How do Atheists Justify Human Rights?

Christians and atheists often disagree over politics and human rights.  However, while Christians have a foundation for supporting their political positions, atheists unwittingly steal from God in order to argue for some of their political rights, whether it’s abortion, same-sex marriage, government healthcare or whatever. LGBTQ Contradictions

How so?

By what objective standard are abortion, same-sex marriage, taxpayer-provided health care, and the like, moral rights? There isn’t such a standard in an atheistic universe.  If there is no God, all moral questions are matter of human opinion.  So atheists must steal the grounds for objective moral rights from God while arguing that God doesn’t exist.

Atheists are caught in a dilemma. If God doesn’t exist, then objective moral rights don’t exist, including all those that atheists support. If God does exist, then objective moral rights exist. But those rights clearly don’t include cutting up babies in the womb, same-sex marriage, and other invented absolutes contrary to every major religion and the “self-evident” natural law.

No matter what side of the political aisle you’re on—no matter how passionate you believe in certain causes or rights—without God they aren’t really rights at all. Human rights amount to no more than your subjective preferences. So atheists can believe in and fight for rights to abortion, same-sex marriage, and taxpayer-provided entitlements, but they can’t justify them as truly being rights.   They are their own preferences, not rights.

Want the details including answers to objections?  They are in the book and the new Stealing From God online course I’m hosting that beings January 15 (you can start the self-paced version any time after that too).  The course includes ten hours of video, and several live video conferences where I’ll be answering questions.   Since we limit the size of the live classes to ensure every student has an opportunity to ask questions, you’ll want to sign up soon if you want to be a part of this.

 


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140 replies
  1. TGM says:

    Why do I have to justify human rights? Isn’t it enough that I believe in them and fight for them? Do you agree that humans rights are important? If you do, then what more justification do we need?
    .
    But if you’re so hungry for an objective standard, then there is one emerging from my last paragraph. Because once we agree that rights are important, we can objectively measure whether we are advancing rights or removing them.
    .
    So how does an existing God change the situation? That would just be another thoughtful entity lending an opinion. That looks rather subjective to me. And why should I care about God’s opinion? Does he intend to back his position with threats? It might suddenly be in my interest to adopt God’s standard, but now the whole concept of morality and good has just been twisted.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “Because once we agree that rights are important, we can objectively measure whether we are advancing rights or removing them.”

      How can you possibly objectively measure them without a standard?
      Where does your standard come from ?

      Without GOD it is just your opinion versus my opinion versus the next guys’ opinion. Not very objective. IMHO.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        How does God stop it being an opinion? It’s just his opinion added to the mix. Worse, it becomes your opinion of what God’s opinion would be. For hundreds of years Christians couldn’t agree on the basic question of whether their God is against slavery or not.

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          I don’t know but I would say it is a pretty good guess that GOD does not really offer opinions.

          And nowhere in my statement did I say anything about my opinion of what GOD’s opinion would be on the subject. You may twist my words all you like because you have free will. Still does NOT change the FACT that we are all playing in GOD’s sandbox. And at the end of time he will have the FINAL SAY.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            What’s that got to do with objective morality? Just sounds like might makes right. I didn’t twist your words and you never addressed anything I said.

          • jcb says:

            There is no god, and no opinions of god (it seems). If you know otherwise, provide evidence of it.
            No, we are not in god’s sandbox. None of that is known to be true. Please prove it.

        • Matthew Etzell says:

          “How does God stop it being an opinion?”
          Because God is the ultimate reality; He is the author and source of all that exists. God doesn’t offer opinions about what goodness is; He states what goodness factually is. Goodness is an inherent and inextricable part of God’s eternal, unchanging Being; it is neither a pre-existing standard to which He is subject, nor is it an arbitrary standard He established.

          The mistake you seem to be making is that you seem to assume that God is merely a bigger version of a human. The Christian view of God is that He is omnipotent (He can do anything which logically can be done), omniscient (He knows everything which can logically be known), and omnibenevolent (He perfectly embodies goodness, and is, indeed, the unchanging standard of goodness).

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            There is no evidence that God (G2) is the ultimate reality. Provide evidence for your implausible assertion. Nothing you say is true, it seems.
            Right: the Christian view of God is that he is omnipotent. There is no evidence for this. (Feel free to offer it). Christians think he exists and knows everything. There is no evidence for this. (Feel free to offer it).

          • TGM says:

            “The mistake you seem to be making is that you seem to assume that God is merely a bigger version of a human.”
            .
            Possibly. But if he exists, it’s his fault that I can’t comprehend him better. All I have is the limited brain he gave me and a few scrolls of vellum. I mean, honestly. Could he at least try a little bit.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            TGM – John 20:30-31 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.

            You have more than enough evidence to make a decision. What you do with that evidence is up to you.

            “Could he at least try a little bit.”

            Maybe you should look up what it is like to be scourged by a cat of nine tails in the Roman days and also what physically happens to a human when they are crucified. If that is NOT enough for you then nothing would be.

          • TGM says:

            “If that is NOT enough for you then nothing would be”
            And yet, here you are trying to convince me. You seem to be at odds with yourself.
            .
            But do you understand the problem with quoting bible verses to someone who does not believe them to be valid? You might think the bible is evidence, but it’s anecdotal evidence at best. Quality of evidence matters. To me anyway. By “try a little bit”, I mean offering high quality evidence. That the god of the bible has not done so either means he does not exist or does not want me to believe he exists. Like I said elsewhere: “His move”.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “And yet, here you are trying to convince me. You seem to be at odds with yourself.”
            .
            It really does get old trying to explain this to atheists but since you may have missed it in other threads here goes: The biggest mistake you are making is thinking that I am arguing with you or even trying to convince you of anything. My opinion, your opinion, or any other finite being’s opinion is just that an opinion. None of which changes the FACT that GOD the CREATOR is in control.
            .
            “That the god of the bible has not done so either means he does not exist or does not want me to believe he exists. Like I said elsewhere: “His move”.”
            .
            Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.
            .
            John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
            .
            It would appear your comment of “His move” is about 2,000 years late. You have free will to accept or reject GOD’s free gift but you have been given all of the necessary information/evidence to make an informed decision. Choose wisely.

          • TGM says:

            “Give me your wallet or my friend is going to shoot you.” That’s what I hear when you make your “choose wisely” threat. It didn’t scare me when I was a kid and it doesn’t scare me now. Why? Because I don’t believe everything I read in books and I don’t have time for bullies.
            .
            So if you are not arguing or trying to convincing me of anything (which is patently absurd since you are quite obviously and repeatedly disputing what I say while imploring me to choose wisely), why are you even here?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “None of which changes the FACT that GOD the CREATOR is in control.”
            I don’t think you know the difference between fact and opinion. You calling the above a FACT in capital letters doesn’t stop it just being your opinion.

        • Terry says:

          The Bible teaches us how to treat one another. How we view others — created in the image of God. The Bible does not tell man which political form to use or which economic system is right. What the Bible does is teaches us to live in whatever form of society we find ourselves. To love your neighbor as yourself is the rule. To honor God means that I treat my fellow man properly, whether slave or free, whatever economic, social, racial, or educational status. Slavery was not the issue. There were good masters and bad masters. There were good slaves and bad slaves.

          Reply
      • TGM says:

        “How can you possibly objectively measure them without a standard? Where does your standard come from ?”
        .
        Did you misread what I wrote? I said we can agree that human rights are important. I believe they’re important. Frank seems to believe that too. Don’t you also believe that human rights are important? What further justification could we possibly need? Our agreement is, in fact, the justification. And the standard is whatever results from our agreement. Like Andy said, God would just be offering one more opinion.
        .
        I’m not even sure what it means to be objective in the manner you speak of. Take the meter. The meter is an objective standard of measurement, completely independent of humans. Yet, the meter, which is entirely arbitrary in its length, was invented by humans. So we have a subjective standard that can be objectively measured against. Would God’s opinion of the meter change the fact that it’s the standard? What if God said the meter is the wrong standard? You might stop using a meter stick, but his opinion would not invalidate the meter. All we need for the meter to be “correct” is that we agree upon what it is. I don’t see how rights and morality are much different in this regard.

        Reply
        • Jeremy says:

          Was Hitler Guilty of a crime? Was Stalin Guilty of a crime? Is an abortion Doctor guilty of a crime? I say all three are murders or innocent people. What do you say?

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            Hitler thought he was doing God’s work. Others say he was wrong. Do I need to work out who was right before I can call him immoral, or is there another way?

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Again, someone asks you 3 questions and you respond by NOT answering any of them ?

            Completely and totally ridiculous. Answer his Yes or No questions with a Yes or a No.

          • TGM says:

            Take a Valium Mark. Jeremy asked me the questions. Andy only illustrated that the questions might not even be pertinent. The answers to Jeremy’s questions are yes, yes, and it depends. Stalin was exiled to Siberia for crimes in 1913. Hitler was sentenced to prison for a coup attempt in 1923. Abortion is no longer illegal in the United States, so an abortion doctor is not a criminal. In certain other countries this is not true.

          • jcb says:

            Hitler and Stalin murdered people. Crimes are violations of various state and federal laws, right? I don’t know all the laws so I can’t say if they were guilty of a crime. What is your answer?
            Some abortion doctors are guilty of a crime, depending on what they did in what place at what time. Abortion doctors abort fetuses, but not all of them are guilty of a crime/violate a legal ordinance. Yes all 3 of them kill living things that haven’t done anything “wrong”/mean to others (i.e., are “innocent”). None of this proves anything about god.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Was Hitler Guilty of a crime?”
            Yes
            “Was Stalin Guilty of a crime?”
            Yes
            “Is an abortion Doctor guilty of a crime?”
            Depends which country she’s in. There was a case just a few years back where a very ill woman in Ireland needed an abortion to save her life and the doctors refused so she died. But by the laws of the land they committed no crime.

          • Tyler V says:

            Andy,

            Just to throw my two cents into the mix here…but Hitler did not think he was doing God’s work. At the beginning of his rise to power he absolutely utilized the verbiage of the church to develop trust, especially amongst the population in the heavily Catholic state of Bavaria. Once he secured power, the usefulness of the church and by extension God, was no longer needed, and all the “church talk” evaporated from Hitler and his Socialist party’s lexicon. Portraits of the Pope were destroyed, and replaced with portraits of Hitler. And we all know how things developed from there. So no Andy, Hitler didn’t think he was carrying out God’s work, he thought he was a God, and he despised Christianity.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Tyler, are you saying being against the Pope is incompatible with thinking you’re doing the Lord’s work? You do get that not every theist is a Catholic, right?
            .
            “his Socialist party’s lexicon”
            If you think the Nazis practiced socialism then you’re wasting my time.

      • jcb says:

        We can measure whether “rights are being advanced” by looking at the number of abuses in the last year, the laws that governments are passing, etc. That (more) women now can vote is what I would call “an advancement of rights”, and that easily be measured/determined/known. It is a goal that many of us desire, and certain actions (allowing women to vote) accomplish (at least in part) that goal.
        Yes, you need a standard to see if that has happened, and we have such. The evidence we know about the world seems to show that governments exist, laws exist, people exist, and some people have more (legal) rights/protections than before.
        If you define “objection” as “god given”, then yes, there are no objective rights.
        If the only thing that remains is opinion, then yes, only opinion remains. Nothing about this proves god.

        Reply
    • Matthew Etzell says:

      “Why do I have to justify human rights?”
      To show that they are more than a matter of personal preference. Rights are either objective (corresponding to reality) or they are not. If they do not correspond to reality, then why should anyone care about them apart from each individual’s own desires? Moreover, we need to know the source of our rights in order to determine what those rights are.

      God is the source of rights because He is the ultimate reality; He is the author and source of all that exists. Our rights are a reflection of God’s unchanging nature. Goodness is an inherent part of God’s nature; it is not something external about which He has an opinion. God is the only source, the only possible source, of all love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; all these are intrinsic to His Being. If one willingly separates oneself from God, then consider what the only possible alternative is. We have each been offered an immeasurably great gift, one which we do not in the least deserve; however, we must accept it in order to receive it. If we spurn that gift, seeking our own path, then we have none but ourselves to blame for the inevitable consequences.

      As C.S. Lewis put it in “The Problems of Pain”: “God gives what He has, not what He has not: He gives the happiness that there is, not the happiness that is not. To be God – to be like God and to share His goodness in creaturely response – to be miserable – these are the only three alternatives. If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows – the only food that any possible universe ever can grow – then we must starve eternally.”

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        Rights are ultimately a matter of preferences and desires, and not a matter of god. Rights correspond to reality: people and their preferences. Those things exist. It’s odd how the theist, if they disagree, should simply point to some reality we know of about “rights” that then proves god, but they never do. That’s what you should do if you disagree with my assessment about rights. Instead theists ask questions, thinking that proves something. If it actually proved something, they would be better served just presenting the evidence and making the argument.
        You ask, “why should (??) anyone care about “rights”(?) apart from each individual’s own desires”. I am pretty sure this question doesn’t make sense. If it does, re-phrase it, and more importantly, give the answer that you think is correctly. You seem to argue thusly:
        1. People care about other’s rights, even if they don’t desire that other’s have them.
        2. Thus rights are more than one’s desires.
        Well, “caring about X” is pretty similar to a desire, but let’s assume they are different. Nothing this proves that “rights” pertains to or proves god. This would only show that rights involve “caring”.
        We don’t “need” to know the “source” of this “caring”, although we might discover it. If you’ve discovered it to be god, present the evidence! There seems to be none for that.
        “God is the source of rights because he is the ultimate reality”. This is false and unproven. Perhaps you need to define god. We don’t know the “source of all that exists”, nor do we know it to be an “author”.
        We don’t know that the thing that created our universe is “good”/”kind”. You are just making things up. If you are not, please offer evidence.
        You cannot (knowingly) “separate” yourself from the thing that created the universe. This suggests that you believe in G2 god (a perfect god), and not G1 god (whatever created our universe). But G2 god is not known to exist.
        The G1 god has not “offered” us anything, in the usual sense of “offer”.
        C.S. Lewis is wrong about so many things, including thinking that we know “god” has given us something.

        Reply
        • Matthew Etzell says:

          For the evidence of God’s existence, I suggest reading one of the many articles on this site discussing the Ontological Argument, the Contingency Argument, and/or the Cosmological Argument.
          .
          That people exist and that people have preferences is not in question; please avoid strawmen. However, different individuals/societies have different preferences. If one uses “rights” as a synonym for “social preferences”, then why not just say “social preferences”? If the term “rights” refers to anything beyond these preferences, then it must be based in something which is not dependent on human opinion (whether individual or social). The only plausible source of rights is an uncreated Creator (God).

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            Offer the evidence here. The evidence I’ve seen so far fails to prove god. Yes, I’m familiar with those arguments. No, they don’t prove god. You can’t define god into existence. A necessary something isn’t “god” (a perfect in all ways being), and whatever caused the universe to exist also isn’t known to be a perfect in all ways being. Bam! 3 arguments taken down! But feel free to revitalize them, and defend them, if you can.
            I didn’t create a straw man argument. I stated things we know to exist. In contrast, theists claim that god exists, when we don’t know that to be the case.
            Perhaps “social preferences” is a good substitute for rights. Maybe that would help theists see that they have nothing to do with god/proving god.
            You’ve done nothing to show that “rights” exist, and go beyond preferences, and relate to/prove god. Nothing you said shows that “god is the only plausible source of rights”. Make the case. Define rights, and show that they “exists” and show that they make it probable that god exists. Nothing like that has been done.

          • TGM says:

            I’d like to hear the rationale for believing that the _only_ plausible source of rights is a god. Some Libertarian schools of thought assert natural rights grounded in reason (an idea also supported by philosophers such as Kant). I can’t speak much to that, myself, but you’ve made a very strong claim here.

      • KR says:

        ” Rights are either objective (corresponding to reality) or they are not.”
        .
        In what way does a subjective opinion or preference not “correspond to reality”?
        .
        “If they do not correspond to reality, then why should anyone care about them apart from each individual’s own desires?”
        .
        Leaving out the “correspond to reality part” (which I don’t get), I guess your question can be rephrased to “why should anyone care about anyone’s opinion?”. Well, if enough people share a particular opinion and they have the political influence to do something about it, then their opinion will be reflected in our legislation. That’s how a democratic system of lawmaking works – and it’s completely driven by subjective opinions.
        .
        “Moreover, we need to know the source of our rights in order to determine what those rights are.”
        .
        We do know the source of our rights – a subjective political process. What those rights are is subject to continuous revision – and they can be revoked basically overnight. American citizens of Japanese descent were quickly stripped of their rights following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. We can come up with all kinds of justifications for this but the fact remains that our rights are decided by subjective political decisions.
        .
        “Our rights are a reflection of God’s unchanging nature.”
        .
        If our rights are a reflection of an unchanging God, then why do these rights keep changing? Only 200 years ago, some people didn’t have the right not to be owned as property. This right was established by a political process after intense debate where both sides claimed to have God on their side. The right not to be discriminated against based on race, gender, creed or sexual orientation has been gradually enacted – again through a continuous subjective political process. Whatever you think of these rights, they certainly haven’t been unchanging.
        .
        Every country has some kind of constitution that establishes the rights of its citizens. The thing is that these rights are not the same in every country, neither in number or scope. Can you tell me which (if any) country has the correct set of rights – and how you objectively determined this? What’s more, if there is any country that got it right, then the democratic process itself would be a threat to the status quo since the instituted rights could be changed at any time by a political decision. It seems absolute human rights, like absolute moral values, are incompatible with democracy.
        .
        I’ll ask the same (still unanswered) question I put to propronents of objective moral values: if you think there are absolute and objective human rights and that society should uphold these rights, how can you accept a subjective democratic system for regulating these rights? If you don’t accept democracy, what would you like to replace it with?

        Reply
        • Matthew Etzell says:

          In other words, is there an objective moral order independent of anyone’s opinion/preferences? Is morality like mathematics in that there is a correct answer, regardless of what one thinks about that answer? Christians say that there is such an objective moral order; there is objective goodness as a property of God’s unchanging Being.
          .
          “We do know the source of our rights – a subjective political process.” Incorrect. The Constitution recognizes pre-existing rights; it does not create them (look at the Declaration of Independence for what the Founding Fathers thought about the source of our rights). The issue is the difference between natural rights (granted by God) and civil rights (granted by government). When Christians speak of rights, we are almost always speaking of the former. That government often violates rights does not mean that those rights are gone; they have simply been ignored. Likewise, no new rights have been added; existing rights have been more broadly protected.
          .
          I accept republican (small “r”) government because I understand that humans are flawed (due to our fall from grace). To quote James Madison, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            What is an “objective moral order independent of anyone’s preferences”? And are there any such things? And if so, how do you know that? It looks like there aren’t any.
            If you take 1 chair and add another chair, you have 2 chairs. The closest parallel to morality is that if murder is unkind/hurtful, and you murder someone, then you have done something unkind/hurtful. (if You have A, and A entails B, then you have B) Nothing about any of this proves god.
            Christians say a lot of things. Some of it is nonsense. A good example of that seems to be: “there is such an objective moral order; there is objective goodness as a property of God’s unchanging Being.” Explain what that mean, give examples of it, and show how we know it. It looks to be nonsense.
            You are wrong: often a subjective political process is the “source” of rights: legal protections, etc.
            The Constitution claims to recognize pre-existing rights. It is mistaken. Nothing shows that we had those “rights” prior to something like a “subjective political process”.
            Yes, some of the Founding Fathers thought we had rights that came from god. They were wrong. They had no evidence, nor do the theists here.
            Christians speak of god. That doesn’t mean it exists. People speak of rights as something supernatural. That doesn’t mean they exist. Again, prove it. No supernatural “rights” have been shown to exist.

          • KR says:

            “The Constitution recognizes pre-existing rights; it does not create them (look at the Declaration of Independence for what the Founding Fathers thought about the source of our rights).”
            .
            And yet the constitution has been amended several times. Apparently not being owned as property was not a pre-existing right when the document was first put together. Do you think slavery is objectively wrong? Why do different countries have different rights defined in their constitutions? Can you tell me which constitution has the correct rights – and how you objectively determined this? Isn’t it blindingly obvious that we make up these human rights as we go?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Christians say that there is such an objective moral order; there is objective goodness as a property of God’s unchanging Being.”
            .
            They can SAY it, but that doesn’t mean it’s true or even a coherent idea. Why makes objective goodness a property of God’s unchanging Being? What does that even mean? How are you determining it is true? If I said that objective evil was a property of God’s unchanging Being, how would you demonstrate that your position was right and mine was wrong? How are you deriving ‘OUGHTS’ from the ‘IS’ of God’s unchanging Being?

  2. Andrew says:

    But if there’s no God, then according to you the universe wouldn’t exist at all. I seem to recall you recently commented that God sustains everything and without God nothing would exist, or something to that effect. Does that sound about right? So I think you really need to concede the obvious here, Mr. Turek. If God doesn’t exist, it just means that Christians are mistaken, or delusional, or however you want to put it. Obviously. If you can’t imagine the universe existing with you in it and that you might be wrong, well, I guess that’s your problem.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      If GOD does NOT exist we are NOT having this discussion.

      Colossians 1:16-17 16 For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “If GOD does NOT exist we are NOT having this discussion”
        Prove it.
        We ARE having a discussion – that doesn’t mean a God exists.
        You’re begging the question by quoting the Bible to make your case – the truth of the Bible is the very thing we’re disagreeing on in the first place, so you get no closer to demonstrating your point by quoting it. In short: you can’t argue that the Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true.

        Reply
        • Tyler V says:

          Andy,

          You’re right to make your points. I am someone who grew up as a Christian in name only. As I get older, I keep asking for proof, and I have actively gone out to find proof. I agree with you that quoting something (the Bible in this instance) that is the basis for the disagreement in the first place is a non-starter. There just will never be agreement when it comes down to that point. I am an investigator by profession, and J. Warner Wallace’s (who is also in law enforcement by trade) work has really opened my eyes, heart, and mind to the presence of God. That doesn’t mean God is 100% provable, but it does mean (at least for me) that the preponderance of the evidence (more likely true than not) suggests that God is real. And for me, EVERYTHING hinged on whether or not the resurrection occurred. And several resources are available if you’re interested:

          Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Chapter 10 by Josh and Sean McDowell
          Alive: A Cold Case Approach to the Resurrection, by J. Warner Wallace
          The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona
          Who Moved the Stone?, by Frank Morison

          Now, I know you are probably saying to yourself, “these are all Christian writers arguing for the resurrection.” And you’re right. I would pray you read one or all of them…and who knows, maybe you have already. When I was going through this searching phase (I still am by the way), it just seemed that the evidence provided in these books (and I know they are not primary source material, but they reference a lot of primary sources) was so overwhelming.

          Anyway, hopefully you and others check these out…because I was asking the same “prove it” questions as you in the past.

          Regards,

          Tyler

          Reply
          • TGM says:

            Tyler, would you consider it justice if you were convicted of murder because some guy named Andy testified that he read in a book (by an unknown author) that many people (who are unidentified) saw you shoot a gun at a person?
            .
            You’re an investigator. Is there any court that should try this case? Would you be satisfied if you won a conviction through this sort of evidence? Of course not. Why in the world would someone like you, who understands the limitations of evidence, believe the resurrection account to be reliable enough to be “everything” to you?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Tyler, we don’t really have a resurrection to explain, we just have a book.
            .
            Imagine that about 1800 years ago someone just wrote a book claiming the resurrection happened. They included the claim that hundreds of people saw Jesus afterwards and that many disciples were killed for saying they saw him. How would people at the time have gone about disproving it, given that it was set decades after the events? How can we possible check the claims now? Frank Morison can ask who moved the stone all he wants, I have no idea now if there even was a stone. I have no idea who wrote the Biblical accounts, I have no idea of their motives, whether anyone checked up on the claims at the time or what. Maybe there was a Jesus but the Bible stories have embellished and added to and encorporated other stories to the tale? There’s no way of checking, and that’s a whole lot of question marks for such a huge claim, one you admit your entire faith pretty much hinges upon.

          • jcb says:

            While those books might be for you persuasive, they don’t show that god is probable, nor that Jesus probably was resurrected (as if bodily cremated). They point to the positive evidence that helps their case, but fail to point to the negative evidence that doesn’t. They fail to mention what we have learned about life and death, which clearly shows that it is not probable that people can be dead for 3 days and then come back to life. The historical documents that claim this happened are probably mistaken.

  3. Andy Ryan says:

    ” If God does exist, then objective moral rights exist.”
    .
    How so? You’ve just asserted that without backing it up. If you argue that it’s your objective right to, say, own slaves because God exists, you need to explain why. If the right is subject to the existence of God, then by definition it isn’t objective.
    .
    The difference between people having the right to drink alcohol at 18 in Britain but not in America is laws, agreed on by people. You have the right to a powerful gun you can take on a killing spree in America that I couldn’t get in England thanks to ambiguous wording from the founding fathers and a powerful US gun lobby. These don’t come from God.
    .
    For decades the US constitution held that a black man was worth 3/5s of a white man. Changing that took a war, not Godly intervention. And it was a war between Christians, for the most part – both earnestly quoting different Bible passages to justify their position.
    .
    Some countries currently allow you to vote, others don’t. Saying those without suffrage HAVE the right to vote when they don’t is nonsense, like Loretta, the man who wants to have babies in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, who decides he has the RIGHT to have babies even though he doesn’t actually have a womb.
    “Where’s the foetus going to gestate – you going to keep it in a box?”
    “Don’t you repress me”

    Reply
    • Jeremy says:

      Just because a country has a law does not mean it’s is an objective truth that lines up with God’s law. If a country were to say we are going to eliminate all people with red hair because we feel they are inferior and the majority of the country voted it was a good idea. That does not make it right. If that were true the majority of people could destroy the minority and there wouldn’t be any way to hold them accountable. A country could say we voted. the majority said it was a good idea so that’s what is morally right for us.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        What did I say that you disagree with?
        .
        Sure, if America had put interracial marriage to the vote, it would have been a ‘no’. Luckily it came to a court decision, just like for gay marriage. The constitution at its best protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority.
        .
        And of course the majority deciding they know what God wants doesn’t make it moral either.

        Reply
        • Jeremy says:

          My point is to know killing is wrong for everyone every where you have to have an absolute moral truth. That truth is God’s law. If there isn’t a God than why is it wrong for a country to eliminate it’s citizens if they feel they are a drag on society? The sick, the severely handicaped etc. It’s Darwin’s survival of the fittest. The strong kill the weak. that is how a Godless world would be.

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            Jeremy, you don’t define “wrong”, so your claim is hard to evaluate, but:
            Killing is hurtful and undesired by most people in most circumstances. But nothing about that proves god.
            To say “killing is wrong for everyone everywhere”, you need to explain what “wrong” is, and how we know it. Killing is Killing, for everyone everywhere. But nothing about that proves god.
            There is no known god nor god’s law.
            Before you can ask ” If there isn’t a God than why is it wrong for a country to eliminate it’s citizens if they feel they are a drag on society?” you first have to show that it is “wrong”. It might be, but first define that term, then show how we know that action to have that property of “wrongness”. (I’ve done this dozens of times: I would bet you will not do those projects).
            Darwinism is a description of history. It is not a prescription.
            We live in a godless world, and sometimes the strong kill the weak, and sometimes the strong help the weak. Nothing here proves god.

          • TGM says:

            The strong kill the weak all the time. Really, when you think about it, anytime someone kills they are killing the weaker person – sort of by definition. Clearly, the strong killing the weak is part of the human condition. I’m glad you agree that we live in a godless world.
            .
            It is my opinion that it is wrong for a country to eliminate its citizens because it is my decision to assert that people have rights, one of which is that a citizen has the right not to be eliminated by its own country. Sometimes it can be very difficult to defend vulnerable people and their right, but it does not change my position and the fight goes ever on.
            .
            Incidentally, “survival of the fittest” is not the same as “survival of the strongest”. Misusing Darwin won’t help your credibility.

          • Andrew says:

            That’s how a Godless world would be? What? How could the world even EXIST in the first place if God wasn’t there to create it? Without a creator there would be no creation, right? Or, maybe, just maybe, a Godless world would look EXACTLY like the world you see around you, but the only difference would be that Christians are mistaken to believe in God. Either theists are mistaken or atheists are mistaken, those are the only two possibilities. Before you can even talk about why things would be a certain way in a Godless world, first you would need to reconcile how the world could exist at all without God there to create it. And the only way to do that would be to admit that you might be wrong.

          • jcb says:

            No one know what brought our entire universe into existence. It doesn’t follow from that that god exists. There probably is something that “created” our “creation”, but we don’t know that thing to be god.
            It looks like theists are mistaken in that they do not have evidence that god exists, nor that such a thing created our universe.
            We do not need to know what caused our universe to know lots of other things.
            A god like being might exist, but we have no good reason as of yet to say this is probable.

      • jcb says:

        No laws of any country line up with god’s law, as there is no god.
        You need to define “good” and “right” to know if your statements about those are true. Yes, eliminating people with red hair is not kind. Perhaps that’s what you mean by “good”.

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          If there is no god as you continue to spew in every response there is no way to define either “good” or “right”. However, if there was no GOD we would also NOT need to worry about it because nothing would exist to begin with. GOD is by DEFINITION the only “good” being and one of his many attributes is “Righteousness”.

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            Using the word “spew” is emotional and mean spirited and doesn’t add anything positive to the conversation. Yes, I continue to say there is no god, because there is no god, and there is no evidence anyone knows of that makes god probable, but if I am mistaken, just provide the evidence.
            If there is no god, which there isn’t, I can still define terms like “good” and “right”. I often describe “good” cake as that which is delicious.
            It is false that if there were not that god you described before, nothing would begin to exist. It doesn’t follow that we exist, therefore god exists (as you described).
            You can define “god” any way you want. You have your definition. On that definition, there is nothing we know of that corresponds to it. Your god doesn’t exist, as far as we know.

          • TGM says:

            You assert that God is good by definition. Either that’s just your opinion of his character or you’ve made a content free statement. I read the same book you do (aka the Bible) and assert that God is not good. By what criteria do we decide which of us has made the better value judgment?

          • Andrew says:

            If there is no God then that would simply mean that theists are mistaken to believe in God. That’s an obvious logical possibility you have to consider.

          • jcb says:

            What’s the question? There are a lot of posts and responses. And more importantly, what’s your answer to the question, and what do you think the question (and your answer) proves?

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            TGM – “I read the same book you do (aka the Bible) and assert that God is not good. By what criteria do we decide which of us has made the better value judgment?”

            If you are saying that you have read ( pronounced RED as in finished reading ) and really are asserting that GOD is NOT good the only comment I have for that is that I am absolutely STUNNED as to how you can possibly come to that conclusion.

            “By what criteria do we decide which of us has made the better value judgement?”

            I will contend that the Bible read properly shows that GOD is good so to draw any other conclusion is faulty.

          • TGM says:

            Mark, I will contend that the Bible read properly shows that GOD is _not_ good so to draw any other conclusion is faulty. By what criteria do we determine who is reading the book correctly? So far, all we’ve done is exchange opinions.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            TGM – “Mark 10:18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except one – God”. So you are saying you read this part of the Bible and Jesus is a liar or you have a reading comprehension problem or you choose NOT to believe this passage or what ? I must admit that I am COMPLETELY baffled as to how you can come to any conclusion other than GOD is good.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Mark, why are you baffled? Imagine you read a book and there’s a character in it who does lots of things you consider to be ‘not good’. Then I say I’m baffled as to how you can come to that conclusion because there’s a part of the book where that character calls himself good. Would you find that convincing? Do you understand that calling yourself good is not the same as actually being good?

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            You may of course continue to twist words as much as you want. Your issue is NOT with me but with GOD your CREATOR. Tell me how you a finite being can possibly comprehend GOD who is an infinite being ? And show me one place in the Bible where GOD did something that is NOT good. It can NOT be done.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “You may of course continue to twist words as much as you want”
            I can’t continue to do something that I haven’t started doing – that’s simple logic.
            Why can’t we disagree with you on the moral actions of the God character in The Bible? We can debate with you various stories and you can say that any particularly action doesn’t sound immoral to you and we are free to disagree with you. The point is there’s nothing stopping us making that judgement. Just like you are free to question the morality of Allah in the Koran.

          • TGM says:

            “Tell me how you a finite being can possibly comprehend GOD who is an infinite being ?”
            .
            You, a finite being, claim an awful lot of comprehension about this being. Why can’t I? But suppose you’re right and neither of us I can understand such an infinite being. Then it cannot possibly be my fault that I don’t. It should be entirely within the scope of a god’s power to allow my understanding, yet somehow this being has seen fit to deny me what I require. Either he does not exist or he has not seen fit to accommodate my limitations. It’s his move now.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            If you have read the entire Bible as you claim to have. Then you KNOW in your mind that GOD has provided all that you need in order to save yourself. Jesus’s birth, death and resurrection paid the price for all sin for all time. You also KNOW in your mind what the Bible says you must do to accept the free gift. It is NOT GOD’s move now it is yours. You have free will and all the information to choose as you want. It really is as simple as ACCEPT or REJECT.

          • TGM says:

            I’m always a little put off by people who think they know what’s going on in my head better than I do. It is unfortunate that you don’t seem to think another person could read the same bible as you and come to a different conclusion. Yet here we are.
            .
            Sadly, all that I know from reading the bible is that it contains stories that some people believe to be true. Certain tales in there are reasonable and likely reported accurately. Others are demonstrably false. Lastly, there is the group of extraordinary claims that I have no reason to take seriously yet. The book might claim that I need to accept the free gift (which is neither free, nor a gift) but that does not make the claim true.
            .
            Mark, why do you believe the bible is true when it talks of salvation? Do you believe the book because the book tells you it’s true? Do you believe the book because someone else told you the book is true? Is there some other reason?

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            TGM – Let’s start with the “Others are demonstrably false.” Can you provide at least one example of a story that you think is false ?

          • TGM says:

            “someone asks you 3 questions and you respond by NOT answering any of them ?”
            .
            I had to double check, but if you’ll look above, I’m confident that I’ve quoted you correctly. Care to take the log out of your own eye first?

        • Jeremy says:

          You are a very faithful person. If you’re 100% sure there is no God. There’s more evidence that there is a God who created everthing. Than just a cosmic accident. Could you share with me your proof as to how the universe came to be? I get my morality from the Bible. As a New Testament Christian if it goes against God’s word it is there for wrong. And are you serious when you say eliminating people is not kind? Murdering someone in cold blood is evil. Being unkind is making fun of someone or trying too make a person feel worthless.

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            Straw person, again. I’m not 100% sure, but that’s not the issue. God is possible, just not probable.
            No, there is not evidence that makes god probable. Feel free to offer that evidence though (and define god).
            I have no proof of how the evidence came to be, nor do you. It doesn’t default to “god”.
            If you get your morality from the Bible, then presumably, you do some kind things like love your neighbor, and you do some unkind things like discriminate against gays. It’s a mixed result. None of that seems relevant to our discussion here.
            It doesn’t follow that if something goes against the New Testament, it goes against god’s word, nor does it follow that it is wrong. (Define wrong). Perhaps you are just describing yourself, and no other reality: you follow the Bible. That’s fine, but changes nothing about this thread/discussion.
            Murdering someone is very unkind. Again, if you use “evil” to describe something other than a high degree of unkindness, please define that term.
            Unkindness is not limited to making fun of someone, etc. Murdering others is also unkind.
            Nothing has shown that god exists, nor that anything I’ve asserted is false. There is no god, as far as we know. There is probably something that created our universe, but we don’t know what it is.

          • jcb says:

            What’s the question? There are a lot of posts and responses. And more importantly, what’s your answer to the question, and what do you think the question (and your answer) proves?

            It looks like Jeremy asked: How did the universe come to be. I answered: I don’t know, and it looks like no one knows.

            It looks like Jeremy asked, am I serious when I say eliminating people is not kind? Well that question is misguided. I said that eliminating people is unkind/not kind.

            As usual, none of this proves god, nor disproves anything I’ve said, it seems.

            Is there another question you feel needs answering? If so, ask it. And when you do, explain the significance of the question to this conversation.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Mark: “Again, someone asks you a single question and you IGNORE it ?”
            .
            The question was ‘Can you give your proof of how the universe came to be?’. No-one can provide that proof. Calling that ‘a single question’ is a bit disingenuous as it’s possibly the biggest mystery in the universe itself. Even Christians cannot provide PROOF, just their own view.
            .
            That aside, Mark, calm your rhetoric. I try to give Christian Americans, especially on the right of the political spectrum, extra lee-way, as I know they have different standards to civilised conversation to me, but telling people they’re ‘spewing’ their replies does not aid helpful dialogue.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.”

            Are you saying that this verse of the Bible is in error ?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Are you saying that this verse of the Bible is in error?”
            .
            You know I don’t believe that it’s true. Why are you asking an atheist if they think it’s true that God created the heaven and earth? I’m genuinely confused, Mark, about why you’d ask me that – can you try to explain your reasoning?

    • Tyler V says:

      Andy,

      I just wanted to point out a couple misunderstandings. In Britain the drinking age is 18, sure…but there is no national level law in the USA that requires the drinking age to be 21. That is a state by state law, and in Puerto Rico it is 18 years old. Granted, the federal government in years past has withheld highway funding to states who don’t raise their drinking age to 21, but in the end, the decision on what age to allow alcohol consumption is up to each state and territory.

      Regarding the right to own guns, I am not sure how you can say the 2nd Amendment is ambiguous. I don’t see anything as clear as “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” That is not ambiguous, it is crystal clear. What makes people think it is ambiguous are progressive (who are really regressive in nature, in that they want government to control every aspect of one’s lives…which is totalitarianism) judges and courts making things up to appeal to their own personal views on gun ownership.

      The US Constitution’s 3/5 compromise (which has since been repealed), was anything but what you infer it was. It was a GOOD thing. It was the glue that held the North and South together. It had everything to do with LIMITING the number of representatives from the South so that slavery could be defeated through the law making process. See, the South wanted their slaves to count as a full person for representation purposes to acquire more lawmakers in the House of Representatives. The North didn’t want that, and to hold the union together the Northern colonies agreed to make slaves worth 3/5 of a full person…as a way to keep the South in the union. Independence from Britain would never have happened if the Northern and Southern colonies didn’t unite.

      Hope this clears somethings up for you.

      Regards,

      Tyler

      Reply
      • TGM says:

        “That is not ambiguous, it is crystal clear.”
        It’s funny how you left out the first clause of the second amendment when you made your point – the part about militias – which at least implies that the right to bear arms might have some caveats. I’m not particularly fond of firearms, but at least I can see the pro gun side’s point. It says a lot that you cannot even see where your opponent is coming from and omitted relevant data to make your case.
        .
        “Independence from Britain would never have happened if the Northern and Southern colonies didn’t unite.”
        The 3/5 compromise came 4 years after the Revolutionary War ended. Independence already happened and was settled. There might not have been a single United States, but it’s a stretch to suggest that independence hinged on the compromise. Um, also… when, precisely, was slavery defeated through the law making process?

        Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        Tyler, this is what I said: “The difference between people having the right to drink alcohol at 18 in Britain but not in America is laws, agreed on by people.”
        Do you disagree with that these laws were agreed on by people rather than a God?
        Then I said: ” You have the right to a powerful gun you can take on a killing spree in America that I couldn’t get in England thanks to ambiguous wording from the founding fathers and a powerful US gun lobby. These don’t come from God.”
        Do you agree this laws were agreed on by people rather than a God?
        .
        Unless you say “No, God came up with English drinking laws, US drinking laws, UK gun laws and US gun laws”, then your reply is just an attempt to drag us off topic.
        .
        ” in the end, the decision on what age to allow alcohol consumption is up to each state and territory”
        .
        So you agree with me that it’s people making these laws?
        .
        ” I don’t see anything as clear as “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”
        .
        You’re being very disingenuous if you’re pretending there’s no room for interpretation at all here. Are you saying that if someone is arguing that prisoners in jail shouldn’t be allowed guns, all I have to do to shut down their argument is reply “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!”. And if someone says kids shouldn’t be allowed guns in school, and should be allowed to point them at teachers in a class, I can just reply, “the 2nd Amendment is crystal clear – SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”.
        .
        If a guy is meeting the president, and he insists on carrying a gun with him, we’re not allowed to stop him because the 2nd Amendment is crystal clear? How’s about you’re in a restaurant and ten men walk in with AK-101s in their hands and stand over your family – nothing you can do to stop them without infringing their 2nd Amendment rights?
        .
        Hope this clears things up for YOU.

        Reply
  4. KR says:

    “Without GOD it is just your opinion versus my opinion versus the next guys’ opinion.”
    .
    That seems to be the reality we’re living with – people tend to disagree on moral issues all the time. How do you resolve that? Can you give me an example of a moral disagreement that was settled by one side demonstrating that their position was the objectively correct one? I’ve asked this question many times on this site but so far there’s been no reply. And make no mistake, the proponents of objective morality absolutely need to produce such examples to show that this objective morality actually works.
    .
    One fact that the proponents of objective morality need to explain is that throughout the civilized world, the method that’s actually applied when it comes to resolving moral disagreements is a political process that’s completely subjective. Why is this? It seems to me that objective morality is incompatible with democracy. If you think there are objective moral values and that society should adhere to these values, why would you accept a subjective democratic system of lawmaking?
    .
    Such a system could never guarantee to end up with rules that align with any particular moral values. Even if they happened to do so, there would be no guarantee that these rules would not be reveresed at a later date. If you, as a proponent of objective morality, accept a subjective democratic system of lawmaking, your position is inconsistent – you are, in effect, stealing from subjective morality. If you don’t accept democracy, what would you like to replace it with? How would your preferred non-democratic objective system work?
    .
    In conclusion, the answer to the question of how human rights are justified is: human rights are justified and upheld by a democratic system of lawmaking, i.e. people’s subjective opinions.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      And that’s how rights are enforced too. People complain: “If government gives you rights then government can take them away!”. Well indeed – that’s pretty much what does happen. People often DO have to fight for their rights. Fortunately, in general once rights are granted it’s hard to take them away. That’s why American Christians were so desperate not to allow gay marriage, and why some fought so hard 51 years to prevent inter-racial marriage – they knew once they were allowed it would most likely be permanent.

      Reply
    • Jeremy says:

      I can prove to you that it is objectively wrong to kill a person but you have free will and can choose to kill. It doesn’t make the objective truth of not killing wrong. The truth stays the same but over time people want to interpret it so that it benefits and their life style. Where are you getting the basis of your laws? The US constitution and our laws were modeled after God’s law. The democratic system is definitely not perfect and riddle with all kinds of problems, but it is the best we have for now. when laws go against God’s law I do not follow them. Example When it is legal to kill a baby through abortion That voliates God’s law and is wrong.

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        You can prove that it is usually unkind to kill a person. What do you mean by “wrong” and “objectively wrong” if not that? None of this is relevant to god.
        Yes, people can choose to be unkind, but if a person kills, it is usually unkind.
        Often, legal laws are “gotten” from people and their desires. Some people desire power, some people desire to share power, some people desire to copy what is in a book, etc.
        The Constitution was not modeled after god’s law, as there is no such thing. Perhaps you mean, some of the ideas of the Constitution were taken from some of the ideas from the Bible. That’s probably true.
        Yes, many people are willing to do what the Bible says, even if it is unkind and discriminatory. That’s not my preference, but apparently it is the preference of many theists.
        Abortion may be prima facie unkind, but it doesn’t violate any known god nor its laws.

        Reply
        • Jeremy says:

          You’re clearly an unreasonable person and no matter what evidence is presented you’d say that can’t be God because God doesn’t exist. So if there is no God. You can name two material things that were not created by something else. I’m curious to see what you come up with.

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            People who are following this might notice that you don’t address anything I’ve said above.
            You say I’m unreasonable, but you offer no evidence of this. I might be. I don’t think I am. If I am, please demonstrate how so. Until then, it looks like you are just making false claims, or perhaps simply saying “I disagree”. I don’t mind disagreement. But if you do disagree, show why your position is better supported by the evidence.
            It’s false to say that no evidence could make the difference for me. That false accusation apparently is just a substitute for you to have to provide actual evidence for god. Recall, we both agreed Something exists the created the universe. Let’s call that G1. That thing we both thing exists. I’m saying G2, the usual god that people talk about, a perfect god, does not exist. Are you still arguing about G1? If so, there is no argument. We agree about that.
            There is no G2 that we know of.
            I agreed that all known material things are probably created by something else. This proves nothing about G2, only G1. Perhaps you hadn’t read my other reply about this when you replied. If so, great! We seem to be in agreement: G1 (something) exists, but G2 does not. Is that right?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Atheists don’t think it’s sinful not to remember the sabbath, and obviously ‘no other Gods before’ me is meaningless if you don’t think a God exists. Likewise the concept of ‘graven images’.
            .
            As for ‘Do not kill’, Jeremy said “I can prove to you that it is objectively wrong to kill a person”, so we’re merely asking him to do so, and are still waiting. That doesn’t mean we don’t think it’s wrong to murder.

      • TGM says:

        Jeremy, you said you can prove that it’s objectively wrong to kill a person but I think I must have missed your proof. Did you offer one or just say you could. I’d like to take a look at it. Thanks.

        Reply
        • Jeremy says:

          When a lion kills a gazelle. They feel no sense of remorse. When my lab steals food from my beagle he doesn’t care. They are both animals and thinking of their own survival. If human beings are nothing more than smart animals. Why is it that most all people feel guilty for hurting someone else? Why don’t we kill the weaker men along with their children then have children their wives to pass along our stronger DNA? This is what animals do to prolong their species. The Truth is We know in our hearts it is wrong to kill. Its is wrong to hurt someone. It’s part of our human make up. This is what makes us different then animals.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “If human beings are nothing more than smart animals. Why is it that most all people feel guilty for hurting someone else?”
            .
            Why is being a smart animal incompatible with feeling guilty for hurting someone else? It’s a non sequitur. For that matter, are you saying you’ve got two dogs and you’ve never seen them looking guilty about anything? Really?
            .
            “This is what animals do to prolong their species”
            Killing off your own species prolongs your species? Are you sure? Don’t you think it’s possible that a species that supports other members of its species probably has a certain advantage over other species? We formed governments, laws, police forces etc to prevent guys trying to ‘kill off their weaker neighbours’. God isn’t needed for that.
            .
            Hitler forced Einstein out of German because he thought Jews were weak. Einstein went to America and helped develop powerful weapons that defeated Hitler. How did Hitler’s ‘kill off the weak’ argument work out for him? Clue: badly. Similarly, if you killed off Stephen Hawking because you thought he looked weak you’d be losing someone very valuable to the human race.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Also, you’ve not provided proof. You’ve said that humans feel guilty about hurting people. Why doesn’t that show that it’s wrong? I might feel guilty about something that you don’t think is wrong at all, and vice versa. Some killers apparently feel no guilt at all. Even if every human on earth felt guilty every time they did a particular act, all that shows us if that we all feel guilty – it tells us nothing about whether that act is immoral.

          • jcb says:

            So your post is aimed at showing that humans are different than animals? Yes, that’s true. We are different in many ways, and the same in many ways. Many other animals aren’t considering other beings and whether their actions cause them harm or distress, as humans often do. Most humans are trained to consider other beings when they act. We even construct penalties if you act meanly towards others.
            Many people prefer not to kill the weak. You can continue to ask why, why, why, which is a fine thing to do, but when you reach a point where the other person fails to have an answer, it does nothing to prove G2 god.
            Very young children/infants do not know the stove is hot, nor that pulling the trigger of a gun will kill others. They do not know it is “wrong to kill”. Define wrong. But you are correct that we “know” how to breathe, etc. None of this proves G2/god (at most it proves G1, which we both agree exists).
            Oh, were you trying to prove objective morality? Is that supposed to pertain to G2 god? Everything pertains to G1/god: everything we know of (animals exist, etc.) eventually can be traced back to the beginning of the universe, and whatever that G1 thing is that caused it.
            You should make it clear: are you only talking about G1 god? If so, we agree, and our conversation is done! If you are still talking about G2 god, you haven’t made the case.
            Define “objective” in “objective” morality, and explain how one knows if a thing has that property. Define “wrong” and explain what shows when a thing has that property. That would help.
            People exist, we are able to do things at birth (like breathe), we learn other things as we grow (like that the stove is hot), and many of us value/end up valuing not doing harm to others. Most theists seem to think that morality is something much more than this. If that’s you, explain. What does it mean to say “it is wrong to hurt someone” other than to say something like “X doesn’t want to hurt Y”, or “there is a human policy against such actions, and someone may try to punish those who violate this policy”. (Try to avoid saying “wrong is wrong!”)

          • Tyler V says:

            Andy,

            Again another historical misunderstanding. Einstein did not help create any weapons for the war effort. The only thing he did was write letters encouraging the development of the Atomic Bomb. He was seen as a security threat and was never issued a security clearance.

            Regards,

            Tyler

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Tyler: “Einstein did not help create any weapons for the war effort”
            Here’s what I said: “Hitler forced Einstein out of German because he thought Jews were weak. Einstein went to America and helped develop powerful weapons that defeated Hitler”
            .
            Are you arguing that the Nazis persecution of the Jews didn’t lead to Einstein fleeing to America, thus losing Germany one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century? If not, then you’re not really arguing against my point.
            .
            As for your specific nit-picking, that fails too. The first point is that Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity laid the ground work for the development of the atomic bomb in the first place. The second is that Einstein gave Vannevar Bush advice on separating fissionable material by gaseous diffusion. And the third you already admit, Einstein encouraged greater speed in developing nuclear weapons.
            .
            You seem to dismiss the importance of the last point, but Einstein biographer Ronald Clark has observed that while the atomic bomb would have been invented without Einstein’s letters, without the early U.S. work that resulted from the letters, the a-bombs might not have been ready in time to use during the war on Japan.
            .
            Einstein himself felt that his contribution was important enough that he later expressed regret about it.
            .
            All that aside, Tyler, you’re not helping yourself or your argument with your pointless attempts to derail the discussion into historical minutiae. It’s wasting my time debunking your claims too.

  5. jcb says:

    How atheists justify human rights? By appealing to existing things, like humans, and agreements between them.
    How do theists justify human rights? By appealing to fictional beings.
    FT seems use “objective” to mean “other worldly”. Well, on that meaning, there is no objective standard that we know of.
    If all that remains is preferences and values that sometimes differ, then so be it.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      Again, you say that we know of, and I say that you know of as you continue to deny all evidence that is around you each and every day of your life. Christians KNOW what you are spewing is complete garbage.

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        I wish that Christians did know it, and would offer evidence of it. But they don’t, and haven’t, it seems.
        Please, provide the evidence, and then I’ll respond to it.

        Reply
        • Jeremy says:

          Can you name two things that has a beginning and an end and was not created by something else? As a Christian, evidence of God is the universe. It has a beginning and will have an end. All Material things have a beginning and an end and we’re created by something outside of it. In the case of the Universe. It had to be created by a space less, timeless, immaterial, all powerful being. This being is what we call God.

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            I can’t think of anything. I agree with you: basically everything we know of has a beginning and an end (including human life). Nothing about this proves god though.
            The universe doesn’t prove that god exists. (Perhaps, again, you should define god).
            Yes, we were created by something else. You and I were created by our parents. Going all the way back, no one knows what the universe itself was created by. We don’t know it to be a personal, perfect god. Perhaps we agree: the cause of our universe is nothing we know of: it isn’t in any known space, made of any known material, etc. No, we don’t know it to be “all” powerful.
            If that’s all you mean by “god” then it has little to do with theism, little to do with the “god” most people are talking about.
            But yes, something like that (Something other than what we currently know about, know to exist) probably exists.
            Nothing about that thing, whatever it is, is known to be relevant to human rights, morality, etc. Nothing about that “god” proves the usual perfect (all knowing, all powerful, all good/kind) god of typical theism.

        • Mark Heavlin says:

          Romans 1:20
          For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            Why should anyone find this any more convincing than a passage from another religion’s holy book saying you’ve no excuse for not believing in Allah, or Ganesh, or whoever? A book telling you it’s true, and that you’re a fool for not believing in it, and have no excuse for not believing in it – none of these are good reasons to believe the book.

  6. jcb says:

    How do Atheists justify human rights FT article
    http://crossexamined.org/atheists-justify-human-rights/#comment-120057
    FT assumes there is an objective, other worldly, (godly) standard by which to judge things. He is wrong. He gives no evidence for such a thing. Yes, there is no godly/objective standard for anything in an atheistic universe, like the one we live in.
    FT says: “If there is no God, all moral questions are matter of human opinions”. This is confusing in so many ways. To start, there seems to be no question that humans deal with that isn’t “a matter of human opinions”. So, if there is a god, all moral questions are still matters of human opinions.
    But FT seems to want to say, if there is no god, moral questions are determined by the best of our human knowledge. That’s true! And it does nothing to prove god/disprove atheism.
    Again, it is false that “atheists must steal the grounds for objective moral rights from God”. Since there is no god, they don’t need to steal a godly standard to discuss morality, what is valued, what is kind, etc.
    It is no dilemma for atheists to state that god doesn’t exist, and no godly/objective moral rights exist.
    “If God does exist, then objective moral rights exist.” That doesn’t follow. What FT seems to mean is, “if god given rights exist, then god exists”. But neither of those things exist.
    The right to cut up babies in the womb (abortion) does exist in some places, as does the right to same sex marriage, in some places. Yes, some religions have appealed to fictional beings and then said their god doesn’t like such things. There is virtually no evidence that any of that is true.
    It is false to say, “without God they aren’t really rights at all.” There are many rights that people have, in that they can expect governments to protect, act upon, etc.
    FT claims that if there are no godly/objective rights, then there are only human/subjective rights. Assuming that’s true, it looks like there are only human/subjective rights. FT does nothing to show otherwise.
    Yes, when people argue about rights, often, at bottom, they are arguing about preferences. Nothing shows otherwise. None of this shows that god exists.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      Can you explain your following comment to me:

      “There is virtually no evidence that any of that is true.”

      You have been on this site for longer than I have been and almost every post you continue to point out that there is NO evidence that any of Dr. Turek’s now in this post you are saying that there is virtually no evidence which IMPLPLIES that there is EVIDENCE and you have been IGNORING said evidence.

      Care to explain yourself ?

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        Mark, if you think there is evidence offer it. Until then, it looks like there is no evidence for the claims about god and god-given/objective morality. Again, it’s simple. If you have the evidence, present it. Otherwise, it looks like “there is virtually no evidence” for god/god given morality.
        I am addressing the evidence that is presented. If you know of evidence that I am missed or ignored, present it, and I’ll address it.
        There is no evidence that I’ve ignored any important, relevant evidence. If you think I have, point out where, and which.
        Your time would be better spent simply making the argument, and presenting the evidence that you are aware of.
        Again, if I assert X, and you have evidence that I am mistaken, just present it.

        Reply
  7. Bryan says:

    “No matter what side of the political aisle you’re on—no matter how passionate you believe in certain causes or rights—without God they aren’t really rights at all. Human rights amount to no more than your subjective preferences. So atheists can believe in and fight for rights to abortion, same-sex marriage, and taxpayer-provided entitlements, but they can’t justify them as truly being rights. They are their own preferences, not rights.”

    I have several friends who fight for abortion rights, same-sex marriage and government programs that help the down trodden….AND they are Christians. Very devout church going ladies who believe in Jesus as their saviour.

    So how are they stealing from the Christian god? You can say your personal interpretation of the Bible trumps theirs…..but that’s just personal opinion.

    Reply
    • TGM says:

      “…without God they aren’t really rights at all”
      .
      This is a funny statement and I’m glad you highlighted it. Suppose we do have a God-given right to something, but nowhere on Earth is that right honored. I have to wonder if it would ever matter that we had such a right. Rights only matter if we demand them and respect them in others. God’s opinion is irrelevant for practical purposes.

      Reply
  8. Susan says:

    Who cares about human rights while the most basic of all human rights i.e. the right to be born again spiritually is neglected?

    Read John 3. Christ said this right is a must. It isn’t optional so why do so many confused people act like it is?

    What if the reason why we have so many rights battles in this world IS because this most basic right is so neglected.

    Reply
    • jcb says:

      Susan, that right doesn’t exist (we don’t know it to exist).
      Reading John won’t show that we have that right.
      If you have evidence that makes it likely that some will live forever, please present it.

      Reply
        • jcb says:

          Please provide evidence. Your claim appears to be false. People die and do not live forever. If you have evidence to the contrary, please offer it.

          Reply
        • jcb says:

          Make the case here. The evidence is overwhelming that when people (bodily) die, that’s it: they won’t be doing anything else.
          (See my posts above on the need for evidence, and the lack of evidence to defend theism).

          Reply
          • Susan says:

            This is not a court of law. It is not even a proper place to debate.

            But if it were I still wouldn’t make a
            case. Why should I? God already stated His.

            I am happy to show that you are mistaken and evidence exists.

            I can’t control your refusal to acknowledge it. Nor will I jump through hoops on your demand.

            You could
            have located evidence yourself but you had already decided to rule it out of consideration and existence.

            So deal with it.

            If you won’t accept what God says
            then you won’t accept what any human being says which doesn’t agree with you.

            So your alternative is to become a seeker instead of an archer.

            God says people find the truth when they seek.

            If I am you I would consider myself to be running out of time and try to get my mind open so I could do the seeking properly.

            You have already wasted a lot of time falsely denying evidence exists.

          • jcb says:

            The evidence is already there, and I’ve already mentioned it. As far as we know, when people bodily die, they aren’t doing anything we know of. They aren’t eating, watching movies, talking to people, etc. They are doing nothing. There’s your proof. If you think they ARE doing something after they die, that’s for you to prove. So your turn: prove it: prove that people, after they die, are “doing” something.

  9. TVZ says:

    JCB, you are wanting proof of God, but the only thing man can do to please God is have faith. In other words, if everyone knew God, there would be no need for faith, we would know. I have faith my son will get up in 10 minutes and go brush his teeth. I can’t prove that, but I have faith he will. Why? Because that’s what he’s done every morning for the past 15 years. So why do I have faith in God? Because the Bible fits the reality I see in the world. Man is corrupt and this world is corrupt. In other words, I would not believe in the Bible if man was good and didn’t argue and didn’t lie and didn’t get angry, but instead shared and loved and forgave and loved peace more than anything and we all lived in perfect harmony with one another. But we don’t… and therefore it fits the narrative of what was written from the dawning of manking… and man has not changed in the thousands of years that has passed since the Bible was written. We were corrupt then and we are still corrupt. Had we overcome our corruption by now, then the Bible would have been proven false. But it still fits reality.

    Reply
    • jcb says:

      You are begging the question (god has not been proven to exist). So it is false to say “the only thing man can do to please God is (to) have faith”. I think god can be pleased with knock knock jokes. If you disagree, you don’t have enough faith! (j/k: this is all nonsense).
      Yes, you are right: faith is Not Knowing. If we knew, we wouldn’t be having “faith”. (FT will not like that you said that). But that doesn’t show that “not knowing” is better at describing reality than knowing. Rather, knowing is better at describing reality.
      You can prove that your son will probably get up at a certain time frame: run some tests! Find out when he got up the last 100 days!
      While we can prove that people will probably eat food tomorrow, we seem unable to prove that god probably exists. So yes, you can turn to faith, which is to turn to improbability, and just guess. But faith doesn’t make it likely that god exists.
      The Bible is a collection of many statements. Many of them don’t “fit” reality, are not proven to be likely.
      Humans make mistakes. That doesn’t prove that god exists. Humans are often kind as well. That doesn’t prove that god exists.
      No, the evidence we have doesn’t “fit the narrative of the Bible”, if by that you mean prove/make probable that god exists.
      It doesn’t follow that if people still make mistakes and are unkind sometimes, then god exists/the Bible is true.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        I wasn’t alive when Hitler ran Germany but there is a historical record of him that proves he existed as well as people living today who saw him and the same can be said of Jesus.

        I know Jesus exists because the record says so and that includes non-biblical verification.

        Reply
          • Susan says:

            Josephus, Tacitus, the Talmud and others.

            All you have to do is google “extra biblical” or “non-biblical” sources for Jesus to get some of them.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            I HAVE googled. On the Talmud: “The Talmud contains passages that SOME scholars have concluded are references to Christian traditions about Jesus (through mentions of an individual called “Yeshu”, a derivative of Jesus’ Aramaic name Yeshua). The history of textual transmission of these passages is complex and scholars ARE NOT AGREED concerning which passages are original, and which were added later or removed later in reaction to the actions of Christians.”
            .
            So that’s not very conclusive at all. Then there’s Tacitus:
            “The general scholarly view is that while the Testimonium Flavianum is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it is broadly agreed upon that it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus, which was then subject to Christian interpolation and/or alteration.”
            .
            Doesn’t sound that certain. Tacitus was born 25 years after Jesus’ death and the passages supposedly referring to Jesus were written decades after the events, just like the other two examples you gave. Some of the references seem to be just that Christians existed and that they believed in a man called Jesus. None of the three give accounts of Jesus being resurrected. We know next to nothing about any of the supposed witnesses of the resurrected Jesus.
            .
            None of these is anything like the evidence we have for Hitler – we have a book that Hitler wrote, we have direct quotes, people still alive who met him etc.

        • Bryan says:

          I wasn’t alive when Joseph Smith translated the gold plates of the Book of Mormon. But there is a historic record that he did it.

          The gold plates must be real because 11 witnesses testified of it:
          <>

          See what I did there?

          Reply
        • jcb says:

          Not all historical documents are accurate. The historical record, combined with what we know is probable, show that Jesus probably lived. They fail to show that Jesus probably was resurrected, let alone that he probably is all powerful and all knowing.

          Reply
      • TVZ says:

        Faith is evidence of things that can’t be seen. You want scientific, observable proof but the only thing you have is the world you live in. Is it possible that this all came from nothing? Science says that’s what happened. Is it then possible that once there was space, matter, and time, that life could happen within those parameters? Science says yes, but they fall short with the explanation. We only have inferences…. some say, “It was God,” and some say,”I have no idea, but it wasn’t God.” Neither are provable. It probably comes down to God revealing himself to whomever he chooses to reveal himself. I think he is pursuing you since you are so interested in this conversation. Seek him more deeply, maybe he is seeking you.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          “Is it possible that this all came from nothing? Science says that’s what happened.”
          I don’t think that’s what science says at all. We don’t know if ‘nothing’ is even a possibility. We have no examples of ‘nothing’ to examine or test.
          .
          “It probably comes down to God revealing himself to whomever he chooses to reveal himself”
          If that’s the case then all apologetics is worthless. Either God or Allah or Ganesh reveal themselves to you or they don’t.

          Reply
          • TVZ says:

            I struggle with that. God is sovereign and we cannot boast of anything (“bringing someone to God” or “finding God”). We are commanded to tell the good news though. We are commanded to have a defense for our belief. We are commanded to love and we love others by telling them the good news and telling of how God has changed us for the better. But what you do with that is up to God.

          • jcb says:

            There is no god, and thus no god who is sovereign.
            Yes, it would be better for many if theists had a defense of their claims, i.e., evidence that makes god probable.
            Loving people without being commanded to do it is kinder than loving people because you are commanded to do it.

        • jcb says:

          Yes, the only evidence we have involves the world we live in, and that fails to prove that god exists.
          It is possible that it all came from nothing, but it is not probable.
          It is possible that it all came from god, but that is not probable.
          We don’t know what it came from. Nothing we know of is probable (here), other than it was “something”.
          Science says we don’t know what created it. Science doesn’t say it actually came from nothing. Science seems to say, it came from nothing we know of.
          This part is false: “It probably comes down to God revealing himself to whomever he chooses to reveal himself.” There is no evidence we know of that makes that probable.
          Maybe god is seeking us. But as far as we know, this is not probable.

          Reply
          • TVZ says:

            I do see evidence of God in our world. I see the that every day mimics a lifetime (birth, maturity, death, re-birth). I see nature mimics a life-cycle (birth, growth, death, re-birth). I see information designed into DNA that took intelligence to create. I see a moral law in our world. I see no valid explanation for the cause of the universe or the cause of life. I think the probability of God is more than 50%. Then you throw in the Bible and how it explains there was a time when there was no universe (about 5000 years ahead of scientists) and how I do feel corrupted and everyone around me feels corrupt to me and I feel I struggle living up to the moral law somehow. Then you try the solution to the corruption and it works and proves itself. It all seems likely in my mind.

          • jcb says:

            You say you see the evidence. What is it? Let’s review what you seem to offer as evidence:
            Nature/reality has creatures that are born and grow, but rarely are they reborn. Trees die, and Other trees grow. Humans die, and Other humans grow, but rarely are things reborn.
            Regardless that reality involves these actions doesn’t prove god, an all perfect being. Perhaps you should define god. Perhaps you mean nothing like a known, supernatural, all perfect being/person. That sort of god doesn’t exist, or is proven to exist by the evidence you gave.
            Humans do have DNA, and there is information, but we don’t know that an intelligence, much less a particular intelligence, put it there/designed it.
            There is no “moral law” to “see”, but feel free to show otherwise. What exists are humans and their desires/preferences. There is no “law” that requires us to do anything in the way that the “law” of gravity forces our bodies to act in certain ways.
            Yes, there is no known cause/explanation for the beginning of the universe, nor for the beginning of life. None of that proves god. You said “I think God is more than 50% probable”. How did you arrive at that figure? It seems that you just made it up.
            The Bible asserts things, just as other mythologies do, and gets some things right: e.g., there weren’t always these animals existing here…
            That some assertions are accurate in sacred texts doesn’t prove god.
            If the Bible did say (which I’m told it doesn’t) that the Earth was round, and then 5000 years later scientists discovered/proved that it was, that wouldn’t make it probable that god existed. We would then have to determine why it was that the one making that claim so long ago got it right. We haven’t determined it to have anything to do with a god.
            I don’t know why you feel corrupted. That feeling doesn’t prove god.
            That you struggle to be good/kind while many others act bad/unkind is great (for kind beings), but doesn’t prove there is an all perfect being/god.

  10. Susan says:

    Faulty analogy Bryan.

    The historical consensus is Jesus existed Andy.

    I am no longer arguing with atheists because God says to be at peace with people and atheism reminds me of people who lack peace trying to communicate that to others.

    Jesus Christ is the world’s leading authority on peace.

    We only have to continually have arguments and battles in this world because people refuse to accept him and his authority on the subject.

    In unity there is peace. In disunity i.e. arguing there is only discord.

    So I am off to greener pastures where I can learn more about Jesus the peacemaker from real experts on the subject.

    Reply
  11. barry says:

    Turek insists that “rights” cannot be “preferences”, but he fails to provide any support for such a premise. He may as well have said dishes cannot be ceramic.

    There is nothing about a group of people leaving their country and creating another with a charter of rights as agreed by the elected leaders, that requires crediting “God” with creation or bestowal of those rights.

    If my neighbor gives me the “right” to enter her house when she is away to make sure all is well, does the existence of such right imply God? That is, if God didn’t exist, nobody would ever give such a right to their neighbor?

    Would Turek say it is incorrect use of language to characterize her authorizing me to enter her house as her bestowing upon me a “right”?

    “Right” in the dictionary just means a moral or legal entitlement, the definition doesn’t go into how the right materialized or what its ultimate origin was, therefore, Turek cannot justify his strange argument on grammatical grounds, so I don’t see how, apart from grammatical grounds, he can sustain his argument that personal preferences cannot be correctly characterized as “rights”.

    Does Turek seriously believe that characterizing the moral and legal entitlements elected leaders bestow upon the people by democratic method as “rights” constitutes a violation of language where this occurs in a non-religious context? Is there a dictionary that says rights are limited to divine entitlements?

    U.S. citizens have a second-amendment “right” to keep and bear arms. Why would we need anything more than our desire to draw up documents governing our country and indicating what we are allowed to do and not do, to explain the origin of the second amendment “right” to keep and bear arms?

    Reply

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