Re: [asa] Expelled

From: PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
Date: Mon Apr 28 2008 - 11:55:31 EDT

I see, the argument is evolving to include that Christians have been
given some insight into a standard of morality through the Bible, even
though the information is fragmentary, contradictory and open to a
variety of interpretations.
While some may see this as an advantage to Christianity as they have
some evidence as to what morality should be, it comes with a great
cost that Christians may believe that a particular morality is
'revealed' to them by the Bible and that they are justified in
pursuing it with approval of their God. Thus we see how some
Christians are excited about the prospects of invading Iran, setting
in motion a possible second coming at the expense of much misery but
heck, it's all ok, God has revealed it to us. While atheists do not
have the 'luxury' of believing that there is an ultimate source of
morality, Christians claim that such a source of morality exists (the
existence of such morality however is far from self evident) and that
they have been revealed parts of God's wishes.
Atheists accept that such a source for morality does not exist,
although they have the same problem as Christians, namely to determine
what morality to accept. As such, like Christians, they are
constrained by history and evolution.
While Christians avoid the realization that their application of
morality is at best a 'best guess', they come to accept their
subjective interpretation as God sanctioned. History has shown how
costly such a position can be where a subjective interpretation of
morality is somehow argued to be 'God's will'. Heck, even in todays
world we see many examples where Christians and other believers have
taken the Word of their God and turned it into a source of morality,
even though there seems to exist a range of interpretations.

As such I see the idea that we Christians have access and insight into
His standards for morality as mostly illusionary and coming with
potential great cost.

In other words, we all suffer from an inability to define an objective
morality but believers have the additional disadvantage that nature
and nurture can be upset by a novel interpretation of what we believe
His words reveal to us. Whether one believes there exists a universal
standard for morality has little relevance to the value of the
subjective morality accepted, in fact, I believe that one has to be
careful when one believes that one's subjective morality is somehow
more privileged. It may be comforting to some but it may be quite
costly to society.

On Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 3:37 AM, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:
> You persist in avoiding the real issue - as do Dawkins & the other soft
> atheists. Christians (to limit believers to them for know) believe that
> there is a standard of morality which has its source beyond the world & that
> they have been given some insight into it, primarily in Jesus Christ.
> Atheists believe - at least if their claims have any consistency and depth -
> that there is and can be no such standard.
>
> I realize that I am repeating the same point I've made before but that is
> because you keep avoiding it - whether deliberately or nott I don't know. If
> you continue to do so I'll end the conversation.
>
>
> Shalom
> George
> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "PvM" <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
> To: "George Murphy" <gmurphy@raex.com>
> Cc: <asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 11:35 PM
>
>
> Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled
>
>
>
> > What's the difference between the two cases. Why should a Christian
> > adhere to society's interpretation of God's word when he finds support
> > for a different moral standard in the Bible? There is similarly no
> > compelling reason that suggests that a Christian is in a more
> > privileged situation. Both have no more or less reason to accept or
> > reject standards of morality. That Christians 'know' that God
> > presumably has a set of standards of morality is of no real help to
> > the Christian in deciding what morality is the correct one.
> >
> > On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 2:46 PM, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Serious atheists don't just lack access to a standard of morality. They
> > > know that there is no such standard unless they invent one for
> themselves. &
> > > they know that there is no reason why the standard they invent should
> have
> > > any resemblance to current moral standards developed largely through
> > > religious traditions. E.g., there is no reason why any sort of respect
> for
> > > the welfare of other people beyond matters of self interest should be
> > > maintained. & recognizing that morality is a product of evolution in
> whole
> > > or in part doesn't provide a solution. So morality has evolved to a
> certain
> > > point. So what? Why should a person who's realized that adhere to that
> > > product?
> > >
> > > & playing the "So's your old man card" is no answer.
> > >
> > >
> > > Shalom
> > > George
> > > http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message ----- From: "PvM" <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
> > > To: "George Murphy" <gmurphy@raex.com>
> > > Cc: <asa@calvin.edu>
> > > Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 5:32 PM
> > >
> > >
> > > Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > > And what does this gain us? Knowing that there is something we may
> > > > never know during our lifetimes? One may turn around and argue that
> > > > atheists are not constrained by a quest for searching for this elusive
> > > > standard of morality and therefor can apply more appropriate standards
> > > > when outlining standards for morality.
> > > > What is so problematic about atheists not having access to a 'standard
> > > > of morality' when Christians lack a similar clarity? In both cases it
> > > > comes down to us defining our standards of morality. In the end we all
> > > > work from subjective standards, whether or not we believe there is a
> > > > Higher Being who has His own set of standards.
> > > >
> > > > Now what if our sense of morality evolved, that would add an even more
> > > > interesting twist to this story.
> > > >
> > > > On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 2:01 PM, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> >
> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > You miss the point. If one believes in God as creator of the world
> > > then
> > > it
> > > > > makes sense to believe that there are standards of morality which >
> > have
> > > some
> > > > > source beyond the world even if we don't know in detail what those
> > > standards
> > > > > are. Denial of the existence of a creator means that there is no >
> > basis
> > > for
> > > > > such a claim.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Shalom
> > > > > George
> > > > > http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
> > > > >
> > > > > ----- Original Message ----- From: "PvM" <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
> > > > > To: "George Murphy" <gmurphy@raex.com>
> > > > > Cc: <asa@calvin.edu>
> > > > > Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 4:56 PM
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > I find the argument that atheists lack a moral standard of ethics
> > > > > > quite flawed, as flawed as the idea that Christianity somehow > >
> > provides
> > > > > > us with a clear standard of morality. At best the Bible gives us
> > > > > > guidelines which we attempt to interpret as best as we can to
> guide > > > us
> > > > > > in how we behave. However, the Bible is hardly a reliable or
> unique
> > > > > > source of morality.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > On Sat, Apr 26, 2008 at 3:52 PM, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
> >
> > > wrote:
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > > The soft atheists of coursel argue, with a good deal of truth, >
> > > > that
> > > > > > > religious people in general aren't a lot more moral than > > > >
> atheists. >
> > > > But
> > > > > > > there is no reason for athiests like Dawkins to follow any
> > > particular
> > > > > syatem
> > > > > > > of morality or ethics. OTOH, religious people have a moral > >
> > > standard
> > > > > by
> > > > > > > which they can be judged. The point is not that atheists are >
> > > > more
> > > > > immoral
> > > > > > > than believers but that they are unwilling or afraid to face up
> > > > > to >
> > > > the
> > > > > > > consequences of their position.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Shalom
> > > > > > > George
> > > > > > > http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > > > > From: David Heddle
> > > > > > > To: PvM
> > > > > > > Cc: David Campbell ; asa@calvin.edu
> > > > > > > Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2008 5:10 PM
> > > > > > > Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > I'll take a stab--the answer is twofold. One is that his > > > >
> statements
> > > > > are
> > > > > so
> > > > > > > outrageous. His claims of child abuse will not resonate except >
> > > > with
> > > > > his
> > > > > own
> > > > > > > choir. The other is that his arguments against theism are so
> > > childish
> > > > > and
> > > > > > > primitive--boiling down to "religious people are dumb" and "if >
> > > > God >
> > > > mad
> > > > > > > everything, who made God?" Compared to intellectual atheists of
> > > > > the
> > > > > past,
> > > > > > > such as Bertrand Russel, Dawkins is (when it comes to theology)
> a
> > > > > > > lightweight. PZ tried to rescue him with the "Courtiers Reply" >
> > > > but >
> > > > that
> > > > > is
> > > > > > > little more than a justification and a rationalization to make a
> > > > > > > simpleminded response instead of doing your homework.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > In my opinion, Dawkins is to atheism what Benny Hinn is to > > >
> > theism.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > David Heddle
> > > > > > > Associate Professor of Physics
> > > > > > > Christopher Newport University, &
> > > > > > > The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > On Sat, Apr 26, 2008 at 2:51 PM, PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com> > >
> > > wrote:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > How is Dawkins one of the best arguments against atheism?
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 11:37 AM, David Campbell
> > > > > <pleuronaia@gmail.com>
> > > > > > > wrote:
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > By accepting the claim that evolution entails scientism and
> > > > > > > by
> > > > > doing > > a
> > > > > > > > > poor critique, the movie to me does more to endorse > > > >
> > > scientism >
> > > > > > than
> > > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > counter it. Of course, conversely Dawkins is one of the >
> > > > > > best
> > > > > > > > > arguments against atheism.
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > --
> > > > > > > > > Dr. David Campbell
> > > > > > > > > 425 Scientific Collections
> > > > > > > > > University of Alabama
> > > > > > > > > "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of > >
> > > > > clams"
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > >
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> > > > > > > > > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > >
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> > > > > > > > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
> > > > > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
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Received on Mon Apr 28 11:56:30 2008

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