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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I would ask your friend.. If God is good then how can they (God) condone slavery, killing, and rape? 

When it's said that God doesn't condone those things, I'd then use archaeopteryx's post to site passages in the Bible as evidence.  

You need to understand that if God exists, it is impudence for Man to judge him, for we would be his chattels. What archaeopteryx cites as evidence that God isn't good would then be entirely beside the point.

There's no point in arguing that God is bad for that argument more or less accepts His existence.

More productive is the evidence that He doesn't exist.

Which then leaves us with ethical problems. They are sticky problems, but unavoidable.

RE: "What archaeopteryx cites as evidence that God isn't good"

First of all, I didn't cite that as evidence "that god isn't good," I cited it as evidence that the Bible said this is what god did, and left it to the reader to decide how "good," or otherwise, it was.

Since I contend, as my website implies, that Man created god in His own image, the items I cited are those that the Religious Right who created the Bible believed their god wanted, or imagined in some delusion that that's what their god ordered, of which Abraham, taking his son Issac to a mountaintop to murder him, is a prime example.

None of the items I cited were an indictment against god, simply because it's impossible to indict that which does not exist, but rather against those who created god, those who perpetrate the myth, and those who manipulate the population by claiming to know what god wants them to do.

pax vobiscum,

Nelson is right - what is good is only good because God says it is - then what was in god's mind when he drowned millions of people - to save eight people, of which one was a drunk! I have never heard a xian successfully justify this, because they had never thought about what they actually read. Where is gods ethics and morals in this one.

Do some research, look at  archaeopteryx reply, pick some out, and print them out, and ask the xian, where are the morals and ethics that he is talking about. Inundate him with information :D

I would recommend looking up the "Morality" series by Qualiasoup (you can see the first one here, they are quite long but very entertaining as well as informative), but one point from the series that can directly address their point is to ask them that, assuming there is a god, if that god chose to cease existing tomorrow, would rape and murder become acceptable?

How is it that people who never read the bible still know good from bad? Because understanding the difference between good and bad behavior is innate in us. I can't believe this isn't obvious to theists.

Hmm. If knowing good from bad is so innate, why do people do bad?

The terms, "good" and "bad" are far too subjective to be worthy of discussion. Shakespeare once wrote, "Nothing ever is right nor wrong, but thinking makes it so."

I prefer to think of behavior more in terms of whether or not it's harmful to myself or others, which is also subjective, but far less abstract..

For a more complete understanding of why we think and behave as we do, why some reach out to others, while some simply take from others, I suggest you do a comprehensive study of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. That is, if your question is more than purely hypothetical --

pax vobiscum,

"The terms, 'good' and 'bad' are far too subjective to be worthy of discussion."

Having attended many a philosophy class either devoted to ethics or where ethical considerations were central to the discussion, I can tell you that whether ethics is subjective or not is indeed a matter thought worthy of discussion.

"I prefer to think of behavior more in terms of whether or not it's harmful to myself or others, which is also subjective, but far less abstract."

Well, but you can't escape a discussion of The Good with that dodge because it begs the question of why you should avoid doing harm, and buried within that is the question of "What is The Good and why should I do it?"

RE: "you can't escape a discussion of The Good with that dodge"

"dodge," Unseen? Really??

You make it sound as though I have an obligation to explain myself, which is certainly not the case. Why I choose to avoid doing harm is, in all likelihood different from why you might make the same choice, if in fact you would. Unless I'm mistaken (and with all of those philosophy classes on your transcript, I would expect you to know), that's one of the definitions of the word, "subjective."

pax vobiscum,

If ethics is all relative to one's subjectivity (one's wants, desires, and inclinations), then of course there's no need to explain yourself because there's no WAY to explain yourself. However, by that standard (or more precisely by the lack thereof) the behavior of the man sexually abusing the child is no better or worse than the one saving the child from drowning. Each has his own subjective standard of behavior according to which whatever we do is right because it's what we are inclined to do.

RE: "the behavior of the man sexually abusing the child is no better or worse than the one saving the child from drowning"

In their minds, or mine?

pax vobiscum,


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