Debate Magazine

Comment Commentary: Do Non-believers Not Have a “reasoned and Valid Moral Baseline”?

By Carnun @Carnunmp


Before I start, I’d like to introduce this all new (yet not original) post format.

In light of a series of interesting comments on the last post (Why Tolerate Intolerance?), I’ve decided to dedicate the occasional (slightly more humorous and ranty) ‘rambling’ to methodically picking apart sentiments expressed in the comment section of this blog which don’t sit with me too well. I think it’s only fair that if people take the time to write out a structured, sincere, and passive-aggressive novel under one of my ramblings, I take the time to respond too.

Which will sometimes require an entire post.

So, without further delay, I’m going to begin my response to a particular comment by a Mr Philip under last week’s post, ‘Why Tolerate Intolerance?‘…

Somewhat randomly, he starts off:

“Perhaps your label of “extremism” has little discernable meaning without a reasoned and valid moral baseline. At least Christianity and Judaism share a moral baseline which is consistent…”

Here, my lack of belief in a God (and subsequent lack of divinely-inspired morality) is of course being referred to.

Because I don’t live in fear of an entity which supposedly created me I have no ‘valid moral baseline’? Nonsense. Since when did either a) Religion have a monopoly on morality or b) the meanings of words like ‘extremism’ change based upon how the user chooses to asses the plausibility of a being simultaneously ‘perfect’ and in need of worship?

“… over about a 7,000 year period; while tradition and doctrine have developed over time, core truths have not changed – the baseline remains and is reliable and credible.”

The ‘credible’ moral baseline provided by Christianity and Judaism is, in case you don’t already know, one that condones slavery; witch hunting; homophobia; discrimination against the disabled; human sacrifice; mass murder; rape… The list goes on.

Ask yourself; are such outdated morals really worth defending? True, the ‘core truths’ of the Abrahamic religions have not changed – but society has (largely) begun to move on. In my view, any system of thinking which does not leave room for revision when new evidence presents itself is inherently flawed.

He continues:

“Many, many millions have attested and continue to attest to this. There are the micro-few who take issue.”

More than millions attest to it, but that does not make it true.

Oh, and the ‘micro-few’ really aren’t that weak in numbers. Check the statistics (and note the trend too).

“If one does not believe in God or a Creator who made humans and creation the way we are meant to be – who gave structure to nature and society for specific reasons, then one’s arguments very easily evaporate into words which are interesting to read but which can not help anyone reach their full potential.”

I’m glad you think science and secular morality are interesting, because you’ll then have perhaps have heard that nature is ‘structured’ by Darwinian Natural Selection  – Evolution is a fact, fact.

And looking at who structured society, the only reasonable explanation is this: Humans. Yes, we may have done so in the mutually accepted name of a particular God at various points in history, but people alone were at the heart of – and continue to shape – society. This does not require a Godly universe.

Structure and cooperation benefits our species (or individual ‘tribe’) as a whole, so we have order.

Oh, and over history, separate societies have clashed massively over differences in religion or other unfounded beliefs – so which one had/has God behind them?

“Without rules and structure, there is chaos. If there is chaos, then meaning is lost and reason is discarded as invalid.”

Chaos is chaotic. But reason alone can provide structure (as well as meaning).

“Yes, we must tolerate errors and differences, and not for the sake of the error or difference itself, but out of compassion for helping cure those suffering from the error or suffering from perceived disunity.”

Compassion is a nice thing. But undue compassion (or, in other words, ‘tolerating intolerance’) is not.

Your compassion, I might add, includes professing to help those who “suffer with same-sex attraction” (as mentioned in another one of your comments) – which is at best gravely presumptuous and intrinsically hate-filled, despite any possible sincerity.

There are those who are ill and who do not seek to be well;
There are those who are ill and seek to be well;
There are those who are hurt and who do not seek to be healed;
There are those who are hurt and seek to be healed;
There are those who seek to hurt others;
There are those who seek to heal others;
There are those who see healing as hurting, and who seek to stop the healer while the hurt continue to die in their woundedness.

Remember: Homosexuality is not an illness.

“The last group tend to be those who just think that we should allow chaos to rule – that we should sit quietly and “tolerate” and take no action to heal a wounded brother or sister. They are like the one who charges and convicts the doctor of a crime because he caused pain while seting another’s broken bone – saving his life and restoring him to his full capability…”

Remember: Homosexuality is not an injury.

The whole doctor analogy here is quite strange, but I think unintentionally evident of your acknowledgement that your beliefs and opinions cause distress. In the whole process of attempting to ‘heal’ a gay person, you cause immense unnecessary psychological suffering – imagine just how tormenting the idea of hell is. For anyone.

Pushing that thought upon someone is never the moral thing to be doing.

“…Their ability to reason and judge appropriately has been clouded.”

Clouded by… Reason?

“And so we must ask the one who calls for the “tolerance of chaos.” What has clouded your judgment? You see the baseline quite clearly in 99.99997% of humanity, yet you deny it. How is that possible?”

Again, reason?

Your definition of ‘chaos’ here is entirely subjective, and I don’t quite know from which deep corner of your arse you pulled out the statistic 99.99997%.

Nevertheless, I’ll say this to it: I do not deny that most people tend to have some basic grasp between ‘good and evil’. I only refute that it comes from, requires, or gives evidence for a God.

Other than ‘do some non-scriptural reading’, I don’t know what else to say.

Whatever the case, a blind man is not allowed to drive a vehicle. That is the well-reasoned, morally-based rule, and it guarantees the safety of everyone else, including the blind man.

Is this a biblical quote? I don’t think so – not unless camels counted as ‘vehicles’.

Saying that, it’s a rather solid (yet random) piece of logic, actually. I’m sure what you’ve said has a deeper meaning beyond road safety though, so I’ll add this: Faith, if anything, is the best way to actively seek blindness from reason, evidence, and true understanding – and this does not only apply to truth claims, but a believer’s morality too…

I thank you for taking the time to comemment on my post, but I’d now appreciate it (unless you are so offended by all of this that you simply can’t contain yourself) if you left this site alone.

Mind you, even bad publicity is good publicity – so feel free to tell a few of your bible-bashing buddies to give me a read and leave their thoughts. I’m sure the entire Non-believing community wouldn’t bear into them too much.

Carnun :P

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