If there were no God


Why don’t people read what I write?

I said that IF God had had no input on Western Civilisation (if He had decided not to make His presence known) then we would still be where we are regarding morality.

And you need to get out more. There is a fairly large chunk of the planet that has no Judeo Christian connection whatsoever and they have developed exactly the same morality as everyone else. And I understand this because I have visited most of them.


Establish what? You have no idea what meta-mathematics is (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metamathematics) if you think that your reference to the empty sets is a meta-mathematical proposition.

What “wiggle” are you talking about? You seemed to be confused about “meta-propositions” so I gave you actual examples, which you either did not read or did not understand.

In post 155 Niceatheist wrote:

The exact wording was “there really is no absolute ethical system”. Which is the same AND it is also not an ethical proposition. But you have been given the opportunity to present that “absolute ethical system”, and you failed to do it. Go back and read my last post again, and see if you can understand it.


Not at all. Your emotional attachment your pseudo-religion keeps you from seeing the obvious nuance.

The actors must be free to act. If your theoretical psycho-god were to interrupt what you perceive as negative outcomes 100% of the time, then you’ve encumbered their ability.

Just because you refuse to see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. This is a common problem for zealots of all stripes.

As you admitted yourself, it’s a subjective topic. The side from which I view the obelisk is obviously different from yours. Does it not bug you that you think you’re trying to have a rational conversation yet virtually all of your objections are emotional? Do you really not see that? -serious question.

And that is merely your opinion. Mine seems to allow for reality in a way yours doesn’t. To some, this makes it a better opinion. But think as you wish.

No, as it pertains to moral agency, they’re equally valuable as the actors must be able to act. Conflicts of wills are a natural consequence of it.

You’re just trying to appeal to grand-standing emotion against my defense of the necessity of our lesser behaviors. This, by rule, irrational defense which is exactly that same in (lack of) quality as the objection to evolution levied by the fundamentalist when they’re finally exposed to an education. “My gawd made the world in 7 literal days, I don’t care what you satanic science-people say!”

You’re either physically incapable of understanding it or (what’s more likely) you don’t like the explanation because it allows the existence of a god that is both a) attributable as “benevolent” and b) permissive of the evil that exists in the world.

Your objection isn’t primarily rational - it’s emotional. We know this because in your defense you’ve invoked Nazis, gang-rape and name calling. These are hallmarks in the defenses levied by the blindly-ideological and sophomoric.

I’ll take that as your very best effort at concession to what is a proven fact. Thank you for it.

Oh, and they can still go on trying to enact evil to the greatest degree while they’re behind bars. Their free moral agency is still preserved.

Again, I’m a little in-the-air about whether you either don’t want to see that, or actually can’t.


I think the term you are looking for here is “the illusion of choice”. A non choice by definition of free will is not a choice.


I understand the basis on which you assert that, but there’s absolutely no way to know if it would be true. I think by virtue of the Butterfly Effect, that major change would likely alter the face of the planet itself.

No, different assumptions. I’m first a theist, Christian second.

Pretty much, sure.

Sure. It seems that “ought” the world over and across time requires a god of some sort.


Read a few books that mentioned the topic back in the aughts when Hitchens and the other Four Horsemen were making their hay.

It’s a great concept until you actually try to do something with it. There isn’t even remotely sufficient evidence to support the determinism it implies and it has all sorts of philosophical problems.

But we’re all looking to either affirm the god we love or replace the god we killed, right?


I’d like to think there is a God but religion is so illogical and creation is too fantastic to just be a stopping point.

Maybe science killed God and its just a really long slow death. IDK, what I do know is my belief to try to live as long as I can and contribute as much as I can to make this world better is the lest I can do.

If nothing else so that my replacement doesnt have to question why this world is so cruel.


If Person A states that we got where we are now because God made His presence known a few millenia back then Person B who believes that his or her deity was responsible is obviously wrong according to Person A.

So person B got where he is with no actual guidance at all. He just believed he was being pointed in the right direction. But there he is standing next to Person A and they are both in exactly the same pace.

Person C rolls up, and whether he believes he has received some explicit instruction or not, he can claim that A and B simply believed they had the same instructions but they are both wrong.

We needn’t go through the alphabet to see where this gets us. Everyone seems to have received the same intructions as to how to form a civilised society based on agreed moral norms. And they didn’t need an actual deity to formulate them. It’s just that everyone claims that their guy is THE guy. Because hey, ‘my deity is bigger than your deity’.

They’re arguing with each other that only they have the right directions. And I’m thinking that either one of them is right or they are all wrong. But I’m following along and I motice that we’re ALL on the same path. So there is only one conclusion I can draw.

So this is the path that they think that they AUGHT to follow. And they think that because they are under the impression that they are the only ones to have received the true directions and everyone else is deluded at best. So to make sure that they all stay on the path (which everyone is pretty much going to do anyway) each of them has to emphasise the fact.

‘My god will grant you eternal life if you stick to this path’
‘My God will punish you if you stray from this path’
‘My god will make you take the trip as many times as necessary before you get to the correct destination’.
‘My god will bring you back as something unpleasant if you don’t follow the path’




My whole point is that the proposition we’ve been discussing reduces to the mathematical claim that I offered… and that, contrary to your claim, it’s not a meta-mathematical assertion (just as the original proposition, contrary to your claim, is not a meta-ethical assertion).

You need to re-read what you wrote, then. :wink:

You made two logical errors. In attempting to refute the claim that “there does not exist an absolute moral system”, you made two claims that were non sequiturs:

The claim that “the set of proposed ethical systems has cardinality > 1” does not address the claim that “none of these proposed systems are absolute”. The question is not “what has been proposed?”, but rather, “does one of the systems that has been proposed meet this criterion?”.

The claim that “it is not true that all people accept a single ethical system” does not address the claim that “there are no absolute ethical systems.” The first claim talks about the illative sense question of whether folks accept a given proposition (whether that proposition is true or not). The second claim deals with reality, not perception.

Argue apples to apples, or argue oranges to oranges. When you argue apples against oranges, however, I’ll be sure to call you on it. :wink:


That means that you simply don’t understand the difference between an ethical proposition, and a meta-ethical proposition. I am tired of this tug-of-war. It is your turn to give a definition of these two concepts, and then show that “there is no absolute morality” is an ethical proposition. If you can do it, fine, if you cannot, that is also fine - as long as you explicitly admit that you cannot.


I genuinely think your paradigm on religion is a little outdated.

The rise of non-denominational mega-churches stems from the very idea that there is a limited amount of doctrine that one can be reasonably sure of - laying waste to many of the old gripes of Free-Will Baptists vs Methodists vs ect.

That Catholic Church itself holds that salvation might be possible outside itself because while man is bound to the sacraments, God is not. Catholic Sister Marge would delight in explaining to you how salvation could even be possible for an atheist, if you’re ever in my town.

Oh yes they did. At least, they needed to think they did so the agreed moral norms had some sort of transcending authority that was necessary to get you to follow them. “Murder is wrong, thus saith the LORD” is a little easier to get behind than “Murder is wrong, thus saith ALL THE GUYS OVER ON 5TH STREET”.

Not really. I think this is just a rationalist becoming vague because it suits their argument. Plenty of societies had differing moral norms complete with plenty of zealous young men willing to kill you if you spat upon them. Certainly not just western tradition.

I certainly don’t think that applies to anything approaching all the religious folks - like myself. Especially in this modern age.

Hell of a lot more compliance-inducing than “so saith all the guys on 5th street”, right?


If you don’t see the contradiction between of these two of your posts, then you are in real sorry shape.

The contradiction is glaring.

However, this solution is fine by me. Now let’s extend it, and allow them to “TRY” to perform their evil act, but prevent them from performing it. I already offered this solution and you did not wish to accept it.

If you disagree with the proposition that “the right of your fist stops where my nose begins”, then we can do the experiment, and prove that you will wish to invoke this principle as soon as you are on the receiving end of exercising that “free will”. This proposition is just another way to express the Golden Rule.


No it isn’t. I think you’re just unable to separate “Free moral agency” from “free will”.

We always exercise our agency in light of the environment we’re in. And in conflicts with others, the one with the greatest ability to affect their agency will be the victor. But if it’s ontologically restrained, as you seem to want, then it’s not “free” as it must be, being among the greatest of goods.

Uhhh… What?

Because you want it restrained at an existential level. No bueno.
But its actualization being frustrated by the prevailing of mightier, contrary agencies? Bueno. :+1:

The actors must be free to act. The ref won’t stop them. This is reality as we see it.

As an absolute? Of course I disagree. If a man were to walk by and grope my wife’s buttock, I’d very much like to unify his nose and my fist


What a stupid thing to ponder


There is no difference.

If it is OK to prevent any specific instance of performing evil, that is the same as preventing any evil.

The ref WILL stop them. That is desirable reality.

You just don’t see it. I am not talking about self-defense or defending others. The principle talks about an unprovoked use of force. Unfortunately you either don’t see the difference (in which case you would be dumb) or refuse the admit the difference (in which case you are a hypocrite).


Except we are not talking salvation but the basis for morality. Connected but different.


Not historically for westerners, it isn’t.

Of course, I guess it’s different if you’re an atheist.


Yeah there is. First thing google spat back;

"Moral agency is an individual’s ability to make moral judgments based on some notion of right and wrong and to be held accountable for these actions. A moral agent is “a being who is capable of acting with reference to right and wrong.”

Free Will - “the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.”

Glad to clear that up.

Only by other people - other free moral agents. They’re subject to the same rules you are.

I do not and will not care about what you consider desirable. If free moral agency is among the greatest of goods, then a benevolent god will not suspend it.

No. It doesn’t. It deals simply with the question of “when is it appropriate to use force on someone?”

Yet another example where you either don’t know entirely what you’re talking about -or- you’re trying to modify what it means to better suit your ideology like any other zealot.


That is the same nonsense you keep repeating.

You keep using that IF and it makes your argument ridiculous. Benevolence does not look at ONLY one of the parties involved and does not choose to allow the rapist to go on, due to do some “higher degree of desirability”.

That is the whole point. The only allowable usage of force is the one in self-defense and the defense of others. Killing and raping and torturing are NOT “appropriate” usage of force. And if it is not appropriate, then the proper behavior is to prevent it - by any benevolent human or robot or “god”.

One can only hope that you finally comprehended. I don’t hold my breath…


Why yes. Yes it is.

If it’s a contradiction, care to show how?
I’ve some academic experience with modals using boolean operators, so if you prefer that way, suit yourself. It might be better.
To quote Dr. H, “if you can’t do it that way, then there’s probably something wrong with your claim”.

No, it doesn’t make my argument “ridiculous”. It makes my argument contingent as it’s concerning something that we can’t know for sure. I posit an “if” that allows a god to be both “good” and permissive of the evil that goes on in the world.

“Greater good” would be the basic assumption - that there is one that is more valuable than the sum of all the bad it generates. Covered in freshman philosophy.

If impairing free moral agency in order to prevent evil acts generates more evil (or the loss of good) than the acts themselves, benevolence not only permits free moral agency - it seems to demand it.

Oh? The execution of justice isn’t a permissible use of force on a person? How about causing pain (like administering a painful vaccine panel) in order to limit future ills? Removing the limb to stop the incurable infection? I’m sure there are a zillion others…
Moreover, wouldn’t someone have to violate your principle in the first place in order to necessitate your sole exemptions?

You’ll need to get to work back-pedaling here, too.

Unless by preventing it at the agency-level you create something that is even less “appropriate”. Which may very well be the case. As I’ve said… I dunno… 105 times now?

I understand perfectly, but maybe not in the way you like. Reminds me of Calvinists who love their system so much that they sometimes don’t understand why others don’t seem to share their appreciation for it. Same goes for any expression of zealotry across history.

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