The Stuff Christians Say… (part two)

Balaam

Atheists don’t behave as evolution says they should: This ridiculous accusation is often slung at atheists by Christians who seem to see it as some sort of stinging rebuke. Answers In Genesis is very fond of it; the Hamster’s drones and other Christians seem to believe – without ever thinking it through (plus ca change) that because those who acknowledge the veracity of evolution don’t behave according to its principles they are somehow inconsistent in their ‘beliefs’ – hypocritical even. They seriously propose that because natural selection and the survival of the fittest (not one of Darwin’s phrases) are cruel, uncaring processes, then that is how, for the sake of consistency, atheists ought to behave too. We shouldn’t care, they say, when a child develops cancer or someone dies. We shouldn’t attempt to cure illness or work to prevent suffering because these are nature’s way and part of the mechanism of evolution.

While it’s true they are, it’s been a long time since our behaviour, our existence and continued success as a species has been solely determined by what nature does. Humans regularly override its mechanisms, natural selection included; every time we use birth control, show compassion for the weak, heal the sick, develop medicines, engineer genes and preserve life. And so we should.

Christians seem unable to comprehend that evolution is not a pattern to be followed. It is not a set of instructions for living, a prescription or a set of (a)moral guidelines. It is the best explanation, supported by considerable amounts of evidence, of how life developed on the Earth. As such it makes no ethical claims nor does it demand that its principles be blindly followed (that’d be religion). Are Christians truly unable to detect this difference?

Atheists have no reason to be moral: I’ve looked at this ignorant claim before. Of course we have reason to behave morally. We’re human, we live in human society. Morals help us do so while doing the least damage to ourselves and others. They may also enable us to bring some happiness or comfort to those around us. Atheists don’t look to an imaginary God to tell us how to be good; our morals come from our culture, upbringing and education. Christians’ morals do too, whatever else they may claim. They certainly don’t get them from that most immoral of books, the Bible.

 

to be continued…

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13 thoughts on “The Stuff Christians Say… (part two)

    • I thought of adopting the ‘absolute’ moral standards of the God of the Bible, but when I realised that that entailed putting homosexuals to death, stoning wayward children and girls who weren’t virgins on their wedding night, chopping hands off women who accidentally touched a stranger’s genitals and selling all my possessions to give the money away, I decided it wasn’t for me.

      I didn’t need an imaginary God to help me reach this conclusion; all I did was consider the harm such behaviour would cause other people and my family.

      It’s more than a little worrying you think these sorts of things are okay – not just okay but ‘absolute’ – just because they’re in the Bible. Still, as we’ve discussed before, Dale, you don’t adhere to Biblical morality yourself, not even the New Testament stuff, so you’re hardly in a position to judge others.

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      • Yes. But I’m sure these would not be the kinds of sex you think are wrong because you believe it says so in the Bible. ‘Wrong kinds of sex’ as far as I and other humanists are concerned, are those in which one of the partners does not consent or is under age. This is because any action, sexual or otherwise, that causes harm to others is of the ‘wrong kind’.

        To put this more positively, sex between consenting adults, including between people of the same sex, is not wrong.

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  1. Neil you said ~ “sex between consenting adults, including between people of the same sex, is not wrong.”

    Is that an absolute, universal standard of morality ?
    What I am getting at, is how did you come to that conclusion ?
    What led you to believe that statement ?
    Because as you know there are MANY people on this earth that do not agree with your standards regarding sexual activity.

    You also said ~ “any action, sexual or otherwise, that causes harm to others is of the ‘wrong kind’.”

    Again how did you come to that conclusion ?
    Because there are MANY people in this world who do not agree with that statement, as you and I know there are MANY people who enjoy causing harm to others and also MANY people enjoy having harm caused to them, right?

    Someone is wrong here and if we care about right and wrong then we need to find out who it is.

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    • That’s easy, Dale: it’s you. You’re the one going on about ‘absolutes’ when all sane, rational people know there’s no such thing.

      Morality, as I’ve said before, is derived from human social interaction and the feelings of empathy we can have for one another; hence the Golden Rule: treat others as you like to be treated. Easy. (And before you claim it did, the Golden Rule did not originate with your mate Jesus, nor even in the Old Testament. People had it worked out long before then without your God’s help.)

      Applying such a principle is how I know what is the ‘wrong’ kind of sex and what is the ‘right’ kind (remember, it’s you who insisted on these particular words). It is entirely irrelevant that MANY capitalised people might disagree with me. There are far more who’d disagree with you. Since when is popularity a measure of how valid a proposition is?

      None of this, though, means I’m gonna have sex with you, so you can stop your flirting right now.

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      • Neil said ~ “That’s easy, Dale: it’s you. You’re the one going on about ‘absolutes’ when all sane, rational people know there’s no such thing.”

        Is it absolutely true that there are no such thing as absolutes?

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      • No; it’s demonstrably the case.

        For instance, your ‘God of the Bible’ allows and endorses many kinds of sex we now consider wrong:

        The rape of young virgins and little girls, in Numbers 31:18, Deuteronomy 20: 10-14, Judges 21: 10- 24 amongst other places;

        Sex with slaves, in Genesis 16:1-2, Exodus 21:7-11 and elsewhere;

        Sex with multiple wives and kept mistresses (concubines), in Exodus 21:10, 2 Samuel 5:13, 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3 etc.

        If these are among your ‘absolutes’ then I’m glad that in Western culture at least we’ve developed beyond them. Given though that they’re part of your God’s ‘absolute’ code of conduct, maybe you’d like to see them brought back? I look forward to hearing you preach to this effect next time you’re on your soap box in the town centre.

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  2. “Is it absolutely true that there are no such thing as absolutes?”

    Neil you said ~ “No; it’s demonstrably the case”

    So, you believe you have demonstrated that there are no such things as absolutes
    Is it therefore, absolutely true based upon your demonstration that there are no such things as absolutes ?

    ———————————————————————–

    The rest of your comments are nothing but straw man arguments, nowhere in God’s inerrant Word does it say that God is fine with rape, fornication of any kind or polygamy.

    1Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
    1Cor 6:10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

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  3. Dale, only you and those whose thinking is stultified by belief in iron-age texts harp on about absolutes. No-one else does.

    Here’s an example of your limited thinking: I provided you with an illustration of how morality has changed since Bible times. I included chapter and verse of where God permits and even encourages rape, multiple sex partners and sex with women who had no choice in the matter. Yet you respond that there are no such occurences in the Bible. This is wilful blindness on your part, refusing to see what is there and accepting only that which you wish to see.

    You are unwilling to acknowledge that the standards of the Bible are not ‘absolutes’ even though many of them – like the ones I referenced – are no longer applicable and have been surpassed. Fine, but there’s no point in you continuing to comment if all you’re going to do is repeat your point about ‘absolutes’. A demonstration is just that, it’s not ‘absolute’ proof because no such thing exists outside of the religious mindset.

    As for the Kingdom of God – would that be the one Jesus said would be arriving in his disciples’ lifetime, 2,000 years ago? Yes, it would. So who cares who Paul said wouldn’t get into it – nobody did. The Kingdom didn’t arrive when he and Jesus believed it would and there’s no reason whatsoever to think it’s going to now.

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