God vs Human Rights

Whatsisface

Well-known member
Yours are subjective opinions anyway, we have discovered this much have we not?
No. When it comes to morality you have given no justification for your assertions.

Years and years of atheists declaring the universe and everything subjective have led me to believe it has a remarkable similarity to a blind man leading another blind man into discovering it's all subjective.

Prove me wrong.
But, atheists don't declare that. For example, It's not a subjective opinion that the Earth orbits the Sun.
 

Furion

Well-known member
No. When it comes to morality you have given no justification for your assertions.
How can one give evidence of atheistic morality where none exists?
But, atheists don't declare that. For example, It's not a subjective opinion that the Earth orbits the Sun.
See, you knew it was morality, but you went with gravity. I wouldn't call it a trap, just an average day in atheist land.
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
How can one give evidence of atheistic morality where none exists?
You're doing it again. You need to justify that none exists, not just declare it.
See, you knew it was morality, but you went with gravity. I wouldn't call it a trap, just an average day in atheist land.
No, please look again at what you said.....

"Years and years of atheists declaring the universe and everything subjective have led me to believe it has a remarkable similarity to a blind man leading another blind man into discovering it's all subjective."

I can only go on what you say.

Even so, let's take it you meant morality even though you didn't make that clear. You are wrong again that all atheists think that morality is subjective. Some do, but some don't. Shelly Kagan, who debated W.L. Craig on the subject, is a proffessor of philosophy at Yale, an atheist, and thinks that morality is objective.

In any case, the mistake you are making is to think that subjective morality means arbitrary morality, it doesn't. People who think morality subjective, all think rape is wrong. If subjective morality was arbitrary, you wouldn't get that.
 

Furion

Well-known member
You're doing it again. You need to justify that none exists, not just declare it.
All but one here declare it, so I just go with it.

Like I've already told you big guy, I don't need to "prove" it to you every thread. :)

You should do a poll to satisfy your skepticism.
No, please look again at what you said.....

"Years and years of atheists declaring the universe and everything subjective have led me to believe it has a remarkable similarity to a blind man leading another blind man into discovering it's all subjective."

I can only go on what you say.

Even so, let's take it you meant morality even though you didn't make that clear. You are wrong again that all atheists think that morality is subjective. Some do, but some don't. Shelly Kagan, who debated W.L. Craig on the subject, is a proffessor of philosophy at Yale, an atheist, and thinks that morality is objective.

In any case, the mistake you are making is to think that subjective morality means arbitrary morality, it doesn't. People who think morality subjective, all think rape is wrong. If morality was arbitrary, you wouldn't get that.
Your feeble attempts at trying to proclaim some type of objectivity to a subjective opinion is noted. Like groundhog day all over again.

If only this Shelly would come here and declare it. Her and that Torin person could talk Rand talk. And I could watch you do your skeptic act. A jolly good show!
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
All but one here declare it, so I just go with it.
Can you give an example?
Like I've already told you big guy, I don't need to "prove" it to you every thread. :)
But you never justify your claims in any thread.
Your feeble attempts at trying to proclaim some type of objectivity to a subjective opinion is noted. Like groundhog day all over again.
This doesn't relate to my points at all.
If only this Shelly would come here and declare it. Her and that Torin person could talk Rand talk. And I could watch you do your skeptic act. A jolly good show!
Again, you are avoiding directly replying to the substance of what I've said. You've always done this since you arrived here. Why?
 
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5wize

Well-known member
I find that point of view completely unsupported and, quite frankly, absurd on the face of it. I don't say this to denigrate the view - I know that many people take it. I'm just trying to illustrate how unsupported I think it is.
As I was expressing to Algor, it's mainly a semantic issue. You're opinion is that the term "right" is bound to legal fiction. If we need a different word for quintessential and natural human propensities that promote the being and don't impose on others without contract to do so then so be it, but the term natural right suffices for me. Those propensities are not opinions, but to call it something using the term "right" I suppose is an opinion if you enter the conversation with a locked down use for the term "right".
Sorry, I'm not sure what "to the degree you make contract for them" means in this context. Could you expand?
Many humans lack opportunity to express their sexual nature with another when it arises in themselves. Social authority has made laws against both rape and prostitution. If you try to satisfy the urge using rape, you soon find that you do not have an open an unopposed avenue to this satisfaction as the other may resist or report the violation. It causes a social harm that we do not want to live with.

But you can enter a contract with someone for it. The phenomenon of unopposed sexual contract entered by two parties has become a part of the human landscape regardless of any authority's declaration of what they think our rights are to engage in it. It's more than us just saying "we think we should be able to...." because we actually express it, strongly, over any authority's desire to suppress it.
Of course. But does the desire for (say) sex make it a right? How about the desire to live? What does it even mean to say that I have a right to life while I'm being chased by a bear? What does it mean to say that I have a right to eat if I'm stranded in the Sahara?
No guarantee of satisfaction of what we need to be free to pursue.
I think that's, at bottom, my problem with rights. Unless they are actually explicitly granted/ensured by some governing body, I don't think that expressing them means anything more than "I think I/you should be able to...".
This argument of what one merely "thinks" is their right cuts both ways. In the prostitution example the authority "thinks/believes" they have the right to suppress it. This example shows us that their perceived authority over this phenomenon is complete artificial nonsense in the face of human reality and something much deeper than mere legal declarations are in play in the human fabric.
Perhaps I should put it to you. What is the difference between these two statements:

- I believe that every person should be free to act as they will without harming another

- Every person has the right to be free to act as they will without harming another
Nothing really substantial. The former is merely declaring a belief while the latter is declaring what one actually has (a right) - which is also merely a belief.

A right in the way you define it is merely an authoritative belief or attitude towards human actions. So I would add the statement to be considered:

- Every person expresses what they are regardless of beliefs and/or rights declared by authorities. Harmful and unwelcome expressions meet natural resistance by those they harm and artificial resistance by authorities forced to maintain social order in the face of some upheaval in it. Benign expressions only meet artificial resistance by an authority that merely thinks it holds a "proper belief" about some benign social actions as there are no victims to cry foul.
 
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Furion

Well-known member
Can you give an example?

But you never justify your claims in any thread.

This doesn't relate to my points at all.

Again, you are avoiding directly replying to the substance of what I've said. You've always done this since you arrived here. Why?
You have no substance, lightweight. :)

Just a lotta complaining.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I kind of get where you are going with this, but would appreciate it if you can spell it out.

My issue here is that when you suppose God sees us as children - and I do see where that comes from - then there are implications to that.
If we are children to God it is right that he punishes us with eternal suffering if we fail to do as he tells us?
I had hoped to have a response to your post this weekend, but find myself stretched thin over a number of threads elsewhere on the forum and projects outside of CARM. I will move this from the back burner to the front burner and should get back to it early this week...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
But speech has a non sibjective component: you know that because the people who use it understand each other.
Shared subjectivity doesn't add up to objectivity. You and I can both call a painting beautiful without beauty becoming objective.

Similarly morality: when someone says “this is dishonourable” you know what they are referring to even if you disagree,
No, that's just meanings of words. We both know what 'dishonourable' means because we learned that meaning. That has nothing to do with morality. I might apply that word to a certain act and you strongly object and say that that act isn't dishonourable at all.
 

Algor

Well-known member
Shared subjectivity doesn't add up to objectivity. You and I can both call a painting beautiful without beauty becoming objective.
Right: but shared subjectivity indicates that we may be talking about a shared experiential substrate.
No, that's just meanings of words.
No, you have an experience of honor and dishonour as well.
Put another way: Emotions are subjective in the sense that nobody else feels your emotions. But they are objective facts in that they are distinct things that you feel like everybody feels. There is an objective basis for morality, in that you and I and everybody weighs the same things against each other to form a morality. It is not purely subjective because the elements that form right and wrong are similar to each other in everybody, although they can be arranged and weighted differently.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Right: but shared subjectivity indicates that we may be talking about a shared experiential substrate.

No, you have an experience of honor and dishonour as well.
Put another way: Emotions are subjective in the sense that nobody else feels your emotions. But they are objective facts in that they are distinct things that you feel like everybody feels. There is an objective basis for morality, in that you and I and everybody weighs the same things against each other to form a morality. It is not purely subjective because the elements that form right and wrong are similar to each other in everybody, although they can be arranged and weighted differently.
Yes. That is it. There are common objective human realities about our nature.
Shared subjectivity doesn't add up to objectivity. You and I can both call a painting beautiful without beauty becoming objective.
This statement begs the question in that it implies that all things we experience together are wholly subjective. That is not true. Some things like art appreciation will be subjective from person to person, some things like the death of a deeply loved individual will not be.
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
Yes. That is it. There are common objective human realities about our nature.

This statement begs the question in that it implies that all things we experience together are wholly subjective. That is not true. Some things like art appreciation will be subjective from person to person, some things like the death of a deeply loved individual will not be.
I disagree. The fact of the death is objective; how we experience it is completely subjective. You've no doubt heard the truism that everybody mourns in their own way. That's because our experience of it is subjective.
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
Right: but shared subjectivity indicates that we may be talking about a shared experiential substrate.
I would say that you cannot have shared subjectivity, by definition.

No, you have an experience of honor and dishonour as well.
But my experience of what those words mean and identify might be completely different to yours.

Put another way: Emotions are subjective in the sense that nobody else feels your emotions. But they are objective facts in that they are distinct things that you feel like everybody feels.
The only objective thing about them is that they are the objective names for subjective groups of emotions.

There is an objective basis for morality, in that you and I and everybody weighs the same things against each other to form a morality.
Again, the only objective thing about it is the meaning of the word. And even that isn't completely objective - we disagree about it on here all the time.

It is not purely subjective because the elements that form right and wrong are similar to each other in everybody, although they can be arranged and weighted differently.
Again, all you are doing is identifying the objective concept which is attempted to be labelled by words such as 'right' and 'wrong'. Yup, morality (whatever it is) objectively exists - but everybody has a different idea of what it is. Again I draw the comparison to beauty - beauty exists, but all that means it that there is some sensation/feeling that we (usually, subjectively) label 'beauty'. Exactly what that is, and exactly what is and isn't beautiful, is completely subjective.
 

Algor

Well-known member
I would say that you cannot have shared subjectivity, by definition.
Well, you used the term, so I was trying to illustrate a point.
But my experience of what those words mean and identify might be completely different to yours.
Might be, but you could say the same of the color red. It's probably not, in the absence of pathology.
The only objective thing about them is that they are the objective names for subjective groups of emotions.
Not at all. They are accompanied and produce the same objective physiological reactions, and the same typesof behavior. This is why (for instance) infatuation is funny: the behaviors it produces are predictable. If it was 100% subjective, everybody would act differently, but they don't.
Again, the only objective thing about it is the meaning of the word. And even that isn't completely objective - we disagree about it on here all the time.
It's mostly quibbling, IMHO.
Again, all you are doing is identifying the objective concept which is attempted to be labelled by words such as 'right' and 'wrong'. Yup, morality (whatever it is) objectively exists - but everybody has a different idea of what it is. Again I draw the comparison to beauty - beauty exists, but all that means it that there is some sensation/feeling that we (usually, subjectively) label 'beauty'. Exactly what that is, and exactly what is and isn't beautiful, is completely subjective.
OK. We'll disagree.
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
Well, you used the term, so I was trying to illustrate a point.

Might be, but you could say the same of the color red. It's probably not, in the absence of pathology.
But we can quantify red by wavelength. That is an objective measure. There's no such measure of things like emotion or morality.
Not at all. They are accompanied and produce the same objective physiological reactions, and the same typesof behavior. This is why (for instance) infatuation is funny: the behaviors it produces are predictable. If it was 100% subjective, everybody would act differently, but they don't.
But they do. Some general behaviours are predictable, but they aren't on a fine basis. Just like any emotion. One emotion may make you weep, while it makes another smile. One may prompt you to eat ravenously; it may prompt me to starve myself (I'll throw in a personal anecdote - anxiety runs in my family. When Mum is having a bad time with it, she eats a lot. When I'm having a bad time with it, I simply cannot eat).
It's mostly quibbling, IMHO.
Perhaps. It woudln't be the first time I've been accused of that :)
OK. We'll disagree.
That's what makes horse races :)
 

Algor

Well-known member
But we can quantify red by wavelength. That is an objective measure. There's no such measure of things like emotion or morality.
Ah, but the red wavelength isn't the experience. In pathology, red IS experienced differently: we KNOW that because we have people who have lost, or altered their color perception because of brain lesions. But that's not normal wiring, and people are more or less wired similarly. Because of that underlying similarity in wiring, we can expect our basic reactions to have a fundamentally similar experiential nature.
But they do. Some general behaviours are predictable, but they aren't on a fine basis. Just like any emotion. One emotion may make you weep, while it makes another smile.
On a very fine scale, you are right. But the scale isn't so fine as one might think. The smiling of happiness (for instance) is different from the smiling of embarassment or shame. Smiling is part of the behavioral repertoire that people have when they encounter embarassment, but that repertoire is not infinite.
One may prompt you to eat ravenously; it may prompt me to starve myself (I'll throw in a personal anecdote - anxiety runs in my family. When Mum is having a bad time with it, she eats a lot. When I'm having a bad time with it, I simply cannot eat).
Alteration in food intake is really really common in anxiety, and either eating too much or too little points to abnormal regulation of your lateral hypothalamus. We think of the behavioral differences as large, but they are really only small variations in underlying neurophysiology.
Perhaps. It woudln't be the first time I've been accused of that :)

That's what makes horse races :)
Me neither.
 

5wize

Well-known member
I disagree. The fact of the death is objective; how we experience it is completely subjective. You've no doubt heard the truism that everybody mourns in their own way. That's because our experience of it is subjective.
Ah.... "everybody mourns". Good enough for our point.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I kind of get where you are going with this, but would appreciate it if you can spell it out.

My issue here is that when you suppose God sees us as children - and I do see where that comes from - then there are implications to that.
If we are children to God it is right that he punishes us with eternal suffering if we fail to do as he tells us?
Let me start by saying that I've nowhere supposed or asserted that "God sees us as children". As I understand it, you're an atheist so my argument takes that into consideration... I thus phrased it as "many Christians believe they are metaphorical children to an autocratic father in heaven" --- this is a statement that can be agreed upon whether one is a theist or an atheist or something in between.

Indeed, there are implications to this belief as it relates to human rights... at least with respect to how those same Christians might understand them. Rightly or wrongly, children are typically viewed as irrational and ignorant compared to adults and thus incapable of forming rational and worthwhile opinions on matters... indeed, this is implicit in the UNCRC when it tramples on their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion by subordinating it to their guardians who must "provide direction...in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child". The gulf between humans and the omniscient deity that most Christians believe in is conceptually even wider... if this deity restricts or denies entirely the right to freedom of religion to humans, as you suggest is implied by your initial citation from within the Decalogue (more on that below), this is entirely consistent with how human rights documents treat children implicitly or explicitly. As such, your argument is compromised. While I can appreciate that you hold to an ideal in which children do have this right, that is not generally reflective of the world we are presently living in nor does it represent the majority position on children's rights as they have thus far been expressed through various rights documents.

With that ball in motion, I return, as promised, to the initial subject of the Torah text with which you began... the immediate context of "other gods" are those of the Canaanites, whom the redactors indict for practicing child sacrifice --- we agreed that this is a legitimate restriction on freedom of religion because it infringes on others' right to life. You thus widened the net to include the worship of ostensibly peaceful Hindu gods, yet does the Decalogue text really have these deities in mind or actually condemn their worship outside the community of Israel? The text arguably reflects a monolatry imposed by the Israelite deity on his people who agree to the terms of the covenant... only later, within a framework of monotheism, could its ideas be extrapolated to humanity as a whole --- and no doubt a large number of your interlocutors hold to this (mis)interpretation, along with the anachronistic concept of eternal suffering in hell, but I'm not convinced it is prudent to build scenarios based on readings that ignore the historical context of the biblical text, which is arguably more tolerant of other deities receiving worship than you allow.

In summary, your appeal both to human rights and to the biblical text suffer from flaws, which makes for an overall challenge that doesn't hold together very well... at least not without some significant fine-tuning.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
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The Pixie

Well-known member
Let me start by saying that I've nowhere supposed or asserted that "God sees us as children". As I understand it, you're an atheist so my argument takes that into consideration... I thus phrased it as "many Christians believe they are metaphorical children to an autocratic father in heaven" --- this is a statement that can be agreed upon whether one is a theist or an atheist or something in between.
Just to be clear on my position, as you note, I am an atheist, so when I say "God sees us as children" I mean if we suppose hypothetically that the Christian position is correct, then God sees us as children. We phrase it differently, but I think the meaning is the same here.

Indeed, there are implications to this belief as it relates to human rights... at least with respect to how those same Christians might understand them. Rightly or wrongly, children are typically viewed as irrational and ignorant compared to adults and thus incapable of forming rational and worthwhile opinions on matters... indeed, this is implicit in the UNCRC when it tramples on their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion by subordinating it to their guardians who must "provide direction...in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child". The gulf between humans and the omniscient deity that most Christians believe in is conceptually even wider... if this deity restricts or denies entirely the right to freedom of religion to humans, as you suggest is implied by your initial citation from within the Decalogue (more on that below), this is entirely consistent with how human rights documents treat children implicitly or explicitly. As such, your argument is compromised. While I can appreciate that you hold to an ideal in which children do have this right, that is not generally reflective of the world we are presently living in nor does it represent the majority position on children's rights as they have thus far been expressed through various rights documents.
I am still not clear, then, what the Christian position is.

Are you suggesting rights are relative? That is, a person only has to respect the rights of their peers, and not of their inferiors? Thus an adult can disregard the rights of a child; God can disregard the rights of an adult.

To me, that is antithetical to the whole concept of rights, which should in intrinsic. It is a short step from there to saying the ruling elite is not required to respect the rights of citizens; citizens are not expected to respect the rights of slaves.

With that ball in motion, I return, as promised, to the initial subject of the Torah text with which you began... the immediate context of "other gods" are those of the Canaanites, whom the redactors indict for practicing child sacrifice --- we agreed that this is a legitimate restriction on freedom of religion because it infringes on others' right to life. You thus widened the net to include the worship of ostensibly peaceful Hindu gods, yet does the Decalogue text really have these deities in mind or actually condemn their worship outside the community of Israel? The text arguably reflects a monolatry imposed by the Israelite deity on his people who agree to the terms of the covenant... only later, within a framework of monotheism, could its ideas be extrapolated to humanity as a whole --- and no doubt a large number of your interlocutors hold to this (mis)interpretation, along with the anachronistic concept of eternal suffering in hell, but I'm not convinced it is prudent to build scenarios based on readings that ignore the historical context of the biblical text, which is arguably more tolerant of other deities receiving worship than you allow.
My argument is with Christianity. My point is that there is a dichotomy between God's disregard for human rights, specifically with having those who fail to worship him suffer in hell for eternity, and the claim "God is love". Christianity is therefore inconsistent, and so can be rejected. Therefore what is important with regards the First Commandment is not how it was originally intended, but how it is understood by Christians today.

Certainly the author of the Torah text would not have believed anyone would suffer in hell for eternity. In its original context, it makes sense. This was part of the contract between Yahweh and the tribe assigned to him by El (I am not sure quite how old the text is; maybe not that old). Yahweh would look after the tribe, give them victory in battle, etc., but they had to keep up their side of the agreement, and not go worshipping other gods.
 
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