Proclamation of Injustice


This post is in response to another post. Read this first to get the context: Click Here. It also has to do with this news story about an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning: Click Here

There are extremes for the religious and non-religious man which can never be reached. For the religious man it is complete adherence to the goodness and laws of God. He will always fall short. For the non-religious man it is individual liberty. He will always find himself constrained by what, to each individual, constitutes harm. Other people have quite different ideas about what part of your specific behavior concerns them or harms them. On one hand, society could define harm like Anthony Comstock and squelch even the most private immorality perceived to take place. The moral police would always be looking over your shoulders. On the other hand, if only physical or material injury counts as harm there could be no law against prostitution, public drunkenness, obscenity, indecent exposure, and so on. If expanding the sphere of liberty was always a “net gain”, so to speak, it would lead to the elimination of all law and restraints imposed by social disapproval, which is an unrealistic goal of individual liberty.

Now, what constitutes harm to this particular government, in this case, does not constitute harm to the commenters on this post. I’m inclined to agree with them. However, without an absolute, or at the very least, a unending universal standard by which to judge these actions as immoral, how can you impose your concept of harm on another person’s or government’s concept of harm. There is no reason why their opinions on that subject are not as valid as, or entitled to more weight than yours. Your assessment of their actions are still based on your own notions and opinions of right and wrong. This is where you draw the line. OK. Great. They draw the line at another place. If there is no absolute standard, then your definition of harm is just as valid as their definition of harm. What’s the difference if it’s all based on every individual’s or society’s line? By the way, making an unending universal standard leads to Communism, and that’s never been a successful government. Communism hinders individual liberty as well. The only real answer is one that exists outside of humanity. We need a mediator who knows what’s best of each of us. If he doesn’t exist, your proclamation of injustice can always be hindered by another man’s equally valid idea of justice.

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30 thoughts on “Proclamation of Injustice

  1. how can you impose your concept of harm on another person’s or government’s concept of harm.

    There’s no imposition here. I think you meant to ask “How can you know your government’s standard is better (more just) than another’s?”

    First off, they’re our standards, so we naturally think of them as superior.

    Second, we’ve got lots of history to peruse, much of which contains mistakes that we clearly do not want to repeat. If we see contemporary examples of these historic mistakes, we’ve got an “unending” standard against which they can be judged.

    Finally, there’s consensus. You’ll often find that consensus draws from the mistakes mentioned above, but the weight derived from it is different from the historical kind. It can be much more influential, though admittedly it’s also less reliable.

    Voila! No need for an absolute immaterial universal standard by which to judge things.

    In any case, this post makes me want to point back to my comments IRT Christian Biblical standards. There is only one standard (“Whatever God says is good – is good” and it’s very much open to interpretation.

    1. Whatever God says is good – is good This is not simply a point open to interpretation, Whateverman, but a key issue about morality and god; it raises a killer dilemma for those like Daniel who honestly believe some set standard for determining what is and is not moral comes from god and can be known. That’s simply not true, not because I think so but because it is obvious.

      To whit:

      Is charity good because God approves of it, or does god approve of charity because it is good?

      By asserting that whatever god says is good is good, one has to admit that if god approved of cruelty, then cruelty would be good. This means that god has to be accepted as merely an arbitrary and capricious lawgiver. If ‘good’ only means ‘approved by god,’ the ‘god is good’ only means that ‘god approved of himself,’ which then becomes a vacuous claim and reduces the moral argument to one of meaningless tautology.

      If god approved of charity because it is good, then the admission is that there is a standard of right and wrong independent of god.

      Either way, attributing the source of morality to god does us no (excuse the pun) good at all: either god is morally capricious or he doesn’t matter in terms of determining what is and is not moral. Hence, moral theologians do not have a greater claim on moral truths than do moral philosophers or anyone else who thinks we should abide by rules apt to improve the human condition.

  2. “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?”

    The answer is this: Any moral direction coming from God is an extension of his character. He said to love one another because God is love, not because he chose love as the right way or because love is good. In this view, if you really know God, you understand where his direction to us comes from: It is part of his identity; who he is.

    1. That is not an answer so much as a poor evasion by semantics: whatever is good is god, meaning that whatever is god is good, which I have pointed out in the first part is mere tautology, meaning god is capricious. You claim love is part of his character, who he is. I ask you in as much sincerity, are his eyes brown, black, blue, or green? Obviously you don’t know that answer, so why should I think you know his ‘character’ any better? I don’t think you do, but you will say as much because you believe as much. You are not asserting what is true about god; you are asserting what you believe is true about god, leading us right back to the point I am trying to make about deriving morality from what you believe is true about god. You may wrong as much as that Iranian cleric may be wrong. How are we to know the difference?

      1. How do we know anything outside of ourselves without having first hand knowledge of it? Through faith. Faith in authority.

        Most of the things we know in this world come from authority. All this really means is that you believe certain things because you get the information from a trustworthy source. People believe in the concept of the solar system, the existence of the atom, and evolution because a scientist or teacher explained it to them. In fact, every historical statement in this world is believed because of authority. The point here is that information that is passed to people throughout history is done so on the sole basis of authority. What authority do you trust? You trust in self and others, namely your teachers. I trust in God. You trust in inadequacies. I trust in someone who claims to be all sufficient and shows himself to be. Both you and I have faith, just in different objects. I’m willing to take a chance on a perfect being. Your satisfied to take a chance on imperfect beings.

      2. You believe in the bible’s authority because the bible says it is an authority. How is that any different in believing Hitler was a good person because Hitler said he was a good person?

        Do you see the problem with that line of reasoning?

        I do not have ‘faith’ in authority. I have some level of trust in all kinds of authorities depending on what informs that authority. Faith by definition is belief in the absence of evidence to inform it. Trust by definition is a level of confidence. Something other than faith informs confidence or else, by definition, it would be faith. The two words do not share the same meaning, so I do not have ‘faith’ that the police officer will enforce the law; I have confidence that in order for a police officer to gain the uniform and rank means that he or she has undergone the necessary training and has been found suitable. Should the police officer reveal an inability to enforce the law, then I have confidence the uniform and rank will be recalled.

        I have different levels of trust – meaning confidence – for different kinds of authorities. Those with the least evidence I – surprisingly – trust the least; those with the most, I trust the most. That seems rational to me. Because the bible as guide to what constitutes moral authority has the least amount of evidence to back that claim up and a preponderance of evidence that directly and unambiguously disputes such a claim, I trust very little. Claims that by just having ‘faith’ I can become a perfect being seems… well… a little irrational to me.

  3. Tildeb,

    Is there no defense in Atheism? Is it only offense? It seems to me that Whateverman did a good job of defending. Thank you, Whateverman.

    1. That’s pretty cheeky: in your last post you asserted that atheism leads to cannibalism unless tempered by what you called theistic philosophy. I, as an atheist, took exception to that attack on my morality by pointing out that your morality that you claim to be from god is actually your own and just as open to the charge of ‘leads to cannibalism’ as any other.

      Defending non belief is unnecessary. It falls to those like you who claim some important role for god above human rights and human freedoms in the affairs of people to justify that unwarranted insertion. To explain me point, I have raised the specter of what religious law looks like in action when we turn away from elevating human rights, freedom, and the dignity of personhood to be the basis for law and replace it with an ancient, cruel, barbaric, and repulsive set of misogynistic rules ‘derived’ from some goat herder’s desert morality several millennia old but apparently sanctioned by the illiterate herder’s belief in a god. That is the same source for your god-sanctioned morality as it is for the cleric’s that both you and he believe equally and with equal certainty represents what is god’s will. I think your belief in this ‘derived’ morality is – if nothing else – a cop out from owning and being responsible for your own morality as well as an insidious and terrible caustic influence on the respect for the rights and freedoms of real people in the here and now.

      You have the freedom to believe what you want and express those beliefs. You have those freedoms only because the secular society of which you are a part hold these rights and freedoms to be fundamental. These reasons why such rights freedoms are fundamental are based on values derived from the Enlightenment and deemed to be ‘good’ because this is where our moral reasoning has brought us. The reasoning is concerned with the role of government to establish the necessary legal framework that allows for individual ‘happiness’ to be pursued. This necessarily means that the respect for the welfare of ALL individual’s rights and freedoms is paramount because it is ONLY from the individual as a collective that will come all legitimate political power over that collective.

      As soon as people begin to subvert this secular basis of rights and freedoms in the name of something else – usually god – then in effect we have an attack on our collective rights and collective freedoms. In Enlightenment terms, this attack is ‘bad’. It is usually couched in terms of morality, for there is a wide-spread belief in the falsehood that religion is in some way particularly suited for moral and ethical pronouncements. It’s not. Yet religious leaders are often granted unjustified access to political leadership as well as a voice in media to spread some pronouncement about the morality of this or the ethics of that, as if they were spokesmen (and they are almost always men) for god. In this way, the religious have a completely unjustified yet profound and extremely negative effect on public policy. This effect must be challenged at its root and the root is belief. Is the belief justified or unjustified and how can we know the difference while still respecting the rights and freedoms of others?

      By dialogue and explanation.

      So because I see secular values derided and undermined and threatened by believers in some supernatural agency, I feel attacked. When someone suggests that unless I believe as he or she does in this supernatural agency, and my morality is therefore questionable enough to become a cannibal, I feel attacked. When someone proclaims that the morality he or she espouses by nature of some belief in god is superior to my own, then I feel attacked. All of these positions by those who attack me and my moral character are based on the root problem of unjustified beliefs, so I attempt in my not-so-subtle way to explain how and why these beliefs in supernatural agency and everything derived forthwith are not justified. I feel that if more believers simply considered the damage they do to their own rights and freedoms, which is incredibly disrespectful to the rights and freedoms of their families, friends, neighbours, and this woman in Iran who is going to be stoned for adultery, all in the name of god, they will pull support for religious beliefs out of the public domain and place it back into the private where the secular society will continue to protect the right and freedom to hold them.

      1. No, Carol, it is not. Atheism is the absence of belief. It is not belief of a different kind any more than NOT collecting stamps is different kind of hobby.

      2. Does nonbelief not define the nonbeliever? Does it not give him a philosophy to live by? Is it not a window through which he sees the world and a mirror in which he sees himself? Does he not obey its dictates and bow to its lofty position? Is it not his identity? Does he not strive to defend it and propagate its message?

      3. So many questions, Carol! And so easy to answer them. Why don’t you take a crack at answering them for yourself first and see if they make better sense that way. Here, let me help you:

        Does your lack of belief in Quetzalcoatl define you?
        Does a lack of belief in Isis not give you a philosophy to live by?
        Isn’t your lack of belief in Muk Muk of the Volcano not a window through which you view the world and a mirror by which you see yourself?
        Do you not obey your non belief in Anu by its dictates and bow to its lofty position?
        Is not your non belief in Brahma not your identity?
        Does your non belief in all the Greek gods make you someone who strives to defend your non belief and propagate its message?

        You see, Carol, your questions are based on assuming that my non belief is somehow different than your own. It’s not. I think you have no good reasons to believe in the gods I mention and I don’t attempt to somehow define your character in a negative light by your own non belief. If I were to insist that, for example, Quetzalcoatl really was true, then surely it falls on me to provide good reasons why I think you should begin to believe rather than you to defend why you do not believe. You don’t believe in Quetzalcoatl for the same lack of good reasons I don’t believe in the christian tripartite god. Is your lack of belief in any of these and the other thousands of gods in any real sense and equivalent to you exercising and operating by a religious belief? (Hint: the short should be “Of course not.”)

  4. Whateverman,

    If we can classify someones moral standards as better than someone else’s, then there is an improvement process taking place. This process will eventually lead us to an absolute moral standard.

  5. Daniel wrote the following to me:
    If we can classify someones moral standards as better than someone else’s, then there is an improvement process taking place. This process will eventually lead us to an absolute moral standard.

    Even if you assume continuous improvement (which we obviously have not achieved), we can never hope to attain an absolute anything because we are limited creatures. Ideally, the approach toward “perfection” is asymptotic, but in reality, we alternately gain AND lose ground. human history is replete with examples of us having to relearn lessons that our ancestors learned centuries ago.

    We can never reach an absolute standard of morality for it would require us to be omniscient. We’d need to know that it applied to every conceivable situation in the universe, at every place and every time.

    No, all we can do is approximate perfection. After all, isn’t this what the morality in the bible is supposed to give us? A standard that applies to everything, every where and every when? The problem is that God is the exception to every rule – and if there are exceptions, the rule can not be absolute.

    “Whatever God says is good – is good” removes the possibility of an exception. However, this also results in such morality being relative.

    PS. Tildeb, the Euthyphro Dilemma still keeps my noodle twisted up. It seems to me that e-Theists often fail to recognize the consequences of having chosen one option over the other.

  6. To be clear, we can determine person A’s morality to be better than person B’s morality. However, we can never be certain about this determination.

    As such, we’ll occasionally screw up.

  7. Tildeb,

    You said, “whatever is good is god, meaning that whatever is god is good”

    This is not an accurate statement. God is the source of good. Good is not the source of God. If good is God, you could claim that you were God simply because you fed the poor. My previous explanation still negates the Euthyphro dilemma.

    You said, “I ask you in as much sincerity, are his eyes brown, black, blue, or green?”

    There is not a book about his eyes, but there is a book about his character.

    You said, “I have confidence that in order for a police officer to gain the uniform and rank means that he or she has undergone the necessary training and has been found suitable.”

    That is faith. You have no first hand knowledge of the training. You did not see it. You are told these things. If you acquire knowledge outside of yourself, and believe it to be any sort of accurate, that is faith – Belief without first hand evidence.

    Tildeb, you have faith in your teacher or book who told you that a man observed this or that first hand and “these” were the results and conclusions. I have faith in the book that told me of a man (Jesus) who said he had first hand knowledge of God and explained his character. You use the same process as I. We just have different objects of our faith. Of course, there is quite a big difference afterwards: when I put my faith in God, I have a first hand experience with him in my inner man. This is a mystery to others, but quite clear to the believer.

    You said, “Defending non belief is unnecessary. It falls to those like you who claim some important role for god above human rights and human freedoms in the affairs of people to justify that unwarranted insertion.”

    How convenient. Non-belief without reason. Non-belief without defense. Other people have to prove it. If you took that stance in all other areas of life, you must be content to know nothing unless you know it first hand. You would have to forget all your schooling, and everything your parents taught you. What a narrow minded and uniformed life that would be. You have no responsibility to defend the implications that non-belief has on philosophy, and your worldview. I don’t think anyone could teach you anything with that combination of thoughts in your head. You say, “I just do that toward religion and God.” Sounds like a preference to me. You just don’t like it, and that’s really all that’s driving your atheism.

    1. You call it ‘convenient’ that I do not have to defend non belief. Really? Convenient? You continue to call any confidence I have without first-hand knowledge the same kind of ‘faith’ as you have for the existence and interaction of your god, which you claim is first hand but we both know that you have never had any direct contact with this agency; rather, you have attributed certain experiences to this agency and are convinced, therefore, of this agency. People make this mistake all the time so it’s perfectly understandable you would, too. But clearly this is not first hand experience of a divine agency but an attribution of linking some effect (your experiences) to a divine cause. Is that cause really true or is it a projection of what you would like to be be true?

      Thankfully, we have different ways of knowing how to examine the attributed cause through its effects (called evidence) without having to rely only on the assertions and assumptions of the subject who earnestly believes in the attributed cause. We call this method of investigation the scientific method, and it has proven to be very useful in establishing what really links cause to effect by means of a naturalistic mechanism. This method has been such a boon to humanity that its method of inquiry directly threatens long held and earnest beliefs about the role of causation by supernatural agency in human affairs.

      Let’s change the object of this debate and see if the reasoning about the cause of morality still makes sense.

      You collect stamps. I don’t. You claim that morality derives from having a hobby, and that because stamp collecting is the very best hobby, stamp collecting is the primary source of morality. I disagree. According to you, I don’t prescribe to collecting stamps in particular as having any intrinsic moral value and because I have no such hobby I must therefore have no basis upon which to build anything other than a relativistic morality. I say morality and hobbies have nothing to do with each other. You claim that not collecting stamps is as much a hobby as collecting them. I disagree. Furthermore, you call it ‘convenient’ that I don’t have to defend my position that not collecting stamps is by definition not a hobby but feel I am being unfair to insist that it falls on you who claim otherwise to prove that your hobby in particular has a link to morality. I ask for evidence. Because you are the one making the claim that morality is linked, you offer nothing other than your belief to show why stamp collecting is the one true source of morality. I offer up another hobby, say collecting human heads, to show why morality is not linked to having a hobby and you reject that because it isn’t stamp collecting, which you continue to assert is the one true path to becoming morally perfect. All this you do without any evidence to justify that morality derives from hobbies.

      Sigh.

      My position is not a matter of ‘like’ and ‘dislike;’ it’s a matter of informed reasoning. Your claim that morality derives from god (a hobby) is wrong because it is a belief without evidence and is founded solely on your belief in christianity (stamp collecting) that it is so. The formation of morality as a means by which we judge good and bad is independently formed to any information we might gain from reading holy texts like the bible or the quaran and is the means by which we determine which parts of the holy texts are moral and which ones are immoral, which parts are allegory and metaphor and which parts are literal, which commandments should be implemented and which parts should not, and so on. Claims that we derive this knowledge first from the text prior to this sifting of the text for moral guidance are obviously false, laying bare the emptiness of the claim that the cause of morality is god.

      1. Tildeb, I think i generally agree that our morality can not come solely (or directly) from a textbook. Reasoning and a sense of right & wrong must exist prior to any reading that we do as children.

        I’ve often felt that theists are simply bad at communicating ideas. While I don’t necessarily this this applies to Daniel, it can been seen nearly everywhere else. Rather than morality coming from the bible, it MIGHT come from a deity – this is something that can be taken as a matter of faith, and is largely unassailable by reason. The mistake Christians make in this case is equating God with the Bible.

        Although there are ubiquitous moral concepts in the Bible, clearly, humans derive their morality from many sources. Not all biblical standards are considered ethical by contemporary Christianity, making it specious as a source for absolute morality.

        However, in Daniel’s defense, the idea morality deriving from the Christian God himself can not be rejected on the basis of reason.

      2. …the idea morality deriving from the Christian God himself can not be rejected on the basis of reason.

        Rejecting the idea of morality deriving from stamp collecting cannot be rejected on the basis of reason.

        I see no qualitative difference in reasoning between these two statements. Both are equally an assertion without evidence. On that basis alone, I can quite properly reject them based on reason… that if I allow any and all assertions without evidence to be equally valid, then I have replaced reason with simple acceptance. Simple acceptance of any and all truth claims is unreasonable.

        We cannot with absolute certainty refute either claim – or any number of assertions – but where does that leave us in our investigation of how morality comes about? You know perfectly well that proving a negative no matter how bizarre – an invisible pink elephant lives in your left ear and you can’t prove that it doesn’t – is a highly problematic avenue of inquiry to offer any justification for what is claimed to be true. Because the acceptance of your point that we can’t prove a negative (generally) in no way furthers the discussion whether morality derives from god. What it does do is excuse any and all assertions. This tactic is nothing more and nothing less than granting a Get Out Of Jail Free card for making any and all empty assertions equally immune to any further inquiry. Is that being ‘fair’ to Daniel? Is that being ‘fair’ to the role of reason in our inquiries?

        If you are going to make a claim that something like a christian deity may exist not merely as a matter of faith but of actuality, and may be the cause of certain effects like human morality, then you have given up your right to claim that this faith-based idea deserves any kind of exemption from ALL the tools of rational inquiry, most notably that of evidence-based reasoning. It is an utter cop-out – an accommodationist’s main maneuver – to suggest that such claims are exempt from rational inquiry because they possess the qualified notion of ‘faith’. Claims about the world we inhabit are fully open to reason-based investigation along with evidence to support and inform why one conclusion is based on better reasons than another. This exactly what Daniel is trying to do: provide reasons why he thinks morality derives from god. But you don’t exempt his arguments on the basis that reason plays no part in his faith; rather he believes what he does for poor reasons. So it is not a mistake of linking god with the bible (but if not for a holy text, then how does god make his wishes and intentions known to more than a solitary person who receives what he or she claims to be divine revelation?); this is a mistake of attribution, for the faithful to jump to an inquiry-stopping conclusion that pretends to be an answer but which, in fact, is empty of anything meaningful except “I don’t know,” which in the case of the faithful is spelled g-o-d-d-i-d-i-t.

  8. Whateverman,

    You said, “The problem is that God is the exception to every rule – and if there are exceptions, the rule can not be absolute.”

    God is good without perversion or corruption, without evil. There is no exception to this. However, there are certain rights that he has that we don’t have by virtue of being the Creator. Take the place of God in your mind for a second. If you, being absolute good, create a world and the life on it (and you created it to be good) and gave them laws, you would also have a right to take a life if justice demanded it – because they deviated from goodness. That is the nature of God’s relationship to us. He has certain rights that we do not. However, that is why Jesus took our punishment, so we could have a relationship with God without justice getting in the way.

    1. Daniel wrote the following to me: Take the place of God in your mind for a second. If you, being absolute good, create a world and the life on it (and you created it to be good) and gave them laws, you would also have a right to take a life if justice demanded it

      That is correct. However, it would also be inaccurate for the life subject to those laws to call the laws “absolute and unchanging”.

      Again, the ONLY thing that would be absolute and unchanging is God’s right to make laws.

  9. Tildeb,

    You said, “the existence and interaction of your god, which you claim is first hand but we both know that you have never had any direct contact with this agency; rather, you have attributed certain experiences to this agency and are convinced, therefore, of this agency”

    What actually happened was that I was convinced of this “agency” before this “interaction and experience” which came because I had faith first, but the first hand experience was not physical, therefore, not observable (at least not on the outside). The experience served as reinforcement to what I was already convinced of. It is felt in a spiritual connection that was not there before, like a light switch that was turned on. This does not erase the need for faith, however.

    I say this not to argue, but to give an account of what happened to me personally. You don’t have to believe it, I just felt like sharing. I speak in a mystery because words are not adequate.

    Tildeb to Whateverman – “But you don’t exempt his arguments on the basis that reason plays no part in his faith; rather he believes what he does for poor reasons.”

    There is no need to chide Whateverman for understanding a viewpoint. It doesn’t mean he agrees with it, or accepts it, or believes in it. As far as I can tell, he believes the way you do. Must everyone think the way you do? I don’t require this of other Christians who differ on some issues. The main core belief is still held. We allow for variance on issues stemming from that core belief. Surely, you can do the same with your core of non-belief.

    Tildeb, your comparison of God to stamps is indicative of your view of God – lifeless, inadequate, and irrelevant. Although, I do find it interesting that you compare him to something that exists.

    1. As I wrote, your belief is an attribution. And I am well aware that Whateverman does not believe as you do. But whenever some well-intentioned accommodation for the incompatibility of science and religion raises its head, it need to be directly challenged. Call it chiding if you must. I understand that the reference was that reason alone does not discount god as the source of morality, and I wrote that I agreed but – and it’s a huge but – without evidence for that causal relationship in the assertion that is it possible, it is unreasonable to pretend it is.

      I have no wish for you to ‘believe’ anything that is not informed by good reasons, including any opinions I hold that are lacking them. It’s not about me; it’s about attaining knowledge through honest inquiry tempered by intellectual integrity. That’s why I point out where some of your thinking is done badly. By learning how to think critically well will best serve you AND me.

      And you last point? How can I compare something YOU think exists with something – anything – that I don’t think exists? How about chocolate robot invisible jellyfish? Is that a more interesting comparison because as far as anyone knows they don’t exist? I fail to see your point.

  10. Chocolate robot invisible jellyfish. You’re really comparing that to God? Nothing points to the former. The existence of specified and complex Information points to the latter. This makes the latter a more reasonable assumption. Organized information and structure exists in the universe. I choose to believe that it was organized by a mind. Atheists do not. That’s fine.

    The problem for atheists here begins at the point of Pascal’s wager. The argument here is to assume a 50/50 chance that God exists. Therefore if you choose to believe God exists and he doesn’t then no one loses. However, if you choose to believe God does not exist and he does then the loss is yours. Either way, you are making a wager. According to the 50/50 chance that God exists, the atheist is making a dangerous bet.

    1. By describing the universe as ‘organized’, you are assuming it could be some other way. How do you know this, Tim?

      Why don’t you believe in the hindu gods? That’s a serious question, by the way. Note that Pascal’s wager must now include not only your christian god but also those of the hindu. Also note that it changes the odds rather significantly. Because your god is one and the hindu gods are over 200, now Pascal’s wager asks you to choose one from the more than 200 gods – all of which may or may not exist. Add all the gods mankind has ever worshipped and we’re well over 2000 gods… none of which you believe in save one. You may even have chosen the correct one. Good for you. But maybe – and because we’re talking odds here, remember, the chances are almost certain that you have not – you are not correct. Pascal’s wager of one chance in over two thousand upon which to organize and direct your life based on this slimmest of chances compared to not believing in any of them no longer makes a whole of sense with this understanding. At least with atheist’s ‘gamble’, the odds really are 50-50: either gods exist or they do not. That’s a much safer bet to take.

      1. The whole point is that the universe couldn’t be some other way. It had to have been created. The whole point is that if the universe were a chance happening, it wouldn’t be so organized.

        I have my own reasons for believing that my God is a far more reasonable bet than the other “gods” you’ve mentioned. But that’s just a distraction. The real question for you isn’t whether or not this or that god is the right one. The question for you is whether it is worth seeking out God to begin with. Once you’ve answered that question, then you can worry about which God is the right one. That is essentially why I mentioned Pascal’s wager.

  11. Tim writes The whole point is that the universe couldn’t be some other way. It had to have been created. The whole point is that if the universe were a chance happening, it wouldn’t be so organized.

    I know you think this is so, but based on what… other than your insistence, that is?

    And no, the question is not whether I think the seeking out of an invisible chocolate covered robotic jellyfish is worthwhile. The question in this regard is what are the reasonable grounds for thinking it does?

    As for Pascal’s wager, we can see it is very poorly formed. It’s not whether or not there is or is not a god but which god is the right one if there happens to be one is the one that will win the wager. On the denial side we have a .5 probability there is no god. On the affirmative side we have about a .0005 probability of selecting the correct god. Only a betting fool would choose the affirmative side. That’s why Pascal’s wager is a very poor argument in favour of affirming the existence of your god.

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