Author Topic: "...Except when my God is involved"  (Read 64613 times)

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Online Azdgari

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1392 on: September 24, 2010, 04:11:34 PM »
Then God is constrained by something other than His will.  That other 'something' is thus the ontological foundation of morality - not God.
How do you get from "God cannot lie" to "God is constrained by something other than His will?"  A circle is 'constrained' to have all it's points be equidistant from it's center, but there isn't some super-circle constraining it - by it's very circle nature, it has taken on this constraint.

A circle is constrained by our definition of it, combined with logic.  The definition and logic are what creates the circle.[1]

Anyway, here's my reasoning that you're asking for.  "Cannot lie" implies that something prevents him from lying.  If it was himself, then he would be in control and so capable of changing that limitation.[2]  If it is something other than his will that is preventing him from lying, then it is that other something that is in control.  Maybe it's another aspect of the god's 'person', such as his character.  But it's not his will.  And if it's not his will, then one has to ask just what determined how this "in-control" aspect of God, or whatever it is, behaves.  As it stands, without any information about that, it appears to be arbitrary.

You are using it as a constraint; that is my beef.  If God is constrained not to change his values, then there are two possibilities:
1. God's values are constrained by something else, which would then be the foundation of morality.
2. God constrains his own values from changing.  In which case, what prevents him from deciding to stop doing so?
Well obviously I'd go with #2.
Your contention seems to be that God might change his mind at any moment, and decide lying, raping, killing are suddenly not only permissable, but righteous (as they would be if they were in line with his character.)
Again, the Christian worldview is that God's character is immutable and unchangeable.  I'm confused what you're asking here.
 1. By "circle" I assume we mean the mathematical entity, rather than an object in the real world which is "circular" - i.e., which resembles such a mathematical entity.
 2. Thus making it not a real limitation at all.

Who or what made his character immutable and unchangeable?  If he did it to himself, then that means he would have to have changed to become unchangeable.

Are you asking how we can know God's character is immutable?  To quote the song, 'The Bible tells me so.'  (Note that the Bible is not 'constraining' God, but it's an accurate description of his character, which is to not change and to tell the truth.)  Thus, assuming a Christian worldview, we can ground objective morality in the nature of God and be assured they won't change tomorrow.

The Bible necessarily either would be constraining God or would indicate that something other than his will is doing so.  God is somehow powerless to change his own mind.  By the way, the Bible also depicts God changing his mind at the behest of mortal human beings in the Old Testament.  So some cherry-picking according to your subjective personal preferences is required here, in order to get the god that you want.

Are you asking why God won't decide tomorrow that he's had enough with this immutable business and, just for a change of pace, He's gonna be mutable and then make killing OK?  I'd answer His immutable-ness is as central to his nature as all-points-on-a-circle-are-equidistant-to-the-center-ness is central to the nature of a circle.  Move one point and the circle isn't a circle, change God's immutability and He's no longer God.

Again, a circle exists as a result of the underlying logical rules laid down for our familiar system of geometry and of the definition given.  Its nature is determined by something higher.  Do you have a more apt analogy, or is this true of your god as well?

A side not here - I belive most theologians think God's omnipotence is limted to logically possible things - he can't make 1+1=3, because at the end the request to do so is meaningless.  I'm not sure a mutable God is logically possible, so I'm not even sure if God could change His nature.  To you, an atheist, this is probably pointless navel-gazing though, so I'll stop. :)

Immutability of something identified to exist at a specific time, is inconsistent with causality.  Any accurate application of the term "immutability" would have to describe the entire evolution of an entity throughout all of time.  That way, the change from time X to time Y is not a change to the entity described, but rather a description of the same entity at different points of its span of time.  This would still be "mutable" from our perspective, however.

So [if your god is consistent and immutable] your god is limited, constrained by a more "ultimate" reality, then?  Otherwise, he would not be constrained from changing.
By no means - He is immutable by His own nature.  There's nothing external to him that's forcing him to not change, it's his own nature that's making him not change.
Again, then, who or what determined his nature?  Did it do so non-arbitrarily?  And why don't you call it "God"?
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1393 on: September 24, 2010, 05:51:34 PM »
MIC:
Quote
Quote
...I don't know what your argument is...
Wow, really?  If this is really the case I'm not sure continued discussion between us would be fruitful.  Either I'm amazingly obtuse, or you're struck with a selective inability to parse only my posts; in either case, we're just wasting kilobytes typing at each other.

Reported.

I've repeatedly asked you to back up your central assertion, MiC. I bolded my fundamental question to you in my last post:

You seem to be saying that all the atheists on this forum who are not nihilists are somehow being inconsistent. Is that correct? If so, could you explain precisely how, please?

Yet you ignored everything I said, except for my truthful statement that I don't understand your argument; mainly because you haven't made an argument yet, but also because you say things such as:
Quote
The existence of inconcsistent atheists does not make them consistent

I asked you to explain that, but you made no effort to. So I give up.

Gnu.

Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1394 on: September 24, 2010, 06:49:36 PM »
Reported.
&) Your profile says you're 56 years old.  I would have thought you'd be beyond tattling by now.

But sure, bring the Mods in.  I suspect they might not rule in your favor as you seem to suspect.  For example, you say that you've
repeatedly asked you to back up your central assertion, MiC. I bolded my fundamental question to you in my last post:
You seem to be saying that all the atheists on this forum who are not nihilists are somehow being inconsistent. Is that correct? If so, could you explain precisely how, please?

.. and this is true, you've repeatedly asked me the question above, without really bothering to listen when I answered.  Here's one place I answered:

Were I a materialist, I feel I would have to logically conclude that those feelings carry no more weight than my feelings about choclate ice cream.  Sure, they're real enough, and sure, someone who shares those feelings I could convince that embezzling was  wrong, but there's no "ought" there.  There's nothing in material reality that in any way affects the "rightness" or "wrongness" of murder.  If Murder really is wrong, there's got to be something else out there that makes it wrong.  Morality is just arbitrary rules we have for acceptable ways to alter various patterns of matter, there is nothing else it can be.  Anyone who disagreed with me about various ethical positions is disagreeing about an opinion, nothing more.  In short, I'd have to commit myself to nihilism.  Fellow materialists could go on and on (and on, and on, and on, and on) about atrocities in the bible, atrocities commited in the name of the bible, and it'd get a big fat "meh" out of me.  Who cares?  Some people think it's ok to kill Jewish people, some think it's ok to kill heritics, some think it's ok to kill 'em all.  It's all an opinion, nobodies right or wrong.

Here's another:

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.

Did you even read those?  Those were the results of me spending lots of time on posts, giving careful thought to posts by those who disagree with me, following the argument they presented and giving my take.  Your flat out dismissing them is, frankly, insulting.

In contrast, in your recent post, you:
1) Confess an inability to parse my arguments:
That sentence makes no sense...

2) Confess an ignorance of my cental claim:
I don't know what your argument is...

3) Throw out buzzwords without any argument given behind them:
Pro-socialism, Natural Law, Utilitarianism, Consequentialism. Libertarianism, and the Golden and Silver Rules. For a start.

4) Fail to comprehend the point I'm making about 'ickiness' (despite me explaining it to you in the part you quote!)

5) and finally, flat out refuse to discuss a central contention in my argument.
I'm not discussing this embezzler you keep referring to.

Is it any wonder I (politely) came to the conclusion that we were clearly typing past each other, and any further argument would be unfruitful?  How am I supposed to respond to "I'm not discussing this any further with you" and "That sentence makes no sense" ?  

I think my interactions with Azdgari in this thread have proven that I can carry on a discussion, interface with someone I disagree with and that, when presented with someone who comprehends my posts, can respond back with relative intelligence.  I may not be correct in the end, but I can at least follow the thread of conversation.

Let me be blunt, Gnu - I expect a greater level of interaction from you if I'm going to take the time to respond to your future posts.

Thanks for listening, sorry for the rant.
-MiC
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 06:55:28 PM by MathIsCool »
Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

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Offline truehyuga

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1395 on: September 24, 2010, 07:03:55 PM »
This:
Quote
Quote from: truehyuga on September 22, 2010, 09:25:39 PM
So, to sum up, MiC:
Establish that God cannot change his morality at will, without appealing to a higher code.
His nature is immutable.  He tells us this.  I don't know that he can't (though you could make an argument for it), I do know that he won't.  For Christians, that's enough.
Is the backbone of your argument, then? You know that God has a definite will and morality because he told you so?
I find that rather funny, especially because at the very origin of this discussion you noted how my avatar, "Circular logic works because" was funny to you.
How do you know he is telling the truth?
Because he told you he would never lie? What makes you sure that that very statement is not a lie? That he told you it?
The very basis of your morality is thus based on circular logic, and is thus, faulty.
What you allow will always increase; good or bad.

Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1396 on: September 24, 2010, 07:20:47 PM »
How do you know he is telling the truth?
Because he told you he would never lie? What makes you sure that that very statement is not a lie? That he told you it?
Because my ankles work.

No, seriously.  The ankle is a marvelous piece of engineering and I simply cannot fathom how an evil God could have made such a magnificent piece of machinery.

Because beer is so tasty.  Ben Franklin said that was proof enough, I tend to agree with him.
Because my wife is so much fun to kiss.
Because trees manufacture themselves out of air.  Literally.
Because stars are incredible furnaces that crush fundamental matter into different kinds of fundamental matter, a process that releases so much energy that I can go outside right now and feel the warmth of one doing it, even though it's 92 million miles away.
Because I have a big toe, and thus I can balance.  Cool!
Because pain and heartache and loss and death all suck, but good people (not all of them Christians, truth be told) are working to stop it, through no self interest and no gain for themselves.
Because my iPod contains over 5,000 songs, and is no bigger than a deck of playing cards.
Because tonight I get to eat a cheeseburger with fries, and it shall be tasty.

God?  Evil?  No way.

edit: I stand by my comment about your pic thing.  Hi-larious.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 07:22:22 PM by MathIsCool »
Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

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Offline truehyuga

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1397 on: September 24, 2010, 07:30:41 PM »
Non sequitur.
An evil person can make great things.
What you allow will always increase; good or bad.

Offline Gimpy

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1398 on: September 24, 2010, 07:35:55 PM »
How do you know he is telling the truth?
Because he told you he would never lie? What makes you sure that that very statement is not a lie? That he told you it?
Because my ankles work.

No, seriously.  The ankle is a marvelous piece of engineering and I simply cannot fathom how an evil God could have made such a magnificent piece of machinery.

Because beer is so tasty.  Ben Franklin said that was proof enough, I tend to agree with him.
Because my wife is so much fun to kiss.
Because trees manufacture themselves out of air.  Literally.
Because stars are incredible furnaces that crush fundamental matter into different kinds of fundamental matter, a process that releases so much energy that I can go outside right now and feel the warmth of one doing it, even though it's 92 million miles away.
Because I have a big toe, and thus I can balance.  Cool!
Because pain and heartache and loss and death all suck, but good people (not all of them Christians, truth be told) are working to stop it, through no self interest and no gain for themselves.
Because my iPod contains over 5,000 songs, and is no bigger than a deck of playing cards.
Because tonight I get to eat a cheeseburger with fries, and it shall be tasty.

God?  Evil?  No way.

edit: I stand by my comment about your pic thing.  Hi-larious.

Unfortunately I see nothing inherent in any of those things that points to a god-being.

Because something fills one with awe does not mean that something was god-being-made.

It's like filling in a sequence of the words "red" > "blue" > "_____" > "green" with the word "potato" or "yesterday."

Not all those who wander are lost; some are buried in my backyard. . .

Online Azdgari

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1399 on: September 25, 2010, 05:13:53 PM »
MiC, stepping outside of Christianity for a bit...

Would you concede that theism (non-specific) does not necessarily logically entail a belief in objective morality?

My argument so far has been that theism necessarily does not logically entail such a belief, but let's step back from that and define common ground for a moment.  If the Greek Pantheon existed, and all the mythology that surrounded them was true, etc., - then that would not imply that any or all of that pantheon defined morality in an objective sense, right?
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1400 on: September 25, 2010, 10:18:09 PM »
MiC, stepping outside of Christianity for a bit...

Would you concede that theism (non-specific) does not necessarily logically entail a belief in objective morality?

My argument so far has been that theism necessarily does not logically entail such a belief, but let's step back from that and define common ground for a moment.  If the Greek Pantheon existed, and all the mythology that surrounded them was true, etc., - then that would not imply that any or all of that pantheon defined morality in an objective sense, right?
(Just to let you know I'm also working on a reply to your latest post (I think the ball's in my court on that one, right?))

That's a really good question.
My first instinct is to say that any theism that posits a true creator God has to also understand that that Creator God defines morality.

On the other hand, your example of the Greek pantheon is a good one - they clearly understood their gods to be a step above mortals, but certainly not infinite in the way Christians understand God to be, and definitely not the source of morality.  Zeus was a jerk, for example.

So I guess I'd have to agree with you that theism, in general, does not necessarily entail that the god the theist believes in defines morality.  Nor does theism entail objective morals.  Theists can believe in all sorts of gods and none of them have to define morality.

I'm curious to see where you're going with this... :)

Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1401 on: September 25, 2010, 10:22:04 PM »
Non sequitur.
An evil person can make great things.
I suppose... you'd have a hard time convincing me that God, if he existed, is evil.
Your argument, though, was not necessarily that God is evil, more that I'm using circular logic to ensure myself God is good.  (God is good because he tells us, we can trust him because he never lies, he never lies because He's good.)  I think I've shown that there's enough outside evidence to make it a reasonable belief that God, if he existed, is not evil.
Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1402 on: September 25, 2010, 10:26:13 PM »
Unfortunately I see nothing inherent in any of those things that points to a god-being.
No offense (seriously, I mean no offense here) but I think you sorta missed the point.

The point was not "zomg ankes therefore God"[1]  The point was an evil God probably doesn't exist, cause ankles are to good for an evil God to create.

I think of God was evil and as powerful as he clearly is, humans would be in a lot worse shape than we are now.
 1. though honestly, of all the arguments for God, in my honest opinion that's a great one.
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Offline truehyuga

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1403 on: September 25, 2010, 11:28:45 PM »
Non sequitur.
An evil person can make great things.
I suppose... you'd have a hard time convincing me that God, if he existed, is evil.
Your argument, though, was not necessarily that God is evil, more that I'm using circular logic to ensure myself God is good.  (God is good because he tells us, we can trust him because he never lies, he never lies because He's good.)  I think I've shown that there's enough outside evidence to make it a reasonable belief that God, if he existed, is not evil.

No you haven't.
It is a non sequitur that the existence of ankles proves god (if he exists) is good. Good people can make shitty things, and bad people can make fully functioning things. Your argument is ridiculous.
What you allow will always increase; good or bad.

Offline Gimpy

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1404 on: September 26, 2010, 09:57:31 AM »
Unfortunately I see nothing inherent in any of those things that points to a god-being.
No offense (seriously, I mean no offense here) but I think you sorta missed the point.

The point was not "zomg ankes therefore God"[1]  The point was an evil God probably doesn't exist, cause ankles are to good for an evil God to create.

I think of God was evil and as powerful as he clearly is, humans would be in a lot worse shape than we are now.
 1. though honestly, of all the arguments for God, in my honest opinion that's a great one.


Good or bad, ankles don't point to the GodConclusionTM. They simply don't.

If something is imaginary, arbitrarily attributing it as a cause to concrete things doesn't make a good argument.
Not all those who wander are lost; some are buried in my backyard. . .

Online Azdgari

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1405 on: September 26, 2010, 08:47:09 PM »
That's a really good question.
My first instinct is to say that any theism that posits a true creator God has to also understand that that Creator God defines morality.

On the other hand, your example of the Greek pantheon is a good one - they clearly understood their gods to be a step above mortals, but certainly not infinite in the way Christians understand God to be, and definitely not the source of morality.  Zeus was a jerk, for example.

Now, now, MiC - are you using "Zeus is a jerk" as an argument against Greek Pantheistic morality?  I recall you warning against a similar thing in a slightly different context...do you remember that, too?  8)

If the Greek gods were not considered to be a source of objective morality, then the key reason has to be something other than Zeus's supposed jerkiness.  "Zeus was a jerk" is a judgment that requires a pre-existing moral standard (objective or otherwise).  But anyway, that's a digression from where I was going with this...

So I guess I'd have to agree with you that theism, in general, does not necessarily entail that the god the theist believes in defines morality.  Nor does theism entail objective morals.  Theists can believe in all sorts of gods and none of them have to define morality.

I'm curious to see where you're going with this... :)

Well, I am trying to pin something down.  Let's say it's a creator-god.  Let's say that the world as we know it was a direct creation of Zeus, for example.[1]  That would, or would not, suggest that Zeus's morals are objective?  You seem to concede above that it would not, but earlier you tried to use the exact same point to argue that the Christian god's morals must be taken as objective:

As a believer, you understand that you are created and He is your creator.  ...

You brought this up as though it was relevant, yet above you concede that it is not.  Could you clarify?
 1. Which would not be accurate to Greek mythology, but that's beside the point; humor me.
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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1406 on: September 27, 2010, 01:02:11 PM »
truehyuga
<<jpeg>>
No you haven't [shown that there's enough outside evidence to make it a reasonable belief that God, if he existed, is not evil]
It is a non sequitur that the existence of ankles proves god (if he exists) is good. Good people can make shitty things, and bad people can make fully functioning things. Your argument is ridiculous.
Bad people can make fully functioning things.  I'm still left unconvinced why an evil god would bother making ankles work so magnificently. 

Calling an argument ridiculous and including a .bmp you slapped together in mspaint in 5 minutes does not a rebuttal make.

Let's back up a step though.  This whole 'evil god' discussion tangent started when you accused Christian morality of being based on circular logic:

How do you know he is telling the truth?
Because he told you he would never lie? What makes you sure that that very statement is not a lie? That he told you it?
The very basis of your morality is thus based on circular logic, and is thus, faulty.

I threw out ankles as one of a myriad of evidences I have that God is incredibly good.  If you don't like it, I can pick a gazillion examples from the Christian tradition and Christian understanding of who God is, because you're trying to show a contradiction in Christian morality, not deist morality.  One powerful example of the goodness of God is that, according to Christianity, humanity screwed up, fell, and God in his infinite mercy for his fallen creation subjected himself to the humiliation of becoming one of his created beings and further humilitiation of an ignomious death on a cross, all for reconciliation with his fallen world.  This is the act of a good God;  under Christianity, an evil God is utter nonsense.

Azdgari
Now, now, MiC - are you using "Zeus is a jerk" as an argument against Greek Pantheistic morality?  I recall you warning against a similar thing in a slightly different context...do you remember that, too?  8)
Hahahaha, touché. :)  I will refrain from further "Zeus is a jerk" type of comments.

Well, I am trying to pin something down.  Let's say it's a creator-god.  Let's say that the world as we know it was a direct creation of Zeus, for example.  That would, or would not, suggest that Zeus's morals are objective?  You seem to concede above that it would not, but earlier you tried to use the exact same point to argue that the Christian god's morals must be taken as objective:

As a believer, you understand that you are created and He is your creator.  ...

You brought this up as though it was relevant, yet above you concede that it is not.  Could you clarify?
Understand that this is a bit like asking a Christian, "if 1+1=3, then what's 2+2" ?  Zeus didn't create the world, God did. 

I brought up the created/creator distinction because one of God's characteristics that Christians read about in the Bible is that he is sovereign.  He answers to none of us (and indeed nobody) when it comes to judging his moral actions.  A creature shaking his fist at God Almighty is as nonsensical, speaking in Christian terms, as a pot complaining to it's maker about the use to which it is put.  When Job is in misery, God shows up at the end of the book, but he doesn't say "whoops, sorry about that."  So when you posited a fellow Christian (who, as a Christian, understoodd the absolute sovereignty of God) who was apparently in high rebellion against God, my initial reaction was to remind my hypothetical fellow Christian that God, as sovereign, doesn't really brook any arguments as to various alternative interpretations of morality.

You ask if Zeus was a creator-god and sovereign the way God is[1], would that make his morality the standard for objective morality?  It would certainly put his morality above reproach, as he could then claim the same kind of sovereignty God does when mortals try to judge Him.  I don't think it would necessarily imply that Zeus' moral standards are the objective moral standards (I'm contending) we all share, though.  This would, in fact, make for a pretty terrible universe - one in which I'm grateful we don't actually live in.
 1. If this was the case, any Christian would contend that the world would be a vastly different place than it actually is.  I'm not even sure this hypothesis is internally consistent, but I'll 'humor you', as you ask.
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Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1407 on: September 27, 2010, 01:44:07 PM »
Bad people can make fully functioning things.  I'm still left unconvinced why an evil god wouldbother making ankles work so magnificently.  
Why would an evil god need to be exclusively evil? The most evil person can create artworks of great beauty or perform feats of great elegance, care for family, love their neighbour and even lay down their life for them even while calling for the extermination of all black people or advocating genital mutilation - why wouldn't a god?

For every example of elegance and beauty and grace in the world I can throw out an example of disfunction and ugliness and corruption.
Not that either would be relevant since "X has attribute Y, therefore Z created X" is still a non-sequitur.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 01:46:19 PM by Noman Peopled »
"Deferinate" itself appears to be a new word... though I'm perfectly carmotic with it.
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Offline truehyuga

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1408 on: September 27, 2010, 02:21:36 PM »
Quote
Quote
truehyuga
Quote from: truehyuga on September 26, 2010, 12:28:45 AM
<<jpeg>>
No you haven't [shown that there's enough outside evidence to make it a reasonable belief that God, if he existed, is not evil]
It is a non sequitur that the existence of ankles proves god (if he exists) is good. Good people can make shitty things, and bad people can make fully functioning things. Your argument is ridiculous.
Bad people can make fully functioning things.  I'm still left unconvinced why an evil god would bother making ankles work so magnificently. 

Calling an argument ridiculous and including a .bmp you slapped together in mspaint in 5 minutes does not a rebuttal make.
Why would an evil god be any different in his ability to make functioning things and still be evil? Your argument is ridiculous because you have supported it with a non sequitur. But no, I'll humor you by backtracking.
The .jpeg was simply to point out you either misunderstood or ignored my point.

Quote
Quote
How do you know he is telling the truth?
Because he told you he would never lie? What makes you sure that that very statement is not a lie? That he told you it?
The very basis of your morality is thus based on circular logic, and is thus, faulty.
I threw out ankles as one of a myriad of evidences I have that God is incredibly good.  If you don't like it, I can pick a gazillion examples from the Christian tradition and Christian understanding of who God is, because you're trying to show a contradiction in Christian morality, not deist morality.  One powerful example of the goodness of God is that, according to Christianity, humanity screwed up, fell, and God in his infinite mercy for his fallen creation subjected himself to the humiliation of becoming one of his created beings and further humilitiation of an ignomious death on a cross, all for reconciliation with his fallen world.  This is the act of a good God;  under Christianity, an evil God is utter nonsense.
I'm sorry, this doesn't help you.
You said he told you that his nature was immutable to show that he cannot lie. But how are you sure that what he tells you is true? Appealing to a belief that he is truthful doesn't make it true; you are simply giving arbitrary weighting to your supposed god's supposed claim that he is truthful, and thus, by your own definition, falling into moral nihilism.
SO that leaves with appealing to factual, verifiable evidence. You have failed to provide it. Try again.
What you allow will always increase; good or bad.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1409 on: September 27, 2010, 03:41:39 PM »
Dare I jump into this pit?

If the best evidence that god is good is all the good stuff in the world --Labrador retrievers, soft newborn baby feets, mango gelato, Dansko shoes, pineapple lip gloss, bunnies, Eddie Izzard, etc--  where does all the bad stuff come from? Consider fatal car wrecks that eliminate an entire family, senile dementia, babies with cleft palates, etopic pregnancies that kill the mother, cerebral malaria, land mines, those worms that live in people's eyes, wisdom teeth that grow in crooked, serial killers, face-eating bacteria, Glen Beck, etc.

I only see two possibilities in the Christian worldview presented here by MathIsCool:

A) God only does good, so someone else is responsible for any bad stuff. Could be Satan, Tibetan Buddhists,  my alcoholic uncle, Adam and Eve, librarians, a$$holes, or maybe Voldemort.

B) There is no bad stuff; you are just not looking at the world in the right way. Face-eating bacteria and Glen Beck are actually good, in a parallel universe-y sorta way.

I am looking forward to the convoluted, mind-effing apologia that is no doubt the only response forthcoming.....
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1410 on: September 27, 2010, 03:43:37 PM »
I'm sorry, this doesn't help you.
You said he told you that his nature was immutable to show that he cannot lie. But how are you sure that what he tells you is true? Appealing to a belief that he is truthful doesn't make it true; you are simply giving arbitrary weighting to your supposed god's supposed claim that he is truthful, and thus, by your own definition, falling into moral nihilism.
SO that leaves with appealing to factual, verifiable evidence. You have failed to provide it. Try again.

Let me be as clear as I can.

My central claim in this thread is that materialism leads necesarily to nihilism.[1]
You (and Azdgari) are trying to show how Christianity leads to nihilism.

To show how materialism led to nihilism, I assumed materialism was true, and then, starting with those simple axioms, found my way to a nihilistic position.  I hope it's abundantly clear by now that I'm not a materialist, but I assumed it was true to explore what I feel I'd have to believe if I were.  That's how you show one thing 'leads to' another - you assume the one thing and follow logical steps until you arrive at the second thing.  I'm saying nothing about the truth values of materialism or nihilism, only that if one is a materialist and one values consistency, one also ought to be a nihilist.  The two go together.

For you to show how Christianity leads to nihilism, you have to assume Christianity is true.  Don't worry, it's only for the sake of argument, none of our Christian goop is going to get on you if you only assume it to continue on the discussion.  You start with Christian truths as axiomatic truths, and then attempt to reason from there to a position that reasonably resembles nihilism.  Thus, when you say (my bolding)
...you are simply giving arbitrary weighting to your supposed god's supposed claim that he is truthful...
you're cheating and not really moving the discussion forward at all.  You have to start with Christian 'truths' and then get to nihilism to show your argument is true and valid.

For reference, these are (some) starting truths that Christians believe. (again, don't worry, you're only assuming them for this discussion, you can continue being an atheist in other threads)
God exists.
God is immutable.
God is absolutely sovereign; what he says, goes.
God is good.  That is, those 'good' things that we all know about - telling the truth, being honorable, courage, loyalty, etc etc are all part of God's character, that's why we think of these as good things.
God is triune; He exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Lots of other stuff.  Feel free to pick up your Bible or consult a few Christian websites to find out what else we believe.  Lewis' Mere Christianity is also a good place to find out what we believe, as well.
 1. To date, I haven't heard one argument to this claim, other than a few "nuh-uhs!"
Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

 - Expurgate, here

Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1411 on: September 27, 2010, 03:54:05 PM »
I am looking forward to the convoluted, mind-effing apologia that is no doubt the only response forthcoming.....
If any response I give is going to be "mind-effing" and "convoluted" by definition, I think I'll just pass.  Google returns about 11.5 million hits here, that ought to be enough to keep you busy for a while.
Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

 - Expurgate, here

Offline OnePerson

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1412 on: September 27, 2010, 04:20:22 PM »
My central claim in this thread is that materialism leads necesarily to nihilism.[1]
 1. To date, I haven't heard one argument to this claim, other than a few "nuh-uhs!"

I'm pretty sure your original point was about atheism leading to nihilism.  Somewhere along the road you changed it into materialism.

And of course, you seem to have made up your own definition of nihilism: "Arbitrary morals".  Since it hurts more to have your own logic used against you, it's easier to argue that Christianity is nihilist under your own definition.

Quote
To show how materialism led to nihilism, I assumed materialism was true, and then, starting with those simple axioms, found my way to a nihilistic position.  I hope it's abundantly clear by now that I'm not a materialist, but I assumed it was true to explore what I feel I'd have to believe if I were.  That's how you show one thing 'leads to' another - you assume the one thing and follow logical steps until you arrive at the second thing.  I'm saying nothing about the truth values of materialism or nihilism, only that if one is a materialist and one values consistency, one also ought to be a nihilist.  The two go together.

For you to show how Christianity leads to nihilism, you have to assume Christianity is true.  Don't worry, it's only for the sake of argument, none of our Christian goop is going to get on you if you only assume it to continue on the discussion.  You start with Christian truths as axiomatic truths, and then attempt to reason from there to a position that reasonably resembles nihilism.  Thus, when you say (my bolding)

I believe that I can fly by flapping my arms.

Assume this to be true and then come to the conclusion that I can't fly by flapping my arms.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 04:23:51 PM by OnePerson »

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1413 on: September 27, 2010, 04:28:02 PM »
I am looking forward to the convoluted, mind-effing apologia that is no doubt the only response forthcoming.....
If any response I give is going to be "mind-effing" and "convoluted" by definition, I think I'll just pass.  Google returns about 11.5 million hits here, that ought to be enough to keep you busy for a while.

Exactly my point. Trying to explain the "problem of evil" is the origin of Christian apologia.....and skimming through the links gave me a nice overview of the two possibilities I stated. Philosophers just use more words to say the same thing: either evil is not god's fault or it's not really evil. And the more words they use, the more mind-effing and convoluted the answers become. Twisting meanings, using silly analogies and redefining words is the only way to make any of this seem like it makes sense.

You see, just like cold is the absence of heat and up is the absence of down, evil is the absence of good. Darth Vader is the absence of Tinkerbell, therefore vanilla is the absence of chocolate. That means that ketchup is the absence of mustard, thus evil is the absence of god because god is all good, and it is not god's fault that hotdogs are made from donkey lips.

And then Einstein threw the chalk at the atheist professor and the Christian Marine beat him up all the way from Iraq. And that was good, because atheism is the absence of god. Ya see?   :shrug
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Gimpy

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1414 on: September 27, 2010, 05:01:43 PM »
Exactly my point. Trying to explain the "problem of evil" is the origin of Christian apologia.....and skimming through the links gave me a nice overview of the two possibilities I stated. Philosophers just use more words to say the same thing: either evil is not god's fault or it's not really evil. And the more words they use, the more mind-effing and convoluted the answers become. Twisting meanings, using silly analogies and redefining words is the only way to make any of this seem like it makes sense.

You see, just like cold is the absence of heat and up is the absence of down, evil is the absence of good. Darth Vader is the absence of Tinkerbell, therefore vanilla is the absence of chocolate. That means that ketchup is the absence of mustard, thus evil is the absence of god because god is all good, and it is not god's fault that hotdogs are made from donkey lips.

And then Einstein threw the chalk at the atheist professor and the Christian Marine beat him up all the way from Iraq. And that was good, because atheism is the absence of god. Ya see?   :shrug

I know fan-boi posts are frowned upon, but this ^^^ was a real hoot!
Not all those who wander are lost; some are buried in my backyard. . .

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1415 on: September 27, 2010, 05:19:15 PM »
MiC:
Quote
Your profile says you're 56 years old.  I would have thought you'd be beyond tattling by now.
That comment says far more about you than it does about me.

Quote
.. and this is true, you've repeatedly asked me the question above, without really bothering to listen when I answered.  Here's one place I answered:
So after all this time, you point me to something you said before I even asked you my initial question?

From your other "answer":
Quote
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.  
That's your basic assertion for which you've offered no supporting evidence - beyond feelings of ickiness.

Quote
1) Confess an inability to parse my arguments:

Quote from: Gnu Ordure on September 24, 2010, 04:33:36 PM
That sentence makes no sense...
That's because your sentence,
Quote
The existence of inconcsistent atheists does not make them consistent
.. makes no sense.

Quote
2) Confess an ignorance of my cental claim:

Quote from: Gnu Ordure on September 24, 2010, 04:33:36 PM
I don't know what your argument is...
I understand your claim. What I don't understand is a supporting argument, because you haven't provided one.

Quote
3) Throw out buzzwords without any argument given behind them:

Quote from: Gnu Ordure on September 24, 2010, 04:33:36 PM
Pro-socialism, Natural Law, Utilitarianism, Consequentialism. Libertarianism, and the Golden and Silver Rules. For a start.
The Golden Rule dates back to 2000BC - so it's somewhat inappropriate to describe it as a buzzword. And I'm not presenting arguments for any of these philosophies, just pointing out that they are non-religious sources of morality.

Quote
5) and finally, flat out refuse to discuss a central contention in my argument.

Quote from: Gnu Ordure on September 24, 2010, 04:33:36 PM
I'm not discussing this embezzler you keep referring to.
You misunderstand, I'm not refusing to discuss this embezzler, I'm just saying it's not part of my argument.

Quote
How am I supposed to respond to "I'm not discussing this any further with you" and "That sentence makes no sense" ?
The former was a misunderstanding; as regards the latter, restate the sentence in comprehensible english.

Quote
I think my interactions with Azdgari in this thread have proven that I can carry on a discussion, interface with someone I disagree with and that, when presented with someone who comprehends my posts, can respond back with relative intelligence.  I may not be correct in the end, but I can at least follow the thread of conversation.
And as a parting shot, you call me stupid.

Tell me, MiC, what does objective morality have to say about being condescending, patronising and insulting?

Quote
Let me be blunt, Gnu - I expect a greater level of interaction from you if I'm going to take the time to respond to your future posts.
I expect nothing from you.

And I'm getting it.

Quote
Thanks for listening, sorry for the rant
And that must be the most insincere apology for an insulting post I've ever heard.

Gnu.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 05:48:23 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline truehyuga

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1416 on: September 27, 2010, 05:35:37 PM »
I'm sorry, this doesn't help you.
You said he told you that his nature was immutable to show that he cannot lie. But how are you sure that what he tells you is true? Appealing to a belief that he is truthful doesn't make it true; you are simply giving arbitrary weighting to your supposed god's supposed claim that he is truthful, and thus, by your own definition, falling into moral nihilism.
SO that leaves with appealing to factual, verifiable evidence. You have failed to provide it. Try again.

Let me be as clear as I can.

My central claim in this thread is that materialism leads necesarily to nihilism.[1]
You (and Azdgari) are trying to show how Christianity leads to nihilism.

To show how materialism led to nihilism, I assumed materialism was true, and then, starting with those simple axioms, found my way to a nihilistic position.  I hope it's abundantly clear by now that I'm not a materialist, but I assumed it was true to explore what I feel I'd have to believe if I were.  That's how you show one thing 'leads to' another - you assume the one thing and follow logical steps until you arrive at the second thing.  I'm saying nothing about the truth values of materialism or nihilism, only that if one is a materialist and one values consistency, one also ought to be a nihilist.  The two go together.

For you to show how Christianity leads to nihilism, you have to assume Christianity is true.  Don't worry, it's only for the sake of argument, none of our Christian goop is going to get on you if you only assume it to continue on the discussion.  You start with Christian truths as axiomatic truths, and then attempt to reason from there to a position that reasonably resembles nihilism.  Thus, when you say (my bolding)
...you are simply giving arbitrary weighting to your supposed god's supposed claim that he is truthful...
you're cheating and not really moving the discussion forward at all.  You have to start with Christian 'truths' and then get to nihilism to show your argument is true and valid.

For reference, these are (some) starting truths that Christians believe. (again, don't worry, you're only assuming them for this discussion, you can continue being an atheist in other threads)
God exists.
God is immutable.
God is absolutely sovereign; what he says, goes.
God is good.  That is, those 'good' things that we all know about - telling the truth, being honorable, courage, loyalty, etc etc are all part of God's character, that's why we think of these as good things.
God is triune; He exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Lots of other stuff.  Feel free to pick up your Bible or consult a few Christian websites to find out what else we believe.  Lewis' Mere Christianity is also a good place to find out what we believe, as well.
 1. To date, I haven't heard one argument to this claim, other than a few "nuh-uhs!"
N
O
P
E
You cannot force me to assume Christianity. I simply need to prove that Christianity does not give a logically sound background for absolute morality. The fact that you are falling back to "I have faith that God is good" proves my point. Faith is not reasonable.
I could give an example of how assuming a faith based statement of truth ruins argumentation, but luckily that has been provided for me:
Quote
I believe that I can fly by flapping my arms.

Assume this to be true and then come to the conclusion that I can't fly by flapping my arms.
Can you see why this line of reasoning is ridiculous?
Faith, by definition, is an arbitrary weighting. Thank you for proving that you have no basis in reality for your claims.

EDIT:Clarification
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 06:29:07 PM by truehyuga »
What you allow will always increase; good or bad.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1417 on: September 27, 2010, 06:17:04 PM »
Exactly my point. Trying to explain the "problem of evil" is the origin of Christian apologia.....and skimming through the links gave me a nice overview of the two possibilities I stated. Philosophers just use more words to say the same thing: either evil is not god's fault or it's not really evil. And the more words they use, the more mind-effing and convoluted the answers become. Twisting meanings, using silly analogies and redefining words is the only way to make any of this seem like it makes sense.

You see, just like cold is the absence of heat and up is the absence of down, evil is the absence of good. Darth Vader is the absence of Tinkerbell, therefore vanilla is the absence of chocolate. That means that ketchup is the absence of mustard, thus evil is the absence of god because god is all good, and it is not god's fault that hotdogs are made from donkey lips.

And then Einstein threw the chalk at the atheist professor and the Christian Marine beat him up all the way from Iraq. And that was good, because atheism is the absence of god. Ya see?   :shrug

I know fan-boi posts are frowned upon, but this ^^^ was a real hoot!
Thank you. I'll do anything to keep from doing actual work. But haven't you heard stuff at least as absurd from religious types? I know I have-- I was a JW. :D
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Operator_A25

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1418 on: September 28, 2010, 09:54:45 AM »
MathIsCool,

I am getting reports about your responses to Gnu. Gnu has every right to report you for violations of forum rules and your insulting him for it is childish.

From what I can tell, you seem to be more interested in trolling the forum than engaging in actual discussion.

You need to get with the program or be confined to the ER.
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Offline truehyuga

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1419 on: September 28, 2010, 10:49:27 AM »
I'm going to add a clarification to my earlier statement.
I don't have to assume anything, really. I can simply say, "Your position rests on a faith base, therefore, without support, it is not applicable in real life without proof." You need to prove your entire position to prove an actual base for absolute morality. Stating that the position is based on faith simply means that you are giving arbitrary weighting to the position in totality, and through that to your ideas of moral absolutism.
However, I am not doing that. For now, I am simply showing that even if we assume a god to exist, it is impossible to show that such a god would be the foundation of absolute morality.
This is because, even assuming direct contact with said god, it is impossible to know its true nature without assuming it or taking it on faith. Without knowledge of his true nature, one is either left to say that he is a messenger of true morality (which he could be choosing to do incorrectly, even) or that whatever he says is considered absolute moral law (in which case he could do the worst possible things and get away with it).
Do you see how this is a problem?

What you allow will always increase; good or bad.

Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1420 on: September 28, 2010, 11:24:30 AM »
::sigh::

MathIsCool,

I am getting reports about your responses to Gnu. Gnu has every right to report you for violations of forum rules and your insulting him for it is childish.

I was a little exasperated when Gnu wrote
You seem to be saying that all the atheists on this forum who are not nihilists are somehow being inconsistent. Is that correct? If so, could you explain precisely how, please?
because I thought I've made it fairly clear how I get from atheists -> nihilists.  I still haven't heard anyone discuss my line of reasoning there, so I thought it was a given, and to have someone ignore what I wrote was... annoying.

But.... you're right, it was childish of me to liken reporting a comment to the mods as 'tattling.'  Gnu, for what it's worth, I sincerely apologize.  My actions were childish, but nonetheless I hope you can find it in yourself to accept my apology.

From what I can tell, you seem to be more interested in trolling the forum than engaging in actual discussion.
I'm disheartened that you feel that way because that most assuredly has not been my intention.  It's been to investigate a different worldview to my own, and occassionally to pipe up with my comments and opinions and reasoning.  If I push hard occassionally, it's because I'm wondering what rebuttals the atheist worldview has against the typical Christian arguments.  It's also fun to discuss these things with real live human beings, of course.

You need to get with the program or be confined to the ER.
I'd rather you didn't, of course.

All that being said....

Gnu, you really and truly did miss my argument.  Let me restate it again one more time:
Were I a materialist, I'd believe that this current material reality is all there is.  That means that the sun, moon, stars, the earth, you, and I are all just matter, just various patterns of atoms that interact according to the laws of physics.  Beauty, free will, even good and evil are all just illusions, just lies we tell ourselves for whatever reason.  That means that just as it's not 'wrong' or 'evil' for, say, a black hole to devour a galaxy, or for me to snuff out a candle, neither is it wrong for a cannibal to devour another fellow human, or a sociopath to snuff out a human life.  Humans, on materialism, are just a (admittedly complex) pattern of matter, an ongoing chemical reaction that's "figured out" a way to self-replicate.  Pain is just neurons sending signals warning the brain that this process of self-replication is in danger of halting.  There's certainly nothing evil about pain or death, it's just another mode that the matter that makes us up can take.  Thus, fellow materialists can talk about good and evil, they can talk about the most good to the most people or avoiding the most harm or doing unto others what we'd want done to ourselves, and it'd get a big fat 'meh' out of me.  I don't see that there's any reason I, or anyone else, ought to care about life, death, pain, pleasure, good, or evil.  We're all just matter.

You say about my statement "The existence of inconsistent atheists does not make them consistent." that it makes no sense.  I'm saying that though atheists are on this board that disagree with the above reasoning (the existence of inconsistent atheists) so far as I can tell the above reasoning is sound, and they really ought to agree with it. (does not make them consistent.)  In other words, I acknowledge that atheists on this board disagree with me, but, well, I think they're wrong.  Such is the nature of disagreement.

You said that you didn't know what my argument was.  That was exasperating, because I thought I laid it out in this thread a couple of times, and I hadn't (and to date, haven't) seen a response to it.  It was my central argument, the one thing I was trying to say, the one thought I was trying to get across.[1]  There it is above, again.

You mentioned other sources of morality, such as "Pro-socialism, Natural Law, Utilitarianism, Consequentialism. Libertarianism, and the Golden and Silver Rules."  But those don't impact my argument at all.  If I were a materialist, I'd respond to Utilitarianism, for example, with "The most good for the most number of people?  Why should I, or anyone else, care about affecting the most good for a bunch of people that are at the end just chemical reactions?  What does "good" mean for a chemical reaction, anyway?"  The others fall in a similar way.

You try to imply that I feel atheists don't do bad things because of ickiness.  I don't think I said that.  I said I don't do evil things because they are, to use a terrible term, icky.  Murder just feels wrong, somehow, and so I don't do it.  I'm sure other atheists don't murder because of the Golden Rule, say, but my question to them is why even follow the Golden Rule?

You said you don't want to discuss my embezzler, but earlier you asked for my backing to the argument, and he's it.  The above paragraph is my reasoning, it's why I think atheism and materialism lead to nihilism, and my embezzler personifies it.  Your refusal to discuss him is a refusal to engage with my argument, another reason I was exasperated with your post.

In any case, this thread has gone on for far to long in my opinion anyways.  I suspect the mods agree with me, there's a reason it's in The Bottomless Pit.  I really don't feel either side has said anything new in quite a while.  I think if it's all right with you folks I might bow out of this one.

Thanks, -MiC
 1. I have seen plenty of attacks on Christian morality, which isn't the same thing.
Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

 - Expurgate, here