Reasonable Doubt About the Problem of Evil/Needless Suffering As A Test

This article builds on the argument that the Problem of Evil/Needless suffering is caused by the process of Creation initiated in the article Resolved! God Caused The Problem Of Evil/Needless Suffering. (I should point out that "the process of creation" is a euphemism I am using for "Chance". With or without a God, Stuff Happens.) Its conclusion is that if the Problem of Evil is a Test, then there should be no biological bases for handling stress or decision making, it should all be a mysterious function of the soul and there should be no biological price to pay for it.

The problem of evil/needless suffering causes harmful stress. People are poorly 'designed' to handle stress and it negatively affects their decision making in some cases creating a negative feedback loop of decisions and consequences. People have varying degrees of stress tolerance. I have seen some people come unglued for what I consider to be nothing. I know people with Bi-Polar disorder and I spend quite a bit of time every week calming a person that has panic attacks because he/she dreads going to work. Two people in my family committed suicide, and a third was believed to be suicidal and they were all three Christians. Why would Christians commit suicide? If Christianity is true, it doesn't follow. But don't take my word that situations cause harmful stress in people, at the bottom of the article there are some lists I got from the Mayo Clinic.

The PoE causes harm to the subject of the test and can actually break them. If the PoE were actually a test, this variable should be controlled for. We should be more robust or equally robust in handling stress.

God won't give us anything we can't handle? It makes sense, and that's what I was always told. God is a strong tower. If someone can't handle it, its their fault, not praying hard enough, not living right, not waiting long enough, not humble enough, not patient enough, whatever excuse in the world could be thought up to put the blame on the person. The fact is that God won't give us more than we can handle because he doesn't have anything to do with it. He's not there. Christians get more than they can handle all the time. Sometimes with tragic consequences.

I think I stopped believing in God on Sept. 11, 2001 when I heard the newscasters say "we have reports that people are jumping out the windows of the towers, presumably to avoid being burned alive". If I had been on the towers on Sep. 11, instead of watching it on TV, and looked out the window and felt the fire behind me and had to make a decision of how I wanted to die, pain for a second or pain for some minutes, I probably would have lost my faith then too. If not before I jumped, then probably on the way down as I realized that I really was going to hit the ground and that the last most important prayer in my life was not going to be answered. I would have prayed that if I can't float down like a feather, then at least take me before I hit. Would I have gone to hell for losing my faith? Or maybe from committing suicide? Would the last act of my life have been a sin? Am I going to go to hell now because I empathized so much with those people that I don't believe that God could have anything to do with any of it or because this situation doesn't support my belief that the God of the Bible would not allow someone to be put in this situation? What would Jesus do? What did Jesus do? What was Jesus thinking?

My "Belief Balance" tipped the other way that day.

I hear it from Christians all the time "Why this and Why that?" "This must be some type of punishment." etc. A key concept in punishment is rehabilitation and without that aspect punishment doesn't make sense. If punishment without rehabilitation is the goal then it is more like revenge. If there can be no rehabilitation then the offender should be removed from society, and at that point, logically, it doesn't matter if they live in a prison or a luxury hotel. There is no evidence of a principle of rehabilitation in the doctrine of Hell, just retribution.

If the problem of Evil is a test, why is it so inequitable? Why do some people get born in impoverished unstable countries to struggle their whole life and others a born relatively affluent and hardly have much to complain about? It just doesn't make sense. It seems to be more a result of chance. Why are some people more able to handle stress than others? Why does stress break some people and it doesn't break others? Why are there biological bases of stress tolerance rather than a function of this mystical soul we are supposed to have and be punished or rewarded with. It seems to be more a result of chance. If the Problem of Evil is a Test, then there should be no biological bases for handling stress, it should all be a mysterious function of the soul.

When we feel stress we feel uncomfortable. We naturally want to feel better. I assert that all of our motivations are initiated from a desire to feel good rather than anything spiritual or moral. The 'spirituality' and 'morality' are the self-justifications that follow to help us maintain that feeling.

Some symptoms of stress and effects on our bodies are as follows. These lists were taken from The Mayo Clinic Website but it left some things out such as schizophrenia and multiple-personality disorder.

On your body
* Headache
* Chest pain
* Pounding heart
* High blood pressure
* Shortness of breath
* Muscle aches
* Back pain
* Clenched jaws
* Tooth grinding
* Stomach upset
* Constipation
* Diarrhea
* Increased sweating
* Tiredness
* Sleep problems
* Weight gain or loss
* Sex problems
* Skin breakouts

On your thoughts and feelings
* Anxiety
* Restlessness
* Worrying
* Irritability
* Depression
* Sadness
* Anger
* Mood swings
* Job dissatisfaction
* Feeling insecure
* Confusion
* Burnout
* Forgetfulness
* Resentment
* Guilt
* Inability to concentrate
* Seeing only the negatives

On your behavior
* Overeating
* Undereating
* Angry outbursts
* Drug abuse
* Excessive drinking
* Increased smoking
* Social withdrawal
* Crying spells
* Relationship conflicts
* Decreased productivity
* Blaming others

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bravo Lee! There is much for discussion here. In the end you are absolutely correct.

When I first saw this picture you linked to earlier I made it my desktop one. There were so many questions I had about this guy, what he was thinking as he was falling, whether he believed, whether his family could identify him from the picture, whether any of his remains were ever found, etc. The most important thoughts for me about it concern my motivations here at DC and what good people can do to others in the name of religion, and why I fight it. It keeps me going.

Anonymous said...

For those young Christians who don't know "What It's Like" check out this song.

“We've all seen the man at the liquor store beggin' for your change. The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked and full of mange. He ask the man for what he could spare with shame in his eyes. Get a job you fuckin' slob's all he replied.”

“God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes. 'Cause then you really might know what it's like to sing the blues. Then you really might know what it's like.”

“Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love. He said don't worry about a thing baby doll I'm the man you've been dreamin' of. But three months later he said he won't date her or return her call. And she sweared god damn if I find that man I'm cuttin' off his balls. And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin' through the doors. They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore.”

"I've seen a rich man beg.
I've seen a good man sin.
I've seen a tough man cry.
I've seen a loser win.
And a sad man grin.
I heard an honest man lie.
I've seen the good side of bad,
And the down side of up,
And everything between.
I licked the silver spoon.
Drank from the golden cup.
Smoked the finest green.
I stroked the baddest dimes
at least a couple of times,
Before I broke their heart.
You know where it ends.
Yo, it usually depends on where you start!"

“I knew this kid named Max. He used to get fat stacks out on the corner with drugs. He liked to hang out late at night. Liked to get shit faced. And keep pace with thugs. Until late one night there was a big gun fight Max lost his head. He pulled out his chrome .45. Talked some shit. And wound up dead. Now his wife and his kids are caught in the midst of all of his pain. You know it crumbles that way. At least that's what they say when you play the game.”

“God forbid you ever had to wake up to hear the news. 'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to lose.Then you really might know what it's like. To have to lose...”

And while I'm at it here's another song.

"The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday."

"...maybe you’ll divorce at 40...What ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s."

Lee Randolph said...

Hi John,
glad you appreciated it.
And thanks for the awesome contribution.
Those are great songs!

SadEvilTan said...

Hi guys, interesting article particularly the scene of the chap leaping from that building, which must have taken an "eternity"? I think if it was me up there then i'm quite certain that my 'mind' wouldn't be able to handle such an outcome: Rational thinking in this type of situation is hopeless therefore, the only 'viable option' is to try & make an "irrational" decision; somehow, with all those 'thoughts' going through your mind at that crucial moment, you have to somehow 'pluck up courage' & make the "drastic choice", -not that there is one to make- & just pray to God (if you're Religious that is) that your suffering will not be "eternal".....!

Anonymous said...

I have a lot to say about your thoughtful article, but let me just hastily point out that one of the biggest Christian myths is "God will never allow anything in your life that you cannot handle".

I hear it almost daily and have for years. It is false. The Bible promises no such thing.

There are plenty of things that happen in life that we can't handle.

K

Lee Randolph said...

hi Kevin,
looking forward to your comments, but remember, even though you and I know that the "not giving more than you can handle" is obviously false, some traditions buy into it.

don't forget you are part that body of christ and your diversity is your strength. ;-)

gap said...

"God (life) will never allow anything in your life that you cannot handle" is another one of those clich├ęd catch phrases people use to simplify and dumb down what begs deeper inspection and understanding - and a twisting of scripture 1 Corinthians 10:13) into a Hallmark greeting. To say this to someone going through terrible suffering is equal to saying "Smile! God loves you". These silly phrases make it possible to pretend-empathize with the sufferer in a way that excuses personal accountability.

Scott said...

There are plenty of things that happen in life that we can't handle.

This is precisely Lee's point.

the idea that a prefect God would create a world where the only way to escape an long agonizing death is to commit a sinful act, defies logic.

And, If committing suicide in this case isn't a sin, then why is this not clearly stated as such in the Bible?

Scott said...

These silly phrases make it possible to pretend-empathize with the sufferer in a way that excuses personal accountability.

So what important knowledge is God trying to bestow on us in 1 Corinthians 10:13?

When given the choice of burning to death or committing the sin of suicide, you should be personally accountable and choose burring to death?

gap said...

Scott,

What I should have done is address kevin h by name since my reply was to his comment. Had I prefaced that then what I wrote would have had a context. My bad.

"When given the choice of burning to death or committing the sin of suicide, you should be personally accountable and choose burring to death?"

Still, I think this is an important question and it deserves a well thought out answer. I have to leave, but I'll think about my answer and get back to you in this thread.

Anonymous said...

You're forgetting: since human beings are so intrinsically wretched and evil, they deserve everything they have coming to them AND MORE!! So sayeth the Calvinist. So there's really no "dilemma" here - in fact, it's just a prelude to the REAL suffering once one passes from life into death. Ah, the beauty of the Christian religion.

- James

trou said...

Kevin h says,
"I hear it almost daily and have for years. It is false. The Bible promises no such thing."

Scott asks a good question,
"So what important knowledge is God trying to bestow on us in 1 Corinthians 10:13?"

Several here have mentioned that the Bible does not teach that God allows things in your life that you can't handle but, I'm with Scott, what is meant in I Cor. 10:13 by the words temptation? We will no be tempted more than we are able to bear and with the temptation will provide a way out so that we can stand up under it.

Does temptation only mean moral testing? I can think of hardships that would provoke a real temptation to give up hope and do any number of things that would be considered wrong.

Just say no to drugs. Easy enough for me today with my fortunate life, but if my life was one of poverty, mental illness or any variety of things I may lose hope and take drugs. Was it my choice or not? Does God need to be held to his word in promising "strength to bear up" and "a way out" when he obviously does not come through for millions of people?
I see the passage as promising strength to bear any trial which would mean moral testing or any other adversity whether physical, financial or social. I won't let God off the hook by saying he didn't mean what I think the word says. I see too much evidence of hardship causing people to give up on life, Christian or otherwise.

Why should I read that scripture differently?

Scary Jesus said...

I think this image will quite thoroughly debunk your use of that 911 scene.

God wants our attention

Scott said...

Gap,

Let's actually spell of the important claims of Christianity and see where they lead...

(1) God exits

(2) Therefore, Objective morality exists
[Things are considered wrong independent of the context and perception of groups or individuals.]

(3) The physical act of committing suicide is objectively morally wrong.

(4) God expected people trapped in the World Trade Center to burn to death instead of committing suicide by jumping.

If objective mortality really does exist, what other conclusion can we come to?

The context of being trapped in a burning building and the victim's personal experience of burning to death would be rendered irrelevant as the very definition of objective morality excludes these factors from the equation.

Therefore, it's clear the omniscient and omnibenevolent God of the Bible, who would have foreseen these very situations, expects you to suck it up and burn to death.

Does this really make sense to you?

Jim Jordan said...

Hello, Lee.
From the post**Would the last act of my life have been a sin?

Jumping from a burning building is not suicide. It's a calculated risk, only in this instance with miniscule chances of survival. Those who didn't jump were cremated anyway, so there's no sin in jumping. Just thought I'd mention that since I didn't see it brought up.

"Evil/needless suffering" is predicated on "good/needful happiness", is it not? Implicit in this point of view is necessity. But how would you show that this falling person needed to live in the first place, much less suffer like that? And why would we unanimously say that Osama Bin Laden needs to be punished for what he did? You seem to be inferring a "necessitator".

In that link there was this key paragraph: "If one stays Christian, one goes to heaven, if one loses faith, one goes to hell, but god knew it before it could be chosen. No matter what anyone does, God knows the outcome." God knows the future, sees the choices we make, and honors them. Why? Because we wouldn't have free will otherwise [although you oversimplify your "Christian" example]. Hmmm, free will isn't free you might say. It comes with a price.

zilch said...

Jim, you say:

Jumping from a burning building is not suicide. It's a calculated risk, only in this instance with miniscule chances of survival.

Then what is suicide? Pulling the trigger of a gun aimed at your temple is also a "calculated risk", because the gun might not go off, or you might survive anyway. But jumping from anything higher than, say, the tenth floor of a burning building probably has a better than 99.99% chance of death.

Of course, you might say the intention is the important thing. But the 9/11 jumper probably knew he had no chance of surviving the jump. Just like your garden variety suicide, he couldn't face life (burning to death in his case) and took the "easy" way out. I don't see how anyone, including God, can decide exactly what constitutes "suicide" and what is rather "taking a calculated risk". Another problem with either/or thinking.

Saved/damned. Right/wrong. Heaven/hell. Can't you Christians see that the world is a lot more complicated than that?

Scott said...

Jumping from a burning building is not suicide. It's a calculated risk, only in this instance with miniscule chances of survival.

There was as much chance of surviving the fall as there was surviving the fire.

While some people have overcome astronomical odds and survived skydiving with a defective parachute, anyone who knowingly jumped from an airplane without a parachute would be committing suicide.

These people were faced with an unimaginable choice. You don't jump off the side of a 1,355 ft, 110 story building unless you're prepared to die.

Since we're all going to die anyway, the definition of suicide is actively choosing the specific way in which you die. Whether you would have eventually died a painful death 10 minutes from now or 40 years from now in your sleep is irrelevant. You're still taking matters into your own hands.

IrishFarmer said...

Skimming over the comments, I was interested to read that some people called it a sin to jump out of the window.

First off, I don't know where the Bible supports this claim, but regardless. Isn't it suicide to purposefully stay in a blaze which you know will engulf you?

Michael Ejercito said...

There are plenty of things that happen in life that we can't handle.
That is right, and it is humans that cause these things to happen.

9/11 was an act of man, not an act of God.

Michael Ejercito said...


the idea that a prefect God would create a world where the only way to escape an long agonizing death is to commit a sinful act, defies logic.

So God crashed the airplanes into the buildings?

Scott said...

Isn't it suicide to purposefully stay in a blaze which you know will engulf you?

If these people had a viable means of escaping the building alive, then I would agree with you. However, these people had no such option.

Instead, the jumper is attempting to escape the reality of his current situation by prematurely ending his life.

Whether this person will die 5 minutes from now in a burning building or six months from now due to a painful terminal illness. It's the same motivation.

Jim Jordan said...

Zilch,
I know a guy who used to wash windows for a living in Chicago. One day he fell off his scaffold while working on the 85th floor. He was blown back onto a balcony on the 47th floor. He survived!

He acts a little goofy sometimes (and owes me $240 for a job he didn't finish) but he's still alive.

So no, it wasn't suicide for them to jump.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
I just want to point out that, in some cases an atheists interlocutor will attempt to redefine a key word or concept in the discussion. In this case it is SUICIDE. In some of the past articles I've written this month some of the terms have been BELIEF, FREE WILL, and APOLOGY and using the 'sliding criteria' such as Jim did while he was busy redifining suicide for us.

Stay sharp and keep your eyes out for this type of sophistry.

Lee Randolph said...

more food for thought.
I expected someone to say
"they were going to die anyway, so any decision they make is not suicide".

i would stipulate that and that it was mans fault and respond

Since that is the case, why not just take the victims before the fall or fire? Why not have them overcome with sleep, or overcome with noxious fumes or faint with fear or something more merciful than having to jump to your death or burn to death? Mercy me, Mercy me.

Is this too much to ask of an omnipotent, omniscient, merciful, Just god?

Evidently it is. He can't handle it. One reason that could be is if he's not any of that. Which means the Bible is Bunk.

When we are looking at things after the fact, it is so easy to see "how god works in our lives" but when it comes down to "crunch time" he can't be found except to save the odd person that had some good luck who may or may not have had any strong religious convictions.

SadEvilTan said...

Hi everyone, would just like to add few lines from my previous comments on this post, that is to say: how on Earth can anyone, in their right mind "Judge" a persons actions, when they have no IDEA whatsoever what it's like to be in that kind of situation, (at Deaths door) really does 'beggar belief' when you read some of these ridiculous comments on here; "smile! God loves you"...how low should one descend to!....

Michael Ejercito said...


Since that is the case, why not just take the victims before the fall or fire? Why not have them overcome with sleep, or overcome with noxious fumes or faint with fear or something more merciful than having to jump to your death or burn to death? Mercy me, Mercy me.

God does not feel like it.

Is this too much to ask of an omnipotent, omniscient, merciful, Just god?

No it is not.

He said no.

Why do you expect God to serve us; He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings; He owes us nothing.

Scott said...

One day he fell off his scaffold while working on the 85th floor. He was blown back onto a balcony on the 47th floor. He survived!

The key word here is fell. He did not jump. Any person jumping off the 85th floor would have been committing suicide.

Just as any person jumping out of a plane without a parachute would be committing suicide.

[That is unless you're this guy. Even then, he's still wearing a parachue just in case]

Scott said...

Michael,

Hypothetically speaking, what if my children were up there on the tower. Would you say I owed them nothing? If it was in my power to do so, do you think I would just say 'I don't feel like it'? If I simply knowingly let them die, wouldn't I morally and legally be a neglectful parent?

And if I could save my children, what about everyone else? would I just be justified in letting them die if I could save them as well, or simply say "no"?

Being omniscient, God would have intimate knowledge of the suffering of each living thing on the planet. Things that he himself created. Do you actually think that's something God would ignore?

Could you?

Lee Randolph said...

God has obviously left us like sheep among wolves, and obviously agrees that the freewill of the minority bad guy outweighs the freewill of the majority good guy.

But where does the fault of man stop? Why is it moral to let me or them suffer for the evil acts of another? How far of a regression does this consequences of evil acts go before we can find an innocent?

You can't. The game is rigged. We were 'designed' to fail.

and god won't bail us out. it is a no win situation, where even the christian is not sure if their belief is enough to get them in. All they have is hope, and self-justification, when they know the don't deserve it and fall short in every way.

Christianity is not the work of a God, it is the work of human shortsightedness.

It doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

Jim Jordan said...

The key word here is fell. He did not jump. Any person jumping off the 85th floor would have been committing suicide.


No, Scott. The point is that he SURVIVED.

The people who jumped did not say "I want to die!" before they jumped. They were on the verge of dying where they were and they took a desperate and near impossible risk.

Talk about "sliding criteria" and "sophistry" all you want, Lee, but you're lacking common sense here. When you deny obvious causes and common sense to amuse your goldfish-bowl version of god, that's as short-sighted as you can get.

Cheers.

Scott said...

No, Scott. The point is that he SURVIVED.

First, from a strictly statistical perspective, even if every single person who was in the World Trade Center would have jumped from impact zone, the odds that one of them being blown back into the building was effectively zero.

Second, due to the way the building was constructed, had someone been blown back into the building below the impact zone, they would have been killed since the outer skin would have prevented reentry.

The people who jumped did not say "I want to die!" before they jumped. They were on the verge of dying where they were and they took a desperate and near impossible risk.

Of course they didn't want to die. Do you think people with terminal illness want to die? Yet some people with terminal illnesses are willing to do anything to escape a painful, horrible death. Including commit suicide. Do you think their actions are objectively morally wrong?

These people jumped knowing it was highly likely they were going to die from the fall and had to choose one way over the other.

Or are you suggesting they were making a leap of Faith in hoping that God would save them?

Anonymous said...

Take up the "mortal sin" of suicide with the Catholics. They're the ones who make the biggest deal of it.

But, honestly, trying to find a link to "the sin of suicide" via the horrible desperation of the man in the picture is stupid! That's all the response it deserves.

Kevin H

Anonymous said...

Kevin Harris said...trying to find a link to "the sin of suicide" via the horrible desperation of the man in the picture is stupid!

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

And yet Kevin, can you think of any moral dilemna Jesus had to decide between where he must choose between less than the best moral choices, like the rest of us do?

Jim Jordan said...

Scott wrote**Do you think their actions are objectively morally wrong?**

How could we know for sure? I think you enter a realm of ambiguity.

John W.**can you think of any moral dilemna Jesus had to decide between where he must choose between less than the best moral choices, like the rest of us do?

I think there are many examples of Jesus being in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. However, the definition of "best moral choice" is not clear here to begin with. The 9/11 people in the upper floors of the WTC would have been facing heat exhaustion, smoke inhalation, and hopelessness (no attempted rescue in sight). You can't even be sure they were getting enough oxygen to their brains. Conclusion: the argument about suicide is a non-starter.

I couldn't help noticing that in Lee's list of what's wrong with the world there was something right with every listing...the spelling. I know that because I can refer to the authority of a dictionary. Now if we make a list of evils, what authority do we refer to to make sure our list is correct?

Anonymous said...

Jim, was Jesus ever forced to lie in order to save a life? Things like that.

Scott said...

Kevin: But, honestly, trying to find a link to "the sin of suicide" via the horrible desperation of the man in the picture is stupid! That's all the response it deserves.

Kevin, this is precisely my point. It is stupid!

Yet, if there is such a thing as objective morality and if the physical act of intentionally ending one's life to without benefit to anyone else is objectively morally wrong, then the jumpers who consciously weighed the options and decided to jump were objectively morally wrong.

Again, Christians claim that objective mortality exists outside the wants and needs of human minds. This would have rendered his own suffering irrelevant.

This is in contrast to a person who jumped from a rescue helicopter so it wouldn't crash from being overweight. They would have died so others would have lived.

Jim: How could we know for sure? I think you enter a realm of ambiguity.

You're suggesting that the individual threshold of suffering of person is willing to tolerate defines whether suicide is wrong.

I agree that this is an important factor in how we, as human beings, actually look at situations such as this in the real world. However, something that was really objectively morally wrong wouldn't cease to become objectively morally wrong because of the individual's wants or needs. Therefore it wouldn't be objectively ambiguous.

If this were not the case, then someone could decide that stubbing their big toe was too much suffering to bear and end their life without divine consequences.

Now, if God want's to make an exception for these people after the fact, that would be his prerogative. However, it seems pretty clear that he isn't under any obligation to do so.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jim,
However, the definition of "best moral choice" is not clear here to begin with. The 9/11 people in the upper floors of the WTC would have been facing heat exhaustion, smoke inhalation, and hopelessness (no attempted rescue in sight). You can't even be sure they were getting enough oxygen to their brains. Conclusion: the argument about suicide is a non-starter.
your a little late with the 'no-starter' claim. I addressed it on the 20th. So I'll stipulate that it wasn't suicide, but if god is merciful and just, he could have taken them when it was obvious that the game was up. When they decided, "I'm going to escape the fire and jump out this window and run away as fast as I can" God could have exhibited his mercy and took them then. Why make em go the extra mile?

If there really were a just merciful god and the choice between jumping and burning to death was unavoidable, God should have took them before they jumped. There should not have been one person jumping from the tower that day.

But as usual, God missed his opportunity, except for the lady at the drag race accident that is convinced that god saved her while allowing the others around her to die.

Also I'd like to point out that Jim is back to trying to equivocate or redefine terms to better support his position, with this gem "However, the definition of "best moral choice" is not clear here to begin with."

Be careful Jim, you are about to paint yourself into the atheist corner of 'moral relitivism' or "nihilism", or whatever by admitting there are qualifiers to an act which play a part in DETERMINING if its moral or not. I mean JUDGED to be moral or not. Acts just are, it is people that decide if they are moral or not. There is no absolute morality, there are just things that make us feel bad when we see or hear it, whether its 'absolutely moral' or not, and there are things that we sit around pontificating about trying to figure if it has enough qualifiers to call it moral, and then there are the christians that are aching to get us to type something in that they can misrepresent to show how atheists logic equates to anarchy in a slippery slope kind of way.

Jim Jordan said...

So I'll stipulate that it wasn't suicide, but if god is merciful and just, he could have taken them when it was obvious that the game was up.

Lee, that sounds like Monday morning "Deity-backing".

then the jumpers who consciously weighed the options and decided to jump were objectively morally wrong.

How do you plan to verify your "theory", Scott? You might as well ponder whether a squirrel flattened into a pancake on I-95 committed suicide or was simply a victim of squirrel-slaughter. The objectively morally wrong thing here is the attack itself. Remember that?

John W said**Jim, was Jesus ever forced to lie in order to save a life? Things like that.**

Now that's a good question. A direct example of this doesn't come to mind. However, in Mark 5 Jesus goes to bring Jairus' daughter back from the dead and tells the rent-a-wailer crowd that the girl is not dead, but asleep. Then He asks them to leave as he didn't want insincere people around. A lie? A semantic sleight of hand?

Two things that Jesus focused on most were "what to believe in" and "how to think". He obviously did not come to expand on the 10 Commandments but to show how to apply them (He even reduced them to two simple rules). His biggest fight was in challenging the centuries-long expansion of the Law into a calcified set of rules. They had made it a burden. While Jesus certainly wasn't a moral relativist, he also wasn't a moral fundamentalist. And if he is who he says he is, he knows what was going on in the minds of those victims of 9/11. We cannot know and, Lee, that's not "equivocating" or "slippery slope" it's just true.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jim,
Lee, that sounds like Monday morning "Deity-backing".

no its not. Its applying a sound principle to God. If you take your car to an expert and the work doesn't meet your expctations, then you have doubts about the expert don't you? Thats normal.

As I've said before, if god is going to buy off on being called trustworthy, Just, merciful, omnipotent and omniscient in the bible, he is compelled logcially to act that way. If not then since we are rational animals and he knows that and what that entails, then it is imcumbent on him to act in a way that doesn't betray those labels of being trustworthy, Just and Merciful, etc because he can reaasonably expect to create doubt. This doubt would be a result of reasoing about him with the only facilities we have at our disposal which he provided. Therefore, if he's going to refer to himself in that way and expect us to believe him, then a reasonable expectation can be made that he would act that way.

If god acts in a way that causes us to doubt, he has no one to blame but himself because he supposedly made the architecture that makes up the 3 pounds of meat in our heads.

Anonymous said...

John, you said:

"And yet Kevin, can you think of any moral dilemna Jesus had to decide between where he must choose between less than the best moral choices, like the rest of us do?"

KH> That's an excellent question and I really can't think of anything Jesus did to illustrate that. But, he did give a principle that I think is informative. When he implied that one can break the law in order to save a life, he is showing this conflict. One would obviously even break the law to get his animal out of a ditch, etc.

If I understand "graded absolutism" correctly, it seems to be the view I hold.

Also, we seem to agree that extreme situations are often not good case studies for ethics. They are not beyond ethics but just difficult to evaulate.

Scott said,

"Yet, if there is such a thing as objective morality and if the physical act of intentionally ending one's life to without benefit to anyone else is objectively morally wrong, then the jumpers who consciously weighed the options and decided to jump were objectively morally wrong".

KH> First, I think objective moral values can objectively come into conflict. And if one has the presence of mind, can try to determine the higher consideration, in which case the lower value becomes subordinate. If given no other choice, I would steal medicine to save the life of my daughter, etc.

Second, sometimes one does not have the luxury to spend time weighing options.

Here's an observation (not an argument). On a Darwinian view, 911 represents survival of the fittest. On Christianity, it represents a moral atrocity that forcefully shows man's need for God.

zilch said...

Kevin, you say:

On a Darwinian view, 911 represents survival of the fittest. On Christianity, it represents a moral atrocity that forcefully shows man's need for God.

Depends on what you mean by "Darwinian" and "Christianity", Kevin.

It's rather hard to apply evolutionary theory to crashing airliners into skyscrapers, but let's give it a whirl. Basically, "survival of the fittest" is about differential reproductive success. So let's see: did the hijackers leave more children per capita than the people in the WTC? I don't know for sure, but as far as I have been able to find out, among the nineteen hijackers, only one had a child. I would be willing to bet that the average number of children per 9/11 victim is higher that 1/19 of a child. So by that reckoning, the 9/11 attack was a Darwinian disaster for the hijackers, who could have gone on to have many children if they hadn't blown themselves up first.

If we rather suppose that the Darwinian rewards of 9/11, if any, would redound upon Islam in general, in some sort of "group selection", the picture is not so clear. Are Muslims worldwide having more children because of 9/11? Hard to say, but I somehow doubt that 9/11 has played much of a role either way in the birth rate. So it seems unlikely, barring evidence to the contrary, that 9/11 represents anything like "survival of the fittest".

Now, of course, there are almost certainly examples of genocide that have increased the differential survival of the aggressors. But 9/11 doesn't seem to be one of them, and in any case, we humans are lucky enough to have other agendas than merely passing on our genes: just because I am an atheist and a Darwinian (in the sense of believing that evolutionary theory fits the evidence better than any of its competitors, so far), doesn't mean that I would jump at a chance to kill my enemies (not having God-given morals) and impregnate all their women (obeying my Darwinian imperative).

But this scenario fits all too well with religion and the "need for God". In the first place, Al Qaeda claims to be doing the work of God. In the second place, exactly this kind of attack, indiscriminately killing non-combatents, women and children included, is not only mentioned in the Bible, but is commanded by God, for instance when he orders Saul to kill all the Amalekites.

And the depictions in Deuteronomy, Judges, and Numbers, where God (or one of His prophets) approves of the Israelites "taking" the women of the enemy, shows that God knows all about increasing the differential reproductive success of the Chosen People, scooping Darwin by several thousand years.

So, no, Kevin, moral atrocity doesn't forcefully show man's need for God: it forcefully shows man's, and woman's, need to think about what is good.

Scott said...

Scott:then the jumpers who consciously weighed the options and decided to jump were objectively morally wrong.

Jim: How do you plan to verify your "theory", Scott? You might as well ponder whether a squirrel flattened into a pancake on I-95 committed suicide or was simply a victim of squirrel-slaughter. The objectively morally wrong thing here is the attack itself. Remember that?

How does the jumper differ from someone with a terminal illness due to a manufacturing company purposely dumping dangerous chemicals in their water supply?

Obviously, the company committed a morally wrong act which put the victim in this situation in the first place. But, if this person decides to end their life to avoid suffering, is it objectively morally wrong? What makes them different than the jumper?

* How long they take to choose?
* How soon they will eventually die?
* The amount of suffering they will have to endure?
* The gravity of the wrong that caused their situation? (Planes as missiles vs. intentional dumping of known carcinogens )

All of these things would be subjective, personal judgments, which are supposed to be irrelevant in maters of objective morality.

Again, I'm not saying that God, if he exists, might not make exceptions for these people due to the circumstance. But it seems clear he's under no obligation to do so.

KH> First, I think objective moral values can objectively come into conflict. And if one has the presence of mind, can try to determine the higher consideration, in which case the lower value becomes subordinate. If given no other choice, I would steal medicine to save the life of my daughter, etc.

I covered this type of consideration further down in my post.

Scott:This is in contrast to a person who jumped from a rescue helicopter so it wouldn't crash from being overweight. They would have died so others would have lived.

However, this was not the situation we're discussing. The jumpers were taking action to personally avoid a frightening and horrible situation.

Anonymous said...

Zilch said,

"Depends on what you mean by "Darwinian" and "Christianity", Kevin.

KH> I mean that on the Naturalistic worldview, something like Darwinism accounts for the development and activity of life. Therefore, homicidal aggression ultimately must reduce to survival instincts. It only masquerades as ideals, philosophies, and religion.

So, the tautology of survival of the fittest is demonstrated in 911 as vulnerabilities are exploited by another member of the species (In this case, in an attempt to preserve "ideals").

BTW, I think the issue of the Amelakites and captive women is somewhere on this blog, so we can go there and discuss it or perhaps you can post your thoughts.

zilch said...

Kevin, you say:

I mean that on the Naturalistic worldview, something like Darwinism accounts for the development and activity of life. Therefore, homicidal aggression ultimately must reduce to survival instincts. It only masquerades as ideals, philosophies, and religion.

Not quite. While aggression, like affection, has its roots in our evolution, and can be considered part of our genetic "survival instincts", that's not the whole story, at least for people and other intelligent animals. What we learn, and what we reason, are also important factors.

As I pointed out, the genetic utility of the 9/11 attack was probably negative. And while aggression probably played a role, the kind of aggression that removes you from the gene pool doesn't tend to evolve genetically, unless it has genetic payoffs (increased survival of kin).

No, the kind of aggression displayed in the 9/11 attacks is only seen in cultured animals: for instance, humans with ideals, philosophies, and/or religions. It's not the case that aggression is genetic and "masquerades" as ideals: our cultural heritage and reasoning powers inform and channel our aggressions and affections. And religion has shown itself time and again to be a powerful tool for channeling our emotions.

To untangle genes from culture is very difficult, if not impossible: we are not fully human without our cultured ideals and morals, and ideals and morals make no sense without considering our particular evolutionary heritage: that's why "objective" morals, which exist independently without people, make no sense.

Jim Jordan said...

Scott, you are trying to cram the debate into a box marked "external rules". Sorry, but I'm not going to claim your strawman. For the last time, if you want to find out what was in the heart of the guy falling in the picture, go ask him.

Scott said...

Scott, you are trying to cram the debate into a box marked "external rules".

Is objective mortally not defined external of the thoughts and needs of human beings? If we are to follow God's will, should there not be a clear set of rules we can follow?

If I'm misrepresenting objective morality, then what is the correct definition?

For the last time, if you want to find out what was in the heart of the guy falling in the picture, go ask him.

Let me clearly spell out the scenario for you.

I'm trapped and the fire is closing in. I may or may not be injured due to the initial impact, but I'm mobile. I'm afraid, but conscious enough to realize that escape is not an option and I have to make a choice. I can either jump to avoid the fire all together or face it on my feet. I make the choice to jump knowing that unless God saves me I'm gong to die.

If you think objective morality exists and intentionally ending one's life for no other benefit other than your own is morally objectively wrong, you should be able to tell me if either the jumper I just described or the terminally ill person in my earlier comment would be violating it. Otherwise, how can it be objective?

I'm not saying what the jumpers did was wrong. If I was faced with same choice, I'd probably have jumped too. But if theists claim that God must exist because objective morality exists, then those who contemplated their fate yet decided to jump must fall on one side or the other.

Jim Jordan said...

Hi Scott
Is objective morality not defined external of the thoughts and needs of human beings?


Are you saying the thoughts and needs of humans are not relevant in any cases of judging the best moral decision? What of details that we may not ever know of? Shouldn't objective morality consider all possible objects? You seem to infer that you can draw the line of admissible evidence for the sake of debate and (do what?) show that as a proof for the existence or non-existence of God?

I think we can understand why Jesus warned us that we mustn't judge, lest we be judged in the same [arrogant] way. I cannot judge the actions of the falling victims of the WTC nor can I truly know the extent of their moral decision to jump.

You made a few points but I think the one I highlighted leads to the rest. Let me know if I didn't address something.
Regards.

Scott said...

Are you saying the thoughts and needs of humans are not relevant in any cases of judging the best moral decision?

You're putting the cart before the horse. Before you can judge someone you need laws. If objective morality exists, the definition of what is or is not a moral act must transcend human opinion and consensus.

However, this would not exclude intention or belief from being part of that definition.

Let's take the following four scenarios

01. I decide to take someone's life against their will, for no other reason other than I'm angry at them or to obtain something of theirs I want

02. I decide take someone's life against their will, because I have a strong, probably cause that my life and the lives of others are in mortal danger.

03. I decide to help someone take their own life in accordance with their clearly specified will, because I have a strong, probable medical cause they are greatly suffering in vain and they will not recover.

04. I decide take someone's life in unknowing accordance with their will, because they purposely and falsely give a strong impression that my life or the lives of others are in mortal danger.

Note how the victim's will in these scenarios can vary widely, however the real issue here is my intentions and beliefs. What the victims want really isn't the focus here. Yet, as a theist who believes in objective morality and a non-theist who does not, we would likely disagree on 03.

As a non-theist, I many not really want the patient to die, but I wouldn't want them to needlessly suffer either. I can choose to help them because I have logically considered the options and feel it's the correct moral action.

As a theist, you might feel sympathy for the patient, but you think that objective morality (what ever this is) has already "considered all possible objects" and "decided" it's objectively immoral. Therefore, your sympathy and their desire to end their needless suffering would be irrelevant.

nor can I truly know the extent of their moral decision to jump.

I've solved his problem for you by providing a clear scenario in which, the intent and motivation is known.

You seem to infer that you can draw the line of admissible evidence for the sake of debate and (do what?) show that as a proof for the existence or non-existence of God?

Does WLC not do the very same thing? I'm simply pointing out that, in the exact scenario I outlined, the street of objective morality would go both ways. And it appears to go against what both you and I would conceder rational behavior.

If I believe that the Bible is in error on the point of homosexuality, does mean I would be not still be responsible for taking part in homosexual acts? How does this differ from scenario 04 above?

What If I was kept in isolation from the Bible, but taught that God existed and he approved of homosexuality?

If we can't decide what is objectively morally wrong, how can we choose a course of action for ourselves?

Jim Jordan said...

Scott**You're putting the cart before the horse. Before you can judge someone you need laws.

My point was before you judge someone you need facts.

Why is it imperative that suffering be unnecessary?

What If I was kept in isolation from the Bible, but taught that God existed and he approved of homosexuality?

Interesting how the Bible answers that rationally, isn't it? According to Scripture we will be judged according to what we have been taught (Romans 3:20) and how we have responded to our conscience and to natural revelation (Romans 1:20), which is reflected in what we do (Rev. 20:12). Since the homosexuality traverses the middle of those three, it is a gray area for Christians. The good news there is that we aren't supposed to judge them in the first place. The point that matters is that we all will be judged.

While all four of your scenarios constitute an abuse of free will from a theistic perspective, I would say all are morally wrong. 04 is contradictory BTW.

I decide take someone's life in unknowing accordance with their will, because they purposely and falsely give a strong impression that my life or the lives of others are in mortal danger.

I don't follow you here. Someone wants to give you the "strong impression" that he wants to kill you but he's just kidding. (?) I don't see the relation to your homosexuality scenario. Perhaps you could clarify that.

Scott said...

Why is it imperative that suffering be unnecessary?

What if I stubbed by toe? The amount of my suffering would be irrelevant if objective morality exist.

I don't follow you here. Someone wants to give you the "strong impression" that he wants to kill you but he's just kidding. (?) I don't see the relation to your homosexuality scenario. Perhaps you could clarify that.

Imaging if I wanted to kill myself, but simply couldn't bring my self to go though with it. A solution to this problem would be to load a machine gun full of blanks, walk into a police station and start firing.

The officers would have a reasonable cause to assume that lives were in danger and use lethal action to take the person's life. While they may not be aware of it at the time, their actions would be in accordance with the shooter's will. They were manipulated in to helping him commit suicide.

This is in contrast to shooting a suspect in a bank robbery hostage situation. If an officer killed one of the robbers because he was shooting a hostage every hour, he'd be taking the robbers life against their will. They hoped to escape and spend the money they stole. This is scenario 02.

If I have have a probable cause to believe that God really doesn't believe that homosexually is wrong, then would taking part in homosexual acts be a violation of objective morality?

If so, how is this different than scenario 4?

According to Scripture we will be judged according to what we have been taught (Romans 3:20) and how we have responded to our conscience and to natural revelation (Romans 1:20), which is reflected in what we do (Rev. 20:12). Since the homosexuality traverses the middle of those three, it is a gray area for Christians. The good news there is that we aren't supposed to judge them in the first place. The point that matters is that we all will be judged.

If, hypothetically, I'm truly attracted to the same sex, how is this not natural information that I'm acting upon? We also have statistical evidence that seems to imply that our genes have a strong influence on which sex we are attracted to.

The good news there is that we aren't supposed to judge them in the first place. The point that matters is that we all will be judged.

If I'm Gay, how exactly is this good news? How am I supposed to decide what to do? Again, if God lets me off the hook because I truly believed homosexuality is ok, how can this not be a violation of objective morality?

Based on what i've seen of nature and what I know about how our universe really works, I think that the existence of a God is extremely unlikely. And if by some incredible chance God did exist, then he wouldn't want anything from us because perfect beings don't need or want things. And if he's not perfect, then how is he different from some incredibly smart alien who's created us as part of some science experiment?

Where does this leave me?

Jim Jordan said...

Imaging if I wanted to kill myself, but simply couldn't bring my self to go though with it. A solution to this problem would be to load a machine gun full of blanks, walk into a police station and start firing.


Well, if we are judged by what we know [not just by what we do - again, here, God knows what is in our hearts], then the police are not to blame.

wouldn't want anything from us because perfect beings don't need or want things.

Didn't know that. Remind me to get my copy of "Perfect Beings For Dummies". :-) The Christian response is that God likes children and created us for that reason.

If God exists, He is a perfect being as He would then be more than the sum of the universe. We know that the universe exists, therefore if God exists and the universe exists, we have a snapshot of a God who does in fact desire something. Perhaps He doesn't want to be alone.

Where does this leave me?

You're just not convinced that God exists. No big deal, yet. Cheers.

Scott said...

Well, if we are judged by what we know [not just by what we do - again, here, God knows what is in our hearts], then the police are not to blame.

You seem to have skipped the other half of my question.

If I believe in my heart that if God did exist, it seems unlikely that he'd want something from us, or that God doesn't really take issue with homosexuality (it was the opinion of men, not God), how is this different that the police officers in my example?

The Christian response is that God likes children and created us for that reason.

I'm aware of the Christian response. But it appears to be one of many anthropomorphic traits applied to the singularity that caused beginning of time and space.

Take the common phrase "I'm perfectly happy with it", or 'It's perfect'. These are indications that no changes are necessary. Nothing else is wanted or needed. Nothing should be added or removed. In this context, a perfect being would be in a state of equilibrium. Not needing or wanting anything.

The idea that God feels lonely or incomplete without children seems to conflict with our own, every-day usage of the word 'perfect'.

However, this is a completely different topic, which will hopefully be discussed elsewhere.

Jim Jordan said...

Hi Scott

Take the common phrase "I'm perfectly happy with it", or 'It's perfect'. These are indications that no changes are necessary.

So in a perfect game, nothing has happened? I respectfully disagree that God is perfect in the same way a person is "perfectly happy".

If I believe in my heart that if God did exist, it seems unlikely that he'd want something from us, or that God doesn't really take issue with homosexuality (it was the opinion of men, not God), how is this different that the police officers in my example?


The reason why homosexuality is not given God's blessing is not projection. There is no perceivable function for two members of the same sex to have sexual relations. Man+Woman=Child. Man+Man=Cleanup in Aisle 9...

God is the foundational designer of nature and we do not see any natural function for homosexuality. It is then homosexuality as correct that is a projection of man.

Good points, though. Let me know if I missed anything.

Scott said...

The reason why homosexuality is not given God's blessing is not projection.

The man actually wasn't a threat to the officers, yet they really believed he was. Yet, you implied they would not be held responsible.

I'm not gay. I don't partake in homosexual acts, but I really do believe that it's a projection by men. How are these situations different?

There is no perceivable function for two members of the same sex to have sexual relations.

I'm not sure how you're reaching this conclusion. Are you saying that things that have no function are objectively morally wrong?

If something is objectively morally wrong, it would be wrong regardless if it functioned or not. It would be wrong for no other reason than it was objectively "wrong".

Do you subscribe to the divine command position in regards to objective morality?

Michael Ejercito said...


Do you subscribe to the divine command position in regards to objective morality?

Divine command is the only morality.

Jim Jordan said...

Scott wrote The man actually wasn't a threat to the officers, yet they really believed he was.

A man marches into a police station with gun drawn and is shot by police. Turns out his gun had no bullets. So what? How was he not a threat?

You are ignoring part of the data in order to say he was not a threat. Now imagine what an all-knowing God could see?

I agree with Michael. Divine command is the only morality. Also it is the only objective reality.

Scott said...

A man marches into a police station with gun drawn and is shot by police. Turns out his gun had no bullets. So what? How was he not a threat?

He only appeared to be a threat. Unless he starts clubbing people with the but of his gun, he's not really a threat that warrants lethal force.

The key points are..

01. Whether the man wanted to die or not, the police would have not been held accountable.

02. The police had incorrect information but did what they truly believed was correct. You're saying they are not accountable.

I truly believe that God does not exist, or that if by some incredible chance he does exist, then he really wouldn't want or need anything as "perfect" being. If I'm wrong, how am I any different than the police officers?

If I was attracted to the same sex and truly believed that God's prohibition of homosexual activity was merely a homophobic addition added by men, how I this any different than the police officers?

I think there is sufficient evidence to support both of these positions. For example, studies have shown that if one identical twins is attracted to the same sex, then the other has a 50% chance of being attracted to the same sex as well, this ratio drops to 24% in fraternal twins.

Why would God hold me responsible if I'm wrong, but let the officers off the hook?

Jim Jordan said...

Hi Scott
I'm afraid your "man with the gun storms a police station is not a threat" logic is too strained to engage.

Why would God hold me responsible if I'm wrong, but let the officers off the hook?

I believe you are over-simplifying the matter. You're trying to make God out to be like some "Law and Order" prosecutor so you can say "Hey, your god is just a projection....of a 'Law and Order' prosecutor!"

It's very hard for us to judge ourselves objectively, much less judge others. There are things we can surmise with some certainty, like the fact the policemen truly felt they had to defend themselves. But knowing what lies in someone's heart requires a knowledge of objective reality which we do not have. The Bible recognizes that and tells us that only God can judge the heart. At least you wouold have to admit that the urge to "project" a god was not taken up in that case.
Regards.

Scott said...

I'm afraid your "man with the gun storms a police station is not a threat" logic is too strained to engage.

Are starters at track races considered threats that warrant lethal response? They have guns but they to are loaded with blanks. Apparently this scenario has strained your argument beyond it's capacity for a response.

Scott:Why would God hold me responsible if I'm wrong, but let the officers off the hook?

Jim:I believe you are over-simplifying the matter. You're trying to make God out to be like some "Law and Order" prosecutor so you can say "Hey, your god is just a projection....of a 'Law and Order' prosecutor!"

My point in this line of dialog is to show how the idea of Objective Morality is just such a simplification. You seem to accept it when it fits your views, but reject it when it does not.

It's very hard for us to judge ourselves objectively, much less judge others. There are things we can surmise with some certainty, like the fact the policemen truly felt they had to defend themselves. But knowing what lies in someone's heart requires a knowledge of objective reality which we do not have.

You continue to treat these scenarios differently without any justification. We can somehow know the police officers were justified, but simply can't know in the case of my belief that God's existence is very unlikely or that homosexuality in the Bible is the addition of homophobic men.

The Bible recognizes that and tells us that only God can judge the heart. At least you would have to admit that the urge to "project" a god was not taken up in that case.

I'm not the one who's claiming that God exists or that he will eternally judge us for our thoughts and actions. If this is the case, then it's reasonable to expect some kind of clarification as to how I should proceed if my eternal soul is at stake.

As such, following the evidence where I truly believe it leads is path I'll continue to follow.

Jim Jordan said...

Hi Scott - Sorry I missed your post before now. Here goes.

I had said**I'm afraid your "man with the gun storms a police station is not a threat" logic is too strained to engage.

You replied**Are starters at track races considered threats that warrant lethal response? They have guns but they to are loaded with blanks.

Yes, and we know that. Again you can only be judged by what you know and in the case of the police officers, when they know it. An after-the-fact realization that the gunman had no bullets is not relevant to any judgment of guilt.

My point in this line of dialog is to show how the idea of Objective Morality is just such a simplification. You seem to accept it when it fits your views, but reject it when it does not.

A judgment based on objective morality would have to include all the facts. If you refuse to recognize that facts are different would it not be you who is shifting around?


continue to treat these scenarios differently without any justification.

You mean I can't treat these different scenarios differently without justification, don't you?

Now your question about homosexuality. Is the homosexual condemned because he didn't know or believe homosexuality is not part of God's plan for his life. I think I get your comparison with the policemen who would have assumed the man had bullets in his gun. How would the homosexual know any differently?

The truth is that homosexuality was permissible in nearly every ancient culture except for the Jews. The people of Sodom in Genesis 19 were the rule for the Canaanites, not the exception. If man created a projection of god why would they restrict themselves when it comes to sex? None of the other nearby cultures were holding back.

But the suppression of homosexuality was part of the phenomenal multiplication of the Jewish people.

I can't judge a homosexual based on his sexuality alone. I have known many exemplary Christians who are homosexuals. But is it truly unknowable that homosexual love is not a force of nature, as "Brokeback Mountain" contended? I'll just say that it's impossible to not know that homosexuality is different from heterosexuality, and heterosexuality produces offspring.

I'm not the one who's claiming that God exists or that he will eternally judge us for our thoughts and actions. If this is the case, then it's reasonable to expect some kind of clarification as to how I should proceed if my eternal soul is at stake.

As such, following the evidence where I truly believe it leads is path I'll continue to follow.

Fair enough. I would assert that the Bible as "projection of homophobic men" is not a strong premise. It is circular. "The Bible is homophobic therefore it's god is a projection of homophobic men". Current with the Bible was the Greek god Hercules who was a stud with both sexes. Which looks more like a projection, Hercules or Yahweh (the "I am that I am")?

Scott said...

Yes, and we know that. Again you can only be judged by what you know and in the case of the police officers, when they know it. An after-the-fact realization that the gunman had no bullets is not relevant to any judgment of guilt.

And, if the Christian God exists, he is purposely withholding significant evidence of his existence until AFTER we die. Just as the police officers didn't find out the gun was loaded with blanks until AFTER they had killed the man, theists claim we don't get full disclosure from God until it's too late for use to act on it. Instead, we get a God that is non-material, undetectable, unpredictable, purposely confuses people and causes them to disbelieve, contradicts himself and often doesn't follow his own moral guidelines. God could easily clear these issues up, but doesn't seem to be interested in doing so.

A judgment based on objective morality would have to include all the facts. If you refuse to recognize that facts are different would it not be you who is shifting around?

Facts are interpreted by human beings, from which they make conclusions. Two people can come to completely different conclusions based on the same fact. This is why we're having this conversation in the first place.

If man created a projection of god why would they restrict themselves when it comes to sex? None of the other nearby cultures were holding back.

But the suppression of homosexuality was part of the phenomenal multiplication of the Jewish people.


It appears you've answered your own question. It doesn't take an omnipotent being to conclude that making homosexuality punishable by death would be a strong motivation to increase the number of births and ensure the survival of their culture. Since it's estimated that the population of the jews at the time of exodus could have been as low as 20,000, imposing this sort of ban would be the equivalent of establishing martial law during a time of war, oppression or natural disaster. In fact, in the 1930's Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin introduced a new criminal code that made homosexuality a crime punishable by five years of hard labor. The Soviet government treated homosexuality as crime against the state that wast the equivalent to espionage.

We're still seeing this sort of behavior today in countries with low birthrates, except governments are rewarding couples for conceiving instead of punishing homosexuals.

I'll just say that it's impossible to not know that homosexuality is different from heterosexuality, and heterosexuality produces offspring.

Sex between a man and a women can produce offspring. This is a fact. The sexual orientation of either partner is irrelevant. You're the one coming to the conclusion that sex which does not produce offspring is wrong. However, if non-reproductive sex is wrong, then using contraceptives during sex or a couple that cannot conceive due to medical reasons could also be considered wrong. I simply can't see how you're getting from A to B with this sort of logic.

I'd also note that there is no shortage of heterosexual couples around to keep the human race from dying out.

I would assert that the Bible as "projection of homophobic men" is not a strong premise. It is circular. "The Bible is homophobic therefore it's god is a projection of homophobic men".

First off, you're misrepresenting my claim. I'm specifically pointing to God's apparent disproval of homosexuality. The Christian God is portrayed as having a long list very specific properties and beliefs. The addition of one additional property to this list could have been made by a small number of people and may not reflect the entire views of every author in the Bible. However, if this addition was accepted as true divine revelation and became cannon, the real motivation would be irrelevant.

Second, I'm merely being hypothetical here. Whether men had irrational reasons for making Homosexuality punishable by death, such as homophobia, or rational reasons, such as preserving one's culture, I still believe it's an addition by men for reasons I outline earlier.