Day By Day by The Great Chris Muir

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Can atheists condemn slavery as immoral? Do atheists believe that slavery is wrong?

Can atheists condemn slavery as immoral? Do atheists believe that slavery is wrong?

By Wintery Knight

Note: For a Christian response to the complaint that the Bible doesn’t condemn slavery, see this article and this article for slavery in the Old Testament, and this article for slavery in the New Testament. These are all by Christian philosopher Paul Copan. You can watch a lecture with Paul Copan on the slavery challenge here, and buy a book where he answers the challenge in more detail. There is also a good debate on whether the Bible condones slavery here, featuring David Instone-Brewer and Robert Price. My post is not a formal logical essay on this issue, it is more that I am outraged that atheists, who cannot even rationally ground objective morality, insist on criticizing the morality of the Bible. I think that atheists who are serious about finding the truth about these issues should check out those links, if they are interested in getting to the truth of these matters.
In other posts, I’ve argued that without an objective moral standard of what is right and wrong, any judgments about right and wrong are just individual opinions. So, when an atheist says slavery is wrong, what he really means is that he thinks slavery is wrong for him, in the same way that he thinks that,say, that chocolate ice cream is right for him. He isn’t saying what is wrong objectively, because on atheism there are no objective moral rules or duties. He is speaking for himself: “I wouldn’t own a slave, just like I wouldn’t eat broccoli – because it’s yucky!”. But he has no rational argument against other people owning slaves in other times and places, because their justification for owning slaves is the same as his justification for not owning slaves : personal preference and cultural conventions.
So do atheists oppose slavery? Do they believe in an objective human right to liberty? Well, there are no objective human rights of any kind on atheism. Human beings are just accidents in an accidental universe, and collections of atoms do not mysteriously accrue “rights”. There is no natural right to liberty on atheism. Now consider abortion, which is favored by most atheists. Like slavery, abortion declares an entire class of human beings as non-persons in order to justify preserving their own happiness and prosperity by means of violence. That’s exactly what slavery does, except abortion is worse than slavery, because you actually kill the person you are declaring as a non-person instead of just imprisoning them.
So how many atheists have this pro-abortion view that it is OK to declare unborn children  as non-persons so they can kill them?
Well, according to Gallup, the “non-religious” are the group most likely to support abortion. In fact, 68% favor legalized abortion, compared to only 19% who oppose it.
Take a look at the Gallup poll data from 2012:
Atheists are OK with the strong killing the weak
Most atheists are OK with the strong killing the weak
The Gallup numbers might actually be low, because “No religion” might include people who are spiritual, but not religious. But what about atheists alone?
As a group, atheists tend to be among the most radical supporters of legalized abortion. The Secular Census of 2012 found that 97% of atheists vote for abortion. There are almost no pro-life atheists. Why is it that atheists look at unborn children and think it’s OK to kill them? Well, let’s see what atheists scholars think about morality, and from that we’ll find out why they think abortion is morally permissible.
Atheist scholars think morality is nonsense
Atheist William Provine says atheists have no free will, no moral accountability and no moral significance:
Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.
Source: http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/161main.htm
Atheists Michael Ruse says atheists have no objective moral standards:
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).
Atheist Richard Dawkins says atheists have no objective moral standards:
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. (Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995))
Most atheists are like this – although some affirm objective morality, without really having a rational basis for it. In general though, when atheists use moral language to condemn God, the Bible, or Christians, it’s very important to understand that it is just theater. They are trying to use words that describe realities that they do not even believe in, usually with the goal of getting you to stop judging them for their own sin. I blogged about two examples of this before – Richard Carrier and Michael Shermer.
Let’s take a closer look at Richard Dawkins’ statement that there is “no evil and no good”.
Richard Dawkins and morality
Here’s Richard Dawkins’ view of abortion:
Richard Dawkins explains morality on atheism
Richard Dawkins explains morality on atheism
But wait! He goes even further than mere abortion:
Dawkins believes in Darwinian evolution. Survival of the fittest. The strong kill the weak. Where is protection for the unborn in that narrative?
Richard Dawkins even advocates for adultery.
So, what Dawkins really believes is that morality is nonsense. But in order to get you to stop condemning abortion, adultery, infanticide and a whole host of other atheistic misbehaviors, he will try to condemn you using moral language to stop you from making moral judgments. But the goal here is to intimidate you into not judging. By his own words, he thinks that the whole notion of objective moral values and objective moral duties is just nonsense.
Who does oppose slavery?
How did slavery end?
Dinesh D’Souza explains:
Slavery was mostly eradicated from Western civilization–then called Christendom–between the fourth and the tenth century. The Greco-Roman institution of slavery gave way to serfdom. Now serfdom has its problems but at least the serf is not a “human tool” and cannot be bought and sold like property. So slavery was ended twice in Western civilization, first in the medieval era and then again in the modern era.
In the American South, Christianity proved to be the solace of the oppressed. As historian Eugene Genovese documents in Roll, Jordan, Roll, when black slaves sought to find dignity during the dark night of slavery, they didn’t turn to Marcus Aurelius or David Hume; they turned to the Bible. When they sought hope and inspiration for liberation, they found it not in Voltaire or D’Holbach but in the Book of Exodus.
The anti-slavery movements led by Wilberforce in England and abolitionists in America were dominated by Christians. These believers reasoned that since we are all created equal in the eyes of God, no one has the right to rule another without consent. This is the moral basis not only of anti-slavery but also of democracy.
And, in fact, you can see Christians pushing the culture hard against abortion today, just as we did with slavery. We also oppose frivolous divorce, and redefining marriage in a way that normalizes removing mothers and/or fathers away from their children. Defending the weak is what we do.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Fascism

Original Post Link

Fascism then is that system that maintains the facade of private property, but what you end up having is this bizarre marriage of business and state

Fascism is an economic system that marries the state to business, where business holds the title but state holds control.
The idea that religious people cannot make thoughtful arguments is belied by R C Sproul Jr's commentary on fascism's true nature (audio at the link):
Some of you, though I trust not all of you, are familiar with what we call “Godwin’s law.” This is a particular law which is born out of empirical study of the Internet and it holds that, given enough time, any and all internet arguments will eventually involve some side of the argument accusing the other side of the argument of either being like Hitler or of being a Nazi. The corollary to that is that the first one to make that observation loses the argument.

 … The problem is, however, that because we don’t know what fascism is, and because we associate it with a bunch of accidental trappings to it, we miss it when it comes us.

Fascism, first and foremost, is an economic theory. It has precious little to do with the horrors of the Holocaust, it has precious little to do with world conquest, and it certainly has nothing whatever to do with goose stepping and “heil hitler” signs and all the other kinds of stock bad-guy things that we get from Nazi Germany.

Fascism is an economic system that is distinguished from socialism or communism in a very narrow way. Don’t forget that, while we like to present fascism as the hard right on the political spectrum and communism as the hard left on the political spectrum, fascism is a socialistic concept. The name “Nazi” stands for the “National Socialist Party.” What distinguishes the fascists and the communists is not socialism or not-socialism but rather national socialism versus international socialism.

There is also this critical distinction: communism exists as a theory that suggests that the only way to have economic justice is not merely to divvy up the fruit of production equally among all members of society, but that it is about ownership of the means of production. This has to be universal or ultimately in the hands of the state. The state owns the means of production.

Fascism disagrees with that. Fascism is a system that affirms that private individuals certainly may own property, they certainly may own the means of production, the tools and the factory, the ways in which things get made. What defines fascism however is that while individuals may own property or the means of production, control of that property and the means of production remains in the hand of the state.

Now if we know much at all about what ownership is, what property is, we would recognize that essential to the concept of “property” is control. If you control my car, you drive it, you fill it with gas when you want to fill it with gas, you change the oil when you want to change oil, but you let me hold onto the title in my file cabinet at home then I don’t really own that car, you own that car. Ownership requires control. Fascism then is that system that maintains the facade of private property, but what you end up having is this bizarre marriage of business and state. Where the business is protected by the state, the business is shielded from competition, guaranteed of profits but ultimately controlled by the state.

Does this, I wonder, sound awfully familiar to anyone? Fascism allows us to own property, but it tells us what we have to pay those who work inside our factory. It tells us what percentage of this material we must include in the thing that we make. It tells us how many hours people are allowed to work. It tells is this and it tells us that until finally you are left with the obvious conclusion that the state owns what we think we own because it controls all that we have.

Friends, we don’t have a socialist economy here in United States, despite all the squawking and screaming about President Obama. Nor do we have a free market, despite what we would like to believe or what we once might have enjoyed. What we are living in, economically speaking, is fascism where property is held privately in name only, but controlled by an army of bureaucrats from the central government.

This is one reason why we are called to love and to seek liberty because fascism is a betrayal and assault upon the right of property–a right which was given to us by God Himself. That is what our founding documents say and, more importantly still, that is what the ten commandments say. Fascism isn’t just bad economics, it is theft.