Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Outrage Du Jour

The mind boggles. A group pays for ads that say, "Why believe in a god? Be good for goodness' sake." Seems a wonderful idea, promoting ethical behavior on its own merits.

Yet, like Pavlov's dog, Neil just can't help himself. I do so love it when, claiming rationality, he asserts the following as if they were inarguable, self-evident principles.
1. God is real.
2. His standard of goodness is not your standard of goodness. Even in your best moments you can’t win over God with your good behavior. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus is that Savior, and Christmas celebrates his entry into his creation.
3. Individual standards of goodness vary. Stalin thought he was good. Abortionists think they are good. You may think you are good. But how would you like have the content of every one of your thoughts communicated publicly? Me neither.
4. If there is no God, then the concept of unviersal morality is just a fiction that our defective bags-o’-chemicals bodies created. Good will always just be what we want it to be, or what people vote it to be.

I guess my favorite is the first - "God is real". First, which God. Second, please define "real". Actually, while you're at it, define "is" (Martin Heidegger wrote a big book on the subject, you know, and it was pretty inconclusive on the results).

Point (4) should be irrelevant, since the confident assertion of point (1) makes it nonsensical. Yet, allow us a moment to consider what he actually writes. "Universal Morality" consists of, what, exactly?

These are questions that philosophers and theologians have wrestled with, and come up empty on, for centuries. Not just in the west, or in Christianity, but around the world. For my part, I find the phrase "universal morality" to be utterly meaningless, a way to use words to obscure rather than define. Since it belongs to a time and context in which none of us live, it is part of a dead vocabulary as much as, say, Sumerian. Why use it to try to say something? Why even pretend it has meaning?

Anyway, I find it a hoot that an ad on a bus has his panties in a wad. Of course, he claims that he has no problem with the ads, because it helps Christians sharpen their skills at spreading the Gospel. Yet, if Neil's list is his way of spreading the Gospel, I do believe his skills are in need of sharpening.

Virtual Tin Cup

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