Saturday, January 5, 2013

How About A Mutable Divine Law-Giver?

Here’s an atheist attempting to make the case for the non-existence of God:

The Law Maker Argument against religious books
If we ask any lawyer today about law books, he or she will tell you that they mostly get obsolete after a year because amendments and new laws come into place. The reasons for these amendments are to keep up with advances in technology, to keep up with advances in human knowledge and to close loopholes.
Unfortunately, religion have holy books that have religious codes and are considered the laws of God. This is seen in religions like Christianity and Islam. This means that their holy books would have to be edited for modern times to be relevant. However, these religions claim that their holy books contain erternal truths (Chistianity) and that their holy book is complete (Islam). This creates a problem because we know for a fact that truth is based on evidence and knowledge which both change as time and society progress.
The problem is very simple; religious books like the Quran and Bible will continue to be outdated naturally, no matter how many times they are interpreted because laws by nature have to change with the advance of societies and technology or we will be looking at arnarchy from loopholes.
If the words/laws of an eternal being cannot be eternal, what is the point? Why not focus on laws that work?

First of all, this is not an argument against the existence of God as the title of the thread seems to suggest. Even if we grant, for the purpose of the discussion, that the argument succeeds, the atheist would have only succeeded in showing that some religious texts as we have known them are not inerrant or that they are incomplete. It does not even begin to make a case for the non-existence of God. If anything, the atheist has only succeeded  in showing that the God who is commonly said to exist might have been misrepresented by some religious texts or worse that if the religious texts were completely accurate, some or all of its contents transgresses against some understanding of God’s attribute that the atheist might currently harbor.

However, that is not even the main thrust of this atheistic argument. This argument as I understand it is as follows: “human laws are mutable—i.e they are likely to be changed or altered to reflect the realities of the time they are operating in. If that is the case, we should expect that Divine laws are likewise mutable. But since the religious texts suggest that the divine commandments contained therein are to be regarded as immutable, one should disregard such divine commandments when a dynamic human society evolves a contrary position.”

But as anyone can immediately see, one should never hinge morality on the ever-changing zeitgeist of human societies and cultures. I don’t think the atheist has fully thought this point through yet. Does he even realize what he is asking for—for the rightness or wrongness of human actions to be arbitrary?; to be subject to group consent?; to be only as valid as the next revision or amendment? And what if some segment of some hypothetical society decides that another segment of the same society has different values from it and thus should not be bound to the same laws?

Why would the atheist think that we should equate human laws with divine laws? Why make the assumption that a divine law-giver, if such a being exists at all, would be like some human lawyer?

The problem isn’t so much that the divine laws which constitutes the basis of morality (i.e one’s duty and obligation towards the lawgiver himself and to his fellow humans) are faulty and need changing. It is rather the case that people do not want, or rather do not feel like they should be accountable to some divine law-giver in the first place. This is the root source of the willful disobedience and the intransigence that comes to the fore whenever people feel like they can attack the idea of a divinely ordained foundation for human morality.

Another issue is that all too often the atheist cannot tell the difference between some point or issue in some alleged divinely inspired text being simply a recommendation or suggestion or wisdom of the human hand writing divinely-inspired scriptures AND those points or issues which are express declarations of God by revelation. This is a point I simply expect no militant or evangelical atheist to be able to wrap his or her head around. Sadly there isn’t much that can be said really to make the matter much clearer to anyone whose ideological commitment hangs on a misapprehension of the point.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Want To Share Your Thoughts Or Comments? That's awesome! Please consider joining my site to make the process smoother. Click the link near the top left sidebar.

OR, you can use your online ID as your profile (Google, Yahoo, Livejournal, AOL, Hyves, Blogger, Flickr, Wordpress, Verisgn, etc).

Don't have any of those? Well, you can still comment. Just grab an OpenID here