This essay from The Christian Research Journal will be relevant for many of my blogger friends.
Some of my thoughts on my recent posts and the conversations which followed. Forgive me if I jump around.
My posts What’s Wrong with Genocide? and Why Do You Champion Genocide? were written to suggest what I believe: that the killing of millions of people by the Nazis is morally equivalent to the termination of millions of pre-born infants. The killing of millions of people equals the killing of millions of people.
Is one selective death imposed upon another person morally different from another? Are there ethically valid reasons which justify one but not the other?
Are justifications based on age and dependency more valid than justifications based on ethnic or political characteristics, especially since the terminations are imposed upon both groups of people?
Should men offer opinions on abortion?
I’m no feminist but I am down with this one item of the sisterhood: I do think that it is utter presumption for men, any men, to promote the efficacy, ease and health of having an abortion. It’s arrogance and ignorance. You down-with-the-struggle feminist men need to respect that carrying a child, labor and delivery, or terminating a pregnancy are things about which you understand not one thing.
Likewise recovery from any of these.
You promote abortion because you imagine it’s a panacea which allows a woman to get back to her life just the way it was before the inconvenient hiccup. That works great for you. But recovery from an abortion can be long, protracted, or never. And when the pregnancy is removed, you don’t have to carry the burden or struggle to recover, but she does.
You guys should stick a sock in it.
Commenter said: “…It was morally right to let the Jews live.
Nothing in that extends to a foetus. It is not a living human…”
But you see, the right of a human to live is even now selectively applied. We are having this discussion because I assert that the fetuses do have a right to live, just as the Jews did. If you were to discover that human fetuses are living human beings, would you grant that their killing by the millions is as wrong as the Holocaust? I think you would have to.
If we accept that selectively killing human beings is wrong for ethical reasons, pro-choicers must resort to a truly silly proposition in order to defend abortion as a beneficial thing. It is worded in one of several ways:
a fetus is not a person / a fetus is not human / not a living human / is a clump of cells / is not sentient / feels no pain OR
A fetus isn’t a human being YET / is only a potential human / becomes a human being at: 24 weeks / when viable / after I think of it as a baby/ another arbitrary point
OR the silliest of all: when its mother decides she wants it.
This position is not supported by medical science or philosophy, but it is your last ethical straw. You must dehumanize someone who is clearly human and alive in order to defend the rightness of legal abortion.
To select veganism as your mark of moral superiority while approving legalized abortion is illogical. I would add that it’s morally indefensible. You swallow a camel and strain at a gnat.
And here’s a thing for all you vegan, animal-sympathizing-abortion-supporters:
“For whatever those videos reveal of the inner workings of the abortion industry, they point as well to this related truth: Defending animal welfare while remaining adamantly pro-choice with respect to the abortion of human animals is not morally and intellectually sustainable. As an argument retaining any credibility, it’s over.”
It took the atheist commenters several days to produce a logical challenge anything like a syllogism, and I think it was accidental. The most-often challenge flung at me was a tu quoque, a “You too!”
“Yeah well, your god committed genocide! Get off your high horse!”
The better challenge could be summarized thus: “Since you are a “fundie”, you believe the Bible is historically and otherwise true, and you blindly support all that God supposedly says and does. God commanded the Israelites to commit genocide upon other nations. Therefore, you support the genocides in the Bible, therefore you support genocide.”
Of course, the challenge is still loaded with a ton of presuppositions and is founded upon the belief that the questioner is in a superior moral position to God and is justified in sitting in judgment of his Creator.
That’s a problem because God is an objective truth.
The charge that I accused one commenter of supporting the extermination of babies?
If abortion is the termination of the lives of human beings,
and if the commenter has repeatedly defended the right to abortion,
then, the commenter supports the extermination of human beings.
In my recent post , I proposed a question to any atheists who cared to respond.
“Can you tell me what is intrinsically wrong with herding human beings into camps then systematically ending their lives? What is objectively wrong about it?
Do not tell me how it makes you feel or that everyone just knows.
Do not tell me what’s illegal about it. Tell me why it’s negative. Please explain how it is wrong in an absolute way.”
Given several days to ponder and discuss, they offered several.
One answer: morality is something societies slowly discover. Society gradually grows into an ever-progressing moral value system. We are more moral now than we were in the past.
I challenged: 1. Not intrinsic, not objective, not absolute. 2. Do you mean that there is an objective standard set apart from us that we are discovering? Then what is that and where did it come from? 3. Are we more moral than ever before? That’s hard to support.
Other answers cited: it’s illegal, it’s repugnant, everyone just knows…things ruled out in the question.
One blogger’s answer: Evolution. When asked to elaborate upon precisely what that might mean, he absolutely refused to explain just what species of evolution to which he referred, or to explain how that works. He doesn’t have to explain; for himself, he’s satisfied with that one word answer. He will not explain how a blind, mindless, impersonal process is able to impose an unchanging, objective set of morals upon sentient, conscience-bound persons, nor how we could be accountable to such a system. Nor any of the other questions which quickly come to mind.
My challenge came from this post, where I opined that my atheist friends may have been offended, and frankly confused, by my suggestion that death camps and abortion mills are morally equivalent because they don’t really know what’s wrong with the death camps. So I asked them to explain how they (as atheists) know the Holocaust was wrong.
I believe it’s fair to sum up their answer: No, we cannot. Even if you give us several days to think about it. None were able to explain why the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis was wrong. I am forced to conclude that they do not know.
To be fair, I understand that they do know it was wrong. It’s just that they cannot explain why it’s wrong while maintaining the integrity of their own worldviews.
Why is this important? Why is it important that human beings who live in societies filled with other human beings believe that some things are simply wrong, and other things are simply right? Why is it necessary for people to exercise self-control and to respect the limits of personal behavior? Why must there be a separate, objective measure of right and good which people deeply respect and honor?
On to the significance of behavior.
I did have a more thoughtful atheist commenter or two conversing more or less politely. Some made the effort to visit my place and reasonably discuss the question when they might have had better things to do. But these particular guys ought to think about what their worst representatives are perpetrating upon their brand, what kind of face the mocker gives to atheism.
Give this kind of atheist an anonymous avatar and access to social media, ask him a question he finds challenging, and he demonstrates that he has no reason not to act like an abusive ass, a sexist, a raging ten-year-old. There are no limits to his personal behavior, there are no consequences of which he is aware. It seems even the most basic of social skills are lost when one sincerely believes that there is ultimately no moral authority one is compelled to respect.
He becomes living proof that a person who recognizes no higher authority than himself…or even than a consensus of society composed of persons with no more ultimate authority than himself…has no compelling reason to police himself. Not only in a big sense, but even in the mundane interactions of everyday life with no undue pressure upon him.
However, a person who believes that there is a separate, objective, immutable source of morality, right and wrong, good and evil has a compelling reason for self-control and righteous behavior. Though any person may violate that motivator, he at least has such a motivator to rebel against.
One commenter calls Christianity the “Napkin Religion- See? It’s true because it’s written down on this napkin here!”
At least I have a napkin. What do you have?
If we can work our way to God’s approval, why did Jesus die on a cross?
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we see no angry judge, no distant law keeper. The son takes his share of the inheritance (while his father still lives) and runs far away, where he wastes all his gifts, his share of the riches his father worked for, and finds himself helpless and destitute. Ashamed, he decides he will go back home and ask to be a servant in his father’s house. He decides that he has no right to call himself a son; he wasted this inheritance too. So he starts along the weary way home.
Meanwhile, his father is looking down that road, hoping to see his son in the distance. He has no reason to expect it, yet he waits on that roadside. One day he sees his son in the distance, and he does not hesitate. He runs to meet him, he embraces him. He calls him a son come back from the dead. With nothing but joy, he prepares a feast and a celebration for this son who has been restored to life.
The prodigal son brought nothing back home but his shame and humiliation. His bitter repentance. He had nothing to offer in order to buy his way back into his father’s good graces. His father’s response to his return was joy and acceptance.
We have to learn who we are, who He is, and what our real relationship with him is.
We can’t feel how ashamed we will be. We don’t see how humiliated we are. We do not reckon how bitter our repentance will be.
But the reaction to our repentance will be joy. Fellowship, sharing in the presence of our Father, living in his love.
You criticize a Straw God. You see Him as the distant judge, the petty scale-balancer, the angry destroyer. That is what we see if we’re trying to look at god in a mirror.
You omit God’s representation of Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. The parable is from the mouth of Jesus. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. I Colossians 1: 15
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1: 1-3
I and the Father are one. John 10: 30
Jesus chose to suffer the just recompense for offenses he did not commit. He paid our bill. He, the perfect penitent, had to do this for us. We cannot in our mortal life pay an eternal debt.
He died a torturous death so that we would not have to answer for our offenses, so that no one has to go to hell.
God …who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…1 Timothy 2:4.
Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Ezekiel 18:23
For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:32
Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17
Does God force us to love him? He could, but he does not. My atheist friends keep declaring that they would prefer his coercion to anyone having the free choice to suffer an eternity apart from God. Yes, atheists complaining that God doesn’t force them to live in His presence…forever. Oh, the irony and contradiction.
God created people in his own image, like him in this one of many ways: we have the power to choose. God does not violate that god-like feature he gave us. He prefers that we make informed choices, that we are self-determined, that we are able to create, imagine, conceive of things we have not seen. He prefers that, knowing all that we know, we choose to remain in intimate relationship with Him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10
We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
We have the free will to determine our way. There is plenty of evidence that to choose to love him is not foolish.
If you wander around on the internet for any length of time at all, you find yourself tripping over people criticizing other people. It’s a free internet (for now), and it’s everybody’s right to comment. And if we put ourselves out there, we are opening ourselves up to criticism.
I’m sure I have my own blind spots, things I proudly announce about myself which say more than I recognize I’m saying. And maybe the people closest to me are blind too, out of love and acceptance refusing to acknowledge my worst features, so they can’t tell me.
My internet persona is not actually my real self. It’s a haphazard construction of a projection of my self-image. My online persona consists of who I think I am, who I want you to think I am, plus, probably, some of those things I’d be embarrassed about if I could see them.
Sometimes I am puzzled by what people are intentional and proud to reveal. But here too are blind spots.
There are people who are defining themselves, defining their lives, constructing their identities, by negatives. By what they don’t have, by what they don’t do, by what they don’t believe. I’m sure there are lots of examples, but there are two which cross my path often.
These are people who base their identities on not having children. That someone has opted not to have children is not that remarkable, and it’s not my place to second-guess anyone’s personal choices. But the people who publicly identify as “Childfree” seem to build their lives around their exemption. They declare that they are not having children ever. They actively do not raise children. Many of them clearly do not like children. They proudly boast of a marked prejudice against a huge swath of the world’s human beings, based on the fact that they are young, and against their parents, based on the fact that they, well… we get scholarly things like these on our FB newsfeeds:
So it’s not enough that they’ve chosen not to have children in their lives, but they must make out that people with offspring are stupider, unhappier, poorer, have less sex and are physically inferior.
It does seem as though the childfree are constantly confronted with kids! Wherever they go, there are hordes of annoying children. Their newsfeeds are so packed with other people’s kids they have to use an app to block those posts. Poor things. They seem to encounter a lot more children than I do. Odd.
What happens when the young humans they can’t bear grow up and cross their arbitrary threshold to acceptability? Will the young people shower them with affection? Good planning!
And people are constantly asking them when and why not. Have we forgotten how to dismiss rude people…and move on?
Surprisingly, these same people spend a great deal of time criticizing how people who do have children are doing it all wrong. They are positive geniuses about raising kids; they have all the answers.
I’ve opted not to have dogs. But I don’t build a lifestyle around the absence of a dog, or brag about how superior my life is to dog-owners’ lives, or declare about how selfish or how brainless it is to own a dog. I don’t go on a crusade to make the world agree with my perfect dogfree lifestyle. And I don’t then tell dog owners how to train their dogs, though it does seem as though some could use the advice. (Blind spot alert.)
If these people were truly content and satisfied with their childfreeness, wouldn’t they live and let live, and move on past the child orientation?
I don’t spend all my free time criticizing a lifestyle choice I did not make. I don’t spend time every day looking for web articles on why it’s stupid and harmful to be childless. I don’t join anti-childfree internet groups where we complain to each other about people who don’t have children, and simultaneously about how people without children are doing not having kids all wrong.
I don’t orient my life around the absence of something.
And patrolling the web for thoughts which are in opposition to yours and finding them offensive does seem like a rather negative way to live life.
A theist: the word itself says anti-belief. It’s an active and intentional focus on a negative.
If, as atheism poster boy hopeful Bill Maher said…
“Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sexual position.
Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.
Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.
Atheism is a religion like health is a disease…”
…then why do atheists spend so much time arguing about God?
If there’s only Absence there, if He isn’t there, why do you concern yourself with Him? Why don’t you dispense with him once and for all, and go on with your life? It seems like since you decided to be an atheist, which you describe as the negation of something, you can’t get your eyes off God. “Atheism isn’t something you practice,” you claim. But you literally cannot stop talking about Him.
Zealous atheists troll Facebook and blogworld, inserting themselves into in-house apologetics debates, commenting on posts where, if they had truly left God behind, they would have no interest. It’s astonishingly obnoxious. It’s very much like if I went out of my way to argue with auto mechanics who were talking to each other, stopping conversation to insist that there is no such thing as the internal combustion engine, and challenging him to prove my car doesn’t run on pixie dust, then ridiculing him no matter how he responds.
I didn’t create a blog for the purpose of arguing with strangers about what I DON’T believe. I don’t believe in Santa Claus, but I don’t spend any time at all talking about Santa Claus. I wouldn’t go around robbing little children of the Santa myth. That would be rude. You see, Santa Claus isn’t there, so I don’t think about him much, and I go buy the gifts myself.
Since Santa isn’t going to bring presents, I take it upon myself to do it instead. Take note non-believers?
The atheists I know pride themselves on their better way of logic and freethinking. To define yourself by what you are not is a lot of things, but it’s not something a thinking person does. It’s something an emotional person does.
It could be that you can’t forget about God because you really do see Him everywhere, and you don’t want to. He’s like someone with a really big personality who just left the room before you came in. Everyone has been impressed by Him in some way, his fingerprints are everywhere, his jacket is flung over a chair back, his cup is sitting on the table. Some people really love the guy, some can’t stand him, some are trying to ignore him. But they can’t. It’s the one thing they cannot do with him.
The one thing you cannot do with God is dismiss him. And atheists are the proof.
If you challenge an atheist in this way, he will insist the real problem is not God, but religion– other people’s insistence on clinging mindlessly to the pernicious illusion of a Santa in the Sky. But discuss for a few minutes, and he will invariably return to his anger at God. Always anger at what God has done, failed to do, or allowed. That God who he knows is imaginary.
The atheist’s dilemma: do I forever rail at the Unjust Straw Man, the Disappointing Santa, shaking my fist at the sky; or do I truly dismiss the concept of a Supreme Being and attempt to live my life as though He’s really not there?
Logically, you cannot have both. If you choose to believe He’s not there, then there’s no one to be angry at, and you’re ranting uselessly at the air. The upside is, you can stop thinking about Him and move on.
If you’re angry at Him, you’ve got to admit he’s there, and you have a different problem to resolve- to work out your relationship with Him. But at least there’s a God!
Either way, you can define yourself by what you are instead of what you’re not.