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  1. #121
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Let's compare God to a person. If a person does not want to rape anyone then he will never choose to rape anyone. WHY the person is kind of person who will never rape anyone isn't really relevant to the fact that he's the kind of person who won't do that nor does it create a paradox if the person changes his mind about rape. And it's the same for God. God just happens to be a being that, for whatever reason, has no desire to rape anyone and likewise thinks people should not rape each other. And there's nothing that says that God is incapable of changing his mind on the issue so it's not necessarily true that God will not rape due to an unchanging nature.
    Right, but what reasons do we have to think that God simply isn't the sort of being that holds rape to be immoral? And if rape itself isn't intrinsically immoral and depends on God saying it is, then what's to prevent it from becoming moral at any time, for any particular reason?

    I really don't want to pursue this much more here because I feel like I touched on all your objections in this post.

  2. #122
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Right, but what reasons do we have to think that God simply isn't the sort of being that holds rape to be immoral? And if rape itself isn't intrinsically immoral and depends on God saying it is, then what's to prevent it from becoming moral at any time, for any particular reason?
    But one can say that rape is intrinsically immoral because God holds that it is. And just because God has the ability to change his mind does not mean that he will so if one holds that God won't change his mind, then rape will always be intrinsically immoral.

    Again, I'm not saying that any of these beliefs are correct (so I have no need to support that God really does hold that rape is immoral since I'm not even conceding that God even exists) but you are suggesting that there is some kind of internal inconsistency or some other logical problem with the notion that rape is intrinsically immoral and I don't think there is.

  3. #123
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Again, I'm not saying that any of these beliefs are correct (so I have no need to support that God really does hold that rape is immoral since I'm not even conceding that God even exists) but you are suggesting that there is some kind of internal inconsistency or some other logical problem with the notion that rape is intrinsically immoral and I don't think there is.
    That's fine. I think we can agree amicably here, as I feel you've stated your objection plainly, and I disagree that it satisfies the problems I've pointed out in other posts. Likewise you disagree that what I've said illustrates an inconsistency. I'm fine with that.

  4. #124
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    I won't line quote you here as you are answering the questions I ask pretty well.
    So far I am trying to draw out and understand your point, not making my own argument through questions.
    So I'll offer a suggestion for your argument regarding the example, then ask my question.


    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    So, certainly God CAN make a thing so that it has certain, defining features that make "it" whatever "it" is. But there's no reason to think that God cannot or will not change them. Has God ever changed a cat into a rock, for example? Not that I know of, but he DID change a woman into a pillar of salt. So she was only naturally a woman until God changed her. Therefore the characteristics that made her a woman were NOT immutable aspects of her being. They werenít things that made her who she was because, ultimately, GOD made her who/what she was.
    I'm not certain the example serves your point. I guess because I think God just killed her that way. He didn't transform her soul (who she was) into salt, only her body (the vessel she occupied).
    Water into wine miracle is probably better for an "essence" thing.
    While in the moral sense may be an example like marrying a sister or close relative is an example for moral essence changing.? As that was something that was morally neutral and became sinful.

    --------
    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    This is why we MUST factor in the nature of actions themselves when considering whether or not an act is morally right or wrong; this is why it is not enough to say that God has made it so, and that God dictates what is or isnít moral. This is why itís unreasonable to say that a person cannot be critical of Christian morals unless they utilize a Christian moral framework.

    What about things God never changes? Wouldn't that in effect negate the argument? Such that the power of your argument appears to be dependent on God changing his mind on some intrinsic value of an act or object.
    So suppose God never changed his mind on such a thing, what effect would that have?
    -personal thought- this appears to be headed the route of "what if God were Evil", but I'm not certain of the usefulness of the argument you're making.


    Question- Again supposing that God never changed his mind in accordance to what your argument supposes. Would the truth of your argument be an unknowable value?

    Likewise, if a things moral status could change but never did, Vs never could change. How would/could we know the difference?



    I have a further confusion.
    If God can set intrinsic values, and he can change them. Where does that leave our ability to say that something he defines is not intrinsic?
    It seems to me that if we grant that God can change every aspect of a thing, then there is, in reality, no such thing as "intrinsic"(except for God himself) because it is all defined by God and not itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    From a moral perspective, that specific action seems to me to be intrinsically evil
    -Personal note, not an argument against your position-

    Assuming your argument is valid. Once you accept that God can set those values, you concede God as a valid source. This means that your argument isn't a valid objection to God as a source of intinsic moral values.

    On atheism, I see no source for such an intrinsic value. Further, if we deny God can set those values, I see no reason that they would exist at all or could even possibly exist as an "intrinsic" value.
    After all, if God can't do it.. then what or who can?


    Final question
    Is this just an example of "if God were different then things would be different"?
    Because I don't object to that observation. I don't see it as particlularly useful.
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

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  6. #125
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Final question
    Is this just an example of "if God were different then things would be different"?
    Because I don't object to that observation. I don't see it as particlularly useful.
    Thanks for your observations.

    So the problem isn't IF God could/would change his mind about a thing. The problem is THAT he COULD change it.

    When we talk about "objective" moral values, it is generally understood in moral philosophy that the moral value is objective precisely because it is NOT vulnerable to a change of its moral status, for reasons associated with an individual. If a moral value is subject to the mandate of an individual, then the value is subjective rather than objective. For example, when we say that raping children is objectively wrong, we mean that it is wrong at all times, and in all circumstances. But, if raping children is contingent on God's saying that it is wrong, then that is a circumstance that could change the moral status of the action. And if God's command could change it from "immoral" to "moral" simply because he said so, then it's not objectively true that raping children is morally wrong. It is only subjectively true relative to God's position on the matter.

    Remember, it doesn't matter if God WOULD change his mind; it matters that he COULD change his mind.
    Last edited by Dionysus; December 21st, 2016 at 06:15 PM. Reason: Repaired a hyperlink

  7. #126
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    When we talk about "objective" moral values, it is generally understood in moral philosophy that the moral value is objective precisely because it is NOT vulnerable to a change of its moral status, for reasons associated with an individual. If a moral value is subject to the mandate of an individual, then the value is subjective rather than objective. For example, when we say that raping children is objectively wrong, we mean that it is wrong at all times, and in all circumstances. But, if raping children is contingent on God's saying that it is wrong, then that is a circumstance that could change the moral status of the action. And if God's command could change it from "immoral" to "moral" simply because he said so, then it's not objectively true that raping children is morally wrong. It is only subjectively true relative to God's position on the matter.
    I hope you don't me stepping in but this is precisely the point I was addressing.

    It depends on how you define "objective". If one defines objection morality as whatever God says is moral, then whatever God says is objectively moral - PERIOD. If God changes what he says is moral then what is objectively moral changes with it.

    And if you define objective morality as something that can't even be changed even by God, then God's morality is not objectively moral (assuming God has the ability to change his mind on what's moral). But this particular definition is one that you are choosing to use and but others are not obliged to use that definition over the prior one.

    So as far as I can tell, this really just boils down to a semantic argument over how to define "objective morality".

    Define it one way, you have a point. Define it the other way, your point is invalid.


    And on a side note, it could be argued that God's morality cannot be changed within this universe. What I mean is that if God changed his morality, it would result in an entirely different universe and therefore it would not happen in this universe. Another way to put it is that God's laws define this universe and different laws mean a different universe. So from our perspective, as denizens of this universe, God cannot change moral law. This is more food for thought than an argument, btw.

  8. #127
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I hope you don't me stepping in but this is precisely the point I was addressing.

    It depends on how you define "objective". If one defines objection morality as whatever God says is moral, then whatever God says is objectively moral - PERIOD. If God changes what he says is moral then what is objectively moral changes with it.
    If an intrinsically moral value can change subjectively based on an individual's change in interpretation, in what sense the moral value objective?

  9. #128
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    If an intrinsically moral value can change subjectively based on an individual's change in interpretation, in what sense the moral value objective?
    In the sense that that one particular individual's (God's) moral viewpoint is the very basis of what is and is not intrinsically moral.

  10. #129
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    In the sense that that one particular individual's (God's) moral viewpoint is the very basis of what is and is not intrinsically moral.
    But if the basis is subject to change (i.e. subjective), in what sense is that basis objective?

  11. #130
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    But if the basis is subject to change (i.e. subjective), in what sense is that basis objective?
    In the sense that whatever God says is objectively moral is objectively moral.

    Really, our disagreement is over semantics - how "objectively morality is defined". t

    Do we define "objective morality" as:

    1."Whatever God says is moral"

    or as:

    2. "Morality that cannot be altered, even by God".

    I choose definition 1 and you choose definition 2. But when I make my argument, I am using definition 1 so my argument, as I present it, does not have the problem you are referring to for I am not using the same definition you are nor do I have any obligation to do so.


    And I believe I can show that even if I use your definition, I believe I can show that objective morality within this universe cannot change and yet God is capable of changing morality at the same time. This is not my primary argument (that's the one above) but I think this is interesting so I'm forwarding it anyway. God can do anything except make a paradox (such as a square circle or something existing and not existing at the same time). So from our perspective, the universe currently exists and God cannot make the universe not exist at the same time that we are observing that it does exist for that would be a paradox. So the fact that we observe the universe means that whatever morals laws exist at this time are objective moral laws if God cannot change those laws. So what happens if God does change those laws? Assuming our universe's existence as we know it is based on these laws then changing the laws means that a different universe with different laws exists instead of the one that we are currently experiencing. So as long as this universe exists, it has the laws that it has and those laws cannot change without causing the universe to not exist or to cause a paradox (which cannot happen). So within this universe God's laws cannot change even though God is capable of changing his laws.

  12. #131
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    In the sense that whatever God says is objectively moral is objectively moral.

    Really, our disagreement is over semantics - how "objectively morality is defined".
    Well, not quite. Our disagreement is more about what it actually means for something to be objective. If the truth value of a thing is subject to what any sentient being says about it, then it is a subjective truth. If the truth value of a thing stands unchanged irrespective of what any sentient being says about it, then it is an objective truth.

  13. #132
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, not quite. Our disagreement is more about what it actually means for something to be objective. If the truth value of a thing is subject to what any sentient being says about it, then it is a subjective truth. If the truth value of a thing stands unchanged irrespective of what any sentient being says about it, then it is an objective truth.
    Or one can say "If the truth value of a thing is subject to what a sentient being who has no power to determine what is and is not true, then it is a subjective truth. If the truth value of a thing corresponds to what the creator and ruler of the universe determines it to be, then it is an objective truth."

    Again, we are just offering two competing semantic arguments.

  14. #133
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Or one can say "If the truth value of a thing is subject to what a sentient being who has no power to determine what is and is not true, then it is a subjective truth. If the truth value of a thing corresponds to what the creator and ruler of the universe determines it to be, then it is an objective truth."

    Again, we are just offering two competing semantic arguments.
    But that's simply not correct. In moral philosophy, and in Christian theology, the meaning and utilization of these words are important. I suspect these subjects aren't something you spend a lot of time reading about, so let me give another example that I hope better illustrates what we're talking about, here.

    Let's suppose God has said "Raping children is morally wrong". Let us also suppose that this statement is objectively true. Now let's suppose that God orders someone to rape a child, and the person does so. At the same time, suppose that someone else has raped another child, but God did not order that person to do so.

    In the above scenario, something simply has to give.

    God issued the command, and God can only do good things (including issuing commands), so it follows that the man raping the child as commanded is objectively good (in fact, if we go further into Christian philosophy, we can further assume the the child being raped as commanded is the best of all possible scenarios).

    But the other person who was not commanded by God to rape the other child did a thing that is objectively wrong.

    So while the two rapes were happening, what was the truth value of the statement "Raping children is morally wrong"? It certainly wasn't always true, since one of the rapes was ordered by God. It certainly wasn't true for all people, since one of the rapists was commanded by God to do so. In that moment, the statement "Raping children is morally wrong" was entirely subjective; it wasn't objective in any sense (except in the sense you're suggesting where God can declare anything and it simply becomes so, irrespective of the problems it may present).

    This is a logical paradox, in exactly the same sense as saying God can make square circles or rocks so heavy that he can't lift them. This is why our disagreement is quite a bit more than mere quibbling over casual usage of simple terms. It cannot be the case that God simply has the ability to change the rules of morality however he wants, whenever he wants, because that leads to either 1) logical paradoxes or 2) an entirely subjective moral framework. But on the other hand, if he cannot manipulate the rules freely, then it brings the limits of his omniscience into question. In any case, it presents serious problems for Divine Command Theory.

  15. #134
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    But that's simply not correct. In moral philosophy, and in Christian theology, the meaning and utilization of these words are important.
    And as far as I can tell, in Christian theology God is the source of all truth and morality and therefore if God did change his mind on something, that new something would be the absolute truth. That is why I'm using the definition that I'm using and it is the one that one should use when addressing my argument. Obviously if you change the definition of a very important term in my argument, you are no longer addressing my argument.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Let's suppose God has said "Raping children is morally wrong". Let us also suppose that this statement is objectively true.
    Okay. So to be clear, God is saying that rape is ALWAYS morally wrong and any person who does that is committing an immoral action.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Now let's suppose that God orders someone to rape a child, and the person does so. At the same time, suppose that someone else has raped another child, but God did not order that person to do so.
    God issued the command, and God can only do good things (including issuing commands), so it follows that the man raping the child as commanded is objectively good (in fact, if we go further into Christian philosophy, we can further assume the the child being raped as commanded is the best of all possible scenarios).

    But the other person who was not commanded by God to rape the other child did a thing that is objectively wrong.
    But then this can be covered with a single law. The law is "it's wrong for people to rape unless I command them to do so". Going by that law, one rape is immoral and the other isn't. So there is no paradox.

    And this perfectly aligns with the definition that I'm forwarding, whatever God says is (or is not) moral is (or is not) moral.

    Let's stick with that definition.

  16. #135
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But then this can be covered with a single law.
    But then the statement "Raping a child is morally wrong" isn't objectively true; it doesn't apply to all people at all times.

  17. #136
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    But then the statement "Raping a child is morally wrong" isn't objectively true; it doesn't apply to all people at all times.

    But the statement "it's wrong for people to rape unless I command them to do so" does apply to all people. That would be God's moral law under your scenario.

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  19. #137
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But the statement "it's wrong for people to rape unless I command them to do so" does apply to all people. That would be God's moral law under your scenario.
    You know what? I need to apologize.

    I got hung up on the paradox, that I lost sight of the fact that I agree with the effects of divine powers of moral arbitration.

    I'm on my phone at the moment so its difficult to reply further, but suffice to say that I agree with your assessment, and I withdraw the claim of the paradox.

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  21. #138
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by dio
    So the problem isn't IF God could/would change his mind about a thing. The problem is THAT he COULD change it.
    I don't think it is a given that he "could" change it. Because in at least some cases such a change would require a change in is own nature.
    A person who never lies is not a liar. If it is the persons nature to never lie, then supposing worlds where the person is a liar, or pointing to an idea of they "could" lie
    isn't very useful, and in fact would contradict the nature of not being able to lie or not being a liar.

    ---
    That said, there are at least some instances of morality that are based on God commanding it or not. Such as killing. If he commands it it's moral, but if He doesn't then it is "Murder" and is immoral. But that may be traced back to a part of God's unchanging nature of working withing prescribed powers and authority being good. (or some such.. just giving an example).

    ---
    So, I'm not certain that it is a safe conclusion to say that morals that are rooted in God's nature or His word which is derived from His nature, are anything other than "objective truths".

    On top of that there is an idea of objective for you and me, and subjective for God. Because as we were discussing God's objectiveness would effect all of reality.

    --On Objective truths ---
    Generally this is about things outside of the mind. Specifically our minds. Gravity is objective truth no matter what we think about it.
    However Gravity COULD be different, and if it changed it would be the new Objective truth. At least to us.
    To God, or the source of Gravity it would probably be inherently subjective.

    I'm not certain that (if true) is cause for concern for the Christian perspective.


    Anyway, thanks Dio Those are just some thoughts. Probably needs it's own thread as I feel I'm missing something.
    Good points Mican... sorry I can't give you both more rep.. I'm all out and it's the holidays. :(
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

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  23. #139
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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Alright, back at my computer. Now I can marshal a more appropriate response.

    To Mican's points (that I lost track of, having switched to "debate" mode), YES, if God decided that raping a child is a moral good, then it would in fact be good as a matter of objective truth. This is something I already said here: "Moreover, given that everything he does is good, if he DID change his mind about it and made it so that child rape is morally good, the action of him changing his mind about child rape being evil would also be a good action." and "So a person can accept that God cannot sin, but they cannot accept that God could not rape since, if he did rape, we can only conclude that rape must be morally good since 1) God did it and 2) God cannot do anything other than good." (So Mican and I were on the same page, but I lost track of that in the minutiae).

    HERE is the problem. (I have to repeat myself a bit here; apologies for that)

    When people talk about God's nature being ďgoodĒ, and how God shapes their perception of morality, they tend to do so in a very loosey-goosey kind of way, assuming that God simply approves of certain things / disapproves of other things, and they do so without much regard for what it really means for a thing to BE good or evil.

    For example: Consider the action of raping a child

    From a moral perspective, that specific action seems to me to be intrinsically evil. 1) It harms an innocent person 2) It does not help them, therefore 3) It causes needless suffering.

    These are objective reasons for holding that such an act is intrinsically evil. It is a morally wrong act because of what the act itself is. These are reasons that make NO reference to the opinion of a divine being, reasons that we would be irrational to disregard, that give the action the property of "morally wrong". This is an OBJECTIVE moral standard; such an act is morally wrong at all times and under all circumstances, for the reasons described above.

    This is where it gets problematic for Divine Command Theory.

    If the moral value of such an act depends on God commanding what is and isnít moral (as Divine Command Theory dictates), then raping a child isnít intrinsically evil. Itís only evil so long as God says itís evil.

    Consider that, if a person rapes a child, God didnít CREATE that act. The rapist did. But what God CAN do is say ďSuch acts are evil at all times and under all circumstancesĒ. That might make it so that raping child is intrinsically evil in some sense. But note that itís not intrinsically evil because 1) It harms the child 2) It does not help the child and therefore, 3) Causes needless suffering. Itís only evil because God SAID so; it makes NO reference to any external reasons whatsoever.

    In other words, Divine Command Theory doesn't appear to create any sort of objective standard at all, beyond God's power of fiat. NONE of the objective reasons described are components that make acts like child rape evil. It is ONLY God's declaration that makes it so. Therefore, if there are no objective reasons beyond God powers of fiat that define an action as morally evil, there are likewise no objective reasons beyond God's power of fiat that make anything morally good. Thus, under Divine Command Theory, the Christian has NO OBJECTIVE BASIS basis on which to analyze any action and say that something like rape is any different from something like charitable giving, in any objective, moral sense.

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    Re: Christianity is a conspiracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    This is where it gets problematic for Divine Command Theory.

    If the moral value of such an act depends on God commanding what is and isn’t moral (as Divine Command Theory dictates), then raping a child isn’t intrinsically evil. It’s only evil so long as God says it’s evil.
    By the Divine Command theory, it IS intrinsically evil and God is the being who has determined that it is. As a matter of fact, using objective morality is the only way to hold that something is intrinsically evil.

    If we do away with objective morality, then any two people can debate whether something is evil or not and since neither is objectively correct so that something is not intrinsically evil. If Joe says murder is evil and Frank says it's not evil, then it's just two guys disagreeing and there is no objective way to solve their disagreement - we can only weigh in with our own opinions. But if God says it is evil then Joe is correct and Frank is wrong much in the same way that one would be right and the other would be wrong if they were debating whether the Earth is round or flat.

    BTW, let's use murder instead of child rape for our example. I now child rape has a more visceral feeling of wrongness to it but I don't care to use such a thing as an example when something not as icky will suit our purposes just as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Consider that, if a person rapes a child, God didn’t CREATE that act. The rapist did. But what God CAN do is say “Such acts are evil at all times and under all circumstances”. That might make it so that raping child is intrinsically evil in some sense. But note that it’s not intrinsically evil because 1) It harms the child 2) It does not help the child and therefore, 3) Causes needless suffering. It’s only evil because God SAID so; it makes NO reference to any external reasons whatsoever.
    Only in your specific scenario of God saying "child rape is wrong" and not saying anything else in the way of moral edicts. Every other point that you forward (1. child harm, 2. Doesn't help the child, 3. Needless suffering) are all just as capable of being something that God says is intrinsically evil.

    There is nothing in the moral equations that you and I use to attain our moral positions that God can't say is objectively true.

    You, I, and God can all say the exact same things and it can be forwarded that it's what we think. The only relevant difference is that God's moral positions are objectively correct while yours and mine are not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    In other words, Divine Command Theory doesn't appear to create any sort of objective standard at all, beyond God's power of fiat.
    I don't see how that is a problem. Basically objective morality needs an external power fiat in order to exist. To complain about that is to complain that objective morality is objective.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    NONE of the objective reasons described are components that make acts like child rape evil. It is ONLY God's declaration that makes it so. Therefore, if there are no objective reasons beyond God powers of fiat that define an action as morally evil, there are likewise no objective reasons beyond God's power of fiat that make anything morally good.
    Okay. So what? If it's a fact that God says that X is immoral then it's a fact that X is immoral. So what's the problem if that is the case? We don't have any reason beyond that to think that X is immoral but again, so what? Is there a problem that we know for a fact that X is immoral, we know why X is objectively immoral, and we have no other source than God to know this because no other source exists?

    Why should someone be bothered with this if it's true?

    I agree if the Divine Command Theory is not true, that is a flaw (duh) but your argument isn't focusing on that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Thus, under Divine Command Theory, the Christian has NO OBJECTIVE BASIS basis on which to analyze any action and say that something like rape is any different from something like charitable giving, in any objective, moral sense.
    Of course we do. The objective moral basis is because God says that it immoral.


    I think when you try to point out problems with the Divine Command Theory, you need to assume, for the sake of argument, that it is true. If it's false, then there's no need to analyze its other flaws for being wrong pretty much renders them irrelevant. So you should argue as if its true when you try to forward inherent flaws in the Divine Command Theory. And if it's true, I don't really see any flaws.

 

 
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