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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The War of Morality

The facts surrounding disbelief were available to all for centuries. The Ancient Greeks knew the Problem of Evil. Thomas Paine wrote about the errors of the Bible. The contradictions inherent in the divine nature given to us by the Church have been pointed out for a long time by atheologians. Neo-Darwinism and Big Bang Theory have blown the beliefs about Creation wide open. While the mythicist case against "Jesus" has recently exploded, it is not new.

Given the fact that all these are well-known ideas, why do none of them, except perhaps the Problem of Evil, make any inroads in people's thinking ? Why is atheism still the "odd man out" and singled out as undesirable ?

There are many reasons for that, but I think the main reason is simple. Christianity is believed morally superior, and atheism is believed to be morally inferior. Christians are glorified and atheists are demonized.

Anyone who truly believes that his belief system is the only good one, will reject any other argument of knowledge against it. Morality is what runs the world. People devote themselves to evil causes because they honestly believe they are doing good work. Positions with zero facts supporting them attract people simply because they were bamboozled into believing that the position is good.

And most atheists are too busy explaining facts endlessly to realize that. Atheists make the case again and again that Christianity is irrational, but not that it is immoral or that belief is immoral. In fact, they try to suppress attempts by other atheists to point out that fact, because they want to be "tolerent". As I said in a previous entry, tolerence is a fine idea in a rational society, but leaves one defenseless against extreme immorality.

Now look at Ingersoll. He was the most admired atheist in history, and he did not hesitate to rail against the immorality of Christianity. He was a man with the bravery to state the facts, and he got people's attention. The idea of such bravery today, in the United States anyway, is incredible. If Ingersoll lived today and gave public speeches like he did, atheists today would complain about him, just like atheists complain about Dawkins.

The closest I can think of, in the United States, is Sam Harris and his book The End of Faith. We need more Sam Harrises.

People did not argue for science on the basis that it would improve agriculture by this or that percent, or produce this many books. They argued for the scientific method on the basis that it was the only good way to know reality. People who promoted the Enlightenment invoked moral and epistemic principles, not practicalities. They had a vision of a knowable, mechanistic universe, and that man should strive to understand it, to make his present and future better.

Abolitionists did not propose that abolishing slavery would help the economy by this much or that much, or that black people would be better off by this or that percentage. They shouted from the lectern and the newspapers that SLAVERY IS EVIL ! They needed no other evidence. To those who understand that slavery is immoral, no other evidence is needed - to those who refuse to understand it, no evidence can be given.

Christians have no facts to back them up, but they do not need any. Explicit atheism has failed and will continue to fail, because Christians have bamboozled people into believing that Christianity is good, that Christianity is hopeful, that Christianity is comforting - that Christianity is morally superior. And to this what does the atheist reply ? "Believe if you wish !". A lame reply.

The fact is that there are plenty of practical atheists out there ("practical atheist" being someone who shares our values, regardless of religion). Only two-thirds to three-fourth of Christians profess being committed to Christian morality at all. The other third does not value religion as important, does not go to Church, does not preach hatred, does not commit crimes, and acts as morally responsible people. We should be out there telling those Christians to get rid of their absurd and cruel belief system, and join our side. Why aren't we doing this ?

Christianity is historically one of the most destructive belief systems, it is a bleak nihilistic worldview, it trivializes the most horrible suffering, it is founded on sacrifice, blood, suffering, genocide, death, and the most total injustice, and Christians are in practice less moral than atheists. Those are the plain facts that any atheist should hold close at heart and use in reply. That is what would win the War of Morality for our side.

I have written about many other points in this vein, including how Christian morality is infantile, the tension between Christian morality and modern values, how Christian morality contradicts basic moral assumptions, and how Christian morality is just a variant of "might makes right" (also here). Topics on which I have entries coming very soon include : the many ways in which Christianity promotes irresponsibility, the Problem of Evil (reformulated to be more powerful), and the Christian denial of free will. Other lines of argument that can be used, and about which I will write later on, are : the immorality of belief, the immorality of collectivism (for example, through lack of accountability), the fact that Christians are only moral by imitating atheists, and the moral superiority of atheism in empowering the destitute.

This is an entire arsenal of moral arguments, from the simple to the complex, and altogether enough for many debates with little repetition. And all of them serve to drive home the basic point that Christianity is immoral. Talking morality is the only way we will conquer people's hearts and minds. Let's get started ! Write a post on your blog about the immorality of religion, any of the above topics, or write from personal experience, or make your own topic. Start challenging Christians on their moral premises, instead of letting them slide. Be more intolerent towards their rhetoric and treat it like the amoral, anti-intellectual crap that it is. The worst it can do is make you feel better.

Post a Comment


27 Comments:

At 1/31/2006 8:30 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Blogs are all well and good, but how do we get this message to that 1/3? The blogosphere is still pretty esoteric at this point. Should we try to produce pamphlets and drop them in church parking lots?

 
At 1/31/2006 9:24 AM, Blogger streetapologist declaimed...

I find it curious that you are still equivocating terms. Immoral and amoral are two different terms.

I for one am interested in your argument for free will. It will be interesting to see how a thinker such are your self avoids the problem of infinite regress for a self-determined will.

So far all you provided is rhetoric and sophistry without providing the epistemic foundation for atheistic morality. You are charging Christians with immorality yet you yourself have no objective foundation for any form of morality let alone some unifying principle that would make sense of morality/immorality in your worldview. At least be intellectually honest and admit that morality is inconsistent with the "molecules in motion" worldview.

 
At 1/31/2006 10:58 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

"...you yourself have no objective foundation for any form of morality..."

I smell an argument from ignorance here. Got anything solid to help you prove your negative claim? Or is an appeal to invisible magic beings all you have in the end?

"...admit that morality is inconsistent with the 'molecules in motion' worldview."

Can you explain why you think "morality is incosistent with the 'molecules in motion' worldview"? What assumptions have you packed into "morality" and "the 'molecules in motion' worldview" which are in conflict with each other? Try to be specific. I take it you aren't denying that our bodies are made up of molecules, and that some of them move, are you?

You say that all that has been "provided is rhetoric and sophistry," and yet all you seem to dish out is canned repetitions of pop apologetic slogans that really have no substance at all when put under scrutiny.

 
At 1/31/2006 11:05 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

streetapologist-

I think it could be argued that Christianity is both immoral and amoral. Christianity is immoral because it contradicts the objective moral principles of humanity, and it is also amoral because it bases its moral arguments negate themselves by self-contradiction. See an example of this here.

If you want to read topics about morality, there are plenty of posts here. Look here, here, here, here, here, and here.

 
At 1/31/2006 11:50 AM, Blogger John W. Loftus declaimed...

Thanks for the reminder! And to think someone in my blog doesn't think any serious thinking Christians have claimed this!

Check this blog out:
The Christian Illusion of Moral Superiority

 
At 1/31/2006 1:26 PM, Blogger streetapologist declaimed...

Bahnsenburner-

"I take it you aren't denying that our bodies are made up of molecules, and that some of them move, are you?"

Are you serious? If so, your ignorance of ancient philosophy is astounding. I was referring to Heraclitus who said that all things are in a state of flux. If naturalism is correct as the Milesian philosophers postulated, how does one ground morality?

If the assertion that it is just altruistic group selection how does one rationally justify this dialectic?

Can you provide some a priori justification for morality based on naturalism?

Further, all that the original post provides is a synthesis of Marx,Neitszche and Freud, how is this different from canned apologetic slogans?

 
At 1/31/2006 1:33 PM, Blogger streetapologist declaimed...

Zachary-

Perhaps you could argue this, however you would be wrong. Amoral by definition refers to something that lies outside of the boundaries of morality. It has no inherent properties of morality. Immorality on the other hand is the negation of morality. Your assertion would violate the law of excluded middle. Some action x is either moral or immoral not some third term.

 
At 1/31/2006 3:32 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Goose 'n crew looses respectability because they can never admit they are wrong.

Case in point, Street apologist nails Goose 'n crew on the immoral/amoral distinction. Moore, like a drowning man, tries to save face for Goose 'n crew. he writes,

"and it is also amoral because it bases its moral arguments negate themselves by self-contradiction. See an example of this here."

Problems:

i. If a moral position, x, is negates by self contradiction then we have ~X. How is ~X amoral? Zachary needs to show this.

ii. His argument marshaled in support is quoting a Christian 9or two) who say that slavery is not wrong. That is, they say, biblical slavery, so defined, is not immoral. So, the position that says that something is not immoral means that the position is amoral?? This is far from clear.

iii. Moore commits a fallacy of composition by concluding that Christianity is "ammoral" because some Christians made a comment about something that Moore, intuitively, thinks is wrong.

iv. It is not clear, in the least, how "Christianities" basis for morality "negates itself by self-contradiction." That may be the case with these particular Christians if they had argued that: [1]biblical slavery is immoral and [2] biblical slavery is moral. But, though we may disagree with them, they certainly have not contradicted themselves.

v. The failure to see something as basic as this gets Goose 'n crew no respect. Sure, they're loud and abrasive, but so what. Why don't they see if some atheists like Lowder or Lippard, will link to them? They won't because they don't want the embarrassment.

 
At 1/31/2006 4:03 PM, Blogger streetapologist declaimed...

Zachary-

By the way, the 1/3 that you want to reach by dropping off pamphlets won't be found in church (as per the original post)

 
At 1/31/2006 6:27 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Get off it, Paul. If not admitting error shows a lack of respectability, then you clearly lead by example.

My argument about Christianity being both immoral and amoral is based on two different perspectives. From one perspective, it is immoral, and from another, it's amoral. I didn't make any of the arguments you propose- you're just whipping a strawman.

streetapologist-

The church parking lot was just a thought. I never implied that we could score the 1/3 from there. But there are a lot of doubters, and if not, a few well-placed pamphlets could make some new doubters.

 
At 1/31/2006 6:30 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach, show me my "not admitting I'm wrong when people have shown me to be." And, please refrain from the tu quoques.

You said, from one perspective it is amoral and another it's immoral. What, are you a relativist :-) Anyway, prove it, don;t assert. I dealt with your argument for its amorality, show how I'm wrong, Zachary.

Or, you can come back over to my blog and play.

Or, maybe you were just trying to give me "homework" assignments and were not serious about interacting?

;-)

 
At 1/31/2006 6:38 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

Show me yours and I'll show you mine. :)

Jesus Horatio Christ, Paul! I already explained this above, I'm not going to indulge you again. Don't try to slouch off your laziness onto others.

 
At 1/31/2006 7:25 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Still upset about the whole unchained debate as well as our discussion on my blog?

I understand and will, out of charity, leave you alone.

 
At 1/31/2006 7:53 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Anytime you want to chat, you know my email address, buddy. Just don't waste our time here with strawmen.

 
At 1/31/2006 8:19 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach, you're not God and so I don't think I'll be taking things on your say-so.

So, anytime you care to prove it.

Oh, and I'd like our exchanges to be public. You have about 5 blogs that I've written that you have not responded to, you can start there.

ciao

 
At 1/31/2006 8:29 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Am I asking you to take my say-so? Am I pretending to speak for God? Christ on a cracker, you've got to tone down the projection.

Email can be public if you post it on the Internet, Paulie. Don't you know that?

 
At 1/31/2006 9:45 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

"Are you serious? If so, your ignorance of ancient philosophy is astounding. I was referring to Heraclitus who said that all things are in a state of flux. If naturalism is correct as the Milesian philosophers postulated, how does one ground morality?"

Are you serious? Albumen of Cesspool refuted that argument years ago!

Get over yourself. The understanding of the physical world has moved on apace since then. There is nothing "astounding" about not being able to pull that old chestnut (or one like it) out of your ass. Zero degrees Kelvin. So there!

 
At 1/31/2006 10:16 PM, Blogger streetapologist declaimed...

Breakerslion-

Typical. The atheist post nonsense and then rush to defend one another.

Albumen of Cesspool? That is kind of funny!

But really is this all you have to offer? I will say your mastery of logical fallacies is quite impressive.

 
At 1/31/2006 10:34 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

I wrote: "I take it you aren't denying that our bodies are made up of molecules, and that some of them move, are you?"

streetapologist: "Are you serious?"

If you don't have an answer, then by all means, deflect.

streetapologist: "If so, your ignorance of ancient philosophy is astounding."

I know, I'm just so stupid. No one can hold a candle to the brilliant streetapologist who can run circles around everyone who doesn't believe in his invisible magic being. I guess we're expected to "think streetapologist's thoughts after him" and know exactly what he's talking about by meager references. We must have another first year philosophy course know-it-all in our midst, playing "Christian apologist."

streetapologist: "I was referring to Heraclitus who said that all things are in a state of flux."

"Molecules in motion" is a poor metaphor for Heraclitus' views, for it puts the one using it in the dubious position of having to play oblivious to the obvious. One can reject Heraclitus' views and still recognize that molecules move. Or, did you not realize this?

Please, entertain us some more.

 
At 1/31/2006 11:10 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

"Typical"???

I must work on my material.

Your mastery of oblique argumentation is equally impressive.

 
At 2/01/2006 1:54 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Well, roasting rand, Zachary, if you're not asking me to take things on your say-so, then back up your charges and don't just assert, like you expect me to take things on your say so.

You can talk to me on my blog, or here. Why the e-mail exchanges? Anyway, I've refuted almost everything you've written, along with effectively defending the faith in our unchained debate (which you consequently changed your views shortly after :-) SO, I see no need to have an extended e-mail dialog with you. Did Ali need to go chasing down contenders?

 
At 2/01/2006 1:56 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Hey Dawson, when are we going to see your "treatment" of the problem of universals?

*drooling*

 
At 2/01/2006 6:29 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul: "Hey Dawson, when are we going to see your 'treatment' of the problem of universals?"

Thanks for the intereset, Paul. Soon as time permits. For now (if you're interest is sincere) I refer you to David Kelley.

Meanwhile, can you help me out here? I'm trying to find Jesus' words of wisdom on the nature of concepts and the process by which abstractions are formed. I've searched for this in the gospels, but I don't find anything that comes close. You wouldn't expect something from me that your own savior doesn't deliver himself, would you? After all, my fallible views as coming from a puny, depraved human being should be of little value to you, unless of course your worldview simply comes up blank on this and related matters.

Also, when are you going to show where Bahnsen presented an argument in his opening statement at the Bahnsen-Stein debate? I still can't find one.

Thanks,
Dawson

 
At 2/01/2006 8:10 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

"Roasting Rand," Paul? That is too funny. You remind me of Steve Martin- not funny when he's trying to be, but funny when he's not trying to be. But no, I don't worship Rand in any way- is this trying to even out my "Jesus Horatio Christ" ejaculation?

Notice how I said, "Christianity is immoral because..." and "Christianity is amoral because..." That last word is a clue that I'm explaining why I think something, okay? That's as much detail as I'm willing to go in on blog comments. If you want more, you're going to have to swallow your pride and ask for an email exchange.

 
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At 8/24/2010 10:02 AM, Blogger Kirk declaimed...

This is kind of delicate issues to talk about.
I love to hear other one's opinion, but I also like to be respected by people no matter what I believe in or not.
Giving respect to people is like giving them the chance to get some Generic Viagra is the want it
Thanks a lot for respecting my comment

 

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