Dinner with Hitler and Other Moral Issues

Your rent a Friend is listening to Norah Jones

He is feeling like he really ought to get to bed

Welcome back to The Moral Argument. We’ve reached the lighting round, where in you, the atheist, post modernist, relativist contestants get to answer some easy questions for fabulous prizes! In round one we’ve determined that everyone knows that some things are truly right and good, while others are really evil and should NOT be done. Now, we’re going to ask, “How come?”

Ready? OK, here we go: It’s 1929 and you’re having Schnitzel with an up and coming German leader. Let’s just call him “Adolph.” Over the appetizer you find out that he is planning to take over the world and kill almost the entire human race in his effort to form a global dictatorship which he feels will last for a thousand years. You suggest that there is some moral ambiguity in his plans, to which he responds, “Do you think so? Golly, if I felt it was really wrong, then I certainly wouldn’t do it.”

How do you convince him that his plan is really wrong? Remember, contestants, you and “Adolph” are both atheists, so you can’t appeal to God as a transcendent law giver.

Contestant number One: “I would say that the other nations would band together in an allied force to stop him, and he would probably wind up dying in some underground bunker.”

Nice try contestant one, but you’ve only succeeded at deepening his resolve. “Adolph” will just see that his many enemies will force him to act faster and more viciously than he had planned. The threat of losing doesn’t make him feel his actions are wrong- only that he is right and that he needs to work harder. After all, every good and right hero has faced opposition, haven’t they?

Contestant Two: “I would tell him that his plan is bad because it will hurt a lot of people, and make a lot of people unhappy, and that it would not make the world a better place.”

Ooh, a nice traditional reply from contestant two, but I think you’ll notice the mistakes you made. First of all, you’re done nothing to prove that hurting people is wrong. You’ve only moved the need for an objective moral standard over one place. Secondly, the aim of his plan is a world free of racism, classism, political struggles, religious fights, poverty, border disputes, and disease. In his mind it makes the world a MUCH better place. Besides, dead people don’t complain, so killing a lot of people only makes them unhappy while they’re still alive. The faster you kill, the faster you rid the world of unhappiness.

Contestant Three: “I think if “Adolph” looked at the cultures of the world, he would see that he is going against the normative implied social agreement of behavior for mutual benefit and survival. Laws and social norms of most people would go against these actions, and thus they are wrong.”

A noble sociological attempt from contestant three. However, “Adolph” knows as well as you do that social norms are no more binding to societies that agree to them than fashion or the rules of a game. If he is the dictator, he’ll make the laws and won’t have to worry about prior laws. Furthermore, if he kills everyone who disagrees with him, there will be no social norms which would condemn his actions. His plan includes altering such social norms so that the only surviving societies would celebrate him as a hero. Thanks for playing, but “Adolph” will still go on to kill all of you.

Contestant Two: “Hang on a minute! It’s wrong to hurt people! It’s wrong to kill lots of innocent people!”

Why?

Contestant Two: “Well… It just is, that’s all!”

How do you know?

Contestant Two: “I know it because I FEEL it, just as I know an apple is red because I see it.”

But as Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias points out, “There are some cultures who believe it is right to love their neighbors, and others who believe it is right to eat them, both based on feelings. Do you have a preference?”

Contestant Three: “It is true that some cultural norms presuppose an acceptance of killing and eating members of neighboring societies. But of course these are savage tribes, and many evolve out of this stage.”

And by evolving out of it, have they made moral progress?

Contestant Three: “Of course.”

But if you say they have progressed, do you not assume a better and a worse? But how can you do that without a transcendent standard to measure both sets of social norms against? How can you say they have gotten better if you cannot say there is a real good to which they are now closer?

Contestant Three: “Well, obviously there must be a higher good. It is better to love one’s enemies than to kill and eat them.”

Contestant One: “Yes! Justice is better than injustice, but not because there is some moral lawgiver telling us so. We can figure these things out for ourselves.”

But even if it could exist without a lawgiver, how would you figure out such a thing?

Contestant One: “For justice, you can see how it creates a better society than injustice. It makes for fair play, equality, and happy citizens.”

But then, what makes you decide that fair play, equality, and happy citizens are better than the alternative? What transcendent standard do you use to judge THOSE things as good?

Contestant Two: “Isn’t it good to make people happy?”

I would say so, but it is because God taught me to consider others as more important than myself. What makes YOU think so?

Contestant Two: “Because killing FEELS wrong. Justice FEELS right!”

I share your feelings because I believe God gave us conscience- an innate understanding of right and wrong. But others have vastly different feelings. Some people’s feelings lead them to murder anyone of a differing race, some to eat neighboring tribes, some to rape and pillage, and some to board a school bus covered in explosives to kill themselves and every passenger on the bus. These things happen all the time because some people feel they are right. Mind you, not just morally neutral and somehow justifiable, but they feel to rape, pillage, and murder is truly RIGHT and GOOD. Are they correct?

Contestant Three: “Of course not. But why must there be a law giver? Why cannot conscience simply evolve? Or morals be discovered as mathematics are discovered?”

The answer is something we all know instinctively as children. When one kid says to another kid, “You can’t do that!” or, “We’re not allowed to go in there!” the child who WANTS to do that or go there will inevitably reply, “Says who?” Our innate response is to seek out an appropriate authority that has the right to dictate right and wrong to us. We know that our boundaries are set for us by someone in authority over us. We know that mom and dad have the right to tell us what we can do, where we can go, what we should say, and what we’re allowed to eat. Otherwise, we’d go where we want, eat what we want, do what we please, and probably never survive long enough to reach the first grade. The Bible teaches us that God is the ultimate authority, and that he has given us a conscience so that we all instinctively know that it’s wrong to steal or lie or hurt other people.

Furthermore, if these morals are God’s revelation of right and wrong, then we CAN discover them as we discover mathematics. Otherwise we could only invent them as we invent the rules of a game. If I said I play four strike baseball, you would not find me morally evil. If I said I kill and eat my neighbors, you would know I was evil and would want the police to do something about it. To discover something it must exist. If we discover right and wrong, it is only because they are real and can be discovered. Evolution would only give us instincts for survival and passing on our genes. If all we are is the product of evolution, then there is an evolutionary cause for racism, rape, murder, theft, and betrayal. If evolution has given us the instinct to kill and the instinct to feel murder is wrong, why should we choose one over the other? Can we even choose, or is that, too, a product of evolution? Do we imprison murderers for behaving as they are programmed by their DNA? Would this not be like punishing a blender for making a fruit smoothie or  a magnet for hanging onto the fridge? And even if we CAN choose, why should we choose feeling murder is wrong over using murder to survive and pass on our genes (Or to get rich, or get a better parking spot, etc)?

In conclusion, if there is no God, there is no one with the authority to be a moral law giver. If there is no moral law giver, there is no moral law. If there is no moral law, there is no objective right and wrong. If there is no objective right and wrong- then I’m going to have to flip a coin to decide if I want to love my neighbor or eat him with a side of potato salad. If my neighbor is white and I serve him with a white wine, would that be wrong?

Thanks for playing. We’ll see you next time on Rent A Friend 2000!

rentafriend2000@hotmail.com

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About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

7 Responses to Dinner with Hitler and Other Moral Issues

  1. Daniel Mann says:

    Good job. It reveals the inadequacy of the atheistic position!

  2. Pingback: A Gay Debate: Chapter One « Rentafriend2000's Blog

  3. agnophilo says:

    And now for a dose of actual history:

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross.”

    – Adolph Hitler

    Hitler had what he thought was an objective source of morality, and a direct line to it – god.

    Either way hitler being unreasonable is a problem for humanity, not for atheists or any group in particular. I think it would be hard for anyone to reason with an unreasonable person, drugged up psychopaths especially. Do you think you could argue him out of his ideology? It would be about as hard as converting anyone of any religious persuasion to join any radically different sect.

    As for the idea of moral authority, that is by definition not objective, it is subjective. It is “might makes right”. Whereas if your concept of morality is based on human nature, ie “pain is intrinsically bad therefore we should not cause people to feel it” to give a simple example, that is an objective fact of our biology. This is why ethics dealing with suffering tend to be very similar across many cultures whereas sectarian ethics based on doctrinal authority like don’t eat x meat or cover up y body part tend to be divisive and hard to relate to outside of a given culture.

    • Thanks for writing in! Man, you has a lot to say, so let me take it in descending order:

      I don’t know where this quote came from, but I’ll assume it’s authentic. What does it prove? Either A. He was a politician in the country which spawned the protestant reformation PRETENDING to be a Christian (as many politicians have done through ‘actual’ history) or B. he was a badly diluted man who felt Jesus (himself a Jew) would have approved of Jew-hating. You don’t have to quote mine too far to find Hitler’s oft stated hatred for Christianity, not to mention his actual murder of many Christians and Church leaders. So, in short, this quote doesn’t do anything to support the idea that Hitler was himself a Christian, but even if it did, it does not actually address the topic I was writing about.

      Do a little more quote mining and you will see that Hitler was motivated by Darwin and Friedrich Nietzsche, what with his desire to create the race of Super Men and eliminate the inferior races of men. But even that is besides the point. Even if you could prove that Hitler sincerely believed himself to be a Christian, it would not undermine my point which is this: We KNOW absolute morals exist. Without God, absolute morals would not exist, and without God’s revelation to us we cannot know absolute morals exist.

      C.S. Lewis made this metaphor: God is like the sun. When you’re outside on a very overcast day, you cannot see the sun. We cannot see God. But when you look around through the fog and the rain, you know the sun is there, not because you can see it, but because you can see everything else. Through the rain I can see my car is red, therefore I know the sun exists. You and I can both see the world around us, so we know the sun MUST be there, or all would be dark. Colors would be fictional, and we would be blind. You and I can both look at mass murder, or rape, or slavery, or any number of things and KNOW they are evil, and you and I can both see love, charity, mercy, generosity and KNOW they are good. Therefore, the God of the Bible really is there.

      What you need to deal with is NOT “I’m an atheist, therefore I am a Nazi” and no one is saying so. What you need to ask yourself is, “If I believe the Nazis were WRONG- truly wrong- for trying to murder most of the human race- WHY do I think they were wrong?” You won’t find any creed built on actual atheism to support that moral objection, and certainly not on Darwinism, which is nature red in tooth and claw. Unless there is a good, personal God who has given us not only an innate knowledge of Him, and therefore what it means to be good, but also written moral law by which to guide ourselves, then we have no anchor.

      If God isn’t really there, then you and I are both diluted to think the Nazi’s mass global genocide was TRULY wrong. We would be blind men in the dark inventing colors we are pretending to see. Their ‘evil’ would be no more actual wrong than wearing white after labor day. Or to put a finer point on it, their murder of six million Jewish men, women, and children would be no more actually objectively evil than those people having been Jews in the first place. All of it, from their Jewishness to the Nazi’s murderous hate of them would be organic machines dancing to their DNA, and nothing more. This, my friend, is what atheism and Darwinism teach we are. You know this is not so, and that tells me that you are not REALLY an atheist. You might not like Christians, or understand the Bible, or appreciate God’s desire to butt in and tell you what to do, but you know He’s there, just as you know the sun is still there on an overcast day, or even at midnight.

      On your second major point I must simply disagree- moral authority is not, by definition, subjective. Jesus is an absolute moral authority whose decrees, instead of being arbitrary like Allah of Islam, or contradictory like the pagan pantheons, is based on his eternal, unchanging nature. So, by definition, the moral authority of the Christians IS objective. In an atheistic framework, yes, Might makes Right, but that’s my point exactly. The Nazi party WAS the might- but they were still wrong, and you can see they were wrong, just as you can see the color red.

      Let me recommend to you a recording of Peter Kreeft, playing the part of Socrates on a university campus, which deals with the issues of objective morality in a much clearer and more entertaining way that I can. I think if you give this a listen, it will illuminate this part of your question, and as I said, it’s a lot of fun.
      http://www.veritas.org/Talks.aspx#!/v/138
      Enjoy!
      Sincerely,
      Your Rent A Friend

      • agnophilo says:

        “Thanks for writing in! Man, you has a lot to say, so let me take it in descending order: I don’t know where this quote came from, but I’ll assume it’s authentic.”

        There are plenty more where that came from, including from mein kampf.

        “What does it prove? Either A. He was a politician in the country which spawned the protestant reformation PRETENDING to be a Christian (as many politicians have done through ‘actual’ history) or B. he was a badly diluted man who felt Jesus (himself a Jew) would have approved of Jew-hating.”

        Actually he thought modern christianity had been greatly perverted from it’s original form, mainly by jews who claimed jesus falsely as one of their own. The idea that christianity is a perversion of an earlier, purer ideal is hardly uncommon, many of the US founding fathers felt the same way. They were just far kinder people.

        “You don’t have to quote mine too far to find Hitler’s oft stated hatred for Christianity,”

        His supposed hatred for christianity is not “oft stated”, it is found in only two or three quotes attributed to him out of thousands and is more than likely simply misleading since he stated many times that he thought “christianity” was a jewish lie that poisoned the world as opposed to “positive christianity”, the official religion of the third reich.

        “not to mention his actual murder of many Christians and Church leaders.”

        Moses ordered the murder of thousands of jewish men, women and children, was he therefore not jewish? Dictators kill anyone who gets in their way, no sect or individual is immune from this. Would you expect an atheist mass-murdering dictator to give atheists who opposed him a free pass?

        “So, in short, this quote doesn’t do anything to support the idea that Hitler was himself a Christian,”

        On what planet does hitler constantly proclaiming his christian beliefs not in any way support the idea that he was christian? What in the world possibly could by that standard? Do we need to find some of his DNA and prove he had the christian gene or something?

        “but even if it did, it does not actually address the topic I was writing about. Do a little more quote mining and you will see that Hitler was motivated by Darwin and Friedrich Nietzsche,”

        I don’t think there is a single recorded instance in any of hitler’s writings or speeches of him ever once mentioning darwin (who would’ve thought his program of systematic in-breeding was absurd, not to mention his racist BS), and he famously misunderstood neitzsche’s philosophy. Hitler was so much in favor of darwin’s writings that they were… banned by the nazis. That’s right, darwin’s writings made the lists of banned (and thus burned) books in nazi germany.

        “what with his desire to create the race of Super Men and eliminate the inferior races of men.”

        Yeah, not what neitzsche actually said. What he said was that the purpose of the average inferior person was to generate the hardship and intolerance and BS necessary to occasionally generate a superior person, in other words that you had to go through the ringer and experience hard trials to be made into one. The idea that some people are just inherently awesome and if everyone had their genes the world would be great is in direct opposition to his philosophy.

        “But even that is besides the point. Even if you could prove that Hitler sincerely believed himself to be a Christian, it would not undermine my point which is this: We KNOW absolute morals exist. Without God, absolute morals would not exist, and without God’s revelation to us we cannot know absolute morals exist.”

        You are confusing belief with knowledge. We know the earth is round because we can demonstrate it objectively. We believe it’s a nice place to live (or a terrible place to live) subjectively. We also believe it was created by yahweh or allah or brahma or a thousand other deities based on our subjective convictions, cultures, upbringing etc. The ethical dictates of these various religions are not objectively otherwise we could arrive at a consensus the way scientists do, by demonstrating and testing ideas. But this is impossible, because the basis of that belief is subjective and often unknown to the believer. This is why entire groups of people have only ever been converted by force, whereas no one had to mass-murder everyone who didn’t accept that the earth was round for the idea to gain acceptance. Because it’s objectively true.

        “C.S. Lewis made this metaphor: God is like the sun. When you’re outside on a very overcast day, you cannot see the sun. We cannot see God. But when you look around through the fog and the rain, you know the sun is there, not because you can see it, but because you can see everything else. Through the rain I can see my car is red, therefore I know the sun exists. You and I can both see the world around us, so we know the sun MUST be there, or all would be dark.”

        This is sophistry. If god were something we can’t see today but could plainly see yesterday and the week before then yes that would be a fine analogy, but it’s not. Which is why it is only compelling to someone who already accepts the conclusion of the analogy. If I substituted “god” for allah or vishnu would that be a compelling argument for their existence and the truth of their respective doctrines? Of course not. But the faithful in those cultures would probably eat it up.

        “Colors would be fictional, and we would be blind. You and I can both look at mass murder, or rape, or slavery, or any number of things and KNOW they are evil, and you and I can both see love, charity, mercy, generosity and KNOW they are good. Therefore, the God of the Bible really is there.”

        Lets say for the sake of argument that the “existence” of morality proved there was a god. I don’t think it does and I will get into this deeper in a second but lets just say it proves we were created by something that gave us a moral sense. In no way does that point to one religion being true and all others being false. You would of course assume that that god is the god of the bible but for the same reason a muslim person would assume that god was allah. It’s an assumption that comes from somewhere else inside you, not the argument you’re giving me. Now that being said from a naturalistic perspective the reason we “know” stabbing someone is wrong is the same reason I “know” stabbing me is wrong – it hurts a lot. It’s scary. And it is very inconvenient to say the least. And I can extend this understanding to you because we are wired for empathy, we feel what others feel as though we are experiencing it ourselves. This however is not a result of christianity or the bible or belief in any particular god, it is a pervasive part of nature that is found in most social species, especially higher mammals. This is why we form such strong bonds with our pets, especially dogs, because their basic psychology is the same as ours. We have evolved instincts, some of them are very nice like empathy and love and a lust to help each other, and others are very bad like the sheep mentality, the us vs them dynamic that we tend to slip into, both of which give rise to ideas like racism and nationalism.

        “What you need to deal with is NOT “I’m an atheist, therefore I am a Nazi” and no one is saying so.”

        Actually lots of people say that.

        “What you need to ask yourself is, “If I believe the Nazis were WRONG- truly wrong- for trying to murder most of the human race- WHY do I think they were wrong?”

        To quote albert einstein:

        “A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

        “You won’t find any creed built on actual atheism to support that moral objection,”

        Atheism is not a moral philosophy, it is a description of what someone does not believe, not of what they do. However edicts like the golden rule were written down over a thousand years before the oldest books of the old testament and came about long before your religion or it’s predecessor ever existed.

        “and certainly not on Darwinism, which is nature red in tooth and claw.”

        Darwin described nature as it is, he did not invent it’s brutality, nor was he the first to notice it. And so-called “social darwinism” was a philosophy he openly objected to while he was alive.

        “Unless there is a good, personal God who has given us not only an innate knowledge of Him, and therefore what it means to be good, but also written moral law by which to guide ourselves, then we have no anchor.”

        If I see lightning and assume it came from thor, and teach my children it came from thor, and they teach theirs and so on – does the existence of lightning prove the existence of thor? This is exactly your argument, just with the human moral compass instead of lightning. It ignores (or you are simply unaware of) the fact this that our moral compass is hardly unique to us as a species, that it often leads people to do terrible things, that not everyone’s compass is the same, that not everyone even has a compass at all and that there is absolutely no reason to assume that your god created us instead of the god of another religion or something else entirely.

        “If God isn’t really there, then you and I are both diluted to think the Nazi’s mass global genocide was TRULY wrong.”

        Deluded* btw. Diluted is something else.

        “We would be blind men in the dark inventing colors we are pretending to see. Their ‘evil’ would be no more actual wrong than wearing white after labor day.”

        Or eating meat on a friday or not chopping off the end of your son’s penis or working on a particular day of the week or covering your head in church (or not doing so) or any of a thousand “objective morals”.

        “Or to put a finer point on it, their murder of six million Jewish men, women, and children would be no more actually objectively evil than those people having been Jews in the first place.”

        Actually if we follow the bible it’s actually the jews who should’ve murdered everyone else.

        Deuteronomy 13:

        “If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you. If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.”

        Now this is the fun part where I get to kick back and watch you try to justify how genocide and ethnic cleansing is good and holy while arguing that it’s evil and disgusting at the same time.

        “All of it, from their Jewishness to the Nazi’s murderous hate of them would be organic machines dancing to their DNA, and nothing more. This, my friend, is what atheism and Darwinism teach we are.”

        No, that is an oversimplified version with negative spin. We are not “just” organic machines, we are amazing organic machines. And our behavior does not have a 1 to 1 relationship with our genes, if I collect stamps that does not mean there is a gene for stamp collecting that allows me to do that. Humanity is a blend of nature and nurture, of culture and genetics. And science is descriptive, not prescriptive. If you want to know if something is right or wrong that is a philosophical question, not an empirical one. Though of course empirical science can give us the nuts and bolts we use to forge our philosophies. For instance you probably think drinking and smoking while pregnant is immoral, but we would not know this without science.

        “You know this is not so, and that tells me that you are not REALLY an atheist.”

        So hitler wasn’t really a christian and now I’m not really an atheist. Wonders never cease.

        “You might not like Christians, or understand the Bible, or appreciate God’s desire to butt in and tell you what to do,”

        I just love when christians who don’t know anything about me lecture me about my imagined personal faults. I don’t get enough of that.

        “but you know He’s there, just as you know the sun is still there on an overcast day, or even at midnight.”

        No, I know the sun is there because I’ve seen the sun many times. If I had seen yahweh floating in the sky all my life you’d have a point. But I haven’t, so you don’t.

        “On your second major point I must simply disagree- moral authority is not, by definition, subjective.”

        If god decided rape was good, would it be good?

        “Jesus is an absolute moral authority whose decrees, instead of being arbitrary like Allah of Islam, or contradictory like the pagan pantheons, is based on his eternal, unchanging nature. So, by definition, the moral authority of the Christians IS objective.”

        Oh yeah, god’s morality never changes… Except all those times it did. The bible says everything from love thy neighbor to set thy neighbor on fire to stone people to death to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. If you think god’s morality is ever-constant then why aren’t you out murdering gay men and stoning adulterers to death? Rationalization in 3… 2… 1…

        “In an atheistic framework, yes, Might makes Right,”

        No, atheism is not a moral framework, and I’ve never met an atheist whose moral philosophy was that might makes right.

        “but that’s my point exactly. The Nazi party WAS the might- but they were still wrong, and you can see they were wrong, just as you can see the color red.”

        Actually the color red only exists in our mind and ironically the example you are using as an objective reality is actually a subjective impression. The genes that make us all subjectively see the same thing (at least we think they do) when we look at a “red” thing are not a part of objective reality, they are just subjectively the same for everyone. The same way the genes that makes us feel pain are not part of some universal truth (a rock does not feel pain, only membres of species with pain receptors do), it is only universal to us, and the species relatively closely related to us.

        “Let me recommend to you a recording of Peter Kreeft, playing the part of Socrates on a university campus, which deals with the issues of objective morality in a much clearer and more entertaining way that I can. I think if you give this a listen, it will illuminate this part of your question, and as I said, it’s a lot of fun.
        http://www.veritas.org/Talks.aspx#!/v/138
        Enjoy!
        Sincerely,
        Your Rent A Friend”

        I will give it a listen if I have time (using the library wifi, can’t be here all day).

      • Greetings once again! This novelette has far too much for me to reply to right now, but there were a couple of points which I won’t be able to sleep until I address, and here is the most important:
        You: “On what planet does hitler constantly proclaiming his christian beliefs not in any way support the idea that he was christian? What in the world possibly could by that standard? Do we need to find some of his DNA and prove he had the christian gene or something?”
        I understand your point, and I can’t fault you for not knowing better, as the America church is barely literate enough to know better. This has been a major frustration for me for years, but I digress. Your point is a common one- you feel that being a Christian is no more than being a Cubs fan. You say, “Heck, I’ll root for this team,” and that’s all there is to it. But that is not at all what being a Christian is. That is, admittedly, all it takes to be a Lutheran, or a Methodist, or a Baptist. But choosing to attend a particular church doesn’t make one a Christian any more than going to Wrigley Field makes one a baseball player.

        If you read the New testament, Jesus and the apostles make this very point. James 2:19 says “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” Jesus himself makes the distinction between his true followers and those who play the part in public in Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus himself does not distinguish between “Believe in me” and “follow me” and even “Obey me.”But he DOES separate those from “You CLAIMED to be mine,” or “you used my name.” In short, there is nothing in the New Testament which would accept mere name dropping as equivalent to being a real follower of Christ. It’s not an arbitrary label to slap on yourself. It’s an act of the will- a dedication of one’s entire being, much like being married. This is why the church is called the “Bride of Christ.” We’re not the girlfriend. We’re a committed, covenant people- promised and wedded, paid for and united as one with our Lord. That is the only kind of Christian who actually exists. A Christian in name only is NOT a Christian at all. No we do not have new DNA, but we have a new heart and a new spirit. The fruits of the spirit Paul lists in Galatians 5:22 are a DNA test for Christians. CS Lewis talks about this in Mere Christianity, and if you’ve not read that I HIGHLY recommend it. It delivers what the title promises.

        And of course, since Jesus taught very clearly about his will and what it means to follow him, then that is the standard for being a Christian. Just as I cannot say, “I’ve rejected the teachings of Mohammed and the Koran, but I still consider myself a Muslim” (For what sense would that make?) one cannot reject the teachings of Jesus and consider himself (with any reason) a Christian. So even if Hitler truly considered himself to be a Christian, all you have to do is go to the teaching of Jesus to see that nothing could be further from the truth. To claim he was a Christian is merely absurd and indefensible. Jesus called the Jews his brothers, not a poison. Jesus taught to love your enemies, not to murder them. Jesus taught to turn the other cheek, not to use violence to conquer the world. When even the church organizations have done otherwise, they have NOT acted as Christians, and in many cases proved that they were NOT Christians. This is what Martin Luther said of many of the later Crusaders. He said, “They call themselves a Christian army when there is not but five real Christians among them.” This distinction is not one I made up or one of the modern church. It comes from Jesus and the apostles.

        You make what you do not realize is a closely related point here: “This is why entire groups of people have only ever been converted by force, whereas no one had to mass-murder everyone who didn’t accept that the earth was round for the idea to gain acceptance. Because it’s objectively true.”
        This is the by product of modern American disinformation. You believe all religions to be the same, and since Islam spread by the sword, all the rest must as well? It simply isn’t true. The fact is, the Christian church has ALWAYS grown the fastest and the healthiest under the greatest persecution. You live in America where the church is dying a fast food death of comfort and selfishness. The Christian Church has been growing the fastest in places like China, North Korea, and Iran, where it is illegal and being Christian or even merely owning a Bible can bring prison or the death penalty. Christianity doesn’t spread by the sword because it is not a religion. It spreads by the love of Jesus and his people, and it always has. Yet, to counter your point, communist nations have inflicted atheism at gunpoint for a century. What does that say of your belief if it needs to be forced on the people by violence?

        Let me wrap up with the main point of my original post:
        No matter what Hitler said, his actions are in line and completely compatible with Atheistic Darwinism. If you are an atheist as you claim, then you have no moral basis on which to condemn the Nazis for slaughtering millions and attempting to do far more. There is NO sin you can condemn, because on your view there is no sin. How can anything be WRONG on atheism? (For more on Hitler and thoseliving our Darwinism like him, watch this: http://youtu.be/FmemCYs9sLk)
        But you KNOW that rape, murder, genocide, theft, lies, betrayal, etc. are wrong- if not by your actions then by your reactions when you or those you love are the victim. You KNOW there is good and evil. I do not need to convince you of that. You already know. But if atheism cannot account for the mere existence of Good and Evil, then the conclusion, while perhaps uncomfortable to you, is inevitable. You are not an atheist. If you were, you would not believe that ANYTHING was right or wrong. It makes no sense. You claim we “evolved” empathy, etc. But so what? Some animals evolved cannibalistic habits. Others force themselves sexually on their peers. If you want to look to nature to explain your own morals, you will again find them baseless and ungrounded.
        Here are some things you already know, which I don’t need to convince you of: there is right and wrong. There are shouldn’ts and shoulds. No one is perfect. Justice means punishing the guilty in accordance with their crime. Mercy means paying someone else’s debt. You and I are liars and thieves, we’ve lusted and lied, stolen and hurt, been selfish and hateful. We have a debt we cannot pay. These ideas are common to everyone in history, from Hammurabi to Moses, Socrates to Confucius.

        Here is what Christianity teaches which NO other religion or marketing scheme in history has ever taught. God so LOVED us, that he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in HIM, shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) And for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23). Jesus is different because in Jesus you find the one thing everyone is searching for but no one can really offer- forgiveness. Jesus will forgive you as well, and give you a new heart if you only ask.

  4. Pingback: 10 (non)Commandments of Atheism #5 – 8: No Foundation for Fish Tacos | Rent-A-Friend 2000's Biblical Thinking and Good Times!

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