EVIDENCE

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Algebe's picture
@Jesus Follower: How can

@Jesus Follower: How can there be a better with no objective standard of right?

Did you notice I said "I like to think we're getting better? It's an opinion. I think we're getting better than something that I think was worse. From my perspective, that's a priest-ridden society chained by ignorance, superstition, cruelty, and intolerance. You may consider that an ideal society, but for me it's an insult to human potential.

Of course, if you feel you need an objective standard of right, you can invent a god and call it your ultimate arbiter of right and wrong. That's what our ancestors did with tragic results. I could claim with equal validity that Superman or some other fictional character is the standard.

Jesus Follower's picture
I'm sorry. I think I've

I'm sorry. I think I've caught up. Ok, "A priest-ridden society chained by ignorance, superstition, cruelty, and intolerance" is bad in your opinion. Hopefully I got that right. I agree, friend. That is not a good society.

I think I know what you're saying by subjective too. Our opinions can not be objective without being universal. The best our opinions can be is subjective.

Is that right?

Algebe's picture
@Jesus Follower: The best our

@Jesus Follower: The best our opinions can be is subjective.

That's one way of putting it. Our opinions, our desires, our morality are all subjective, but if we want to live in society and achieve anything, we have to refine and adjust our subjective morality according to what is acceptable to other people and society. The result is a kind of collective subjective morality that is constantly evolving through mutual influence. We change society, and society changes us. And that's as close to objective morality as we can get.

Jesus Follower's picture
@Algebe: The result is a kind

@Algebe: The result is a kind of collective subjective morality that is constantly evolving through mutual influence. We change society, and society changes us. And that's as close to objective morality as we can get.

But even if the rest of society tortured babies for the fun of it, it would still be wrong. Even if Hitler had conquered the world, you wouldn't hunt down and murder the remaining Jews, would you? Not only do we change society. Sometimes it is *right* for us to change society. Isn't it?

Algebe's picture
@Jesus Follower: But even if

@Jesus Follower: But even if the rest of society tortured babies for the fun of it, it would still be wrong.

Do you know of a society that does that? I know at least two. Orthodox Jews and Muslims do it when they genitally mutilate baby boys and girls. Atheists are always speaking out about those practices, trying to change those societies. I don't hear much from the Christian churches about it.

Sometimes it is *right* for us to change society. Isn't it?
Of course. Two of the big social changes I've seen in my lifetime are progress toward gender equality, and greater tolerance for gay people. Do you consider those positive changes? Your god doesn't think so, judging from the Bible.

Jesus Follower's picture
@Algebe: "we have to refine

@Algebe: "we have to refine and adjust our subjective morality according to what is acceptable to other people and society."
JF: "Sometimes it is *right* for us to change society. Isn't it?"
Algebe: "Of course"

I'm confused. Does right come from society or from us or from something else?

Algebe's picture
@Jesus Follower: I'm confused

@Jesus Follower: I'm confused. Does right come from society or from us or from something else?

It's a two-way street, isn't it? We are society, and society is us. We influence each other all the time. You tell me baby torture is ok. I tell you it isn't. These transactions go on all time, and little by little society is influenced. Some people are more influential than others, but we all play a role. Are you suggesting that there's some external standard for good?

BTW, you're not answering any of my questions. Do you think gender equality and tolerance for gays are good things? Your god doesn't think so.

Jesus Follower's picture
@Algebe: "It's a two-way

@Algebe: "It's a two-way street, isn't it?"

Or it's circular reasoning. We want what we want. Sometimes other people want, or more people want, or more persuasive people want, but it just comes down to what people want. What's the point?

Why is anything right or wrong in the first place?

I'm not afraid to answer questions, but I did want to highlight my point.

I believe that property is sacred, sexuality is sacred, and life is sacred. That is, theft is wrong. Rape is wrong. Murder is wrong, and of course, baby torture is wrong. That comes from an absolute standard of good which is God's nature. We have worth because we are made by a being of ultimate worth.

I believe in visiting the sick and prisoners, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and comforting those who mourn.

Should we have tolerance for gays? I think we should *love* gays! Tolerance is accepting something that I don't agree with. Tolerance lets people suffer. Love goes way beyond that. Love cries with them, laughs with them, befriends them, comforts them, suffers with them, dies for them, forgives any wrong, and even has the courage to correct them. Love wants the absolute best for them, even if it is costly. Jesus's life is the perfect example of this, and anyone who claims to follow Him should do likewise.

Unfortunately, there are many meanings of gender equality. I think we should love all people. I may have answered your question already, but what do you mean by gender equality?

[edited for clarity]

Algebe's picture
@Jesus Follower: what do you

@Jesus Follower: what do you mean by gender equality?

Men and women in equal partnership in marriage, receiving the same wages for the same work, having an equal say in politics, the economy, education...Things like that.

Tolerance lets people suffer. Love goes way beyond that.
So you are one of those Christians who wants to pray away the gay? Is that right? I've known plenty of gay people. My impression is that they're happy as they are and just want to be left alone to live their lives with the same civil rights that we all should enjoy. Their pain doesn't come from being gay, but from society's reaction to that. "God hates fags" is hardly an expression of love.

Why is anything right or wrong in the first place?
Why do words mean what they do? Why are things worth what they are? Our morality, like our languages, and our economy, are systems based on our shared collective wisdom. We receive information. We send out information. We are pushed, and we push back. That's all we have.

You seem to be claiming god as an objective source of morality. Consider the history of the Christian church over the past 2,000 years. How would you sum up the track record?. All I see is a trail of misery and horror. The power of the church has never been weaker than it is now, and yet society is demonstrably getting better. The most enlightened and prosperous societies are also the most secular.

Jesus Follower's picture
I apologize in advance for

I apologize in advance for this long post. I'm trying to give a more comprehensive answer, and I'm not yet as concise in my typing as I'd like to be.

@Algebe: How would you sum up the track record?

Mostly poor. Although, there were some true Christians who built orphanages and hospitals, most men used the Church like they use businesses now... for power and wealth. Is that Jesus's fault? Did Jesus seek power or wealth? :-/

If I stole your coat and robbed a bank, should the police arrest me or you? The blame should fall on each person for their deeds. Wouldn't you agree?

@Algebe: "Their pain doesn't come from being gay, but from society's reaction to that."

I think pain comes from both. Society's rejection is obviously a source, but lets look at their perception of being gay. Whether they are the product of evolution or chance or created by God, they have a sexual desire which will not give them children which is at least one purpose of sex. I'm no psychologist, but they might extrapolate that to think they are an aberration ... a mistake of nature. I don't believe they are, but they often do think that. At some point or another, to one level or another, they all ask, "why am I like this?" They may put on a tough face, but they still hurt. :-(

Some people say Lev 18:22 calls a gay person an abomination, but that's misreading the text. "A man shall not lie with a man as he lies with a woman. It is an abomination." "It is" What is "it"? The Bible never calls a person an it. The "it" is the act of a man having sex with a man. Now, I know that this is little consolation to gay people. "You're still calling my act of love an abomination, right, God?" they might respond, and I wouldn't blame them. Why God allowed them to have those feelings only He knows. I just love on them.

A recent friend of mine let me share this story. He's in a really rough situation. He's in the Navy and the other sailors call him "pussy" and "fag" every day. They steal and hide his stuff just to upset him. Fortunately, one of them is going to Captain's Mast for hateful speech, but these acts still have and do hurt this friend of mine. Last week his only coping mechanism was crying and it happened frequently and unpredictably. Saturday evening his boyfriend broke up with him, and he felt like his life was coming apart.

At that very time of night, I couldn't sleep, which is very unusual for me. I woke up got on facebook (which is also rare for me) and accepted a few friend requests. His request was one of them. He texted. I could tell he was upset, so we switched to phone call. I listened and gently corrected his thinking. Where he thought he had no value, I reminded him he did. Where he thought his life was coming apart, I asked him to try taking it a step at a time. I then gave him reasons to believe in God. Cosmological, Teleological, and the existence of the mind. The last one really resonated with him. The next day he rededicated his life to Jesus and he's been on fire for God this week. Knowing that I'm here praying for him helps. Texting and talking encouragement helps. But what helps the most is knowing that God values him. Each day is getting better. When time is tough, he excuses himself to the restroom and reads a few verses from his pocket bible. Not to over spiritualize it, but I think that night was orchestrated by God. If nothing else, isn't his faith a useful delusion?

@Algebe: you are one of those Christians who wants to pray away the gay? Is that right?

If you mean praying alongside gay people so that they would become straight, yes. Sometimes it doesn't happen though, and that is very hard. Very hard.

It is not up to me to decide what is right or wrong. Some things are forbidden. Sex is like fire. Fire in the fireplace is nice and warms you. But, if you put fire anywhere else, it will burn your house down. Incest, bestiality, adultery, fornication, rape, and homosexuality are forbidden. Sex is intended to be between a man and a woman in the marriage covenant before God.

Also, not all sins are equal. All sins equally separate us from God, but there are different levels of sin.

@Agebe: "God hates fags" is hardly an expression of love.

I agree, and it's unbiblical. Those false Christians who hold those signs should know better. The bible even puts them in their place if they would but read a little past Romans 1 and get to Romans 2:1. They are not following Jesus. Jesus ate and drank with sinners and tax collectors. The honor of being the first evangelist and missionary was given to a multiple-divorced, gentile woman who was living with her boyfriend. Jesus let a crying prostitute worship him at someone's dinner table. God loves the outcasts. God loves gays.

@Algebe: Why do words mean what they do? Why are things worth what they are?

Because they describe things that exist. They are grounded in objective reality. We can say "Tree" or "Arbol" because there is such a thing as a tree. We can say the tree grows even if we don't know exactly how. Its the same with the standard of right. It exists in reality and it is objective and unchanging.

There is no up and down in space. There is no real right and wrong in subjective morality, just personal preferences. Every society has probably thought that they were better than the last. The witch burning communities probably thought they were better for being more willing to "purify" their societies. If morality is determined by society, they could define anything to be right or wrong, even witch burning. How do you decided between one society's norms and another?

Algebe's picture
@Jesus Follower: Because they

@Jesus Follower: Because they describe things that exist. They are grounded in objective reality.

Have you heard of the Whorfian Hypothesis? That's basically the theory that our perceptions of the world are shaped by our languages. We all see the same reality, the same colors, etc., but we classify and describe them differently. For example, the Japanese don't have a word for water. They have words for cold water and hot water, which they see as completely different things. You mentioned the word "tree." Does "tree" mean the same thing as "wood"? In Japanese "ki" means both.

Water and trees/wood are concrete obvious things that exist all around us, yet we don't even agree on common ways to perceive them. So imagine the variation in perceptions of abstract ideas like sin, love, god. Your religion is the product of people who lived in a totally different era, different environment, and different culture from your own experience. Can you imagine how they really thought and viewed the world? And most followers of your religion don't even read the original words of these people. They just go to church and hear priests interpreting translations of translations of translations (Hebrew-Greek-Latin-English).

Even between languages as similar as English and German there are gulfs of perception. An American lost in a German village asked a local "Where does this road go?" The German responded, "The road doesn't go anywhere. It stays right here." Even within the same language there are gulfs. Can you really understand the late Elizabethan English in the KJ Bible? That's from a totally alien world.

George Orwell recognized the importance of words as vehicles for thought. One of the core themes of "1984" was the deliberate destruction of words to stop people from thinking about things like "freedom" and "revolution". Most atheists place a high value on critical thinking. We question everything. Everyone needs to be alert to the manipulation of language (and minds) by politicians, marketers, and of course priests.

Jesus Follower's picture
@Algebe: Have you heard of

@Algebe: Have you heard of the Whorfian Hypothesis?

No. Thank you for sharing. There are some interesting things about the words used in the bible. For instance, the Koine Greek word often translated "heart" is more literally "bowels" or "intestines." This is because the guts are where the Jews felt those emotions came from. That probably did shape their view of those organs due to association with those emotions. However, they still felt the emotions.

@Algebe: So imagine the variation in perceptions of abstract ideas like sin, love, god. . . Can you imagine how they really thought and viewed the world?

If their view was that different, why would so much of the Bible still make sense? The gospel is quite simple. I can't imagine an adolescent+ in any culture who hasn't experienced guilt. God's first act after the fall was to clothe Adam and Eve. To help them cover their guilt. Jesus's death on the cross paid the price and took the guilt away if we submit ourselves to Him. Honestly, I think love, shame, guilt, forgiveness, and justice are more real to us (certainly more important to us) than many physical things.

@Algebe: They just go to church and hear priests interpreting translations of translations of translations (Hebrew-Greek-Latin-English).

Modern translations are translated once: Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek -> X, where X is the intended language. Although, one cool artifact of history is the Septuagint. Legend has it that in the 3rd century BC, Ptolemy II had 72 Jewish scholars translate the Torah into Koine Greek. Eventually all the Hebrew books of law, history, poetry, and prophets were translated in to this the "translation of the seventy." We still have manuscript copies of the Old Testament in both Koine Greek and Hebrew/Aramaic. This is a case where each copy can help inform the translation of the other because we have this intersection. Perhaps English is imprecise when describing water and Japanese the tree, but, were a book translated to both languages, both terms would be clarified.

@Algebe: Everyone needs to be alert to the manipulation of language (and minds) by politicians, marketers, and of course priests.

I agree, but conspiracies are very hard to pull off.

Sheldon's picture
"But even if the rest of

"But even if the rest of society tortured babies for the fun of it, it would still be wrong."

Yet the bible claims your deity did this, and murdered a new born baby slowly over 7 days. How is that objectively moral?

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Sheldon

@ Sheldon

I already quoted the relevant verse to JF as they requested and, as usual with theists, got ignored for it.

Jesus Follower's picture
@Sheldon: "Yet the bible

@Sheldon: "Yet the bible claims your deity did this, and murdered a new born baby slowly over 7 days. How is that objectively moral?"

1. It wasn't for the fun of it. It was punishment for sin.
2. It was the lesser of two evils. Let his chosen King of his chosen people commit adultery and murder with impunity or act.
3. This life is not the end.
4. If it's subjectively moral, what's the problem? Maybe it was in fact the right thing to do at the time, even had it been for the fun of it, if its all subjectively moral anyway. Why does someone else's subjective morality need to match yours?

@Old man shouts "got ignored for it"

Sorry buddy.

[edited for clarity]

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JF

@ JF
"It [The murder and torture of a baby] wasn't for the fun of it. It was punishment for sin.

And that makes it OK, moral and an example for how we should behave if we take it as a lesson in "objective" morality?

Are you serious? Well hand me the hatpins I'm going to convert.

Jesus Follower's picture
@Old man shouts: "And that

@Old man shouts: "And that makes it OK, moral and an example for how we should behave if we take it as a lesson in "objective" morality?"

Of course not. God has the authority to end life because
1. He alone can restore life.
2. He is also not corrupted in the act of taking life whereas we are.
3. He also knows everything, so perhaps this is utilitarian. I'm just making suppositions here, but perhaps by clearly condemning the adultery, murder, and coverup, he deterred future kings from such evil.

God could have covered this up too by preventing it from being written/preserved, but he chose to allow it to remain. Probably as a lesson to us in the gravity of sin. We are so eager for our "mistakes" to be forgiven that we tend to imagine them as small.

If you really embrace subjective morality, it will stab you in the back. If the value of human life is defined by us, what prevents it from being redefined by us? What prevents governments from inventing a punishment like this once human life is devalued?

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
If your god know everything,

If your god know everything, why did he bother testing Adam and Eve.
He clearly knew what they would do, so in doing so it was an awful thing to do, one could claim even 'corrupted' in doing so.

Jesus Follower's picture
@TheBlindWatchmaker: "If your

@TheBlindWatchmaker: "If your god know everything, why did he bother testing Adam and Eve. He clearly knew what they would do, so in doing so it was an awful thing to do, one could claim even 'corrupted' in doing so."

Would a loving God make a world in which love was possible or not possible? Love must be freely chosen. If love is coerced, it ceases to be love. Logically, this freedom necessarily must provide the option of not loving. It is from not loving God that we have fallen out of friendship with Him and fallen into slavery to sin and death. God could have abandoned us there. How could we possibly make it up to the God of the universe? Perhaps if that were the end of the story, it would have been awful for God to create.

However, that's not the end of the story. He came into history in the man Jesus. Jesus was fully man and fully God. He died by crucifixion even though he was innocent in order to make a trade. His righteousness for our unrighteousness, His perfect life for our broken lives. If you accept this trade you will be positionally perfect before God. Only the perfect in Him can stand before God and hear, "well done, good and faithful servant." I don't believe we will ever be practically perfect (always doing the perfect thing,) but we can at least become positionally perfect before God through this exchange. After the test, eternal reward from the God who made everything that we consider good. I can't wait, and I want to bring more people with me.

Is it still an awful thing to do when he provides a way back?

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
- Love is merely a chemical

- Love is merely a chemical reaction in the brain, a neuroscientist could easily probe and manipulate parts of your brain to change these parameters. Take for example people that suffer head injuries and lose/change personalities and so fourth.

- If he created all that is good, then by the same rationale he must be the architect of all that is terrible.

- So he came down in the form of Jesus, Sacrificed himself and then in your words stood before God and essentially said to himself "well done, good and faithful servant" ?!

Sounds rather strange and pompous to me.

- Perfection is non existent, claiming something to be perfect is on a par with describing true 'nothingness', we have no objective way of observing nor proving such a notion and I doubt we could ever therefore begin to describe its true essence.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JF

@ JF

"If you really embrace subjective morality, it will stab you in the back. If the value of human life is defined by us, what prevents it from being redefined by us? What prevents governments from inventing a punishment like this once human life is devalued?"

Ask the priests and Pastors who, over the generations have defined, redefined, instigated wars and torture over the divine objective morality. Those same religious people like you that claim a direct line into their god's meaning and desires.

Ad now this silly argument
"Of course not. God has the authority to end life because
1. He alone can restore life.
Evidence please..none? Hitchens Razor. Slash.
2. He is also not corrupted in the act of taking life whereas we are.
How do you know this?
3. He also knows everything, so perhaps this is utilitarian. I'm just making suppositions here, but perhaps by clearly condemning the adultery, murder, and coverup, he deterred future kings from such evil.
Perhaps..perhaps he didn't deter anyone and just enjoyed killing the baby...how do you know what your gods motives are?
Evidence please..none? Hitchens Razor. Slash.

Jesus Follower's picture
@Old man shouts at clouds:

@Old man shouts at clouds: Ask the priests and Pastors who, over the generations have defined, redefined, instigated wars and torture over the divine objective morality. Those same religious people like you that claim a direct line into their god's meaning and desires.

You're avoiding the question. What precisely in Atheism will prevent this from happening?

Sheldon's picture
" Even if Hitler had

" Even if Hitler had conquered the world, you wouldn't hunt down and murder the remaining Jews, would you"

Another interesting example since Hitler was a Catholic, Germany overwhelmingly Christian, membership of the SS that ran the death camps was exclusively Christian until the very end of the war in eastern Europe when some Muslims were admitted, but all theists. The countries and people that collaborated were mostly Christians as well. Where is it you think Hitler's virulent antisemitism came from if not centuries of European Christian persecution and pogroms?

You're defeating your own argument for objective morality here again. Much of Christian Europe saw atheistic Bolshevism as a far greater evil than Hitler and the Holocaust. Indeed many used Bolshevism as another propaganda excuse for antisemitism.

The bottom line here is that if murder is objectively immoral according to your religion then why is the bible full of examples of your deity murdering people?

Diotrephes's picture
Sheldon,

Sheldon,

According to the historical record Jews started Bolshevism with the intent of taking control of Germany. When that wasn't working out they then decided that Russia was an easier target so they shot the Tsar and took over. They basically became domestic enemies of Germany and were treated as such, especially when they pushed for a world-wide boycott of German good and services.

Of course the problem started centuries before WWI but it really got bad once the Zionists came on the scene. And don't forget, the Jews had been collaborating with the muslims against the Christians since the early 620s.

Sheldon's picture
"According to the historical

"According to the historical record Jews started Bolshevism with the intent of taking control of Germany."

No it isn't historical record, it's antisemitic propaganda. I find antisemitism repugnant, as I do all such bigotry and racism.

Sheldon's picture
"How can there be a better

"How can there be a better with no objective standard of right?"

Less violent, less cruel, less indifferent to the suffering of others. All these are true in a general sense of contemporary human societies, with a few exceptions like the theocracies of the Taliban, or ISIS or the Saudi regimes. Basically Those countries that deny universal equal rights are now an anomaly.

Religion hasn't achieved this less violent and less cruel world, this in most cases has been achieved despite religions. Generally speaking humans are less likely to die a violent death now than at any time in human history.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
You''ll be gone in a week..

You''ll be gone in a week...your just about to get a tsunami of bible verses you wont like...

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Your God enjoys torturing

Your God enjoys torturing people especially women viz:

‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you’” (Genesis 2:16).

God’s command, “Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.” Numbers 31: 17-18

A man can beat his male or female slave bloody as long as the slave doesn’t die within 2 days of the beating (Exodus 21:20-21).

A judge can condemn a criminal to receive a similar beating after forcing him to lie down (Deuteronomy 25:2)

Adulterers are to be stoned—a slow painful death that adds the extra humiliation of broad public participation (Deuteronomy 17:2-7.

Parents are exhorted to beat their children, who otherwise will grow up foolish, and to ignore their crying (Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 19:18; Proverbs 22:15).

2 Kings, an equally awful, protracted death befalls 42 youth who taunt God’s prophet, Elisha. He curses them and God sends two bears, who kill the boys by tearing them apart. God could just have killed them quickly or appeared as a burning bush or a chatty serpent and frightened the bejasus out of them

The NT
Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart (Matthew 18:32-33).

"And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. (Revelation 9:5-6)"

"The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever. (Revelation 14:10-11)"

So your YHWH and the jesus figure seem pretty much wrapped up in that whole torture biz don't they?

There are many,many more examples most of which have been illustrated on these threads...and I will leave those for the others to demolish your threadbare arguments

Oh wait do I hear "out of context?" or "Your not reading it right?" puh-lease.

Sushisnake 's picture
Aw! Can I do the punchline?!

Aw! Can I do the punchline?! Can I Sir?! Can I do the punchline, please?!

And the reason we conclude god's motivation was to torture babies for fun is because he knew EXACTLY what people were going to do before they did it, so it wasn’t punishment.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Sushisnake

@ Sushisnake

Only if you quote the verse about the firstborn babe that god "struck" and he died within 7 days....its actually on this forum.
So its obvious JF hasn't bothered to read anything. Just weighed in with his 'irrefutable truths' and 'self evident' proofs of god.

Just another drive by christian with nothing new. People like JF make me long for a debate with Breezy when he comes out of that self imposed christian closet.

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