Re: [asa] Morality

From: <>
Date: Tue Apr 29 2008 - 12:46:25 EDT

Quoting j burg <>:

> I think I see the problem here. I do not cheat on a test because God
> may punish me. Rather, I do not cheat because I see cheating as
> contrary to what I know God wants me to be. And that makes a great
> deal of difference in your argument.
> OTOH (defending your position) an atheist can also use the same
> rationale, just substituting for "God" his or her own vision of a
> virtuous character. And I have known some of this type.

Thank you, John --- this (1st paragraph above) captures exactly what I think and
just didn't quite get to. In fact I think it also reflects Paul's statement in
Romans 2:14 "for when Gentiles who don't have the law do by nature the things of
the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves,..." With
apologies to those who like to plumb the depths of Hebrew grammar and nitpick
over the finer points, my layman's take on this is that "gentiles" of that time
 could be our "atheists" now, or any others who are considered by others or by
themselves to be irreligious. If they refrain from cheating on a test as a
matter of principle and they also abhor dishonest weights and scales in
business, then they are "a law unto themselves", and should have that in common
with what Christians aspire to, only with Scriptural sanction and yes, Pim, --

The trouble is when an atheist does not share in an adequate "vision of virtuous
character", & decides he is justified in inflicting mayhem or murder on some
group of people, then what do you have to fall back on, Pim?

As Jack observed in his post, atheists would be naive to suppose a religionless
world (if such a thing was even logically possible) would be a humane one. The
fact that Christianity has been so intricately enmeshed with power structures
over the last two thousand years virtually guarantees there will be plenty of
fodder for the atheist to selectively point out as evidence of abuse and
catastrophe. If an atheist imagines that surgically removing Christianity from
that history would suddenly create a better history or at least one without
atrocity, then he should forever forfeit the label "skeptic" for himself. After
seeing what atheism has accomplished in the last couple of centuries when it was
attached to some power structures in its own right should relieve any objective
thinker of such naive optimism.


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Received on Tue Apr 29 12:47:17 2008

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