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10.27.2005    |    "no pink unicorns"
Whadya mean, no pink unicorns? There goes my worldview...

From a semi-cranky comment by a (presumed) atheist:
There is no God, no reincarnation, no soul, no Santa, no pink unicorns or what-have-you. Every bit that you look down on me for having no prescribed moral code, I look down on you for not being able to think for yourself and act morally without a giant father figure watching you. If life is too complex to have been made without a designer, then who made the designer?
One point this young man misses is that just because something can't be proven does not make it false. Doesn't make it true, either, of course. Nice touch, also, lumping those pesky pink unicorns and Santa with affirmative negatives about God, reincarnation, and the soul. Just shows how gullible we Christers really are, I suppose.

As for having a moral code, we believers are stuck with what our "giant father figure", the Father, gave us. It's pretty good, and seems to be what most unbelievers come around to, for the most part. You know, things like murder is bad, stealing is bad, adultery is bad, you should honor your parents, don't covet your neighbor's things.

The big question that is posed by the young man: who made the designer? Well, this is a question that's occupied more than one class in theology. We believers kind of think the answer is, He was always there.

Lesson? There are always some things beyond our ken. Unless, of course, you are one of those who think that you know everything.

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8 Comments:

Blogger The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

Actually, most of us rationalist think your supposedly "handed-down" divine moral code sucks balls.

1. Your religion did not invent the prohibitions against murder, theft, perjury, or other crimes against person and property. Pretending you DID come up with those ideas is not only insulting, it's demeaning to those who really did, and to those who honor those prohibitions on principle rather than command. We don't "come around to" these ideas-- they are far far far older ideas than Judaism or Christianity, hate to break it to you.

2. The code commands children to obey/honor their parents -- when the evidence is overwhelming that a great number of parents are destructive to their children in many ways. The abuse rate seems to run as high as one in five children! How about a "treat your children with respect and honor, and they will return it?" Nah. Not authoritarian or patriarchal enough. Did you MEAN to make your God sound like a buffoon?

3. Dude, without covetousness of what your neighbor has, capitalism would collapse overnight. Greeeeat commandment. Eternally-good advice. Ha. The worst parts of your commandments are directly AGAINST everything I stand for as an American: prohibitions against art/sculpture, prohibitions against free exercise of other religions that are not Yahweh-worshipping, etcetera. I cover it pretty thoroughly in an older blog post, called The Three Commandments.

4. You think the Creator/Designer was always there? No kiddin-- did you really think he somehow didn't catch that this is what you thought? Really? Of course that's what you think-- that's what an eternal deity is, by definition. Well we think the universe (singularity) was "always there" in the sense that time as we know it did not begin until the expansion happened. The difference is you just make up a definition, while physicists have some pretty solid math to back their ideas up. I'd suggest "The Universe in a Nutshell" or "The Theory of Everything" by S. Hawking if you'd like to brush up on that idea.

5. Nobody thinks they know everything. Nobody sane, anyway. You're just being a jerk when you suggest that we are saying that-- but we do know some things pretty solidly, and you shouldn't reply with "you think you know everything!!" when we point out that you have said you fervently believe something that conflicts with what is already known.

Look, we're all on the same side here, in the end. We dislike being spoke about as though we were children, when we are clearly fully as intelligent as you are. You may consider us unwise, and we may consider you so in return, but take it easy on the terms like "self-declared" atheist (as if there's another kind) and "presumed". It makes it sound like we just haven't come around yet.

So please, try to back off on the arrogance just a shade, and talk to us on our level-- that is, the level of intelligent, logical discourse about facts. When you say atheists "think [they] know everything", you are venturing way way way outside that realm of civil discourse.

12:09 PM, October 27, 2005  
Anonymous Chad said...

Unapologetic Atheist: By saying that the these prohibitions are "far, far, far older ideas" than Judaism or Christianity (a concept I agree with since we all of humanity has an intrinsic idea of right and wrong), you seem to sound like you believe in an objective moral code rather than a relativist one. This seems odd for someone who does not believe in God so perhaps you could expound on this point...

6:06 PM, October 27, 2005  
Blogger Hallq said...

Here's repeating what I said in the thread that this continues:

-Read I Sam 15:2-3
-Read Num 31:17-18
-Try to understand why some people would like to see proof these orders to kill were written by a great, loving God.

1:06 AM, October 28, 2005  
Blogger The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

Chad - I don't really have time to compose a sound answer to your question at the moment, but I'd love to have that discussion with you, and I want to put my full attention to it. The short version is, I respectfully reject your false dichotomy that it's "objective" versus "relative" morality. That is a verbal framing that's very useful for someone, like, say James Dobson or a member of the Taliban, who feels they hold in their hands the Revealed Truth of God (TM), but it's not particularly useful for discussing everyday ethical/moral bases from a logic-and-reason perspective. When I do not have so much on my plate, I'll revisit it in a couple of weeks, because it is a discussion I think theists and atheists alike should be having. Perhaps you could drop by my blog and remind me. In the meantime, I'll take my copy of G.K.Chesterton's "Orthodoxy" with me on the road to Tennessee next weekend, and brush up on the theology-based idea that theirs is in fact somehow an "objective" idea. If you can fathom for a second my view that the "objective" text you hold in your hand is no more valid or static than the book being held by the Taliban which they use to base Sharia law, it will help prepare you for the arguments I will make. Until then, cheers!

2:11 PM, October 28, 2005  
Anonymous Chad said...

Well, my own ideas in favor of objective morality are co-opted largely from "Orthodoxy" so you will be well prepared to handle them, I suspect, if you can handle Chesterton. ...But that is an immense undertaking.

In the meantime, I will check out your blog and this is a discussion I would like to have. For now, I will agree that it can be somewhat of a false dichotomy because while I believe in objective morality, it's very different to try to comprehend the extent to which we, as humans, are able to decifer it.

2:35 PM, October 28, 2005  
Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

I would have thought that Christians should not think they invented any moral concepts that came from God.

10:06 PM, October 28, 2005  
Anonymous Ebonmuse said...

Speaking as an atheist, I personally have no problem with rules against murder, stealing, adultery and the like. We can all agree that those are bad things, and you don't need a belief in God to understand why that is so.

What I do have problems with, on the other hand, are rules like the ones that instruct believers to discriminate against homosexuals, deny emergency contraception to rape victims, deny euthanasia to people in incurable pain, outlaw speech and messages they don't agree with, take my tax money to fund their religious proselytizing, post exclusionary sets of religious rules in the schoolrooms and courthouses that people of different beliefs have to use too, exclude from public office people who don't share their belief in God, destroy the environment and encourage war to continue since Jesus is coming back soon anyway... you get the idea.

If religion's only role was to encourage the good behavior you mentioned, I'd feel much less inclined to speak out as an atheist. But that is not the only role it plays. Any fair-minded study of history (or current events) would lead inevitably to the conclusion that religion is a force for evil at least as often as it is a force for good. I happen to think we can get rid of the evil and keep the good.

3:01 PM, November 02, 2005  
Anonymous silas said...

I would just like to add one thing, and sorry if this has been already mentioned - but Christianity doesn't believe that Judaism invented these moral codes, Christianity believes that it is innately built into us and that those who don't follow it have become desensitized to that natural beast inside of us, named Guilt, who tells us when we've done something wrong.

12:51 PM, November 06, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

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