Moral responsibility ? What's that ?
Paul Manata took the time to whine in detail about my "Terry Schiavo" rant, but never addressed all my serious entries. Gee, I wonder why that is ? Maybe the Presuppositionalist Arbitrary Rant Generator can't find a proper reply ?
His sole point - that atheists have no way to understand propositions - was already addressed in "If Knowledge then No God", where I pointed out that man's moral will is distinct from his evolutionary-given instincts. We can apply reason because we live in an objective universe and have the moral will necessary to make and test propositions about said universe. Since Paul's presuppositionalism denies both, he's the one who needs to justify his epistemology. I'm not holding my breath for an answer to THAT one.
I freely admit the "Schiavo" entry was more of a rant than an intellectual analysis. Nevertheless, it needed to be written. Sometimes we need to come down from the intellectual discussion and expose the Christians for the sick, immoral dogs they are.
Now, the intellectual conclusion we can take from this sad media circus, is that Christians have no understanding, and have no interest in having any understanding, of the concept of personhood. Not only in human beings, but also in their own god. According to all the crietria for personhood, there is no possible way a supernatural being could be a personal being. But once again, that is inconvenient to religious interests - like the fact that a foetus or a braindead body are not persons - and so it must be rationalized away.
Another area where we can see this dynamic clearly is moral responsibility. I've always said, and maintain, that the chief evil of most religions (not their only one by far, but their chief evil) is the eradication of moral responsibility. In Christianity, for instance, most believe that salvation is achieved by belief, brushing off all moral responsibility, as illustrated by the saying "I'm not perfect, just forgiven". We see clearly in society what the results of this imaginary blank moral check are : wars, immorality, intolerence, criminality, twisted social relations.
This moral blank check is the main attraction to religion : who wouldn't want to be "forgiven" for any crime, any cruelty ? Of course, it also leads to the standard projections of Christians when they state that atheists do not want to be subject to moral laws, and that only Christians can be moral. Of course, they have it all backwards : as I explained in my entry "Values and materialism", values can only exist if the universe is objective. The cartoon universe of the theist does not allow for values or morality.
Moral responsibility is based on the existence of a moral will, moral autonomy, values (principles of causality applied to human action) and causality between one's autonomous actions and one's autonomous thoughts. Presuppositionalism denies all four.
We see the same pattern applied to the god-concept. God is defined as the source of the entire universe and the events therein. God is supposed to have a moral will, moral autonomy, and to necessarily cause what he wills. God is also omniscient, pre-empting any excuse of "ignorance of the law" (even though, in legal as well as moral terms, it is no excuse).
Therefore God has moral responsibility for all evil events in the universe. There can be no question about this, if Christianity is true. Of course, a presuppositionalist, adhering to DCT (Paul says he doesn't, but I don't know what he's on), would think this ridiculous because he thinks God is good by definition, and that the recent Christmas tsunami was all good. But I never accused a presuppositionalist of being a decent human being.
Of course, there is one easy way to relieve God from all moral responsibility : to acknowledge that, in the absence of all internal and external influences, in the absence of causality, God's "mind" is completely random and therefore lacks autonomous thought. But they're not about to admit that, now, are they ? Because that would destroy Christianity just as effectively, making God indistinguishable from their other god, "chance".
Presuppositionalists may not have any objective values, but one cannot live without values. Action is a necessary part of life. And all forms of nihilism and post-modernism - which is basically what presuppositionalism is - are only means to a different, unjustifiable end.
Ultimately, the effect of destroying individual values serves only to reduce morality to a question of implicit religious interests. Abortion, sucide and murder are only bad because they reduce the number of believers, or potential believers. This is the moral sense of a spoiled child. Fortunately, we have armies of theologians to rationalize this for us. Amen.