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Christianity, philosophy

Free Will and Christian Theology

I’ve written before that I don’t believe in free will.  The article itself needs some cleaning up and clarification, which I’m sure I’ll get to when I have another eight hours a day to work on writing.  I’m revisiting the idea today because memes seem to come in cycles, and I’m seeing a lot of dickering about free will lately.

The essence of my argument against freewill is twofold.  The first element is the incoherence of the concept itself.  Second, I believe what people think they are talking about when they say free will conflates hypothetical and actual possibility.  I’ll briefly explain both arguments.

Defining “Free Will” is much more difficult than most people imagine.  We speak of choice as if we know exactly what it is, but without getting into the nuts and bolts of brain mechanics, it’s really hard to explain.  Superficially, a choice is the selection of one out of multiple options.  The thing is, every animal capable of locomotion makes such choices.  If you put an ant on a completely flat surface, it inevitably will do one of three things.  It will move in one direction, it will stand still, or it will die.  If it moves, it will move in one of many possible directions.  If it stands still, it will be doing that instead of moving.  Only if it dies will it cease to make choices.

Free Will implies something more than that, however.  We humans suppose that our choices are qualitatively different than an ant’s because we think about our choices.  However, this clarification doesn’t get us out of our quagmire.  Ants have rudimentary brains, and their brains process information.  The result of this process is the ant’s movement.  That’s what humans do, too, right?

Of course, human choices are qualitatively different than ant choices.  The difference is twofold — abstraction and second order thought.  That is, we can think of concepts, and we can think about thinking about concepts.  To be fair, I should note that it is now known that humans are not the only animals capable of abstraction.  However, our ability to think about thinking appears unique.

When I decide whether to have fish or chicken for lunch, I am exercising a number of mental faculties available only to humans.  I might, in my decision making process, even think about the process I’m using to reach a decision!  I could, in mid-decision, decide to change the method I’m using for decision making.  This kind of mental maneuvering is what most people think of when they imagine free will.

Still, this working definition of free will leaves out the “free” part.  In fact, what’s missing is crucial to Christian theology.  There is an assumption that any human can make any decision at any time.   But even here, we have a problem.  Are we talking about hypothetical possibility or physical possibility?  If we are speaking philosophically, we can legitimately say that a human is capable of deciding anything conceivable.  However, if we speak of actual possibility, it’s a different story.

My Go-To example of this is simple.  If we really are capable of making any decision at any time, then it ought to be a simple matter for you, gentle reader, to decide right now that you have no hands.   Of course, you cannot do so.  It is impossible for you to decide something that gives every appearance of being completely false.

To use a much scarier example, it is similarly impossible for us to decide to take actions we believe to be the wrong choice.  If free will really does exist, it should be a simple matter for you, gentle reader, to decide to never again wear clothes of any kind.  Or, perhaps you should decide to buy a gun and shoot everyone you love in the head.  Right now.  For no reason other than proving free will.

Luckily for us, such free will does not exist.  We are bound by our existing beliefs.  And this is where Christian theology falls flat on its face.

Beginning with the story of original sin, we are left with nonsensical premises.  Adam and Eve “sinned” by choosing to eat of the forbidden fruit.  God chose to punish all of mankind for choosing to defy him, and then God chose to offer man salvation if only he would choose to believe that Jesus lived, and was God Incarnate, and was crucified, buried, and resurrected after three days.

All of this sounds nice, but if it is true that we are limited in our available choices, then the reality is that some people simply cannot choose to believe in Jesus.

As an aside, I suppose one could make the argument that some beliefs can be adopted freely by any human, while others can’t.  The problem is that there is simply no evidence to support this position.  There’s no scientific theory of which I’m aware that suggests that a certain class of claim has the property of excluding itself from the normal decision making process.  Indeed, if such a class of claims exist, the proof of its existence would literally cause us to have to completely rethink everything we know of psychology, logic, and philosophy.   (And just to throw a monkey wrench into the works, if the proof of such a class was a member of the class in question, how would we ever prove such a thing without having the proof before proving it?!?)

In any case, for any Christians who might be reading this, I can prove to you that neither of us is capable of choosing to believe as the other believes.  If it is true that anyone can choose to believe in Jesus, it must also be true that anyone can choose not to believe in Jesus.  Also, since choice is free, and we can literally choose any belief we’d like, you can do a really fun experiment that will not affect your eternal salvation.  Here’s what you do.

1.  Find a nice, safe place where the likelihood of life-ending disaster is virtually zero.

2. Choose not to believe in Jesus for five minutes.

3. After five minutes, choose to believe in Jesus again.

Simple, right?

Except that you can’t do it.  You can choose to pretend like you don’t believe in Jesus.  You can play mental games where you imagine what your beliefs would be like if you didn’t believe in Jesus.  You can even decide that you’d really like to try not believing in Jesus for five minutes.

But you can’t decide not to believe.  You either believe or you don’t.

The same is true of us atheists.  No matter how much I might want to believe in Jesus, I cannot.  Imagine if the Templeton Foundation offered me ten million dollars to genuinely believe in Jesus right now.  Trust me — I’m no dummy.  I would really, really want to believe in Jesus so that I could get ten million dollars.  But I couldn’t cash in, no matter how much I wanted to.  The same is true for you.  If the James Randi Foundation offered you a million dollars to believe that you have no hands, you couldn’t do it.

So what’s left of Christianity?

Some theologians have recognized this dilemma, and rewritten Christianity so that there are two groups — the chosen and the damned.  Ironically, this version of Christianity is plausible, at least insofar as free will goes.   The problem is that such a doctrine doesn’t have the scare power to control the minds of followers.  If I cannot control my own destiny, and am either saved or damned from birth, then I have no particular motivation to do or not do anything at all.

It’s also pretty difficult to reconcile a loving God with a character who would knowingly institute such a system.  What would make such a deity worthy of admiration or worship?  Nothing I can think of.  If man is not free to choose his own eternal destiny, then we have no choice but to place complete responsibility on God for the suffering of millions of humans for all of eternity.

So, on the one hand, we have a God who set up a whole religion around “free will” but forgot to give people genuinely free will.  On the other hand, we have an immensely evil son of a bitch who arbitrarily creates and then eternally torments humans.   Either God is an imbecile or the most evil creature imaginable.

While it’s true that there are a lot of Christian denominations, and each of them has their own take on salvation, this leaves the religion as a whole without much justification for its existence.  Belief in Jesus is not a free choice, so… um…  I guess we should all try to be good to each other, and try to live good lives, and … um…

Doesn’t it seem simpler to just admit that the whole story is kind of goofy, and was made up by Bronze Age men who didn’t understand enough science or philosophy to recognize the absurdity of it all?  Let’s not be glib about this.  Christians are the ones who insist that their entire religion is about salvation and grace, right?  They say, “This is what makes Christianity different from other religions.”   Well, if that’s the case, then a simple thought experiment has just rendered the core essence of Christianity nonsensical.  It doesn’t prove that there’s no god, or that there isn’t a correct religion, but it does prove that if you happen to believe in a religion based upon free will…  YOU ARE WRONG.

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Discussion

51 thoughts on “Free Will and Christian Theology

  1. Hi,
    nice post, you make some good points, many of which ive thought about myself recently.
    Your thoughts on God as either “imbecile or evil” don’t make much sense to me however, even though I agree with the free will part. The question you might ask yourself is; where do I get my perceptions of evil and good? If God made man and chose some of them for damnation and some for salvation maybe that is whats good, maybe we don’t know the full story. Just like free will, Evil and Good need to be defined.
    If God exists, saying that he is evil is illogical since the creator is the one who made the rules, not the creation.
    Humans can only understand the rules within their system, they cant possibly understand a God outside those rules and cant judge him as good or bad unless he has given them the same knowledge he has.
    I believe in a God but I disagree with the theology today, not sure where that leaves me.
    anyway, good post, good to think about. cheers

    Posted by Len | December 14, 2009, 6:46 pm
  2. Your thoughts on God as either “imbecile or evil” don’t make much sense to me however, even though I agree with the free will part. The question you might ask yourself is; where do I get my perceptions of evil and good? If God made man and chose some of them for damnation and some for salvation maybe that is whats good, maybe we don’t know the full story. Just like free will, Evil and Good need to be defined.

    Well, you’ve got a lot of problems here. You’re confusing a lot of different ideas. To begin with, you have to address the nature of good and evil as it applies to attainable knowledge. Regardless of what caused morality to exist — whether it was an intelligent deity or blind evolution — it is either knowable or unknowable. That is, we can either use reason to work out moral problems, or we can’t.

    It’s obvious, or should be, that we reason about morality all the time. We don’t look at a checklist of do’s and dont’s. We have very complicated ideas of what’s right and wrong, and they change based on the situation. In other words, morality is knowable.

    Having observed that morality is knowable, we can make the observation that regardless of the cause of morality, we can evaluate it on its own terms. That is, IF morality exists, and IF we can understand it, THEN any action, including that of the originator of morality, can be judged within the framework.

    In other words, God doesn’t get an exemption from morality just because he invented it. If I was the inventor of baseball, people would properly give me credit for inventing a fun sport, but I would not be the only guy on the field who didn’t have to play by the rules.

    You might want to respond, “Well, yes, but you’re a human, and under morality. God is God, and above morality.” While we can’t rule this out as a possibility, we can make the observation that one of two things is true if this IS the case:

    1) Morality is NOT what we think it is. (Since God doesn’t act morally, but defines morality, then we must be mistaken about what morality is.) If this is true, then morality becomes unknowable, which brings us back to square one. So, if morality isn’t knowable, what is this thing we’re doing when we evaluate each others’ actions?

    2) There are two separate kinds of morality. One is unknowable to us, and the other is knowable. Think about this carefully. Even when you rationalize that one of God’s actions seems immoral but must be moral since he’s God, you’re using OUR FRAMEWORK of morality to think of his actions. You can’t use another because you can’t comprehend another. No matter how hard you try, something evil in our perception only becomes good when God is applied to it. That means we are not using a method, but simply looking at a checklist:

    1. Did man do it? We can evaluate it.
    2. Did God do it? It’s automatically good, regardless of any evaluation.

    If morality is not what we think it is, then both god and man are inscrutable, and nobody has any right to tell anybody what to do about anything. If only one form of morality is inscrutable, then we have no yardstick by which to judge God, and therefore…. (DRUMROLL)…

    No reason to trust him when he tells us he’s good.

    So… yeah. Big problems.

    Posted by hambydammit | December 14, 2009, 7:49 pm
  3. Hi, that was a fast reply, im too tired right now at 3:am to answer all of it but i will say this. Baseball and God doesn’t make a good analogy =)
    God made the rules, including morality, but he isn’t part of the game. In my previous post i meant that we cant judge God by our rules even if they are given to us by him. It would be like a pawn in chess getting angry when the player moves him to a certain square that he doesn’t like. The pawn has rules on how he can move, but doesn’t choose where he moves and does not know the game plan either.
    If God exists then only he knows the whole truth and all the facts that go into planning this universe from beginning to end. I don’t see how you think our knowledge here on earth can allow us to figure out if Gods plan is evil or good.
    Speaking about God as if we understand him is like penguins discussing nuclear physics, it isn’t going to make much sense.
    By the way, you have already judged God without knowing how the game ends! No one knows how it ends but him.
    so… yeah, Big problems understanding him

    Posted by Len | December 14, 2009, 11:40 pm
  4. God made the rules, including morality, but he isn’t part of the game.

    This is what we call a “naked assertion.” The reason we call it that is that it is a statement which sounds authoritative, but when it’s critically examined, it turns out to have no logical or empirical foundation.

    It would be like a pawn in chess getting angry when the player moves him to a certain square that he doesn’t like. The pawn has rules on how he can move, but doesn’t choose where he moves and does not know the game plan either.

    Funny. Now THIS is a bad analogy. What we are comparing is two sentient beings evaluating created systems of value. A pawn on a chess board is not sentient, and has no opinion whatsoever on its movements.

    Are you suggesting humans are not sentient?

    If God exists then only he knows the whole truth and all the facts that go into planning this universe from beginning to end. I don’t see how you think our knowledge here on earth can allow us to figure out if Gods plan is evil or good.
    Speaking about God as if we understand him is like penguins discussing nuclear physics, it isn’t going to make much sense.

    Again, a poor analogy. Penguins don’t have the ability to perform second order thought — thinking about thinking. Humans do, and presumably, god does as well. (Although this assertion runs into severe problems when we consider the problems with omnimax qualitites.)

    In a strict “debate” format, there would be little left for me to say. Your entire argument rests on bad analogies and naked assertions. However, my purpose here isn’t to win a debate, so I’ll take the time to explain the fundamental error in your thinking.

    GOD IS A HYPOTHESIS

    Your first, and most egregious error, is assuming the existence of God. Unfortunately, you can neither demonstrate his existence empirically or by necessary steps in deduction. So, that means that your conclusion rests on the empirical truth of your “given premise” — God exists and created morality.

    What you are asking me to do is exempt one factual claim about the universe from falsification. And it’s not a small claim, either. If you’re right, and God exists, it is very, very, very important for scientists to know about it. After all, scientists study morality. It’s part of the empirical phenomenon known as “human living.” At this point, there is simply no evidence whatsoever to suppose that your hypothesis is true.

    To put it simply, In order for me to decide whether your claim is true or not, I need to examine it rationally. The only way I can examine the issue of God creating morality is to first discern whether or not God exists, THEN whether or not he created morality, THEN whether “God Morality” is knowable by humans.

    You’re not just putting the cart before the horse. You haven’t even invented the wheel yet.

    Posted by hambydammit | December 15, 2009, 2:32 am
  5. For someone who uses analogies you sure don’t understand them very well. (they are just pictures) I thought would understand the illustration with its imperfections, just like your baseball analogy but that’s not so i see now. So let me simplify: if I am a human created by God, and if God sees the whole picture and I dont, does it make sense for me to judge him? Shouldn’t the creator be smarter than the creation?
    You made references to the christian God in your original post so of course ill assume that is what we are talking about. When discussing God of course that is hypothetical, how else can we talk about something we haven’t seen?
    We can also assume he doesn’t exist and then discuss that… whatever you please.
    It seems you are more interested in spewing big words to make yourself feel smart, rather than try to understand the point. Stick to the point and only speak of carts and wheels when its relevant.

    Posted by Len | December 15, 2009, 1:09 pm
  6. I assume based on your total lack of rebuttal that you have none?

    Here’s the Wikipedia link for Analogy. If you read it carefully, you’ll see that I’m quite correct in my analysis of the various analogies used by both you and me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogy

    “So let me simplify: if I am a human created by God, and if God sees the whole picture and I dont, does it make sense for me to judge him? Shouldn’t the creator be smarter than the creation?”

    I got it the first time. What you’re not getting is this: Leaving aside the fact that you’re ASSUMING the existence of a God and two separate versions of morality, EVEN IF YOU ARE RIGHT, you’re still setting up a catch-22 whereby we cannot evaluate any action within this second, unknowable morality, and therefore have no reason to trust anyone’s word — including God’s — that he is in fact acting morally.

    And for the record, Len, I’m using layman’s language here. I’m specifically avoiding using philosophical or syllogistic jargon. If you’re having trouble with these basic college level words, I’d suggest you have some groundwork to lay before you’re prepared to solve philosophical problems of dualism and morality.

    Posted by hambydammit | December 15, 2009, 6:48 pm
  7. English is not my first language, i speak other languages and would be happy to continue this discussion in any one of them if you like. How about it, is your swedish as good/weak as my english?
    Here is whats funny, we both were talking about God or at least what morality would be like if God existed (hypothetically). Then all of a sudden you decide that I am the one assuming things, when in fact we both had to assume something in order to discuss it. How else do we discuss God unless we can assume for a moment that he exists?

    “What you’re not getting is this: Leaving aside the fact that you’re ASSUMING the existence of a God and two separate versions of morality, EVEN IF YOU ARE RIGHT, you’re still setting up a catch-22 whereby we cannot evaluate any action within this second, unknowable morality, and therefore have no reason to trust anyone’s word — including God’s — that he is in fact acting morally.”

    When you said that God is evil because he created some humans for salvation and some for damnation, you ASSUMED that scenario was true. Maybe God will save everyone in the end, how do we know?
    And if your assumption is correct, maybe God made two moralities for our own protection here on earth. When we die the next one might be applied. Obviously i’m making wild guesses but the point is; we cant possibly know and therefore cant judge God either. Is it so unthinkable to you that maybe we should just trust him anyway, maybe that is the beauty of trust.

    Posted by Len | December 15, 2009, 8:07 pm
  8. English is not my first language, i speak other languages and would be happy to continue this discussion in any one of them if you like. How about it, is your swedish as good/weak as my english?

    No, I’m afraid English is the only language in which I can continue this discussion. My Swedish is nonexistent, but I can curse like a sailor in Dutch. If your level of language comprehension here is insufficient, I’m afraid we are at an impasse due to communication barriers.

    Here is whats funny, we both were talking about God or at least what morality would be like if God existed (hypothetically). Then all of a sudden you decide that I am the one assuming things, when in fact we both had to assume something in order to discuss it. How else do we discuss God unless we can assume for a moment that he exists?

    Bleh. In any language, the burden of proof is the same. He who makes the claim provides the empirical evidence. We’ve already hashed out the “What if God Created Dual Morality” question. You have yet to refute my statement that if this were the case, we would be unable to evaluate God’s trustworthiness, and so would have no reason to believe that he was, in fact, good.

    On the other side of the coin from philosophical claptrap, we have empirical reality. Biologists, zoologists, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, neurologists, and evolutionary theorists ALL converge on approximately the same model of human morality. Think of the implications of that. Many branches of science find compelling evidence to build a natural model of morality which has no need for a supernatural entity, and can be parsimoniously explained with the available evidence.

    Sure, there are still questions. But that’s the nature of science. The large questions — what is morality, for instance — are answered beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt, taking all the evidence into consideration.

    So, on one side, we have an armchair philosopher proposing:
    1. An incomprehensible, supernatural being who created a “thing” called morality, and imposed it upon humans uniquely.
    2. A second, incomprehensible set of morality which is only known to the supernatural being, and cannot be evaluated by humans.

    Um… all things considered, Len, I’m going with the evidence, not the supposition.

    When you said that God is evil because he created some humans for salvation and some for damnation, you ASSUMED that scenario was true. Maybe God will save everyone in the end, how do we know?
    And if your assumption is correct, maybe God made two moralities for our own protection here on earth. When we die the next one might be applied. Obviously i’m making wild guesses but the point is; we cant possibly know and therefore cant judge God either. Is it so unthinkable to you that maybe we should just trust him anyway, maybe that is the beauty of trust.

    Yeah. Obviously, you’re making wild guesses, and you have no evidence to back up any of them, while on the other hand, I’ve got access to the university library where there is literally an entire floor of data devoted to the subject at hand.

    I’m going with the evidence.

    Posted by hambydammit | December 16, 2009, 2:36 am
  9. I have no problems with understanding any of the things you said (in english), but I think you have problems with the logic part. If you dont understand logic i suggest you take a course before you say any more.
    I don’t need evidence to back up my wild guesses, thats why i called them “wild guesses” They are much the same as YOUR wild guesses on what God planned for mankind and YOUR wild assumptions that we have to be able to understand God… Proof?

    “He who made the claim has the burden of evidence”

    I hear this all the time, mostly from people who do not understand that saying something does not exist is also a claim. Like i said, take a course in logic and it will clear out the mist.

    Lastly, I never said God exists for sure, i’m discussing what the implications of that would be given what you said in your original post, just like I thought you were doing.

    You were offended that I didn’t like your conclusion on what God is and so you started getting emotional and that never bodes well for any discussion… sorry buddy you need to calm down then reassess what you think I said, you have missed the point almost every time.

    Posted by Len | December 16, 2009, 1:50 pm
  10. I have no problems with understanding any of the things you said (in english), but I think you have problems with the logic part. If you dont understand logic i suggest you take a course before you say any more.
    I don’t need evidence to back up my wild guesses, thats why i called them “wild guesses” They are much the same as YOUR wild guesses on what God planned for mankind and YOUR wild assumptions that we have to be able to understand God… Proof?

    If you admit you have no evidence, and that you’re guessing wildly, why are you spending so much time trying to convince me of anything? Are you just upset by what I’ve extrapolated from your guess? Let me try one more time:

    1. What does it take to evaluate anything? Knowledge of that thing.
    2. You claim that “God Morality” is unknowable to humans.
    a) In the next breath, you claim that our means of evaluation is God’s word that he is, in fact, acting like “Good God Morality.”

    From here, we have a problem. You must solve an internal contradiction because you’ve claimed both A and ~A. If you choose to say that “God Morality” is knowable, you appear to be left with only God’s word as evidence by which we can know god morality. If you choose to say that God Morality is unknowable, you must retract your statement that we can know God is acting in “Good God Morality.”

    If God’s word is the only evidence we have for our evaluation of God Morality, then you’ve backed yourself into the original corner I mentioned a long time ago — that you have no empirical evidence for the existence of God.

    As for my speculation on God’s intent, etc, I take the claims made by Christians and treat them with deductive logic. That’s not wild speculation.

    I hear this all the time, mostly from people who do not understand that saying something does not exist is also a claim. Like i said, take a course in logic and it will clear out the mist.

    Quite true. saying, “X does not exist” is a claim, and if someone were to say it, they would be required to back up their claim. However, I have not done that, and am under no obligation. Instead, you have hypothesized a being called God, and I have rebutted with the demand for evidence to support your hypothesis before I will accept your claim.

    Since you’re expert in logic, I presume you’re also familiar with the basic rules of formal debate, and recognize this simple fact. (Don’t gripe, buddy. You started the snark by telling me I my wordifying was too high class for you, and now you’re stumbling over basic stuff. Pot, meet kettle.)

    Lastly, I never said God exists for sure, i’m discussing what the implications of that would be given what you said in your original post, just like I thought you were doing.

    Yeah. I get that. I’ve gotten it every time you’ve said it. Would you like to continue telling each other what we’ve already said, or would you like to show me where I’m wrong?

    You were offended that I didn’t like your conclusion on what God is and so you started getting emotional and that never bodes well for any discussion… sorry buddy you need to calm down then reassess what you think I said, you have missed the point almost every time.

    Would you like to backtrack and count insults, or perhaps see who threw the first punch?

    Posted by hambydammit | December 16, 2009, 3:46 pm
  11. If you get it, then why do you keep saying that I have claimed God exists?

    You make claims based on what you THINK christianity is, which is just wild GUESSES, that is why i put in the wild guesses of my own to illustrate that, but you missed the point again.

    Let me correct you on who started the hypothesis about God, YOU DID! reread your first post, especially the last sentence where you mentioned something called God. So tell me, if you didn’t hypothesize, what exactly is that God you were talking about there?

    I have not made any claims at all except that we cant expect to understand God (the one you mentioned in the first post) unless of course we know the rules that govern his world.

    Your conclusion restricts God (the one you mentioned… ) to being one of two things; imbecile or evil.

    You cant prove that unless you know Gods (the one you mentioned… ) world and what happens there.

    I wonder if you will understand the point now, or if you will once again put words in my mouth and miss the point.
    Logic is not your forte, but you might get there.

    Posted by Len | December 16, 2009, 4:30 pm
  12. Ok. I get it. So… um… you’re spending all this time arguing with me just to get the point across that I’m picking one version of Christianity and running with it?

    Admitted.

    Can I have this three hours of my life back?

    Posted by hambydammit | December 16, 2009, 5:46 pm
  13. Actually any version of Christianity you pick will tell you that God cant be completely understood by human thought and logic.
    Sorry if you feel it was wasted time but at least you know that the definition of God you had was not the same one Christians have. Might be worth something.
    like your article just not the conclusion
    cheers

    Posted by Len | December 16, 2009, 8:41 pm
  14. So… all this for you to tell me that my conclusion is wrong because there’s no logical conclusion to be drawn?

    What a hollow victory.

    Posted by hambydammit | December 17, 2009, 4:38 am
  15. You really thought there was victory somewhere in this discussion? Perhaps if you had understood the point from the first response it would not have come to ALL THIS. The only victory i see is understanding someone elses point of view. I understood yours and disagreed, now you understand mine too. end of story. good bye.

    Posted by Len | December 17, 2009, 7:40 am
  16. Len, call it language, call it what you want. This is no victory. That was sarcasm.

    Maybe because of language barriers, I still don’t understand what you’re saying, and if that’s true, I apologize. However, as well as I can understand it, your point is this:

    If God created two moralities, and humans can’t understand one of them, then maybe he’s good even when he’s bad, because he made the rules. Oh, and also, not all Christians believe the same thing.

    If that’s your argument, then it’s nonsense because we can only evaluate what we can know, and speaking of the unknowable is meaningless. By extension, calling something good which we’ve previously called unknowable is contradictory.

    Posted by hambydammit | December 17, 2009, 11:53 am
  17. You should read “mere christianity” by C.S lewis, just a tip.

    Posted by 123 | December 31, 2009, 11:25 am
  18. Thanks for the tip. I’ve read it. It’s a fantastic book for a first year logic course. You could call it “1001 Logical Fallacies.”

    Posted by hambydammit | December 31, 2009, 6:45 pm
  19. you sound a little bitter. whats with that?

    Posted by 123 | January 1, 2010, 2:21 pm
  20. I read through some posts here, logical fallacies all over the place. Assumption is the mother of all f-ups as they say.
    Want me to bring one up? =P
    Let see, you claim that if morality is knowable then it can be evaluated and so can the creator of it. Isn’t that a big assumption? Why would it be wrong for us to trust a God that has rules for us that are supposed to benefit us but that might not apply in his own world? Why would the creation be able to judge the creator? I’m curious what you base those assumptions on. Does “naked assertions” ring a bell here?

    With no God, morals become relative so how can we claim morals to be “knowable”. There are some pretty bad people out there with values that differ from yours and mine and with no “absolute” standard to measure them by we cant possibly say that ours is better than theirs. its all relative.

    Also, you mentioned in one of your posts that you would go with the “evidence” which you claim comes from the library etc etc. WHAT evidence? Can you prove the above mentioned assumptions to be true with your “evidence”?

    Lets face it, when it comes to God and any other philosophical subject, there are no proofs. There are merely assumptions and from them discussions are made and examined in order try to understand the ramifications.

    Posted by 123 | January 1, 2010, 3:03 pm
  21. Let see, you claim that if morality is knowable then it can be evaluated and so can the creator of it. Isn’t that a big assumption?

    No. What makes you think that it is an assumption?

    Why would it be wrong for us to trust a God that has rules for us that are supposed to benefit us but that might not apply in his own world?

    It wouldn’t be “wrong” in a moral sense. It would be a logically unsupported position. If we have no way to evaluate God’s morality — because it is unknowable to us — then… DUH… we can’t evaluate it.

    Why would the creation be able to judge the creator?

    Why wouldn’t the creation be able to judge the creator? Seems like an assumption to me. Or… you’re about to accuse me of it… a naked assertion. It’s because God said, “HEY!!! Don’t question me, damn it!!!” Right? And what have we just learned? That we can’t take God at his word because we have no framework with which to evaluate him other than our own concept of morality. And since he’s claimed exemption (for what seems to us to be an arbitrary reason) we’re right back where we started.

    With no God, morals become relative so how can we claim morals to be “knowable”.

    Relative does not equate to unknowable. For comparison, ever heard of the theory of general relativity? We know it quite well.

    Relative just means that a thing is subject to change based on the situation. It doesn’t mean that a thing becomes inscrutable. With morality (as with time/space) we can evaluate each situation on its own merits.

    There are some pretty bad people out there with values that differ from yours and mine and with no “absolute” standard to measure them by we cant possibly say that ours is better than theirs. its all relative.

    Read THIS

    Also, you mentioned in one of your posts that you would go with the “evidence” which you claim comes from the library etc etc. WHAT evidence? Can you prove the above mentioned assumptions to be true with your “evidence”?

    Have you been to the library? Do you have any idea what the evolutionary model for morality is? If you don’t, then you should pause for a minute and ask yourself if perhaps you’re looking quite ignorant. In order to argue against a position, one must understand that position at least as well as those who proposed it.

    Lets face it, when it comes to God and any other philosophical subject, there are no proofs. There are merely assumptions and from them discussions are made and examined in order try to understand the ramifications.

    Um….no.

    Posted by hambydammit | January 1, 2010, 5:13 pm
  22. Bitter? For saying that Mere Christianity is logical drivel? No… I’m not bitter. Lewis’s arguments were refuted about ten minutes after the first logician read his book. I’m just surprised people still appeal to those arguments. They’re really bad.

    Posted by hambydammit | January 1, 2010, 5:17 pm
  23. lol, you are too funny. You managed to not answer a single question i had. good work…

    when I asked questions, they were pointed at your assumptions. for example, I said why should we assume we can judge God, so then you say why shouldnt we? well thats exactly the point, it could go either way. We might be able to judge him, and we might not but any conclusion you draw from your ASSUMPTION will be purely guesswork. Why do you auto-assume that A is correct when B could be equally likely?
    So, answer one question: why can you judge God by a morality that is knowable to us? Are you saying God cant do what he likes with his own creation? If so, where is your proof of that since you said its not an assumption. What exactly is it?????

    Posted by 123 | January 1, 2010, 5:46 pm
  24. So, answer one question: why can you judge God by a morality that is knowable to us?

    Duh. Because it’s knowable.

    Are you saying God cant do what he likes with his own creation?

    Assuming him to have sufficient ability to do what he likes, then he can do what he likes. But that’s irrelevant. The ability to commit an act is a different matter than the moral value of the act.

    If so, where is your proof of that since you said its not an assumption. What exactly is it?????

    That doesn’t even make sense. I suppose you’re asking how to prove that we can use our system of morality to judge God’s actions. The proof is that God’s actions are in the category of actions for which our system of morality applies. That is, they affect us in ways that are either beneficial or harmful, and God is purported to have the ability to think second-order thoughts. Those are the two criteria for an action having moral value.

    Posted by hambydammit | January 1, 2010, 8:56 pm
  25. So, answer one question: why can you judge God by a morality that is knowable to us?

    “Duh. Because it’s knowable.”

    You serious? just because we feel what morality is doesn’t mean we can understand God with it. Saying that we can is no proof, its a guess.

    It’s similar to saying “well if physics is what rules our world and is made by God then God must also be subject to those rules.”

    Obviously you need to reread the definition of God, at least the christian one since that is the one you refer to. God, if he exists, made the universe and all the laws that govern it. It makes very little sense to assume he is tied down by the laws he invented for us, in fact id be inclined to think its the opposite but I wouldn’t write a blog about it like it was 100% true and like it was proven lol. please take a course in logic.

    Posted by 123 | January 1, 2010, 9:54 pm
  26. in reply to your bitter comment, yes you sound bitter. A little defensive as well. maybe you have had bad experiences with religion but perhaps you shouldn’t generalize and put everyone in the same box. Cranky, that’s what it sounds like to anyone reading your posts, lots of wrong assumptions and lots of bitterness.
    Why start a blog about something you don’t believe in? Wouldn’t your time be better spent on things you DO believe in, like science? Everyone has a religion, yours is science, or its anti-christianity, but whatever it is its just another religion. One thing is certain, you’re not neutral which makes you just as much a “believer” as christians are.
    Everyone has a motive, yours is clearly to pick on people with a certain belief. That makes you no better than the ones you are picking on!

    Posted by 123 | January 1, 2010, 10:51 pm
  27. You serious? just because we feel what morality is doesn’t mean we can understand God with it. Saying that we can is no proof, its a guess.

    I will ask you again. Do you know anything at all about the evolutionary theory of the development or function of morality? If you don’t, then I’m afraid we have nothing more to talk about. I’m going to give you fair warning. If you say you understand it, I’m going to ask you several very specific questions to see if you’re telling me the truth. If you do not know the theory you’re arguing against, then there’s no point in having this discussion.

    Posted by hambydammit | January 3, 2010, 1:01 am
  28. I will ask you again. Do you know anything about Christian theology and their view on God? If you don’t, then I’m afraid we have nothing more to talk about. I’m going to give you fair warning. If you say you understand it, I’m going to ask you several very specific questions to see if you’re telling the truth, If you do not know the theology you’re arguing against, then there’s no point in having this discussion.

    I like the way you couldn’t reply to anything, therefore you just went on a ramble about the specifics of morality.
    How about physics? does God also have to play by the rules of physics? think carefully before you answer. What you call evolution THEORY is exactly that… a theory and therefore no better than any other theory, including intelligent design. For every so called expert you bring up on EVOLUTIONARY morality, I can name one with the opposite view. Science, although you may not know this, is built upon basic premises that cannot be proven. Think about that, and ask yourself what exactly you can be so sure about which does not require FAITH of some sort.

    Posted by 123 | January 3, 2010, 7:38 pm
  29. Hehe… So the answer is no. You don’t actually know anything about the evolutionary model for morality. You don’t even know what science says morality is, and here you are arguing against it.

    What’s worse, you don’t even know what a theory is.

    I know that you will not attempt to learn, so we’re basically done talking, but for anyone else following this, I’d like you to notice that my interlocutor has made several huge mistakes in his argument:

    1) He is not familiar with both sides of the argument, and is arguing from ignorance.
    2) He is also unfamiliar with the philosophy of science, basic epistemology, and even the basic scientific method.
    2.5) (He actually doesn’t know what a theory is! Isn’t that cute?)
    3) He does not know the difference between faith and justifiable hope.
    4) Frankly, I don’t think he could offer a coherent definition of “morality.” And yet… he’s arguing for his model of morality.

    For you, my intrepid interlocutor, I offer you a challenge: Prove me wrong. Offer a coherent working definition of “morality.” Explain in detail how belief in the scientific method is epistemologically equivalent to belief in a non-scientific method. Describe the scientific method. Explain the evolutionary theory of the origin and function of morality. (I’ll give you a hint: Start with the math of non-zero sum systems and the prisoner’s dilemma. If you can’t get it from there… there’s no helping you.)

    For anyone else, well, what can I say?

    Posted by hambydammit | January 3, 2010, 10:38 pm
  30. I take it you don’t know what the Christian theology is, and here you are arguing what God can and what he cant be based on theology you don’t understand.
    What is more, you have made a number of logical errors in your statements previously so there is no point for me to try and argue anything at all until you study logic. If you cant get it from there, there’s no helping you.
    Even if I didnt know what science said about morality (which i do), why would I need to know if you haven’t bothered looking at what Christianity says about morality? You brought up the Christian God in your first post, meanwhile you don’t even know the theology. Explain that to me.

    If you want a good discussion on God and his existence try the debate going on right now (going on for 4 years) at http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/infidels/
    and let me know how far you get. He uses your so called SCIENCE to prove Gods existence, as far as science is concerned no on has been able to punch a hole in his THEORY.

    You still have not understood what a theory is, and you didn’t answer my questions about why you would make a blog that makes fun of someone elses beliefs. Don’t you also have a belief, atheism??? You are not neutral therefore you have your own faith, what makes yours better than theirs and why would you make a blog purely to hammer a different belief when neither can be proven right or wrong? See the error in your logic there?
    good luck sir, hope you figure out a way to study some logic before posting more nonsense.

    Posted by 123 | January 4, 2010, 9:41 am
  31. one last thing. YOU brought up this discussion, i merely pointed out logical errors, which you still have not answered. YOu could not tell me why it was correct to assume God can be judged by his own morals, (like physics). You simply said it can, see the logical error there?
    I am guessing you have never debated anything live in your life. It is easy to post online whatever you want and then ignore the holes that others point out in your logic, and ignore what you think is too hard to answer. like I said. LOGIC course =)

    Posted by 123 | January 4, 2010, 9:46 am
  32. I take it you don’t know what the Christian theology is, and here you are arguing what God can and what he cant be based on theology you don’t understand.

    This is the first time you’ve asked. Why yes… I do know quite a lot about Christian theology. Is there a specific question you’d like me to answer? Saying, “Explain Christian Theology” is sort of like saying, “In 100 words or less, describe world history for the last 2000 years.” It’s a little too broad… you know?

    Even if I didnt know what science said about morality (which i do), why would I need to know if you haven’t bothered looking at what Christianity says about morality? You brought up the Christian God in your first post, meanwhile you don’t even know the theology. Explain that to me.

    I’ve explained your side of the fence with regard to morality in great detail. Read it HERE. Then, come back and answer my question, since I’m answering yours. (HINT: I want you to explain the evolutionary model of morality.)

    Posted by hambydammit | January 4, 2010, 11:51 am
  33. “explain the evolutionary model of morality”
    um, in 100 words or less?

    first time i asked??? no, its not. You assumed that God could be explained by the knowledge we have here, not so according to the definition of God. I asked you to explain where you got your theology from.

    You STILL have not answered why its ok to think God can be judged by morality and if so, must he also be restricted by the laws of physics?

    ANSWER that first, then get back to me.

    “I know that you will not attempt to learn, so we’re basically done talking, but for anyone else following this, I’d like you to notice that my interlocutor has made several huge mistakes in his argument:”

    =) this is the ultimate childish argument. Instead of answering specific questions, you appeal to some invisible crowd about a discussion they haven’t participated in. Is your pride and “having to be right” more important than the actual discussion? Are their opinions so important to you?
    It is clear to me now you have no interest in discussing at all, you are here to TEACH and look good and will not bend regardless of logical flaws in your arguments. I have some advice for you; get off your high horse and join the other mortals down here, nothing is ever 100% learned and in your case it is very obvious, sorry to crush the dream you live in son.
    regards

    Posted by 123 | January 4, 2010, 7:09 pm
  34. So, can you explain (in as many words as necessary) the evolutionary model of morality?

    Posted by hambydammit | January 5, 2010, 4:51 am
  35. Yes, and its a theory, just like the religious theory of intelligent design.
    I will explain it to you when you explain your assumption that we can evaluate and understand God through morals.
    Can you do that?

    Posted by dodger | January 5, 2010, 3:15 pm
  36. read this on evolutions explanation of morality, it might do you some good to see that nothing is black and white in this world..

    http://www.humanities.mq.edu.au/Ockham/y64l052.html

    Posted by dodger | January 5, 2010, 3:33 pm
  37. Yes, and its a theory, just like the religious theory of intelligent design.

    ~Sigh~

    No. It’s not. Here’s the Wikipedia link for THEORY. While you’re ignoring it, take special note of this:

    In science, generally, theories are constructed from elementary theorems that consist in empirical data about observable phenomena.[4]

    This is the first reason why Intelligent Design is not a theory. There is no empirical evidence for a designer. Peddlers of ID try to convince people that a philosophical argument is empirical evidence, but it’s not. The entirety of ID rests on the naked assertion that complexity must precede simplicity. The empirical evidence, however, points unswervingly towards simplicity preceding complexity. So… point 1: There is no empirical evidence to support ID, and mountains of empirical evidence pointing directly away from ID.

    Here’s your second problem:

    Theories are intended to be an accurate, predictive description of the natural world.

    I am unaware of a single accurate prediction made by an Intelligent Design scientist (sic!) using principles of ID not contained in the theory of evolution. (Hell… I’ve never even heard of an inaccurate prediction! Nobody’s even trying to predict anything. They’re just peddling religion and calling it science.)

    It’s not just me. Evolutionists the world over have pointed out the complete lack of any predictive power in the papers submitted by ID scientists for peer review. (And gee… there’ve been what… three?)

    Intelligent Design is not a theory. It’s a naked speculation with no supporting empirical or logical data. In fact, it is in direct opposition to the empirical evidence.

    Finally, ID is not a theory because it doesn’t explain an observed phenomenon! It simply moves the goalposts from scientific explanation to a question-begging “thing” with no scrutable qualities which we could observe or study. Think about it. Scientists have seen the cosmic “afterglow” of the big bang. We can look in telescopes and see it. Having seen it, scientists applied cosmological theories to it and came up with a description of a process that makes sense. They might be right, and they might be wrong, but the explanations we have now assert, “based on everything we’ve observed, this looks like a very likely description of what happened during the first formative moments of our universe.”

    Then, from the back of the room, an ID guy says, “Yeah… but God did it.”

    That’s not a theory. What is a god? How did god come to be? What is god made of? Where does god exist? What does a god do? How does it do it?

    These are questions that would be part of a theory of intelligent design. But in order to answer these questions, you’d have to have some empirical evidence that god even exists. But… there is none… so there’s no theory.

    I will explain it to you when you explain your assumption that we can evaluate and understand God through morals.

    Do you never backtrack through conversations? I’ve explained the logical conclusion that we can evaluate and understand God through morals several times. In this very thread. Just scroll up.

    Here’s your problem. Without understanding what morals are, my explanation wouldn’t make any sense to you. And… you don’t know what morality is, so you’ve read my explanation and it doesn’t make any sense to you.

    However, I can’t have you continuing this little schoolyard spat by accusing me of withholding information, so I’ll do it again, just for you.

    Humans evaluate the moral value of an action based on several factors. The perceived intention of the actor, the outcome of the action, the impact of the action on the actor’s society, the acknowledged reciprocity value of the action, and several other variables are all evaluated in any action which has the potential for moral value. (An action has potential for moral value when it has the capacity to change the environment and/or physical existence of another agent.)

    When we suppose that God interacts with humans and their environment, we are — by definition — asserting that God is committing acts with potential moral value. A god which intentionally acts on an environment is — by definition — an agent. Humans instinctively evaluate potentially moral acts. Even most theists admit to this. (The conscience is God’s little voice in our hearts, and all humans just “know” what’s right and wrong because God instilled us with morality.)

    From here, dodger (appropriate name, by the way!), it’s just a game of “Connect the Dots.” Humans cannot help but evaluate potentially moral acts. God is an agent, and commits potentially moral acts. So… we evaluate God’s actions.

    As I said previously, the thing that’s going to stump you here is that you don’t know the evolutionary explanation for the origin and function of morality. Without that, my explanation is going to seem like it has holes in it. However, you could put me at ease by demonstrating that I’m wrong about you. Give me the evolutionary explanation for the origin and function of morality. Then, address your own argument (or 123’s, or whichever non-scientific version of morality you like) that morality could hypothetically be something other than what it is. Then, provide an epistemology for theist morality that doesn’t steal from the natural explanation.

    Then we’ll talk some more.

    Posted by hambydammit | January 5, 2010, 4:12 pm
  38. LOL!

    Your explanation of the evolutionary origin and function of morality is a cut and paste link to a political scientist? That’s rich.

    I’m afraid the article you linked to doesn’t address the topic we’re discussing. But then… you’d understand that if you knew the evolutionary origin and function of morality…

    Let me explain. Humans are capable of this marvelous thing we can call “second order thought.” That is, we can think about ourselves thinking. As far as we can tell, we’re unique in this sense. Conscious thought isn’t that rare in life, but the ability to think about conscious thought… that’s just in our little corner of the continuum.

    At some point in our history, we started noticing that we can think about whether or not we ought to do something. It wasn’t long until some humans started getting curious about how we make decisions about what we ought or ought not do. This was the beginning of the attempt to codify human morality. The typical approach has been to take a unifying principle and attempt to make it the foundation for a systematic prediction of what any human ought to do in any conceivable situation.

    Unfortunately, humans invented philosophy well before they discovered DNA, and that has led to the persistent misconception that human morality operates in the same way as a philosophical code of ethics. It doesn’t. There is no “Unified Theory of Human Morality,” because morality is the product of multiple competing genetic strategies. Notice — COMPETING genetic strategies. In other words, any attempt to encompass the whole of human moral value assessment with a single underlying algorithm is doomed to failure.

    So… your cut-paste apologist is right in a sense. Evolutionary science does not provide a foundation for a traditional ethical code in the style of Aristotle or Adler — but that’s because such a traditional code is now understood to be a naive and unscientific way of thinking of human morality.

    Now, would you like to object that since there’s no scientific foundation for morality, that we can’t explain it at all?

    If you would like to, then be my guest, but I’ll simply counter with the observation that science does offer us a foundation for describing morality, but that it’s too complex to be distilled into a bumper sticker slogan. Furthermore, science does not purport to tell us what to do in any given situation. Instead, it describes how we either instinctively “know” what to do, or how we set about reasoning the best course of action. It also explains quite parsimoniously how and why “evil” exists, and why some people will always act poorly while the majority of us will tend to be mostly good most of the time.

    But then… you’d know that if you knew the evolutionary origin and function of morality… right?

    Posted by hambydammit | January 5, 2010, 5:08 pm
  39. i read the first paragraph, then it became boring. I gave you a link, but did not say that was my definition. You ASSUMED it.
    I have studied philosophy and logic and math, and all those books state clearly that everything rests on basic theorems as written in the definition above. None of these theorems can be proven but are considered axiomatic.

    In all your posts you have made naked assertions, and I asked only for one proof of the assertion you made that God can be defined by the morality he created. You have conveniently ignored that request.

    Whenever a statement is used that is not axiomatic it needs to be proven. Whenever a term is used that can be ambiguous it needs to be defined.

    There is a very obvious flaw in your attempt to explain away the christian thinking in morality.

    Number one, you want to use a evolutionary definition of morality when talking about God. Now if God exists and made morality, how could a evolutionary model be used? If the assumption is that God does not exist then by all means use it, but then you cannot draw conclusions about God.

    Number 2, you have made so many statements that are purely personal opinions and nothing else. In order to use those statements you need some backup, namely proof.

    It is obvious to me, but obviously not to you, that God is beyond our understanding and can not be explained by science. Religion can only be taken in through faith, in God or whatever it is the person believes in.
    Atheists find themselves on the other side of the see saw, they say with certainty that God does not exist and like to think they can prove it with science and arguments based on axioms that in themselves cannot be proven, merely assumed. So, it is safe to say that atheists also have made a choice, in which faith is a big part, but atheists seldom admit to having faith. funny isn’t it?

    Agnostics have a different view, and can sit silently and watch all the commotion, they are in a way much more intelligent than the atheist who fools himself with thinking he is not a man of faith. Christians at least admit they have faith.
    So i ask you again, why have you started a blog where you try hammer beliefs, which are neither better nor worse than yours?

    Posted by dodger | January 5, 2010, 6:35 pm
  40. Oh, in case you didn’t understand any of that, you have not defined morality or in which context that definition comes from. Also, you have not proven that morality can define God, which should be easy considering you took it for granted.
    do that, and your “theories” will be worth reading.

    Posted by dodger | January 5, 2010, 6:37 pm
  41. Oh, in case you didn’t understand any of that, you have not defined morality or in which context that definition comes from.

    I most certainly did. If you didn’t see it, that’s your own problem. It’s one sentence. Look again.

    Also, you have not proven that morality can define God, which should be easy considering you took it for granted.

    This is the first I’ve heard of morality defining god. That’s nonsense, and I wouldn’t attempt to prove it.

    Posted by hambydammit | January 5, 2010, 6:39 pm
  42. In all your posts you have made naked assertions, and I asked only for one proof of the assertion you made that God can be defined by the morality he created. You have conveniently ignored that request.

    I can’t help you if you can’t comprehend the answer I gave you.

    Number one, you want to use a evolutionary definition of morality when talking about God. Now if God exists and made morality, how could a evolutionary model be used? If the assumption is that God does not exist then by all means use it, but then you cannot draw conclusions about God.

    I use an evolutionary definition of morality because it’s the one that lines up with the evidence. When talking about God, I can only speak of that which is knowable. I’ve already explained this several times. Scroll to the top of the comments.

    For this conversation, I assume only three things about God: God exists. God interacts with humans and their environment. God is a sentient agent. If you’d like me to consider other qualities of a god you are proposing, then please let me know which ones, and I’ll do my best. The reasons I use these three qualities are:
    1) If God does not exist, then why are we having this conversation?
    2) If God does not interact with humans and their environment, then why are we having this conversation?
    3) If God is not a sentient agent, then why are we having this conversation?

    If God were not all of those three things, then it would not qualify as a moral agent, and we would be unable to evaluate its actions.

    Number 2, you have made so many statements that are purely personal opinions and nothing else. In order to use those statements you need some backup, namely proof.

    I think you must be confused. Perhaps if you’d studied science in addition to philosophy… (Some of us have…)

    It is obvious to me, but obviously not to you, that God is beyond our understanding and can not be explained by science. Religion can only be taken in through faith, in God or whatever it is the person believes in.

    So… apply your logic circuits to this, mister. If God is beyond our understanding (unknowable), how is it that you purport to tell me anything at all about it? Furthermore, how is it that you would demand that I explain a theology which ought, by all logic, to be completely inscrutable?

    It seems you’ve been hoisted by your own petard. You have demanded that I explain qualities of an unknowable entity. How cute.

    Atheists find themselves on the other side of the see saw, they say with certainty that God does not exist and like to think they can prove it with science and arguments based on axioms that in themselves cannot be proven, merely assumed. So, it is safe to say that atheists also have made a choice, in which faith is a big part, but atheists seldom admit to having faith. funny isn’t it?

    Seriously, you’re making me laugh. You’ve studied logic and philosophy, and you can’t figure out that when the Burden of Proof is unsatisfied, the default belief is negative? You don’t know that this is not a rigid dogmatic position, but simply an acknowledgment of the present?

    Agnostics have a different view, and can sit silently and watch all the commotion, they are in a way much more intelligent than the atheist who fools himself with thinking he is not a man of faith. Christians at least admit they have faith.

    Seriously, are you making up the part about studying logic and philosophy? Please read THIS POST. You’re confused.

    So i ask you again, why have you started a blog where you try hammer beliefs, which are neither better nor worse than yours?

    This deserves a complete response. Look for my next blog post.

    Posted by hambydammit | January 5, 2010, 6:57 pm
  43. “I use an evolutionary definition of morality because it’s the one that lines up with the evidence. When talking about God, I can only speak of that which is knowable. I’ve already explained this several times. Scroll to the top of the comments.”

    This is a logical fallacy called “circular argument”. Using a definition of morality that assumes God does not exist, in order to prove God does not exist. You have listed the logical fallacies in your blog and yet you are breaking those rules, how cute.

    Posted by asdf | January 17, 2010, 12:26 pm
  44. Even as a Christian I agree that free will theology makes no sense. However you are incorrect about the bible teaching free will. Nobody comes to God unless he calls you to him. He created some people for common purpose and some for noble. Is this fair? God says he can do whatever he wants, he is the potter and you are the clay. In the end though, through Christ all men will be reconciled to God. “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 1 Timothy 4:10
    (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. Will this convince you that you don’t know enough about the bible to call it a bronze age myth, probably not your choice to make.

    Posted by Todd | April 20, 2010, 2:17 am
  45. Todd, thanks for the reply.

    I could sugar coat my response to you, but I think it would be better to just put it out there simply. If what you say is true, then any individual human has no choice as to whether or not she goes to heaven or hell. It’s all up to the inscrutable whim of the deity who created us.

    In other words — and this is very important for you to understand — God knowingly and willfully created billions of people. He knew — BILLIONS of years ago — that he would send most of them to hell for eternity, and they would have no choice in the matter.

    While the enormity of that kind of moral depravity doesn’t disprove the existence of a god, I have to say that if I were offered proof that such a being did exist, I would refuse to worship it, just to maintain the moral high ground.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 20, 2010, 1:08 pm
  46. What’s more moral, taking away a person’s right to chose, in essence making them puppets, or allowing them to make their own choices, even if those choices are have a negative impact?

    Posted by legartist | October 31, 2011, 12:24 am
  47. Wow, very nice post. I have been looking for someone who understands this. I am a very strong christian and am completely convinced of what you say regarding free will. It CANT exist. Since you seem intelligent, there are a couple of key components of Christianity that you may be interested in hearing. First off, to explain things like sin and the paradox of evil there is a very simple and biblical answer. Everything exists for the glory of God. Simple right? (and biblical too) Second, God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Simply put, God knows what you will do and designed it, from the beginning, as such. AKA Free doesn’t ever enter the picture. God has created evil, (obviously, since he created everything. God created dirt, He is not dirt is He?) My question then to you is that if you obviously are intelligent, why did you not this one step further? You simply assumed that all Christians are stupid. And out of curiosity, in further light do you still believe your post disproves chrisitanity?

    Ah, one more remark. Free will is NEVER mentioned in the bible. In fact, the opposite is. (Look up predestination)

    Posted by Alex | January 10, 2013, 3:33 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Why Do I Hammer Beliefs? « Life Without a Net - January 5, 2010

  2. Pingback: Social Value, Intelligence, and Evolution « Life Without a Net - March 2, 2010

  3. Pingback: Christian Philosopher: It’s About Morality « Life Without a Net - March 20, 2010

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