So I had more discussions on Twitter about faith and atheism. I’ve decided to respond here because again, when I leave Twitter for a while it seems like the responses build up and it just seems easier to get all my responses into one large response rather than have a half dozen or more unconnected threads.
This time I’ve decided to use screen grabs of the tweets I’m responding to as a way to make it clearer who I’m responding to and it just seems easier way to show what I’m talking about. I’ve blacked out the people I’m talking to because I didn’t ask their permission to post them. I know technically it’s fair game as they are viewable by anyone, but it still seemed like the polite thing to do.
First in a discussion of whether morals are subjective or objective I received this post.
Now I understand different cultures have different cultural norms for behavior. This doesn’t answer the question though as this poster also said that these things are wrong. If morals are subjective (as this person is attempting to show) then child brides, child rape, value placed on virginity are all acceptable behaviors. After all I am constantly told that I should not try to push my (Christian) values on people. However once you start saying things like rape, murder, the Holocaust, are wrong you are appealing to some moral standard above opinion.
In fact, in their defense of a moral pronouncement on child rape being wrong they wrote,
Now leaving aside the jab at catholic priests (I’m not catholic and have serious issues with some tenants of the catholic faith) this again doesn’t answer the question “on what basis is it wrong” it’s just restating her assertion. Why would kids be sacrosanct in a subjective morality? That I agree with the position is irrelevant. I have a basis for my objective morality (even if my understanding of that morality is flawed) but if there is no objective right there is no objective wrong.
It was then brought up that God lets people die in earthquakes (with the implication that it would be immoral to do so). I asked why it would be wrong for God to kill if it’s ok for women to kill their children before they are born. After all they are human too. That garnered this response.
First of all, stating it is a fetus (American spelling) does not make it not human. A cow has a fetus, a dog has a fetus, it’s just one stage in development. It is undeniably a human fetus. That’s like saying a baby or a toddler isn’t a human it’s a baby (or toddler). Secondly again parasite is not a specific creature. It is more a statement on how it survives not its nature. Thirdly a fetus is viable at 21 weeks and this poster was saying that abortions are legal in the UK up to 24 weeks. Of course all of that is irrelevant because it is objectively a human. It has the DNA for a human. If it’s not a human exactly what type of creature is it? Fetus and parasite are not specific enough (as they are classifications not specific creature types).
I then got this image posted as a response.
But again this is irrelevant. I didn’t say that irreligious people are immoral. My statement was that they have no objective basis for their morality. That is something some atheists freely admit. The fact that objective morality exists is the problem for them. Stating that they recognize it doesn’t bolster their case it weakens it.
Someone else then posted this image.
I’m not sure if this is meant to bolster objective or subjective morality. It seems like it is aimed at subjective so I’m going to run with that. Being a social species does not make one moral. It doesn’t even make one empathetic. Lions are very social. However if a new alpha male takes over the pride it is common for that alpha to kill any existing cubs as a way to insure himself a group of lionesses to mate with quickly. That’s not very empathetic.
Secondly, and this is more of an aside, how does a materialistic person, who believes everything is based on physical causes, rationalize intelligence and forethought at all? If everything is materialistic then your thoughts can’t even be credited to you. They are just a natural result of a chemical/electrical event in your brain. But that’s off topic today.
Perhaps the golden rule is in my interests, perhaps it’s not. Since the only real goal is to survive to pass on your genes (in an atheistic/materialistic view) then everyone’s survival may not be in my interests. And since the goal is survival anything I do to that end isn’t immoral.
Finally number 4 is essentially admitting whatever our society believes is fashionable at the time is moral is moral. Mostly because morals aren’t based on any new facts discovered in recent years. New morals are based on philosophy not science.
He also said this:
But again, which set of morals is being reference here? Seems like he is making an objective statement on morals when he tried to make the case that morals are subjective. So until he can come up with some objective moral standard all he’s saying is he doesn’t like something (and I thought we weren’t supposed to try to push our morals on others.
Then the replies shifted to the Bible text itself and who claimed to be witnesses.
This betrays one of two things. Either he isn’t very familiar with the NT (as Jesus wasn’t dead but alive at the time Paul saw Him) or an un-argued philosophical bias. He either doesn’t know the NT teaches Jesus was alive or he dismisses it because he has as an a priori assumption that the supernatural doesn’t happen. It goes something like this.
- Person 1: Supernatural events can’t happen
- Person 2: Look, here is someone who claims Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection.
- Person 1: That didn’t happen
- Person 2: How do you know that didn’t happen
- Person 1: Because supernatural events can’t happen
If a document existed as close to the original writings as we have for Paul’s writings with as many copies where he said nothing about Jesus no one would question the veracity of the writing. It’s only questioned because of the subject matter.
Someone else posted this
By this definition of meet, a blind man never meets anyone. Not seeing someone but talking to them can be meeting them (especially as Paul was blind for a short time after this encounter).
Then this was posted.
The first part is interesting. Why is that? Why is there no document saying, “Christians are claiming Jesus rose from the dead, but his body is here.” Why did no one produce his body? But secondly in this post, why is 3rd person important? It isn’t really. John’s gospel explicitly claims to be written by a witness (John 21:24). Whether you take this statement in John to be true or false what is clear from that statement is the writer saw no contradiction writing a firsthand account of the events in the third person. What the person is doing here is trying to apply 21st century western norms to 1st century middle-east writers.
Firstly this is his own conclusion. It is not in the link provided. One thing that was provided right where he linked (he linked to an anchor on the page) was this:
“In the case of the Gospels, the gap of time between authorship and the earliest extant or existing manuscript text is less than other accepted ancient manuscripts”
That actually supports my position rather than his.
It then switched back to an earlier post about people claiming Elvis was alive. I had responded that Elvis’s friends and family didn’t claim that. He responded
So I went back and re-read the post to see if I missed something. Here is the image he posted:
If you read the quote by his manager he was clearly talking about some sort of metaphorical thing. You’ve heard the phrase, “the people we love are never gone if we remember them in our heart.” This is no different. It’s someone managing their pain through philosophy. Jesus was very different. First no one claimed he didn’t die. All of His followers said He died. Then they all said he was bodily raised. So it wasn’t just a “His body died but His spirit lives on” type of thing. They claimed that He died, came back to life, and walked the earth for 40 days. Claims about Elvis are generally he never died and he faked his death. Thirdly these people who the poster is accusing of just managing their pain by philosophizing his resurrection all (but one) died proclaiming that truth. I imagine if you presented Elvis’ manager with the option to recant (or clarify) his “Elvis didn’t die” statement or be executed, he would have quickly clarified it.
I could say more but this post has become huge so I’ll leave it at this for now.