Monday, June 11, 2007

Moral Relativism

I have had an email conversation with a Christian at work. I’m not saying he speaks for all Christians, but his comments are remarkably similar to the comments I see elsewhere. It seems to me, from my conversations, that there is a need for absolutes amongst believers. My code of ethics won’t work, so I’m told, because it lacks moral absolutes. Guess what – life is relative!

The emails started with my challenging the notion as to why Christ had to die for us to be saved (still an absolutely bizarre notion to me). I received back a few questions that were designed to help me find God. I was asked how do we know cold without heat? Also, I was asked if I believed torturing babies was wrong.

I answered that cold and heat are actually arbitrary labels we throw onto objects. All objects have some level of heat in them and there is a universal cold limit known as Absolute Zero. Nothing can get colder than that. Liquid oxygen may be a few tenths of a degree Kelvin, but there is still some heat there. The analogy (and what is religion besides a bunch of really goofy analogies) breaks down because the measurement of temperature and labeling “hot” and “cold” is purely relative. On a hot day a 33 degree Fahrenheit beer may be called “cold”. If it were left outside and reached 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it might be called “hot”. However, the universe doesn’t really care about these labels. The beer has some measurement of heat regardless of whether it appears hot or cold to the human observer.

On to the baby killing… Of course I’m against baby killing. I don’t need a God to tell me this is wrong. I turned it around though and asked about baby starving. Is it OK to starve a baby? I’ll admit it here, I’ve starved my own child. It’s true. When he was seven weeks old and we had to switch him to formula (due to food intolerances), I was responsible for the 3AM feedings. His cries would wake me from my sleep and I would turn the monitor off so my wife could continue sleeping. Now my son, who I love more than anything, found himself awake, alone, scared, in the dark, and for all practical purposes he was starving. And what did I do? I would go to the bathroom and urinate for a minute before attending to him. I left him starving and crying and took care of my own needs before feeding him. I’m sure plenty of parents have made the same decision too. My point? Starving a baby is relative too! It’s all friggin’ relative.

However, my believer friend insisted that God is the ultimate authority and that’s why we know baby killing is wrong. I asked about Numbers 31 where Moses ordered the slaughter of all male children and non-virgin women. His response?

“Let me ask this - Is it possible that God's action in commanding Israel to wipe out the Midianites was actually a benevolent act? If the Midianites were part of Satan's plot to interfere with the coming of the promised Messiah - the one to save the world from sin, is it not a good thing that such a plot would be brought to an abrupt end? The Midianite children - is it possible that by dying early they were actually saved? The answer requires that you think outside of the earthly box and see what's going on in the spiritual realm. If you do not even accept the existence of God, how can you accept an answer involving God's plan for the world? How could you possible see how death can bring life?”

So let me get this straight, an entire group of people were possessed by Satan and they were better off being massacred because at least this way they would be saved? Sorry, the bullshit flag has to come out on this one. God is a rationalization for a massacre here. Someone decided these people had to go and then used absolutism to excuse it. Anyone who didn’t agree was told that it was part of God’s plan and we can’t question Him. Using theology this way, just about anything can be rationalized. Under relativism, we (as a tribe, family, society, individual) are asked to challenge authority. With God’s absolutism, manifest destiny and the “kill ‘em all and let God sort it out” mentality can run wild (and has).

Plenty of people claim to speak for God. Ted Haggard was once a highly respected preacher in the Evangelical community. He eventually got outed for frequenting a gay prostitute and buying meth. He eventually admitted to having a homosexual affair while preaching against the sin of the gay lifestyle. The entire time he fooled an entire religious community. He later claimed to go through a three week transformation where he is now 100% straight and seeks to help others in his position. Is there a Holy Spirit detector that we could have used on Ted while he was having a gay affair? Can we use the detector now to see if he is truly moved by the Spirit? Of course not! There is no Holy Spirit that moves us. Ted spoke for Ted just as he speaks for Ted now. I’d be willing to bet a substantial sum of money that it’s only a matter of time before he’s back to being gay.

So the options come down to relativism or absolutism. Relativism requires careful consideration and a challenge of authority. Absolutism requires blind obedience and crediting decisions with the divine. Of course, no one can really tell who is speaking for God or not, because anyone who claims to speak for God is really speaking for their own subconscious. Before I close on this subject, I’d like to give a shout out to a young reader who goes by Master Jedi Dan. I would like to point out that Obi Wan Kenobi told a young Anakin Skywalker, “Only the Sith deal in absolutes.”

57 comments:

Miracle said...

I always wondered what the fuss was about with absolute and relative. I've studied the arguments for years and I do agree that there are a few absolutes, life is pretty much relative. I think it is also more real that God deals in a relative world. It would be quite boring unless you are a lawyer, if everything was some absolute..
Even if all of life was absolute. So what? I don't see where my Christian brethren are going with this attack.

MasterJediDan said...

Interesting post ... I do believe that there are some moral absolutes, like murdering, raping, etc. I see that so far on your blog you have given a series of posts on why living as an atheist is more moral and beneficial than living as a Christian. I would like to ask you a question about the atheist lifestyle though: if I am an atheist, what is the point / purpose of my life?

theponderer said...

A few days ago, WashingtonPost had an article titled "If It Feels Good to Be Good, It Might Be Only Natural" on new, exciting research on the biological roots of morality -
> the brain centers that are responsible for altruism,
> the role that evolution played in the development of our moral fiber, etc.

"...it is also a dramatic example of the way neuroscience has begun to elbow its way into discussions about morality and has opened up a new window on what it means to be good......"

Soon, god will be evicted from all gaps of knowledge, for the gaps - they are-a shrinking.

Atheistwager said...

@MJD
I have never claimed that atheism is more moral than theism. I am claiming it doesn't lack in morality at the same time being infinitely more rational.

Life is what you make of it, my friend. Friends and family go a very long way towards meaning, at least for me. My life, however, is not defined by my death and the creation of an invisible friend.

Wil said...

"if I am an atheist, what is the point / purpose of my life?"

It doesn't matter if you're atheist - just seeing it the way an atheist may. There really is no point to life other than to survive as all animals dtrive to do. No one has a point or purpose as there's no predefinition, only what social evolution has led to. As AW said, life is what we make of it.

Miracle said...

I think the question that MJD wants to ask is what purpose does it serve to be moral as an atheist? It doesn't make one more successful and like a good green day song "Nice guys finish last".

I guess morality would become somewhat of a scale compared an ideal to strive for. In each occasion, you would balance the benefits of skipping the moral road against being a good person.

MasterJediDan said...

@ wil

Sounds pretty depressing to me.

zilch said...

Morals are relative? Absolutely. It's only laws that are absolute- relatively.

@mjd- if you're a Christian, what's the purpose of your life? To pass the God test and get your ticket to Heaven? Pretty depressing if you ask me. I just hope you're not like one poster I read on "raptureready" who had no trouble pouring weed killer down the drain because "Jesus was coming soon anyway".

What's my purpose as an atheist? Since purposes do not exist in space but are entities that evolve in minds, I can decide on my own purposes, at least to some extent.

And like everyone else, I have quite a few. As with AW, family and friends are a big part of the meaning I find in life. Other things are my wonder at the incredible complexity of the universe, doing music, making instruments...

Everyone has such purposes. But believing in an ultimate purpose outside of us, while natural, is irrational. In fact, I believe that part of the origins of religion is in our tendency to project our human feelings and desires onto the universe as a whole. We have purposes, so we look for big purposes in the outside world, just as we look for big parents and eternal life.

Bible student said...

@ zilch

“Everyone has such purposes. But believing in an ultimate purpose outside of us, while natural, is irrational.“ sound like denial.

There’s a phrase in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “[God] has put eternity into man’s mind” (Revised Standard Version). Other versions say “into his heart.”

Considering that man is naturally endowed with a need to worship, we can see where that tendency has been easily corrupted. No doubt, he has created all sorts of gods, through history.

Instead of crediting man with inventing the original God, why not agree with the obvious (Romans 1:20).


@ AW

Good post! I don’t credit the divine with decisions any more than I credit my dad when I ride a bicycle. Though he got me started, I need to do it on my own now. My kind realize that following blindly is dangerous. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 is a better guide, “Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine.”

zilch said...

**“Everyone has such purposes. But believing in an ultimate purpose outside of us, while natural, is irrational.“ sound like denial.**

Denial of what, bible student? I don't see any evidence for meanings or purposes outside of those we have in ourselves. Meanings and purposes are evolved entities, just as life is. And as I've said before, using the Bible to justify belief in the Bible is not terribly convincing.

Bible student said...

@ zilch

You are calling what is natural to you, unreasonable. If you were born with green skin, no amount of thinking changes that. If you are born with a spiritual need, you can refuse to acknowledge it, but not to your advantage.

Miracle said...

@Bible Student

I would say a spiritual desire. Whether easy or hard, it is possible to eat, breathe and live without it. The search for the divine is something that is innate within the general population that we have to find an answer somehow. Either seeking God, humanity or ourselves, we do have a desire for a purpose to our lives.

This doesn't prove the existence of God nor does it give an excuse to worship God, but I do think it does compel us to find an answer.

Molly said...

@MGD

Your comment about how there are moral absolutes (...like murder...) is interesting. Is it murder when an American solider kills an Iraqi "insurgent" ? Is it murder if an American solider kills an Iraqi civilian? Is it murder if the American military drops a bomb on a suspected terrorist training camp and kills a bunch of kids? Everything is relative. Even genocide, if you believe the bible.

Wil said...

@MJD

Life isn't all rainbows and lollipops, people need to accept that. To delude ourselves and others to think that we're the centre of everything and a supreme being's chosen race is just arrogant.

Reading my other post again, I fail to see what's so depressing about it. The point it led up to was Wager's "life is what you make of it" which is all relative to how we choose to live.

@miracle
There really isn't much of an advantage between beign a moral atheist or moral theist. You get a good feeling after doing something good either way. I suppose the difference would be "I took initiative and I did this" as opposed to "(insert deity) helped/encouraged me to do this".

Miracle said...

@molly
good points about the relativism of murder. I guess it would end up how one would define it.

@Wil
I don't even know if there is that much of a difference. I can say that I took initiative and I did this, just as much as an atheist. Just because I believe in God, doesn't mean every action I have is determined by him.

Bible student said...

@ Molly

You make a great argument to conscientiously refuse military service on religious grounds.

MasterJediDan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MasterJediDan said...

@ Wil

All I really meant was that if I'm an atheist I have no real point in living. I just wondered because in highly-atheistic countries like Japan, there are thousands of suicides every year. (for example, in 2005, approx. 32,552 Japanese killed themselves). I just wondered if they figured that they didn't have a point in life, so they figured they just ought to kill themselves now rather than go through the pains of life, seeing as there isn't any advantage to live, as we're all going to end up as nothing.

kitty said...

@MGD

I don't really follow your point about suicide, the difference may be that religion sees suicide as a crime so people will stay alive and be depressed and commit forgivable "sins" such as drug abuse and alcoholism instead, rather than they are necessarily "happier"

That said, the one experience I had with suicide the guy was seemingly driven to it by religion and offered me religion as consolation in his goodbye message. I would have thought an atheist - seeing religion as the empty comfort it is - would consider more the effect suicide has on a persons friends and family, and not see death as the "get out" you seem to imagine except in cases of severe depression (where, by it's nature it is near impossible to consider others feelings).

Interestingly, when I researched it (6 years ago - so may be out of date) the rate of suicide tended to increase with GDP/capita. Since countries that are more economically successful tend to have lower rates of religiosity, do you have any studies which show which is the more statistically significant factor?

I don't think the atheistic view of the world is depressing - in fact I find it far more inspirational. As for purpose - well, sometimes I admit I don't have one, but when I do (which is most of the time) I make my own. If you're independent enough not to fear that... it can be pretty empowering.

Wil said...

@miracle

Understandable. I went a bit tiowards the more fundamental theist in my post, should have clarified it.

@MJD
I think Japan's suicide rate is moreso to do with the country's culture throughout history. Many kill themselves because of failure, dishonour, etc. as opposed to religion/lack thereof. Not that suicide for those reasons doesn't exist though, I'm quite certain it does.

bravo9 said...

@MasterJediDan –

"All I really meant was that if I'm an atheist I have no real point in living."

So am I safe to infer from this statement that believing in God somehow gives your life a purpose? Just because it "sounds" good (the whole eternal happiness thing) doesn’t mean that it actually has a purpose (or instills purpose in you). If you feel like you receive a purpose from something that "sounds" good, then great. But that really doesn’t get us anywhere in the whole atheism vs. religion debate.

"Sounds pretty depressing to me."

A lot of people are afraid of the finality of life. Atheists accept it and choose to base their life on something other than what might "sound" good. If I were basing my life on what "sounds" good I would probably buy into the idea of "spending eternity with 72 virgins" over anything else. Now that is a sales pitch.

Spending your entire life worrying about whether the "big spy camera in the sky" is watching you doesn’t seem like much of a purpose to me – nor does living life according to a book that was assembled by other men. I may as well be a Scientologist. What makes the Bible right? It’s just a book (yeah, yeah I know it was "delivered to man by God").

So, what do atheists get out of life? What’s the point? I agree with a lot of what’s been previously mentioned. It’s all relative to the individual and life is what you make of it. But, overall, I agree with the idea that our existence (like all species) is about survival. It’s about passing on desired traits to your offspring and, in general, helping mankind progress through evolution. We are only in the infancy of discovery. If we continue to progress, perhaps one day we will possess enough scientific knowledge to truly understand the origins of the Universe. Religion will, of course, be gone by then (since man will be more highly evolved).

Bible student said...

@ bravo9

If sales pitch is all you want, AW mentioned Ted Haggard. If he’s not your style, Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker (Tammy Faye’s ex) are still coming on strong.

Your limited Bible knowledge shows. What you sarcastically refer to as “sounds good” is what we are “sure of.” Believing in God and what He says through the Bible gives us insight. Tried and true, unlike a wide variety of self-help books.

Yes, life is what I make of it. What better way through life than with help, you probably get that from many places. Just think, if you’re wrong, we will look back generations from now and chuckle at your misconception.

bravo9 said...

@bible student -

I have never proclaimed to be a Bible scholar. It's just a piece of fictional writing so I don't see much point in it -- other than for entertainment purposes (such as this exchange I am having with you). I have laughed many times at the hypocrisy the Bible presents and how so many people choose to base their life on it. The history of the Bible itself is well documented. I understand that you have chosen to follow a version that suits your needs (and turn a blind eye to the others). Good for you. What if you’re wrong? What if you picked the wrong version of the Bible to believe in? Or, perhaps worse, what if the men that assembled your version of the Bible got it wrong and you based your life on their mistake? Whoops.

MasterJediDan said...

@ bravo9

Yes, there will always be the "what ifs". But if God truly did make the world, do you think that He would have let the Bible (His book to us) become corrupted and its meaning changed?

To address the "what ifs" though, isn't it better to have one lottery ticket in the God drawing than none?

Bible student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bible student said...

Master JD it’s not about chance.

@ bravo9

I will still have the benefits of a strong and (relatively) peaceful family life. Connection with a great group of folks, as close as family. The never ending exploration of the God‘s word, that’s lead to an intimate relationship with the Sovereign of the universe. The confidence to depend on all that, built through trial. Eyes on the prize.

I’m not too proud to welcome all sorts of ideas. Being dedicated to God, and sure he judges my heart, there’s room for typos. I’m glad I’m still learning, I need the help!

Molly said...

@MGD

Perhaps you would be right (about having a ticket in the God lotto) if all it took to reach heaven in the christian faith was to simply say that you believe in god. This concept is called "Pascal's Wager" and has been discussed at length among philosophers and other scholars.

I can tell you why I think its an absurd notion. The christian faith puts all kinds of limitations on behavior. Some are good (don't murder), some are bad (don't have sex before you're married). I enjoy a whole host of things that the bible forbids (premarital sex anyone?). You can't simply say "I believe in you christian god," you have to do (or not do) all of this stuff.

zilch said...

@ bible student: you say

"If you are born with a spiritual need, you can refuse to acknowledge it, but not to your advantage."

Am I born with a spiritual need? This is a very interesting question. There's actually some evidence that you may be right: there might well be a genetic basis for belief in a higher power. It's quite possible that such a belief conferred fitness to those who had it, because they were able to more successfully organize societies than those without it.

Of course, that doesn't mean that God exists, or that it's necessarily a good idea to give in to our impulses, any more than it's a good idea to have as many children as we possibly can, which is also a genetic predilection.

Another example of a genetic trait we have which is false is the moon illusion, the well-known but poorly understood impression we have that the Moon looks bigger near the horizon. Check it out- it's very interesting.

In any case, if I too have a need for the spiritual, it's been sublimated and satisfied by my sense of wonder at the Universe.

zilch said...

@ mjd- you say

"But if God truly did make the world, do you think that He would have let the Bible (His book to us) become corrupted and its meaning changed?"

Two obvious questions:
How do you know the Bible is God's book and not, say, the Koran or Dianetics?

And, if the Bible is the uncorrupted and unchanged Book of God, how come it has so many mistakes?

Molly has already mentioned Pascal's Wager. Have you read AW's first post here, along with the comments? As a couple of people mention, it seems unlikely that any God worth worshiping would not see through the insincerity of someone believing simply to get a "lottery ticket" to Heaven.

bravo9 said...

@bible student -

The inconsistencies that have arisen from the translation of the Bible from ancient Hebrew to English alone should be enough to raise your suspicion. There were so many translations done purely out of convenience.

For instance, the word "celebant" in ancient Hebrew is actually "celebrate". Just think, all these years Catholic priests have had it wrong. (Ha, ha, that was a joke).

Also, we won't even go into the inconsistencies raised by the Dead Sea Scrolls. The chances of the Bible being "uncorrupted" are slim to none. There is plenty of factual evidence for this.

Bible student said...

@ zilch

Isn’t it grand, that God’s first recorded utterance to man was, “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.” He knows what’s good for us.

According to the scriptures, it’s God’s will that we enjoy lasting happiness under the best conditions in wonderful surroundings. Suppressing natural proclivity is unhealthy. We are not made to be conflicted, the stress is killing us.

Since you are able to set your mind on a purpose, why not learn what the Bible says is God’s purpose is for you, and lead your life in harmony with that. As explained to bravo9, the aid to everyday life is tremendous, even if you don’t avail yourself of the hope in the promised future.

The lawyer who never met Jesus in the flesh, wrote at 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” Your sense of wonder at the universe, could be enjoyed forever.

@ bravo9

I’ve got to get back to you later, time for work.

zilch said...

"Isn’t it grand, that God’s first recorded utterance to man was, “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.” He knows what’s good for us."

Uh, does the word "overpopulation" mean anything to you, bible student?

"Suppressing natural proclivity is unhealthy. We are not made to be conflicted, the stress is killing us."

Um, there are ways to not suppress natural proclivity, and yet not overpopulate the earth. Perhaps you've heard of them. If there weren't, I'd have had lots more than two kids, or a much less interesting life. I can also tell you from personal experience, the stress I live with from not having more than two children is quite bearable.

"Since you are able to set your mind on a purpose, why not learn what the Bible says is God’s purpose is for you, and lead your life in harmony with that."

Because the Bible, however interesting and beautiful it may be, is not as true, or as interesting, or as beautiful, as the real world. It's just a book, a mixture of good advice and bad, and lots of bad science.

MasterJediDan said...

Yes, I know, choosing God isn't random. I was merely saying that it's better to be safe than sorry.

And yes, there are other religious books, like the Koran, etc., but they pretty much all have one author. And they don't explain a lot of things sensibly, like how we began, if and when mankind will ever end. Neither do they clearly explain their god. Religions come and go, but the Bible has stood the test of time.

Wil said...

@MJD

"I was merely saying that it's better to be safe than sorry"

Best start accepting the Egyptian, Greek, Norse, etc pantheons into your life then. Y'know, better to be safe than sorry. Like the bible, that counterargument has stood the test of time.

It's easy for you to dismiss those gods. An atheist has the same simplicity in dismissing the Abrahamic god. We can't simply accept a god into our lives because of a possible "heaven" because many do not believe in it, so why would we look forwrd to it or take a chance on it if we deny its existence? Granted there's a chance it may - about as much chance of Ragnarok occurring.

MasterJediDan said...

@ Wil

But are the Greek, Norse, and Egyptian religions alive and well today?

bravo9 said...

@MasterJediDan -

"But are the Greek, Norse, and Egyptian religions alive and well today?"

Maybe not, but the following are: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Vodun. Not to mention the countless derivations of these.

Stephen Roberts said it best with:

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

I know, I know, everybody thinks that they have the best invisible friend.

Wil said...

In fact the Greek pantheon has been alive for a long time. Greece being an Othodox Christian nation, however, has led to persecution of those believers. Only recently have some of the peoples of that religion begun to express their true religion publicly.

Think of how the Jews in Poland during the holocaust lied about their religion, only on much less of an extreme persecution level.

I can only imagine there are at least some people in this world who follow the other ancient religions too.

Bible student said...

@ zilch

No where in that verse does it say overfill.

The idea was to fill the earth with the paradisiac conditions that were Eden. Man in his perfect state, still uncorrupted by evil, was in full control of his instrument. There was no need for artificial birth control. Man was made responsible for the condition of his home, the earth. He was in a theocracy, directly conversing with his superintendent.

@ bravo9

I suppose you will be another to argue that spelling counts. There are more vital issues at stake.

The value of the scriptures is the message contained therein.

Some call John 3:16 the gospel in brief. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”

Even zilch agrees that the “golden rule” is good guidance. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12)

With all else that He has accomplished, my God has gotten through the static, with his meaning. All sorts of speculation doesn’t obscure His purpose to gain more for everlasting life. If trivialities are what concern you most, I wish you well, we all have our hobbies.

zilch said...

"Man in his perfect state, still uncorrupted by evil, was in full control of his instrument."

Woot woot! Two questions immediately come to mind: Was woman in control of her instrument too? And does this mean that if they hadn't bitten the apple, there would have been no market for Viagra? :lol:

About the Golden Rule: yes, it's a good idea, but as many have pointed out, it's not unique to the Bible. The ancient Egyptians had the Golden Rule in the "Tale of the Eloquent Peasant" long before the Bible was written.

misha said...

@MJD

-------
And yes, there are other religious books, like the Koran, etc., but they pretty much all have one author. And they don't explain a lot of things sensibly, like how we began, if and when mankind will ever end. Neither do they clearly explain their god. Religions come and go, but the Bible has stood the test of time.
---------

May be you shud try reading Koran & Gita. Koran is more or less on the same lines as Bible. Unlike Bible, it has ONE author too, making it more probable that god revealed his/her words to the author. Koran very clearly explains the god they proclaim.

If you read Gita, you will find the hindu philosophy is really impressive too. They also explain their god and its incarnations along with questions of the begining and end.

I don't know where you come up with most of your opinions. Atleast before making sweeping statements, pls google or wiki.

Pls google and find out if at all Christianity has grown in the last couple of yrs. You will find out that while it has declined in Modern countries, it has seen slight increse in Countries in Africa and may be, India.

In these countries, the evangelists had a good possibility as the incumbent religions were not organised. Now the Hindu fundies taking the same route, they find it difficult in India; proseltisation is even banned in some states. In other countries aslo, the native religions are getting stronger pulling ppl back to their origins.

I appreciate your participation, but i wish you had a thirst for knowledge as well.

MasterJediDan said...

@ Misha

I do long for knowledge, which is why I'm here. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here asking questions and finding answers. Yes, the Koran has one author, but that makes it all the easier for it to be false, because one guy can sit down and write a book that looks and sounds good to people. And plus, remember, the winners are the ones who write history. If that's true, then why does the Bible continually show the Israelites shortcomings, downfalls, and mistakes? Because God wanted us to learn from them. I don't trust books that just give us a win-win situation for humans, that show them in all their glory, because in reality, humans mess up a lot. Plus, with the Koran, the only sure way to get to heaven is to die in a religious war. What kind of god is that? One that wants everyone to die?

Wil said...

"What kind of god is that? One that wants everyone to die?"

It's still the Abrahamic God; the same one you worship.

Can you post a reliable source for the dying in a holy war in order to get into heaven? 'Fraid I've never heard that before.

Hound Doggy said...

"Man in his perfect state, still uncorrupted by evil, was in full control of his instrument. There was no need for artificial birth control. Man was made responsible for the condition of his home, the earth."


One didn't have to be in full control. With the infant/child mortality rate as it was in those times, a good portion died off anyway.

MasterJediDan said...

@ Wil

How about suicide bombers? Have we ever seen them in any culture other than the Muslims? I guess I kind of worded it wrong, I should have said that the only way to be completely sure you will enter heaven according to the Koran is to die fighting in a religious war for god.

Wil said...

@MJD

That's just racist bullshit based on a few terrorists. Cite me a verse of the Koran that proves they have to die in a holy war to get into heaven.

And suicide bombings/acts are known throughout history. Japanese pilots during WWII and people bombing abortion clinics being two examples.

Bible student said...

@ Wil

The sura is not hard to find.

The promise is in:

[9.111] "God hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods. For theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise). They fight in His cause, and slay and are slain."

Do you have Chapter and verse from holy writings that inspire kamikaze or abortion bombers.

@ Hound Doggy

Perfect man had everlasting life. Death came after sin.

Wil said...

@BS

Thankyou for providing that. I've never read the koran, so I was resilient to accept MJD's comment as truth.

No I don't have verses from holy writings, but MJD had commented on cultures, not religious inspiration.

I think i might have a Koran around here somewhere, might have to give it a read sometime.

Atheistwager said...

@MJD
Your ignorance is truly startling at times. Go google the word "zealot". The first known terrorists were (drumroll please) Jews!

MasterJediDan said...

@ AtheistWager

Guess I'd better do more homework next time. But from what Wikipedia says about the Zealots, it looks like they were more of a rebellion than terrorists. They didn't have the power to strike fear into the hearts of the Romans. They weren't a group that said, kill! kill!, they wanted a place to live without Roman control.

Atheistwager said...

@MJD
I'm shaking my head in absolute disbelief. As a group, they went around killing random Jews who got along with the Romans. After the destruction of the second temple, they headed off to Mesada and committed mass suicide. Is this any different from the behavior of Islaamic fundies?

Bible student said...

@ Wil

Muslims will learn Arabic to read the Koran. Since it is mostly verse (poetry), when translated literally it seems to lose the flavor. I’ve found that reading a verse 3 or 4 times might reveal the meaning, but this book review looks interesting. If it is as they say, today’s English, it may be more expressive.

Wil said...

Interesting article, but I suppose it can be expected to be difficult to find a direct translation from Arabic to a Germanic language.

Thanks for that.

zilch said...

You might be interested to know that the Germans planned for suicide bombers in WWII, and had about seventy or eighty volunteers lined up. A V-1 "buzz bomb" was modified for a pilot, and test flown. The plan was scotched by Hitler, though.

None of these volunteers were likely to have been Muslims, or Jews for that matter.

Bible student said...

Nor Bible students.

zilch said...

True enough, bible student. I do have to admit a grudging admiration for the JW's for their pacifism. However, their practice of predicting the end of the world over and over (is it five or seven times now? I've lost count) does make them seem a bit, well, misinformed.

Their record has been beaten all hollow recently, however, by an offshoot of the JW's called the Lords' Witnesses, which to date has predicted the nuclear destruction of New York at least twenty-three times. Now that's hard to beat.

ChrisT said...

moral relativism is for people scared to make a commitment. shit, killing someone may be wrong for you but it sure ain't wrong for me? i'd say it's pretty much absolute that if you go out into the street, pick someone out at random and slit their throat in cold blood, it's wrong. there's no room for relativism. just like your argument of heat... absolute zero is still absolute. the beer can may "feel" warmer or colder, but it still has an absolute temperature value in relation to absolute zero. the same goes for feelings of right and wrong. am i making an argument for shades of grey in terms of morality? perhaps. but to believe morals and ethics can be relative is naive.

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