4/12/2010

A Little Philosophy Around God, morality and the Bible

Filed under: — Bravus @ 9:33 am

I have little time for ‘debunkings’ of flawed Christian arguments, although the arguments themselves annoy me: I just feel the effort is usually wasted, because everyone involved is already convinced in one direction or another, so nothing changes.

More than that, many such efforts seem to me to be unsophisticated, and to fall into many of the same fallacies and oversimplifications that they are railing against. I’d rather put time and energy into life.

Sometimes, though, someone does some careful work on the topic that I find interesting and enjoyable. I think (as a postmodernist) that all such efforts can be deconstructed in terms of their own internal logic, in the same way as the things they’re deconstructing, but it’s still interesting to talk/think about.

Here’s a short discussion by ‘Fedora’. Although it’s the end of the sequence, it’s probably a good place to start: http://urbanphilosophy.net/philosophy/trouble-in-paradise-on-biblical-morals/

Here are a couple of the earlier pieces mentioned in that piece: http://urbanphilosophy.net/religion/objective-morality-and-the-bible/, http://urbanphilosophy.net/religion/response-to-fedora-on-objective-morality-and-the-bible/, http://urbanphilosophy.net/religion/a-response-to-payton/.

Have fun, kids!

5 Responses to “A Little Philosophy Around God, morality and the Bible”

  1. Glenn Weare says:

    Dave, I think you’re a little over-pessimistic about the ability of people to change their minds. There are many things that work against the propensity to confirmation bias, powerful as that is.

    I know many people who have changed their minds about lots of things including you and me!

  2. Bravus says:

    I think people do change their minds, fairly obviously, and don’t despair of the possibility of change. But I think it’s much more often a very ‘weight of evidence’ thing over time, than a specific argument. I don’t think I’ve *ever* seen someone change their position during an argument: the logic of how arguments proceed almost forbids it. Certainly if you read through the call-and-reponse sequence in this post, you’ll see misunderstandings, indirection, non sequitur and all manner of other nonsense, but you won’t see anyone’s mind being changed.

    I think it’s reading that kind of argument that I tire of very quickly. When people are failing at basic logic, it make my head asplode.

    (It’s also worthwhile remembering, again, Glenn, that you’re a highly rational person for whom arguments *do* make a difference, but that – much as it might be desirable that it be otherwise – that’s actually a reasonably rare trait among humanity as a whole… I know you know this.)

  3. Bravus says:

    The other frustration is that people have sniped at Fedora’s premises, and they’ve missed the point in various ways, but no-one has actually looked at it *as* a whole argument. Most of the objections fall by the wayside if it’s actually treated as an argument. By all means challenge the truth of the premises, but *if* the premises are taken as true, then the logic of the overall argument is inescapable.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I object to premise 3,4 & 6.
    On 3&4 God has different moral duties to us, most notably he has the duty of judging us and ensure evil is finally stopped.
    On 6 I think there are assumptions here based on shallow reading of the OT.

    For anyone interested Paul Copan’s “Is God a moral monster?” attempts to deal with these issues.
    While cynics will claim that Copan is just being a spin doctor I think Copan exposes the fact that in a great many cases critics of the OT (and sadly fundamentalist Christians) have failed to understand the OT in anything like the correct context. It’s a good book but is more of an in house discussion than appeal to the skeptic.

    It’s $10 for a kindle edition on Amazon (Hint, hint)

  5. John Quin says:

    Opps ^ was me

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