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Clever questions atheists can't answer - answered!

Discussion in 'NonChristian Help Forum' started by Village Atheist, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. I was bored so I was idly looking through some threads in the Apologetics section when I came upon Questions for an Atheist. Of course, being an atheist I can't actually post in that section, but I was very amused by the link to a list of "Clever questions atheists can't answer"

    Since I thought it would be amusing (and did I mention I'm bored?) I thought I'd go through and answer them. While most of them are just ridiculous or non-sequiturs, some of them might provoke some interesting conversation...

    1. If creationists can’t do science, then why do Kent Hovind and Duane T. Gish, who are creation scientists, have professional degrees in science?

    Creationists can do science, providing they stick to areas in which their results don't contradict their dogma. It's only in those areas that they tend to have a conflict of interest and get into situations where they must misinterpret or misrepresent their results to make them fit said dogma.

    By the way, Kent Hovind doesn't have a professional degree in science. He has a worthless and unrecognised degree that he bought from a diploma mill

    2. If dinosaurs turned into birds, why are we not afraid of them?

    The sensible answer is that dinosaurs didn't "turn into" birds. Birds are a merely a subgroup of dinosaurs that survived the extinction that wiped out most of the others. Since the rest of the dinosaurs died out millions of years before humans evolved, why would we be frightened of them? There's no reason that we should be scared of birds because of dinosaurs any more than we should be scared of house cats because of tigers.

    The glib answer is that if you put someone in a field with an angry cassowary or ostrich they will be afraid of it!

    3. If homosexuality is right, then how come two people of the same sex not produce a child?

    Because ability to produce children is nothing to do with right and wrong. Otherwise it would be wrong for old people to marry because they can't produce children.

    4. What purpose do we have if evolution is real?

    We have whatever purpose we give ourselves, just the same as if evolution weren't real.

    5. You say Jesus never existed, but have you heard of the Shroud of Turin?

    Actually, I don't say that. But yes, I have heard of the Shroud of Turin. It's a medieval piece of art (the word "forgery" implies intention to mislead, and I don't think we know enough about who created it to assert that was the case) which has nothing to do with Jesus.

    6. Why do we not see humans being born in the zoos from monkeys if we came from monkeys?

    Humans don't come from monkeys. Humans and monkeys are both Simiforms that have evolved independently from a common ancestor.

    7. Why do we go to church if God is not real?

    I don't. Presumably you do because you think that God is real.

    8. How did the Grand Canyon form?

    Steady erosion over millions of years (around 17 million according to geologists).

    9. Do you know that Jesus loves you?

    Since he's been dead for a couple of thousand years I severely doubt that.

    10. If Christianity is false, then why is it popular?

    For the same reason that Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Shinto, etc. are popular. Or does their popularity mean that they're all true too?

    11. If you say Christianity is not true, then why do hundreds of people continue to become saved every day?

    I'd say mostly because it fits an emotional need they have. Again, you could ask the same question of any religion (or even atheism - which is growing in size too).

    12. Why do we not see half trees and half carrots, fronkeys, and crocoducks if evolution is real?

    Because evolution doesn't predict such things. In fact if we did see them, they'd be a pretty good indicator that evolution was wrong.

    13. Why is Richard Dawkins afraid to debate Ray Comfort?

    Because Ray Comfort is an fool, and debating him would just give the false impression that his ideas were worthy of debate.

    (To be fair, Richard Dawkins is a bit of a fool sometimes too - he's a great biologist but I wish he'd stop talking about religion.)

    14. Did you know Christopher Hitchens was saved before death?

    No, and neither did you since it isn't true.

    15. Are you aware Ray Comfort disproved atheism with a banana?

    I'm aware that he tried to do so in a foolish manner and made himself a laughing stock. I believe that he's stopped using that "disproof" now because even he's realised how silly it is.

    16. Why do people laugh at evolutionists?

    Mostly due to simple tribalism. Creationism is a great tool for reinforcing the "us vs them" mentality that some evangelicals have.

    17. How did the planets form when the Big Bang explosion all of a sudden happen? After all, you don’t see round objects form when something blows up.

    Firstly, the big bang wasn't an explosion so the question is meaningless. Secondly, you do see spherical things form when some things explode - look at slow motion photography of the water droplets when a water balloon is burst, for example - so the question is doubly meaningless.

    18. If evolution is real, how can it explain gravity, angular momentum, human emotions, and why we worship God?

    Evolution makes no attempt to explain gravity or angular momentum, since it's a theory about how living things change from generation to generation. Human emotions have a biochemical basis that has proven to be a survival advantage, and belief in God is probably simply a side-effect of the way our brains work, neither advantageous nor disadvantageous.

    19. How did pond scum make living things appear out of nowhere?

    They didn't. The question is meaningless.

    20. How can evolution be true if we don’t see pocket watches or airplanes form by themselves?

    Evolution predicts that neither of those things should happen, so that they don't has no bearing on whether or not it is true.

    21. Did you know that dinosaurs and man lived together?

    No, and neither did you because it isn't true.

    22. If evolution is real, then why do caring people like Rick Santorum argue that it must be challenged in the classroom?

    While I would dispute that the noted bigot Rick Santorum is a "caring" person, whether or not he is has no bearing on how well educated he is.

    23. Why are youtube atheists like AronRa and Thunderf00t afraid to debate Ray Comfort?

    I don't know who they are. Possibly the same reason as for Dawkins in question 13, possibly not.

    24. Why do we celebrate Christmas if Christianity is not real?

    Christianity is most definitely real. As for why non-Christians celebrate Christmas, it's mostly a combination of tradition and the fact that people like celebrating things.

    25. If creationists can’t do science, then why does the website Answersingenesis have proven science articles from creationists that do science?

    As with question 1, creationists can do science providing it is in "safe" areas where their objectivity isn't compromised by the dogma they follow. Sadly, most of the "science" articles on Answers In Genesis are good examples of the latter.

    26. If evolution is true, then why can’t white people compete to be good in basketball like black people? After all, white people can’t jump!

    There are lots of white people who can play basketball. What does this have to do with evolution?

    27. Where do you decide to fit God in your everyday life if you don’t believe in him?

    I don't.

    28. Why is Christianity the fastest growing religion if it’s false?

    It isn't. Islam is. Does that mean that Islam is true?

    29. Do you feel free to commit murders, homosexuality, go to strip bars, steal, commit adultery, and do other sins since you believe there is no God?

    No, yes but I'm not interested in doing so, yes but I'm not interested in doing so, no, only with my wife's consent but I'm not interested anyway.

    Not believing in God doesn't mean I have no morals.

    30. Why do the fossils say no to evolution?

    They don't. They say an overwhelming "yes". Creationists just misinterpret or misrepresent them.

    31. Why did Darwin admit that how the eye formed is impossible?

    He didn't. He's just been misrepresented by Creationists.

    32. Where did everything come from if there is no God?

    I don't know.

    But not knowing the correct answer to something doesn't mean that you should accept any answer. For example I don't know what the square root of 1.5858957 is, but not knowing the correct answer doesn't mean I can't discount the answer "100" as being obviously wrong.

    33. If there is no God, then why do we have laws that govern us, such as speed limits?

    Because we made those laws ourselves. Are you suggesting that God invented speed limits?

    34. Do you know where you are going when you die?

    The same place a flame goes after it's run out of fuel. Life is a process, and when it ends, it ends.

    35. Why do we not act like monkeys if it is true we came from monkeys?

    We do act like monkeys, although as I've pointed out before they're our cousins rather than our grandparents (metaphorically speaking).

    36. Why do we display The Ten Commandments in the courtrooms if you say the Bible is not real?

    The Bible is real. There's one on my shelf.

    The commandments are there because the people who put them there thought it was a good idea.

    37. Why should be it wrong to rape if God is not real?

    Because it goes against our morality and empathy.

    38. Why is The Passion of The Christ very high on the Box Office?

    Search me, I'm no Mel Gibson fan. Neither am I a fan of "torture porn".

    39. How can America not be a Christian nation if there are way more churches than mosques?

    It's got a Christian majority. Whether that means it as a "Christian nation" or not depends on your definition of "Christian nation". My definition would be of a nation with a state religion (which America doesn't have) where that religion's beliefs are enforced by the nation's secular laws (which America is dangerously close to having).

    40. How is the bible not real if it’s the most popular book read by man?

    The Lord of the Rings is very popular too. Does that mean that Middle Earth is real?

    41. How did the moon form?

    Probably from an impact with another proto-planet as the Earth was forming, but I don't think anyone knows for sure.

    42. Did you know that famous scientists like Newton, Sir Richard Owen, Einstein, Galileo, and Copernicus were creationists?

    Einstein wasn't a Creationist. Galileo, Copernicus and Newton all lived in times before the evidence disproving Creationism was discovered, so it's no surprise.

    Owen is an unusual case. He was a contemporary (and friend) of Darwin, so he was around when Darwin published. While Owen did already accept the geological evidence an old Earth, and did accept that there was some kind of evolutionary process, he favoured the Lamarckian evolution theory over the Darwinian evolution theory and sadly this led to a feud between the two.

    43. Why do we not see black people come from white people?

    We do occasionally. But mostly we don't because there are genetic differences between different populations within the human species. Why would you expect white people to have black babies?

    44. Why are fruitflies still fruitflies in the lab experiments if they are claimed to prove evolution?

    Because the experiments (some of which I've done personally) are looking at small scale changes over a short period of time.

    45. Did you know that the Piltdown Man was a hoax used for Darwinist propaganda?

    Did you know that it was "Darwinist" scientists who discovered and exposed the hoax, not Creationists?

    46. Why do we not see frogs turn into birds?

    If frogs did turn into birds it would disprove current evolutionary theory. Why do you think we should see frogs turning into birds?

    47. Why is Fox News dishonest if it is a network run by truthful Christians?

    I don't know the religion of the people who run it, but they're certainly not "truthful". In my opinion, the main reason that Fox News is dishonest is because that's the most effective way to peddle fear and propaganda to a largely Christian audience. It partly does this for the money, and partly to influence public (and therefore voter) opinion towards views favourable to its rich backers (so money again, indirectly).

    48. Why did Hitler fail to make a superior race if evolution is true?

    Hypothetically, one could make a "master race" through eugenics. It would be highly immoral to attempt to do so, though.

    Ironically, Hitler was a Creationist who didn't believe in Darwinian evolution (although that didn't stop him quoting it in his rhetoric).
     
  2. Dan57

    Dan57 Active Member

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    Atheist, like Christians, can answer any question, but when push comes to shove, no one knows nothing for sure. Its all about what a person chooses to believe. For instance;

    "32. Where did everything come from if there is no God?
    I don't know." That's a question Atheist can't answer, but Christians can. It doesn't mean we're right, but we have an answer that's right for us.

    "9. Do you know that Jesus loves you?
    Since he's been dead for a couple of thousand years I severely doubt that."
    Christians believe he's alive, and no Atheist can prove otherwise since his tomb is empty.

    Like Christians, your stating your opinion, which is based on what you've chosen to believe. Many of the questions you've posed are answered with another question, which is no answer. And none of the answers are factual or based on definitive evidence.
     
  3. Well sure, when it comes down to it we can all descend into solipsism and "Last Thursday"-ism. I don't tend to find that very helpful though.

    That's an interesting choice of phrasing. In what way do we "choose" our beliefs?

    Interesting.

    It is, of course, true that it's not possible to prove (using sound deductive reasoning) that Jesus is dead for the same reason it's not possible to prove that the world wasn't created last Thursday (it might merely have the appearance of age, and we were created with memories suitable for our apparent ages).

    That's okay though, since no-one is interested in using deductive reasoning to prove such a thing. Simple abductive reasoning shows that the likelihood of Jesus (or any 1st century person for that matter) still being alive today is so vanishingly small that without some extremely persuasive and extraordinary evidence to the contrary it's unreasonable to believe such a thing.

    Christians, by definition, believe that they have such persuasive and extraordinary evidence; and that evidence hinges on the existence of God.

    Atheists, also by definition, aren't persuaded by claims of God's existence; and therefore don't find the evidence that relies on that existence to be persuasive.

    Again you're making the claim that beliefs are chosen (presumably through some conscious choice). Do you have anything to support this claim?

    This is simply not true.

    While nine of my responses include a rhetorical question, all but one of those provide a straight answer first and then tack the rhetorical query on the end as a way of highlighting the ridiculousness of the question being asked.

    There is only question which I answer solely with a question and that is the one about Piltdown Man. Since that was a "Did you know..." question, it should be obvious that there was an implied "Yes" before my reply. I should have made that clearer.

    Again, this is simply not true. While many of the questions were either non-sequiturs or otherwise nonsensical and therefore couldn't be given factual answers, and others were specifically asking for opinion rather than fact, I did provide factual answers for the ones that allowed for such answers.

    All the factual answers I provided are based on evidence. That I didn't provide essays full of the stuff doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, and I'm happy to provide more detail on any question you like (whether nonsensical, opinion-based, or fact based).
     
  4. River Jordan

    River Jordan Well-Known Member

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    You probably noticed on that thread that several of us looked at that list of questions and concluded they are some of the dumbest we'd ever seen. :rolleyes:

    You must really be bored. :p
     
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  5. It was an hour of glorious procrastination to put off some work that I really didn't want to get started on.
     
  6. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

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    Here's a question for the OP.

    Why do you spend ANY time here trying to convince us of the lack of existence of someone you don't believe exists?
     
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  7. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

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    I know for a fact and am sure that I don't know nothing. ;)
     
  8. I don't. Seriously - do a search on my posting history here. At no time have I tried to convince people that God doesn't exist. The closest I've got is explaining why I don't believe that God exists.

    As for why I post here at all? Well, mostly it's simply because the discussions are an interesting way to pass the time (especially when I'm bored at work like now).

    But I think what you're really asking is "Why would an atheist care what Christians believe?"

    That's a more complicated question, and the answer to is it in two parts.

    Firstly, and speaking only for myself, I don't care. You can believe what you like. Whether you're a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, Sikh, Wiccan, or even a Satanist or a follower of David Icke who believes that the world is secretly controlled by a cabal of shapeshifting lizard people from another dimension. Whatever your beliefs, as long as they don't affect me then go ahead and knock yourself out. Believe whatever makes you happy.

    However, there comes a point where other people's beliefs - particularly those of Christians, since they're the most populous religious group around here - do start to affect me and people I care about. That point is where those people try to make the rest of us conform to their beliefs through force of law even though we don't share those beliefs.

    As I say, this is particularly true of Christians. That's not to say that other religious groups don't also try to enforce their beliefs through law - Sharia is a good example of this. But I don't live in a country ruled by Sharia law and don't know anyone who lives in a country ruled by Sharia law, so it doesn't directly affect me or those I care about. That doesn't mean that it's not a concern, of course. But it does mean that it's not got the same importance to me as people who are trying to insert their religious doctrines into law here - and these people are Christians.

    When Christians call for a ban on same-sex marriage, that affects me and the people I care about.
    When Christians call for science lessons to be replaced with religious indoctrination, that affects me and the people I care about.
    When Christians call for religious litmus tests as a prerequisite for holding public office, that affects me and the people I care about.
    When Christians call for people with physical developmental mishaps to be shamed, humiliated, and put at risk of assault, that affects me and the people I care about.
    When Christians call for the banning of some types of scientific research, that affects me and the people I care about.
    When Christians call for a ban on people of another religion entering a country, that affects me and the people I care about.
    When Christians call for the banning of reproductive health care techniques, that affects me and the people I care about.

    Now don't get me wrong. I'm not ranting and raving about this stuff. Most of these calls thankfully come to nothing, and we're not in that much danger of looming Theocracy quite just yet. But we do need to be vigilant and oppose these calls when they crop up. With a few exceptions I'm merely irritated by these sorts of calls rather than angered by them (although I do know people who are more personally affected by this sort of thing and who are angry, and rightly so).

    As I say, I'm not against Christianity. I'm not against Christians behaving in a manner in line with their beliefs. As long as that behaviour does not hurt other people.

    To use one of the things on my list as an example, I don't care that many (but not all) Christian beliefs include a belief that homosexuality is somehow immoral. I don't share that belief; but if Christians have that belief it doesn't bother me. Why would it? People can believe whatever makes them happy. However, when Christians act on that belief to discriminate against homosexual people, that's when an unpleasant belief crosses the line into an immoral act, and that's when I do start to care. If you happen to believe that homosexuality is wrong, don't engage in it. It's as simple as that. But don't try to impose that belief on others.

    As I say, that's one example. The same can be said for the other things on the list. Do you believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old because that's what you interpret your Bible as saying? That's fine by me, but don't try to stop children learning proper science by replacing it with your religious belief. Don't like contraception or abortions? It's fine by me if you choose not to use either; but don't try to stop other people using them.

    And while part of stopping Christians (or any other religious group - but as I say, Christians are the most populous and influential around here) from imposing their beliefs on others is mostly done at the ballot box and in the courts, there is a lot to be said for engaging in dialogue at the personal level too like we are doing here.

    That's not to say I'm here as some kind of crusading activist. Far from it. I'm just trying to point out that atheists do have reason to care what Christians believe and to be interested in such discussion. You might think that your beliefs don't affect us, but they do when you (and this is a very generic you - I'm not accusing you personally of this) try to impose them on us.

    I could go on at length about things like the asymmetric views on morality that exacerbate the problem, but this is enough (some would say too much) for a one post already.
     
  9. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

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    Thanks, but I did say ANY time. You will note that I try to be very succinct, so verboseness is not something you'll encounter from me unless it is very applicable. I appreciate reciprocal responses.

    So basically what you're telling me is that you're not trying to convince people there is no God, you're trying to convince people that your morality is better than their morality? So what exactly makes your moral point of view better than a Christian perspective? Now understand me when I say a Christian perspective I'm talking about real Christians not the pharisaical kind.
     
  10. Everybody thinks that their morality is better than that of other people, don't they? I mean it's kind of intrinsic to morality that everyone thinks their own is correct and if other people's differ then those other people must be wrong.

    But no. While it would be nice if suddenly everyone agreed with me, convincing others that I'm right and they're wrong isn't why I'm here. As I described in that long essay of a post above, it doesn't matter to me what you (the collective you, not you personally) think is right and wrong. What matters is what you do about it and how you treat other people.

    I'm afraid you're going to have to give me a bit more guidance on what you mean by "real Christians" for me to be able to answer that.

    I mean you could be talking about anyone from Fred Rogers to Fred Phelps - and the perspective of each of those guys was clearly very different. Without knowing more about what you classify as a "real Christian" and what you don't I don't know what perspective I'm supposed to be comparing my own to.

    Are you talking about conservative Evangelicals or liberal Anglicans? Mormons or Catholics? Universalists or Hellfire-and-Damnation preachers?

    It might be easier if we do an "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" and tell each other what our moral points of view are, rather than you having me try to explain why I think mine is superior to one that you haven't actually described.
     
  11. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

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    So then you're concerns are just like God's. That's a good place to start. :) I must admit you're not as condescending or supercilious as most atheists I've dealt with are.

    Well I guess it's not a whole lot different than being a real Rolex as opposed to a knockoff. I think you probably get that? All of the above with the exceptions of Mormons and universalists contain real Christians. They also contain people who claim to be Christians. Jesus tells us that in the end he will separate real Christians(sheep) from unreal Christians(goats). Matthew 25:41
    My morality is contained within the Canon of scripture we normally call the Bible. I prefer to use the NIV (New International Version) because of its functional equivalency to our Modern English. You'll find it at the following link which is the beginning of the New Testament.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+1&version=NIV
     
  12. Dan57

    Dan57 Active Member

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    Belief is a choice.. I read the bible and chose to believe it. Others read it and choose not to believe it.

    I don't have any tangible evidence for what I believe, there's no definitive proof. Christians believe it through faith. Although, there is some prophetic and archaeological records that substantiate the bible as reliable.

    Jesus required us to come by faith, so we aren't reliant on evidence, but persuaded by his story (gospels).

    I personally believe God calls us by faith because it requires love. We come by faith because we love his Truth. If we had undeniable proof, everyone would know God exist, but that's no guarantee everyone would serve God, e.g; Satan knows God exist, but still rebelled against him. No one is faithful to something they hate, a man doesn't cheat on his wife because he loves her. That's why we're here, God test us, we each make a choice, and then He separates the wheat from the chaff.
     
  13. Samael

    Samael New Member

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    I do love how this sites so scared of truth they cant allow all to post in every section? quite funny is it not and so many other sites ban you for simply dis agreeing with a person
     
  14. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

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    This is off topic but to address your post what exactly is your faith?
     
  15. Born_Again

    Born_Again Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Well, obviously we cant speak for the other sites. However, your notation to this one is a bit presumptuous. Its not nearly as diabolical as you think. lol Its actually quite simpler than that. Its so some discussions can take place that really have no need for interjection from non-faith members. It avoids trolling mostly. Grant it, we don't catch all of it. Relax. And as for what you may call the truth, you have yet to produce anything profound so we are not really concerned with you presenting anything that may shake the very foundation of our faith.

    Have a blessed, week!

    BA :)
     
  16. mjrhealth

    mjrhealth Well-Known Member

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    I dont go to church and I know God is real....
     
  17. I get what you mean, but from an outsiders point of view it looks like the guy with the Rolex saying that only people with Rolexes are "real watchwearers" while other guys say "anyone with an analogue watch is a real watchwearer, whether it's a fancy Rolex or a simple Timex" and still others say "only people with digital watches are real watchwearers". Then there's the group in the corner dressed in funny clothes saying "we don't hold with these modern wrist watches. Real watchwearers wear traditional pocket watches".

    From my point of view outside the religion, the claims of any group or person to be "Christian" are as valid as each others; providing:

    1) They do actually self-identify as being Christian (i.e. they're not just making the claim to troll people).
    2) They are followers of Christ, in whatever way they understand "following Christ" to mean.

    Sure, you'd say that many people who fit the criteria above aren't "real" Christians. You already have in the post I'm quoting. But then many of them would say the same about you, and their claims about "real" Christianity are just as valid (from an outsider's perspective) as yours.

    Ok.

    (When discussing morality here, I'm going to use the word "offense" for a breach of moral obligation, rather than "crime" or "sin", to distinguish between morality, legality, and religion.)

    So my moral viewpoint is pretty straightforward. In most cases it pretty much boils down to the Golden Rule - "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". That covers 90% of human interaction, and I think it's something we pretty much all agree on. Of course there are always wise guys who say something like "but what if the other doesn't share my preferences - doing to them what I'd want them to do to me would mean doing something to them that they don't like", but that's not really a problem. The obvious answer to it is that you would want the other to check or confirm your preferences before acting; so - by the Golden Rule - that's what you should be doing to them.

    It's where it comes to the specifics of how that is applied that I think our moral viewpoints will differ.

    The first thing is victimless offenses. Basically, if what you do doesn't harm anyone else then I don't care about it. This is one of the points where I tend to disagree with most Christians, particularly around sexual matters. Providing there's consent from all parties, there's nothing immoral about sexual behaviours of any type. Moralities that regard some activities as offenses against morality despite those activities not harming anyone are flawed, in my opinion.

    An interesting addendum to the above is the issue of self-destructive behaviour. Is something self-destructive immoral? I would say that it isn't. However, allowing someone to harm themselves by accident is. The tricky thing here is balance. If you're doing something self desctructive or dangerous then it's my moral duty to make sure you've got adequate warning of the danger of your behaviour - but on the other hand this has to be balanced with my moral duty to allow you to do what you want (if it's harming no-one else) without hectoring and badgering you about it. Again, it kind of comes down to the Golden Rule. Would I want to be warned about this? Would I want to be lectured about it? It's one of those things where we have different preferences and tolerances; so we need to respect each others' preferences and tolerances for this, and accept that some people will act in self-destructive ways and will want us to let them do so without interfering.

    Another thing that I have a strong moral viewpoint about, and in which I think the moral viewpoint of many Christians is flawed, is the concept of justice and punishment. Justice is a strange thing. It's basically the enforcement of fairness, which sounds noble - except that no-one can agree on what is "fair", especially when it comes to things like opportunity and wealth. I'll leave social/economic justice out of this post, and just talk about the punishment side of justice.

    Basically, when somebody does something wrong, we punish them for it. But what purpose does that punishment serve?

    The way I see it, there are four valid reasons for punishment:
    • Deterrence - If someone performs an immoral act, you do something unpleasant to them to deter them from performing that act again for fear of having the consequences again; and to deter others from performing that act for fear of having those same consequences happen to them.
    • Rehabilitation - If someone performs an immoral act, you educate and possibly medically treat them so that they will change their opinions and not perform that act again.
    • Isolation - If someone performs an immoral act, you remove them from the community so that they are not in a position where they can perform that immoral act again.
    • Restitution - If someone performs an immoral act that is reversible, you make them reverse the act (for example making criminals pay back money they have stolen, or making them do community work repairing what they have damaged).
    All of the above (with the possible exception of rehabilitation in some circumstances) require acting in a way that is in itself immoral, since they all harm the target. For them to be just, therefore, this harm should therefore be not only the lesser evil (i.e. less bad than the consequences of not punishing the target) but should also be the least evil (i.e. be measured and combined to get the most effectiveness with the least harm to the target).

    You will note that there is another reason for punishment that I've deliberately not listed above, because I think it is never a valid reason. That is Gratification. In other words, doing harm to the target because it makes us feel good or righteous to see them harmed in a way they "deserve". The desire for gratification is understandable, but it has no place in a civilised and moral world. It is not justice. It is vengeance. And it is immoral to give in to the temptation for vengeance and harm others because it makes us feel good.

    Of course, in this moral viewpoint the concepts of "Divine Justice" that many Christians espouse appears to be not just flawed but monstrously immoral (not all Christians, of course - opinions and viewpoints vary within Christianity as much as they vary outside of it).

    Finally, I want to share my thoughts on relative value. Throughout all this, we've been assuming that the moral actors are all people. But we all naturally extend our morality to others as well. Most of us will be upset or outraged by animal cruelty, even though animals aren't people. The degree to which actions involving animals tend to be judged as if they were equivalent acts against people tends to be based on how much like us the animal in question is. We can identify strongly mentally, emotionally, and socially with dogs, for example; so we tend to react to people's behaviour towards dogs almost as if it were behaviour towards another human. Mosquitos? Not so much. We don't tend to think of them feeling or thinking, so we're usually happy to kill them without feeling bad about it. Even I - someone who doesn't even kill spiders or wasps, but gently evicts them from my house - tend to make an exception for mosquitos. I don't think I have much disagreement with most Christians on this point, except when it comes to something like contraception and abortion, where - religious arguments about ensoulment aside - many Christians consider the fact that an early stage zygote or foetus has the potential to become a person means that it should have the moral protections of a person; whereas I would only apply those protections once it has developed into a person. When it's just a bunch of cells - genetically human, but without yet the capacity for feelings and thoughts, not even at the level of most animals - preventing it from achieving that state isn't immoral. We extend our morality to cover harm to others that are mentally and emotionally like us (or have been and have the opportunity to be so again - we don't kill unconscious people just because they're temporarily mentally incapacitated).

    So there we are, as promised. A big stonking essay on my moral viewpoint and the ways I think it's superior to that of most Christians. I'm not trying to offend anyone, and certainly not trying to convince anyone that they're wrong, but to explain why I disagree.
     
  18. I would disagree here. I don't think it's possible to choose whether or not to believe something. I mean is our belief that 2+2=4 a choice? Could we choose to believe that 2+2=5 instead? I certainly can't, can you?

    I can choose to pretend to believe it. I can choose to act as though I believe it. But I can't actually choose to believe it.

    Take these statements, for example:
    • I have no pets.
    • I have a pet cat.
    • I have a pet goat.
    • I have a pet tiger.
    • I have a pet dragon.
    Each of those statements is less likely to be true than the previous. Which ones do you believe? If I pressed you for an answer for whether each of those was true or false you could take a guess which (if any) was true. You could use your imagination and imagine each of them to be true. But can you choose to actually believe that one of them is true? To actually have a belief in the truth of one of them rather than just entertaining it as a possibility?

    I don't think you can. I certainly can't.

    In fact I don't think anybody can. We believe things because we've been convinced of them - either emotionally or rationally or by a combination of the two. Not because we actively choose what to believe and what not to believe.
     
  19. lforrest

    lforrest Well-Known Member Staff Member Admin

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    There comes a problem with judging by probabilities. You can't account for the outlying cases. If you judge by probability in life, your be right more often than not, but never all the time.
     
  20. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

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    I don't get it? If you really did get my meaning then why are you changing it? I was kinda hoping that you wouldn't be one to use strawman arguments.
    I wasn't talking about how people viewed others I was talking about the real thing as opposed to the false or knock-off thing. I use a pocket watch but I am no more real than anybody else who uses a timepiece, including a cell phone, to tell time.

    Well perspective does always enter into what we perceive or know, but in this regard it is impossible to know what a real Christian is unless one knows the word of God and has the holy spirit in them. I can show you what the word of God says about being a real Christian but if you don't accept the word of God as being factual, then there's no use in me deploying that tact. In my world one has to support one's opinion from scripture and many people cannot do that. Inculcation is a big fact in the religious world and it is not relegated to just Christianity. It's a reality outside the religious world as well but we're really not talking about that are we?

    I have to break this down a bit because you're just going on and on.
    Are you aware that the golden rule is from the Bible? Matt 7:12
    Seems most of your morality here is from the biblical perspective and it has been around for some time so the question is how did you come about acquiring this morality if you don't believe in God? Were you taught as a child in Sunday School? Where your parents Christian or at least believers?
    Here's a quote from Paul in Romans 1 that you probably won't agree with but it is there nonetheless;
    "What may be known about God is plain to them(sinners/unbelievers), because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
    As far as the Old Testament is concerned you have to understand when it where it actually transpired and what the climate was at that time. Not understanding the rationale behind the Creator means that one cannot judge with their own imperfect morals, what one will accept or not accept.
    Of course it happens but if there wasn't ultimate arbitrator, which by the way there is but we're not discussing him as such now, then the arbitrator would be able to emphatically state what is and isn't acceptable.



    I agree with your perspective here but in essence don't really share it as such. I have a 7 year old bitch and I love her very much in my own way but I am not in love with her. Big difference. I am against cruelty to animals and I'm also against cruelty to Nature but they are temporary as far as I'm concerned. In my opinion as God gave life to everything then man should respect all of life. The fall caused all the problems we see now which have been exacerbated by time but that time has gone on only because of Gods patience and long-suffering. There will come a time in the future, which I believe not to be in my lifetime, when God will close the books on this present world and start the new one. All those who believe and are committed and have been committed to Him and His plan, will be part of that new process, and all others won't. We live in an imperfect world and because most of us are not submitted to the only perfect being that has ever existed, we cannot expect perfection in all things. Only by accepting the perfect plan of God into our lives and committing ourselves to it can we possibly have a chance of knowing where our future is and what it will be. For everybody else it's a crapshoot!
     
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