I having been having a discussion on my FB page about a Huffington Post article that says Rick Santorum is reading a different Bible than you and me. The Bible most people read is about loving your neighbor etc... I successfully argued so far with one individual who says that if you mandate helping the needy that this is the same as a a theocracy. BS, I know, right?
We have now come to the part of this debate where I asked, " Is what we consider morally good that way because God commands that which is morally good, or is whatever God commands morally good because he commands it?
His comment is as follows: If "good" is determined by people, then people are greater than God. If "good" exists outside of God, then "good" is greater than God. In neither of those cases can God really be God. "Good" is what God says is "good."
Any recommendation on how to respectfully shut that down in one brief answer?

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Pretty much what Nelson said, yes. If good is whatever God says sit is, then the most horrific acts (to us) can be cclaimed as good, as God said so. And don't let them try to wriggle free by claiming that God weould never declare that rape or murder is good. How would they know this? After all, they've just said that we humans cannot determine what is 'good', that's God's domain. Plus, since those acts have, in fact, been ordered by God in the Bible, clearly God would declare them to be good acts (since god can't order evil things, right?)

RE: "(since god can't order evil things, right?)"

That's not the case, Dave, if you believe the Bible: Isa 45:7 - God says "I create evil."

pax vobiscum,

True, though the Divine Command moralists would never admit that their perfectly good god could be a source of evil.

For God to be or do evil, there would have to be an independent overarching concept of The Good. But of course that is impossible. If God does exist, then He is the source of all, including any standards. And of course, He can also be the exception to any standards He propounds.

I'm playing the Devil's advocate here... or... well, God's (which is worse)... but "evil" is replaced with "destruction" or other words in different translations. To me it only makes sense that God creates evil since he created both Satan and Hell, but yeah... Christians are going to argue that you're reading the wrong translation. Convenient, right?

Cara - tell them to translate this:

Isaiah 45:7 - "I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."

pax vobiscum,

Yes, that's the verse I'm thinking of. And I think I did send it to my mom at some point. Like I said, other translations replace "evil" with "destruction". It still makes sense in the context of this verse. I suppose either bad though. If he's responsible for destruction, wtf?

Plato's argument rests on his belief in a world of Ideas which is actually more real than the physical world. The physical world is simply an imperfect reflection (or shadow) of the perfect world of Ideas, which is eternal and unchanging. Now, Plato's "Ideas" are different from the way the term is used in everyday life ("I have an idea how to save money on our electric bill") for his ideas aren't notions, they are objects in a world more real than our own. Objects because they are truly objective—real and eternal and perfect. This raises the ontological question: does such a universe of Ideas actually exist, as well as the epistemological problem of how we would ever know if it did.

To me, Plato's world of Ideas, as attractive as it may be, is not much different from a religion, for it must be believed on faith apart from evidence.

Oh, I certainly accept the dilemma as a dilemma. I myself am very influenced by the later Wittgenstein such that, when you have a philosophical dilemma like that, it's probably a problem in the asking of the question or or in some hidden, unstated, or subconscious presuppositions.

The dilemma disappears with the absence of God.

There may be something semi-universal in the psychology of man telling us (probably based on empathy) what is right and wrong, such that if someone disagrees with a certain particular ethical judgment, there must be something wrong with them. Normal people may disagree over the circumstances when it is right or wrong to steal or tell a lie, but if someone were to maintain that it's okay to put out a cigarette in a baby's eye, most people in just about any culture would find the person holding that view to be a highly defective human being: psychotic or just plain crazy.

At the same time, such judgments may be culture-bound. One culture might see beheading as a proper punishment for murder whereas another culture might find such an extreme measure horrific.

But all that just goes to confirm the idea that, like all politics, all ethics are local.

oh Nelson... if only you were around when I had to debate this in high school!

Rick Santorum is a Roman Catholic, and seeing as how he is an American he most likely read the King James Edition or an English translation of the Latin Vulgate (such as the Douay-Rheims Bible).

Either way, what you should be asking yourself is if you want to leave morality up to a god that orders genocide. For example:

"This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." - Samuel 15:2-3 King James Version.

As for your question on morality stemming from god or man, I would argue that god(s) cannot exist without man. If every Hindu fell off the face of the Earth tomorrow, Vishnu would cease to exist. If the Christian nation ceased to exist, the Bible would be in the fiction section of Barnes and Noble. 

The only difference between religion and mythology is the absence of living followers.

Will this help?

(King James Version)

  (As in "Thou shalt not"...???)
The biblical god personally kills a total of 371,186 people, not counting his slaughter of every living thing in Genesis 7. The biblical god also orders the killing of a total of 1,862,265.

Gen 22:2 - God accepts human sacrifices (including that of Jesus, later).
Ex 12:29 - God kills all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.
Ex 15:3 - God is a god of war.

Ex 21:15, 17 - Anyone who strikes or curses a parent must be killed.
Ex 22:18 - Every witch must be killed.
Ex 22:19, 20 - You must kill anyone who "lieth with a beast," or who worships any god other than Yahweh.
Ex 31:15 - Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be killed.
Lev 20:10, 13, 27 - You must kill adulterers, homosexuals, wizards and spirit mediums.
Lev 21:9 - Any priest's daughter who fornicates must be burned alive.
Lev 24:16 - Blasphemers must be killed.
Num 16:27-33 - God caused the whole tribe of Korah -- men, women, and children -- to be buried alive.
Num 21:3 - God caused the destruction of all the Canaanites.
Num 31:7-35 - God orders Moses to kill the Midianites, making sure to slaughter not only the men but also the boys and females, except for the 32,000 virgin girls.
Deut 3:4 - God is pleased that his warriors destroyed 60 cities.
Deut 7:16 - You must kill all the people God delivers into your hands, and "thine eye shall have no pity upon them."
Deut 13:5 - Any prophet or "dreamer of dreams," who serves another god, must be killed.
Deut 13:6-9 - If your brother, son, daughter, wife, or friend tempts you to worship other gods, "thou shalt surely kill him."
Deut 13:13-15 - If the people of any city worship other gods, you must slaughter them all, including their cattle.
Deut 17:5 - Any man or woman who worships other deities of sun, moon or stars must be stoned to death.
Deut 18:20 - False prophets must be killed.

Deut 20:16-17 - God commands complete destruction of all Hittites, Amorites,
Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, and "thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth."
Deut 22:21 - A bride found not to be a virgin must be stoned to death.
Deut 22:22 - Adulterers must be killed.
Deut 22:23-24 - A girl who is raped within city limits, and fails to cry out, must be killed.
Deut 28:22-28 - If you don't obey God's commandments, he will punish you with consumption, fever, extreme burning, blasting, mildew, hemorrhoids, the scab, the itch, the botch of Egypt, etc., as well as "madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart."
Josh 6:21 - God's warriors destroyed Jericho and killed every man, woman, child, and domestic animal.
Josh 8:25 - God's warriors killed 12,000 people in the city of Ai.
Josh 19:47 - The children of Dan wanted more room, so they destroyed the whole population of Leshen and took their territory.
Judges 1:17-18 - Judah and Simeon utterly destroyed the populations of Zephath, Gaza, Askelon and Ekron.
Judges 11:39 - In accord with God's law, Jephthah was forced to burn his virgin daughter to death as a sacrifice.
Judges 15:15 - God enables Samson to kill 1,000 men with the jawbone of an ass.
Judges 20:46 - At Gibeah, Benjamin's men killed 25,000 people and burned every town.
1 Sam 6:19 - God kills 50,070 people for trying to peek into the Ark.
1 Sam 15:3 - God commands the destruction of Amalek: "Slay both men and women, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
2 Sam 6:7 - God kills Uzzah for touching the Ark, even though he was trying to save it from falling off its oxcart.
1 Kings 18:40 - God commands the slaughter of "prophets of Baal".
1 Kings 20:36 -  Because a man didn't "obey the voice of the Lord," a lion was sent to kill him.
2 Kings 2:24 - God sent bears to tear apart 42 children for making fun of Elisha's bald head.
2 Kings 10:25 - God commands the killing of a multitude in the temple of Baal.
2 Kings 19:35 - God's angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in a single night.

1 Chron 21:14 - God kills 70,000 Israelites with a pestilence.
2 Chron 15:13 - Any man or woman who refuses to "seek the Lord God of Israel" must be killed.
Job 1:15-19 - God arranges the killing of Job's children, servants and animals.
Isa 13:16 - God promises that all the Babylonians' children will be "dashed to pieces before their eyes;" their wives will be raped.
Isa 45:7 - God says "I create evil."
Jer 48:10 - Killing for God is mandatory; God curses anyone who "keepeth back his sword from blood."
Jer 50:21 - God commands that the people of Merathaim and Pekod be "utterly destroyed."
Ezek 9:5-7 - God calls for purging in Jerusalem: "let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women... fill the courts with the slain."
Ezek 35:8 - God promises to fill the mountains, hills, valleys and rivers with slain men.
Hosea 13:16 - God promises to have Samaritan infants dashed to pieces, and pregnant women will have their bellies slashed open.
Nahum 1:2 - God is jealous, full of vengeance and wrath.
Zeph 1:3 - God threatens to destroy everything, man and beast, birds and fishes.
Zeph 1:18 - "The whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy."
Zeph 3:6 - God brags that he has destroyed many nations.
Zech 13:3 - A false prophet must be killed by his father and mother.

Ex 21:7-8 - A father may sell his daughter to be a "maidservant" (or sex slave) who must "please her master."

Num 31:7, 18 - God orders his warriors to kill every living thing in a captured city, except the virgin girls, who are to be raped and turned into sex slaves.

Deut 21:11-12 - If a warrior likes the look of a female war captive, he can take her to be one of his "wives."
Deut 22:28-29 - A man who rapes a virgin may take her for a wife if he pays her father 50 shekels of silver. (Yet, a bride found not to be a virgin must be stoned to death - Deut 22:20-21).
Judges 5:30 - The spoils of war include "a damsel or two" for every man.
Judges 21:12-23 -  God's warriors killed all the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead except for 400 virgin girls, who were taken as slaves. If there are not enough girls to go around, God's warriors may raid neighboring towns for more to rape.

Gen 9:25 - God cursed Ham, son of Noah, with perpetual slavery for the crime of seeing his father naked. (Ham was formerly considered the ancestor of all "blacks.")
Ex 21:4 - A male slave may marry and have children, and may go free after six years; but his family remains the property (or hostages?) of his master.
Ex 21:7 - A man may sell his daughter as a sex slave.
Ex 21:20-21 - A man may be punished for beating a male or female slave
 to death, but if the victim survives the beating for a few days, then
 there is no penalty.
Lev 19:20 - When a man has sex with a female slave (or "bondmaid"), SHE must be scourged.
Eph 6:5 - Paul says slaves must obey their masters "with fear and trembling."
Titus 2:9 - Paul says slaves must obey and please their masters.
1 Tim 6:1 - Paul says slaves must "count their masters worthy of all honor."

pax vobiscum,


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