February 12, 2011

Bill Maher about Barack Obama: "I think he's a centrist the way he's a Christian... not really."

Via Instapundit:



And Cornel West says "being a Christian is not a political orientation for the President." Oh, thanks for putting it that way. An apt turn of words, Cornel. Because that's exactly what I think Obama's Christianity is: a political orientation.

My source? I said it before:
My source is "Dreams from My Father," chapter 14. While working as a community organizer, Obama was told that it would "help [his] mission if [he] had a church home" and that Jeremiah Wright "might be worth talking to" because "his message seemed to appeal to young people like [him]." Obama wrote that "not all of what these people [who went to Trinity] sought was strictly religious... it wasn't just Jesus they were coming home to." He was told that "if you joined the church you could help us start a community program," and he didn't want to "confess that [he] could no longer distinguish between faith and mere folly." He was, he writes, "a reluctant skeptic." Thereafter, he attends a church service and hears Wright give a sermon titled "The Audacity of Hope" (which would, of course, be the title of Obama's second book). He describes how moved he was by the service, but what moves him is the others around him as they respond to a sermon about black culture and history. He never says he felt the presence of God or accepted Jesus as his savior or anything that suggests he let go of his skepticism. Obama's own book makes him look like an agnostic (or an atheist). He respects religion because he responds to the people who believe, and he seems oriented toward leveraging the religious beliefs of the people for worldly, political ends.

230 comments:

1 – 200 of 230   Newer›   Newest»
Tyrone Slothrop said...

Bill Maher is a pundit the way he is a comic... not really.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

The suit is starting to look empty to nearly everybody now.

chickelit said...

Bill Maher is about as relevant as Madonna. In fact, he seems to appeal to the same people.

mesquito said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tyrone Slothrop said...

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

The suit is starting to look empty to nearly everybody now.


Except in Maher's case, what he says about Obama is meant as a compliment.

Fred4Pres said...

Bill Maher is a self promoting dick as usual.

Obama is not a centrist and is not what most people would consider a Christian, but my guess is he does not particularly care for Bill Maher's support on these topics!

MayBee said...

It's more comforting to think he used that church for political purposes than to think it fulfilled him spiritually. Isn't i?

I think it's interesting how often we are asked to care about Obama's religion and be offended on his behalf.

Kirby Olson said...

It's amazing to agree with Bill Maher on something.

miller said...

It sounds like we want Obama to be a Christian in the sense of "he's just like the mainstream in some of his secondary cultural attributes" but we would be scared to death if he took any of his Christianity seriously and really believed in the Sky God with a Son who came down from Heaven, died, and then was physically raised from the dead.

I'm OK with Obama calling himself a Christian, and I believe he's sincere.

But I have to laugh at the terror of people who are scared he might actually be a little too sincere.

Because of course the next thing would be that Obama believes in Creationism, which all Neanderthalic Christians (is this redundant?) must believe in, and not Darwinian Evolution.

edutcher said...

The Zero went to Rev Jeremiah's church for the same reason he went to Ayers' and Dohrn's home - connections.

That, and he really liked the kind of people they are.

PS Cornel West sounds as if he's been reading Sinclair Lewis.

roesch-voltaire said...

Oh my to see organized religion as a social network that help promotes fellow members to advance themselves ( a community program, or helping the Irish to become lawyers)--what a novel idea. But again these days so many politicians wear their religions publicly while engaging in adultery privately that it is a challenge to know that lies in the heart of the beast. To be honest it is difficult for me to measure another's faith, or lack of it, and so I tend to judge by actions. By all actions including the folks who surround Obama, he seems to be pragmatic learning to the center. Is Obama a Christian? Is Newt Gringrich a Christian, now that is an interesting comparison.

gk1 said...

kudos to Maybee, I was thinking the same thing. I still remember how put upon the liberals got when people started wondering how obama could sit in Rev. Wright's congregation for 20 years and not hear a thing out of place.

Gabriel said...

Obama wrote that "not all of what these people [who went to Trinity] sought was strictly religious... it wasn't just Jesus they were coming home to." He was told that "if you joined the church you could help us start a community program"...

It reminded me of what Screwtape had to say:

What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call "Christianity And". You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring.

Gabriel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

They're both - Obama and Maher - NewAgers.

Obama's "faith" is Oprah's, and Maher's declared his belief in NewAge quackery (and his friendship with Arianna) enough that I've never found his "atheist" claim credible.

Tyrone Slothrop,

Bill Maher is a pundit the way he is a comic... not really.

Look at the link and you'll find I don't either.

Lisa said...

After watching Obama fail to support Iranian dissidents and then turn around and support the Muslim Brotherhood revolution in Egypt, maybe the nutjobs calling Obama a Muslim aren't nutjobs.

Michael said...

rv: hypocrisy is the worst sin of liberals who, believing in nothing, find those who do believe and stray the subject of scorn.

tim maguire said...

How far left does one have to be to see Obama as a centrist? Or are they still playing by Comintern rules--the party member is instructed to always deny being a Communist. (The first rule of Fight Club.)

Gabriel said...

@roesch-voltaire:

Nice concern trolling. Would you respect Gingrich more if he said he thought adultery is okay? Probably you would.

Christianity is a religion for fallen sinners. Nowhere in any Christian faith is it claimed that Christians become perfect and immune to sin, or that they are expected to. People who never do anything they think is wrong probably should find another faith.

Joe said...

It's long be obvious to me that Obama believes only in himself. Among other give aways is that when he speaks of church, he doesn't get the basic language correct. (Listen to him talk about anything except himself and it sounds forced and artificial. Even with his family, all his words come off as something he's supposed to say, but make him end up sounding completely detached.)

SMGalbraith said...

.. oriented toward leveraging the religious beliefs of the people for worldly, political ends.

Yes. The use of religion here and now to promote and achieve his vision of social justice.

Religion as a tool. For this world.

Immanentizing the eschaton.

Gabriel said...

Screwtape again:

if the patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanatical bridge-player or the man with squeaky boots a miser and an extortioner—then your task is so much the easier. All you then have to do is to keep out of his mind the question "If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?" You may ask whether it is possible to keep such an obvious thought from occurring even to a human mind. It is, Wormwood, it is! Handle him properly and it simply won't come into his head. He has not been anything like long enough with the Enemy to have any real humility yet. What he says, even on his knees, about his own sinfulness is all parrot talk. At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favourable credit-balance in the Enemy's ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great humility and condescension in going to church with these "smug", commonplace neighbours at all. Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can.

PatCA said...

Yes, his pandering to Christians is repulsive. It's so amateurish, too. Does he not think anyone read his books?? Is he asking us to believe he has "come to Jesus" or something?

former law student said...

Let's consider the sources:

Bill Maher, an atheist who made a movie mocking religion, thinks Obama is not really a Christian.

Cornel West, a "profoundly Jesus-loving free black man who bears witness to truth and justice until the day I die," thinks Obama is a Christian.

Ann Althouse, whose faith or lack thereof is unknown to me, thinks Obama is not a Christian, based on her analysis of his autobiography.

Could it be simply that people want Obama to be on their team? It would be interesting to know if the professor thinks Obama has the same religious POV that she does.

Kirby Olson said...

I really don't want Obama on my team. I do think he's a good player, but whatever he is, I'd like to see him benched.

The Crack Emcee said...

Gabriel,

Christianity is a religion for fallen sinners. Nowhere in any Christian faith is it claimed that Christians become perfect and immune to sin, or that they are expected to. People who never do anything they think is wrong probably should find another faith.

Atheism isn't a faith, but it works for me. It doesn't allow that pesky "out" that you say Christianity does, because I have to answer to myself - I'm "expected" to do right - with no entity to let me off the hook if I fail. That way, we all get a better man. Plus, taking the long view, it'll come in handy by simplifying my death:

I will not be grasping for salvation, but for release.

And - really - could there be anything worse than having a complicated death?

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Frankly, all politicians play this game. Some are apparently sincere in their religious beliefs (W, Jimmy Carter), some not so much (Obama), but there has never been a US president who avowed skepticism. It's just a convention, like that of a faithful marriage, that must be preserved in order to stand a chance of being elected. Electing an atheist president would be more significant than electing a black one.

steve said...

Classic Maher syllogism:

1. No intelligent person could possibly be a Christan.
2. Obama is intelligent.
3. Obama is therefore "faking it" to remain politically viable with the unthinking rubes out there.

This bit of cognitive dissonance gives Maher an excuse not to attack his idol for his religious beliefs. If you are not a liberal black Democrat, you will not be as lucky.

The Crack Emcee said...

Kirby Olson,

I really don't want Obama on my team. I do think he's a good player, but whatever he is, I'd like to see him benched.

Amen.

And I like how the former law student left NewAge out of the possibilities of what Obama could be:

That's exactly how it's been allowed to flourish for so long.

William said...

Maher claims that Obama's religious positions are cynical and manipulative. Maher is not offended by this. He seems rather relieved than otherwise. In Maher's world, lying about sex and faith are no big things.

Ambrose said...

My reasoning is even simpler than Ann's. Name me ONE person who grew up liberal, then went to Harvard Law, graduated and then...became an active, open Christian? There have been literally thousands of young idealistic liberals that have left Harvard with a law degree. How many became Christians? One. President Obama.

traditionalguy said...

Obama seems to be highly religious. And he wants to bring peace to the middle east and be the savior of Jerusalem from both the Jews and the Muslims. Maybe that will work out for him . But his approach seems to be much closer to a Saladin than to that of a sincere believer that Jesus is the son of God. Americans have never required that their Presidents to be religious, but Christians will feel better with a faithful person in the office.

Ambrose said...

To Steve's point above:

Liberals really don't mind this sort of political calculating. Indeed, they promote and support such disingenuousness as they're willing to take any steps - even pretending they're something they're not - to continue enacting their policies. They're purposefully not who they say they are. They know if they were honest and direct about who they were and what they wanted they could never win WIDE political office. They'd have to run in only in urban areas...or have talkshows on HBO.

somefeller said...

Ambrose says:My reasoning is even simpler than Ann's. Name me ONE person who grew up liberal, then went to Harvard Law, graduated and then...became an active, open Christian? There have been literally thousands of young idealistic liberals that have left Harvard with a law degree. How many became Christians? One. President Obama.

This comment might be interesting if we had any reason to believe the commenter was familiar with many Harvard Law graduates. Since he probably isn't, it should get the lack of respect it's due.

somefeller said...

In any case, listening to Bill Maher talk about religion, any religion, is a waste of time. There are lots of smart atheists out there with thoughtful criticisms of religion and the religious. Bill Maher isn't one of them. If you want to base a criticism of Obama's religious views based on comments from Bill Maher, you're building your house on sand.

former law student said...

Crack: I'll put you down as a person who doesn't want Obama on his team who thinks Obama follows a religion (NewAge) he (Crack) dislikes.

Don said...

If being "Christian" has anything at all to do with the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, then its safe to say Obama is not. The Catechism is a repository of classical liberal values that stand in defiant opposition of the collectivist hegemony. Take some lines out of Chapter 3, for example, which must surely be anathema to every card carrying Democrat:

* Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness.
* An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention. The end does not justify the means.
* One may not do evil so that good may result from it.
* A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.
* In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.
* Society ought to promote the exercise of virtue, not obstruct it.

Maguro said...

Would a guy who's a sincere Christian believe that people just cling to religion because they lost their steel mill job or whatever?

shoutingthomas said...

Obama's Christianity? I can't comment on that.

But, Bill Maher.

What in the hell in this guy? He's easily the most unfunny comedian I've ever seen.

And, now he's become the dourest, most sanctimonious, preachy political doofus on the scene.

How in the hell did he become a political talking head?

And, he's always talking about how stupid everybody else is. This has become something of an infectious disease among liberals.

In short, Maher is somebody I do my best to ignore.

Almost Ali said...

You only need two words to sum up Obama and all his so-called beliefs: Jive Turkey.

That's right, Obama is simply a Jive Turkey, no more, and no less. A street-corner bullshitter; a Jive turkey.

And, I should add, a very good one - as he continues to take both pseudo-literates and clueless illiterates to the proverbial cleaners.

Koblog said...

I saw Obama's true (false?) self when he mentioned people only clung to their guns and religion when they were in hard times.

A true Christian would never say that.

somefeller said...

No true Scotsman would ever say or do such things!

edutcher said...

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Frankly, all politicians play this game. Some are apparently sincere in their religious beliefs (W, Jimmy Carter)

Totally unlike Saul on the road to Damascus, Jimmah's conversion came after his defeat the first time he tried to run for GA governor when he realized being a soulless technocrat in the thrall of David Rockefeller didn't sit well with most Georgians.

Gabriel said...
@roesch-voltaire:

Nice concern trolling. Would you respect Gingrich more if he said he thought adultery is okay? Probably you would.

Actually, he could have been talking about Jimmy Carter until he specifically mentioned Newt (lust in the heart and all...).

shoutingthomas said...

Obama's Christianity? I can't comment on that.

But, Bill Maher.

What in the hell in this guy? He's easily the most unfunny comedian I've ever seen.

And, now he's become the dourest, most sanctimonious, preachy political doofus on the scene.

How in the hell did he become a political talking head?


He had a slightly topical comedy revue on ABC when 9/11 happened and was stupid enough to gush all over the air about how brave the hijackers were.

AJ Lynch said...

Interesting that the libs here like FLS & Somefeller are defending Obama's being a Christian. I thought one's religion did not matter to libs.

former law student said...

I saw Obama's true (false?) self when he mentioned people only clung to their guns and religion when they were in hard times.

A true Christian would never say that.


Obama didn't say "only." A true Christian might say this: God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46)

But consider an audience made up of cynical Bill Mahers: How would you have reached them? What would you have said to them?

former law student said...

AJ

Only God knows if Obama's a Christian. I'm interested in how different people can have different views on this issue. Reminds me a bit of the Blind Men and the Elephant:

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

PaulV said...

Maher comments says more about Mayer than anyone else. It was politically useful to be member of Wright;s church and Obama seems to have slept through the sermons and have absorbed the minister cadence.

murgatroyd666 said...

Yes, but our elephant is warm and mushy.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I know you admitted to NYU that you're essentially a knee-jerk contrarian. But is there any right-wing meme that you won't seek to engage? Just wondering.

ricpic said...

I don't think a Christian president would condone theft and yet Obama PRESIDES over massive theft. Proudly.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Right. Because religion is strictly a personal thing, no social aspect to it whatsoever. And anything not strictly personal about it (and nowhere does Obama say in your "damning" thesis that his feeling is impersonal) is simply political.

Would Venn diagrams help you organize your thoughts better?

Kirby Olson said...

Socialism has ended up as slavery in most countries -- the Jews under National Socialism were slaves or else dead, as were the gypsies, etc. Same story for the Jews and all groups outside the Party under Stalin (it was no picnic in the Party, either, as you might drop into a gulag at the faintest whim of Big Joe).

It's strange to have a black man who wants to make us all his slaves, but that's what we're looking at. He's very mad that some people still have more money and more power than he has. Fat cat bankers, and a few others. So he wants to grind them under his heel and make them march to his orders.

A death march!

Not exactly a Christian thing to do to other people! But it's what Bill Maher and most of the rest of the liberal elite want, too.

The great thing about socialism (if you can get on top) is you don't have to work. You get others to work, while you join the Party.

If the crack emcee is right about BO's new age leanings, I'd go so far as voodoo of the Baron Samedi variety. But I'd agree with Bill Maher that there's not one speck of Christianity in Obama except insofar as it can zombify some groups into useful idiots.

somefeller said...

AJ Lynch says:Interesting that the libs here like FLS & Somefeller are defending Obama's being a Christian. I thought one's religion did not matter to libs.

Wait, you had a thought? Quick, have another one before it dies of loneliness!

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Althouse's post itself is an example of concern trolling.

Chip Ahoy said...

Did any one of the blind men read the elephant's book in braille and accept at face value what was written there by whoever did the writing ?

Thanks, Hostess, for telling me what's in the book, it's not one that I would ever read myself.

Chip Ahoy said...

Ritmo, you sure take a lot of posts to say, "I'm a little bitch."

Fred said...

The grandparents who raised him were Unitarian Universalists.

I.e. post-Christian who had replaced their religion with a "do good" political orientation.

The church was famous for left wing political events -- such as activities to support the inclusion of socialist countries in the U.N. -- was known to the citizens of Mercer Island as the "Little Red Church on the Hill".

See the Chicago Tribune and the Seattle Times.

edutcher said...

AJ Lynch said...

Interesting that the libs here like FLS & Somefeller are defending Obama's being a Christian. I thought one's religion did not matter to libs.

Never forget The Zero has to be repackaged and resold in '12. The Lefties want to make him family-friendly.

With the economy and foreign policy tanking, The Zero could take most of the Left with him when he slips under the waves.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Oh, why fuck you too, ridiculous-looking, open-mouthed Emilio Estevez look-alike!

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Emilio Ahoy is, along with a good number of his like-minded, slack-jaw buddies here, proud to be another one of Althouse's bitches.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

And Mahmoud Ahmedinejad called, Emilio Ahoy. He'd like his Members Only jacket back.

Are you one of the last members left?

The Crack Emcee said...

Chip Ahoy,

Ritmo, you sure take a lot of posts to say, "I'm a little bitch."

I told him and told him. I really did.

Peter said...

Oh, it's patently obvious what Barry worships, he has gone to The First Church of the Holy Barack.

It's why he picked up the cadence and tone of the sermons of Wright while never noticing (according to him) the words. He sat there for twenty years, imagining how he would use that cadence in his own speeches.

Laura said...

Obama may call himself a Christian and even believe it to be true, but his actual beliefs are not anything like Christianity. That's not my opinion. That's his own words.

What he believes: “I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.”

On whether he considers himself born again: “Yeah, although I don’t, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.”

On the existence of hell: “I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That’s just not part of my religious makeup.”

On the existence of heaven: “What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.”

And my personal favorite: "I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it." He has an ongoing conversation with God in which he asks himself questions. Nice!

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Apparently Emilio Ahoy has retreated into his batcave of boredom. He has dishes to prepare and photograph. (And apparently no one to share them with).

Try antidepressents, Chippy. You do realize that you've taken on a nickname that could be mistakenly taken to mean "happy", don't you?

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

It figures you would, Cracker's Emcee. You're obviously nothing more than Althouse's bitch, also. So apparently you go with the dynamic that's familiar to you.

I'm wondering how many of you would actually stand up for yourselves? Obviously, that implies having a thought or idea of your own first, but you get the point.

Even Shouting Thomas has more courage in standing up for his own ideas than any of you pussies, I mean, mama's boys.

LIAM HODDER said...

Bill Maher declares sky is blue, sea wet. Oh, and fire is "kinda hot".

shoutingthomas said...

Ritmo, I just don't get it.

What is there to gain in a political discussion on a website that makes it worth using the scorched earth tactics?

This is just a website. It's just political jabber for the sake of a little fun and diversion.

I'm playing a gig at a party tonight, so I can't wait around for the answer.

But, I'll check back tomorrow.

Terry said...

So, Mr. Hygiene, what's with the moniker?
Do your teeth hurt?

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Have fun at the gig and my apologies for detracting from the diversion and scorching the earth.

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it appears that Chip, who never has more than two words to say, let alone any to me, stated something that begged for retaliation.

I don't see anything I said before that as scorching, but perhaps you see it differently. There are just so many loony conspiracy memes regarding Obama and anyone else remotely to the left of Dick Cheney that I can listen to.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Not hurting - so far as I'm aware. Just very yellow. At least in this guise.

Peano said...

Cornel West is a comic strip character come to life. He is Lt. Flap and found a life after Beetle Bailey.

James said...

My Christian faith then has been a sustaining force for me over these last few years. All the more so, when Michelle and I hear our faith questioned from time to time, we are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us but whether we're being true to our conscience and true to our God.

Based on his own words at the 2011 National Prayer Breakfast one cannot be faulted for inferring that Obama does not subscribe to a triune God - a fundamental Christian belief.

It is also difficult to imagine that someone who spends far more time golfing than attending church is a sincere Christian. You know that entire thing about "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another..."

yashu said...

So Bill Maher's peddling "right-wing memes" and "loony conspiracy memes regarding Obama" now? Who knew.

somefeller said...

Based on his own words at the 2011 National Prayer Breakfast one cannot be faulted for inferring that Obama does not subscribe to a triune God - a fundamental Christian belief.

I don't see how the quote you cite rejects the idea of a triune God or is even a reference to the concept. "Our God" isn't an uncommon term, particularly when one is referring to the God worshiped by oneself and one's spouse. Do you have another quote in mind? This isn't an attempt at point-scoring, I'm genuinely curious.

It is also difficult to imagine that someone who spends far more time golfing than attending church is a sincere Christian. You know that entire thing about "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another..."

If that's the case, most Americans who call themselves Christians aren't sincere Christians. There's lots of people, particularly men, who say they are Christian but would rather spend Sunday at the golf course or watching football than at church. That is a separate issue, of course, but it seems to me that it isn't fair to single Obama out for something that isn't uncommon among many American Christians, including many conservative ones.

somefeller said...

Ech. The "most Americans" reference should have been "many, if not most Americans". Didn't proofread before posting.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Maher was probably having a slow night and trying to find support wherever he could for his anti-religion kick. Doesn't excuse Althouse's need to attempt to reason her way through yet another inanity. And sorry, but the motivation of proving Obama to be some sort of malign imposter at every turn is slightly less honorable and noble than just desperately trying to implicate his rationalism in with Maher's stand against organized religion.

If Althouse could tolerate one-tenth the criticism that Maher does, then maybe I'd be willing to see it differently.

Bill Reeves said...

I REALLY don't like Obama but this evangelical's lack of appreciation of him has nothing to do with his Christian faith - real, fake or otherwise. Faith is real only when it transforms how we relate to the world. By that standard BHO's God is the state.

David said...

I watched the show last night.

I learned why Harvard canned Cornel West.

steve said...

Since all Christians are necessarily Creationists (I've yet to meet one who thought that Earth pre-dated God), this is another reason why Maher is compelled to give O the benefit of the doubt, seeing as how he uses "gotcha" questions about evolution as litmus tests for guests on his show.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
former law student said...

his actual beliefs are not anything like Christianity. That's not my opinion. That's his own words.

What he believes: “I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people."


Obama's not a Christian chauvinist, like I am. All those who don't belong to the One True Church are going to burn in Hell for all eternity. Obama -- like many another Christian I have known -- thinks there are alternate pathways.

As he says, "I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man who acted and risked everything on behalf of those values but never slipped into intolerance or dogma," he is not comfortable being dogmatic about his faith or intolerant of others'.

Does Obama reject the doctrine of the Trinity, or just not talk about it? Frankly I hear very little of the Holy Spirit from mainstream Christians these days.

Julius said...

What's y'er religious identity, Althouse? You got one?

I ask because it matters just as much as the President's religion, which is to say that it matters not at all. The less religion he's actually got, the better off we all are. No matter what he says.

He wouldn't be elected if he identified as an "atheist" or "agnostic". So he created a fictional religious life for himself in the same way that I imagine most Congresspeople do. It's what the public expects their political leaders to do.

"Lie to us," the people demand.

And the leaders lie their sweet lies. We should not be surprised.

Terry said...

Obama, in an interview published in Christianity Today in January of 2008:


Q:You've talked about your experience walking down the aisle at Trinity United Church of Christ, and kneeling beneath the cross, having your sins redeemed, and submitting to God's will. Would you describe that as a conversion? Do you consider yourself born again?

A:I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful. I didn't 'fall out in church' as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn't want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/januaryweb-only/104-32.0.html?start=2

This certainly implies an acceptance of the Apostles' Creed.
It also explicitly states a belief in miracles ("redemptive death and Resurrection of Christ"). Just like Sarah Palin, or many other conservative politicians, Obama says that his faith is a part of his politics.

orbicularioculi said...

Obama attended the Trinity Church, a Black Liberation Theology Church, for 20 plus years and listened to Jeremiah Wright give his hateful tirades against jews, whites and America all that time. He also read Wright's Newsletters and had CDs of his sermons.

Anytime Obama has been asked to discuss Christianity in the simplest way, he babbles incoherently. However, he did say in that same book that the most beautiful sound in the world is the Muslim "Call to Prayer".

I don't think he is anything but a Progressive Left-wing radical who isn't comfortable with America, it's white citizens or history.

SteveR said...

But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful.

Actually it's not most important.

Laura said...

former law student: "Obama's not a Christian chauvinist, like I am. All those who don't belong to the One True Church are going to burn in Hell for all eternity. Obama -- like many another Christian I have known -- thinks there are alternate pathways."

Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." That seems pretty unambiguous to me.

AllenS said...

As long as obama is around, everyone will constantly be saying: "Who is this guy?"

John Cunningham said...

Obama is neither Christian, nor Muslim. he is an Obama-worshipper.

Coketown said...

@Laura: Quit bringing Christ into arguments about Christianity! The only way to critique a religion is the Former Law Student Method: Inference through "people you know."

Rialby said...

It was about 1991 when I saw Bill Maher at a shithole basement comedy club in Rochester, NY. I won the tickets on the radio - I won tickets for 4 of the 50 seats in the place. His career was clearly not flying high at that point.

Shortly thereafter he reinvented himself as a "political comedian". It's all about branding.

The Crack Emcee said...

Laura,

What [Obama] believes: “I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.”

I saqid he shares Oprah's faith - which is NewAge - contrast and compare.

Rialby said...

"Obama is neither Christian, nor Muslim. he is an Obama-worshipper."

Couldn't be more true. Did you see the gift he gave Bob Gibbs? It called to mind memories of the ipod full of Obama speeches.

Laura said...

Crack Emcee, heh - good point!

former law student said...

Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." That seems pretty unambiguous to me.

Hopefully Laura belongs to the One True Church -- Jesus was pretty unambiguous about that. Matthew 16:

13 When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
"Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. 14 Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

The leadership of Christ's church on earth passed from Peter to Linus, from Linus to Cletus, from Cletus to Clemens, from Clemens to Evaristus, all the way down to the John Pauls and Benedict of our time.

Terry said...

So you are a biblical literalist, Former Law Student?

DADvocate said...

Obama's first religion is Machiavellian. I question is sincerity in everything. The comparison Malcolm X made between LBJ and Goldwater works here. Obama is the fox. Not a very clever one, but he's trying. He may end up being more clever than we thought if we aren't diligent.

Christopher said...

"So you are a biblical literalist, Former Law Student?"

How could he be, since it's pretty obvious he's a Catholic (who are definitely taught NOT to be biblical literalists).

M. Simon said...

Christianity is a religion for fallen sinners.

I'm going to start sinning today and keep it up for as long as I can so that maybe one day I can become a Christian. I'm thinking posthumously.

Terry said...

Well, Christopher, using Biblical literalism to prove that a non-literalist reading of the Bible is correct is an interesting debate tactic.

M. Simon said...

Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

All salesmen are like that. "Only I have the really good stuff. The other guys are selling cheap imitations."

The Ghost said...

steve said... Classic Maher syllogism: 2/12/11 1:42 PM

Steve pretty much nailed it. I've heard a few liberal atheists confide similarly as well that they don't believe Obama is really a Christian. One a Maher watcher, no less.

You could call it an intended compliment, but it's really an intended compliment to themselves; they can't bear to entertain the possibility that the man they admire so much believes in something greater than himself that isn't an abstraction.

As far as I can tell, Obama is no worse a Christian than people who think one or two selectively interpreted lines from scripture supersede the direct message and coherent philosophy of Jesus in his recorded entirety.

I think he's a bad President because he's stupid and shortsighted; specifically he engages the material world through an ideology and a set of premises that makes his purported intellect a useless, shiny toy, but that is not a sin, much less apostasy.

Mick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry said...

I think you've nailed Maher on this issue, Mr. Ghost. Maher thinks Christians are idiots, and Maher thinks that Obama is not an idiot. Therefore Obama is lying when he says that he is a Christian.
Mr. Maher would rather believe the politician he admires is a liar rather than a Christian.

Mick said...

Right, Obama is Christian, and is just like Reagan, or studies Reagan, or channels Reagan or whatever the Journolist meme of the week is.

Bottom line is that he is the World Banker Usurper, overseeing the plunder of America for said Bankers, and putting the final nails in the coffin of the sovereignty of We the People. While the Press feeds him grapes.

If it wasn't for 40 million people on food stamps he would be bunking w/ Mubarak.

Kirby Olson said...

Terry, he's talking there with Christianity Today so he mimics the language. He's an excellent mimic. I think this is Maher's point.

Now if Obama would talk like that when he was on MSNBC, then I might believe him.

Christians are willing to be thrown to the lions for their beliefs.

Obama is a lyin'.

Terry said...

Taking Obama at his word -- I won't play the part of his inquisitor -- Obama considers himself a Christian and his Christianity influences his politics.
Taking Maher at his word means that Maher believes Obama is a liar, someone who will cynically lie about his religious faith to achieve a political goal.
We truly live in the best of all possible worlds!

kent said...

What in the hell in this guy? He's easily the most unfunny comedian I've ever seen.

As desperately leaden and dire as Maher is: you, plainly, have never suffered through the timeshare in Perdition that is a Margaret Cho monologue.

roesch-voltaire said...

Crack Jesus preached love and compassion, which I consider the true way,and I guess that makes him New Age-- really you need to ride another horse.

Fen said...

I ask because it matters just as much as the President's religion, which is to say that it matters not at all. The less religion he's actually got, the better off we all are.

Wrong. Some of our best leaders were products of the Christian faith. As is our entire Code of Law. As is the founding of this country. To say that religion plays no role in the character development of the people we choose to lead us is ignorance of the greatest order.

So he created a fictional religious life for himself in the same way that I imagine most Congresspeople do. It's what the public expects their political leaders to do. "Lie to us," the people demand.

"Lie to me" said the cheap whore who couldn't keep a man. She needs to believe that all men are liars. What's your excuse?

Fen said...

Crack: Atheism isn't a faith, but it works for me. It doesn't allow that pesky "out" that you say Christianity does, because I have to answer to myself - I'm "expected" to do right - with no entity to let me off the hook if I fail.

Ah but thats not the way it works.

I know you have good reason to hold religion in contempt. But remember that Religion is merely Man's interpretation of God. If you have such a thing as a soul, it would be foolish to spurn God over the actions of a few corrupt men.

Kevin said...

As I noted on another thread, when Obama started his political career, to the average Chicago South Sider he was a half-white, Ivy League, carpetbagger. It helped that he married a local, but he still needed Rev. Wright for street cred.

I also agree with the commenter regarding the unlikelihood of Obama's becoming a Christian, given his educational background. I attended schools like the ones Obama attended, and they weren't exactly breeding grounds for Christian faith. He strikes me as a classic leftist, post-Christian academic. How many people on the University of Chicago law faculty today are believing, professing, Christians?

J said...

To conservative republicans, Christians are, by definition--a Sunday School Axiom, if you will --conservative republicans (and.... whitey, usually). So, when some person X--even Prez BO--who is not a conservative republican... or whitey ... claims to a Christian, the conservative republican must, per his S.S. Axiom, deny X's claim to Christianness. The code of Teabag--see Kirby's blog for examples.

That said, MaherStein's an untalented weasel trapped in human skin.

Fen said...

J, you're not even a good troll.

If you're going to perform the role of Village Idiot for us, at least be entertaining.

J said...

6:51 Funny, I was thinking something like that about you, Fen bitch. Yr not even a good klansgal. Yr the idiot here. And we got yr number here, human scum.

The Crack Emcee said...

r-v,

Jesus preached love and compassion, which I consider the true way,and I guess that makes him New Age-- really you need to ride another horse.

You don't understand the first thing about NewAge, or religion for that matter, so you really need to talk to someone else.

Fen,

I know you have good reason to hold religion in contempt.

You know no such thing. Being an atheist means I don't believe - not that I automatically hold religion in contempt. You're probably confusing me with Richard Dawkins, who does. Wrong. Here's a clue for future reference:

I'm the black guy.

Fen said...

Crack: You know no such thing. Being an atheist means I don't believe - not that I automatically hold religion in contempt.

Then how do you explain your vendetta against the New Age Cultism? I think the reason it affects you so deeply is because you are so hungry for the genuine article.

J said...

CE-- after a few days battling with some of the AA yokels, I'm fairly convinced there's a core group of primates here (not all, or even a majority) whose wardrobe includes at least one white sheet with... some holes cut out for eyes.

Maguro said...

I finally found a picture of J.

It's not easy tracking down a straight-up gat-packing gangsta, but I'm pretty sure this is the guy.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

J: CE-- I'm fairly convinced there's a core group of primates here (not all, or even a majority) whose wardrobe includes at least one white sheet with... some holes cut out for eyes.

Oh lookie, the Libtard found the race card. And thinks Crack will play as his house negro.

J said...

Self-portrait, eh Faguro? You're the perp here. I wager like most of the GOP bozos here you got a arsenal of unregistered gats and probably a bunker lined with pics of NRA, NASCAR, Bud, porn, and Der Fuhrer

Fen said...

Libtard projection from his Che Shire.

J said...

7: 22

Yr gonna shut yr bitch mouth soon, Okie-klan shit, pronto. Capichay Fen phag?. And IM not a demo anyways, scum

Got that yet, shit?

J said...

Like dem apples, Fenster, Okie tweak shit?

roesch-voltaire said...

Crack I know what lies at the core of all religions, and I celebrate and try to practice that while not getting caught up in the dogma and ideology that accompanies much of organized religions--thus my relationship to Voltaire. I do respect and understand your existential position of taking responsibility for yourself and your resistance to cults-- however your define them. I am not going to get into the game of saying who know more or less about this or that, because how humans believe and act is so complex when it comes to belief, faith and responsibility ,and so often folks pull the sin card excusing one while blaming the other.

Trooper York said...

"J said...
CE-- after a few days battling with some of the AA yokels, I'm fairly convinced there's a core group of primates here (not all, or even a majority) whose wardrobe includes at least one white sheet with... some holes cut out for eyes."

Well I do know that ricpic has a sheet with a hole in it but it is not for his eyes.

I mean he was dating this Hasidic chick so you have to cut him some slack. Just sayn'

jr565 said...

Crack Emcee wrote:
Atheism isn't a faith, but it works for me. It doesn't allow that pesky "out" that you say Christianity does, because I have to answer to myself - I'm "expected" to do right - with no entity to let me off the hook if I fail. That way, we all get a better man. Plus, taking the long view, it'll come in handy by simplifying my death:


Why are you expected to do right? And what is right, anyway? That's my main problem with atheism (though I struggle with whether I believe in god myself). Namely, there's no real basis for you to "do right" other than your own belief as to what is right. Snce serial killers can also claim they are in the right, there is no real way for atheists to claim that Ghandi is better than Hitler, other than personal preference. But if someone feels that it's better to do wrong or to be selfish, then there is really nothing to be said. Because there's no actual basis for anyone to adhere to your beliefs as to what is right. So there's no real reason to ever argue with anyone over "right and wrong" becuase there isn't any (other than your personal preference). ANd if that is all it is, then atheists are even bigger believers in forcing their morality on others than religious people, since at least religious people can claim they get their beliefs in right and wrong from a higher authority. For atheists they harangue others over "right and wrong" that is solely based on their own preferences. Why are their opinions any better than those of any other persons? It simply is who can shout the loudest.
You cant even base morality on logic, because logic can lead to many different conclusions. Take a character like a Tony Soprano. He's a vicious thug that's killed plenty of people, including his own family members. Yet at the end of the day he winds up with the most toys. So, if you think the person with the most toys wins, then why isn't his life one to be emulated or even more moral than the guys he steals from or murders? Atheists can't answer that without resorting to a belief in absolute morality, which they can't have because they don't believe in an ordered universe.

And all the absolutisms that are supposedly wrong like "racism" or "sexism" can't absolutely be wrong because they can't be absolute without a higher law, what if someone doesn't think those things are wrong? What is an atheist supposed to appeal to? A higher power? Maybe sexism IS moral. It certainly can be justified logically.

Fen said...

J: Yr gonna shut yr bitch mouth soon, Okie-klan shit, pronto. Capichay Fen phag?. And IM not a demo anyways, scum. Got that yet, shit? Like dem apples, Fenster, Okie tweak shit

Can someone please phone Dem Underground and get us a proper troll? This one's already been domesticated. Its not even sporting.

jr565 said...

or to put it another way Crack, you don't like new agers. New agers like new age things. Why are they wrong and why are you right? You can argue that their logic is stupid, but if they think their logic is logical then what more is there really to argue about? And how can you call them evil? THey can't be evil, except in your mind, since their isn't any absolute evil, only things you disagree with.
But who are you and why should what you disagree with hold any more sway than a new ager, or a fundamentalist jihadist even. They like to kill infidels and jews and treat their women like dirt. Why, if there is no absolute or higher law should we expect them to treat jews or infidels or women well. That notion is simply our morality that we are trying to impose on them (just as they are trying to impose their morality on us)

The Crack Emcee said...

Fen,

How do you explain your vendetta against the New Age Cultism? I think the reason it affects you so deeply is because you are so hungry for the genuine article.

I'm waiting to go to dinner, so not a lot of time:

1) NewAge is cultism, not religion, so we're talking about two different things.

2) You can ask anyone here (I don't have time for links) my wife was a NewAger who killed three people - that's where my passion comes from, along with a general hatred for what they stand for after becoming aware of their "movement". Like most people, still, I never knew they were organized but, now that I know, they must be stopped.

3) There is nothing that says because I want to stop cultism, it means I'm begging for religion. Take my word for it:

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Crack Emcee said...

J,

CE-- after a few days battling with some of the AA yokels, I'm fairly convinced there's a core group of primates here (not all, or even a majority) whose wardrobe includes at least one white sheet with... some holes cut out for eyes.

Yea - and they're my friends - so I'm sure they won't have a problem tossing me one for when we string you up!

The Crack Emcee said...

jr565,

Why are you expected to do right? And what is right, anyway? That's my main problem with atheism (though I struggle with whether I believe in god myself). Namely, there's no real basis for you to "do right" other than your own belief as to what is right.

Too long for an answer right now - when I get back. But I will leave you with this:

You are not alone.

Harry said...

Peter said...It's why he picked up the cadence and tone of the sermons of Wright while never noticing (according to him) the words. He sat there for twenty years, imagining how he would use that cadence in his own speeches.

Wright was a better speaker than Obama. Obama's cadence is so repetitive that you could march to it. He stresses every fourth or fifth word, whatever it might be. Typical Obama style: "Blah, blah, blah-BLAH, blah-blah, blah, blah BLAH."

RichardS said...

But isn't modern liberalism an application of a certain understanding of Christian morality, applied to this world? In that sense, Obama's ethics were Christian before he went to Wright's church.

It's similar to the way that the oath our judges take, "do equal right to the poor and to the rich," probably comes, ultimately (filtered through common law?) from Leviticus 19, "Always judge your neighbor s fairly, neither favor ing the poor nor showing deference to the rich."

el polacko said...

my favorite maher moment occurred on last week's show when regular guest, d.l.hughley, whose every lefty utterance is usually met with wild applause by the audience, was prodded by the token republican guest to admit that he did not believe in evolution.. just after maher had told the repub that he deserved derision for sharing that very belief. dead silence from maher and his audience, followed by a change of subject that would make your head spin.. hahaha.

Revenant said...

That's my main problem with atheism (though I struggle with whether I believe in god myself). Namely, there's no real basis for you to "do right" other than your own belief as to what is right.

If you're just trying to say that belief in gods serves a useful social function even though they don't actually exist, you're probably right. The belief probably wouldn't have held on this long if it wasn't good for something.

Ambrose said...

Somefeller condescendingly says of me: “This comment might be interesting if we had any reason to believe the commenter was familiar with many Harvard Law graduates. Since he probably isn't, it should get the lack of respect it's due.”
Oh, ye magnificent and presumptuous douche. Ye pseudo-elitist.
Somefeller'd (sic) be surprised to know where I grew up and what I grew up around - in Massachusetts, North of Boston, quite rich, quite liberal, quite on the coast and quite within the proximity of that I mention - Cambridge. It’s no matter at all that I lived near the corner of Brattle and Hilliard for 14 months. It doesn’t matter because Somefeller knows me. Read what I wrote a second time Stupid-Fu…I mean “SF”. I mean Somefeller, and reconsider your own “close reading”.
Sincerest apologies that I dared specifically suggest that LIBERAL lawyers who GRADUATE from Harvard NEVER become CHRISTIANS. Those caps-locks are for you, SF, - not because I’m yelling, but because you chose to ignore a singular point. Did I say there were no Catholics in Boston? Nope. Would I say there are no Catholics who worshiped Chomsky, Foucault, and Derrida? Yup! Certainly people can enter and leave Harvard Christians. But it is hardly the place for converts, especially among those who never believed to begin with - or - dare I say - studied the Koran as a child.

Almost Ali said...

Urban Dictionary:

In his own jive-ass way, he [Obama] explained his belief in the "Grand Pimp Jesus".

Revenant said...

Name me ONE person who grew up liberal, then went to Harvard Law, graduated and then...became an active, open Christian?

"Grew up liberal" and then "became an active, open Christian"? There are some amusing assumptions there.

Ambrose said...

Revenant - find us one. Find us a publicly, self-professed Christian who was raised in a liberal household, has always practiced liberal politics, that graduated Harvard Law with no prior Christian background, who attended Mosque as a youth, only to suddenly turn Christian at 26 or so. Find. Me. One. Just one. One. I mean, other than our President. You can't. You won't. And you'll ignore that fact with some worthless, tangential comment that is distracting and besides the point. But yeah, find one.

Ambrose said...

Oh, and even Bill Maher would suggest any effort of yours is likely full of shit.

traditionalguy said...

Ambrose...I can think of no examples in the media world, but agnostic and socialist leaning young men who have determined to run their own lives without any religion are frequently converted to and profess a relationship with Jesus and His Father. The Holy Spirit works on them until they are faced with a choice to accept the truth, who is a person named Jesus. You may be right about Harvard, I don't know. But a real philosopher is one who loves the truth.

jr565 said...

so in other words Bill Maher thinks Obama is a liar yet will vote for him above all others. I remember when, on his show, he and Michael moore got down on hands and knees and begged Ralph Nader not to run, so as to not spoil the vote for Obama.
Why are libs so willing to go along with a lie merely for the sake of power. They simply cannot say who they really are. Obama talks socialism and hangs out with socialists and radicals his whole life, yet can't come out and say that's what he is. And liberals lie about what they think he is so as to get him in office and keep him there.

jr565 said...

The other great thing is that Maher thinks that Obama is a liar about his christianity (and that's probably the reason he voted for him - he votes for the atheistic pro gay marriage far left centrist he thinks Obama REALLY is). Yet he then heaps scorn on those who think Obama is really a Muslim as a bunch of dupes and morons.
Yet, aren't they similarly finding Obama's Chrisitianity to be suspect and deciding that Obama is lying about it and is really something else? Both Maher and the rubes think Obama is lying about his christianity and is there for being insincere with his publc persona, but really believes something else.
So what is that other thing that he really is? There is just as much potential evidence that he could be a closet muslim as there is that he could be a closet agnostic. He has a muslim name, he went to school in a muslim country, his father was muslim. So, if he's lying about his Christian faith, why is it beyond the pale to think he's Muslim if there is some evidence to support that claim.

I happen to think that he's more likely a far left agnostic/atheist who simply joined a black church for political reasons, so Maher is in fact right.
But both sides agree that Obama is a liar they just disagree with what he's lying about. Way to go Bill.

And why does Obama have to lie about his support for gay marriage? If he does, then doesn't that point to the extremism of the position? He can't own it without becoming instantly unelectable.

AllenS said...

People who like obama don't have a clue who he is, what he stands for, so they make their own shit up.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:

If you're just trying to say that belief in gods serves a useful social function even though they don't actually exist, you're probably right. The belief probably wouldn't have held on this long if it wasn't good for something.


If you don't have gods/god there really is no underpinning for a moral system that is real. Other than what you personally believe to be true. I notice that many libs are atheists, and yet are very arrogant in their beliefs that things are absolutely wrong (like racism sexism, republicans). Yet, take away that moral underpinning and what you need to do is add "In my opinion" to all declarations of what is right and wrong. Why are libs opinions any more valid than say a Nazis? What you are left with is a group that would force it's will on others and demand that they conform to liberal/atheistic belief simply because that is what the atheist thinks is right.
Yet at the same time, even though the profess that there is no god/gods they still fall back on absolute morality (established by the existence of an ordered universe) when it suits them. So if you want to talk about oppressors who try to force their morality on others, libs and atheists are the biggest offenders. Because religious people aren't forcing their beliefs on others, they are forcing (if you want to use that word) gods will on others. Liberals however are forcing their own will on others and whatever evil they find in others is purely based on their own personal preference. I say x is right. Therefore you are evil because I say so.

lasckbounce said...

Does he expose his children to his faith by setting an example of regular attendance at worship? Does he participate in Christian education activities? Do his children go Sunday school? Is the older girl in some version of conformation classes?

somefeller said...

Ambrose - so you grew up in Massachusetts, spent 14 months living near Brattle Street and that makes you an expert about Harvard Law graduates and their religious proclivities. Congratulations. I guess everyone who grew up in California is also an expert on surfing.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jr565:

If you don't have gods/god there really is no underpinning for a moral system that is real. Other than what you personally believe to be true.

That's very interesting. So of course you consult Hindu and Shinto texts to learn what is moral?

No? Then surely you consult your Bible, and you're careful not to commit abominations like wearing cloth made of mixed fabrics and you consult a priest when your house gets mold in it and you follow the rules on how to treat slaves?

No? Oh, the Bible needs careful study and interpretation and some parts of it are repealed or modified by other parts? I get it. That's why all Christians everywhere agree on what the Bible says is moral?

No? There's hundreds of denominations each with a different interpretation?

Seems there's an element of "what you personally believe is true" in your absolute morality.

Theist: I personally believe God told me X is moral.

Nontheist: I personally believe X is moral.

Just cut out the middleman already. I believe in exactly one fewer religion than you do.

The Crack Emcee said...

Gabriel Hanna,

Of course you consult Hindu and Shinto texts to learn what is moral?

No, Gabe, jr565 is an agnostic. He's not sure if malarky is malarky or not. He's every cult's dream (as they all are) lacking the conviction to state "this is bullshit" when that's what is put on their plate:

"Jesus rose from the dead." Of course he did. Next!

Surely you consult your Bible,...you follow the rules on how to treat slaves?

Believe me, they're trying. It's releasing themselves, from the chains in their own heads, where they're making little-to-no effort at all. Shit, I can't even get Ann to give up Whole Foods because she's rather be rebellious and posh than right and influential in stopping cultism and fraud - that's the shallow mind state of things around these parts.

They diss violence but it's the only thing they respect.

And they're the only ones who don't see it.

jr565 said...

Gabriel Hana wrote:
Seems there's an element of "what you personally believe is true" in your absolute morality.

Theist: I personally believe God told me X is moral.

Nontheist: I personally believe X is moral.

Just cut out the middleman already. I believe in exactly one fewer religion than you do.


So, then there is really no objective reason why Hitler is worse than Jesus to you other than a personal preference, right?

jr565 said...

Gabriel Hana wrote:
Nontheist: I personally believe X is moral.

So you can say what is moral for you, but does that morality carry over to anyone else? If someone else thinks they are moral in carrying out their belief system which is directly opposed to your moral views how can you prove that they are wrong and you are right? They believe that X is not moral. Or they believe Y is moral and you believe Y is not moral. Could you ever call that person evil or immoral or even wrong if they behave and act counter to your view of what is right, since the only reason it's right is because you think it's so, and the only reason they think it's right is because they think it's so.
Take a big issue like say slavery. Why is slavery wrong? Abolitionists used gods laws to argue immorality, but suppose you just said "I think slavery is wrong" and I said "I think slavery is not wrong" How do you solve that argument? Most likely you'll resort to absolute morality (ie slavery is wrong because its immioral to put people into bondage based on intrinsic worth of human beings). Only there would be no absolute morality you could actually refer to since the universe is not an ordered one. Thus you'd simply be outraged at slavery because those who engaged in it weren't acting in accordance to your views of how the world should work. Youd think your views should hold predominance, simply because you held those views.
If you simply said "in your opinion you think slavery is wrong" then what? So, you have an opinion. Who doesn't? Your only recourse would be to resort to logic. i.e. it's not logical to have slaves, but certainly you couldn't argue it based on a nonexistent morality. And I'd imagine a slaveholder could find logical reasons to hold slaves. So again, why is he wrong, other than your opinion?
Suppose I had the attitude that I'm stronger than you therefore I should be able to take your stuff and kill you, and that's moral? What would your counter be, absent a morality greater than yourself? That in your personal opinion, it's wrong to go after the weak? Well, logically Might makes right makes perfect sense. All you could say is, "In my opinion it's wrong for you to kill me and take my stuff" and I could simply counter by saying "IMight makes right" The winner of the argument would be who's left standing.
But neither could objectively be proven to be "right" based on any morality. Since every man is responsible for his own morality, if he says he's right then he is.

lasckbounce said...

Oops, make that " confirmation "

jr565 said...

Crack Emcee wrote:
where they're making little-to-no effort at all. Shit, I can't even get Ann to give up Whole Foods because she's rather be rebellious and posh than right and influential in stopping cultism and fraud - that's the shallow mind state of things around these parts.

They diss violence but it's the only thing they respect.


If there is no overlying morality and it's all of your own making why do you expect to hold other people accountable to your morality? Whether you like it or not, you in fact are appealing to a higher morality that all should know (which just happens to be your own) and they are wrong to not behave the way they should. If they respect violence why is that wrong? Who says violence is in fact wrong? You, but you're just one guy. Your morality is simply in your mind, as is the guy who respects violence.
The most that you can do is live according to your own morality, since it's solely your own, but you shouldn't expect others to ahere to your morality since they too would have a morality based on their own making.

The Crack Emcee said...

jr565,

So, then there is really no objective reason why Hitler is worse than Jesus to you other than a personal preference, right?

Jesus never existed. Do you really need simple shit, like that, explained?

How old are you? How many years of schooling do you have? Do you understand how to apply what you've learned? What's the problem here?

The Crack Emcee said...

Who says violence is in fact wrong? You, but you're just one guy.

I never said I think violence is wrong - I said other's do, but it's all they respect. I'm pointing out not only their hypocrisy but the fact they've made laws to keep anyone from stopping them in the only manner that works: beating them down.

Dude, you're being a child. And, honestly, I'm not in the mood today to deal with shit this stupid. If you're "not sure" if there are invisible entities out there then there's nothing I can do for you. You're a grown man (if you can be called that) who should've abandoned childish things a long time ago.

Good luck. You guys can argue how many angels are sitting on the head of a pin without me.

jr565 said...

Crack Emcee wrote:
Jesus never existed. Do you really need simple shit, like that, explained?

How old are you? How many years of schooling do you have? Do you understand how to apply what you've learned? What's the problem here?

Well there is debate about whether he existed irrespective of whether he was the son of god, and there is a lot of debate about that.
But I think you're using the example of Jesus to avoid having to answer the question. So take Jesus out of the equation, how about MLK or Ghandi? Or pick your own most moral person example. Why is that person more moral than the most immoral person you can think of? You're either going to have to appeal to a higher law and get into things like murder is wrong and theft is wrong because of that higher law, or you're going to simply get into debates based on opinions. If morality is of your own making then you can only say that the most moral person you can think of is moral simply because he meets the criterion as to what a moral person is as per you and your opinion but not because something is objectively right or wrong.
Take your hierarchy of rock n roll examples. In your mind an artist is important because in your opinion that artist is important, and you can find many like minded people who can conform to your view of the most important rock stars. Only that is not an objective fact,simply a shared opinion. If I said that the Bay City Rolllers were better than The Beatles you can't prove me wrong, since the criterion you are applying towards greatness are not the ones I"m applying towards greatness. You can only argue opinions not objective facts. The fact that more people might share your opinion doens't make you right any more than the fact that more people might believe in cults and religion makes them right. And if more people believed that slavery was right wouldn't that make them right? Surely you're not saying that the majority is always right?
I think what you're really arguing is the majority is right when you think they're right and wrong when you think they're wrong and the world should conform to your view of what is right simply because you hold that view. Because you're certainly not arguing for a higher law above both our opinions, because you can't possibly believe that if the universe is random.

jr565 said...

Crack Emcee wrote:
I never said I think violence is wrong - I said other's do, but it's all they respect. I'm pointing out not only their hypocrisy but the fact they've made laws to keep anyone from stopping them in the only manner that works: beating them down.

What's wrong with them making laws to keep anyone from stopping them? And how are you judging hypocricy as a flaw? It's only a flaw if hypocricy can objectively be viewed as such. Logically you might be able to go very far being a hypocrite more so than being honest about your views (which are, after all only your opinions). Look at Obama, he's gotten a lot farther being a hypocrite about his leftism then if he were honest about it.
I despise him for it, but that's because I have a fixed morality based on what I believe to be a morality higher than myself. Only if there is no morality higher than myself I have to wonder why situational ethics are not more effective than a fixed morality if at the end of the day I wind up ahead of other people clinging to their principles (which after all are just their opinions).

jr565 said...

Hypothetical:
Suppose two people met on a desert island away from society. And suppose they had views totally counter to one another on everything. How would you determine who was right or wrong.
Would they have to get along. would it be wrong for them to kill each other or rape or steal from the other? Why? Who says? There's just two people there. No heaven, no god, the only thing right is what they deem to be right, and the only thing wrong is what they deem to be wrong. You could never argue then that they shouldn't kill one another since there wouldn't be a law higher than themselves. So they couldn't ever say x is really wrong or right, nor tell the other person how to behave. If someone came to the logical conclusion that if they killed the other guy on the island theyd have all of his coconuts, how would they be wrong? On what basis could the other guy argue that they shouldn't kill one another?
It would simply be the laws of the jungle, and there would be no morality in place at all.

lasckbounce said...

paraphrasing CS Lewis... atheists must be careful what they read.
Definitely stay away from his "Mere Christianity"....lyric from Brooke Frazer "If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy/I can only conclude that I was not made for here." Again paraphrasing Lewis...even if Christianity is not true..it still a good way to conduct ones life..

Revenant said...

If you don't have gods/god there really is no underpinning for a moral system that is real

Only if you define "real moral system" as "a moral system handed to you by a god".

The Crack Emcee said...

I've said what I'm going to say:

If a lifetime of experience without God showing up isn't enough for you - and you're going to keep wondering because of what "they say" - then I surely can't help you. No one can. Any bright 5-year old could figure this shit out, but not you? Then you're cult fodder. Go join one. They've got all the answers for anyone searching.

Your idiotic confusion indicates you deserve each other.

Cheers.

The Crack Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

So, then there is really no objective reason why Hitler is worse than Jesus to you other than a personal preference, right?

Hitler is worse than Jesus because Hitler killed and enslaved a bunch of people while Jesus, er, didn't.

Murder is wrong because it permanently deprives a person of his right to life. This cannot be done unless the person has violated the rights of others to a great enough extent to warrant that ultimate punishment.

I guess you could say that it is just "my personal preference" to follow that moral system, but -- as others have pointed out to you -- it is also mere personal preference whether you follow one of the more liberal Christian versions of "God", or perhaps one of the nastier Christian/Muslim versions of "God" that think killing Jews is a great idea.

A person's choice of God is just a personal preference, too. So both theists and atheists base their morality on "personal preference".

Revenant said...

Suppose two people met on a desert island away from society. And suppose they had views totally counter to one another on everything. How would you determine who was right or wrong.

Well, obviously the Christian guy would say "God tells me what is moral, so obviously I'm right and you're wrong". And the other guy would say "huh, good point. I've been wrong about everything. Let's do it your way".

Revenant said...

Find us a publicly, self-professed Christian who was raised in a liberal household, has always practiced liberal politics, that graduated Harvard Law with no prior Christian background, who attended Mosque as a youth, only to suddenly turn Christian at 26 or so. Find. Me. One

Barack Obama. :)

Terry said...

Revenant wrote:
Murder is wrong because it permanently deprives a person of his right to life. This cannot be done unless the person has violated the rights of others to a great enough extent to warrant that ultimate punishment.

This is nonsense. This is morality from a box of crackerjack.
It is, to be precise, tautological. "Murder is wrong because it is murder".

Revenant said...

This is nonsense. This is morality from a box of crackerjack.
It is, to be precise, tautological. "Murder is wrong because it is murder".


Well, no, because murder is not the only way to deprive an undeserving person of his life. E.g., we do not usually call people who kill their passengers while driving drunk "murderers", because while they deprived people of their lives they didn't do so on purpose. But they have, nonetheless, done something wrong.

I'm amused that you think tautology and nonsense are the same thing, though. Try explaining why God is the source of morality without resorting to tautology -- it can't be done. :)

Methadras said...

Right, so Erkle, the Marxist he is, like the dream of his father, another Marxist, had for his son was the abject rejection of faith, but in turn to use the tools of faith for his nefarious purposes as are highlighted today.

Terry said...

Revenant-
I don't believe murder is wrong ( as an example) because God says it is wrong; I believe murder is wrong because it is wrong. Morality is part of God's nature, it is not something God "decides".
"Murder is wrong because it permanently deprives a person of his life" is tautology. The fact that you make it contingent makes it no less tautological. The contingencies amount to "murder is the unlawful taking of human life", which, of course, is just more tautology.

Revenant said...

I see. So "murder is wrong because it deprives someone of life" is nonsense, whereas "murder is wrong just because" is not. Got it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jr565:

God speaks to you out of a burning bush and tells you exterminate every human being in a city, young, old, male, female. (See Joshua 8.)

Will you carry out such a command? If not, please explain why not. If so, please explain why it's not okay for terrorist Muslims to exterminate Jews when God commands them too. If you'd like to dispute that God orders people to do such things, please explain how you are right about that when so many others have been wrong.

You can post as much tl; dr as you want but you can't around the fact that relying on God's commands involves just as much individual judgement and opinion as not bothering to invoke God at all.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
Hitler is worse than Jesus because Hitler killed and enslaved a bunch of people while Jesus, er, didn't.

That only means that in your mind it's wrong to kill or enslave people, not that those things are objectively wrong. If you were a Spartan you would find it glorious to wage wars and kill and enslave your enemies.


Murder is wrong because it permanently deprives a person of his right to life. This cannot be done unless the person has violated the rights of others to a great enough extent to warrant that ultimate punishment.
That's only relevant if you believe that human life is sacred and is deserving of absolute rights. However, a case can be made that many people don't believe in the sanctity of life. Even the notion that we are endowed BY OUR CREATOR with inaliable rights is suspect if there is no creator to actually endow those rights. How inaliable are those rights really?


I guess you could say that it is just "my personal preference" to follow that moral system, but -- as others have pointed out to you -- it is also mere personal preference whether you follow one of the more liberal Christian versions of "God", or perhaps one of the nastier Christian/Muslim versions of "God" that think killing Jews is a great idea.

On what basis are you following any moral system other than that you have a preference for it? And how does it work in regards to others? Are they compelled to also believe in the same sanctity of life simply because you do?
This is not to say that atheists can't have a moral system. OF course they do. Only there is no basis for it, other than their own vanity. And usually they are just as loud in calling those they disagree with as evil or wrong, when all that means is they would seek to coerce others to follow their morality simply becuase they think their morality trumps others.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
Well, obviously the Christian guy would say "God tells me what is moral, so obviously I'm right and you're wrong". And the other guy would say "huh, good point. I've been wrong about everything. Let's do it your way".

Well the christian guy might say whatever, but that's not the point. The point is you're arguing there is no good, so I'm asking where is your morality coming from.
You say that killing someone is wrong because it permanently deprives them of a fundamental right to life. In the case of our two castaways though is that in fact a given absolute rule, or is that simply something that one or both believes SHOULD be?
Who on the desert island is ascribing this right that neither side can violate? Wouldn't that make it an absolute right? How could you possibly appeal to such an absolute right absent an ordered universe which requires a creator?
Either murder is absolutely wrong whether either party on the island thinks it is, or it's only wrong because one or both parties want that to be the case. If people make their own morality then in fact murder is only wrong if you think it's wrong. What if one person on the island thinks murder is wrong but the other person thinks that the best way to get all the coconuts is murder?

jr565 said...

Gabriel Hana wrote:
God speaks to you out of a burning bush and tells you exterminate every human being in a city, young, old, male, female. (See Joshua 8.)

Will you carry out such a command? If not, please explain why not. If so, please explain why it's not okay for terrorist Muslims to exterminate Jews when God commands them too. If you'd like to dispute that God orders people to do such things, please explain how you are right about that when so many others have been wrong.


Suppose Muslims do exterminate Jews, what is your justification to say that they are wrong to do so? Aren't you in fact appealing to an absolute law that you think they are violating? Or are you simply saying IN YOUR opinion societies shouldn't exterminate members of society. Since they don't have a problem with doing it, what does you opinion matter since no morality is ultimately any greater or worse than other morality (except in your own mind)?

Synova said...

"Suppose two people met on a desert island away from society. And suppose they had views totally counter to one another on everything. How would you determine who was right or wrong."

Firstly, human moral codes tend to have more things in common than otherwise. For two people to have totally different views on every moral issue one of them would have to be a socio- or psychopath. In which case the only relevant desert island question is: Can the other guy stay alive long enough to kill him.

Revenant said...

That only means that in your mind it's wrong to kill or enslave people, not that those things are objectively wrong.

So I'm no different from a person who believes in gods, then.

jr565 said...

Synova wrote:
Firstly, human moral codes tend to have more things in common than otherwise.

That's because most societies take it as an absolute that murder or theft is wrong. And those absolute truths require a creator and an ordered universe. If not then it's simply a coincidence or preference that those cultures share, but not based on an absolute truth.

For two people to have totally different views on every moral issue one of them would have to be a socio- or psychopath. In which case the only relevant desert island question is: Can the other guy stay alive long enough to kill him.

I would argue that you would need to have the absolute idea of murder being wrong regardless of whether anyone agrees with that notion to even come up with an argument that someone is a sociopath for not believing that killing is wrong. Because killing would not be wrong, Killing is neutral. YOU would THINK it's wrong because that's your preference, but there is no truth to the argument that killing is wrong other than you declared it. You can't say that nature prohibits murder. So why then would murder be wrong, especially if someone benefits from it. Absent the absolute truth that murder is absolutely wrong, the "sociopath" might think YOU'RE The one that's crazy holding him to some strange notion that he can't act in his best interest and kill all enemies based on some set of rights that no one discussed with him. Who says that he can't kill his neighbor? where is that written?

Terry said...

So "murder is wrong because it deprives someone of life" is nonsense, whereas "murder is wrong just because" is not.

Now you are just being silly, Revenant.
Or do you really think "Murder is wrong because is it is a moral evil" is the same as "Murder is wrong just because".
Perhaps next you will be taken to remarking that "God" is "dog" spelled backwards? Or ask if God can do anything, can He make a stone so heavy that He can not lift it?

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
So I'm no different from a person who believes in gods, then.

You are different. THey think there is a higher law that is true whether they want to believe it or not that says things are objectively wrong. And atheists think that things are wrong, because they personally think they are wrong, not because they have any objective truth behind them. If 6 billion people each come up with their own morality based on what they think is right or wrong, then how could you ever say that you were MORE right than others who think they are right? There would be no right or wrong.

Revenant said...

Or do you really think "Murder is wrong because is it is a moral evil" is the same as "Murder is wrong just because".

Moral evil is wrong. Ergo, saying "murder is wrong because murder is a moral evil" is exactly the same as saying "murder is wrong because murder is wrong".

"Murder is wrong just because" takes less time to type and explains just as much. :)

Revenant said...

You are different. THey think there is a higher law that is true whether they want to believe it or not that says things are objectively wrong.

Apparently you think gods are the only "higher law" humans can believe in.

That explains your confusion.

Synova said...

"That's because most societies take it as an absolute that murder or theft is wrong."

I don't think this is at all true.

Most societies don't tolerate murder or theft within the tribe but may encourage it outside of the tribe. Some even have customs about how murder and theft can happen within the tribe and still be acceptable. Duals where the winner gets the loser's property and family... the vikings did that.

But there really isn't a whole lot of mystery involved in why murder or theft would be disapproved of within a tribe, starting at the smallest number of people cooperating together to survive.

It's really not automatic or absolute that the prohibitions extend outward. The right to survive allows both, even as survival requires trust and the support of others.

" And those absolute truths require a creator and an ordered universe. If not then it's simply a coincidence or preference that those cultures share, but not based on an absolute truth."

On the contrary. If the creator was just arbitrarily making up rules that had no purpose then it would be coincidence or preference. But the rules do have a purpose. Children need to reach adulthood capable of reproduction.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
Apparently you think gods are the only "higher law" humans can believe in.

That explains your confusion.

So you think that there is an absolute truth or higher law,derived from a universe that was created randomly. You don't want to call it God, but instead mother nature or The Universe, whatever it's face, you can't appeal to anything universal absent it being there.
Atheism has to accept a world beyond good and evil and that morality is an artificial construct and something that is ultimately meaningless. Love thy neighbor is as moral as act in your own self interest.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jr565:

I notice that you refuse to answer my question, just more tl; dr and twitting me for not having answers that I never claimed I had.

You claim that God will answer all moral questions for us if only we discover what he wants. Now please explain how we unambiguously do that without relying on fallible human opinion.

You can't. You are in the same boat atheists are in. The atheist say "I think north is that way". You say, "Listen to the invisble captain who says it's this way".

Tl; dr some more, but you got nuthin.

Two guys on a desert island. One guy says "God says I get all the coconuts." Other guy says "God says I get them." How do they resolve the dispute without relying on opinions?

Again, you got nuthin.

jr565 said...

Synova wrote:
But there really isn't a whole lot of mystery involved in why murder or theft would be disapproved of within a tribe, starting at the smallest number of people cooperating together to survive.

Ok, so lets argue that morality is purely based on social constructs and is logically based. The reason that murder is wrong is not because murder is actually empirically wrong, but rather it causes harm to the tribe who have to cooperate together so it's in their best interest to not kill one another but work together. But that assumes that the only logical argument is that people have to cooperate together to survive. Another way to look at it would be that a stronger person can seize power and make others work for his benefit while he reaps the rewards. That there should be higher castes and lower castes and that the person who can wield the most power gets the most spoils and all others have to bend to his will. THen it wouldn't be a question of what was "moral" but what was more effective.
Think of Nash in A Beautiful Mind outlining his game theory where you ignore the pretty girl and go for her more homely friends so that everyone can get laid. THat's one way of looking at it. Another way is you let your friends go after the homely girls and say you will too then at the last minute break away and go for the hot chick, because screwing the hot chick is more important than making sure everyone gets an equal share. Theres' no reason that people in society HAVE to be cooperative. Self interest is just as logical as acting in others best interest. In fact self interest would seem to be more logical. It's not logical to act in a way that would be counter to your self interest. So what if you could kill someone and not get caught. Have you in fact done anything wrong?
ANd there is no RIGHT to survive, absent a universal law that gives humans a right to live. Just look at nature. Do you think any animal has a right to not be eaten by any other animal? Where would humans get the notion that they are somehow immune from the laws of nature? That would simply mean that some people felt that logically in the interest of maitaining society we shoulndn't kill one another. But that is no more moral than another group of people saying we should kill or enslave all the weaker people and make them work for us. WHich one produces the better society. And note that defining better would similarly be subjective. But if you wanted to go that route, then suppose the warlike society ends up having the most stuff? Why then logically wouldn't the warlike society be the better one?


On the contrary. If the creator was just arbitrarily making up rules that had no purpose then it would be coincidence or preference. But the rules do have a purpose. Children need to reach adulthood capable of reproduction.

no, I wasn't saying the creator was arbitarily making up rules that had no purpose. The rules are in place because they are absolute. Rather, it was happenstance that two societies might order themselves in a similar manner and thus have a shared morality.

Revenant said...

So you think that there is an absolute truth or higher law,derived from a universe that was created randomly.

I didn't say I believed in absolute truth or higher law. I just pointed out that you don't have to believe in gods to do so.

You don't want to call it God

In the sense that I "don't want" to call it a watermelon either, yes.

you can't appeal to anything universal absent it being there.

Absent me thinking it is there, you mean. Yes, it is fair to say that I can't appeal to universal morality without at least saying that I think universal morality exists.

Atheism has to accept a world beyond good and evil and that morality is an artificial construct and something that is ultimately meaningless.

I "have to" accept that or else... what? The Atheism Police come arrest me for insufficient commitment to nihilism and moral relativism?

It certainly isn't rationally demonstrable that atheists are compelled to think like that.

Revenant said...

I notice that you refuse to answer my question, just more tl; dr and twitting me for not having answers that I never claimed I had.

Just read the first few sentences and skip the rest.

Synova said...

But it's really not happenstance that different cultures share moral codes and the creator really is not just announcing absolute rules.

Part of what leads me to believe in God is that His rules are about *us* and not about *Him*. Other people hear the argument that His rules have practical foundations and decide that this does away with God. It doesn't.

Human beings are not solitary creatures. God did not create us to be solitary creatures. Suggesting that without God we could just go ahead and be different than we are is silly. We form into cooperative groups. That any group might have a dominant individual is irrelevant. I'm not suggesting that cooperative groups are necessarily *fair* to all members. But most likely there will be rules to follow and within a certain range those rules will be similar for a tribe of tree-house people in Papua New Guinea as it is for primitive Aleutians or Lapps.

But lets set aside what humans have in common and imagine a truly alien alternative. Try to imagine an alien culture where the aliens have managed to build an industrial base adequate to come for a visit. Would the aliens have a completely different moral code? Could they? It would probably have to be based firmly in biological and reproductive differences.

Humans have only one reproductive strategy.

It's not chance that gives us similarities in moral codes. The Bible would say that people who haven't heard the scriptures are still responsible for knowing God because they can see the evidence of God in the world around them.

Synova said...

And two people on a desert island have only one moral question to decide between them... are they more likely to survive by killing the other person or by cooperating. It may actually be factual that only one person can survive but in the end only one person has to believe that it's "him or me". I don't know any moral code that requires the moral person to simply let himself be killed although a voluntary sacrifice in favor of the other person is often considered heroic.

jr565 said...

Gabriel Hana wrote:
You claim that God will answer all moral questions for us if only we discover what he wants. Now please explain how we unambiguously do that without relying on fallible human opinion.

You can't. You are in the same boat atheists are in. The atheist say "I think north is that way". You say, "Listen to the invisble captain who says it's this way".

Most deists believe that God (whatever that is) created the world and set up natural laws as if he were winding a clock then stepped back and let it run. But that the absolute truths were in fact self evident. Most religions have it in them not to kill/murder and not to steal, to honor parents etc. Thus all religions and all men find these truths naturally. It's simply hard wired into us to have a conscience.
But now take an atheist. There could not be any real thing as a morality because those natural rules don't exist. THere would only be a morality constructed by human preference which was forced on those who may not wish to conform to it who live in society. But that morality would have no more weight than any other societies. So there would be no point in demanding that Islamic countries treat their women better for example, because how they treat their women is merely their prefrence. Or think about the Brits who used their navy to route out slave ships and force them to give up their slaves. How presumptuous. WHo are they to say that slavery is wrong, and why is that view more or less valid than the desire to have slaves. All htat would mean is that the Brits coerced slave traders to conform, just as slave traders forced Africans to conform not that the Brits were right that slavery was wrong. Nothing would be right or wrong objectively.

Two guys on a desert island. One guy says "God says I get all the coconuts." Other guy says "God says I get them." How do they resolve the dispute without relying on opinions?

THey do rely on their beliefs, only according to you neither side can be right or wrong. So then why have discussions about morality since you ultimately don't think that there can be one. Which is why I said "Namely, there's no real basis for you to "do right" other than your own belief as to what is right." Atheists logically are not moral but amoral. And why do you have to include two people who believe in god who are arguing over what is right? You've already established that there is no god. And I'm telling you then that there is no morality either. So lets take two atheists instead and lets have one say the two should cooperate and share the coconuts and lets have the other say no I'll kill you and take all the coconuts. And let's say you're an outside observer looking in on the scene - How are you determining which of those two positions is the moral one? And what are you basing it on? An absolute truth that the two should cooperate and that murder is wrong (wherever did you get that idea) , or whoever gets the most coconuts wins? So now if we push it back to the larger society, if I can kill someone and get the most coconuts, on what basis would you say that I shouldn't behave that way if it benefits me more? The only thing you can argue, since you've given up on absolutes is logic. And yet logic has just shown me that violence is even more effective than nonviolence. So on what else would you base the argument that such behavior is wrong? There is nothing else. Why then should someone not steal or kill if they can get away with it?

jr565 said...

Synova wrote:
I don't know any moral code that requires the moral person to simply let himself be killed although a voluntary sacrifice in favor of the other person is often considered heroic.

Why would that person even make a pretense of being moral? Since you already established that there is no real overlying morality or "right or wrong". Again, you're assuming that there is an overlying moral code, whereby someone would behave properly. Only atheists shouldn't presume that such a thing exists since their worldview wouldn't allow it. Neither person would be moral or immoral. It would be a silly argument.

Synova said...

"But that morality would have no more weight than any other societies. So there would be no point in demanding that Islamic countries treat their women better for example, because how they treat their women is merely their prefrence."

Ever notice what sort of shit-holes most of those countries are? Violating natural laws have natural consequences.

Ever notice what sort of shit-holes most communist countries are (until they start to incorporate some measure of free markets)? Violating natural laws have natural consequences.

And an atheist doesn't have to believe that there was no "winding up of a clock" and thus no order and no consequences because they don't believe in a clock winder.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
I "have to" accept that or else... what? The Atheism Police come arrest me for insufficient commitment to nihilism and moral relativism?

It certainly isn't rationally demonstrable that atheists are compelled to think like that.

Atheists should rather accept that logically their view leads to an absence of an objective morality.And actually your views of the Atheism police arresting people for insufficient commitment to nihilsm would be exactly how society would function and does function to atheists (or should if they are logically consistent). There is no absolute morality, nor absolute truths. So any law enacted does not in fact comply to any such truth, so there can be no real justice since there would be no way to judge it (other than personal preference of course). All laws would merely be coercion based on the whims of those making the laws and those who didn't agree but behaved according to their own codes would be arrested by the police for insufficient adherence to an arbitrary law derived from nihilism and moral relativism.

Synova said...

I don't know any moral code that requires one person to allow another person to kill her.

Certainly Christianity doesn't. Even the hard core pacifists present voluntarily dying as something one hopes to have the strength to do rather than a God given absolute.

jr565 said...

Synova wrote:
Ever notice what sort of shit-holes most of those countries are? Violating natural laws have natural consequences.

Ever notice what sort of shit-holes most communist countries are (until they start to incorporate some measure of free markets)? Violating natural laws have natural consequences.

You're defining that they are shitholes because of how they treat their women and because they aren't rich as we are. Yet is how we treat our women better absolutely, or only better because that's our preference. Likewise, I would certainly agree that some societies are more efficient than others but that doesn't make them moral. THey always said of Mussolini that the trains always ran on time. Would the facists efficieny with train schedules mean they were more moral than the West. Likewise, many societies would find themselves less of a shithole if they could use slave labor instead of paying workers. Having slaves work like the Egyptians did on the pyramids might be even more efficient than giving everyone a wage. Now Egypt is a shithole, but at the time Egypt was the most advanced place on earth.

Revenant said...

Atheists should rather accept that logically their view leads to an absence of an objective morality.

Yes, we already know that you believe that. What you haven't explained is why we should take your word for it.

Synova said...

If morality required inefficiency, better to be poor than corrupted, would you call it moral? Take Afghanistan. The "moral" code required women not be educated and women not see male doctors. The result was an infant (and mother) mortality rate that wasn't just bad but utterly appalling. Don't you think it's an *indication* that a system is immoral if it doesn't just allow, but practically *demands* that babies die?

Do you really think it's a coincidence that the wealthiest societies protect property rights and individual sovereignty, don't keep slaves and do treat women equally?

Revenant said...

And an atheist doesn't have to believe that there was no "winding up of a clock" and thus no order and no consequences because they don't believe in a clock winder.

Indeed, many of us believe that the lack of a "clock-winder" makes the universe a more rational and objective place than it would otherwise be.

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