A brief attack on the moral argument

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Sky Pilot's picture


Here's a PDF format article from the November 25, 1883, edition of the New York Times about Genesis and the serpent.

Nyarlathotep's picture
JoC - re the rules on working

JoC - re the rules on working on the Sabbath, not eating pork, etc, MORAL laws or customary laws?

Well according to your mythology those are the rules the supreme deity issued. If you choose to disregard them, then you are in contradiction with yourself when you say those moral laws are objective.

Sushisnake's picture


First you say:
"JoC - Saying morality is objective means it doesn’t change."

But then you say:
"After the New Testament times, some of those laws still hold while others, we need not follow anymore..."

So what are you saying? Morals are objective unless the times change then we change with them? That isn't OBJECTIVE morality, JoC! That's SUBJECTIVE morality! That's the DEFINITION of subjective morality!

jonthecatholic's picture
The laws are objective. How

The laws are objective. How we understand the laws the subjective. I’ll bring up my analogy again about crossing the street.

When I was a kid, the “law” I was given was to always hold an adult’s hand when crossing the street. The basic law which is “Be careful when crossing the street” is true when I was a kid and now as an adult. But I don’t have to look for an adult to hold my hand when I cross the street. In fact, it would be harmful to me if I did.

The basic law stands. The understanding of the basic law changed depending on my state in life.

Nyarlathotep's picture
JoC - The laws are objective.

JoC - The laws are objective...The basic law which is “Be careful when crossing the street” is true when I was a kid and now as an adult.

The fact you think that is objective tells you don't know what objective means.

The fact that you think that law even has a truth content (you claimed it is true!), means you don't understand even the most basic concepts of true and false.

Sheldon's picture
I hate it when religious

I hate it when religious apologists use these asinine analogies, you're talking about a being that is supposed to be both omnipotent and omniscient, now in what way is that remotely analogous to a human parent trying to impart a lesson on road safety to a human child?

If anyone can decide what it means,, then it is meaningless by definition. Which is why there are so many different claims by theists ostensibly from the same religion.

CyberLN's picture
JoC, you wrote, “Rape would

JoC, you wrote, “Rape would fall under adultery so I disagree with you on that point.”

Are you then implying that a wife cannot be raped by her husband?

Sheldon's picture


JoC, you wrote, “Rape would fall under adultery so I disagree with you on that point.”

Are you then implying that a wife cannot be raped by her husband?
You got there before me, but I think it's fair to say JoC wasn't implying it, but the ten commandments are. How many millions of women then must have suffered at the hands of their husbands over the centuries over this simple omission. Like wise it is hard to imagine how a commandment categorically denouncing slavery could not have helped nudge christians in that direction without the untold suffering of the slave trade, perpetrated as it was by christian countries on both sides of the Atlantic. It's also logically impossible to imagine an omniscient being omitting these couldn't have know what the consequences would be.

CyberLN's picture
I asked JoC that question

I asked JoC that question because I would like for him to actually *think*. His comment demonstrates his male gender dominant way of looking at the world. It’s so prevalent and makes me so weary.

I agree that the ten commandments imply that a wife’s body belongs to her husband and not to herself. Seems like most religions embrace that. In fact, up until recently, laws in the U.S. didn’t just imply it, they supported it.

How very sad and oh, so frustrating.

algebe's picture
@CyberLN: "a wife’s body

@CyberLN: "a wife’s body belongs to her husband and not to herself"

In addition to the Bible, that perception was also reinforced by the "law of couverture" (https://www.americanhistoryusa.com/topic/coverture/). Under English common law, all rights and property of a woman were taken over by her husband when she married and became a "femme couvert" (covered woman). Women belonged to their fathers before marriage and their husbands after marriage.

I wish I could say it had changed, but I think that situation probably still exists for many millions of women in the world.

Sushisnake's picture
@CyberLN and @Sheldon

@CyberLN and @Sheldon

"JoC, you wrote, “Rape would fall under adultery so I disagree with you on that point.”

Are you then implying that a wife cannot be raped by her husband?"

Thank you gentlemen. That's going in the toolbox.

CyberLN's picture
I’m not a gentleman but I

I’m not a gentleman but I hate being called a ‘lady’. :)

jonthecatholic's picture
How'd you get that from what

How'd you get that from what I said? Of course she can still be raped and that would still be wrong.

algebe's picture
@JoC "How'd you get that from

@JoC "How'd you get that from what I said?"

How did who get what from what you said when?

Nyarlathotep's picture
JoC - How'd you get that from

JoC - How'd you get that from what I said?

Easy, you told us that rape falls under the prohibition against adultery.

We all saw it; the fact that you can't see it, even after it was pointed out to you, is very disturbing.

Sheldon's picture
"How'd you get that from what

"How'd you get that from what I said? Of course she can still be raped and that would still be wrong."

How is that adultery, which you absurdly claimed was the commandment that prohibited rape? If a deity that is supposed to be omniscient and omnipotent can spare 4 separate commandments to insist how it wants to be worshipped by it's pets, and not one to mention rape, slavery or paedophilia is wrong, then that would be an appallingly cruel being, totally indifferent to the suffering it must have known it's clumsy stupid omission would cause, or so cruel it's omission was deliberate of course.

Sheldon's picture
"Saying morality is objective

"Saying morality is objective means it doesn’t change."

Yet Christian morality was fine with the crusades, the inquisition, torturing and murdering "witches" and slavery, and now most are not. That sounds like moral relativity to me, as if human morality changes religious perceptions, not the other way around. Saying morality is objective is oversimplification to the point of absurdity.

"For example, there was a time when the consensus was the sun moved around the earth. That doesn’t make it true then."

This has noting to do with morality, it was religious dogma that taught this as an immutable fact, and scientific evidence that falsified it. However it is true that the number of people holding a belief does not in any way validate that belief, that is a common logical fallacy called argumentum ad populum, or a bare appeal to numbers.

"When you say the 10 commandments don’t include rape. Well, that’s because there are only 10 of them. Rape would fall under adultery so I disagree with you on that point."

I said mention it, at all. However that is a rather desperate rationalisation that implies marrying a child, or forcing a wife are not immoral, and given the ten commandments originated in patriarchal societies where women and children had very few rights, and none independent of male relatives these shortcomings make sense, they do not make sense when they are claimed to be commandments from a perfectly merciful omniscient omnipotent deity, who preferred to waste 4 on how it wanted to be worshipped. It is simply risible that a perfectly merciful deity needed 4 separate commandments to demand how it should be worshipped, but couldn't spare any to categorically denounce rape, paedophilia or slavery. The again if you're paying any attention you can't fail to notice those acts are about to be positively encourage by that same deity.

"Question, do you agree or disagree with me that objective moral values exist?"

As I already explained, the basis for morality is probably subjective, that;s to say what we think morals ought to achieve, and this is as true of religious morals as it is of secular morals, but once we agree what we hope to achieve with morality then we can of course make objective moral claims. Which brings me back to my questions.....

**You didn't answer my questions?

So why do you think rape is "wrong" or immoral?
Why is it immoral to murder someone?
Why is coercing a child into sex immoral?
Why is slavery immoral?

I'll give you a clue here, they all have something in common, and it's not religious dogma or doctrine, or divine diktat.

algebe's picture
@JoC: "Objective morality

@JoC: "Objective morality dictates that certain actions are moral or immoral"

And I guess you would say god is the source of that morality?

That's where we differ. I think we learn that rape is wrong by living in families with mothers, sisters, daughters. Religions that attempt to create "objective" morality always end up being used to justify the worst kinds of immorality.

jonthecatholic's picture
I do say the God is the

I do say the God is the source of morality. I get your line of reasoning. Where it fails however is it’s subjective to human experience. If you grow up in a society that sees women as lower than men, then rape wouldn’t necessarily be seen as wrong. Does it mean that it’s morally justified?

If it is, then there doesn’t exist objective morality in your view. It objective morality doesn’t exist then no one person can ever say that rape is wrong in any circumstance.

algebe's picture
@JoC: "If you grow up in a

@JoC: "If you grow up in a society that sees women as lower than men"

Such as a Catholic society, for example?

In fact, can you name any Christian-dominated society in which women have traditionally been treated as equals?

In modern democratic nations, subjective human experience is given the force of objective morality through laws. That process allows our morality to evolve and become better. For example, a few decades ago, a man would never have been found guilty of raping his wife, and rape trials often degenerated into inquisitions of the victims. Our morality now is that "no" means "no" under any circumstances, and that a woman who is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs is not capable of saying "yes."

jonthecatholic's picture
Have you been in a Catholic

Have you been in a Catholic society? You actually have nonidea how many women are in leadership roles in the church. Even in our local parish, most of the leadership roles are held by women.

algebe's picture
JoC: "Have you been in a

JoC: "Have you been in a Catholic society?"

Of course not. But we have female friends who are Catholics, and they often complained to us about not having a voice in their church communities. What percentages of Catholic priests, bishops, archbishops are women? I believe the percentage for popes is about 0.5% if you believe the story about Pope Joan.

So what leadership roles do women have your church? I'm guessing they take all the important decisions about flower arranging and catering. There are abbesses and prioresses in convents, of course, but they aren't even allowed to hear confessions, are they?

jonthecatholic's picture
They actually help decide

They actually help decide where to use the funds gained from the collection goes. They hold seminars for marriage and baptism. They head committees which reach out to the poor areas. My girlfriend is actually in a very active leadership role now in her parish.

As to female bishops and popes, well zero. But the same goes for male mother superiors of convents and nuns - 0%

If your female Catholic friends complain about not having a voice in their community, it might be one of two reasons. The community in question isn’t so good in getting any voice of the parishioners. Or, they’re not trying hard enough to be part of the parish services.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
And how many females on the

And how many females on the Marriage tribunal JoC, you know the committee that decides whether you can have your marriage annulled?
The point is JoC is that women have many subservient non official jobs in and for the Church but have no say at all in the management, policy and procedures of the thing. The senior bureaucracy is 100% male. Hardly representative of modern society and a good reason for the accelerating decline in membership.

And your example is flawed: even the Nuns are confessed by a man and the Abbess and her decisions are subject to priestly (male) authority.

algebe's picture
@JoC: "Or, they’re not trying

@JoC: "Or, they’re not trying hard enough to be part of the parish services."

One of them I know tried really hard and got knocked back by arrogant priests at every step. And then she gave up and got herself elected to parliament instead. It's much easier to break through the glass ceiling in politics than through the incense ceiling in your church.

How much say do women have in church policy on vital issues like contraception?

Flamenca's picture
@JoC, I know the RC Community

@JoC, I know the RC Community, and I don't care if, in a particular parish, some women are making some choices regarding money... The RCC, as an institution, keeps women off of the important decisions. No woman can occupy a leading position in the hierarchy, as you admit, therefore women don't hold the same status as men.

jonthecatholic's picture
Women and men were actually

Women and men were actually included in the pontifical commission on birth control. Back when the RCC was seriously looking into the issue if it was acceptable or not. Humae Vitae is a result of that.

Sheldon's picture
Humanae vitae, and it's

Humanae vitae, and it's amoral flimflam.

Explain in detail what precisely is evil about latex, even if it is wrapped tightly around a penis?

Is this really the 21st century, sometimes I'm dubious. You know we're heading for trouble when we listen to men in frocks who have either never had sex, or are on the run for raping children, or worse still using their filthy nefarious influence to protect those who have raped children.

"The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships."

Sententious bullshit, and coming form men who have never had sex let alone been married, it is unbelievably so.

"The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people,"

Oh really? Well they've never been married or had intercourse, and I have done both and it's not bothered my conscience, why on earth would it?

"Marriage, then, is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives."

Where does this breathtaking arrogance come from, to think they can dictate what marriage is? I am married and they can whistle down the wind for all I care about what they think my marriage is and what it should entail.

"This love is above all fully human, a compound of sense and spirit. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of the free will,"

Anyone who thinks married love involves free will understands neither concept.

"Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death."

Arrogant bullshit, I have been married once, and my wife twice, so apparently these sententious prigs think it's not "married love", well they can take a long run off a short pier.

"This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honourable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness."

What a truly odious straw man, no one is saying there is anything wrong with fidelity or monogamy, but to have unmarried virgins sententiously dictating that married love can only be in a single marriage until you die is absurdly stupid, absurdly arrogant, and absurdly cruel.

"Finally, this love is fecund."

So again my marriage to my wife is condemned and rejected as not married love, because it falls outside the archaic beliefs of unmarried virgins who think they know best. I'll temper my language here, but they can fuck right off.

" "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children."

Again the arrogance is palpable, maybe when they have spent a lifetime married their comments will seem less absurdly arrogant, stupid and bigoted.

I stopped reading that offensive verbiage when they started claiming ti understand natural law. The arrogance and bigotry here is utterly breathtaking and I am glad that the bullshit these ancient relics are pedalling is being eroded year on year by scientific knowledge. The sooner we consign this pernicious superstition to the dustbin of human history the better off we'll all be.

If they had any decency they'd be rounding up the endemic paedophiles they have fostered and protected in their ranks and surrendering them to justice, and close shop and hand over every penny they have filched from the gullible flock to try and rebuild the lives of the children they have so cruelly ruined. Sadly integrity is as anathema to these bigots as love and compassion are, though they never cease making grandiloquent claims about universal love as if they solely know what it is and what it means, just as they laughably claims to be the sole arbiters of morality.

They make me sick......

jonthecatholic's picture
Good talk.

Good talk.

Aposteriori unum's picture



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