Sketches on Atheism

The Moral Autonomy Argument

 

Cópia de a-lifestyle-of-worship11.         We are moral agents with moral autonomy and a responsibility to exercise it
2.         Abandoning one’s moral autonomy is immoral
3.         God is a perfectly good being worthy of worship
4.         Worship is the recognition of one as inferior and subordinate to a greater being
5.         Worship of God includes the total abandonment of one’s moral autonomy in favour of blind, non-questioning obedience of God
6.         This is immoral, unless we can continuously be sure the being we are worshipping is (perfectly) good, and that the being we are worshipping is indeed a (or the) “God”
7.         To continuously evaluate whether a being is good requires moral judgment, which requires moral autonomy
8.        Therefore it is not possible to continuously evaluate if a being is good while also worshipping it
9.         Therefore, worshipping necessarily requires abandoning one’s moral responsibility, which is immoral
10.       Therefore, no being is worthy of worship
11.       Therefore, God does not exist

In short – worship makes it impossible to know the object of worship is good, and a non-good object of worship isn’t worthy of worship. It is said that it can be known that God is good, and that God is worthy of worship, which is a contradiction, which cannot exist.

*Adapted from James Rachel’s “God and Moral Autonomy” and Existential Atheism

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205 thoughts on “The Moral Autonomy Argument

    • In theory you can develop a robot that more closely follows your moral ideas than you do; if I recognised that murder was wrong and did it anyway, that does not forbid me from making a robot that does not murder. Therefore, a creation is not necessarily morally inferior to its creator.
      Not that it matters, this arguments relies on a perfectly good Being. (Read it again.)
      I am curious to hear another definition of ‘worship’, as the one used here is perfectly consistent with the commands of the Biblical God.

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      • I thought it was because we were commanded to.
        The point of the post is that once you surrender into worship, you are blinded from evaluating the appropriateness of the object of your worship for worship.

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      • I think the only reason we are “commanded” to, is to keep our focus on “reality,” if that makes sense? After all, we tend to be distracted by “shiny” things. And boobies.

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      • Imagine if the command was “evaluate me”, not “worship me”
        “Evaluate all possibilities” and not “I am the LORD thy God and you shall have no other Gods before me”

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      • According to the Bible, we are bombarded by malicious malcontents who behave like the worst of politicians and lawyers, who lie to us constantly with promises of greatness and happiness; that fallen angels despise our very existence more than they despise the one who made us. Perhaps it’s more of a, “Worship me, so that you won’t worship them and allow them to f*** you over…”??

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      • I agree with number 4 and throughout the Bible there are commands to love and worship god that have nothing to do with his goodness. If a God were as active with his people as the Bible claims and as powerful, good, great, and perfect as the Bible claims would God need to command people to worship/revere him?

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      • I think it’s more about keeping us focused, like the married man who goes off with his “wolf pack” friends, whose wife hands him a photo to keep in the front of his wallet just as a reminder? If he focuses on how much he loves his wife and family, maybe he won’t come home with the herpes…

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      • Actually, the more I think about it, I believe our purpose is to be God’s equal, as a moral agent. This is what I think it means to be created “in His image.” We were not created automatons, or servants like the angels and other beings before us. God wanted companions, beings like Himself.

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      • If we were created to be God’s equal as moral agents, yet he created us with the capacity to sin, does that mean he has the capacity to sin? If we were created with “fallen” nature to sin it is not possible to be the equal of a supposedly perfect God.

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      • That has been preached to me. I’m familiar with the doctrine. I have yet to see anyone with this perfected nature – someone who doesn’t “sin” according to the standard of this God.

        Usually when that is touted it is with the caveat that we won’t attain this perfection until we die and meet God.

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      • Yeah, I’m trying not to talk doctrine or look up the apologetic talking points. The words seem empty. I get the gist of it, but trying to explain it and truly comprehend it — well, I’m not anywhere close to that yet.

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      • I understand.

        As I understand it your basic premise is correct according to the Bible, Along with many extraordinary claims in the Bible, I just don’t know how practical or possible it is. Or if the goodness of the God of the Bible is even a standard one would want to attain.

        What would make a person want to be only as good as the God of the Bible?

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      • Yeah, somehow I’m doubting that moral equality with any god I’ve been privy to would in any way bestow unlimited power. Thank Odin for that!

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      • It’s a catch-22. We are “promised” this power, only if we do not seek it. It’s like, yeah, you can sleep with my hot daughter, but only if you’re not attracted to her…

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    • What’s your problem with No. 4? It seems a perfectly logical statement, especially considering your second point regarding the distinction between the “creator” and the ‘created.” Clearly this is identifying a relationship delineated by the superior and inferior.

      Of course the created can be morally superior to the creator, especially if we’re dealing with the Middle Eastern Christian god. Take slavery as just one example. Here we have surpassed the described “creator.”

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      • Ah, but we all serve a master. We are all slaves. “Freedom” is an aspiration. But, in essence, we are all enslaved to our fallen nature, to “sin.” This, so I’m told, is a central theme of the Gospel, that true “freedom” only comes through Christ — though what that means exactly, I’m trying to figure out.

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      • “true “freedom” only comes through Christ”

        Is this not a description of a bonded serf; an inferior creature who must worship the overlord, as demanded by said overlord, so as to receive a promised, yet not-guaranteed, reward? To worship, therefore, is to relinquish moral autonomy, and this is immoral.

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      • @ Quack

        that true “freedom” only comes through Christ — though what that means exactly, I’m trying to figure out.

        Another meaningless piece of polemic. You tout it but opening admit you don’t understand it!
        Go figure? Blind faith indeed!

        Try running this piece of crap past a devout Jew, Muslim, Hindu and see how far you get.

        This waffle is one step away from Divine Command Theory and any second now you’ll be sucking up to William Lane Craig.
        “Nuke the bastards! It’s okay…”god” told me to do it.”

        Oh, yes you are full of asinine ( idiocy) that is plain.

        The intellect of the god-botherer has just leaked out of his bloody ear.

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      • But, in essence, we are all enslaved to our fallen nature, to “sin.” This, so I’m told, is a central theme of the Gospel, that true “freedom” only comes through Christ — though what that means exactly, I’m trying to figure out.

        This is the kind of circular reasoning that keeps a person enslaved. I used to believe all of that until I woke up one day and suddenly realized that none of that made any.sense.at.all.

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    • Plus, a created being cannot be morally superior to its creator. If you think about it, you will realize it’s not possible,

      You’re saying the child of criminal parents cannot lead a law-abiding life, by definition?

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      • That’s not a proper example. Perhaps someone programming an A.I. android of some sort would be a more accurate analogy — the moral protocol would be limited to that of the programmer. We could create Robocop, whose code would require it to arrest the programmers if they broke the law — but this would not make it morally superior.

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    • Looks like #1 is wrong to me since man is NOT a free moral agent. The Bible doesn’t teach we are free moral agents. Life neither begins or ends by choice and free will. Morals have to be taught by someone who has the ultimate authority over everyone so my morals are the same as yours.

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      • What are you talking about? The fundamental plotline of the Abrahamic faiths is rooted in the notion of free will.

        No free will = no chance of original sin.
        No original sin = no Abrahamic faiths.

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      • The biggest lie that ever was told is that all men are born free moral agents. Original sin was not the result of Adams free will, it was God’s.

        When asked, God reply’s to Moses was, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” “So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.” Romans 9:15-16

        All of unregenerate man’s thoughts and actions are wicked and hateful to God, and unregenerate man has no ability to do anything differently. (no free will)

        “We love Him because He first loved us.” Not the other way around. Favor with God does is not due to men’s willing (will) or men’s actions (works) – it has solely to do with God who shows mercy on whomever he wants to show mercy. God’s mercy is totally unmerited and is unreactive. God doesn’t show mercy in response to those who are willing. Natural man’s willing and running are just dead works and fruit unto death. They cannot come to God, obey God, or please God. It is ALL of God, and NONE of man.

        John 1: 12-13
        “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

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      • Think about it for a minute John.

        Some preachers claim that when God made man He endowed him with freedom of will, the ability to accept God’s love or reject it, to keep God’s laws or break them, and that the decision here and now is a final choice. But our Lord says, “No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him” (John 6:44).

        Think a minute on just how free man is, how far his freedom reaches. A little observation and study will show that man’s freedom has very narrow limits. One is able to wish or desire or purpose as he pleases, but when he comes to carry out his wish or desire or purpose, he finds that he faces problems.

        1. No one is free in the physical realm.
        2. No one is free in the social realm.
        3. No one is free in the economic realm.
        4. No one is free in the moral and spiritual realm.

        Man’s free moral agency, even if it were true, would by no means clear God from the responsibility of his acts since God is his Creator and has made him in the first place just what he is, well knowing what the result would be. If God’s will is ever thwarted, then He is not almighty. If His will is thwarted, then His plans must be changed, and hence He is not all-wise and immutable. If His will is never thwarted, then all things are in accordance with His will and He is the architect of all things as they exist. If He is all-wise and all-good, then all things, existing according to His will, must be working toward some wise and wonderful end!

        Your whole Moral Autonomy Argument is a non-starter because you dismiss the source, the Ultimate Moral Giver. Who is it that establishes the ultimate moral laws? The society that hunts and shrinks heads, or the cannibalistic society, the society that thinks female circumcision is appropriate, or the one that will kill you if you don’t believe in their God?

        Back to your statement about original sin and our “free will”.

        Even if Adam was a free moral agent, God is responsible for what happened in the Garden, for whatever a free moral agent may do, He is responsible for it who made him a free moral agent. If God made man a free moral agent, then God created within man the propensities for either good or evil which determined his choices. If God made man a free moral agent, He knew beforehand what the result would be, and hence is just as responsible for the consequences of the acts of that free moral agent as He would be for the act of an irresponsible machine that He had made. Man’s free moral agency, even if it were true, would by no means clear God from the responsibility of his acts since God is his Creator and has made him in the first place just what he is, well knowing what the result would be. If God’s will is ever thwarted, then He is not almighty. If His will is thwarted, then His plans must be changed, and hence He is not all-wise and immutable. If His will is never thwarted, then all things are in accordance with His will and He is the architect of all things as they exist. If He is all-wise and all-good, then all things, existing according to His will, must be working toward some wise and wonderful end!

        What shall we conclude then? Is there injustice on God’s part? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then God’s gift is not a question of human will and human effort, but of God’s mercy. It depends not one ones own willingness … but on God having mercy on him.

        Romans 9:14-21 explains it this way in speaking about Pharaoh: I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying My power in dealing with you, so that My name may be proclaimed the whole world over. So then He has mercy on whomever He wills (chooses) and He hardens – makes stubborn and unyielding of heart – whomever He wills. You will say to me, Why then does He still find fault and blame us for sinning? For who can resist and withstand His will? But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use?”

        It is a wicked and cruel lie to say that the unregenerated man is a “free moral agent.” He is no such thing! He is a slave.

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      • Well done, Bobby! Seems you’ve discovered the problem with omnipotence and omniscience, and that, of course, leads to the realisation that (as Allallt so effortlessly pointed out) “the Fall was entrapment: God knew it would happen but set it up anyway (while Adam and Eve were still ignorant of morality).” Some serious plot-problems in your religion, but its encouraging to see that you’re aware of them.

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      • Not so fast…

        Did God know that Satan would rebel and Adam and Eve would sin? Absolutely. Were they out of His control at any time? Absolutely not.

        Now, the BIGGER question, which you try to answer with your feeble understanding. WHY allow Satan to rebel and Adam and Eve to sin?

        The Bible does not provide a comprehensive answer. Despite that, we are able to come to a limited understanding through Scripture. God is omniscient and nothing can happen outside of His knowledge. So, if God knew that Satan would rebel and fall from heaven and that Adam and Eve would sin, yet He created them anyway, it must mean that the fall was part of God’s sovereign plan from the beginning. No other answer makes sense.

        Biblical history can be roughly divided into three main sections: paradise, paradise lost, and paradise regained. By far the largest part of the narrative is devoted to moving from paradise lost to paradise regained. At the center of this meta-narrative is the cross.

        Reading Scripture carefully and taking what has been written, we are led to the following conclusions:

        1. The rebellion of Satan and the fall were foreknown and foreordained by God.
        2. Those who would become the people of God, the elect, were foreknown and foreordained by God.
        3. The crucifixion of Christ, as atonement for God’s people, was foreknown and foreordained by God.

        Wrath and mercy display the riches of God’s glory, and you cannot get either without the fall of mankind. Therefore, all of these actions—fall, election, redemption, atonement—serve the purpose of glorifying God. When man fell into sin, God’s mercy was immediately displayed in not killing him on the spot.

        The Bible teaches that all men originate their own moral depravity. The Bible teaches that men sin and corrupt themselves.

        The Doctrine of Original Sin is FALSE.

        There are certain self-evident truths, direct perceptions of reason, known to be true to all men.

        1. A thing cannot both be and not be. Two contradictory things cannot both be true.

        2. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

        3. The whole cannot be greater than the sum of its parts.

        4. Every effect must have a cause.

        5. A creation implies a creator.

        6. Moral character is non-transferable.

        7. There are no proxies in morals.

        8. Sin cannot be imputed where it does not exist without injustice.

        9. Perfect justice cannot punish the innocent for the guilt of another.

        10. Sin is personal and non-transferable.

        Now all of the above truths are known intuitively. They do not need to be proved. They are direct perceptions of reason, and cannot rationally be denied by any man.

        But the doctrine of original sin does deny self-evident truths. It denies the self-evident truth that there can be no proxies in morals and teaches that Adam committed sin for us by proxy. It denies that moral character is non-transferable and teaches that Adam’s sinful character was transferred to all his descendants. It denies that sin cannot be imputed where it does not exist without injustice and teaches that the infinitely holy and just God imputed the sin of Adam to all his descendants. It denies that perfect justice cannot punish the innocent for the guilt of another and teaches that God, who is perfect in truth and justice, condemned the whole human race for the sin of Adam.

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      • I never said that Carlos. But I did say the Doctrine of Original Sin is false. I also said the Bible teaches that all men originate their own moral depravity. The Bible teaches, and confirms certain self-evident truths, that men sin and corrupt themselves.

        In order for any of us to speak about what is morally right or wrong we have to go to an outside source for what is morally right. It can’t be my idea of morality for all of us, or yours. It can’t be the Islanders, or the Asians, or the Latins, etc.

        Now, I think the “free will” concept goes very deep to our core. I’m speaking about a different kind of free will other than whether you choose to have a Coke or a Fanta Orange. Your freedom has very narrow limits Carlos. You did not enter this world by your free will and you will certainly not leave it from free will.

        Allow me to propose two questions about free will…

        Is that child free who is born in the slums; the child of a harlot and a whore-monger; a child without a Father, who grows up with the brand of shame upon his brow from the beginning; who grows up amidst vice, and never knows virtue until it is steeped in vice? Is such a child free to act intelligently, as he chooses, upon all moral questions? Is that child free who grows up amidst falsehood, and never knows what truth is until it is steeped in lies; that never knows what honesty is until it is steeped in crime?

        Is that child free who is born in a communist land and in a godless home; who is told by its government and taught by its teachers that there is no God in heaven, and never knows even a verse of Scripture until it is steeped in unbelief and infidelity?

        I submit that these children are not born free. They are not free moral agents. It is a sham, a delusion, and a snare to say it. It is not true. All are not born into this world as free moral agents. Morality must be taught at a young age or it becomes every man for himself and we live our own idea of what is moral. Sure, a society can create laws based on moral good but trouble starts when they impose their idea of moral good on any other society. In fact, laws based on a uniform moral code is no guarantee every member in a society will follow them.

        The whole “Moral Autonomy Argument” post is false. From one to eleven, every statement is utter madness.

        Let’s look at #1. “We are moral agents with moral autonomy and a responsibility to exercise it.”

        If we look at wiki’s page (moral_agency) the very first sentence is, “Moral agency is an individual’s ability to make moral judgments based on some commonly held notion of right and wrong and to be held accountable for these actions.”

        The ‘key word’ in this definition is “notion”. Turn to merriam-webster and “notion” is defined as 1) : an individual’s conception or impression of something known, experienced, or imagined (2) : an inclusive general concept (3) : a theory or belief held by a person or group.

        So, again I ask, who among us do we turn to for the moral laws we all will follow? You, or I, or the Americans or the Iranians?

        The words ‘moral’ and ‘autonomy’ are contradicting terms.
        If you wish, you can read about Moral Autonomy at http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Autonomy

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  1. <blockquote) #8 "Therefore it is not possible to continuously evaluate if a being is good while also worshipping it."

    There is good neurological evidence, from fMRI scans, that if one loves their god deeply — so much so that they worship this god with adoration, they can be ‘blinded by love”. As in the case of Jesus, believers (male and female) become his bride, and Jesus, the bridegroom. Lovers? Jesus is purported to have said that believers must “love God with all their heart, all their soul and all their mind.” According to these brain scans, having a deep love and attachment for another changes the brain through attachment-mediating neurohormones.

    The studies demonstrated that love attachments activated regions in the brain’s reward system. These regions coincide with areas rich in oxytocin and vasopressin receptors. Both have been found to “deactivate regions associated with negative emotions, social judgment and ‘mentalizing’, that is, the assessment of other people’s intentions and emotions.”

    It concludes that “human attachment employs a push–pull mechanism that overcomes social distance by deactivating networks used for critical social assessment and negative emotions, while it bonds individuals through the involvement of the reward circuitry.

    So I concur that it is not possible to continuously evaluate if a being is good while also worshipping it. The studies help to explain why people may not see the negative side of their god..

    An insightful post, John.

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    • Oh I love your comments! You’re my enlightened window onto the bulbous, pink, self-medicating shop of horrors (and wonders) sitting behind our eyes!

      I penned a post on what a “perfect” creature would look like/be like and in it I described the colossal brain as being:

      “Floating like some cushioned gyroscope in a warmed sea of electrochemically charged placental fluid sat a giant brain encased in a ring of highly energetic, fist-sized pituitary and pineal glands that dispensed chemical cocktails like some self-rewarding chemist. The brain itself, our alien biologist would discover, was really nothing more complex than a colossal pleasure centre (a hypothalamus) and an equally gargantuan frontal lobe for advanced neural processes… a neurological arrangement which would at first elude any and all rational evolutionary explanation…”

      About the love thing: Saint Catherine of Sienna (1300’s) was so blinded by her devotion that she believed Jesus had married her, using his foreskin as the wedding band.

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      • “Oh, I love your comments”

        Such flattery could ‘blind’ me, but I’ll take my chances. Thank you. 😀

        I penned a post on what a “perfect” creature would look like/be like and in it I described the colossal brain as being:

        “Alien biologist”. Brilliant. I would like to use your quote sometime, giving you the credit. Looks like we are on the same page. I’ll also check out your pinned post.

        I didn’t know about St. Catherine of Sienna, but I’m not too surprised. I’ve read and seen some rather bazaar behavior from devotees.

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      • Thanks for the link, John. I’m not a neurologists, but I do specialize in a neurological field involving brainwave training. However, my interests in this area stemmed from my own assessment of personal belief. After coming out of my love stupor, I needed to understand how I could have been so blinded by the immorality of said god.

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      • Understood. Either way, you’re on a far, far, far higher plain than i regarding the brain, and that’s a great thing!

        Have you ever read Neurotheology by Laurence McKinney?

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      • I enjoyed it, although it might not be thrilling to a person already well versed in the field. As a novice i found it a great source for studies, although those are now a little dated as the book was published in 1994. After reading it i contacted McKinney and we’ve been in communication since. Nice man. His central premise is that the great questions of “where did I come from?” “where does it all go?” are rooted in the cognitive hole that exists because of the 36 month process of aborisation. Literally, we have a dark spot, a memory-less void and it acts on us like an itch.

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    • I agree. I would also add that worship [substituting another’s moral judgement for your own] is an immoral act. Surrendering one’s moral autonomy is also a violation in principle of Christianity’s “free will”.

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  2. Why would an all-powerfull entity need “worship” anyway? The requirement of worship sounds more like what an evil and weak deity would be in need of. Does it not? Even more than that, it sounds like an authoritarian system invented by men to grant unjustified social power to demagogues who prey on the fears and superstition of people. Would not a Christian say this about Islam and vice versa? What have they to show the other is wrong? Absolutely nothing because both are grounded on the idea that faith is a virtue, when obviously it is not.

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    • “Why would an all-powerfull entity need “worship” anyway?”

      This does seem to lend itself to the Argument from Evil. As Allallt said above: “Imagine if the command was “evaluate me”, not “worship me.” “Evaluate all possibilities” and not “I am the LORD thy God and you shall have no other Gods before me”

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  3. Interesting argument. To play the devil’s advocate, I think there are two ways out of it. First, is to question: what is worship? In some religions it is the sort of submission/supplication implied in this argument, but in others it is a sort of veneration or ‘standing in awe’. In the latter case, one could certainly venerate Kali, for instance, with human sacrifices and still make the argument that killing people in every other case was bad (the world will come crashing down without sacrifices to Kali, so what’s a guy to do?). Worship is simply an acknowledgment of truth then, and ascribing moral content to it opens the door to ascribing moral content to breathing or sheltering from a tornado – there might be immoral ways to do those things but they don’t have any inherent moral content.
    The other way to escape is to abandon moral realism. That move gets you out from under the deontology shot through the whole thing, most explicit in #1, and removes ‘good’ as a component of perfection, since good is no longer a thing at all.

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    • Hi Keith. Always good to hear from you, my friend. I think James Rachel looked at your first point in his notes on possible rejections. He wrote:

      (2) God is perfectly good; it follows that he would never require us to do anything except what is right. Therefore, in obeying God, we would only be doing what we should do in any case. So there is no incompatibility between obeying him and carrying out our moral responsibilities. Our responsibility as moral agents is to do right, and God’s commands are right, so that’s that. This objection rests on a misunderstanding of the idea that (necessarily) God is perfectly good. This can be intelligibly asserted only because of the principle that no being who is not perfectly good may bear the title “God.” The catch is that we cannot determine whether some being is God without first checking on whether he is perfectly good;[12] and we cannot decide whether he is perfectly good without knowing (among other things) whether his commands to us are right. Thus our own judgment that some actions are right and others wrong is logically prior to our recognition of any being as God. The upshot is that we cannot justify the suspension of our own judgment on the grounds that we are deferring to God’s command; for if, by our own best judgment, the command is wrong, this gives us good reason to withhold the title “God” from the commander.

      If I’m following you, I think he also dealt with your second objection, here:

      (1) What if God lets us go our own way and issues no commands other than that we should live according to our own consciences? In that case there would be no incompatibility between our commitment to God and our commitments as moral agents, since God would leave us free to direct our own lives. The fact that this supposition is contrary to major religious traditions (such as the Christian tradition) doesn’t matter, since these traditions could be mistaken. The answer is that this is a mere contingency, and that even if God did not require obedience to detailed commands, the worshiper would still be committed to the abandonment of his role as a moral agent if God required it.

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      • David Hume, what a jackass. He certainly arranged it so it’s hard to talk about this subject at all with out referring to him. I guess I’m suggesting that obedience and worship might be separated. In that case, worship is something a believer does because of his appreciation of God (fear of God), because of what is rather than what he ought to do.
        I agree with (1) and I think it is the upshot of (2). If we have some absolute prescription from good as an independent entity, and an absolute prescription from God to obey, then a conflict exists in principle. Saying God just is good saves people from a conflict of obligations, but does nothing to save God’s identity as a thing in itself. This is an old, old problem, which remains controversial. I’m suggesting that a possible solution is to get rid of good. I think that’s kind of where Craig is headed with his take on divine command theory, if I understand it correctly. God’s commands are prescriptive in an kind of extra-moral sense, and calling them good is being generous to our linguistic conventions. He equivocates on that basis, but he’s a debater in apologetics, so what should one expect? I think that sinks good as a thing at all. If good doesn’t make a universal demand, it is contingent or subjective rather than an absolute or a truth in principle. Moral arguments go out the window then, but I think it may still get the believer out from under the current argument.

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      • This is where I find Craig infuriating. The god he is attempting to define into existence is so far removed from the Middle Eastern Abrahamic deity he supposedly believes in that it’s no-longer even recognisable. He would gain some respect from me if he were simply honest and publically jettisoned that systemised (Christian) belief structure altogether and just announced himself a deistic (cosmological) philosopher.

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      • Look at it from his viewpoint. In public, he’s an apologist, which means he’s in the business of rationalization, and he’s involved in debate, which means he’s in the business of swaying minds rather than engaging in conversation. Can we really blame him for moving straight from divine command theory to an argument from absolute morality if no one calls him on it?

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  4. The moral argument is perfectly obvious to normal people. The religious however, don’t deal in ‘obvious’ unless it relates to their relationship with a plainly visible, invisible deity that answers prayers as is its capricious nature – (read never) -or annihilates its creation as is its wont.

    Laugh or cry?

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  5. I think 11 is not necessarily correct, though I see why it is inevitable. Since 3 suggests a god is worthy of worship, and 10 that no being is worthy of worship exists, then a god worthy of worship doesn’t exist. It could be possible that a god not worthy of worship exists. Maybe our criteria for wanting a god to be worthy of worship is the wrong criteria? Just saying.

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    • Ah, fine points, my learned friend. This is certainly valid if we just take the concept of a good god, stand alone without any accompanying scripture. Scripture says “worship,” it says “give yourself over to god,” but if we remove that then we can perhaps accommodate a good god. If, however, we remove the baggage then we would not necessarily have a reason to believe in a good god. The argument from evil is pretty convincing that the creator god is in fact evil who only permits small doses of good so as his creations can understand just how bad things are. We’d be naturally drawn to this conclusion (an evil creator) were it not for scripture, which goes against the grain of the natural landscape we find ourselves inside.

      Like

      • I think one of the interesting anthropological questions is the idea of god during the different times in the evolution of gods. And of interest is why some gods were merged, some neglected and some even reinvented in different names

        Like

  6. The problem with this rather verbose proof is the atheist redefinition of worship in #4.

    Christian worship is based gratitude and familial love.

    In the Catholic Mass, worship centers around remembering Jesus Christ as he expressed it at the Last Supper.

    In the Catholic Eucharistic prayer (Holy Communion prayer):

    Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord.
    People: It is right and just.
    Priest: It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy

    We gain salvation through our expression of gratitude (worship) the way Jesus taught it to his Apostles.

    By understanding worship the way Christians understand it, we can conclude that the proof in error because it presents a definition of worship that is not practiced by Christians.

    Like

      • Sorry. If number one is not accepted as truth, then can one still reach the same conclusion? I’m curious how changing that variable changes the equation.

        Like

      • No problem.

        #1 “We are moral agents with moral autonomy and a responsibility to exercise it”

        I can certainly see how this would ruin the train of thought if you were to argue against this point. Are you suggesting we don’t have a responsibility to exercise our moral autonomy, or that we’re not actually moral agents at all?

        Like

      • Well I was actually thinking morality is a subjective and dependent creature. One man’s morals is another man’s atrocity. In or out of religion.
        And actually, if one argues an absence of god, then who besides man determines our responsibility? I can kill whomever I want if you remove religion and man made laws. Who can prove it’s immoral or wrong? Can we even argue purpose as a moral gauge? I don’t think we can. I mean, whose purpose?

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      • I’d argue here, using research into moral/empathetic behaviour in chimps as an example, that our morality is merely the intelligent response of social creatures to increase survivability and limit suffering. It’s certainly not objective, as you point out, but we do have a clear bias toward establishing recognised systems of behaviour.

        Who decides our responsibility? Ultimately it’s the individual, but they are acting inside a social group, so there is a shared decision making (scoring) process here that can’t be ignored.

        I’d never argue purpose as a moral gauge… Not beyond the societal necessity for codes of behaviour. You can kill whomever you like, but you’ll do so knowing the consequences. I, however, believe you won’t because you don’t want to be murdered. As we can predict the consequences of our behaviour we have the ability to establish norms (with the best information we have at the time) that function toward the smoothest possible operation of society.

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      • Do they really think conformity is a moral issue? Which comes first the morals or the conformity? Take psycho and sociopaths. Thy don’t care a gig about anyone but themselves. They are not held by any social structure or fear of the law. The only consequence that concerns them is their failure to kill or harm. Can anyone actually argue that they are wrong or immoral without imposing a man made set of guidelines?
        Now, as far as empathy for survival, what about spiders or cockroaches, fish or other creatures that do not possess it? Their killing has a purpose, a necessity that sets them apart from a species like humans who can kill for what seems like no reason at all (setting aside the fact that it IS a necessity for the killer)?
        I’ve always though morality is never a good argument for anything because it’s a sheep trait. Empathy is not morality, it’s empathy.

        Like

      • No society is perfect, there will always be nuts, but man-made guidelines are the only things we have. These guidelines are anthropological; a cultural (as opposed to natural) response to complex human interactions.

        Empathy is moralities parent. Empathy requires intelligence to predict (and/or sympathise) how a certain behaviour would affect another. They are interchangeable in my mind.

        I think what you’re circling here is rejecting the idea that we have an obligation (responsibility) to act in a certain way and not another. My response to that would simply be this: no social creature benefits from anarchy and bedlam. Behaving appropriately is actually a selfish move; a self-serving action.

        Like

      • I don’t have to care about you or understand you situation to not kill to. Perhaps I just don’t like the clean up. That’s a purely selfish approach.
        If bedlam were the norm, as it appears to is in some parts of nature, wouldn’t that eventually form patterns? I think if we are anything, we are predictable and prone to habit regardless of social structure or culture. And who, except other people decides if self serving is good or bad. I find it lovely to be honest lol. You see that kind if society as bad, I see it as the place my brother lives, and for his mind, it’s a paradise of perfectly logical events and emotions. I am not equipped to survive in it, but he is. I think when we discard what we consider normal and say that anything is possible, those fixed ideas of morality and god get pretty blurry making it much much harder to proclaim any definitives.
        And here we circle back to the beginning–without the definite of number one, the whole argument falls apart doesn’t it? It kind relies on absolutes that we only have if we choose to have them, right?

        Like

      • Tell the whole truth, TMI: You’re on your phone, flying in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia, being serenaded by tuxedo wearing monkeys while being served chilled absinthe by a small army of Peacocks all named, Sebastian 🙂

        Like

  7. I am most definitely atheist. But having been fundamentalist Christian in my youth (was there a youth? – dim memory indeed!), I can assure you that this ‘word salad’ of a proof is no more convincing to me than are the ‘word salads’ used to prove the existence of a god. Too many steps and too many words. This reaction may admittedly be a weakness in me – to some extent a product of my dislike for philosophizing in the absence of real perceptible information.

    In chess, a rather general truism is that the longer and more moves involved in an analyzed ‘forced variation’, the more likely it will be possible to find a flaw in it. The number of steps in this proof I perceive as analogous to the long chess variation. I do not wish to try to argue this ‘proof’ down – my belief is in concurrence with its conclusion, but with my thinking that ‘proof’ is merely a convincing argument, I state that AS AN ATHEIST I don’t find this to be very convincing.

    Now within the proof is contained a critical true thought – if you worship the thing your bias cannot allow you to clearly evaluate the thing. I can buy that. But the proof as a whole – not so much.

    Sorry to have less than a fan boy comment!

    Like

      • John,

        Christian proofs look like word salad to atheists because they are based on reason and the actual meaning of words.

        Your proof requires a redefinition of Christian worship in order to have a prayer.

        Like

  8. I think you needed to stop at #10. God could exist and be an evil old bastard who demands such worship, The conclusion that God doesn’t exist isn’t warranted. A perfectly good god demanding worship is not supportable, though.

    Like

  9. @JZ

    His central premise is that the great questions of “where did I come from?” “where does it all go?” are rooted in the cognitive hole that exists because of the 36 month process of aborisation. Literally, we have a dark spot, a memory-less void and it acts on us like an itch.

    Now John, have you been offering the red pill and blue to people as well? 🙂 This dialogue from the Matrix seems almost tailor made for describing McKinney’s central premise.
    _____

    “Morpheus: I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?

    Neo: You could say that.

    Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?

    Neo: No.

    Morpheus: Why not?

    Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.

    Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

    Neo: The Matrix.

    Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?

    Neo: Yes.

    Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

    Neo: What truth?

    Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”

    Maybe it’s just me. But if you make a habit of dressing in leather with mirrored sunglasses…. we could be on to something here. 🙂

    Like

    • Hahahaha! In my defense, McKinney wrote his book in 1994, whereas the Matrix came out in 1999, if I remember correctly 🙂

      Hey, I’m having some fun with the guy from your post. Quite the chap. My last comment is still in “moderation” (don’t you just love these screeners), but it’ll make you chuckled if he ever frees it.

      Like

      • @JZ

        Well, feel free to be the Morpheus in South America – freeing minds from the grips of religious inanity. Although, a more climate friendly wardrobe might be in order 🙂

        Hey, I’m having some fun with the guy from your post.

        He is a study in confirmation bias.

        Do you have a copy of your comment? I’d be happy to add it to my RPOJ article if it isn’t published.

        Like

      • Indeed I do, although i think you’ve seen it in a few guises before. Below. If he plays I want to get him onto the business of human soul, which is always fun.

        Post grad is “bible studies”…. And this makes you an expert on foetal development how, precisely?

        Now, it seems you’re trying to imply the foetus is alive and is a unique human being. This is fundamentally in error. Something cannot be considered “alive” until it can “die.” Human life, therefore, begins at the moment its twin, death, also springs into existence. Without death there is no defined life. The former begets the latter. The latter assigns meaning to the former. One delineates the other, and fortunately the definition of death is not in dispute. Death is when electroencephalography (EEG) activity ceases. That’s it. That’s death. It follows quite naturally therefore that the onset of defined human life is when foetal brain activity begins to exhibit regular and sustained wave patterns, and that occurs consistently around week 25 of pregnancy. Only after something can die can it be considered alive, and to argue anything to the contrary is patently absurd.

        Like

  10. @JZ

    Hey I saw your comments on the religious douche’s blog. Excellent work! 🙂

    He used the projection dodge with you as well I see, because for all of his ‘scholarship’ he seem can’t defend his abortion happy god.

    The amount of rationalization (confabulation?) required to maintain magical beliefs and take then take them seriously is noteworthy.

    Like

  11. Sorry, JZ … I have to disagree; fell at the first hurdle. We are not ‘moral agents with moral autonomy and a responsibility to exercise it’. Not whilst the Holy man-with-the-gun (and his divine right) is standing over us (or defines our definitions).
    A slave has no rights, only revocable ‘privileges’. I read somewhere and quote it often, the “Government is the guy who takes away your Rights and gives some of ’em back as privileges” — and how many governments are free of the Name of the One True God?

    Also any Christian worthy of his/her salt will gasp and tell you to “Judge not! Lest ye be judged!”
    Sir, God demands that you surrender your judgement to Him and His merciful compassionate agents. (By the way, that video is still turning my stomach.)

    Your post is most excellent and I really wish I’d posted it myself.

    Like

    • Oh it’s not my work, I just borrowed someone’s thoughts. I generally hate these definition word games, although this one seemed fairly solid.

      So, you’re saying #1 is wrong because under the creator god scenario we are not free (to which i would agree). However, isn’t the plot that this creator god gifted free will (another term i loathe), meaning we are free agents with a moral awareness? The responsibility part is the weakest, I think, but it can be asserted that this responsibility is necessitated if we want to live in civil societies.

      Like

      • If we have Free Will, yes. But as God is omniscient and knows what we are going to do (face it, He’s known for ever) then we cannot choose any other course, can we?

        And of course the All Powerful is also fully responsible …

        Like

      • One would assume so, yes. What’s you’ve done, great sage, is skip over this little diddy and execute the god God a few steps back. Now you’ve made the children cry… they like watching the Punch & Judy show, don’t you know?

        Like

      • Bugger. I like Punch and Judy and wouldn’t shatter anyone’s illusions for the world. Bad dog.

        Now, if only they’d let this sleeping dog lie …

        Like

  12. 10. Therefore, no being is worthy of worship
    11. Therefore, God does not exist

    ha ha 🙂

    11. Therefore, God does is not a being

    12 Therefore being and existence is the same

    13 Therefore we exist

    14 Therefore I exist

    15 Therefore I am

    16 Therefore René Descartes

    Except I don’t believe in a Cartesian worldview. It’s not sure I exist.

    Therefore.

    Like

  13. 1. Define God as any being “outside the system” such that none of the laws of the known universe confine or apply to him/her/it.
    2. Since God is then “outside the system” we can know nothing about God. We cannot know any of his/her/its properties; indeed, no attribute which we can assign to God has any meaning at all.
    3. Therefore, any talk about God is meaningless. We can’t prove or disprove his/her/its existence; we cannot ascribe any attributes to God; speculation about such a God is meaningless.
    4. Therefore abandoning your moral authority to God is like abandoning your moral authority to someone you never met, never will meet, and know nothing about. It is analogous to basing a theory of music on Beethoven’s Symphony #13…the symphony he WOULD have written had he lived until 1860 and retired to a cottage in Switzerland.

    Like

    • Nicely said, although i think James Rachel was using the interfering, meddling, hands-on, nosey deity espoused by the Abrahamic religions as his test subject. That said, I’ve used your MWT (“outside the system”) book analogy quite a lot recently. It’s a brilliant tool for when the conversation turns to the dreaded topic of metaphysics.

      Like

      • I tend to take the Abrahamic God as seriously as I take Thor or Zeus. On the other hand, I have thoughtful religious friends, and their idea of God as an abstract, omnipotent universal force deserves to be taken seriously even if I disagree. Of course, if Scarlett O’Hara somehow decides she’s a character in a novel, I don’t think it does her much good, and the idea of her “worshiping” Margeret Mitchell is ludicrous.

        Like

      • The abstract, omnipotent universal force of deism is fine in my books too. I don’t see why the universe would require such a thing, but such a belief is generally non-intrusive, it doesn’t meddle in politics or education, it doesn’t (as a rule) inspire violence or urge on wars, and if it gives someone comfort then so be it.

        Like

  14. Pingback: What is “Worship”? « Enquiries on Atheism

  15. Wow…this was very inspiring. I really tried being the devil’s (well, god’s) advocate here and find a fault in this line of reasoning. Couldn’t find one.
    I saw an interesting Youtube clip the other day in which Sinead O’Connor was being interviewed about pope Francis. I really liked what she had to say. O’Connor said she was very spiritual and religious, but opposed the idea of an institute/religion acting as an intermediate between the individual and their god. She spoke of a very direct relationship people could have with any deity or spirit. I thought it was inspiring, because this direct relationship (when taken literally) doesn’t rely on others’ approval and god in this case becomes an extension of one’s own morality. Talking to god then essentially becomes a conversation with oneself.
    I guess the key word in this post is ‘worship’…the way O’Connor put it, the word ‘worship’ was replaced with ‘relationship’ and ‘religion’ was replaced with ‘spirituality’…and suddenly it didn’t sound like the worst idea anymore;)

    Like

    • and suddenly it didn’t sound like the worst idea anymore;)

      Welp, even the Borg look good if you strip them of their assimilating ways, dress them in fancy clothes and make them the candy-stripers of the known universe (distributing bonbons and unicorns, no less!).

      Religion divorced from the mandatory belief in monkey-muffins and the devastating group-think that enfeebles the devout is innocuous.

      Personal mythological relationships can also become problematic once far enough divorced from reality.

      It would seem to come down to how much magic you allow into your worldview.

      In my opinion, the less, the better.

      Like

      • You are totally right…Any relationship with a higher fictional being can be considered dysfunctional…at the same time people seem to have a need for it. I liked O’Connor’s views because I thought they were a realistic compromise between people’s need for a deity and people’s abuse of that very need…O’Connor’s view explicitly dispensed with groupthink, but of course this doesn’t take away the fact that any belief in a supernatural being can be a recipe for groupthink with the wrong people…

        If that at all makes sense…

        Like

  16. @bobbierileyjr

    I’m having a few problems following your list of “self-evident truths”.

    There are certain self-evident truths, direct perceptions of reason, known to be true to all men.

    1. A thing cannot both be and not be. Two contradictory things cannot both be true.

    Oh. So the dual nature of light is a falsehood? Has the Wave/Particle Duality theory been recently disproved and I’m the last to hear of it? Otherwise, based on the existence of light as we understand it, your #1 self-evident truth is demonstrably false.

    3. The whole cannot be greater than the sum of its parts.

    A less formal objection, but as a chorister, I would have to disagree as when all the parts of a song are put together the resulting harmonies are much more than just the individual parts put together.

    4. Every effect must have a cause.

    Not really. Sometimes things happen at random – see quantum field mechanics.

    5. A creation implies a creator.

    Nope. See response to #4. Sometimes stuff just happens, no magic required.

    6. Moral character is non-transferable.

    Said no sociologist ever. Beliefs, morality, norms are handed down from generation to generation. See any 101 level Sociology text – look for key term – cultural transmission.

    8. Sin cannot be imputed where it does not exist without injustice.

    Sin is an arbitrary concept, divorced from reality and would not exist except for the need of religious authorities to keep people in line.

    9. Perfect justice cannot punish the innocent for the guilt of another.

    Perfect justice, like a perfect circle or square, does not exist.

    10. Sin is personal and non-transferable.

    Just like credit-card debt. 🙂

    Now all of the above truths are known intuitively. They do not need to be proved.

    Except when they aren’t. Like most of what you mentioned.

    They are direct perceptions of reason, and cannot rationally be denied by any man.

    Whoa, I must have just broke your brain dude.

    Basing anything off of flawed premises leads to false conclusions…so as to the rest of your post, it seems questionable at best.

    Like

    • You failed to refute any of my self-evident truths and here’s why…

      1. A thing cannot both be and not be. Two contradictory things cannot both be true.

      Light cannot both be Light and not be Light.

      1b. Two contradictory things cannot both be true.

      “There is a God (creator)” and “There is no God (creator)” cannot both be true. “There is light” and “There is no light” cannot both be true.

      3. The whole cannot be greater than the sum of its parts.

      The ‘whole’ is composed of ‘parts’…all of which ‘parts’ combine together to make up the ‘whole’. ‘Parts’ have functions…so, the function of the ‘Whole’ results from the combination of the functions of the ‘Parts’.

      4. Every effect must have a cause.

      “see quantum field mechanics.”

      OK.

      Quantum mechanics (QM – also known as quantum physics, or quantum theory) is a branch of physics which deals with physical phenomena at nanoscopic scales where the action is on the order of the Planck constant. Quantum mechanics provides a substantially useful framework for many features of the modern periodic table of elements including the behavior of atoms during chemical bonding and has played a significant role in the development of many modern technologies.

      I read Wiki’s page on QM, and related links. Interesting and somewhat complicated, but it in doesn’t seem to try and prove an ‘effect’ doesn’t have a cause.

      5. A creation implies a creator.

      “Sometimes stuff just happens” Naive. I notice you didn’t add the words, ‘for no reason’ to the end of your statement. That would have rated a ‘really naive’.

      So in defense of #5, I would say the definition of ‘creation’ is something ‘made’, ‘invented’, or ‘produced’. These definitions can all be substituted with ‘a creator’.

      6. Moral character is non-transferable.

      You are part right (yea) in that morals have to be taught. But I can not transfer my moral character to you. For example, take two controversial subjects, homosexual marriage and abortion.

      I may think both of these things are morally wrong and wish to have no part in either. If I own a catering company I will not cater a homosexual wedding and if I am a doctor I will not perform an abortion. This isn’t to say I am against an individuals right to live as they chose, I am just against participating in the acts. Some may argue these practices don’t hurt anyone so are OK, but that is a stretch.

      Now, you may think these acts are morally right and chose to celebrate a homosexual wedding and encourage a young women to get an abortion. Your morals, nor mine, can be transferred to the other.

      8. Sin cannot be imputed where it does not exist without injustice.

      John’s post is an attempt to prove there is no God. So using the Bible, and it’s terms, are approved by default. Sin is defined as a violation of a religious or moral law. I made this list as proof The Doctrine of Original Sin is a false doctrine.

      9. Perfect justice cannot punish the innocent for the guilt of another.

      A mathematically perfect circle exists, just like perfect justice cannot punish the innocent for the guilt of another.

      In an x-y coordinate system, the circle with center (a, b) and radius r is the set of all points (x, y) such that (x-a)^2 + (y-b)^2 = r^2 ———–^2=squared.

      Like

  17. “6. This is immoral, unless we can continuously be sure the being we are worshipping is (perfectly) good, and that the being we are worshipping is indeed a (or the) “God”

    The One-True-God (Allah Yahweh, Aura-Mazda, Parmeshawara, Eshawara); is (perfectly) good and is worthy of worship.

    Like

    • I have a book which states that those chosen for Gryffindor house tend to be courageous. Since “it is written in a book” seems to be your criterion for deciding whether something is true or not, then members of Gryffindor house must, indeed, be courageous.

      Like

  18. @ DAZ says:February 28, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    “Since “it is written in a book” seems to be your criterion for deciding whether something is true or not”

    You get me wrong.

    In the matters or religion which deals in ethical, moral and spiritual matters, one has to follow the revealed book of one’s religion; so being an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim I follow Quran and hence for all claims (in ethical, moral and spiritual fields), I must quote the claims and gist of reasons mentioned in Quran not authored by Muhammad by the One-True-God.

    In secular matters; one has to follow the law of the land one lives in.
    In scientific matters I would follow the authentic text books of science, if there is a need to follow. I am an ordinary man in the street, with no claims of any piety or scholarship.

    This is my position. Please

    Like

  19. Pingback: I follow Quran in ethical, moral and spiritual matters; in scientific matters I follow text book of science | paarsurrey

  20. @DAZ :February 28, 2014 at 5:09 pm
    “No: because it’s fiction.”

    I think you won’t mind if you answer my little questions here.

    1. What other book do you and other Atheists follow in Ethics, if at all the Atheists believe in human ethics?

    2. Who is your role model , and of other, Atheists in Ethics? If there is one; do you, or other Atheists, follow him?

    Thanks

    Like

  21. Pingback: PAARSURREY ASKS LITTLE QUESTIONS FROM ATHIEST/S | paarsurrey

  22. These little questions have a lot of bearing on the topic of the thread; and the questions you asked. Quran discusses ethical/physical, moral and spiritual issues and mentions the role models in this connection.

    I want to know the books the Atheists follow with ,consensus, in this connection and the role models the Atheists follow, with consensus.

    Please answer my questions I asked @ February 28, 2014 at 8:50 pm; if you may; no compulsion please.

    Like

    • “The atheists” don’t, as a group, follow any particular book or text. The conversation we’ve been having began with your assertion that the Qur’an is a “revealed” guide to morals and ethics. I pointed out that “it’s written in a book” is not considered a good criterion upon which to judge the efficacy of such a guide; especially when you appear to be citing the book’s own claim to be such as “proof” that it is such.

      I’m asking you to explain why such circular reasoning should be accepted as “proof” of anything.

      Like

      • I present Quran verses for the reason content in them. If that does not appeal to one one could give the counter reasoning. Without comparison; it is difficult to reach to the Truth .

        Human ethics and morals have to be mostly similar; so the atheists should be able to make/collect them in a book having some sort of consensus in the atheists for the purposes of comparison; and also if they could find good morals that have not been mentioned in the truthful Word of Revelation of the religion.

        Like

      • So, let’s get this straight: you’re saying you can’t determine right from wrong without a guidebook. You’re saying you have no capacity whatsoever to form an independent basis of right and wrong outside the instructions of some supervisory being. That’s a frightening admission, Paarsurrey. I hope the local police are aware of your disability and keep a careful eye on you.

        Like

      • Redundant. You just conceded you can determine right from wrong without the instructions of a supervisory being. Your guidebook is therefore meaningless.

        Like

  23. @ DAZ :February 28, 2014 at 10:00 pm
    “The atheists” don’t, as a group, follow any particular book or text.”

    Do the Atheists have any role model if they don’t have any code-book for their behavior or ethics or morals? Spiritual they are not; they don’t claim to be?

    One may like to view the following on “Morality”:

    http://paarsurrey.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/in-response-to-challenge-of-sam-harris-reason-passions-and-morality/

    Like

    • None of which answers my question. Either:

      On what grounds, other than circular reasoning, do you contend that the Qur’an (or any holy book) should be taken as an ultimate authority on morals?

      Or:

      How do you defend the circular reasoning, “it is an authority because it says it is an authority”?

      <digression>On your questions: “spiritual” means nothing outside fantasy-faction, since its usual meaning implies some form of supernaturalism. “The atheists” are not a homogeneous group. It is therefore nonsensical to ask where “the atheists” turn for moral guidance. My own morals, if you are interested, begin with the simple premise that harming people is bad, not harming them is, at least, neutral, and helping where I can is good. This is self evident, as I can see the effect such actions have on people.</digression>

      Like

  24. @DAZ :February 28, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I think I did not present any verse of Quran to you so far simply as an authority to believe in it; so there is no circular reasoning as yet, I think.

    “My own morals, if you are interested, begin with the simple premise that harming people is bad, not harming them is, at least, neutral, and helping where I can is good. This is self evident, as I can see the effect such actions have on people”.

    The above is a good moral; and Quran also supports it.

    I visited your blog and I find that you are a nice person. Our discussion here might be off-topic ; so let us discuss it at your blog; under a suitable topic .

    Thanks and regards

    Like

  25. Pingback: Jesus’ Immoral Teachings | the superstitious naked ape

  26. Pingback: Divine Command Theory | Random thoughts

  27. Pingback: Mythos and Religious Practice | Allallt in discussion

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