Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Group 1: Morality

What system of morality denies that there is any such thing as intrinsic moral value?  A: nihilism

What moral grounding dilemma did Plato’s Socrates make famous where he asked, “Is it correct because it is chosen by God, or is it chosen by God because it is correct?”  A: Euthyphro  

Here's the link to Plato's Euthyphro if you would like to read it. 

I'm always fascinated by theists' interpretations of the Bible--millions claiming private knowledge about what it says, what God wants them to do, and more interestingly, what God told them that other people should be doing.  What's more amazing is that what God wants and and what they want are usually the same thing.

Every theist has, to some degree, a different interpretation of the Bible and a different idea about the nature of God.  Need support for slavery? It's in the Bible.  Need to condemn slavery?  It's in the Bible.  Hate gays? It's in the Bible.  Want to condemn homophobia and bigotry? It's in the Bible--and so on.  

2011 Gallop poll indicates that 30% of Americans read the Bible literally.  

So, just as there's no consensus on the creation myth in Genesis, one can only imagine what happens when theists interpret the Book of Revelation, where Jesus and some horsemen come riding into town and start killing off humanity--in thirds, for some unknown reason.  

But how much damage can four or five people do riding through town on horseback a whoopin-and-a-whompin with a divinely sharp sword.  Sure, they may have pestilence, fire, and boiling water on your side, but still... 

But that's a silly interpretation, right?  Surely no one in their right mind--at least no one you would hand a sharp object or someone in charge of anything important--would interpret the Bible like that.

Well, think again.  Retired Lieutenant General and Family Research Council's Executive Vice President William (Jerry) Boykin begs to differ.  Boykin has predicted the Son of God will be packing an AR-15 assault rifle during the Second Coming.  He announced this to a crowd during a Pro-Family Legislators Conference in Dallas.  "The sword today is an AR-15.  If you don't have one, go get one.  You're supposed to have one.  It's biblical," he said.  

Here's the link to the article in New York Daily News.  

So does Jesus pack an AR-15 because it's good, or is the AR-15 good because Jesus packs it? 


  1. So by your understanding, to be logically consistent, all understandings of atheism are valid, including Pol Pot and Josef Stalin?

    Cool beans. ;)

  2. That reads like a non sequitur, Adam, unless I'm missing something. You can fill me in on that in class.

    1. It's not, if I'm understanding the OP correctly. The insinuation seems to be, at least in a very pragmatic way, that all interpretations of Scripture are and should be considered "equal" (this is why I hate postmodernism).

      So, if we're supposed to treat all understandings of what it means to be a Christian as "equal", then the same should be said of EVERY epistemological system, including atheism.

  3. In the spirit of Dean's post, maybe this would be a good place to raise the issue of Arizona's proposed discrimination bill that would allow a religious exemption for bigotry. I just heard a legislator insisting that "religious freedom" requires us to allow it. My question: why as a culture do we continue to tolerate intolerance in the name of religious freedom?

  4. A couple factual questions from todays reading:

    1. Name one of the two premises that establish the truth of nihilism when substantiated (according to Rosenberg).

    A: All cultures endorse most of the same core moral principles as binding on everyone, and those core moral principles have significant consequences for humans' survival and reproduction.

    2. According to Rosenberg, we must give up _________ and accept that our core morality is selected for its role in enhancing our fitness.

    A: Correctness

    Also, here's results from another poll that not only backs up the results of the one Dean posted, but also shows a decreasing trend in the percentage of believers who take the Bible literally over the past couple years:


    I'm not sure of the source for this image, though.