Thursday, February 21, 2013

Befuddled infidels

Reddit plugged my post:


This is not a response at all. This is avoiding answering the question entirely.

For a lone voice of reason, he doesn’t exhibit much reason.


Holy long walk for a short cop-out, batman.

The question isn't, "if you thought god were telling you to kill someone, would you do it". It's , "assuming god is absolutely real, and 100% obviously instructing you to kill someone, will you do it."

i) Actually, the question is typically framed in just those terms: “if you thought god were telling you to kill someone, would you do it”?

I didn’t make that up. I got that from reading atheists.

ii) But what about his alternative: “assuming god is absolutely real, and 100% obviously instructing you to kill someone, will you do it.”

If the atheist is stipulating the actual existence of Yahweh, as well as unmistakable knowledge of his command, then why wouldn’t you do what Yahweh commanded you?

Suppose I answer that hypothetical in the affirmative. How can the atheist object? After all, his hypothetical grants the reality of God commanding me to kill someone. That’s the set up.

He can’t turn around and say that just goes to show how dangerous religion is. That just goes to show why we should reject religion.

For his hypothetical assumes the actual existence of God–a God who really did issue this command. In that event, it’s not religion or religiosity that’s dangerous, but God. A God who really says and does these things.

He can’t very well say, God exists–therefore, don’t believe in God. He can’t very well postulate God’s existence for hypothetical purposes, then complain about the real world consequences if we answer him on the terms of the hypothetical.  Either be consistently hypothetical or be consistently realistic.

i) No it's not a trick question. There are commands to kill all over the old testament supposedly commanded by God, why should we not ask what you would do?

a) That’s ambiguous. Is he asking, “What would I do if I were living under the Mosaic covenant?” If that’s the question, then I should do what Yahweh commands.

b) Is he asking, “What would I do if I were living under the new covenant?” If that’s the question, then the cultic purity codes which underlie herem don’t apply. So if I heard a voice telling me to kill someone, I should disregard it.

By the same token, I’m not Abraham. God hasn’t made me a federal head. And the time for that is past.

ii) The point for me isn't to call religion dangerous, it's to get people to think of how would they know who God is commanding to kill others.

I’ve already thought about that. Next question?

If you don't believe Muslim extremists, why would all the tribes in the old testament believe the supposed chosen people of God?

That posits an analogy without a supporting argument. There are many reasons to disbelieve Islam. For one thing, we’re under the new covenant. There’s no subsequent covenant after the new covenant. There’s no room for Muhammad.

Not to mention that Muhammad disqualified himself by making the Bible the standard of comparison.

Likewise, there’s no positive evidence that Muhammad was a genuine prophet. No prophecies. No miracles. No nothing.

I could go on, but why bother?

iv) This isn't just about psychotics. People say God speaks to them in a variety of means, and what if any of those means leads to the command to kill others? Certainly there is a movement of Christians in the armed forced that believe God is commanding them to fight. They aren't schizo.

Where is he getting his information?

v) People like Sam Harris already bring up these issues. This way of thinking leads to less vengeance on those who commit crimes and more understanding and a drive to learn how to practically solve the problems and reduce crime. I think it's a good step forward.

In that case, why is joecool so hot and bothered by Muslim terrorists? We shouldn’t fight them. We should try to understand them. Apply the Swedish model. If they commit mass murder, send them to a deluxe rehabilitation center.

vi) I'm totally lost on what he was saying... no idea what point he was trying to make.

Another freethinker who can’t think.

vii) I'm sure Abraham thought he had no reason to think God would command him to kill his son too.

We’re at a very different stage of redemptive history.

 You're basically just admitting you will follow what YOU think God is like as described by the bible over what an actual thing claiming to be God says.

The fact that an “actual thing” claims to be God creates no presumption that it is what it claims to be.

 That just changes the hypothetical to would you follow the commands of God if he proved to you he was God and the bible was incorrect and he actually wants you to kill person x.

According to the revised hypothetical, I wouldn’t have much choice in the situation. Neither would joecool.

It’s like asking, “If Zeus were real, and he ordered you to kill someone, would you do it?”

Well, in a world where Zeus is real, and Yahweh is not, then you have to adapt if you wish to survive. What would Zeus do to you if you disobeyed him?

BTW, we can easily create a secular parallel: What if there is no God, and a sadistic dictator forces you to choose between shooting your best friend to save your wife and kids? If you refuse, he will have all of them shot. As an atheist, what would you do in that situation?


For some people it has to do with religion. Right now, nobody is forced to serve in the military. There are groups that think they are called by God to defend American and kill the terrorists. Whether you want to say they are using their religion to justify what they want to do or not is your prerogative, but it looks the same from my perspective.

If terrorists pose a threat to your friends and relatives, why shouldn’t you sign up to kill them? Does joecool think lethal force to repel violent aggression is intrinsically evil?

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