Book Review: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist – Ch 7.2

I’ve spent a lot of time on un-deniability and reactions, and I’d like to go through the other points a little more quickly since I’m not even halfway through the book. The author Godwins the third point. LOL. I’m trying to take this reading seriously, but citing the Declaration of Independence and then using the Nazis as an unrelated example is not an argument. At any rate, this is the same point as the first point in different words. In fact, almost every further point is the same point as the first point, that we have intuitive knowledge about morality. However, all that this demonstrates is that people have an ethical sense. It does not prove that a god was necessary to create a system of ethics. Indeed, the term moral law goes generally undefined. A few examples of right and wrong are given, but no more rigorous definition emerges beyond what is known by people’s reactions. I cannot discuss the moral law in depth if the author does not define it!

Next, the author claims that morality appears relative because of failure to make proper distinctions (p 182). First up are absolute morals vs. changing behavior. He uses an example that is relevant to me, that of cohabitation and premarital sex. I feel that the author would probably direct me back to point eight, if there were no moral law, then we wouldn’t make excuses for violating it (p 181), but I am not attempting to defend myself or my behavior. I genuinely do not know why it is morally wrong to be in a committed relationship without getting married. It is not undeniably immoral as the harm in it may be debated, my reaction to it does not indicate that anyone is being harmed or treated unfairly, and it does not fall into any categories that I consider to be absolutely wrong. The author’s previous reasons for knowing that the moral law exists seem only to apply to those within a Christian environment, who will feel guilty for breaking the rules of their community.

The second distinction is that of changing perception of the facts (p 182). I am not sure of the point that the author is trying to make through his example. He says that in the late 1700s, witches were sentenced as murderers and now they are not. The perception was once that witches could murder people with curses, but that now people no longer believe that they can. However, the Bible says that one should not suffer a witch to live (Exodus 22:18). Is he claiming that those who practice Wicca should still be put to death by the unchanging absolute morals of the Bible? I am not seeing that reading in this paragraph. Using the examples that I’ve already given, it appears that many of the laws of the Bible were based upon perceptions that almost no modern person, including most Christians, now accepts. By what mechanism should we divide the unchanging moral values from the antiquated perception of the moral situation in the perfect law of the lord?

Third is the application to particular situations. All I want to say at this time is that these following sections are presented as opinion without rigorous proof. The author says that people may get morality wrong in complicated situations but not on the basics, and claims that truthfully answering a simple moral question such as whether murder is justified proves that at least one law of morality exists (p 184). I do not know how anyone could consider that a simple moral question, because the definition of murder is not universal, even among Christians. But what troubles me most is that he makes his last assertion completely without backing – if the moral law exists, then so does the Moral Law Giver (p 185). This is a weaselly way to present a case.

The fifth distinction, moral disagreements, is another appeal to un-deniability, and a dishonest one at that. He claims that most people know deep in their hearts that an unborn child is a human being (p 186), and I’m disgusted that he would attempt to discredit those he disagrees with in such a way. I am not talking about the issue of abortion, but about this tactic of claiming intellectual dishonesty and willfulness on the behalf of his opponents. It is no different than if I claimed that Geisler and Turek know deep in their hearts that there is no god, but suppress that knowledge as a matter of the will in order to justify how they have spent their lives. If the author and you truly believe that everyone who disagrees with them is deliberately fooling themselves, there is no point in continuing to pretend to have an honest conversation.

Ah! Godwinned again! I have no interest in addressing the straw man Darwinist that the author attacks. I am not qualified to explain a Darwinian system of morality, since it is something that I know little about, and I do not have the time to read much about it right now, as I am currently embarked on a rather time consuming blogging project. I will attempt to address it at a later time, after this review is finished, as my purpose for writing this now is to react to a Christian apologetic and not to publish a scholarly work. Until then, I recommend the library at http://www.infidels.org for a collection of articles dealing with atheism and morality (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/nontheism/atheism/morality-and-atheism.html). The author claims that he has shown that if at least one thing is really morally wrong, then God exists (p 192). I assert that he has failed to show that, and in fact has not even tried to show it but has done a lot of hand waving with controversial topics and unproven blanket statements. He also claims that to be a consistent atheist, one has to believe that there is nothing wrong with any heinous act (p 193). Apparently, he will not consider any atheistic claim that humans are capable of authoring a moral system either through necessity or rational thought. That is coupled with the final interesting thing, on the very last page of the chapter, which is the statement that in Christian theology, the Moral Law is god’s nature (p 193). He did not address the Euthyphro dilemma, but from his other statements, it is obvious that he believes that any person can determine whether a course of action is good for reasons other than because god says it is. The moral atheist will claim that if these reasons are self-evident despite god’s existence, they can also be self-evident without god’s existence.

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Johnny
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 06:54:16

    Hello Friend Thanks for the Review

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: