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The Big Picture

'Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.' -- Vizzini from "The Princess Bride"

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Rhology's "Scenario"

In my post "Atheist Morality" Rhology challenged me to this scenario: (Which he gave me permission to copy in its entirety, and is shown below.)

This is probably my last post before the Christ-mas holiday takes me away from the computer for a while. Merry Christ-mas!I'll celebrate by posing a slightly disgusting question for atheists to answer as they like:

Situation: You are traveling in a foreign land and go to an out-of-the-way picturesque temple. There you meet a native, there to offer religious piety. He finishes lighting
his candle and then greets you, speaking serviceable English. Edit: He introduces himself as Tkalim.He offers to tell you a little about his religion. You, being the courteous gentleman/lady you are, invite him to proceed. He tells you that he and his whole society worship 5 gods of the fish, air, earth, fire, and tree. He then tells you that part of his worship devotion is to go with all the men of his society to steal girls between the ages of 3-8 years from their families in the nearby large city, take them into the jungle, and rape them.

Once raped, the tribesmen leave the girls in the jungle as an offering to the tree god. He says he knows of no girl that has ever returned to the city to her family.

Once he finishes his story with calm voice and clear eyes, he falls silent.

I have something to say to him about this practice. What would YOU say? How would you try to explain that what he is doing is wrong? *Is* what he is doing wrong? On what basis?


I am sorry, I meant boring! First of all just how stable would this be as a moral imperative? Certainly the members of the society who had their girls stolen would be quite (and I say this delicately) pissed. Surely after enough time they would retaliate. This retaliation is what we commonly know as war. They would have a good reason, their girls were being raped. Now is war moral? If your self-preservation is on the line then yes. Clearly we have a situation where war is moral. But what of the other side. They were following a "moral" practice and now are fighting for their lives because of it. Is that moral? No. Because win or lose, they lose valuable resources: their men, their religious practice during the war, and much time and effort which could have been avoided.

As for the coda. How horrible is that for those on the side of morality? They say it is acceptable because none of the victims complained?? Read the Bible. It is rife with victims who never complained (most likely because they were women or children who were stoned to death); and yet died because of moral tenets that everyone today would call vicious and horrid (killing children because they were disobedient, killing virgin women because they were raped and their rapist wanted nothing to do with them, etc.)

Morality is sick when it comes from any supposed supernatural outside-of-human-experience source. Morality only becomes useful when it stands the test of time and human experience. That is precisely why things such as incest, slavery, and plural marriages are now immmoral when they used to be moral within the framework of the Bible, and things like interracial marriage and freedom are now moral when they used to be immoral.

I don't make these rules or decide morality. And it certainly isn't the Bible either. Society does, and it does so only after time and (human) experience determines it as moral. Morality is uniquely human, even in Christian and Jewish circles (which claim to use the same faux source -- God).

Oh, and as for any argument that I ignored/failed to respond to/provided no substance for, Rhology's actual argument. Take what I offer as fair and balanced. For I have never once claimed that because the bible never says anything about genetic manipulation or cloning it is ignoring or providing no substance on those specific issues. (I simply claim that the bible is a work of its times and that it predated real science -- thus has nothing to say on it at all).

Update: Rhology, I never imagined that you would consider your very own duaghters being raped a moral act, if that rape was performed in the name of some god (any god at all), whom of supposed supernatural origins, could never be contested via human experience that rape is bad. In other words, would you Rhology, allow your daughters to be raped if God ordained it, but would call it immoral if some other god ordained it, both being via supernatural origins.

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At April 08, 2008 12:15 PM, Blogger Rhology said...

Wow, I give you an inch and you take... nothing.
Look, put up or shut up time, my friend. Answer my questions or bloviate to yourself. A guy's got to know when to walk away.


At April 08, 2008 9:17 PM, Blogger jeffperado said...


Moving goalposts again I see. You asked me to evaluate your scenario. I did. It is now no longer time for me to respond to your continually moving goals... "You responded to my questions but what about [...]. Hah, since you still have this to answer to, I still win." (paraphrase of Rhology).

I am done. It is time for you to respond to my many unanswered queries. You still never explained why Paul was so wrong in 1 Cor 15:3-8. You have never explained why there can be no morality based on societal health. You only claim that morality can be gained/administered via some god, and that it requires blood/death/suicide as its sole means of being granted. So how is morality based on the preservation of a society not moral, but dictating specific behaviors and absolution based on blood/suicide is the only true moral path.

You have failed at every turn, not me. I have been more than fair and patient in my discussions with you. I have been honest, rational and fact based.

You have dodged, avoided, provided only myth/fantasy/fairy tales as any sort of response.

If this is not enough for you, then you walk away.

But if you do, I admit success and you admit failure.

Those are the terms.

Truth and honesty,

At April 09, 2008 3:39 AM, Blogger John Morales said...


jeffperado, have you considered joining Planet Atheism ?


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