Monday, July 24, 2017

Counterpoints: Richard Dawkins and Pastor Richard Wurmbrand on Atheism


Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion:

"What matters is not whether Hitler and Stalin were atheists, but whether atheism systematically
influences people to do bad things. There is not the smallest evidence that it does." [p. 273]

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand recalling his imprisonment under Communist rule in his book Tortured for Christ:

"The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe. When a man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil, there is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil that is in man. The Communist tortures often said, "There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish." I heard one torturer say, "I thank God, in whom I don't believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart." He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisoners." [p. 36]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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28 comments:

Scott said...

What I have always found funny about Dawkins statement that you used is that it is precisely what Christians say when he and others make the claim that Christianity (and other religions) are evil. Example:

"What matters is not whether the Crusades or the Inquisition were evil, but whether Christianity systematically influences people to do bad things. There is not the smallest evidence that it does."

Chad said...

Hello Scott,

Thank you for stopping by the blog and taking the time to comment.

My point in posting these two gentlemen's points was to simply challenge Dawkins assertion that "there is not the smallest evidence" that atheism has ever influenced "people to do bad things."

Do you agree or disgree with Professor Dawkins statement?

Further, it has been well said that you should not judge a philosophy by those who abuse it.

I would contend that Christians who act in an "evil" manner are acting contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

However,when an atheist acts in an "evil" manner, can one really say this is contrary to his or her atheism?

Respectfully

Scott said...

That's a tough one that really hinges on the use of the word "influences". I would agree that atheism doesn't necessarily influence people to do evil, however, it can logically lead to the types of behavior exhibited by the Communist torturers without any contradictions to the overall worldview. Basically, atheism doesn't influence people to do anything. The whole reason it can lead to such evil behavior is because there is also no influence (or reason) to be good on atheism unless you just want to be.

Christianity, on the other hand, does influence people to be/do good and those that have done evil in the name of Christianity, as you pointed out, have starkly contradicted the teachings and beliefs and therefore are no longer truly representing Christianity at all.

Mariano said...

When a Christian commits violent and oppressive actions, they violate the very principles upon which the concept of being a Christian are based.
When an atheist commits violent and oppressive actions they violate nothing at all.

Curtis Poor said...

Christians have done some pretty nasty things over the years. Which I find extremely sad that people claiming to follow Jesus would do such travesties.

But atheists have done even worse things, when you take out a god or moral center there is no punishment for actions. History has shown us this time and time again. Which really is the only logical conclusion when you take God out of the picture.

Fatboy73 said...

Humans are capable of great good and great evil with or without the supposed influence God.The question is who you credit for your human failings.The people who lack basic human empathy and consideration are that way not because of the absence of a God but BECAUSE they are human
and are varied in personal and societal values and environment.Those communist torturers were most likely using the "thanks for no God" angle as a tool for fear and mockery than an actual reason for their actions.Even with the lack of God as a supposed "moral compass" Those men were still subject to the rules of the society they lived in and the institution they belonged to and were indeed following them.
What Dawkins was saying is that true atheism is not a motivator in Human behavior because again you still have to follow the rules of the society in which you reside.On the other hand religion has always been used as a system of control and when people truly,honestly believe that what a chosen deity wants has been clearly expressed to them,those want's have divine right and supersede basic human rights,and when that person or group of people are in a position of authority over others travesties occur ie The crusades,9/11,Salem witch trials,westboro baptist church,the ongoing denial of rights against Homosexuals etc.
Again though it's still all in what you as a human decide to do with it.

Chad said...

Hello Fatboy73,

Again, I thank you for taking the time to comment.

You wrote:

Those communist torturers were most likely using the "thanks for no God" angle as a tool for fear and mockery than an actual reason for their actions.

Regardless, my question would be - "Were these communists right or wrong when they tortured others?"

Respectfully

Fatboy73 said...

Depend on who's morals and ethics your looking at it from.But from a simply humane point of view,yes they were wrong because their actions were ultimately impinging on another human beings rights.
But the point of the post is,was Atheism ultimately responsible for their actions one way or another and I say no.

Chad said...

Hello Fatboy73,

Thank you for your time and the thought-provoking interaction.

You wrote:

But the point of the post is, was Atheism ultimately responsible for their actions one way or another and I say no.

Respectfully, being the author of the post I am well aware of what it's point is and is not.

As I wrote in a prior comment above, my point in posting these two gentlemen's points was to simply challenge Dawkins assertion that "there is not the smallest evidence" that atheism has ever influenced "people to do bad things."

Now, consider Dawkins' claim- he is saying that not the "smallest evidence" exists that atheism has EVER influenced "people to do bad things."

Now, you may accept or reject Pastor Wurmbrand's testimony about the Communist tortures, but it certainly qualifies at the very least as evidence that atheism has influenced people to do bad things; therefore, Professor Dawkins is wrong.

Now, you have asserted that the Communist tortures simply used "there is no God" as a tool for fear and mockery; however, it is an entirely different matter for you to sustain this claim with evidence. It is very easy to create a story without the constraint of facts.

To learn more about Pastor Wurmbrand and his experiences with the Communist tortures I recommend reading Tortured for Christ.

Would I be correct in stating that you are an atheist Fatboy? If so, I find this particular statement you wrote very interesting:

yes they were wrong because their actions were ultimately impinging on another human beings rights.

The reason I find this comment worthy of note is because if atheism is true, as philosopher William Lane Craig has pointed out, “humans are simply accidental byproducts of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust called the planet Earth, somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe, and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time.”

But if morality is simply the foundation-less by-product of society (which seems to be what you are implying) then where do human rights come from?

It seems to me, the best an atheist can do is say he doesn't prefer being tortured or when others are tortured; however, he cannot really say it is truly, objectively wrong.

As ethicist Richard Taylor has stated:

"the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain, but their meaning is gone."

With Respect

Anonymous said...

Hello Fatboy73

"Depend on who's morals and ethics your looking at it from."

Interesting, I guess the big guys wins...Until a bigger guy comes along.

"But from a simply humane point of view,yes they were wrong because their actions were ultimately impinging on another human beings rights."

But how can this be, their society told them it was right? So be gone basic human rights. Society rules, right?

What if Society "A" disagrees with Society "B", who gets to judge which one is right?

Kind regeards.

Fatboy73 said...

Hello Chad,

On your first points,the burden of proof lies with you to prove that the men actually performed the torture
because they were atheists(regardless of what they claimed) as much as it lies with me to prove that the no god angle was just a tool used in the
torture process.Can you deny that fear and mockery are tools used in the process of mental torture?Further can you deny that mental torture and anguish
are as brutal and debilitating as the physical form and a useful tool in the torture process?
You and pastor Wurmbrand(having no actual knowledge of what was going on in the torturers heads) are taking at face value what these men said because it satisfies
your agenda and need to vilify the godless.I am basing my claim on the aforementioned knowledge of the torture process and with the assumption that being a man of God
the thought of a godless supposedly with out morals and responsibility for his actions human would be even more terrifying and effective in completing the goal of torture.
So I don't see this as any EVIDENCE for atheism being the cause of anything.At best implied atheism used as a tool not actual atheism itself.

To address the rest of your reply let me start by saying that I know Dr Craig is a paragon of apologist rhetoric and a brilliant debater,but he has been proven time and again by much
smarter men than me to be at best deceptively naive and at worst blatantly twisting facts to his own agenda so his name and views mean nothing to me.

Fatboy73 said...

cont.
Ethics,Morals,Human rights,what's right or wrong,where do these come from.Well I'm sure there are volumes written on these things(that you either know or could look up),but I can't quote people as well as you
so what I can do is give you my views on the subject.
I think all of the above start first and foremost with empathy,that empathy is a natural human trait and has nothing to do with God.Secondly morals and ethics are not
cut and dry,right and wrong are very subjective and if you can't at least see that then this conversation is pointless.

I believe morals,ethics and human rights are the fruition of a LONG succession of screw ups and learning from your mistakes.Unfortunately individual human emotions and desires sometimes supersede
human empathy and those desires are then imposed on others.Whether this is wrong or right on a grand scale is obviously up for debate and I would lean on the side of no.
would it matter to the universe if all humans on this planet were destroyed tomorrow? Probably not.Do our actions have meaning and consequence because they affect those that surround us?Yes.

It seems to me, the best an atheist can do is say he doesn't prefer being tortured or when others are tortured; however, he cannot really say it is truly, objectively wrong.
No and neither can you or anyone for that matter and THAT is a fact, you don't know and it is quite arrogant to imply that you do.You can go on with your wild goose chase of moral absolutes but I myself am quite satisfied with the fact that I can say
1. I don't want to murder anyone because I myself wouldn't want to be murdered and know how it would affect the people that surround me.2.If my natural empathy is superseded by my personal
wants or emotions or if I am truly a psychopath and completely lacking empathy,then I can rely on the fear of punishment from the society I live in,who has recognized that murder is not in the best interest of the public and have made rules accordingly.

As for Gods morals?They appear to conveniently change to suit the needs of what ever a culture thinks is best.(Need to go to war,it was Gods will.Need to burn some pesky witches,it was gods will,
need to kill or convert all the unbelievers,A-OK with God,Oops it's the 21st century and we can't burn witches and kill all the unbelievers anymore so we'll just reprimand them and tel them they're going to hell.
Hey homosexuals,lets pick on them,I think the bible say something about that being an abomination.Oh well that's those fundamentalists see,were the nice Christians and we think God wants us to love and accept the homosexuals.
and on and on and on...


Anonymous,

Interesting, I guess the big guys wins...Until a bigger guy comes along.
If your looking at the world through a might makes right perspective yes,and there are people who genuinely think that way.
I would hope you do not.

But how can this be, their society told them it was right? So be gone basic human rights. Society rules, right?

If you lived in another culture you might be crashing planes into buildings,worshiping penises,sacrificing virgins or cutting off peoples heads and shrinking them
sooo what do you think.Lots of cultures have values that step all over basic humane rights.

What if Society "A" disagrees with Society "B", who gets to judge which one is right?

It's called war...happens all the time.

Chad said...

Hello again Fatboy,

Thank you for the reply and the somewhat respectful dialog.

I will freely admit that it is tempting to respond to your numerous unsubstantiated assertions, red herrings, and straw-men. I will, however, resist from doing so.

I’m not sure that I ever received a direct answer to my original question. I freely admit that I could have missed it. It was:

But if morality is simply the foundation-less by-product of society (which seems to be what you are implying) then where do human rights come from?

[I can safely quote myself and be free of ridicule, yes?]

Now, please understand that this is an ontological question. Meaning, what are these “rights” grounded in and why should anyone adhere to them?

Further, am I correct in stating that on your view (as you explained above), if someone was torturing babies for fun and enjoyment, it would not really be objectively wrong, but simply discouraged because of possible punishment and how it would affect others around them?

Finally, if I were able to give you good evidence that Christianity were true (hypothetically), would you even want to become a Christian?

Respectfully

Chad said...

Fatboy and readers,

For the benefit of readers, I wanted to highlight a comment made by Fatboy that is a common misconception among both Christians and non-Christians.

Fatboy, you wrote:

need to vilify the godless

This claim is simply a straw-man. I have never stated on this blog or in my classes that atheists are villainous or cannot be good. I know some very moral and kind "godless" people.

As a matter a fact, I believe that someone can be good without believing in God. Why? Because I believe unbelievers are made in the image of God and thus have the ability to recognize right and wrong. [Rom. 2:14-15]

When Christians state that an atheist cannot be good without belief in God, they are mistaken.

However, it is my contention that while the atheist himself has the ability to recognize right or wrong, their worldview cannot account for universally recognized moral laws and virtues such as impartial justice, truthfulness, kindness, mercy, respect for human life, etc.

Surely, what people do is subject to change, but what they ought to do is not.

Thank you for indulging me in what I hope was a teachable moment!

Godspeed

Fatboy73 said...

Chad,
I do apologize,I can be a bit snarky at times and it is one of my consistent human failings.
Please though don't refrain,I honestly want you to address all the "unsubstantiated claims,red herrings and straw men.I really want to know where I've gone so far off the track and maybe I can clear a few things up.
To directly answer your question
But if morality is simply the foundation-less by-product of society (which seems to be what you are implying) then where do human rights come from?
I believe they come from simply being human,knowing the basic freedoms that you feel you have a right to as a person on this planet(life,free of pain inflicted by another human etc.) and being able to recognize that other people have and deserve those same freedoms.Every self aware human on the planet with the exception of true psychopaths can recognize those rights whether they choose to acknowledge them or not.
If someone was torturing babies for fun that person would be a true psychopath and objectively wrong would have no meaning.second ly there is no objective wrong or right.There is wrong and morally repulsive as we humans in this place and this time know it,there is impinging upon the basic rights of another human being.But in another time,another place another reality(another meaning not of this world or alien if you want) you can not even begin to apply those same concepts of right and wrong.You would have absolutely no context in which to base them.
Also to bring in something from your other post because it relates to the subject at hand,
universally recognized moral laws and virtues such as impartial justice, truthfulness, kindness, mercy, respect for human life, etc. I would truly like to know 1.Where in the universe you have been to know that these are "universally recognized moral laws and virtues." 2 How you managed to get there because I'm sure at least NASA and the US government would like to know.
Further you may have never outright stated that you "vilify the godless" but posts like this one heavily imply it whether you are aware of it or choose to admit it or not.
lastly you do not need to prove Christianity is true,I never disputed that fact and there are plenty of Christians around to prove it.If you could provide good evidence that God existed would I believe it?Just so were on the same page let me say that the only"good evidence"I would accept would be God physically manifesting himself before me and a 200 other witnesses with host of angels at his back singing hallelujah,so sure if you could provide good evidence I'd believe.
Would I fall on my knees and worship him?Well God like Lucy would have "a lot of splainin to do" and would have to be able to prove that he is nothing like humans portray him.Otherwise he can zap me out of existence,torture me for eternity in hell or whatever he wants to do.Come to think of it,why would a higher perfect being even want to be worshiped?Why would I even be anything more than a passing curiosity,a blip on the radar screen to it much less be the focus of it's existence?I don't know,maybe someone has the answer to THAT one.

Respectfully,
Chris(Fatboy73)

Chase said...

Hello Fatboy73,

Welcome to the blog!

In a previous post you stated that "empathy is a natural human trait and has nothing to do with God."

This is an assertion, not an arguement. What evidence do you have that led you to this conclusion?

I also have another question. Is it in the best interest of society to let Chad continue this blog? What are your thoughts?

Here are mine. You and Chad are both arguing for what you believe to be the truth. But why? Chad has a foundation upon which to stand ( ie. the redemptive work of Jesus through His death and resurrection for mankind). You however have no foundation. The "best interest of society?" This is meaningless if, as you stated in a previous post, it does not matter if all humans were destroyed tomorrow.

I look forward to your response and thanks for your interaction on the blog!

Chad said...

Hello Chris,


Hello Chris,

I was checking out your artwork on your site. It is very well done. Ironically, I used to work for Marvel Comics portraying mainly Spider-man; however, I also appeared as the Hulk, Cap, and Daredevil a time or two. It was very enjoyable! Spidey has always been my personal favorite. At any rate, keep up the good work!

Thank you for the reply. I appreciate your apology and all is forgiven. I realize our views are different; however, I don’t see any reason why we both can’t remain respectful in our interaction.

You have raised various questions and perhaps we will get to those. However, for our purposes here I believe it important to focus on the topic at hand- namely, objective morality or, as you refer to them, moral absolutes. I will speak to some of the preliminary issues you have raised and then address what I believe to be the core issue.

1. Regarding the purpose of this post, I can say with full integrity that it’s sole purpose was to provide the evidence that Dawkins claims doesn’t exist. You may choose to believe me or not. I will have nothing else to say on this matter.

2. You asked:

“Where in the universe you have been to know that these are “universally recognized moral laws and virtures.”

If you look up the word “universally,” it simply means generally or commonly.

3. You wrote:

“…you do not need to prove Christianity is true, I never disputed that fact and there are plenty of Christians around to prove it…”

Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but surely you cannot mean that because Christians exist, therefore, Christianity is true? Is so, it would then follow that because atheists exist, atheism is true or Muslims exist so Islam is true, and so on. However, each of these worldviews believe contradictory claims so they all can’t be true. Further, just because someone sincerely believes something doesn’t make it true.

Con't next comment...

Chad said...

The Core Issue

I first want to make a distinction between objective and subjective. By objective I mean “independent of people’s opinions.” By subjective I mean “dependent on people’s opinions.”

Now, with that in mind, let’s consider these comments you wrote:

“I believe they come from simply being human,knowing the basic freedoms that you feel you have a right to as a person on this planet(life,free of pain inflicted by another human etc.) and being able to recognize that other people have and deserve those same freedoms.Every self aware human on the planet with the exception of true psychopaths can recognize those rights whether they choose to acknowledge them or not.”

While I freely admit that I cannot address the question of moral absolutes in other worlds that I have no evidence exist or alien cultures of which I have no evidence for, I can discuss the reality you and I find ourselves.

In your above comment, it seems that you are affirming the very thing you are trying to deny. Meaning, you are denying the existence of moral absolutes, but then affirming they exist. Remember, when I say moral absolutes, that is to say that something is good or bad not matter what people think about it. Is this not precisely what you are saying when you write:

“Every self aware human on the planet with the exception of true psychopaths can recognize those rights whether they choose to acknowledge them or not.”

I could not agree more! Therefore, it seems that you and I agree that moral absolutes (or a Moral Law) do indeed exist.

1. Every law has a lawgiver.
2. There is a Moral Law. (You affirm this above!)
3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.

Think of it this way- If your above statements are merely subjective then you really can’t say that the psychopath is doing anything wrong, but he or she is only acting unfashionably or in poor taste.

Further, to say that it is moral or right not to inflict pain on another individual is to state a moral absolute; the absolute being- “It is not okay to inflict pain on another individual.” However, if your statement is merely subjective then inflicting pain on another is not really wrong, but merely unfashionable.

Further, you argue: “There is wrong and morally repulsive as we humans in this place and this time know it, there is impinging upon the basic rights of another human being.”

However, this argument has a fatal flaw from your perspective- it maintains that not “impinging upon the basic rights of another human being” is absolutely the right way to behave. So, again it appears you are affirming the very thing you are trying to deny.

Con't next comment...

Chad said...

So, in conclusion it seems that you and I agree that a moral law exists in which humans generally recognize. The question that then logically follows is- “What is the best explanation of this moral law?” Let’s be sure to clarify the point. I am asking, what is the best foundation or explanation for this moral law that you and I both admit all humans generally recognize? It seems to me that it is completely consistent to say that each human has rights and intrinsic value because they were created in the image of God. It seems to me to be completely inconsistent to say that humans have rights and intrinsic value because they originated from blind, meaningless, valueless, accidental processes. It seems to me that if God doesn’t exist, human dignity , worth, and moral duty must have emerged from valueless processes. From valuelessness, valuelessness comes.

Chris, I am not sure how much you have studied the arguments for and against God’s existence, but I would like to offer you a free book that I believe will help answer many of your questions. If you would like, please email me at truthbombapologetics@gmail.com with your mailing address and I will get it to you. There is no catch. I will not send you anything else, nor will I ask for money. Please let me know.

Finally, I have blogged on the topic of morality in more detail here using Health Ledger’s Joker as the articles focal point. As someone interested in comic history, perhaps you will find it helpful?

Respectfully

Fatboy73 said...

I will address everyone's comments at a later time.I am crazy busy at the moment and simply don't have much time right now.

Respectfully,
Chris

Fatboy73 said...

Greetings Chase,
About your first comment,and I honestly mean this in the most respectful way possible.Are you seriously blissfully ignorant of all of the research that has been done on not only
human empathy but in higher primates,dolphins and elephants as well? Or are you just blatantly ignoring that research in an attempt to dismiss my argument?
Either way here is a little video on empathy that is not only easy to understand(not necessarily because you need it to be so,but because my limited knowledge of the subject
requires it to be so) but entertaining as well.There's even a part I'm sure you'll like because science has prove that the bible got something right.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g
Plus there are a lot more articles if you choose to look them up.

The next question.Certainly Chad has the right and is free to continue this blog as long as he chooses,but is it in the best interest of society and humankind
in general?The best interest of society and humankind has nothing to do with this blog.If it ended tomorrow it would have ZERO impact on anything and there are millions of blogs to replace it.

Finally,Chad has a foundation and I don't? Really? Chad's foundation of redeeming people through Jesus that don't need redeeming.Making people believe that you are fundamental flawed from birth
and if you don't believe as Christianity say's you should you'll burn in Hell.Have any of you EVER wondered WHY Christianity has been around for so long?Because religion,Christianity specifically is a business,plain and simple
with the most brilliant marketing plan EVER conceived.You're selling salvation to gullible people who...Guess what...NEED it because regardless of if your a good person EVERYONE is a sinner from birth.
there's even the most dire negative impact you can think of for NOT receiving salvation,burning in hell for eternity.
It's like Nike saying if you don't buy our shoes,not only will you lose the race,but you'll break both legs,be crippled and in excruciating pain for the rest of your life.
Is it any wonder that billions of people are duped into believing Christianity.
That's quite the foundation you have there,

What is my foundation? Well to start,I have a problem with otherwise intelligent people who devalue their own self worth and place in society so much that they feel the need to succumb to the will of a supposed being that can only be defined through
what other humans in the same situation say he is supposed to be.
I believe everyone needs to come to the realization that we are worth beyond what a supposed God places on us,that life is more than worrying about what happens to you after your dead and that simply YOU are responsible for your actions and accountable
to those whom your actions affect.Strive to be happy but realize that you need to do so within the rules of the society you chose to live in.
It doesn't matter one iota if the world is destroyed tomorrow because we as humans still have meaning by trying to achieve the best possible existence we can for everyone on the planet for the short time we are here.And if I die tomorrow I die knowing that
I did the best I could for myself and those around me,and that the struggle is no longer up to me and I can final rest.that!Gives me a peace beyond ANYTHING I ever achieved in my 20 some years as a Christian.
If I could help just one person shake off the restraint of needing a God and a belief in the supernatural it would be worth my entire existence.

Fatboy73 said...

Chad,

First off yes you were misunderstanding me but that was my fault.The whole yes Christianity is true because there are plenty of Christians around is a little joke from another site I frequent,meaning that yes the christian movement is real and there are Christians but
it doesn't mean your belief system is valid or true.

When you say Moral absolute I take that to mean anywhere in the known universe you could travel that might have intelligent life,those morals would apply.Absolute is absolute and there simply is no proof of that to be,true because there are other reasonably intelligent social
animals even on this planet that do not follow what we would consider the moral absolutes.Yet there are animals which have been shown to have empathy for each other and a social order that while not the same as ours is equivalent to morals or a value system.
There are morals and values that we as Humans all recognize but that in no way shape or form makes them absolute.

1. Every law has a lawgiver.
2. There is a Moral Law.
3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.
4. There is ABSOLUTELY no proof that the Moral Law Giver is anyone or anything other than Humans and Human empathy developed and evolved over time.

“There is wrong and morally repulsive as we humans in this place and this time know it, there is impinging upon the basic rights of another human being.”

However, this argument has a fatal flaw from your perspective- it maintains that not “impinging upon the basic rights of another human being” is
absolutely the right way to behave. So, again it appears you are affirming the very thing you are trying to deny.


You are completely ignoring the as we humans in this place and this time know it part,it in no way shape or form implies that view is absolute.

Chad respectfully,what you seem incapable of being able to do is recognize that your moral code and values come partly from your parents influence and from the people that surrounded you as grew to adulthood and mostly from you being Human and the natural empathy you have with other Humans
that share the planet with you.You don't need an outside source to define who you are,You are a good and moral person because your ancestors fought and struggled and learned that hard way to recognize what was best for themselves and for others as well.To imply that a higher being had to imbue
us with our morals and values is insulting, it devalues the human race and takes away any meaning or sense of self we could have derived from knowing how hard and long we struggled to get where we are now.I do apologize if you feel that being instantly gratified with something seems a better alternative
and more plausible to having had to work long and hard for it,but that latter makes much more common sense to me.

Chase said...

Hi Chris,

It is good to hear from you again. I checked out your art work as well. Very good!

I watched the video you posted. The fact that we have discovered human empathy exists is not in question. The question is what is the source of human empathy? The video did not present and you have not presented any evidence that its source is evolution.

Also, you commented:

"Chad has the right and is free to continue this blog as long as he chooses, but is it in the best interest of society and humankind in general? The best interest of society and humankind has nothing to do with this blog."

I believe it does have to do with the best interest of society and humankind, and you do as well based on your comments about people being “duped into believing Christianity” and “If I could help just one person shake off the restraint of needing a God and a belief in the supernatural it would be worth my entire existence.” If Chad is not revealing the truth to people and people are being “duped into Christianity”, than it is in the best interest of society to shut this blog down.

So that leads to the question of the foundational worldview. If Chad’s foundation is true it is based on something eternal and unchangeable and therefore has authority, and truth and righteousness can be known. If your foundational worldview is true it is based on something temporal and changeable and therefore has no authority and truth cannot be known. Under your foundational worldview, what is true and right is merely based on the whims of society and subject to change. For example, slavery was viewed as best for society in America and now it is not. Was slavery wrong when it was in practice? Yes. The standard of right and wrong did not change. Society’s response to the action of slavery is what changed. That is the point Chad made in previous posts (There is a standard of truth and righteousness outside of society).

Finally, in response to your comment below:

"Have any of you EVER wondered WHY Christianity has been around for so long? Because religion, Christianity specifically is a business, plain and simple with the most brilliant marketing plan EVER conceived."

Yes, in fact I have wondered this. Jesus said in Luke 9:23 and 24, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” He also says in John 16:20, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” Jesus was mocked, beaten, and crucified and He told His followers to expect the same. Many did receive the same and many still do today. Check out The Voice of the Martyrs website(http://www.persecution.com/). Why has Christianity lasted so long? It certainly cannot be because it promises persecution. Christianity a business? I find this comparison odd. I just recently graduated with my MBA in December and “come get yourself tortured and killed” is not my idea of a successful business plan. Do people use Christianity for their own profit and gain? Yes, but any worldview can be distorted and misused.

I look forward to receiving the evidence you present for evolution as the source of human empathy and hearing your response to my comments on your foundation and the “business of Christianity.”

Respectfully,

Chase

Chad said...

Hello Chris,

Thank you for responding and I hope you are well.

As I must guard my time, as I’m sure you must as well, you may consider these my final comments. I believe our interaction has run it’s course. Should you choose to reply, I offer you the final word.

For intelligibility purposes, your comments appear in bold.

If you will recall from my prior comment, I stated that I am speaking ontologically here, not epistemological. You seem to be focused on how we have come to know this moral code; however, the thrust of my argument is what is the foundation or grounding of this moral law that you and I both affirm exists? As I’ve already said:

“I am asking, what is the best foundation or explanation for this moral law that you and I both admit all humans generally recognize? It seems to me that it is completely consistent to say that each human has rights and intrinsic value because they were created in the image of God. It seems to me to be completely inconsistent to say that humans have rights and intrinsic value because they originated from blind, meaningless, valueless, accidental processes. It seems to me that if God doesn’t exist, human dignity , worth, and moral duty must have emerged from valueless processes. From valuelessness, valuelessness comes.”

I’m not sure how familiar you are with logical argumentation, but what I provided was a deductive argument:

1. Every law has a law giver.
2. There is a Moral Law.
3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.


In a deductive argument, if the premises are true, the conclusion (#3) follows necessarily. So, if the above argument is invalid, I would want to ask you which of the premises you disagree with- premise 1 or 2? Premise 1 - Every law has a law giver - seems evident and silly to reject. Moreover, you seem to agree with Premise 2 when you state:

“Every self aware human on the planet with the exception of true psychopaths can recognize those rights whether they choose to acknowledge them or not.”

Now, you have stated that  There is ABSOLUTELY no proof that the Moral Law Giver is anyone or anything other than Humans and Human empathy developed and evolved over time.

Here it seems you don’t fully recognize what you are admitting when you concede a Moral Law.

As one thinker explains, “There are parts of our human nature that operate according to…descriptive natural laws. If you tickle me, I will laugh. If either of us eats contaminated food, it will upset our stomachs. If we are dropped from a tall tower, we will plummet to the ground. These are the laws of physics and chemistry working on us, and we have no choice in the matter. On the other hand, there is a part of our human nature that is not descriptive but prescriptive. The simple proof of this is that moral norms and precepts, unlike natural laws, can be violated. Honor thy father and mother. Thou shalt not murder. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods. None of these commandments would make any sense if we had no option. But there is more. When we humans invoke the language of morals-praising and blaming, approving and disapproving, applauding and scorning-we appeal to a shared standard of judgment external to ourselves. Let us call this standard the natural law or the moral law. If differs from the scientific laws of nature in that it tells us not what we do but what we ought to do. Consequently we are free to break these laws in a way that we are not free to violate the laws of gravity…as Carl Sagan puts it, ‘Nature…arranges things so that its prohibitions are impossible to transgress.’” (D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity?, p.228.)

So, to admit a moral law, as you have done so, is to admit a Moral Law Giver and this moral law seems to operate beyond the realm of natural laws. Where do these laws come from?

Continued...

Chad said...

The Moral Law must have a source higher than ourselves because it is a prescription that is on the hearts of all people. You concede as much. If there is no God, no one would be justified in claiming whether or not they are right or wrong. If there is no objective, transcendent source of the Moral Law in which we can look to as our moral compass then the moral law you and I both admit is nothing more than a product of non-moral processes and mankind is in no way obligated to adhere to it.

As one thinker put it: “If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.” 

So, it seems my deductive argument points powerfully toward a transcended Being as the foundation for morality i.e. God.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the objectives you’ve raised and see if they prove to call my argument into question.

When you say Moral absolute I take that to mean anywhere in the known universe you could travel that might have intelligent life, those morals would apply.

When I refer to things such as absolute moral obligations, I mean something that is binding on all people, at all times, in all places and until you give me good reason to question this I am well within my rights to hold to this definition. To refer to alien civilizations that you have no evidence for or worlds in which you cannot verify exist to challenge this strikes me as simply evasive.

Further, it seems that you are actually arguing that if we happened to find a planet filled with intelligent life and these beings believed that killing babies for fun was okay then that would perhaps make it alright? Surely this is not so!

there are other reasonably intelligent social animals even on this planet that do not follow what we would consider the moral absolutes.

Here it seems you are claiming that because there are animals that violate the moral law that you and I admit humanity recognizes, that somehow this calls moral absolutes, that are binding on all PEOPLE, into question? Certainly this does not follow or call my argument into question at all.

Yet there are animals which have been shown to have empathy for each other and a social order that while not the same as ours is equivalent to morals or a value system.

This seems to me a very strange argument to make and does nothing to call my argument into question.

Admittedly, certain species within the animal kingdom demonstrate characteristics such as empathy, but surely you can see how mankind is unique in it’s moral sense. Consider the animal kingdom:

When a lion kills a zebra, it kills the zebra, but it does not murder the zebra. When a great white shark forcibly copulates with a female, it forcibly copulates with her, but it does not rape her- for there is no moral dimension to these actions. They are neither prohibited nor obligatory.

Humans are utterly unique in the fact that they are moral beings and nowhere else is this more persuasively demonstrated than in our supposed closest animal relatives- chimpanzees. Are you familiar with Primatologist Frans de Wall? He studies chimpanzees and has strived to emphasize their close kinship with humans, but even he admits that morality is not something chimps have. I quote: “It is hard to believe that animals weigh their own interests against the rights of others, that they develop a vision of the great good of society, or that they feel lifelong guilt about something that they should not have done.” (Frans de Waal, Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals, p. 209.)

Continued...

Chad said...

There are morals and values that we as Humans all recognize but that in no way shape or form makes them absolute.

Once again, you are admitting a moral law here. If the morals and values that all humans recognize are not objectively true then they are subjective and no one is obligated to follow them. Therefore, there is no moral law; but how can that be because you admit a moral law?

You are completely ignoring the as we humans in this place and this time know it part,it in no way shape or form implies that view is absolute.

I simply don’t agree here. As I mentioned in my prior comment:

“While I freely admit that I cannot address the question of moral absolutes in other worlds that I have no evidence exist or alien cultures of which I have no evidence for, I can discuss the reality you and I find ourselves.”

If you want to hang your objection on worlds and cultures that we have no evidence for, be my guest.

Further, regarding this time, I am not sure how that serves to call objective moral values or duties into question at all. Does right and wrong change with the times? So on your view, if man decides within the next 1 million years that rape is okay, then it is? We know better. Just because mankind’s moral perceptions change does not mean that the moral values involved do.

To imply that a higher being had to imbue us with our morals and values is insulting.

As Christopher Hitchens rightly points out, we must not reject or resist a conclusion simply because we find it distasteful or not to our liking.

In conclusion, it seems my argument stands and you have done nothing to call it into question. Actually, you have served to strengthen my case by admitting a moral law that all mankind recognizes. If the source of this moral law is solely societal or parental conditioning, then there is not reason to conclude that something’s are “right” and other things are “wrong.” Certain actions such as murder and rape may not be biologically and socially advantageous and so in the course of human development have become taboo or unfashionable. However, this does this does nothing to show that murder and rape are really wrong. However, we know they are.

Thank you again for the interaction Chris and please let me know if you would like a copy of the free book.

Respectfully

Chad said...

The issue here isn't that atheists tortured this man, but that COMMUNISTS tortured this man. The motivation behind the torture wasn't the lack of belief in gods, but the ideology of communism. The Israelites (provided you believe the OT to be historically correct) performed genocidal raids on their neighbors. They raped and pillaged. This was born out of their theology, not atheism. The inquisitions of the Catholic Church and the Salem witch trials were due theologically based. One could argue that atheism was a dogmatic tenant of communism, not a world view in and of itself that caused atrocities.

Michael Rodriguez said...

There is a small evidence that atheism leads people to do bad things;Richard Dawkins attack on the God of the bible shows his hatred for religious people inspired by his atheistic beliefs which causes outrage and pain among the religious people he refers to.