Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Amalekites, Mr. Spock, and the lesser of two evils

Anon: It's interesting how genocide is the 'lesser of two evils' between it and polytheism. Good to know.

VR1: Yes indeed. In order for God to save the world through Christ, there has to be a nation of people committed to the idea that there is one God who demands righteousness. The Canaanites, et al, if allowed to live, would have seduced the Hebrew people away from the worship of Yahweh. In fact, they did seduce many Hebrew into idolatry.  If all the Hebrews had become idolaters, then God would not have had a nation of people to send Christ to. As Mr. Spock says, the needs of the many (for Christ) outweigh the needs of the few (the Canaanites, Amalekites, etc.), so they had to be slaughtered.

VR2: Why do I not like saying this sort of thing? After all, according to a well-known secular ethical theory, utilitarianism, an act of any type can be right if it maximizes the total balance of pleasure over pain, up to and  including genocide. Nevertheless, my reply seems a little glib.

193 comments:

Ryan Anderson said...

...then God would not have had a nation of people to send Christ to.

Seems god could have sent his human-god-self anywhere for the exact same result he actually wound up with? Well, maybe not Greece or Rome.

The Amelekites wouldn't have killed him?

Victor Reppert said...

No, Christ doesn't make sense except in the context of there being a God whom everyone has sinned. If Christ is a remedy for sin against God, then you have to have people who recognize a God who has the authority to tell us what to do, and that we have failed to do what we have been told to do. Under polytheism, if you don't like what one God says to do, you go find another one.

Ryan Anderson said...

No, Christ doesn't make sense except in the context... of the culture that created him...

Victor Reppert said...

Exactly my point. God has to create the right sort of culture before he can send the Redeemer into the world.

Ryan Anderson said...

Exactly my point.

Sure, but that's like saying "Return of the King" doesn't make sense outside "Lord of the Rings".

God has to...

Your version of god is omnipotent, right?

Ilíon said...

Silly, silly boy: 'omnipotent' doesn't mean 'illogical' or 'irrational'.

Anonymous said...

"Your version of god is omnipotent, right?"

Omnipotence, even omniscience, does not mean that no barriers and boundaries can be adhered to. God works through nature and culture at least as illustrated in the Bible. Clearly God will allow sin to begin with, and at times exact a direct penalty for that sin. Likewise, God will allow the good, even innocent, to at times suffer.

You can ask for a God who uses omnipotence to never, ever allow sin or suffering in any circumstances, but you'd be asking for a God utterly different from the God of the Bible.

Ryan Anderson said...

Omnipotence, even omniscience, does not mean that no barriers and boundaries can be adhered to.

Like virgin births, walking on water or rising from the dead?

Do you want your cake or do you want to eat it?

Anonymous said...

"Like virgin births, walking on water or rising from the dead?"

And sending prophets, and charging his followers with helping themselves and others, and...

Your response is a non-sequitur. Biblically, God works through men and cultures, certainly permits pain and suffering, earned and not. If you want to object that God could have done things totally differently than He has in utter contrivance to the Bible, all you're pointing out is an apparent logical possibility. And it would be something you could point out no matter what God does, since "He could have done it otherwise" will remain.

Again, being omnipotent and omniscient does not mean one must work without barriers. If we're talking about the biblical God, then we can see how He works - and that can inform our questions of "Why did God do this and not that?"

The cake is eaten, not had. Tasty stuff, you should have some.

Ryan Anderson said...

'omnipotent' doesn't mean 'illogical'

Excepting for when it does...

Victor Reppert said...

But, the Lord of the Rings is fictional. This is not fiction. Are you saying that God could bring all the good effects he wanted into being while avoiding the killing, and guaranteeing a better result overall.

It looks as if we are reworking the same moves and countermoves (unknown purpose, etc.) that are found in the debate on the problem of evil.

Is there any reason to believe that this is a harder problem for the theist than we have in the ordinary problem of evil debate?

As a result, I have trouble saying "Yes, God did order genocide, he did it for this reason, and it's all for the best."

At the same time, I also have trouble with the idea that God could never, under any circumstances, be justified in ordering genocide. And I have still more trouble with the idea that anyone who thinks genocide could possibly be justified under any circumstances doesn't even deserve a seat at the table in a debate.

Crude said...

Victor,

Speaking of the Craig debate, Dawkins speaks highly of Peter Singer if I recall correctly. Peter Singer, who has defended infanticide, and who even toyed with the idea of total genocide of the human race possibly being better than letting the human race go on living. (See: Should this be the last generation? online, NY Times.)

So, apparently Dawkins is entirely comfortable with - even approving of - a man who defends euthanasia, or who seriously entertains the question of whether it may be morally obligatory to wipe out all living humans (and remember: he endorses infanticide) due to frets about, say... Global Warming. But the idea that an omnipotent, omniscient being could ever command genocide for any reason and have following this command be morally good? Unthinkable.

Dawkins is full of it. Everyone knows it.

Crude said...

Edit to the above.

Singer defends euthanasia of course, but it's infanticide which is key here.

unkleE said...

If you don't feel comfortable saying it, it may be that you shouldn't.

I think most can agree that God can choose who lives and who dies - it's the asking human beings to do his dirty work that is the real problem I think.

So rather than defend God, I'd rather leave him to defend himself on this one. Although I hear all VR1's reasons I can't feel comfortable with that either, so I feel more comfortable saying (the same as with the problem of evil) I cannot understand this. I believe there is enough evidence for God to outweigh this problem, so I just have to accept here is something I cannot explain.

Crude said...

I can relate to feelings of ill-ease defending a passage like that in one sense. But I admit, personally I just don't feel any problems accepting that God could issue such a command. Likewise with the general problem of evil - it used to bother me once, but what understanding I've come to has removed the problem for me utterly.

Good does not mean always-pleasant or always-joyful.

Walter said...

I think most can agree that God can choose who lives and who dies - it's the asking human beings to do his dirty work that is the real problem I think.

Bingo!

People need to realize that genocide is not just killing all enemy combatants in warfare, it is the systematic extermination of the soldier's families as well. It is taking an ax, sword, or bludgeon to women, toddlers, infants, and elderly people who might be incapable of running away.

If God wants a race of people gone, then he can cause it to happen without the need to ask one human to murder another. I cannot and will not believe that genocide is ever justifiable.

Papalinton said...

"But, the Lord of the Rings is fictional. This is not fiction."

Of course it is. Fiction to the core. The bible in years to come will have the same impact that the Egyptian "Book of the Dead" has in contemporary society. Or the fables of Gilgamesh, Or Mithraism.

C'mon boys, get a grip; one person's religion is just another person's cult. It's as simple as that. You guys have been beaten around the head so often with an old vellum-bound bible you all suffer from leather poisoning.

The earliest writer of the Judeo-christian fables was a dyslexic. He was referring to the Great Dog of Life.

Ilíon said...

yet another silly (or foolish) atheistic windbag:Omnipotence, even omniscience, does not mean that no barriers and boundaries can be adhered to.

Like virgin births, walking on water or rising from the dead?

Do you want your cake or do you want to eat it?


There is *nothing* illogical or irrational or self-contradictory about virgin births (and I can give you give a very scientific and 'naturalistic' explanation of that one), or walking on water, or rising from the dead.

All that these and other miracles contradict is your foolish insistence that they cannot happen. Yet, the very ‘Science!’ that you worship says that they can: Science!’ and Miracles … and Skepticism!

Ilíon said...

... so, Ryan Anderson, are you a fool -- are you intellectually dishonest -- or were you merely ignorant?

Ilíon said...

Walter: "People need to realize that genocide is not just killing all enemy combatants in warfare, it is the systematic extermination of the soldier's families as well. It is taking an ax, sword, or bludgeon to women, toddlers, infants, and elderly people who might be incapable of running away.

If God wants a race of people gone, then he can cause it to happen without the need to ask one human to murder another. I cannot and will not believe that genocide is ever justifiable.
"

The time is coming, it’s very close now, that we Westerners are going to have to choose – do we wish to continue to live, as individuals, as peoples and cultures, as an overarching civilization … or, are we willing to let ourselves be destroyed. IF we choose to live, then we are probably going to have to kill Moslems by the millions (*).


(*) I hope and pray that another way can be found, but I much doubt it, given that the only other alternative, converting the Moslems to Christianity, is one we *will not* (for it offends our “liberalism”) and cannot (for we are no longer Christians, ourselves) undertake. Further, I recognize that our spastic searching for a non-existent third alternative (**) will increase the odds that we fail to perpetuate our civilization.

(**) There is a third semi-solution; it’s a stop-gap which does not solve the existential problem, but rather kicks the problem down the road to our grandchildren. It’s also one that we *will not* (for it offends our “liberalism”) undertake: total interdiction of the Moslem world from the rest of humanity.


Walter: "If God wants a race of people gone, then he can cause it to happen without the need to ask one human to murder another. I cannot and will not believe that genocide is ever justifiable."

Really? Never?

The choice before us is: them or us. One way or another, only one civilization is going to survive the coming years.

Anonymous said...

Victor, what is your *principle* for accepting this genocide but not other religiously motivated genocides? Is it 'obedience to God'? If so then would you support a contemporary massacre if you were sufficiently convinced of its righteousness? Would you support some contemporary religious figure you admire, and his followers, if he suddenly announced that he had a command from God to commit genocide against atheists, secularists and all non-Christians in order to restore America to 'God's word'? If not, why not? American power could then be used to bring all nations under Christ - isn't that what God wants?

What about massacres of the Jews? Are they wrong? After all, the gospels clearly portray them in an antisemitic fashion during Christ's execution. Presumably God knew that his gospel would be used to justify future persecution of the Jews, so perhaps this persecution is part of his plan also, yes? Therefore, why is it wrong to persecute Jews?

Again, what is your principle here?

Anonymous said...

Well, there's always the option of reading the Old Testament allegorically...

Victor Reppert said...

I don't in fact "accept" the genocide. I just argued that it was possibly justified, that I could understand why God might have commanded it, and that I didn't see that it was impossible for God to be justified in giving such a command.

The concern that this would require people to kill women and children as well as enemy combatants is mitigated somewhat for me by the fact that the morality of proper treatment of noncombatants in war hadn't been developed at that point, and therefore what the Israelites were commanded to do was perhaps not less merciful than what they would have done had they not been obeying the ban (and what they did when they didn't obey the ban, since most of the time this commandment wasn't carried out.) There were say in which ancient peoples treated defeated enemies, and it didn't involve a lot of mercy even when they didn't kill everyone.

You also had no universal Gospel at this time, which means that you didn't necessarily have a view that every person was, in the last analysis, a person God was interested in saving. That would make it difficult to justify supporting a present-day genocide.

The only time in history when God had a relationship to people who wielded military power was in the covenant relationship with the people of Israel. So it's not a circumstance that could conceivably be in place today.

I just don't want to make any dogmatic pronouncements about what God could or could not have said to people who are on a very different point on the moral learning curve than we are now. The moral tradition of the Western world, to which Christians have contributed a great deal (for example, we came up with the Just War theory), would make it very hard to believe that a command to kill a whole people today could come from God, if that command were given to people who know what we know now.

Walter said...


I just don't want to make any dogmatic pronouncements about what God could or could not have said to people who are on a very different point on the moral learning curve than we are now.


If such an act is grossly immoral today, then I would assume that it was just as immoral thousands of years ago (objective, unchanging moral values, remember). I don't buy into the "progressive revelation" apologetic. It seems to me that a moral God would have taught the Hebrews a better way and would not have had to accommodate himself to the moral standards of that time and culture.

Of course, I agree with Thom Stark that the Canaanite conquest did not happen as it was written.

Crude said...

If such an act is grossly immoral today, then I would assume that it was just as immoral thousands of years ago (objective, unchanging moral values, remember).

That really depends on the objective moral values that makes the act immoral.

It's immoral for me, say, to place someone in some particular situation for a number of reasons - even if I want them to escape from the situation unscathed, I may not be able to guarantee their safety. I may lack the foresight to know what will happen once they're in the situation, etc. On this kind of account of morality, one thing that makes such an act immoral is my limitations - but obviously God wouldn't be subject to those limitations.

In the genocide situation, Biblically this is not a case where a bunch of Israelites themselves decided to up and slaughter some group and this was just viewed as no big deal. This were direct and apparently exceptional commands by God, prior to Christ, for dealing with particular groups for stated reasons. The difference in who is commanding the genocide, the difference of particulars of time, given what I said above, helps to show why there's no conflict in between a given objective morality and God's commanding of genocide.

Speaking of genocide, I notice something in this thread: it really seems as if no one here has a problem with God commanding genocide. The problem is with making humans instrumental in the act. So if God had sent a flood to wipe out the Amelikites, that's entirely okay. God sending the Israelites to wipe out the Amelikites is horrible and can never, ever be justified.

I think something has gone wrong with that sort of reasoning.

Benyachov said...

>It seems to me that a moral God would have taught.

God is not a moral agent Walter get over it. God is the goodness in morality but he is not a moral agent.

It is not immoral for God to take life directly. You said it yourself. I don't see how the morality changes if God preforms and act you concede is not immoral directly vs threw an authorized agent.

Any killing without divine authorization is immoral. Governments today may kill the guilty in certain circumstances. Only the innocent with a public revelation that will never come since the death of the last Apostle.

Walter you believe abortion should only be done to save a woman's life(which is problematic from a Catholic perspective but I will let it go)?

Does that mean you would preform one? Could you? I believe in the death penalty under certain circumstances but I don't think I could do it.

Are we talking morality here or personal sentiment?

Ryan Anderson said...

Ilíon; I get form your post that claims to have scientific proof that certain miracles are not contradictions that you think because general relativity is "weird" (i.e. not intuitive) ergo a "virgin birth" is not a contradiction.

Um, ok.

But given your post from 10/23 at 8:03am we can conclude you are an idiot so have a great life.

unklee said...

Ilion said: "The choice before us is: them or us. One way or another, only one civilization is going to survive the coming years."

No follower of Jesus can say this. After all, it was Jesus who said "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ... if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too ... those who live by the sword will die by the sword" etc.

Of course none of us can fully live up to that ideal, but those of us who try to follow Jesus cannot justify a lesser standard.

Walter said...


Speaking of genocide, I notice something in this thread: it really seems as if no one here has a problem with God commanding genocide.


Wrong. I said that I have no problem with the notion of a Creator directly ending the life of beings he has created. I see a big difference in God sending a "natural" flood or plague to terminate a group of people, versus God ordering a group of people to savagely kill another group as some kind of divine retribution.

One of the main complaints that Christian theists have against atheism is that it supposedly entails moral relativism, yet this is exactly what I perceive Christians to be espousing when they attempt to explain away the atrocities in their sacred texts. IOW, evil acts are not evil if Yahweh commands it. Since Yahweh is the source of all goodness, then anything he commands becomes good even if it appears prima facie as evil. That is moral relativism.

Walter said...

God is not a moral agent Walter get over it. God is the goodness in morality but he is not a moral agent.

Yes Ben I know, you consider God to be the light-side of the Force and not a personal being.

Whatever

Crude said...

Walter,

Wrong. I said that I have no problem with the notion of a Creator directly ending the life of beings he has created. I see a big difference in God sending a "natural" flood or plague to terminate a group of people, versus God ordering a group of people to savagely kill another group as some kind of divine retribution.

I granted that you see a big difference. But there's one thing that is common between both examples you give: Genocide. "The deliberate killing of a large group of people, esp. those of a particular ethnic group or nation."

You yourself just said again that you're A-OK with this. Send a flood. Send a natural disaster. Kill them miraculously. Just don't let humans get involved.

I'm pointing out, in either case you yourself describe - the one you think is permissible and the one you think is not - you have genocide. So apparently, genocide isn't the problem. It's how you get the job done. Speaking crudely.

Since Yahweh is the source of all goodness, then anything he commands becomes good even if it appears prima facie as evil. That is moral relativism.

No, it's not. Nor is "anything God commands becomes good" is the claim here. Now, someone may argue that - given God's nature, anything God commands would be moral. But "given God's nature" would be an essential qualifier. The question then becomes whether an order like that against the Amelekites could be compatible with God's nature, God's goodness, etc. That's where the argument occurs.

Walter said...

I'm pointing out, in either case you yourself describe - the one you think is permissible and the one you think is not - you have genocide. So apparently, genocide isn't the problem. It's how you get the job done. Speaking crudely.

Yes, this is where the problem lies. An omnipotent being could easily cause anyone to simply die where they stood, effortlessly and painlessly. I find it highly counterintuitive that a benevolent deity would order the cruel murder of a race of people just to clear out a patch of land for a chosen tribe. People who, frankly, were probably not any more sinful than the "chosen" Hebrews were.

I guess murder is always wrong unless and until Yahweh commands me to commit it, then I can grab my meat cleaver, and with a gleam in my eye, go slaughter my neighbors. Might as well enjoy the Lord's work when I can get it, eh?

Crude said...

Walter,

Yes, this is where the problem lies. An omnipotent being could easily cause anyone to simply die where they stood, effortlessly and painlessly. I find it highly counterintuitive that a benevolent deity would order the cruel murder of a race of people just to clear out a patch of land for a chosen tribe. People who, frankly, were probably not any more sinful than the "chosen" Hebrews were.

First, that's quite an assumption - and at that point you're no longer going by the Biblical case. In the case of the Amelikites, the 'sinfulness' of the people in question was claimed, particular their sins against Israel. And the assumption that the Hebrews and those they went to war with were morally and justifiably equal is another assumption.

More than that, though, two things remain: One, it really seems like your problem here isn't with the genocide, but how it's taken care of. And two, now you're making it sound as if the rightness of even that method of genocide is conditional on the moral status of the people or culture in question.

I guess murder is always wrong unless and until Yahweh commands me to commit it, then I can grab my meat cleaver, and with a gleam in my eye, go slaughter my neighbors.

"Murder" is a type of killing. "Killing" is not always wrong, nor does it need to be, on objective morality. Killing in self defense, killing in the case of a just war, etc.

And this claim is disingenuous, unless you're coming at this from a perspective that there is such a thing as objective moral values - which you may well be, for all I know. But if you're a moral relativist, then you don't even need the command of Yahweh for an act to be acceptable. You need to just be in the mood and either accepting of, or evasive of, the consequences.

Walter said...

First, that's quite an assumption - and at that point you're no longer going by the Biblical case. In the case of the Amelikites, the 'sinfulness' of the people in question was claimed, particular their sins against Israel. And the assumption that the Hebrews and those they went to war with were morally and justifiably equal is another assumption.

I've already stated that I don't believe the events depicted in Joshua actually happened as they were written. Is it an assumption that Israel was just as bad morally as its neighbors? Perhaps. Even the biblical accounts tell of Israel's moral failings again and again. The only difference between them and everyone else is that they were supposedly "chosen." Stands to reason that they would consider themselves to be special since they are the ones writing the story. Also, if you are going to slaughter another group it always helps to demonize that group, showing them to be deserving of murder.

And this claim is disingenuous, unless you're coming at this from a perspective that there is such a thing as objective moral values - which you may well be, for all I know.

I do believe in objective morals. I am not a Christian theist however.

BenYachov said...

@Walter

>Yes Ben I know, you consider God to be the light-side of the Force and not a personal being.

That is a lovely caricature but it is not at all what I believe. I just don't believe He is a Human Person.

Yes I get it with you too Walter fundamentalism with it's modern anthropomorphic view of God is your sole understanding of Christianity and the historical versions of it are beyond your comprehension and knowledge.

Best remedy that.

BenYachov said...

>One of the main complaints that Christian theists have against atheism is that it supposedly entails moral relativism....

There is no moral relativism.

You said it yourself. It is not immoral for God to turn off the light switches since he did the wiring and built the house.

With a divine command given by public revelation God may order the Canaanites and the Amalekites wiped out.

But if a private individual without public authority took it upon himself to slay an evil doer. He shall be counted a murder for dare usurping what belongs to God alone.

Those are strictly defined moral rules. If I follow them strictly I will know all life belongs to God and it is His alone to give or take life.

BenYachov said...

>I guess murder is always wrong unless and until Yahweh commands me to commit it, then I can grab my meat cleaver, and with a gleam in my eye, go slaughter my neighbors. Might as well enjoy the Lord's work when I can get it, eh?

You have gone from reason to emotion. Ok let's play your game.

Scene An adult male Canaanite survivor comes out of hiding after the Israelites came threw his town because they refused to leave or follow the laws of Noah.

CANAANITE: Those stupid F***ing Israelites! They killed all my wives and all my children! Now who the hell am I going to slowly burn to death as an offering to Baal? Way to rain on my parade!

Plus I found myself attracted to my eldest daughter, she was kind of cute &...well that door is closed now thanks to the Israelites!

Stupid Israelites! Why can't a guy live in peace, put his infant children to a slow death and use his kids in an unspeakable manner?

That is the way I was raised & now that I think back on my own childhood I wish someone had killed me back then."

Stupid Israelites!END SCENE

Walter said...

Yes I get it with you too Walter fundamentalism with it's modern anthropomorphic view of God is your sole understanding of Christianity and the historical versions of it are beyond your comprehension and knowledge.

Do you ever skip a chance to rant against theistic-personalism?

FYI you already know that I am a deist, and as such I do not have a conception of God as a bearded white guy on a throne.

With a divine command given by public revelation God may order the Canaanites and the Amalekites wiped out.

I see that as the commands of an evil being. Nothing you say will change my mind on this.

Crude said...

Walter,

The only difference between them and everyone else is that they were supposedly "chosen."

That's like saying the only difference between a matchbox car and a Diesel Mercedes is scale. No, there were differences all over the places - their individual and cultural beliefs, their orientations towards those beliefs, their knowledge and relationship with God, their attitudes, their destiny, and more.

Also, if you are going to slaughter another group it always helps to demonize that group, showing them to be deserving of murder.

And there's the problem. You say that both sides were basically equal without much evidence than a hunch. Now, no matter what they were described as being guilty of in the bible, it doesn't matter because that sort of demonization is exactly what we'd expect according to you. Except you also just got done talking about how the bible accounts Israel's moral failings, so...

Look, I really can relate with your point of view, given your (deistic, if I recall - maybe platonistic?) beliefs. But I think I've fairly pointed out some difficulties with your reasoning, and illustrated why I think the opposing case is stronger. Not to echo Ben too much here, because my point is different, but: God is not 'some guy, who just happens to be powerful'.

I do believe in objective morals. I am not a Christian theist however.

That was one reason I qualified what I said - I recall you have a refreshingly unique position on these things.

BenYachov said...

Now enough of the dark humor let us be serious.

Walter's argument is pure emotion.

I can understand that. Who didn't wish the Nurse in JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN had succeeded in putting him out of his misery?

Of course if God left the children alive they would have died slowly anyway. We would hear an earful from the fundie Atheists on that.

OTOH this would all be moot if the commands to kill everyone where not literal back them which Copan makes a good case for.

Still I prefer to argue against the strongest case. Which is why I object to any death ordered by God being called murder.

BenYachov said...

@Walter
>Do you ever skip a chance to rant against theistic-personalism?

Never it is such a false view of God I can't help but hate it.

>FYI you already know that I am a deist, and as such I do not have a conception of God as a bearded white guy on a throne.

There is the "Deism" of Aristotle(which is nice) vs the Post Paley mechanistic Deism which is still kind of anthopomorphic. The later may be your version I suspect.

Yes your "god" is not a literal old man on the throne it is the disembodied mind of the Old man with his physical form abstracted away.

It's not quite there yet. It's still fundie-ish. Work on that.

>I see that as the commands of an evil being. Nothing you say will change my mind on this.

Your theistic Personalism betrays you. God is not a being along side other beings. To call Him "evil" is to call reality itself evil.

But if God whipes out these people with fire from heaven then that is not evil?

You so need to learn moral theory and philosophy.

Walter said...

That's like saying the only difference between a matchbox car and a Diesel Mercedes is scale. No, there were differences all over the places - their individual and cultural beliefs, their orientations towards those beliefs, their knowledge and relationship with God, their attitudes, their destiny, and more.

Now who is going beyond the evidence? We have the writings of the very group that engaged in the hypothetical genocide telling us how evil the Amalekites were. Imagine if you will that the Nazis had won WWII and wrote the history books, wonder how they would depict the Jews and the Gypsies? They would probably portray them as subhuman and evil people who deserved to be exterminated like vermin.

BenYachov said...

additional:

If God in the Classic Sense where "evil" he would not exist since evil is a privation and thus ultimate evil would be non-being.

Walter said...

You so need to learn moral theory and philosophy.

If moral theory and philosophy will make me defend divinely sanctioned mass murder like you are trying to do, then I think that I will pass.

BenYachov said...

@Walter
>They would probably portray them as subhuman and evil people who deserved to be exterminated like vermin.

But baring counter evidence how does that exclude the possibility they where really that way?

Think Walter? Based on your logic the only info people living 3,000 years from now might have on the Nazis is from the allies that defeated them.

Are you going to say with a straight face well of course the allies would probably portray Nazis as subhuman and evil people who deserved to be exterminated like vermin! They won!

Your logic is terrible.

Crude said...

Now who is going beyond the evidence? We have the writings of the very group that engaged in the hypothetical genocide telling us how evil the Amalekites were. Imagine if you will that the Nazis had won WWII and wrote the history books, wonder how they would depict the Jews and the Gypsies? They would probably portray them as subhuman and evil people who deserved to be exterminated like vermin.

Now, hold on. You're the one who introduced the relative moral and situational status of the Amelikites versus the Israelites as a valid point of reasoning when determining the justification of the act. Yes, I'm citing the biblical descriptions of them - the discussion on this point has so far been with taking the biblical claims as evidence. If you want to go into total skepticism of the biblical claims, go for it - but if you're going to treat the bible as authoritative for the sake of argument to run a morality claim against God's acts, then turn around and drop the authoritativeness to make a "Well I bet the Israelis were lying" claim, you're going somewhere uninteresting in the conversation.

BenYachov said...

>If moral theory and philosophy will make me defend divinely sanctioned mass murder like you are trying to do, then I think that I will pass.

Rather it will turn you into the Deist version of Paps or Dawkins.

It will show you can't argue rationally only emotionally.

That simply will not due.

Ryan Anderson said...

If God in the Classic Sense where "evil" he would not exist since evil is a privation and thus ultimate evil would be non-being.

The only way for "privation" as you are using the term here, to make sense as a concept is to presuppose "The Fall". After all, what is "plenty" to the hyena is "privation" to the baboon.

Are you a vegetarian Ben? Because if not...

Walter said...

Now, hold on. You're the one who introduced the relative moral and situational status of the Amelikites versus the Israelites as a valid point of reasoning when determining the justification of the act. Yes, I'm citing the biblical descriptions of them - the discussion on this point has so far been with taking the biblical claims as evidence. If you want to go into total skepticism of the biblical claims, go for it - but if you're going to treat the bible as authoritative for the sake of argument to run a morality claim against God's acts, then turn around and drop the authoritativeness to make a "Well I bet the Israelis were lying" claim, you're going somewhere uninteresting in the conversation.

I personally do not believe the biblical witness recorded in Joshua. That does not stop me from critiquing the morality of genocide for those who do take the biblical record at face value. If you do not wish to continue the conversation, that is fine since I fear that we are just going to go round in circles anyway

BenYachov said...

>I personally do not believe the biblical witness recorded in Joshua. That does not stop me from critiquing the morality of genocide for those who do take the biblical record at face value.

Accept when you move the goal posts and declare it propaganda from the winners.

Then you are not debating the morality you are dodging the argument.

Walter said...

Accept when you move the goal posts and declare it propaganda from the winners.

Then you are not debating the morality you are dodging the argument.


Do you and Crude want to seriously make the claim that the Israelites were all god-fearin' and pious monotheists, while all the Amalekites were baby-killing, polytheistic psychopaths? Really? I think you and Crude need to read Stark's work:

http://religionatthemargins.com/2011/09/paul-copan-speaks-out-to-vindicate-me/

http://religionatthemargins.com/2011/09/my-shoe-is-easier-to-swallow-than-copans-book/

http://religionatthemargins.com/2011/08/reasonable-doubts-about-paul-copans-defense-of-genocide/

http://religionatthemargins.com/2011/07/the-real-second-edition-is-god-a-moral-compromiser-a-critical-review-of-paul-copans-is-god-a-moral-monster/

Regardless, it makes no difference to my argument. An omnipotent god could effortlessly kill every person he wants to without asking human beings to do the dirty work for him. I do not believe in the history of this planet that ANY deity has ever requested one human to kill another.

It's getting late and I tire of this bickering, so I'll take this up again in the morning...or maybe not.

BenYachov said...

@Walter

I am not all that impressed by Stark's work.

You should read his critics. I find Matt Flannagan a bit more convincing.

http://www.mandm.org.nz/2011/06/stark-wars.html


http://www.mandm.org.nz/2011/04/thom-stark-on-wolterstorff-and-hagiographic-hyperbole-part-i.html

>Do you and Crude want to seriously make the claim that the Israelites were all god-fearin' and pious monotheists, while all the Amalekites were baby-killing, polytheistic psychopaths?

Are you channeling Hector Averos weird thesis that the ancient Israelites practiced Child Sacrifice and evolved into an anti-Child sacrifice religion? I believe Stark buys into that. Sadly there really is no archeology to back up that claim. It's mostly suposition. Besides according to the OT in general the Israelites did fall into the sin of idolotry and practiced human sacrifice at times. King Messasah anyone?
So his extreme liberal Protestant naturalist dogmatic errantist speculations are entertaining but hardly convincing.


>Regardless, it makes no difference to my argument. An omnipotent god could effortlessly kill every person he wants to without asking human beings to do the dirty work for him.

So now it is dirty work? I thought God had the right to take life directly? Which is it? Besides if it is not immoral for God to do it directly then how is it immoral for him to do it threw authorized secondary agents?

>I do not believe in the history of this planet that ANY deity has ever requested one human to kill another.

Well maybe the commands where not literal or understood to be literal? That could still be the case and Copan allows for that view.

Never the less you have not made the argument on how or why it is immoral for God to command someone to kill another vs God taking that person's life directly. Given that you have said it is not immoral for God to take human life directly as He sees fit for His own purposes.

>It's getting late and I tire of this bickering, so I'll take this up again in the morning...or maybe not.

Rather then continue the bickering do some reading. A different and fresh perspective is always valuable.

Walter said...

Here is a link to Wes Morriston's critique of biblical genocide. He also speaks about why it would not be moral for God to use human agents to do His killing for Him.

http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/wes/DidGodCommandGenocide.pdf

And here is Christian philosopher Randal Rauser's critique of biblical genocide:

http://randalrauser.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Rauser11.1.pdf

I have already read Flannagan's arguments. I will continue to side with Rauser, Morriston, and Stark on this issue.

Nuff said

BenYachov said...

additional:

The belief the ancient Israelites practiced Child sacrifice is found in the work of Susan Niditch in her book ANCIENT ISRAELITE RELIGION.

But as Kirkus review notes- "The work's only weakness is an occasional penchant for deriving conclusions from insufficient evidence. An example: Niditch states that the context and content of the ritual of redeeming the first-born son (see Exodus 22) ``seems to be support that child sacrifice was indeed a thread in ancient Israelite religion.'' Far more evidence is needed for this spectacular claim."

BenYachov said...

>Here is a link to Wes Morriston's critique of biblical genocide. He also speaks about why it would not be moral for God to use human agents to do His killing for Him.

Accept Morriston assumes God has moral obligations to us(in spite of his Tillichian view of God which is closer to the Classical view thought it uses modern terminology).

God does not have moral obligations to us. God is still not a moral agent. When Wes critiques Brian Davies I'll consider him till then his argument is based on a preposition I can't accept since it has been proven to me to be incoherent.

Additionally the problem with that argument is it proves too much.

If by commanding Israelites to kill somehow harms them psychologically and that is not "moral" for God to do well then allowing persons to live in a world in general where they will suffer psychological damage in general is equally immoral for God.

You think I am not damaged from having three autistic children?

But not only do I not blame God I know it is incoherent to blame Him.
Not just impious but incoherent.
Thus any anger I felt with God is gone. It no more makes sense to beangry with him then the weather & now I love Him all the more for it.

God Killing people directly will still cause some distress to the victims up to the moment of death.

So on all levels I don't buy it.

BenYachov said...

>I have already read Flannagan's arguments. I will continue to side with Rauser, Morriston, and Stark on this issue.

I've seen Rauser criticize Stark for going to far. The man is ruled by his emotions which never impresses me. Well I do love angry critiques but only if it is backed by flawless reasoning. I don't find that in Starks.

Rauser is a good guy but he has admitted to me he is a conceptionalist. That doesn't sit well with my moderate realism.

BenYachov said...

Even though Stark has snarked at the concept I can accept God might have commanded literal Haram on the Canaanites and Amalekites.

I do not see how it would be immoral given God is not a moral agent and doesn't morally owe us freedom from any short term mental or physical pain.

Given it is not immoral for God to take any life.

OTOH I can still accept the command might not have been meant literal or literally carried out given Rabbinic Tradition says the Israelites would spare Canaanites who would accept the 7 laws of Noah and or have fled the land.

As for modern applications the moral Law teaches Haram can only be authorized by God Alone via public divine revelation which we all know ends with the death of the Last Apostle.

So that is my wrap up.

Victor Reppert said...

I would just note that Walter has done what Dawkins never did, he has actually argued for his position on the exterminations.

Ilíon said...

Son of Confusion:God is not a moral agent Walter get over it. God is the goodness in morality but he is not a moral agent.

Oh, do finally stop being so irrational and foolish.

There is no existence, and nothing exists, unless God exists. There is no agency, and there are no agents, unless God is an agent. There is no morality, and there are no moral beings/agents, unless God is a moral being/agent.

BenYachov said...

>I would just note that Walter has done what Dawkins never did, he has actually argued for his position on the exterminations.

I would concur.

BenYachov said...

IIion.

"Son of Confusion"?

Are you copying the writing style of Bahá’u’lláh or something?

Because I have read Baha'i Scripture & he writes just like that.

It's kind of pretentious if you ask me but hey to each his own.

Crude said...

Walter,

I personally do not believe the biblical witness recorded in Joshua. That does not stop me from critiquing the morality of genocide for those who do take the biblical record at face value. If you do not wish to continue the conversation, that is fine since I fear that we are just going to go round in circles anyway

My point is that if you're going to base a criticism on the morality of the extermination of the Amelikites based on people who "take the biblical record at face value", then it hardly does much good to launch a criticism that relies on not taking the biblical record on face value.

Ilíon said...

Ryan Anderson:Ilíon; I get form your post that claims to have scientific proof that certain miracles are not contradictions that you think because general relativity is "weird" (i.e. not intuitive) ergo a "virgin birth" is not a contradiction.

Um, ok.

But given your post from 10/23 at 8:03am we can conclude you are an idiot so have a great life.


An idiot does not choose to be stupid; a fool chooses to behave/think/reason as though he were stupid. Thus, when encountering one of you silly pseudo-atheists, it is always vitally important to do one’s best to determine whether you are simply ignorant, and thus potentially teachable, or stupid, and thus unteachable, or a fool, and thus willfully unteachable.

Normally, a post containing general content such as quoted above is enough to establish that the poster is indeed a fool; that is, that he chooses to not reason properly, that he is intellectually dishonest.

However, in this specific case, the particular content of the quotes post seems to indicate that the poster is functionally illiterate; in which case, he’s probably just stupid, rather than intellectually dishonest.

So, is he’s a fool, it’s pointless to try to discuss anything with him; but, if he’s an idiot, it’s cruel to try to discuss anything with him.

Ilíon said...

Ilíon:The choice before us is: them or us. One way or another, only one civilization is going to survive the coming years.

UncleE:No follower of Jesus can say this. After all, it was Jesus who said "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ... if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too ... those who live by the sword will die by the sword" etc.

Of course none of us can fully live up to that ideal, but those of us who try to follow Jesus cannot justify a lesser standard.


You’re wrong, of course (among other things: you’re asserting that a follower of Jesus is obligated to lie about reality; and you’re also asserting that Christianity is a mutual suicide pact). And that wrongness raises the question – are you wrong because:
1) you don’t yet understand what you’re talking about, i.e. you’re simply ignorant;
2) you cannot understand what you’re talking about, i.e. you’re simply stupid;
3) you will not understand what you’re talking about, i.e. you’re intellectually dishonest, which is to say, a fool.

Ilíon said...

Walter: "Yes Ben I know, you consider God to be the light-side of the Force and not a personal being."

That's a good way to put it; ol' Son-of-Confusion would make God out to be a thing, a mechanism, somewhat like gravity, except 'supernatural' (while gravity os merely 'natural'); his "Classical Theism" has no more in common with Christianity that any other "new agey" "spiritualism" does.

BenYachov said...

IIion,

You are feeding the paranoia of the Gnu's with this extremist shit!

Let me spell it out for you. Mass killing of civilians is wrong.

Only God and God alone can pronounce Haram via a public divine revelation. Which has ended with the death of the Last Apostle. So there will be no more public revelations.

God has not authorized us to wipe out Muslims to the last man, woman and Child & He never will. Therefore to do so is to usurp that which belongs to God alone and commit deadly sin which invites divine judgement in either this life or the next.

This has been taught by every mainstream Christian moral Theologian Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant since forever.

It is the height of godless arrogance too dispute it.

Theistic Personalism is the least of your errors my friend.

SuperAnon said...

Ilion, you are very good at putdowns, as your posts never fail to exhibit a delightfully odd mixture of exacting indignation and cheerful, unbridled savagery. By way of your posts, seraphim walk the Earth. Where did you hone your fine skills?

unkleE said...

Ilion said: "You’re wrong, of course"

Who were you addressing here, me or Jesus?

Ilion said: "you’re simply ignorant .... you’re simply stupid ... [or] you’re intellectually dishonest, which is to say, a fool."

Jesus said: "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. .... And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell." Matthew 5:22

The New Testament says:

“to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” Titus 3:2

“Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Philippians 4:5

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

I rather think, sadly, that your intemperate comment supports what I inferred before, that you are choosing to not follow the way of Jesus. I urge you to think again.

BenYachov said...

IIion

Again I have to ask since when did you become Paps with some god belief?

Anonymous said...

unkleE,

Jesus was definitely harsh at times. Nowhere in Christianity are we required to "Be nice always!" In fact, your very post to Ilion is not very "nice" itself, nor can it be, so the admonishment is always self-refuting.

Ilíon said...

Walter:One of the main complaints that Christian theists have against atheism is that it supposedly entails moral relativism, yet this is exactly what I perceive Christians to be espousing when they attempt to explain away the atrocities in their sacred texts. IOW, evil acts are not evil if Yahweh commands it. Since Yahweh is the source of all goodness, then anything he commands becomes good even if it appears prima facie as evil. That is moral relativism.

You appear to be declining to understand what you’re talking about.

God isn’t merely “the source of all goodness”; rather, God is Goodness Itself/Himself. It’s not that “(moral) evil becomes (moral) good when God commands it”; it’s that God, being Goodness (including moral goodness), cannot command moral evil – such a self-contradiction would nullify all existence.

Much as a child often does not really understand the commands or actions of his father, yet, if he is wise, trusts that his father is good and is doing good, so too with us in relation to God. We rarely understand enough of what is really going on to have any standing to question God, much less to dispute with him.

And, really, it all comes down to trust – either one chooses to trust God and to trust in his goodness (which goodness and trustworthiness can be established via reason alone), or one chooses to not trust.

BenYachov said...

One can defend harshness but not claim they can overthrow the moral and divine law and call themselves Christians.

In respect to harshness being a needless dick to people is not the same as being harsh.

Ilíon said...

SuperAnonymouse:Ilion, you are very good at putdowns …

Apparently, you haven’t tried to understand, despite that I have been very clear.

SuperAnonymouse:… as your posts never fail to exhibit a delightfully odd mixture of exacting indignation and cheerful, unbridled savagery …

Yes, I am exacting … which is why I can run circles around you sort who insist upon being inexact and imprecise.

And, if I am savage, what of it? It was, after all, only four generations before me (they are long generations) that my family were brought into the circle of civilization.

Perhaps what you are really objecting to is that, unlike you passive-aggressive pussies, I act as a man in my “savagery”.

Ilíon said...

Sooner or later, that point always comes that I get so fed up with the generally pointless rah-rah content of Son-of-Confusion's posts that I just delete the notifications out of my inbox without even reading them.

BenYachov said...

You are a weird guy IIion.

Weird I say & quite nuts.

Ilíon said...

Anonymous: "Would like to see a well thought out response to Papalinton"

What I would like to see is a well thought out question from Papalinton, in the first place. I am not holding my breath; you'd do well to likewise continue with normal respiration.

Where have you been, Anony? Several persons here have recently tried to take that intellectually dishonest fool (that's a redundancy, by the way) seriously ... and, in the course of that, because he *is* intellectually dishonest, he "argued" 'A' and then 'not-A' and then both 'A' and 'not-A'.

Ilíon said...

"You are a weird guy IIion.

Weird I say & quite nuts.
"

And yet, and quite unlike you, I understand what I'm talking about.

BenYachov said...

>And yet, and quite unlike you, I understand what I'm talking about.

Of course you do. What would we do without your wit, logic, and philosophical acumen to enlighten all of us?

Ilíon said...

VR: "I would just note that Walter has done what Dawkins never did, he has actually argued for his position on the exterminations."

I think you're being charitable in your use of the term 'argued', for, as Crude has mildly noted, he is not arguing consistently.

Ilíon said...

Walter: "If moral theory and philosophy will make me defend divinely sanctioned mass murder [sic] like you are trying to do, then I think that I will pass."

So, go ahead and die, already; for you are asserting that you have no right to be alive now. You, like all who either survived or were born after WWII, are alive only because of "divinely sanctioned mass murder" [sic]. Since you clearly imagine yourself to be more moral than God, you ought to kill yourself so that you can take the matter up with him, face to face, as it were.

Ilíon said...

"What would we do without your wit, logic, and philosophical acumen to enlighten all of us?"

Be you or very like you, of course. Which is a tragic thought, as even you must surely agree.

Ilíon said...

I get it, UnkleE -- you've decided to be a fool ... and I shall try to keep that in mind.

BenYachov said...

I thought I was the guy who did one post after another after another?

IIion is stealing my act.

That & he is nutty faggie.

TruthOverfaith said...

And then Jesus said, "What's this goddamn bullshit I've been hearing about a human sacrifice!? What kind of Neanderthal bullshit is that? What are we, living in the fucking Dark Ages!!!? You superstitious nutbags can die for your own goddamned sins!!!"

And his disciples responded, "Umm, er, I think we're confused, Master"

Ilíon said...

"That & he is nutty faggie."

It beats being illogical and irrational, and (perhaps even) intellectually dishonest.

Crude said...

Ilion, Ben,

I'm confused, so one of you please clarify this point for me.

I believe you both take the position that the war on the Amalekites was not immoral, yes?

I'm trying to figure out if what has you two going at each other is something in this particular thread, or is the result of some unrelated disagreement. At a glance you both have the same basic view here, though for perhaps very different reasons.

Anonymous said...

Unklee,

"And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell." Matthew 5:22

"You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?" James 2:20

Oh dear, I guess James is going to Hell.

And what ilion is discussing is self-defense. If the Moslems do what to kill my friends and family then I sure as hack aren't going to sit back and let them. You are a coward and a traitor if you do.

unkleE said...

G'day Anon, are you one of the two Anon's I discussed this with before? If so, then perhaps we have already said all that will be useful. Two brief comments.

"Jesus was definitely harsh at times. Nowhere in Christianity are we required to "Be nice always!"

I never used the word "nice" and it doesn't reflect what I think. There is an enormous difference between "not nice" and deliberately and provocatively nasty.

"In fact, your very post to Ilion is not very "nice" itself, nor can it be, so the admonishment is always self-refuting."

Yes, I fear you are correct - I certainly don't like it either. But I think it the lesser of two weevils.

Best wishes.

Crude said...

UnkleE,

I respect your approach for polite and respectful dialogue. I think you conduct yourself rather well most of the time. But I also think you err on the other side of the spectrum at times - I think what you take to be 'provocatively nasty' is sometimes... not all times, but sometimes... mere necessary bluntness and directness.

Just my two cents, as someone who's pretty damn provoking at times, but who generally makes an effort to be civil. (Go ahead, laugh, but I stand by my claimed intentions. ;)

Anonymous said...

unklee,

Yes I think I'm one of them.

"There is an enormous difference between "not nice" and deliberately and provocatively nasty."

Right, and you seem to think that being nasty is wrong. I'm not sure.

Which of the following two concepts do you think best represents nastiness:

A: 'Causing someone unpleasantness and having a malicious motive in doing so'

B: 'Causing someone unpleasantness'

If you say A, I agree with you; if you say B, I disagree with you, since B is compatible with a benevolent motive.

I think the Scriptural commands only condemn A, not B.

Ilíon said...

Crude:I'm trying to figure out if what has you two going at each other is something in this particular thread, or is the result of some unrelated disagreement.

Is there really anything that is unrelated? I don’t see what you’re finding so difficult to understand: it’s both specific to this thread and wider than this thread.

Here is my first comment in this thread directed at the foolish (and anti-Christian) things he asserts.

His Rah-Rah Catholicism is as obnoxious as would be a Protestant asserting that all Catholics are, ipso facto damned. In that regard, he’s not much different from the (mostly mythological) “fundies” he’s always banging on about.

Worse, his “classical theism” isn’t Christianity, and it’s anti-Christian.

Also, and as I’ve explored in some other thread, the whole point of his “classical theism” is to shelter his “theism” from rational criticism and evaluation – in that regard, he’s not much different from most of the pseudo-atheists that piss off me (and you) with their irrationality, or from the typical Calvinist (some say they’re really ‘ultra-Calvinists’) one encounters just about anywhere on the web that Christianity is discussed.

I have little patience with persistently illogical and/or irrational persons; I have tried the gentle approach with this fellow, I have tried to reason with him … which, naturally, was as helpful/useful as trying the gentle and/or reasoning approach with the typical Evangelical Atheist, or with the typical Internet Calvinist.

Ilíon said...

Crude:I respect your approach for polite and respectful dialogue. …

I disagree. UnkleE’s idea of “polite and respectful dialogue” appears to be “Christians must be doormats” and “Christians must lie about reality, lest someone (who would as soon kill you as not) take insult at the truth” -- until, of course, *he* doesn’t want to be a doormat … that is, with respect to a Christian who isn’t a doormat; for, I am confident that one will never find him seeking to chastise someone who is, indeed, “provocatively nasty”, such as the typical internet atheist, or an Islam-supremacist Moslem.

Hell! he’s had the chance in this very thread to school “provocatively nasty” atheists. BUT, instead, he went out of his way to accuse me of being an anti-Christ, simply because I truthfully and bluntly described the unpleasant and unwelcome reality we now face.

Ilíon said...

... Magickal Thinking is everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Well, I hope we can all agree now that, whatever the correct view on this issue is - whether God commanding humans to do his "dirty work" or wiping out humans beings in a painful manner is right or wrong - it is an issue to be debated and talked about in a relatively calm and civil manner, and simply cannot be used ipso facto as a valid justification for painting defenders of the Old Testament as vile, repellent human beings and then on that basis ducking a debate with William Lane Craig.

Dawkins is breathtakingly mendacious.

Ilíon said...

Anonymous:Well, I hope we can all agree now that … it is an issue to be debated and talked about in a relatively calm and civil manner, and simply cannot be used ipso facto as a valid justification for painting defenders of the Old Testament as vile, repellent human beings and then on that basis ducking a debate with William Lane Craig.

Dawkins is breathtakingly mendacious.


Indeed

Walter said...

Crude,

Did you have a chance to read through the linked paper written by Rauser and the other by Morriston? I know that Stark's review of Copan is book length, making it a daunting task to sit through, especially for those disinclined to read the arguments of liberal/progressive Christians.

What do you think of Rauser's NEBB principle?

Disclaimer--I am only interested in conversing with Crude. All others will not be responded to.

BenYachov said...

>I'm trying to figure out if what has you two going at each other is something in this particular thread, or is the result of some unrelated disagreement. At a glance you both have the same basic view here, though for perhaps very different reasons.

As near as I can figure out IIion hates me because I am friendly toward BDK whom he hates. Also he now hates Feser whom I admire. Because I have never said any bad to him before or started with him & I even tried to stay out of his battles with BDK.

I have never attacked him before this thread but he never misses an opportunity to attack me.

As for rah rah Catholicism I am Catholic and I don't apologize for that. Nor should I.

BenYachov said...

>His Rah-Rah Catholicism is as obnoxious as would be a Protestant asserting that all Catholics are, ipso facto damned.

Accept I don't believe all Protestants(Atheists, Heathens, Jews, Pagans, Muslims etc) are damned. That is against Catholicism.

I am acting on this thread no different then how IIion says we should act to champion the truth. I am fearless & I am noty meak. Obviously IIion only has a problem with that if the person doesn't agree with him 100% of the time.

Sad little man.

BenYachov said...

@Crude
>Disclaimer--I am only interested in conversing with Crude. All others will not be responded to.

Very well Walter, but if you do make what I believe to be an erroneous statement that Crude misses I will chime in to correct you.

Have fun.

BenYachov said...

Sorry that was @Walter why did I say Crude?

Crude said...

Walter,

What do you think of Rauser's NEBB principle?

Glancing at the relevant part of the article, I see a few problems.

First, he claims NEBB (Never Ever Bludgeon Babies, for those of you who haven't checked out the paper) as a properly basic belief. So right away the NEBB principle depends on one's attitude towards basic beliefs. Me, I'm currently neutral on that question - I'm still mulling it over, and was before reading Rauser.

Another problem is that a basic belief, if I understand them right, are not in and of themselves immune to being overturned. Rauser seems to suggest this when he makes reference to a 'literal reading of the Old Testament', and how he thinks NEBB is 'stronger' than the literal reading. But that just means that we'd be back to arguments again: Could God, being God, ever make the command He apparently did in the OT? Rauser suggests NEBB is "stronger" than the arguments to the contrary. But if you disagree...

I could go on with additional criticisms, but I'd like to ask you something first. What do you think of the NEBB principle? Namely, do you adhere to it? Also, do you think there is any major difference between these two principles: "Never ever bludgeon babies" and "Never ever kill babies"?

Crude said...

BTW, regarding the earlier off-topic discussion - I'm very sympathetic, strongly sympathetic, to classical theism. At the same time, I don't have much hostility towards "theistic personalism", as opposed to the gross exaggerations of that position. I'm of the mind that both views are lightyears ahead of materialist-atheism or the Cult of Gnu in terms of reasonableness and strength of argument.

I'm not interested in arguing for the position in this thread, but I felt bound to spell out my view given Ilion and Ben going at each other in this thread, and my enjoying both of their comments. (Now they can team up and condemn me in unison! Ha ha.)

unkleE said...

Crude said: "I respect your approach for polite and respectful dialogue. I think you conduct yourself rather well most of the time. But I also think you err on the other side of the spectrum at times"
Thanks for the positive. I wouldn't pretend to get it right all the time - in fact I am constantly pondering my ow attitude and sometimes berating myself for not living up to my own standards.

My point is that those who say they are following Jesus have a high standard to live up to, and we let down Jesus when we fail at it, especially when we deliberately continue to fail at it and justify our failure rather than repent of it.

Anon said: "If you say A, I agree with you"
Then we are agreed. In this matter, motive is ethically more important that action, though continual bad action surely reveals poor motive.

I find it interesting that my reminders of the standards the New Testament sets for us continues to draw mild adverse comment, whereas the far stronger, continual and apparently deliberate comments that catalysed my comments, do not. It is a curious set of values I am being judged by. But at least we have reached some agreement, so I will be content with that. : )

unkleE said...

Ilion said: "I get it, UnkleE -- you've decided to be a fool ... and I shall try to keep that in mind."
I'll try to hold my head up despite he terrible weight of this deep insight!

In the meantime, perhaps I will compile a list of New Testament passages Ilion doesn't believe, so we can all know the latest score. : )

Ilíon said...

"(Now they can team up and condemn me in unison! Ha ha.)"

You know I'd never do that. You and I disagree all the time, sometimes strongly, and we are still friends, aren't we?

I don't "condemn" people because they believe differently than I do; I fault them for being illogical and/or irrational. Or worse, intellectually dishonest.

Ilíon said...

UnkleE: "In the meantime, perhaps I will compile a list of New Testament passages Ilion doesn't believe, so we can all know the latest score. : )"

Do you intend to actually *read* the NT, or do you intend just to cherry-pick verses out of context? Good Lord! what if you actually read the Gospels and find out what an “intemperate”, and indeed “deliberately and provocatively nasty”, man that Jesus fellow was? And, Heaven help you if you learn about Peter and Paul.

Perhaps you should rethink this, so that you can keep intact you Victorian-era vision of Jesus-as-pussy, in contrast to Christ-as-Lion.

Ilíon said...

"I find it interesting that my reminders of the standards the New Testament sets for us continues to draw mild adverse comment, whereas the far stronger, continual and apparently deliberate comments that catalysed my comments, do not."

Perhaps it's that whole hypocrisy thingie. Well, that and that your standards are not Christ's. I guess you're just more moral than he is.

Ilíon said...

"BTW, regarding the earlier off-topic discussion - I'm very sympathetic, strongly sympathetic, to classical theism."

Maybe, in time, you'll get over it, like I did.

BenYachov said...

@IIion

>You know I'd never do that. You and I disagree all the time, sometimes strongly, and we are still friends, aren't we?

I'm still trying to figure out what it is I said to you to make you my enemy?

It's because I like BDK isn't.

>Jesus-as-pussy, in contrast to Christ-as-Lion.

Yet for some reason me being a lion in regard to the Church I believes in bug the shit out of you?

Anonymous said...

BenYachov, it's because you're an unrepentant Feser Fan. Don't you remember Ilion and Feser had a falling out a while ago?

Papalinton said...

Having read through every post here, from the raw data emerged an Algorithm for christianity:

Anonymous+1.5(Ilion) +2(Crude)+2(Yachov)=0

Note: The multiplier factor consistent with frequency.

Walter, even with one hand tied behind your back and your ankles hobbled, you beat off the 'Four Imagineers' with deft and telling keystrokes.

It was entertaining reading.

Quote: "The density of christianity approaches that of concrete."[PapaL 3:14}

Crude said...

And so Papalinton shows up in the thread to endorse... well. Deism and the (Platonic?) existence of objective, unchanging morals.

It's nice to see you come around to theism and non-materialism, Papalinton. Congratulations on abandoning both atheism and materialism.

Ilíon said...

"... Congratulations on abandoning both atheism and materialism."

Not to worry: on another day, in another thread, he'll be spouting the same old non-sense he always does. After all, intellectual hypocrisy really isn't such a big deal once you deny the reality of God and transcendant morality.

Ilíon said...

Amonymouse: "BenYachov, it's because you're an unrepentant Feser Fan. Don't you remember Ilion and Feser had a falling out a while ago?"

What is it with you people? Can you not read? I treat Son-of-Confusion like a fool because he behaves like a fool.

Crude is *also* "an unrepentant Feser Fan".

Papalinton said...

Crude
"And so Papalinton shows up in the thread to endorse... well. Deism and the (Platonic?) existence of objective, unchanging morals."

I know you say this in jest, but it doesn't mask your wishful thinking.
And observing that, you have missed the boat. Walter is a professed deist, and his argument amounted to an annihilation of theism in all its forms. The notion of a floating spectral numen momentarily touching down on earth on the backs of angels, tinkering with natural laws of physics, representing the advent of christianity, is just so droll. I am amused and somewhat bemused that you seem oblivious to the jester's role you play [and others] in propagating this comedic tale.

I have no truck with a non-interventionist deistic god. I am even accepting of the deist mindset, although to me deism is simply a place-mark for the absence in current knowledge about the universe and is a reasonable[?] stance for those unable to totally control and discipline their ancient genetic predisposition to see agency behind the physical existence of the universe.

I would say the woes and tribulations of the Amalekites, Mr Spock, christianity, god, and christ all originate from the same font, mythology.

Crude said...

Walter is a professed deist, and his argument amounted to an annihilation of theism in all its forms.

Deism... is a form of theism.

And considering Walter's argument here is A) relying specifically on Old Testament claims and B) not all Christians (rightly or wrongly) endorse the literal reading of the passage in question, it's clear that Walter's argument - at its best - is entirely compatible with the truth of 'various forms' of theism. Even aside from deism. And I do not think that it is reaching its "best" by a longshot.

And Walter is arguing, by his own admission, from the perspective of someone affirming objective, unchanging morals. I do not know whether his view of these objective morals are platonic or not, or related to his Deism - Walter, clarify if you wish - but it's clear that his argument here does rely on the affirmation of objective moral values.

So tell me, Papalinton: Now that you've apparently ceded the reasonableness of Deism and the deistic worldview - aka, Papalinton, acoylte of the great Cult of Gnu, has concluded that belief in God is reasonable - will you complete the job and endorse belief in "objective, unchanging moral values" as reasonable as well?

I'd love for your concession to be complete.

unkleE said...

"Do you intend to actually *read* the NT, or do you intend just to cherry-pick verses out of context? Good Lord! what if you actually read the Gospels and find out what an “intemperate”, and indeed “deliberately and provocatively nasty”, man that Jesus fellow was? And, Heaven help you if you learn about Peter and Paul."

I have read it many, many times, studied it formally and informally, try to take its teachings seriously. My problem is that you keep ducking the clear teachings. Only when we have mastered the basic lessons can it be reasonable to explore when they may not apply.

Yes, Jesus sometimes did things that weren't 'nice'. He also knew (many times) how and when to be tender, caring. Are you suggesting you have his authority and wisdom to copy him? If so, when are we going to see the tender and caring side from you?

Let me clarify, I don't continue on at you because I enjoy it, but because I think you do an enormous amount of damage to the cause of Jesus by your 'clever' nastiness, and I want people to know that what you are showing is not christianity as taught in the NT, but something else.

But I don't intend to keep on about it, so I'll leave you to "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling". Ciao.

Crude said...

By the way, Walter.

Thank you for motivating me to take a closer look at Randal Rauser's site. I disagree with him, but I at least like his approach - and he seems legitimate, rather than some manner of quisling. (Still shouldn't be writing that book with the charlatan, though.)

BenYachov said...

Paps becoming a deist?

That is an improvement. Thought at the end of the day he is still Paps.

>What is it with you people? Can you not read? I treat Son-of-Confusion like a fool because he behaves like a fool.

So calling people "Son-of-Confusion" or some other weirdo epitaph from a bad Kung Fu movie is an example of non-foolish behavior?

Alrighty Then!

It's like he thinks I'm a Chaos Magic User from AD&D Level 10 a Son-of-Confusion!

At Level 14 I'll be Brother-of-Confusion!

Level 18 Father-of-Confusion!

Level 20 Grand Mage-of-Confusion!

Sweet! Do I get a plus +3 Robe against beguilement with that?

BenYachov said...

@unkleE

I have only one thing to say to you buddy!!!!!!

Pray for me a Sinner!

Got that?

Cheers!;-)

BenYachov said...

@Crude

For myself I don't believe personally in Limbo but I will in light of the Tradition of the Church defend Limbo as a possibility. After all God doesn't really owe us Heaven but his Justice and Goodness would prevent the eternal pain of sense be impossed on those who die with only original sin on their soul.

In a like manner I can accept the possibility the Haram passages in Scripture where not intended to be taken literally and in fact not applied literally. But many of the Fathers accepted them as Literal so I must defend the possibility of their being literal.

I don't find Walter's objections to be convincing in part from my reliance on Brian Davies view of the Non-Moral Agency of God and the fact God doesn't owe us any deliverance from temperal pain in this life. Also if you can condemn God for ordering the slaughter of the Canaanite you can condemn God for not stopping the slaugher of the Holocaust. But I escape this by accepting God is not a moral agent.

Still for the record I am not wedded to the idea these passages must be literal. But I will defend tradition.

Crude said...

Ben,

I agree with your general view. It's the one I strongly incline towards - and I think (taking the passages as real for the sake of argument) strong arguments can be made for their defensibility. Certainly the atheist-materialist doesn't have much of a leg to stand on. It's the platonist type theists whose objections I find interesting.

I think there are multiple ways to respond that are valid, including but not limited to taking the literal approach. (Oddly enough, William Lane Craig doesn't treat inerrancy as indispensable to Christianity either. I admire him for mounting the defense he does while realizing he doesn't have to.)

BenYachov said...

@Crude

Your thoughts on some of my dark satire at post October 23, 2011 6:46 PM?

Crude said...

Ben,

I think I get the point you're making - that gets into the complexities of "What would have happened if..?" and God's knowledge. (Pardon me if I'm being dry here, I'm assuming you're asking about the evaluation of what you're trying to convey, not the humor!)

Victor Reppert said...

Has anybody noticed that, before Christianity, nobody ever dreamed that there were some things you couldn't do to noncombatants and defeated nations. If you conquered in battle, then the people belonged to you to kill, rape, or enslave as you saw fit. What the ban on, say, the Amalekites does is remove the last two options.

Of course, people like Dawkins help themselves to these moral ideas as if they were somehow obvious, when in fact they were pretty much unheard of before Christians came on the scene.

Crude said...

Of course, people like Dawkins help themselves to these moral ideas as if they were somehow obvious, when in fact they were pretty much unheard of before Christians came on the scene.

Help themselves to it? I'm not so sure. Dawkins boosts Singer who justifies infanticide, and who has toyed with the idea of worldwide - if voluntary (except for the children) - genocide. Harris clearly doesn't have a genocide problem if the chips are down in the right way, hence his entertaining of nuclear first strike justifications. Hitchens has paid lip service to justifying mass slaughter by Soviets.

I agree with your greater point, of course. Just being a nitpicker.

Papalinton said...

"Deism... is a form of theism. "

No. Theism is an embellished form of deism. Always start with the simple and work to the florid is the strategy to discovering the basis of a particular thought or circumstance or story.

And chtistianity is a johnny-come-lately when compared against the other great mythologies, apart from Islam and Mormonism.

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

Crude
This where your logic goes out the window.
"Dawkins boosts Singer who justifies infanticide, and who has toyed with the idea of worldwide - if voluntary (except for the children) - genocide."

Singer talks and philosophises about it. Your asswipe of a god actually committed it, a worldwide genocide, let alone do over the Amalekites and a few others.

Too much neural leather poisoning to distinguish morality from the tripe in the bible.

The following passage is what honest, caring humanists have been fighting against over the last 1,000 years of god-given objective morality of the catholic mafia. Pope Gregory VI on purchasing the papacy from his 20-year-old godson, Pope Benedict IX who wanted to abdicate so he could marry, said, "From the polluted fountain [of] that absurd and erroneous doctrine, or rather raving, which claims and defends liberty of conscience for everyone ... comes, in a word, the worst plague of all - liberty of opinions and free speech."

And the catholic mafia to this very day continues to browbeat the vulnerable and the dependent through the corrupt, misogynist and ridiculously named 'catholic Magisterium'. C'mon guys, it's a club for a bunch of old farts who are feathering their own nest, that's all.

Walter said...

Thank you for motivating me to take a closer look at Randal Rauser's site. I disagree with him, but I at least like his approach - and he seems legitimate, rather than some manner of quisling. (Still shouldn't be writing that book with the charlatan, though.)

I disagree with Randal a lot as well, but he seems to be an amicable chap. I am curious though, do you consider Stark or Morriston to be quislings? I know that Stark defines himself as an agnostic Christian, and Morriston claims to be a theist who fits no stereotype.

Walter said...

I have pretty much abandoned this discussion because I feel that the philosophical papers that I linked to articulate my position far better than I can. Here is yet another one more from Wes Morriston:

http://spot.colorado.edu/~morristo/divinely-mandated-genocide.html

It is my contention that a maximally moral deity would not use humans to kill other humans as a means of divine judgment due to the moral damage that would be caused to the person(s) carrying out the slaughter. I consider the discussion to be entirely hypothetical since I am convinced by the current state of "biblical" archaeology that there was no grand conquest of Canaan by the Hebrew people. And I am also firmly convinced that no deity has ever ordered a group of people to kill another (though obviously I cannot *prove* this assertion to the satisfaction of conservative believers who tend towards belief in biblical inerrancy or Magisterial infallibility). I am convinced that many times throughout the course of human history that the priests and religious leaders of many nations large and small have convinced the masses that their particular deity did desire the slaughter of a neighboring tribe or nation.

Cheers all.

BenYachov said...

@Paps
>Singer talks and philosophises about it. Your asswipe of a god actually committed it, a worldwide genocide, let alone do over the Amalekites and a few others.

So let me get this straight? Singer (who really exists from both our perspectives) is excused because he is merely "philosophizing"? Like he is not serious?

Yet our imaginary Old Man in the Sky(from your perspective) did this in the Faerie tale book we read(from your perspective) & that incites moral outrage from you?

Hypocrite much?

Wow the Cult of the Gnu ladies and gentlemen! You can't make this shit up!

PS Worldwide? Yeh Stalin & Mao during their lifetimes did more to impliment Singer's vision then the combined religious wars of the previous 2000 years.

Vox Day documents that quite convincingly.

Paps just when I think you can't get any stupider you turn around and surprise me.

BenYachov said...

>It is my contention that a maximally moral deity would not use humans to kill other humans as a means of divine judgment due to the moral damage that would be caused to the person(s) carrying out the slaughter.

Just thought I'd remind everyone the above only applies to a Theistic Personalist Deity who is a member of a moral community with us because he is unequivocally like us except more uber.

A Classical Deity is not a moral agent. A Classical Deity is ontologically and metaphysically good but not morally good like we are & cannot be morally praised or condemned like we can. He can't do what is intrinsically evil (Command torture for fun, command mortal sin, sodomy, send the innocent to eternal suffering in Hell etc) but he is under no obligation to rescue us from temporal evil & he has the absolute right of life or death over us.

We OTOH have no right to take any life not even the guilty without His Authority.

BenYachov said...

So Paps is outraged over (from his perpective) the fictional acts of a fiction deity where as Singer is a real man advocating nonsense Stalin(an Atheist), Mao(an Atheist) and Hitler(Darwinian Deist) practiced in reality & he gets a pass?

I still can't believe it?

Till now I thought IIion with his slaughter the Muslim women and children before they get us meme made us Theists look bad. But now Paps has evened the scale.

IIion is Paps in Theistic form. Paps is the Atheist version of IIion.

Yeh I went there.

Walter said...

A Classical Deity is not a moral agent. A Classical Deity is ontologically and metaphysically good but not morally good...

So your Classical deity would not give a damn that "it" was damaging the moral character of the human "tools" it was using to exact its divine plan. You are right that that kind of deity deserves no praise for its actions.




He can't do what is intrinsically evil (Command torture for fun, command mortal sin, sodomy, send the innocent to eternal suffering in Hell etc)

It is my argument that slaying children IS intrinsically evil.

BenYachov said...

Walter I thought you where only going to respond to Crude?

>So your Classical deity would not give a damn that "it" was damaging the moral character of the human "tools" it was using to exact its divine plan. You are right that that kind of deity deserves no praise for its actions.

That is Randel's claim but what is his evidence that their moral character was damaged? This is about as meaningful a claim as your unsubstanciated claim this was all propoganda from the winners.


>It is my argument that slaying children IS intrinsically evil.

Your argument was it is not so when God does it directly but you gave no convincing argument as to why it's immoral for God to do it threw authorized agents other then to assume God is a moral agent.

BTW you haven't studied Davies Argument on God not being a moral agent. You are not qualified to comment on it.

BenYachov said...

Today my eldest daughter turns 13. I have three autistic children.

God is under no moral obligation to keep me from suffering the mental pain of having autistic children. God is not a moral agent and God doesn't owe me anything. Still I know God is the Source of all the good in my children and the good I have.

The dramatic claims of Morrison and Randel that the Israelite soldiers would lie awake at night thinking of the kids they killed is projecting Vietnam onto the Israelites.

Morality aside how do we know that would be the case? I'm sure as slaves the Israelites saw pagan priests do worst to children then merely kill them quickly.

So it is a matter of perspective.

Ilíon said...

Crude, paraphrased: "[I don't get it, Ilíon; what's the deal with [Son-of-Confusion]? ]"

Really? You don't get it? Don't you pay attention to what people write/say? Even with those whom I have decided are not worth the time (and aggravation) of paying anymore attention to, the determination was based on having paid attention to them, if only for a few minutes.


Consider this intellectually disgusting dance:

Walter: "It is my contention that a maximally moral deity would not use humans to kill other humans as a means of divine judgment due to the moral damage that would be caused to the person(s) carrying out the slaughter."

Son-of-Confusion: "Just thought I'd remind everyone the above only applies to a Theistic Personalist Deity who is a member of a moral community with us because he is unequivocally like us except more uber.

A Classical Deity is not a moral agent. A Classical Deity is ontologically and metaphysically good but not morally good like we are & cannot be morally praised or condemned like we can. …
"

Can you *really* not see what is wrong, and offensive (both morally and intellectually), about BenYachov’s non-Christianity?

Walter said...

Walter I thought you where only going to respond to Crude?

I can't help myself sometimes.

That is Randel's claim but what is his evidence that their moral character was damaged?

Seriously? If God directly told you to dismember the neighbor's kids, and you complied, what do you think that would do to you? Do you need some kind of empirical evidence to prove that such actions damage a person's character? I really can't believe some of the garbage that I read in these comment threads.

Your argument was it is not so when God does it directly but you gave no convincing argument as to why it's immoral for God to do it threw authorized agents other then to assume God is a moral agent.

There is a world of difference between a Creator-deity directly stopping the heart of a person versus ordering another person to kill that person savagely. I can offer no "proof" of this that will satisfy you. If the Creator wishes to kill, then the Creator can do his own killing.

BTW you haven't studied Davies Argument on God not being a moral agent. You are not qualified to comment on it.

You obviously refuse to read Stark's arguments because you have already painted him as some kind of enemy to your Classical Theistic Catholicism, so I guess you aren't "qualified" to discuss this topic.

Ilíon said...

VR: "Has anybody noticed that, before Christianity, nobody ever dreamed that there were some things you couldn't do to noncombatants and defeated nations. …"

Of course; and same with the OT “eye for an eye” that everyone like to hate on – it was a vast step forward in the moral development and understanding of human persons and societies.

The better question might be: “Now that I [VR] have explicitly pointed out to you silly people that you’re trying to morally condemn the Bible, and Biblical religion, on the basis of a moral understanding grounded in that very Bible and religion, why do you persist in your intellectually vain and morally bankrupt squirming?

BenYachov said...

>Seriously? If God directly told you to dismember the neighbor's kids, and you complied, what do you think that would do to you?

I thought the Command was to kill? What does dismembering have to do with anything?

Plus if you think you have the right to ask me this question I get to ask you one as well.

Suppose you had a bunch of women and children on the Starship EVENT HORIZON.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Event_Horizon_%28film%29

The engines are going to turn on and send the lot of them to Hyperspace Hell where they will suffer horrible agony for all eternity. You can save them by killing them. Would you do it or would you rather not be damaged?

You endorse abortion to save the life of the mother. Would you preform that abortion yourself?

I have read Stark it's all argument from emotion based on the idea God is a moral agent.

You haven't convinced me He is one so your arguments falls flat. Nor have you convinced me the Israelite would have been damaged.

There is a moral difference between God telling a person to do something vs a mere man doing it.

One's moral intuition would tell a person it's wrong to listen to Stalin but God is not Stalin and God by definition can be trusted.

Plus Stark is operating on a completely different plane than I am. He is wrong from the bottom up. Protestantism, Theistic personalism, a non-scholastic outlook in general.

Sorry but no dice.

BenYachov said...

Walter is a man who preforms late term abortions to save the life of a woman damaged?

He can't just swing a sword be done with it he has to dismember a child.

Well? You endorse abortion to save the life of the mother remember?

BenYachov said...

Left out the comma I am not implying Water is an abortionist.

should read:


Walter, do a man etc

Walter said...

Walter is a man who preforms late term abortions to save the life of a woman damaged?

He can't just swing a sword be done with it he has to dismember a child.


Do you honestly think that those two scenarios are analogous?

Here in the real world we are often faced with shades of grey, where we sometimes have to literally choose the lesser of two evils. If my wife were about to die due to a complication in her pregnancy, I would regrettably sacrifice my child to save the woman I love.

If I were a doctor, could I do it myself to save my wife? I honestly don't know.

This basically boils down to whether one accepts divine-command metaethics--I don't. Here is a paper by Morriston on this very subject:

What if God Commanded Something Terrible?

BenYachov said...

I think you are dodging the argument Walter.

But we will talk later if you are interested.

BenYachov said...

>Do you honestly think that those two scenarios are analogous?

Rather it's unequivocal for the child victim in either case.

More later.

Walter said...

Ben,

Even if you feel that you have pinned me with an inconsistency in my views towards abortion in exceptional circumstances, it still does not change my argument that a moral god would choose a better way to eliminate people rather than using humans to kill other humans as part of the divine plan. Of course, you have made it abundantly clear that you do not worship a moral god, you worship an amoral entity that deserves no praise. We are in agreement on that point: Ben's deity deserves no praise.

BenYachov said...

>Of course, you have made it abundantly clear that you do not worship a moral god, you worship an amoral entity that deserves no praise. We are in agreement on that point: Ben's deity deserves no praise.

Not at all but I read Randel, Stark and Morrision you have not read Davies so your claim is bogus.

God can be praised in the same manner one who has no obligations to you can be praised for any act of gratuitous good they do you. Like create you and give you the opportunity to share the Beatific Vision etc.

>it still does not change my argument that a moral god would choose a better way to eliminate people rather than using humans to kill other humans as part of the divine plan.

You view of goodness is flawed. Better has nothing to do with it. It may be "better" to die by being murdered painlessly by your attacker but it is not a moral act on the part of your attacker.

Also it may be less better or worst to die painfully but naturally but there is no immorality involved.

I thought we where arguing morality?

BenYachov said...

>Even if you feel that you have pinned me with an inconsistency in my views towards abortion in exceptional circumstances,

It is inconsistent in that obviously the pain the child suffers and the existential pain the abortionist might feel has nothing to do with the morality of the act. Since you believe such an extra-ordinary act is moral.

Thus I don't see how God taking life which He has the right to do is immoral if he uses secondary agents just because the agents might find it unpleasant.

OTOH there is no evidence anyone was forced to kill Canaanites or take part if they didn't want too.

Walter said...

It is inconsistent in that obviously the pain the child suffers and the existential pain the abortionist might feel has nothing to do with the morality of the act. Since you believe such an extra-ordinary act is moral.

I did not say that such an act is moral. I said that it was the lesser of two evils.

Let's assume a hypothetical scenario where both the mother and the child are likely to die without an abortion. A "good" Catholic like you would allow both to die, while claiming that it is God's will. I would abort the unborn child to save the mother. My action saves one life, yours condemns both. I may be acting immorally, but I would do it in a heartbeat if it would save my wife's life. Unfortunately, Ben, your amoral god puts us in situations where hard choices must be made, and everything is not perfectly black and white.

Crude said...

Walter,

Well, I'm not sure why you're stopping things here - I thought we were having a good conversation, and a civil one. But, that's up to you.

I'll present my position. First, I stand by a point I made: Insofar as you think it would be justifiable for (say) the Amalekites to have been wiped out by a natural disaster, the problem here for you isn't genocide, or these deaths, etc. It seems to turn specifically on the method - using humans to do the job. I think if that's correct, then the case you're making against the God of the Bible is vastly easier to defend.

I also think the NEBB principle, while interesting, becomes interesting for a reason Ben is touching on. It sounds like a real great principle, and a fantastic way to condemn events like the Amalekites - except endorsing it would pick off arguably the entire Cult of Gnu leadership and even a large number of "liberal" Christians due to its interplay with abortion. At that point, deploying many of the typical arguments - "Well, the rights of the mother overrule..." "Well, babies/fetuses aren't REALLY human..." start to sound pretty terrible. And if you amend the NEBB rule to something to accommodate abortion, it really starts to sound like an Animal Farm case.

BenYachov said...

You moved the goal post again Walter.

So now abortion isn't moral at all?

Well that is progress on one level.

But it makes discussion with you impossible if you keep moving the goal posts.

As I was just reading Brian Davies a few minutes ago. He points out moral evil doesn't really have anything to do with bad consequences.

With you morality is consequential which of course is not correct.

I will turn you over to Crude for now.

BenYachov said...

One more point.

>Let's assume a hypothetical scenario where both the mother and the child are likely to die without an abortion.

My only morally correct action is to try to save both of them?

What if you have your wife and adult child dangling from a rope off the side of a burning building?

The rope is only strong enough to hold one of them & they are both panicking.

It's breaking fast. A sharp shooter offers to shoot one of them so they will let go.

Who do you kill?

Catholic Answer neither you still try to save both.

You really need to learn scolastic moral theory Walter.

Your consequentialist ethics won't cut it here.

Now on too you Crude.

Walter said...

I love this review on Amazon about Brian Davies book: Reality of God and the Problem of Evil

"Imagine this scenario: A little girl is cruelly abused by her parents. Psychologically scarred, she grows up to be a drug addict and prostitute. Because she takes drugs while pregnant, she gives birth to a blind and retarded baby.

Question: How could a good God allow this? Why did he create a world where innocent babies are born blind and retarded? Isn't this evidence that God doesn't exist, or, if He does, that He isn't good or all-powerful?

Fr. Davies has an answer to this challenge. It turns on the notion of positive existence. All positive existence flows from God. However, evil does not have positive existence. It is the lack of something. Cruelty is the lack of a good character. Addiction is the lack of will power. Blindness is the lack of eyesight. Mental retardation is the lack of intelligence. The upshot: Since evil doesn't have positive existence, it wasn't created by God. God bears no causal responsiblity for the chain of suffering that leads to a handicapped baby. God is off the hook.

Fr. Davies takes seriously the idea that God is the unable-not-to-exist source of contingent existence -- and not much more. As the source of being, God is good. However, He is not a person nor is He bound by moral rules. He isn't required to minimize the pain in the world. And while He must be posited to explain the existence of contingent things, He is more mysterious than anything He's invoked to explain.

If you buy this line of reasoning, you'll love "The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil." The book is clearly-written. It rejects attempts to anthropomorphize God. It is a worthy example of Thomist philosophizing.

It also does a great job of making theism and Christianity seem unattractive and irrelevant to human concerns.

Who needs a God like this?
"

Indeed!

BenYachov said...

Read the Comments to that whiny post & in the other reviews.

I did a while ago.

Indeed Indeed.

Walter said...

I did read them. Still, I tend to agree with "Reader" in that a god like Davies describes is one that does not care one whit about human suffering. And one that I could care less about praising or worshiping. Funny thing is, as a deist, this is pretty close to my own conception of deity.

Ilíon said...

What I don't get is why a "maximally moral deity" (whatever in the Hell that is supposed to mean), to say nothing of one who is omni-potent, would bother to use humans to do his good deeds.

I mean, really! it's so inconvenient, and puts such a crimp in one's life, to be ordered and obligated to do good. I might could see it if it were, uou know, voluntary, and you got "brownie points", or whatever they'd be called, for doing good. But, to be obligated! That stinks to High Heaven!

Do you think I ought to contend that a "maximally moral deity" simply would not use humans to do his good deeds?

And, what's this with a "maximally just deity" allowing beings who rebel against him, and who hate him -- who hate Being Itself -- to continue to be. Worse, he's not merely *allowing* them to continue to be, he's *causing* them to continue to be.

And, even worse than that, this supposedly "maximally just deity" claims to have plans to deliver to at least some of these rebellious and hateful beings, not justice, but mercy, the opposite of justice.

Obviously: either:
1) there is no God;
2) or, he is not at all just.

Either way, who needs him?

Ilíon said...

ps:
Your problem, Walter, same as Ryan Anderson's and Papalinton's, is that you haven't yet admitted that you are not God.

BenYachov said...

From one of the responses to that "review".

Platonistikon says:
One of the problems with rational arguments about theology is that most people don't have the patience to understand the arguments before they decide whether they accept them or not. Davies' arguments are subtle, in large part because any attempt to understand God will require subtlety, but it will be clear to anyone who has read the book carefully that Hande Z has not really understood Davies' arguments. The closest Hande comes to stating Davies' position in a single sentence is "It [evil] exists, but it does not mean that it proves that God therefore does not." Put less awkwardly, Davies argues that the fact of evil does not entail the non-existence of God. Hande seems to find that an unsatisfying position, but it is really the only answer a theist can give to the so-called problem of evil. That problem, remember, is that the fact of evil is supposed to be incompatible with the existence of God. By arguing that it isn't, Davies is showing that the fact of evil gives us no grounds to disbelieve in God. If his arguments are right, that is a very, very significant conclusion, because the problem of evil is widely regarded as the *only* positive argument for atheism.

Hande's dissatisfaction with Davies' arguments seems to have at least two sources. The first is that Hande just hasn't grasped the real point. It's true that Davies appeals to something very much like the idea that we are not in a position to understand God's reasons, yet have very good independent reasons to believe that God exists, and so can't say that the fact of evil disproves the existence of God. Davies' version of this argument, however, is extremely different from most versions of it, which are in fact extremely dissatisfying. What Davies argues that most defenders of the "we can't understand God's reasons" argument do not is, first, that we can't even coherently conceive of God as *having* reasons for action in anything like the way in which human beings do, and, closely related to that point, that we cannot coherently conceive of God as a moral agent who has moral obligations to act in one way rather than another. The central message of Davies' book is that most treatments of the problem of evil fail because they assume an objectionably anthropomorphic conception of God, the idea that God is really just a person like you or me but without any of our limitations. Davies, following Aquinas and most of the classical theistic tradition, rejects that sort of view utterly. To see how all of this work, you need to read the book, but you should understand that Davies is not simply peddling a confusing version of the "we can't see the whole picture" idea.

Walter said...

Ilion,

Spare me your brand of lunacy. I don't believe in your Christian fairy tale.

BenYachov said...

Continues:
The deeper reason for Hande's dissatisfaction is probably that what he wants is not a defense of theism against arguments from evil, but a full-blown theodicy. Not everyone appreciates the difference. A theodicy would seek to explain why God allows (or, on some views, causes) evil and to justify God for doing so. It's understandable why people want this sort of justification; because most people approach God primarily in religious contexts that encourage various kinds of anthropomorphism, it is very tempting to imagine that God is basically just a really powerful person. When a person causes or allows some evil to occur, we quite reasonably want an explanation from him, and it can become impossible to believe that he is really a good person if we don't get one. But an essential component in any intellectually respectable, adult belief in God (whether purely philosophical or as part of religious faith) is understanding that God is not a person or a mind or a moral agent in anything like a literal sense of those terms, and that therefore the demand for a theodicy is inappropriate. To be clear: it is not *morally* inappropriate or impious or anything like that; it is *conceptually incoherent* to think of God as the sort of being whose activity is susceptible of moral evaluation. Of course, unless you are a purely philosophical theist, then you will believe that God is personal in some analogical or metaphorical sense -- you may even believe that he is 'three persons in one.' But if you take those beliefs to require an anthropomorphic conception of God as a conscious agent who forms intentions on the basis of deliberation and then acts in morally assessable ways, you are condemned to an incoherent conception of God. Lucky for you, the vast majority of your religious tradition has not believed such things, however basic to all theism they may seem to have become over the past few hundred years. If you don't believe me, just try reading the Cappadocian Fathers, Maximus the Confessor, Augustine, Aquinas, or Bonaventure -- for all their sometimes deep theological disagreements, you'll find that none of them has a conception of God that can be accurately described as "a person like us without any of our limitations."

Davies' book is one of the best books in the philosophy of religion that I've ever read, and I've read more than a few. It won't offer you any comfort at all if you are trying to deal with concrete problems of evil in your own life. If you are a theist, what it can offer you is some very strong reasons not to believe that evil shows that God doesn't exist or isn't the source of everything good in the entire universe. That may help a little, but the kind of help you need if you are dealing with pain and suffering, your own or whoever's, is not the kind of help that you'll find in philosophy.

BenYachov said...

>I did read them. Still, I tend to agree with "Reader" in that a god like Davies describes is one that does not care one whit about human suffering.

Rather he care about giving you the beatific vision.

>And one that I could care less about praising or worshiping. Funny thing is, as a deist, this is pretty close to my own conception of deity.

You have some serious problems my friend(accept for my problems).

Walter it's up to you. Read the book yourself or not.

I fell in love with God all over again after I read it. The spiritual & devotional writings of the Fathers and Saints make a whole lot more sense now that I don't believe in IIion's faerie tale "god".

I didn't have to blame God anymore because I coherently couldn't.

It's up to you.

Read it yourself if only because you will need to keep up with Crude and me.

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

I love these words Platonistikon addresses directly too Reader.

Quote"Reader tells us that a God who is not morally obligated to minimize suffering would be irrelevant to our lives. But I'm not quite sure why he thinks that a God who *is* morally obligated to minimize suffering actually exists. There is unnecessary and inherently meaningless suffering in the world; if the universe were controlled by an omnipotent mind with a moral obligation to minimize that suffering, it is at the very least extraordinarily difficult to see how such suffering could occur. I don't deny that theists can come up with some sort of story to save that claim from outright contradiction, but it's not at all clear why any reasonable person should be expected to believe that such a God exists. A God that does not have any such moral obligation, however, does not face this particular problem. Moreover, when one seriously considers what it might be to be the creator of the entire universe, it is hard to see how this could involve moral obligations. I, for one, have much more reverence and gratitude for a God who owes me nothing but creates and sustains the whole magnificent universe than I do for a super-powerful divine mind who owes me justice but fails to give it to me. No doubt people differ in their sense of what is worthy of worship, but so long as we're just talking about our "preferences," I'm happy to admit that I prefer an incomprehensible transcendent source of all being to a morally inept spiritual oaf.

Finally, it is rather amusing to see Davies' view described as incompatible with Christianity when it is, in fact, more or less just an adaptation of Aquinas' view, which is more or less just an adaptation of Augustine's view, which is rather similar to the view of all of the major Greek fathers and of most serious orthodox Christian theologians for over a millenium. Even *Calvin*, who is, from this perspective, an arch-heretic, did not believe that God was just a really powerful disembodied person with ordinary moral obligations: in fact, Calvin made a rather serious point of consistently denying that God had *any* moral obligations to his creatures. When your conception of God departs more from orthodox Christian theology than Calvin's, you're not in a good position to claim to represent "the Christian God." END QUOTE

Walter said...

Ben,

I have no problem reading the book if I can find it in a public library.

And you can read Thom Stark's
The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It) plus his 345 page review of Copan's poor attempt to place a halo over the nastier bits of the bible.

You see Ben, I don't believe that you really have read Stark's work. I think you just hand-wave him away due to your own theological biases.

It's up to you.

Crude said...

I think Ben's problem here may be that you're presenting arguments here - whether from Stark or anyone else - which presuppose a God Ben, to say the least, utterly rejects.

And what's more... unintentionally, I think you're actually conceding some ground to Ben. Look at your reply:

Funny thing is, as a deist, this [the Thomist God] is pretty close to my own conception of deity.

Then perhaps what's in order is reading up further about this very God. Yes, it's a God which allows suffering and evil, precisely because this is not the 'Cosmic Saddam Hussein' Hitchens and company talk about. That line of attack, if those philosophers are correct, never even gets off the ground.

As for Rauser, I really like him at a glance. He shouldn't be cooperating with the sham used car salesman of internet atheism that he is - but I like him. And I hope to engage his arguments directly soon. He's amicable. You'll see on his site if I manage to make the time for it - much as I was enjoying the conversation here.

Walter said...

I think Ben's problem here may be that you're presenting arguments here - whether from Stark or anyone else - which presuppose a God Ben, to say the least, utterly rejects.

Ben does not engage any of Stark's arguments. He dismisses Stark with a hand-wave because Stark is a liberal protestant and highly agnostic believer. I don't know that any of Stark's arguments hinges on a belief in an anthropomorphic deity? Perhaps Ben knows of some specific arguments of Stark's that depend upon Theistic-Personalism?

For the record, I am somewhat intrigued by Brian Davies views, but frankly, The god of classical theism seems quite consistent with the morally neutral, non-interventionist, indifferent god of deism, so I am not sure what kind of paradigm-shifting revelation I am supposed to receive from reading his work? If you want to tie the Thomistic god to Yahweh/Jesus/Holy Ghost it is going to take a lot more than Davies' philosophical treatises.

Crude said...

Ben does not engage any of Stark's arguments.

Well, yeah. Because the arguments so far given in this thread apply, or seem to apply, to view of God Ben rejects from the outset - at least from his perspective, which I have sympathy with. It's a little like coming at me saying I don't engage the arguments directed at a YEC view of the bible. Even if they're devastating, they never get off the ground against me. If I'm interested in that, it's going to be for other reasons than defense.

For the record, I am somewhat intrigued by Brian Davies views, but frankly, The god of classical theism seems quite consistent with the morally neutral, non-interventionist, indifferent god of deism, so I am not sure what kind of paradigm-shifting revelation I am supposed to receive from reading his work?

It will, if nothing else, inform you about another way of considering the existence of God, the foundation of good, what "goodness" even means, what "God" means, etc. I'm not demanding it - I don't do, or appreciate, the "read this book" tactic of discussion or argumentation. Consider it more a friendly suggestion, if you're really interested in seriously investigating the idea of God. Rather like if I heard you were a fan of FPS games, I'd suggest checking out Team Fortress 2 if you never played it before.

BenYachov said...

>And you can read Thom Stark's
The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It)

I have not read this book but if I see it in the library or find a cheap version on line I will go for it.

BTW which Scripture? The 66 book incorrect version or the 73 book authentic Bible?

Which view of Inerrancy? Views that presuppose the Reformation errors of Perspicuity & Sola Scriptura sans Apostolic Tradition or the correct views spelled out by Augustine, Aquinas, Scotus, Pope St Gregory, Pius IX, St Pius X, Pius XII with Tradition and Church?

>plus his 345 page review of Copan's poor attempt to place a halo over the nastier bits of the bible.

I have not read all of this I don't deny it. What I have read of it is very long winded and his presuppositions are all wrong to begin with. He just dogmatically moves in the opposite direction of Copan. If Copan argues for "A" Stark reflexively insists it must be "Not A" or Copan is a Fideist!

Copan's arguments do become more plausible in light of Rabbinic Tradition which Starks seems to dismiss due to his latent Evangelicalism and his kneejerk blind acceptance of liberal Protestant scholarship.

Stark calls Copan's explanations AD HOC because they are not plain based on a plain reading of your average English bible but that's just the perspicuity heresy at work again.

>You see Ben, I don't believe that you really have read Stark's work. I think you just hand-wave him away due to your own theological biases.

Believe what you like. I've read his blog and some of his arguments.

He is a liberal fundamentalist arguing with Protestant Evangelicals and Fundamentalists & yes as a Catholic he has little to say to me. Since he is wrong on every level. His Theistic Personalism is wrong. His view God is a moral agent is wrong. His believe Scripture should be perspicuous is wrong. 66 book Canon is wrong. His view it must contain formal error is wrong.

Plus his views on ancient Israelites having child sacrifice to YHWH aren't his they belong to Susan Niditch. Her critics and reviews said it was all speculation without any archeology to back up the claims.

So there you have it.

Ilíon said...

Walter: "Spare me your brand of lunacy. I don't believe in your Christian fairy tale."

Imagine that! Walter is channelling that strange Mad Dingo.

Whodda thunk?

BenYachov said...

>Perhaps Ben knows of some specific arguments of Stark's that depend upon Theistic-Personalism?

Presupposing a God who is a moral agent is a starter.

http://philpapers.org/rec/TRAATA-2

N. N. Trakakis (2010). Against Theodicy: A Response to Peter Forrest.

The God of Theodicy the moral agent God by definition is anthropomorphic.

(Trakakis is a DEFENDER of Rowe's Evidential argument for Evil and a self described tentative Theist)

That is all we need.

Now you show me where Stark presupposes the God of Aquinas, Augustine and Maximos the Confessor?

BenYachov said...

>If you want to tie the Thomistic god to Yahweh/Jesus/Holy Ghost it is going to take a lot more than Davies' philosophical treatises.

How do you know having admitted to not yet having read Davies?

It's up to you. Now I must surrender the computer to my wife who is tapping her feet right now.

She is so cute & am so out of here.

Walter said...

I do not believe that Stark is "reflexively" taking the opposite view of Copan just for the sake of being polemical. He has IMO excellent scholarship backing up his arguments.

(Walter now gets on his soapbox)

If there is one thing that I have learned in my years since my own deconversion from protestant fundamentalism is that we can find expert scholars throughout the spectrum from atheism to the most anti-intellectual forms of redneck fundamentalism. I have been on numerous Christian, Jewish, Muslim and secular blogs, and everyone is convinced that their metaphysical worldview is Absolute Truth. We can see that right here with the in-fighting between the different sects of Christian theists that populate this very blog.

Frankly, it should cause a lot of us to be far more agnostic and a little less dogmatic about things that we cannot possible know with great certainty.

Walter said...

How do you know having admitted to not yet having read Davies?

I can't know yet. I am basing it off of book reviews, but I am not holding my breath.

Crude said...

I have been on numerous Christian, Jewish, Muslim and secular blogs, and everyone is convinced that their metaphysical worldview is Absolute Truth.

Everyone? What you mean everyone, Masked Man?

I think the arguments for theism and Christianity are powerful. I have sympathy - expressly stated - for theists of different views than mine. Admittedly, I find atheism to be the least tenable option by far. But this is one case where the 'everyone' doesn't apply to me.

Hell, it doesn't even apply to Ben. I've seen him profusely compliment multiple atheists for being reasonable and thoughtful. He just hates shysters.

Walter said...

Presupposing a God who is a moral agent is a starter.

Even if Stark holds to this view, it doesn't matter one bit if his arguments do not hinge upon that particular viewpoint. I might add that Stark claims that he is not an apologist--he puts forth no theodicy to get God off the hook for moral and natural evil. Stark's goal is to expose the bad arguments of those who do engage in apologetic spin-doctoring.

Ilíon said...

As i said before, tiresome rah-rah Catholicism (*) -- this strange and silly person actually believes that he gets special Genuflection Points (Now redeemable at a Limbo or Hell near you!) from the non-personal, non-agentish, non-knowing, non-loving and non-hating, non-living entity (**) that he insists upon calling ‘God’, simply for being “in communion” with the Chief Overseer of the Chief Bureaucrats of the One True Bureaucracy.

Not surprisingly, his reasoning is generally no more cogent than his grammar.


(*) Also, *gasp*, he seems to be a ‘heretic’. Though, I do have to wonder, what else is there that he “doesn’t believe personally” but over which he will nonetheless go on the attack when someone else dares to disbelieve and/or argue against? Goodness! He almost sounds like the typical Darwinist, doesn’t he?

(**) Whether one calls this thing ‘Force’ or farce, does it really matter?

Walter said...


I think the arguments for theism and Christianity are powerful. I have sympathy - expressly stated - for theists of different views than mine. Admittedly, I find atheism to be the least tenable option by far. But this is one case where the 'everyone' doesn't apply to me


Excellent!

And yes I was waxing hyperbolic.

Ilíon said...

Foolish, foolish child -- what you detest isn't an anthropomorphic view of God, but the theomorphic view of man.

Ilíon said...

... no wonder you're as confused as your father.

Ilíon said...

"... He just hates shysters."

Dewd! He *is* a shyster.

Ilíon said...

Good night, Crude! Pay attention to the sorts of things, in context, that Son-of-Confusion asserts. Just two examples:

"You haven't convinced me He is one so your arguments falls flat. ..."

"Not at all but I read Randel, Stark and Morrision you have not read Davies so your claim is bogus. ..."


As I have said before, his "classical theism" – and the concomitant constant (and generally pointless) attacking of “theistic-personalists” – is all about shielding his “theism” from rational/critical evaluation; it’s about making his pseudo-version of Christianity non-falsifiable; he could just as easily be a Darwinist, or the typical internet ‘atheist’, for he “reasons” in the same manner and to the same end – to deny-by-waving-away what he does not wish to believe, which trying to leave not even a footprint by which what he does wish to believe may be scrutinized.

Ilíon said...

... it's all very 'post-modern', isn't it?

And Walter -- a cross between BenYachov and Papalinton. Walter has no more interest in arguing, nor in understanding the actual Christianity he rejects, than either of those two do.

Ilíon said...

"It's like he thinks I'm a Chaos Magic User from AD&D Level 10 a Son-of-Confusion!"

It seems to me that had you actually, you know, *read* the Bible, you'd get the point. You know, much like had UnkleE actually read the Bible he'd know that Jesus isn't the nice little girl the Victorians made him out to be.

Walter said...

Ilion,

Your ridiculous posts are about as interesting to me as a Jack Chict tract. I won't be responding to anymore of your narcissistic trolling.

Ilíon said...

VR: "Of course, people like Dawkins help themselves to these moral ideas as if they were somehow obvious, when in fact they were pretty much unheard of before Christians came on the scene."

Crude: "Help themselves to it? I'm not so sure. ... I agree with your greater point, of course. Just being a nitpicker."

How can you agree with the 'greater point' when you seem not to understand it?

BenYachov said...

@IIion
>that Jesus isn't the nice little girl the Victorians made him out to be.

Make up your mind IIion, Either I am too fierce or I am too timid.

You are just well....out there.

Like dwarf planet Pluto or Eris.

Ilíon said...

So, Son-of-, you're functionally illiterate in both directions?

Crude said...

How can you agree with the 'greater point' when you seem not to understand it?

What am I not understanding? I just pointed out that these atheists in question don't even adhere to this "morality". Killing infants is wrong? Tell Singer. Tell Dawkins.

it’s about making his pseudo-version of Christianity non-falsifiable

I don't think that's right. That's like saying the whole "God is outside of space and time" is 'meant to make God unfalsifiable' rather than central to both the classical theism and theistic personalist conceptions of God. "If your God doesn't have a body and isn't located on some planet, you're cheating!"

BenYachov said...

@Walter

Anyway for the record I thought you put up a heroic argument.

That you are intrigued by Davies means my work here is done.

I hope to read that book by Starks.

HUMAN FACES OF GOD.

Even Herbert McCabe, Brian Davies' mentor and teacher was a Catholic Christian Socialist who believed that we could have women "Priests" and that Artificial Birth control was Ok(those last two being ABSOLUTE NO NO's, So many levels of wrongness).

But his natural theology, his Thomistic insights, his philosophy of religion, views of God, and views on God and Evil are freakin awesome! They manage to be Radical and New as well as traditonal and ancient at the same time.

Just because he has some mistakes doesn't mean he has nothing to teach me. Same with Starks.

McCabe's book GOD AND EVIL is a must read.

Davies new book AQUINAS ON GOD & EVIL will be coming soon to my house.

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

>The god of classical theism seems quite consistent with the morally neutral, non-interventionist, indifferent god of deism,

Why the above is mostly incorrect but kinda comes close should be a future topic of discussion between us.

Walter said...

Sure Ben.

We can also talk about all the reasons why I think Catholicism is a false religion.

Sounds like fun!

BenYachov said...

@Walter
>We can also talk about all the reasons why I think Catholicism is a false religion.

I can only hope when the time comes you will bring something to the table more challenging then Chick Comics or Stark.

Still informing you as to how the "Deistic" God of Aristotle differs radically, philosophically and conceptionally from what post-enlightenment mechnistic philosophy calls more properly Deism would be helpful.

But for now I am too tired.

But as a preliminary if you are interested see INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION by Brian Davies. Specifically the chapter titled "Concepts of God".

Cheers.

Walter said...

I too tire of arguing metaphysical worldviews--for awhile anyway. Fact is that none of us can prove our worldviews beyond a reasonable doubt. That is why I consider myself an agnostic first, and a deist second.

Later