Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Oh, God

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  • tussock, in reply to Moz,

    Their response to "ethics education" was the kind of uncomprehending "without God there can be no morals or ethics" stuff that you'd expect from uneducated persons of impaired intellectual ability.

    It's cannon. Disagreeing with it means you don't really have faith and will go to hell. Only very bad people go to hell. Ergo, thinking ethics can be taught without God is a sign that people are very bad indeed. They're just trying to save your childrens from your Evil ways.

    They're seriously supposed to hate on people who are good atheists, because you have to know God to be good, and if you know God and refuse Him, you're exactly the same as Satan. Tempter. Deceiver.

    It's turtles all the way down, man. The whole thing. Everything is proof that God loves you and because of that will instantly burn you for an infinity of time if you even think about how that might possibly be a load of ass for even a second without begging forgiveness afterward, and also giving a bunch of your money to the man who told you that.


    It "makes sense", it's just circular and lacking objective proof. They're not stupid, they're just trained to fear objectivity and respect circular logic in the same way that you're trained the opposite.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to tussock,

    Only very bad people go to hell.

    Canon fodder, by definition.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1929 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    Blackstone's commentary on the connection between justice, happiness, and morality:

    As therefore the creator is a being, not only of infinite power, and wisdom, but also of infinite goodness, he has been pleased so to contrive the constitution and frame of humanity, that we should want no other prompter to inquire after and pursue the rule of right, but only our own self-love, that universal principle of action. For he has so intimately connected, so inseparably interwoven the laws of eternal justice with the happiness of each individual, that the latter cannot be attained but by observing the former; and, if the former be punctually obeyed, it cannot but induce the latter. In consequence of which mutual connection of justice and human felicity, he has not perplexed the law of nature with a multitude of abstracted rules and precepts, referring merely to the fitness or unfitness of things, as some have vainly surmised; but has graciously reduced the rule of obedience to this one paternal precept, "that man should pursue his own true and substantial happiness." This is the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law.

    http://wiki.actsinjunction.info/Blackstone/Wisdom

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to UglyTruth,

    If it’s not practical, it’s not spiritual.

    Plain english please, it’s more accessible to the humble and ordinary man or women and children.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to UglyTruth,

    For he has so intimately connected, so inseparably interwoven the laws of eternal justice with the happiness of each individual, that the latter cannot be attained but by observing the former; and, if the former be punctually obeyed, it cannot but induce the latter

    WTF? If you are religious please state it plainly NOW.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth, in reply to steven crawford,

    If it’s not practical, it’s not spiritual.

    Avoiding the pointy things and the burny things of the afterlife isn't practical?

    Plain english please

    The natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can be restated as life, liberty, and the pursuit of justice (or ethical behaviour).

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    WTF? If you are religious please state it plainly NOW.

    How do you differentiate between a person of religion and a rational theist?

    Religion is often corrupted for political purposes.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Avoiding the pointy things and the burny things of the afterlife isn’t practical?

    Correct.

    The natural rights

    Natural rights are a highly contentious idea. This may be hard to accept to anyone who has had to swear that they find certain truths about them self-evident. But unfortunately "self-evident" is usually a way of invoking no reason at all. You can swear away to them as much as you like, but that doesn't convince me of anything. I never found Hobbes, Locke or Paine very convincing on this particular score.

    It seems that "natural law" is most frequently invoked to assert opinions about morality without justification, and it's most often done by religious people who find the idea of a morally neutral universe hard to even fathom.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to UglyTruth,

    How do you differentiate between a person of religion and a rational theist?

    Personally, I wouldn’t.

    ETA: Which is to say, one is a subset of the other. Not all religious people are rational, but all theists are religious.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth, in reply to BenWilson,

    Correct.

    Because you don't believe that there is such a thing as an afterlife?

    Natural rights are a highly contentious idea.

    Like the idea of having a conscience? Both are contentious ideas for the NZ state.

    My focus here is natural rights as they exist within the common law. The state doesn't acknowledge the source of natural rights, so this argument could reduce to arguing for the state's factually false position vs the documentary sources of the common law.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to UglyTruth,

    How do you differentiate between a person of religion and a rational theist?

    Dont you worry about that I can. So your answer? Oh rational theist?
    You arrived at this position how? What theism are you rational in?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I'd prefer a rational theist to an irrational atheist.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    I'd prefer a rational theist to an irrational atheist.

    Denying that a divine being exists is pretty irrational, considering that the denial implies omniscience on the part of the denier.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Because you don’t believe that there is such a thing as an afterlife?

    I don't think you know anything about it, even if it does exist, which I doubt.

    Like the idea of having a conscience? Both are contentious ideas for the NZ state.

    No, nothing like that. Consciences clearly do exist. Natural rights, maybe not.

    My focus here is natural rights as they exist within the common law

    Their existence is contentious.

    The state doesn’t acknowledge the source of natural rights

    Sensible state. Why acknowledge the source of something that might not even exist?

    Denying that a divine being exists is pretty irrational, considering that the denial implies omniscience on the part of the denier.

    Denying aliens have taken over your brain and turned you loose as an amusing joke follows the same logic. Do you deny that has happened? If so, why? Rinse and repeat the same question, but with the magic poo-monster of Asgardtrothianosis.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Denying that a divine being exists is pretty irrational, considering that the denial implies omniscience on the part of the denier.

    I have yet to meet a theist who limits themselves to that level of belief. Once you get into the details of what constitutes a divine being and how one would qualify as such it's usually pretty easy to say very firmly "I believe that cannot exist". After a while it becomes easier to say "I have yet to hear of a divine being that can exist, nor can I imagine such a thing existing as would satisfy any definition of same". Which is fairly strong atheism in most people's books.

    I mean, obviously we can rule out omniscience and omnipresence as either meaningful or plausible traits, but never both. "weak omnipresence" is trivial, but also useless - God is everywhere, but can act nowhere. So any definition of "divine being" that requires either, I'm happy to say I'm certain such a thing cannot exist.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    Once you get into the details of what constitutes a divine being and how one would qualify as such it's usually pretty easy to say very firmly "I believe that cannot exist".

    Straw man. Stating a belief is different to an assertion of fact.

    So any definition of "divine being" that requires either, I'm happy to say I'm certain such a thing cannot exist.

    Another straw man: you are limiting the scope of your opinion.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    I’d prefer a rational theist to an irrational atheist.

    or as Tom Waits put it:
    "I'd rather have a bottle in front me
    than a frontal lobotomy..."

    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    Sensible state. Why acknowledge the source of something that might not even exist?

    Because in the context of common law it has been acknowledged to exist - the state is not telling the truth when it asserts otherwise. If you tell people that common law and case law are equivalent terms whens you are aware of the facts then you are lying, regardless of whether you are an atheist or not.

    Denying aliens have taken over your brain and turned you loose as an amusing joke follows the same logic. Do you deny that has happened? If so, why?

    Because of Occam's razor: the simplest explanation is that reality is an ordered system, your hypothetical example has no purpose and is therefore less probable than the explanation of the purpose as being the disclosure of politically inconvenient truths.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Another straw man:

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    or as Tom Waits put it:
    “I’d rather have a bottle in front me
    than a frontal lobotomy…”

    or variously W C Fields/Fred Allen/Dorothy Parker before him

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Dorothy Parker before him

    I always liked her:
    "If you want to see what God thinks of money,
    just look at the people he gave it to..."

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    NOT THE BEES!

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Because in the context of common law it has been acknowledged to exist – the state is not telling the truth when it asserts otherwise.

    The state has the right in this country to entirely redefine the law. If it doesn't want to make the source of promises something that people in large numbers will not find in the least bit frightening or compelling, then it is very sensible to offer an alternative. There is no difference in the way the different kinds of oaths are treated whatsoever. You can swear to almighty God, you can swear on your mother's grave, you can swear on your heart bursting, you can swear to a court. It's all the same. Because no one else can ever know about the sincerity of your oath, whether you actually care whether God is offended, or your mum rolls over in her grave, or that you actually think your heart might burst, or that you might just be gambling that the court will not discover your lies. None of that matters. What matters is that having sworn, any lies that are discovered are treated more severely. The purpose of the oath is to discourage lies. Who the oath is to is utterly, utterly irrelevant. In the past a lot of people were scared of lying to God (or at least being seen to), and felt no strange incongruity at swearing to Him, since they believed He exists. But this is not the case for a huge number of people now. So the custom has changed. Get over it.

    your hypothetical example has no purpose..

    No, I told you the purpose. The aliens are making fun of you. They chortle in their amazing ships at your every utterance. Only an omniscient person could be sure that it is not so. Are you, in fact, omniscient?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    The state has the right in this country to entirely redefine the law.

    No, it doesn't. Effective legislation is a function of sovereignty, and the NZ parliament is not sovereign.

    http://wiki.actsinjunction.info/Sovereignty
    http://www.actsinjunction.info/nzsov.html

    No, I told you the purpose. The aliens are making fun of you.

    The thing about aliens is that they're alien. You are ascribing human qualities to the unknown, which is why I said there was no purpose.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to UglyTruth,

    You are ascribing human qualities to the unknown, which is why I said there was no purpose

    Yup, it's my story. I get to define these aliens how I like. It's on you to show why they don't exist, in a way that doesn't also refute your own imaginary friend. If you're still keen on asserting the irrationality of refusing to believe in God. My point is that it's equally irrational not to believe my made up story. You can't produce a shred of physical evidence to dispute it. You have to admit it's a possibility. And that's as much of your story as I'll admit. There could be a God that is unknowable, has not influence on human affairs, can't be proved right or wrong. And also aliens could have abducted you, altered your brain, and used you for a silly joke. They're both either rational to believe on grounds of impossibility of knowing for absolutely certain that they're false, or they're both rational to disbelieve on the grounds of there being no evidence at all for them.

    So which will you choose? Occam's razor, or unlimited silliness? Both are viable belief systems.

    the NZ parliament is not sovereign.

    No, really, it is.

    Money quote:

    In passing the Constitution Act 1986 (effective 1 January 1987), New Zealand “unilaterally revoked all residual United Kingdom legislative power.” New Zealand, as of 1987, is a free-standing constitutional monarchy whose parliament has unlimited sovereign power.

    Parliament here could pass a law requiring you to swear on the Koran, or that you should perform sacred rites with virgins and chickens, if they could get it through the votes. They won't, of course.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

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