God must be the greatest murderer in history, then, as many times more unborn humans die spontaneously in the womb by his hand than have ever or will ever be aborted in a clinic.
Why do you revere a mass murderer?
There are countless natural miscarriages. Many women lose their babies in the womb, often to great heartache. Anon has raised two issues: 1) Does natural miscarriage justify abortion? 2) Is God evil because He allows miscarriages to happen?
Of course, Anon doesn't believe in God, nor (probably) in objective Moral Law. So these issues aren't meaningful to him. But he believes that Christians are inconsistent in their beliefs. Let's consider:
1) Does natural miscarriage justify abortion?
No. Even in atheist fever swamps, the belief that the natural occurrence of an act justifies the intentional commission of an act has rarely if ever been accepted. Even Stalin (a faithful atheist) didn't justify the Holodomor by asserting 'Hey, a lot of Ukranians die naturally, so what's the problem with starving a few million of them?'. Even atheists aren't so depraved as to invoke natural death to justify intentional killing. Except, it seems, in the abortion debate.
Imagine a man accused of murdering his neighbor telling the judge: 'Your Honor, a million people around the world died naturally on the day I killed my neighbor. What's the big deal about one more death?" Or a woman accused of blinding her children by throwing acid in their eyes: 'Your Honor, millions of children are born blind. What's the big deal about a few more blind kids'.
Even an atheist sees that moral fallacy.
The moral culpability for an act is determined by three things:
1) The intrinsic wrongness of the act. This rightfully presumes the objective reality of Moral Law.
3) Knowledge that the act is morally wrong, or culpable ignorance in failing to acknowledge the wrongness of an obvious sin or crime. Genuine ignorance is a defense. A young child who kills a playmate may not have understood the gravity of the act, and a schizophrenic who killed a man because he actually thought the victim was a demon might not be morally culpable.
2) Consent to commit the act. A man who kills accidently or without full consent to kill is not as culpable as a man who kills with full intent to do so.
Perceptive readers may have noticed that these criteria are the criteria for moral culpability in Catholic moral theology, and these criteria are the default for legal systems everywhere, most notably in the West.
So in reply to Anon: natural miscarriage does not justify abortion, because abortion is the intentional commission of an intrinsically evil act. The coincident occurrence of natural death of children in the womb has no bearing on your decision to do it intentionally. Your belief that abortion is not evil is culpable ignorance, and that increases your moral culpability.
2) Is God evil because He allows miscarriages to happen?
Ahh, theodicy. How do we reconcile God and evil? One thing for sure: God is not evil. That leaves us with a couple of ways to understand natural evil such as miscarriage.
1) God allows natural evil because it is an integral part of a good world, and natural evil cannot be eliminated by God without resulting in greater net evil. This argument is ancient, and its best modern iteration is by Alvin Plantinga's Free Will Defense.
2) The world is corrupted due to the Fall of man. Original sin had ripples, and caused corruption throughout the natural world, not just in the will of men.
3) Man's limited understanding. We are very imperfect creatures, and the good that arises from natural evil may well by considerable but not evident to us. This may apply to each of the other explanations; we don't have the perspective to understand all of the implications of nature.
4) The afterlife will bring good that justifies the bad. If we are to understand the whole of good and evil, we must consider the eternity of man's existence. If a miscarried child enjoys eternity in heaven with God, then the net effect of the miscarriage is good, not evil.
5) Perhaps natural evil is necessary for spiritual growth. The tragedies we are heir to may play a role in burnishing us for greater things. Certainly in ordinary life we all accept that some adversity is a good thing.
I make no pretense to understand natural evil. Yet I believe that atheists make a devastating error by raising the issue:
If God does not exist, and there is no objective Moral Law, what standing do atheists have to ask the question about evil? After all, to an atheist, there is no objective evil. There is merely matter in motion and our subjective evolved opinions about it. Why would an atheist evolved by natural selection decry miscarriage, as long as it is someone else's miscarriage? The loss of a competitor's offspring is a Darwinian coup. An evolved atheist should celebrate the reproductive misfortune of others.
Theodicy is a tough problem- for theists. Atheism is such idiocy that atheists lack standing to join the conversation.
"One thing for sure: God is not evil." How can he not be, when according to the scripture, it is clear that he orders the destruction of innocents in the old testament? It was intentful, it was wrong, and there were surely enlightened alternatives to, uh... genocide.ReplyDelete
You keep pressing forward with the assertion that atheism can only embrace subjective morality. Many atheists (i.e. Sam Harris) argue that objective morality can be determined by rational inspection and is consistent with an atheist worldview. Perhaps you would consider blogging about their specific claims?
You will find answers to your questions here and here.
"If God does not exist, and there is no objective Moral Law, what standing do atheists have to ask the question about evil?"ReplyDelete
- Even if we assume that God does exist - how do you derive objective moral laws from this assumption ?
The best you can offer is your *subjective* interpretation of an ancient collection of fairy tales.
"Why would an atheist evolved by natural selection decry miscarriage, as long as it is someone else's miscarriage?"
- Because some people are actually able to empathize with other human beings. I know, that must be a very alien concept to you.
"Why would an atheist evolved by natural selection decry miscarriage, as long as it is someone else's miscarriage?"ReplyDelete
Because some people are actually able to empathize with other human beings. I know, that must be a very alien concept to you.
I'm noticing a decided lack of empathy from you for Dr. Egnor. By your own standards, you fail.
And you haven't answered his question.
"I'm noticing a decided lack of empathy from you for Dr. Egnor."ReplyDelete
- Empathy is the ability to recognize feelings in other human beings and share them (i.e. feel what it is like to be "in their shoes" at a given moment). It is very straightforward to recognize what Egnor feels when he writes something like this: "Even atheists aren't so depraved as to invoke natural death to justify intentional killing".
"And you haven't answered his question."
- "Empathy" is the answer to his question.