God-rejectors: They have nothing – Morality and some baseless arguments
This part of my expressed inner monologue about the emptiness of rejecting God is where I take a look at some of the condemnations of those who reject God and share with you how I approach them, especially on the basis of what I’ve said before:
1) People who reject God do so first before using the moral argument against him;
2) People who reject God make themselves a higher authority than God, his superior, and thus make themselves a god;
3) Their morality can only be subjective and have no power outside of their own personal internal chemical reactions.
It should also be stated that a significant number of their moral arguments against the acts of God in the Jewish Bible come from ignorance of the Jewish Bible or a misreading of what it states. Because many God-rejectors come from a christian background, their ignorance of the Oral Torah and the wisdom of ancient rabbis who have already dealt with such issues is a significant factor in their unlearned and error-filled opinions and interpretations of the Jewish Bible.
The fact that I come from a so-called “sola scripture” approach, although I now embrace the oral tradition of traditional Judaism, informs me of the fact that many arguments from the God-rejectors employ some of the foolish tactics of christians in proving doctrines, interpretations and ideas. Taking passages out of context, ignorance of the original Hebrew text, mistranslating the text or relying on faulty translations are some of the tactics ex-christians take with them after they’ve supposedly left the religion and acknowledgement of God.
Ok, let’s go through some of the attacks against the integrity of God.
The Bible condones slavery.
This is a common statement used to condemn God or the Bible as saying they are evil or that God promotes it.
But the problem with this statement, this accusation, can be broken down once a few questions are asked.
So I’d ask this: what did the statement assume? What is not said but is necessarily true for this accusation to hold water?
The accusation assumes that slavery is a morally bad thing. It means that God overlooks or is lenient with something that is bad, evil or wrong. God-rejectors will say that it is wrong to own another person, or you can’t own someone else.
It also assumes that this moral judgement is absolute or objective enough to hold the law of God up against it. If the person using this accusation was consistent with his anti-Torah sentiments, then he would say nothing except note that slavery was fine in those days and people just have different values in some parts of modern western culture. But no, this anti-theist is saying that it was wrong then and it’s wrong now, showing the timelessness and universality of this moral statement, that it applies to all people always. If this wasn’t an assumption of the statement, and morality is subjective, then no such condemnation can be rightly levelled against the written Torah.
So these people say it’s morally wrong for one human to own another, that slavery is absolutely wrong. So then comes my next question. Where does this objective moral precept come from? Who thinks they have the right to tell me what I can and can’t do? What makes this precept absolute and objective from the person making this accusation?
Did the claim just come from the opinion of a subjective human? Is that its source? Without God, there is no objective standard, so it seems like this is just an opinion, something with no power or even any real truth to it.
So if the accusation is that God has done something morally wrong yet there’s no basis for objective morality, then God hasn’t really done anything absolutely wrong, just something that goes against a subjective taste. That’s it. So the accusation is weightless, empty.
Let’s think of it another way. In certain worldviews, especially the godless ones, humans are just another breed of animal. And it’s acceptable in the eyes of many for people to own, kill and eat animals, to use them for labour, such as farming and transport. Pets are common, even in this day and age. So humans being animals, it should be logically fine to own one. To speak against it is arbitrary as there’s no absolute standard to condemn the owning and use of one animal over another.
I know there are people who think animals have rights and thus even animals shouldn’t be owned. But, as I said before, that’s just a personal conclusion, and without objectivity in morals, what you may conclude or feel for may not be what I conclude or feel for.
It’s all just DNA and chemical reactions. Your taste buds and their messages to your brain may mean you like strawberry ice cream and the chemicals within me may hate that and prefer chocolate. I may even be allergic to strawberry. In the same way, your brain chemistry may not result in a preference to owning other people and you find justifications for that. It could be because of DNA, or upbringing, or culture, or maybe you’re just afraid to go against what so many others subjectively conclude or the coercive politicians who write threats against anyone that goes against their own opinions (otherwise known as “laws”). But then any change in those factors could result in a different opinion, and there’s no objective way to say which is better than the other.
It should be also known that slavery has existed for much of human history and even still exists today in various form, both subtle and overt. In fact, if Frederick Douglass’ logic holds true about income taxes, then not only is most of the world still under slavery, but many people actually still want it (for example, see What did Frederick Douglass teach me about income tax?). Just in case the link breaks, I’ll summarize the argument.
As a slave, you and your labour belongs to your master, the one who owns you, who tells you what to do and you must obey. Even if your master allowed to work elsewhere, if you still have to give all your earnings to him you’re still a slave. Even if you are permitted to keep a percentage for yourself, the master is still in control over what you can keep. So you’re still a slave working for a master. (Just read that again replacing “master” with “government.”)
It’s always surprising how those who reject God out of condemnation about slavery still support slavery by means of politicians or government. The anti-theist, Christopher Hitchens, in a debate, would argue against slavery and dictatorship with one side of his mouth, and then in the next refer positively to people having to live under laws which are nothing but the opinion of someone else with the added dimension of coercion, threat and force, no qualitative difference to a (slave-)master. The essential “power” of government is this: “Do what I say or I’ll hurt you.” And atheists mainly are fine with that sort of people ownership. And his atheistic colleagues, like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and many others are no different in their hypocrisy. They think that a bunch of humans, whether it be the ruling class or its thugs (the police or army or other such forces), or a strong enough bunch of people, can control how much freedom another person has, even restricting that freedom by putting an individual “under arrest.” If one person can control the freedom of another, that is another form of ownership. Yet these so-called “moral” people are happy with and advocate for such ownership whilst railing against slavery. Again, hypocrisy at its finest!
It’s like those who claim to be anti-gun yet want government to have all the guns. In other words, they’re not anti-gun; they want government to have all the guns. This reveals a great inconsistency in thinking.
Since God exists, he makes the rules. Since there is no prohibition against slavery, then it is important to do what God-rejectors commonly fail to do. What is that? Study properly what the Torah means by slavery, how a person becomes one, and how one must be treated.
Too often when dealing with such subjects, the one rejecting God and Torah demonstrates an ignorance of the topics and read in ideas from their experience rather than what the Torah is teaching. Such people don’t seek to understand Torah for what it says, but add their alien cultural definition to the Torah words. When thinking about “slavery,” a person thinks about mistreatment, unjustified harm, sometimes a person being kidnapped and made into a slave. Based on that, rather than understanding what the Torah concept, the person ignorantly accuses God of what he never taught.
So for all these reasons – subjectivity, lack of objectivity, inconsistency, the inadequate chemical basis for moral statements without God – the charge of God being evil is baseless and invalid.
Subjectivity, ignorance and many times hypocrisy were the stock and trade, the modus operandi, of those who reject God and try to use morality against him. It is seen with any and every argument.
For example, the charge of God or his Torah being homophobic, as if it’s objectively wrong for God to say which relationships are acceptable. Think about it. Objectively speaking, God, the purposeful creator of everything has the right to set the rules of what is right and wrong. Yet, subjectively, without God, who can dictate to another what to think about homosexuality? There is no absolute right or wrong. There is nothing wrong or right with homosexuality, bestiality, incest, paedophilia. It’s just a matter of personal taste. It’s all subjective. So I can think what I like and you can think what you like. Who is the God-rejector to tell a person how to think? Hell, who is the God-rejector to dictate to God what is right or wrong?
Either anything goes or there are objective rules. Humanity can not be the source of objective morals or its standard. So the person who rejects God cripples his own position before he even opens his mouth.
God condones genocide.
Genocide is the killing of a large amount of people, normally of the same ethnicity or religion. It is said by some to be the gravest, most serious crime. And God is accused of this crime. He wiped out the vast majority of humanity in a great catastrophe or deluge, destroyed a number of towns, one of which was Sodom, he commanded the destruction of the Canaanites and the Amalekites.
So the person who condemns God would seem to have the testimony of his own Torah … until we actually ask a few familiar questions.
Who is God, according to the Torah? Who is he? Isn’t he the creator and thus the ultimate owner of the heavens and earth and all that is in them? Isn’t he the one who built the foundations upon which any morality must find itself? Isn’t he the one who gives life and sustains everything? He is wise and all knowing and the Judge of the whole world, having crafted objective morality. He’s the one who makes the rules for us, not the other way around.
On the basis of that alone, before I talk about his character, the question must be this: who or what must God be in order for humanity to judge him? He must no longer be transcendent, above and beyond us but rather he is under our jurisdiction, under our power. So he’s actually rejected as God first and then put at the place for condemnation. Human, becoming the judge of God becomes the god of God!
Now think of the inconsistency on different levels. Subjective humanity, one set, one modern set, tries to state an objective moral standard. From where does it come? From subjective brain fizz without God! So it’s not objective and down to taste. In another culture it’s fine when the time demands it. The word “genocide” was only made up in 1944. That just shows it to be a modern conception. And the reason it was thought up was because someone else did it and thought it to be fine. Subjective!
On another level, what is a human according to naturalistic philosophies? A bacteria that’s changed! The effects of natural forces on pond scum. It’s an evolved fish, an evolved amphibian, an evolved mammal, a primate, a slightly rearranged monkey or ape. But wait! Don’t we use anti-bacterial chemicals to clean surfaces? Don’t humans slaughter loads of animals and birds, mostly for food? If I do housekeeping on a whim, how many lives are lost capriciously? What exactly makes one type of life superior in quality to another? Objectively, nothing. Subjectively, … well you may as well flip a coin and justify the result. Just do and feel whatever your particular brain chemistry and DNA programs you to. Who is one person to tell another what to think or feel?
In so many ways, this accusation is crippled, limited by the user. Without God, there is no grounding upon which to condemn him. You have to use his world and steal from a worldview based on him to attempt to make a point.
The struggle may still exist within: how can God command such a thing, the decimation of everyone in a town or city, even the children and women (as if the lives of the men are disposable)? A person who has at least studied the issue properly in a God-centred worldview could provide at the very least inferences, draw educated conclusion. Let me give a few.
- God owns everything because he made everything.
In that fact alone, he has the right over his own creation. This life isn’t ours to demand anything of God. It’s his! And he can take it back when and how he wants.
- God sees the big picture and each individual life.
Therefore he is in the perfect place to judge the rare occasions where wiping out a people group would be justified. Humans are not in that place to judge which it is why it is wrong for humans to take it upon themselves to do such a thing.
- The age of responsibility.
Children under a certain age are seen as extensions of the adults. Once they reach the age of maturity and responsibility, then it can be said that they are guilty. Until then, when a place is destroyed, everything is erased, not just the adults, but the possessions as well. This leads to the next point.
- This life isn’t all there is.
As there is an afterlife, there is at least the possibility that those children will find a place in a much better world.
Now, I’ve already heard what those who deny God will say. They will claim that they do good things without God, that they don’t need God to be a good person and do good things. But this shows that they have not understood the point. What is good??? Who decides??? The serial killer? The thief? The politician? The majority? The individual? The collective? And what is the basis of the decision? Brain fizz? Without God, there is no real “good” or “bad.” It’s just a personal delusion!
This is particularly true for any – and I mean any – moral condemnation of the God of Torah. For those who accept the Jewish Bible, this is akin to a “Job” or “Iyyov” standing before God in order to get some sort of justice against him for wrongs committed, and God having to school the infinitesimally small flesh-bag on its own limitations. People, having adopted the mindset that the prominent group of scientists have inculcated, seem to be at awe at just how minute and insignificant our planetary system, planet and individual lives and brains are in comparison to the scope of the known universe. To call such a person “impudent” who attempts to condemn the One who created and creates and sustains every level of existence, from macro to micro, is an understatement at the grandest of scales.
The phrase “learn your place” comes to mind.
And that’s the problem. The one doing the condemning has committed the strawman fallacy in that this person cannot deal with God as he is or else, logically, his condemnation doesn’t have a foot to stand on. So he has to make God not God, more of an equal, so that this person’s subjective sense of morality at least has some chance of being superior enough to be a challenge.
So these are some of the grander arguments against God’s morality. I’ll have to see if there are any minor ones supposedly based on the Jewish Bible that require comment. As far as I know, the arguments against God are normally based on moral subjectivity, the strawman fallacy (saying God is not God as the implicit or express basis of the argument) or ignorance of the Jewish Bible as well as the written and oral Torah.
- Posted in: God-rejection