The Instigator
kgantchev
Con (against)
Winning
65 Points
The Contender
SnoopyDaniels
Pro (for)
Losing
54 Points

Religious books are the ONLY possible source of moral guidance

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,815 times Debate No: 4322
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (96)
Votes (34)

 

kgantchev

Con

I'll start by defining the scope of this debate. We should only debate the possible sources of moral guidance, we should define a set of BASIC morals which we can use as a basis for the argument (and I'll leave that to my opponent), here are the definitions:

[DEFINITION: source]
1. any thing or place from which something comes, arises, or is obtained; origin:

[DEFINITION: moral]
1.of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
2.expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.
3.founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.

[DEFINITION: guidance]
1.the act or function of guiding; leadership; direction.

My goal will be to prove that we can have sustainable and consistent moral guidance the source of which is our reasoning and to show that the Bible (or other theistic literature) is NOT the ONLY possible source for moral guidance. I accept the fact that religious literature may be used as a source for moral guidance, but it's not the ONLY source possible. I will not go into proving this just yet, I'll do it in the next rounds if my opponent accepts this debate.

This debate is in response to my opponent's following statement:

"the Bible (and other books which claim to be divinely inspired) are the ONLY possible source of moral guidance. Morals, by definition, are standards of right and wrong that transcend the physical world and human reason. If something is "immoral" we say it's "wrong." In other words, it conflicts with a deep conviction. What do we base that on? Human reason? I hope not, because human reason is fickle. Morals are unchanging, otherwise they aren't morals. Human reason may lead us to correct judgments today, and something like utilitarianism tomorrow. Utilitarianism is "reasonable," unfortunately it's based on a twisted value system which devalues individual human life.

Thus, morals MUST be based on something which is not derived from the facts of the physical world, but given to us by a power which transcends that physical world. If there is no God, then there are no true morals.

"There are MANY countries that don't observe the theistic moral structure and they're doing JUST fine."

That depends on what you consider "fine." I could show you some fairly frightening statistics that might change your mind. Public education comes to mind."

I will wait for my opponent to accept before I begin my arguments.
SnoopyDaniels

Pro

It is my position that a prerequisite for the existence for morals is the existence of God. The only legitimate basis for any moral system MUST be knowledge obtained from God Himself.

The argument is simple, and revolves primarily around the definition of morality. What my opponent and those who are reading this debate must understand and learn to accept is that whatever sense of morality we still possess as a society is a direct result of our religious heritage. Most of us were raised to accept the fact that certain things were right and certain things were wrong, the difference is that some of us were not told why. The result is that, while all of us possess a moral sense to some degree, many of us take it for granted as something we "just know." Most of us "just know," for example, that murder is wrong. We would say that "murder is absolutely wrong." But what does it mean to say "absolutely?" To say something is "absolute" is to say that it is fixed, unchanging, and ultimate.

The existence of morality, then, hinges on the existence of an ultimate truth, something that does not change. Unfortunately, atheism rejects this possibility. All that exists is the physical, temporal world. There is nothing inherent in matter and energy which can determine what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong. There is only matter and energy. This does not mean that atheists cannot be "good people," only that whatever moral sense they have did not and cannot arise from the facts of the physical universe. Whether they realize it or not, their sense of right and wrong originated with religious faith. It is essentially a "rip off" of sorts. I know you reject the authority of scripture, but this reminds me of some verses in 2 Timothy:

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF"

In other words, people in the last days will possess a kind of morality, but refuse to give credit where credit is due, believing it to proceed from some goodness within themselves and rendering them impotent. Sounds like Timothy was reading our mail.

It is up to my opponent to demonstrate the following: How, without the existence of an all powerful being, can there exist such a thing as "right" or "wrong" in any true sense. If there is no God, then who are you to tell me that it's not wrong to kill people? If I say it's okay, then it's okay! In other words, without God, the highest moral authority is ourselves, and what we determine by our own reason to be right and wrong. To this you might reply that right and wrong is determined not simply by human reason, but what the majority of people accept as morally acceptable. If this is the case, though, then the murder of 12 million innocent people by the Nazi regime was morally acceptable, because the majority of Germans regarded it as morally acceptable. They thought killing Jews was perfectly reasonable. You may then say that everyone knows instinctively that killing is wrong. Unfortunately, if we're all the result of evolution, a random and pointless process, whatever instinct we possess on the matter is the result of biochemical reaction which facilitates social behavior, not an arbiter of moral truth.

When someone tells you that something is morally wrong, the logical question that follows from this statement is "who says?" We instinctively appeal to moral authority. The only legitimate authority on moral issues can be He who established what is right and wrong, God, and the only true moral code is that which He gives us. All others are transient, subject to change and personal opinion, have no binding authority, and are, therefore, not morals. While you and many other atheists still possess a form of godliness as it were, there is a whole generation of kids that has come to the same conclusion I have. If evolution is true then there is no God. If there is no God, then they can do whatever they want. They understand that morality is contingent upon the existence of a supreme moral authority, even if my opponent refuses to acknowledge this.

Since God is the only legitimate source of moral truth, then the only way to obtain that moral truth is for him to impart it to us. Thus, the only legitimate source of moral guidance is a religious text which at least claims to be infallible and divinely inspired, i.e. the Bible.
Debate Round No. 1
kgantchev

Con

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REBUTTAL 1
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Humans do tend to have a sense of what's "right" and what's "wrong", and we can go as far as to say that without this sense of right and wrong we wouldn't have survived this long. If people didn't have morals, then it would have made it very tough to sustain large societies where people get along. Let's assume we accept that to be true, but the source of this morality is still undefined.

Let's look back to the Ancient Greeks; the Greek philosophers recognized that morals exist for one reason or another and Democritus was one of the first philosophers to discuss morality. Even today, we consider the Ancient Greeks to be the fathers of Democracy. This is a great feat in the history of mankind, and one can hardly imagine it could have been achieved with a lack of moral guidance. Democritus himself lived between 460 BC and 370 BC, the Old Testement was written by the Jews and it existed during the time Democritus and other Greek philosophers lived. Interestingly enough we don't see any of their arguments about the origins of morality even mention a spiritual source, let alone God or the Bible (there is a good reason for that, I'll explain in a little bit).

Greeks had moral values which allowed them to run a great civilization and contribute to the development of human culture in many ways, evidence of which can still be seen in today's politics, history, art, architecture, science, literature, all have their deep roots with the peoples that predate the Bible as we know it today.

The Bible (as we know today) was written during the first half of the first century AD. Now one might say that Greeks were influenced by the Old Testement. The first problem with that is that there is no evidence to support that suggestion, and the second problem is that the Greeks were not even Christians at the time (the good reason I mentioned earlier). One might argue "Yes, but then why was a portion of the Bible written in Greek" and the answer is simple:
"… there is a 500-year period when no writings were contributed to the Bible. This is the period between the testaments, when Alexander the Great conquered much of the world and when the Greek language was introduced to the Hebrews. Indeed, they began to use Greek so much that the Hebrew language was replaced by Greek and by another language, Aramaic, which was spoken all over that area of the world at that time." (http://www.ibs.org...)

Interestingly enough we don't see any of their arguments about the origins of morality even mention a spiritual source, let alone God or the Bible. Greeks had moral values which allowed them to run a powerful civilizations and contribute to the development of human culture in many ways, evidence of which can still be seen in today's politics, history, art, architecture, science, literature, all have their deep roots with the peoples that predate the Bible as we know it today.

The Bible, as we know today, was written during the first half of the first century AD. Now one might say that Greeks were influenced by the Old Testement, but the first problem with that is that there is no evidence to support that suggestion, and the second problem is that the Greeks were not even Christians at the time. One might argue "Yes, but then why was a portion of the Bible written in Greek" and the answer is simple: The Greek language was introduced to the Hebrews by Alexander the Great (during his conquest of "the world") and the began using it more frequently than Hebrew. (http://www.ibs.org...)

My opponent stated the following: "The only legitimate basis for any moral system MUST be knowledge obtained from God Himself."

I have shown evidence that we have observed people not only display, but also discuss high moral values without:
A) Being influenced by the Bible.
B) Having knowledge obtained from "God Himself".

Greeks took a very naturalistic approach to morals, rather than a spiritual approach.

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REBUTTAL 2
---------------
My opponent stated the following:

"The existence of morality, then, hinges on the existence of an ultimate truth, something that does not change. Unfortunately, atheism rejects this possibility. All that exists is the physical, temporal world. There is nothing inherent in matter and energy which can determine what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong."

First and foremost, the Bible itself can never give us:
A. "ultimate truth", because we can't prove that the Bible is God's own word (as a matter of fact it isn't, the Bible claims to be inspired by God not dictated by God, but even that is questionable).

B. "something that does not change", again the Bible fails in that respect, we see that the Bible justifies murder in certain situations. The Bible also teaches that one "shall not kill" yet this rule changes depending on the consequences and/or the reasons for the action.

As you said yourself, the Bible is not accepted by everybody, so there must be another way for people to act morally without either accepting the Bible or believing in God.

If we are to TRULY have unchanging morals, we must apply reason and here is how it works (Kant):
First we accept that we should not act by maxims that result in logical contradictions when we attempt to universalize them. The moral proposition A: "It is permissible to steal" would result in a contradiction in conceivability. The notion of stealing presupposes the existence of property, but were A universalized, then there could be no property, and so the proposition has logically annihilated itself.

Each person forms a maxim for their life and tests it against a categorical imperative.
I would say: "It's permissible to kill", but if everybody acts by that maxim it would result in my own death. I cannot live by that maxim, but it's not yet immoral to kill. I propose the opposite maxim: "It's NOT permissible to kill", and that one works out OK because I will live (so will everybody else), therefore it's immoral to kill.

"A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:27)
With respect to Christian morals, history has shown that people were burned as witches. God commands people to do the opposite things: "thou shall not kill" and as we saw in the previous quote, God also commands people to kill witches.

---------------
Conclusion
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The Bible itself cannot tell us what is "absolutely right" and what is "absolutely wrong", because it offers a morals which are right in one case and wrong in another case. Bible morals are based on consequences, if a person does thins, then they will suffer that. It is not consequences of actions that make them right or wrong but the motives of the person who carries out the action.

This is especially problematic for Christians, they would act morally not because that's good, but for personal gains (greed). The personal gain is the desire to be saved and go to heaven, so the ONLY reason Christians would do good things is not because the deed is good, but because it will get them to heaven. The Bible also teaches that even if a person does something immoral, it's OK as long as they repent and they never do it again!

If we are TRULY to have unchanging morals, then we MUST use LOGIC! Logic would dictate that we live our lives by UNIVERSAL maxims which are tested against a Categorical Imperative, if our maxims fail logically, then they can't be morals. We must not act morally because of the consequences (right or wrong) of our actions, but because we're truly convinced that the action is right.
SnoopyDaniels

Pro

I'm afraid you failed to rebut or even address any of my original points. The Greeks, while not Christian or Jewish, had religious beliefs of their own, and many if not all of the philosophers you mentioned believed in a higher power. Socrates was killed because he pronounced before the leaders of Athens that his reasoning had led him to the conclusion that there was one God.

Furthermore, I never said that people can't create for themselves a kind of "ethical code", but that without the existence of a higher power there couldn't possibly be any such thing as absolute right and wrong, and that this "ethical code" derived from one's own reasoning and observation would have no moral force. The concept of right and wrong has no meaning outside of the existence of a moral authority, a concept which originated with religious faith.

Your second point is a complete red herring. The argument is that without the presupposition of a supreme being, there are no such things as morals, and thus the only morals, by definition, must be derived from a source which at least CLAIMS to be divinely inspired. The argument that the Bible's divine inspiration is in question, or is not widely accepted, does not change that fact.

Your second argument is that since, Biblically, different situations have resulted in different moral choices, the Bible changes, which means that it, too does not meet the requirements for an absolute moral authority. However, while the Bible contains different situations, it does not follow from this that the Bible itself changes. In fact, the Bible has been remarkably preserved and remained completely unchanged for thousands of years. The fact that the Bible shows people faced with moral decisions in vastly different situations only serves to give us a more thorough picture of what is right and wrong. It certainly does not change the fact that without a moral authority to dictate what is right and wrong, "morality" itself is an empty word.

Furthermore, even the system you propose changes situationally. If someone was going to kill you because they reasoned that by killing you they could take your stuff, and since you have said it is unacceptable for you to die, then you would be justified in killing him to prevent your own death. Therefore, while killing is wrong in one instance, it is permissible in another. That does not mean that it is not absolutely wrong to murder someone in cold blood, it simply means that in certain situations, it is permissible to kill someone.

For example, the Bible says that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Within marriage, the very same act, sex, is perfectly permissible, and even sacred. That does not constitute a changing moral absolute. If the Bible said that sex outside of marriage is wrong today, then tomorrow it said it says it is permissible, then the moral absolute would have changed. There would be no reason to believe that today's moral code is any more absolute than yesterday's turned out to be.

Kant's argument is very reasonable, but, once again, without a moral authority, nothing derived by his or anyone else's reasoning can possibly constitute morality. What you have demonstrated is that human reasoning can often be used to corroborate actual morals dictated in sacred texts. However, without the existence of a higher power, such reasoning only results in "things we should not do because it benefits society as a whole" and not "morals," things that are right or wrong in a profound, fundamental, and authoritative sense.

You cite logic as a valid way to derive morals. However, since life is all just an accident, our evolution the product of randomness, what leads you to believe that the thinking process we call "logic" is reliable or authoritative in any sense? What leads you to conclude that our "logic" is valid, or accurately reflects reality? Logic itself is thrown into question by the non-existence of a Creator, who DESIGNED logic for some productive purpose.

Your claim that Christians do what is right and wrong out of selfishness also does not change the fact that without a moral authority, there is no such thing as right and wrong in the first place. That aside, I would also ask you how you could possibly know what motivates Christians to do what they do. If the threat of hell is all it takes, then everyone in the world would be Christian. Furthermore, how do you know what constitutes a moral motive as opposed to an immoral motive? If morality is determined by motive, who determines which motives are right and which ones are wrong?

Be careful to remember what I'm NOT arguing. I'm NOT arguing that reason and logic cannot often lead you to correct conclusions about morality, I'm arguing that the concept of morality is logically inseperable from belief in a higher power. The only reason you are now able to conceptualize morality is because of our religious heritage. Eventually I hope it will occur to you, and those like you, that your sense of right and wrong, which you hold up as a matter of pride, did not originate with you and your reasoning. Reasoning may lead you to confirm what the Bible has said for thousands of years, but it will never infuse in you the still, small voice which tells you when something is deeply wrong, or beautifully right.
Debate Round No. 2
kgantchev

Con

Yet again, my opponent has failed to prove, as set forth by the topic of this debate, that morals cannot possibly be obtained from any other source but a religious source (and more precisely the Bible). I have provided sufficient evidence to support my original argument, so I now will offer some rebuttals to my opponent's claims.

"The Greeks, while not Christian or Jewish, had religious beliefs of their own, and many if not all of the philosophers you mentioned believed in a higher power. Socrates was killed because... his reasoning had led him to the conclusion that there was one God."

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Rebuttal 1- Greeks, Religious Beliefs, Socrates
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My opponent has stated that Greeks had religious beliefs, many philosophers believed in a higher power, and Socrates came to a conclusion that there is one God; therefore morals are based on religion. While the stated facts are SOMEWHAT correct and the conclusion was wrong for the following reason:
A.Ancient Greeks were monotheistic and their Gods were not a source of morality, rather the Ancient Greeks had formulated their own set of morals using other sources.
B.The fact that philosophers in Ancient Greece acknowledged the existence of a higher power does not suggest that they believe that higher power is in fact a source for morals.
C.While Socrates concluded that there is one God behind all Greek Gods, this does not even imply that he believed that God is the source of morals, as a matter of fact we can CLEARLY see that Socrates believed the source is within us:
"I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others." (Socrates)

Socrates is most famous for the "Socratic Method" and for "… this, Socrates is customarily regarded as the father of Western ethics or moral philosophy."

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Rebuttal 2- Ethical Code and Absolute Morality
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In response to my opponents following statement:
"The argument is that without the presupposition of a supreme being, there are no such things as morals, and thus the only morals, by definition, must be derived from a source which at least CLAIMS to be divinely inspired. The argument that the Bible's divine inspiration is in question, or is not widely accepted, does not change that fact."
First, by DEFINITION morals are NOT divinely inspired (see the definition in Round 1).

Second, if the Bible is NOT divinely inspired, then your argument fails. Using the Bible for your morals when you know that there is a possibility it's not divinely inspired leaves you with the problem that you might live your life with morals which are wrong. If something CLAIMS to be divinely inspired, it doesn't mean that it IS!

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Rebuttal 3- Bible Unchanged for 1000s of years
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I never suggested that the Bible has changed; I can even agree to some extent that it has not, but the interpretations of the bible have changed SIGNIFICANTLY. My point was that people reading the Bible can come to two completely opposite conclusions about a particular moral behavior, as shown in my Capital Punishment example. Not just historically, but people at the current time can conclude completely opposite moral values, on the same subject, on the same day!

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Rebuttal 4- Situational morality
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You suggest that one can reason to kill me for one's own benefit, but based on Kant's methodology their reasoning will be wrong. They couldn't have possibly reasoned correctly to kill anybody. In regards to self-defense, you can still defend yourself without killing your attacker, but in case you have no other option:

A. Any action is paired with a motivation, so if you are going to kill somebody, then your motivation has to be such that ANYBODY else in the same situation can do the same action without producing an illogical moral. THIS IS VERY, VERY, VERY important! You can kill another person because they're denying your right to live, so in such situation you can ONLY kill people who are about to kill you. This can be applied by ANY person and that would not be illogical.

B. One can use Kant's methods to produce morals, but we don't necessarily have to use Kant's philosophy of duty, which is an entirely different philosophy.

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Rebuttal 5- No morality without moral authority
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Moral Authority, in the sense of God or a spiritual being, is not required for the existence of morals. As I showed, and even my opponent agrees that Kant's argument is reasonable, and that morals can be derived.

"What you have demonstrated is that human reasoning can often be used to corroborate actual morals dictated in sacred texts."

What I have demonstrated is that people can produce morals EVEN WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING at a sacred text, so the more logical conclusion is that the morals in a "sacred text" are derived from our own logic, rather than from a higher power and the "sacred text" actually corroborates the fact that we can use our own logic and reasoning to produce morals.

"Logic itself is thrown into question by the non-existence of a Creator, who DESIGNED logic for some productive purpose."

Perhaps the Creator designed logic so we can reason our own morals… But this requires that you believe a Creator actually did something, of which you, nor I, have any proof. Again, the more logical thing to believe is that logic is a product of the evolutionary process. But evolution, nor creation, is the topic of this debate!

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Rebuttal 6-"Without a moral authority, there is no such thing as right and wrong in the first place"
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I think I have already provided enough evidence to show that moral authority is not required in order to know what's right and wrong.

On Christian motivations:
What we get from the Bible is that if one acts morally, then they'll go to Heaven, and if they don't act morally, they'll go to Hell. Obviously the motivation is to go to Heaven and stay out of Hell for the sake of one's own benefit! People are enticed to act morally by offering rewards, much like you would offer your dog a treat for doing something right! The effect is similar!

Moral vs Immoral Motive:
I hope you see a pattern in my arguments by now and you could predict that I would say "reason" and "logic".

"If morality is determined by motive, who determines which motives are right and which ones are wrong?"
See Rebuttal 4 for that answer. The motive has to be such that everybody can apply it in the same situation without a contradiction.

----------------------
CONCLUSION
----------------------

I have demonstrated that our religious heritage has nothing to do with producing morals, an example of which are the Ancient Greeks, who did not believe that their Gods provided any moral guidance and still had morals which are even applauded today. While my opponent is arguing that morality is logically inseparable from belief in a higher power, he has failed to provide ANY logical reason which would lead us to believe so! My opponent would like us to think that without God, without "ultimate truth", we have no reason to act morally, but I disagree.

Personally, I believe that people are selfish, that's why the Bible also gives us selfish reasons to act morally (i.e. avoid hell or go to heaven). In reality if we should act morally because it will benefit EVERYBODY around us, which will consequently benefit us as well! This will lead to EVERYBODY'S maximum benefit! This is a logical conclusion!

If a person is TRULY selfish it has an interesting side effect: morality! Morality helps us fulfill our desired to live good by ensuring everybody around us lives good, too!
SnoopyDaniels

Pro

"My opponent has stated that Greeks had religious beliefs, many philosophers believed in a higher power, and Socrates came to a conclusion that there is one God; therefore morals are based on religion."

That is a completely false representation of what I said. It was not an argument that morals are based on religion. Rather, it was a rebuttal of your argument that the fact that the Greeks behaved morally and didn't have the Bible proves that morals can be derived from something other than religious faith. Their religion and their morality predate their philosophy.

"rather the Ancient Greeks had formulated their own set of morals using other sources."

And yet their system of morality predated their philosophy. How did they maintain a civilized society before the advent of philosophy?

"The fact that philosophers in Ancient Greece acknowledged the existence of a higher power does not suggest that they believe that higher power is in fact a source for morals."

Not that they obtained their moral code from that higher power, but that they recognized that morality cannot exist appart from a higher power. You will not find one materialist Greek philosopher. All of them, in one way or another, believed in some form of the metaphysical. This does not prove that morals must be derived from a religious text, but it refutes the idea that their morals were necessarily derived from reason. They believed in the existence of morals, and believed that reason could lead them to moral conclusions. That does not mean that reason is the source of morality. The quote you supplied has absolutely NOTHING to do with identifying the source of morality. Your statement that a monotheist is considered the father of modern moral philosophy does nothing to strengthen your case.

"First, by DEFINITION morals are NOT divinely inspired (see the definition in Round 1)."

I never said that morals not divinely inspired by definition. I said that morals by definition, REQUIRE the existence of absolute right and wrong, which REQUIRES the existence of a moral authority. It is not explicit, but implicit in the definition. If, as you say, morals are merely what we perceive to be right and wrong, then in REALITY there is no right and wrong. If that's what you're trying to argue, then this debate was never meant for you in the first place. If morals are purely a matter of perception, then all I would have to do to circumvent them would be to say that I perceive right and wrong differently. We couldn't possibly condemn anyone for doing something we "perceive" to be wrong, since they may simply have a different perception. Once again, morality MUST exist outside of ourselves or nowhere at all.

"Second, if the Bible is NOT divinely inspired, then your argument fails. Using the Bible for your morals when you know that there is a possibility it's not divinely inspired leaves you with the problem that you might live your life with morals which are wrong."

Once again, you're missing the whole point. Regardless of whether or not the Bible is divinely inspired, we KNOW that ethics derived from reason aren't divinely inspired. Therefore, there is a 100% chance that you will live your life according to a bogus moral code if you go by pure reasoning, and a 50% chance of living your life according to bogus morals if you live according to the Bible. Furthermore, if the Bible isn't divinely inspired, and there is no God, then there are no morals and it doesn't matter how you live your life in the first place.

"I never suggested that the Bible has changed; I can even agree to some extent that it has not, but the interpretations of the bible have changed SIGNIFICANTLY. My point was that people reading the Bible can come to two completely opposite conclusions about a particular moral behavior, as shown in my Capital Punishment example."

This does not change the fact that there is a CORRECT interpretation of the Bible. Furthermore, this is not a reflection of the unreliability of the Bible, it's a reflection of the unreliability of HUMAN REASONING to come to consistent conclusions!

"You suggest that one can reason to kill me for one's own benefit, but based on Kant's methodology their reasoning will be wrong. They couldn't have possibly reasoned correctly to kill anybody."

Let me give you a refresher since you have obviously forgotten what we were talking about. You said that the Bible cannot possibly be a moral authority since it presents different situations in which something is right in one case, and wrong in another. I gave you an example of a situation in which YOUR OWN logical moral system (which I noticed has changed several times in the course of this debate) justifies killing. Therefore, if the fact that something is considered wrong in one case and right in another totally invalidates a moral system, we both have a serious problem.

"Moral Authority, in the sense of God or a spiritual being, is not required for the existence of morals. As I showed, and even my opponent agrees that Kant's argument is reasonable, and that morals can be derived."

Without a moral authority, Kant's "morals" are simply societal expedients, things that we MUST do if civilized society is to exist. SOMETHING other than the physical world must exist in order for right and wrong to exist, because nowhere in the physical world is their any indication of what is absolutely right and absolutely wrong. If there is no moral authority, morals are merely a perception of the mind, as you said earlier, which means they aren't REAL. If they aren't real then they are imaginary. If they are imaginary then they are not binding, and therefore, they are not morals!

"What I have demonstrated is that people can produce morals EVEN WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING at a sacred text, so the more logical conclusion is that the morals in a "sacred text" are derived from our own logic, rather than from a higher power and the "sacred text" actually corroborates the fact that we can use our own logic and reasoning to produce morals."

Methinks you have far too much confidence in human reasoning. You have already said that human reasoning often leads people to completely different conclusions over the meaning of various scriptures. How can you possibly be certain that your method of reasoning is reliable to the extent that it will always lead you to the correct moral conclusion? Furthermore, if morals exist, then a moral authority (God) must exist, and as you have already said, if God exists then he would "just tell us." I maintain that he DID tell us, in the form of the Bible. Thus, the Bible can be reasonably assumed to be a moral authority. Even if you CAN rely on your own reasoning to produce correct morals in every situation, why re-invent the wheel?

"Perhaps the Creator designed logic so we can reason our own morals… But this requires that you believe a Creator actually did something, of which you, nor I, have any proof. Again, the more logical thing to believe is that logic is a product of the evolutionary process."

Once again you have managed to completely miss my point. If logic is the product of evolution, and evolution is random, how on earth can we rely on it for ANYTHING other than SURVIVAL? My point was that the only way we CAN rely on logic is to assume that it was DESIGNED by an omniscient being. I wasn't arguing over where our logic actually came from, but the implications of assuming evolution is responsible for logic.

I don't know what you're getting at by assuming you know what motivates Christians. Besides, now you're telling me in the comment box that selfishness is the source of morality. You can't have it both ways. If morality is determined by motive then selfishness can't possibly be the motive force for morality. Read the comments, people. This guy can't even figure out what he himself believes.
Debate Round No. 3
96 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by kgantchev 8 years ago
kgantchev
"kgantchev, one more thing. Is your alter-ego TheRaven, mjphillips, fattyonmatty, fatmatthers, or all four?"
What?!?
Posted by debatist 8 years ago
debatist
kgantchev, one more thing. Is your alter-ego TheRaven, mjphillips, fattyonmatty, fatmatthers, or all four?
Posted by SnoopyDaniels 8 years ago
SnoopyDaniels
"First: Look who's winning the debate! LOL"

I don't know where to begin with this one. For starters, it's not an argument. Second, what does it matter how many people have voted for you when you yourself know you're wrong? Third, since when does the fact that a majority of people believe something make it right? You don't honestly believe that everyone who voted on this debate actually read each and every argument and carefully weighed them against each other, do you?

"Second: I knew you were going to run with it :) and that's why I posted the comment immediately after it... your definition of Objective morality is still wrong. LOL"

Even though you can't even begin to explain how. You are using (I believe intentionally) a possible definition of "objective" that has no relevance to this context. If you were referring to a person's opinion as being "objective" then your definition fits, but in the context of a philosophical discussion, "objective" is synonymous to "absolute." I think you know this as well as I do but that you have nothing else to appeal to.
Posted by debatist 8 years ago
debatist
"I didn't claim that buddy,"

One, I'm not your buddy.
Two, yes you did. You asserted that in order to hold the moral "Thou Shalt Not Kill" and believe self defense etc. was allowed, you had to apply an interpretation thus making the Bible subjective. No interpretation required or proposed on Snoopy's part because he never claimed that statement in isolation was an absolute moral to begin with. You did that. He believes the Bible is the final authoritative objective Word on morality - not an isolated sentence.

It's one thing to argue with a liar, and quite another to argue with a liar that can't keep his story straight from comment to comment.

I'm done here.
Posted by kgantchev 8 years ago
kgantchev
"It's interesting that now that you have realized that your assertions about the definition of objective morality have been proven false"
First: Look who's winning the debate! LOL

Second: I knew you were going to run with it :) and that's why I posted the comment immediately after it... your definition of Objective morality is still wrong. LOL

Are you really THAT desperate? You're clinching to every single straw that you can get... WOW!

"you have now invented an entirely new concept of morality which you refer to as "absolute and objective" morality."

Bud, YOU advocated that the Bible contains morals that are BOTH Objective and Absolute, I'm not proposing a new term! If your morals are both Objective and Absolute, then the constraints of these terms apply to your morals in full force.

LOL OK, I have better things to do than go down this slope with you. Have a good one, and thanks for the debate!
Posted by kgantchev 8 years ago
kgantchev
"I just did. Pretending I did not is kinda...dense." and "That is full of straw yet still does a pitiful job covering the barn-yard manure of your argument."
Thanks, I'm see that you have reached the prime of your maturity level.

"Mosaic law (just as divinely giving by G-d as the 10 commandments) has a whole lot more to say on killing, justified and not, self defense, etc. than that one statement. To claim Snoopy is advocating your sound byte in isolation is the whole morality on killing and life is about as obtuse as it gets."

I didn't claim that buddy, I used these commandments to show that the Bible is definitely not advocating Objective and Absolute morals, as a matter of fact it's the opposite: you NEED to read the rest of the Bible in order to put these morals in perspective. This makes them SUBJECTIVE morals!

"Again, you are wrong to project a position nobody is taking."
Because I didn't project that position, YOU on the other hand are suggesting that I did when clearly I didn't! Looks like you need to take the quotes in the beginning of this comment and apply them to your own argument.
Posted by SnoopyDaniels 8 years ago
SnoopyDaniels
It's interesting that now that you have realized that your assertions about the definition of objective morality have been proven false, you have now invented an entirely new concept of morality which you refer to as "absolute and objective" morality.

I will say this one more time. The fact that some people MISINTERPRET Biblical morality does not make that morality subjective, it makes the people responsible for misinterpreting it wrong. If Biblical morals were subjective, then there would be no such thing as misinterpreting Biblical morals. You COULD claim that such a fact makes Biblical morals ambiguous, but that is a completely separate debate and has nothing to do with objectivity vs. subjectivity.
Posted by debatist 8 years ago
debatist
kgantchev: "How so? Show me WHERE is the fault in the argument I made."
I just did. Pretending I did not is kinda...dense.

kgantchev: "Specifically show the position which he didn't argue and I said that he did"

Ok, since your memory doesn't extend past your last comment...

kgantchev: "If you take the commandment "Thou shall not kill" you will never be able to justify killing in self defense if this moral was Absolute AND Objective, it's impossible for you to do so BY DEFINITION!"

That is full of straw yet still does a pitiful job covering the barn-yard manure of your argument. Mosaic law (just as divinely giving by G-d as the 10 commandments) has a whole lot more to say on killing, justified and not, self defense, etc. than that one statement. To claim Snoopy is advocating your sound byte in isolation is the whole morality on killing and life is about as obtuse as it gets.

Again, you are wrong to project a position nobody is taking.
Posted by kgantchev 8 years ago
kgantchev
"Again, you are just playing with words and context."
How so? Show me WHERE is the fault in the argument I made.

"The Bible in general and Mosaic law in particular has a WHOLE LOT more to say on that topic than your sound byte."
How does that even address the implications of Objective, Absolute and Subjective morality?

"You are wrong to imply and project positions that no one is advocating."
My opponent specifically advocated that Biblical morals are Objective AND Absolute. I didn't project anything, he clearly suggested he's arguing that Biblical morals are both Objective AND Absolute... Specifically show the position which he didn't argue and I said that he did.
Posted by debatist 8 years ago
debatist
"The fact remains, you take a basic commandment such as "Thou shall not kill" and there is NO WAY you can justify killing in self defense, nor can you determine if it applies to humans, bus, cattle, or any other living thing without making it a SUBJECTIVE MORAL!"

Again, you are just playing with words and context.
The Bible in general and Mosaic law in particular has a WHOLE LOT more to say on that topic than your sound byte.

You are wrong to imply and project positions that no one is advocating. That's called straw, and, from all the "arguments" and "refutations" recorded in this comment section, I gather that it is your building material of choice.
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