Re: [asa] Expelled

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Mon Apr 28 2008 - 12:35:24 EDT

Pim said: 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.

I respond: We can acknowledge that there is a progression of ethical
development in scripture and in Church history, and also that Christians
don't have the market on moral insight completely cornered. But if the
Church is indeed the people God has called to Himself; and if Christ as the
head of the Church really is God incarnate in whom the fullness of the
Godhead dwells in bodily form (Col. 2:9); and if the scriptures really are
God's written word entrusted to the Church, inspired by God and useful for
correction and teaching (2 Tim. 3:16); and if the Holy Spirit really is
present in the lives of believers -- I'm not sure how you justify so extreme
a position.

On Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 11:55 AM, PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
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-- 
David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Mon Apr 28 12:36:33 2008

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