AAA shouldn’t be on front page

Upon picking up a copy of last Thursday’s Crimson White I couldn’t help but notice the large picture of an Alabama Atheists and Agnostics member chalking the sidewalks of our campus. I wanted to know why this photo was so important, but I found none. I understand that the paper represents all students, but placing a large photo on the front page of our paper with no real story simply doesn’t make any sense.
Moreover, I would like to point out a serious flaw in AAA’s worldview; I argue that this group of students is not capable (though some will accept subjective morality) of grounding objective morality in reality. I reject the idea of atheism based on simple reasoning that I ask these students to consider.
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
While one could certainly come up with a self-fabricated system of morality, making the system objectively, universally binding is impossible without God. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Morality, like numinous awe, is a jump; in it, man goes beyond anything that can be ‘given’ in the facts of experience.” With this in mind, we must question the credibility and agenda of groups that seek to separate religious principles from academia, specifically principles regarding morality. Though generalizations are to be made with caution, I ask if it’s only a coincidence that Christian schools are outperforming their secular counterparts in this country and does this reflect the morality imposed by religion?

I believe I’m not alone when I say that Alabama Atheists and Agnostics deserve no place on the front page of The Crimson White, especially when their world view fails to recognize what is universally right and wrong.

 

Joe Geary is a junior majoring in communication studies and political science.

 

  • http://www.vuletic.com/hume Mark Vuletic

    Though generalizations are to be made with caution, I ask if it’s only a coincidence that people who believe in God are outperforming their secular counterparts worldwide in the numbers of people they behead, the number of female genital mutilations they perform, the number of child-rapists they protect from prosecution, and the number of airplanes they fly into buildings, all in the name of their ostensibly objective moral values and duties.

    I believe I’m not alone when I say that self-righteous people like Joe Geary—so eager to cast the first stone, so attentive to the mote in their brother’s eye—deserve no place in the pages of The Crimson White, especially when their worldview leads them to applaud anything they think their god commands, no matter how barbaric.

    • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

      //Though generalizations are to be made with caution, I ask if it’s only a coincidence that people who believe in God are outperforming their secular counterparts worldwide in the number of people they behead, the number of female genital mutilations they perform, the number of child-rapists they protect from prosecution, and the number of airplanes they fly into buildings, all in the name of their ostensibly objective moral values and duties.//
      I have specifically denoted “Christian” schools and not “theism” so this is a straw-man argument.

      //I believe I’m not alone when I say that self-righteous people like Joe Geary—so eager to cast the first stone, so attentive to the mote in their brother’s eye—deserve no place in the pages of The Crimson White, especially when their worldview leads them to applaud anything they think their god commands, no matter how barbaric. //
      If God does not exist then it is possible that one may think that God is giving commands (arbitrary or not) when he is not but if he really does exist being the quintessential paradigm of goodness then his commands should be applauded.
      I’m also not sure how I’m self righteous either, unless this is just an attempt to use an ad hominem argument to avoid the question I presented on morality. If you think I’m the one casting the first stone by writing this letter, well I’m sorry but I really don’t understand why the paper chose to post such a large picture on the front page for no reason.

      • Anonymous

        Look at today’s paper – there’s a giant picture front and center about Bama Students for Life. The AAA picture wasn’t the first or the last time the CW put a giant picture on the front without a related story, it’s just the first time you got upset over it.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

          You may be right Alex, but that doesn’t make my argument wrong.

          • http://twitter.com/SmaugsLair Kevin Flanagan

            Your argument is wrong on its own.

          • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

            You’re right. You made it wrong first.

          • http://www.facebook.com/grobmeier Christy Grobmeier

            Of course it does. As many others have pointed out, you’re just mad because they weren’t espousing your particular beliefs. Being a Christian person, I’m sure you’re pro-life. Did you get upset over the above-mentioned photo? No? Why not? It has the same criteria: big photo, no story. So either get pissed or admit you’re throwing a hissy fit over someone not agreeing with you.

    • Anonymous

      I applaud you for your caution in generalization. Did you list anything that was not a radical extreme? What about the children they have fed, what about their responses to tragedies, what about the homes and churches they have built, what about the love they have shown to the homeless? You judge harshly the radical extremes of all religion, and well you should, but don’t ignore the good. Being a christian is like being a lineman for the tide. The only time we get press is when we make a mistake.

      • http://www.vuletic.com/hume Mark Vuletic

        Did you read Geary’s article before you read my response? I’m just parodying his insincere “caution” in making generalizations. I don’t actually believe that the moral behavior of the religious and non-religious, taken in sum, differ in any appreciable way. When religious people help others, I’m thankful to them—I still believe their metaphysical views are false, but I would not impugn their morals; I just wish people like Geary would return the same courtesy to atheists. Sorry my irony was too subtle, and I gave you the wrong impression.

        • Anonymous

          No worries. i have no ax to grind. From my prespective the whole conversation of objective morals is a joke. The law is for lawbreakers. People create any set of rules they choose and declare themselves good or righteous (christains and atheist alike) God’s existence is subjective in as much as we can choose to believe or not. The word says “in order to come to God you must believe that he is”. Wrap you mind around that. Faith is the only way He has deem acceptable to approach Him. So anyone who wants or demands proff is already hopelessly lost. I found this website in a search about free speech. I am concerned that our (all God’s children) rights are being eroded. Love him or hate him, Joe started a good debate.

          • http://www.vuletic.com/hume Mark Vuletic

            I’m not sure I need to say this at this point, but just to be on the safe side, let me also say that my comment about people like Geary having no place in The Crimson White was also a parody of one of his own statements. I have no problem with people being able to speak freely, even when I think what they are saying is hateful and intellectually shallow: better to get it out into the light of day than to try to push it underground. My hope, in writing symmetrically with Geary, was to help him see the error of his ways by giving him a chance to walk a mile in my shoes. The Crimson White should continue to publish letters from all of its students, including the bigoted ones, and should also continue to print large photos of atheist students whenever it feels like it

          • Anonymous

            I don’t disagree in the slightest. Christians often behave badly. I am a 30 year work inprogress and I am not close to arrival. Those who know Jesus know Him in Spirit and in truth. The fact is all to often you can’t tell us apart from everyone esle, but that is our short comings not Christ.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MZAMHSPN6L6KZVEJJVYXQ23DWA John

    So…

    1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

    Well, there’s a few problems with this logic chain.

    For 1, this is a blind assertion. Why is it that objective morality can’t exist without God? Are things moral because God is there to say so? That seems like a might makes right proposition. Alternatively, if there’s God is he moral because an objective morality exists independently of him and he knows what that is and so adheres to it?

    For 2, I challenge you to prove this. If you actually look at the world nobody seems to quite agree on what the real morality actually is. Even if you take things like the Bible that spell out what is and isn’t moral on many of those people still can’t come to agreement. (which is why there are over 30,000 denominations of Christianity) Even on basic things like killing and stealing there are people who don’t think they are objectively wrong.

    Three falls apart if either 1 or 2 aren’t correct, and you haven’t exactly shown that those two things are true.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1119481014 Matt Geary

      Good morning John!

      First regarding the issue of logic, even if things can not be moral because God says that they are then that in no way would make objective morality possible without God. If things can not be moral because God says that they are then we are all out of luck and there is no objective morality period. If your response to the second premise were viable which I will get to in a minute then it would also count against the existence of objective morality by any means period.There is nothing within the natural world of atoms, rocks and trees that could have the capability of grounding objective morality ontologically. Science may tell us descriptive facts about the world but science does not give us prescriptions for what is moral and what is not.

      Furthermore, if moral prescriptions are given then it is presupposed that the agent receiving the prescription is capable of genuinely carrying out the duty at hand. I do not find it possible to have libertarian free will (thinking agent causation here) within a world that is naturalistic (intrinsic to atheism) and many atheist would agree. If this is so then naturalism fails to ground objective moral values because of it’s ontology and because the agents involved are incapable of making free decisions which negates the notion of moral responsibility.

      The horns of the Euthyphro dilemma can be split. It’s a false dichotomy. God’s moral nature is the most perfect paradigm of goodness so that what ends up being good or bad measure with how well it conforms to his nature. There is no possible world in which God could lack goodness. Furthermore, If it were possible for God to make commands that were arbitrary then his nature would not be necessarily good. Following this If there is ever a being whom is necessarily good then if we ever have a duty to obey anyone then it is that being. While there are reasons outside of this particular argument so show that this God does exist, my job in responding to the dilemma is to simply show that the framework is consistent hence the splitting of the horns.

      As for your epistemological objection to the second premise I have no burden to prove. The existence of objective moral values in reality is independent of how one can come to know what is objectively good and bad. Three would come apart if one or two were not correct but I have yet to see a reason to think that any of the first two premises are false. If the premises are true and the logic is sound then it’s a valid argument.

      Thank’s Matt

      • http://profiles.google.com/josephdavid20 joseph crowell

        How is God’s moral nature an example of the ‘most perfect paradigm of goodness’? By what metric? Because he conforms to his own standards of goodness? He doesn’t even do this, the God of the New Testament is radically different from the God of the Old Testament. Did he change his mind on some things? Was he previously too harsh on certain acts? Sounds like he can’t make up his mind.

        And what’s the deal with objective moral values? Society wouldn’t (and doesn’t) fall apart without objective moral values. Read up on “Social Contract”. People don’t need a grand legislator of morality to prevent us from raping and murdering each other constantly.

        • Anonymous

          Attack: I’m wondering how atheists act on their death bed.

          • http://profiles.google.com/josephdavid20 joseph crowell

            Probably on a case by case basis. I imagine it runs the gamut from calm resignation to scared as hell. Which sounds a lot like how Christians handle it.

          • Anonymous

            Right there, scared as “hell”, or they could be happy as “heaven” to know that they have lived the life of righteousness, helping the fellow man(and please do not go on a rant of what wannabe Christians do). And to dive a little off subject, if atheists did more to help other people instead of trying to get their point across, since they are a recognized as a group, I would give a lot more credit because I feel like we can both agree on what is “good and bad”. Could you agree that helping other people is a “good” thing, morally?

          • http://profiles.google.com/josephdavid20 joseph crowell

            Cute turn of phrase. Are you familiar with the No True Scotsman fallacy? Fear of death is natural, and fellow Christians shouldn’t be ostracized just because they, in one of their most vulnerable moments, succumb to a bit of doubt. It seems like you forget the humility expected of a Christian. God could be the ultimate moral authority, but it seems like you have your own idea of what is good and proper and assume your own ideas are god-given.

            Atheists have only in recent times been able to safely assemble and form groups, but atheists do not all belong to a group. Many atheists are humanists, and genuinely do want the world to be a better place for people of ALL races and creeds and give quietly or separate from atheistic charities. Christianity is the institution that for millennia has murdered, tortured, and harassed those who do not fit into its worldview. Can we agree that killing people that don’t agree with you is a “bad” thing, morally?

          • Anonymous

            Yeah I did pat myself on the back for that one, and no I am not familiar with the No True Scotsman fallacy(I could google it real fast, but I will use my own free will against you). That is what Jesus bestowed onto Christianity, to murder and kill people that don’t agree with it, no no no. You probably think Jesus was a made up story but if you do not, this man lead a life of hope and forgivingness, tell me what is wrong with that and how that is responsible for mankind’s free will gave to them by God? And are you saying if there was no religion or God or even just no Christianity, that the world would be and always have been at a peaceful, tranquil state? And please I want to hear what you think, not what a Scotsman thinks.

            And yes, I do agree that killing people that do not agree is a “bad” thing, morally. Look at that an agreement has been reached, we believe in the same “good and bad”, “right and wrong”, morally of course.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            While I cannot speak for them all, the three atheists groups that I have been apart of (one I am still with right now) did a lot of community service. Perhaps you shouldn’t assume that they don’t?

          • http://profiles.google.com/gurrgg Greg Winn

            The comfort religion may provide, is in no way proof of its accuracy.

      • Anonymous

        Two is easily debunked. It is false.

        Morality is derived from either instinctual self-preservation behaviors or altruistic concerns that may result from consciousness. Morality is subjective. “Objective morality” really is just the morals that have been most widely agreed upon.

        If a true “objective morality” does exist, we are incapable of fathoming it just as we are of fathoming a supreme being of “goodness”.

        1. If ‘God’ doesn’t exist, we do not know what that means.
        2. Subjective morality exists because of man.
        3. ‘God’ may or may not exist

        (not meant to be a logical argument)

      • Anonymous

        Two is easily debunked. It is false.

        Morality is derived from either instinctual self-preservation behaviors or altruistic concerns that may result from consciousness. Morality is subjective. “Objective morality” really is just the morals that have been most widely agreed upon.

        If a true “objective morality” does exist, we are incapable of fathoming it just as we are of fathoming a supreme being of “goodness”.

        1. If ‘God’ doesn’t exist, we do not know what that means.
        2. Subjective morality exists because of man.
        3. ‘God’ may or may not exist

        (not meant to be a logical argument)

      • Anonymous

        blah blah blah tautology, blah blah blah sophistry. You really need to stop reading WLC.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kristibbles kris tibbles

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God? – Epicurus

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

      Original: “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods.”

      Modern terms: “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?”

      - Socrates

      Digest that before you try to tackle the idea that your particular God’s commandments are objectively good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1615185942 Ray Whiting

    As a communications/poli-sci major, I suppose we’ll next hear from Mr. Geary over on FoxNews.

  • Anonymous

    I wish Christians would stop making ridiculous arguments to try and prove God’s existence. I am a Catholic who believes in God, so I know that we need to be proud of what we believe in and encourage others to believe as well, but please…try and use better arguments because you are making us all look bad! Your reasonings make no sense. People don’t have to believe in God just to have good morals, and the fact that good morals and values exist is NOT proof of God’s existence. You are not going to convert non-believers this way so please try to look within yourself and find another way of communicating your beliefs because your current way of communicating your beliefs is embarassing.

    • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

      You’re right! people don’t have to believe in God to have good morals, I am pointing the difference of subjective and objective morals. I simply argue that for there to be a such thing as objective morals, then there must be a God for the objective morals to be universally accepted, otherwise I claim they can’t possibly accept the idea of objective morality without believing in God. Also, I’m not trying to convert atheists to Christianity, I’m simply engaging in the “free-thinking” they support. Why should we not discuss our religion based on reasoning? If you are still having trouble understanding the construction of the argument, then ask that you refer to Matt’s response to John on this comment board.

      • Anonymous

        Please stop trying to sound sophisticated. The bottom line is you wrote the article to offend people by saying AAA doesn’t deserve to be on the front page. Why wouldn’t they? Do you think you deserve to be? I sure hope not with that attitude.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

          I’m sorry you were offended, but this wasn’t an article, it was a letter, expressing my opinion. Why do they not deserve to be on the front page? Maybe because they had no reason to be on the page, there was no story. I’m saying that placing a large picture on the front page gives recognition where it isn’t due. Do I deserve to be on the front page? No, because I haven’t done anything that warrants that spot. What I believe you are perceiving as a bad attitude, was my closing statement. The purpose was to describe why I believe groups shouldn’t be given recognition on our school paper if there is no newsworthy story and I elaborate on what I find as faults in their belief based on reasoning the same way they do in regards to Christianity.

          • Anonymous

            I’m not offended. There is always a picture on the front page with something going on with no story. Today it was the ” Cemetary of Innocents”, got a problem with that too? If you have a problem with the front cover picture with no story, write a “letter” about the fact that the CW should have a story to go along with all pictures. Not a letter about how AAA’s flawed world views.

          • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

            That initial argument was okay, although obviously very stupid.

            Everything else was a blatant, ignorant, and unfounded attack. Is that you, William Lane Craig?

          • Anonymous

            Name drop

  • Anonymous

    Last time I checked, this was a public university. Every student has a right to have a voice on this campus. Part of the public university experience is to learn from other people’s different backgrounds and beliefs. If you want to silence those of which you disagree, I suggest you transfer to a private Christian school.

    • Anonymous

      well kbua34 you are right that this is a public school, which is open to all different kinds of debate, especially here in the dirty south. This so happens to be the granddaddy of them all, Is there a God??? I ate at the delicious Ferguson earlier this semester and for weeks straight there is a tri-fold board up about atheism and what it has to offer, wanting to build up the team I guess. In a sense is kind of like a religion, spreading the word and trying to silence the ones who disagree. Why not argue what a Christian believes in? Just like why an atheist can argue what they believe in. Is it just some special case it pisses people off because it was what your parents force fed into you growing up, or it is what you want to blame the world’s problems on. I have got into some what of a rant, but the fact is the argument in this case is not bad or suppressing anyone(or it should not be). This is how public universities do expand their minds, not by tip toeing and making everyone happy because that is impossible. I know this because I have already looked into different ways of thinking by just looking at Vuletic’s Amazon.com book site down there.

      • Anonymous

        Unlike Christianity, atheism isn’t a religion. Atheists have not waged war to silence or convert anyone of any religion, unlike Christians who have wages war on other Christians. Read up on the history of England if there is any confusion. “Why not argue what a Christian believes in?” Excuse me, acforjc, have you ever driven down McFarland or to the beach? There is a huge billboard that says “Get your tail in church this Easter” driving to campus. On the way to the beach there is the “Go to church or the devil will get you.” I don’t see anything about the hypocrisy, or the possibility of there not being a God paid for by any company publicly posted ANYWHERE. Also the debate on religion is not the only debate posed that can be traced back to what your parents taught you. See abortion, gay rights, war. Public university is not expanding anyone’s mind by telling one side they are right and the other side they are wrong and no longer have the right to practice what they think.

        • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

          Or, as the analogy goes, atheism is as much of a religion as non-gardening is a hobby or doing nothing is an action.

          Of course, we’re also the rejection of the position (Atheism is not “there is no god,” but “I don’t believe that there is a god [but I'm not claiming he doesn't exist]” instead of “I believe that there is a god [and I'm claiming he exists]“) so there’s very little for us to force people to do. Except, perhaps, think.

          • Anonymous

            So you want everyone to think like you then, that is pretty self righteous and sounds like what you hate about religions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/grobmeier Christy Grobmeier

            That’s not at all the point; I believe (at least for me) the point is to urge others to think critically. We need not come to the same conclusions, but at least know WHY you think what you do and be able to get inside of it and crawl around.

            We are humans capable of abstract thinking. Apply that talent.

  • Anonymous

    “I disagree with x group of people. Therefore, they shouldn’t be seen.”

    What?

  • http://www.facebook.com/smith.wilbanks Smith Wilbanks

    1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    -In other words, the existence of God is necessary for objective morality to exist. You cant just start with what you are trying to prove, you must start with something that is an indisputable fact.

    2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
    -Says who? People have been arguing about that one for a long time.

    3. Therefore, God exists.
    -Even if you already believe God to be necessary for morality to exist, the existence of an objective morality (still not proven) is not necessarily a sufficient condition for the existence of God; its like you are saying God exists because morals exists, and morals exists because God exists. Look up necessary and sufficient conditions.

    I think in your case, you already believed it before you tried to prove it, and thats why it makes sense to you. Faith is by nature illogical, so you can’t make it logical. You probably aren’t a Christian because you sat down and thought it out and in the end decided to convert – you are probably a Christian because your parents raised you to be one and because you now have a strong personal connection to it. Thats perfectly fine, Christianity and Christians can do wonderful things, but you have to be honest with yourself about why you believe it.

    • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

      “Christianity and Christians can do wonderful things”

      Like Hitler?
      Like Mother Teresa?
      Like Beck?
      Like Palin?
      Like those extremists who shoot down pro-abortion doctors and deny rights to homosexuals and women?
      Like the moderates who defend them?

      • Anonymous

        *can. and Hitler was not Christian, even if he claimed to be. I could claim to be for Auburn but if I don’t pull for them and my entire wardrobe is crimson, I’m not really for Auburn.

        Moderates/conservatives defend pro-life and heterosexual marriage because history has proven that the more we deviate from the traditional home/family based lifestyle, the worse our country does as a whole. (economically, academically, etc.). That isn’t limited to homosexual marriages but includes single moms or dads as well. Not saying a homosexual couple couldn’t do fine raising a child nor a single parent or that all traditional styled marriages have the perfect formula for raising a child because there are many cases where heterosexual parents are completely unfit to raise any sort of life form, but again, history has proven the more we deviate from the male leader, woman accomplice, family first lifestyle, the more we deviate from excelling in many endeavors as a whole.

        Abortion is murder simple as that.

        Neither one of those things have to do with Christianity. One has to do with learning from history to better our future, and one has to do with complying with the law of the land. Common misconception.

        • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

          No True Scotsman. You’ve simply defined Christianity in a way which excludes Hitler.

          Btw, you probably wear mixed fabrics. I have bad news for you. According to Leviticus, you’re not a Christian.

          • Anonymous

            I’m defining it by the way that excludes those who aren’t constantly seeking to be obedient to the will of God, and when they do fall short, they are able to dwell in His redemption and holiness and grace instead of in sin while still seeking to become more holy. (not being bogged down by the fact we will never be perfect but still trying to be perfect and learning from our mistakes)

            God has called us to love they neighbor as thyself. God has called us not to murder people. Hitler was obviously not doing either one of those. The fact that he hated Jews was a sin, the fact he was killing Jews was a sin, the fact that he thought they should die because of their “sin” was also an unChristian thing because it is clear that God views no sin differently because the root of all sin is a broken relationship with God. If the Jews should die for their sin, Hitler should die for his. The light Hitler didn’t see is that entire humanity is saved under God’s grace as long as you accept that. Even though I am pointing out all of this sin of Hitler, that is not what made him not a Christian. Like i said before, one sin is sin, so me lying to someone is the same as Hitler’s genocide. What made Hitler not a Christian is that he obviously had no remorse for what he was doing and was not constantly seeking the will of God. There was no “aw man, I screwed up that time I killed those Jews, God forgive me and give me the strength to change my view of Jews”.

            and according to Leviticus, we are under the old covenant. When Jesus died on the cross the new covenant was put in to place to where any person can approach God instead of just the ones deemed holy. The reason for the Leviticus law was 1. to lay down the guidelines for those making sacrifices and those who are approaching the alter of God and 2. to point out the need of a savior (to save us from the intricacies of the Leviticus law. The rules about making sacrifices and approaching the alter (shaved beard, no marking, spilling the blood of the sacrifice, etc.) are thrown away because Jesus bridged the gap between us and God and we no longer have a need for sacrifice because we have received the ultimate sacrifice in Jesus Christ.

          • Anonymous

            I hope more people will pick up the Bible. What a great read. I am not sure how anyone can call themselves an intellectual without having read the best seller of all time. They might find it much different than they expect. All these agruments about “rules” when Jesus said, “you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. I read almost every commit and I don’t hear a lot of freedom.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amber-Whitney/1320046313 Amber Whitney

            So if Hitler was a bad Christian because he told people to murder, is George Bush and any other Christian president who advocated war a bad Christian as well? What about all the senators and politicians- and Glenn Beck, and all the ‘Christians’ who say we should kill all the muslims and the supporters of the murder of Dr. Tiller because he was a doctor who performed abortions- are they all bad Christians on par with Hitler also? I just want that clarified because most Christians I know are pretty OK with the likes of George Bush, at the very least, even though he started a war which lead to people killing other people, and all.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amber-Whitney/1320046313 Amber Whitney

            So if Hitler was a bad Christian because he told people to murder, is George Bush and any other Christian president who advocated war a bad Christian as well? What about all the senators and politicians- and Glenn Beck, and all the ‘Christians’ who say we should kill all the muslims and the supporters of the murder of Dr. Tiller because he was a doctor who performed abortions- are they all bad Christians on par with Hitler also? I just want that clarified because most Christians I know are pretty OK with the likes of George Bush, at the very least, even though he started a war which lead to people killing other people, and all.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t think anyone in his right mind would be under the impression that Hitler was a Christian? I know a lot of christians and I don’t know a single one who advocates killing anyone including abortion doctors and muslims. The vast majority of christians and atheist are unviolent law abiding citizens. The same is true for muslims. Only 19 flew planes into the world trade center. What everyone misses in this debate is that none of us are made good or bad by our deeds. Without faith it is impossible to please God. He who comes to God must first believe that He exist. The works of God are to believe in the one He sent (Jesus Christ) I find it facinating the discussion about “moral values”. So many people trying to say they are good? Why do they care. If there is no God, I answer to no one. So why all the fuss. If I do believe, I am justified by my faith, not by my works.

          • Mikey Cooper

            I don’t think we’re missing it, we’re just disagreeing with your assertions that moral judgment isn’t based on deeds but on faith and that without a deity to answer to, there’s no point in being good or bad. Those of us “missing it” keep pointing this out and not getting much in the way of a reasoned discussion about that.

          • Anonymous

            Who decides what deeds are good or bad? “Moral Judgement”? Whose? If there is no absolute, and you say there isn’t, then who makes the call? The law of the land? I know you are aware almost all of our laws are derived from the bible. One of the meanings of the word moral is “an inner conviction in the absence of physical proof” We all know what judgement means. Your position requires faith. Faith in your own inner conviction that your judgment is correct. The rules that you choose to live by (what ever they may be) are a product of faith (that same inner conviction), not in God, but in yourself as your own self appointed diety. You have no proof of your position either. I trust (have my faith) in God that He is not only the law giver, but a loving Father who sent His Son to die for my sins. You trust (have your faith) in yourself to navigate your existence through this life. I would be interested to know what rules you do live by which make you good. Jesus said”no one is good except God and all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I appreciate your position. I hope this better articulates mine.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mikeycooper Mikey Cooper

            Whoever is holding the opinion decides if the deeds are good or bad. Moral universalism/objective morality doesn’t say that morals are “absolute” in the sense of “everyone must follow them” or “everyone will agree with these”. It simply means that the morals are arrived at without regard to the context of the other person. It states that an action is good or bad regardless of culture. If it’s someone’s cultural tradition to sacrifice someone, subjective morality may say “that’s wrong in our society but okay in there society”. Objective morality may say “suffering is wrong, regardless of tradition”.

            I don’t consider my position faith-based because I’m not just arbitrarily deciding it or following an authority without empirical evidence. Rather, I base it on empirical evidence that’s available. My main moral philosophy is to not cause suffering to others. It seems to have served me well so far.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BQYS344JLO6ANEFMH65QBT6AYY Sean

            There are requirements to be included in a set. There’s no proof Hitler fit those requirements. Especially if one considers certain requirements talked about in the books of 1-3 John. I think it’s 1 John that specifically mentions how none that hate their brother can know God.

            Further, don’t bring Leviticus into this. It really just highlights your lack of understanding of Christian theology.

      • Anonymous

        “Atheists can do wonderful things”

        Like…umm…umm…umm
        The ones who draw on side walks?
        Like Dawkins?
        Like umm…umm…umm Darwin! who Hitler was a big fan of.

        Attack: well atheists don’t do anything necessarily bad or that great, they were just the kids who got picked on in high school and through non stop reading and working their way into the science world gives them the opportunity to know more than all of the people that they grew up around. But does this really make you that much better than those ignurant kids that you grew up with, those dirty so called Christians who left a bad taste in your mouth?

        • Anonymous

          No, they only gave us the incandescent light bulb, the Model T, the Windows OS (though some would call it a tool of Satan….), the Apple computer, the discovery of DNA… No, they don’t do anything great.

          Of course, we could have had them a thousand years earlier if it hadn’t been for the Christian DARK AGES….

          • Mikey Cooper

            Why are you still feeding the troll? Read over acforjc’s comments in the thread. He’s not adding anything to the dialogue or trying to have a reasonable conversation while defending his position on the issue, he’s just stirring up trouble.

          • Anonymous

            Mikey you are right, I just like to argue, and it got out of hand. There was a lot of intelligent conversation on here and to be honest with you I got a little out of control. I am not a troll though and nor do I live under a bridge. Atheists are people too and I should not judge. Good luck to you all and thanks I have learned.

          • Anonymous

            Oh wow so evidently you are not into science(which is a lot of atheists best friend even though it shouldn’t be), since you think that the Widows is a tool of Satan, and Apple computers are way more user friendly for simpler minds. And go ahead and Google your ass off on famous atheists, incandescent light bulbs, seriously?
            Man, so since you put godless and veteran together I take it that war has pulled you away from your belief in God?
            “Without war there would be no peace”-Winston Churchhill, for all of you “philosophers” out there, set that up in a logic chain.

          • Anonymous

            Oh wow so evidently you are not into science(which is a lot of atheists best friend even though it shouldn’t be), since you think that the Widows is a tool of Satan, and Apple computers are way more user friendly for simpler minds. And go ahead and Google your ass off on famous atheists, incandescent light bulbs, seriously?
            Man, so since you put godless and veteran together I take it that war has pulled you away from your belief in God?
            “Without war there would be no peace”-Winston Churchhill, for all of you “philosophers” out there, set that up in a logic chain.

          • Anonymous

            It’s obvious you’re having a tough time in junior high, since you never heard of Thomas Edison. And you make a lot of stupid assumptions based on a comment about people who curse Windows (not “Widows”). You said atheists haven’t done anything great; I proved you wrong.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Carlson/1045681862 Stephen Carlson

          Ignurant? How ironic. Didn’t you realize you misspelled that when the wavy red line appeared? Oh, and BTW, I’m an atheist and not only have I contributed plenty of money to charity (secular, non-theist ones), I’m about to go to Japan to dig mud out of houses. What did you do today?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BQYS344JLO6ANEFMH65QBT6AYY Sean

        And this is proof that both sides of the religious table have their terrible arguments.

        First, you shouldn’t just say Beck. Some of us remember the musician (Scott Pilgrim soundtrack for the awesome). And further, Michael Palin’s a pretty funny guy.

        Oh, and further, note that the sentence said “can” and note that pointing out bad seeds and idiots and insinuating a condemnation of all from that is extremely fallacious. An argument like that is essentially saying there cannot exist a set in which items within the set can have opposing qualities. Negative and positive numbers within the set of real numbers would disagree there.

      • Anonymous

        You recent being catogorized, but you do the same. I am a christian and I have never killed a abortion doctor or deny anyone there rights. Maybe I did deny a few rights before I became a christian when I stole something from someone or took advantage of them. I know that I am a sinner…yes just like Hitler, but I am redeemed by Christ blood sacrifice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1119481014 Matt Geary

      Hi Smith, if I may paraphrase. “If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. -In other words, the existence of God is necessary for objective morality to exist. You cant just start with what you are trying to prove, you must start with something that is an indisputable fact.” Following that God is a necessity for the existence of objective moral values ( naturalism is impotent and the negation of the natural is the supernatural) it is indisputable that objective moral values exist therefore God must exist. In commenting on the second premise though you seem to have doubt that objective moral values exist because people have been debating this for along time. This may be a epistemological objection but it does deal with the ontological. It may be very possible that objective moral values exist but many people are either still growing in their understanding of what is objectively moral or they may have knowledge of what is objectively moral but does not have an affirmation that what they do hold is objectively moral knowledge.

      The truth-maker for the second premise can only be arrived at by inductive means but it is a very strong induction. By way of example, I would be hard-pressed to find any person with properly functioning cognitive faculties that would not take it to be self-evident that certain acts such as child molestation would somehow be objectively immoral. I think you are on to something if what you meant by the “indisputable fact” in your initial post is referencing the second premise.

      Finally, while some Christians may accept a definition of faith that contemporary society defines as having an opposition to knowledge, biblical faith is not opposed to knowledge. It can be opposed to sight (or sense perception) but not knowledge. It is actually grounded in knowledge. When Christians trust God in spite of the unseen they do not trust God in spite of who he is but because of who he is. In other words, a knowledge of God that is not blind is the very basis for why one chooses to trust. Finally to argue that one believes the way they do because of how they were raised by their parents somehow has a bearing on the truth-value of what they believe is to commit the genetic fallacy. One may be raised by their parents to believe something about reality and never look into it by themselves and they may still be right. This happens all of the time with other beliefs.

      Thanks, Matt

      • http://www.facebook.com/smith.wilbanks Smith Wilbanks

        “it is indisputable that objective moral values exist therefore God must exist”

        The only way that those are indisputable is because if you did dispute them, your entire world would fall apart. You’re just justifying what you already believe, not reasoning yourself to a conclusion, so there may be nothing anyone can say to change your mind about any of it.

        I know some Christians who are fantastic, amazing people, and I know atheists and non-religious people who are the same. I think its great whatever you happen to believe, as long as you think about it enough to really engage with your beliefs and not just defend them so that you don’t have to change your mind. Atheists and Christians can both be entirely dogmatic, and its a shame when that happens to either.

  • Anonymous
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Quint-Langstaff/1014210156 Quint Langstaff

    There are so many problems with this… Why is it that you accept an “objective” morality as a given? If anything is true in this life, it is that all humans are subject to their own experiences and lenses of perception, so to speak. We all have lives that have shaped the ways that we think about absolutely everything. Even if a universal set of moral codes existed, each and every one of us would have to interpret those codes, and no two of us could ever have an identical understanding. That means that humans are incapable of thinking objectively, and thus incapable of understanding any objective truth or reality that may or may not exist. And THAT means that whether or not anything “objective” “really” exists is completely irrelevant because we could never have any way of knowing it anyway.

    I think that your claim to “objective” moral truths is evidence of your inability to accept the responsibility for your own ability to make choices and to decide what is right and wrong for you in your own life. Find the courage to be a person in your own right. You have all the power in the world to do whatever it is you want, and if what you want is to be an ethnocentric religio-fascist who is confined to “Enlightenment” era thinking and who wants to force an unintelligent understanding of the world on college campuses nationwide, then you’re doing a great job. But if you want to become someone who people listen to, respect, and hear out on all sorts of issues (I’m assuming as a communications/poli-sci person, you want that), then you need to understand your own condition in this life better, and please never again cite C.S. Lewis as a credible source for any kind of serious debate about this in our time.

    As for the place of AAA on the front cover, I suspect it was there for the very same reason your letter made it into the paper — to stir controversy. If after reading this, you still insist unquestioningly on the existence of objective moral truths, and an ability as humans to comprehend them, then there is little hope for you, but there’s always a chance you’ll see what I mean. I wish you good luck in becoming a person of better understanding.

    • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

      Thanks Quint for sticking to the actual argument, I completely understand your reasoning in regards to “objective” morality. The problem that I find with this is the effect that this conclusion would have on the common naturalistic view of things that atheism adopts. Consider what Matt said on this comment board earlier, “if moral prescriptions are given then it is presupposed that the agent receiving the prescription is capable of genuinely carrying out the duty at hand. I do not find it possible to have libertarian free will (thinking agent causation here) within a world that is naturalistic (intrinsic to atheism) and many atheist would agree. If this is so then naturalism fails to ground objective moral values because of it’s ontology and because the agents involved are incapable of making free decisions which negates the notion of moral responsibility.”
      Basically you have to choose one position or the other, ultimately leaving one of the positions invalid.
      As for quoting C.S. Lewis, I find his background credible and the fact that he was an atheist relevant to this discussion. Calling him a non-credible source because of his generation is fallacious, just because someone came from a different time is not a reason to say that they are right or wrong.

      Also I would like to add that I’m not trying to criticize personal character here. Everyone deserves a spot in the paper, I was simply responding to front page articles and their reason for be there. I simply wish to engage in healthy debate through reasoning and logic on a topic that many of us are divided on. The letter wasn’t meant to attack anyone but to open the door for each of us to consider different opinions on the long debated idea of objective morality. As many may think otherwise, I do respect all opinions in regards to this topic and find them all beneficial as I hope you do as well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Quint-Langstaff/1014210156 Quint Langstaff

        Ah, now I see your point. So, in short, you’re saying that to accept a naturalistic atheist perspective (excuse my loose categorization) is to accept that there are no “objective” moral truths, right? If so, I certainly agree. In fact, I think the ONLY way to claim an existence of “objective” morality is to believe in some kind of phantasmic root. But MY argument is that these things are not what should be important to us. Whether or not “objective” moral truths exist is a mute point since we are incapable of comprehending them anyway. The fact of the matter is that each person decides what his/her own moral principles are, these moral principles are informed by everything that has ever happened to that person, and he/she has the free will and ability not only to change them, but to even go against them. “If moral prescription are given” — they are not. Morality IS completely subjective, just like everything else that we have an ability to know. Once we know OF anything, we trap it in our own subjectivity and language from which there is no escape.

        And I still think C.S. Lewis is a horrible person to take advice from when it comes to this argument. It’s not because of his time, it’s because of his ideas.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

          So you claim that morality IS completely subjective. Here’s an example, I think we can all agree that killing little girls would be a wrong thing to do, but in a subjective world, there may be some small society that says it’s ok to kill all the little girls for some reason. The fact of the matter is that this would still be wrong.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1430961592 Kursty Jones

            Scenerio: A disease breaks out and effects only females under the age of puberty. They die slow painful deaths over the course of weeks. They bleed from every orifice, they vomit constantly, there is no known method to stop the incessant pain. All they do is cry and ask for it to stop. This is a situation where a mercy killing would be acceptable.
            Being of the mind that there are absolute moral codes makes you rigid and unchanging, and from studying evolution we know that this is a bad trait to have. Those who subscribe to subjective morality can adapt as time changes and new, never heard of, situations arise.

          • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

            Ok this seems irrelevant to add ridiculous circumstances so here is another example. The Nazis were wrong to murder so many jews, but if they would have won WWII and forced the idea socially that killing jews was ok, would it then be ok??

          • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

            Not to us, but to them, of course.

          • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

            So you’re saying that killing Jews is good, as long as you are a Nazi?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Quint-Langstaff/1014210156 Quint Langstaff

            No, he’s saying that morality is defined humans, for whatever reason. In some societies it was perfectly normal for there to be human sacrifices. It was even considered honorable to be chosen as the sacrifice. This is a real world example of a certain cultural morality that not only allowed, but celebrated killing humans. It just so happens that after globalization (westernization?) we tend to hold in common as a species that we should try not to kill people.

          • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

            Ok this is ridiculous, you just tried to justify murder and proved my point at the same time. If humans define morality then they determine what is good. So you would have to agree that committing murder can be good as long as you belong to a society that deems it good.

          • http://profiles.google.com/chica.errante Louise Blackstock

            Joe, you said killing little girls, not murdering. They’ve given you an example of when killing could be considered acceptable. Don’t change the goalposts mid-debate to suit yourself.

            Morals are subjective. I think abortion should be legal, I think gay marriage should be legal, I think adultery (cheating in marriage) is wrong, and I think there’s nothing wrong with sex before marriage. There are people out there who will disagree with me and think I’m immoral. Does it make me immoral? No. It just makes my morals different to you.

            Killing used to be accepted in other cultures under specific circumstances. It wasn’t immoral to sacrifice a virgin to the gods, it was religious tradition. Not everyone thinks exactly like you. If they’re not hurting you (being butthurt doesn’t count) then you just have to deal with it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Carlson/1045681862 Stephen Carlson

            First of all, you said “killing little girls” just to make it impossible to say that there are no societies that allow that, but the fact is you’re actually just talking about the concept of murder, or the taking of another person’s life. Not only are there plenty of societies (American included) that allow and condone murder, your bible sure throws the death penalty out as a punishment an awful lot, including the stoning to death of children (little girls) for disobeying their parents.

    • Anonymous

      At the end of this article here you said, “there is little hope for you” what does this mean exactly.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Quint-Langstaff/1014210156 Quint Langstaff

        Just that if someone remains in denial about their own subjectivity, they are positioning themselves into a VERY problematic worldview from which many faulty assumptions will inevitably result.

        • Anonymous

          What is this result?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Quint-Langstaff/1014210156 Quint Langstaff

            The faulty assumptions you mean? Well for one, assuming objective moral truths exist, and that we could somehow know them.

          • Anonymous

            have you ever felt remorse over something? Or Joy over something that you did, like chill bumps? That is how I feel like I know them.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Quint-Langstaff/1014210156 Quint Langstaff

            yes, i feel many things very deeply in fact. but i understand that those don’t happen because of magical principles that govern the universe. they are deeply entrenched values in my ego that have been learned over the course of my life from every moment/experience that i have had the pleasure to endure. and i would say that IS how you know them. only, my “them” here aren’t morals that are “objective” of our circumstances.

          • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

            Or, as Sam Harris pointed out, they’re the result of evolution. Behavioral genes do exist (otherwise we couldn’t have bred dogs or foxes, etc.) and morality is obviously advantageous to a species’ survival.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1010400713 Trey Irby

    To play devil’s advocate on this. Uhh, yeah, they do deserve to be on the front page. They’re a student group whose cause can be called “controversial” because of the region of the country we’re in, and thus, that is newsworthy.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah because Christians and Republicans are only in the south, and we all watch Fox News because we can’t afford Bill Mauer on HBO.(extra 20 bucks a month).

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

        So even though over 40% of the population is willing to admit that they would vote for a well qualified atheist president and would be upset if their child married an atheist (from two different Pew Polls), atheism isn’t controversial? What rock am I living under?

        • Anonymous

          52.4345% of statistics are made up.

          • http://profiles.google.com/gurrgg Greg Winn

            http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheistSurveys.htm

            EDIT: Well, I have been beaten, with more credible articles. Sorry.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            So ironic. You’ll believe that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water, and died then rose from the dead because of copies of copies of translations of copies of documents which were written decades after the fact by anonymous authors that contradict one another… But I guess when it came to the polls I mentioned you just don’t have enough “faith” to believe in them. Oh well, thankfully I can provide the links to said polls.

            The first one, the one related to voting for president is located here. And it was gallup not pew, so that was my mistake. 53% of the population said they would not vote for a well qualified atheist president.

            http://www.gallup.com/poll/26611/some-americans-reluctant-vote-mormon-72yearold-presidential-candidates.aspx

            As far as the children marrying an atheist poll. 47.6% of individuals would disaprove of their child marrying an atheist.

            http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x1915425919/Americans-down-on-atheists-poll-finds

          • Anonymous

            Probably better than Obama, and no we all know that politicians have no moral code. So they are not atheists or Christians. Agree?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            Sticking to the topic being discussed, I was just trying to show you how controversial atheists are. This article is possibly news worthy based on its “controversial” factor.

          • http://profiles.google.com/gurrgg Greg Winn

            Most Politicians have a moral code. Its called “money and power.” =P

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BQYS344JLO6ANEFMH65QBT6AYY Sean

    While your argument is valid, it isn’t very sound.

    You need to prove a correlation between God and objective morality, firstly. Second, you need to prove objective morality exists. You did neither. You just said it was so. Your argument made as much sense as the following.

    1. If Zeus does not exist, Hogwarts does not exist.
    2. Hogwarts exists.
    3. Therefore, Zeus exists.

    ~P->~Q, Q |- P is all well and good in terms of validity, but your premises are kinda ridiculous.

    • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

      Not valid, actually:

      40. Pragmatic fallacy. Arguing that something is true because it has practical effects upon people: it makes them happier, easier to deal with, more moral, loyal, stable. Example: “An immortal life exists because without such a concept men would have nothing to live for. There would be no meaning or purpose in life and everyone would be immoral.”

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BQYS344JLO6ANEFMH65QBT6AYY Sean

        No, still valid from the viewpoint of deductive logic. You can prove ~P->~Q, Q |- P. That makes it valid. It just isn’t sound.

        Example of a sound, valid version of the argument:

        If there is no hamburger meat, there are no hamburgers.
        There are hamburgers.
        Therefore, there is hamburger meat.

        Valid and sound. The argument Geary made is valid, but FAR from sound.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

    “I believe I’m not alone when I say that Alabama Atheists and Agnostics deserve no place on the front page of The Crimson White, especially when their world view fails to recognize what is universally right and wrong.”

    But a Christian organization would certainly deserve to be on the front page, even though their holy book contains accounts of their God killing, and ordering the killing of, thousands/tens of thousands of innocent children?

    So much for a “universal right and wrong”. I’ll stick to my subjective morality any day of the week. At least I can disagree with that sort of behavior. If you’re a Bible believing Christian, you’re forced to accept the objective moral judgements your God has passed, including the murder of innocent children.

    • Anonymous

      The Bible does not force any of us to do anything, it only enlightens man’s will to be good even though they have the choice to be bad. Oh and to make it sound better you should rewrite the last sentence, “including the RAPE and murder of innocent children” yeah that sounds a lot better. You know I heard a story about a student who came to U of A and became a big brother to an underprivileged child here in Tuscaloosa, he was one of those child raping Christians that decided to make a difference in a young man’s life by giving up his own time to show him that he cared when a young man’s family did not. Not trying to pull a tear jerker here, but what he did was put someone else before his own self. THAT MY MAN IS WHAT CHRISTIANITY IS ALL ABOUT, not man’s imperfections throughout history.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

        You can dodge my points, but the fact remains that the Bible has instances where God killed, or ordered the killing of, many innocent children.

        If you’re a Christian you either accept it, or claim that the Bible is mistaken with regards to the historical accuracy of these verses. Either way, you’ve got a problem.

        • Anonymous

          We can be quite bias as humans so if you go into something with a bad attitude especially on a subject like this, chances are you going to come out with bad things to say about it. The Bible was written by man, and we all know that man is not perfect, the world is not perfect. The world and the universe is chaotic, but to find peace in this chaotic world is quite admirable wouldn’t you think? I grew up with a family that gave me free range to do what I want, and I have an extensive background in science, and if you think I have not looked into atheism with a free mind then you are mistaken, but I could not find peace there. So if you can find peace in atheism you have to be far more intelligent/emotionally stronger then my wee little mind could fathom. I gave atheism a chance; have you gave God a chance?

          Oh and you can define peace anyway you want, I take it as the opposite of war, and my definition of “free mind” means totally unbiased view.

        • Anonymous

          We can be quite bias as humans so if you go into something with a bad attitude especially on a subject like this, chances are you going to come out with bad things to say about it. The Bible was written by man, and we all know that man is not perfect, the world is not perfect. The world and the universe is chaotic, but to find peace in this chaotic world is quite admirable wouldn’t you think? I grew up with a family that gave me free range to do what I want, and I have an extensive background in science, and if you think I have not looked into atheism with a free mind then you are mistaken, but I could not find peace there. So if you can find peace in atheism you have to be far more intelligent/emotionally stronger then my wee little mind could fathom. I gave atheism a chance; have you gave God a chance?

          Oh and you can define peace anyway you want, I take it as the opposite of war, and my definition of “free mind” means totally unbiased view.

  • Mikey Cooper

    Why do you view objective morality as impossible without a divine authority? Can’t an objective morality based on facts be universally applied regardless of race, gender, culture, etc? Why can’t a moral foundation like “causing suffering to others is bad” be applied universally without a god?

    • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

      You’re right, it could, but it’s highly unlikely in the eyes of naturalism (which most atheist accept). It kind leaves you to make a choice, and most people agree that objective morality does exist. Which is why I made the claim that they don’t understand what is universally right or wrong. Obviously they know what is right or wrong, the whole point of the letter was to let opposing views see that these two ideas contradict each other, leaving you to believe that objective morals exist and it’s because of something higher than us (God) or abandon the idea of objective morality so you can accept naturalism, which many can understand why that is hard to do.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

        “…and most people agree that objective morality does exist.”

        They don’t agree on what is objectively right, or what is objectively wrong, though. Which is quite telling. I don’t think reminding us what the general population thinks this is the strong link in your chain in this instance.

      • Mikey Cooper

        I don’t see the contradiction though. Why does objective morality require a god (it seems like we both just agreed that it doesn’t). Nothing about naturalism makes me reject objectively striving to not cause others to suffer.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

          Look at it this way, animals in nature aren’t held to moral laws like we are, yes they have herd instinct but it’s nothing like the weight of right and wrong that we feel. Were not talking about doing good for everybody, but recognizing the extremes, such as murder, rape, genocide. We understand that it’s wrong and in naturalism we shouldn’t be held to those standards.

          • Mikey Cooper

            But what does that have to do with naturalism? Naturalism doesn’t say we have to act like other animals in nature. Because lions attack and kill a zebra with no regard for the zebra’s suffering does not mean we should do the same. Naturalism is the rejection of supernatural laws and forces. Humans using their cognitive abilities to recognize suffering and act accordingly to not cause that suffering isn’t a supernatural force or law at work. I still fail to see the contradiction.

          • Anonymous

            You are right because Lions absolutely hate Zebra’s that’s why they kill them. They are actually trying to erase them right now, kind of like the Nazi’s and the Jews, oh wait there is a large difference here because lions kill without a sense of right and wrong, when what the Nazi’s is did was accepted as wrong.

          • Mikey Cooper

            I fail to see, at all, what point you’re trying to make or how it applies to the argument of whether objective morality can coexist with naturalism and without god.

          • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

            You don’t see how are morals are different than animals? You say “Because lions attack and kill a zebra with no regard for the zebra’s suffering does not mean we should do the same.” when you say that “does not mean we should do the same.” is the problem, we assume there are no binding morals for animals so what makes us able to be different if there are no set of laws, wouldn’t we end up with multiple different ideas of what is right or wrong? and saying that some societys think certain things are ok, is not an argument against this. Like I said in another comment, just because the Nazis thought it was ok to kill the Jews, doesnt make it right.

          • Mikey Cooper

            Joe, my remark was aimed at acforjc’s disjointed reply.

            Our cognitive abilities compared to other animals allow us to recognize the suffering that we can and do cause. Of course anyone can come up with a set of laws and say something is right or wrong. My point is that you can have objective morality (that is, we can define some things as universally good or bad) without a god. Objective morality can be defined using reasoned logic and fact. There is no violation of naturalism in doing so. I get that lions and Nazis didn’t ascribe to the same morals that I do, but I don’t see how that makes objective morality any less real. And I still don’t yet see how objective morality requires a god, as you stated.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah what Joe said haha, I guess it is easy to sit there and say that you disagree and you will never agree, so wish you good luck to a prosperous life, I hope you find a mate and reproduce, fellow animal on this earth, I have had a long day of blogging and now I must rest.

          • Anonymous

            Lions HATE zebras? Where do you get this nonsense? I’m pretty sure lions LOVE zebras – love to EAT them, that is. No emotion, just hunger.

      • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

        “It kind of leaves you to make a choice”

        Just like Christianity left Hitler (who used it as his primary argument and wrote an entire section about it in Mein Kampf) to make a choice.

        “Hitler isn’t Christian?” No True Scotsman would do such a thing, would he?

        Objective morals? Please define what you’re talking about. There is no definite restriction beyond the interpretation of “good” and “bad.”

        Also, please stay out of politics. For moral purposes, mainly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

    “I ask if it’s only a coincidence that Christian schools are outperforming their secular counterparts in this country and does this reflect the morality imposed by religion?”

    I ask if its only a coincidence that while Christians make up roughly 75% of the population and represent roughly 75% of the prison population, atheists who make up 2% of the population only represent .2% of the prison population. Notice the decimal there, .2%… And does this reflect the morality imposed by religion?

    • Anonymous

      Religion does not impose morality. It allows for it. We as Christians don’t act “moral” because we have to, we act in holiness because anything unholy strains our relationship with God. Holiness is not a series of do’s and dont’s, but conformity to the character of God and obedience to the will of God. A true Christian is always seeking to become more holy.

      On the point of the prison percentages,

      First, I would be willing to bet that half of the people who claim Christianity aren’t true God-fearing, life surrendering, evangelical Christians. (just a rough estimate based on what I see on a day to day basis.) That being said, that 75% isn’t a true stat, especially in the south where it’s “cool” to be a “Christian.”

      Second, being a Christian doesn’t mean being perfect. If we could achieve perfect holiness, there wouldn’t have been much of a need for Jesus to die. Breaking the law and serving jail time by any means isn’t God’s will for us, but everyone is victim of acting based on raw emotion of the moment instead of what they know to be true in Jesus Christ.

      Third, some prisoners become Christians while in jail.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

        You can dress it up however you want, but when you have churches being active in society trying to push their own version of do’s and do not’s, its hard to argue that they aren’t imposing morality.

        As far as the percentages goes, considering the points you brought up, you would think if Christianity had a positive effect on someone’s behavior that there would be some sort of descrepancy between the general population and prison population percentages. Keep in mind, the larger the sample, the more accurate trends are. Considering we’re talking about hundreds of million of people, I think its a fairly accurate picture of the role Christianity plays in peoples lives. Sure there could be some individual cases, but by and large, considering we’re talking about samples of hundreds of millions of people, its accurate. You should be careful how you address this, you could be commiting a no true scottsman fallacy.

        I think it shows that being Christian has no impact on your morality. It doesn’t make you more likely, or less likely, to commit a crime. Regardless of whatever the author of this letter has stated, I think I’ve shown that morality =/= Christianity (or even a different religion).

        • Anonymous

          We’re both arguing on points that you can’t prove. You’re point is based on the fact that every claimed Christian is in fact a Christian, and I am arguing the opposite. The fruits of someone’s labor will normally depict whether they are or they aren’t, but like I said, being Christian doesn’t mean being perfect. We all screw up, Christian or not. We on the outside will never truly to be able to know if someone is a Christian or not, that is why God told us not to judge, because we can’t truly know.

          Being a true Christian does have an affect on your morality. You will still screw up, that is a given. I sin every day and I’m not proud of that but I don’t have to dwell on my mistakes but I can dwell in a peace that I have received by Jesus’ work on the cross. So where a non-Christian may have morals based on their own experiences or personal beliefs, Christians have “morals” based on wanting to fulfill the will of the God they love.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            My proof is the department of justice’s statistics. Your defense is dangerously close to, if not already, a logical fallacy (the no true scottsman fallacy). You are claiming that some of these self proclaimed Christians in prison are actually not Christians at all. Who is going to judge their fruit? Who is going to judge whether or not they are true Christians? You? Nah… All we have is their word.

            Interestingly enough, go to just about any church service and you’ll hear a pastor tell you how easy it is to become a Christian. Wait until the end of a service and attend their “alter call”, accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and bingo… You’re a Christian.

            Now, when statistics don’t paint a positive correlation between Christianity and morality (or just good behavior), its not *THAT* easy to become a Christian. There’s this fruit thing involved, and if you do some bad stuff we don’t want you associated with our group because it sorta makes us all look bad… But you can still do bad stuff and be a Christian because we all mess up… But you’re still not one… Sorta… Well its back to that fruit thing again. Even Christians can produce bad fruit because we mess up, but you’re mess up was really bad. We don’t think that a Christian can mess up that bad, therefore you’re not a *true* Christian. It doesn’t matter that you understand Christianity, believe its teachings, and accpeted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you’re fruit is just too bad. But you can become one again! Just accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and be really sorry for the things you did. Ironically, you can be un-Christianized again for that bad fruit thing, so watch your step! Is that about right?

            Again, all you have is their word. We have a sample size of hundreds of millions of people. If Christianity had a positive correlation with good behavior you would see it in these statistics when you’re sample size is that large. This isn’t a gallup poll making estimations on a 3000 sample size, this is an entire nation of people.

          • Anonymous

            And again, I’m saying their word doesn’t make them a Christian. Who is going to judge them? Like I said earlier, God. But I know out of personal experience that I for a long time claimed to be a Christian just because i attended church services and prayed every once in a while. That made me a Christian no more than attending basketball games made me a basketball player. But now I am one, and I know I am one by the relationship I have with God. But no one will know other than God and I.

            Of course it’s easy to be one. The bible says to ask Jesus into your heart and confess it with your mouth (meaning show your heart change with how you live) and you will have eternal life. Asking God (or Jesus, one in the same, the whole Trinity thing) into your heart and to truly live for him is NOT that easy. So many people forget that Jesus also said that in order to follow me, you must take up your cross (take up your electric chair/die to yourself in modern day terms). That goes back to the asking God into your heart. It’s not a simple 1-2-3. It is actually a completely radical life change.

            No, that’s not about right. I do think that a Christian can mess up that bad. That’s why I didn’t say that there aren’t any Christians in prison. Me lying to someone is the same as you murdering someone in God’s eyes, it’s just society has placed harsher implications on one misconduct, and rightfully so. But that doesn’t mean you are any less a Christian than I. Your sin isn’t what makes you a Christian or a non-Christian. It’s the grace by which you are saved that makes you a Christian or a non-Christian. I’m not saying that being a Christian makes you a better person. Hopefully it will. Hopefully you can mature in your faith and your walk with God and grow to where you can radically reduce sin in your life. But that’s not a guarantee. It is guaranteed that we will all mess up, that’s where the whole Jesus and the sacrifice thing comes in to play.

            But all this being said, I’d love to be able to discuss this with you in person so I can really share my faith and testimony; it’s difficult over the internet.

            Until then or until someone else brings the light into your dark and hopeless world, I have a resolve that you don’t. Your soul will eternally burn unless you change. I do love you and I wouldn’t be spending my time on here sharing my faith if I didn’t and if I didn’t realize the seriousness of not being a Christian. message me or something if you wanna talk more. Thanks

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            I appreciate you being concerned about me and trying to prevent me from burning eternally, but its going to be near impossible to convert be back to Christianity or any earthly religion.

            Even though I label myself as an atheist, I’m perfectly open to there being a god. But the farthest I can see myself going right now is deism. Earthly religions, especially Christianity, has too many problems. Their God has mutually exclusive properties with us, reality, and how the Bible claims reality is. The Bible contains many contradictions and historical inaccuracies. It contains many stories of God doing, and commanding, horrible things. The entire religion is terribly structured, which is what one would expect if a bronze age tribe created it, but not if an all knowing, all powerful being created it. It’s not much different from Islam, its not impressive in the least. And it should be, if it were inspired by a being like the Christian God. Is it just a coincidence that during the time of the old testament that it wasn’t uncommon for the middle eastern tribes to commit genocide? Is it a coincidence that this particular tribe of Hebrews felt that their all powerful, all knowing, loving god wanted them to commit genocide? What loving and morally righteous parent would order one of their children to kill their brother or sister? You’d have to turn my world upside down in order for me to become a Christian again. I’m not saying its impossible, just saying considering what I know its improbable.

            I imagine you do have a resolve that I don’t, although I wouldn’t use the word resolve. Hard head, perhaps? An unwillingness to follow the truth where ever it goes (even if it were to lead you away from your God).

            Perhaps you’d understand my point about this whole prison thing if I were to claim that you’re not a true Christian and therefore your good deeds don’t count towards the claim that Christianity has a positive correlation with good behavior – just like you’re doing with roughly half of the people in prison.

          • Anonymous

            Are you saying they were christian before they entered the prison population? That their bad behavior was as christain believers? Have you ever visited prisoners? There are legitimate reasons for joining the christain population in a prison. Safety in numbers. There are many gangs in prisons. When i was in grad school i visited several prisons in California. I found those who expressed their faith to be genuine. Jesussaid, those who are for me can not be against me. Many christians (well meaning) don’t fully understand God’s gift. It is by grace you are saved and that a gift of God, not of works lest any one should boast. Atheist may indeed be better behaved if your satistics are accurate. I have no reason to doubt you, but here is something to think about. Prisons (in general) welcome christian ministry on their campuses. Prisoner on prisoner crime goes down drastically as a prisons christain population rises. My church has ministry in several prisons and this comes from the administators. Men have behaved badly since the fall of Adam. They have killed, raped and plundered. I am not sure why God gets all the blame. The hardest thing to get someone to accept is that God can be a Judge and also being a loving Father. He did send his Son to die for your sins and mine. It was in His plan before the earth was even formed. The Lamb of God slain before the foundations of the world. I am sure you believe you can love and still judge. You have demonstrated that in your post. Everyone dies. It is appointed man once to die and then the Judgement. Everyone who has died was going to and you will to. Why is it so hard to accept that God could judge a nation or nations of people (you call it genocide) The canaanites lived like animals. They sacrificed their children to demon gods. they raped, killed and plundered everyone in their path. God juded them and expelled them from the land of Israel. What most people forget is He did the same for the Israeelites. They started living like the people they were to drive out and He expelled them. I would be happy to attempt to address any Biblical discrepancy would may believe exist. Jesus loves you and all the atheist/deist on this earth.

          • Anonymous

            “And again, I’m saying their word doesn’t make them a Christian.”

            Then NOBODY, except for a perhaps a couple of dozen people, is a Christian.

      • http://www.facebook.com/grobmeier Christy Grobmeier

        That’s a ridiculous argument; you can go back and forth until the proverbial cows come home about who is a “true” Christian. The fact remains, they claim it and they believe it. It is true to THEM. Case closed.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Carlson/1045681862 Stephen Carlson

        So now there’s a certain level of christianity one must achieve in order to be counted as christian (I’m betting you’re one of those fundamentalists that doesn’t count catholics)? So what are the others? Fakers? I’m assuming you’re the one making the judgement on who is and isn’t up to par, or is god talking to you?

  • http://twitter.com/kathleenfraley Katie Fraley

    There’s a lot to say about the illogical arguments presented here. All that aside (because its covered very well below), can I just say thanks to the CW for doing their journalistic duty of fair coverage?

  • Anonymous

    1. If dinosaur bones exist, dinosaurs must exist.
    2. Dinosaur bones exit.
    3.Therefore, dinosaurs exist.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

      That’s not very scary. More like a six-foot Turkey.

    • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

      Actually, that’s a misleading comparison, mainly because you’re seemingly ignoring the fact that the initial syllogism ignored the fact that the converse of a conditional statement is not necessarily true (c’mon, he should at least remember high school math if he, as an obvious antiatheist Christian, is going to pretend there is any credibility in his implied argument of Christians being more intelligent than atheists).

      (“You” = guy that wrote original comment. No offense to you, “Alan_Grant”)
      Here’s a better version:

      1. If the Illuminati exist and are orchestrating the downfall of the world, then someone, somewhere would die sometime. (If p -> q)
      2. Someone, somewhere DID die sometime! (q = true!)
      3. Oh my MSW [Magical Sky Wizard]! THE ILLUMINATI EXIST AND ARE ORCHESTRATING THE DOWNFALL OF THE WORLD! (Thus, p = true!)

      You have to prove that the converse is true first.

      Original should be modified to:

      1. If God exists, then there is some sort of objective morality (which, incidentally, requires the subjugation of women, condones slavery, and promotes oppression of gays- but, then again, the Bible is the ultimate tl;dr).
      2. There is some sort of objective morality.
      3. Okay, so, morality does not disprove God. That’s cool.

      Also, what this idiot at the top (“Political science major”? If he actually gets a job in that field, I will be disappointed) did was gave you a certain logical fallacy-

      (from University of Oregon):

      40. Pragmatic fallacy. Arguing that something is true because it has practical effects upon people: it makes them happier, easier to deal with, more moral, loyal, stable. Example: “An immortal life exists because without such a concept men would have nothing to live for. There would be no meaning or purpose in life and everyone would be immoral.”

      Also, your INITIAL CONDITIONAL STATEMENT itself lacked a foundation. Morality has been observed in organisms other than humans and there is a copious amount of data pointing to the probable truth that morality arose as an evolutionary advantage.

      Now please refraining from writing anything until you acquire this most basic of virtues known as honesty or integrity… or perhaps, as it may be the case, intellect.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1119481014 Matt Geary

        Zeta Epsilon – You wrote “Also, your INITIAL CONDITIONAL STATEMENT itself lacked a foundation. Morality has been observed in organisms other than humans and there is a copious amount of data pointing to the probable truth that morality arose as an evolutionary advantage. This is a straw-man fallacy. Joe never argued just any morality. That would be way to easy! I could form a contract with you right now and that would form a certain form of morality. He argued “objective” moral values. If morality is some sort of socio-biological adaptation to give an organism an advantage then it is certainly not objective. What if a group of extraterrestrials from another planet were to make a visit and rape was considered a virtue. Well if all of these extraterrestrials begin raping all humans then there is absolutely nothing to give rationale for why this is wrong.

        As I noted earlier “There is nothing within the natural world of atoms, rocks and trees that could have the capability of grounding objective morality ontologically. Science may tell us descriptive facts about the world but science does not give us prescriptions for what is moral and what is not. Furthermore, if moral prescriptions are given then it is presupposed that the agent receiving the prescription is capable of genuinely carrying out the duty at hand. I do not find it possible to have libertarian free will (thinking agent causation here) within a world that is naturalistic (intrinsic to atheism) and many atheist would agree. If this is so then naturalism fails to ground objective moral values because of it’s ontology and because the agents involved are incapable of making free decisions which negates the notion of moral responsibility.

        Furthering on the incapacity of science to give us prescriptive facts about morality, I think that this may clear up some confusion on the first premise that you have. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist. Implied is that the very existence of objective moral values is contingent upon the existence of God so that if God does not exist then there can be no objective moral values. However objective moral values do exist so God must exist by necessity. Finally, where did Joe commit the pragmatic fallacy?

        • http://profiles.google.com/zeta.epsilon.gamma zeta epsilon

          Okay, so you’ve defined an objective morality in an obviously favorable manner for your position. Now please prove to me that it exists rather than asserting such- also, remember that tautological arguments are a logical fallacy. Your time starts now.

          And how is our morality not subjective/ontological?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1119481014 Matt Geary

            Zeta Epsilon, Your first question and your second question seem to be asking the same thing. If I am understanding you correctly you have agreed that the logic is sound and that the framework for objective moral values is consistent but you want to know why objective moral values actually do exist in reality hence morality is not subjective. On the other hand you ask why is morality not subjective ontologically hence why does it have to be objective? If we are only considering morality as objective or subjective then your question is a tautology!

            As I noted in a earlier post “The truth-maker for the second premise can only be arrived at by inductive means but it is a very strong induction. By way of example, I would be hard-pressed to find any person with properly functioning cognitive faculties that would not take it to be self-evident that certain acts such as child molestation would somehow be objectively immoral.” This is the type of argument that can not deduce an absolute but will add a lot of weight. If we can step outside of philosophical ethics though I believe that there are other theistic proofs that can ground that this God actually does exist making this consistent framework actual reality. Namely the Kalam Cosmological argument for the existence of God and the teleological argument. Furthermore I think there is substantive evidence that this God that does exist is the same God that supernaturally raised Christ from the dead giving the historical evidences of the resurrection of Jesus grounding Christianity. This goes a step beyond mere theism.

            Thanks, Matt

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Carlson/1045681862 Stephen Carlson

          Objective moral values don’t exist. While most Americans may agree on certain moral values, I highly doubt you’d find that same morality in a society as near as Mexico, and much less so in a society as far away as India or China. I challenge you to name one moral no-no that I can’t find a society that allows it.

    • Anonymous

      1. If it’s a Unix system, I know this.
      2. It’s a Unix system.
      3. Therefore, I know this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1119481014 Matt Geary

      Alan, the logic of this argument is good but it is the first premise that is bad. The difference between this and the moral argument is that while they both have sound logic, the first premise of this argument is controversial depending upon how one defines a dinosaur. If to be a dinosaur it has to be living then the first premise is wrong. Cheers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1257636677 Bailey Baker

    Wow.

    Let me start by saying that as an atheist myself, I find this to be incredibly offensive. How dare you assume that simply because I don’t believe in your God, I “fail to recognize what is universally right and wrong.” Although I understand that to some degree, there is a “universal understanding” of what is right and wrong (the big rules, such as don’t kill, don’t steal, etc), there is simply no such thing as “objective morality,” because all people, Christians and non-Christians alike, have differing opinions of what is morally/ethically right or wrong. Morality is subjective, and even Christians disagree on what is right and wrong. Do you honestly believe that an atheist cannot be a moral, upstanding person, simply because he is an atheist? I certainly hope you are not that naive, because there are a lot of bad people in the world, Joe…and believe it or not, some of them are even Christians (gasp!).

    As for AAA itself, although I fully support their right to organize and have a presence on this campus, I do not fully understand their point of view, or their purpose as self defined “atheists and agnostics.” Don’t get me wrong, religion is often a joy to debate amongst close friends, so I certainly understand that appeal…but isn’t it a little silly to *organize* a group of people who don’t agree with or support *organized* religion? Isn’t it a bit strange to deny the existence of god, but then to form a group based entirely around him…and his lack of existence? Perhaps I’m looking a bit too far into things, but it seems to me that AAA is neither atheist nor agnostic, but anti-theist. I purposefully avoid the Christian groups who are put up in the Ferg with their brightly colored pamphlets, stickers, and posters, as I am clearly not a Christian and have no desire to receive that information…but, if I’m being honest, I work just as hard to avoid AAA. I don’t want Christianity shoved down my throat, but I certainly don’t want atheism shoved down any other person’s throat, either. It’s great to organize, to chalk, and to make your presence known…perhaps AAA offers a “safe place” of sorts for those students who are slowly coming to terms with their feelings (or lack thereof) about god. That’s great, really, it is. But if your true purpose is simply to organize and discuss/argue that there is no god, I think you’ve missed the forest for the trees.

    As for Joe Geary, all I can say is that he’s the kind of Christian that makes me want to move far far away from here, never looking back, and never giving Christianity a second chance.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

      “Isn’t it a bit strange to deny the existence of god, but then to form a group based entirely around him…and his lack of existence?”

      If that were it, yea it would be an odd sort of behavior.

      Most atheist groups are formed with the intent of trying to improve our society. Many atheists see religion as a device which leads people to do harmful things to themselves and their society. Whether or not that’s true isn’t the point. The point is that some atheists see some religious activities as harmful, and form groups with the intent to raise awareness about said religious activities in hopes that parts of our society will eventually stop doing that particular thing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1257636677 Bailey Baker

        If this is what AAA is truly trying to do, then I can certainly get behind it. As someone who dislikes both government and religious oppression/coercion, I agree that it is important to educate all people on the predatory nature of some of our more beloved institutions. Perhaps I’ll stop by a meeting sometime. :)

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

          I cannot speak for AAA, I’m just giving you a generalization of most atheist groups. I live in Baton Rouge, and these are the sorts of things atheist groups do over here. I’m deeply involved in an atheist group here and its a blast – but its not for everyone. I suggest giving it a shot. Perhaps you’ll like it :)

        • Anonymous

          Hey man I see that beautiful little girl in the picture with you, I ask that you give her a chance to choose what she wants to do with her life. Don’t be one of those southern daddies that force their kids to believe in what they believe in.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1257636677 Bailey Baker

            That little girl in the picture is me, silly. That’s my dad in the 80′s (how could you not tell with those ridiculous glasses?).

          • Anonymous

            sorry I was stereotyping.

        • Anonymous

          Hey man I see that beautiful little girl in the picture with you, I ask that you give her a chance to choose what she wants to do with her life. Don’t be one of those southern daddies that force their kids to believe in what they believe in.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1211010177 Tim Lightningassassin Keele

      The purpose of the group is multi-fold.
      1. It is a group meant to represent the interests of non-theists in general, as they are often dissed or overlooked in the South. For instance, when letters like this appear in the CW, we make sure they are responded to, and by members with different beliefs to provide people with several different points of view.

      2. We educate people on what exactly it means to be a non-theist, atheist, agnostic, etc., as the cause of much non-theist discrimination is when the religious misunderstand what we do believe and stand for. Obviously, we don’t want to proselytize, so we host Ask an Atheist Table in the Ferg, usually the first week of a month, (it will be going on this for the rest of this week, however, as it is official Ask an Atheist Day today).

      3. We provide a place for non-theists to come and discuss topics pertinent to secularism and its future.

      4. We act as a social hub for non-theists interested in befriending those with like interests.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1211010177 Tim Lightningassassin Keele

        We do have many anti-theists in AAA, of course, but the group exists to serve the purposes of all secularists, as all are under-represented at UA. Anti-theism is not the focus of the group at all, and most purely anti-theist groups die out pretty quickly.

    • Anonymous

      When I realized I was morally good because of who I am and not because some book told me to be, I realized Christianity was not for me. It was not necessary for me to be a good person and so I left my church. People like Joe make me glad I am no longer a part of the hypocrisy associated with being a blind Christian. I know why people are Christian, and I respect them for their choices. I also was personally attacked by this letter. Joe, you don’t know me. You probably don’t know more than 10 atheists. Yet you made a blanket statement that implied I have no reason to be on the Earth, that my existence without purpose. God said to spread the word, not to attack and belittle everyone who was different than you.
      “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”–Mahatma Gandhi

      • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

        Ok you say that I “made a blanket statement that implied I have no reason to be on Earth,” how exactly did I do that?

    • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

      Bailey,
      Let me first start by saying that I’m sorry that is the way you took my letter. It would obviously be absurd to think that people who don’t believe in God are not capable of being moral. I know plenty of atheists who are good people. The idea was to point on contradictions between typical atheistic views that may accept a thing as objective morality and naturalism at the same time. The conclusion was meant to show how my reasoning leaves a choice for God or objective morals due to the fact that morals are basically subjective in nature.The letter may have been somewhat hard to comprehend because of the 300 word limit I was restrained to, but let try to explain my point. I was simply claiming that objective morals exist in our world. For instance, if animal in nature kills another animal for it’s food, it doesn’t “murder” the other animal because there are no objective morals for the animal to be held to, but if we as humans fall into this naturalistic state (which most atheists agree we do,) then why are we any different from them? I think we can agree that certain things are right and wrong which can’t be explained by nature. I hope you understand that I didn’t claim atheists are incapable of being moral, obviously they have to be considering I believe in objective morality. My point was to show how there is a contradiction between naturalism and objective morals, leaving one to question if we can really have objective morals and believe everything happens for natural reasons.
      On another note, not I’m not trying to convert anyone to anything. I’m just raising questions about a philosophical view point that I don’t think is valid. In no way was this meant to claim that people who don’t believe in God are not moral, from my view they must have a sense of what is moral.

      • http://profiles.google.com/aelbein Asher Elbein

        I think the reason people are offended by your note has just as much to do with your strong implication that AAA “deserve(s) no place on the front page of The Crimson White.” Honestly, dude, that isn’t your call. AAA is not a hate group, it harms nobody, and yet you would deny it the same right given to people who chalk passive aggressive messages about how non-Christians are damned to hell. Your opinion about atheism is your own, and by all means you should be able to express it. But there is a major difference between right to speak and right to deny others peach. As a communications major, you should know that.

        • http://tylercrompton.blogspot.com/ Tyler Crompton

          “people who chalk passive aggressive messages about how non-Christians are damned to hell”

          You mean those sarcastic messages that AAA writes? I saw a couple of those literally two days ago with “-AAA” at the bottom.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1257636677 Bailey Baker

        Joe,

        I appreciate the apology, but I get a little lost after that.

        You ended your article by saying, “I believe I’m not alone when I say that *Alabama Atheists and Agnostics deserve no place on the front page of The Crimson White*, especially when *their world view fails to recognize what is universally right and wrong,* yet in your reply you said, “It would obviously be absurd to think that people who don’t believe in God are not capable of being moral.” I’m a little confused. Somehow their worldview (i.e. their views on religion/lack of religion) renders them incapable of understanding what is right and wrong, yet they are capable of being moral? Merriam-Webster defines moral as: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior. You’re arguing two completely different things in your initial argument and your response. I’m impossibly confused.

        In your response, you talk about naturalism, and I’m not sure why…because you never talked about it in the original article. Nonetheless, while I can (sort of) make out what you’re trying to argue here, I have to point out a few things:

        First, when you say, “For instance, if an animal in nature kills another animal for it’s food, it doesn’t ‘murder’ the other animal because there are no objective morals for the animal to be held to, but if we as humans fall into this naturalistic state (which most atheists agree we do,) then why are we any different from them?” The answer is not objective morality; it is simply the consciousness, self-awareness, and cognition that comes along with being human. It’s not objective morality that makes us think of things as right and wrong, it is a combination of our consciousness and whatever *subjective* morality we may have within ourselves. If objective morality exists…why are there sociopaths and serial killers? Haven’t you seen Dexter? (fictional, yet oddly relevant)

        Secondly, I simply don’t think you understand what “objective morality” really is. In your article, you wrote, “While one could certainly come up with a self-fabricated system of morality, making the system objectively, *universally binding* is impossible without God.” What you failed to explain, however, is if our morality is truly “universally bound” by God, why do people in other parts of the world have such different ideas of what is moral or ethical? Perhaps when you say universal, you’re speaking in terms of Christianity alone? Or perhaps you meant to argue that we have some sort of bind within our country that is based upon religion/God, yet I would argue that point, too.

        I’m sorry to seem so critical, I just don’t understand your point of view, or your argument.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeGeary2 Joe Geary

          Bailey,

          First let me say thanks for the true sincerity of your questions, while others would prefer to attack my personal character, you are simply trying to understand my argument, and for that I say thank you.

          There are a few questions here on how I came to these conclusions so I will try to answer them one at a time and let you take them how you will.

          Your first said “I’m a little confused. Somehow their worldview (i.e. their views on religion/lack of religion) renders them incapable of understanding what is right and wrong, yet they are capable of being moral?”
          What I am claiming is that by rejecting the idea of a law giver (what I accept as God) you can’t truly claim to recognize what is universally right or wrong (what I accept as objective morals.) Since I claim that there are objective morals, I am bound to the idea that everyone has this perception of morals. I never said atheists don’t know right from wrong, I’m just saying that if you don’t accept the idea of objective morals, then you fail to “recognize” them. This wasn’t meant to be taken in a way that would claim you literally don’t know right from wrong. Maybe this was my mistake for not being clearer but I hope you understand the point I’m trying to make.

          Next, you say “In your response, you talk about naturalism, and I’m not sure why…because you never talked about it in the original article.”
          Your right, I didn’t mention it in the paper. Main reason being that letters to the editor must be under 300 words. As much as I tried to add this in, it was nearly impossible so I had to hope that most atheists and believers alike would go ahead and make this assumption since this is the idea that most atheists adhere to (and if they don’t then I would love to hear why not.)

          After that I described why I think objective morals can’t exist in a naturalistic world without a God. I point out that if we are living in a world without any sort of laws then how can we have an all around perception of right and wrong. You said “The answer is not objective morality; it is simply the consciousness, self-awareness, and cognition that comes along with being human. It’s not objective morality that makes us think of things as right and wrong, it is a combination of our consciousness and whatever *subjective* morality we may have within ourselves.” This response is fine and it attempts to take down my 2nd premises. The problem I find with this is that if we are living in a naturalistic world with no law giver then how can we come to a consensus on certain morals, wouldn’t we have ended up with various different ideas of right and wrong? You would think this would be the case if everything were subjective. I simply don’t see how we can all have the same ideas of right and wrong without these laws to hold us to it. The “consciousness, self-awareness, and cognition that comes along with being human” is exactly what I am arguing for, we all consider some things to be moral and immoral, things like child molestation, rape, murder, and so on. Basically if we claim that everything is subjective it implies that anything can be considered good as long as everyone agrees that it’s good within that society. As a commented earlier,an example would be to look at WWII, if the Nazis had won the war and said that killing all the Jews was good, would it really be good? If everything is subjective then this would have to be so because only humans would define morality. I’m not saying you cant agree with that idea, but there is no way I could ever believe this would be good as long as you belonged to the society that said it was good.

          For the last paragraph, when I said “self-fabricated system of morality”, I’m saying “subjective” (made up by humans alone).

          Then you say “What you failed to explain, however, is if our morality is truly ‘universally bound’ by God, why do people in other parts of the world have such different ideas of what is moral or ethical?”
          Ok lets remember that things can be moral and immoral. Whether subjective morality or objective morality, there has to be right and wrong or good and evil. Just because I argue that morality is objective doesn’t mean everyone will be good, there has to also be evil for there to be some sort of free will, the same thing can be said for subjective morality, if everyone knows what is the right thing to do then why don’t they do it? I just don’t find this question completely relevant, people can choose to do wrong, just because our laws here say that speeding in your car is illegal, doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but when you do it you know you are breaking the law. I think the same thing applies to morality and as for other people around the world, yes, I agree that they have different ideas, but do you really think they don’t have values in common with us? Or that they can choose to do wrong, because of the existence of evil? I’m sure people all over the world would agree that child molestation, rape, and murder are evil crimes, just because someone commits that crime doesn’t mean that objective morality doesn’t exist, it just means that they are choosing to be immoral.

          Finally, you said “I’m sorry to seem so critical, I just don’t understand your point of view, or your argument.”
          No problem, Obviously I knew that I was going to receive criticism and I think sharing view points is a good thing. I have no problem trying to explain my position, especially when I was so limited to what I could say during my initial argument. I’m sure you disagree with me somewhere in here, but I hope you have a better understanding on how I came to my conclusions now.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            “The problem I find with this is that if we are living in a naturalistic world with no law giver then how can we come to a consensus on certain morals, wouldn’t we have ended up with various different ideas of right and wrong? You would think this would be the case if everything were subjective. I simply don’t see how we can all have the same ideas of right and wrong without these laws to hold us to it”

            If we all have the same ideas of right and wrong, why was slavery a controversial issue? Why is abortion a controversial issue? Or Gay marriage? There are dozens of issues that relate to morality that split this nation, have split this nation in the past, and that currently split or have split all other nations of the world in the past.

            We actually see people with different sets of moral values. You said this would be evidence of subjective morality, but then go on to pretend that we all agree on what is right and wrong and ignore all the conflicts and arguments we have over what is right and wrong.

            “Basically if we claim that everything is subjective it implies that anything can be considered good as long as everyone agrees that it’s good within that society. As I commented earlier, an example would be to look at WWII, if the Nazis had won the war and said that killing all the Jews was good, would it really be good?”

            It wouldn’t be anything, it would merely be what it is – genocide. If morals are truely subjective, then they are subjective and are not objectively good or bad. People could percieve it to be good, but that doesn’t change what it is or make it objectively good.

            If everyone in the world thought that blue was the best looking color, that wouldn’t actually make blue the best looking color. It would still be a subjective claim about the color blue.

            Your question, and most of your article, also comes straight from William Lane Craig, master of rhetoric. You can use this in a structured debate where time is limited and it’ll work. But use it outside of that and its easily countered. Here I have unlimited time and posts to respond to that, whereas in a debate I am cut for time, and I have to spend what little I would have on this and other arguments. Craig’s debate style depends on the idea that lies can travel around the world faster then the truth can put its shoes on. In other words, two or three of his sentences takes dozens to respond too. He’s got you on time, again, because he is very good at rhetoric.

            Regarding the scenario you painted, do you fair much better? At least subjectively, you could still disagree with what the Nazi’s did. With your law giver, and his objective morality, you cannot disagree. If he chooses to tell a group of people to kill every man, woman, child, and infant in an area like he did in Deuteronomy chapter 3, you couldn’t disagree with him. You are forced to see that as righteous.

            At least I can disagree with what the Nazi’s did (genocide). You are forced to accept the objective moral judgements your law giver has passed down (genocide).

          • Patrick Drackley

             I have a couple concerns with these arguments. First off, I really don’t see that Nazi Germany is the best choice of example here. True, it’s a wildly obvious one, but it seems like, on top of an already complicated issue, choosing to use such a painful chapter of human history seems a little tactless.

            More to the point, I have a few concerns regarding your use of what is “legal” as a synonym for “moral.” I am not a lawyer, I am not a law student – I have nothing resembling legal training. However, there are two opposing, rather fundamental principles of law here to consider: malum in se and malum prohibitum. The (extremely) simple explanation is that some things are illegal because everyone (or very nearly so) things that, on a fundamental, natural level, they are wrong; these are termed malum in se because they are INHERENTLY wrong, not simply because they’ve been set in place by people. Malum prohibitum, on the other hand, is slightly more relevant to speeding. That is, it’s not something that is considered evil by people in general (as, for example, rape and murder) but rather, something that was decided upon simply as a matter of convenience (in this case, I mean safety). I suspect that you’re not trying to say that Christians condemn speeding (as I would say without hesitation that it’s mostly only the police and the courts who do, at least to a degree); however, I would suggest that if you’re going to use laws as your examples of morality, it might be more helpful to consider laws that could conceivably be based on natural beliefs of humans across the globe (again, rape or murder are good examples of things generally frowned upon) than simply social norms of the First World.

            Furthermore – though I suspect this has been discussed already, and I admit I have not read all the comments here – I have to take issue with your “reasoning” (I’m not trying to be contentious with the use of quotations here, I simply see far too many holes for it to actually be logical). First of all, I have to repeat other posters here, that there is no such thing as objective morality. For something to be truly objective, it must be viewable by anyone, of any background, with any beliefs, to be the same thing. By its very definition, objectivity is the lack of any one person’s views or prejudices. Therefore, I cannot see any society (much less a world in which several very different societies intermingle) having a truly objective concept of morality. Another poster has mentioned the rules set forth in Deuteronomy; I admit that I don’t know the Bible well enough to comment on them specifically, but it seems that, if we’re going to be looking at scripture as the basis for what God wants (whichever scriptures or God you choose to follow) then the only truly objective way of recognizing His intentions would be to accept all laws placed before you at face value, without questioning them or evaluating which are “essential” or “irrelevant.” The exact instant that people begin choosing which rules they follow is the instant their morality becomes subjective.

            On that note, I feel it’s worth mentioning that, since the rules placed before humans in their various holy books – whether we consider the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, or any others – are not all identical, a very simple question is raised: which one is correct? You would say that the Bible is correct, and that only following the word of the Christian god is moral, but a fundamentalist Muslim would argue just as strongly that Allah and the Koran are valid. How are any of us, as mere mortals, to make that distinction? Every side claims that they alone have the “truth” on their side (whether you used the WORD truth in your article – and I’m not saying you did – is irrelevant, it’s all part of the same general thinking) but how do we prove which is right? And how can anyone here be so egotistical as to believe that they alone know the real secret to life?

            I realize some of that got slightly off the topic of objective morality, but I feel as though it’s pertinent to discussion. My point here is that there is no surefire way to determine who is really correct and who is not; therefore trying to make that distinction is essentially pointless. Which brings me back to what I was originally going to say about your “logic” (yes, the last couple paragraphs were slightly tangential, but I still think they’re relevant, so I’m leaving them here) – that is, how can one prove that, if there is no god, there are no morals? First of all, if we’re going to try to prove or disprove something like the existence of God, I would say that rhetorical logic is perhaps not the best way to go about it. Rather, I would say that empirical logic might be a bit more effective. However, as there is, at the moment, no way to empirically prove or disprove the existence of God, I think we should probably all agree that the point is moot. However, to simply state that society can bear no moral compass without God without giving any reasoning WHY is not relevant. I’m not sure here if you’re actually quoting someone here (and didn’t pick this statement apart) or if you’re mistaken and believe that “because I believe in God and have a sense of morality” you can make the logical jump to “those who don’t believe in God must not have a sense of morals.” If that’s the case, I suggest reading up a bit on logic, because it doesn’t work that way. As much as I’d like to say that our logic, like our morality, is subjective, it’s pretty much not… it’s rather mathematical, in fact. Not to say that there aren’t other ways of proving your point; there may well be. I do not claim to have any answers one way or the other. I can, however, state with some certainty that your logic there is flawed.

            The final issue I’d like to mention here is that these things work both ways. If you’re offended by seeing a picture of someone whose beliefs differ from yours making theirs public, then it’s probably safe to say that those people are offended when your beliefs are made public. No one here is any more or less “right.” However, everyone is, in fact, entitled to their own beliefs (the First Amendment makes that pretty clear), and as such, should not be belittled or pushed aside (or out of the newspaper) because of said beliefs.

            I admire you for having a belief system that is obviously thought-through and developed; I’m certainly not trying to change your mind (as I would ask that you wouldn’t try to convert me). I’m just trying to bring these holes in logic to your attention, and to ask you to consider that maybe the AAA is making some of these same arguments about why God can’t exist. Clearly, we aren’t all ever going to agree on anything; it seems as though it might just be better to accept that we all have our own thoughts and beliefs and respect others. And perhaps simply working to better ourselves than spending time cutting others down.

      • Erin Broome

        I’m super late to the party, but…

        I don’t think there is much to be said about a “typical” atheistic view, because atheists don’t necessarily share any beliefs. They reject organized religion, and do not believe in any God—thought many do strongly believe in personal responsibility and self-discipline.

        Some might be kind souls, some scoundrels, none following a specific path or book for guidance. If anything, they likely have similar views to a Christians, given that we live in a society whose laws are based on Judeo-Christian ideology.

        Agnostics, on the other hand, are not against any particular religion or creed, as they are open to any possibility, and are too humble to discount any of the potential truths, because they do not know. However, again, some may be wonderful people, others less so. They simply don’t have the pride to tell others that *they* know the truth. They likely interpret some of their values from law, some from common sense, and others from a collective of ideas gleaned from a number of religions.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Green/1261026676 Michael Green

      Hi Bailey.

      I have some problems with your reasoning on a couple of issues. I think that your argument in the first paragraph has some holes regarding whether or not morality is subjective. If I am understanding your point, you are saying that morality is subjective because there are all types of differing views on moral topics. By “morality” are you meaning “truth”? If so, just because people have different views on a a topic, it does not change the actual truth value of the claim. For example, I can walk out into a busy intersection and fully believe that I won’t be getting hit by the Mack truck headed my way, and you might disagree and believe that I will. But, the truth will eventually become apparent one way or the other, and it won’t matter what either of us “feels” about it. Truth is. It exists and doesn’t change. People’s opinions and beliefs about Truth may change, but someone thinking or not thinking that something is true doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not it actually is.

      Secondly, what is morality really in the context of the atheistic world view? Can an atheist come up with a system that they like, by which to live? Sure. But, at the end of the day, what does it really matter if we are only a collection of molecules? If the atheist even goes to great links to avoid self-contradiction, etc., what goal has been reached? A happy stay here on earth? A nice sense of satisfaction in helping out the world? In that view, that self-satisfaction, or any type of satisfaction for that matter, dies when he or she does. Even if it “lives” on in humanity, he or she reaps none of the harvest- just death. So, I think the real question becomes, “Apart from a loving Creator and his design and ultimate purposes, what is the point of morality at all?” It seems like we would just be school children coming up with arbitrary rules for the contrived game of the day at recess.

      Christ came so that we may have life and have it to the full. Morality in that context is supposed to be a reflection of His love, kindness, and mercy. Hence, it points others to their chance at having a relationship with the Creator that loves him or her just as much as He loves any Christian.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Carlson/1045681862 Stephen Carlson

        You’re retarded. Your morals are not inherent because your zombie god’s spirit has entered you (which is slightly homoerotic if you ask me), your morals were taught to you by your parents. Likewise, my morality was taught to me by my christian parents, and while I would venture that my morals are similar to yours, I highly doubt that you and I, or you and the person in the next pew at church would agree on all points. Also, don’t you think that it is possible that “morality” has evolved out of a need for humans to survive, and is only a meme which differs from society to society?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QJYJ7BNFYLQMZ3QX7UGR3IUPDE Joe

      I suppose I’ll preface my post by saying that although I do not attend UA, my interest in this article is on the basis of my interest in how theist and nontheist groups interact.

      A good part of your post questioned why people would want to create a group on the basis of a shared lack of belief. I’ll attempt to provide some possible reasoning, in a purely speculative sense. One reason might be that of any group, that they would unite to work toward common needs and look out for their rights. For example, a group of this type would attempt to preserve the separation of church and state and keep religious forces at a fair distance. Another reason that I can think of would be that it would be a group/place to meet and discuss philosophy and the role of religion in society.

      The article itself discussed the question of absolute morality and questioned whether atheists could have morality. I suppose I’ll share my opinions of these two topics. First, in my opinion, religion is without question not a prerequisite for morality. In example, there is a recent advertisement campaign in Texas among other places that show examples of people who have made great contributions to society such as donations to charitable organizations and say something to the effect of “(famous person) is good without god”.

      On the question of whether or not there is absolute objective morality, I would argue no. I’d say that when debating that question, one must decide whether something is good because God says it is, or does God say it is good because it is. An example I would cite where my morality would disagree with the Bible would be the example of Abraham and Isaac; I would say that killing one’s son in that scenario is completely immoral. Another point I would consider is that there are, to my knowledge, no people who follow every single rule stated in the Bible, such as the laws of Leviticus. Thus, people decide for themselves which rules to follow and therefore morality is subjective.

      • Anonymous

        Abraham responded to God in faith and believed God would raise Isaac from the dead. The same faith necessary to accept Jesus. In a sense He did raise Isaac from the dead by providing the lamb for the sacrifice. Jesus is that lamb. “slain from the foundations of the world” As to the levitcal law, it was abolished at the crucification of Jesus Christ, “it was nailed to the tree. Christ followers operate under a new law. Loving God with all our heart, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. All laws and morallity are summed up in these commandments. I know christians have a horrible reputation and much of it is well deserved, but part of it is based on the worldview of what a christian should be. The biblical view is we are a work in progress, “deep calls to deep” the deeper we go the more we grow. The world tends to have a much more judgmental view. I am a much different person than I was 30 years ago when I encountered Jesus, but unfortunately it did not all happen over night and I have not arrived. What I want most to clarify is that the bible does not teach us to set up a kingdom here where everyone has to follow “christian rules” Christ followers, like Abraham are looking for ” a city whose builder and architect are God. We don’t hope in this life, but the one to come. Paul said if we hope in this life only we are to be pitied.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1012350078 David Sikes

      I do not think he intended to say that you cannot have morals and be an atheist. However, to deny any deity and accept a purely naturalistic worldview, and yet to have any belief in morality is cheating.

      To accept morality is to accept a degree of higher, absolute truth. If anyone disagrees, and yet protests injustice anywhere in the world, they are deceiving themselves.

      To say someone is atheist and ‘good’ as opposed to atheist and ‘evil’ is to say that there is a good and evil, that there is right and wrong. It implies that there are actions that are in fact (not opinion) evil or good.

      My question is this: where does this idea of good vs. evil come from? Where does morality come from? It certainly does not come from nature – a naturalist, if they are honest, admits this. Nature is cruel, unfair and often vicious. Atheism fails to answer these questions, where a belief in a higher power does; and these questions are most sufficiently answered by the christian faith.

      Now, as to Geary’s letter – am I offended that the AAA was on the front page of the CW? No, that’s absurd. The AAA has stirred up a lot of talk around campus and are certainly newsworthy. Do I agree with their views? Clearly not.

      • Jeb

        Being an atheist and having morals is cheating? Seriously?

        What does it matter where the idea of good vs. evil comes from? The truth is, even among religious people, there are no shared set of morals. Some religious people are pro-choice, others are anti-abortion. To one group, it is murder. To the other, freedom to manage ones own health. Who is right? Who determines who among them is right?

        As a society, we have adopted a shared set of guidelines and formed a system of laws based on those guidelines. Yes, their roots (in this country) are founded upon the Ten Commandments (or Christianity in general). In many Middle Easter countries, their laws are founded upon Sharia Law. The point is, societies get their “shared” set of morals from different places. If you lived in Iran and agreed that murder is wrong, could I make the argument that you must be a closet Muslim?

        Are you also telling me that if I believe in the concept of “an eye for an eye,” but I claim to be atheist, that I am lying to myself? That principle comes from the Bible, so if I follow your argument, I cannot agree with anything in the Bible without accepting the entire thing as true.

        You implied that the Christian faith must be true because it answers the question of where morals come from. Does that also mean that the Islamic faith is true as well? They answer the same questions.

        The only part of your post that I do agree with is this…
        “To accept morality is to accept a degree of higher, absolute truth. If anyone disagrees, and yet protests injustice anywhere in the world, they are deceiving themselves.”

        However, I believe (philosophically) everybody is a hypocrite in this regard. Why does the Christian faith get to set the standards in the world for what is just? Explain to me how your morals are more right than those shared by other faiths.

      • Mikey Cooper

        Nonsense that atheists subscribing to a naturalistic world view are cheating by holding to a set of morals. Naturalism does not constrain people to discarding morality because animals kill each other in nature. Naturalism simply states that the supernatural doesn’t exist and only the natural world does. Morality isn’t a supernatural force or law any more than Labor Day is. It’s a concept we came up with to live together as a society. An atheist can derive their morality from any number of sources. I consider “don’t cause suffering to others” to be a moral guideline that requires no god.

  • Anonymous

    HEY EVERYONE, LET’S TALK ABOUT SCIENCCCEEEE!!!!!

    FIRST TOPIC: Study of Nothing

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

      Theology isn’t a scientific discipline, nice try though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/undeadonion Amy Swartz

      Do you even go here?

      • Anonymous

        Why Amy do I not sound intelligent enough for you?

      • Anonymous

        And your judgement is worse then a middle-aged housewife in a southern suburb, oh wait my bad Christians are the only ones that judge, not the atheists.

      • Anonymous

        and no, I am not an undergraduate at the University of Alabama…
        do you want more clues?

  • Anonymous

    Ah yes, a god that advocates slavery, violence, rape, torture, hatred, racism, bigotry, homophobia, infanticide, misogyny, murder, and countless other atrocities & cruelties is the only entity that can teach us to proper morals. Gotcha.

    • Anonymous

      But you forgot, Gods goodness is perfect goodness of most perfectness of goodness-ness. Therefore God is perfect and worth worshiping and sending bears to maul children for calling someone bald is objectively moral.

  • Jeb

    I’ve read a lot of CW opinion pieces in my time. This is by far the dumbest. You’ve managed to combine ignorance of a worldview with condescension and insults. Your attempt at deductive reasoning is weak. You obviously just finished your first philosophy class and are now trying to apply the lessons you’ve learned to anything you can. If I were you, I would be embarrassed at the amount of responses pointing out the flaws in your logic and your utter contempt for those with differing opinions. Replace “atheists” with “blacks” and this is a recycled article from over 50 years ago.

    • Anonymous

      Seems more like he is trying to parrot William Lane Craig’s nonsense.

    • Anonymous

      Ok JEB, that is a mighty fine name you got there, sounds like it was after a slave driver, but not to get off topic or anything. There has actually been an awesome debate on this forum today, whether you are an atheists or Christian, I mean if anything it has actually helped atheists, look how many friends got together on here and bashed religion together today, as one big happy non-believing family, which evidently took no part in all of the bad that happens today and all of the bad that has happened in the history of the world. What a great world to live in when you have no one to answer to. Sounds like paradise.

      • http://profiles.google.com/gurrgg Greg Winn

        We do have someone to answer to. Each other.

        My belief is, I only have one shot at this, I should be as loving, and caring as possible. Nobody will forgive my mistakes, just because I believed in his son. Yet, I find myself relieved knowing this. I guess I feel like it isn’t just a test.

        It probably doesn’t make much sense to you, but your beliefs don’t make much sense to me.

        • Anonymous

          God is love.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            “God is love” – 1 John 4:8

            “Love is not jealous.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4

            “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God” – Exodus 20:5

            Which 2 of these is correct?

          • Anonymous

            I’ll take “D”, all of the above.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            Oh the illogical option? Well, it does suit your kind well.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Carlson/1045681862 Stephen Carlson

            LOL. That’s great.

        • Anonymous

          Oh and good luck being perfect.

          • http://profiles.google.com/gurrgg Greg Winn

            Thank you,

            I am definitely trying to be perfect, even though I am doomed to failure in this task. I know I am not perfect, and I never will be, but that does not stop me from trying.

            Good luck to you, as well, as, if memory serves, your faith asks similarly of you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXXYGF5ZDQI6D3ISQRBX3US5U frederick

    1. If God does not exist, you have a terrible argument
    2. God does not exist
    3. Therefore, you have a terrible argument

    • Anonymous

      Go to sleep Frederick

  • http://profiles.google.com/gurrgg Greg Winn

    But, how do you know there are objective morals?

    If the existence of objective morals is dependent on the existence of a god (which I don’t believe is accurate, but for the sake of argument), then belief in objective morals is dependent upon belief in a god.

    Lets say, for example, that somehow objective morals are proven to be incapable of existing without a god (I doubt such an un-scientific claim could ever be proven). A man, lets say his name is Steve, doesn’t believe in a god, therefore Steve would simply not believe in objective morals. He would need objective proof of objective morals to change his mind about the existence of a god.

    Lets say another man, Jeff this time, believes in a god. Jeff believes that his god laid down morals, and if an omnipotent god laid down morals, they would surely be objective. However, at the core of this belief is not that objective morals exist, but rather a god exists. A god that has laid down morals, to be specific. This belief cannot be used to assert the existence of his god because such a claim would require belief in god already.

    Your belief that there are objective morals stems from your belief in a god. From your perspective as a theist, you see objective morals, where from mine as an non-believer, I see only subjective morals. Therefore, your assertion that there are objective morals, is subjective and will remain such until you show objective proof that objective morals exist.

  • Anonymous

    If we accept your first premise, we can prove your God does not exist.

    1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    2. Slavery is objectively wrong.
    3. The God of Abraham did not object to slavery.
    4. Therefore the God of Abraham does not exist.

    Now: either slavery is right, or your premise was wrong.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

      Wow, nice touch. I might borrow that next time I come across this objective moral argument.

    • Anonymous

      God created a system of free moral agency. Men could choose good or evil. They chould choose Him or not. They could choose to kill, steal, lie or the opposite. It in no way means that He is for slavery. If you read the extensive biblical references to slavery you will find God was not a big fan. He actually elevated the status of the slave within the Israelites economy. Things like when a slaves service was complete the owner could not send him away empty handed, but was under obligation to supply him generously with provisions. Paul writes about the masters obligation to treat their slaves well. God tolerated slavery the same way He tolerates lying, cheating and stealing. If you or I were harshly and expeditiously punished everytime we did something wrong we could not operate in a state of freewill. God is looking for those who will choose him freely with no compulsion. I know that many (well intentioned) would have you believe by compulsion, but it is just not His way. Men choose to enslave other men. He will not enslave you to be His automoton. He will let you let you choose life or death. His perferred will is you choose life.

      • http://www.facebook.com/brad.erthal Brad Erthal

        But we have Biblical admonitions not to kill, lie, or steal. On the other hand, the Biblical rules with regard to slavery give some rights to Hebrew slaves, but if you read Exodus 21:2-6 you find a way to permanently enslave even a Hebrew, in addition to owning all of his children. These are commands directly from God. So drop this free will argument; the Bible claims that God put down specific rules about how to treat slaves, he didn’t condemn slavery.

        • Anonymous

          I did not say God condemned slavery. I said he condoned it. A slave who loves his master is no slave at all. This is the analogy of a Christians relationship to Christ. We have the ability to walk away and serve another master (don’t be deceived you serve a master) but we choose to serve Him because we love Him. In order to serve one master you must despise the other. I guess if you blame God for men enslaving men you are a least admitting that He exist. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.You are on your way. One day you may have children and they will be doing something you don’t approve of, like under age drinking, You will create a list of rules in regard to the behavior which you don’t approve, like if you get drunk don’t drive, but call me and I will come get you. Then you will know that just because you make rules about something does not mean that you approve the behavior. Jesus said Moses gave certificates of divorce to men (not because God approve of divorce) but because men had lust in their hearts. Same thing. God never approved of slavery men just had greed in their hearts. How is your city recovering from the tornadoes?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brett-Andrew-Bruce-Horsley/27418098 Brett Andrew Bruce Horsley

    It seems to me that Joe is just voicing his opinion in what he believes is not a credible cover for the CW. Isn’t that what the “letters to the editor” section is for? Anyone attacking Joe for his opinion criticizing the CW and the AAA’s logic is contesting our 1st amendment right. I am sure many UA students were offended by the cover of the CW because it was portraying a group they did not agree with. It is arguable that the CW placed that photo on the front page (Just as they placed a photo of today) to be controversial and incite opinion pieces such as Joe’s. Furthermore, attacking Joe for writing this letter makes no sense (that is if you believe in the Constitution). If the student body kept silent every view they had that was not held by every student at UA, then there would simply be no opinion section in the CW. Joe had to have anticipated the spiteful responses he would get from this piece, and yet he still had the audacity to make his opinion heard.
    And for that…. we thank you.
    Roll Tide!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

      Brett, you can’t be that dense.

      So Joe has the right to target the AAA and suggest that they don’t deserve a spot on the front page, all because the first amendment exists and its important for people to voice their opinion. But the people who have replied to this thread don’t have the right to voice their opinion about Joe’s letter?

      You’re basically saying that since voicing your opinion is a right and an important thing to do, that we shouldn’t be voicing our opinion about Joe’s letter because he was just voicing his opinion. This is the sort of logic that’s prevalent in church, not a university.

      • Anonymous

        There is a difference in shedding light on a subject and attacking a single person.

        Attack: And your sort of logic is prevalent at a Dungeons and Dragons tournament, not a university.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

          I’ve never been to a Dungeons and Dragons tournament, but they must be some pretty intelligent people. What in the world were you doing there?

          • Anonymous

            Chris, I was stereotyping because of the atheists that I have met, which is wrong and I do feel bad about saying this. And no I have never got caught up in such magic…make your Christianity joke about magic now. You know Chris I feel like you have the world figured out. Great, intelligent responses for every comment. I can tell your knowledge is vast, and you study hard for what you believe in. I think you do a lot for atheists where you live because of how strong you believe in nothing, and from earlier conversation I can tell that you do community service, which is admirable. So, when you die, which could be tomorrow(same here, not a threat) you will leave a lasting memory in all of the ones that loved you including your mate and your offspring(if this applicable), you were an animal on this earth that really made a difference for good, which is good in the eyes of a Christian and an atheists. That thing inside of you that made you want to help people and be good, that inkling, was just something that you come up with on your own? Because I take it that you did not get this same good feeling to just start dismissing God did you? I have a feeling this feeling came from malice, from some other human or event that drove you that way. I grew up in the south and I can agree that I ran into more fake Christians, who were rude and disheartening, than real Christians(NOT SAYING I’M A PERFECT CHRISTIAN). But what I guess I am trying to say is that you came to this conclusion of atheism with a joy that filled your subconscious, what we call soul, right?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brett-Andrew-Bruce-Horsley/27418098 Brett Andrew Bruce Horsley

        Chirs: Sorry if I was unclear. I was not referring to those arguing against Joe’s logic or voicing opinion for disagreement with what he says. I meant people personally attacking Joe for writing the letter. Of course it would not make sense to say one person has more of a right to free speech than another. I hope this clears up my statements for anyone else that read it in that way.
        Roll Tide!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

          Even though I don’t agree with personal attacks, and I don’t recall seeing any in the responses to this article, they are protected by free speech. So there still seems to be some inconsistency.

          • Anonymous

            Called slander Chris, free speech does not protect that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            Man you religious types have a vivid imagination. Can you point to an instance of slander in the responses to this letter?

          • Anonymous

            By the infamous Chris Hollier-

            “But a Christian organization would certainly deserve to be on the front page, even though their holy book contains accounts of their God killing, and ordering the killing of, thousands/tens of thousands of innocent children?”
            You can’t prove this is true and this attempts to ruin the reputation of all Christian organizations. BOOM

          • Anonymous

            Why don’t you read your Bible? Your “God” called for the bloody slaughter of entire cities, sent plagues to kill Egyptians, nuked two cities sparing only drunken incestuous Lot and his daughters, and flooded the entire world, killing almost everyone. He certainly qualifies as the jerk of the millenium.

            So, exactly HOW is Chris’s statement slander? It’s a factual statement.

          • Anonymous

            There is no persuasion here, you have a lot of hate in you brother. Please don’t shoot up a church.

            Two points here to make-One, all of this happened three to four millenia ago, so he is the jerk of three to four millenia, and two, you recognized God as a jerk, so you do believe in him just not int the way I do.

            Live prosperous and thank you for your duty.

          • Anonymous

            Don’t DARE accuse me of wanting to shoot up a church, that’s what your believing brethren do, murdering George Tiller in his church, and shooting up a Unitarian church.

            And no, I don’t believe in your bogeyman, I had to dumb it down for you because you’re to lazy to read about and acknowledge the genocide contained in your Bible.

          • Anonymous

            Oh do you believe in evolution?

          • Anonymous

            Anyone with a brain acknowledges it as the most likely and best scientifically supported explanation of our origins.

            I suppose you believe in fairytales?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

            Read Deuteronomy chapter 3, 1 Samuel chapter 15, and Joshua chapter 6. Recall the 10th plague in Egypt where God’s spirit killed every first born in Egypt, how he flooded the earth and killed every living thing save 8 people and 2 of every kind of animal, and how he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (which surely would have contained children). There are nearly a half dozen other instances where God himself either killed, or ordered the killing of, innocent children.

            It’s not slander, its your own ignorance of your holy book. Perhaps you should actually read the entire thing, not just the feel good Bible verses your pastor or priest hand feeds you on Sunday, before you devote your entire life too it. That kind of loyality should be based in understanding in knowledge, not blind faith.

          • Anonymous

            I have read it 30 plus times. You make the same mistake you are accusing the other guy of making. You take all of these events out of context and you render judgement on them (on God). You don’t know the mind of God. Job was stripped of everything he owned and still refused to curse God. It is appointed man once to die and then the Judgement. Everyone has to die. Young, old, wicked, righteous. The word says “all who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. The law came through Moses and was intended to show us our inability to be righteous of our own merit. We all will be judged according to our deeds, some outside of the law, some under the law. Jesus fulfilled the law. He die in yours and my place. Now God by grace can make salvation available to all who accept it by faith. If you deem yourself unworthy of His grace you will be judged under the law. You are a law unto yourself. You declare yourself equal to God when you judge His decisions. At least you have read some of the book. You did fail to mention that the Egyptians had oppressed the Israelites (slavery/murder/rape) for 400 years. How many sons of Israel were murdered when the Pharoah issued the edict to kill “all” (not just the first born) new born sons of Israel? Moses was only spared becuase of his parents civil disobedience. I am certain God is just and better qualified than you to make those decisions. It is my beilieve God spared those children in Sodom in two ways. One, they would more than likely turned out just like their parents. Two, they are in heaven with Him now. Children are exempt from judgement until they reach the age of accountability. You know the first time you lie to your parents and really know and understand in your own heart you are lying.

  • http://www.dunwanderinpress.org/ klatu

    Objective moral values do not exist for religion have failed to provide any moral knowledge objective to the human condition. No universally binding moral system has ever existed, thus does war, conflict, injustice continue. One does not necessarily conclude that God does not exist, but the all too human theological conception of God which tradition has handed down is more than likely our greatest human self deception, equal only to the presumption, there is no God!
    http://www.energon/.org.uk

  • Anonymous

    Thats a load of crap. I myself do not have any grounded beliefs in a god and certainly do not need a god to be a good person. I am a good person because I am human. I have moral values based on the fact that others around me breathe the same air as I do. I have moral duties because I am human and not the only human living. I have a lot of love for the world and its peoples. I love simply because I have a heart. What does a god have to do with being a good person and the ability of love and respect others?

    • Mikey Cooper

      He’s not saying you can’t be good without a god, but that *moral universalism* is impossible without one and that your “being good” is *subjective* unless there’s a divine absolute authority involved. It’s as equally unsound an argument as “atheists can’t be good”, but this one is used as a fairly common apologist proof for god rather than an argument against the character of atheists. The argument rests on the assumption that objective morality can’t exist without a divine force and without being “universally binding”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000335644966 Amelia Webber

    Joe, I believe you are mistaken to make the question of morals/values/duties, essentially the question of Right and Wrong, a question of God’s existence. I believe “Christians” make that mistake far too often. When you do wrong, you are punished by the world. God has nothing to do with wrong. God is Good, wouldn’t you agree? To assume that Good could have distaste for Bad is to assume that Good is not all Good – therefore by trying to prove God exists because right and wrong exist you are actually taking away from your own message.

    However, no matter what brand of “understanding” you subscribe to, at the core they are all the same. All understanding is flawed by the biases we project onto it; biases we may not even realize we have. At the end of the day, no matter what you think you know, all that you can personally prove is that you exist. I believe in God like I believe in everything else. No, I cannot prove that you exist…but I believe you do. Just as I believe in you, I believe in God. I’ve seen a bird fly, heard a child laugh, tasted homemade bread and felt the comfort of another person’s arms – those things are simple and may not appeal to those who pride themselves on thought, but they appeal to me and they are enough for me to believe in a Good God.

    Everyone must come to their own conclusions, but that is all they will ever be – your own. Even if people seem to agree with you, you will never know the extent to which they truly understand your point of view…you must have faith that they do understand, you must have faith that they even exist. There is no difference in believing the person beside you exists and believing God exists. And that is why the debate will never end, and that is why it is nothing more than a waste of precious time.

    Oh yeah, congrats to the AAA member who got on the front page of the Crimson White! You had every right to be there.

    • Anonymous

      The middle two paragraphs are pure poetry Amelia.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

      “There is no difference in believing the person beside you exists and believing God exists.”

      With all due respect, there are many, large, differences between the two.

      Imagine all the things people do that can and do affect your life: People have jobs, drive cars, hold political offices, play sports, write books, give speeches, and even post on internet forums. What interactions does God have with our lives? I can ask you, Amelia Webber, if you exist. And you can answer me by posting here. Or if I knew you in real life, and asked you outright if you exist. I would hear your voice telling me that you do. If I ask God that, I don’t hear anything. How exactly does he interact with me in my life? People do all the time, and I interact in their lives all the time. People can drive their car into mine, and vice versa. The food I eat, mostly, comes from the hard work of ranchers and farmers. And their income comes essentially from consumers like myself. How does God compare to that?

      You are correct if by “at the core they are all the same” if you are referring too how none of them can reach “absolute knowledge”. I cannot be absolutely sure that you exist, or that Australia exists. That is very true. But I can be reasonably sure, and I can “know”, in the common usage of the word, that both you and Australia exists. God and these items, outside of not having absolute knowledge, are worlds apart. There are huge differences between the two.

  • http://www.facebook.com/undeadonion Amy Swartz

    Have you ever read something so mind numbingly stupid that you can’t even begin to formulate a response?

    Welp.

  • http://twitter.com/JamersonGodsey Jamerson Godsey

    First of all, atheism makes no claims about morality; it simply states that someone lacks belief in any deity. Second the CW has every right to put an article about this group on whatever page it chooses. If this is the problem with the CW you have and not some of the opinion articles then you need some self-refection. There is a story and i presume it is that AAA’s chalkings are being erased simply for the group they are from. now to attack your logic.
    Your first premise is unsound. What evidence do you have to lead to the statement 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. You already assume what you are trying to prove. That, sir, is known as begging the question. I could make the same argument like so. If God didn’t exist, then oxygen wouldn’t exist. Oxygen exist, therefore so does God. Your first premise is flawed.
    Your second premise is also unsound. Who says that objective moral values and duties do exist. Yes some moral maxims do exist cross culturally, but several do not. Is it immoral to eat pork? It depends who you ask. What about taking more than one wife, or punishing your children.

    Finally if it is morality you are concerned with, then religion (or the Bible as I presume you are a Christian) is the wrong place to look. Our morality far extends that of the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible advocated slavery(Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT), child abuse (Judges 11:29-40 and Isaiah 13:16), slaughtering of animals (Deuteronomy 20:16), incest (How did Adam’s sons populate the planet, also Lot and his daughters). And even the notion of Hell is immoral. Answer me this truthfully: if/when you have children, is there anything your child could do to make you lock them in the basement and torture him/her endlessly? If you answered No, then you are more moral than your God.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone has his own take on morality. Even a god would have his own ideas, which would be different from mine or yours. For example, to contrast with the Christian version of God, I personally think slavery, genocide, and the oppression of women are immoral, while the Christian God described in the Bible approves of them.

    Therefore, since we all have our own take on morality, objective morality does not exist. It’s always subjective.

    • Mikey Cooper

      Objective morality isn’t defined by its adherence by everyone. Rather, it is a function of how you define and rationalize a moral system. Objective morality is just a view that you can apply absolute rules to define what is “good” or “bad” (or just/unjust or whatever terms you wish to use) and that these rules should apply universally. Some believe that only a divine absolute authority like a god can define these rules. Others (I include myself in this group) believe that you can use reason and empirical fact to define these rules without bringing subjective experiential bias into consideration. That I think causing suffering to someone is objectively “bad” while someone else may think it’s fine does not invalidate objective morality. They simply don’t subscribe to the same moral view.

    • Anonymous

      You don’t understand the God of the bible at all. There is zero evidence that God approved of women being oppressed. Please take the time to understand the historical setting. In 1500 bc women were just baggage. They were treated like animals in almost every culture (especially those in Cannan). God actually elevated women in the Hebrew culture. His laws changed the way they could be treated. They were no longer allowed to be used as sexual slaves. Have you ever read of ,Rehab the Harlot? By her act of faith she married a prince of Israel and became an ancestor of Jesus. The same is true of Ruth the Moabitess. You judge by today’s standards. The fact is men have oppressed women not God. God made women, Eve, to walk beside man, Adam. You are correct about morality. It is an act of faith, “based on an inner conviction, in the absence of physical proof”, Websters.

  • Anonymous

    “No one is an atheist after they die” – God

    • http://twitter.com/JamersonGodsey Jamerson Godsey

      “Everybody is an atheist in saying that there is a god – from Ra to Shiva – in which he does not believe. All that the serious and objective atheist does is to take the next step and to say that there is just one more god to disbelieve in.”
      — Richard Dawkins

      • Anonymous

        Nice Google search bro.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

          Thanks for the deep and meaningful contribution to this conversation. Your insight on this tough issue will surely inspire anyone who reads it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

      “I went extinct for your sins” – Raptor Jesus

      • http://www.facebook.com/grobmeier Christy Grobmeier

        Cretaceous 3:16 — Raptor Jesus went extinct for your sins to save you from the tyranny of Satanosaurus Rex.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Carlson/1045681862 Stephen Carlson

      Did god tell you that in person? Or just in your head? He is right though, once you die and brain function ends, everyone’s pretty much just worm food.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20703981 David DeMedicis

    Jesus Christ (literally)! That generated a firestorm. My two cents:

    Geary, you seem somewhat intelligent and civil on this board, but your letter was offensive and derogatory. You defend yourself by saying “Well, I couldn’t fit my thoughts into 300 words without sounding like a total jackass.” If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t have wrote the letter at all. It sounds like maybe you realize this now.

    Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: [and] he that shutteth his lips [is esteemed] a man of understanding.

    If you want to rant against atheists and convert them to Jesus by proving to them how illogical their belief system is, go to their meetings and take it up with them. I’m sure they would love to have you.

    • Anonymous

      How much is it to join? If there are chips and dip…I’m game.

      Chalking sidewalks is a lot like writing a letter(less colorful).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Hollier/100001677795857 Chris Hollier

      Just a heads up, many atheist groups will not allow theists to attend their meetings because there are usually some members which are not openly atheist (for various reasons). Allowing theists to come to their meetings could compromise the these sorts of members.

      Besides, there is a time and place for debates. Atheist meetings, like church services and youth rallies, are not the place for that sort of thing.

  • Anonymous

    And to think, I was quite excited about going here next year, and then I read this article. Oh well, that means I get to debate theists in person!

    Consider this, Joe. Many Christians, when confronted with various atrocities commanded by God in the Old Testament, say it was wrong. (You would agree, would you not, that destroying cities, drowning the entire world, and condoning slavery isn’t exactly the most righteous/moral thing to do, yes?) How do you know it was wrong? Your God didn’t tell you. He never apologized for his actions in a later section of the Bible (if he did, please correct me) yet you somehow know it’s wrong. (Unless, of course, you don’t–in which case, it’s not worth debating you.) How exactly do you know it’s wrong? God did it, right? But he’s the pinnacle of morality. Either everything he did was right, or something inside you that was not God–call it morality, whether subjective or objective–said it wasn’t.

    I would like to understand how you believe God is the source of all objective morality, yet you can say some of his infamous actions in the Bible are “wrong.” The fact that you can judge slavery, murder, and killing little girls as “wrong” even when your God did these things points more to the idea of subjective morality rather than objective, I’d say.

  • http://twitter.com/IAmRoot Roger X

    Fact: more than 90% of American criminals in prison believe in God.

    Please explain to me, my 20-year-old friend who has the Will of God, all Universal Truths, Life, the Universe, and Everything all figured out: How is it that any crime at all is perpetrated by the faithful, let alone the majority of the crime in this nation; and how is it that the small and growing faithless population of this great country are not running amok perpetrating crime after crime, since they are not endowed with any individual sense of morality?

    Violent crime in the United states is the lowest in recorded history, and religious adherence is at its lowest point so far. Is it not possible that human beings are capable of judging right and wrong based merely on observation of the consequences of each on this earthly world?

    I fear for a world where moral absolutists continue to run the politics of this country, and every time they cheat on a spouse, are exposed as a fraud, or otherwise caught in “immoral” behavior, they can just chalk it up to human failings, all the while attributing all their successes to something intangible that they have chosen to believe.

    “It’s true because I believe it, and I believe it because it’s true” doesn’t stick in the real world, son.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B7XLXYGAYO3XPMRKUO3EFBN7MQ andy r

    If Atheists can’t see right from wrong then why is the prison population less than 1% atheist or agnostic? Jesus has already come back and he’s in prison because it seems like that’s where most people find him.

  • Anonymous

    If I only had one chance to convince someone of the existence of God. It would not be a philosophical argument about “objective moral values”. It would simply be , “Christ in me the hope of glory”. When I accepted Jesus I was 21 years old (I am now 52). I was a raging partier, drinking, smoking weed,dropping acid, pills of every kind. I had no direction and no hope in this world. I thought life was about getting high and getting over. Jesus changed that. He gave me clarity and focus. He changed me inside. Something no philosophy or religion can do. My hope is that you will give Him a chance. The scriptures say “taste of the Lord and see that He is good.” Pick up a Bible and see for yourself. Start in the new testament. Just you and Jesus, No philsophy, No religion, He might change you..you will be shocked at how radical He is. Christ in me the hope of glory!

    • Mikey Cooper

      No doubt that Christ can have a positive impact on someone’s life and outlook. As can Gandhi, Jainism, Humanism, etc. “Something no philosophy or religion can do” is a rather subjective statement that many people would disagree with. And gods have no special claim to “objective moral values”. Secular means of defining objective moral values can be defined and charity can be just as gratifying and life-changing to someone as accepting Christ was for you. The best thing to do if confronted with just one chance to convince a doubter is lay out some sort of empirical evidence, logic, and reasoning for the belief in Christianity to the exclusion of every other religion out there (and to the exclusion of lack of belief in general).

      • Anonymous

        What i am trying to explain is my life is the empirical data and many like me. The religious leaders of Christ time fell into the trap of asking for a sign, “empirical data”. Although He had performed many miracles He refused to humor them. He had been spoken of in the scripture for 1000 years before His birth even to specific details of His crucifixion. Quite empirical if anyone is willing to invest the time and research. The problem is most people just want to have an opinion without the investment. It’s like wanting to be rich without wanting to work for it. I agree with you that my statement about philosophy is subjective. I believe Jesus changed my life. I am not forcing my convictions on anyone although I pray you come to the same conclusion. As to ‘objective moral values”, the law is for lawbreakers. No matter what code you create (be you atheist or christian) you can not legislate good behavior. Jesus said if you lust in your heart for a woman you have already committed adultery, if you hate your brother you have already committed murder. Some believe (I won’t speak for you) that there are good and bad people. I say (and so does the bible that we are all bad. “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We all need a Savior, but we can make that choice independantly. I have made my choice. Jesus said, “if I be lifted up (speaking of the manner of his death) I will draw all men unto me. The most empirical proof of Jesus is this dialogue.Most of His disciples including his blood brother James died horrible death rather than reject His Deity. After 2000 years His story still holds together and tomorrow 2 billion people will celebrate His resurrection. Pretty impressive for a carpenter from Nazareth.

        • Mikey Cooper

          Your anecdotal evidence of turning your life around isn’t empirical data for the existence of a supernatural being though. It’s just evidence of your conviction in his existence, which caused you to take a different path than the one you were on. The same can be said of disciples dying for what they believe in. It simply illustrates their convictions, not the truth of what they were convinced of. The same holds true for people of other religions who are willing to die for what you may consider false gods.

          You said “law is for lawbreakers” and “you can’t legislate good behavior”, but none of these really address how “objective moral values” are a proof one way or the other for supernatural claims of god.

          • Anonymous

            You are making Joe’s argument mine. I don’t believe his argument serves much of any purpose. I don’t believe a “perfect law” can exist without God. I don’t care about the justification of ones decisions through this smoke screen of “objective morals”. As I have stated in other comments, morals are faith based. They are based on an inner conviction in the absence of phyiscal proff. You put your faith in yourself (your morals). I put my faith in God

          • http://www.facebook.com/mikeycooper Mikey Cooper

            Not sure if you’re confusing replies, but this reply had nothing to do with Joe’s argument. It was directed only at the things you said in this thread, related to objective morality being the best proof for god. Your morals may be faith based, but I’m arguing the point that they don’t need to be, nor are mine as I’ll address in the other reply.

          • Anonymous

            I am not arguing for “objective morality being proff of God. I will argue
            that God gave a “prefect law” which all men fail to live up to, that all
            have fallen short, that all stand condemned, that all need a Saviour,
            that Saviour is Jesus, that he was God in flesh, that he died on a cross,
            that He rose from the dead, that He will return and every knee will bow and
            every tongue confess that He is Lord of all. There is much empirical data to
            this effect, but most are not inteseted in the exploration of that proff.
            i.e. many first and second century historians (non-christian), wrote of
            Jesus crucifixion. Isaiah wrote of Jesus crucifixion 700 years before it
            happened. The book of Isaiah was proven historically authenic with the
            discovery of the dead sea scrolls.