Monday, January 7, 2013

Morality: An Atheist's Perspective

Apparently incensed by my attempt at puncturing his atheistic argument, this evangelical atheist chimes the following rejoinder. I’ll answer them one by one.

Can everyone see the arrogance of a religious blowhard? First he made an assumption that he couldnt back up (that our arguments were copy and paste) and after being proven wrong, he didnt even care to say sorry or anything, he arrogantly went on to make another nonsense claim
1) I am still waiting for apologies for your nonsense claims that we copied and pasted arguments. The law maker argument is entirely mine based on other arguments about changing morality and laws.

This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Anyone who has perused the thread would see a number of so-called “arguments” which have source links showing where they were elegantly copied from. No assumptions need be made about the fact that those so-called arguments were lifted from somewhere. Making allusion to that fact seems to have rubbed you the wrong way. Perhaps you ought to ask yourself why that is the case. Be that as it may, after reading your “Lawmaker Argument against Religious Books”, I have to say the name and quality of the argument suggests none other than yourself as its author. I would be doing other more informed atheists a disservice by linking them with this shoddy argument.

2) The title of the thread clearly shows that the arguments are either against god or religion. You chose for some nonsense reason to see only "god" and made a false claim.

That the thread title says the arguments contained therein were arguments against God or Religion is neither here nor there. As you state these arguments, we can see whether the specific argument you state is an argument against either God or Religion. By calling the argument “The Lawmaker argument against religious books”, one really has to inform you that at best it is unclear whether you are arguing against some law-maker (God) or against religious books. The way you structured or phrased the name of the argument is at best shoddy and likely to confuse. In any case since it makes little sense to say one is tendering an argument against a religious book (and not the teachings or contents of the book for instance), anyone could reasonably see that the logical extrapolation of that argument would be to undermine the basis for the belief in God, or to reliably argue for God’s non-existence.

3) The law maker argument is against religion not the existence of God

Ahh, of course, now that I have replied, you say the “The Lawmaker argument against Religious books” is neither an argument against the existence of God nor indeed against Religious Books but now against Religion. Pray tell, do you imagine these terms are all synonymous? Quit your childish feints of righteous indignation and realize the full import of what you may be saying at any time. How many theists out there do you think really have the persuasion or time to defend RELIGION as a whole against some charges that may be leveled against it? I am going to wager that not too many theists are going to be engrossed or concerned with defending RELIGION—as vast, variegated and dissimilar as it is—against every piffling charge laid against it. Argue against the existence of God nevertheless, and you will get immediate and meaningful replies.

And herein lies an important lesson for you. When you speak of Religion, or indeed any ideology or viewpoint whether communism, democracy, socialism, feminism, consumerism, atheism, or even environmental conservatism, you have to realize that humans beings, fallible and misguided as they are, can be reliably trusted to practice, adhere to, or believe a somewhat jaundiced or perverted version of some philosophy, ideology or viewpoint.  No sensible atheist is going to want to defend or answer for every belief or action of every so-called atheist. The same goes for every other creed, political ideology or personal philosophy out there. Arguments against Religion are pointless endeavors—one has to specify exactly what aspect of Religion one wants to argue against or risk arguing with the wind.

4) There is no divine law. 4,000 years of human existence has shown that- all laws have loopholes. All rules have exceptions. Can you point to a perfect law that you know concerning human behaviour? The evidence favours my claim, not yours.

First of all, if we are to go by the popular press, human beings have been in existence for much longer than the 4000 years you specify. Secondly, there is objective morality which is binding on every human even if you or any other atheist or moral nihilist has refused to affirm it. Murder, Rape, and the torture of infants are just a few examples of things which are universally condemned. They are objective in nature—and anyone who claims that doing these things is moral or morally-neutral is clearly wrong. I am not exactly sure then what you mean by the “perfect law”, or by loopholes. 

It is evident that sinful humans rebelling against transparent and divine dictates against their human desires, can and often do circumvent these laws by looking for and manipulating loopholes in the legal system. Nevertheless, a wrong and immoral act remains one irrespective of the fact that one may be exonerated in a human court or the court of human opinion. Such binding moral imperatives which force themselves on us, with or without or consent, or even without the consent of likeminded segments of society, possess a divine or transcendental anchor. And that is the case for they certainly do not cohere with the demands of our selfish genes.

5) There is already an argument here showing that morality can not come from religion or God. Morality comes from humans (evolution, logic and society). It will do well for you to read more. Something is good because it is inherently good and not because some god says so.

Actually you would do well to make or argue your case rather than accuse me of not having read enough on the subject. No one argues with the fact that some of the things which form the bulk of human legal systems are man-made (having been the product of human or societal evolution); they are thus retractable or amendable with the progress of time. Nevertheless this is not what/all that Morality necessarily entails. Some moral imperatives/actions fly against the dictates of our selfish genes or the demands of our thinking process. 

If you do not recognize therefore that there are moral duties which trump your personal comfort, or do not redound to your own personal well-being and advancement, and which obstinately impose themselves nonetheless upon societies at large, whether such societies or persons have evolved their thinking to reflect such, then permit me to state that you probably need to go study up some more on Morality.

6)Never use the phrases "evangelical atheists" or "militant atheists". It gives away the fact that you are an intolerant and ignorant person. An atheist can not be evangelical and a religious or theistic person has no moral high ground to talk about an atheist being militant.

This is pathetic ignorance. The term “evangelical atheist” is simply used to describe an atheist who takes it upon him/herself to strenuously argue for the truth of atheism hoping that in doing so he/she may convert theists towards atheism. A militant atheist is an atheist who is openly and vociferously hostile towards theism and people of faith; such a person is prepared to go to any lengths to stamp out religious belief. At any rate, in a stunning show of duplicity, you actually mustered the effrontery to complain of your displeasure with an innocent label such as “evangelical atheist” urging me not to use such a term when moments earlier you pejoratively addressed me as a “religious blowhard”? Granted that anyone might raise a questioning eyebrow at your startling hypocrisy, I have to say that I am not even sold on your feigned displeasure with the term. Frankly, I am not mindful of the fact that lacking a taste for metaphor, you appear to be ignorant of the meaning of the term. If anyone ought to bristle about some perceived arrogance and the use of uncivil language, you are not the one.

The Lawmaker Argument against Religious Books—whatever it is supposed to be—is not an argument. There is no clearly stated syllogism; no premises which have to be affirmed or refuted and certainly no clear conclusion. At best it appears to be a disjointed rant against religious persuasion. Serious atheists can certainly offer something of more substance than this.

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