Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Create Account now to join.
  • Login:

Welcome to the Online Debate Network.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.

Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 88
  1. #1
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    The Moral Authority of God

    This thread discusses the nature of the Christian God as He is described in the Bible. It is understood that if God does not exist, then subsequent arguments made about God and God's nature are not true. This thread is not about the existence of God, it is assumed for the sake of the argument. It is therefore, the universe of discourse (UOD) that God exists and what is being attributed to Him, is what is known about Him via the Bible and the available knowledge we can know about Him via reasoning. All references to God, are to be understood to be about the Christian God.

    Also, my argument is based on a number of arguments from a variety of sources, all of which are provided at the end of this post. Specific citation of argumentation if necessary, will be granted upon request.

    Lastly, I'd encourage you to read this post in its entirety before responding as much of what is claimed and supported, is done so in more than one occasion and in a different manner in hopes to paint a perfectly clear picture of what is being argued.

    __________________________________________________ __

    Is there a difference between man and the Christian concept of God? Of course there is. There isn't much contention there. But what are some of those differences? Some may seem obvious, others not so much.

    God is eternal, man is temporal. God is all-knowing, man has limited knowledge. God can be everywhere, man is spatial. God is all-powerful, man is quite limited in his capabilities. God is perfectly good and just, man is flawed and commits great evil.

    But many have objections about God's "right" to be God (or act as God). How can it be, that He can decide what is right and wrong? How can it be that He gets to "arbitrarily" do or decide for Himself...what He says man cannot?

    That's the subject of this post and discussion. It is not the exploration of any specific event that we seek here, but rather the specifically, what gives God the right to do anything? There must be something inherent in His nature.

    I. Why wouldn't He be the one qualified for the job?


    I think the question can be asked "Why wouldn't an omniscient, omnipotent, morally perfect God have the right to do as he sees fit?" We as human beings are constantly discussing human rights, what we as humans should and should not do. And I think as a result, we often think (mistakenly so) of God as just a more powerful human. That human moral laws must apply to this more powerful "human", referred to as God.

    The problem is, God is not a "powerful human" or even a "human like" being. God is not some being who has somehow acquired power (like a human must), He is a Deity, a supernatural being who is far superior to humans and who has a perfect mind and heart. Just how superior? What do we mean? Obviously, more powerful. Yeah, He has quite a bit more knowledge. But it goes much, much further than this.

    What makes God so superior that He would make such a better ruler of the universe and everything within it? I believe that can be seen by exploring the nature of humans.

    A being such as a human could never be a supreme ruler of all existence. Some (but certainly not all) reasons are:
    • They might make a disastrous mistake due to ignorance, inexperience, fatigue, etc.
    • They could have evil intentions and use their power for evil, or they could be fooled by an evil person
    • They might be corrupted by flattery and think themselves wiser and greater than they really were
    • Even if they wanted to do good, they wouldn't know for sure what would be best for everyone
    • They are likely to show favoritism to some and treat others unfairly

    Yet none of these reasons are applicable to God. God has perfect knowledge and wisdom; God never gets tired or makes mistakes; and God is perfectly good and just.

    II. What is death?

    Many believe that death is the end of both one's body and one's mind/personality/soul. If so, death is a destructive act for both humans and God. Yet if Christianity is true, one's soul is not destroyed, but continues to exist in an afterlife. In this case, death is not destruction, but rather a transfer from life on earth to an afterlife of eternal joy or just punishment.

    Death is a means to a final destination. It's a doorway. It's a blink-of-the eye action that is necessary to move from one state of being to another. It is the transfer of the soul from a temporary, physical state to an eternal, spiritual one. God taking life is merely God transferring the state of one's being into another.

    III. Not all death is immoral

    Killing, or taking a life, isn't necessarily immoral. We can't place a moral value on the act until we know what the context, or type of killing we are evaluating.

    Taking a human life without proper justification is murder and is wrong. But if the circumstance changes and there is appropriate justification, then arguably this is a morally relevant factor that changes the moral nature of the act of taking a life. Taking a life in self-defense for example, is morally justifiable. When the circumstance changes in a morally relevant way, the application of the moral rule changes.

    IV. What makes it right (or morally justifiable) for God to take a life when He tells humans not to?

    Humans can take life but we cannot control what happens after. We can't bring the dead back nor control where their soul goes eternally. God has the power, knowledge and capability to control what happens after death. God using death is like burning a fire in a fireplace. It can be controlled, lit or extinguished at will, and used for a purpose. Man using death is like setting fire to dry field: it burns out of control and is consequently dangerous and destructive.

    Let's put it into another context. Think of your most prized possession. Let's say it's a mountain bike. You own your mountain bike. Is it ok for you to ride it when you please? Is it ok for you to take it apart and reassemble it? If it is yours, of course it's ok. You can do what you want with your own things. But what if someone else did that to your bike? Well, that would be wrong because someone else doesn't have the liberty to do that with something that is not their own. Yet, you being the owner of that thing do have the liberty to do whatever you want with what is yours.

    IV-a. God's property

    The same principle applies to this question about God. God tells us not to kill other human beings. Why shouldn't we? Because another's life is not ours to take. That life, does not belong to us, but to God. This is the relevant factor here...ownership. It is the morally relevant distinction that makes a different moral rule apply.

    So why is murder wrong? It's because you are (or rather, the murderer is) destroying something of God's, His property.

    Can God destroy God's property? Yes. As supreme ruler, or King of the universe He most certainly can. Not because of His title (supreme being ruling the universe), not because He is more powerful than a human, not because of some arbitrary rule, but rather because He created the universe and it belongs to Him from the beginning. God can do what He wants with His universe. If he chooses to give life, He can give it. If He chooses to take life, He can take it. It is not immoral for God to take the life of His property.

    Jesus spoke about this in the parable of the landowner hiring different people throughout the day but paying them all the same wage:
    The landowner paid the guy who came in last at 4 o'clock the same as the guy who came in early in the morning. The guy who came in first was upset. Here is what Jesus said, speaking as the landowner, Can't I do what I want with that which is mine? We had an agreement and I paid you what we agreed. Now, if I want to give my money away to somebody else for less work, it's my money. Can't I do what I want with my own money?
    The principle applies here, too. The universe is God's, and if He wants to take life, He can do so.

    IV-a1. But what about the sanctity of innocent life?

    Life is indeed precious and it is always a tragedy when an innocent being is killed. But the taking of an innocent life is not necessarily immoral. We must examine the agents involved, the act involved, the context and/or relationship of all entities, etc...

    It is indeed wrong if a human being takes an innocent life. It is immoral when it is done by certain beings, and not immoral when it is done by others.

    Is a tiger evil because it caught and killed another animal? No, of course not. What about if that same tiger attacked and killed a small child? While tragic, it would not be appropriate or accurate to condemn the tiger to be evil. What about if a man intrudes into another's home and in the process kills a young child? Yes, of course this was an immoral act. It is not the prerogative of the man to take the life of an innocent being.

    So what about God taking innocent life? Can God create something and then destroy what He's created? Yes, He can do as He wishes, though His wishes are constrained by His character so He can't wish something that is immoral or inconsistent with His character. And there is nothing inherently immoral about the Creator of life taking away life. It is God's prerogative to transfer the state of being of a life form. That is, transfer its soul from its temporal, physical body to its eternal, spiritual form. It's immoral for us to take an innocent life because when we do so, usually we are exercising a prerogative reserved for God alone.

    It is inappropriate for men to take innocent life simply because we are robbing other human beings of a God-given gift and we are not to play God in that regard. But clearly God can play God. It is His role to transfer the state of being of a life form (from physical to spiritual) and He is not robbing when He takes away what He has given in the first place (which is of course, the temporal, physical body that contains our soul). It is something that is under His appropriate control. He can take a life anytime He wants. Taking innocent human life is wrong for us, because taking life is God's prerogative, not ours, which means it is appropriate for Him to do it, not us, and He can dispense and retract life whenever He pleases. He can initiate the transfer of one's state of being as he pleases.

    V. So is there a double standard then?


    Absolutely there is a double-standard. And there is nothing wrong with this. Double-standards are necessary even in our own human lives. For example, if my son misbehaves, I may discipline him. I may correct behavior that needs to be adjusted. However, my daughter may not do so. It isn't her prerogative to do so. My responsive act of correcting my son's behavior is justifiable, my daughter's responsive act of correcting my son (her brother) is not justifiable.

    It is the same when it comes to to man and God. What is applicable to one, is not necessarily applicable to another.
    Part of the problem here is that we want to hold God to the same standard of morality He holds us to, as if the standard is above us both and man and God are on equal terms when it comes to behavior. Whatever we can't do, God shouldn't be allowed to do either. But every parent knows that such an arrangement is just plain false. Parents aren't constrained by the same standards that their children are constrained by, and in the same way God has a different set of prerogatives as well. Life and death is one of His, not one of ours, and that's why it is appropriate for Him to make His sovereign decisions with regards to the disposition of life and death. We are not to do so, and that's the long and short of it.
    Another example is that children ought to obey their parents. Parents however, do not need to obey their children. This is a necessary double-standard that is contingent upon the nature of the agents in play.

    VI. But doesn't God have to keep to His own 10 Commandments?

    No, God does not have to keep the 10 Commandments. We know this because they were written for man, not God. The vast majority don't even make sense when applied to God. Does God have to dedicate a portion of his week to Himself? No, that is for His subjects, not the King. Should God not have any other gods before Him? Again, doesn't make sense, it doesn't apply. Does He have to honor His parents? He doesn't have any. What about coveting? That's desiring something that isn't your own (simply put of course). But what is there that isn't already His? Nothing, therefore God cannot covet.
    The Ten Commandments are an expression of God's desire and in many ways an expression of His character, but they are expressions of His character that have a certain application to human beings who are His subjects and the rules do not apply to Him in the same way.
    VI-a. What about the commandments that would apply, like lying?

    It is true that lying seems as if it could apply, but a) God simply cannot lie (discussed in another thread) and b) God can't not because of the 10 Commandments, but by virtue of being a perfectly moral being. It isn't the 10 Commandments that prevent God from lying, but rather God's nature of being perfectly good that does. God exemplifies this rule (against lying), but He is not beholden to it as man is.

    In closing

    God is the author of life, therefore He has the prerogative to take life whenever He wants. That is His prerogative. It is only immoral when human beings exercise prerogatives that are not theirs, that are God's alone.

    Hopefully this serves as a foundation by which we can both understand the moral value of some of God's acts/decisions and why what God does what he does, aren't the same as when humans do it.

    This isn't an attempt to explain why God does X in any particular event however. Nor is this is an exploration of every possible event or action that God is involved in. There are far too many and I would not attempt to solve every challenge (like genocide against certain tribes for example) in a thread of this nature. Such a discussion would be outside the scope of this thread. Instead, this thread serves the purpose to explain the difference between man and God and why/how there is a relevant difference between these two different beings.

    Sources and articles of interest:
    http://bible.org/seriespage/everythi...re-exodus-2017

    http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5647

    http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5271
    http://www.rationalchristianity.net/...authority.html
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; November 26th, 2010 at 10:41 PM.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  2. Likes evensaul liked this post
  3. #2
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,614
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Ok, let me see if I have this...

    First, you say that God is the only one qualified for the job because humans make mistakes and God is an all-powerful and perfect non-human deity.

    Hmm... I'm only seeing religious claims there. Absolutely nothing to do with morality in itself.

    Second, you say that death is just a first step to a second place.

    Hmm... makes you wonder why religious people don't advocate abortion just to ensure the innocent get to Heaven safe and sound. After all, if we're focused on the ultimately outcome, and the next life is that, then anything that takes a person to the next life should be rightly considered a moral thing.

    And I'm only seeing religious claims there. Absolutely nothing to do with morality in itself.

    Third, you say that not all death is immoral. I really can't imagine what that has to do with the thing that spawned this discussion, because I never made such a claim, nor do I advocate such a position. The context of the immoral act was distilled by you into something I neither said nor advocated when you removed the context when you posted our exchange.

    HOWEVER! I have to confess that I made too broad a statement when I said "The act itself defines whether or not the act is moral" (or some variation of that). I lumped the context in the act and called it the act itself, so I can see why you called me on it.

    Having said THAT, however, I reject the notion of God's authority having an effect on the context I provided.

    Oh, and I'm only seeing religious claims there. Absolutely nothing to do with morality in itself.

    Fourth, (and here's where the tire meets the road) you say that God can take lives because lives are his property. Moreover, innocent lives can be taken by God because he's like a tiger and humans are like... something that a tiger kills.

    And hey! tigers can't really do anything wrong. In fact, it would be wrong even BEGIN TO SUGGEST that a tiger who got loose in a neighborhood playground and started killing kids was somehow in the wrong. The tiger has the prerogative in such a situation, right? It would be TRAGIC, but not wrong. And boy oh boy, anyone who even suggested that the tiger was behaving in a way that he ought not to behave would be violating the VERY real principle of relevance, and we wouldn't want that, now would we? (putting aside, for a moment that Christians in particular don't consider animals to have anything like a moral structure AT ALL; quite a bit different than God, no?)

    This is an awful analogy. You'll have to provide me with a real-world example of a moral authority figure that we can all accept has the moral right to take innocent lives. Otherwise it's...

    ...just a religious claim here. Absolutely nothing to do with morality in itself, and there's no reason to accept it.

    Fifth, double standards are a-ok! And, from a moral perspective, a sibling spanking another sibling is JUST LIKE a father being perfectly willing to slaughter his own son as a gesture of loyalty! Cool!

    Sixth, God doesn't have to follow his own rules, which means that he could come to earth, take human form, rape, sodomize, torture, kill, dismember, cook and eat an innocent child, and it would be a moral act.

    Sixth-a, oh wait. He DOES have to follow his own rule because due to his nature he CANNOT do otherwise. So he CANNOT do all that stuff above. That's weird. It's almost like you said one thing then said the opposite...

    In Closing, you say that God can do what he wants when he wants because he has the prerogative and we don't.

    Have I seriously misrepresented your argument here? What did I miss? What context is wrong?

    And even if I did accept any of this, how does that make the Binding of Isaac a moral lesson again? And how is it a moral argument at all?
    Last edited by Dionysus; November 27th, 2010 at 07:33 AM. Reason: Clarification

  4. #3
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Dio, first of all, this thread has been a long time coming. For some reason you think it was especially made just for you and because of only a very specific discussion elsewhere. That is false. This content of this is related to that thread, but is not specific to it. The ideas and argument in this thread are independent of any other thread and should be treated as such. I've even mention as much in the op (I think you are struggling with separating discussions here):

    Apok: It is not the exploration of any specific event that we seek here, but rather the specifically, what gives God the right to do anything? There must be something inherent in His nature.
    It's the exploration of what it is about God's nature that sets Him apart from man and how this affects moral values of a moral statement.
    Apok: This isn't an attempt to explain why God does X in any particular event however. Nor is this is an exploration of every possible event or action that God is involved in. There are far too many and I would not attempt to solve every challenge (like genocide against certain tribes for example) in a thread of this nature. Such a discussion would be outside the scope of this thread. Instead, this thread serves the purpose to explain the difference between man and God and why/how there is a relevant difference between these two different beings.
    That being said...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Ok, let me see if I have this...

    First, you say that God is the only one qualified for the job because humans make mistakes and God is an all-powerful and perfect non-human deity.

    Hmm... I'm only seeing religious claims there. Absolutely nothing to do with morality in itself.
    Yes, anything that has to do with religion is a religious claim Dio. And that is why it is in the Religious forum.

    It is false however, to think that morality has nothing to do with religion. For one, religious folk subscribe to a moral standard that is set by their deity. This is obvious, I don't understand the seeming objections. Can you elaborate?

    Second, you say that death is just a first step to a second place.

    Hmm... makes you wonder why religious people don't advocate abortion just to ensure the innocent get to Heaven safe and sound. After all, if we're focused on the ultimately outcome, and the next life is that, then anything that takes a person to the next life should be rightly considered a moral thing.

    And I'm only seeing religious claims there. Absolutely nothing to do with morality in itself.
    Well, I think the op explains that Dio. Human beings don't have the right to make that decision on what to do with God's property. It isn't their property to do what they please. The purpose of life isn't to die (or transfer the state of being into another). It's to develop a relationship with God, be an example, live life.

    Also, you make another mistake about the nature of essay's or arguments altogether it seems. There are a variety of points to be made in an argument. Often times the argument builds upon a foundation. Since the thesis of this thread is God's overall moral authority, it's important to do that. Since God owns the lives He creates, it's important to understand what is meant by death or the extinguishing of life. It's creating a foundation and understanding so that the rest of the argument may stand.

    And again, anything that has to do with religion (philosophy, ritual, treatment of strangers/family, celebration, ethics, business principles, social classes, morality, etc...) will involve a religious discussion Dio. This is why it is in the religious forum. Each of the examples above can involve religious understandings/teachings.

    Third, you say that not all death is immoral. I really can't imagine what that has to do with the thing that spawned this discussion, because I never made such a claim, nor do I advocate such a position.
    See above re: your mistake in thinking this thread is about you or that thread. It is related to, but not necessarily about. And you are misunderstanding the nature of an argument in essay form. See above re: foundation and the many points to build upon.

    Oh, and I'm only seeing religious claims there. Absolutely nothing to do with morality in itself.
    Yes, it is true that anything involving religion, say for example God, God's command, the morality that is attributed to God, etc... can be said "has to do with religion" and therefore, will involve religious discussion. Which is why it is in the Religious forum.

    Fourth, (and here's where the tire meets the road) you say that God can take lives because lives are his property. Moreover, innocent lives can be taken by God because he's like a tiger and humans are like... something that a tiger kills.
    No. I never said that God is like a tiger in that the tiger has the prerogative to take life. This is what I said:
    Apok: Is a tiger evil because it caught and killed another animal? No, of course not. What about if that same tiger attacked and killed a small child? While tragic, it would not be appropriate or accurate to condemn the tiger to be evil. What about if a man intrudes into another's home and in the process kills a young child? Yes, of course this was an immoral act. It is not the prerogative of the man to take the life of an innocent being.
    While the tiger should be hunted down and killed for the safety of the village, we do not say that the tiger is evil. It is natural, it is within the tiger's nature to capture and kill to sustain life. Obviously, God does not do this. You missed the point of the example Dio. The argument is explaining how we determine the moral value of the statement and that it is important to identify the agents and the type of act and the relationship between all entities in the statement to determine the moral value.

    God, is not a tiger Dio. Either you misunderstood the point, which perhaps may have spawned from a confusing example on my part (of which I can amend if necessary) or you are intentionally misrepresenting my point (which would be odd considering that you thought I did so and objected to it yesterday). Hopefully, it is just communication error.

    Fifth, double standards are a-ok! And, from a moral perspective, a sibling spanking another sibling is JUST LIKE a father being perfectly willing to slaughter his own son as a gesture of loyalty! Cool!
    Sarcasm noted. I don't know that it is in the spirit of this thread though: On Fomenting Positive Discourse.
    I would implore everyone here to speak like you’d like to be spoken to (or even better, speak like you believe the person you’re speaking to would like to be spoken to). We ARE capable of disagreeing without trying to make the other person feel inferior. We need to strive for a better ODN.

    I hope to set this example, and I would urge everyone to do the same. Where this change comes from depends on ALL of us.


    It depends on you.
    It doesn't sound like you are interested in truth discovery here for some reason. And that your intent is merely to belittle or mock for some reason. Perhaps it is just a bad week or something?

    Anyway, in order to understand the nature of morality Dio, we use a variety of examples to test truth claims about. One facet of morality is that the value of the statement being examined is contingent upon the context...what is happening. Without knowing who the agents are, without knowing the circumstances, without knowing the act itself...there can be absolutely no determination of any kind of moral value. We have to know what is going on Dio. Its a requirement for analysis.

    Yes, of course there is a double-standard. There are perhaps millions of them and they are necessary for survival and order.

    For example...police officers may carry weapons in the open. Non-police officers may not. Double-standard? Sure! But a necessary one. What applies to one group need not necessarily apply to another. We are so ingrained culturally that double-standards are wrong. The problem with this, culturally, we don't think philosophically. That double-standards are inherently wrong, is complete rubbish. What makes them wrong is when one agent is equal and on par with another and in the same circumstances, applies an unfair standard that ought to be applied to all agents. But, there must be some relevant difference between the agents in order for there not to be such a standard.

    The relevant difference between police officers and citizens, is that the carrying of the weapon is a part of the officer's job, responsibility, duty and it is used to protect himself and others from harm that criminals would do. It is not the job or responsibility for the untrained citizen to do so. Obviously, we need a different set of rules due to the relevant difference between agents.

    Sixth, God doesn't have to follow his own rules, which means that he could come to earth, take human form, rape, sodomize, torture, kill, dismember, cook and eat an innocent child, and it would be a moral act.
    Not so. I thought this was perfectly explained too. I will try again. Sorry for the confusion.

    1) God doesn't have to follow His rules given to human beings, because the rules pertain to human beings. It's impossible for even attribute the vast majority of the commandments to God:

    1. How can God forbid Himself from worshiping false gods?
    2. Why would God create and worship a carved image?
    3. God would take His own name in vain? "Oh myself!" Just doesn't make sense Dio.
    4. God is expected to keep His own day (the Sabbath) holy and worship Himself?
    5. God doesn't have parents to honor.
    6. Do not murder: this is the big one that is attributed to God by atheists quite often, and it is understandable. But it is the only one possible Dio. And as explained on more than one occasion, this isn't the thread to discuss any specific event or allege sin committed by God, but rather an exploration of what it means for God to have moral authority. To discuss moral authority and specific examples would completely take this thread off-topic and make it distracting (like we've done in the other thread that needs to be cleaned up). Like I said, it's important to build a foundation from which other concepts can be forged upon. Without a foundation, more complex issues cannot be tackled. This thread, serves as a foundation for other discussions.
    7. God cannot have sex...so not committing adultery is applicable? How so?
    8. God cannot steal since stealing means to take what is not yours. Since God created all things, living and non-living, it all ultimately belongs to Him. One cannot steal what one already possess.
    9. Can God slander or lie against others? To whom and for what end considering He's all-powerful?
    10. How can God covet material things? Especially that which is already His?

    In summary, and as stated previously:

    The Ten Commandments are an expression of God's desire and in many ways an expression of His character, but they are expressions of His character that have a certain application to human beings who are His subjects and the rules do not apply to Him in the same way.

    God exemplifies the rules in the 10 Commandments, but He is not beholden to them as man is. Meaning that God will not or cannot break the 10 Commandments Dio. But not for the same reason(s) that man should not.

    Sixth-a, oh wait. He DOES have to follow his own rule because due to his nature he CANNOT do otherwise. So he CANNOT do all that stuff above. That's weird. It's almost like you said one thing then said the opposite...
    I think I explained it pretty well above. Let me know if anything else needs clarifying.

    In Closing, you say that God can do what he wants when he wants because he has the prerogative and we don't.
    Here is a more accurate statement:
    God can do what He wants when He wants as the creator and owner of all living and non-living entities as long as it does not violate His nature in doing so.

    And even if I did accept any of this, how does that make the Binding of Isaac a moral lesson again? And how is it a moral argument at all?
    Considering that this thread is not necessarily about that (see disclaimer about specifics) and is about the nature of God, it seems to me that this would be a more appropriate question to be asked in that specific thread.

    First however, a solid understanding of this foundation is required. For without it, there is quite a bit that the non-Christian will fail to understand about Christianity, events that are explained/recorded in the Christian Bible, and the claims of Christianity. It's jumping gears to skip this one and one's understanding and objections, will fall flat.

    Now, if the purpose of the non-Christian is to mock, belittle, smear, make fun of, etc... then I can understand not wanting and not caring to understand the necessary foundations for truth discovery. But I don't necessarily accept their approach as it is not conducive to reasonable and positive discourse.

    However, if the member is truly interested in "hearing the other side", and believes in the idea that the principles of this community can be summarized as "the forge of reason", then it would seem to me that an honest effort to discover and understand such foundations, would be in their best interest (and that of the community's).

    I don't have the interest or the time to meet the demands of the former sort...but I'm willing to be patient, put in the time and energy, focus on discussing and/or exploring truths and foundations, and keeping an open mind with the latter.

    Of which sort each member is here, I'll let them decide for themselves. I'm merely laying the groundwork for the latter and publicly declaring that I only have the time and interest for them.
    Last edited by Dionysus; November 27th, 2010 at 10:47 AM. Reason: There were identical responses in this single post, both of which consisted of the entire response. I deleted the top half and kept the bottom assuming the bottom would be the most recent.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  5. #4
    Registered User

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    614
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    And hey! tigers can't really do anything wrong. In fact, it would be wrong even BEGIN TO SUGGEST that a tiger who got loose in a neighborhood playground and started killing kids was somehow in the wrong.
    A tiger has no concept of right and wrong so it can't do anything which is morally wrong or could be considered a sin. It can do things which are harmful to others and it would need to be killed or confined to prevent such actions.

    God doesn't have to follow his own rules, which means that he could come to earth, take human form, rape, sodomize, torture, kill, dismember, cook and eat an innocent child, and it would be a moral act.
    God did come to earth in human form and he didn't do any of these things. When he was on earth he completely obeyed the laws that God gave.

  6. #5
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by theophilus View Post
    A tiger has no concept of right and wrong so it can't do anything which is morally wrong or could be considered a sin. It can do things which are harmful to others and it would need to be killed or confined to prevent such actions.
    Yes, which was my point of course. Perhaps I stated it in unclear terms. If others find it confusing I can revise if necessary.

    God did come to earth in human form and he didn't do any of these things. When he was on earth he completely obeyed the laws that God gave.
    Good point, never thought of that. While it is an example of how God did follow the 10 C's (for those who may be a little confused by this new claim)...I don't think it is quite necessary as my last post explains in a little more detail.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  7. #6
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,614
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Dio, first of all, this thread has been a long time coming. For some reason you think it was especially made just for you and because of only a very specific discussion elsewhere. That is false. This content of this is related to that thread, but is not specific to it. The ideas and argument in this thread are independent of any other thread and should be treated as such. I've even mention as much in the op (I think you are struggling with separating discussions here):

    Apok: It is not the exploration of any specific event that we seek here, but rather the specifically, what gives God the right to do anything? There must be something inherent in His nature.
    It's the exploration of what it is about God's nature that sets Him apart from man and how this affects moral values of a moral statement.
    Apok: This isn't an attempt to explain why God does X in any particular event however. Nor is this is an exploration of every possible event or action that God is involved in. There are far too many and I would not attempt to solve every challenge (like genocide against certain tribes for example) in a thread of this nature. Such a discussion would be outside the scope of this thread. Instead, this thread serves the purpose to explain the difference between man and God and why/how there is a relevant difference between these two different beings.
    I understand. I think what threw me was when you said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Well, then it seems to all come down to an issue of God's moral authority and illustrating that there is a relative difference between God and man. As such, I will start a new thread.
    This lead me to believe you were going to start a new thread because what we were talking about warranted such a thread. If that's not the case, then I don't understand what your objection is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Yes, anything that has to do with religion is a religious claim Dio. And that is why it is in the Religious forum.

    It is false however, to think that morality has nothing to do with religion. For one, religious folk subscribe to a moral standard that is set by their deity. This is obvious, I don't understand the seeming objections. Can you elaborate?
    My objection can be summarized as follows:

    In a discussion about morality, if there are conditions that would be universally regarded as immoral, except in circumstances where a religious doctrine demands an exception, then it is a case of special pleading. It's fine to include the religious doctrine as a part of the argument, but the argument cannot be hinged on that doctrine unless that doctrine could can stand alone as a moral argument as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Well, I think the op explains that Dio. Human beings don't have the right to make that decision on what to do with God's property. It isn't their property to do what they please. The purpose of life isn't to die (or transfer the state of being into another). It's to develop a relationship with God, be an example, live life.
    First, I would agree that the purpose of life is to live as well as one can (to put it in secular terms). And if that's the case, it's all the more reason to NOT advocate human sacrifice, and to NOT admire a person wiling to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Also, you make another mistake about the nature of essay's or arguments altogether it seems. There are a variety of points to be made in an argument. Often times the argument builds upon a foundation. Since the thesis of this thread is God's overall moral authority, it's important to do that. Since God owns the lives He creates, it's important to understand what is meant by death or the extinguishing of life. It's creating a foundation and understanding so that the rest of the argument may stand.
    That's fine, but only if it doesn't destroy your overall point.

    Again, your claim is that Abraham and his willingness to slaughter his own son as a demonstration of loyalty is something to be admired; that he serves as an example to anyone of faith. But if I'm to take all of your points and build a case for the morality of his willingness to serve God in such a way, the whole thing crumbles.

    Let's suppose that God does have the ultimate moral authority. Fine. I accept that for the sake of argument. Let's also suppose that God DOESN'T advocate human sacrifice and in fact is opposed to it.

    Is that an accurate assessment of God's take on human sacrifice? If so, would you also agree that Abraham was fully aware of this stance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    And again, anything that has to do with religion (philosophy, ritual, treatment of strangers/family, celebration, ethics, business principles, social classes, morality, etc...) will involve a religious discussion Dio. This is why it is in the religious forum. Each of the examples above can involve religious understandings/teachings.

    See above re: your mistake in thinking this thread is about you or that thread. It is related to, but not necessarily about. And you are misunderstanding the nature of an argument in essay form. See above re: foundation and the many points to build upon.
    Again, your statement in the other thread lead me to believe something other than what you mean to convey (apparently).

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    No. I never said that God is like a tiger in that the tiger has the prerogative to take life. This is what I said:
    Apok: Is a tiger evil because it caught and killed another animal? No, of course not. What about if that same tiger attacked and killed a small child? While tragic, it would not be appropriate or accurate to condemn the tiger to be evil. What about if a man intrudes into another's home and in the process kills a young child? Yes, of course this was an immoral act. It is not the prerogative of the man to take the life of an innocent being.
    While the tiger should be hunted down and killed for the safety of the village, we do not say that the tiger is evil. It is natural, it is within the tiger's nature to capture and kill to sustain life.
    Well either it's a valid analogy or it's not, Apok. If it's valid, then we have to assume that the tiger operates within similar moral parameters that God does relative to man or, failing that, we have to assume that God operates devoid of moral parameters just as tiger does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Obviously, God does not do this. You missed the point of the example Dio. The argument is explaining how we determine the moral value of the statement and that it is important to identify the agents and the type of act and the relationship between all entities in the statement to determine the moral value.
    Right, and I assume that God being the arbiter of morality operates within moral parameters, and that those parameters align with what he arbitrates insofar as they CAN. Any exceptions must be natural ones (like the rule simply not applying because he isn't human), not arbitrary ones (such as being granted moral freedom because of authority; Judges don't get to kill people, even though they can sentence them to death according to the law to which they're beholden).

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Sarcasm noted. I don't know that it is in the spirit of this thread though: On Fomenting Positive Discourse.
    I would implore everyone here to speak like you’d like to be spoken to (or even better, speak like you believe the person you’re speaking to would like to be spoken to). We ARE capable of disagreeing without trying to make the other person feel inferior. We need to strive for a better ODN.

    I hope to set this example, and I would urge everyone to do the same. Where this change comes from depends on ALL of us.


    It depends on you.
    It doesn't sound like you are interested in truth discovery here for some reason. And that your intent is merely to belittle or mock for some reason. Perhaps it is just a bad week or something?
    Ok, point well taken, and I gratefully accept the rebuke.

    However, what it is is a product of being told repeatedly that I don't understand, that I'm being illogical, that I'm biased, and that my position is indefensible without ever at all showing me why except by deferring to some perceived religious advantage.

    As I've said all along, if you can show me without deferring to an argument that is EXCLUSIVELY religious and IS exclusively moral, then I can accept it and I will be perfectly able and willing to concede the point. Until then, I cannot. It's not a matter of will on my part. It's a matter of ability on my part. Because just as you say I'm biased against religion and this keeps me from seeing the relevant difference, I can just as easily say you're biased for it and that this keeps you from seeing how it's not relevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Anyway, in order to understand the nature of morality Dio, we use a variety of examples to test truth claims about. One facet of morality is that the value of the statement being examined is contingent upon the context...what is happening. Without knowing who the agents are, without knowing the circumstances, without knowing the act itself...there can be absolutely no determination of any kind of moral value. We have to know what is going on Dio. Its a requirement for analysis.
    EXACTLY my point. My position is that it is ALWAYS immoral to require and/or be willing to slaughter an innocent person in a demonstration of loyalty to ANY entity, and that there are NO exceptions to this. It's not just the killing, and it's not even the fact of the person's innocence (for example, I advocate assisted suicide for terminally ill people who want to end their suffering). It's the act, what the act is for, and what the act is meant to symbolize to which I object.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Yes, of course there is a double-standard. There are perhaps millions of them and they are necessary for survival and order.
    To be sure, I understand the need for such standards. I was objecting to you equating killing under the conditions I specified with spanking under the conditions you specified. One is much more serious in nature than the other and can't be rightly compared by any fair-minded individual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    1) God doesn't have to follow His rules given to human beings, because the rules pertain to human beings.
    I understand this. But you said it in a way that lead to my objection. But when the conditions exists where it affects human being (indeed, their very lives and perhaps even their free will), I hold to the language concerning God's moral arbitration I used above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    The Ten Commandments are an expression of God's desire and in many ways an expression of His character, but they are expressions of His character that have a certain application to human beings who are His subjects and the rules do not apply to Him in the same way.

    God exemplifies the rules in the 10 Commandments, but He is not beholden to them as man is. Meaning that God will not or cannot break the 10 Commandments Dio. But not for the same reason(s) that man should not.

    I think I explained it pretty well above. Let me know if anything else needs clarifying.
    I understand that in some cases saying God can't do something is like comparing apples to oranges. But in other cases, like raping a person, for example, I assume two things:
    1. That he cannot due to his nature i.e. his nature physically prevents him from doing it just as my nature prevents me from reading minds, and
    2. That even if he could, he OUGHT not just as man ought not because the thing itself is immoral and ought not be done

  8. #7
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I understand. I think what threw me was when you said:

    This lead me to believe you were going to start a new thread because what we were talking about warranted such a thread. If that's not the case, then I don't understand what your objection is.
    You are right. My language in the other thread was indeed misleading. To clarify:

    My intent in starting this thread was to focus on God's moral authority and how there is a relevant difference between God and man. As a result, it would serve the the foundation for other discussions once this concept was understood and acknowledged by key participants in those threads. I just don't think that unless we can come to terms with some ground rules (by way of understanding God's nature and the relationship morality has with it) that some specific issues can be adequately addressed.

    My apologies for making it appear as if this was the end-all-be-all for that particular thread.

    In a discussion about morality, if there are conditions that would be universally regarded as immoral, except in circumstances where a religious doctrine demands an exception, then it is a case of special pleading.
    Can you support this claim please?

    For example:

    It is not appropriate or moral for man to make a decision and divide land between countries or even states when there is no agreement to do so by the necessary other parties.

    However, God doing so, is not immoral. He is not bound by any arbitrary "rule" of geography and land ownership. The land, ultimately belongs to God and if He wishes to reshape it and it consequently results in new borders for previous owners, He can so do so and it is not immoral.

    According to your view...since we brought God into it, and have attributed ownership of the earth to God...we must dismiss this entire argument. That is, we can't even talk about it for some reason as it relates to whether it is right or wrong for God to do so. After all, it's a "universal wrong" for man to arbitrarily reassign borders w/o agreement from necessary parties...it's theft.

    But this is unreasonable. Of course it is wrong for man to do so. We are speaking of what is right and wrong for a different being to do so. It's like the issue with the tiger.

    Take for instance a tiger in a zoo. A kid falls in or just gets too close (for whatever reason) to its habitat cage. The tiger...being a tiger, attacks the kid and kills it. Out of defense of its perceived property or out of hunger. Is the tiger evil? Is the tiger righteous? No, he is neither. It is simply his nature. It's a horrible tragedy, it shouldn't have happened. But we cannot attribute a moral value here for a creature that such values do not apply.

    Take now a prison or local jail. A kid in juvenile is going through the Scared Straight program. This kid gets too close to the cell, an inmate grabs the kid and kills the kid. Is this inmate evil (in that he committed an evil or immoral act here)? Yes, of course. It is an immoral act for a man to take an innocent life in such an instance.

    Take God as an example now. A 10 year old is working out in the field. The kid falls down, dead. Inexplicably. Let's say for the sake of the argument that God actively took this kid's life. Did God commit an evil or immoral act? No. He didn't. The kid's life was created by God, sustained by God, and now taken by God. God has control over that kid's soul. First it was in a temporal, physical state...then it was moved to an eternal spiritual state.

    But you see how the moral value changes depending upon the agents involved? Just because we change agents does not mean that we must dismiss the evaluation of the value itself (which is precisely what you are arguing). Instead, it means that we merely have to evaluate the statement that describes the act and agents involved, in order to determine the value.

    It would be wrong for a man to take such an innocent life. It is amoral for a tiger to do so. it is moral for God to do so. Why? Because of the nature of the agents involved.

    How can this be? It's because of the principle of relevant difference which states:
    We can justify treating people differently only if we can show there is some factual difference between them that is relevant to justifying the difference in treatment.
    Special Pleading can only exist if there is no relevant difference. If there is a relevant difference, then it is not special pleading. To object on the grounds of religion, is not a legitimate objection. If the relevant difference happens to be religion, then we have met our conditions, end of story. There is no such thing as you are claiming Dio.

    I'm open to be corrected here, but it really needs to be supported with scholarly testimony IMO. You are introducing a new rule here in philosophy that simply does not exist.

    We can't make exceptions from convenience. We can't say "Sure, as long as there is no relevant difference then Special Pleading doesn't exist here...with the exception of anything that has to do with religion." There's no such thing as a logical principle along these grounds. I'm unfamiliar with any classical or modern philosopher who has ever posited such a rule. I'd love to read what they have to say on the matter...but it is not fair or reasonable to expect your audience to accept this exception on your authority. I certainly would not expect my audience to accept a new rule that I introduce but I would expect to be challenged on the matter if I did.

    So I hope you don't think I'm arbitrarily busting your cajones here...I just don't agree with the idea that we can create seemingly arbitrary rules out of thin air. It just seems like an objection from convenience...and an objection that carries no logical weight or value (that I can determine).

    First, I would agree that the purpose of life is to live as well as one can (to put it in secular terms). And if that's the case, it's all the more reason to NOT advocate human sacrifice, and to NOT admire a person wiling to do so.
    I understand, and I can agree with it as well. I really do not want to get too much into that particular debate in this thread. I'd really like to save it for that thread. So perhaps we can just address the non-related parts?

    However, saying that, I will at least make one quick statement about the above. Abraham did not believe that God was going to keep Isaac. That is, Abraham had faith that Isaac would not be kept by God. That is, either Abraham believed that God would stop him or that God would bring Isaac back to life.

    It is not the case that Abraham was giving up his son. He had faith that God would allow him to keep Isaac.

    Now, you may think that such an act has no value, me and others would disagree and I'd be happy to discuss this further in the appropriate thread. I just think that discussing it more...would derail this thread to a place I don't want it to go. I spent a lot of time on the op and I prefer to see it stay on track if that's ok.

    Let's suppose that God does have the ultimate moral authority. Fine. I accept that for the sake of argument. Let's also suppose that God DOESN'T advocate human sacrifice and in fact is opposed to it.

    Is that an accurate assessment of God's take on human sacrifice? If so, would you also agree that Abraham was fully aware of this stance?
    Again, this is probably best served in the other thread, but I will offer a quick answer.

    Yes, I think that is accurate and I think that Abraham knew of God's position on the matter.

    Well either it's a valid analogy or it's not, Apok. If it's valid, then we have to assume that the tiger operates within similar moral parameters that God does relative to man or, failing that, we have to assume that God operates devoid of moral parameters just as tiger does.
    But an analogy is valid due to its relevant similarities. The relevant similarities are the changes of the moral value that are contingent upon the agents involved. That's how analogies work. Of course God doesn't have a tail and a tiger isn't omniscient. The two agents are indeed different there. But that doesn't mean that the analogy is flawed. It's missing the relevant similarity.

    The analogy serves the purpose of illustrating the need to analyze the agents and the act prior to determining a moral value. By doing so we can determine if the act was amoral, moral or immoral.

    Perhaps a better analogy was offered above re: the kid at the zoo, jail, field?

    Right, and I assume that God being the arbiter of morality operates within moral parameters, and that those parameters align with what he arbitrates insofar as they CAN. Any exceptions must be natural ones (like the rule simply not applying because he isn't human), not arbitrary ones (such as being granted moral freedom because of authority; Judges don't get to kill people, even though they can sentence them to death according to the law to which they're beholden).
    ...well, I don't know what the objection is here. I agree with you.

    Ok, point well taken, and I gratefully accept the rebuke.

    However, what it is is a product of being told repeatedly that I don't understand, that I'm being illogical, that I'm biased, and that my position is indefensible without ever at all showing me why except by deferring to some perceived religious advantage.

    As I've said all along, if you can show me without deferring to an argument that is EXCLUSIVELY religious and IS exclusively moral, then I can accept it and I will be perfectly able and willing to concede the point. Until then, I cannot. It's not a matter of will on my part. It's a matter of ability on my part. Because just as you say I'm biased against religion and this keeps me from seeing the relevant difference, I can just as easily say you're biased for it and that this keeps you from seeing how it's not relevant.
    I understand, point taken. My apologies for coming accross pretentious. I'll work on that. However re: religious argument issue, I think I've addressed this above.

    EXACTLY my point. My position is that it is ALWAYS immoral to require and/or be willing to slaughter an innocent person in a demonstration of loyalty to ANY entity, and that there are NO exceptions to this.
    Ah, but here's the catch. There is more to the act than just sacrificing here. It's sacrifice + resurrection (or outright prevention). That is, Abraham had faith that God was not going to take Isaac from him because for Isaac to be sacrificed in such a matter...would be counter to God's nature. If Abraham believed that God was going to keep Isaac, and did indeed attempt to sacrifice or followed through with it, then yes, it would have been an immoral act. But according to Heb 11:17-19 Abraham had faith that Isaac would be resurrected and he'd go back with him.

    Did it again...and I hope it doesn't derail the thread.

    To be sure, I understand the need for such standards. I was objecting to you equating killing under the conditions I specified with spanking under the conditions you specified. One is much more serious in nature than the other and can't be rightly compared by any fair-minded individual.
    But again, this is what an analogy is Dio. It's how we explore values (truth or moral) using philosophy. The same underlying principle applies to both actions here.

    Either it is the case that double-standards are necessary and exist...or it is the case that they do not. It doesn't matter what examples we provide to test these statements, since these principles apply to all statements.

    I understand this. But you said it in a way that lead to my objection. But when the conditions exists where it affects human being (indeed, their very lives and perhaps even their free will), I hold to the language concerning God's moral arbitration I used above.
    Not sure I entirely follow here, but it doesn't seem to be a major point of contention (unless I'm missing something), so I'll move on. If it is important, let me know and we'll try to address it.

    I understand that in some cases saying God can't do something is like comparing apples to oranges. But in other cases, like raping a person, for example, I assume two things:
    1. That he cannot due to his nature i.e. his nature physically prevents him from doing it just as my nature prevents me from reading minds, and
    2. That even if he could, he OUGHT not just as man ought not because the thing itself is immoral and ought not be done
    Right. I agree with both statements.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  9. #8
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,614
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    I think that clears up a number of things nicely, Apok. I don't have time for a full reply at the moment, but I will have a surplus of time tonight. Also, to preserve the integrity of this thread (and the other), I will create a new thread challenging the moral status of the Binding of Isaac and leave this one as it is.

  10. #9
    Registered User

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Manteca, CA
    Posts
    1,443
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    In a discussion about morality, if there are conditions that would be universally regarded as immoral, except in circumstances where a religious doctrine demands an exception, then it is a case of special pleading. It's fine to include the religious doctrine as a part of the argument, but the argument cannot be hinged on that doctrine unless that doctrine could can stand alone as a moral argument as well.
    You have missed the very point here. Morality is determined entirely by the context, so if there are circumstances that allow for a certain course of action to be taken, it is definitely a moral action. This is not special pleading in that a whole host of other circumstances would allow for taking a different course of action because of context. For example: The New Covenant's relationship with the Old Covenant.

    So, in conclusion, we are not even attempting to claim that any action is inherently immoral, and would never do so (at least I wouldn't), because morality depends upon context.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

  11. #10
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,614
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    You have missed the very point here. Morality is determined entirely by the context, so if there are circumstances that allow for a certain course of action to be taken, it is definitely a moral action. This is not special pleading in that a whole host of other circumstances would allow for taking a different course of action because of context.
    I agree with this principle, and it is my agreement that compels my objection.

    The best way to describe my position on morality is what I refer to as *"Provisional" morality. I dislike relative morality because people tend to latch on to that and equate it to pure unrestrained hedonism which is a waste of everyone's time. I also dislike absolute morality because it's too rigid and has never been universally applied, and I suspect that it will never be.

    What I mean by "provisional" morality is similar to how Stephen J. Gould described a scientific "fact" i.e. "Confirmed to a degree that it would be obscene to withhold provisional assent". It's not known to an absolute certainty, but it's understood well enough that for all intents and purposes it is a fact.

    So I hold that some moral tenets are confirmed to such a degree. For example, it is immoral to sexually abuse children. This, I would suggest, is so powerfully true that it would be obscene to even consider that it may be false given circumstance "X".

    On the other hand, there are myriad of other acts that can be moral and immoral depending on the circumstance(s). These include, but are not limited to, defensive acts, acts of goodwill, etc.

    My position on the act "slaughtering an innocent human as an indicator of loyalty to an entity" is one of the former, and it IS immoral; it is so powerfully true that it would be obscene to even consider that it might be false given circumstance "X". I reject the notion that ANYONE can take an innocent life or require one for such a reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    For example: The New Covenant's relationship with the Old Covenant.
    I think concept the NC and OC is wildly at odds with any concept of absolute morality and in fact it advocates relative morality. For example, relative to the wandering Jews in the desert, the most right and moral reaction to homosexuality was to execute them, but because of the NC, it is no longer the most right and moral thing to do. That is two different standards of morality applied relative to certain people in a certain time. That's the very definition of relative morality.


    *Not my term. Micheal Shermer introduced it in his book, "The Science of Good and Evil"

  12. #11
    Registered User

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Manteca, CA
    Posts
    1,443
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    You still seem to be thinking that we are arguing for a universal morality. And for that reason, that you have gone done this pointless rabbit trail, and still think that it can give you weight in your efforts to point out god as immoral, I would like to assert that you are going off topic here.

    Now, am I just confused, and is it the case that you are starting to argue against the OP from the perspective that our concept of relative morality and double standards here is illogical? Please, make yourself clear.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

  13. #12
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,614
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    You still seem to be thinking that we are arguing for a universal morality.
    I'm not sure what YOU'RE arguing for, but I know very well that the author advocates absolute morality, and it is that to which I am speaking. If morality is absolute, then we can expect certain things to always be moral or immoral no matter what the context. Furthermore, I gave an example of a thing that I would agree is always immoral no matter the context and from a secular point of view.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    And for that reason, that you have gone done this pointless rabbit trail, and still think that it can give you weight in your efforts to point out god as immoral, I would like to assert that you are going off topic here.
    And I would like to point out that this is debate forum, not a discussion forum, and as such my objections are perfectly on-topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    Now, am I just confused, and is it the case that you are starting to argue against the OP from the perspective that our concept of relative morality and double standards here is illogical? Please, make yourself clear.
    I've made myself as clear as I am able. I spoke to your objections directly and in a clear and unambiguous way. You claim I've missed the point. I have clarified exactly what my position is relative to your own. What more do you want?

  14. #13
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Asia
    Posts
    1,952
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post

    [/SIZE]IV-a. God's property

    The same principle applies to this question about God. God tells us not to kill other human beings. Why shouldn't we? Because another's life is not ours to take. That life, does not belong to us, but to God. This is the relevant factor here...ownership. It is the morally relevant distinction that makes a different moral rule apply.

    So why is murder wrong? It's because you are (or rather, the murderer is) destroying something of God's, His property.

    Can God destroy God's property? Yes. As supreme ruler, or King of the universe He most certainly can. Not because of His title (supreme being ruling the universe), not because He is more powerful than a human, not because of some arbitrary rule, but rather because He created the universe and it belongs to Him from the beginning. God can do what He wants with His universe. If he chooses to give life, He can give it. If He chooses to take life, He can take it. It is not immoral for God to take the life of His property.

    Jesus spoke about this in the parable of the landowner hiring different people throughout the day but paying them all the same wage:
    The landowner paid the guy who came in last at 4 o'clock the same as the guy who came in early in the morning. The guy who came in first was upset. Here is what Jesus said, speaking as the landowner, Can't I do what I want with that which is mine? We had an agreement and I paid you what we agreed. Now, if I want to give my money away to somebody else for less work, it's my money. Can't I do what I want with my own money?
    The principle applies here, too. The universe is God's, and if He wants to take life, He can do so.
    I have a few problems with this line or reasoning, Apok.

    1) Neither property nor creation give us the right to destroy life. I own my dog, but I would be punished for animal abuse if I killed him. I created my child, because if I didn't . . . you know . . . with the wife . . . my son would not be here, but I don't have the right to kill my child.

    2) Let's go with your logic and say that creation = ownership = right to destroy life. I am not familiar enough with Christian theology to know this, but I am assuming Christian theology understands that humans play a role in creating their children. Now, if it is true that humans are at least partly responsible for the creation of their children aren't they at least part owners of their children? And if they are part owners what gives God the right to usurp their share of the ownership and destroy what is partly their property? If I own a lemonade stand, I certainly have the right to throw away all the lemons. But if I own that lemonade stand with my friend, Chuck, then I don't necessarily have that right.

    3) You are contradicting your own argument. You are saying that God is above human law, but at the same time, you are subjecting him to human law - in this case, property law. The idea of having a right to destroy something because you are the owner of it comes from property law. If you are arguing that God has the right to destroy life because he created it (and not playing such a role would either take away or lessen his right to take life), then you have subjected him to, not placed him above, basic property law. Why are you subjecting God to something he is above? Why does God need rights if he is above the whole concept of rights?

  15. #14
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    I have a few problems with this line or reasoning, Apok.

    1) Neither property nor creation give us the right to destroy life. I own my dog, but I would be punished for animal abuse if I killed him.
    You have limited ownership to your dog. And you are bound by man made laws governing such ownership. God is not. And God taking life, is controlling the transfer of being from one state of existence to another. You, taking life, is not.

    I created my child, because if I didn't . . . you know . . . with the wife . . . my son would not be here, but I don't have the right to kill my child.
    Right. You went through the necessary motions to create your son's life...but it was God who ultimately allowed it, or created it. Your son cannot be owned by you. Such is not the case for one who has completely authority and ownership of it.

    God owning anything that exists...is like you owning a bicycle. It's your bike, you can disassemble it, ride it, put it away the in garage, paint it, etc... Others, cannot. It isn't theirs to do with as they please, it is yours.

    Life is not something any human being can own. You don't own your dog's life nor your son's life.

    2) Let's go with your logic and say that creation = ownership = right to destroy life.
    Let's be as accurate as we can here. Life is not destroyed in the sense that you or I regularly think. Death is not the end, it is a blink of the eye. It is a doorway to one's true life...to one's eternal life.

    I am not familiar enough with Christian theology to know this, but I am assuming Christian theology understands that humans play a role in creating their children. Now, if it is true that humans are at least partly responsible for the creation of their children aren't they at least part owners of their children?
    No. They go through the necessary motions, procreate...but they do not own their child's life that God grants to the child. It is God who is responsible for life, not the parents.

    And if they are part owners what gives God the right to usurp their share of the ownership and destroy what is partly their property? If I own a lemonade stand, I certainly have the right to throw away all the lemons. But if I own that lemonade stand with my friend, Chuck, then I don't necessarily have that right.
    We don't own anyone's life at all.

    3) You are contradicting your own argument. You are saying that God is above human law, but at the same time, you are subjecting him to human law - in this case, property law.
    How so?

    The idea of having a right to destroy something because you are the owner of it comes from property law. If you are arguing that God has the right to destroy life because he created it (and not playing such a role would either take away or lessen his right to take life), then you have subjected him to, not placed him above, basic property law.
    This doesn't make sense to me. What "role"? How is God subjected to human law?

    Why are you subjecting God to something he is above? Why does God need rights if he is above the whole concept of rights?
    How did I do so? Since God is the creator of all things, including life, the world, the universe, all beings are contingent upon Him. He has both the right to create and the right to destroy. He has the ability to control life after its physical, temporal state. We do not.

    ---------- Post added at 09:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:57 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    My position on the act "slaughtering an innocent human as an indicator of loyalty to an entity" is one of the former, and it IS immoral; it is so powerfully true that it would be obscene to even consider that it might be false given circumstance "X". I reject the notion that ANYONE can take an innocent life or require one for such a reason.
    I understand, but how is it applicable? Abraham wasn't sacrificing his son in the way that you are creating an absolute moral from.

    There are 2 statements for evaluation:

    1) Sacrificing an innocent life, end of event.

    2) Sacrificing an innocent life, having said life immediately returned, end of event.
    These are not identical statements for evaluation. They are not identical acts.

    For example:

    1) Lying to get out of trouble, end of event.

    2) Lying to get out of trouble, but saving the lives of 5 innocent people by doing so, end of event.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  16. #15
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,614
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I understand, but how is it applicable? Abraham wasn't sacrificing his son in the way that you are creating an absolute moral from.

    There are 2 statements for evaluation:

    1) Sacrificing an innocent life, end of event.

    2) Sacrificing an innocent life, having said life immediately returned, end of event.
    These are not identical statements for evaluation. They are not identical acts.

    For example:

    1) Lying to get out of trouble, end of event.

    2) Lying to get out of trouble, but saving the lives of 5 innocent people by doing so, end of event.
    Well, again, this is where we part ways concerning morality. I would submit that in order for something to be considered moral, or to be considered as a moral argument, it would have to be something that can be experienced. For example, the act of human sacrifice is an event that can be experienced, but as far as we can tell, that experience would culminate in the human's death. We know nothing beyond that, and nothing beyond that can be considered in any objective way.

    So all that can be rightly considered when determining its moral value are the things that can be experienced. Things that cannot be experienced are beyond human discourse, and thus cannot be rightly considered when determining the moral value of the act.

    So if we add to the act of human sacrifice the element of 'having said life immediately returned', this is an event that defies all our expectations concerning the taking of life, and we cannot rightly factor it in when determining the moral value of the act of taking an innocent life. Or, if you're inclined to invoke incidents where people who were clinically dead coming back, I'll include the further, supposedly relevant element, of 'by god' to 'having said life immediately returned'. So now it's 'taking an innocent life and having said life immediately returned by God'.

    God is something that is beyond our experience and thus beyond our discourse. Because he is beyond our experience, we cannot rightly factor him in when determining the moral value of the act of taking an innocent life and having it immediately returned.

  17. #16
    Registered User

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Manteca, CA
    Posts
    1,443
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    I've made myself as clear as I am able. I spoke to your objections directly and in a clear and unambiguous way. You claim I've missed the point. I have clarified exactly what my position is relative to your own. What more do you want?
    I want you to see that it is obvious that Apok wasn't arguing for absolute morality, evinced by the fact that he said that a double standard was in place, and rightfully so. He himself said in his opening post that morality was dependent upon context (and that means not absolute), so your assertion that he is arguing for the logicality of absolutely morality is completely baseless. Now, if you were arguing against something else, please make yourself clear.

    Here is a prime example of this in the OP:

    Killing, or taking a life, isn't necessarily immoral. We can't place a moral value on the act until we know what the context, or type of killing we are evaluating.

    Taking a human life without proper justification is murder and is wrong. But if the circumstance changes and there is appropriate justification, then arguably this is a morally relevant factor that changes the moral nature of the act of taking a life. Taking a life in self-defense for example, is morally justifiable. When the circumstance changes in a morally relevant way, the application of the moral rule changes.
    Obviously, Apok is not arguing for absolute morality, because he said here that killing isn't necessarily immoral, even though it is immoral to take a life without proper justification.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

  18. #17
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, again, this is where we part ways concerning morality. I would submit that in order for something to be considered moral, or to be considered as a moral argument, it would have to be something that can be experienced. For example, the act of human sacrifice is an event that can be experienced, but as far as we can tell, that experience would culminate in the human's death. We know nothing beyond that, and nothing beyond that can be considered in any objective way.

    So all that can be rightly considered when determining its moral value are the things that can be experienced. Things that cannot be experienced are beyond human discourse, and thus cannot be rightly considered when determining the moral value of the act.

    So if we add to the act of human sacrifice the element of 'having said life immediately returned', this is an event that defies all our expectations concerning the taking of life, and we cannot rightly factor it in when determining the moral value of the act of taking an innocent life. Or, if you're inclined to invoke incidents where people who were clinically dead coming back, I'll include the further, supposedly relevant element, of 'by god' to 'having said life immediately returned'. So now it's 'taking an innocent life and having said life immediately returned by God'.

    God is something that is beyond our experience and thus beyond our discourse. Because he is beyond our experience, we cannot rightly factor him in when determining the moral value of the act of taking an innocent life and having it immediately returned.
    It seems to me, that you mean to say here: Any discussion about God cannot legitimately be discussed because we cannot experience or know anything about God.

    Is that correct? If not, why just limit it to morality?
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  19. #18
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,614
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    It seems to me, that you mean to say here: Any discussion about God cannot legitimately be discussed because we cannot experience or know anything about God.
    Not to that extent. Again, I'm only speaking to what we can experience about morality here. If we're going to say "X" is right or wrong, we can only rightly speak to what we actually know about it; what we are capable of experiencing. If we can't experience something (such as God mending a slaughtered body and the person springing back to life), then we can't rightly say that these are relevant factors in determining the moral status of the act of "slaughtering an innocent", because we simply don't know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Is that correct? If not, why just limit it to morality?
    Hey, I'm on your side with this one.

  20. #19
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Asia
    Posts
    1,952
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You have limited ownership to your dog. And you are bound by man made laws governing such ownership. God is not. And God taking life, is controlling the transfer of being from one state of existence to another. You, taking life, is not.
    I am going to concede the dog example on the basis that it cannot be properly analogized to the point I was trying to make, namely that creation does not necessarily equal ownership.

    Right. You went through the necessary motions to create your son's life...but it was God who ultimately allowed it, or created it. Your son cannot be owned by you. Such is not the case for one who has completely authority and ownership of it.
    First, what exactly do you mean by “allowed it”? What does “allow” mean in this context and how does it make someone the creator?
    Second, to go “through the necessary motions to create” is creating. “To create” is . . .

    to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/create

    The fact that I took part in an act – i.e., went through the necessary motions - which caused my son to come into being, an act which my son would not be here without, is proof that I, at the very least, had a part in creating him.

    Your son cannot be owned by you. Such is not the case for one who has completely authority and ownership of it.

    God owning anything that exists...is like you owning a bicycle. It's your bike, you can disassemble it, ride it, put it away the in garage, paint it, etc... Others, cannot. It isn't theirs to do with as they please, it is yours.

    Life is not something any human being can own. You don't own your dog's life nor your son's life.
    If creation is creating something means that I own it, I do indeed own my son’s life. If creation does not equal ownership, then your argument that God owns humanity is baseless.

    Let's be as accurate as we can here. Life is not destroyed in the sense that you or I regularly think. Death is not the end, it is a blink of the eye. It is a doorway to one's true life...to one's eternal life.
    Okay, let’s go with that.

    No. They go through the necessary motions, procreate...but they do not own their child's life that God grants to the child. It is God who is responsible for life, not the parents.
    And I disagree that “going through the motions” does not constitute “creating”. Please see my earlier rebuttal.

    We don't own anyone's life at all.
    If creation leads to ownership, then I disagree with you.

    How so?
    You are saying that God is the creator of humanity and therefore the owner of it, correct? I will get to the rest of your argument after you answer this, as my responses are contingent upon your answer to this question.

  21. #20
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The Moral Authority of God

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    First, what exactly do you mean by “allowed it”? What does “allow” mean in this context and how does it make someone the creator?
    Second, to go “through the necessary motions to create” is creating. “To create” is . . .

    to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/create

    The fact that I took part in an act – i.e., went through the necessary motions - which caused my son to come into being, an act which my son would not be here without, is proof that I, at the very least, had a part in creating him.
    A part granted to you by God. Millions of people go through the motions, did their "part"...but no life was given. Millions of people suffer from the inability of creating a child.

    All life, is granted by God. God merely says of a healthy couple : "If you want a child, do X, Y, Z."

    God is the ultimate creator of life, man is not.

    If creation is creating something means that I own it, I do indeed own my son’s life. If creation does not equal ownership, then your argument that God owns humanity is baseless.
    God created life, you did not.

    And I disagree that “going through the motions” does not constitute “creating”. Please see my earlier rebuttal.
    Addressed.

    If creation leads to ownership, then I disagree with you.
    Furthermore, it may be likened to subject and his/her King. All things belong to the King. Just because one makes bread using the tools available, doesn't mean that the tools and the bread belong to the bread maker. Since God created every particle, every life...100% is His to do as He sees fit (within His moral nature).

    You are saying that God is the creator of humanity and therefore the owner of it, correct? I will get to the rest of your argument after you answer this, as my responses are contingent upon your answer to this question.
    All things are the property of God by virtue of God being the creator of all things.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




 

 
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •