Atheist Petra Fans

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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by curt » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:13 am

So it is not right because it is right but because it is written in our heart? You have claimed an atheist cannot have moral obligation. Now you seem to say he can but cannot account for it. You have made moral understanding and obligation dependent on the existence of God. If it is dependent on him, it is not even comparable to the law of gravity. That law is not dependent on belief. But you claim moral obligation is. You just cannot compare the two without contradicting yourself.
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by curt » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:32 am

The fact that you compare natural laws with moral law shows a basic misunderstanding. Ethics is conserned with the ought while science is concerned with the is. The first takes an interpretation that is not Scientific. That is why you cannot compare.
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by curt » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:00 am

According to your quote Gentiles can act as a law unto themselves. Law implies obligation. Thus they can have obligation contrary to what you have claimed. This text contradicts your own points.

Furthermore it seems to point to human nature as a source of ethics. It is certainly not incompatible with Leibniz's ideas. And not incompatible with the idea of objective values. It is only incompatible with your claims.
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Mountain Man » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:00 am

curt wrote:
Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:13 am
You have claimed an atheist cannot have moral obligation. Now you seem to say he can but cannot account for it. You have made moral understanding and obligation dependent on the existence of God.
None of this is contradictory. If atheism is true then moral obligation does not exist. However, moral obligation does exist, and the atheist instinctively recognizes that it exists, but his worldview can not coherently account for its existence; therefore, atheism is false.

You say, "According to your quote Gentiles can act as a law unto themselves." First of all, it's not my quote as you so dismissively call it, it's the Word of God. And secondly, the whole point is that Gentiles can't claim they didn't know any better because God has written his law on their hearts which they instinctively obey even if they refuse to acknowledge the source.

You did, of course, completely miss the point of my analogy with the law of gravity. I wasn't likening moral obligation to a natural law. Rather, I was pointing out that just because someone rejects objective reality does not mean that objective reality stops having an influence on him.
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Dan » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:08 pm

*Mountain Man drops the mic*
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by curt » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:21 pm

Read the words again: "When Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts..." (Romans 2:14-15)

If someone who does not believe (which goes for Gentiles) can act as a law to himself then that of course implies obligation since a law without obligation does not exist. Compare the statement of "law to themselves" with your following words: "To put it another way, until the atheist can point to someone or something to which he is ultimately accountable, even after death, then he has no basis for supposing that there is moral obligation." You have pointed to the dependencies time and time agian. They do not exist in the quote above. Quite the opposite.

The Gentiles in the descibtion above do not have the law, they do not know God and thus have not heard about consequences that exist according to the law. Yet not only do they suppose that there is moral obligation. They can act as a law to themselves. It is also said that the law is written on their hearts (perhaps it means it is a part of human nature). How does this compare to your statements that there is no objective reason to act morally if one does not believe in God. If it is in our nature, written in our heart, then that would seem a good reason to suppose the opposite.

And again the quote from the Romans does not prove that God is the source of moral obligation nor that there are no objective values existing independently unless you are already a believer. For a believer it tells a truth but for a non-believer it is just a claim, not a proof. You claimed there was some sort of proof. Where is it? We are yet to see it.

I have even pointed to the fact that other religions contain a God or more gods and also the punishment in an afterlife. So even if your ideas are correct (which they are not in my oppinion) how come Christianity in your understanding and not Leibniz's or many other Christians is correct and is what the obligation points to or works as a proof off? Buddhism also contains punishment in an afterlife. Can they account for moral obligation in your view, and if, then how do you prove their understanding is wrong without presupposing Christianity is right?

You did compare natural law to physical law without pointing to the obvious difference. They do not exist in the same way, shape or form. If you claim that someone who refutes the law of gravity will still experience it and use that fact to point out that an atheist will also somehow be confronted with a moral reality even if he tries to ignore it then that undermines your own point regarding the "no objective reason" for him to act morally since, then, he cannot just ignore it. And then there is objective reason. But you had pointed to the opposite. So choose which one of your points you want to keep. You cannot have them all. They are inconsistent.

Basically I think your points are going in quite different directions from time to time and are bordering to a contradiction.
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by curt » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:16 pm

I think my points are further clarified if we read a little longer: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another."

So there is a conscience bearing withness and thoughts in a constant selfreflection among those who do not know God. Added to the human nature written into their hearts by God (whom they do not know of). No objective reason?
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by merlin » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:43 am

It's been a while - what can I say - I take my time ;p

I'm replying specifically to mountain man - because I read fully and thought about your response.

Firstly if I were to be fair my position on science and ethics does change. I don't claim to hold the "truth". Currently I am probably best classified as a logical positivist. I think mathematics has the scope to explain everything that actually exists. We can't yet because we don't know enough. I am not a relativist in the existentialist sense - that is I believe that right and wrong is objectively and provably (quantifiably) right and wrong.

I think we can pretty safely reduce it down to principles of mutual happiness and safety. It's what makes religion popular that most people like being good in a sense we all understand. But this does not validate the proposition just the impulse - people are mostly good. We're biologically driven to be mostly good in all the senses that we understand good.

We're not morally obligated so much as morally motivated. You (I hope) and I want to be good - it's in our dna. And it is logical and makes sense.

I hope this helps explain my position somewhat to you as I appreciate your questions to me in good faith.

What motivates me to be more good than selfish though? Well I'm dying. We all are. I don't know when but it's coming. There are things that are important that aren't just about me and my survival. I think this and I believe this and I don't need a god for this idea, it's in me. It's in lots of people. Can I fully explain it? No. Honestly no I can't. But it doesn't prove or necessitate a belief in God or Gods. There's actually a lot I can't yet explain and neither can you - at least not to my satisfaction.

I'm not interested in a debate btw. This isn't "my best" argument but rather my honest current thinking in good faith. I'm not interested in beating you but rather I want to understand your position and for you to understand mine such that I can approach the truth.
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Mountain Man » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:46 pm

merlin wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:43 am
It's been a while - what can I say - I take my time ;p

I'm replying specifically to mountain man - because I read fully and thought about your response.

Firstly if I were to be fair my position on science and ethics does change. I don't claim to hold the "truth". Currently I am probably best classified as a logical positivist. I think mathematics has the scope to explain everything that actually exists. We can't yet because we don't know enough. I am not a relativist in the existentialist sense - that is I believe that right and wrong is objectively and provably (quantifiably) right and wrong.

I think we can pretty safely reduce it down to principles of mutual happiness and safety. It's what makes religion popular that most people like being good in a sense we all understand. But this does not validate the proposition just the impulse - people are mostly good. We're biologically driven to be mostly good in all the senses that we understand good.

We're not morally obligated so much as morally motivated. You (I hope) and I want to be good - it's in our dna. And it is logical and makes sense.

I hope this helps explain my position somewhat to you as I appreciate your questions to me in good faith.

What motivates me to be more good than selfish though? Well I'm dying. We all are. I don't know when but it's coming. There are things that are important that aren't just about me and my survival. I think this and I believe this and I don't need a god for this idea, it's in me. It's in lots of people. Can I fully explain it? No. Honestly no I can't. But it doesn't prove or necessitate a belief in God or Gods. There's actually a lot I can't yet explain and neither can you - at least not to my satisfaction.

I'm not interested in a debate btw. This isn't "my best" argument but rather my honest current thinking in good faith. I'm not interested in beating you but rather I want to understand your position and for you to understand mine such that I can approach the truth.
It has been a while. I had to reread the entire thread to remind myself what I had written two-years ago. Ha ha!

And now that I've taken time to read your response above, I can't say you've covered any new ground, so I will let my previous posts in this thread stand. However, one comment did strike me. You said:

"I believe this and I don't need a god for this idea..."

I regularly encounter similar sentiments from atheists, but here's the problem: This is a begged question, because unless you can conclusively prove that God does not exist, then you can't definitively say that any notion you might have does not come from God. To put it another way, you can't look at the universe as it exists and then assume it would exist as it does with or without a God. In order to build a coherent view of morality from the atheist worldview, you need to work front to back, that is, start with the basic tenets of atheism and work out from there, ending with "Therefore, we ought to live morally." You're trying to work back to front saying that "Because things are this way, therefore, they ought to be this way." This is formally known as the "is-ought" fallacy.

The fact that atheists inherently recognize that moral obligation exists but can't coherently account for it is a real problem for their worldview. You say that the desire to do good is "in our dna", but what put this desire there? Romans 2:15 has the answer: It was God!
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by curt » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:10 am

I don't see how Mountain Man does much to confront Leibniz' point:

"Furthermore, if you say ·as Descartes did· that things are good not because they match up to objective standards of goodness, but only
because God chose them, you will unthinkingly destroy all God’s love and all his glory. For why praise him for what he has done, if he would be equally praiseworthy for doing just the opposite?"

If one is to insist that any moral idea we would have without refering to God would be based on a fallacy it is hard to avoid the conclusion that we would have simply have to accept anything God would point to as being good as simply being good for the sole reason that God says so.

Luckily, I believe reality is far more complex than that. So do many Christians, among them some great philosophers. By going for Mountain Man's ideas you may achieve the goal of establishing an idea that only you (and God) know what is good. It can be convenient if you are afraid of other world views. However, what he seems to miss is the point that he is making both humans, reality and God much smaller.
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Mountain Man » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:59 am

curt wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:10 am
I don't see how Mountain Man does much to confront Leibniz' point:

"Furthermore, if you say ·as Descartes did· that things are good not because they match up to objective standards of goodness, but only
because God chose them, you will unthinkingly destroy all God’s love and all his glory. For why praise him for what he has done, if he would be equally praiseworthy for doing just the opposite?"

If one is to insist that any moral idea we would have without refering to God would be based on a fallacy it is hard to avoid the conclusion that we would have simply have to accept anything God would point to as being good as simply being good for the sole reason that God says so.

Luckily, I believe reality is far more complex than that. So do many Christians, among them some great philosophers. By going for Mountain Man's ideas you may achieve the goal of establishing an idea that only you (and God) know what is good. It can be convenient if you are afraid of other world views. However, what he seems to miss is the point that he is making both humans, reality and God much smaller.
You know you can address me directly. What's with this third-person nonsense? :lol:

Anyway, I addressed those points earlier in the thread. Here's what I had to say:
Mountain Man wrote:
Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:51 pm
What a load of nonsense. As theists and Christians, "good" is simply the term we use to describe that which aligns with the character and nature of God. It's not independent of God, nor is it something that God arbitrary decides.
Mountain Man wrote:
Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:37 am
I call it nonsense because it exposes a fundamental ignorance of theistic morality.

Asking, "Is God morally good?" makes as much sense as asking, "Is a circle round?" We call something round because it has the nature of a circle. We call something morally good because it has the nature of God. The property of "roundness" does not exist independently of a circle, and the property of "moral goodness" does not exist independently of God. You literally can not have one without the other.
You say:

"If one is to insist that any moral idea we would have without refering to God would be based on a fallacy it is hard to avoid the conclusion that we would have simply have to accept anything God would point to as being good as simply being good for the sole reason that God says so."

This is more or less correct, but it would only be a problem if you assume that God could arbitrarily declare something good that was contrary to his character and nature, which is literally impossible (it's like asking if it is possible for God to be both God and not God at the same time and in the same sense).

More from Dr. William Lane Craig:
There are voluntaristic versions of divine command theory. William Ockham would be a proponent of such a version. That version is to say that moral values and duties are rooted sheerly in God's will. That God simply made up what is good and evil so that indeed he could have willed that hatred be good. But most divine command theorists today do not defend voluntarism. They would defend what I just expressed a moment ago – a non-voluntaristic view – that God's will expresses his essential properties such as generosity, kindness, impartiality, fairness, and so forth. So the moral good is not something that is based in God's will but in his nature. So to call all divine command theories voluntaristic is misleading and I think inaccurate.

...

Now, going beyond that general impression, the argument that he advances is that there is an additional dilemma that arises if you say that the solution to the Euthyphro Dilemma is that God wills something because he is good. What he will ask now is: are these properties like loving-kindness, impartiality, generosity good because God possesses them or does God possess them because they are good? He imagines this as a dilemma. It seems to me there is no dilemma there at all. The divine command theorist, and Alston in particular, is very clear. These properties are good because God possesses them. They are descriptions of the way God is and therefore these are goods. It would just be a subterfuge of the theory to say that God has these properties because they are good. So it is not really a dilemma.

...

But divine command theory is not a semantical theory about the meaning of the English word “good.” It is an ontological or metaphysical theory about the grounding of moral values, and it identifies the good with God himself. God is the ultimate source and paradigm of moral values. But that is not a semantic claim. That is not saying that the English word “good” means “applied to the character of God” or “commanded by God” or something of that sort. Rather, the divine command theorist semantically uses the word “good” in the same way that other ethicists who speak English use the word.

https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/r ... once-again
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Dan » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:19 pm

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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by curt » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:40 am

You are actually correct, Dan. We have seen many religious people throw bombs based on the idea that only they know what is right or wrong.
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by curt » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:57 am

Well, this is an interesting case of defining your way out of the problem without really showing why or how it makes sense.

You qoute William Lane Craig:

"The divine command theorist, and Alston in particular, is very clear. These properties are good because God possesses them. They are descriptions of the way God is and therefore these are goods. It would just be a subterfuge of the theory to say that God has these properties because they are good. So it is not really a dilemma."

This is presented as a theory. There really is no proof. To just simply make the claim that "the way God is" is good is not much proof. If good had other ways of behaviour, or if you interpreted scripture in a different way, you could not really question the ideas. So what this provides is not an answer to the question why anything is good. It is just making an unfounded claim that "Hey, this is what good is!"

And then William Lane Craig goes on to say:

"But divine command theory is not a semantical theory about the meaning of the English word “good.” It is an ontological or metaphysical theory about the grounding of moral values, and it identifies the good with God himself. God is the ultimate source and paradigm of moral values. But that is not a semantic claim. That is not saying that the English word “good” means “applied to the character of God” or “commanded by God” or something of that sort. Rather, the divine command theorist semantically uses the word “good” in the same way that other ethicists who speak English use the word."

Again theory and no proof. How, based on what and how did he establish the idea that "God is the ultimate source and paradigm of moral values." It seems to come out of nowhere though his use of sophisticated words cover up that fact quite well.

Like I wrote:

"If one is to insist that any moral idea we would have without refering to God would be based on a fallacy it is hard to avoid the conclusion that we would have simply have to accept anything God would point to as being good as simply being good for the sole reason that God says so."

William Lane Craig might help you cover up that this is what you ultimately think by pointing to "semantics". I would rather point to the fact that going for these theories (he himself describes them as such) in which you make unsupported claims about the nature of what is good is rather dangerous and does seem to allow for extremism.
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Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Dan » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:20 am

curt wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:40 am
You are actually correct, Dan. We have seen many religious people throw bombs based on the idea that only they know what is right or wrong.
It appears the person that uses the alias Curt doesn't understand the mic drop meme. Atheists have little/no sense of humor.
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