Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm sorry little horsey

This poor horse has been dead for about 2000 years and we're still beating the shit out of it. But if you've been following JD and T-Vick's discussion on my last post this question needs to be answered by the Atheists. Because Christians already have an answer. Tristan has said "If you want an absolute universal morale law... you'll never find that".

OK then, how do we distinguish between right and wrong? Good or bad? Morale or immoral? A positive or negative action? Who gets to decide these things and why?

If there is no absolute morale law there would be difference between greed and generosity. Hate is no better or worse than love.

Where did our conscience come from? If it evolved, why are humans the only ones seeking a creator and feeling bad after doing harmful things? If there is no "absolutes" then we should be held accountable to no-one.

Everyone thinks that what they think is "morale" should work for everyone. But how about if everyone has to live by what I think is morale? That's why we don't want to believe in God, because if he is real, then we have to answer to Him. We'd rather come up with our own morale's. Which brings us back to who gets to decide what those are?

57 comments:

  1. Overall, my larger point is that obedience to the God's law is something that is central to the Christian faith.

    I don't doubt at all that some wisenheimer in some culture, somewhere jotted down something along the lines of the Golden Rule and viola, instant moral code independent from the Bible.

    But if one were to ask if obedience to said code was fairly uniform across this society to the point that predominately Christians cultures have historically been then I'm not aware of a culture that rises to the level introduced by Christians on a variety of different metrics.

    Check out what this particular atheist had to say about it.

    "Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

    I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith." Link

    I don't see the Muslims, Buddhists, Pastafarians, Hindus, animists or anyone else for that matter doing anywhere near he amount of good work in this world that Christians are doing. If someone could possibly say that this isnt the case, please show me who is doing more in the world.

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  2. Good question Feeno.

    Morality is relative.

    But morality comes from us, humans, and our feelings of compassion for one another. Our ancestors had the 'compassion genes' that allowed them to survive in the society of their time. Those that didn't have compassion and were acting selfish were cast out into the wild and died childless. Those who did have compassion were the ones who passed on the compassion genes to their offspring. That is how humans evolved a sense of morality.

    Now, killing is bad because we feel that it is bad. We don't like to see innocents suffer. At least those of us who aren't crazy.

    So killing = bad. Fair enough.

    But here's a wrinkle!

    You own one of them Toyotas. You lose control of the car, and the brakes don't respond. You try to put in neutral, and the clutch is jammed. You're going to crash into someone. You have two choices, and only a split second to decide. You can veer to the right and kill one person, or veer to the left and kill six people.

    Either way you just killed. Which way is less bad? Which of the two choices is more moral than the other?

    That is why I say that morality is relative.

    Another example. You get into a plane with the Polish president. The pilot announces turbulence, and says that someone is going to have to jump out to make the plane lighter, and prevent a crash. Unfortunately, you can't jump because your infant child is onboard and you have to stay with it. Do you jump? Or do you push someone off?

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  3. 友誼是生活的調味品,亦是生活的止痛劑. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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  4. Absent a transcendent morality, i.e. outside of Humans, the only dynamic for human interaction is the exercise of power. People talk about the Social Contract, but never answer the question, "what happens when that contract breaks down?" What incentive is there to be moral, if it doesn't benefit me?

    Cheers.

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  5. What other "morality" is doing more to show compassionthan the Southern Baptists in relief of Haiti? Link

    And they are only one denomination.

    If a critic could point to the plethora of other religions that were doing even half the work that Christian, faith-based organizations are doing, then I might say they have a point.. Well? Where are they?

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  6. Once again, JD.... You are so far from reality about Africa. And, no, I will not post a link for you. There is no point whatsoever. It makes no difference, and I am not spitting in the wind anymore with you. Your audience has been very thinned.

    Feeno- Morality is very simple to me. God does not stop me from raping, killing, stealing, or lying to others. I do not need a God to prevent me from indulging in these activities. I know better. Is empathy not a good compass?

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  7. Hello Tink.

    I'm not judging whose better here. I'd be the first person to say that Christians can be equally "good" or "bad" as the Atheists.

    I'm trying to figure out why; If there are no absolutes why do you think raping, killing, stealing or lying to others is wrong? Who told you they were wrong? Why are they wrong?

    Empathy is just another morale standard. I'm not saying you don't have morale's, there are many atheists whose morale's exceed those of many Christians. I'm asking "where do your morale's come from"?

    BTW Tink, I haven't raped or killed anybody, but I have stolen and have lied so many times I couldn't possibly keep count. So for anybody keeping score, 1 nothing Atheists.

    Peace in Mississippi, feeno

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  8. Here is the thing- empathy is not a moral thing to me. I would not want that done to me, so I do not do it to others. I really do not think it matters who told me that (my mom and dad), but I have understood that this would be a nasty thing to happen. At the end of the day, I have to live with my actions. I do not want to hurt anyone, I do not want anyone to hurt me. I do not believe that morals are "given" to you by anyone. At the end of the day, you have to live with it. And, we live in a secular society with a strict code of laws that we are to abide by.

    If you are interested, there is a wide range of secular ethical theory available for study. This includes humanism, secularism, and freethinking streams of thought. I think that some of the answers that you are seeking may be found if you expand on your ideas of morality to include sources that also discuss logic and reason as a basis of philosophy and discourse. Maybe that is the core of your question- What else is there? The answer- alot!

    I have heard many Christians say that they need God because they are sinners and they need protection from their impulses. If you have to live, or suffer with these urges, why would you not go and see a psychiatrist? There is a genetic basis to criminality, as well as a psychosocial component to it. That answer just does not wash with me, and only seems to highlight defects in their character.

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  9. Atheists,

    but you have NO ANSWER TO DEATH... therefore you FAIL...


    THE DEATH TRAP

    http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/FaceOff/
    ********

    THE REAL QUESTION:

    DOES ATHEISM HAVE A FUTURE?

    AND THE ANSWER - NO!

    http://www.disclose.tv/forum/does-ath-ism-have-a-future-no-t19859.html

    Atheists,

    Repent and turn to God.

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  10. Once again, JD.... You are so far from reality about Africa

    I was quoting an atheist Tink. Check out the link.

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  11. JD,

    Well, I can give one simple reason why Christians are doing more than other religions or secular people - there are more of them. I mean, I would be willing to admit that Christianity has developed some very well-distinguished ethical principles over its long history, and the motivation that doing good to others is doing good to God certainly compels Christians more. But ultimately, I think a lot of it can be explained by the simple numbers game: Christianity is the largest religion in the world. Of course there are going to be a lot more Christian charities than, say, Buddhist.

    Feeno,

    Well, I think I've already told you all about my ideas about morality. But it is important to note that philosophers of ethics have been doing ethics without God for hundreds of years, and they don't seem to have any lack of things to talk about. The other major foundation for ethics that comes across is reason - basing it in terms of what people value and desire. It seems fairly straight-forward to go from there to "do unto others what you would have them do unto you."

    But I would add onto this as well and say that morality is tied up in the nature of social interaction itself. In any interaction, there are things that are prosocial and things that are antisocial, just by virtue of the fact that some will help interactions go smoothly, and others will hinder them. If I punch you in the face, that will tend to make it difficult to interact with you in the future, right?

    These notions of prosocial and antisocial are things we barely have to think about. We learn them at a young age when our mommy tells us to share our candy with others and not to hit people. It gets more nuanced than this, obviously, but we learn it to the point where in everyday life, we don't need to be told not to kill people - it's just not something we would ever, ever even consider.

    Then, in more complex situations where our learned behaviours don't give us any clear answers, we use the principles of reason to help guide us toward a proper answer. Again, we don't need God telling us what to do - it comes out of a result of what makes sense and what seems to be prosocial. The only difficulty is trying to balance competing values among various groups of people, which no law given by a divine being could ever be detailed enough to help us with anyway.

    Ultimately, I think morality comes down to a process of socialization (that allows for some of the cultural and individual differences that we see) that is overlaid over a set of basic, objective facts about prosocial and antisocial behaviours. This gives us a solid basis for determining "right" and "wrong" but still a flexible enough process that we don't have to constantly consult the rulebook.

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  12. You've been Mabused, Feeno.

    Anyway, if we actually knew that there IS absolute moral law, things would be straightforward, but we don't. We face a choice between known, objective moral bases which may be challenged, and absolute moral bases which may not be there at all. The former includes the law, the common sense of six billion people, the minimisation of harm and the maximisation of benefit, the expectation of reciprocity (the Golden Rule), human empathy and certain deductions of philosophy (including religious philosophy). The latter is alleged divine support of specific moral laws.

    The nice thing about non-absolute but objective moral bases is that there are so many of them. When they all agree on a moral question, for instance that murder is wrong and to be avoided or punished, you can be pretty confident in it. When two moral bases disagree, for instance on euthanasia, you know it's a difficult issue and that you need to look farther afield for the means to support any decision properly.

    By contrast any supposedly absolute moral code is invariably claimed to be the only one in existence, so when it doesn't cover something or is at all ambiguous you've got no good way to arbitrate because you don't value any other system.

    I am confident that my moral choices are supported by the vast majority of objective moral bases used by humans on this planet, and that most humans who try to be good people would in fact make the same given choice in my place. When I say something is "right", that's what I really mean. When I say something is "wrong", I mean the opposite. I'm content with that; I don't need the entire universe to agree with my choices as well, which is good because I don't think it's able to.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. Secular Relief Aid to Haiti includes:

    Anyone who wants to help. Period.

    http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2010/01/secular-charities-for-haiti-relief.html

    You don't have to be an "organization" to be crucial in giving aid. Every little bit helps. Morality doesn't have anything to do with the ubiquity of religious held convictions, or how many subscribe to this sect or that.

    JD's point is mute. So I can't argue against it.

    As I pointed out, with the prior references to Christan antisemitism, Christianity doesn't necessarily compel or even guide people to moral causes.Lots of other examples can be sited, such as, Priest pedophilia, an active cover up and scandal of such, and not so long ago, Mary Magdalene Asylums (basically forced women slavery and bondage--the last of which closed in 1996--not some far off ancient history as many of the victims are still alive), and so on.

    The best which can be claimed is that religion can sometimes, but mostly it doesn't, seek to do good and charitable acts. Not enough I would say, especially when you factor in how much money Churches make and how little they actually give back. Indeed, secular entities actually give more to charity--such as wealthy philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, both non-religious.

    Sure Christian "organizations" occasionally do some good, but there's a long list of secular charities which do equal good. Besides, what's the criteria for determining an acceptable amount of morality?

    Furthermore, when it comes to "religious faith" how do you prove it's the religious belief and not the kind and compassionate empathy of the people compelling them to act and help others? Basic altruism seems to run counter to JD's whole point.

    Again, the fact that secular people are helping, and giving aid, without having a book of 'moral philosophies' to tell them what to do blows any such argument (that morality is codependent on religion) out of the water.

    Besides this, much of history paints quite the opposite picture of Christianity being an all encompassing moral ideology.

    Again, I gave solid examples of why JD's point doesn't work in the prior posts and why it's hypocritical to think religion is the driving force of good considering its track record of doing just about as much damage and harm as good. It seems to negate it's moral purpose.

    The pony is put to rest. May she rest in peace.

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  15. Jeff Baby!

    adherents.com stated (2005 stats) that, world population, religious affiliation is...

    Christianity 33%
    Muslim 21%
    Hinduism 14%
    Buddhism 6%

    Are you prepared to offer that faith based relief aid being given in Haiti (and most recently, Chile) is anything near proportionate as indicated in the above statistics?

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  16. You don't have to be an "organization" to be crucial in giving aid. Every little bit helps. Morality doesn't have anything to do with the ubiquity of religious held convictions, or how many subscribe to this sect or that.

    JD's point is mute. So I can't argue against it.


    I'm not prepared to argue over total dollar amount given being that self described Christians outnumber atheists.

    Are you prepared to propose that atheists give anywhere near the amount that Christians do as a percentage of their income? Generally speaking?

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  17. As I pointed out, with the prior references to Christan antisemitism, Christianity doesn't necessarily compel or even guide people to moral causes

    1) Are all, wait, even MOST Christians to be considered 'antisemites'?

    2) "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

    “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

    “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46

    If there are this that do not follow these instructions from the Son of God, then are they not following the instructions of the claimed Diety? I think you are either mistaken or uninformed concerning certain beliefs.

    Supporting Scripture re: "Christianity doesn't necessarily compel or even guide people to moral causes".

    "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27

    Lots of other examples can be sited, such as, Priest pedophilia, an active cover up and scandal of such

    Yes. In years past there have been instances of cover up of priestly pedophilia which was totslly wrong. I hope, however, that you are not referring to wildly inaccurate accounts concerning 2 incidents that were recently published by the Associated Press in the last couple of weeks, are you?

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  18. "Are all, wait, even MOST Christians to be considered 'antisemites'?"

    JD- For over 1,500 all Christians were instructed to be, in the name of faith, and they obeyed until their consciences made them realize their devotional convictions were in error. So I would have to say during that period that, yes, all Christians were.

    Are they now? Not so much. But that's not the point is it. The point is what Christianity can be capable of compelling people to do in the name of faith. If it can cause you to do good, fine. If it causes you to do bad, then it can't be all good.

    Cherry picking and mental gymnastics are the only way to harmonize the quandary, thus scriptural quotes are brought in to aid the Evangelical stance that Christianity compels good and it's the innate sin of man that has led him into folly... but then this brings us back to absolutism, and as I pointed out, the whole reason I pointed out the negative aspects of Christianity was to show that it doesn't compel good on an absolute scale. It should however--if it were true--then ALL Christians everywhere would be steadily becoming more moral than anyone else.

    The list of secular charities was to show that this couldn't possibly be the case. Not ever not nohow. I rest my point.

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  19. Tristan- I am done with that spitting in the wind.... Is charity really charity when it is masked as colonization? Same could be said for Muslim charities in these areas, cause the stats reflect that the message is well spread between both.

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  20. Tink

    I like the way your thinking, your getting warmer.

    You said "Is charity really charity when it is masked as colonization"?

    You and God will agree, and the answer is no.

    Proverbs 16:2 "All of a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord".

    Proverbs 21:2 "All of a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.

    Or this one:

    1 Chronicles 29:17 "I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity...."

    Also the Bible makes it clear that we should never judge other peoples motives. Only God can do that. However we can still judge people's actions.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Jeff, LX, T-Vick

    Your responses were very good and well thought out. So I didn't want to ignore them. But it seems to me that if there is not a God then there can not be absolutes. (Am I right assuming that). And if that's the case, wouldn't the fact that there are not absolutes be an absolute?

    Dueces mooses, feeno

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  21. That would mean, Feeno, that even if there isn't a God there is at least one absolute, so your initial premise falls over and if there isn't a God there can be absolutes.

    I think you need to be more specific because the existence of absolutes in the universe, if true, doesn't guarantee the existence of moral absolutes.

    To address those, I think that they don't exist, that even if they do we have no way of knowing what they really are, and that we get along fine without knowing.

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  22. "adherents.com stated (2005 stats) that, world population, religious affiliation is...

    Christianity 33%
    Muslim 21%
    Hinduism 14%
    Buddhism 6%

    Are you prepared to offer that faith based relief aid being given in Haiti (and most recently, Chile) is anything near proportionate as indicated in the above statistics?"

    Keep in mind, JD, that another important factor is the geographic distribution of wealth. North American and Europe are generally on the top when it comes to income, and they are primarily full of Christians (as opposed to Muslims, Hindus, etc.). So obviously, people with more disposable income are more likely to be giving money to charities, and obviously NGOs are going to be started in places with greater amounts of startup capital.

    Like I said before, I wouldn't claim that this explains the whole of the data about charitable donations. But one of the reasons why Hindus don't give in proportion to Christians is because the majority of Hindus live in India, which is classified as a developing country. They're not going to have nearly the same funds. What you'd need to look at are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc. in North America - even though you'd still have effects of immigration, etc.

    To summarize what I'm saying, though, my point is that you can't just look at raw numbers of dollars donated and religious affiliation and say, "See? Christians donate more, therefore they're more moral!" It's a much more complex issue than that.

    Feeno,

    I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific about what you mean by an "absolute". People use that word in very different ways.

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  23. As a follow-up, I literally just came across this site that has some info on Official Development Aid (ODA) as a percentage of a country's Gross National Income (GNI), which is roughly the average individual income of a person in that country.

    http://webnet.oecd.org/oda2009/

    If you click "ODA/GNI" at the top and then click "Sort by ODA/GNI" at the bottom, you'll see that Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, and the Netherlands wind up on top. Numerous other studies have shown that these countries (and some of the other Western European countries) tend to have some of the highest rates of atheism and secularism.

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  24. You da man Jeffe!

    Comin thru with da fax

    Like a man wid an ax

    Layin' waste to JD's

    DJ spin mocheen!


    Know what I'm sayin, Kuz?

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  25. You don't have to be an "organization" to be crucial in giving aid. Every little bit helps. Morality doesn't have anything to do with the ubiquity of religious held convictions, or how many subscribe to this sect or that.

    And who exactly was this atheist that first developed the idea of Charity? Because after all, they coundnt possibly be piggy=backing on Christian ideals and values now. Could they?

    "According to W. E. H. Lecky, who was frequently a harsh critic of the Church, there can be "no question that neither in practice nor in theory, neither in the institutions that were founded nor in the place that was assigned to it in the scale of duties, did charity in antiquity occupy a position at all comparable to that which it has obtained by Christianity."

    "One could go on at great length citing the good works of the early Church, carried out by the lowliest and most simple to the most brilliant and elevated minds of the day. Even the Church Fathers found time to devote themselves to the service of their fellow men. Saint Augustine established a hospice for pilgrims, ransomed slaves, and gave away clothing to the poor. (He warned people not to give him expensive garments, since he would only sell them and give the proceeds to the poor.) Saint John Chrysostom founded a series of hospitals in Constantinople. Saint Cyprian and Saint Ephrem organized relief efforts during times of plague and famine."

    "Saint Ephrem, a hermit in Edessa, was remembered for his heroism when famine and pestilence struck that unfortunate city. Not only did he coordinate the collection and distribution of alms, but he also established hospitals, cared for the sick, and tended to the dead. When during the reign of Maximius a famine struck Armenia, Christians lent assistance to the poor regardless of religious affiliation. Eusebius, the great fourth-century ecclesiastical historian, tells us that as a result of the Christians’ good example many pagans "made inquiries about a religion whose disciples are capable of such disinterested devotion."

    "In the early fourth century, famine and disease struck the army of the Roman emperor Constantine. Pachomius, a pagan soldier in that army, watched in amazement as many of his fellow Romans brought food to the afflicted men and, without discrimination, bestowed help on those in need. Curious, Pachomius inquired about these people and found out that they were Christians. What kind of religion was it, he wondered, that could inspire such acts of generosity and humanity? He began to learn about this faith – and before he knew it, was on the road to conversion."

    Thomas E. Woods Jr (PhD, Columbia)

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  26. For over 1,500 all Christians were instructed to be, in the name of faith, and they obeyed until their consciences made them realize their devotional convictions were in error. So I would have to say during that period that, yes, all Christians were

    I think you are referring to certain Catholic popes in history (but not anywhere near all of them) who had worldviews that skewed anti-Jewish. I'll let The Rockin Apologist address this one.

    "The Catholic Church, claims to infallibly teach and hand on the Faith that it has received from the apostles. The Catholic Church does not, and has never claimed to do so impeccably. The Catholic Church teaches that the pope and bishops are divinely appointed to shepherd God's Church. The Catholic Church does NOT teach that the pope and bishops will be impeccable in their leadership. Remember that Judas was called to be an apostle, yet he betrayed the Lord. Ordination to an office in the Church such as priest or bishop is no guarantee that the person will lead a morally perfect life, or that the person will wisely lead. In fact God glorifies Himself through the bishops, precisely because despite their own human failings the Church survives heresy, attack, division, etc- and becomes stronger!

    Immorality and sinfulness does not disprove the Church, nor does it disprove the authority of the leaders. The authority of the bishops and pope does not depend on their moral worthiness, but rather God. God does not call them to be bishops and popes because of their moral worthiness. God calls them for his own mysterious reasons."

    The Catholic Church, claims to infallibly teach and hand on the Faith that it has received from the apostles. The Catholic Church does not, and has never claimed to do so impeccably. The Catholic Church teaches that the pope and bishops are divinely appointed to shepherd God's Church. The Catholic Church does NOT teach that the pope and bishops will be impeccable in their leadership. Remember that Judas was called to be an apostle, yet he betrayed the Lord. Ordination to an office in the Church such as priest or bishop is no guarantee that the person will lead a morally perfect life, or that the person will wisely lead. In fact God glorifies Himself through the bishops, precisely because despite their own human failings the Church survives heresy, attack, division, etc- and becomes stronger!

    Immorality and sinfulness does not disprove the Church, nor does it disprove the authority of the leaders. The authority of the bishops and pope does not depend on their moral worthiness, but rather God. God does not call them to be bishops and popes because of their moral worthiness. God calls them for his own mysterious reasons.

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  27. The point is what Christianity can be capable of compelling people to do in the name of faith. If it can cause you to do good, fine. If it causes you to do bad, then it can't be all good.

    Yet you do not seperate Christianity from some sort of twisted perversion of it.

    If somebody is preaching hate with something that has a patina of Christology about it, does that make it true? I would posit that NO, it doesnt make it right or even "Christian" for that matter if it runs counter to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Cherry picking and mental gymnastics are the only way to harmonize the quandary, thus scriptural quotes are brought in to aid the Evangelical stance that Christianity compels good and it's the innate sin of man that has led him into folly

    I think you are oversimplifying the matter. I don't know of anyone that argues that simply "Christianity compels good", but rather that conversion and especially submission to the will of God brings about true change in a person's life.

    As evidence that man is natually inclined to do bad, I offer the following. Dr Jerry Newcombe, (who I link to at my blog) cited a study that concluded the following. Two different babies at a time were set on the floor, equal distant from two bottles with baby formula that were placed in front of in them. Both babies were released at the same time to crawl towards the bottles. In every single case (and multiple babies were used) the baby that reached the bottles first would grab BOTH bottles for him or herself and to heck with the other baby. This happened time after time with multiple babies used in the experiment. I'm quite certain that charity is not a naturally occuring trait.

    this brings us back to absolutism, and as I pointed out, the whole reason I pointed out the negative aspects of Christianity was to show that it doesn't compel good on an absolute scale. It should however--if it were true--then ALL Christians everywhere would be steadily becoming more moral than anyone else

    This leaves out the notion that is also mentioned in the Bible that man is quite fallible. Becoming a Christian is NOT a panacea against all types of sins and abuses. It's not as if "OK, I'm a Christian" and Viola, no more sin." Such a belief considered is extra-Biblical at best and quite possibly heresy if presented in said form.

    I think you need to be more specific because the existence of absolutes in the universe, if true, doesn't guarantee the existence of moral absolutes.

    LX, let me just put forward two examples for you to consider.
    1)The Holocaust, and..
    2)Foricible rape.

    Are there any circumstances whatsoiever that you could think of that would cast either one of these two subjects in a positive light? I can't.

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  28. I wouldn't claim that this explains the whole of the data about charitable donations. But one of the reasons why Hindus don't give in proportion to Christians is because the majority of Hindus live in India, which is classified as a developing country.

    Jeff, given your thorough rejection of Christianity and God, what exactly was your explanation re: Max Weber's thesis The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism? I'm sure that you made a thorough comparison with the Hindu religion which had a several thousand year head start in India over Christianity and thus you can articulate your thoughts on the matter in a devestating manner that will cause me to rent my garments, cover myself in sackcloth and hurl criticisms at God that would make Christopher Hitchins blush.

    Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, and the Netherlands wind up on top. Numerous other studies have shown that these countries (and some of the other Western European countries) tend to have some of the highest rates of atheism and secularism.

    I'm quite cetain that it was a mere oversight on your behalf that you omitted to explain as to why, of the countries that you list, Sweden and Norway are officially Lutheran and the rest fall within the territorial boundaries of the land mass formerly referred to as "Christiandom".

    Since the continent became more skewed toward an atheistic mindset only within the last generation, what endearing quality about atheism explains the high rate of charitable giving?

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  29. You da man Jeffe!

    Comin thru with da fax

    Like a man wid an ax

    Layin' waste to JD's

    DJ spin mocheen!


    Know what I'm sayin, Kuz?


    First Steve, I would like to make absolutely crystal clear to you that I am a strictly AC (that is, heterosexual) male.

    I'm relatively new to the genre of rap and I was wondering if you could compose a little something in commemeration of the complete intellectual-bitch-slap-across-the-room I just gave to your girlfriend Jeff? After all, fair is fair and I am awaiting something that amounts to a bit more than mere cheerleading from a know-nothing pom-pom girl like you. :)

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  30. That's DC! DC Stevie boy! Please don't get the wrong idea GF!

    ReplyDelete
  31. JD, the suffering and death of humans like in rape and the Holocaust are almost universally a negative to humans, but from the point of view of ants, for example? It'd be indifferent at best, and possibly positive because fewer humans means fewer pesticides and more abandoned buildings to live in.

    To test whether a moral is absolute, you need to try to view it from outside the human race. An absolute moral should be independent of us.

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  32. My example meant to address those things that are faced by us humans. Not ants. If you put it in that context than there are no moral absolutes LX. None.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'll give it my best shot, JD.

    Feeno! Crank up yo beatbox!!!

    One, Two, Three, Four....


    Well he huffed and he puffed

    And he puffed and he huffed

    Thought he knew it all

    But he hadn't thought enuff

    'Bout the Love in the World

    That was not his Color

    'Bout real compassion comin'

    From another Brother

    Who was not his Color

    Who had not his Creed

    Taint stamped with a Cross

    Cain't be a good deed?!

    So who has more?

    And who gives less?

    Well you cherry pick your facts

    Then make a wild ass guess!

    Now bitch-slappin Fags

    Is that the Christian thing to do?

    Leave ya thinkin bout that

    Cause this Rhyme is thru....




    Just doin what I can to keep the conversation civil, yet lively!

    Peace Out
    Holy Trout!

    Steve "subcooler" Schuler

    (Sorry Feeno, "non cooler" is pretty flattering, but truth is I am so "sub-cool" that I still think penny loafers are happenin' footwear. Know what I'm sayin, Bro?)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Subcooler

    "Peace out, Holy Trout" Nice

    Penny loafers? Not so nice

    The thing I like about JD tho is he is an equal oppurtunity "bitch slapper".

    Peace and hair grease, feeno

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  35. Feeno,

    I don't think I ever told you what caused me to 'hunt you down' to begin with. I had mentioned that I had seen some comments that you made at "Debunking Christianity" which sparked my curiosity and wound up at your blog. Now, specifically what you said that got my attention was a comment that you made to someone there who was snivelling about the hardships that an Atheist has to endure in a Christian society. You advised him to "grow some", which I thought was not inappropriate and, more importantly, really funny! So yeah, I fully endorse equal opportunity bitch slapping.

    After all, if I can't laugh at myself, who can?

    Later Dude!

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  36. Words of wisdom Subcooler, words of wisdom. Thanks for the props.

    Late, feeno

    ReplyDelete
  37. If you put it in that context than there are no moral absolutes LX. None.

    That's my point, JD, because the context in which we live is a world where only humans tend to care about humans as a whole - not animals, not plants and not the fundamentals of the universe as far as we know. We've made it all up ourselves.

    In the absence of moral absolutes, however, there are certain moral objectives we've thought to pursue which furnish us with enough guidance to get along. The lack of known absolutes doesn't plunge us into unmitigated subjectivism.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Lol Steve, that's awesome! Gangsta in da house!

    JD,

    Oh, you'd like to think that you bitch-slapped me. Yeah, you keep thinkin' that...

    Anyway, you might not want to ask me what I think about capitalism. To keep it brief, I think capitalism has greed and power built right into the system, and it entrenches injustice by forcing a wedge in between the rich and the poor. I fail to see how either the Protestant ethic or capitalism could ever provide a useful case for Christianity. Unchecked capitalism would be disastrous - that's why we use laws based on principles of ethics and justice in order to limit the free enterprise system, so it doesn't all go to hell.

    And regardless of Sweden and Norway being "officially" Lutheran, that says little about the actual beliefs of the people within the country. In fact, I'm sure one could make the argument that having a publicly endorsed church actually works against the religiosity of the citizens - because the church no longer has to compete with other religions/denominations in order to survive. Europe in general is much more liberal (in theology) and secular than America. And yet they seem to be on the top when it comes to charitable donations.

    Still, I'll concede your point that one would need to look at these data over time - since atheism/secularism has grown over time there, if my hypothesis were true, one should see a loose growth in the charitable donations as well.

    Of course, keep in mind as well that Europe tends to be more socialistic (rather than capitalistic) as well. Hmm....

    Anyway, I offered that data as an interesting tidbit. I suppose that likely there is a third variable at work here. The trends that I've seen tend to suggest that as wealth and security increases, religiosity tends to decrease, and charitable giving tends to increase as well. So, considering the socialist tendencies of European nations (who, on the whole, have much better social programs, health care, etc. than the US), it might be that the secularism and the levels of donation are due to that. It's important to keep in mind that, on most stats, the US is an aberration among developed nations. They're unusually religious.

    But anyway, that still counteracts your notion that Christianity leads to greater morality/charity. All I'm arguing is that the situation is much more complex.

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  39. JD-

    You don't have to be an "organization" to be crucial in giving aid. Every little bit helps. Morality doesn't have anything to do with the ubiquity of religious held convictions, or how many subscribe to this sect or that.

    "And who exactly was this atheist that first developed the idea of Charity? Because after all, they couldn’t possibly be piggy=backing on Christian ideals and values now. Could they?” –JD

    Charity is a cultural thing… not a religious thing. My experience has been that the non-religious nation of Japan, where I’ve spent considerable time, is far more giving and charitable than any Christianized nation I’ve ever lived in. And since Japan is not Christian, and predates Christianity in its practices, I can only assume they didn’t derive their charitable nature from any particular Christian belief or practice. So the burden of proof isn’t really on me. It’s up to you, who are claiming that Christian are the most charitable, to explain why others are frequently more so. But I understand that if you’re looking at mostly only Western societies, which in turn were all once Christian societies, how this would slant your take on things.

    For over 1,500 years all Christians were instructed to be, in the name of faith, and they obeyed until their consciences made them realize their devotional convictions were in error. So I would have to say during that period that, yes, all Christians were

    ”I think you are referring to certain Catholic popes in history (but not anywhere near all of them) who had worldviews that skewed anti-Jewish. I'll let The Rockin Apologist address this one.” –JD

    I understand not all Popes supported the pogroms against Jews, but the majority did. And as God’s emissary on earth, the actions of the Holy Church can’t just be shrugged off as “the sinner” did it type argument. In specific, I was thinking of extreme instances of persecution of Jews by Christians including the First Crusade of 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the Spanish Inquisition along with further persecution for the supposed crime of Host Desecration, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the expulsion from Portugal in 1497, various pogroms leading up to the horrors of the 12 and 13 hundreds under various Popes and with the full backing of the Church.

    The link between Christianity and Anti-Semitism is well documented. See: Faith and Fratricide: The Theological Roots of Anti-Semiticism, by Rosemary Ruether, and The Origins of Anti-Semetism: Attitudes Towards Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, by John Gager.

    ReplyDelete
  40. ”Yet you do not separate Christianity from some sort of twisted perversion of it.” –JD

    Of course I do. I separate the Christian form the Institution. But you can’t simply put up a patrician and say all good Christians are real Christians but all bad Christians are not genuine Christians. Or maybe, you mean to say, because we’re sinners we are constantly battling our sinful natures… and so even good Christians sometimes become misguided and make mistakes and do bad?

    My question is why so often and with such regularity? And for that matter, why on such insurmountable scales? What I am getting at, is that if you had a genuine *source for morality Christians, having been saved by grace and the engulfing love of Jesus Christ, wouldn’t be digressing in their moral journeys, they’d be progressing.

    Although, they aren’t, and sure enough Christianity has its fair share of immoral heathens and hypocrites too. Is it really sin which is compelling them to behave badly? Then why aren’t non-believers committing the same sins on such a massive scale? Why are only the religious trying to take away the rights of homosexuals to love and marry whoever they so choose?

    Let’s not forget my example of Priest pedophilia, which is related to this causality of religious belief and the consequences of following it legalistically, because we have no secular institution which molests and rapes defenseless children on such a massive scale as that of the Church. Are you saying the 5,000 Catholic Priests who were let go from American perishes were compelled by their sinful lust to abuse children sexually? I mean, is that what you’re implying? Or could it be more complicated than this? Could it be that the repressive faith based ideology of celibacy and Priestly marriage to the Church (and not women) is the real culprit? That, in reality, this religious faith based practice is in some way to blame for the sexual frustration of male (and occasionally female) clergy?

    I can’t just assume they’re failed Christians without first looking at whether or not it’s the dogmatic creed which is compelling them to misbehave, is it faith based acts which, like slavery, were held to be good Christian conduct—then they are simply following their Christian duty.

    We must ask, is it “sin” (independent of lack of good judgment) or is it the faith based initiative, for example, which is guiding them to boycott hold back scientific progress, such as opposing stem cell research and vaccines before it, shunning science and putting up road blocks at every turn? If it’s their “sin” then why aren’t secular free thinkers doing the same? See, it’s more plausible to suspect that in every faith based agenda there is an element of devotional zeal guiding the pious to act according to the articles of their faith.

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  41. So you see, I do, in fact, separate the Christian from the Institution. But the bottom line is, Christians make up the Institution and traditionally have followed dutifully the authority of the Church. And when they break a law or do something stupid, I don’t care what their beliefs are, they should still be held accountable. Nobody, not even secular people, should be exempt from holding to civil law and abiding by the acceptable standards of what is just and fair.

    And I think this goes doubly for predominantly religious societies, because they often will try to swindle and bamboozle their way out of having to face the consequences of their actions by playing the “faith” trump card—something I find to be despicable and cowardly. Such as the current Pope’s direct involvement in the sex scandal. If Ratzinger was really a man of God, and as the representative of God on earth, he should resign and turn himself in to the authorities and knowing that he is touchable and not above the law, allow the next Pope to ensure such conspiracies to rape the worlds children never happen again.. In fact, I would venture as far as to say that it’s the Christian thing to do.

    What you are doing is saying that anything less than ideal (or anything which doesn’t meet your ideal notion of a Christly Church or saintly Christian) is a twisted perversion of it. And I know that’s what you believe, but that’s an oversimplification in itself, is it not? I’ll let you think about that.

    Peace out!

    ReplyDelete
  42. bitch-slappin Fags

    Is that the Christian thing to do?


    Sorry Steve. I just can't stand cheerleaders that offer no points of their own whatsoever. Thats all.

    Well you cherry pick your facts

    Then make a wild ass guess!


    Might you actually like to join the conversation? Could you begin by substantiating this claim of yours claim and telling me exactly what I "cherry picked"? Thats if you want Steve. No pressure here.

    Jeff, your thoughts on capitalism reminds me of a particular exchange I posted recently between liberal host Phil Donahue and economist Milton Freidman.

    "Donahue asks: "When you see around the globe the mal-distribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in undeveloped countries … when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed is a good idea to run on?"

    Friedman responds, "What is greed? Of course none of us are greedy; it's only the other fellow who's greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. … In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you're talking about … they have had capitalism and largely free trade. … So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear: that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system."

    Later, when asked by Mr. Donahue whether capitalism rewards virtue, Friedman says, "Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? … Just tell me where in the world you're going to find these angels who are going to organize society for us? I don't even trust you to do that!" Link with video

    The trends that I've seen tend to suggest that as wealth and security increases, religiosity tends to decrease, and charitable giving tends to increase as well

    "The typical no-faith American donated just $200 in 2006, which is more than seven times less than the amount contributed by the prototypical active-faith adult ($1500). Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics. In fact, while just 7% of active-faith adults failed to contribute any personal funds in 2006, that compares with 22% among the no-faith adults." Link

    "The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions." Arthur C. Brooks

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  43. Tristan- There is no point, you are shovelling shit in a windstorm with him. If you are inclined to amuse yourself, do a little research on his expert, Dr. Jerry Newcombe. Now, Christians invented charity. I will add that to the long list of Christian accomplishments that I am completely ignorant too.

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  44. Feeno said ..."That's why we don't want to believe in God, because if he is real, then we have to answer to Him. We'd rather come up with our own morale's. Which brings us back to who gets to decide what those are? "

    No it actually brings us back to which gods morals do we decide to answer? ....Islam? ..Christianity? ...Hindu?...Some natives god?.

    Which actually brings us in full circle Feenoblist......"Who gets to decide" which god is god ??.

    So you are just trying to suggest morals are from some god .....When in all truthfulness its STILL humans deciding what and who they think god may or may not be and then also what they think this gods morals might or might not be.

    We had this discussion before remember ...And i asked you then to explain who else you thought decided and how they decided etc.

    You couldnt come up with anything different even then though.Why?,,,,,,well its because you know even pointing to the christian bible is still infact only pointing to the (mind and concience and knowledge)etc of some christian prophet .And you cannot be so very honest in asking "who gets to decide",just before you try and usure me towards your personally preferrred bible WRITTEN BY MERE HUMANS

    And expect me to believe you have offered anything different or new

    Because when all said and done decisions on these matters still goes by way of human brain,whether that human brain might be via christian faith prophet or tribal leader etc.

    So you say who gets to decide ...yet cannot offer anything other than through mind of another man who might have happened to have written some bible.Whether it be modern book on ethics,or ancient bible .....its still mind of man

    That many humans can often be found to be seen to agree on many moral matters,such as matters of murder of theft or adultery etc

    Is simply relative to them all being human ,who even though maybe having differnt colours ....never the less still remain human! with human thoughts! and feelings! etc

    Why try to keep looking for a god who gives us absolute morals.....When even the bible (said to be devine word of some god) displays moral thinking that can be seen changes! proving any absolute moral is only absolute if humans mostly all tend to agree with it....Such as human thinking of whether its still right and ok to stone people to death etc.

    Early Christian supposedly godly devine thinking once thought maybe stoning folks to death was a moral thing ....Next moment they decide maybe its not so moral !.

    What changed Feeno .....Your god who`s supposedly the same yesterday,today and tomorrow,went and changed his unchanging mind ?

    Or is it more honest, the human mind did all the changing

    ReplyDelete
  45. JD said:

    "Might you actually like to join the conversation? Could you begin by substantiating this claim of yours claim and telling me exactly what I "cherry picked"? Thats if you want Steve. No pressure here."

    Adhering to rap etiquettte; by issuing your throwdown challenging me to compose some verse pertinnent to the subject at hand you also effectively implied that if I picked up what was thrown down, accepted your challenge, that you would respond by offering up some verse and rhyme of your own in response to mine. Given that your throwdown was well peppered with invective and personal insult directed towards me (and Jeffy the Jeffe!) certainly contributed to the serious nature of your challenge. I am sure that you are aware that had I not responded to your insult laced challenge that I would have shown that I lacked the character and capacity to respond creatively to an attempted verbal smackdown or "bitch slapping". Obviously, you had put my honor on the line. I could either defend it or 'stay shut up'. Now, your only honorable recourse at this point is to respond with some killer rhyme of your own to counter mine. To remain silent at this point is also an option, but in so doing you would be making a public acknowledgement that you are my bitch or punk, whichever term you prefer.

    Hey, I didn't make the rules, but we all have to abide by them.

    Now, if you want to 'stay shut up' I'm cool with that. I could always use another bitch or punk, again, whichever term you prefer.

    Peace through Poetry!

    Subcooler Schuler

    ReplyDelete
  46. JD,

    Well, far be it from me to disagree with Milton Friedman, but I think it's important to distinguish between capitalism and the free market system. Perhaps this is a fine line, but if you're comparing capitalism to communism, the free market seems to play a big role in offering a major advantage to capitalism. If you're comparing capitalism to a form of socialism that still relies on market economics, then I think the advantage is much reduced. I advocate the middle ground on this issue, in terms of a free market system that still offers some socialistic redistribution of wealth and incentives. I also am a firm believer in free trade, and while again, I don't want to doubt that Friedman has done his homework, I was under the impression that the majority of developed countries got where they were today precisely because they used tariffs and protectionist policies to safeguard their own industry - to the detriment of other countries. So I heartily applaud the suggestion that free trade is an important concept as well.

    However, I find it interesting that you talk so much about charity and morality, and yet you seem to be advocating a person who says, "The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests." Implicit in this statement seems to be the statement that this is how things should happen as well. I find that extremely at odds with morality. Morality, at its heart, is looking out for the common good. It's being prosocial. It's pursuing one's own interest and the interests of others. To say that capitalism = moral and that capitalism = looking out for one's own interests seems to be at odds, unless you add in that idea of others' interests as well. I mean, wasn't it Paul who said to "look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others"? (Philippians 2:4) That doesn't sound very capitalist to me.

    As for your stats on charitable giving, like I said, the US tends to be an aberration. You quoted American stats to me. I'd be more interested in looking at a wider population, like Western nations as a whole - but I don't know if the data is available on that.

    At any rate, the data on that, to be honest, isn't all that important to me (other than out of interest's sake), because, to repeat myself once again, I'm not arguing that Christians or religious people are any less or even equally charitable as compared to non-religious people. I'd be willing to wager that the stats do show a greater charitable giving for religious people. What I'm arguing is that the situation is more complex than "religion A gives more than religion B, therefore religion A is more moral." There are societal and cultural motivations that are likely to play a large role in this. One of these factors is probably the simple notion that religions tend to command charitable donations (like the various laws about the poor for Judaism, giving of alms for Islam, and various commands in Christianity), whereas non-religious people have no strong command from an authority compelling them to do it. Thus, two equally "moral" individuals may give different amounts because one has more pressure placed on him/her to give more money. Until we get a measure of how many "acts of kindness" someone does per day, or something like that, it's a little difficult to get a proper measure of how moral someone is.

    So again, to summarize: the situation is complex. That's all I'm sayin'.

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  47. Now, your only honorable recourse at this point is to respond with some killer rhyme of your own to counter mine

    I'm not a rapper Steve so you got me there.

    However if ever you log on to this site someday and you find that I've composed a song, poetry or even rap lyrics and dedicated them to Feeno or some other male, by all means, feel free to question my sexual orientation. Sorry guy, I'm strictly DC and homey don't play dat.

    I could always use another bitch or punk, again, whichever term you prefer

    I think that it's important to keep in mind here that I was referring to intellectual bitch-slapping as opposed to actual bitch-slapping. No one is advocating domestic violence here.

    So I guess the answer is no and you won't be citing a single stat that I cherry-picked?

    find it interesting that you talk so much about charity and morality, and yet you seem to be advocating a person who says, "The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. Implicit in this statement seems to be the statement that this is how things should happen as well. I find that extremely at odds with morality."

    I don't know that this is the way things should happen but more the way they actually are going to happen given the nature of man as described in the Bible. The Bible is a guide that can ensure that it is done ethically.

    "Was it mere coincidence that the most dynamic businessmen where to be found in Protestant Holland and the most vigorous industrial growth in Protestant England, both states heavily tinctured with Calvinism? Why were the Huguenots [French Calvinists] so prominent in the business community of Catholic France? Or Protestant Brandenberg-Prussia under the Calvinist Great Elector almost the only seventeenth-century German state to exhibit increasing prosperity?"

    Dunn, Richard S. ; The Age of Religious Wars: 1559-1648, pg. 117

    The entire topic is a bit more involved than we are discussing here.

    wasn't it Paul who said to "look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others"? (Philippians 2:4) That doesn't sound very capitalist to me.

    Yes, but this doesnt imply moving towards collectivism or anything. Helping others is commanded in the Bible.

    What I'm arguing is that the situation is more complex than "religion A gives more than religion B, therefore religion A is more moral."

    Well yes, because charitable giving isnt the only measurement of morality. Crime rates for example, would also come in to play. But what if it followed that atheists are typically cheapskates in comparison to a broad range of theistic religions? One more reason to worship an invisible sky-god in that it helps society in general IMHO.

    One of these factors is probably the simple notion that religions tend to command charitable donations (like the various laws about the poor for Judaism, giving of alms for Islam, and various commands in Christianity), whereas non-religious people have no strong command from an authority compelling them to do it.

    I am reminded of an interview of Walmart founder, Sam Walton who grew up dirt poor in Arkansas and would grow up to donate millions to charity.

    One time in his youth, a collection was being made for a certain reason and young Sam only had one dollar to his name. His parents urged him to give the dollar he had, admonishing him, "If you don't give now, you won't give a penny someday, even if you had a million dollars".

    That stuck with him and he went on to found charitible organizations.

    Tink, what was it that you found unappealing about Jerry Newcombe?

    ReplyDelete
  48. JD said, "I'm not a rapper Steve so you got me there."

    Well JD, I'm not a rapper either. What you inspired with your 'throwdown' was my first, only, and probably last, foray into the domain of rap composition. Not bad for an old white boy with no literary talent or musical background, wouldn't you say? And yes, my rhyme was dedicated to you, but don't take that the wrong way. I might have 'Krazy Luv' in my heart for you, but not 'that' kind, know what I'm sayin' Kuz?

    Furthermore, although the 'Rules of Rap' provide for negative consequences if a player fails to come through at Rhyme Tyme, I would like it to be known to the wide audience here at Feeno's blog that I, The Reverend Sub Cee, being moved by the Power of Krazy Kristchen Luv, do hereby by and forever more free JD Curtis from any and all obligation to assume the role of my personal punk and/or bitch, normally an eternally binding status relationship, for his failure to come through in Tyme with Rhyme.

    It's really the only right thing to do.

    And no, I'm not going to pick out the cherries you have already plucked. As T-Vick and Jeffy el Jeffe have intelligently and articulately discussed, this whole matter is much more complex than any simple mind would prefer it to be. Nuff said.

    Peace through Mirth!

    The Reverend Sub Cee
    Self Ordained to Entertain

    ReplyDelete
  49. DR Jerry Newcombe is another guy who studied divinity and uses the title in an attempt to provide an illusion of academic credibility and support to his evangelical and creationist theories. Of course he works with the church, no sensible institution that is based in the real world would employ him. Another evangelical with the title, and no actual published research. (And, no his books do not count, I am talking about real research that is an experiment and goes into research journals).

    Which comes back to what I have said all along, your sources are heavily biased and flawed. Tristan has just posted a good article about how to evaluate sources. It is always the same story with you. Jeff, if you want a good read, look at JD's blog. In his world, the left is communist. You see, from the political spectrum, WE have it backwards. The left, communist movement reeks of Naziism and if we continue the way that we are going, history will repeat itself.

    ReplyDelete
  50. However if ever you log on to this site someday and you find that I've composed a song, poetry or even rap lyrics and dedicated them to Feeno or some other male, by all means, feel free to question my sexual orientation. Sorry guy, I'm strictly DC and homey don't play dat.

    Lol yes, because writing a song that is about a male individual definitely means that you're gay. It couldn't be just, you know, all in good fun :P

    "I don't know that this is the way things should happen but more the way they actually are going to happen given the nature of man as described in the Bible. The Bible is a guide that can ensure that it is done ethically."

    Fair enough. I think Friedman's point is a bit more forceful, since he seems to be implying that it's the way things should happen. Then again, economists tend to be all over the "let the market play itself out" idea. I certainly agree that the market is the best way to correct for surpluses and shortfalls in production. But I think that adjustments need to be made to correct the injustice that seems to be inherent in the system itself. That doesn't mean throwing the whole thing out, which Friedman seems to compare his option against. It just needs a bit of course correction.

    As far as the Bible offering a guide to make sure this is done ethically, however...well, I'd hesitate to condone that. It seems to have pretty conflicting messages when it comes to money matters, from Jesus telling people to sell all they have and give it to the poor, to Paul saying that if you don't work you don't eat. Regardless of what the "true" message is (if there is one), though, it has at least been used to justify all sorts of positions on economics, from prosperity gospel to conservative free market to liberal socialism to isolated communal villages where there are no material possessions. That means that perhaps the Bible isn't the clearest source of advice on the matter of financial issues.

    Anyway, in regard to your Richard Dunn quote: The fact that Calvinism led to increased prosperity doesn't mean that they did so morally, or that they didn't gain wealth at the expense of the well-being of others. All it means is that Calvinism is good at producing individuals who place a high importance on money and financial prosperity. That's not necessarily a good thing.

    But at any rate, I agree with you that "the entire topic is a bit more involved than we are discussing here." Perhaps this is a discussion best left for another day. I'm sure Feeno is scratching his head by now at all the comments on this post :)

    "But what if it followed that atheists are typically cheapskates in comparison to a broad range of theistic religions? One more reason to worship an invisible sky-god in that it helps society in general IMHO."

    I'd disagree with you here. If Christianity could be shown to unambiguously only produce positive effects...then maybe. But that's simply not the case. And besides, I think the much more relevant concern is not whether the belief leads to positive effects, but rather whether the belief is true or not. If it could be shown that dictatorships were successful at getting people to donate more money to charity, would you recommend that countries set up dictators? Probably not. Or would you be in favour of putting drugs into the water supply to make us feel all lovey-dovey towards each other, even if it made us a little delusional? I hope not. I think that even if atheism had many negative effects and few positive ones (which I would argue against), if it were true, I'd probably say that we should put on a brave face and just make the best of it. I think that truth is much more important in cases like these.

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  51. no, I'm not going to pick out the cherries you have already plucked. As T-Vick and Jeffy el Jeffe have intelligently and articulately discussed, this whole matter is much more complex than any simple mind would prefer it to be. Nuff said

    So I guess the answer is no. You're not going to even look at TV's "cherry picking" reference and realize that not a single statistic was cited by him. Not one. He actually stated...

    "Cherry picking and mental gymnastics are the only way to harmonize the quandary"

    Given that I'm sure that you are enough to have actually read that which you were commenting on rather than just demonstrating a mindless display of cheerleading man-love, might you like to explain what was even "cherry picked"?

    DR Jerry Newcombe is another guy who studied divinity and uses the title in an attempt to provide an illusion of academic credibility and support to his evangelical and creationist theories

    Tink, would you please explain why somebody who has a BA in history from Tulane University, an MA from Wheaton, a D Div from Knox Theological Seminary, authored or co-authored 16 books, and produced over 50 television specials isnt somehow qualified to give social commentary? Even Bill Maher had him on three times so lighten up.

    If ever you want to read his doctoral thesis (writ large) then just buy the book, Link.

    I look forward to reading a book review coming from a cackling magpie, know-nothing canuck who has yet to demonstrate that they have even the slightest idea concerning what he/she/it is talking about. Go ahead Tink, buy it, demonstrate you can read it, debunk it. Good luck Nell Fenwick. Youre going to need it.

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  52. because writing a song that is about a male individual definitely means that you're gay. It couldn't be just, you know, all in good fun :P

    All in good fun Jeff. Yes.

    As far as the Bible offering a guide to make sure this is done ethically, however...well, I'd hesitate to condone that. It seems to have pretty conflicting messages when it comes to money matters, from Jesus telling people to sell all they have and give it to the poor, to Paul saying that if you don't work you don't eat

    Jesus's reference was to a rich man who wanted to follow him and asked what he had to do to do so. It's consistant in that the Bible also states that it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven.

    Paul would often work when preaching and thus support himself rather than relying upon the largess of the congregations he was preaching to. The church was in it's infancy then and he led by example.

    From Matthew Henry's commentary: ". It was a proverbial speech among the Jews, He who does not labour does not deserve to eat. The labourer is worthy of his meat; but what is the loiterer worthy of? It is the will of God that every man should have a calling, and mind his calling, and make a business of it, and that none should live like useless drones in the world. Such persons do what in them lies to defeat the sentence, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread. It was not the mere humour of the apostle, who was an active stirring man himself and therefore would have every body else to be so too, but it was the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness we work, and eat our own bread"

    Sloth should not be rewarded. I think we can agree on that.

    The fact that Calvinism led to increased prosperity doesn't mean that they did so morally, or that they didn't gain wealth at the expense of the well-being of others

    It would be important to cite an immoral example at this time from that period of history to truly examine your thoughts on the matter any further.

    If Christianity could be shown to unambiguously only produce positive effects...then maybe

    In my above quote, I was specifically referring to charity and not other "effects"..

    But that's simply not the case

    A seperate discussion of itself. Nobody can claim that Christianity is a complete cover-all balm that makes everything better 100% of the time. Such a religion/Weltanschauung/product does not exist. We are fallible creatures and the Bible is quite clear on that. Christianity provides many things including a plan for salvation framework for good living. But we are (very) far from perfect and the best we can hope to do is make our lives and the lives of others better through it.

    If it could be shown that dictatorships were successful at getting people to donate more money to charity, would you recommend that countries set up dictators? Probably not.

    'Dictatorships' is not one of the main religions in the world. That aside, nothing should be cumpulsory. People wouldnt want to do it if for no other reason than it was compulsory.

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  53. would you be in favour of putting drugs into the water supply to make us feel all lovey-dovey towards each other, even if it made us a little delusional? I hope not

    No. The bible specifically advises against the use of mind altering drugs. The Greek word is pharmacia/pharmacea/pharmakeia which often is translated to "sorcery'" or similar in that certain people used mind altering substances in certain rituals back then.

    I think that even if atheism had many negative effects and few positive ones (which I would argue against), if it were true, I'd probably say that we should put on a brave face and just make the best of it. I think that truth is much more important in cases like these

    I agree that the truth is vitally important in these matters. One indicator that atheism isnt what it's cracked up to be would be it's negative effects. It is a position that should be throughly examined for thatt reason if no other.

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  54. Hey Steve,

    The next time ole "Jeffy el Jeffe" drops by your place to drop off the latest version of his own, personal "man-gravy" just for you, please ask him the following...

    "You say God doesn’t exist. Why does each person have a conscious then? Why does every person have a knowledge deep within them of right and wrong?'

    Then post your answer here ( Apart from all of the lurid details) for us to examine and then we will discuss the matter. Capiche?

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  55. Tink, would you please explain why somebody who has a BA in history from Tulane University, an MA from Wheaton, a D Div from Knox Theological Seminary, authored or co-authored 16 books, and produced over 50 television specials isnt somehow qualified to give social commentary? Even Bill Maher had him on three times so lighten up.

    If ever you want to read his doctoral thesis (writ large) then just buy the book, Link.

    I look forward to reading a book review coming from a cackling magpie, know-nothing canuck who has yet to demonstrate that they have even the slightest idea concerning what he/she/it is talking about. Go ahead Tink, buy it, demonstrate you can read it, debunk it. Good luck Nell Fenwick. Youre going to need it.

    Once again, you have no idea what you are talking about. I already told you that he has not been published in a credible academic journal. Clearly, you think that evangelical publications count, well they do not. He works for Coral Ridge Ministries. He has had evangelical, Christian publishing companies publish him, which does not count. He has not been published in a scholarly journal, which I know is over your head. Moron- doctoral thesis that is worth its salt should never be available to purchase privately. A credible university should support its publication in a journal and is added to our canon of collective knowledge. I will never pay to read that idiot's book. People who care about what they do do not sell their thesis's. Some people believe that knowledge belongs to everyone.

    Here is a thought. Why dont you try to learn what an academic journal is? Myself and others have told you extensively that you do not know what sourcing is, yet you still maintain that we are all nuts. As far as me not knowing anything, keep spitting in the wind. I know this. The neural pathways in your brain are very limited. Good luck.

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  56. Here is a Wikipedia entry on the process of academic publishing. Because, no doubt, you do not think that what I am saying is based in reality.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_publishing

    Dr. Jerry Newcombe has no publications of this type. Everything that he has done has been privately done with evangelical associations. No credible university supports him. He is just another Dr. God parading around trying to pretend like he is a real professor to get fools like you to support their work. Enough said.

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  57. JD said:

    "The next time ole "Jeffy el Jeffe" drops by your place to drop off the latest version of his own, personal "man-gravy"..."

    Ahhh...I love it when you talk dirty to me!

    I hope this thread never ends, you Spicy Mouthed Savage!!!

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