Tag Archives: Ultimate

ACLU fascists thwarted while trying to jail Christians for saying prayer

Story from CNN. (H/T My friend Ken)

Excerpt:

A judge has ruled in favor of two Florida school administrators who faced contempt charges for saying a prayer at a school luncheon, according to a group that helped represent them.

U.S. District Judge M.C. Rodgers ruled Thursday in favor of Frank Lay, principal of Pace High School in Pace, Florida, and school athletic director Robert Freeman, the Liberty Counsel said.

Lay and Freeman could have faced up to six months in prison and fines if convicted. They were accused of violating a consent decree banning county school employees from initiating prayers during school events.

[…]But the American Civil Liberties Union, whose lawsuit led to the consent decree, has maintained students have a right to be free from administrators who foist their personal religious beliefs on them.

Fascism is the idea that the state suppresses the inalienable rights of its citizenry by substituting the values and duties of the government (the rulers) for the values and duties of individuals.

Here’s how it works:

  • Inalienable human rights are granted by the Creator
  • Only the Creator of the universe can grant inalienable human rights to his creatures
  • Freedom of religious expression is self-evidently an inalienable human right
  • Christians exercise their freedom of religious expression
  • Atheists in the ACLU don’t believe in a Creator
  • If there is no Creator, then “rights” are just social conventions that vary by time and place
  • So atheists in the ACLU cannot ground inalienable human rights
  • Without an inalienable right to freedom of religious expression, suppressing the religious liberty others is permissible
  • Atheists in the ACLU can use government to silence, suppress and imprison unwilling Christians
  • Atheists in the ACLU are offended by the free expression of Christianity in public
  • Therefore, atheists in the ACLU find it rational to suppress the human rights of their neighbors using state coercion

There is no such thing as human rights in an atheistic “survival of the fittest” universe.

Atheists in the ACLU prefer to use the state to suppress any public religious expression, because the public expression of religion makes them feel badly. The feelings of atheists is sufficient to justify silencing, suppressing, imprisoning and in even killing people who make them feel bad. They are not so much interesting in debating the merits of the cosmological argument – they just want to shut down dissent so they can feel comfortable about their atheism.

Here is my entire series of posts explaining why moral behavior is irrational on atheism. Their worldview just doesn’t ground objective moral values, objective moral duties, self-sacrifice and the significance of moral decisions. And when the chips are down, they show their fascist colors. Atheists want to dismiss the claims of objective morality so they can pursue pleasure, and they don’t want you using your freedoms to remind them of their own depravity.

UPDATE: Kreitsauce is from the panhandle and writes this comment below:

I’m from the Florida panhandle, and we thought this whole thing was ridiculous because:

1. Lay and Freeman have done an unbelievable amount of good for the school and the community. It’s real Christianity making a difference that has had such a profound impact.

2. The school already teaches a Bible elective.

3. The school meeting where the prayer took place was housed in a church.

4. The prayer was spontaneous, not a willful violation of criminal law.

5. All protests have been peaceful, even in the face of opposition. The believers have mostly been praying and singing hymns.

6. Lay and Freeman have strong student, community, and parent support.

He also links to this youtube video:

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Is the murder of abortion-performing doctors like George Tiller morally wrong?

The Wintery Knight Blog strongly condemns all abortion-related violence, whether it’s committed against the born or the unborn.

The news story is linked here by Stop the ACLU, Sweetness and Light, Patterico’s Pontifications, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air and Gateway Pundit.

Can Christians condemn the murder of George Tiller?

Yes, Christians can, and yes, Christians do, condemn any and all violence against abortion doctors. And so do I. I believe that murder is objectively wrong, whether it is performed against born or unborn victims.

Morality is rational on Christianity because Christianity grounds the minimal requirements for meaningful morality. (The post also contains arguments and evidence for Christian theism and responses to the arguments against Christian theism)

The Bible says: “You shall not murder”.

So, anyone who murders the born or the unborn is not a Christian and is not being moral. I am a Christian, and therefore I strongly condemn any violence against doctors who perform abortions, including George Tiller. The murderer of George Tiller was wrong, had no justification for what he did, and he should get the death penalty.

UPDATE: My pro-life friend Neil from 4Simpsons reacts:

I subscribe to over 100 blogs.  Well over a dozen have commented on this.  I’ve yet to see one that didn’t condemn the murder, though I’m sure the MSM will ignore the clear and consistent principles of the pro-live movement and try to demonize and broad-brush us with this.

Now let’s see whether murder is wrong on the atheist worldview…

Can atheists condemn the murder of George Tiller?

The goal is to see whether humans ought to adopt the moral point of view, on atheism. Does atheism ground the the minimal requirements for morality? Is it rational to do the right thing on atheism?

Requirement 1) Objective moral values: NOT GROUNDED

On atheism, moral values have no mind-independent existence. In other words, they are purely subjective. Either you invent your own personal standard or you adopt the standards of the majority of your herd, in the time and place in which you live. Those herd standards change over time and in different places, of course. They are arbitrary conventions. And there is no reason why your preferences are better than anyone else’s preferences, even a murderer’s. On atheism, a murderer and a non-murderer just have different preferences.

Requirement 2) Objective moral duties: NOT GROUNDED

On atheism, there is no such thing as objective moral values, and so there can be no objective moral duties either. Atheism is committed to materialism, and objective moral values and moral duties are non-material. Atheists can only ground subjective moral values and moral duties. But a duty owed to oneself can be canceled when things get difficult. Even a social contract is arbitrary. There is no reason to limit your happiness because of an arbitrary social contract, so long as you can escape the social consequences of disobedience.

Requirement 3) Moral accountability: NOT GROUNDED

On atheism, there is no accountability after death for the decisions we make in life. So long as we can avoid the consequences for violating the arbitrary fashions of the time and place where we live, nothing will happen to us if we put our happiness above the needs of our feelings of “empathy” for others.

Requirement 4) Free will: NOT GROUNDED

On atheism, there are no minds or souls independent of the material that makes up the body. Therefore, everything that humans do is fully determined by the genetic programming and the sensory inputs. To expect moral choices or moral responsibility on atheism is like expecting the same from a computer. Physical systems don’t have free will. There is no “ought to do” for lumps of matter that are not designed by anyone for any specific purpose.

Requirement 5) Ultimate significance: NOT GROUNDED

On atheism, life ends in the grave for them. Scientists have discovered that in the future, the amount of usable energy, such as the heat and light emitted by stars, will run down to zero, the “heat death of the universe”. What this means is that the entire universe will become cold and lifeless at some point. Humans are therefore doomed to extinction. It doesn’t matter ultimately how an atheist acts – they end up the same no matter what they do. The only action that is rational on atheism is the selfish pursuit of pleasure and happiness.

Can atheist scholars ground morality rationally?

Let me cite the views of atheist scholars from a previous post. These are the people who are the most committed, authentic atheists, and who have thought through what it means to be an atheist at the highest level.

The idea of political or legal obligation is clear enough… Similarly, the idea of an obligation higher than this, referred to as moral obligation, is clear enough, provided reference to some lawgiver higher…than those of the state is understood. In other words, our moral obligations can…be understood as those that are imposed by God…. But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of moral obligation…still make sense? …The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone. (Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985), p. 83-84)

In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. (Source: Richard Dawkins)

The position of the modern evolutionist is that humans have an awareness of morality because such an awareness of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate when someone says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory. (Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262-269).

The late atheist philosopher J. L. Mackie said that moral properties are “queer” given naturalism “if there are objective values, they make the existence of a god more probable than it would have been without them. Thus we have a defensible argument from morality to the existence of a god.”

Conclusion

In my survey of atheist views, none of the ten respondents could oppose slavery on rational grounds, none of the ten respondents could perform self-sacrificial acts on rational grounds, and none of the ten respondents could explain why murder was wrong, on rational grounds. They may have chosen the right alternative, but only based on emotion, not on reason. Morality is not rational on atheism and there is no way to condemn immorality in others.

So long as an person can escape the consequences of his actions, there is nothing wrong with murder, on an atheistic worldview. Atheists can express what they personally like and don’t like, or what the customs are in their society in a certain time and place. There is no “moral ought” on atheism, no principled reason to act any particular way except to be “happy” and to avoid social disapproval from acting unconventionally. So, keep that in mind in the coming days as you discuss the George Tiller story with atheists.

Further study

You can get the full story on the requirements for rational morality in a published, peer-reviewed paper written by William Lane Craig here. You can also hear and see him present the paper to an audience of students and faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. The audio is clipped at 67 minutes, the video is the full 84 minutes. There is 45 minutes of Q&A, with many atheist challengers.

The video of this lecture is the best material you can get on this issue, and the Q&A from the hostile audience is vital to the lesson. More debates on atheism and morality can be found on the debate and lecture page.

You can find a post contrasting the morality of an authentic, consistent Christian with an authentic, consistent non-Christian here. A post examining how atheism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million innocent people in the 20th century alone is here. A post analyzing the tiny number of deaths that religion was responsible for is here. A post examining other ways that the secular-left kills millions of people is here.

The Wintery Knight Blog strongly condemns all abortion-related violence, whether it’s committed against the born or the unborn.

Is morality rational, on Christian theism?

Last week, I posted a list of 13 questions that Christians could use to get discussions going with their atheist friends. We got 10 responses to the questions. On Monday, we took a look at the minimal requirements for robust, prescriptive morality. On Tuesday, we evaluated whether the minimal requirements are rationally grounded on atheism. Today, we’ll evaluate Christianity.

The case for Christian theism

Christian morality is based on the objective truth of the Christian faith. So, let’s recall how people argue for Christianity.

Arguments for theism:

And then there are arguments for Christianity in particular:

And here are the rebuttals and refutations to the arguments against Christian theism:

So, let’s assume Christian theism is true, and go on to see if it rationally grounds the minimal requirements for morality.

Evaluation

1) Objective moral values: GROUNDED

Objective moral values are grounded in God’s unchanging nature. His own character is the standard for what counts as good and evil. The standard is not variable, but fixed, by God’s unchanging nature.

2) Objective moral duties: GROUNDED

Objective moral duties are grounded in God’s commands, which flow from the values in his nature and become duties for his creatures.

3) Moral accountability: GROUNDED

On Christian theism, there is a final judgment after death in which good will be rewarded and evil will be punished, proportionally.

4) Free will: GROUNDED

On Christian theism, each person is a union of a material body and a non-material mind / soul. The actions of the non-material mind / soul are not determined by material processes, and humans are therefore able to make real choices.

5) Ultimate significance: GROUNDED

On Christian theism, death is not the end of the story. Each moral action performed is part of on ongoing relationships with God, and people. So, no action is meaningless, because all your actions relate to God, who exists eternally, or to other people, who also exist eternally into the future.

Conclusion

Christian theism grounds all of the minimal requirements needed for rational morality. In Christian theism, we see the fusion of prudence (Acting morally is what I am designed to do in order to flourish, i.e. – “eudaimonia”) and submission to a loving God (I will act morally to respect God, because he loves me the most). More to come on the latter point!

Tomorrow, I’ll post my own answers to the 13 questions, since Commenter ECM and moderate-leftist unitarian Rick demand that I do.

Further study

You can get the full story on the requirements for rational morality in a published, peer-reviewed paper written by William Lane Craig here. You can also hear and see him present the paper to an audience of students and faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. The audio is clipped at 67 minutes, the video is the full 84 minutes. There is 45 minutes of Q&A, with many atheist challengers.

The video of this lecture is the best material you can get on this issue, and the Q&A from the hostile audience is vital to the lesson. More debates on atheism and morality can be found on the debate and lecture page.

You can find a post contrasting the morality of an authentic, consistent Christian with an authentic, consistent non-Christian here. A post examining how atheism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million innocent people in the 20th century alone is here. A post analyzing the tiny number of deaths that religion was responsible for is here.

Is morality rational, on atheism?

UPDATE: Welcome readers from the the Western Experience! Thanks for the link, Jason!

Last week, I posted a list of 13 questions that Christians could use to get discussions going with their atheist friends. We got 10 responses to the questions. Yesterday, we took a look at the minimal requirements for robust, prescriptive morality. Today, we’ll evaluate atheism, as represented by the 10 respondents to the survey, to see whether the minimal requirements are rationally grounded by atheism.

1) Objective moral values: NOT GROUNDED

All ten respondents stated that moral values have no mind-independent existence. In other words, they are purely subjective. Eight of the respondents thought that each person should decide for themselves what is moral for them, and 2 thought that each person should act in accordance with the arbitrary social conventions of the culture where they lived. Those standards change over time and in different places, of course. They are arbitrary.

2) Objective moral duties: NOT GROUNDED

All ten respondents said that there was no such thing as objective moral values, and so there can be no objective moral duties either. Most people said that their own preferences were the source of subjective moral values. But a duty owed to oneself can be canceled when things get difficult. The best attempt was the social contract answer, but this fails because the social contract is arbitrary. There is no reason to limit your happiness because of an arbitrary social contract, so long as you can escape the social consequences of disobedience.

3) Moral accountability: NOT GROUNDED

Nine respondents did not believe in God. The one who did believe said that God did not care about our actions. Therefore, there is no accountability for the decisions we make. So long as we can avoid the consequences for violating the arbitrary fashions of the time and place where we live, nothing will happen to us if we put our happiness above the needs of our feelings of “empathy” for others.

4) Free will: NOT GROUNDED

All ten respondents were materialists, and therefore did not believe in minds or souls independent of the material that makes up the body. Therefore, everything that humans do is fully determined by the genetic programming and the sensory inputs. To expect moral choices or moral responsibility on atheism is like expecting the same from a computer. Physical systems don’t have free will. There is no “ought to do” for lumps of matter that are not designed by anyone for any specific purpose.

5) Ultimate significance: NOT GROUNDED

All ten of the respondents were materialists, so life ends in the grave for them. Scientists have discovered that in the future, the amount of usable energy, such as the heat and light emitted by stars, will run down to zero, the “heat death of the universe”. What this means is that the entire universe will become cold and lifeless at some point. Humans are therefore doomed to extinction no matter how they act.

Conclusion

On atheism, there is no reason for an atheist to constrain his pursuit of happiness. If he does take into account the needs of others because of feelings and emotions (“empathy”), he is acting irrationally. Feelings are not logical arguments. There is no such thing as a “moral” action on atheism, all actions are undertaken for pleasure or personal preference.

In the survey results, none of the ten respondents could oppose slavery on rational grounds, none of the ten respondents could perform self-sacrificial acts on rational grounds, and none of the ten respondents could explain why murder was wrong, on rational grounds. They may have chosen the right alternative, but only based on emotion, not on reason.

As Greg Koukl argues, morality is not rationally grounded on atheism. Now, it is true that atheists act inconsistently in ways that seem to be moral. This is because:

  1. Judeo-Christian morality is still floating around in out Western society, even though it is on the way out due to materialist persecution of public religious expression and the Judeo-Christian theology that grounded morality
  2. Regardless of what materialism says, God made the universe with objective moral values, and humans with free will, so even if people say that morality is relative and that they are machines, they may still act inconsistently to do the right thing, since their views are mistaken, especially if the costs are minimal

But when the heat is really on, they will cave in to their desires. Rational grounding is needed in order to do the right thing when there are consequences for doing the right thing.

Further study

You can get the full story on the requirements for rational morality in a published, peer-reviewed paper written by William Lane Craig here. You can also hear and see him present the paper to an audience of students and faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. The audio is clipped at 67 minutes, the video is the full 84 minutes. There is 45 minutes of Q&A, with many atheist challengers.

The video of this lecture is the best material you can get on this issue, and the Q&A from the hostile audience is vital to the lesson. More debates on atheism and morality can be found on the debate and lecture page.

You can find a post contrasting the morality of an authentic, consistent Christian with an authentic, consistent non-Christian here. A post examining how atheism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million innocent people in the 20th century alone is here. A post analyzing the tiny number of deaths that religion was responsible for is here.

Interview with the atheist, part 2: the answers

Last time, we went over the plan for this atheist interviewing operation, including the list of questions and how you can participate by sending in your own questions and answers.

The order of the answers is rotated so different people are listed first, second, etc. Note that all attempts to malign theism or Christianity or to employ tu quoque arguments in your answers were DELETED. Wherever possible, I sought clarification. I will answer the questions myself later, and then you may comment on my answers.

Atheist/Agnostic/Unitarian answers: [10 respondents]

Question 1: Is there a God? [YES: 1 NO: 8] and is he knowable in principle, if he existed? [YES: 2 NO: 1]

  • It just didn’t seem to make sense. No matter how hard I tried to include scientific fact and personal experience into religion there came  point when there was so much, indeed overwhelming evidence, that religion was based on a premise (a hypothesis) that did not stand up to testing.
  • There is no God, and we can know he does not exist
  • There is no God, I have no presumptions or beliefs concerning the “origins of the universe”.
  • Don’t know. Don’t know
  • There is a God, but he is remote, unknowable and disinterested in humans

Question 2: Which religion were you raised in?

  • Jewish. Strict
  • Atheist (x3)
  • Catholicism (x2)
  • Catholic, strict.
  • Hinduism
  • Episcopalian. They took it seriously but not literally.
  • Quaker

Question 3: Explain some events, not arguments yet, that altered your spiritual worldview.

  • I prayed to pass an important exam, and I failed (unanswered prayer)
  • None
  • Parental abandonment
  • I found the beliefs and practice of the Catholic church to be irrational and contrived
  • Unanswered questions from early age onwards

Question 4: What are your main objections to God’s existence and knowability?

  • I have nothing against religious belief. I don’t feel that I need it to cope with or explore life.
  • All religions are all man-made
  • All religions are the same
  • Religions all have the same goal, to make people act morally
  • Religions all have the same goal, to make civilization survive
  • Belief is when you suspend critical thinking because you want, so much, for something to be true. That’s not very grown up, is it?
  • Evolution shows that a Creator and Designer aren’t needed to explain life
  • The world operates according to natural laws. Even if Creator God, no obvious mechanism how this Creator can communicate with people.
  • Progress of science, naturalistic explanations of natural phenomena
  • The hiddenness of God
  • There is too much moral evil and suffering in the world
  • The suffering in the world makes me wonder whether God is good, even if he existed
  • I don’t a reason why God would allow certain instances of suffering
  • The plurality of religions, and the way your religion is set by where you were born
  • God is unknowable because he is non-material, eternal, etc.
  • I don’t find the scientific arguments from the big bang and fine-tuning arguments convincing because science changes all the time
  • I don’t to drop my own personal moral standard and purpose and exchange it for anyone’s else’s
  • As long as people are good, then then they should not be punished in Hell for an eternity
  • Biblical contradictions
  • Bible outdated
  • I don’t like the idea of Hell
  • Religion is not testable
  • There is no empirical evidence
  • Canonization was done by the victors at Nicea
  • Religious believers are not significantly more moral than non-believers

Question 5: What is the ontology of moral values and moral duties? [Individual relativism: 8] [Cultural relativism: 2] [Objective: 0]

  • Subjective. The standard varies by each individual. What we ought to do is whatever we want to do.
  • Subjective/Cultural. The standard varies by each culture’s evolved social conventions. What we ought to do is to do whatever the majority of the people are doing in the society we live in. Morality is like driving/traffic laws, just do what is right for where you live
  • Subjective. Abstract values can only exist in brain states of individual people
  • Subjective. They reflect properties of the mind. They can be codified as law and custom.
  • Subjective. Moral values are ideas that get passed from person to person.
  • Subjective/Cultural. They don’t exist. What does exist is a social contract that we make with each other so that we might have a better life.
  • Subjective. Morality exists in our minds and, given what we know about our animal cousins, likely evolved in us as a means to ensure group cooperation and safety.
  • Subjective. Moral and ethical values appear to be properties of minds (which are themselves physical entities with complicated causal explanations).

Question 6: Does your worldview ground free will, which is required for consciousness, rationality, moral judgments, moral choices and moral responsibility? [NO: 8] [YES: 0]

  • There isn’t any
  • I don’t know
  • No good evidence for free will, and people do what they do because of genes and environment. Still, to the extent that we can change our environment, it’s worthwhile to create an environment that deters atrocities.
  • There is no free will.
  • I do not think the concept of “free will” is logically coherent.
  • I don’t think that there is such a thing as free will – not in the sense that you mean anyway.

Question 7: Is there a way for you to rationally persuade an atheist dictator to grant you mercy? [NO: 10] [YES: 0]

  • There is no way
  • I would be pleading for my life for the sake of life itself, or if I had dependents, I would ask to be spared for their sake.
  • It would be pretty pointless wouldn’t it? When bad people do things for their own good you can’t persuade them to do otherwise.
  • Would point out that international sanctions might get tighter if Kim commits atrocity
  • I don’t know
  • There’s no way to get mercy from an atheist who wishes to harm you and does not fear human reprisal.
  • I would probably ask what he wants from me to spare my life.

Question 8: Is it rational for you to risk your life to save a stranger? [NO: 10] [YES: 0]

  • It would be an emotional or intuitive decision. Not a time for rational calculation.
  • Self-sacrificial acts are not rational on atheism, there is no reason to do it
  • No
  • Self-sacrifice isn’t necessarily rational, but not everything an atheist does has to be purely rational.
  • I use happiness in more of an Aristotelian sense.  Happiness is not something that I necessarily feel at this very moment.  I know that I would feel bad if the little girl died, but it would be more than just immediate feelings.
  • I behave in a way that I hope others will. It works pretty well most of the time.

Question 9: Could you condemn slavery in a society where it was accepted, on rational grounds? [NO: 10] [YES: 0]

  • No. I do not believe in praise and blame and judging others. I would not try to persuade them for fear of repercussions, up to and including my death at their hands
  • I would not because slavery is the custom of that society. Each society has different customs, and slavery is their custom. If I moved there, I would not oppose it because I would get used to it
  • Would use evidence that all people are basically similar neurologically, and ask slaveowners to empathize with enslaved. Might work with Thomas Jefferson.
  • I don’t know
  • No but I personally oppose suffering
  • I can oppose slavery by merely opposing slavery.  True, moral subjectivism does not provide an objective basis for deciding the question of slavery, in and of itself.
  • If I traveled back into time then it would be me who traveled.  So I would oppose slavery.  If I were born into that time period, it would be different.
  • I would argue that people deserve the right to be free from slavery because I think that’s a good idea.
  • I wouldn’t “use” atheism as it doesn’t come with any particular tenets or morals or behavioral requirements.
  • I would oppose slavery because I would *want* to, not because I think there’s some extrinsic reason I ought to.

Question 10: Is there ultimate significance for acting morally or not? I.e. – does it affect your or anyone else’s destination if you act morally or not? [NO: 10] [YES: 0]

  • There is no ultimate significance
  • Acting morally makes life easier
  • Too long after I’m dead for me to care about.
  • It always matters to maximize my happiness now. I don’t care what happens in 20 billion years.
  • There’s a preceding question that hardly ever gets asked. “Is there a meaning to life?” I don’t think there is.

Question 11: Is there an objective purpose to life, (or does each person decide for themselves)? [NO: 10] [YES: 0]

  • Mine is to feel good about myself and to feel respected by others.
  • Mine is to enjoy it. I’d hope that I go about it in a way that doesn’t interfere with others enjoyment and that when it does we can compromise.
  • Mine is to relieve inordinate suffering, while leaving room for constructive suffering that lead to creativity and progress. Based on empathy.
  • Mine is to help the species survive by having lots of children, because that lasts after you die
  • Each person decides for themselves. My purpose is to have happy feelings
  • My purpose is to have happy feelings by doing what most of the other people are doing and avoiding social disapproval
  • I have no “objective” purpose. I do what I can to be happy, all things considered.
  • To live as contented as possible. To find answers to big questions. To prepare my children for adulthood. I chose these things because that’s what I like. I don’t care what another’s purpose is as long as they don’t harm anyone.
  • My purpose is to seek happiness while doing no harm (or as little harm as is it may be possible to do) for as long as I’m alive. Of course it’s just my own purpose – I can’t presume to choose another’s purpose. That being said, I do presume everyone has more or less the same goal of happiness and fulfillment, but the precise methods of going about it are always going to vary from person to person.
  • I want to be happy. I generally like other people, and I want them to be happy too.

Question 12: Would you follow (and how would you follow) Jesus at the point where it became clear to you that Christianity was true? [NO: 7] [YES: 2]

  • I have no idea
  • I would not follow. My own goals are all that I have, and all that I would continue to have in that unlikely situation. I would not yield my autonomy to anyone no matter what their authority to command me
  • I would not follow, because God doesn’t want humans to act any particular way, and he doesn’t care what we do
  • I would not follow. Head is spinning. Would go to physician to find out if hallucinating.
  • If I found there was no trickery? I’d have to change my mind wouldn’t I! Not really likely though is it?
  • I would keep doing what I am doing now, acting morally. That’s what all religions want anyway. (In response to my triumphant scribbling, he realized he had fallen into a trap and changed his answer to the right answer) Oh, wait. I would try to try to find out what Jesus wanted and then try to do that.
  • I hope I would be courageous enough to dedicate my life to rebellion against God.
  • I would not have to change anything unless forced to and all that would change is my actions not my values.  I would certainly balk at someone trying to force me to change my behavior as would you if you were at the mercy of a moral objectivist who felt that all moral goodness is codified in the Koran.
  • He would have to convince me that what he wants for me is what I want for me.

Question 13: What would be the hardest adjustment you would have to make to live a faithful, public Christian life?

  • I don’t know
  • It would not be that big of a change for me. I already act morally, I’m already public about my beliefs, and I don’t care what people think about what I believe. I don’t mind disagreeing with people and being unpopular for it. I think the 10 commandments are good. I could find out what to do and start doing those things.
  • I would not be able to believe in miracles, so there would be cognitive dissonance
  • Sacrificing my personal moral standards to take up a standard from a book that is very old and outdated
  • The most difficult would be the fact that I believe something without good evidence.
  • I work many hours a week for institutions and organizations that are charitable. I’m certainly not going to swap those for hours for “prayer time” and waste them.
  • I would certainly balk at someone trying to force me to change my behavior as would you if you were at the mercy of a moral objectivist who felt that all moral goodness is codified in the Koran. Obviously, it is possible that if I became a Christian, then I would have different values then I have now.
  • The most difficult thing would be trying to believe the ridiculous claims of Christianity. As for what a Christian finds difficult, how would I know?
  • I could never obey God from gratitude and love, only from servility inspired by fear and cowardice. I do not see myself as servile, fearful or cowardly, and to behave in such a manner would injure my self-esteem and self-image.

To my atheist interviewees: Thank you for giving me these answers. I will be commenting on them shortly, and posted my own answers.

Bear in mind: It does not matter to me whether you can do something irrationally by an act of will, (supposing that you could even have free will on a materialistic, deterministic universe). I only cared whether you could give a rational argument based on evidence. When the chips are down, people act on what is rational to them.

UPDATE: Hot Air on the atheism agenda.