Date Night

My wife, visiting granddaughter and I just finished watching the much-heralded motion picture, Date Night starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey on our cable service.   Okay, we’re cheap.  It was rated PG13 which means that it may be inappropriate for children younger than 13 and even that should involve parental guidance.  Well, I am in my late 60’s and it was certainly inappropriate for me.  But then again, I have morals.

When did this culture decide that comedy had to be filthy?  This could have been an adventure in hilarity without the continual obscenities and references to male and female genitalia, anal sex, masturbation, group sex and prostitution.  These were not sexual innuendos, they were explicit references.  We tried to fast-forward through the sullied parts but it was so replete with smut that we were not completely successful.

Nothing in the trailers and interviews hinted at such shenanigans so we were unprepared for the dirty bits.  Shame on those responsible for this bit of cultural decadence and shame on me for not checking with some of the numerous Christian motion picture review sites!  I looked at them after watching the movie and realized the information that could have kept me from wasting my time and money with this crude mess was there for the reading.

While I was on the review sites, I decided to look up Eat, Pray, Love.  Thankfully, I now have enough information about this motion picture to Eat my own food, Pray to my one, almighty God and love my wife and family.  However, if you want to follow the antics of a self-centered, narcissistic, amoral person who deserts her devoted husband to “find herself,” this little gem is for you.

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30 Comments

Filed under Adultery, Culture Wars, Good & Evil, Infidelity, Life, Love, Love and Marriage, Meaning of Life, morality, Motion Pictures, Prayer, sex

30 responses to “Date Night

  1. Aw c’mon Dwight, you should’ve known any movie that is #1. a comedy, and #2. about dating would turn out that way. Sadly, that is just the way it is today.

    I recently bought my daughter the Disney movie “Princess and the Frog.” It contains some voodoo references that are a little too realistic for me to be comfortable showing it to my young daughter. My daughter is too young to fully understand why she can’t watch it anymore.

    I saw the Clint Eastwood movie “Gran Torino” when it first came out. It was a great movie with Christian-friendly themes and morals. There was only one catch. The movie is filled with cussing on top of cussing on top of cussing.

    Needless to say, we don’t watch a lot of movies anymore.

  2. dwhitsett

    Thanks Steve. As for me, I am going to take advantage of the Christian review sites and I encourage all followers of Christ to do the same thing. Then, at least, one is not blindsided.

  3. Funny. I watched it last night on cable and found it to be funny, though not in the way I used to laugh at The Three Stooges. Of course, I tend to resent the implication that those that might enjoy it have no morals, but I’ll take your criticism with a grain of Christian NaCl, knowing your background.

    If you want to see a really pornographic movie with horrible depictions of violence and torture, you should watch that Mel Gibson movie, The Fashion of Christ, or something like that. Really horrible stuff. I wouldn’t let an adult watch it, much less children. It glorifies suffering for no purpose whatsoever.

    Of course, to each their own.

  4. dwhitsett

    Funny, I don’t think I said it wasn’t funny. There were parts I enjoyed but enjoyment was overshadowed by offense. Just out of curiosity, did you find anything in the movie morally offensive? You mention that in the Passion of Christ that the suffering had “no purpose whatsoever.” You must realize that, to the Christian, the sufferings of Christ have purpose. I have not seen the movie so I can’t speak to that exact point but I have to ask, what was the purpose of the injection of references to male and female genitalia, anal sex, masturbation, group sex and prostitution? Was it necessary or was it gratuitous? Knowing your background, I think I know the answer.

  5. Hi, Dwight. It’s been awhile. I changed the look of my blog banner, so you can safely send your readers over if you want. I won’t offend them (at least not with “dirty” pictures.) However, if they want their mantis’s praying, they might have to look elsewhere.;)

    Funny, I don’t think I said it wasn’t funny.

    and I don’t think I accused you of that. Glad you found humor in it. I laughed on occasion, but I like Tina Fey more than Steve Carrell. She does things with her face that I LOL about. That scene when Mark Walhberg first opens the door, and the look on her face when she sees him shirtless is priceless. The movie was a two star movie (out of 4). It wasn’t Monty Python, but then it wasn’t Andrew Dice Clay either. Just so-so.

    did you find anything in the movie morally offensive?

    Yes. The idea that the DA was a closet pervert offended me. We all know that lawyers are paragons of virtue.

    Seriously, matters of the flesh (i.e. sex) don’t offend me at all. To me, sex is a natural part of life, like breathing, eating, defecating, etc. There is nothing immoral about anything sexual between two consenting adults (pedophila, obviously, is on my s**t list. The Pope should be arrested, as should all of the Catholic hierarchy that allowed that scandal to happen. What they did was immoral. But I digress.). Making sex dirty is one of the worst things Christianity did to humanity, and it should never be forgiven for it. As a result, we have the aforementioned pedophile priests, Ted Haggard, Bill Clinton (good President, lousy husband), a serious fixation on what gays do, etc. etc.

    I never did understand the Christian fixation on the crotch, nor their ability to have no problem with depictions of extreme violence and cruelty. I wrote a post about it years ago (warning, picture of Hindus “doing it” from the Kama Sutra. Well, they were there. They seem to have disappeared with time.) I think their concerns are misplaced, or reversed. Immorality is depicted in the movies every time there is a rape, a murder, a torture, an assault.

    The nice thing about most murder mysteries are that the murder is usually portrayed as immoral, not as something to glorify, unlike in the Passion of Christ. Though like you, I have not seen it save certain scenes. I understand its significance to Christians (having been raised and indoctrinated as a Catholic) but I still see it as true pornography, glorifying something that makes no rational sense, except in the convoluted theology of a seriously delusional religion. I’d much rather see a murder mystery that is resolved with the murderer getting his comeuppance. I don’t like gratuitous violence, though. Let the murder be done in soft lighting, or off screen.

    Can’t stand slasher movies either, which is really what the PoC is, in the guise of religion. It allowed people who wouldn’t normally go to a movie to see someone tortured in gruesome technicolor, to be able to rationalize their fascination with the process. It’s hypocritical at best.

    Knowing your background, I think I know the answer.

    What is there about my background that causes you to presume? Seriously, I’d like to know?

  6. dwhitsett

    Dear Inquisitor,
    Regarding Fey and Carell, I completely agree…I think they are both talented comedic actors who can break me up with just a facial expression.
    All the lawyers I know personally are pretty good folks. If matters of the flesh don’t offend, however, then why was the DA a pervert? Maybe I’m missing something.
    Sex (the straight kind) is one of the best things in life…maybe the best (of course, I am male and speaking for myself). For the Christian, immorality occurs when sex is misused or abused. I assume you would count bestiality and incest on your s**t list. I would add sodomy to mine.
    Of course, this pope is in no more danger of being arrested than any other corrupt pope and there have been a bunch of them. The strange and unnatural (unscriptural) RC expectation that clergy should be celibate sets them up for all kinds of sexual malpractice. The accusation that Christianity made sex “dirty,” is unsustainable. If you are going to make that charge, then back it up, please. Fixation on the crotch? No problem with violence and cruelty? Whew! That’s not the Christianity I know and seek to practice.
    The makers of the motion picture knew what they were doing was morally edgy. It was added for the same reason that some comedians can’t keep it clean. It gets a laugh because of its shock and titillation value rather than anything to do with being funny.
    I was speaking of your seemingly skewed understanding of Christianity that comes from your background experience with Roman Catholicism rather than the teachings of Christ and his apostles (which, in your post you admitted was “surprisingly little”). And, I have read enough atheistic posts to get an idea of the philosophies and values of most of them. I believe you expressed those viewpoints well in your comment. If I misrepresented you, I apologize…no insult intended.
    And, of course, that’s why we can’t agree on some things: two different value systems. That’s only to be expected. What I would like to see happen is that when we disagree, we can do so without misrepresenting each other. To lump me in with Roman Catholics and use their belief system to represent mine is going to be problematic. On the other hand, ask me what I believe about a philosophy or concept and why…and I will be more than happy to answer.

  7. The point made in this post is that comedy does not need to be vulgar in order to be funny. It’s a perfectly valid point.

    To Spanish Inquisitor,
    It seems that you may assume that all those who follow Christ endorse the film, “Passion of the Christ.” My perception may be wrong there. But, even if that film is a gruesome depiction of something, it doesn’t make this post’s point invalid. Now, having said that, I tend to agree that PoC was a startlingly realistic showing of something that is gruesome. Imagine what it was like in person. It must have been awful to see. But a real event in history being shown on the screen is in a different arena than humor that seeks to be funny by way of indiscretion. You may find PoC to be shocking; that’s a fine and valid viewpoint. But the impact of the actual event, visualized, makes it useful not for purposes of violence, but for purposes of understanding. Some people try to downplay what Christ actually suffered. But the film didn’t make it up, just to be gross.

    In other words, those are apples and oranges.

  8. Spanish Inquisitor

    The point made in this post is that comedy does not need to be vulgar in order to be funny. It’s a perfectly valid point.

    …as is its opposite: Vulgar humor can be funny. Indeed, vulgarity, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.

    As for the PoC, I don’t find the depiction of human torture any more valid whether you believe it’s a depiction of a historical event, or one of fiction, anymore than I’d like to see a film about priests buggering little boys, with graphic depictions of the acts. A disclaimer that it is either a work of fiction, or that it actually happened, would have no effect on whether it’s a needless depiction.

    Now, if you NEED to see something like the PoC in order to confirm or bolster your conviction that it’s a depiction of reality, then your faith is not as strong as you think it is.

    Of course, I’m not talking about you specifically, just the general “you”.

  9. Humor can be funny even if its vulgar. I’m not arguing whether or not anyone has a market on “funny.” Funny comes in all sorts of ways.

    The historicity of Christ’s suffering is hardly arguable. As a man who once clung to Atheism, I can say for certain that its historicity is something I have studied in earnest, while trying to disprove it. No, it’s not a matter of fiction. We are talking about real events. And that fact changes the argument.

    Which doesn’t mean that people ought to need films like PoC. I don’t need it, and wouldn’t recommend it. But the point is that the film wasn’t tailored to be gruesome, just so the director could say, “Good movies can be gruesome.”

    On a deeper note, if I were to utilize what I understand your thought process to be, I could ask, “Why such a problem with PoC? He can make a movie out of whatever he wants. It’s in the eye of the beholder.” Just a thought.

    I do say this with all cordiality. I know that text can often be misunderstood.

  10. Spanish Inquisitor

    No problem. I have the same hesitations when I post or comment.

    “Why such a problem with PoC? He can make a movie out of whatever he wants. It’s in the eye of the beholder.”

    My problem is subjective, just like Dwight’s problem with Date Night‘s vulgarity was subjective. However, Dwight went a little further and implied that anyone who found the vulgarity funny was immoral. Since both morals and humor can be relative, I thought pointing out a representative Christian movie might level the playing field of discussion. Of course, I forgot he was Protestant and looked on Catholics with…some suspicion. Having grown up in a Church that self-proclaimed as “The One True Church”, I find, even now, that attitude to be humorous. (I really don’t care one way or the other).

    The historicity of Christ’s suffering is hardly arguable…And that fact changes the argument.

    (We’re getting off topic but) as you might expect I would disagree. The historicity of his mere existence is arguable, his suffering more so.

    Outside of the Bible, and the rejected books of the Bible, there’s really no evidence of his suffering. The Bible is not history. It’s an anthology of reworked oral traditions, passed down over many years until set in print. You probably disagree with that description, but even if you do, it doesn’t make the historicity of his suffering inarguable.

  11. The playing field is enjoyably level, and I appreciate the discussion on it.

    The historicity of Christ is affirmed by contemporary historians of the time (Josephus) who had every motive to try and remove evidence of the events. That’s a very strong source. And later historians, such as Will Durant, also affirm the historical evidences. I would say that you mislead about the nature of such history. The Bible is only one source, and it lines up with the others. No other document has that sort of weight for it.

    But, as you said, that’s all off topic, so to speak. You say that, “morals and humor are subjective.” That’s a viewpoint which, in my mind, begs some questions. Do you view morality as social construct, or something that we each make for ourselves? Many people have different views, but I don’t know yours.

  12. Ah, I misquoted Spanish Inquisitor. Correction: “Morals and humor can be relative.”

  13. Spanish Inquisitor

    Do you view morality as social construct, or something that we each make for ourselves?

    Not sure what you mean, but given the two options, I’d pick door number 1. When I say morality is relative, I mean in a social humanistic context. There are some things that society views immoral almost to a point of absolute certainty, and there are things that society may change it’s mind about given the relative times and circumstances. Murder is a good example of the former, slavery a good example of the latter.

    If you mean, do I consider individuals able to pick and choose their own morality, I’m not sure. What I might find immoral you might not, so relative to each other, our sense of morality is different. For instance you might think homosexuality is immoral, while I may not. Given the times, society might agree with you, then over time agree with me. That’s what I mean by relative.

    I definitely don’t believe that morality is handed down from on high, by some supernatural law giver. Morality is decided by humanity.

  14. I was just seeking your viewpoint. I didn’t mean for there to be two doors. Just examples was all.

    So, if I am understanding you, morality is rather like a “majority rules” situation? Whereas if the majority of society thinks murder is wrong, then its rightfully viewed as wrong?

  15. Spanish Inquisitor

    Whereas if the majority of society thinks murder is wrong, then its rightfully viewed as wrong?

    That’s pretty much the way it works in society now. Murder (or I should say, “killing”) is a no-no, but there are exceptions to killing that are defined out of murder. Death penalty (and that’s changing), war, etc.

    I guess you could say that if the majority chose to do so, we could make murder a sacrament, but that’s a specious assumption. Other areas of morality could be changed by consensus, but since life is intrinsic to humanity, murder is, and always will be taboo. Which is why murder is a crime against humanity, not god, and hence immoral.

    God never seemed to have much problem with killing, at least according to the OT.

  16. The “Majority Rules” paradigm of understanding morality has a good deal of reason behind it. In many ways, society can adjust and change what it seen as shocking, insulting, or nice, etc.
    But in your layout, you have skipped over some massive truths. For instance, you say that murder or killing is a crime against humanity, not God, based on that premise that life is intrinsic to humanity. The most obvious question, in my mind, would be: On what basis does a life have value? I mean, the fact that we can attribute life as being intrinsic is rather self-explanatory (though not incorrect). But that does nothing to explain why ending a life through killing is wrong. Where does life get it’s value? The stars? Does a life have value just because we decided so? If that were the case, then we could just decide later on that a life had no value at all. I for one would reject the idea that the masses ultimately decide what is good and right, wrong and unjust.
    Consider that the Third Reich reigned and produced its ills in the most educated, modernized, and advanced society on earth at the time. Let’s not go on thinking what we are wise because we are “modern.”

    The question begs: Why does life have value, logically speaking, if we are all just a bunch of cosmic accidents?

  17. Spanish Inquisitor

    The question begs: Why does life have value, logically speaking, if we are all just a bunch of cosmic accidents?

    No it doesn’t because you’ve loaded the question with assumptions that are not necessarily supportable, unless you presuppose the existence of the god you believe in. I refuse to do that.

    Where do you get this “cosmic accident”? The term “accident” is a loaded word. Life isn’t an accident. Life just is. Accident implies some negligence, something aberrational out side the normal flow of existence, something you would not expect to see without intervention. Like a car crash.

    Life happened. Statistically it was bound to happen somewhere given the laws of physics, chemistry and biology, given the immense size and age of the universe. We don’t know how, yet, but that’s only a matter of time. There is a very high probability that there is life elsewhere, given the same facts. If you want to get into a existential discussion about how life arose (which we simply don’t know – yet) or simply accept it, either way it just is.

    As far a life having value, let’s extrapolate from the individual, subjective, to the collective, objective. My life has value to me. Your life has value to you. Otherwise we’d commit suicide when we no longer felt that way (which occurs, if you’re honest, depending on mood swings). But we don’t. Why? Because we value existence over non-existence. We like being alive. We value our individual lives.

    Now. You ask, why is “ending a life through killing a wrong”? I would not want my life ended that way, on the arbitrary and capricious whim of someone else, hence, logically, as part of my personal morality, I would not act that way towards others. I would not be so presumptuous as to believe I have the right to take someone else’s life, less I’m willing to allow that presumption in others. Tit for tat.

    Now extrapolate that to society at large, and you get the basis for murder being taboo.

    This is a humanistic explanation for why I believe all life is valuable, and in the end it comes down to what we call the “Golden Rule”. Do unto others only as you would have them do unto you. This rule does not need a god or supernatural morality-giver to instill value in life. In fact the rule predates religion by thousands of years, if not hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Do you really believe that mankind believed it was OK to kill, indiscriminately, before Moses supposedly was given the Ten Commandments? Before that everyone thought “Hey, let’s go out and have some fun and kill someone!” and then Moses came down with those tablets, and they all changed their mind? Get real.

    So, how life arose is irrelevant to how we value that life. Once we accept that we are alive, we have no choice but to value that life over non-life, or risk our own death in an arbitrary manner at the hands of others.

  18. Why should we accept other people’s lives as equal to our own?

    Why should I refrain from killing, if I happen to find myself in the position of power where I can murder with virtual impunity?

    If I have a high probability of cheating and getting away with it, why shouldn’t I cheat? In order to maximize my well being, from your point of view, the best thing is if everyone else plays by the rules, while I cheat when I can get away with it.

    There can be no true morality apart from God.

  19. Why should we accept other people’s lives as equal to our own?

    In asking that question, I can only assume that you don’t abide by the Golden Rule, because if you did, you would know that the point of the rule is reciprocation. If everyone thought that other lives were not as valuable as their own, what’s to stop someone else thinking that your life is valueless, and ending it? In a truly moral society, we must accept that every life is just as valuable as our own, or risk having someone ending it arbitrarily.

    We don’t inflict suffering on others unless we want to suffer.

    But I said that in my last comment. Wasn’t I clear?

    Why should I refrain from killing, if I happen to find myself in the position of power where I can murder with virtual impunity?

    I’ll turn that around and ask you say same question, then, what would society be like if we all thought that way? If I thought everyone I met thought my life was worthless, and that at a moment’s whim, someone would kill me for no reason, I’d shutter myself behind 4 walls and never come out. Society would be pure chaos. There would be no order whatsoever. Civilization would be no where near as advanced as it is.

    If I have a high probability of cheating and getting away with it, why shouldn’t I cheat? In order to maximize my well being, from your point of view, the best thing is if everyone else plays by the rules, while I cheat when I can get away with it.

    That’s not my point of view. You mis-characterize or misunderstand it. The goal of the Golden Rule is not to “maximize one’s well being”. If you actually thought that, then you would not be a moral person in our society, would you? You’d probably end up in jail. I consider myself moral, not immoral, and I don’t do that becuase I DO have a personal morality.

    Look, we’re talking about a moral society. How do we instill morality in the community at large? There will always be cheaters, and killers, and rapists, and when caught society will impose its morality by punishing them. But it doesn’t make for a great society if our morality is based on “I’ll get mine, and screw you!”

    There can be no true morality apart from God.

    Clearly I disagree. If that’s what floats your boat, and convinces you to be a good person, I have no problem with it, as long as you keep it to yourself and don’t force it on others. It doesn’t float mine for a number of reasons.

    1. There is no evidence for god(s) or even for the supernatural. Indeed, the supernatural logically doesn’t exist. So I refuse to base my morality on an untruth, in effect a delusion I have to talk myself into in order to be moral. If I can lie to myself, when, that’s not a very solid basis for morality, in my opinion.

    2. The very idea that I am an immoral person by default, and without the threat of hellfire or the potential reward of eternal happiness, I would sink to the level of Ted Bundy, is a repugnant basis for any morality. In other words, you feel that you can’t be a good person unless you have a carrot and/or a stick to keep you in line. Sorry. That’s just sad, and doesn’t say much about you.

    3. If you are correct, then everyone who doesn’t believe in god is immoral. You need to wake up and smell something – coffee, roses, anything that says reality to you – because if you look around there are billions of very moral people who don’t believe in your god, or any god.

  20. SI said, “In asking that question, I can only assume that you don’t abide by the Golden Rule, because if you did, you would know that the point of the rule is reciprocation.”

    The Golden Rule only works if there is reciprocation. What about the king or dictator that has enough power that they do not need to fear “reciprocation” for their every action? What about the person who finds themselves in a position to cheat, with a very high degree of certainty that they won’t get caught?

    You might respond, “Well I would never do such a thing, because I’m a good guy.” Well good for you! But what if someone doesn’t feel the same way you do? What if they happen to value themselves over everyone else? Your view would make being moral arbitrary and/or stupid.

    The only way reciprocity works is if there is a final judgment enacted by a perfect Judge. Because in this life, we all know that “you don’t always get what you got coming.”

  21. No it doesn’t because you’ve loaded the question with assumptions that are not necessarily supportable, unless you presuppose the existence of the god you believe in. I refuse to do that.

    You have implemented far more assumptions than I have, and some of those assumptions have to do with what you assume are my assumptions. I’m not going to dive completely into that mix, but if you are trying to say that I have presumed, while you have not; you’re just playing games. I am asking questions, so that I can learn. Thanks, before anything else, for the reply.

    Where do you get this “cosmic accident”? The term “accident” is a loaded word. Life isn’t an accident. Life just is. Accident implies some negligence, something aberrational out side the normal flow of existence, something you would not expect to see without intervention. Like a car crash.

    I use the term “cosmic accident” out of honesty. You can say it “just happened”, which, if we are cutting to the chase, is by definition nonsensical. My appeal is to a line of logic, or reasoning. If life “just happened”, as you say, then it comes without purpose. You can’t get around that, no matter how hard you try. The atheistic worldview, when you get right down to the bottom line, ultimately removes any meaning and purpose from life. And that is said in the logical sense. I don’t mean that atheists live meaningless lives, or that they can’t be moral people. I am saying that, logically, if we just “happen” to be here, then we just happen to be here for…what? On what logical basis do you get meaning out of that?

    Life happened. Statistically it was bound to happen somewhere given the laws of physics, chemistry and biology, given the immense size and age of the universe. We don’t know how, yet, but that’s only a matter of time. There is a very high probability that there is life elsewhere, given the same facts. If you want to get into a existential discussion about how life arose (which we simply don’t know – yet) or simply accept it, either way it just is.

    I see this thinking as a major flaw in materialist thinking. Here is what I am getting at. Number one, you have assumed the chemistry and biology of the universe. How did those get there? Did they “just happen” too? And you mention the laws of physics. Ok, “just happened” as well, right? (Pretty weak argument, and totally bereft of logic, scientific method, etc.). Where do you suppose it all came from? You can’t start your reasoning with an ordered universe, unless you explain the order. You have assumed a massive amount of information, and misrepresented your conclusion based on smuggled beginnings.

    (That being said, I do agree that there is a great deal we don’t know. Goodness, there is tons that I don’t know, and I don’t pretend to. But this is an appeal to logic, sound reasoning, etc. In other words, this isn’t a case of: “If you can’t explain every detail, then your argument is worthless.” You will have questions that I can’t answer as well.)

    As far a life having value, let’s extrapolate from the individual, subjective, to the collective, objective. My life has value to me. Your life has value to you. Otherwise we’d commit suicide when we no longer felt that way (which occurs, if you’re honest, depending on mood swings). But we don’t. Why? Because we value existence over non-existence. We like being alive. We value our individual lives.

    Yes, but again: Why? Why does your life have value to you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? What’s your purpose? Don’t those questions gnaw at you? They certainly do me. And historically, most everyone else. The cries of the heart ring throughout history, as generations of young people all look for trust, meaning, direction, peace, and other such integral parts to life that are plainly meaningful. From a logical perspective, to tell the world that we “just got here”, and sooner or later we will “just be leaving”, does not add up well when laid up against the reality of human experience. It’s a vert bankrupt system, and one that can’t logically or reasonably sustain itself. That’s my honest opinion, and a well reached one at that.

    Do you really believe that mankind believed it was OK to kill, indiscriminately, before Moses supposedly was given the Ten Commandments? Before that everyone thought “Hey, let’s go out and have some fun and kill someone!” and then Moses came down with those tablets, and they all changed their mind? Get real.

    No, I don’t believe that. But since you being up the Bible, I could point you to Cain. He slew his brother, and it was wrong, way before Moses. I could answer that a different way, but this answer is just as logically sound. Murder is wrong. Always has been.

    So, how life arose is irrelevant to how we value that life. Once we accept that we are alive, we have no choice but to value that life over non-life, or risk our own death in an arbitrary manner at the hands of others.

    This is also unreasonable. You have smuggled in value, unexplained, in order to support your presentation. For instance, the word “arbitrary.” I’m not trying to over-analyze here, but why would it be arbitrary? That assumes another kind of death which wouldn’t be arbitrary; like a mother saving her daughter, or something like that. But you make a distinction between the meaningful death and the arbitrary one. How? Both lives, in your view, “just happened.” What makes the difference?

  22. Spanish Inquisitor

    Steve Robertson

    The Golden Rule only works if there is reciprocation. What about the king or dictator that has enough power that they do not need to fear “reciprocation” for their every action? What about the person who finds themselves in a position to cheat, with a very high degree of certainty that they won’t get caught?

    No offense Steve, but what about them? You made my point. There is no reciprocation between a dictator and dictated. The discussion here, if I’m not wrong, is about personal morality, and in particular, my contention that the Golden Rule is all you need to be a moral person. The King or Dictator is not exempt – they just have the power to ignore the GR. That doesn’t make them moral or right does it? That’s why there is such as thing as a “benevolent king” and it’s why calling someone a dictator is considered a pejorative in a civilized society. We don’t try to emulate Hitler, simply because he had the power to be an dictator, do we?

    …or perhaps I’m not understanding you?

    You might respond, “Well I would never do such a thing, because I’m a good guy.” Well good for you! But what if someone doesn’t feel the same way you do? What if they happen to value themselves over everyone else?

    Well, then that person isn’t very moral, is he?

    Your view would make being moral arbitrary and/or stupid.

    Exactly what view are you ascribing to me?

    The only way reciprocity works is if there is a final judgment enacted by a perfect Judge. Because in this life, we all know that “you don’t always get what you got coming.”

    Don’t take this wrong, but thank you for the Sunday School sermon. I think I’ll pass. There is no such thing as a perfect Judge, and there is no god.

  23. Spanish Inquisitor

    von Bunge

    you’re just playing games

    No, just trying to answer your questions. If you front load a question with assumptions, I’m entitled to unload it, strip it down to its essence, so that we don’t talk around each other. Feel free to reciprocate if I do the same thing, though I try not to. My wife may think I’m perfect, but I’m really not. 8)

    I use the term “cosmic accident” out of honesty. You can say it “just happened”, which, if we are cutting to the chase, is by definition nonsensical. My appeal is to a line of logic, or reasoning. If life “just happened”, as you say, then it comes without purpose. You can’t get around that, no matter how hard you try.

    Actually I agree with those last two sentences. It comes with no purpose. Why exactly do you assume life must come prepackaged with a purpose? Where is it required that life must have purpose? We can invest our lives with purpose if we choose, but it’s not automatic, IMHO.

    When I say life “just happened”, I sense you don’t understand what I’m trying to get across. I don’t mean that it was an accident, like you seem to think. I mean it happened because all the circumstances necessary for life to occur, occurred, so it was inevitable that life would appear. You can’t say life is impossible because the proof is right here. The fact that it has occurred is proof that it could occur. So if that’s the case, it was only a matter of where and when, not if.

    The atheistic worldview, when you get right down to the bottom line, ultimately removes any meaning and purpose from life. And that is said in the logical sense. I don’t mean that atheists live meaningless lives, or that they can’t be moral people. I am saying that, logically, if we just “happen” to be here, then we just happen to be here for…what? On what logical basis do you get meaning out of that?

    Again, why do you presume there has to be meaning? What do you mean by “meaning”? For there to be meaning to life assumes that there was something before life that intended some meaning, but if life occurred because the circumstances (physics, chemistry, etc) were perfect for it to occur, then there is no predetermined meaning.

    This is what I mean by front loading the question. You’re assuming the existence of something that intends meaning, before life occurs, so in effect, you’re assuming your god in the question “What meaning is there for life?”

    I say we make our own meaning for life. No god(s) needed.

    I see this thinking as a major flaw in materialist thinking. Here is what I am getting at. Number one, you have assumed the chemistry and biology of the universe. How did those get there? Did they “just happen” too? And you mention the laws of physics. Ok, “just happened” as well, right? (Pretty weak argument, and totally bereft of logic, scientific method, etc.). Where do you suppose it all came from? You can’t start your reasoning with an ordered universe, unless you explain the order. You have assumed a massive amount of information, and misrepresented your conclusion based on smuggled beginnings.

    (to the bolded question) Why not? The way you put it, you assume creation, a first beginning, in your question. Why couldn’t the universe have always existed? With order. Why assume disorder is the default? You want to assume that there was a creator who created everything from nothing, in order to prove that there was a creator. THAT seems like a circular argument, if it’s where you are heading.

    Yes, but again: Why? Why does your life have value to you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? What’s your purpose? Don’t those questions gnaw at you?

    I though I was clear about your first question. I value my life because the alternative – non-existence, death – is something I DON’T value. The answer isn’t particularly existential or philosophical. It’s practical. I like me, I like my life, I want to live as long as I can. I want to see my grandchildren, and their children. I want to see how history plays out. I want to see the next advances in science, art, literature. Who doesn’t?

    As for my purpose in being here, that’s something for those who come after me to answer. I’ll never know, on one hand, and on the other, my purpose is very simple – to procreate. To keep the species going. Really. My usefulness has been exhausted, from a species point of view, once I’ve donated my sperm to the appropriate egg, and raised the result to a point of self-sustainability. Technically, I have no other purpose.

    They certainly do me. And historically, most everyone else. The cries of the heart ring throughout history, as generations of young people all look for trust, meaning, direction, peace, and other such integral parts to life that are plainly meaningful.

    Yes, that’s true, but it’s a misplaced query, and a waste of time. I am very happy with the purpose I’ve invested with my life and have no need to believe that there is more than that. Humanity has a tendency to anthropomorphize the universe, when in fact it’s heartless.

    Murder is wrong. Always has been.

    So ask yourself why. Is it because someone tells you it’s wrong, or because as a human being, with empathy for other human beings, you just know it’s wrong. You know it because you know you would not want to be murdered, so you won’t murder someone else.

    This is also unreasonable. You have smuggled in value, unexplained, in order to support your presentation. For instance, the word “arbitrary.” I’m not trying to over-analyze here, but why would it be arbitrary?

    Aside from, say the state taking a life of a death row inmate, all deaths at the hands of others are arbitrary. (you could make a good argument that even that exception is arbitrary, because not everyone agrees with the death penalty). What’s the opposite? “Reasonable”? Is there such thing as a reasonable death at the hands of other? Can you think of an example of a reasonable death?

    I think “arbitrary” was properly used in this context:

    Once we accept that we are alive, we have no choice but to value that life over non-life, or risk our own death in an arbitrary manner at the hands of others.

    I’ll stand by that.

  24. Spanish Inquisitor

    One other thing.

    I don’t mean to imply that when you “front load” a question, you are doing so intentionally. I used to be a Christian (or at least I thought I was until certain “True Christians™” not-so-politely informed me that Catholics were NOT Christians) so I know what is taught in the Christian religion, and I’m familiar with the apologetics used to prop up theistic thought.

    So, I think your “loaded” questions are simply unintentional residual holdovers from your religious education. They are very common questions I see on a regular basis, which tells me that they come from rote learning more than from the intellect.

    I used to be prone to them myself, and they are hard to shake. It’s takes a lot of effort.

    Think about it.

  25. Spanish Inquisitor,
    I appreciate the openness and candid answers. No offense taken to your view of my “front-loaded” questions. Thank you also for the information on block-quoting; it makes the comments much more clear. I am not schooled in the way of HTML, so the help is appreciated.

    Actually I agree with those last two sentences. It comes with no purpose. Why exactly do you assume life must come prepackaged with a purpose? Where is it required that life must have purpose? We can invest our lives with purpose if we choose, but it’s not automatic, IMHO.

    I observe that human experience reveals the need for purpose. The fact that we seek answers to basic questions in life is obvious, and that seeking pertains to our knowledge about reality. Where did we come from? Where are we going? How did we get here? These are foundational and important questions to life. Many people in history have tried to suppress those questions with a broad hand, “There is no purpose! Life is meaningless!” The result of that kind of thinking has always been destructive. Of course we can invest our lives with purpose, and I think we grow and learn from that. But to act as if life doesn’t have any purpose is a logically incoherent position to hold, and it is a circular argument. For example, I once had a man spend about an hour telling me that words were meaningless, until I pointed out that he used nothing but words to tell me that words were meaningless. He was sawing off the branch he stood on. That situation bears analogy to this one. It may seem intellectual to hold that live has no ultimate purpose, and that we make it for ourselves. But there is a mountain of evidence, both philosophical and existential, against that thinking.

    When I say life “just happened”, I sense you don’t understand what I’m trying to get across. I don’t mean that it was an accident, like you seem to think. I mean it happened because all the circumstances necessary for life to occur, occurred, so it was inevitable that life would appear.

    I am going to have to drill down on this. If we had a beaker in a laboratory, and we created something in that beaker, you couldn’t point to the solution in the beaker and say, “See! In was inevitable!”, and have a rational explanation. The stuff in the beaker didn’t just appear there. You say the “circumstances” for life occurred. Out of what? Where did those circumstances come from? What made it inevitable? These aren’t silly questions, they are real ones. If we are going to point to the items necessary for life to occur, then we have to know that they came from somewhere. Origins–they matter.

    Why couldn’t the universe have always existed? With order. Why assume disorder is the default?

    I don’t assume disorder is the default, not at all. The Second Law of Thermodynamics gives the evidence needed to conclude that the universe has not always existed. It states that the universe is expanding, and therefore its energy is depleting. Kind of life a car running out of gas. We can witness this in the red/blue light doppler effect in the movement of the stars, and in the way that galaxies move apart. It’s also evident in the way that your body wears down over time. There are few things in science as conclusive as the fact that the universe has NOT always existed.
    Furthermore, it is reasonable to observe the ordered nature of the universe, and see that order never comes from nothing. Nowhere in the world do we apply such silly thinking as that, other than to dodge the obvious evidence that this ordered universe came from something. In order not to compose an essay here, take this analogy (which I’m sure you are familiar with anyway): You see a complex item, such as a car, on the street. You notice its gears, dials, engine, and other extremely complex and ordered gadgets. It would not be reasonable to say, “Wow. What were the odds that this came together? I guess it just happened.” No, it is intuitive the order points to a mind. We know this. And so the ordered universe also to a Mind. Nothing silly about that.

    You want to assume that there was a creator who created everything from nothing, in order to prove that there was a creator. THAT seems like a circular argument, if it’s where you are heading.

    You want to assume that physics, chemistry, and biology popped out of nowhere, and swirled together to make life, inevitably. You are assuming that something came from nothing. That seems like a circular argument. I am saying that creation proves there is a Creator. Just like a watch proves a watchmaker. (Actually, its really evidence. In the strictest sense of the word, “proof” only occurs in mathematics. In these areas that we are discussing, it’s a matter of evidence. But, only a small point…)

    I said: “Murder is wrong. Always has been.”

    So ask yourself why. Is it because someone tells you it’s wrong, or because as a human being, with empathy for other human beings, you just know it’s wrong. You know it because you know you would not want to be murdered, so you won’t murder someone else.

    Those two things are not mutually exclusive. I believe that murder is wrong, because it has been “told” to me, and because it’s intuitive. The two things blend. I love people, and I love God’s Law. They match.

    Aside from, say the state taking a life of a death row inmate, all deaths at the hands of others are arbitrary. (you could make a good argument that even that exception is arbitrary, because not everyone agrees with the death penalty). What’s the opposite? “Reasonable”? Is there such thing as a reasonable death at the hands of other? Can you think of an example of a reasonable death?

    Something this emotionally connected and complex is often hard to parse out. But, bluntly, I can think of a “reasonable” death, because I believe in justice. Those who have offensively and unreasonably harmed another, using an extreme case such as rape or torture–if those people were killed in the act of being stopped, I would call that as “reasonable” as it gets. It’s up for debate, I’m sure, but the appeal is to justice. That’s a rather sticky subject.

    So, I think your “loaded” questions are simply unintentional residual holdovers from your religious education. They are very common questions I see on a regular basis, which tells me that they come from rote learning more than from the intellect.

    As a man who delved into Atheism, I really don’t hold onto what you consider residual holdovers. I am familiar with the thinking used to prop up atheistic thought, because I was a fervent student of it. Without a doubt there are Christians who rely on rote learning, just as there are atheists who lean on rote learning. I’ve come across both. So without being curt, your angle is also familiar to me. I’m not trying to point to the failures of man; we could be here all day. But I reject the tendency to color me as someone who is just not thinking for himself.

  26. Also, as I was thinking about the topic that initiated this conversation in the first place, an analogy came to mind. When Dwight was writing about the movie which contained, in his view, material which was unnecessary and immoral, I realized that it could be thought of it terms of nutrition.

    The Inquisitor says, unless I misunderstand him, that morality is something that is relative, and therefore the value of the moral nature of a film is really just a matter of preference. Some find it funny, some don’t; but at the end of the day, it all comes down to taste.

    I find it interesting that we don’t apply that kind of thinking to other areas of life, like nutrition. No parent would let their kids eat whatever they wanted, if nutrition is the goal. Would we let a child eat nothing but candy, just because they said, “Hey, I think it tastes good.”? That would be outrageous, because we know how to distinguish between what is good for the body and what isn’t. So although it is popular to act as if morality doesn’t have the same rules, it is important to note that we don’t dare play such games with the foundations of good thinking, or in our kid’s cases, the foundations of good nutrition.

    I realize that many college professors and authors have played those games with morality, hiding behind the lecturn and throwing ideas around that make no sense in reality. But it is reality that has called the bluff. Let’s not play games anymore and act as if nutrition for the mind doesn’t exist.

  27. @ von Bunge

    I observe that human experience reveals the need for purpose.

    Let’s assume that’s true. We agree, for purposes of this discussion. Why does that mean that there is some unknown, or unknowable, or unfathomable purpose out there beyond our experience? Why can purpose not be what I say it is? Why overly complicate it by positing a supernatural purpose?

    Just because we are naturally inquisitive doesn’t mean god(s) exist.

    “There is no purpose! Life is meaningless!” The result of that kind of thinking has always been destructive

    I’m not sure about “always”. But as an atheist, I would never say that. I DO believe life has a purpose, and I’ve stated what it is. Atheism does not equate to nihilism.

    But to act as if life doesn’t have any purpose is a logically incoherent position to hold, and it is a circular argument

    I don’t follow you. You seem to be arguing against a position I do not hold. Life does have purpose, as I’ve said, but even so, if I said it didn’t, why would that be incoherent? Why does life HAVE to have a purpose. Why can’t life just be? Do slugs have a predetermined purpose? Sea Anemones? Worms? Weeds? Etc. Why are humans so special as to have a purpose the rest of life doesn’t, even though we share DNA with all of it?

    You say the “circumstances” for life occurred. Out of what? Where did those circumstances come from? What made it inevitable? These aren’t silly questions, they are real ones. If we are going to point to the items necessary for life to occur, then we have to know that they came from somewhere. Origins–they matter.

    I’m not sure where you are going with this either. If you are saying we don’t know how the first single cell organism became life, you are correct. We don’t know, though there are a few hypotheses in the area that’s called abiogenesis. The Miller-Urey experiment in the 50’s seemed to point to one mechanism but it hasn’t really been reproduced. There have been others advanced. However, we do know that human life is directly linked all the way back through the billions of years to those single cell organisms, so all life did originate from that single point. It’s probably only a matter of time before we figure it out.

    Ask those questions. Good for you. “Where did life come from” is a great question, and spurs science to look for the answers. We will know some day.

    My problem is that religion, your religion specifically, says “NO. Don’t look for those answers. We already have that answer. God did it. So stop looking. And the way he did it is mysterious, so you must simply take it on faith that that’s the way it happened.” Ignore that man behind the curtain.

    …Second Law of Thermodynamics …I’m sure you are familiar with …Nothing silly about that…

    You’re mixing your science. All you’ve done here is repeated tried and falsified canards used by religions for years. All thoroughly debunked. For one thing, the Second Law of Thermodynamics (“No process is possible in which the sole result is the transfer of energy from a cooler to a hotter body.”) only applies in a closed system. Your examples have nothing to do with a closed system. And Paley’s watchmaker analogy is old hat, used to debunk evolution. I would simply say that you need to read a little less apologetics and understand a little more science, and try to keep in mind that the limited understanding of a human brain relating to your personal sense of order cannot be extrapolated very easily to the grand sense of the laws of physics and the universe.

    Science does not support religion. It undermines it.

    You want to assume that physics, chemistry, and biology popped out of nowhere, and swirled together to make life, inevitably. You are assuming that something came from nothing

    You’re mixing concepts here. Physics, chemistry and biology are the study of different aspects of the natural world. When reproducible, these aspects are codified as laws, or theories or hypotheses, or rules of their respective disciplines, depending on how reliable they are. In that sense, they are products of the human mind. It is we that differentiate what we see in nature, and catalog it according to rules of physics and chemistry and biology. You can’t hold physics in your hand, or photograph it, or taste it. As such, it doesn’t “pop out of nowhere”, it is a helpful mental construct we use to understand nature, always there for us to find and use, the same as measurements of distance were always there, we just cataloged and unified them.

    I’m making no assumption about them coming from nothing. You’re making an assumption about what I’m saying.

    I am saying that creation proves there is a Creator. Just like a watch proves a watchmaker.

    Yes, with the watch you are correct. but not with creation. There is no evidence for creation (by which I assume you mean creationex nihilo, i.e. “out of nothing”). You are assuming that there is something called creation. I don’t until there’s evidence for it, and there is none. So the analogy fails. We have a watch, but no creation. The watch is not an assumption; creation is.

    I believe that murder is wrong, because it has been “told” to me, and because it’s intuitive…They match.

    Ok. What if someone told you murder was “right” but intuitively you knew it was wrong, i.e it didn’t match. What would you listen to? If you’re honest, you’d listen to your internal voice, your intuition. So, why do you need what someone tells you? All God’s law does is validate what you, as a thinking human, already knew. So the law doesn’t come from god, it’s instinctual and inherent in our humanity, and predates our “knowledge” of god.

    ———————-

    As for your nutrition analogy, I’m not sure I buy it. You threw children into the analogy, comparing relative morality vis a vis the movie, with nutritional advice. I wouldn’t let my kids see that movie until they reached the age where they were able to understand it, nor would I let children make decisions about their personal nutrition until they reach the age where they understood nutrition. Your analogy, in that sense, is not apt. If we stick to adults that movie does boil down simply to a matter of taste. Gotta keep apples with apples, you know. 😉

  28. Why does that mean that there is some unknown, or unknowable, or unfathomable purpose out there beyond our experience? Why can purpose not be what I say it is? Why overly complicate it by positing a supernatural purpose?

    The point, I think, it being missed here. Purpose is something that is knowable and fathomable. Not to say it isn’t a journey, or that it isn’t complicated; but the whole point is that we can know it. The other option is to say we can’t, and therefore live without purpose (something which most atheists admit). See, I really am appealing to a line of logic here, and a basis of reasoning. The “purpose” discussion is not complicated by the introduction of God, anymore than the purpose behind a house is complicated by introducing it’s maker.

    Atheism does not equate to nihilism.

    As I’ve said before, there are many atheists who live moral lives, and conduct themselves in a fine manner. Atheism is not tantamount to social chaos, practically speaking. So you can live a good life as an Atheist. But you cannot logically argue why, or give any reason for living that good life as a opposed to one full of nihilism. At the end of the day, you cannot argue from atheism why any life should be lived at all. In fact, words like “why” and “should” ultimately fall apart too. I think these truths do not align with reality as we know. Humans live for more than to say, “We just happen to be here, though I don’t know why.” So, in a logical sense (something I have been hammering), atheism does equate to nihilism. There’s no reason for it not to.

    Life does have purpose, as I’ve said, but even so, if I said it didn’t, why would that be incoherent? Why does life HAVE to have a purpose. Why can’t life just be? Do slugs have a predetermined purpose? Sea Anemones? Worms? Weeds? Etc. Why are humans so special as to have a purpose the rest of life doesn’t, even though we share DNA with all of it?

    I’m not declaring life to have a purpose, and then reading one in from there. I am reasoning from life, and finding purpose to be self-evident. It’s really not something you can usefully argue against, unless you prefer to be another nihilist. I’m sure Nietzsche would like the company. Life “has” to have purpose, based on evidence. So can life “just be? Yeah, in a sense, I suppose. But you know that we long for more. The generations have never been satisfied with such trite and trivial responses as “it just is.” As for the slugs and sea anemones, if you are trying to argue that, when it comes down to it, we are the same, I would say you are quite wrong. I don’t understand the attempt to make mankind the same as bugs. Do you really think we aren’t different? Go to a slug and explain that, and you can find your answer.

    However, we do know that human life is directly linked all the way back through the billions of years to those single cell organisms, so all life did originate from that single point. It’s probably only a matter of time before we figure it out.

    This is one of the largest fallacies in atheist thinking. You believe life originated billions of years ago, as a single-celled organism. You talk as if its a foregone conclusion, and I need to reveal that it isn’t. You can point to evidence to support that, but it’s not a fact. You can believe it all you want, but I tire of such things being presented as facts. We can come back to this later, if you wish, but for now I just have to set that straight. I am perfectly willing to discuss the scientific evidence at hand for those theories (which they are), and the theories of creation.

    My problem is that religion, your religion specifically, says “NO. Don’t look for those answers. We already have that answer. God did it. So stop looking. And the way he did it is mysterious, so you must simply take it on faith that that’s the way it happened.” Ignore that man behind the curtain.

    We both know that anyone saying something like that is sorely mistaken. What a tragedy! If someone told you that earlier in life, I wish I could have been there to correct them. When you say “my” religion”, I’m not sure what you are assuming, but I can tell you that my religion never gives the adherent such silliness. That’s sad if someone has done that. I’m glad you don’t buy that sort of stuff; neither do I.

    And Paley’s watchmaker analogy is old hat, used to debunk evolution.

    …and is still effective at doing so. I don’t care if it’s old hat; its good hat. Tell me what’s wrong with the hat, not its age. The logic is sound.

    I would simply say that you need to read a little less apologetics and understand a little more science…

    You assume so much! I think the admission would be correct that you have absolutely no idea what I’ve read. You already made the mistake of assuming my education and background. Please don’t be so presumptuous; it does nothing to bolster your argument, and adds nothing to the discussion. But, since you mention it, my reading list is broad. I’m sure yours is too.

    Science does not support religion. It undermines it.

    Science supports science. It doesn’t undermine anything, but the belief that it does is held religiously in atheistic circles. I let science be science, and let the evidence lead where it goes. In my own flawed way, I have always studied it accordingly.

    You can’t hold physics in your hand, or photograph it, or taste it. As such, it doesn’t “pop out of nowhere”, it is a helpful mental construct we use to understand nature, always there for us to find and use, the same as measurements of distance were always there, we just cataloged and unified them.

    I’m making no assumption about them coming from nothing. You’re making an assumption about what I’m saying.

    I apologize for the assumption. I believe that I misread you. However, that may be going both ways. The measurements of physics, the details of biology; these things we have developed over time. But the information to which they point, that information came from somewhere. And since nowhere in nature does something come from nothing, we are still talking about something. It’s the something I am point to. All that we see and study and catalog and memorize…its all ordered! It is an ordered universe, the part of which we live in perfectly ordered for life. It didn’t happen by chance.

    Yes, with the watch you are correct. but not with creation. There is no evidence for creation (by which I assume you mean creationex nihilo, i.e. “out of nothing”). You are assuming that there is something called creation. I don’t until there’s evidence for it, and there is none. So the analogy fails. We have a watch, but no creation. The watch is not an assumption; creation is.

    We have a watch, as in, the world we live in. No creation? And who, shall I say, is replying to this? No one?

    As for your nutrition analogy, I’m not sure I buy it. You threw children into the analogy, comparing relative morality vis a vis the movie, with nutritional advice. I wouldn’t let my kids see that movie until they reached the age where they were able to understand it, nor would I let children make decisions about their personal nutrition until they reach the age where they understood nutrition. Your analogy, in that sense, is not apt. If we stick to adults that movie does boil down simply to a matter of taste. Gotta keep apples with apples, you know.

    The child is irrelevant. But I can re-word it. If a grown, understanding person ate nothing but Snickers Bars, it would be unhealthy. They may like the taste, but it would be a terrible choice of nutrition. In the same way, a grown person can choose to put into their brain the “food” that is nutrition deficient, just as they can eat junk-food. We shouldn’t pretend as though some things are mentally and morally unhealthy.

  29. As you can see, my practice with HTML still leaves room for plenty of mistakes. Please excuse the last half of my post being in italics. I’m kinda laughing at myself right now.

  30. I sense that our discussion might be outgrowing the confines of the comment box. Nevertheless, I simply must carve out a bend in the road.

    Having been on the “defensive” for several posts now, I thought it would add some clarity if I asked some questions, and sought some insight into the atheistic world. (and also, this might salve your worries about my reading material).

    Having lived in atheism for so long, I can clearly state that one of its largest blind-spots is the inability to accept and understand the catastrophic ideas that have been born out of a philosophy that attempts to reject God. One of the most common questions posed to me by atheists is this: “What about all the killing that has been done in the name of Christianity?”. A valid question. First of all, as a response to such an emotionally-laden question: “What about all the killing that has been done by the hands of those who claim atheism?”. The atheist is very quick to lay blame at the feet of religion, while simultaneously ignoring the question’s very implications for atheism. Why is there not an equal amount of energy devoted to understanding why Hitler, Mao, and Mussolini killed millions in the name of atheism? The words of Hitler posted outside Auschwitz: “I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality…“.

    I will say openly that many people have hi-jacked Christianity, and done terrible things in the name of it. But the Christ of the scriptures, if you care to read, consistently rallied against these kinds of actions. However, when one looks honestly at the philosophical and existential scaffolding of atheism, it is clear that the acts of those named above come logically out of a system that denies the moral natural of faith. Atheism provides the logical basis for a domineering will that acts in contradiction to morality. There have have been countless fields of violence that are each the legitimate result of atheism. Nietzsche seemed to have an idea that this might happen, even though he thought it was necessary for the “super-man” to emerge, free from the constraints of religion. But we don’t see the “super-man” in the results of atheism, and the results are all around us.

    How does atheism come to terms with things like this? How do you wrestle with acknowledging that men like Mao asked the same things as you–”Why can purpose not be what I say it is.” Sure, and the killing fields of Cambodia, the causes for which were spawned under atheistic communism, were the result of another man’s purpose. The blind-spot is that in atheism, you logically forfeit the right to criticize any other worldview. Stalin was just “making his purpose” too.

    And even deeper, how do you go about atheistically understanding such actions, without positing some moral law? Was there anything wrong with gassing people? I mean, the human race kept on reproducing (your stated purpose of existence), so whats the matter with a few less million?

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