Personal Feelings Trump Divine Revelation

6_satan-cast-outThough Bertrand Russell makes very standard  (if extremely overstated) accusations of Christianity’s past, he also makes a comment about the present that I find at least as strange.

I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Supposing that in this world that we live in today an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, “This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together”.

Russell promises us that there are many more examples that he could have named. Of course, this really does nothing to prove that the negative examples outweigh the positive ones. Rather, this is simply a case of anecdotal evidence. Russell would be right to dismiss my argument if I claimed that Richard Dawkins’ rather callous position on the sexual abuse of children proves that secularism is evil, and his claim here is no different.

The New Atheists, for all their professed commitment to science, are even more prone to this mistake than Russell. In fact, they rarely seem at all interested in actual studies on the matter of religion. After all, these studies contradict, rather than support, their position.

Of course, this all assumes that the Catholic church is clearly in the wrong. While I can empathize with Russell’s concern, his objection seems to be based on a few assumptions, the most pertinent of which is the idea that a marriage relationship is based on sex, rather than the sex being based on the relationship. At least, singling this out as his choice example of the “principle enemy of progress in the world” seems to imply that a celibate marriage is an affront to basic human rights–even more, apparently than the subjugation of impoverished nations by wealthy countries (which seems to bother neither him nor the New Atheists).

Even if one disagrees with the Catholic position, then, he has hardly made a case that religion is the greatest force of evil in the world. Rather, it seems simply a complaint that religious institutions don’t agree with Russell’s personal scruples.

In fact, he says so almost directly:

There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering.

On what grounds, one wonders, can Russell claim to judge the morality of a religion? What is considered “unnecessary” depends on what one accepts as moral. While it is obvious that some things are unnecessary from a secular, western, caucasian, post-enlightenment cultural view of reality, no religious group is obligated to agree with that position. And it seems entirely odd that Russell should think his culture should trump all other views.

As such, it isn’t possible to even make this complaint without being guilty of what one accuses the church: declaring that everyone should accept one’s own moral system.

Advertisements

11 responses to “Personal Feelings Trump Divine Revelation

  • Alexander

    “After all, these studies contradict, rather than support, their position.”

    Pointers, or explanations? What studies contradict their “position” (which isn’t clear here)?

    “seems to be based on a few assumptions, the most pertinent of which is the idea that a marriage relationship is based on sex”

    Where does he express that?

    “it seems simply a complaint that religious institutions don’t agree with Russell’s personal scruples”

    His personal scruples? If you had said “Russell’s objections”, then perhaps there could have been a case of something (note that Russell’s objections are shared by many; they are not only his personal opinions as anybody with a philosophic slant should know), but this focus on something that clearly is not personal (especially given that none of his examples are personal nor fail the test for reasonableness or generic applicability) is just wrong. Russell is pointing out objections to religious dogma from many angles, as even your quote there show: “inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering”.

    Unless your point is to say that the woman *isn’t* suffering in her marriage, or that her suffering is deserved? That certainly is changing the game, however that wasn’t his example; it’s constructed because she would be suffering. And this all becomes a bit tense as we’re talking about suffering as defined by the person who is suffering, and not its definition of what dogma wants it to be. Offering celibacy is not a generous nor a moral offer; it’s advice to suffer in silence, and indeed the very thing a lot of people find highly immoral an offer. The syphilis is thrust upon her not by conventional choice, nor is it a given that sex is a given, but the freedom to choose is taken away by the definition of marriage, which far too often is defined through a religious and cultural framework that the church should – believe it or not – take some ample responsibility for. She may choose the celibacy, but that’s outside the scope of his example; this is about the definition of a marriage, in which people have sex to procreate. Damn the woman, give her syphilis as long as there are babies!

    “declaring that everyone should accept one’s own moral system”

    Surely you’re not suggesting that Russell is suggesting that he has the right answer to anything? That he thinks his morals are supreme? Or, more to the point, that any one person has the right idea or set of morals? That Russell believed in anything absolute? Or better? Or absolutely good?

    Because he clearly didn’t. He believed only in freedoms, and especially the freedom of the mind to make its model his and her own, to ponder your epistemological grounds and stake a claim to the limits of your knowledge, and then build a joint system of ethics from that with your fellow human beings.

    This seem to stump a lot of Christians; if there’s no overseer of morals, if there is no one giver of the rules, how can they be declared morals to begin with? If there is no judge, people will go out and murder and pillage at the drop of a hat, yes?

    If you disagree with that latter one, that there are atheists or any other religious person out there that don’t murder or steal or pillage at the drop of a hat … then we’re on the same page and there’s hope; you’ve recognized a flaw in the need for a all-bearing policeman in the sky. There is something to be said for consequentialism (even though many models are being discussed and mangled) as a starting point. I suspect a lot of Christian resistance to all this is more based on a sense of justice, that the guilty will get theirs in the end no matter if they get away with it in this life? (to which I offer a smidgen of sympathy; we’re all creatures who crave justice)

    Anyway, to sum up; There’s a reason why he called it “Why I’m not a Christian” rather than “Christianity is false!” and it points to the problem of dogmatic teachings in an ever-changing world. If that wasn’t true, shouldn’t all Christians still stone people who work on Sundays to death? Christianity has moved on a bit, yes? You no longer kill people for blasphemy. You no longer burn witches. You no longer keep slaves. This is progress, both in terms of dogma and theology. So you clearly keep up with changes through the times. What we are discussing is merely where the current edge of progress lies.

    • Debilis

      Okay, I tried to get to everything, but that made the response long (so, apologies for that!).

      The reference to studies was vague, I agree.
      If you’d like specific references, I’ll get them for you. But I merely meant that a scientific look at the effects on religion would reveal that it is not among the greatest evils in the world, as the New Atheists often intimate.

      It seems to me that Russell’s outrage against the Catholic position on marriage makes little sense unless one assumes that a celibate marriage is an affront to human rights. Otherwise, I don’t see his issue.

      I agree that there are many who share Russell’s objections, but I don’t see how this is relevant. An opinion is not more correct for being common. Nor are opinions more correct for being numerous (that people have many objections). He needs to do more than show us “many angles”, he needs to offer a reason why his view of morality is more in line with objective fact than the Catholic position.

      But no, I do not think that such a woman wouldn’t be suffering. Of course she would. My point is that to call the suffering “unnecessary” is to assume that there is no moral reason for it. Thus, Russell can’t make this accusation until he’s already established that the moral position taken by the Catholic Church is wrong.

      Nor did I see any point at which the woman is being required to have sex with a syphilitic man. Personally, I’d agree that this would be wrong. But that wouldn’t change the fact that Russell hasn’t shown it to be wrong. He merely asserts it.

      I’m not suggesting that Russell was a moral absolutist. I’m merely pointing out that his complaint only makes sense if he is. If he is not, then there is no way to say that his outrage is any more justified than the church’s position.

      In fact, you suggest as much when you say that Russell “believed only in freedoms”. If that were his moral absolute (that people should have freedom, and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong), then he needs to defend that position. If he doesn’t think freedom is a moral absolute, then he can’t say that the church is wrong to limit freedom in some (or even all) cases.

      But no, I don’t remotely suspect that people will suddenly start killing each other if we were all to be convinced that there is no God. I take it that most atheists are very nice people. Rather, I said that Russell has offered no reason why he is right and the church is wrong on this point. His objection simply isn’t rational until he has done this.

      I agree that Christians shouldn’t stone people for working on Sunday. But I don’t recall that ever being a Christian practice. As I recall, there’s something about Jesus preventing a stoning in the Bible. Nor am I aware of blasphemy ever being a capital crime in any culture in history. The traditional punishment was excommunication (getting kicked out of the church) which doesn’t seem like much of a punishment to a blasphemer.

      Rather than run down the entire list, I really should say that this is all beside the point. Even if these things were true, they presume things like “anyone who kills others for blasphemy is wrong”. That assumes a moral standard. As such, it is perfectly reasonable for me to ask what that standard is, and whether it has any more logical support than some other standard (such as the Catholic position Russell mentioned).

      Last, if Russell is drawing a difference between “Why I’m not a Christian” and “Why Christianity is False”, then he’s admitting that he rejects a belief for a reason other than its not being true. That is to say that he’d simply be irrational on the question of religion.

      So, that is the long(er) version of my position. Let me know if I missed a point you thought was important.
      Until then, best to you.

      • Alexander

        Hiya,

        “[churches] is not among the greatest evils in the world”

        First, Russell doesn’t say this, so this might be an extrapolation from Hitchins rather stronger stance on the matter. However, as churches are being part of a longer tradition, there is no other joint historic thread that has caused as much suffering as the church, apart from the loosely defined “band of humanity” through the ages. We can point to short-lived regimes and shorter periods in history where evil certainly happened for all kinds of reasons, but for a long historic thread in which much objectionable has happened, the church comes out a ‘winner.’ I’m not saying the sheer amount of dominations in the world isn’t a response (or some response) to some of the problems of a long historic dogma like the church, and I’m certainly not saying a lot of Christians are very apologetic and genuinely sorry (and often embarrassed) about its past (and some of its dogmas, and certainly some parts of their bible).

        The shorter version; it depends on what you define as evil.

        “It seems to me that Russell’s outrage against the Catholic position on marriage makes little sense unless one assumes that a celibate marriage is an affront to human rights.”

        We’re coming back to the concept of personal freedom again, which was left, right and centre for most of what he thought. But let me ask you this; a young girl is married to a man with syphilis. Within the Christian definition of marriage, what is she supposed to feel about that (as opposed to what she – as a free human being – probably feels)?

        I find it odd you say Russell’s position doesn’t “make sense” when it clearly is within reason to expect that humans have feelings and rights and live in a culture in which their feelings and rights are under pressure or denial. It is completely reasonable that the young girl won’t think her position the best she can be in. And, uh, I think you’re being incredibly and stubbornly avoiding the problem that the husband is most probably not going to choose to be celibate. It has always been a mens world, and it certainly still is despite some improvements, but it terms of ethical laws she is *clearly* and utterly in the worse situation. (We should perhaps give context to the arrangement of the marriage, but I think it’s safe to say that the probability of this being in the male advantage is faaaaar greater than the opposite. We can construct a tiny possible scenario where things might be ok (she loves being celibate, don’t want kids, love her husband but never lusts him, and the husband perfectly happy not to lust his wife, and loves being celibate, too, and don’t want kids, and neither thinks the marriage needs any form of sexual application and … ), but remember we’re talking about generic moral rules, not exceptions.

        “An opinion is not more correct for being common.”

        Of course not, but that wasn’t my point. I was pointing out that you shouldn’t dismiss Russell’s comments as a pure subjective projection, out of the blue, something odd easily ignored; these are serious objections shared by many heavy (and small) thinkers through time, and carries heavier weight than “Russell’s personal scruples.” It’s very close to arrogance, which I don’t think your fine blog should approach. 🙂

        “My point is that to call the suffering “unnecessary” is to assume that there is no moral reason for it.”

        Ah! We’re reaching the meat of the pie; you are here saying that *your* moral reasons are – indeed! – better justified than any other we can think of, including this woman’s own feelings and freedoms and sufferings. You are stating outright that the moral reasons your book describes is more important than hers, mine, or any larger group of society that don’t agree with your book.

        The concept “necessary” is bloated with context and culture, so we need to tread lightly here. I understand very well what “necessary” is meant in biblical terms, and so does Russell; this is the definition of dogma that we absolutely disagree with! It’s the absolutism of it, the final unchangeable state of some words written by some men some thousands of years ago living in cultures and societies so far removed from what we are today, it’s almost comical how they are still thought to be relevant, comical if it also wasn’t so tragic.

        I need go on a little here, because, really, this is mostly what we are talking about; the dogmatic absolute state of stale church teachings, vs. the secular ever-changing, all-inclusive democratic model of modern democracies. That’s it. Anything we disagree on will be submitted to the above conundrum.

        The somewhat ironic part secularists then often point out is the hypocritical stance on bible teachings that Christians adhere to. For example, most if not all Christians will tell you that homosexuality is a sin, and most will reject homosexuals to marry. However, if anyone picks up sticks on the sabbath, you no longer kill people as instructed to do. So what’s the deal? Why so eager to embrace the hatred of homosexuality, but equally eager to drop the killing because of sticks? There’s nowhere in the bible that says that any sin is any worse than any other sin (except denouncing god directly; it seems the only special case that can’t be forgiven). It’s an interesting case, because the death penalty is called out for equally in the bible for both these two sins.

        Now, Christians have shown that they change. They have shown through the aeons that some rules still apply, yet some others don’t. You have chosen to reject one, but keep another. But on what grounds?

        This now ties back to the absolutism of the bible and its moral teachings. Why aren’t homosexuals allowed to marry, yet free to work on the sabbath? It’s a question that still, after all this time, Christians don’t really have a good answer to. There are some theological hoops one can jump through, but in my eyes it just makes theology a process of adaptation, which in itself isn’t bad (in fact, there’s an argument there that it is a very good thing), but it defeats the concepts of absolute moral laws.

        “If that were his moral absolute (that people should have freedom, and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong), then he needs to defend that position”

        I find this criticism odd coming from Christians who require absolute libertarian free-will to solve the problem of evil, but ok, are you saying that all principles, in principle, defeats the concept of criticising any absolute? Are you saying that the concept that freedoms are absolute, the criticism of anything else absolute is bunk?

        Because that would be an odd position. Criticising absolute horror is not made redundant because you also hold an absolute principle of love; each absolute should be taken out of its boxed and examined individually, to see if its merits truly justify them being absolutes in any shape or form.

        But that’s just the formality of it. I personally don’t think there are any absolute truisms, and certainly none that pass the test of humans and their fickle state in both cosmology and biology (Russell made that speech almost 100 years ago; it was a different time, and certainly a different scientific base and concept of knowledge, in which even a great thinker like Russell hadn’t heard of neuroscience, evolutionary psychology [the good kind] and quantum physics). I see the lure of a godly absolutism as a tempting way to get out of hard problems, however for that to work the concept of the god needs to be a) true, and b) agreed upon by all, and c) actually enforceable. And you, as a Christian, have trouble with all three of these for the concept of an absolute moral code to be taken seriously.

        In other words; first demonstrate that there really is a god. The demonstrate that your god has the power you apply to him. And through that, we might agree with you that the moral code is absolute. But until that, don’t equivocate everything deems absolute.

        “But I don’t recall that ever being a Christian practice. As I recall, there’s something about Jesus preventing a stoning in the Bible.”

        Jesus most certainly did, but not for someone working on the sabbath. And as you know, Christians are just Jews by choice rather than birth, and Jesus was clear that all the old laws were still in place.

        “Nor am I aware of blasphemy ever being a capital crime in any culture in history.”

        Blasphemy is a heretical crime, and treated as such throughout all Christian history. I’m not sure you’re trying to be evasive or ignorant on this point, but the murder by Christians of other Christians for heretical thinking and blasphemy is long and dark. The last known execution for blasphemy in England, for example, was in 1697 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aikenhead). I dare say that that gives us 1697 years of history to investigate other blasphemous executions (and there has been so many, which is why I’m questioning your sincerity here?).

        “That assumes a moral standard. As such, it is perfectly reasonable for me to ask what that standard is”

        But we already know what that standard is; if the bible says so (except when it says so but we’ve changed our minds a bit), ie. flimsy yet declared absolute.

        “Last, if Russell is drawing a difference between “Why I’m not a Christian” and “Why Christianity is False”, then he’s admitting that he rejects a belief for a reason other than its not being true.”

        Huh? If one of his reasons is “it isn’t true”, your whole argument falls apart. And he does state that he doesn’t think it true. The point of making that distinction in the title was the before-mentioned humility to the margin of error, a humility sorely missed by anyone who declare absolute moral laws (that isn’t absolute for some reason they can’t quite point to).

        Anyway, getting far too long in one setting. I hope I made some sense in this, as well as explained some stances the best I could, and otherwise have a great day!

        • Alexander

          Correction: “and I’m certainly not saying a lot of Christians are very apologetic”

          Should be:

          “and I’m certainly not saying a lot of Christians are NOT very apologetic …”

          … because, a lot of them are. 🙂

    • Debilis

      Greetings once again!

      And here we go:

      Russell does say that churches are “the principle enemy of moral progress in the world” which is definitely implies, if not asserts, that it is the greatest cause of evil.

      But, I am not sure if you are arguing that the church has caused more suffering than any other institution, or simply pointing out that Hitchens has done this.

      If one is simply saying that this institution, simply by virtue of having existed for so long, has made more mistakes than nearly any other, I’d claim ignorance. That seems to involve too much guesswork in quantifying suffering.

      But, if one wants to point to the church as being particularly evil, I’d say that no good case at all has been made against Christianity or any other religion. What all of the great evils of the world seem to have in common is political motivation. The church is no more immune from these problems than other institutions, I’d wager, but I don’t see much of value in that observation.

      I think a young girl who is married to a syphilitic man should feel sad, worried, frustrated, and a whole host of other negative emotions if she is mentally healthy. I’m not sure what your question is, though. Did she know that he was this way when she married him? If so, apparently, she’d have decided it was worth staying married. Did she not? Then he’s been cheating on her and lying about it (legitimate grounds for divorce, according to Jesus Christ).

      But I agree that women have always been treated unfairly. I really have no quarrel at all with that. My point was that Russell’s position simply does not support the fact that they ought to be treated fairly (much as I agree that they should be). Yes, he assumes that people have rights, but I don’t know of any way, given his atheism, that he can support that assumption.

      As glad as I am that he’s contradicting his position to believe that people have rights, it is still a contradiction. I personally reject any view that contradicts the idea that people have rights (which, I would argue, includes atheism).

      I’m not sure that I’ve said that my moral reasons are superior to anyone else’s; I’d have to hear their arguments. But I do state that moral systems which have support are superior to those which are not supported, but merely asserted. In my experience, purely secular moral systems are not supported.

      To bring this back to the example, I completely agree that a woman should be allowed to leave a cheating husband. This is because I think Christian theism offers a sound argument for the right to fair treatment for all human beings. I think that people and cultures who disagree are simply wrong. When they tell me that I’m simply arguing from my western, christianized, cultural perspective to think that all people (including women) should be treated fairly, and that their perspective is as valid as mine, I ask them to give me a reason why they are correct, and give them a clear reason why they are wrong.

      Atheism does not offer me this option. It only offers me the option of assuming I am correct because it feels true to me that this is the right way of doing things. But that isn’t an answer to the challenge.

      Without getting into more specifics, I do want to point out a general place of disagreement. That is, I don’t see the rules set out in the Bible as absolute, unchanging commands that should be dogmatically followed regardless of cultural or particular context. Nor am I aware of a theologian who would claim this. Rather, the Bible is always to be understood in context, and reinterpreted into one’s personal and cultural context.

      Thus, I would challenge any Christian who refuses to change their application of rules from what they were three thousand years ago (if there were such a person) to pay attention to what the Bible is actually saying.

      “There are some theological hoops one can jump through, but in my eyes it just makes theology a process of adaptation, which in itself isn’t bad (in fact, there’s an argument there that it is a very good thing), but it defeats the concepts of absolute moral laws.”

      I completely agree with this section. I believe instead that there are absolute moral principles, which will manifest themselves as different moral laws depending on the situation.

      “are you saying that all principles, in principle, defeats the concept of criticising any absolute”

      No, I hadn’t mean to say that. I was simply saying that Russell owes us a support for his position. If he believes that all people should have freedom, and that those who disagree are wrong, he should support that position. This remains true even if I happen to agree with him. Because he rejects my reason for thinking that it is true, his position is contradictory unless he can provide another reason to believe this.

      “But that’s just the formality of it. I personally don’t think there are any absolute truisms”

      Of course, the classical response to this is “Is that true absolutely?”. Personally, I’d say that many things change, but some things stay the same.

      “I see the lure of a godly absolutism as a tempting way to get out of hard problems, however for that to work the concept of the god needs to be a) true, and b) agreed upon by all, and c) actually enforceable.”

      I definitely reject the idea that belief in God requires the kind of absolutism you describe here. I’m not an absolutist of that sort. Nor to I think that God is an easy answer. Theology is as difficult a subject as any to master.

      I do agree that this would need to be true, but I suppose that goes without saying. However, I don’t see that people need to universally agree on a thing to make it right. Nor do I see that the right has to be enforceable in order to be right.

      Of course, it is a bit of a tall order to demonstrate that there is a God in the space of a comment box. I seem to be reduced to promising to do the best I can as this blog continues.

      “Jesus most certainly did, but not for someone working on the sabbath.”

      So long as one views the Bible as illustrating principles, rather than dictating static rules, then Jesus is clearly teaching that it is wrong to hypocritically condemn others to death for breaking a commandment.

      As to the issue of blasphemy, I can only claim ignorance and stand corrected. I agree that this is wrong, and should never have been done.

      My only defense is the addition that the only way I know how to support the idea that it should never have been done (that my moral position is superior to those cultures), would require that I postulate the existence of God. Having read quite a bit of philosophy (much more than Christian history, as is becoming obvious), I’ve never heard an argument for secular morality that can support the idea that all humans have rights.

      ““That assumes a moral standard. As such, it is perfectly reasonable for me to ask what that standard is”
      But we already know what that standard is; if the bible says so (except when it says so but we’ve changed our minds a bit), ie. flimsy yet declared absolute.”

      I think we have our wires crossed here. The standard I was requesting was a secular standard for the moral claims that Russell and other atheists make.

      I hope my statements have earned me the right to claim that I shouldn’t be lumped in with people who dictate morality out of a sense of arrogance. Let us set such people aside.

      Still, I don’t think my objection to Russell’s statement has been answered. If he’s claiming that he rejects Christianity for reasons other than that it isn’t true, then he is admitting to a certain amount of irrationality. Yes, that would be very humble of him, and I would applaud his moral character for doing so. However, I would also point out that this is a problem with his argument.

      But I completely agree that he would merely need to include “it isn’t true” to have given a good reason to disbelieve Christianity–provided he can support the claim that it isn’t true. My primary contention in this series is that he has not.

      And, as a final comment that I didn’t quite find a place for–I completely agree with your frustration with those who think that they can dictate morality by quoting Bible verses (usually out of context) at people. They are (as you say) obnoxious, intellectually, lazy, and arrogant.

      Thus ends a very long response.
      Thanks much for the well wishing, and same to you.

  • katachriston

    To hear atheist such as Russell speak of morals is like hearing a fish talk about taking a walk in the woods – there’s no sync, no basis, no appeal whatsoever to anything outside their own desperate, myopic wishful thinking.
    Arent straw-man arguments fun?

    I wish for a true debate. Away with you Russell and your ilk! Get someone in here who knows how to think.

    • makagutu

      where is the straw man?
      why shouldn’t atheists talk about morals? do you honestly believe without your sky daddy we can’t have morals?
      it seems to me you are the one least able to think and it is ridiculous for you to ask for one who can think an ability you seem not to posses!

      • katachriston

        The assertion has never been that atheist do not have morals. They DO have morals, but in so doing they are better than their system.
        By the way, a little irony here: Christians have just the opposite problem. They’re rarely as good as their system.
        An objective foundation for morals is certainly one of those pivotal arguments that relentlessly leaves eggs on the face of atheists at this point. An appeal to utilitarianism, reveals an aching shallowness that leaves most terribly unsatisfied with its palpable sense of thinness of meaning. Imagine calling your moral choices “right” just because somehow “they work”.
        Not good enough.
        That would be to expect people to be satisfied with placing one of the deepest areas of personal self-consciousness on a very thin and dubious foundation. Would you drive a Mack truck over a bridge of straw?
        Until the atheist community comes up with a better foundation for morality than utilitarianism, convention, etc. they are borrowing capital from our worldview, with its transcendence as well as its subjective conscience, formative decree, etc.
        That deep thing that gnaws away at you in your quietest moments, carrying tinges of doubt on the one hand, self-approval on the other – you’re not the author of that. Nor did it just “happen.” Those residual pangs you long to shake off – they’re relics of reality, a reminder that you are living in somebody’s universe. And the fleeting, shifting conceptions of those who deny God will be gone as a vapor, leaving the timeless structure of transcendence-based morality to pick up the pieces.
        And we’ll be glad to comply. It’s according to…(but you don’t want to hear that

        • makagutu

          What is an Atheist system since am not in the know that one exists.
          Please do tell which group of Atheists argue for an objective morality?
          The atheist says morals are natural to social groups and that human reason is enough to come up with what is moral, why you find this inadequate is beyond me!
          I live in a godless universe and if you think morals are borrowed from christianity then you really are mistaken. I encourage you to read more classical literature on the Greeks, Egyptian, Roman civilizations to notice their were morals before christians ran down Rome and converted Constantine.

  • katachriston

    The assertion has never been that atheist do not have morals. They DO have morals, but in so doing they are better than their system.
    By the way, a little irony here: Christians have just the opposite problem. They’re rarely as good as their system.
    An objective foundation for morals is certainly one of those pivotal arguments that relentlessly leaves eggs on the face of atheists at this point. An appeal to utilitarianism, reveals an aching shallowness that leaves most terribly unsatisfied with its palpable sense of thinness of meaning. Imagine calling your moral choices “right” just because somehow “they work”.
    Not good enough.
    That would be to expect people to be satisfied with placing one of the deepest areas of personal self-consciousness on a very thin and dubious foundation. Would you drive a Mack truck over a bridge of straw?
    Until the atheist community comes up with a better foundation for morality than utilitarianism, convention, etc. they are borrowing capital from our worldview, with its transcendence as well as its subjective conscience, formative decree, etc.
    That deep thing that gnaws away at you in your quietest moments, carrying tinges of doubt on the one hand, self-approval on the other – you’re not the author of that. Nor did it just “happen.” Those residual pangs you long to shake off – they’re relics of reality, a reminder that you are living in somebody’s universe. And the fleeting, shifting conceptions of those who deny God will be gone as a vapor, leaving the timeless structure of transcendence-based morality to pick up the pieces.
    And we’ll be glad to comply. It’s according to…(but you don’t want to hear that)

  • katachriston

    Sorry. The above post was intended as a reply to makagutu. Still trying to figure this blog stuff out. Such a neophyte…

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: