Very often, I am just taken aback by the consistent high quality of posts I turn up in a search across the web. Check out the posts I bring to your attention this week! The topics include Loftus’ “outsider test” of faith, John Carter, Farmers, Richard Dawkins, morality, and Rob Bell with the emergent church.
Loftus vs Marshall I: An Alphabet of Errors (on Science and Faith)– I can’t tell you how much I recommend this for reading. Loftus is one of the up-and-comers in the “New Atheist” movement, and he is in love with his own devised argument against theism: “The Outsider Test of Faith.” Marshall exposes numerous flaws in Loftus’ latest work on the topic, as well as showing many of the difficulties which persist in his position.
A “John Carter” Calendar: Twelve Months, Twelve Reasons to Visit Barsoom– A great look at reasons to watch “John Carter,” a film I feel has been very underrated. I have written an analysis of the movie itself, in which I discuss many of the themes found therein: “A Christian look at ‘John Carter.'”
God Made a Farmer (Video)– A video recognizing women farmers, which is itself a companion to the original, a Dodge Super Bowl commercial which lauds farmers generally but doesn’t show any women. That original version, itself very much worth watching, can be found here. I found the message here to be very endearing.
Richard Dawkins defends the moral goodness of infanticide and adultery– I’ll be one of the first to say atheists are perfectly capable of being moral people. God’s moral law is clear to anyone. Yet, once someone denies that grounding for morality, it is permissible for them to develop all kinds of random moral systems. Dawkins’ comments about infanticide and adultery are just one example of the kind of hedonism which can occur when the basis for morality is jettisoned.
The Submergent Church– A powerful image showing the way some “emergent” people have put holes into the notion of orthodoxy and thus undermined their own credibility. This is one of my favorite websites, and I highly recommend that you follow it: No Apologies Allowed.
Thanks for linking to my John Carter calendar. (I initially wanted to find some clever way to make a liturgical “lectionary” out of it, but decided that might be a bridge too far!)
Yes, a lectionary of John Carter could be taken the wrong way :). I loved the post. I really enjoyed the review on there too. Great flick. Even better book–though I’m saying that at the very end of the first one.
Isn’t Wintery Knight being a little unfairly dramatic when he refers to abortion as “infanticide” ? Perhaps he views abortion as infanticide, a view he’s entitled to, but he’s misrepresenting Dawkins’ sentiments by framing them that way.
By the way I am responding here because that blog’s owner has failed, on a number of occasions, to publish my questions, observations, or general comments. Evidently I am not alone in this experience:
On that note, I gotta give you props, JW, for allowing and responding to dissent on your site. It shows you’re a stronger debater than Mr. Knight.
With that said, you mentioned that “God’s moral law is clear to anyone.” This is a view I have struggled to understand both from the standpoint of a believer and an unbeliever. Can you expound on this a little, or link me to a previous post you’ve done on the subject?
In what way is God’s moral law revealed to mankind? Are we born with it? Do we glean / absorb it from the Bible?
Believers, too, have conducted themselves in awful ways. Take Dena Schlosser, for example, who cut off her kids arms and repeatedly chanted “Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord.”
Now, Dena’s conduct is no more indicative of Christians at large than Stalin’s conduct is indicative of atheists at large. My point is that morality remains relative even among those who believe it is derived from God. So it isn’t so clear after all.
The video WK links there has Dawkins saying “I would be in favor of infanticide.” The context he places that in is up to 1 year old if the baby has some kind of defect. Watch the video. He clearly states he is in favor of infanticide. So I don’t think it is unfairly dramatic. Dawkins himself says he would be in favor of infanticide in certain cases.
I do allow dissent on my site, but I have deleted comments in the past: those which contain cursing or which are clearly meant as insults rather than adding to the conversation. I think I follow my comment policy fairly strictly, and frankly, I think this site wouldn’t be as fun if I didn’t have people who disagreed with me commenting. I appreciate your own comments very much. I cannot comment on WK’s site, however, because I am not WK!
Regarding God’s moral law. Specifically, I refer to conscience, among other things. We know, intuitively, that murder is wrong. Common objection: “Ah, but what of those people without consciences?” Again, we know such people are sociopaths and indeed are morally abhorrent in their actions. Thus, it seems to me there is a moral law clear to everyone. Do we absorb it from the Bible? Not necessarily, but the Bible does speak to it: see Romans 1.
Regarding believers behaving in awful ways: that does not undermine the point I made in the post itself. My point is that once the grounding for morality is removed, then just about anything can be given as a moral system. We know that what Dena did was wrong because there is such a thing as objective morality; that morality can only be grounded on a theistic worldview. I have argued as such on multiple occasions. Most recently, here.
Note that your argument does not follow. What I said was that “God’s moral law is clear to anyone. Yet, once someone denies that grounding for morality, it is permissible for them to develop all kinds of random moral systems.”
People not following that moral law, or disagreeing about that moral law doesn’t make everything relative. Your argument seems to be that because people disagree, morality is relative. I ask you to be consistent in that stance. For example, if you really hold that position, why do you bother expressing moral outrage over Wintery Knight’s alleged squelching of comments? It seems to me you think there really is such a thing as right and wrong after all. Yes, this example is basic and disputable. Just about anything is disputable. However, I find that time and again those who argue relativism are not themselves relativistic when things happen to them.
I do want to say, after reading that post, that I don’t think I’m a better debater just because I moderate comments differently. It is also too easy for people to get all riled up because a comment gets missed or accidentally tossed in spam (I know for a fact I have deleted the spam folder and accidentally sent legitimate comments with them). We’re human, and mistakes happen. Again, I am not Wintery Knight so I can’t really comment for him, but I know for myself I’ve had people say essentially the same things when I have honestly just missed comments or had them die in the spam folder.
But yes, this is entirely an aside. It can be frustrating to have people claiming internet win points just because you missed or their comment went against your policy.