Saturday, May 07, 2011

A "religious delusion" double standard

According to the popular atheist blogger, John Loftus,
Osama Bin Laden was probably a good man; sincere, devout and God fearing. But all it takes to make good people do evil is religion. Keep that in mind. That is the lesson of his life. He was deluded in the same way as other believers. Some delusions cause more harm than others though, and he caused a great deal of it. The problem is he will never know he was deluded. Neither will any of the rest of them. What a waste of a life.
Obviously, Loftus and other atheists think they are correct when positing such claims.  The problem is, they fail to consider the probability of their own delusion.  Consider if such words were applied to an atheist, such as Stalin:
Stalin was probably a good man; sincere and devout.  But all it takes to make good people do evil is atheism.  Keep that in mind.  That is the lesson of his life.  He was deluded in the same way as other atheists.  Some delusions cause more harm than others though, and he caused a great deal of it.  The problem is he will never know he was deluded.  Neither will any of the rest of them.  What a waste of life.
The point of the parallel is not to get into a debacle over Stalin's motives, whether they be ideological, political or whatever.  In fact, let's just grant for the sake of argument that Stalin's naturalistic worldview did not necessarily, in and of itself, motivate him to do what he did.  However, let's keep one thing in mind: was Stalin doing anything that was inconsistent with his professed worldview?  In other words, if our universe is nothing short of raw power with particles clashing against one another with no purpose or goal, then why would it matter if a glob of protoplasm (also known as, "humans") chooses to eliminate millions of other globs of protoplasm in accordance with the firing of neurons in that one's brain?  Where does one drawn conclusions of "right, wrong, disgusting, delusional, or inconsistent" from such actions?

This is why such judgments of others is completely non-sensical in atheistic worldviews.  Why does "delusional" and "worldview/religion" even matter in such a universe?  Loftus may claim that such a life is "wasted," but Osama would have probably begged to differ.  But again, how does a "wasted life" even make sense in a purely physical, materialistic universe?  Nothing is "wasted."  Instead, things just are what they are.  Atoms react when they clash against other atoms.  And in the same way, globs of protoplasm react when large flying objects (i.e. airplanes) fly into large cement structures (i.e. buildings) that are filled with other globs of protoplasm (i.e. humans).  Yet, the atheist concedes that one set of reactions is non-moral (i.e. atoms clashing against one another) and the other is immoral (i.e. flying planes into buildings).

It is readily obvious that the atheist finds such action appalling because they are made in God's image.  Furthermore, when they react to such tragedies, they are essentially cracking open their Bible's all the while denying it.  As the late Van Til once said, "Anti-theism presupposes theism."

25 comments:

B.R. said...

"In fact, let's just grant for the sake of argument that Stalin's naturalistic worldview did not necessarily, in and of itself, motivate him to do what he did."

Or just acknowledge the fact that it had nothing to do with his decisions, which were governed by power hunger and Communism.

"However, let's keep one thing in mind: was Stalin doing anything that was inconsistent with his professed worldview?"

Try reading the Communist Manifesto so you can find out.

"In other words, if our universe is nothing short of raw power with particles clashing against one another with no purpose or goal, then why would it matter if a glob of protoplasm (also known as, "humans") chooses to eliminate millions of other globs of protoplasm in accordance with the firing of neurons in that one's brain? Where does one drawn conclusions of "right, wrong, disgusting, delusional, or inconsistent" from such actions?"

From our natural instincts that, strangely enough, are meant to help us preserve our species which would hard to do if we didn't form societies with rules to govern behavior.

"This is why such judgments of others is completely non-sensical in atheistic worldviews."

O RLY?

As for the rest of this paragraph; you're ignoring the fact that we evolved with an innate sense to procreate and preserve our species. Furthermore, this moral/ethical dilemma is more frustrating for Christians than atheists. I still have yet to see any logic given as to why Christians can't run around killing, stealing, and raping, and then ask for forgiveness at the last moment. And by the way, atheism does not by default equal materialism; try reading on the subject for more than five minutes.

"Furthermore, when they react to such tragedies, they are essentially cracking open their Bible's all the while denying it."

You wish. Although, considering some of the "holiness" in the bible that involves sexism, racism, mass murder and genocide, you may be right about atheist such as Stalin cracking open their bible for morality.

B.R. said...

And by the way, your substitution of "atheism" for "religion" is your Stalin analogy is dishonest in the extreme. You said not one word about Communism, and you neglected to add that atheism does not have any central tenets or doctrines. It is simply a disbelief in God and Gods, nothing more. Therefore, there is nothing in atheism that would compel someone to murder.

Stormbringer said...

"It is simply a disbelief in God and Gods, nothing more. Therefore, there is nothing in atheism that would compel someone to murder."

There is nothing in atheism that would compel someone to save a life or do good in the world. Atheism is selfishness. Oh, wait. I forgot about the Madalyn Murray O'Hail Memorial Atheist Hospital for Children.

If atheism is simply a disbelief in God, why do you hate him so much? Why do you so vehemently attack and distort what the author wrote?

The Apologetic Front said...

@B.R.

Thank you for your comment, but apparently you did not read my the post closely because I specified the fact that my point was not to discuss Stalin's political or ideological motives.

So perhaps i'll state it again: how was Stalin's actions inconsistent with a naturalistic/materialist worldview?

And since you brought up my alleged dishonesty, what does "dishonesty" even mean with a universe that is reduced to matter-in-motion?

B.R. said...

@Stormbringer;

I'm sorry, was this meant to be a valid criticism of atheism, or just a childish appeal to emotions? Atheists are just as charitable as Christians, and wouldn't you know, we don't attach strings to our charity; there's no "now that we helped, you need to become atheists", and unlike evangelicals, we never substitute cheap propaganda pamphlets for food and medicine in disasters. Just because we don't believe there's a magic Sky Man who's going to blast us if we misbehave doesn't mean that we aren't capable of charity. So please, educate yourself.

"If atheism is simply a disbelief in God, why do you hate him so much?"

Who said I hate God? That's a stupid thing to say; you might as well say that I hate the Tooth Fairy, of that Christians hate Zeus. A disbelief in a deity does not constitute hatred for said deity.

"Why do you so vehemently attack and distort what the author wrote?"

The fact that you accused me of this without showing any examples of me doing it, shows that you just want me to be the "bad guy". Furthermore, you're the one who read my comment(maybe) and somehow came up with, "he hates God". So who is "vehemently attacking and distorting" whose comment again?

B.R. said...

@T.A.F.;

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

"So perhaps i'll state it again: how was Stalin's actions inconsistent with a naturalistic/materialist worldview?"

I already explained in my first post. If humans had not developed a biological sense of "morals", then our species might have died out. By forming groups and producing rules of conduct to govern behavior, humans can work together to survive. Biologists call this the origin of morality.

"And since you brought up my alleged dishonesty, what does "dishonesty" even mean with a universe that is reduced to matter-in-motion?"

You seem to laboring under the delusion that I'm a materialist; I'm just an old-school atheist. This has nothing to with atoms, of molecules, but cells and DNA. Dishonesty disrupts the harmony of the group(or herd if your wish); without trust in the group, survival is difficult(and there's the concept of personal honor). Furthermore, this question is irrelevant. Imagine if someone brought before a jury on charges of tax fraud said in their defense, "what does 'dishonesty' even mean in a universe that is reduced to matter-in-motion?"

It doesn't change faulty or fraudulent claims; it's jut an example of using word=play as a dodge.

The Apologetic Front said...

@B.R.

Offering a descriptive account of the origin of morality says nothing about what one "ought" to do.

Secondly, you cite survival and disruption as a consequence of dishonesty. But again, this doesn't prescribe an "ought" in a naturalistic universe. At most, it can only describe actions and consequential outcomes. But there is nothing within such a worldview in which one is more "moral" than the other aside from what the firing of neurons in your brain cause you to feel with regards to such an outcome.

B.R. said...

There are Christians who "feel" that homosexuals are sub-humans who should be beaten--perhaps to death, so that they can then be tortured in ways too horrible to describe in hell. And these particular Christians actually feel that they're "moral" for holding these views, and/or acting on them, and gays are the evil ones. Yet if they beat a homosexual to death, they're still going to prison for life. "Feelings" have little to do with morality. We stay in line to prevent chaos and destruction. Doing what's right by others, and yourself, in how morality is defined. If there is no objective morality, then we do what we can to prevent anarchy.

The Apologetic Front said...

@B.R.

What is "immoral" about chaos and destruction? Chaos and destruction happen all the time and there are entire societies who thrive on it. But even then, what makes one society "right" and the other "wrong?"

If one society decides that all homosexuals should be thrown in a blender, what is actually taking place? In a matter-in-motion materialistic universe, it sounds to me like you have little more than protoplasm in a blender.

B.R. said...

"But even then, what makes one society "right" and the other "wrong?""

That depends upon your morality, which varies from person to person, even among Christians. In general, a society that thrives on chaos and destruction is a harmful that impairs people mentally and emotionally, and may pose a threat to the peace of other societies.

"If one society decides that all homosexuals should be thrown in a blender, what is actually taking place? In a matter-in-motion materialistic universe, it sounds to me like you have little more than protoplasm in a blender."

And from the Fundamentalist Christian view of a universe created by god solely for his own amusement, it sounds to me like little more than the evil, putrid abominations of this world getting their just desserts. All based upon the authority of the bible, of course.

The Apologetic Front said...

@B.R.

I'm confused as to why you continue to use descriptive categories to imply an "ought." If its one society's belief to hurt and destroy others, then that is their "morality." To say it is "wrong" is to appeal to some kind of standard. If you want to call this standard "my morality," then fine. But what makes your standard more "moral" than other's standard if, in fact, "right" and "wrong" are subjectively determined?

B.R. said...

And I don't know why you haven't said anything about my challenge to Christian morality. Why should Christians feel compelled to do what's right if God will forgive them of any sin they commit? Why not take a day off and pop a cap in a few random people just for fun? Or better yet, do so to atheists of gays. After all, just ask god for forgiveness and that's that.

Now, in response to your comment;

To say that a twisted morality is wrong is going back to the same standards I mentioned earlier--doing what's best for mankind. If a society thrives on destruction, then it is harmful to it's people, and others should avoid following their example(as I've already explained).

The Apologetic Front said...

@B.R.,

If you love your wife but know that she will forgive you if you choose to lie to her, then why not lie?

If I understand you correctly, "right" is subjectively defined in accordance with a society's standards. Therefore, societies which thrive on peace are just as much "right" as those who thrive on destruction. That is, unless you are appealing to some objective standard of "that which harms people is immoral."

Matt DeStefano said...

"So perhaps i'll state it again: how was Stalin's actions inconsistent with a naturalistic/materialist worldview?"

It isn't, because naturalism/materialism are mute on the concept of morality. But that doesn't mean that it was inspired by a naturalistic/materialist worldview. Bin Laden, on the other hand, was directly inspired by his religious beliefs in his own actions.

The Apologetic Front said...

@Matt,

Then this proves the point. In such a worldview, there is no point in refraining from or choosing to slaughter millions of people. So it matters not whether one is motivated by religious or secular ideologies. Both are simply the result of arbitrary movements of molecules and energy.

Matt DeStefano said...

I'm not sure how you are deriving moral nihilism from a metaphysical statement of materialism. Materialism is mute on the existence of moral properties, but that by no means stipulates they do not exist. There are plenty of flavors of moral realism that exist within a solely materialist framework.

You're playing a bit of linguistic gymnastics to try and imply that all materialists are moral nihilists.

The Apologetic Front said...

@Matt,

My point is not to deny that there are a variety of moral perspectives held by atheists. Instead, its to display the consequences of such as worldview.

If you can explain how one can derive "moral properties" from matter-in-motion, then please feel free to share. As far as I can tell, the only properties one can derive from physical processes is...well...physical properties.

B.R. said...

Because I respect my loved ones too much to take advantage of their good graces like that.

If this is what you think I've been saying, then you need to go back and read my comments. Morality is not just defined by society, but by our genes. Morality of some kind has permeated our various cultures since the beginning. Laws like "do not murder", "do not steal", "do not lie", and "do not cheat have appeared in pretty much every society and culture in our history. The point here being, gods are not required fro morality. If they were, then atheists would be very immoral, don't you think?

I'll swing back by here before too long. Til then, see ya.

The Apologetic Front said...

@B.R.

I hope i'm not beating a dead horse here, but would you agree that morality is defined by the following:

1. Majority vote

2. Whatever our genes tell us

So if the society you lived in decided to kill on children with downs syndrome based upon a new genetic mutation which caused such a desire to take place, would they be right?

B.R. said...

Thanks for getting back to me.

1. I think you actually read and pay attention to my comments.

2. Close, but not quite; it's our survival instincts.

Seeing as how there's no way such a mutation could take place in nature, no, it wouldn't be right. The only way this kind of mutation could come about is by human design, perhaps as a biological weapon.

B.R. said...

Actually *need* to read and pay attention. Typo.

The Apologetic Front said...

@B.R.

If our genes are prone to preserve survival, then why are humans so prone to destruction, chaos and violence?

What if those "destructive" genes come to dominate our species? Would this now make this type of behavior "moral?"

GearHedEd said...

T.A.F. said,

"...If I understand you correctly, "right" is subjectively defined in accordance with a society's standards. Therefore, societies which thrive on peace are just as much "right" as those who thrive on destruction."

Show me an example of one society that "thrives on destruction", that has survived in the long run. The history that is written on those societies is the judge of what is "right".

And the whole "ought" thing is based on your Christian ideas of what God wants, without showing that there IS a god in the first place. In other words, it's an "in-group" opinion, Christians being the "in group".

B.R. said...

Because we still have free will. Your instincts are like guidelines; listen to them, and you'll survive(probably), but you can ignore them if you choose to.

Again, I don't see these things ever becoming "normal". Societies that thrive on destruction generally don't last long; these types of societies tend to crumble into dust.

Stormbringer said...

If everything evolved through chance, survival of the fittest, mutations and all that, then our thoughts and behaviors are pre-programmed. We respond to stimuli. There is no free will according to naturalism.