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  1. #1
    Senior Member Into It's Avatar
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    Default Monotheistic Ethics are Unethical

    Humanity acquires knowledge over time that replaces old ideas and reveals their impotence. We have come a long way since the ancient immorality of the Old Testament. We no longer murder children for cursing their parents. We no longer murder a person for working on the Sabbath, and the only time we slay entire cities, sparing none, for following a different God, is when we do it for religious reasons. All of these behaviors are not simply condoned but demanded in several books of the Old Testament with no exceptions (Deuteronomy and Leviticus specifically). We have done away with slavery today, and most people see the act as one of the most egregious offenses against human dignity. The Old Testament condones slavery - it even condones beating slaves (with stipulations) - and Jesus clearly took no issue with slavery. Many Biblical demands are immoral, and if we wish to behave ethically, we must disobey them.

    It is at this point that Christians may begin to interject in defense of their faith, so I will deal with two likely objections for a moment.

    The first foreseeable objection is that Christians rely primarily on the New Testament for ethics. The New Testament speaks mostly of loving thy neighbor, displaying meekness, and accepting subordination and servitude before all others. To hold a Christian to the standards of the Old Testament is to misrepresent the Christian. Following in Jesus' footsteps is surely ethical.

    (Whether subordinating one's self before his enemy is or is not ethical requires a long digression - but it is a debate which I will gladly take part in if anyone wishes it.)

    My response to this objection is fourfold. First, notice that this objection does not deal with the central issue of the initial argument, which is that the Old Testament allows no lenience in cherry-picking which laws to follow. If Christianity could exist without the Old Testament, then my initial argument would be flawed. It cannot. The entire reason that Jesus is believed to be the son of God is precisely because he fulfilled prophecies laid out in the Old Testament.

    Another reason that Christian ethics cannot be divorced from the Old Testament is because Christianity relies solely on the Old Testament for its chief code of ethical law - the Ten Commandments.

    A third reason that the Old and New Testament laws are inextricably linked is that Jesus said specifically that each and every word of the Old Testament laws must be followed, without changing a "jot"

    A fourth reason is the concept of the Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, though appearing to be wholly distinct entities, are actually one in the same.

    The second objection I foresee is that my argument attempts to judge God by human standards. We are myopic and small, and our limited view of good and evil just doesn't cut it when we speak of ethics on the Godly level. God is perfect - infinitely loving and infinitely just. If and only if God exists is there an objective set of ethics. God does exist, and so his ethical code is objective and immune to criticism.

    For the purpose of responding to this argument directly, we will assume that God certainly exists. There are really two pieces to this argument, so I will take it one step at a time.

    The first argument to deal with is 1)We are short-sighted and incapable of discerning good and evil by ourselves, especially on the Godly level. 2)God is infinitely loving and perfect. 3)Therefore, following his will is the most ethical course of action.

    This appears to be a valid argument, but it is internally contradictory. I will set up a dilemma to further elucidate this. Either we are incapable of discerning right and wrong or good and evil by ourselves, or we are capable of this discernment. If we are incapable of determining morality on a Godly level, as the argument suggests, then we are incapable of being able to tell whether or not God is good to begin with. If this is the case, then there is no reason to assume that following his will is an ethical course to take. If we do give ourselves the freedom to say "God is good," however, then we should also have the ability to say "God is bad," if indeed that is the case, and to create our own ethical code. Why should we be able to ascribe goodness to God but not to anything else?

    The next argument is 1)Ethics are only subjective or nonexistent if there is no God, but objective if there is. 2)There is a God. 3)God's Ethics are objective and should be followed.

    Again, for the sake of argument, I will be pretending that God certainly exists, because these arguments would hold no water otherwise. For something to be objective, it must be based on fact alone or at least be completely external to the mind. It cannot be swayed by prejudice or emotions, nor can it be created out of them. Ethics are never objective. Objectivity deals with the way things are, not with how they ought to be. Normative laws, those subjective laws that dictate how one should behave, are created to the end of obedience. Obedience implies a level of subservience, which in turn implies authority. There is never a reason to follow God's laws if they are not in our best interest. This is because he has no authority over anyone. Authority must be granted by the subordinate party, which means that the subordinate party is actually in control. God only has authority over those who grant it to him; the rest of us are free to do as we please.
    An inscription above the gate to Hell:
    "Eternal Love also created me"

  2. #2
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    If this is a paper for a class, (and I admit it's well written even if I'd rather you argue the other side), you might want to include a response to the potential theistic objection, (to your first argument against the theist's second objection), that it's possible to know what is good without having a decision procedure that enables one to know every good act. That is, the theist may deny your first premise by asserting that our short-sightedness doesn't extend to the axiological domain.

    Why should we be able to ascribe goodness to God but not to anything else?
    If you're not familiar with it, you may want to investigate the natural law tradition. Your paper seems to be an attack against a heteronomy, or a view that the moral law is externally imposed upon us by another. (Divine Command Theory specifically).

    Natural law theory, (a branch of virtue ethics), is more in line with your assertion:

    There is never a reason to follow God's laws if they are not in our best interest.
    And this tradition also denies that Christianity relies on the OT for the 10 commandments. The 10 commandments are in the OT, but they are also part of the natural law, knowable apart from the OT. (The law is written on the hearts of all men.)

    Based on you final paragraph, I'd like to ask you a question.

    Ought we to be rational?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Is that like Solitary Walkers evil make up wearing twin or something?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Into It's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    1 If this is a paper for a class



    2 If you're not familiar with it, you may want to investigate the natural law tradition. Your paper seems to be an attack against a hereonomy, or a view that the moral law is externally imposed upon us by another. (Divine Command Theory specifically).

    Natural law theory, (a branch of virtue ethics), is more in line with your assertion:



    And this tradition also denies that Christianity relies on the OT for the 10 commandments. The 10 commandments are in the OT, but they are also part of the natural law, knowable apart from the OT. (The law is written on the hearts of all men.)

    Based on you final paragraph, I'd like to ask you a question.

    3 Ought we to be rational?
    1.No, this is just a rant.

    2.If the "ethical truth" can be best represented in such a way that it necessitates the use of the word "should," it is an imposition. Put another way, any moral law that may make me act in such a way that is contrary to my own will, (which means any moral law) must be written with authority. A number of the Ten Commandments are not at all intuitive. Envy, Resting on the Sabbath, Graven Images...You must read the OT to get these. If you're saying that the *important* commandments are intuitive, then I agree with you.

    3.No. We ought to be rational if we want to describe and understand the natural world as accurately as possible. But no, "We should be rational" doesn't stand alone - it only works if it is a necessary condition for something else (Part of an *if* statement)

    Edit: I admit I may not have understood your post as well as I should have.
    An inscription above the gate to Hell:
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  5. #5
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    3. I agree that "we should be rational" doesn't stand alone. (I think it's part of an ordered set of propositions, with the meaning of each member of that set interdependent/interdetermined by the inclusion and order of the other members of that set. (This is all very rough. It should all be worked out in my book. Look for it on shelves the summer of 2014)).

    Ought we desire "to describe and understand the natural world as accurately as possible"?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    The real short answer to this thread is No.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Into It View Post
    Humanity acquires knowledge over time that replaces old ideas and reveals their impotence.
    Yes, in 1833 institutional slavery was abolished for the first time in human history by the House of Commons.

    In the early part of the 20th Century women gained their emancipation for the first time in human history. And it was in Australia and New Zealand where women gained the vote for the first time in human history.

    And it was in the last decade of the 20th Century that child, sexual abuse was prosecuted in the Criminal Courts for the first time in human history.

    Until then child, sexual abuse was taken for granted and protected. So it only now that we are waking up to the enormous damage child, sexual abuse does to children.

    And it is only now that we can see that God's order to Abraham to murder his son was child abuse.

    And it is only now that the Father, being offended by us and in order to forgive us, tortured his Son to death, can now be seen as child abuse.

    And of course Mohammed's marriage to a nine year old girl can be seen today as child, sexual abuse.

    These are theological interpretations only available to us today because for the first time in human history we are prosecuting child, sexual abuse in our Criminal Courts.

    But it takes time for our minds to catch up with the freeing of children from sexual abuse, just as it took time for our minds to catch up with the abolition of slavery by the House of Commons in 1833.

    So just as it is important to read the history of slavery, it is important to read the history of child abuse. In that way our minds can start to catch up with our new reality.

    One place to start is by clicking on -

    Contents - FOUNDATIONS OF PSYCHOHISTORY

  8. #8
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    God did not create Hell.

    But, He did create Free Will. So yes, you are free to do whatever you want.

    "The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden."
    I would say more, but I grow weary of these topics.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post

    And it is only now that we can see that God's order to Abraham to murder his son was child abuse.
    I've seen you bring this one up a few times in the past. I rather believe you may have missed the point of that part of the story...
    God did not let him do this, He stopped him. A test of faith in the Lord, to impart an understanding to those the story would be writ about and those who would read it; regarding the extent of faith in the Lord one could and/or has, ideally have/(, )had, as well as the ensuing consequences.


    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post

    And it is only now that the Father, being offended by us and in order to forgive us, tortured his Son to death, can now be seen as child abuse.
    In the old testament, blood atoned for sin, by the new testament it turned out we had become too sinful for the mere blood of this world, but the lamb of God, his blood, would save us from sin. Jesus was God, he knew what would happen before he was born, but still went through it, and let people make their choice about he, and do what they did to him, for he loved us so.
    Everyone is a case study.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wank View Post
    I've seen you bring this one up a few times in the past. I rather believe you may have missed the point of that part of the story...
    God did not let him do this, He stopped him. A test of faith in the Lord, to impart an understanding to those the story would be writ about and those who would read it; regarding the extent of faith in the Lord one could and/or has, ideally have/(, )had, as well as the ensuing consequences.

    In the old testament, blood atoned for sin, by the new testament it turned out we had become too sinful for the mere blood of this world, but the lamb of God, his blood, would save us from sin. Jesus was God, he knew what would happen before he was born, but still went through it, and let people make their choice about he, and do what they did to him, for he loved us so.
    Yes, before we started prosecuting child abuse in our Criminal Courts, this was our interpretation of the Bible.

    Just as before the abolition of slavery by the House of Commons, we interpreted slavery in the Bible one one. And after the abolition, we interpreted slavery in the Bible in another way.

    So after the prosecution of child abuse in our Criminal Courts for the first time in history, we have a new way of interpreting the Bible.

    I understand this is disturbing to those who hold to the traditional interpretation, just as the abolition of slavery was disturbing to slave holders.

    But difficult as it is for you to accept, just as the abolition meant freedom for slaves, so this means freedom for children from the curse of child abuse.

    How do you have the heart to cling to your traditional interpretation of the Bible in the face of child abuse?

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