Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Without Objective Standards, Anything is Permissible II

As I wrote before, without objective standards, anything is permitted and, worse, it might even be required.

Believers continually harp on the notion that belief in god is necessary for morality, yet their actions and their statements continually prove otherwise.  In fact, they prove the opposite.  Belief in god leads to the ultimate perversion of morality.  That is, often, the point of belief apparently.

Recently, the atheist blogosphere has been abuzz over one religious apologist's attempt to justify immorality in the name of religion.  His justification, however, merely serves to prove my point and, more important, to prove the point that religion is inevitably a source of immorality--inevitably evil. 

William Lane Craig, a well known, "educated", evangelical, religious apologist recently wrote in his blog that genocide and infanticide, such as is described in the Bible, is moral when done in god's name.  His explanation was that if any innocent people were killed, then god would make sure they went to heaven.  If bad people were killed, well, they deserved it.

This is yet another one of those cases where believers say things that are simply breathtaking in their insanity, both moral and otherwise.  This sort of insanity is so breathtaking that one hardly knows where to begin rebutting it--other than first trying to pick one's jaw up off the floor.

First, why were the "bad" people considered bad?  Because of their idolatry and sin, apparently.  What does that mean?  Well, the use of the word "idolatry" tells us that they had a religion that differed from that of the Israelites.  So first and foremost, we learn that killing those with the "wrong" religion is morally justified in and of itself--at least according to Mr. Craig.

Presumably, they were following that religion and were sinning by their standards no more often than other groups.  But, because their religion was different, their actions were therefore sinful more often when judged by the standards of the Israelites--or so we are told.  We really don't know.

If they were truly "wicked", then one wonders how they held their society together and why they are not infamous for their behavior--outside of those who rely on the bible for information.

It could be that the Israelites simply exaggerated the actions of the Canaanites--or just plain lied--in order to make their own abominable actions seem justified.  That sort of thing has been known to happen from time to time.  In fact, the whole thing sounds eerily familiar to what happened to the descendants of the Israelites just last century.

Also, as I pointed out before, competing religions almost necessarily think each other's members are sinful.  How could they not be?  They are not following the orders of the true god, true church, etc.  So, we have yet another reason to think that killing those of the wrong religion is moral without further justification.

Second, if killing innocents is moral because god will take care of their "souls", then it seems like killing in general is morally permissible.  Even abortion, which Mr. Craig vehemently opposes, is permissible because god will make sure that the innocent "souls" of the fetuses go to heaven.

Mr. Craig, I am sure, would argue that such killing is permissible only when god "orders" it.  That leaves us, however, with the not inconsiderable problem of determining just when god ordered it.  The religious usually decide whether or not claims regarding what god wants are true by using their usual very biased test:  "What do I want to believe?"

The rest of us are left to wonder if this is not a delusion on the part of the killers and a manipulative trick played by their leaders.  As others have said, getting good people to do bad things requires religion.  I suspect that in his blog post Mr. Craig unwittingly explained how this works.

It also leaves us to wonder why god would take some innocent souls to heaven but, apparently, not others.  This seems quite unjust and capricious.  In either case, the innocent soul is the innocent victim of others.  Why should one suffer a horrible fate simply because his killer wasn't following orders from god?  The only purpose being served seems to be the easing of the conscience of the killer by letting him delude himself into believing he didn't really end the existence of his victim but merely sent him on to paradise.

Thus, again, Mr. Craig's defense of the indefensible proves my points about "religious morality":  First, that it is simply the Nuremburg defense writ large, and second, that is simply a delusional salve for the conscience of the guilty.

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