About a month ago I mentioned I participated in a live debate at the local university that was sponsered by a local catholic church. Sorry, but I am not including the names of the institutes. (UNM and San Felipe de Neri). Oops. I just did a bad thing... ;-P
It was in this thread: http://www.atheistrepublic.com/forums/atheist-hub/bad-day, specifically this post: http://www.atheistrepublic.com/forums/atheist-hub/bad-day#comment-107876. On a further note, everyone who responded to that thread, and your responses, meant the world to me. Thank You!
The debate topic was: Is the Bible a Good Source for Morality?
Each side had five members. I was third of five (Resistance is futile). I forget the time alloted to each speaker, but I did not use my full time. One of the guys on my team happened to notice me working on an essay while we were discussing tactics. Asked to read it, and suggested that I use it. I did. I was on the side Against (as if you couldn't tell.
Today, I have finally received the transcript of the debate. Since I cannot get permission to use other's speeches, here is my part of the debate. However, I think I did say I would at least post my speech... Many here have already read this, but there may be some differences from previous posts...
If I made any typos tranferring this from paper, please forgive me. I ain't the world's best typist...
There Is No Objective Morality, For All Morality Is Subjective
I am going to start with a few quotes, or memes if you like, before I get into the meat of my speech.
Ray Spurrill said, "Religious morality does not exist. They are just following orders."
HL Mencken said, "Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right."
Paraphrased from something I read on the WWW: "Religion is nothing more than a system of control based on unchallenged, dogmatic beliefs which hold back the progress of consciousness, research, and actual work."
Richard Dawkins from The God Delusion (and I paraphrase): "It is precisely the knowledge that Intelligent Design has no evidence of its own to back up its preposterous claims and thrives in the gaps of scientific knowledge, like crabgrass in the cracks of sidewalks, that drives Absolutists to such hatred against those who have a different argument that IS supported by hard empirical evidence."
And now I have to define a term: Absolutist. An Absolutist, in my definition, is anyone belonging to and possessing an inexorable belief in any religion, especially the absolute Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – due to their absolutist beliefs system and is truly applicable to any AND all inexorable religious believers, and especially the worst subset, Apologists.
Why do Absolutists always think it is an infringement on their freedom of speech when they are told they cannot force their opinions onto others? What kind of morality is that? To believe that it is immoral to not be allowed to force your opinion onto others, is immoral.
I, myself, have never truly believed in ANY religion, especially the Absolutist religions. There is no philosophical ideology more divisive than religion. And, the worst part of ANY religion is that it is an ideology that is implicitly and explicitly protected from any and all criticism from both within and without. Why should any ideology, especially religion, be so privileged? Can you not see how disastrous this way of thinking can be, and is? I firmly believe, and shall take this belief to my grave, that the human species would have been much better off had there NEVER been ANY form of religion. It is due to religions, and their way of thinking, and their theological disagreements, that has created the greatest destruction, injury, death, harm, immorality, wickedness, and abuse to the human species than any other cause. The main problem is not religious fundamentalism, but the fundamentals of religion. Ultimately, it... is... Religion... that... is... Humankind’s... worst... enemy. [Transcriptionist added the ellipses due to my emphasis.]
Sir Arthur C. Clarke once said: "One of the greatest tragedies in mankind's entire history may be that morality has been hijacked by religion. So now people assume that religion and morality have a necessary connection. But the basis of morality is really very simple and doesn't require religion at all."
According to my world view, the fact that you have different beliefs and views than I do is not wrong. What is wrong in my world view is that you Absolutists feel it is your moral imperative to force your beliefs system onto others who refuse to believe your bullshit. What is wrong in my world view is that you Absolutists firmly believe that ALL humans are worthless, sick, immoral, wicked demons. That none can be good, moral, ethical, and treat others as being worthy of being treated as equals without some form of sky-faerie telling them how to live their lives, and what they can and cannot think. Most Absolutists believe I deserve to be tortured by having my flesh seared off my bones and regrown only to be burnt off again and again and again for all eternity if I do not believe the same way they do. As if the threat of your Hell makes your fraudulent enticement of Heaven is any sweeter. Fraud is still fraud, no matter how much sugar and honey you throw on it.
[Small applause; however, speaker continues without pause...]
In my world view, I can ascertain and evaluate what is truth. "How do I determine truth?" you may ask. Simple, with hard empirical evidence, logical and deductive reasoning, rational and analytical thought, critical thinking, empathy and sympathy, simple cogitation, and pure reasoning.
How do you Absolutists determine truth? Simple, you run to an obsolete Bronze Age religious text full of pure savage immorality.
I can look at anything, and say, "that is right," or "that is wrong." But according to the world view of Absolutists, or should I say according to that obsolete Bronze Age text, I am incapable of determining what is right or wrong, good or evil, truth or lie. You Absolutists cannot seem to derive any reason of your own to think anything is wrong except by what your savage and immoral book tells you. That is depressing to say the least. Truly, it is very sad.
Absolutists are clearly incapable of defending their moral beliefs without relying on some other immoral religious text. Moral beliefs should be defended and explained by rationality and reasoning.
Why is it that you feel that ONLY you Absolutists can make an account for what is right or wrong? In your world view, how exactly can you know what is Absolutely Truth? You saying that an obsolete and immoral religious text tells you, makes no sense to me whatsoever. And relying on that obsolete and immoral religious text also informs me that you Absolutists have purposefully retarded your mental faculties to the point that you are incapable of thinking for yourself. Making your own decisions.
You Absolutists seem to be telling me that you can look at an event and intuitively know what is true or false, or right and wrong, or good and evil, just because you have memorized an obsolete religious text. Or, memorized only that which you have cherry-picked out of it. Yet I see Absolutists doing heinous things, such as the rape and molestation of children, blowing up innocent people, past and current, at least once a month in the news. It seems I can never turn on the news without seeing a story, once a month, about an Absolutist having raped and/or molested children, or blowing up innocent people. And these news stories have been going on for the last three and a half decades. Then you wonder why I no longer watch the news. Wonder why I have only contempt for ALL Absolutists.
There are myriad different Absolutist divisions (over 30 THOUSAND! in just the Abrahamic religions!), and none seem to agree on how to interpret your obsolete text. Yet you want me to believe that you know the ultimate truth in any given situation. Why should I not be able to form an opinion on what is right and what is wrong? You Absolutists do it all the time. Even if it goes against your obsolete text. What makes you so damned privileged? As Christopher Hitchens once said (and I paraphrase), "Since it is preposterous to believe all religions are true, the only final answer is, that they are all wrong."
How do you Absolutists determine that raping someone, or beating someone in the street is wrong when your Bible is full of rape, and murder, and genocide, and torture, and abuse, and slavery? Justifying any kind of violence is easy using your Bible. Especially if you buy into William Lane Craig’s bullshit known as Divine Command Morality.
Divine Command Morality. The belief you Absolutist Apologists hold onto that says that anything your God commands is good, regardless of its actual moral implications. This is the most contemptible lie I have ever heard. I found this formal definitions for Divine Command Morality: "Morality is dependent upon God, and that moral obligation consists in obedience to God's commands. It is meta-ethical theory which proposes that any action is morally good solely dependent upon whether it is commanded by God." In other words, if God tells you to perform an ethnic cleansing of a group of people, then it is morally good. To which I would say, Bullshit! That is the sickest, most repugnant, most vile, most abhorrent, most offensive ideology I have ever heard from any human being, ever. If any of you here in this forum also buy into William Lane Craig's Divine Command Morality, then you are just as repugnant, vile, abhorrent, and detestable a human as he.
[My Addenda: And watch this video made by Thunderf00t (specifically starting at 7:39; also pay particularly close attention to the clip with Christopher Hitchens at 8:04 to 8:35). These last five minutes delves into WLC's Divine Command Morality bullshit.]
I conclude that this belief William Lane Craig has for the Divine Command Morality makes him just as repugnant, just as wicked, just as sadistic, just as inhuman as the immoral monster he calls God. I mean, does he actually ever listen to this diarrhea he spews from his mouth? As far as I am concerned, this makes Mr. Craig an even worse moral monster for defending the most horrible and terrifying monster to ever haunt humanity in ALL of history.
[Speaker had to pause to allow audience their cheering. Time alloted paused.]
How I reason that raping or beating someone is wrong, is because I can sympathize with the victim. I can even empathize with the victim, because even I got badly beaten in the street once for no other reason than my car died in the wrong part of town, and for nothing more than what I did not have in my wallet. Yes, my wallet was empty so they beat a little more for not having any money for them to rob. And this reminds me of something Aron Ra once said:
"Atheists don't want religions to have exemptions under the law, and why should we? It's not our demographic that has the most divorce, the most chemical dependency, the most domestic violence, the most criminal convictions, or even the most abortions. The only thing we Atheists might have more of, are diplomas."
I do not want to live in a biblical-style society full of rape and violence because I want to be safe. I desire for my friends, my family, and my loved ones to be the safest they can be within human possibility by having laws that help to protect them from rape and assault. I believe that ALL human beings have integrity, dignity, and worth. I do not need a silly sky-faerie to tell me that. I can arrive at that truth with my own cognitive abilities. Should I list them again? Empathy... rationality... logic... reason... deduction... critical thinking... sympathy... analytical thought... and (drum roll please) the greatest one of all... LOVE.
I cannot think of anyway how I shall ever understand why you Absolutists find this so hard to comprehend. Such is just one of myriad reasons I find ALL religions so damned repugnant and disgusting. It teaches me that I cannot be good to others without some form of special permission from your sky-faerie. And, to get that special permission, all I have to do is to kneel, bow down, and kiss his ass. This robs me of my self-worth, my dignity, my self-esteem, my mental faculties, my morality, and teaches me that all human beings are wretched and wicked things, needing an imaginative sky-faerie to heal them. Why is it that you can make judgment calls and dictate what is right and wrong, and I cannot?
As Godless Cranium once said, "If I bought into that argument, I would be just as deluded as all of you [Absolutists]."
Regardless of what any may say, morality is subjective to each individual person. It also happens that a lot of people just happen to agree on what is moral and what is not. THAT is the reason why we have the laws we have.
In summation: My Take on Morality.
ALL morality is entirely subjective, regardless of what any beliefs system you may have. It is subjective to each individual. Morality is subjective. Completely. Absolutely. Utterly. Even if you cite a religious text as holding a supposedly objective morality, that morality is actually subjective in accordance to your chosen deity. And, it not actually objective or subjective, but a commanment of servility and enslavement. There is no such thing as absolute or objective morality. Morality is always SUBJECTIVE in accordance to the one who is making up that morality.
And, my ultimate moral sense: Will this action cause harm to another living person?
And, what is the Absolutists Ultimate Saying? "You shall believe as WE say, and do as WE say, or you are condemned to Hell forever." How moral is that belief? I have always held to one fact: It is more important to be taught how to think, rather than to be told what to think.
My further notes: Before the debate, the vote was almost evenly divided; 883 For, 908 Against. Sightly in our favor, but after the debate, the vote was; 319 For, 1472 Against. Yes! A definitive victory.
I also have to admit that it was definitely our Closer who truly swung the vote. In fact, he was interrupted four times during his speech. And the one thing I loved about the Moderator, he stop the time when any speaker was interrupte by the audience applause and cheering. Gotta love that.
Another of my favorite quotes:
"Time makes of us all, a prisoner of the present, forever transitioning from our own past, into an unknown future."
— Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
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