Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On The Question Of Yahweh And The Slaughter of The Canaanite Unborn Fetuses: Dear Anonymous - Part One. My Response to a Recent Commenter on This Blog

This is part one of my response to a recent commenter on my blog. His/her comments went into a great deal of detail. As to respond in a scholarly fashion, I have chosen to write a series of blog posts in order to give a more thorough response. This is part 1. Enjoy.

Dear Anonymous,

If you have read my blog at all, you will notice that I have allowed many people who oppose my views to post comments--as long as they stick to the arguments, and do not fall prey to ad hominem, red herrings, etc. I also made it through your entire letter, which has prompted me to write this post (more will follow), as a few lines in a typical response would not do justice to what you had written.

You asked me if I thought all of the Canaanites that were slaughtered were innocent. (Deuteronomy 7:1-2) According to many Christians, the unborn are "sinless"--they are not yet born--so even if one pregnant mother, and one unborn fetus was innocent, your god would be unjust in causing its death.  On the other hand, many Christians also follow Augustine's concept of original sinThis is the teaching that all people who are born, inherit the sinful state into which Adam and Eve passed due to their sin within the Garden of Eden.  Some argue that this happens at conception.  As a result of being born/conceived in sin, all humans are depraved and have a corrupted nature. I will go into more detail and present arguments against Augustine's concept of original sin in another blog post.  Like Pelagius did, I will show that Augustine's concept of original sin is inconsistent with the Bible and that it is a false doctrine. Furthermore, Augustine's concept of original sin is inconsistent with the notion of free will. Ethically speaking, it would be morally unjust for the Christian god to punish anyone for a deed they did not commit.

According to Christianity, the Christian god is all knowing.  Thus, the Christian god knows if a fetus will grow into an evil monster, so perhaps, just as you say about the Canaanite slaughter, i.e. those children could grow to be evil monsters if they were allowed to live; those fetuses that are aborted could also have grown into evil people, and your god is orchestrating their termination because as you say, he knows best "in the larger sense." Just like the Canaanite children could grow to be evil monsters if they were allowed to live, so could the aborted fetuses have grown to be evil monsters, so your god did not allow them to be born. Furthermore, the question then arises as to why your god allowed "evil monsters" such as Hitler to be born in the first place, who then went on to kill more than 6 million of his "chosen people." It makes no logical sense that an all-good, all knowing, and all powerful god would kill an entire group of "potentially evil" people, but fail to eliminate the fetus of one of the worst mass murderers in human history--the murderer of his own so-called "chosen" people!!  As you say in regards to the slaughtered Canaanite children:

"...those who still had a chance to love him were in danger of either being affected by this hate or destroyed by it. What if this being knew that the Canaanite children who were innocent at that time would have grown into a culture so predisposed against God that they too never would have had a chance to know him for who he really is and all of them would have chosen other than god. Is it possible that God actually spared their eternal lives by removing them from their temporal ones?"

Here, we can assume that if Yahweh exists, he would know, and since he knows, why would he not get rid of someone like Hitler? We can also apply what you say to the aborted fetuses. By what you say then, it would be possible that your God is sparing their eternal lives by removing them from their temporal ones. And since the bible tells us that "...EVERY decision is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33) this would be his will--according to what the bible tells us. Everything is determined by your god--including abortion, which you claim is the murder of the innocents.

You speak about me hating god--but I cannot hate something that has not been shown to exist--that would be like hating Santa Claus. What I do hate however, are the consequences of a belief system that encourages "moral laxity" as it promotes the idea that someone else (Jesus) pays for the mistakes of others. While there may be no god, there are many religious people, and  as the Christian philosopher Pelagius pointed out long ago, when people do not have to take moral responsibility for their actions, and are told they are "born sinners" and cannot help but to do bad things--and will be forgiven for any indiscretion as long as they repent (well--except blasphemy!)--this leads to moral laxity. It leads to a society full of people who believe they cannot help but to commit adultery, rape, murder, etc.--because they believe they were born bad--but it's ok because Jesus takes the consequences for their actions on the cross. When there is no personal responsibility, and no consequences--we have a society in chaos--which is exactly the case. There is also no justice for the victims of Christian crimes in this life. Furthermore, religious people of all faiths have caused the death and torture of millions of innocent people. From Chinese foot binding, to the cutting off of the clitoris of women in Africa, to the Christian murders of the so-called "witches" and the slaughter of innocent South and North American Indians, and Africans--my goal is to prevent future atrocities, and "moral laxity." To repeat, what I hate are the consequences of a belief that encourages "moral laxity," and unnecessary pain and suffering.

As for allowing small hurts to, as you say, prevent bigger hurts (as in slaughtering babies to prevent them from growing into evil monsters) --any kind of "hurting" would be unnecessary for an all-good, all-knowing and all-powerful god. If god is all-knowing, all-good and all-powerful, there should be no evil. ie., no "hurts." A possibility, that Descartes pointed out, is that Christians ought give up one of these attributes in order to avoid the problem of evil.

Of course, if one gives up the attribute that Yahweh is all good, it points to what might be the best explanation--Yahweh is a sadist. It would appear, via the writings of the bible, that one explanation could be that Yahweh is a sadist, and gets off on causing undo pain and suffering. According to the bible, if your god was real, he orchestrates a great deal of unnecessary suffering. We can say this because if Yahweh were all-powerful, he could just snap his almighty fingers to prevent any type of hurt--and if he were all-knowing, he would know how to prevent any type of pain and suffering--but he does not. Furthermore, the bible tells us that "...EVERY decision is from the Lord," therefore, he is responsible for the pain and suffering, resulting in the problem of evil.

Life is not something that as you said, is something to be "deserved." We are all born into life, which we know is limited--making it all the more precious. We must also co-exist, which is why societies form moral and ethical guidelines--no gods required. We have families, we love, we learn, and we live. This is life as many of us know it, but for others, life is nothing but a struggle for survival. Due only to the circumstances of their birth, many starve, or are dying of curable diseases. Yes, children that pray to your god every day, suffer and die needlessly, and I could never worship a god who is "bountiful" to men such as Benny Hinn (who was outed as fraud on "The Fifth Estate"--a Canadian news program) yet does nothing for the weak and suffering children in Africa and around the world. How bizarre that your god is given thanks when a quarterback throws the winning touchdown, but nothing is said of his responsibility when the innocent are allowed to suffer. If there was such a thing as an eternity with a god, I certainly would not want to spend it worshiping the god the bible describes as being narcissistic, egotistical, angry, vengeful and jealous. I prefer the idea of doing what is right in this life, via Normative Ethical Theories, as we do not require a god for objective morality-- and leaving that legacy for those that follow. That to me, would be a form of "eternal life."

Part 2 will be written in the coming days. Again, thank you for your comments--they have provided me with great fodder for the blog.

1 comment:

A is for Atheist said...

Dear Jim (aka anonymous)

I am posting your comments and my replies one at a time on my other blog, Conversations with Christians so that it will be easier for readers to follow the conversation. You can find the first post here:

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