Philosophy, Film, Politics, Etc.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Losing Patience With Scum

Here's another post addressed to the Christian apologist, Rhology. I'm afraid I probably won't be able to endure many more rounds of his nonsense. We'll see.


Rhology,

You are so confused, it’s kind of scary. I’m not going to address all of your idiotic comments and questions, because it would take too much time, and it wouldn’t help anybody. I’ll just try to cover the basics here.

You say that my system of morality looks suspiciously like a Judeo-Christian one. What makes you say this? Indeed, the only specific moral arguments I’ve made here are about abortion, and my views on that are quite different from the one you say is supported by the Bible. So, on what grounds do you judge my “system of morality” to be Judeo-Christian?

As it happens, there are a few things written in the Bible that I don’t find morally offensive. A few. However, much of what I’ve read from the Bible runs contrary to my moral sensibility. For example, look at all the grounds for capital punishment in the Old Testament. I wouldn’t dream of arguing that somebody should be executed for adultery, or for following any non-Judeo-Christian religion. And yet, in the Old Testament, these are listed as grounds for execution.

Really, I don’t see much similarity between my values and those described by the Bible.

Since we’ve touched on capital punishment here, let me remind you of something you said. You said that “God” decides what is a capital crime. If we follow the Bible, this means that adultery, homosexuality, following different religions, and lots of other things are capital crimes. As you said, this means they take away a person’s right to life. Do you agree with the Bible on all of these points?

I must assume you do, because you say TGOTB is the final word—nay, the only word—on such questions. I think many people would agree that this would make you scum. Are you scum?

It seems you have two choices here: First, distance yourself from some of the teachings of the Bible, and thereby give up your assertion that the Bible is the only word on moral questions. Second, admit that you are scum.

So which is it?

If you in fact are not scum, then there is no point in continuing this discussion. Because if you are not scum, then you wouldn’t stand by all of the assertions you have been making here. So I will continue writing with the view that you are, in fact, scum.

Okay?

Now, you think people who cheat on their spouses should be executed. You think Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus should be killed for their abandonment of the Judeo-Christian God. You are, in other words, the scum of the earth. With me so far?

The problem here isn’t just that you are scum, of course. Your scumminess is compounded by the fact that you think your position is the only moral option. You actually think that you have the moral higher ground. You think that anybody who disagrees with your Bible is scummier than you are.

If you were the only scummy person out there who thought this way, I wouldn’t be so concerned. But the fact is, I think a lot of people think like you do. That is a serious problem. Especially when such scummy people hold positions of power in society.

The problem is, your scumminess prevents you from understanding what a moral position actually looks like. I’ve been trying to explain this to you, but your mind has been so infiltrated by scum that you can’t see beyond the scum. You are trapped in a mental web of scum. It’s sad, because I think there is an intelligent and well-meaning person underneath all those layers of scum. But maybe I’m wrong, and you’re just scum to the bone.

In any case, let’s go over the basics again. Maybe this time you’ll get it.

You say that either the Bible is true, or atheism is true. If the Bible is true, you say, then your moral authority is absolute. If atheism is true, you say, then there can be no morality at all.

Is that a fair description of your view?

Now, this view is so patently stupid and absurd, it’s hard to decide where to begin. Let’s begin by comparing your scumminess to that of the Nazis. You see, as I mentioned, they had a book, too. And they thought it told the truth. They killed millions of people because of the ideas written in that book. Now, on what grounds do you embrace your Bible, and not Mein Kampf? Why should anyone take one book as a guide to moral absolutes, and not another book?

The fact is, scum, your allegiance to the Bible is wholly arbitrary. It’s no better than the Nazis’ allegiance to Mein Kampf.

You blindly assert that, if atheism is true, then morality is impossible. Now, I’ve explained to you how morality works. I’ve explained what it is. And yet you deny that I have done so. You deny that I could even possibly explain morality without believing in your “God.” And yet, I have. It’s quite simple. I’ll do it again, since you apparently didn’t read carefully enough before. (I know, it’s hard to comprehend a lot of this stuff when you’ve got so much scum in your eyes.)

You see, morality is a process whereby justifications are established. It is an ongoing process, and it requires discourse. It is based on the very need for people to establish common notions of “right” and “wrong.” Rational arguments are available to all, and can be judged objectively, on their merits. Morality is thus based in human need, and it is the product of biology and civilization.

You seem to think that, without a book to tell us exactly what is right and wrong, we would all be lost. We wouldn’t be able to do anything. We would, in short, be ignorant and confused savages. And yet, we have reason. We can work together to establish social systems based on our ability to reason and negotiate values together. That is what morality is. It is a process of negotiation.

You wish to end all negotiations and condemn those who do not adopt the views written in your very old book. That is one way to approach the process whereby moral questions are negotiated—it is a dictatorial, fascist way to approach the process, because it denies the very possibility of negotiation. You are therefore unreasonable and potentially dangerous to the very possibility of morality.

By claiming that morality cannot be negotiated, and that it can only be embraced as the word of “God,” you are denying the very process whereby morality is established. You are against morality. You are, as I said, scum.

Why should anyone think that the writings in your very old book are of any more value than the ramblings of any idiot on the street?

I embrace morality, because I embrace that process whereby people work together to try to justify their decisions. It is not a perfect process, but its success is not predicated upon any supposed infallibility. It leaves room for error, but it works.

Now, please, give us all a single reason why we should abandon morality and embrace your Bible. Why should we value that book any more than we value Mein Kampf or other such insults to humanity and reason?