The Study of Nothing and its Vacuous Morality

11372074_757963564316312_45887615_nI recently ran into an arrogant, bloviating theologist in the comments of a blog to which I am a regular contributor. He made it quite clear how much better he was than everyone else, with his theology degree and his perfectly infallible bible and his deep understanding of absolutely nothing.

So I collected some of his most noteworthy insights and listed them here, mistakes and missing words and all, to demonstrate how you should definitely NOT act if you’re a Christian who wants to convert atheists.

He started out by attacking someone who left an encouraging comment for the author of the article:

“Gee….has anyone bothered to tell you that being an atheist, you have no way even defend the concept of courage, let alone praise someone for being courageous?”

Has anyone bothered to tell you that you’re an asshole? The question of whether or not a god exists has nothing to do with the concept of courage, which is the trait of showing strength in the face of pain, fear, or grief. Do you see anything in that definition about belief in a god? I don’t.

“To praise one behavior over against a different behavior can find no rational ground in atheism. At best, it comes down to preference. Without God, rape and abuse cannot be objectively condemned because there is no way to demonstrate that they are absolutely wrong or evil.”

The word “wrong”, in terms of morality, is defined as “that which is undesirable or harmful”. If you surveyed all of humanity, and asked them if they desired to be raped and abused, I’d bet about 100% of them would say no. By simple logic, then, I must conclude that rape and abuse are undesirable things, and therefore wrong and deserving of condemnation. Notice how no god is needed to reach this conclusion.

“Why shouldn’t men just do as they please, whatever gives them the greatest pleasure regardless of what the outcome is for others? If it make them feel good, feel powerful, feel satisfied, who are we…who are you to say they ought not to do those things?”

I’m a member of the human species who possesses empathy. Who are they to deprive others of the same pleasure and satisfaction they seek for themselves? We call that hypocrisy, and it means their system of morality is inherently self-contradictory and sociopathic.

“Humans should thrive to survive? Why? Humans are a freak accident of natural processes. Their presence in the universe is not more significant than their absence if I pretend atheism is true. What difference does it make?”

It probably makes a difference to the billions of people alive today. Who cares if we survive? We do.

“Atheism destroys facts because it places the human mind, one supposed fact among many, as the ultimate standard by which facts are determined to be facts. That just isn’t a plausible position.”

Please, do tell me how you determine what facts are without using your brain. I’m very curious.

“If there is no God, and all we have is a vast universe and life that is nothing more than the product of a natural accident, then where does goodness come from, I mean absolute goodness? It is nothing more than your own moral preference.”

Fortunately for me, almost every other human shares the same basic “moral preferences” as I do. It’s almost like we’re a social species with instinctive behaviors, shaped by eons of natural selection, that help us survive rather than destroying ourselves. Weird.

“Why is it wrong to cause someone emotional and physical pain. Hitler thought it was perfectly fine. Some men actually enjoy it. It brings them pleasure.”

It’s wrong because “causing emotional and physical pain” is pretty much the definition of “wrong”. This question is like asking, “why are blue things blue?” Because that’s how we define the word, you imbecile!

“What makes human beings valuable is the FACT that they are created in the image of God. If not, then we are the product of some spark of life that was itself an impersonal part of natural processes, a random wild, rare accident without any significance whatsoever.”

You think blanketing an entire planet with trillions of different species and producing the entire human race is “without any significance whatsoever”? On what scale do you judge whether something is significant or not? Oh right…an imaginary one defined by a being so powerful that his own power contradicts itself and reality, and makes his existence logically impossible.

“I do this because Christianity is actually true and since that is the case, I want to persuade as many as possible to accept Christian belief and place their faith and trust in Christ.”

Yet you refuse to provide the evidence needed to actually persuade them. So does your god. Since he refuses to provide me with the evidence I’d need in order to believe in him, either he doesn’t exist, or he is impotent, or he doesn’t care whether or not I believe in him.

“Do you need evidence that 2+2 = 4?”

Yeah, but I got that evidence long ago. It goes as follows: If I take two things, and add two more things, I now have four things. I can count them and verify that two things plus two more things results in four things.

“My point is that atheism has no logical ground for why men should NOT just behave in a way that destroys themselves. Why not? Why should we strive to survive? Why is death so intimidating? Such a perspective makes no sense given the basic principles of atheism.”

We strive to survive because we want to survive. Why not? If you want to continue surviving, then you should not behave in a way that destroys yourself. Seems logical to me. Why are you so intimidated by death that you must make up fairy tales to convince yourself that somehow your consciousness will continue existing for eternity? To be honest, that is far more intimidating to me than just ceasing to exist.

“God can wipe out everyone if he wanted and he would be perfectly just for doing so. It is only by God’s grace that we have this moment to enjoy. Christian morality is not anchored in an arbitrary command. It is an expression of the absolute personal triune God of Scripture. Hence, it is impossible for it to be arbitrary.”

Arbitrary: (of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.

Autocratic: of or relating to a ruler who has absolute power.

“You explanation about innate impulses doesn’t solve the problem. One man’s impulses differ wildly from another man. One society treats women remarkably different than another. Which one is right.”

The one that doesn’t cause harm to the women. Because that’s how we define the concept of “right” in the first place. You imbecile.

“Only an absolute God can provide an absolute, transcendent morality. Atheism has no such god and therefore, the best it can do is reach moral preference. And so, morally you prefer that women consent to sexual engagement. But the atheist down the street prefers nonconsensual sex because that is his preference. In his society, rape is perfectly acceptable and your system has no moral authority over his system. How could it?”

Since when is atheistic morality defined by the preference of the person performing the action? Morality is defined by the preference of the person being acted upon. Your hypothetical atheist’s system is hypocritical and wrong by definition.

“You cannot objectively demonstrate that immense suffering, or any other kind of suffering is wrong within a purely naturalistic framework.”

Of course I can. The entire concept of “wrongness” is based on suffering. I don’t have to explain why suffering is wrong because suffering itself gives the word “wrong” its definition. This is like saying “you cannot objectively demonstrate that green things are green without invoking a supernatural being”. You imbecile.

“In order to have absolute anything, you need an absolute, transcendent God. And that you ONLY have in Christian theism and nowhere else.”

I don’t need absolute anything. Even if something like absolute truth existed, it would be entirely irrelevant to my subjective little life here on earth.

“What is the necessary precondition for morality to be intelligible at all? It is God. Otherwise, you cannot ground the idea of morality.”

No, the only necessary precondition is an intelligent being capable of comprehending the difference between desirable and undesirable outcomes…which apparently disqualifies you.

“My experience with atheists, most of them anyways, is that they refuse to allow Christian doctrine to stand on its own and criticize it as it is. They always have to find a way to turn it into something they can defeat or refute.”

I don’t have to turn that crap into anything. It’s already so self-contradictory, absurd, and out of touch with reality that it can barely communicate intelligibly, let alone stand on its own. Your religion is the screaming, drooling baby of philosophy.

“The fundamental problem with the argument from evil is that it attempts to subject the Christian doctrine of God and of evil to foreign criteria.”

The fundamental problem with your god is that he cannot logically escape responsibility for the existence of evil no matter what self-serving and dishonest criteria you use.

“So what is your basis for condemning how other humans treat one another? Empathy does not have anything to say about an objective ought.”

That’s because there’s no such thing as an “objective ought”. All “oughts” are conditional on the outcome desired. If you want to have a good life in a peaceful society, then you ought to act in certain ways. Christianity doesn’t have anything to say about an objective ought either, only “if you want to go to heaven, then you ought to act in certain ways.”

“Atheists with hopes. Now there is a contradiction is ever there was one.”

Hope is a pretty universal human trait, regardless of one’s opinion on the existence of gods.

“Unbelievers, like you, hate God according to the Bible. How is it that the Bible is a silly book, yet it gets it so absolutely correct when it comes to people like you? Explain that.”

First you explain how books by atheists so thoroughly demolished every single asinine argument you’ve made today, long before you made them. Anyway, the bible actually gets it wrong when it comes to people like me. I don’t waste my energy hating imaginary beings. Rather, I hate the idiots who abuse and harass others simply because they don’t buy into the same superstitions.

“Christianity would agree with you that humans are born with innate knowledge of morality. They are also born with innate knowledge of God.”

No they are not.

“You speak about collective minds as if there is some general consensus among the species about morality. That is simply false on the face of it. But, suppose it were true. This would mean that slavery was never really immoral.”

It was always immoral because the “general consensus” of humanity is that being enslaved is undesirable. You imbecile.

“Second, why should morality be determined by the collective minds of society. Seems arbitrary to me. Why “ought” I to go along with society?”

So you can have a happy and peaceful life instead of being eliminated by society as the cancerous blight you are.

“And since you have a subjective definition of good, you also end in a relative definition of good. According to one strain of Islam, it is good to blow up the unbeliever. To others, it is evil.”

To the people who are being blown up, it’s evil in all cases. You imbecile.

“You must establish what is the meaning of “good” for all collective minds. And this good cannot be arbitrary. An example is slavery. We could also use slave rape. If I go by the collective minds of society (which society?) can I affirm that slavery and slave rape is always immoral in all places, at all times, among all people? Obviously I cannot.”

Good: That which is desirable. Go ask everyone if they desire to be enslaved and raped. If almost everyone says no, then congratulations, you have just affirmed by the collective minds of society that slave rape is undesirable, and therefore immoral.  I’m starting to think you’re a sociopath, given how difficult it is for you to understand this concept.

“God’s goodness is not God’s goodness because his thoughts are good. God’s thoughts are good because God has a perfectly good nature. Goodness is an essential part of God’s nature, and it is God’s nature that is revealed in his actions. That nature is absolute and unchanging. You say that I cannot define the nature of a sentient being without basing it on the things that being things and does. I reject that claim immediately. I know immediately that God is good prior to my knowing that God’s actions are good. I only know that God’s actions are good because God is good.”

Mmmm, look at all that delicious word salad. Actually, I said that the nature of a sentient being is defined by the things it thinks and does. If you set aside everything that makes a sentient being a being (you know, that thinking and doing stuff), all you have is an inanimate object. Like a rock. The nature of a rock is to sit there and be a rock. The nature of a god without thoughts and actions is to sit there and be a rock-like god. To say that god is good apart from anything he thinks or does is to say that “goodness” itself is either meaningless, or a standard that exists entirely separate from him since his goodness has nothing to do with any trait that distinguishes him from a rock. You might as well say that space rocks have a perfectly good nature and therefore we must worship them and base our morality on them. It makes just as much sense.

“In order for you to make moral judgments about God, you are absolutely required to demonstrate how such judgments are possible within your system.”

I can make moral judgments about god just as easily using your own system, because according to your holy scripture god does not hold himself to the same standard he imposes on humans. But of course, it’s fine if god is a hypocrite. He’s the big powerful ruler of the universe, therefore everything he does is right by default. Including all those times he killed numerous innocent babies and children. Since everything he does is in accordance with his nature, and his nature is essentially good as you have stated repeatedly, we can conclude that under your god’s system of morality it is good to kill innocent babies and children.

“Is it wrong to cause an ant pain? What makes humans more valuable than other life since we are all the very same products of impersonal forces of nature?”

We value human life more than other life because we are humans. Just like ants value ant lives more than other life because they are ants.

“The fact that atheists are moral and believe in morality is proof of the Christian God.”

No, it isn’t. You imbecile.

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