Okay. You Win. There is No God.

I often times think about who I would be if I were not a Christian.  Previously I wrote about how my views would be affected by the belief that God does not exist.  I am going to write again on that subject.  In what follows, I want you to know that I am being completely honest.  Not a bit of what I tell you is exaggerated or for shock effect.

The other day I was at a restaurant.  A very attractive woman walked into the restaurant.  I told myself to respect the beauty of that woman but avert my eyes and mind and to place them elsewhere.  Immediately this thought came into my head: “Why did I just decide to stop myself from having a very pleasurable moment?”

What I realized is that the primary reason I stopped myself was because of the fact that I am a Christian.  When I say “Christian”, I do not mean someone who checks the box “Christian” simply because they do not know what else they would be or because they believe in God or went to church when they were younger and every now and then as an adult.  I mean someone who recognizes themselves as a sinner, that God loves them even so, that Christ came to make a way for people to have a right relationship with God, who every day loves and does his best to follow God, and when he fails at that he turns to God asking forgiveness and a desire to be more like Christ.  I know that is a lot when defining a Christian, but that really is what a Christian is.  A Christian is not someone who simply believes in God.  A Christian is someone who actively follows Christ in belief, repentance, and obedience, all motivated by love for God.

After I realized that the primary reason I stopped looking and thinking about the very attractive woman was because I was a Christian, I got to thinking.  I asked myself, “What if I were not a Christian?  What would I have done?”  I then started wondering about the many other things I would do if I were not a Christian.  I decided to write a blog about it.

Why did I decide to write a blog about it?  Because I believe that virtually no one else would say what I am going to be honest enough to say.  I know and interact with a number of friends who try to convince me and others that God does not exist.  I inform these friends that if I were an atheist, I would completely change who I am because my worldview is such a large part in making me who I am.  So the following is just a few ways I would be different if I were not a Christian.

If you are a Christian reading this, then you are going to have to forgive me.  I am going to be speaking as an atheist, so do not be surprised to hear me say things I would never normally say … starting … right … now.

The Hot Girl

First, I would not have averted my eyes and mind from the hot girl in the restaurant.  I would have enjoyed the view.  I would have done more than that though.  I would have talked to her to enjoy the moment for as long as I could.  After all, life is simply the make up of a bunch of moments.  Why not make the good moments last?  Who knows how long we could have made that moment last?  We both did not seem to have much on our plates for the day.  Maybe we could have made a day out of it … and probably a night out of it.

Almost all my life I have tried to avert my eyes and mind from sexual thoughts that are outside a marriage relationship.  Do you have any fucking idea how hard that is?  (Come on.  Even if you do not appreciate the f-bomb, you have got to admit that was perfectly placed.)  The thing is that I did a relatively decent job of that too.  There were a number of girls that I kept my hands off or never even approached for the sake of following Christ.  What the fuck did I do to myself?  I could have had a lot of fun.  I saved myself for marriage.  Why the fuck did I do that?

But hey, my younger life is not over yet.  I am still capable of finding attractive women who entertain the thoughts I entertain.  Why am I keeping myself from this enjoyment?  I know you are going to bring up the fact that I am married, but that is a minor problem.  There are many people with open marriages.  Why can I not have one?  If my wife does not want one, well, that is not a problem that a lawyer and a little slip of paper cannot resolve.  I know that sounds heartless, but why would I keep my wife locked into a relationship that she does not want?  That is heartless.  It would be better for her if I just let her go free to find someone who desires the kind of relationship she desires.  It is also wrong of me to lie to myself all the time saying that I do not want to have sex with other hot women.  I fucking do.  Why torture myself and keep that bottled up my whole life?

The Baby

I am expecting a kid pretty soon.  The other day I was thinking about what a baby is.  From a naturalistic perspective, the baby is nothing more than the physical byproduct of my sexual urges.  That is it.  There is nothing special about the baby.  There is no miracle, nothing admirable.  This baby could have resulted if I had just hooked up with a girl for one night in a furry of fucking, or if I had a committed monogamous marital relationship.  Same result.  The baby is simply the physical byproduct of my sexual urges.  Welcome to the world, offspring of sex.

The Money

The Christian me was pretty frugal.  He was frugal because he wanted to save his money so he could help people who needed it.  But why the fuck do that now that I do not believe in God?  Why not spend the money that I get on me?  Sure I will spend money on my friends, but that is because I know they will eventually help me.  Why the fuck would I give to some bum on the street who is too lazy and hooked on drugs or alcohol to do what he knows he needs to do to get a job?  (By the way, any bum can get a job.  Admittedly it takes work, but it can happen if they really want it.  Also, a lot of those people really are content with begging for money.  I had a friend who one time told a beggar that she could get her a job for over $10/hr.  The beggar refused saying, “I make more money doing this.”  That is not an uncommon occurrence.)

Thinking of all the money I am going to have since I do not tithe at a church or give to other charities, holy shit I am going to have some fun.  I know I could get a bunch of fun people with me to enjoy all this together … and fuck will we have fun.  

Who else wants to have a fuck load of fun?  You know how to contact me.  Let’s do this.  Do not let society pressure you into suppressing your real desires.  Do not let the society that has no right to tell you what you can or cannot do constrain your life.  You only live once.  Live it well.  Stop allowing yourself to be restricted by societal norms.  Break free from normal thinking.  Think like kings and queens.  We are the apex of evolution.  Let us enjoy the mountain top.

Did you notice the picture associated with this post?  Did you notice the symbol above the wording?  That symbol is used by atheists to represent atheism.  Notice what the wording says?  Well, fuck yeah.  Let us enjoy life.  Stop allowing yourself to be hindered by other belief systems’ insistence on moral standards.  And by the way, an atheist that has a moral agenda for your life is another’s belief system.  Why in the world would you shackle yourself to moral standards when we have freed ourselves from them? 

Are You Judging Me?

What?  Are you judging me?  What the fuck gives you the right to judge me?  Seriously.  Answer me.  Why the fuck do you think you have a right to judge me right now?  I know you may think your moral compass is better than mine, but where is North in regards to morality?  I mean it.  Explain to me why I should live to your moral standards.  Go ahead.  I have challenged people before to give me a reason to live according to their standards.  Not surprisingly no one took me up on the challenge.

Are you really going to tell me that we should just be good for goodness’ sake?  Shut the fuck up.  What is good?  Biological evolution tells me that self-preservation is good.  Indeed, that is the main reason for pretty much every action we do.  Even actions that seem to be altruistic are actually accomplished because they indirectly benefit the self.  So I am doing good.  I am self-preserving.  

If I scratch someone’s back, it is because I fully expect them to scratch mine.  Is it not right for me to expect that?  If you are not going to scratch my back, then fuck off.  I can find plenty of people who will scratch my back.  I do not need you to do it for me.  There are plenty of people like me.  You may be stranded on your own little island thinking that everyone thinks like you, but I have a news flash for you Walter Cronkite, not everyone’s like you, bruh.

There is no North in morality.  Morality is simply whatever one person concludes in his own mind.  Just because you prefer a certain strain of morality does not mean that I should prefer yours.  Nothing in the universe dictates for us an absolute moral guideline.  Not nature or society.  Society may make up moral rules for us to follow, but that does not mean that they are what we should do; they are only what society prefers for us to do.  I for one am not going to let myself get tied down by someone else’s demands on my life.  If I did that, I would basically be submitting myself to a type of god – the god of society.  Well, I just broke free from a life of living under a theos, I will not submit myself to that kind of slavery again.

The Why

If you expect me to live to your moral standards, you had better give me a really good reason as to why I should.  The “Why” behind every action is the most important part of an action.  The why is what drives an action.  The problem is that I can come up with a different “why” than your “why”, and depending on the goal, my “why” may be better than your “why”.

With my new atheistic naturalistic approach to life, I am now free of any moral bindings that others would like to place on me.  I do not have to do what is good by Christian standards.  Shit, I do not have to do good by any standards.  I just know that I want to enjoy this one life I have.  I will make plenty of friends who see life the same way I do.  We will enjoy life.

And now we switch gears to me being a Christian …

What I said about the why being the most important part of an action is true.  We humans are not solely creatures of nature without choice.  We can overcome natural instinct and create our own reasoning for actions.  As a Christian, I overcome my sinful instinct to follow the plan that God has for me.  Instead of giving into natural urges, I listen to the Spirit of God as He gives me reasons to live life according to God’s will.

Why do I live as God wills?  Because God has created me and as Creator He knows what is best for me.   Because His standards keep being proved over and over again that they are what benefits individuals and societies the most.  Because He loves me even when I am terribly sinful and patiently calls me to repentance.  Because while performing actions like self-sacrifice that will not lead to any benefit in this temporal life, God sees the actions and will reward them in eternity.  I do not just live once.  I live for eternity.

Without God there is no reason to live with empathy, compassion, etc. when it does not benefit you to live that way.  With God, there is always a reason to live with empathy, compassion, etc. even when it does not seem to bring any direct benefit to you.

Wrapping Up

If there were no God, I would be a completely different person.  The only reason I am who I am is because of Christ.  This is true for a many other good amount of people.  Indeed, many people who do not believe in God still hold to a strong morality because of Christianity’s work over the last millennia.  If Christianity did not exist, morality as we know it would be completely different.

I have heard many people say, “If you need God to be good, then you are not good”, or, “I do not need God to be good.”  First off, those statements are incredibly self-righteous.  Secondly, I completely admit that one can have strong morals even without believing in God.  However, one cannot justify one’s moral standards without God.  If there is no God, then no one is tied to another’s conception of morality.  The statement “If you need God to be good …” assumes that there is a standard of what “goodness” is.  Well, there is no such standard without God.  Goodness is defined differently by each individual.  There is no reason for one individual to accept another individual’s definition of what good is.

So if you really want to convert me to atheism, then you are asking for a new me to emerge.  Without God you cannot tell me I am wrong to express myself in the way I have described who I would be.  You can only say you do not prefer it.  Preference is what you really describe when describing morality from an atheistic perspective, not right and wrong.

I honestly am so glad that I have a reason to live the way I do.  A number of people live reason-less.  They just live out their lives thinking they are doing what they should do.  How purposeless.  That kind of vacuum is dangerous.  While right now the world may be accepting of morality, that will change.  With everything there is a season.  Some generation is going to rise up and be awakened to the fact that we are unnecessarily shackling ourselves to the baseless moral decrees of society.

Final Word

Please do not hate me for who I am not.  Remember, I am not the atheist who spoke in this blog.  In fact, I am the person who rejects that person every waking moment of my life.  I had one friend disavow me for who I am not when I told her what I would be if I were an atheist.  That is very unfair.  Please do not be unfair.  I am just trying to be honest.

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5 comments

  1. Despite how little time I have, I can’t seem to resist discussion with you. So…here it goes:

    First of all, I don’t think it’s fair to say you know what you would be like if you were not a Christian. If you weren’t a Christian since the age of 18 you’d be different than if you stopped being one at 25 or any other age. It seems to me that what you’re really saying is, ‘At this moment if I wasn’t obeying my Christian faith I think I would behave in certain ways.’ Given that you are a Christian, anything you claim to be if you are not what you are is merely hypothetical. You’re saying that you currently do or don’t do certain things because of your world view. But if you weren’t a Christian, you don’t know what your worldview would be. Maybe you’d gravitate toward another religion or not. If not, you were a non-believer then you would carve your own morals for yourself. And those morals are a mix of societal norms, personal experience and your own thoughts way of processing/synthesizing information? We don’t know. I posit that you can’t possibly know what you would be like if you didn’t have your religion, because your life experience would be much different. You would have learned about life thru the lens of an atheist and come to different conclusions.

    Secondly, I agree that no matter if you have religion or not, you should not stay in a relationship with someone who has a fundamental difference with you that will make one or both of you miserable. Many of my relationships I realize in hindsight were the victim of me wanting something I never fully believed I could have or ask for, so I didn’t. And I was miserable for it. And those relationships deteriorated. Now, I confidently know a lot more about what I want and I am in a relationship where I can be completely honest. I know you’re not saying you only stay married because you’re a Christian, but I’m just highlighting that as far as I see Christianity doesn’t factor into the decision to stay with someone who wants something differently.

    “From a naturalistic perspective, the baby is nothing more than the physical byproduct of my sexual urges. That is it. There is nothing special about the baby. There is no miracle, nothing admirable.”

    I disagree. From a naturalistic perspective the baby is a baby. It’s a living that that most people naturally feel an instinctual bond with. And most people describe that bond as love. You could say that a baby is the product of sexual urges in the same way you can say the pyramids are pointy. It’s true, but it’s not a very useful way of talking about it. I know many atheists with babies who describe their babies in very similar ways to religious people. They love their babies and want to care for them and watch them grow.

    “Explain to me why I should live to your moral standards. Go ahead. I have challenged people before to give me a reason to live according to their standards. Not surprisingly no one took me up on the challenge.”

    You are welcome to live by whatever moral standards you want to. I live by my moral standards because they work for me. For the most part they’re pretty unsurprising. Speaking in broad strokes: I don’t like lying (in most circumstances), stealing, murdering, cheating, hurting, etc. I do like helping, connecting and encouraging. I could tell you what benefits those morals have for my life, but it’s up to you if you want to listen to me or not. If the atheist version of you wants to live selfishly, he can go for it. Chances are excellent he’ll alienate people and be alone, but it’s up to him.

    “The problem is that I can come up with a different “why” than your “why”, and depending on the goal, my “why” may be better than your “why”.”

    Agreed. It depends on your goal. A lot of people seem to have very similar goals that roughly equate to ‘the most good for the most people.’ Not everyone thinks that. And among those who do think that tend to be divided on the specifics of how, but other than that, there is no absolute moral compass pointing north in society. Thru conversation and education we seem to find moral ground to agree on throughout history (we used to all believe in slavery, then some didn’t, then most didn’t, now the overwhelming majority does not).

    “We humans are not solely creatures of nature without choice. We can overcome natural instinct and create our own reasoning for actions.”

    Agreed. We can and have done that with and without religion for Millenia.

    “Secondly, I completely admit that one can have strong morals even without believing in God. However, one cannot justify one’s moral standards without God.”

    Earlier in your piece you said that the ‘why’ is important. That’s how one without religion justifies their morality.

    ‘Why did you move down five rows at the baseball game when those seats weren’t on your tickets?’

    ‘I assumed no one was using them and I would have moved if someone showed up asking for those seats.’

    That’s justifying their morality. Do you mean people cannot justify them against a supernatural standard? Then, yes. You are correct. But since atheists don’t believe in the supernatural, they don’t believe in a supernatural standard. They justify their morality without the supernatural. Justification and the supernatural are not mutually exclusive.

    “They just live out their lives thinking they are doing what they should do. How purposeless. That kind of vacuum is dangerous.”

    Some people live believing they know what they should do. Most of the people I know live their lives believing they never know the best answer, but try to get as close as possible.

    People can also give themselves their own purpose. It happens all the time.

    That kind of vacuum is dangerous. Following people who claim to know the will of a supernatural can be dangerous too. Literally every method of choosing how to live one’s life can be dangerous.

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    • Rich,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. There are a handful of times when I type in all caps. I do that only for emphasis. Please do not think I am yelling at you.

      Your first point:
      I agree that if I cannot know who I would be right now if I had a different belief system growing up. In fact, I wrote two separate blogs that admit that, including my first blog on who I would be if I were an atheist. However, I know exactly who I would be today if today I were to become convinced that God does not exist. I would be the person I described. As I said in my blog, this me was not fictional. It is true. These are the real thoughts that my mind goes to when I consider that there is no God. I also know that I would never believe in some other religion as I have already investigated many of them and have found that they lack logical consistency and coherency. Whether you choose to believe me or not, I know that I would be the person I described.

      Your second point:
      Actually, Christianity does say at least one point about staying with someone in a MARITAL relationship who wants something different. 1 Cor 7:10-17. There is a lot to explain here, but basically marriage is a lot about building the other person up, and Christianity is a lot about self-sacrifice. So even if the other person has different life goals than you do, Christians should learn how to live with the person in an understanding and loving manner. Of course the obligation to stay is only in a marital relationship.

      Your third point:
      Of course many people feel an instinctual bond to their baby. But not EVERYBODY, and that is my point. How can you possibly convince someone that they should bond with their baby when they realize that the origin of their baby was an accident or if they simply do not want to deal with having a child? That is what I am talking about. You see, I do not want a kid. Other people wanting a kid plays absolutely no role in convincing me I should bond with my kid.
      On pyramids: I detailed how a child is conceived (a sexual byproduct – intentional or not). You detailed one physical description of a pyramid. Those do not correlate. If you wanted to be consistent, you would detail how a pyramid was conceived.

      Your fourth point:
      I agree that living with Christian principles you will make your life easier in a lot of ways. You described Christian principles as to how you would like to live. I have taught for years that it is not surprising to see Christian principles actually make our lives easier in many ways; one should expect this since God created us and knows what would be best for us. However, I did not say I would be selfish. I said I would not give anything to strangers. Come on, I am observant. I know that from a biological and sociological evolutionary (naturalist) perspective that I need friends to help me survive better and longer. So I would enact characteristics that would help me maintain friendships. But I would not care about people on the other side of the world, or even across the street, who do not have anything to offer me. That is not being selfish, that is being resourceful.
      But again, this just leads to my point: you cannot give me any reason to live to YOUR moral standards. I can come up with a completely different set of moral ideas for myself and get along just fine.

      Your fifth point:
      “Thru conversation and education we seem to find moral ground to agree on throughout history.”
      Yes, it is amazing how the world is recognizing more and more how beneficial Christian principles are. The thing is though, that someday we may again believe in a form of slavery (or at least degradation) because we will recognize that some people’s DNA simply lead them to be greater individuals. The people with poor genetics will either be euthanized or forced to do menial labor. This perfectly acceptable from a naturalistic perspective. My goodness, we are already practicing eugenics because we can test a baby’s DNA and advise abortion. In fact Samantha and I were advised to get the genetic testing for that very purpose! In fact I had a friend who said that if his unborn child had any genetic defect (e.g., Down’s), then they were going to abort it. So we already do this, we just do it secretively. Do you really think this thought will not develop further once we understand genetics more and more?

      Your sixth point:
      “Agreed. We can and have done that with and without religion for Millenia.”
      Right. But my quote was from my Christian seld. But my point is that from a naturalistic perspective, if I do not have any benefit to overcoming my natural urges (like engaging in sexual activity with someone to whom I am not married), then why not do it? You see how morality is completely eroded to a simple question: “Will this benefit me?”

      Your seventh point:
      “Do you mean people cannot justify them [moral standards] against a supernatural standard?”
      No. By justify I mean two compounded meanings. First, I mean one cannot show one’s moral standard to be RIGHT or what they SHOULD do. For example, CAN a person move down five rows to open seats? Sure. SHOULD they is it RIGHT or JUST? That is another question. There is no way to ABSOLUTELY conclude that it is the RIGHT thing to do from a naturalistic perspective. Second, I mean a person has no grounds to expect someone else to live to their moral standards. For example, one person may want to give to the homeless person out of compassion, but another person may not give out of utility (he knows the money will not be used advantageously); the first person has no way to convince that his act is what the second person SHOULD do; in other words, no one can justify that their moral standards should be followed by other people.

      Your eighth point:
      “Most of the people I know live their lives believing they never know the best answer, but try to get as close as possible. ”
      Right, but in a naturalistic perspective there is no “close as possible” in regards to morality, because as you admitted, there is no moral standard to try to reach in naturalism. If something is relative, there is no getting closer to a relative point. That is a logical impossibility. This, by the way is one of the reasons why Christianity actually fits what we observe in life better than Naturalism. We people inherently recognize that there is a “as close as possible” even if we do not admit it. Christianity teaches that there is something to get close to. But in Naturalism there is nothing to get close to. (In Naturalism our desire to get close to an unseen moral standard is explained by society norms and an inherent drive towards self-preservation. That is a ridiculous answer that nowhere near satisfies to explain the natural urges towards a RIGHT and a WRONG.)

      “Following people who claim to know the will of a supernatural can be dangerous too.”
      True. However, Christianity does not tell people to follow what people say God says. Christianity tells people to follow God. If one were to read Scripture and truly try to understand it in context and follow it, then there would be nothing dangerous. Of course some people use Scripture incorrectly. But that is not a knock on Scripture, that is a knock on the people who incorrectly use it. That is like saying kitchen knives are corrupt because they can stab people. Well, they were not made to stab people with. People corrupt kitchen knives, not the other way around. It is the same for Christianity. However, the naturalistic worldview HAS NO RIGHT CONCLUSIONS ON MORALITY. That is the point in my blog, and you agree with that. That means people can use it for whatever purpose they want. That means that the naturalistic perspective is inherently dangerous.

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  2. Appreciate the all caps warning. I wouldn’t even know how to conjure you’re voice in my head if I thought you were yelling at me unless you were imitating a character or something. Johnny Bravo, what?

    Anyway…

    First point – While I don’t feel this point is all that crucial, I hate to point it out, but I don’t think you would know exactly who you would be if you became an atheist today. Even hypothetically, I cannot conceive of anything that would cause you to become an atheist instantly. I don’t think there is anything. If you became an atheist it would happen thru months if not years of questioning and research and discussion. You’re not the type to give up something you believe in so much so quickly. Maybe I’m wrong, but for the sake of being hypothetical let’s say there is something that would instantly change you. I think it would necessarily change a lot about how you see the world and what different things mean in relation to each other. I think if you viewed the world from a naturalistic view you would delve deep into the minutia of definitions and meanings and it would change a lot more than just remove the filters you currently have. I’m not sure if all those filters would even need to be there.

    However, I don’t know anymore than you do. Maybe you do posses the ability to completely understand a different version of yourself. I don’t. I have changed so many things about myself over the years and I truly am unable to see myself as anything but what I am. Because I know that I currently am different than I used to be and the view from this side is radically different than I thought it was at the time.

    Second point:
    I did not know that. But would you agree that given the divorce rate among Christians that it’s likely many married Christians don’t know about this also? Do you think there is a schism of people who actively disagree with that conclusion among the members of the church? Just curios.

    Third point:
    With very rare exception you cannot find any one issue that everyone agrees on or one instinct that 100% of the population feels. If you’re point is that there are exceptions to every rule, then I agree with you 100%. I cannot convince someone that they should bond with their baby, but I can donate to organizations who try to educate people that bonding with your baby yields a much greater chance that baby will grow up more emotionally healthy. I can tell people what the likely outcomes are for certain behaviors, but I cannot force someone to feel anything or do anything. On pyramids: Fair point. Here’s my point. The origin of the pyramids do not make them any more or less beautiful or awe inspiring. A baby can be defined as many things. To reduce it to one explanation for its origin and judge it by that seems like an unfair tactic. If historical records showed that the Pyramids were built because some Pharaoh lost a bet I wouldn’t just dismiss them as that. They’re still big, beautiful and intricate.

    Fourth point:
    We have discussed this before and I feel like we’re just talking past each other. I do not want to make you live a certain way. However, I can totally give you a reason why to do something. But you can choose to listen to that reason and act on it or dismiss it. It’s up to me to lay out my reasons if you ask or if I just want to. But My reasons are my own. And they may not work for others. If I helped someone half way across the world who I know would never be able to help me I would do so for the following reasons: It feels good to help people (studies have shown that our brains respond with serotonin and sometimes even dopamine for many people when they do so), I don’t like to think about suffering for anyone, so it would help me to think that someone is suffering less. Those are the only reasons I can think of off the top of my head, but this is hypothetical. If there was a real person I might have more reasons. Again, none of them are commands you must obey. It’s up to you to choose to do what you want. On a personal note, I barely donate money at all. I currently live below the poverty line and have very little money. So I have a reason not to give. When I make money again I will probably donate money to help people. My reasons will have changed with my circumstances.

    Fifth point:
    “Yes, it is amazing how the world is recognizing more and more how beneficial Christian principles are.” I give you points for slyness, my friend.

    “The thing is though, that someday we may again believe in a form of slavery (or at least degradation) because we will recognize that some people’s DNA simply lead them to be greater individuals. The people with poor genetics will either be euthanized or forced to do menial labor. This perfectly acceptable from a naturalistic perspective.”

    First of all, sure, that could happen. I hope it doesn’t. I don’t think it will, but I do not know. However, you have no evidence I know of to show this to be more likely than not. What you’re describing is the stuff of dystopian novels. And since we agreed that historically we seem to be finding moral ground, I’m going to say this is an unlikely future.

    However, I disagree that it is ‘perfectly acceptable from a naturalistic perspective.’ Naturalism is about seeing the world around us as having nothing to do with the supernatural. It is not a social doctrine. Sociology has different ideas that would say whether or not this dystopian future is acceptable or not. You seem to believe that simply because someone is a naturalist that you can assume their sociological beliefs. I don’t think that’s true. Whether this was acceptable to a naturalist or not would be up to the individual and their belief about what’s best for the future of humanity. Naturalists do not agree on the future. They agree on one issue – the characteristics (not best practices) of stuff (matter, energy, planets, humans, plants, etc.).

    I did not know they were doing genetic testing and advising abortions based on the outcomes. But I can totally understand someone wanting to abort their kid if they knew some information about the baby ahead of time. I’m glad I never have to make that decision (I’m not having children myself). I’d absolutely lose my mind if I had to make that decision. Again, it would depend on the specific circumstances, but I have no idea what I’d do.

    ‘Do you really think this thought will not develop further once we understand genetics more and more?’ If you want my personal opinion I would guess that technology is going to advance to a point where we can rearrange DNA in unborn fetuses so that if a genetic defect is discovered then it can be fixed. But that’s just a guess. I’m not usually great at prognostication. I thought American Idol wouldn’t last a season.

    Sixth point:
    I can tell you potential benefits to overcoming your natural urges depending on what they are and the circumstances. But I can’t force you to do anything and I can’t tell you what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ based on any supernatural standard.

    Morality is not eroded to the simple question ‘will this benefit me?’ unless that’s the only measure an individual uses for their morality. Naturalists can have different measures for their morality. The only difference is that a naturalist does not believe their measure comes from a supernatural source. It comes from how they were raised, their experience, intuition, etc. Again, naturalism does not dictate morals. It says there are no supernatural morals, so you must figure out your own morals. If you’re measure is only ‘will this benefit me’ then that’s your choice. But you are not forced to use that because you are a naturalist. You are welcome to (and speaking from my perspective, encouraged) to find your own measuring stick. But fair warning, whatever you come up with will lead to different consequences/circumstances. But that’s equally true no matter where your morals come from.

    Seventh point:
    I feel like we’re repeating ourselves, but that’s the nature of educational discourse. When I say, ‘that’s not right.’ What I really mean is: ‘that’s not right based on my experiences and what I choose to believe as a member of this society.’ But I don’t say all that, because it’s a mouthful. You’re defining ‘right’ as needing one standard. And you’re getting that from the supernatural. I’m defining ‘right’ as what I believe. It just so happens that I often agree with the majority of my fellow human beings. Naturalists do not get there right and wrong from one standard. They usually get it from experience and education. It’s just that certain patterns of behavior often lead to certain outcomes. So, if a group of people in Taiwan discover that murdering people for no reason makes for a less pleasant society while a group of people in Europe did the same, then both groups of people will say that murder is wrong. Not everyone does. But enough people agree about that that it’s a law pretty much everywhere (I haven’t been everywhere, so I don’t actually know for sure).

    You SHOULD do what you want to do, not what I want you to do. But if you live in a society with laws and you get caught breaking them you get punished. If you do something that’s ‘wrong’ that isn’t a law (cheat one a spouse for example) and you get caught then there will likely be other consequences.

    Eighth point:
    Correct. There is no moral standard with which to measure it. Let’s use the example of architecture. In a Christian worldview the Bible would be like blueprints. You know if you constructed the building wrong, based on how it measures to the blueprint. In a naturalistic perspective there is no blueprint that we all use. You can make your own blueprint. But you might not be right since you have nothing given to you to tell you. So, you construct a house. And maybe it collapses because the load baring wall wasn’t secure enough (or whatever). So, you learn from your failure how to make a better load baring wall. And over generations of home builders we come up with certain techniques that we know work. They’re not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ except that they have been proven to be successful in the past.

    Figuring out morality is like this. We know from our past that societies who allow murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, etc. are way less beneficial to its members than societies that don’t allow those things. We have no perfect society, because as we agreed earlier there’s no such thing as 100%. There are always outliers among humans. Every once in a while a Jeffrey Dahmer is born who clearly isn’t on board with that stuff. But thankfully, they seem to be in the minority. The blueprints we have for morality weren’t handed down to us in the form of supernatural revelation, but rather trial and error and study. And it changes…hopefully for the better. It seems to be going that way so far and the trend looks like it will keep doing so.

    ‘That is the point in my blog, and you agree with that. That means people can use it for whatever purpose they want. That means that the naturalistic perspective is inherently dangerous.’

    To me this is a jump in logic for reasons I’ve already outlined. Just because there is no ‘right’ or ‘should’ in naturalism doesn’t make it inherently dangerous. People can use anything for anything they want. That was my point with saying that the supernatural can be dangerous depending on how it’s used. Nothing (naturalism, kitchen knives, Christianity or dry erase markers) is exempt from this. So, it’s not a valid point for either side to use.

    And I just spend an hour on this rather than writing my TV project. Why? I’m not sure. I don’t know what it is about your writings that get me all amped up. I can stay silent thru so many political posts by so many people, but something about you, your writing and particularly your view on morality and naturalism entices me to jump on the keyboard and give myself carpal tunnel. I need to cut myself off, so even if you do respond I won’t respond again. I love you and could talk this all day, but I literally just spent an hour I didn’t have. That’s on me for 1. Making my point with way less verbiage and 2. Dealing with the fact that you and I will probably never see this the same way. Later, dude!

    Like

    • Rich,

      Thank you again for your time. I appreciate it when people take the time to reply.

      First point:
      This is an extremely crucial component of my argument. What I do not think you understand is that I investigate my worldview practically every day. I have spent years of my life trying to find truth. That means I have already thought through the consequences of being a Naturalist. I have thought about this for years. So it is not accurate to say that I do not know who I would be. I did not just sit back on my couch a few days ago and think this up. I have thought about this for years. I know exactly who I would be if I were to become convinced that Christianity were not true.

      I cannot tell you how many dozens of people who have read my blog have said, “Curtis, that is exactly who I was before I was a Christian.” That means that my description is not off base whatsoever. I just have the boldness to say what a lot of people keep to themselves.

      Second point:
      What a worldview teaches and what its members do are two different things. A worldview cannot be judged by the people who fail to keep the tenants of their worldview. The people failed, not the worldview. In order to judge a worldview, you have to look at its tenants, not its adherents.

      Also, you have to recognize that about 83% of Americans call themselves Christians. Yeah right. Do you really think 83% of Americans are actually Christians? A number of people who claim to be Christian simply are not so. They claim they are Christian because they were baptized as a child or because they simply do not know what else they would be. Those studies that show the divorce rate to be normal among Christians are flawed if they do not investigate further. In fact, there have been studies that go deeper and ask how dedicated the people are to their faith. Not surprisingly, when you look at the people who consider themselves to be very dedicated to their faith, the divorce rate plummets.

      To your question: there are definitely people claim Christianity yet disagree with biblical teaching. Again, this is not a failure of Christianity, it is a failure of the people to follow its principles.

      Third point:
      I am not talking about 100% agreement. I am talking about the fact that there are thousands and thousands of abortions that are performed every year simply because the parents – for any number of reasons – do not want to deal with having a child. This is a fact right now. Right now in America multiple thousands look at their baby exactly as I described them. How can you possibly tell them they are WRONG from a naturalistic perspective? You cannot. You can only say you do not prefer it, that they should feel love for the byproduct of their sexual urges.

      Fourth point:
      So you agree with me. You agree that one person’s morals should not be forced upon another? Well then, why do we see so many atheists – and I am sure even you do this – look down at other people who have different morals? Why do we see atheists call for moral change and say the moral standards of others are despicable? This is what blows my mind. They have absolutely no logical ground to correct others yet they do all the time.

      Fifth point:
      “I disagree that it is ‘perfectly acceptable from a naturalistic perspective.’ Naturalism is about seeing the world around us as having nothing to do with the supernatural. It is not a social doctrine. … Whether this was acceptable to a naturalist or not would be up to the individual and their belief about what’s best for the future of humanity.”
      Exactly, my friend, exactly! That is the point. There is nothing that a naturalistic approach to life can rule out. That is why it is dangerous. However, a Christian approach to life would never allow for such an occurrence. Also, naturalism (the belief that the only thing that exists is the physical) influences decisions in other areas of life, including one’s sociology. There are subjects that Christianity does not directly address, however one’s Christianity can influence one’s decision in those areas. This is true of atheism broadly and naturalism more narrowly.

      Sixth point:
      “Again, naturalism does not dictate morals. It says there are no supernatural morals, so you must figure out your own morals.”
      Do you see how you just made a statement on morality from a naturalistic perspective? You just dictated that morality is up to the individual. Naturalism led you to that belief. See how naturalism can indeed influence decisions in other areas? You just made a moral pronouncement (that morality is relative to the individual) based on naturalism.

      Seventh point:
      “You’re defining ‘right’ as needing one standard. And you’re getting that from the supernatural. ”
      Of course in order to say something is right you need one standard. Logically it is impossible to call something right where there is no standard. I do not need the supernatural to prove this. What is the only right answer to 2+2? How do we know the right answer? Because of standards. What is the right answer to x+x? No one knows because there is no standard. You cannot say that any answer would be right (first off, it would have to be an even number). Instead, we would say that the question itself is flawed. The question does not have the information necessary to make a right answer. Or, if there is a right answer, the answer is “any even number”, which again proves my point that the only reason we know the right answer is because of standards in math.

      “What I really mean is: ‘that’s not right based on my experiences and what I choose to believe as a member of this society.’”
      I do not believe this at all. I believe that when you see murder, you feel that some universal law was broken, not just your musings on morality were broken. What if someone, based on their experiences and education, believes that murder is acceptable in certain situations? You really are not going to tell that person that they are wrong? With your definition, you can never tell someone they are wrong. You have to simply say you do not prefer their action. You may as well completely remove the phrase “morally wrong” from your vocabulary, because according to your definition, no one can ever be morally wrong.

      Eighth point:
      “Figuring out morality is like this. We know from our past that societies who allow murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, etc. are way less beneficial to its members than societies that don’t allow those things.”
      I have a lot to say about this.
      First, you said earlier that morality is NOT reduced to “what is beneficial for me”, and yet here you basically say that it is reduced to that. I know you said “members of society”, but that is basically the same thing. We care about society because WE are a part of it. OUR lives are easier if society is a safe place.
      Second, you are not giving societies in the past enough credit. There have been a number of societies in the past that were way more moral than we are now. They would blush in shame at only the everyday tv shows we have, to say nothing about the actual conduct of the people in our society.
      Third, you also have to remember that it was not trial and error that led to many people groups’ morality, but divine revelation (i.e., Scripture).
      Fourth, as you have admitted according to your own worldview, there is nothing to morality to figure out. Morality is undefinable according to a naturalistic perspective.

      “Just because there is no ‘right’ or ‘should’ in naturalism doesn’t make it inherently dangerous. People can use anything for anything they want. That was my point with saying that the supernatural can be dangerous depending on how it’s used. Nothing (naturalism, kitchen knives, Christianity or dry erase markers) is exempt from this.”
      I am surprised you cannot see this. If I were to give you a gun and say, “Use this however you want”, do you not think that is more dangerous than me giving you a gun and saying, “Use this only to hunt animals for food when you are starving”? With Naturalism you do the first. With Christianity you do the second. Of course the gun could be wrongly used in the second situation, but the first is inherently more dangerous. And again, in the first situation, it is impossible to use the gun wrongly because there were no restrictions. At least from a Christian perspective something could be used wrongly. There is no justifying the wrong act in a Christian perspective, there is in a naturalistic perspective.

      Lastly:
      I love you too, my friend. I hope your tv writing is everything you want it to be. I have always thought your talent is incredible. I am looking forward to the day when a mass audience finally sees that.

      But of course we will never agree on morality even in a general concept, even if I become a Naturalist, because there is no definition of morality from a naturalistic perspective.

      Like

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