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Old 29th November 2012, 09:21 AM   #481
AvalonXQ
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Originally Posted by RoboTimbo View Post
The question was, "Does there need to be a higher power to define good/evil/right wrong/moral/immoral?" Avalon says Yes <snip>
Actually, I said "no." Repeatedly, and in great detail.

It seems you are determined to pay attention to only about one thing out of five that I say and to ignore anything I say that doesn't fit your preconception of what a strawman theist would say. Please have the intellectual integrity to address my actual points instead of your strawman versions of my points.
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Old 29th November 2012, 09:31 AM   #482
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Actually, I said "no." Repeatedly, and in great detail.

It seems you are determined to pay attention to only about one thing out of five that I say and to ignore anything I say that doesn't fit your preconception of what a strawman theist would say. Please have the intellectual integrity to address my actual points instead of your strawman versions of my points.
Settle down. My mistake, you said there were universal ones. The point still stands, you've simply asserted it. You also asserted that obeying your god was good and disobeying it was bad.
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Old 29th November 2012, 09:44 AM   #483
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
Playing devil's advocate (um, not sure that's the best term in this case, but you know what I mean ), I think Avalon has a pretty air-tight logical argument for why morals can be objective and universal under those circumstances.

If obeying God's specific instructions is the only definition of what's good, then if God instructs a person to kill thousands, it's good for that person to kill thousands. If the only instruction from God to non-believers is to believe, then they're only good if they switch to believing (and then follow further instructions) and are only bad if they disbelieve.

That's just as much nonsense as AvalonXQ's attempt to defend the position. Objective doesn't come from voices in your head. And nothing in the multitudes of interpretations of the Christian's alleged god's alleged rules can be considered objective, simply because there are multitudes of interpretations.

Quote:
It's objective and universal--if one sets aside the common sense notion that killing thousands under most circumstances is bad, as is ordering them to be killed.

It's those "most circumstances" which will never come down to something that, as AvalonXQ put it, "can be confirmed and we can all agree on". So nope, AvalonXQ's defense of his position is convoluted logic, a work of fiction created to defend an indefensible position. It has failed, as has your defense of his defense.

Last edited by GeeMack; 29th November 2012 at 09:47 AM. Reason: Grammar.
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Old 29th November 2012, 10:20 AM   #484
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
If god can order thousands killed on his whim, how is that objective?
It's objective in the same way that one can objectively measure temperature, even though temperature can change randomly. If good is what God orders, then one can always measure the goodness of something by how close it comes to God's order.

As far as what God himself is allowed to do, one has to define whatever he does as good (and of course accept that there is an actual god behind the machinery too).

I think the devil's advocate view would be that that's no different than defining temperature as the variation in the speed at which molecules move (not sure if I've got that correct scientifically, but I mean defining temperature as the underlying thing being measured).

Everything which follows is logical if one accepts the initial premise. One can't measure goodness without defining goodness, but once it's defined, one can measure away.

Edited to clarify: all of the above is a devil's advocate argument, and not anywhere close to my personal belief

Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
It's those "most circumstances" which will never come down to something that, as AvalonXQ put it, "can be confirmed and we can all agree on". So nope, AvalonXQ's defense of his position is convoluted logic, a work of fiction created to defend an indefensible position. It has failed, as has your defense of his defense.
I wish AvalonXQ would explain how there can be goodness outside of God, if goodness is defined as following God's instructions, because that's the part I don't understand.

If we all know that certain things are wrong--genocide, punishing innocent people, etc.--and if we accept that following God's instructions is good, then God can't perform or order those things, otherwise he wouldn't be good.

Yet the Bible says God did those things himself or ordered his followers to do them.

Does not compute. One can either claim that certain things are always wrong, or that certain things were/are good when God orders them and bad when he prohibits them, but not both.

The only way the logic holds is to define anything God does or orders as good, no matter how wrong it seems based on common sense.

Last edited by Pup; 29th November 2012 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 29th November 2012, 10:31 AM   #485
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What Pup describes is logically consistent and seems to answer the title question, "No right or wrong without a higher authority" and puts God in the role of "higher" with respect to humans.

Since "higher" is relative, we can escape the heirarchy by allowing humans to alter what God sees as right and wrong. So, for example, God establishes it is right to kill X because of some offense. Man kills X. God thinks about it and sees Man doesn't appreciate having to kill X and God decides that, based on Man's feedback, He should no longer demand that sort of killing.

Both get to evolve in this scheme, and the role of "higher" flips around. In a sense, Man is a measuring instrument, used by God to figure out what is currently the most moral stance.

One can use this argument as a path to justify some absolute morality, in turns discovered by God and Man in the way any discovery might work. "I shall try out this activity and find out whether it is moral or not."

All it requires is an indeterminate universe, something you can make compatible with God if you like. He still gets to be omniscient, omnibenevolent and all powerful, but this omniscience doesn't extend into the future, which is not yet determined. So too, what is moral isn't determined throughout time and gets discovered as we move along.

Last edited by marplots; 29th November 2012 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 29th November 2012, 10:33 AM   #486
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
The only way the logic holds is to define anything God does or orders as good, no matter how wrong it seems based on common sense.
Exactly. That's why I said you can as easily substitute a Magic 8-ball for god as long as you simply define what the Magic 8-ball says as being good. A Magic 8-ball seems to be equally as capricious as the Christian god.
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Old 29th November 2012, 10:41 AM   #487
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
It's objective in the same way that one can objectively measure temperature, even though temperature can change randomly. If good is what God orders, then one can always measure the goodness of something by how close it comes to God's order.

[...]

The only way the logic holds is to define anything God does or orders as good, no matter how wrong it seems based on common sense.

Well, my comments relate to objective reality. Yours relate to some wild and wholly unsupported hypothetical what-if scenario. And AvalonXQ's relate to a work of fiction he molds and re-molds in his head to suit any given discussion. It's built on the delusional premise that your what-if has some basis in reality.
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Old 29th November 2012, 10:54 AM   #488
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
It's objective in the same way that one can objectively measure temperature, even though temperature can change randomly. If good is what God orders, then one can always measure the goodness of something by how close it comes to God's order.

As far as what God himself is allowed to do, one has to define whatever he does as good (and of course accept that there is an actual god behind the machinery too).

I think the devil's advocate view would be that that's no different than defining temperature as the variation in the speed at which molecules move (not sure if I've got that correct scientifically, but I mean defining temperature as the underlying thing being measured).

Everything which follows is logical if one accepts the initial premise. One can't measure goodness without defining goodness, but once it's defined, one can measure away.

Edited to clarify: all of the above is a devil's advocate argument, and not anywhere close to my personal belief



I wish AvalonXQ would explain how there can be goodness outside of God, if goodness is defined as following God's instructions, because that's the part I don't understand.

If we all know that certain things are wrong--genocide, punishing innocent people, etc.--and if we accept that following God's instructions is good, then God can't perform or order those things, otherwise he wouldn't be good.

Yet the Bible says God did those things himself or ordered his followers to do them.

Does not compute. One can either claim that certain things are always wrong, or that certain things were/are good when God orders them and bad when he prohibits them, but not both.

The only way the logic holds is to define anything God does or orders as good, no matter how wrong it seems based on common sense.
It seems that all you've done is substitute gods' subjective viewpoint for a humans' viewpoint, there's still no objective way to determining good.
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Old 29th November 2012, 11:30 AM   #489
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
I wish AvalonXQ would explain how there can be goodness outside of God, if goodness is defined as following God's instructions, because that's the part I don't understand.
Goodness is not just defined as following God's instructions; it's defined as taking actions consistent with absolute morality, which includes (but is not limited to) following God's instructions.

Some things can be good because they show love and compassion for others, some things can be good because they help others avoid harm, some things can be good because they transform us for the better, some things can be good because they represent obedience to God, etc.

Obeying God is a component of moral behavior, but it's not more accurate to say "good depends on God" than it would be to say "good depends on this hungry child." In both cases, yes, the existence of the entity modifies what is good, but that doesn't mean that goodness itself depends on the entity.
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Old 29th November 2012, 11:58 AM   #490
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
" In both cases, yes, the existence of the entity modifies what is good, but that doesn't mean that goodness itself depends on the entity.
So it doesn't matter if the entity does not exist.
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:01 PM   #491
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
Playing devil's advocate (um, not sure that's the best term in this case, but you know what I mean ), I think Avalon has a pretty air-tight logical argument for why morals can be objective and universal under those circumstances.

If obeying God's specific instructions is the only definition of what's good, then if God instructs a person to kill thousands, it's good for that person to kill thousands. If the only instruction from God to non-believers is to believe, then they're only good if they switch to believing (and then follow further instructions) and are only bad if they disbelieve.

It's objective and universal--if one sets aside the common sense notion that killing thousands under most circumstances is bad, as is ordering them to be killed.
The problem is that God's instructions are not actually objective. You don't get an email from God saying 'Kill 5 people today' you get a book, and some preachers with multiple interpretations of it that actually feature very little in the way of direct instruction.

Originally Posted by Pup View Post
It's objective in the same way that one can objectively measure temperature, even though temperature can change randomly. If good is what God orders, then one can always measure the goodness of something by how close it comes to God's order.

As far as what God himself is allowed to do, one has to define whatever he does as good (and of course accept that there is an actual god behind the machinery too).

I think the devil's advocate view would be that that's no different than defining temperature as the variation in the speed at which molecules move (not sure if I've got that correct scientifically, but I mean defining temperature as the underlying thing being measured).

Everything which follows is logical if one accepts the initial premise. One can't measure goodness without defining goodness, but once it's defined, one can measure away.

Edited to clarify: all of the above is a devil's advocate argument, and not anywhere close to my personal belief

I wish AvalonXQ would explain how there can be goodness outside of God, if goodness is defined as following God's instructions, because that's the part I don't understand.

If we all know that certain things are wrong--genocide, punishing innocent people, etc.--and if we accept that following God's instructions is good, then God can't perform or order those things, otherwise he wouldn't be good.

Yet the Bible says God did those things himself or ordered his followers to do them.

Does not compute. One can either claim that certain things are always wrong, or that certain things were/are good when God orders them and bad when he prohibits them, but not both.

The only way the logic holds is to define anything God does or orders as good, no matter how wrong it seems based on common sense.
But temperature doesn't change randomly. It's a physical phenomenon determined by real physical things. Yes, you can define Good=whatever God wants but then we have a problem because we as humans have no way to determine what God wants. None.

Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Goodness is not just defined as following God's instructions; it's defined as taking actions consistent with absolute morality, which includes (but is not limited to) following God's instructions.

Some things can be good because they show love and compassion for others, some things can be good because they help others avoid harm, some things can be good because they transform us for the better, some things can be good because they represent obedience to God, etc.

Obeying God is a component of moral behavior, but it's not more accurate to say "good depends on God" than it would be to say "good depends on this hungry child." In both cases, yes, the existence of the entity modifies what is good, but that doesn't mean that goodness itself depends on the entity.
Where does this absolute morality come from then and what determines it? Specifically please.
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Old 29th November 2012, 01:47 PM   #492
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Goodness is not just defined as following God's instructions; it's defined as taking actions consistent with absolute morality, which includes (but is not limited to) following God's instructions.
Okay... But what about the things that the Bible says God did, that don't seem moral to us today? In other posts, you've said that those things were meant for other people, not us, but if there is absolute morality, none of God's actions or instructions should violate it, if he's moral.

Yet there's plenty of stuff, particularly in the Old Testament, that I think most people would consider a violation of absolute morality, if they weren't conditioned to think it's moral because it's a Biblical story.

For example, killing innocent babies and animals along with everyone else in a flood, because you don't like how wicked the adults are, rather than omnipotently coming up with a method of killing that spares the innocent.

Even getting past the question of whether one has a right to kill a creation just because it didn't turn out right, I can't see any justification for killing innocent people and animals. Is that really objectively moral?
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Old 30th November 2012, 04:56 AM   #493
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Originally Posted by RoboTimbo View Post
You didn't answer the question (again), DOC: Is it absolutely immoral or absolutely moral to murder millions?...
If a constantly sinning civilization is ruining the rest of the world or it is very likely they will ruin the world in the future. And they are ruining their offspring as well, and there is no hope they will change as evidenced by multiple warnings, I think it is moral for a God who created those people and gave them free will to end that civilization for the sake of a better world for God's other people living now and in the future. If any innocent die in the process then a just God would send the innocent to heaven where they are better off than if they were not killed during the process.
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Old 30th November 2012, 05:01 AM   #494
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Originally Posted by RoboTimbo View Post
YKudos to you for agreeing with Bart Ehrman about the existence and nature of a mortal itinerant preacher named Jesus.
Of course this isn't true and you probably know that.
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Old 30th November 2012, 05:05 AM   #495
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
All moral authority comes from God.
God created Lucifer.
God is omniscient and omnipotent.
Therefore God knew the trouble Lucifer would cause.
Therefore God is to blame for the evils in the world.

This is your moral authority?
In order to guarantee free will God could choose not to know how people or spiritual beings will act in the future even though he could know if he wanted to.

I could hop on a plane to Bulgaria if I wanted to but I choose not to.

Last edited by DOC; 30th November 2012 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 30th November 2012, 05:12 AM   #496
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
In order to guarantee free will God could choose not to know how people or spiritual beings will act in the future even though he could know if he wanted to.

I could hop on a plane to Bulgaria if I wanted to but I choose not to.
So you concede that your gunderscored is not omniscient. Thanks.
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Old 30th November 2012, 05:21 AM   #497
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
So you concede that your gunderscored is not omniscient. Thanks.
No, if you can do 10 card tricks, but only choose to do 9, that doesn't mean you can't do 10 card tricks.
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:33 AM   #498
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
If a constantly sinning civilization is ruining the rest of the world or it is very likely they will ruin the world in the future. And they are ruining their offspring as well, and there is no hope they will change as evidenced by multiple warnings, I think it is moral for a God who created those people and gave them free will to end that civilization for the sake of a better world for God's other people living now and in the future.
I didn't ask for your what-if's, nor did I ask for your opinion. I asked if it was absolutely moral or absolutely immoral to kill millions. Absolutes don't need any conditions. If you have to put conditions and "I think" onto your answer, you're saying that morality isn't absolute.

Quote:
If any innocent die in the process then a just God would send the innocent to heaven where they are better off than if they were not killed during the process.
That's just disgusting and sick. I think you'll find that atheists and those others who aren't so emotionally invested in your god find that to be wrong.

Do you see yet how you have subjective morality and simply claim that it is objective when you assign it to your fictional deity?
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:37 AM   #499
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Of course this isn't true and you probably know that.
Of course it is true and I'm sure you know it. That's why when you cite Bart Ehrman as believing an itinerant mortal preacher named Jesus lived, you are agreeing with him. Your dishonest tactic of bait and switch the mortal itinerant preacher with a fictional divine deity has bitten you on the behind. How many times have you cited Bart Ehrman's itinerant mortal preacher? And why do you believe that morals come from that mortal preacher? Where did morals come from before mortal itinerant preacher Jesus? Where do morals come from for people who have never heard of the mortal itinerant preacher Jesus?
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:40 AM   #500
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Goodness is not just defined as following God's instructions; it's defined as taking actions consistent with absolute morality, which includes (but is not limited to) following God's instructions.

Some things can be good because they show love and compassion for others, some things can be good because they help others avoid harm, some things can be good because they transform us for the better, some things can be good because they represent obedience to God, etc.

Obeying God is a component of moral behavior, but it's not more accurate to say "good depends on God" than it would be to say "good depends on this hungry child." In both cases, yes, the existence of the entity modifies what is good, but that doesn't mean that goodness itself depends on the entity.
My apologies if you've answered this in the pages I didn't read of this thread, but... do you also hold that your God created the objective morality that you are a proponent of?
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:58 AM   #501
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
If a constantly sinning civilization is ruining the rest of the world or it is very likely they will ruin the world in the future. And they are ruining their offspring as well, and there is no hope they will change as evidenced by multiple warnings, I think it is moral for a God who created those people and gave them free will to end that civilization for the sake of a better world for God's other people living now and in the future. If any innocent die in the process then a just God would send the innocent to heaven where they are better off than if they were not killed during the process.
This makes no sense. If killing the innocent leaves them better off than living then we'd should be slaughtering babies at birth.

Originally Posted by DOC View Post
In order to guarantee free will God could choose not to know how people or spiritual beings will act in the future even though he could know if he wanted to.

I could hop on a plane to Bulgaria if I wanted to but I choose not to.
Nor does this. God choosing not to know has no effect on free will whatsoever. If God could know the outcome but chooses not to then the outcome is still knowable and hence the same issues with free will apply.
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Old 30th November 2012, 08:31 AM   #502
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
If a constantly sinning civilization is ruining the rest of the world or it is very likely they will ruin the world in the future. And they are ruining their offspring as well, and there is no hope they will change as evidenced by multiple warnings, I think it is moral for a God who created those people and gave them free will to end that civilization for the sake of a better world for God's other people living now and in the future. If any innocent die in the process then a just God would send the innocent to heaven where they are better off than if they were not killed during the process.

Wait, you are claiming in the same sentence that God gave people free will, but the offspring of those "evil" people are guaranteed to grow up to be evil, so it is better to kill them now? Holy contradiction, Batman!


I seem to remember something about some Law of Non-Contradiction...
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Old 30th November 2012, 08:43 AM   #503
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
If a constantly sinning civilization is ruining the rest of the world or it is very likely they will ruin the world in the future. And they are ruining their offspring as well, and there is no hope they will change as evidenced by multiple warnings, I think it is moral for a God who created those people and gave them free will to end that civilization for the sake of a better world for God's other people living now and in the future. If any innocent die in the process then a just God would send the innocent to heaven where they are better off than if they were not killed during the process.
God will kill them all and then sort it out?
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Old 30th November 2012, 09:53 AM   #504
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
God will kill them all and then sort it out?
It hardly aligns with the idea of 'free will' to have you and your descendants wiped out because God didn't like your choices, either.
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Old 30th November 2012, 11:13 AM   #505
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
It hardly aligns with the idea of 'free will' to have you and your descendants wiped out because God didn't like your choices, either.
The only thing you're supposed to use your free will for is to toss it down the rat hole and give your life to Jesus.
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Old 30th November 2012, 12:55 PM   #506
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
My apologies if you've answered this in the pages I didn't read of this thread, but... do you also hold that your God created the objective morality that you are a proponent of?
To the extent that God created the universe itself and the humans in it, yes. But I want to stress that objective morality is deducible from our natures and not arbitrary.
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:13 PM   #507
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
To the extent that God created the universe itself and the humans in it, yes. But I want to stress that objective morality is deducible from our natures and not arbitrary.
Who created our natures?
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:24 PM   #508
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
deducible from our natures
And that means what precisely?
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:11 PM   #509
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
And that means what precisely?

It means objective morality is arbitrary and isn't really objective at all. When AvalonXQ uses the word "objective", it means something quite different than it does when normal English speaking people use it. It's being used in a, shall we say, less than honest way, to try to salvage a failed argument. But the persistent effort to make it work, although unsuccessful, is somewhat amusing.
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:31 PM   #510
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Hi, Avalon.
Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
To the extent that God created the universe itself and the humans in it, yes. But I want to stress that objective morality is deducible from our natures and not arbitrary.
Are you saying the evidence for objective morality is our own nature?
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:18 PM   #511
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
To the extent that God created the universe itself and the humans in it, yes. But I want to stress that objective morality is deducible from our natures and not arbitrary.
How do we do that?
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:22 PM   #512
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Christians aren't moral. Therefore believing in their god doesn't impart morality.
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:48 PM   #513
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Originally Posted by pakeha View Post
Hi, Avalon.


Are you saying the evidence for objective morality is our own nature?
It only makes sense to discuss morality in terms of human beings - human decision-making, human values, and human relationships.
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:52 PM   #514
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
It only makes sense to discuss morality in terms of human beings - human decision-making, human values, and human relationships.
Making god irrelevant.

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Old 30th November 2012, 06:53 PM   #515
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Old 30th November 2012, 07:03 PM   #516
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
Making god irrelevant.
False dichotomy. Human relationships include our relationship with God; recognizing that morality is a phenomenon independent of God doesn't imply that God is irrelevant to morality.
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Old 30th November 2012, 07:08 PM   #517
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God is irrelevant to everything.
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Old 1st December 2012, 02:28 AM   #518
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
To the extent that God created the universe itself and the humans in it, yes. But I want to stress that objective morality is deducible from our natures and not arbitrary.
That the objective morality that you're proposing may or may not be deducible from our natures has nothing to do with whether it's arbitrary or not. I say this without meaning to imply that you definitely stated that such was the case, though. Either way, by the looks of it, you very much seem to be holding onto one of the more popular, if failing, Christian attempts to try to get around Euthyphro's Dilemma. It seems that the objective morality you speak of is very much dependent on the arbitrary rulings of an authority and the authority's use of power to enforce them. That your position may be that the authority is not arbitrarily changing it at a whim does not, in any way, change how arbitrary the origin and nature of it is. Either way, this does contradict concepts you presented earlier in the thread which rest quite firmly on the other horn of the dilemma, unless I'm mistaking something quite badly here.
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Old 1st December 2012, 03:10 AM   #519
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
False dichotomy. Human relationships include our relationship with God; recognizing that morality is a phenomenon independent of God doesn't imply that God is irrelevant to morality.
Only one problem there. Not a shred of proof for the existence of any god.
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Old 1st December 2012, 05:07 AM   #520
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
It only makes sense to discuss morality in terms of human beings - human decision-making, human values, and human relationships.
Which sounds very different to something that is objective and hard-wired into the universe that God created.

The universe is billions of years old and morality significantly less so given that humans have only been reasoning and decision-making for a tiny proportion of that age.

This sentence above though doesn't actually specify that we can deduce morality from our natures but merely that morality means nothing without decision-making individuals cable of acting morally.
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