‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007


Friday, 30 April 2010

Judge's assault on 'irrational' religious freedom

With all the election hype this news story about religious freedom may have been missed. The basis for English Law seems to have changed from one based on God's authority, to one based on subjective human sentiments. Legal rights are given to those who can gather the most sympathy. It is a utilitarian corruption of the concept of rights and duties and is a pathway to legal tyranny. So a Christian can lose his job with all the stress and real hardship to family, in order to save another person's feelings being hurt.

Telegrqaph - Gary McFarlane: judge's assault on 'irrational' religious freedom claims in sex therapist case

The problem is also one of relativism in ethics. Popper in The Open Society and its Enemies was concerned about dialectical reasoning because concepts can change through the dialogue. If ethics are relative, then there is nothing to stop tyranny from arising. And this is the problem with secularists, they do not really want pluralism in terms of respecting people's rights in a free society, but want to undermine Christian faith and tear up the Judeo-Christian foundations of our society. Far from leading to respect and understanding in a free society, the secularists are leading us to a closed society based on relative ethics where those in power decide who has rights and who does not. That is a dangerous road to take.

As Christians we should also uphold the rights of those who are not Christian allowing freedom of belief, but recognising that Judeo-Christian values provide the best basis for a loving and just society. I don't think anyone seriously is arguing for a strong theocratic Christian state in Britain where other's rights are denied - but that is the spectre that the judge raised.

19 comments:

Psiloiordinary said...

"As Christians we should also uphold the rights of those who are not Christian allowing freedom of belief, but recognising that Judeo-Christian values provide the best basis for a loving and just society. "

What about those who don't agree with the second bit of that statement?

Do you think you should uphold their rights as well?

If yes, how?

Thanks,

Psi

rtfgvb797 said...

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Dissenters said...

PSi. The traditional libertarian position is that there should be freedom for those activities that do no harm to others, but a just and loving society must protect the weak and vulnerable.

Psiloiordinary said...

Thanks Diss,

I agree that "a just and loving society must protect the weak and vulnerable".

It's the "but" bit that is throwing me a little. It seems to imply that not being a christian somehow means non agreement with protection of the weak.

Is that what you meant to imply?

Thanks,

Psi

Dissenters said...

Psi - I agree that many atheists accept broadly Christian values of love and respect for others, perhaps even Dawkins is a Christian atheist, but through history that has not always been the case. i.e. Stalin, Lennin, Hitler, Pol Pot etc. The problem for an atheist is to explain in purely objective logical terms why love is better than hate in a world without ultimate meaning and value. The Christian believes that ultimate value is objectively grounded in God.

Psiloiordinary said...

Oh dear.

I call a Poe.

Surely you don't want me to starting listing christians with a lack of such values as well?

Are you seriously suggesting that atheists are more likely to lack such values?

Have you got any evidence?

How do you explain the comparative evidence between religious and more secular societies? Are you even aware of it? Would you be interested to see it?

Thanks,

Psi

Dissenters said...

Psi - you have avoided the point I have made. I wasn't comparing the conduct of theists vs atheists, but simply raising a question about objective bases for ethics. Basically, athiests don't have one. But now you raise the question, the four worst genecidal maniacs mentioned above in order of numbers killed were in fact atheists.

Psiloiordinary said...

Hi,

Well I did raise my point first so forgive me for trying to stick to it.

If you insists then here are simple answers to your own issues;

Hitler was a Catholic, and said he was doing God's work many times. Stalin, Lenin and Pol Pot were ideologues who acted in the name of their own distorted view of the world, a view untainted by reliance upon objective observation of reality.

None of these monsters acted in the name of atheism.

I will again resist the temptation to list religious people doing evil in the name of their religion - I presume this is a moot point.

What the monsters you named do share with the religious evil doers is the complete lack of what you are claiming - any basis for their morality.

Such a basis can be found in the objective observation of reality including the human condition and human experience.

How do you extract moral objectivity from your particular holy book when it is so full of contradictions?

Is it more moral to banish or to kill gay people? Is says both in the BIble. What about wearing mixed fibres or eating shellfish? Both are banned in the bible.

Anyway - my question to you is do you think that atheists are less moral (caring for the weak) than theists? I ask again if you are familiar with any of the evidence that suggests secular societies are much much "better" than religious ones? What about the evidence from testing atheists and theists morality and finding no difference?

I can post links to this here if you wish. I am interested simply because you seem to be implying this evidence. I am confused as you have since denied doing any such thing whilst at the same time throwing hitler etc. into the mix.

What do you really think?

Thanks,

Psi

Dissenters said...

Psi - I have written a piece here on Hitler's rhetoric and belief. He was born a Catholic, but his language was that of an evolutionary pantheist where 'Almighty God' was believed to be the process of evolution.
http://www.wasdarwinright.com/hitler&darwinism.htm

The Bible itself needs to be read carefully in context. Atheists such as Dawkins pride themselves on having a very weak grasp of theology, and use their willful naivity to undermine Christian faith. That is not an approach that carries much integrity. So if you want to ask questions about the Law of Moses you need to see it in context of its significance as fulfulled in Christ who bore the punishment for sin upon himself. So God does not change, but his covenant has changed from old to new because of Christ's work. Atheists are missing out on a wonderful depth of knowledge because they make no attempt to understand Christian theology accurately.

I think if you look at the life and teaching of Jesus Christ you will find a loving ideal to be lived up to. Not all Christians reach that I accept, but I believe that with God's grace they make a better job overall than those who have no faith. That is not to say that atheists do not also have morals that they seek to live by, but what I am arguing is that they do so by accepting Christian values which says that love is better than hate. An atheist who does not believe in ultimate meaning and value though has no objective basis for saying that love is better than hatred, only a subjective one based on human reason - but which human being is to decide? Sometimes atheists uphold broadly Christian values, sometimes they do not. That is why I say it is subjective.

Psiloiordinary said...

I'm not sure just how much careful interpretation is needed to claim that Hitler was lying when he said we was doing god's work.

I agree that moral views are subjective. I also think that we can think about them and reason and use human experience to try to avoid errors.

I still see no evidence that this is not hugely better than trying to interpret a holy book.

Perhaps you can tell me what Jesus says about the treatment of Gays?

Regards,

Psi

Dissenters said...

psi - Hitler's rhetoric was that of a pantheist, so in one sense it was'nt a direct lie, but a subtle one in pretending to speak about the Judeo-Christian God, when he was really speaking about a pantheistic deity.

In a holy book, God offers his wisdom to us that goes beyond man's wisdom - there really is a depth to the Bible that goes beyond man's wisdom.

As for gays, I guess Jesus would say the same as the woman they wanted to stone to death for adultery. He forgave her and told her to change her ways, but he didn't let them hurt her.

Psiloiordinary said...

Hi Diss,

Well whatever his "rhetoric" was in your own view he actually said he was a Catholic and was doing god's work. Nazi regalia also often carried the phrase "God is with us."

A plain reading of the text seems to be in order.

- - -

If the bible has such depth and subtlety, do you think that everything in it is true?

- - -

What do you think Gays need forgiving for. What is wrong with being Gay?

Thanks,

Psi

Dissenters said...

We won't get any further on Hitler I fear. But ask yourself what did Hitler mean by 'the iron logic of nature'?
I believe that every positive statement is true, but the Bible is multi layered.
What is wrong with being gay? The problem is concerned with who we are as human beings. Do our thoughts control who we are, or do we control our thoughts. The gay lobby seeks to place confused young people in bondage to their thoughts, (i.e. a young person has gay temptations so he or she should just give into it). This is a form of slavery which is then reinforced by lifestyle addiction, instead of teaching them to control and overcome their thoughts and be set free by the truth. It is hard to justify the existence of a gay gene whether one believes in evolution or special creation.

Psiloiordinary said...

Hi Diss,

I think Hitler was referring to the strong wiping out the weak. This happens an awful lot in nature. Describing these observable facts doesn't make them in a way of life. You seem to be coming form the view that biologists should reject the observable evidence because it doesn't make a good code to live your life by. That is one heck of a non sequitur.

The fact that everything goes downhill in terms of entropy doesn't mean we should all get depressed does it? Why don't you have any moral objections to physics?

- - -

You say this;

"I believe that every positive statement is true, but the Bible is multi layered."

So does this mean you are 100% sure in how you are reading it? How do you define a positive statement? What about eh two different ways that Judas is said to die? Hanging yourself seems very different from having you stomach burst open. Yet they both seem to be positive statements.

How do you decide?

- - -

You are said;

"What is wrong with being gay? The problem is concerned with who we are as human beings. Do our thoughts control who we are, or do we control our thoughts."

Do you know who Karl Pilkington is?

This seems very silly on the face of it.

Science and common sense both suggest that thoughts are things that your brain does. Your brain is part of you.

Why are Gay thoughts different to any others?

You still haven't said why being Gay is wrong.

This is a major hole in your comments - please let me know.

"The gay lobby seeks to place confused young people in bondage to their thoughts, (i.e. a young person has gay temptations so he or she should just give into it)."

You haven't said why they should not. Just like someone having straight thoughts etc. Why should gay thought be different?

- - -

"This is a form of slavery which is then reinforced by lifestyle addiction, instead of teaching them to control and overcome their thoughts and be set free by the truth."

OK you really think gays are very evil don't you - bondage and slavery are strong accusations - but you still haven't said what it wrong with being gay.

- - -

"It is hard to justify the existence of a gay gene whether one believes in evolution or special creation."

Yes the jury (evidence) is still out on this one - what difference does it make to why you think being Gay is wrong.

- - -

Will you please answer the question? What is wrong with being gay?

Thanks,

Psi

Dissenters said...

On the question of Hitler, what I am saying is that observations in nature are not a good basis for morality.

On the question of Judas, it would seem he placed his sword in the trunk of a tree and then fell on it from an upper branch, therefore he both stabbed himself and was hung on a tree.

Our thoughts are not part of us, we can accept them or reject them. In fact if we fail to filter our thoughts we really would end up in the mad house.

You ask what is wrong with being gay? Clearly you expect me to answer in a legalistic manner where something is wrong according to an external code, as opposed to a liberal manner where there are very wide boundaries. But there is a third way, the way of grace. That God can transform us by the renewing of our minds into the image of Christ. So what is wrong with being gay? I simply believe that it is below the best that God has for the individual and that all of us are being called into a spiritual consummation with God that transcends flesh. Seeing someone as in slavery or bound up in something is not an evil accusation, but a desire to set people free out of love.

Psiloiordinary said...

Hi Diss,

You said;

"On the question of Hitler, what I am saying is that observations in nature are not a good basis for morality. "

Yes I agree. Observations of what is don't tell us what we should do.

I guess we differ as you get your ideas of what is right and wrong from a holy book whereas I would rather think about it.

You also said this;

"On the question of Judas, it would seem he placed his sword in the trunk of a tree and then fell on it from an upper branch, therefore he both stabbed himself and was hung on a tree."

Don't you think it a little odd that the two accounts given don't mention any aspect of the other account at all? How weird is that?

"Our thoughts are not part of us, we can accept them or reject them. "

Sorry still really vague in this. How can you differentiate? Do you mean some thoughts are from the devil?

"In fact if we fail to filter our thoughts we really would end up in the mad house."

Well yea I agree but I don't see how it follows from thoughts not being part of us.

"You ask what is wrong with being gay? Clearly you expect me to answer in a legalistic manner where something is wrong according to an external code, as opposed to a liberal manner where there are very wide boundaries."

No clearly I don't. Clearly I just wanted a a straight answer. Have you even got one in your own mind?

I would honestly rather just know what you think rather than telling me it is a "way of grace" which doesn;t seem to be plain english.

Sorry - you will have to spell it out to me.

"I simply believe that it is below the best that God has for the individual and that all of us are being called into a spiritual consummation with God that transcends flesh."

Why? What it is about being gay that is below the best?

Thanks,

Psi

Psiloiordinary said...

No answer?


I find this eloquent.

Thanks

Psi

Dissenters said...

The reason I have not replied is because this discussion is going around in circles. If I continue to spoon feed you answers it will stop you thinking for yourself.

Psiloiordinary said...

I'm sorry but I don't think that's what people will think when they this.

All the best,

Psi