Re: [asa] Expelled

From: PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Apr 29 2008 - 00:43:43 EDT

On Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 1:18 PM, <mrb22667@kansas.net> wrote:

> Pim, I actually (as a Christian) agree with you wholeheartedly on the dangers of
> we religious people thinking we have a corner on revealed morality (or our
> 'special exemptions' from it that we like to claim for those special cases), but
> there is something else valuable that we (Christians) have that atheists do
> not. And that is we have the common ground to challenge each other (Christians
> challenging other Christians) when this grab for authority is abused. I happen
> to resonate with you on the Iraq war for instance (no big surprise --I'm a
> Mennonite --one of the three so-called peace churches.) And I agree that when
> my Christian brothers and sisters begin to feel that they can do as they will in
> certain situations because 'God told them so', (and this curiously always
> involves exempting one from normal rules, and they get to personally enjoy the
> benefits) then other Christians at least have the tool handy to show them the
> error of their ways. Now how often we do this & how often it is listened too
> may be a matter of grim all-too-rare success. But at least the tool is there.
>
> But the atheist on the other hand has no such recourse. If some fellow atheists
> thought their comrades were getting a bit "out of line" (whatever that would
> mean) in, let's say, the French Revolution, then how would you have corrected
> them? You could exhort them about the follies of killing off all the educated
> aristocracy, but if the societal mores of that place and time were that heads
> must roll, then why should they listen? (And you would be arguing with
> self-appointed intellectuals, no less -- so convincing them that doing such
> things is a bad idea would probably be fruitless, since they thought it was a
> good idea.) The Christian, at least, has a common agreement with all who claim
> that label that his positions need to be defensible from Scriptures. You are

The scripture provides for enough ambiguity that I'd argue it lacks
much of any foundation for an absolute morality. I see that atheists
and Christians alike have a much better appeal to morality from a
historical and societal perspective.

See how Christians are arguing in favor of a war against Iran to set
in motion the rapture as a good example of the cost of claiming
Biblical support for one's morality.

> right that that still obviously does not settle all disputes. But the common
> ground is still there. Imagine a court room in which there is no wide-spread
> agreement that the judge or jury have any authority and each party in the room
> must decide who to throw in with. In short order, there would be no "court".

Such a situation would apply with equal force to Christians and non
Christians alike. However while Christianity is but one source of
common agreement, it is hardly unique in that aspect.

> It is precisely as a restraint from what one would normally do that morality as
> a concept comes into its own. If my only reason for not cheating on a test is
> because I don't feel like it at the moment, or because I'm afraid what society
> might do to me if I got caught, --that isn't morality. Morality is when I

Your definition of morality is quite tautological in that it only
seems to allow for a compelling enough reason for it to be moral. Not
cheating on a test because of the shame it may bring or the cost to
your career may not sound like a moral choice to you, but how
different is this from not cheating because God may punish you for it
later

> abstain, even though I am absolutely convinced I could have gotten away with it
> and would have enjoyed the results.

And that's where we disagree. Morality is not determined by the
motivations as much as by the effects. How are we to judge anyway
which approach is better. In fact, getting away with it does not seem
to be an option to us Christians. In other words you may have
destroyed any hope for morality for us Christians if it were to depend
on 'getting away with it' and still refraining from it.
It's the fear of punishment which makes God such an interesting
concept to enforce morality but hardly a unique one.

George, ignoring my responses misrepresents my position

--
No, the argument is not "evolving" into anything on my part.  Though I
mentioned the obvious fact that Christians believe that they have been
given some insight into a standard of morality, the basic point
remains that they believe that there is such a standard & atheists
deny it.  Since you continue to avoid this point I won't  continue
further with this.  I think most folks here can spot your evasiveness.
--
I am hardly the one running away from the argument here. I understand
that my response may cause you a certain level of discomfort and you
are free to refrain from responding, just stand up for your beliefs
and do not blame others.
Believing that such an absolute standard exists gives no real
advantage to us Christians. In fact, it may come at great cost.
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Received on Tue Apr 29 00:44:36 2008

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