Well, OK, one more for old times sake. I'm with BS on this thread, though, I don't really feel a huge obligation to continue because I don't think anything is getting done.
... but like I said, once more for old times sake.1.Attacking Subjective Morality
You start by bringing up the discovery/invention debate mathematicians have been having for literally centuries and casually asserting it away, going with the invention crowd and against such luminaries as Galileo, Pythagoras, and Plato.
Math may be a bad example for you to use here, MiC, because it is not objectively true that - for example - 1+1=2. The axioms which underly our familiar arithmetic are logically arbitrary. They could be anything.
This of course is a huge topic and could spawn a whole 46 page debate on it's own, so it ought to suffice to say that I'm a platonist; I think mathematical truths are objectively real.
Speaking of Plato, he was also in my camp regarding objective morals. Indeed, most philosophers nowadays are. From Wikipedia:
Most philosophers today lean towards moral realism, as do most meta-ethicists. Some examples of robust moral realists include David Brink, John McDowell, Peter Railton, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Michael Smith, Terence Cuneo, Russ Shafer-Landau, G.E. Moore, Ayn Rand, John Finnis, Richard Boyd, Nicholas Sturgeon, and Thomas Nagel. Plato and (arguably) Immanuel Kant could also be considered moral realists. Norman Geras has argued that Karl Marx was a moral realist
You go on to assert your way out of another conundrum, that being subjective morality has no basis to act because morality, under a subjective set of assumptions, does not say anything about the real workings of the universe. In response to my "That's a pretty anemic morality you got there" you say:
What I just said contradicts the conclusion you just drew from it. In fact, the point of what I said is that subjective morality only seems anemic from your paradigm, with your assumptions in play.
Your point seems to be that one can act on one's (subjective) morality and be perfectly consistent. Of course you can. I can drink chocolate milk based on nothing more than my subjective opinion that it's tasty. I can plan ahead to acquire more chocolate milk, I can secure additional funds for the means to acquire chocolate milk, I can construct elaborate plans to secure a future rich in chocolate milk.
However, without assuming that morality is universal and objective, the way we actually
treat morals is odd. We condemn societies that don't agree with us on moral precepts, in some cases even going to war to stop a nation from committing genocide, for example. If morals are nothing more than subjective opinions this is truly bizarre behavior. We would never do the same over any other subjective opinion, why do we do it over a disagreement over supposedly subjective morals?
The point is not that subjective moralists do not act on their opinions. They do so all the time, but when they do, they are implicitly assuming, even if they can't see it, an objective, universal set of morals.
If you were to truly be consistent about subjecitve morals and thus act on them the same way you act on other opinions, yours would be an anemic morality indeed.
But hey, maybe I'm wrong. Let me bring in my hypothetical materialist in again, with a different opinion than you about, say, theft. He's proud of the fact that he's managed to embezzle money from his employer. Can you, using nothing other than your materialism and your subjective morality, convince him he was "wrong?" (Whatever "wrong" means.) Or are you forced at the end of the day to say you and he disagree, and since such disagreement is symmetrical, you are just as wrong as he is. The fact that (I predict) you're forced at the end of the day to come to a mere disagreement, that you are just as wrong for not stealing as he is for stealing, is what I mean by anemic morality.2.In Defense of Christian Morality
The rest of your post seems to be devoted to the idea that Christian morality is subjective. Let me go into a bit more detail than "God is objective, so our morality is objective as well."
You start by saying
Step #1: No objective morality yet, so let's make some.
Step #2: Define "moral" and "just" subjectively according to one's own personal values.
Step #3: Assert the presence of a "moral" and "just" lawgiver.
Step #4: Forget what we did in Step #2, as it is an inconvenient memory.
Let me rephrase this so you know I understand your point. You're saying I start with my own opinion about what "Just" means, and then since I assume God is good, I assign this quality "Just" that I just made up to Him. Same goes for "Kind", "Merciful", "Moral," and even "Good" itself. In other words, because God is imaginary, I'm simply assigning my morality to Him. S.P.A.G. at it's finest.
This attack fails on the one little phrase "because God is imaginary." Your argument takes as an assumption
that God does not exist, and then goes on to prove the Christians morality is subjective.
Well, of course it is! You just assumed our source of morality out of existence! I'd congratulate you in the same way I'd congratulate a mad prisoner defining the Sun out of existence by scribbling the word 'darkness' on his cell wall, to borrow an analogy from the venerable Mr. Lewis. In fact, let's take that same prisoner and show how the exact same argument applies to his situation as well:
Step #1: None of this "light" stuff you sunists keep on making up, so let's make some.
Step #2: Define "light" and "bright" and "shiny" subjectively according to one's own opinions.
Step #3: Assert the presence of a "light" and "shiny" sun.
Step #4: Forget what we did in Step #2, as it is an inconvenient memory.
The rest of your post you devote to deconstructing my hypothetical talk to your hypothetical Christian who defies God himself, and is sounding more and more like an atheist. When I said "If you're gonna play ball in the Christian neighborhood you play by Christian rules." I meant it - if your hypothetical Christian really is a Christian she ought to act like one.
What does an act of creation have to do with morality, logically speaking? ... The crediting of a creator with sovereignty over its creation is one of the very cultural rules you are trying to establish in the first place. You can't start here.
Our hypothetical Christian would understand that when Christians talk about morality we always start with God. Morality consists in discovering
God's Will for us, the same way a platonist discovers
mathematical rules instead of inventing them. Morality is not created arbitrarily and then patched up by saying "God wants me to do this."
He says creation is His, and that He is 'allowed' to dictate morality; He claims absolute sovereignty over it. I can and do start here, and in order to stay true to the hypothetical Christian you created, you cannot cry foul.
Let me skip a defense of the author analogy. Like any analogy it can be stretched too far, a fact you aptly demonstrated.
Your thundering conclusion:
I would respond that you yourself have already judged Him. You came to a different decision about him, but you still applied your judgment. You still sat on His throne. You just happened to deign to share it with him.
Christianity, properly practiced, does not judge God. It starts with God and takes his will for us as the definition of "Good." The atheist usually shrieks here that if God willed it wanton Murder would be just as Good as not murdering is now. Well, yeah. But he doesn't, and he won't, so it's not. Indeed, Christians discover that morality is so much more
than the pathetic rules we're discussing here. "Don't murder?" Please, that's 101 morality. Graduate into what the rest of us enjoy every day - a profound grattitude for the heaping blessings of Bach, working ankles, the Cross, rainbows, science and math, Carbon Leaf, Jesus Christ -- our Lord and Savior, beer, SQL databases, iPods, soft and dewey grass, Halo III and Starcraft II, tigers - the list goes on. The longer I live the more I am in awe of God and his Goodness.
Judge Him?? I bend the knee, and am grateful for the chance to do so.
Ultimately your whole argument rests on an assumed rejection of Plato's "Good." Christians, philosophically, try to discover
Good, to discover God's will. It is this philosophical position that allows us to answer with consistency why certain things are good and certain other things aren't. Your conclusion, that we make it up, is to assume that Plato's Good, that God himself does not exist.
It's an assumption that leads to a dry and bitter life. Drop it. Come up into what the other 2.2 billion of us are enjoying every day, and welcome.
Finally, I want to strenuously object when you say I sit on his throne. Perhaps I do, I struggle to do less so every day. However, by asserting that morality is subjective you are asserting that your personal opinion
is ultimately more important than anything or anyone else when it comes to morality. Murder, Theft, what-have-you is wrong not because you are submitting to some higher authority but only
for the arbitrary reason that you don't like it. Your breathtaking assertion is that there is none higher than you, you and you alone ultimately decide what you shall decide is "good" and as "bad." In his own pathetic, constrained, philosophical way, our hypothetical materialist is god.
None shall, indeed, none can convince him that his actions are wrong, if he wills it it is Good.
From where I sit, that looks a heckuva lot like sitting on God's throne.
Thanks for listening,