god’s problem

Caroline in this post writes that their belief in god demands that they consider homosexuality as objectively immoral.

She goes on to write

The funny thing is, many if not most of those who advocate for the legitimacy, normalcy, and morality of homosexuality also reject God as a moral lawgiver. So they have no objective standard by which to judge its moral status. And without an objective, transcendent standard, they likewise cannot judge the morality of opposing homosexuality.

Religion and by extension, its gods and angels are not the sources of our morality. We act morally because we have reason and are social beings. Without the need to exist in social groups, it is unlikely we would have developed any moral codes.

No man is responsible for his make. So, if we are creatures of god(s), how we turn out is god’s problem, they should deal with it.

It seems Caroline plays fast and loose with her bible to defend whatever position she wants. The good book does says in Luke 6:37, and I am certain Caroline takes these as the words of Jesus

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

In the Euthyphro dilemma, Socrates asks if what is moral is so because god commands it or god commands it because it is moral. Depending on your answer to this question either what is moral depends on god’s whim or god has no control over what is moral.

In a world governed by an omnipotent god, one who only need utter a word and it be done, can one act against such a god’s will? At what point is god freed from being responsible for things done by its minions in a world where it has absolute power and sovereignty?

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A challenge to the christians

And I hope those friends of Ark and John Zande can take it up.

A fellow named Dr. Ray Higgins has asked that anyone who can prove with validity that Jesus lived and walked out da grave to present that evidence to him and he will pay all your living expenses until his last.

Since I don’t claim to have as much money, any one with this information will get a standing ovation from my clan😁.

And a bonus question. Most if not all Christians take Christmas day(25th December) as the birth date of Jesus but Easter shifts depending on the weather. One asks, if as Paul alludes in Corinthians, if Jesus is not risen, then the faith is in vain, why is Easter not taken seriously?

In the video below, he repeats the challenge from 20:24

Christianity and Islam

I know full well I am not the first to point this out, but is it not curious that the Koran, which is the word of god, is not alluded to by Christian apologists as evidence for Jesus birth as given in Sura 19:22-34? Or could it be because it denies the resurrection?

And while we are here, what will happen to the Koran as the true word of god, when we come to the conclusion that the Jesus story was a tall tale? We already have scholarly work that points to this direction and I know several of us who think that the Christ-Myth hypothesis is the more reasonable conclusion? And by Mo declaring himself the final prophet, who will abrogate these sections when the time comes that an amendment is required? (For those who are unaware, the Koran has a fail safe valve, where some verses, the revealed word of god, is abrogated by a later verse)

I am hoping Muslims and Christians who stray on this site will enlighten us on this matter. IS it one of those buried under the carpet? Or could we say Christians have chosen to look the other side because if they were to get down to it, both their religions will crumble? One can only guess.

On the gods, by Cicero

In my earlier postings, I wrote about what Cicero says in the Tusculian disputations about death, wisdom, grief and virtue as being sufficient for a happy life.

In this post, we look at the discussion on the gods, whether they exist, what their nature is and whether the government of the universe is in their hands, so to speak.

It has been said by others, wiser than yours truly, that there is nothing new under the sun. And the disputations on the gods is a good example. I think the discoveroids have failed to cite their sources in their arguments for complexity and teleological arguments. These two propositions are expounded so clearly and eloquently in this work than by Behe or William Paley.

In this disputation,Cotta, a priest responds to the arguments of Velleius who argued for the being of gods, claiming the government of the universe is in their hands, that we cannot see a beautiful house and assume it wasn’t designed and finally that the gods are eternal and happy. He begins his response thus

In the question concerning the nature of the Gods, his first inquiry is, whether there are Gods or not. It would be dangerous, I believe, to take the negative side before a public auditory; but it is very safe in a discourse of this kind, and in this company. I, who am a priest, and who think that religions and ceremonies ought sacredly to be maintained, am certainly desirous to have the existence of the Gods, which is the principal point in debate, not only fixed in opinion, but proved to a demonstration; for many notions flow into and disturb the mind which sometimes seem to convince us that there are none. (emphasis mine).

Believers are wont to argue that it is the general assent of all men that there is a god. Platinga even went further to argue there is a god shaped hole in our hearts that only god can fill. To this Cotta says

You have said that the general assent of men of all nations and all degrees is an argument strong enough to induce us to acknowledge the being of the Gods. This is not only a weak, but a false, argument; for, first of all, how do you know the opinions of all nations?

Regarding those who deified birds and other animals, Cotta says

I could speak of the advantage of the ichneumon, the crocodile, and the cat; but I am unwilling to be tedious; yet I will conclude by observing that the barbarians paid divine honors to beasts because of benefits they received from them; whereas your gods not only confer no benefit, but are idle, and do no single act of any description whatever.

Cotta continues to ask

Where is the habitation of the deity? What motive is it that stirs him from his place, supposing he ever  moves? Since it is peculiar for animated beings to have an inclination to something that is agreeable to their natures, what is it that the deity affects, and to what purpose does he exert the motion of his mind and reason?

He tells Velleius, that if he attempts to answer any of the above points, he will come off lamely. This he says is because

For there is never a proper end to reasoning which proceeds on a false foundation; for you asserted likewise that the form of the Deity is perceptible by the mind, but not by sense; that it is neither solid, nor invariable in number; that it is to be discerned by similitude and transition, and that a constant supply of images is perpetually flowing on from innumerable atoms, on which our minds are intent; so that we from that conclude that divine nature to be happy and everlasting.(emphasis mine)

At this point, I am hoping believers reading this can answer us

What, in the name of those Deities concerning whom we are now disputing, is the meaning of all this? For if they exist only in thought, and have no solidity nor substance, what difference can there be between thinking of a Hippocentaur and thinking of a Deity?

And Cotta concludes his disputation by saying

Therefore our friend Posidonius has well observed, in his fifth book of the Nature of the Gods, that Epicurus believed there were no Gods, and that what he had said about the immortal Gods was only said from a desire to avoid unpopularity. He could not be so weak as to imagine that the Deity has only the outward features of a simple mortal, without any real solidity; that he has all the members of a man, without the least power to use them—a certain unsubstantial pellucid being, neither favorable nor beneficial to any one, neither regarding nor doing anything. There can be no such being in nature; and as Epicurus said this plainly, he allows the Gods in words, and destroys them in fact; and if the Deity is truly such a being that he shows no favor, no benevolence to mankind, away with him! For why should I entreat him to be propitious? He can be propitious to none, since, as you say, all his favor and benevolence are the effects of imbecility.

And yours truly agrees.

The missionary position

In this post I wrote, following, Professor Makau Mutua, that indigenous religions should be protected against the proselytizing religions, that is, Christianity and Islam.

Those of you who don’t live under rocks have heard about the missionary, John Chau, who met a not very good fate when he went to spread the not so good news of chesus to guys who were not interested.

Maybe had my ancestors meted the same treatment to early missionaries, the profile of our world would be different. If the missionaries believe their god is everywhere and can perform miracles, I would suggest they pray and fast, while at home, and ask the gods they pray to to convert whoever it is they are interested in saving from a death that meets us all.

why liberalism failed

by Peter Deneen

If I was to give the book a subtitle, it would a christian lament. But I go ahead of myself.

As with most writers, Deneen assumes that his readers know what liberalism is and therefore doesn’t bother to define it. But this is remedied, slightly, I think, when he says liberalism, as an ideology, was premised on

the limitation of government and the liberation of the individual from arbitrary political control.

which he notes and I would agree, that in many places, this promise is anything but a mirage. The people have very little control of the political processes and their contribution remains limited to voting and submitting tax returns without so much being able to influence the policies of the government.

On education, he writes that liberalism is killing liberal arts education. That in most universities, the focus is mainly STEM. Here, I will let him speak

[..]The emphasis on the great texts—which were great not only or even because they were old but because they contained hard-won lessons on how humans learn to be free, especially free from the tyranny of their insatiable desires—has been jettisoned in favor of what was once considered “servile education,” an education concerned exclusively with money making and a life of work, and hence reserved for those who did not enjoy the title of “citizen.”

What these great texts, of course we are not told.

Elsewhere, he writes,

Claiming to liberate the individual from embedded cultures, traditions, places, and relationships, liberalism has homogenized the world in its image—ironically, often fueled by claims of “multiculturalism” or, today, “diversity.”

and one would ask is his intention be that culture remains static, not changing not adopting to changes in the accumulated knowledge of the race? The claim, and the reason for my subtitle, is that for Deneen, the world has moved away from a Christian ideal and become godless. He seems deeply saddened by the separation of state and church and especially in American schools. Liberalism has made it possible to have abortion, divorce and these, to Deneen are not any signs of progress.

He writes that in a liberalized world

personal relationships became dominated by considerations of individual choice based on the calculation of individual self-interest, and without broader consideration of the impact of one’s choices upon the community, one’s obligations to the created order, and ultimately to God.

In a sense, for Deneen, personal choice should be subservient to other considerations, such as what god, the Christian one, wants, who your village elder thinks is the right partner for you and all. It was love at first sight must remain only in the domain of poetry. Maybe, marriage should be based on property considerations.

I disagree with him when he tries to argue that we are without gods not because of the absence of evidence supporting any deities, but because of liberalism. His insistence that the world should be more christian ignores the colourful, I mean, bloody christian heritage.

Where we almost agree, as I wrote in a recent post, is the damage monoculture and excessive use of fertilizers among other things is causing to the soil and leading to starvation in many places, especially in the global south.

Deneen seems to me to be enamored by the work of Wendell Berry who he refers to many times in this particular work. In one place, referring to Berry’s work, he writes

Berry insists that they are justified in maintaining internally derived standards of decency in order to foster and maintain a desired moral ecology. He explicitly defends the communal prerogative to demand that certain books be removed from the educational curriculum and to insist on the introduction of the Bible into the classroom as “the word of God.” He even reflects that “the future of community life in this country may depend on private schools and home schooling.”

In my view, while there could be some merit in this particular work, it seems to me, largely a lament about a Christianity that no longer has control in the public sphere on human affairs. Though I also think he writes mainly for an American audience and as such to a person so removed from that setting, some of what he writes has no rhyme.

I wouldn’t consider it a must read. I think it fails to deliver on its promise; to tell us why liberalism has failed. In another place, it can be used a sermon.

 

 

The good book

Here Nan has an excellent post that there is nothing yours truly can add to. But borrowing from her line of thought, how do the people who take the bible as god inspired deal with the injustice in it?

Take for example Isaac’s blessing to Jacob. He says

May peoples serve you and nations bow to you be your brothers’ superior, and may your mother’s sons bow to you may those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.

And shortly afterwards, from want of extra blessings to pass around, he tells Esau

Here, away from the fat of the earth will be your home, and from the dew of the skies from above and you will live by your sword. And you will serve your brother and it will be that when you get dominion you’ll break his yoke from your neck.

Some people argue that this was the way the authors of the bible explained conflict between nations or beginning of strife that still plague the world.

To imagine that these fellows were living at a time when YHWH would drop by for visits and they did not seek his advice! Shortly we have Esau planning on dispatching his brother to the netherworld following a botched blessing ceremony. Maybe this is why lawyers insist on everyone being present during the reading of wills and final testaments.

He was right who said a god who drowned his children cannot teach me how to raise mine.