT HOPE. (SERIOUSLY; HAVE YOU EVER READ YOUR BIBLE?)

@ "If God wanted us to be slaves he would have just created robots."
Or he might just tell you that you are a fking slave LIKE HE DOES IN THE FRIGGING BIBLE.

@ It gave us the choice\ with consequence LIKE ANY LAW MAKER.

What frigging planet are you living on. LAWS ARE NOT CHOICES. You do not get the choice to violate a law and murder someone. You do not get the choice to enter my home and rape my wife. That is not a choice that you get to make. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE LAWS. Laws are not to be violated for any reason. There is no choice in LOVE ME OR BURN IN HELL. It's like an asshole holding a gun to your head and saying, "Suck my ______ or die." WHERE IS THE FRIGGING CHOICE? I choose not to believe your stupidity and I choose not to believe in God or Gods until such a time as there is some evidence for them. THAT IS THE LOGICAL CHOICE.

@ If God was just going to force itself on us because then there wouldn't be much of a choice.

YOU HAVE NO FREEDOM OF CHOICE (1 Corinthians) Paul begins by requiring all Christians to submit to one another in the fear of Christ (5:21). Submission applies to every Christian.
WHAT FRIGGING BOOK ARE YOU READING. YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW OUR OWN DOGMA.

Just another feel good Christian who does not even know what he is talking about. Please try and read SOMETHING and get ONE FACT correct prior to your next reply.

Talyyn's picture
Three objective values by

Five objective values by christians:
Patriarchy
Conservatism
Blaming the victims
Nihilism: claiming that human life have no values beside what their God says, claiming that the natural world is broken
End of History (eschatological befief)

JimM's picture
To begin with, let’s define

To begin with, let’s define what we mean by “objective moral values”. Objective moral values are qualities like kindness or love which are morally good independent of the belief of human beings. For this reason, philosophers who affirm the existence of objective moral values sometimes speak about them as moral facts. A purported fact can either be true or false, but it is qualitatively different than an opinion, which is a matter of personal preference.
So when we say that objective moral values exist, we mean that a statement like, “Murder is evil,” is making a claim about some objective moral reality in precisely the same way that the statement, “There is a chair in my kitchen,” is making a claim about objective physical reality.
In contrast, a moral relativist claims that a statement like, “murder is evil,” is a subjective claim about our (or our society’s) preference. The statement, “murder is evil,” expresses a subjective preference similar to the statements, “curry is tasty,” or, “bluegrass is the best musical genre.” If objective moral values exist, then statements like, “the Holocaust was evil,” can be objectively true. If objective moral values exist, then this statement would be true even if the Nazis had won World War II and had convinced every human being in the entire world that the Holocaust was good. In contrast, the position of moral relativism commits one to the proposition that moral statements like, “the Holocaust was evil,” are subjective. If some person or some society, like Nazi Germany, believes that the Holocaust was good, then the Holocaust would indeed be good “for them”. There would be no objective moral standard to which their assessment could be compared.

I believe that this definition of objective moral values is not particularly controversial, since it is used by moral realists and relativists alike. What is controversial is whether objective moral values, as defined above, actually exist. It is the evidence for this position that I hope to present in the following sections.

A few other important clarifications. First, in defending the existence of objective moral values, I am primarily making a claim about moral ontology, not about moral epistemology.
Moral ontology deals with whether a realm of objective moral values exists; in other words, what is the basis for something being “good” or “evil”?
Moral epistemology deals with how we know what is good and evil. Clearly, one can have real objective moral values without knowing how we perceive these values or even how we know which actions are good and which are evil.

Second, I am also not claiming that our perception of moral values is perfectly reliable. I will argue that we have a very strong and reliable intuition that there are objective moral values; but I will not argue that our perceptions about which actions are good and which are evil are always accurate (in fact, I believe that in many cases our moral intuitions can be quite inaccurate).
Third, I am not making the claim that one must believe in objective moral values in order to act morally. Far from it. I know many people who explicitly deny that good and evil exist, yet who live loving, compassionate lives. I also know people who believe in the existence of objective moral values yet who live evil lives.
The question I am asking is not whether our lives are consistent with our beliefs, but whether our beliefs are true or false!

JimM

References:
'Stealing from God', Why atheists need God to make their case'; Frank Turek; (2014) NavPress
'Do Objective Moral Values Exist?"; Neil Shenvi; www.shenviapologetics.WordPress.com

JimM's picture
A very helpful extended

A very helpful extended analogy can be made by comparing the existence of objective moral values to the existence of the external objective universe.
First, the question of whether the external, objective universe exists is a question of ontology; is there a real world that really exists outside of my own mind? Is there really a chair in my kitchen, or is this just a figment of my imagination?

This question, like the question of the existence of objective moral values, is independent of epistemology: how we know that such a world exists. The objective external universe could exist, even if we have no reliable way to know that it exists. Second, the external objective universe can exist even if my perception of facts about it are not always reliable. Consider the development of the natural sciences over the last four centuries. Scientists in the 17th century had incredibly poor and often erroneous ideas about the natural world.
Since that time, our ideas have presumably become more and more accurate. But it does not follow that the objective universe does not exist or somehow depends upon our perception of it. In the same way, our perception of what is good and evil may change over time without affecting the claim that objective moral values exist. I would be very foolish to use the evolution of our understanding of science over the last four centuries to argue against the existence of an objective universe subject to physical laws.
Finally, one does not need to believe that the universe actually exists to live a fairly normal life. A person might be fully convinced that they are living in some computer-generated fantasy world like the Matrix and might still choose, as a personal preference, to live as if buildings and sidewalks and tables and chairs were objectively real. In the very same way, a person might deny the existence of objective good and evil and could still choose to live a moral life. So a denial of the existence of objective moral values does not demand the adoption of a particularly immoral lifestyle.

Hopefully, this section has cleared up some important misconceptions about what the second premise of the moral argument does and does not claim. In the next section, I will try to provide several good reasons to believe that objective moral values do exist.

References:
'Stealing from God', Why atheists need God to make their case'; Frank Turek; (2014) NavPress
'Do Objective Moral Values Exist?"; Neil Shenvi; www.shenviapologetics.WordPress.com

JimM

JimM's picture
2. Evidence that objective

2. Evidence that objective moral values exist
In this section, I will provide a few reasons for accepting the premise that objective moral values do exist. Indeed, I will go a bit farther than the original premise and will argue not only that objective moral values exist, but that we have immediate, intuitive knowledge of their existence. However, it is extremely important for readers –especially skeptical readers– to keep in mind that I am attempting to defend a basic premise (actually, premise 2 of the Moral Argument for God’s existence). A good, basic premise cannot be deduced from a logical argument because, if it could, the premises of this first argument would serve as the actual premises in the subsequent argument. In other words, we should not demand that someone prove a premise to be true; we can only ask them to provide reasons that it is true.
Furthermore, for belief in a premise to be warranted, the reasons given to support the premise merely need to be more compelling than reasons given to disbelieve the premise. To show that there is not a chair in my kitchen, I have to do more than criticize the evidence for the existence of the chair. I have to also present positive evidence that there is not a chair in my kitchen.
Skeptical readers need to take special care that they do not violate these basic principles of argumentation in evaluating the evidence I present below. I fully admit that I will not prove the premise that objective moral values exist. I also agree that there are ways to avoid the weight of each of the points I will present below. However, the question is not whether the evidence in support of the premise can be avoided, but whether there exists better evidence to deny the premise.
In fact, I believe that while there are many good reasons to accept the existence of objective moral values, there are no good reasons to deny the existence of objective moral values.
Keeping these issues in mind, let’s look at the five pieces of evidence that objective moral values exist. If objective moral values exist and we can intuitively perceive them, this hypothesis explains five pieces of empirical evidence.
1) Nearly universally across human cultures, there exist the same basic standards of morality. In addition, there exist in all cultures truly altruistic acts which lead to no genetic benefit.
2) The majority of people who explicitly deny the existence of objective morality still act as if objective morality exists.
3) There exists a nearly universal human intuition that certain things are objectively right or wrong.
4) The majority of philosophers recognize the existence of objective moral facts.
5) Many naturalists (like Sam Harris or Shelley Kagan) affirm the existence of objective moral facts, despite the problems inherent in grounding these facts in the natural world.
Let’s examine each of these pieces of evidence and consider whether the existence and intuitive perception of objective moral values explains them.
1. Cultures across the world and down through human history affirm that objective moral values exist. Indeed, cultures throughout history and across the world have affirmed many of the same moral values that we profess today (murder is wrong, theft is wrong, lying is wrong, etc…). It is not surprising that nearly all cultures affirm these kinds of basic ethical practices since any culture that encouraged murder, theft, and lying would quickly disintegrate. However, what is far more perplexing is the existence and persistence of altruism throughout human cultures. By altruism here, I mean what evolutionary biologist Dr. Jerry Coyne calls true altruism, behavior that will not even indirectly confer reproductive benefit to oneself or ones’ relatives. For instance, it is possible to envision a scenario in which generosity would indirectly benefit the giver and increase his reproductive fitness. But it is incredibly hard to envision a scenario in which it is genetically advantageous to throw one’s body on a live grenade to save one’s platoon or to adopt and raise children of another race.
Reflecting on the existence of true altruism, Coyne says “we don’t know whether true altruism … has any genetic basis in human society. True altruism like that isn’t known in any other species, and I suspect that, to the extent it occurs in ours, it’s an epiphenomenon: a byproduct of our general social cooperativeness….In short, we know nothing about the evolution of true human altruism except that it probably didn’t evolve.” from why evolution is true blog 5/18/11
Richard Dawkins agrees, seeing altruism as a happy accident of evolution, but not one that leads directly or indirectly to any reproductive benefit.
What is important here is that both Coyne and Dawkins recognize that altruism is an evolutionary accident. What puzzles me most is why –on this view– true altruism persists in the human race.
Shouldn’t altruistic acts like self-sacrifice or adoption have been weeded out of the human population by natural selection eons ago?
How could the pressures of natural selection have tuned the eye to detect single photons yet have failed to prevent people from rushing into burning buildings or diving into icy water to save others?

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JimM's picture
2. As I mentioned in the

2. As I mentioned in the first section, the vast majority of self-professed moral relativists live moral lives. Indeed, many moral relativists will emphasize that they live lives which are indistinguishable or even morally superior to those of moral realists. Yet this leads to a curious observation. The behavior of moral relativists can indeed be partially explained by self-interest. If I value comfort, pleasure, and freedom, I cannot simply walk around punching people in the face, lest I be arrested and imprisoned. But every one of us finds ourselves in situations in which a moral infraction would lead to clear, immediate benefit with little or no chance of detection. Why not shoplift? Why not cheat on your taxes? Why not drive away from the fender-bender if no one noticed? No doubt some of the responses of moral relativists can be explained by fear of detection. And other relativists may indeed act “immorally” in these situations. But if my reader is a moral relativist, I wonder if he can truly explain all of his behavior in these terms? Was it all self-interested? Or was it motivated by an odd compulsion or preference to do what was “right” even when no one was watching?

3. This brings me to my third point, which is perhaps the most obvious: all human beings do seem to have an innate sense that some things are objectively right and others are objectively wrong. In the same way, all human beings have an innate intuition that they have free will and that the external universe actually exists. Now these intuitions might well be illusions. But I think it is undeniable that they exist. I have recently seen first-hand evidence of this fact in interacting with my two-and-a-half year old son. As parents, we have to teach him to share, to be kind, to be gentle, and to do what is good. Often, teaching him to do what is good is a difficult task. But he has not once asked me what I mean by “good”. Indeed, he takes it perfectly for granted that some things are objectively good and some things are objectively bad. He does not occasionally confuse “good” with “whatever Mommy and Daddy impose on me by force” or “what will eventually lead to my own benefit.” Another equally important point is that I can’t even begin to conceive of how a true moral relativist would raise a child. If a child asks his parent why he should not hit his sister, I find it hard to believe that the moral relativist would answer “Because of self-interest. If you hit her, then she might hit you back.” Nor would the parent say “Because I am bigger than you and will punish you if you disobey.” Even the most committed moral relativist will find himself answering “Hitting is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Love and generosity and kindness are good.” Now the moral relativist might console himself with the thought that he is merely introducing a fictional short-hand to be replaced with the bracing truth of moral relativism once the child is old enough to understand. But I find it extremely interesting that thinking in objective moral terms is nearly unavoidable for both children and parents.

4. Although there are a fair number of moral relativists among modern philosophers, moral realism is the majority position among professional academic philosophers, according to a recent poll. Indeed, among those who have a clear preference, professional philosophers favor moral realism over moral antirealism by two to one. Obviously, an appeal to professional philosophers does not prove that objective moral values exist. But it should give a moral relativist pause. Surely, of all people, philosophers ought to be the most familiar with explanations of morality based on self-interest or evolutionary psychology or group selection. Isn’t it odd, then, that they would persist in affirming that objective moral facts exist?

5. What I think is some of the most compelling evidence for the existence of objective moral values actually comes from the affirmation of the Neoatheists, particularly Sam Harris. Harris utterly and vehemently rejects moral relativism and has made the existence of objective moral values one of the central issues in his books. Yet to me and to many of my atheist friends, the idea that objective moral values can exist in the absence of God is an obvious and transparent fantasy. If nature is all that is, then to me and to many atheists, there is obviously no way to call one thing “good” and another thing “evil.” There is no way from bridging the gap between “is” and “ought” as myriads of philosophers have pointed out throughout history. My question, then, is why these naturalistic philosophers so vehemently defend the existence of objective moral values, when their existence is so problematic if nature is all there is (see the recent Craig-Harris debate or the following scathing review of Harris’ book The Moral Landscape by atheist philosopher Michael Ruse). In light of these criticisms, why don’t naturalists like Harris simply deny that objective moral values exist? Why not simply be consistent and dismiss moral values as subjective preferences inculcated into us by our society or programmed into us by our genes? Why vehemently defend a proposition that is seemingly incompatible with one’s worldview?

Having outlined these five empirical observations, I would now like to invite readers to consider two possibilities. The first possibility is that objective moral values exist and that all humans have immediate, intuitive apprehension of their existence. The second possibility is that objective moral values do not exist and that any belief that they do exist is therefore an illusion. Now ask: which of these two possibilities better explains the five points listed above? I am not asking which of the five points proves one conclusion or the other. I am merely asking which of the two possibilities has the most explanatory scope and explanatory power. It seems clear to me that the actual existence of objective moral values and our immediate, intuitive apprehension of their existence is a far more compelling explanation of these five pieces of evidence. If you disagree, I suggest you read through each of these pieces of evidence again, and compare the two alternatives for each case. Obviously, it is possible that these pieces of evidence can be explained by some confluence of group selection (points 1 and 3 — although this theory is extremely controversial and is rejected outright by evolutionary biologists like Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne), social pressure to conform (point 2), and peer pressure among philosophers (point 4 and point 5). But is this as plausible an explanation as the hypothesis that objective moral values actually exist and that we all know it? To hold to moral relativism, we would not only need to dismiss each of these pieces of evidence, but we would have to present positive evidence which supports the non-existence of objective moral values. Unless the reader can make such a case, he needs to seriously consider whether his denial of the existence of objective moral values is warranted.

In this section, I have tried to show that belief in the existence of objective moral values is warranted by several pieces of empirical evidence quite independent of our own personal intuition. Even point 3 was the empirical observation that the vast majority of humanity has an immediate, intuitive belief in the existence of objective moral values; I did not appeal to our own personal intuition. To these five points, I might also add that you and I personally have this same strong intuition that objective moral values exist. This intuition is just as strong in us as our intuition that the objective universe exists or that we have free will. We might reject this intuition because our worldview tells us that it must be an illusion. But I see no compelling reason that the presuppositions of our worldview should permit us to either disregard the evidence. However, rather than dwelling on our personal moral intuition, I would like to shift our focus slightly. In fact, I would like to attempt something quite startling. I will attempt to demonstrate that none of us are really moral relativists; we all actually know that objective moral values exist even if we deny this fact intellectually.

III. Do moral relativists really exist?
As I said in the first section, the basic premise of moral relativism is that there is no objective standard of moral behavior. All moral behavior is relative to individual persons or cultures; what is “good” or “bad” depends on the person, on the place and time, on the community, and on the culture. No action and no behavior can rightly be termed “bad” or “good” without qualification. Actions are only “good to you” or “bad to you”, “good to this culture” or “bad to this culture.” In the previous section, I tried to show that –based on the evidence– belief in moral relativism is unwarranted. It is theoretically possible to find ways around the evidence presented above, but each of these pieces of evidence seems to clearly point to the existence of objective moral values. In this section, I will not attempt to show that belief in moral relativism is unwarranted; rather, I will try to show that no one actually believes in moral relativism. To do so, I will ask four questions. Each of them centers around a “thought experiment,” a highly hypothetical situation which probes our reactions to admittedly unlikely circumstances. I urge the reader to take these questions very seriously.

First, imagine some extremely evil action that would provide you with something you greatly value. For instance, since presumably all of us value money to some degree, let us imagine that we could acquire millions of dollars simply by subjecting some innocent child to a painful death. To make things clear, let us also say that our culture condoned such an action, as might have been the case during the Rwandan genocide. What would you do? I think all of us would say that we would absolutely not kill the child. However, the reasons given by a moral realist or a moral relativist would presumably be very different. A moral realist would say that murdering an innocent child is objectively wrong and that no personal pleasure could induce them to commit such an unspeakably evil act. In contrast, a moral relativist might also abhor the murder. But they would have to base their decision on the fact that the negative emotions they would experience from killing the child would far outweigh the positive emotions associated with the money. Since there is no objective standard of good and evil, they would have to appeal to their own preferences to explain their actions.

Second, let’s press this thought experiment further. Now let’s imagine that we faced the same choice, but could also choose to have the memory of our action erased (I think about Cipher’s bargain with the machines in the Matrix). The child would still die painfully, their family would grieve and mourn and lament your action, but you would be utterly oblivious to your deed. You would have the money and would be able to enjoy it free from any memory of the decision. Now what would we choose? Hopefully, we would again choose to let the child live. But this time, the moral relativist has to be a bit troubled. If asked for the reasons behind his decision, he must again point to his personal preference for love, compassion, empathy, happiness, etc… But we could then remind him that he would derive no negative moral emotions at all from the killing as a consequence of his amnesia. In contrast, he would have the very real and concrete positive emotions that would come from his enjoyment of the millions of dollars. Again, a moral relativist would have to appeal to some sense that he prefers an objective reality in which there is no suffering even if he himself is oblivious to it and can derive no pleasure from it.

But this is where the trouble really starts. We next need to ask whether the moral relativist takes daily steps to deaden and kill his negative moral emotions. For instance, there is no question that we all enjoy certain items like money, sex, food, sleep, and leisure. On the other hand, there is also no question that certain moral emotions like guilt and empathy are extremely unpleasant. Anyone who has wept and wept comforting a friend who has lost a loved one or who has stared in horror at images of poverty or starvation, knows that we do not seek out or enjoy these experiences. But if moral relativism is true, then there is nothing inherently good or right about feeling empathy. And since guilt has no objective basis in a moral reality, it is nothing but an extremely unpleasant illusion. Then why does the moral relativist not spend more time trying to divest himself of all feelings of guilt, empathy, and remorse? If these emotions often prevent us from enjoying pleasurable items like money and sex, then why not work to deaden or kill these negative moral emotions? Why does he not work to develop an indifferent attitude towards those in need so that he is free to devote his entire life on his own pleasures? Here again, the moral relativist has a problem. Surely, the cost-benefit analysis is perfectly clear. If there is some way to destroy all negative moral emotions while retaining my ability to enjoy all the easily accessible positive emotions, shouldn’t I be working to find it? Why is it that I, as a moral relativist, don’t devote more time to either shielding myself from human misery or working to harden my heart against it?

There is a final question. Imagine that I offered you an “amorality pill”. This hypothetical pill would permanently destroy all of your capacity to experience negative moral emotions like guilt, empathy, and remorse. But it would leave intact all of your capacity for positive emotions like love, joy, excitement and happiness. To put it starkly, you would still be able to love your wife and children, to experience the vicarious joy of giving them gifts, to feel a rush of tenderness when you kiss them goodnight. However, if you decided one morning that killing them all with an axe would give you great happiness, you would be able to do so without a single twinge of regret or remorse. You could pile the corpses of your children into the fireplace and spend the rest of the day exquisitely enjoying your coffee and the crispness of the autumn leaves. You would be a completely amoral individual like Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho. The amorality pill would set you free from the illusory shackles of morality to pursue your own happiness, utterly indifferent to the pain and misery of others. Would you take the pill?

If you are a moral relativist, you need to seriously grapple with these questions, especially the last one. If moral relativism is true, then there is no obvious reason to not take the pill. The completely amoral monster who could kill his own children has done nothing objectively good or evil, because there is no objective good or evil. The man (or woman) I just described might be rapturously happy. Yet you recoil in horror from the thought that this is the man you could become. Why? I would like to make a bold assertion: you are not really a moral relativist. You may claim that you deny the existence of objective moral truths, but your behavior and your answers to questions like the ones given above show otherwise.

References:
Stealing from God', Why atheists need God to make their case'; Frank Turek; (2014) NavPress
'Do Objective Moral Values Exist?"; Neil Shenvi; www.shenviapologetics.WordPress.com

Algebe's picture
@JimM moral relativists......

@JimM moral relativists.......moral realists

Whoever wrote the book that you plagiarized here reveals their prejudice and dishonesty in these two terms. How ironically arrogant to say that someone who derives their morality from iron-age scribblings about a sky fairy is a "moral realist".

Let's call these "moral realists" what they really are: moral absolutists. And like all absolutists, they are cowards who shy away from the frightening complexity of real life and personal responsibility, moral infants who need an imaginary sky daddy to tell them what's right and what's wrong.

Tin-Man's picture
@JimM

@JimM

Holy shit, dude! Do you not have ANYTHING from your own personal thoughts to type/write/offer??? Unbelievable.... *rolling eyes*... I mean, is it illegal to express your own personal opinions wherever you are? Or is it that you simply lack the ability and mental capacity to do so? Either way, it must be horrible having to live with somebody else always telling you how and what to think. Then again, I suppose there are some people out there who actually take comfort in allowing others to think for them. Certainly does relieve one of a great deal of personal responsibility. Hmmmm.......

JimM's picture
Tin-man, a quick search to

Tin-man, a quick search to find the answer to the question about 'where did ojective morality come from? So I thought it interesting to share the research and logic with my atheist friends here, to see if anyone may be sufficiently open-minded to consider. Y'all are entitled to your own opinions, but yes there are options other than God, though none would I recommend!
From personal experience I used to mistakenly dabble in skepticism, agnostisim and atheism before learning the truth. The evidence of and for God is overwhelming. Just hoping you keep your options open sir, because everyone is given a measure of faith. The real question is where will, or in what do you put your faith? If we hope in oneself, to try and usurp God's place, then of course our own pride will get in the way and blind us!

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JimM

@ JimM

"because everyone is given a measure of faith

Obviously not....and your evidence for such a statement please or it will be dismissed.

"The real question is where will, or in what do you put your faith?

No, that's not a real question. The definition of "faith" requires unquestioning belief...I lack belief especially in a god or gods. See answer above.

"If we hope in oneself, to try and usurp God's place"

Where is the evidence for your particular "god's place"? Please elucidate.

Edited for clarity

JimM's picture
Hey Old Man Shouts - thank

Hey Old Man Shouts - thank you for the reply sir!

Re:..."measure of faith"

I have faith you know what you believe that there is no God. My having faith about your belief does not disprove anything about God himself, does it?

"The real question is where will, or in what do you put your faith?

I lack belief that you are an atheist, so does this mean my relative truth makes this statement true or false for you? How may I be absolutely true (certain) that you are an atheist? What proof do you have?

BTW here is the definition of faith - it is the confidence of things hoped for and assurance about what we do not see.

"If we hope in oneself, to try and usurp God's place.....where is the rest of the statement which I posted? Please do not take things out of context, I ask that you simply follow the entire statement for your clarity.

Besides - if there is no god, or no God; as you have faith in your belief that He does not exist; how are you absolutely certain? If you are absolutely certain then there is an absolute truth. Or is this absolute belief on your part, as in there is no God only true for yourself?

Please eludicate!

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JimM

@ JimM

You missed the point ...by a mile but still...

My having faith about your belief does not disprove anything about God himself, does it?

Your faith about anything by very definition doesn't prove anything at all.

I lack belief that you are an atheist, so does this mean my relative truth makes this statement true or false for you? How may I be absolutely true (certain) that you are an atheist? What proof do you have?

I am, I exist, I can provide contemporary reliable witnesses to my professed atheism and to my birth, marriages, children. I have had traffic citations, given evidence in court, all of which not only prove my existence by multiple disinterested third party attestations, but also my atheism. To "lack belief" after researching all that evidence is delusional behaviour.

Here is the actual definition of 'faith' in this context.
2.strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. (Merriam Webster.)

Please do not cite definitions that suit your view without naming the source. It will not work with me. If you are quoting from Hebrews 11, then it isn't a definition, its a quote taken out of context. It is very dishonest to quote this as a "definition" of an english word where it is used in a fantastical work.

"If we hope in oneself, to try and usurp God's place.....where is the rest of the statement which I posted? Please do not take things out of context

My question was entirely within context , you stated there was a "god's place" I asked you to explain exactly where that was, and supply some evidence of your claim...you haven't and I am waiting.

you said as you have faith in your belief that He does not exist

I am tired of explaining to theists the simplest things. Atheism is the LACK OF BELIEF IN A GOD OR GODS. Claro? Blind Freddy with the comprehension skills of a demented hamster on crack should get that by now. The rest of your paragraph fails because of your lack of comprehension.

If a "lack of belief in a thing or things" is too hard a concept for you, just ask I am sure we have someone who can explain it to you. I can say it has nothing to do with "faith" in any sense of the word. "

JimM's picture
Dear Old Man Shouts - please

Dear Old Man Shouts - please read the faith (noun) definition of faith in the Merriam-Webster dictionary

2a(1);
belief and trust in and loyalty to God

Merriam-Webster
-Definition of faith (Entry 1 of 2)
1a : allegiance to duty or a person : LOYALTY
lost faith in the company's president
b(1) : fidelity to one's promises

(2) : sincerity of intentions
acted in good faith

2a(1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God

(2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

b(1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof
clinging to the faith that her missing son would one day return

(2) : complete trust

3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction
especially : a system of religious beliefs
the Protestant faith
on faith
: without question
took everything he said on faith
faith verb
\ ˈfāth \
faithed; faithing; faiths
Definition of faith (Entry 2 of 2)
transitive verb

archaic
: BELIEVE, TRUST

Then please research and undestand the life, character and belief of Noah Webster
https://noahwebsterhouse.org/noah-webster-and-religion/

Religion – I… A belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of his will to man, in man’s obligation to obey his commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man’s accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life with the practice of all moral duties…. the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion.
Noah Webster 1833

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@jimm

@jimm
The MW definition is what I quoted in part and qualified my comment as to the relevance to this discussion. ...and none ofthe definitions included the 'definition' you quoted from Hebrews. So just admit your error.
Answer the points i made in my last post

JimM's picture
Tin-man, a quick search to

Tin-man, a quick search to find the answer to the question about 'where did ojective morality come from? So I thought it interesting to share the research and logic with my atheist friends here, to see if anyone may be sufficiently open-minded to consider. Y'all are entitled to your own opinions, but yes there are options other than God, though none would I recommend!
From personal experience I used to mistakenly dabble in skepticism, agnostisim and atheism before learning the truth. The evidence of and for God is overwhelming. Just hoping you keep your options open sir, because everyone is given a measure of faith. The real question is where will, or in what do you put your faith? If we hope in oneself, to try and usurp God's place, then of course our own pride will get in the way and blind us!

JimM's picture
Tin-man, a quick search to

Tin-man, a quick search to find the answer to the question about 'where did ojective morality come from? So I thought it interesting to share the research and logic with my atheist friends here, to see if anyone may be sufficiently open-minded to consider. Y'all are entitled to your own opinions, but yes there are options other than God, though none would I recommend!
From personal experience I used to mistakenly dabble in skepticism, agnostisim and atheism before learning the truth. The evidence of and for God is overwhelming. Just hoping you keep your options open sir, because everyone is given a measure of faith. The real question is where will, or in what do you put your faith? If we hope in oneself, to try and usurp God's place, then of course our own pride will get in the way and blind us!

JimM's picture
IV. Why are we moral

IV. Why are we moral relativists?
In light of the discussion in Sections II and III, a very interesting question arises. If the hypothesis that objective moral values exist is a better explanation of the evidence than moral relativism and if our own behavior is inconsistent with moral relativism, then why do so many of us claim to be moral relativists? It helps here to take a postmodern view of our own belief systems. Postmodernism rightly recognizes that none of us is a purely disinterested, neutral spectator when it comes to the great questions of life. All of us come to these questions with a whole host of needs, desires, and fears that will greatly influence our consideration of the evidence. For instance, imagine a scientist who has spent decades developing a theory. At the last moment before publication, he suddenly finds what he thinks is a subtle flaw in his experiment which would invalidate all of his results. Can you understand the tremendous psychological pressure that he experiences to find ways of dismissing the error? We might hope that his commitment to truth would win out over his personal feelings. But all of us should be able to understand the terrible temptation he faces to ignore what could be a devastating blow to him.

What relevance does this situation have to the existence of objective moral values? Unfortunately, all the relevance in the world. If we deny the existence of objective moral values, then we never need to ask questions about the rectitude of our behavior. Indeed, there is no way for anyone to ask questions about our behavior because there is no objective standard by which our behavior can be evaluated. No one can ask whether we have lived a good life or a bad life, because there is no good or bad. No one can ask whether we have lived as we ought to have lived, because there is no “ought.” The poor might cry out at our gates that they have been neglected. The broken might weep that we have squandered our life on little luxuries rather than pursuing compassion and justice. But no one can bring an objective charge against us because there is no objective charge to bring. But what if there were? What if there were some standard of objective good and evil such that all of our betrayals, slights, and cruelties were moral abominations? What if our whole life could be compared against some perfectly good moral standard? Suddenly we see the charms of moral relativism. I believe that it is not the inherent plausibility of moral relativism that accounts for its popularity, but its emotional appeal. We can be our own lords and masters. We can live our lives to please ourselves. We can do whatever we want and don’t have to answer to anyone, not even our own consciences.

Yet even in the midst of our moral relativism, there is something to be learned from it. I imagine that moral relativism has no appeal at all to those who consider themselves to be good. A man who believes that he has done his duty to God and to his neighbor, who has kept all the commandments, who is righteous and pure, who is not like robbers, evildoers, prostitutes or tax collectors – this man embraces objective moral values with eagerness. The existence of an objective moral standard legitimizes his feelings of superiority. There is a moral law, perhaps even a moral Lawgiver, and it is in his favor. There is a clear line between good and evil and he is on the right side. For all the horrific evil, apathy and falsehood that moral relativism can produce, at least it can produce no Pharisees. In contrast, the very fact that we flee to moral relativism only make sense if we know –deep down inside– that we are guilty. What appeal does moral relativism have, except to a sinner?

So what is the solution? It depends where you are. For a committed moral relativist, I would begin by radically reexamining your worldview. Can you really justify your commitment to moral relativism given the empirical observations I mentioned in Section II? Does moral relativism have more (or any) empirical support when compared to realism? If not, then intellectual honesty demands that you adopt moral realism. But you cannot stop there. You next need to determine which objective moral facts are true. Is extramarital sex good? Is abortion good? Is honesty good? Is charity good? You need to begin to drastically reorient your life around the existence of objective moral values. You also need to ask: what grounds these objective moral values? If they exist, then is naturalism a coherent worldview? Is it, after all, far more plausible that objective moral values are grounded in the character of a morally perfect God? These are all of the important philosophical questions that need to be answered. Moral realism is not for the faint-hearted.

But there is a far more important question that needs to be answered, and it is not a philosophical question. It is a personal one. If the biblical God exists, then He is the standard of objective moral values. It is not some abstract form of moral virtue that you have transgressed. You have broken and rejected the commands of a good, loving, holy and righteous God. You can certainly launch into a project of moral self-improvement. You can adopt moral realism and begin reading utilitarian philosophers like Peter Singer. You can even become religious.
But you will still not solve your problem. And you will live out your days in an incessant, toilsome, miserable and ultimately vain attempt to achieve a right standing before God by your own effort. What you need is someone to come and rescue you. The gospel, the central message of Christianity, is that someone has.

References:
Stealing from God', Why atheists need God to make their case'; Frank Turek; (2014) NavPress
'Do Objective Moral Values Exist?"; Neil Shenvi; www.shenviapologetics.WordPress.com

xenoview's picture
JimM

JimM

Tldr any of your posts. Just curious, whos work did you cut and paste from?

Algebe's picture
@Xenoview

@Xenoview

It looks like he filched it all from here. "Neil Shenvi/Christian apologetics from a homeschooling theoretical chemist"

https://shenviapologetics.wordpress.com/do-objective-moral-values-exist/

Maybe he had permission. Maybe he's Neil Shenvi in disguise. But it sure looks like wholesale plagiarism to me.

https://shenviapologetics.wordpress.com/do-objective-moral-values-exist/

JimM's picture
Hi Algebe, is fliching

Hi Algebe, is fliching something wrong? Is plagiarism wrong? Is wholesale plagiarism wrong? If there is no god, or no God as you believe or have faith in, by what measurement is cutting and pasting, or referencing anothers work considered wrong?

Please eludicate - to use the reply of another 'Old Man Shouts' with reference added to his credit!

CyberLN's picture
Jim, I warned you not to copy

Jim, I warned you not to copy/paste large blocks of text.

You asked if plagiarism is wrong. It’s actually illegal. I warned you, you failed to comply. I am blocking your account.

David Killens's picture
@JimM

@JimM

"Hi Algebe, is fliching something wrong? Is plagiarism wrong? Is wholesale plagiarism wrong? If there is no god, or no God as you believe or have faith in, by what measurement is cutting and pasting, or referencing anothers work considered wrong?"

It is wrong to steal from others. There are many people who make an income by books or other published documents.

The measurement is in harming others and treating others as you wish to be treated. This is my own moral compass, and by stealing from others, you have done them harm by taking away income.

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