Once More Into the Breach

Finding Nonsense and Beating it Sensible

My Photo
Name:
Location: Virginia

I used to watch TV news and yell at the box. Now I jump up from the couch, sit at the computer and begin to type laughing maniacally saying "Wait until they read this." It's more fun than squashing tadpoles



Free Kareem


Subscribe to Once More Into the Breach

http://www.wikio.com

Friday, February 24, 2006

Truth

Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy

What is truth? The age old question. In the post modern world it has become a great dilemma.

Few people believe in absolutes so a concept of relative truth has evolved. Yet there has been demonstrated by science that there are laws of physics. They are called laws because science has demonstrated that certain actions will result in predictable and repeatable reactions. The law of gravity basically says what goes up must come down. Simplified but true. There is no ambiguity here. When one understands the law and works within its parameters great things can be accomplished. To defy the law courts disaster. So an absolute exists.

Truth to be truth in its absolute sense must be independent of opinion. The laws of science remain regardless of what anyone thinks about them. They exist outside the objects they govern. But what about moral truth?

Here is where to debate about truth centers. The post modern mind says what is true or right for an individual depends on his experience and viewpoint. Though a widely held view its reliance on the capricious nature of the individual makes any attempt to define morality impossible. The great majority of individuals will agree that theft is immoral. Along comes a pure communist who believes that ownership of personal property is immoral. How can one condemn his actions when he takes the property of other? Is he not acting according to his own moral understanding? for moral truth to exist it must exist outside the persons it governs. Where does such a source come from?

A document such as the Constitution of the United States could be drafted and every one could agree to abide by its tenets. When there is a dispute the document can be referred to as the standard for behavior. But this is still an inadequate source for absolute truth. At any time a gathering of individuals can by agreement alter the document. Though that may not happen for generations, it still makes it impossible to always predict a cause and effect relationship as in the laws of physics.

When I purchase a new car I receive a manual. This manual lays out the details of how the car can and must be used to preserve the warranties made by the manufacturer. The manufacturer by virtue of having produced the car and offered the warranty as a condition of the sale has every right to ask me to abide by the rules in the manual if I expect the warranties to be honored. This is the "moral truth" governing my behavior as it pertains to my ownership of the car. It exists outside of my opinion and has predictable results according to my actions.

For moral truth to exist it must emanate from the source of our existence. This is the essence of the struggle between the Atheist and the Theist. The Theist finds a moral truth from the direction of a creator God, the Atheist looks within himself and or others. The Theist finds order established as agreement with the creator is made, the Atheist must compromise with the capricious nature of humanity to find a consensus which must be redefined as necessity dictates. For the Theist there will always be moral truth, for the Atheist there can never be moral truth.


GOD or NOT Carnival
carnival #9

14 Comments:

|
Anonymous PHenry said...

I, for one, find some truths to be 'self evident'.

But that is just my opinion...

And the idea of scientific truth is under debate lately, see global warming and evolution threads...

4:54 PM  
Blogger jpe said...

You really won't find many people that think simple propositional truths are context-dependent. This is just silliness on your part.

It's also gibberish that an atheist can't believe in moral truths. Some think said truths are hard-wired in us; others think moral truths are derived from pure reason; others aren't sure of the origin but know, nonetheless, that some moral propositions are true.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Xyba said...

An Atheist can believe in moral truth, but not in an absolute sense.

The hard wired argument sounds too much like an Intelligent Design position to be purely Atheist. Better as an Agnostic approach.

As I pointed out, moral truth can be a consensus position codified as law, but it cannot be an absolute because the authority by which it exists is by those it governs.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Belathor said...

Therefore, it meaningless to say God is good.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Xyba said...

Please elaborate, are you saying because an Athieist chooses a philosophy that does not allow for an absoute understanding of moral truth that it's God's fault?

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Belathor said...

No. If God created everything, then it is meaningless to apply morality to God because God created it. I am refering to Euthyphro's Dilemma.

http://www.skepticwiki.org/wiki/index.php/Divine_Command_Theory

12:23 PM  
Anonymous stupid anonymous said...

OP said:
"The Theist finds a moral truth from the direction of a creator God, the Atheist looks within himself and or others."

The theist looks within himself to determine the direction of the creator God, however, so they're being just as subjective when it comes to morals. For example, a Christian uses subjective interpretation of the Bible to determine moral values. An atheist uses subjective interpretation of the world around him. What's the difference, really?

4:58 PM  
Blogger Xyba said...

Belathor,

Somehow the comment I posted earlier this week never made it here, anyway.

I read the link you provided and did not find that it applied here. I'm not saying that Atheists are not or cannot be moral, many are. What I point out is they cannot have an absolute moral truth that governs all situations. Even with a document such as the constitution the capricious nature of man can and will amend the document to eventually becoming something different. To be absolute it cannot change. Your point, that God cannot be called good if he is the author of moral truth is semantics. It has no effect on the reality of good and evil.

stupid anonymous,

The Theist should have some objective standard such as the Christian Bible, Moslem Koran, Hindu Bhatta-Gieta etc. The looking inward is not a act of a personal interpretation of what scripture says, but should be an examination of personal behavior in light of the text. Those who seek a personal interpretation may be forcing the text to say what they want rather than what it says.

An example of how this is done. The Bible has a verse that says " Ask and you shall receive." Taken by itself this would lead one to believe that God will give one anything one wishes, even if it were sinful. The error is in removing the portion of text from the whole of the work. By examining the whole of scripture one finds that this verse pertains to the desire of the believer to please God and asking for that resources necessary for them to do so. Often those resources are for a transformation of the believer's character more that some material enhancement.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous stupid anonymous said...

xyba said:
"The Theist should have some objective standard such as the Christian Bible, Moslem Koran, Hindu Bhatta-Gieta etc. The looking inward is not a act of a personal interpretation of what scripture says, but should be an examination of personal behavior in light of the text."

You're talking about what should be. I'm talking about what is. But since humans are always fallible/"sinful" how can they ever be trusted to objectively follow/interpret one of these texts?
Take the Christian Bible. Since humans are always fallible/"sinful" how can they ever be trusted to objectively follow/interpret this book? Especially since the Bible is such a long book and it's hard or impossible to tell which parts are meant as historical accounts and which are supposed to be moral lessons (without subjective judgment). Is the part where God tells the Israelites to slaughter non-belivers in their midst meant for believers today? What about the "Great Commission"?

Let me ask you: what church congregation, when preaching morals from scripture, takes a verse in its entire context? None. It would be impossible, the context is more than 2000 pages.
Then there is the problem of translation errors (hate your family to follow Jesus?), of course, and seemingly contradictory verses which take bend-over-backwards apologetics to harmonize.

So even theists with objective standards of morality contained in texts can not hope to look at these texts objectively and find one true interpretation.

One another note, look at these two passages:

"If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell."
-Mark 9:43

"Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.'"
-Genesis 21:2

Now read this news article:
http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/02/25/schlosser.trial.ap/index.html?section=cnn_topstories

9:01 AM  
Blogger Xyba said...

stupid anonymous,

Your examples really warrant a separate post so the response will generate more comments. As for the article you suggested it is more an example of how the mind driven to insanity will justify its twisted actions. To argue generally against the veracity of scripture with a specific example is contrary to logical progression. It is more of a case for a post on the proper reading of a text, not just scripture, but lit in general.

I will post a response this week.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous stupid anonymous said...

How can you say that the lady was insane? Was she not acting within specific Biblical precedent? And didn't she hear God's voice? Other Christian claim to hear God's voice, are they insane too?

Now from an atheistic perspective I don't think Jesus was being literal when he said to cut off limbs, etc. to avoid hell, but you never know with God. He works in mysterious ways, I'm told.

And really that's the whole problem. How can we properly interpret scripture when it's supposed author (God) doesn't think or act like a human? From a Christian point of view, interpreting the Bible is not necessarily the same as interpreting literature at all. Literature has historical context, God is timeless. The authors of literature have human motivations, God does not.
And anyway, even with literature you can have many disparate interpretations.

I'll await your expanded response.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

I agree with Stupid Anon.

I have spent the last few months debating the logic of belief with Christians, and blogging my conclusions.

My main conclusion is: Religion defies logic. It cannot stand up to rational scrutiny.

Yet, billions of people persist with it and continue to argue it has a fully rational place in the modern world.

In fact, they argue it is THE only rational explanation for the world.

To suggest that there is some ultimate truth contained within the words of Bible is absurd.

As I and others like the previous commentor have said, to make a judgement of the value of the Bible, you must have a value system outside the Bible with which to judge it.

The Bible cannot judge itself.

If you are qualified to judge the word of God, what does that say about God?

If you are not qualified to judge the word of God, how are you able to chose the Bible in the first place? And how are you qualified to pronouce it to be the ultimate truth?

10:48 AM  
Blogger Xyba said...

"If you are qualified to judge the word of God, what does that say about God?"

Is says that God is able to condescend to communicate at a level we can understand.

"...how are you able to chose the Bible in the first place? And how are you qualified to pronouce it to be the ultimate truth?"

Understanding the attributes of God one can then judge which of the writings that claim inspiration is an extention of such.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Xyba said...

I put the post up last thursday, haven't heard from anyone. It's Here

10:41 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home