06 June 2008

Is it wrong to burn people to death?


That's an easy question for most of us to answer. It's one of the few things that we can all agree on: it is wrong always and everywhere to burn to death anyone for any reason whatsoever.

But Bible believers aren't so sure about that. It must be OK to burn people to death or God wouldn't have commanded us to do so, as he clearly did in Leviticus 20:14, for example.
And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.
Notice that God tells us to burn to death all three: man, wife, and mother-in-law. It may have been the man's idea, but we must burn all three anyway. (Couldn't we try counseling first?)

Is there anyone that really believes this is a good idea? Is there anyone who thinks it was a good idea a few thousand years ago? Will it be a good idea a few thousand years from now?

A god who commands people to burn other people to death is not a good god. This verse alone should be enough show that the Bible was not inspired by a kind and loving god.



171 comments:

RR said...

"the Bible was not inspired by a kind and loving god."

It was "inspired" by a bunch of barbaric, bronze age tribesmen who needed some type of justification for their primitive behavior.

The fact that people this this stuff comes from the imaginary creator of the universe should be an indication of mental illness.

Thomas said...

Burning mothers-in-law is alwas a good idea!

Thomas said...

*always

Steve Wells said...

Burning mothers-in-law is alwas a good idea! *always*

Yeah, but first you have to marry your mother-in-law and then you and your wife get burned along with her.

Something to think about.

Brian_E said...

It's posts like this that we typically never see any comments from Christians. Jason, you out there lurking? Why don't ya chime in on this one.

busterggi said...

Had I ever 'taken' my former mother-in-law I would've considering be burned to death a favor.

Jason said...

Brian,

Other then a weak appeal to emotion, I don't see anything here to respond to. Steve believes the morality of a punishment is dependent on the amount of pain it inflicts whereas I don't see this opinion reflected in, or based on, the morals of ancient civilizations. The fact is, execution by burning was a socially acceptable form of capital punishment in a large number of civilizations for thousands and thousands of years. I've yet to see any reasonable or logical argument that explains why individuals like Steve think they would still have exactly the same opinion on execution by burning if they had lived in civilized pro-burning Ancient Rome or England.

Steve Wells said...

You're right, brian_e. Believers can't answer the question (Is it wrong to burn people to death?).

They know, of course, that it is both wrong and cruel to burn people to death, but since it doesn't bother the God of the Bible (in fact he likes it!), they pretend that it doesn't bother them either.

So Jason won't answer the simple question: Is it wrong to burn people to death? He pretends like he just doesn't know.

Anon said...

Jason said: execution by burning was a socially acceptable form of capital punishment in a large number of civilizations for thousands and thousands of years.

Do you believe morality is determined by social acceptability? If a majority of people are okay with same-sex civil unions or marriages in a state A, but not in state B, does that mean they are moral in the first place but not the second? This doesn't make sense to me.

Jason:I've yet to see any reasonable or logical argument that explains why individuals like Steve think they would still have exactly the same opinion on execution by burning if they had lived in civilized pro-burning Ancient Rome or England.

I can't speak for Steve, but I have no way of knowing what I would or wouldn't believe back then. Maybe I would have been adding logs to the fire, it's possible.

But I don't think my beliefs would change whether it's actually right or not. Some countries believe female circumcision is a socially acceptable, or even expected, practice. I don't care what anyone thought 2,000 years ago, or thinks today: it is wrong to mutilate women against their will, or mutilate girls who aren't old enough to have a say in the matter.

For burning people: I don't care who thought it was okay to burn people then or now, it's wrong. We have developed enough culturally as a race (or at least as a society) to realize that it is wrong. Humanity can make advances in all sorts of things (medicine, technology, etc.). I think morality is something that we have also advanced in.

We don't always live up to that morality, it's true. But just like we now know the Earth revolves around the Sun, we also know it's wrong to burn people. It doesn't mean the Earth didn't use to revolve around the sun 2000 years ago, or that it didn't use to be wrong to burn people. We just didn't know any better.

v_quixotic said...

I thought any society that critically evaluated the practices of the past, and modified them to reduce the hegemony that select groups (eg. men, Europeans) exercise over others (women, Africans) were self evidently superior from a moral perspective... but I guess I was wrong :(

Jason said...

I believe, and logically so, that morality is based on what's deemed acceptable by the majority of mankind at the time.

It's simply no good to label actions carried out in another civilization and age as "immoral" simply because we don't share the same views today.

Morals are 'rules of right conduct'. Who determines right? Who determines wrong? Who's the ultimate judge? If it's mankind, then it should be abundantly clear to everyone that the determination of right and wrong change with time.

For example, if people at one time thought it was right to kill criminals but a thousand years later the death penalty was abolished due to a change in public opinion, it's not logical to label the previous decision regarding capital punishment as immoral since capital punishment was "right" in the eyes of society of the time.

Another example would be burning versus lethal injection. Steve says lethal injection is moral because it isn't cruel. However, many are now saying lethal injection is cruel. So, in 100 years from now, if lethal injection is abolished in favour of another, more humane means to kill, does this mean Steve was "immoral" for supporting the use of lethal injection?

I don't support execution by burning today because society has taught me it's unacceptable. If I lived in an era were it was acceptable however, how can I assume I would still believe the same as I do today?

Brian_E said...

Jason said: I believe, and logically so, that morality is based on what's deemed acceptable by the majority of mankind at the time.

I'll agree that, because the majority of our history the people have had little say in this that it appears this way. Democracy has not been around for that long (relatively speaking), and we've seen the demise of slavery, hangings, burnings, and other various tortures. There was no democracy 3000 years ago to speak out against such atrocities. And you conveniently left out the fact that god is approving of the method in this case, which is what this post is all about!

Jason said: Morals are 'rules of right conduct'. Who determines right? Who determines wrong? Who's the ultimate judge? If it's mankind, then it should be abundantly clear to everyone that the determination of right and wrong change with time.

Careful Jason, you almost sound rational here. Are you telling me that your god is not the ultimate judge as to what is right or wrong? The purpose of this entire post was to demonstrate that your god has no problem with punishing people by burning them alive. As I stated above, you are attempting, as cleverly as you can, to sidestep the issue. You say: I don't support execution by burning today because society has taught me it's unacceptable. Are you telling me that 'society' is a better moral compass for yourself that your god? Have we finally deconverted you?

Darren Delgado said...

Jason said...

I believe, and logically so, that morality is based on what's deemed acceptable by the majority of mankind at the time.

It's simply no good to label actions carried out in another civilization and age as "immoral" simply because we don't share the same views today.


I agree, but only in the narrow sense of the word "moral" where morality is decided by the bible.

I can unequivocally state that burning people is wrong in any era. Even if they did something terribly wrong, I do not think they should receive the death penalty by burning. It's barbaric.

And yes, part of the reason I can make this statement is because I grew up in a more enlightened society than the one which produced the bible. You say this like it's a bad thing, rather than an indication that we don't live in dark times anymore, where burning was considered moral, animal sacrifices are commonplace, and there is a legal code for how to beat your slaves.

Morals are 'rules of right conduct'. Who determines right? Who determines wrong? Who's the ultimate judge? If it's mankind, then it should be abundantly clear to everyone that the determination of right and wrong change with time.

In this case, for the better.

Another example would be burning versus lethal injection. Steve says lethal injection is moral because it isn't cruel. However, many are now saying lethal injection is cruel. So, in 100 years from now, if lethal injection is abolished in favour of another, more humane means to kill, does this mean Steve was "immoral" for supporting the use of lethal injection?

I say lethal injection is less cruel than burning people, but still wrong, along with any form of death penalty. What do I win?

I don't support execution by burning today because society has taught me it's unacceptable. If I lived in an era were it was acceptable however, how can I assume I would still believe the same as I do today?

This argument is a non-starter, J. If we lived in caveman days we'd be sleeping next to piles of our own feces. If we lived in the days of burning people, we would probably consider it acceptable but we would be *WRONG*. Things can change for the better. The fact that we live in a society almost completely free from live burnings, and completely free from state-sanctioned live burnings, is evidence that we have improved.

Jason said...

Brian,

Yes God decided that certain crimes were to be punished with death by burning. I'm not arguing He didn't. What I'm saying is that burning by execution wasn't deemed immoral during the age of the Israelites. If God was instructing 21st century believers to burn criminals, you'd have a point. But He isn't, do you don't.

Brian_E said...

Jason said: If God was instructing 21st century believers to burn criminals, you'd have a point. But He isn't, do you don't

So the word of god is then not timeless, as I've heard minister after minister say time and time again? Apparently according to you god's word is trumped by societal norms at the time. Jason, you've now gone beyond wishy-washy. I'm not sure there are words in the english language to describe your brand of christianity.

And besides, you lost miserably when you admitted that your god is OK with punishing people to death by burning for a crime of SEX! Not murder, not child molestation, not crimes against humanity, but SEX WITH THE WRONG PERSON! How can you not see that this is completely insane? That there is no god up there that truly cares about such things? These are the trivialities of primitive men, and not of a god. END OF STORY.

Jason said...

Brian,

Do you understand the difference between the old law and the new law?

God's law was also very clear - your opinion of it is irrelevant. If God said "A is punishable by death", it didn't matter what you thought - you simply didn't do it. Don't break the law, don't suffer the consequences. Kind of like how it works today.

Anon said...

Jason,

In this and other threads, you don't seem to have directly answered a question, maybe partly because it's always been included along with other questions in the same post.

So my post will ask just one question: is God\'s law and/or punishment subject to what is socially acceptable?

This appears to be your argument: that it was okay for God to tell people to burn people because people thought it was okay to do at the time.

Brian_E said...

Jason,

If you haven't picked a career yet, let me suggest to you used car salesman, because it's clear you've mastered many of their techniques such as misdirection, distraction, and lowballing.

you said:Do you understand the difference between the old law and the new law?

Don't even try and bring this into the discussion. Completely irrelevant! As Steve pointed out in the initial post - "Is there anyone that really believes this is a good idea? Is there anyone who thinks it was a good idea a few thousand years ago? Will it be a good idea a few thousand years from now?"

you said: God's law was also very clear - your opinion of it is irrelevant

So you're telling me that:

1) The crime that is (supposedly) committed doesn't matter
2) The punishment of said crime doesn't matter
3) The manner of execution of the punishment doesn't matter

None of this matters, or my opinion of it is irrelevant, because of god? You are completely insane.

And second, you've now just flip-flopped from your earlier position regarding who decides what is moral at what particular point in time. Let's lay out this whole scenario for you again.

The crime: Sleeping with your wife's mother.

Society today says: whoopty-do
God says: GUILTY

The punishment:

Today: nothing, except your wife may be mad
God: DEATH!

Manner of execution:

Today: Eh, there may be a divorce
God: BURN AT THE STAKE!

Now you tell me, and don't bring your 'old law vs. new law' crap into it, which of the above scenarios do you agree with? Today's society handling of the situation, or your gods. Either answer you give, you lose. Have fun.

Jason said...

Anon,

It was okay regardless of who was giving the law because it wasn't wrong at the time.

Indeed this is the whole problem with the argument against execution by burning. How can a past action be deemed wrong if right hadn't yet been established? For example: In 1998, the UN banned countries from buying diamonds from Angola. If you bought a diamond from Angola in 1995, was it wrong? No, because the wrongness of the action didn't yet exist. If in 1500 years from now lethal injection is abolished because it's considered 'cruel and unusual', are people like Steve, who today supports lethal injection, immoral? No, because the wrongness of the action doesn't yet exist.

The definition of morals is: of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong;

This means that if WRONG doesn't exist for a specific action, there is no distinction available, which in turn means the action can't be considered WRONG.

God's OT laws didn't include anything that was deemed wrong at the time they were given. Therefore, logically, clearly, they're not immoral.

Jason said...

Brian,

I brought up the point about the laws because you stated the word of God isn't timeless. Why?

You think society says that sleeping with your wife's mother is innocent and moral? I need to ask: What planet are you from?

Regarding the punishment (divorce versus burning), I quite happily side with the former. I don't side with the latter because execution by burning today is socially unacceptable and illegal. Was it socially unacceptable or illegal 4000 years ago?

Brian_E said...

Again, never any substance from you. Just misdirection and deflection.

You think society says that sleeping with your wife's mother is innocent and moral?

Never said that you moron. I simply stated the law (and punishment) as god laid it out vs. today's society (specifically the U.S. I should add).

I don't side with the latter because execution by burning today is socially unacceptable and illegal.

Again, you make my point. You're saying society determines the law and not god, even though god seems to have been quite clear here. This is why I said that YOU'RE saying god's word is not timeless; you just stated you favor society's ruling over gods. And you call yourself a christian?

By the way you speak, I suppose if you were a Muslim then you would have no problem with these types of atrocities that occur today, because society, the law and 'god' (Allah here) is OK with it.

Steve Wells said...

...are people like Steve, who today supports lethal injection, immoral?

I don't support lethal injection, Jason. I am opposed to the death penalty in all its forms. But the intent of lethal injection is to minimize pain, like when putting a dog to sleep. There may be pain involved, but it is not intentional.

Burning someone to death is entirely different. It is intended to cause as much pain as possible. That's why God likes it so much.

Jason said...

Brian,

You said society "whoopty-dos" a man sleeping with his wife's mother. You contrasted this with God saying "GUILTY". Is it moral or immoral to sleep with your wife's mother?

God gave a law to the Israelites in the OT. We're not under this law any more. Today, believers are instructed to follow the laws of land (i.e. render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's) except when they conflict with God's. I believe burning is socially unacceptable and illegal because that's precisely what it is. There is no God-given law to burn people for crimes today and there is no manmade law saying the same.

I think you missed this question as well: Was it socially unacceptable or illegal 4000 years ago to burn someone alive for a crime?

Jason said...

Steve,

Since God liked execution by burning so much, how many crimes as listed in the old law were punishable by burning to death?

Brian_E said...

Wow, you continue to miss or dodge the point as often as you can. It's almost impressive.

Is it moral or immoral to sleep with your wife's mother?

You miss the point! This post is about god, and what he deems moral/immoral lawful/unlawful, and what the punishments are. No, in the U.S. it's not against the law to sleep with your mother in law. God feels you should be burned to death for it. That's a problem with your god and your religion that you don't seem to get.

God gave a law to the Israelites in the OT. We're not under this law any more

Again, way to totally dodge the point. So it was OK 3000 some odd years ago, but not today? WRONG!

Was it socially unacceptable or illegal 4000 years ago to burn someone alive for a crime?

I think it was to the person being burned, don't ya think?! Especially for a crime of sex? Ridiculous. And your diamond analogy above is so unbelievably inapplicable I'm embarrassed for you. It's not the CRIME that's the focus here, it's the PUNISHMENT. And it's also the fact that your omniscient god should be beyond societal norms regarding the dictation of his law.

Let's make this more personal Jason. Do YOU think god was just and right in specifying this law to the Israelites? Your answer to this question should be a sufficient closure to this topic.

v_quixotic said...

Quoth Jason: "You said society "whoopty-dos" a man sleeping with his wife's mother. You contrasted this with God saying "GUILTY". Is it moral or immoral to sleep with your wife's mother?"

I don't think having consensual sex with any adult is immoral. Foolish perhaps, but not immoral.

Jason, your diamond buying analogy is flawed, It is/was ALWAYS immoral to tacitly endorse the slavery by which the Angolan diamonds are/were produced regardless of whether the law had got around to stating prohibiting it or not.

You shouldn't need a codified list of offences (especially one written by Bronze Age savages) to determine right from wrong, moral from immoral. Just use the moral compass that evolution has provided you with.

Jason said...

Brian,

Please answer the question: Is it moral or immoral to sleep with your wife's mother? (FYI, adultery is illegal in some states)

God doesn’t feel you should be burnt to death today for sleeping with your mother-in-law.

The fact it was okay 3000 years ago means it was morally acceptable 3000 years ago. Likewise, the morally acceptable actions we engage in today are right because wrong doesn’t yet exist. If these same actions are considered to be immoral five hundred years from now, does this make us immoral today?

And you didn’t answer my question: Was it socially unacceptable or illegal 4000 years ago to burn someone alive for a crime?

To answer your last question, and to give you the out you’re looking for, of course I believe God was just and right in specifying His laws to the Israelites. The only thing you’re doing is explaining why these laws and punishments are wrong today – what you don’t seem to be getting is we’re not the intended recipients of the law. For the last time, at the time these laws were given, not one of them would have been considered ‘immoral’. They were perfectly suited for a civilization in that particular time period.

Jason said...

Quixotic,

Having (consensual) sex with your wife’s mother is moral…? You think this is “right” conduct?

The diamond analogy works just fine. Countries and individuals like you and I were buying diamonds from Angola for decades prior to 1998. The immorality of such an action didn’t exist because we didn't see anything wrong with what we were doing then.

The problem you’re all creating for yourselves is that you're setting yourself up for admitting right and wrong can never truly be known since it’s impossible to know what the moral standpoint on anything will be in the future.

If a moral act today is considered immoral two thousands years from now, does that make us immoral when we carry out this moral act?

Anon said...

Jason, thank you for trying to reply. I have been giving you every benefit of the doubt, but I have to agree with brian_e and others that you seem to be shaping your responses to fit your argument almost to the point that you are denying God has any role in the right and wrong, even though the Bible teaches God is the one who laid down both the old and new law.

Do you honestly believe that God does not determine right and wrong, or is it just expedient for this particular argument?

Jason said: It was okay regardless of who was giving the law because it wasn't wrong at the time.
Indeed this is the whole problem with the argument against execution by burning. How can a past action be deemed wrong if right hadn't yet been established?


Then how do you explain what happened to Adam and Eve? Was it Adam or Eve that determined that it was wrong to eat from the tree of knowledge? Was it the serpent? No, it was God who determined right and wrong in this case.

If God was the one who determined this first, essential case of right and wrong (both what was considered to be wrong and the severe punishment for Adam and Eve and all their descendants), then why does God not determine right and wrong in the time of the Israelites, or any other time? Does he no longer believe in right or wrong?

You said: Since God liked execution by burning so much, how many crimes as listed in the old law were punishable by burning to death?

Here's a site that Steve compiled which may be helpful in determining this:

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html

I don't have time to analyse every verse on there, but by searching for the word "burn" and checking to make sure a cited passage wasn't talking about animals burning, I counted around 50 times that God either burned people/cities, God's chosen people burned people/cities without rebuke, someone threatened that God would burn people/cities, or God said burning people/cities was an appropriate punishment.

So God was involved with a lot of burning. A quick glance seems to show that in only a few cases does God actually say X crime is punishable by death by fire. But there are plenty of cases where people are killed by fire or threatened with burning in the Bible.

Since God burned people himself, doesn't that prove that he thinks it's right to do? Does God only exact punishment based on a given society's mores?

You claim right and wrong is determined by the society. What is God's role exactly if he leaves right and wrong up to a society and metes out punishment based on what a society already thinks is right or wrong?

Maybe you support a Deist sort of God who put everything in motion, but then sits back and does nothing? I'm honestly confused as to what you believe and would appreciate if you could clarify.

Anon said...

Jason,

You recent posts (written as I was writing mine) still come down to the same issue.

You said: God doesn’t feel you should be burnt to death today for sleeping with your mother-in-law.

So you're basically saying God is nothing more than an executioner (in both senses of the term: one who performs someone else's bidding, and one who executes people). Is this correct?

The Israelites thought it was okay to burn people for such and such, so God obliged by putting it in the law? And by burning people to death himself in other cases?

Jason said: If a moral act today is considered immoral two thousands years from now, does that make us immoral when we carry out this moral act?

It depends on how you define morality. I would say that we tried to act morally, but that our act was immoral.

Some relate morality to conduct (e.g. American Heritage Dictionary, "The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct" © 2006 Houghton Mifflin). Under this definition, you could say that "based on the morals of the time, our conduct was moral."

Some see morality though as a question of right vs. wrong (e.g. WordNet, "concern with the distinction between good and evil or right and wrong" © 2006 Princeton University). So if we do something wrong even though we think it's right, it's still wrong. Our intent was arguably moral for the time, but the act was wrong.

God however is the ultimate good in your world view, is he not? The Bible claims he is unchanging, a constant. I would think he wouldn't be bound by changing yardsticks that imperfect humans may have. But if you think he is, then this is your right to believe that.

I view right and wrong as unchanging constants. There is a right and there is a wrong. We as a species are understanding this distinction a little bit better. So people may not have known it was wrong to burn people back then, but it was wrong.

So yes, if we try to act morally today but do something that is wrong, then it is still wrong. Maybe you can't blame us for doing it because we didn't know better, but it's still wrong. God should know better, though. So if he burns people, he is not without blame in my worldview.

Jason said...

Obviously I'm not explaining my position clearly enough and people are getting a little carried away and off topic. Let me summarize.

1. Morality requires the existence of both right and wrong, in some shape or form.

3. Execution by burning as described in the OT law is not immoral from the perspective of the people the laws were given to and the age the laws were given in.

3. God's OT laws didn't include anything that was deemed wrong at the time they were given.

4. Execution by burning is wrong today; God does not ask believers to continue this form of punishment today.

5. The morally acceptable actions we engage in today are right because a wrong doesn’t yet exist. If these same actions are considered to be immoral five thousand years from now, this does not affect the morality of the actions we consider perfectly acceptable today.

Question #1: If in 2010, Europeans refuse to purchase anything made in China because of China's deplorable human rights record, will Europeans who bought something from China in 210AD be considered immoral? Why or why not?

Question #2: If execution by burning is re-instituted in the future, irrespective of the timeframe, does this mean execution by burning in the Bible would then be morally correct again?

sconnor said...

Jason -- the Tom Cruise of Christadelphians -- tries desperately to cling, to his putative, fairy tale, holy book, in an effort to protect his delusional beliefs, that he has invested his entire life in. Bottom line is, if your psycho-fuck god didn't have the foreknowledge to know that causing someone to suffer, in any fashion was immoral, he is neither omniscient nor moral.

Too bad your make-believe, sky-fairy, couldn't have been more concise and clear (or even moral) while handing down his laws on morality, like that of, Mahavira (599BC-527BC), an Indian sage and the patriarch of Jainism. In one, single, sentence, he was able to surpass the entire bible, in regards to morality by saying,
"Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being."

That's a precept people could live by and that you could, actually, attribute to a moral god. Only, your dumb-ass, sick, god couldn't get his mind out of the immoral-gutter -- again, only painting a clear picture, that it wasn't god handing down morals, but that it was painfully, handed down by infallible, superstitious, men.

Imagine, how different our world would be if your god were to have used that single sentence, in the Bible, as it's central religious doctrine, instead of all the bizarre laws and cruel punishments that your demented dip-shit god handed down, that have been misinterpreted, perverted and debated, over the centuries.

Time for your pretty red and blue pills, Jason. Time to go to your happy place, nice and comfy padded room, where you can take a little nappy-poo. Don't worry Jason, you'll get better; the incessant cuckoo sounds, in your head, will go away -- or we hope, anyway.

--S.

v_quixotic said...

Jason, I did not suggest having sex with your mother-in-law was the 'right' thing to do... I said it wasn't immoral. There's a difference there.

You also assert that people (including you and I) happily (morally) bought diamonds from Angola up until the point it was made illegal and then - whammo - it's now immoral to do so and we wouldn't think of it.

This theory of morality puts the cart before the horse and denies the process by which laws get changed. Prescient people make decisions based on their inherrent understanding of morality all the time, they set an example to their colleagues, agitate for change... and then wait for the law to catch up. The catching up that the law does here does not indicate a change in morality, just a closer realignment to the underlying morality that most people share and inherit from their ancestors.

Thanks, in no small part to the example set by the inspired word of god, this process has, and is, taking a good deal longer than it should!

Hugo said...

1. Morality requires the existence of both right and wrong, in some shape or form.

Several commenters and I agree with you, what is wrong now is wrong in 50 years and was wrong 2000 years ago.
You seem to talk about different things when you say right/wrong and moral/immoral, can you explain the difference?
I would think in general right=moral and wrong=immoral but I may be wrong.
So unless you explain the right/wrong|moral/immoral difference I will consider the 2 equal.

2. Execution by burning as described in the OT law is not immoral from the perspective of the people the laws were given to and the age the laws were given in.

So here in between the lines I can read that you state the action actually is immoral but you dress it up that "it was not considered so from the perspective of those people"
So you are actually saying that you now have a better morality than the god of that time or are you saying that your god hypothesis did already know that burning is immoral but could not communicate that (now accepted as more right) morality to those people?


3. God's OT laws didn't include anything that was deemed wrong at the time they were given.

So god's morals are society's morals, why do we then need god and why does the OT bible still exist, and is the entire bible not revised to current morals about homosexuality,stemcel research,abortion,rape,burning,...


4. Execution by burning is wrong today; God does not ask believers to continue this form of punishment today.

I'm not really clear on this, where does god specifically say that that is not to be done anymore, no metaphors or "you have to read context", before you wrote that you feel that god doesn't order that, that's not a very reliable way to discern such seemingly very important laws.

5. The morally acceptable actions we engage in today are right because a wrong doesn’t yet exist. If these same actions are considered to be immoral five thousand years from now, this does not affect the morality of the actions we consider perfectly acceptable today.

But they are wrong and will be considered wrong and if someone would have that knowledge and could communicate it to us it would be wrong not to communicate it and such communication should include the reason for wrongness.
If someone with knowledge explained to the lawmakers and executioners that burning in any case does not make their society better, that it does not stop other offenders, that there are better ways to punish and in the case of sleeping with an adult that it is not an actual offense ...(you get the point I hope) then official/legal burning could have stopped a lot sooner, you god should have been able to do that communication don't you think? And as others have pointed out there were already legal and moral codes around at that time which prevented unnecessary harm. It looks like your god is just a bad communicator.


Question #1: If in 2010, Europeans refuse to purchase anything made in China because of China's deplorable human rights record, will Europeans who bought something from China in 210AD be considered immoral? Why or why not?

Already people consider buying from China as immoral, for those reasons. The human rights of China in 210ACE were probably better than those in Europe so at that time the morality would have been reversed, the actual issue you are talking about is: "economically endorsing a society that does not respect human rights" and that is wrong always and if properly explained could be explained to people in 3000BCE.
Now morality is a thing that sometimes works on an individual and sometimes on a society, here an individual buying something she needs is not as wrong as the society endorsing economic relations.

Question #2: If execution by burning is re-instituted in the future, irrespective of the timeframe, does this mean execution by burning in the Bible would then be morally correct again?

If it turns out that there are good reasons that refute every point for the immorality of burning and it can be clearly explained that the kind of burning that is talked about in the bible is the moral thing to do then yes, but don't count on it, the reasons for the immorality of burning are very solid and accepted, as with supernatural claims, the morality for burning will require extraordinary reasons.

Hugo said...

I forgot the checkmark to get email if there are follow comments.

And I want to elaborate a little on the China/Angola diamonds thing.

You also assert that people (including you and I) happily (morally) bought diamonds from Angola up until the point it was made illegal and then - whammo - it's now immoral to do so and we wouldn't think of it.

I entirely agree with you v_quixotic, it is not "whammo", that is also a little what I wanted to point out by taking a step back and describing the actual issue is that that basic morality exists already, not economically supporting a nation at war was not invented by instating the Angola diamonds law.
I'm not saying that we have a (godly) built-in moral code, it is very much something that we discover and that sort of evolves with a species (to state the obvious, yes, animals do have morals, and some are very complex and very close to human morals)
The correct application of those morals in our laws is quite hard and will take quite some time.

Brian_E said...

Please answer the question: Is it moral or immoral to sleep with your wife's mother?

Again, you're always attempting to deflect. My opinion on the matter is irrelevant; your omniscient god's opinion on the matter is what's at question here. Stay on topic.

God doesn’t feel you should be burnt to death today for sleeping with your mother-in-law.

Again, not the point here!!! The point is, is that your god thought it was OK for people to be put to death in a HORRIFIC, TORTUROUS MANNER. You argue that because it was 'socially acceptable' at the time that it was OK for god to do so. These people were neanderthals compared to us, and I would expect this kind of thining and behavior from them. I would NOT expect that kind of thinking and behavior from an omniscient god; I would EXPECT him to set a BETTER EXAMPLE for these people. Your argument is nothing more than a cop-out for the irrational and barbaric behavior of your god.

of course I believe God was just and right in specifying His laws to the Israelites

And the fact that you're OK with his behavior demonstrates that you do not possess a rational bone in your body. You lack the facilities to differentiate between the behavior and thinking of primitive men and that of a supposedly omniscient creator.

Jason said...

Hugo,

1. If something is wrong now it'll be wrong in 50 years from now? How can you possibly know that? Prove to me that what is morally acceptably today won't be immoral in four thousand years from now. Prove to me how something can be wrong today when no wrong yet exists.

2. There’s no reading between the lines here. Execution by burning as described in the OT law is not immoral from the perspective of the people the laws were given to and the age the laws were given in. That’s all I’m saying here. Do you agree or disagree?

3. We’re talking about the wrongness of execution by burning 4000 years ago, not stem cell research or abortion. The point remains: God's OT laws didn't include anything that was deemed wrong at the time they were given. Do you agree or disagree?

4. The implementation of the new law through Christ is clearly and well documented in Scripture. The point remains: God does not ask believers to continue this form of punishment today.

5. Hugo, I must say, your logic is shocking. Firstly, how can something be considered wrong when a wrong doesn’t exist? How can execution by burning by wrong when no one at the time thought it was wrong? Secondly, by your logic, no one can ever truly know what is right or wrong. If today’s morality is based on the changing moral attitudes of future generations, you have no idea if the right you’re doing today isn’t actually wrong.

And as others have pointed out there were already legal and moral codes around at that time which prevented unnecessary harm. It looks like your god is just a bad communicator.

The Code of Hammurabi, law #153. If the wife of one man on account of another man has their mates (her husband and the other man's wife) murdered, both of them shall be impaled. Law #155: If a man betroth a girl to his son, and his son have intercourse with her, but he (the father) afterward defile her, and be surprised, then he shall be bound and cast into the water (drowned). Law #157: If any one be guilty of incest with his mother after his father, both shall be burned.

Are these laws preventing “unnecessary harm”? How do you think the ancient Babylonians defined “unnecessary harm”?

Question #1: Laughable. Hugo, are you seriously suggesting it was immoral for a country to buy products from China in 210AD because of what was to happen 1800 years later???

Question #2: So if the morality of a past action is dependent on present-day morals, your opinion of the morality of execution by burning is at best conjecture and at worst irrelevant since you have no idea if in fifty, a hundred, or twelve hundred years from now society will have a different take on it.

Would this work in a court of law, do you think? If you shot your wife because she slept around and then told a judge that at some unforeseen point in the future, society might very will consider it moral to execute an adulterous partner, would you be set free? If you’re sent to jail any way, could you argue it’s an immoral act since a future society might consider it immoral to put criminals in jail…? Oh the fun we could have… :)

Jason said...

Brian,

I've dutifully answered your questions while you disrespectfully continue to ignore mine. Since you're clearly not interested in a mutual exchange, I'm sorry but I will have to bow out of our conversation.

Thanks.

Hugo said...

1. your statement:
"Morality requires the existence of both right and wrong, in some shape or form"
contradicts with needing proof of a changing morality.
You make no sense, so morality does not exist and is completely dependent on the existing culture, and god grows with that culture, then there exists no morality, we define it as we go along and what is moral now may not be in the future and vice versa.
I don't think that, well established moral codes stand the test of time, murder, not as the simple commandment but within our laws with exceptions for euthanasia, self defense, .... has become a moral code that will remain moral an can be used to describe old cultures as moral or immoral (regardless of what they them self thought about it)

2. what does it matter what their perspective was, please explain how them thinking it is OK makes the act moral?

3. I'm not a historian but I know a little and from seeing other OT laws I think it would not have been too hard to teach those people some more modern/humane laws.
Are you actually saying (like us unbelievers do) that the OT is nothing more than a book written by men?
And you didn't answer, why is the bible than still used at all today if it is only applicable to the time it was written?

4. no, the implementation of the new law if very confusing, christ says that the OT laws are still in effect and then goes on to contradicts a few, as I said your god is a bad communicator. But specifically on burning you talk about feeling and knowing that burning is not wanted by god anymore please explain a bit more specific.
And why did it take so long after this new law for burning to be abolished (BY THE CHURCH)? (and you can add slavery to that too)

5. Please prove first that no one at the time thought execution by burning was wrong.

Q1 you did not read my comment

Q2 you did not read my comment,
I will say that certain already convicted people do benefit from re-defined laws that make certain crimes less severe (and vice versa)

And I don't think you have much fun :)

Jason said...

Hugo,

1. "Group morality develops from shared concepts and beliefs and is often codified to regulate behavior within a culture or community. Various defined actions come to be called moral or immoral..." (wikipedia) Morals change - it's a fact of life and a fact supported by history. Hence, execution by burning was morally acceptable at the time the law was given. Our morals today regarding the same are utterly and entirely irrelevant.

You also say “regardless of what they them self thought about it”. Hugo, we’re discussing laws given to the Israelites 4000 years ago. It’s not about us. It’s about them. I trust you can see the difference.

2. It matters about their perspective because we’re talking about laws given to the Israelites 4000 years ago. The laws regarding execution by burning were considered acceptable and right by the Israelites, contemporary civilizations, and civilizations to follow. The immorality of this punishment arguably didn’t come into existence until just a few centuries ago. Without a wrong, by definition the act can’t be considered immoral. So, since there was no wrong attached to execution by burning 4000 years ago, it wasn't immoral 4000 years ago.

3. Whether or not it would have been easy or hard to teach the Israelites more “modern” laws is irrelevant. The laws were what they were at the time. I’ll ask again: God's OT laws didn't include anything that was deemed wrong at the time they were given. Do you agree or disagree?

And you didn't answer, why is the bible than still used at all today if it is only applicable to the time it was written?

It's not only applicable to the time it was written.

4. It’s not confusing. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Gal 3:24-25) Seems pretty straightforward to me. Believers are under the new law, not the old.

5. First, please answer my question: How can something be considered wrong when a wrong doesn’t exist? Secondly, by your logic, no one can ever truly know what is right or wrong. If today’s morality is based on the moral attitudes of future generations, you can't have any idea if the right you’re doing today is actually right. How do you respond? Thirdly, the Romans used execution by fire, the Greeks used it, the Babylonians used it, the Assyrians used it, the Israelites used it, etc. etc. If it was considered immoral back then, where's the evidence?

Regarding the Code of Hammurabi, are the laws I mentioned preventing “unnecessary harm”? How do you think the ancient Babylonians defined “unnecessary harm”?

Q1 you did not read my comment
I did. I asked, If in 2010, Europeans refuse to purchase anything made in China because of China's deplorable human rights record, will Europeans who bought something from China in 210AD be considered immoral? Why or why not?

You said it’s wrong to "economically endorse a society that does not respect human rights".
Fine. But you haven't answered the question. How can it be immoral to buy something from China in 210AD if it only became immoral to do so in 2010?

Q2 you did not read my comment,
I did. You said “If it turns out that there are good reasons that refute every point for the immorality of burning and it can be clearly explained that the kind of burning that is talked about in the bible is the moral thing to do then yes…”

Thus, my response was: So if the morality of a past action is dependent on present-day morals, your opinion of the morality of execution by burning is at best conjecture and at worst irrelevant since you have no idea if in fifty, a hundred, or twelve hundred years from now society will have a different take on it.

Hugo said...

It doesn't matter if a society deems something permissible, if that were actually the case then we would not have the problems that we have today, you'd just move to a society that agreed with you or start your own society.
The world is full of societies who say that such and such of the other society is wrong and certain wrongs become universal and from that point any society (in any time) can be declared wrong, if that were not the case it would not have been possible to prosecute nazi's the society that they lived in agreed with their conduct.

It is remarkable that you are so quiet about your god can you answer this simple question:
Is God moral or immoral?

Jason said...

The world was full of societies 4000 years ago who didn't think it was immoral to execute by burning and burning by execution wasn't considered wrong until much, much later. Therefore, execution by burning wasn't immoral 4000 years ago.

This is a perfectly reasonable and sound conclusion.

However, there's no basis whatsoever for claiming a newly developed universal wrong somehow affects a history in which this wrong didn't exist. This is so completely illogical and unreasonable, it's unbelievable you're trying to pass it off as a valid argument. Are you really prepared to condemn the Aztecs for violating the Geneva Convention???? Are you going to criticize the Code of Hammurabi for not following the Universal Declaration of Human Rights??? We cannot judge history by our standards, it's impossible. And quite frankly, I'm shocked there are people who are suggesting otherwise. Today's moral standards are for today, they're not for 100 years ago or 4000 years ago or 1200 years in the future.

Execution by burning was completely acceptable in another time and another place. It's not today. This is the reality of the situation. Why this is so difficult to grasp is truly beyond me.

Brian_E said...

Why this is so difficult to grasp is truly beyond me

Why it is so difficult for you to grasp that YOUR GOD is expected to behave beyond the 'societal norms' of a given time period when dispensing out his justice is beyond the comprehension of every rational reader here!

You failed Jason. Colossally.

Darren Delgado said...

jason wrote...

1. If something is wrong now it'll be wrong in 50 years from now? How can you possibly know that?

Because burning people is always wrong.

Will it be *considered* acceptable by society in 50 years, as it was by the barbaric primitive Middle Easterners responsible for the Bible? I would go ahead and say "probably not". But even if it is, it doesn't matter because burning is wrong. Does this answer your question?

Prove to me that what is morally acceptably today won't be immoral in four thousand years from now. Prove to me how something can be wrong today when no wrong yet exists.

Again, you're using a very narrow definition of the word "moral". "Acceptable by society" is one valid definition of the word "moral" but it's irrelevant here. There are societal morals and there are universal morals.

Burning people to death is horrific, and (IMO) universally wrong in any era, and I also believe that our species has evolved with an innate aversion to such barbarism.

3. We’re talking about the wrongness of execution by burning 4000 years ago, not stem cell research or abortion. The point remains: God's OT laws didn't include anything that was deemed wrong at the time they were given. Do you agree or disagree?

I would agree, but I think his point is that the question you're asking is irrelevant. Of course the crazy things in the bible conform with the barbaric beliefs of the times, because the people who wrote the bible came out of that crazy society!

sconnor said...

Of course bible-god thinks it is moral to burn people to death...he did come, to his people, as a burning bush.

--S.

Hugo said...

I would agree, but I think his point is that the question you're asking is irrelevant. Of course the crazy things in the bible conform with the barbaric beliefs of the times, because the people who wrote the bible came out of that crazy society!

Exactly, it is strange, everyone, including jason considers burning wrong only jason seems to have a need to defend it.

He also cannot have it both ways to say that the bible is of that time and that it applies to our time also, (believers logic, I'm sure it could accept a square circle). If the bible is of that time he has to accept updated versions every time society changes (and even the NT is long due for an update too).

I am happy that I live in a society that can say that burning (living) people is completely wrong, if we find a tribe of monkeys that has developed the capacity and society that burns their members I will be able to say to my daughter that I and my society consider that society wrong, jason would have to concede that it is not wrong because all the monkeys agree that it is right and if he or his child were one of the monkeys he'd be doing the same thing.

Jason said...

Darren,

No, execution by burning hasn't "always" been wrong. This is a completely false statement.

Jason said...

I shall repeat: There's no basis whatsoever for claiming a newly developed universal wrong somehow affects a history in which this wrong didn't exist.

Is anyone here prepared to condemn the Aztecs for violating the Geneva Convention???? Has history?

Is anyone here going to criticize the Code of Hammurabi for not following the Universal Declaration of Human Rights??? Has history?

How can it be immoral to buy something from China in 210AD if it only became immoral to do so thousands of years later? History doesn't support or validate, in any way, a claim of this nature.

We cannot judge history by our standards, it's impossible. And I'm shocked there are those who are suggesting otherwise. We can judge those in the past only by the standards of their time. There were no laws that God gave to the Israelites which would have been considered universally immoral at the time they were given. This is an unbiased fact and quite frankly, it settles the argument.

Today's moral standards are for today, they're not for 100 years ago or 4000 years ago or 1200 years in the future. Judging history in terms of today's "morality" is pointless. Plain and simple.

Hugo said...


Is anyone here prepared to condemn the Aztecs for violating the Geneva Convention???? Has history?

Yes, they were immoral and I condemn them for it and I will tell anyone that that kind of a society is immoral and should be changed if someone had the chance to contact them (hellooooo god?)

Is anyone here going to criticize the Code of Hammurabi for not following the Universal Declaration of Human Rights??? Has history?

Same thing, YES it is immoral, I condemn it and will refuse to live by it and will not support societies that do and if someone had the chance to talk to the creators they should educate them, if they do not I also condemn them as immoral (hellooooooo god?)

How can it be immoral to buy something from China in 210AD if it only became immoral to do so thousands of years later? History doesn't support or validate, in any way, a claim of this nature.

Here you go a little wrong, buying something from China is not wrong, if I buy a piece of clothing from a good Chinese company that values it's employees then it is indeed a good moral act (nobody wants the Chinese to starve, we want the regime to change)
So in 210AD the Chinese regime was not what it is today and more than likely conditions were better than elsewhere in the world, as I said before, in 210AD it was probably the Chinese who should not buy from the West so that they would not support the vile theocracies that ruled at that age.
You seem to have some trouble with discerning the immoral act from the commandment, when you are being told "don't buy from China", people should not just follow (like sheep) they should look at the reasons for those "commandments" and consider whether the cause is good or bad (I guess it's just wishful thinking).

Anon said...

Jason said: Judging history in terms of today's "morality" is pointless. Plain and simple.

It may be a pointless exercise in your opinion. This whole thing started because we were examining laws that your God handed down to the Israelites, as reported in his holy book.

I and others find burning people alive reprehensible. But since God ordered it, he must not find it reprehensible. Which means God's morals were/are different than ours, right?

Brian_E said...

Isn't it amazing that time and time again Jason leaves his GOD out of the argument and instead chooses to simply compare civilizations???

Darren Delgado said...

Jason said...

Darren,

No, execution by burning hasn't "always" been wrong. This is a completely false statement.

I believe this conversation is at an impasse and this is why. The two opposing sides of this argument are using differing versions of the word "moral". As I said in my last comment, the definition of the word you are applying is indeed valid, but it is inapplicable here.

There is a fundamental difference between you and me. You have a sliding scale of right and wrong that conforms to what the majority of the people believe in a certain area. I believe this is a narrowly correct, but not really useful definition of "morality". For example there are certain prevailing aspects of US culture which, by your definition, would be "moral" but which I find morally repugnant (lethal injection is one which you brought up, belief in god and the bible, and that they should be intertwined with religion, is another). Should I reconsider my belief that these things are repugnant just because the majority of people disagree with me? The fact that many or most people agree with the way things are does not make it moral.

There are some things that most people around the world should be able to agree are just wrong; burning people alive is a good example of one of them. Slavery is another. The fact that these two things have been largely shunned by the world at large is an example of progress, not a wishy-washy "that's just the way things are now" non-event. In fact the only people who I can find who are morally ambivalent enough to not take a firm stance against burning people alive are religious people. Now why would this be?

I think you're most likely a good person, so my hunch is that you are working backwards, trying to justify the crazy things in the bible, rather than looking inside for a version of morality with some more clarity. Under this version of "morality" that you're advancing here, slavery isn't wrong, forced female circumcision isn't wrong, etc. In other words, an absolutely terrible way to go through life. And you know better than that.

Jason said...

Hugo,

You condemn the Aztecs for violating the Geneva convention and the Code of Hammurabi for not following the UDHR…please, please tell me you’re kidding…

Let me ask you: Has history condemned the Aztecs for violating the Geneva convention and the Code for not following the UDHR?

And you’re still refusing to answer the question. I don’t care about what you think is right or wrong – we’re looking at what society says is right or wrong. I’ll ask yet again: How can it be immoral to buy something from China in 210AD if it only became immoral to do so thousands of years later?

Jason said...

Anon,

It’s not just a pointless exercise, it’s impossible. We can judge those in the past only by the standards of their time. Why is this even being argued?

The simple, basic, fact of the matter is this: At the time God handed down the law regarding execution by burning, it wasn’t immoral. History unequivocally proves this by considering how many other nations used exactly the same method of punishment and at what point in history society put a stop to it. There were no laws that God gave to the Israelites which would have been considered universally immoral at the time they were given.

These are inarguable facts.

Whether or not you and I, in the 21st century, with our particular standard of morals, disagree with execution by burning is irrelevant. It plays no part whatsoever in determining the morality of the laws 4000 years ago. Morals were different back then. Society was different back then. And God gave laws that were socially acceptable at the time. Quite honestly, I’m stunned this is being debated.

Nonetheless, today, morals have changed. Society has changed. And the law has changed as well.

God’s rules have stayed exactly the same – the wages of sin is death. This is consistent throughout Scripture.

Jason said...

Darren,

In other words, you're saying what is moral is based on individual opinion except in those cases where your opinion is supreme. Even if you disagree with the majority, you still consider yourself to be right. I think this is the most narrow view of morality possible and is reflective of the lack of objectivity here.

Whether or not the world "should have" agreed that burning is wrong is completely irrelevant since this is an opinion based entirely on the standards of today. Should the world have "agreed" it's wrong to buy products from China? There was nothing immoral about buying from China up until only a few decades ago. Likewise, there was nothing immoral about burning by execution up until only a few centuries ago.

I'm not morally ambivalent - I simply happen to appreciate I'm not the Grand Moral Dictator of the universe and that I live in a very, very different world then people in the past. I'm also not arrogant enough to claim that anyone who's ever existed who doesn't follow the same standard of morals as I do today, that they're all immoral. This is ridiculous.

Anon said...

Jason said: God’s rules have stayed exactly the same

You argued elsewhere that this is not so, that the old rules no longer apply because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

God also no longer goes out and burns people himself, as far as I know. You seem to think this is because it's no longer morally acceptable to humans.

These two things, along with others, tend to indicate God's rules have changed. He expects different things from us, and he punishes people differently. Am I mistaken?

the wages of sin is death.

The full context of this is, from Romans 6 (NIV):

15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.


If you become a slave to God, then the wages of sin are not death, but eternal life. If you don't believe in Jesus, and/or you're against being a slave to anything or anyone, then you get death.

Jason said...

Anon,

The reference to the rules not changing was in reference to sin and death as I believed I clearly indicated by referencing "the wages of sin is death". It's a law that's consistent throughout Scripture.

You misunderstand the promise of eternal life. It's not "the wages of sin is eternal life"... Man sins whether they're a believer or not as Romans 6:15 clearly indicates. It's also why Jesus instructs his disciples to mention this in their prayers: "Forgive us our sins..." (Luke 11:4) Since man sins, man dies. This is a basic Scriptural teaching.

Anon said...

Jason,

I understand the promise of eternal life; it was one of the last things that kept me holding on to my Christian beliefs.

We are talking about two different types of deaths. I realize sin leads to death of the body for both believers and non-believers. But for believers, the sins are forgiven (through grace/forgiveness of Jesus, belief in Jesus, and/or good deeds) and they are granted eternal life.

My point was that believers are not punished with eternal death, in spite of their sins. Sorry if I was unclear on this.

I dislike that we are supposed to be like "slaves" (NIV) to Jesus in order to get this reprieve from eternal death, which was my secondary point. But we have already discussed the slavery issue elsewhere.

Darren Delgado said...

Jason said...

In other words, you're saying what is moral is based on individual opinion except in those cases where your opinion is supreme. Even if you disagree with the majority, you still consider yourself to be right.

No, I am saying that there are certain universal moral truths which are not subject to disagreement. One of them is that killing another human being (say, by burning) is wrong.

To our great credit, our society has mostly achieved that one ideal (killing is wrong). Although we in the US are still struggling to give up the death penalty, most of the civilized world has abandoned it. There are still immoral people who kill, but they are punished and shunned by society. In the bible they were celebrated, so long as God commanded them to do the killing.

I think this is the most narrow view of morality possible and is reflective of the lack of objectivity here.

If being objective requires me to be unable to state that burning human beings alive is always wrong, without a week's worth of hedging, I am proud to not be objective. This is not an issue we should be objective about. Along with slavery, rape, lynchings, etc., it is universally wrong to burn people alive.

The only reason you're hedging on it is because the deity you believe in, supposedly once sanctioned it as acceptable. Society used the cover of god to sanction all this nasty stuff because society was primitive.

Whether or not the world "should have" agreed that burning is wrong is completely irrelevant since this is an opinion based entirely on the standards of today.

The standards of today are BETTER. (Not perfect, but better.) One way to measure this is that burning people alive is widely considered evil, nasty and ridiculous to the point of silliness.

Should the world have "agreed" it's wrong to buy products from China? There was nothing immoral about buying from China up until only a few decades ago.

There is still nothing immoral about buying from China. It is just a method to punish the Chinese government for its immoral behavior.

Likewise, there was nothing immoral about burning by execution up until only a few centuries ago.

No, not in the sense that "immoral" means "conforming with the majority." However, in the universal sense, it was wrong then and it will always be wrong.

I'm not morally ambivalent - I simply happen to appreciate I'm not the Grand Moral Dictator of the universe and that I live in a very, very different world then people in the past.

Right -- you live in a better world, where you don't have to live in fear of pissing off the wrong person and getting legally burned.

I'm also not arrogant enough to claim that anyone who's ever existed who doesn't follow the same standard of morals as I do today, that they're all immoral. This is ridiculous.

The people who lived in the time of barbarism being referred to here were not "all immoral". The prevailing attitudes of the time, however, were immoral. Any society that believes in burning and stoning and animal sacrifice as normal and healthy has a lot of problems.

Jason said...

Darren,

Please prove to me execution by burning was a universal moral wrong 4000 years ago.

Also, read the China analogy again. In it, I stated a hypothetical situation and followed it with a question. It went something like this: If in 2010, Europeans refuse to purchase anything made in China because of China's deplorable human rights record, will Europeans who bought something from China in 210AD be considered immoral? Why or why not?

Out of curiousity, do you condemn the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention?

Hugo said...

Unless really new points are made this is my last comment because it is pointless to keep restating the same thing.
jason substitute Nazi's for Aztec and ask the same question.
Do you condemn the Nazi's for doing what they believed was the right and moral thing to do?

What does it matter if it is 60 or 4000 year?

Jason said...

Hugo,

Humanity collectively condemned the Nazi's for their actions. If nothing else, this should be a clear indication regarding the immorality of what they did.

Did humanity condemn the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention? Has humanity EVER condemned the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention?

And I'll ask again: How can it be immoral to buy something from China in 210AD if it only became immoral to do so thousands of years later?

Hugo said...

Humanity collectively condemned burning.

(PS. there are still Nazi's and Nazi sympathizers around so I take it "Humanity collectively" does not every single human)

I broke my "last comment" promise just this once for this "one-liner" because again it is nothing new.

Steve Wells said...

Jason,

I think you could clear everything up for us by explaining how you personally decide what is right or wrong.

Take burning people to death as an example. Do you take a survey to decide if that is immoral? Do you decide based upon what the Bible says? Do you let your religious leaders decide for you? Or what?

Jason said...

Hugo,

Prove humanity collectively condemned burning. Surely there must historical evidence of humanity decrying the use of this method of capital punishment...

Did humanity condemn the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention? Has humanity EVER condemned the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention?

Jason said...

Steve,

I personally decide what is right or wrong based on what Scripture says about the matter and when the two don't conflict, the laws of the land.

Regarding execution by burning, I believe it's immoral today because 1. the NT doesn't command it and 2. it's illegal.

Hugo said...

Regarding execution by burning, I believe it's immoral today because 1. the NT doesn't command it and 2. it's illegal.

Now I really quit, that is quite disturbing I really hope for those around you that those are not really the only 2 reasons.

Jason said...

Hugo,

I know you're looking for an out, but before you quit I'd like answers to the questions you've avoiding for quite some time now. Surely they're not too difficult for you..?

1. Can you prove humanity collectively condemned execution by burning 4000 years ago?

2. Did humanity condemn the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention? Has humanity EVER condemned the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention?

Darren Delgado said...

jason wrote...

Please prove to me execution by burning was a universal moral wrong 4000 years ago.

I can play that number: Please prove to me that God exists and that I should pay attention to what he says. Whoops! Looks like we are at an impasse.

Burning people alive is wrong, along with slavery and any other form of torture. I know it because I have common human sympathy for my fellow human beings, something which I believe is innate to our species and can only be removed or diminished by force -- say, through poor upbringing, or neglect, or religious indoctrination creating ambivalence about burning people, etc.

There is no "proof" that it is wrong, it just is.

Also, read the China analogy again. In it, I stated a hypothetical situation and followed it with a question. It went something like this: If in 2010, Europeans refuse to purchase anything made in China because of China's deplorable human rights record, will Europeans who bought something from China in 210AD be considered immoral? Why or why not?

Neither purchase is an immoral act, in 210 AD or 2010 AD. It's just a tool to punish China in the pocket for their immoral behavior. If you need a part for your car and the only place it's made in China, it's not immoral to patronize them.

Out of curiousity, do you condemn the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention?

What a pointless question. Of course not, I condemn the Aztecs for peforming ritual human sacrifices (and acceptance of slavery).

The Geneva Conventions are just a tool, like the China boycott.

Hugo said...

It's not that I'm looking for an out its just that it's pointless to keep posting the same things.
But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you're not willfully ignorant, so here goes again.

1. Can you prove humanity collectively condemned execution by burning 4000 years ago?

what does it matter, we're doing it now!
(plus can you prove that it was collectively accepted? that there were no societies (no matter how small) that were against burning?)

2. Did humanity condemn the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention? Has humanity EVER condemned the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention?

Like China and like darren says the convention is a tool an attempt to describe a moral wrong, the Aztec society does not exist anymore but if it did then yes even if they had survived for 5000 years by sacrificing virgins and captured prisoners and their society was generally ok with it then now we and I would still be condemning them and possibly invading them to set them straight as with the Nazi's as with Saddam, ... laws and social acceptance does not make something moral, is the only thing stopping you from burning someone REALLY only because it is not mentioned in the NT and because it is illegal?
Are you really one of those persons who would rape and steal if it were not illegal anymore.
I can honestly say that even without laws I would never burn someone, I would not even steal no matter what some book said.
Really jason think about it
If prominent influential christians would agree that the NT could be interpreted to condone, even promote burning and started campaigning this and laws were accepted would you line up to volunteer to light the stake or support the law? (don't tell me that it cannot happen, the US has already approved torture in Guantanamo, if another 9/11 were to happen who can tell what measures would be put in use!)
If you would be against it, WHY?

Jason said...

Darren,

If there's no proof it's wrong, then your claim it was universally wrong 4000 years ago is nothing more then conjecture and will subsequently be ignored. Unless of course you're willing to believe God exists simply because I say so...?

I can prove humanity used this form of execution right up until a few hundred years ago - and no where is there evidence that humanity, at any point in time, collectively decried the use of this form of punishment. Logically speaking, this tells me execution by burning wasn't considered immoral.

Darren, you're not getting the hypothetical China analogy. It's really quite simple. If in 2010, Europeans refuse to purchase anything made in China because of China's deplorable human rights record, will Europeans who bought something from China in 210AD be considered immoral? Why or why not? Answer the question and stop playing the fool.

You don't condemn the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention? Why not? They clearly broke international laws rules regarding treatment of prisoners of war! Surely there must be evidence of condemnation for such crimes...?

Jason said...

Hugo,

Let me ask again (I'm assuming you're capable of providing a 'yes' or 'no' answer). Can you prove humanity collectively condemned execution by burning 4000 years ago?

Yes or no?

The basic fact that huge civilizations used such a method of punishment for such a long period of time without ANY shred of evidence that humanity ever objected to such behaviour is proof in itself. If it was a universal wrong at that time, there's no record of anyone ever objecting to it. How can this be if it was a universal wrong? Gosh, maybe because it wasn't a universal wrong!

I'm asking for evidence it was a universal wrong at the time as you so claim. Either you have it or you don't. Which is it?

Regarding the Aztec's, you're still refusing the answer the question: Has humanity EVER condemned the Aztec's for violating the Geneva Convention? Yes or no.

Jason said...

Let me try and let you guys off the hook. The fact is morals have evolved. This is without doubt. So unless someone can prove the universal moral system had evolved to a point so that 4000 years ago it was universally immoral to execute by burning, there's nothing else you can argue that will validate your claims that the laws regarding burning given to the Israelites was wrong.

As wikipedia states: "A primary criticism of moral absolutism regards how we come to know what the "absolute" morals are. The authorities that are quoted as sources of absolute morality are all subject to human interpretation, and multiple views abound on them. For morals to be truly absolute, they would have to have a universally unquestioned source, interpretation and authority. Therefore, so critics say, there is no conceivable source of such morals, and none can be called "absolute". So even if there are absolute morals, there will never be universal agreement on just what those morals are."

So, in summary, you either have proof to support your claims that execution by burning as a universal moral wrong is as old as humanity or you don't.

Steve Wells said...

No one here has to 'prove' anything to you, Jason.

It is your God that burns people to death and demands that we do the same. If you are OK with that (which apparently you are), then the Bible is for you. But if you object to type of thing, then you should reject the Bible and its people-burning God.

Jason said...

Steve,

Then you admit you have no proof that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given. This is fine by me. Should have mentioned this right up front - you could have saved everyone quite a bit of time.

Steve Wells said...

You are the only one interested in proofs for "universal moral laws," Jason.

If you are happy with a god that burns people to death and commands us to do likewise, then the Bible is the book for you, Jason. You and your cruel god deserve each other.

I think I understand your position, Jason. It was OK for God to demand that certain people be burned to death, because he did that before the Geneva Conventions (I have no idea why you think that would matter, but I guess it was the best excuse you could think of at the time) and before the New Testament revoked God's Old Testament laws. And you have no problem with God burning people to death because God can do whatever the hell he wants and you will call it good. I completely understand. It is vicious, disgusting, cruel, and immoral. But it's what you believe.

sconnor said...

Yes, yes, a primitive, superstitious, culture, who couldn't even keep shit out of their own food and thought god was mad at them because the skys grew dark, also caused people to suffer horribly, by burning them, alive. This is the same culture that made up the laws of the day and then used god's imaginary, voice, to lend credibility, to a monstrous institution, that had no divine authority.

But Jason is a dense asshole, stricken with religious blindness, trying desperately to protect his flimsy, beliefs.

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.
-- Susan B. Anthony in 1896

--S.

Jason said...

Steve, are you confirming you have no evidence to support your claims that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites?

A simple yes or no will do. Which is it?

Steve Wells said...

Steve, are you confirming you have no evidence to support your claims that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites?

I have never claimed "that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites." I don't know or care what the people in the late bronze age may have thought about it. You are the one who brings it up in a pathetic attempt to excuse the barbarous actions and commands of your god. Give it up, Jason. You've lost.

I understand that you are uncomfortable defending a God that burns people to death and commands believers to do likewise. But that is what the Bible says.

God is proud of burning people to death; why are you so ashamed of it?

Jason said...

Steve,

Actually, Darren said "Burning people to death is horrific, and (IMO) universally wrong in any era..." and "it is universally wrong to burn people alive" and "...in the universal sense, it was wrong then and it will always be wrong." Hence I was merely asking him for proof that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites. Thanks for jumping in though. Now, was it a universal morale wrong back then, Steve?

And Steve, I'm well aware you don't care about what other people thought in other time periods. But when we're talking about the morality of laws given to another culture 4000 years ago, it really, really helps to care... Step out of your ethnocentric bubble just for a minute. Yes, you can go back when we're done!

The Bible certainly does say that God instructed the Israelites to execute by burning and the Bible also says we're no longer under this old law. Sorry, I thought this had been established already...?

Steve Wells said...

Jason said: "I was merely asking him [Darren] for proof that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites. Thanks for jumping in though."

Oh, you were asking Darren, eh Jason? And I "jumped in"?

Then why did you address your question to me? Here's what you said: "Steve, are you confirming you have no evidence to support your claims that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites?"

First you lie and then you lie again to get out of it. I guess you'll be in lake of fire being burned with the unbelievers like it says in Revelation 21:8. Good thing you think it's OK for God to burn people to death!

Next you say: "The Bible certainly does say that God instructed the Israelites to execute by burning and the Bible also says we're no longer under this old law. Sorry, I thought this had been established already...?"

You haven't "established" that the Old Testament laws no longer apply to Christians. You haven't established a single thing since you've been here.

Jason said...

Come on, Steve, this isn't a kindergarten playground and I know you're not a child. I was asking Darren and Hugo for proof that execution by burning was a universal moral 4000 years ago. Enough with the act, okay?

Regarding the new law versus the old law, I'm not interested in doing this dance again. We've been over it a dozen times but you continually, and quite intentionally it seems, turn a blind eye to one of the most clearly addressed teachings in Scripture. Jeremiah 31:31, Matthew 26:28, Mark 16:16, Acts 6:14, Acts 10:15-28, Romans 7:4-6, Acts 13:39, Acts 15, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Galatians 3, Galatians 4, Hebrews 7, Hebrews 8 and Hebrews 10. Read. It's all right there.

Was execution by burning a universal moral wrong 4000 years ago. Yes or no.

sconnor said...

Conscience-impaired, Jason asked, Was execution by burning a universal moral wrong 4000 years ago. Yes or no.

YES.

Because, we as civilized, educated, people can comprehend, that when you do something to a person that is consensual and feels good to them -- then it's GOOD.

Also, as civilized, educated, people, with a sympathetic human conscience, we can easily evaluate, that when a person causes harm or tortures a person, non-consensually, causing the person to suffer, or to die -- then that's BAD.

Burning someone to death is a hideous, immoral act and a monstrous violation of human rights, in the future and in the present and in the past -- even, 4,000 years ago.

Jason, you are a mindless, drone, dumb-fuck. You are the equivalence of the insane, brain-dead, religious zealot, wallowing in delusion, proselytizing, on a street corner.

--S.

Darren Delgado said...

Actually, Darren said "Burning people to death is horrific, and (IMO) universally wrong in any era..." and "it is universally wrong to burn people alive" and "...in the universal sense, it was wrong then and it will always be wrong." Hence I was merely asking him for proof that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites.

Steve asked you your *opinion* on whether burning is universally wrong. To date, you have not offered any personal opinion on whether burning is wrong, only equivocating BS about how it is wrong in this era but not that one and hey, nothing is really wrong if you really think about it. Reducing the argument to absurdism.

So, in the complete absence of any strong moral statement from you, I am offering my opinion. It is my belief that burning is universally wrong. Just like it is your belief that God wrote the bible, approved of burning people, then reversed himself and declared burning a thing of the past (for unknown reasons). There is no "proof" for this statement, but I don't value the judgment of those people who think burning people alive was morally acceptable in any era.

Apparently our beliefs (which seem pretty straightforward to me) require proof while yours (about an invisible man in the sky) don't. Why is this?

Thanks for jumping in though. Now, was it a universal morale wrong back then, Steve?

Steve didn't say that, I did. Don't conflate two different arguments because you're losing the debate on both fronts.

The Bible certainly does say that God instructed the Israelites to execute by burning and the Bible also says we're no longer under this old law. Sorry, I thought this had been established already...?

No, that's definitely been established; the problem is that the culture of the time was morally challenged and endorsed horrific, immoral things like burning people alive, so of course the phony mythological stories which sprang forth from that era would support those horrific things.

sconnor said...

Jason, cuckoo for cocoa puffs, said, The Bible certainly does say that God instructed the Israelites to execute by burning and the Bible also says we're no longer under this old law. Sorry, I thought this had been established already...?

It has only been established in your fucked-up, delusional, brain, Jason. Even, by debating, if the old law was replaced by the new law is reason enough to conclude that there are other interpretations of scripture, thereby proving god's supposed plan of communicating his all-important good news is seriously flawed. You just assume you have the right interpretation, by deluding yourself, in the midst of all the other Christians who delude themselves, proclaiming they hold the one true, right, interpretation of scripture.

THE UNITED CHURCH OF GOD HOLDS THIS INTERPRETATION:

Many assume that, because Jesus Christ instituted the New Covenant, God's laws are thereby made obsolete. They lean on this argument to ignore His commandments. But what does Jesus Himself say?
He answers: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill [actually 'fill to the full,' meaning fully explain or fully express]. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away [and they clearly haven't passed away], one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
"Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-19).
Notice how Hebrews 10:16-17 summarizes the New Covenant: "'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them.' Then He adds, 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.'" This is perfectly consistent with Christ's words. God's laws aren't annulled under the New Covenant; they are written into our hearts and minds so we might obey Him better.
A new covenant wasn't needed because the laws included in the Old Covenant were inadequate or faulty. Rather, the New Covenant was needed because, as Hebrews 8:8 tells us, "God found fault with the people ..." (NIV). The fault was in the nature of the people themselves (verses 7-9)—the fact that human beings are naturally hostile to God's laws rather than spiritually minded and willing to obey (see Romans 8:5-8).
What people need to have changed is their heart, not the laws that define sin—sin being the violation of God's law (1 John 3:4). Such change in the heart is possible only when people receive God's Spirit. That's why the focus of the New Covenant is on providing the way and the means for sins to be forgiven so people may receive the Holy Spirit.


I'm sure your free time, at the loony bin, has expired. It's time to get off the computer and take your nappy-time, medicine and go back to your wall-to-wall padded room, so you can dream; you and Jesus are skipping through a meadow hand in hand, wallowing in delusional bliss, listening to the song -- Jesus Loves Me -- in your head.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Refrain:

“Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, cuckoo, cuckoo, la, la, la.


--S.

Jason said...

Darren,

Since you have no proof that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, you have no basis for claiming to be correct, or, more appropriately, you have no basis for claiming I'm incorrect.

If execution by burning wasn't an established universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, it cannot be said it was wrong. This is basic logic.

Apparently our beliefs (which seem pretty straightforward to me) require proof while yours (about an invisible man in the sky) don't. Why is this?

Are you saying you've never requested a Christian provide evidence to support his or her claims???? Get real. Enough with the sad story already.

Steve didn't say that, I did. Don't conflate two different arguments because you're losing the debate on both fronts.

I'm asking Steve if he thinks execution by burning was a universal moral wrong because no one else seems capable of answering this simple question.

No, that's definitely been established; the problem is that the culture of the time was morally challenged and endorsed horrific, immoral things like burning people alive, so of course the phony mythological stories which sprang forth from that era would support those horrific things.

Morally challenged? Really? Show me any legitimate 21st century source that calls ancient civilizations "morally challenged". Can you at least do this?

sconnor said...

If execution by burning wasn't an established universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, it cannot be said it was wrong. This is basic logic.

Yeah just like 2+2=5, basic logic.

Holy shit, Jason, you are truly fucked in the head. I think Jesus just cracked and scrambled the last in egg in your head.

This is your
brain on religion. Any questions?

--S.

Darren Delgado said...

jason said...

Since you have no proof that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, you have no basis for claiming to be correct, or, more appropriately, you have no basis for claiming I'm incorrect.

By the same logic, since you have no proof that God exists, you have no basis for giving a shit about what he supposedly told people to do in the bible. But you go right on believing it anyway, trouper that you are.

As I said in the last post, I know that burning is wrong because I have common human decency. I believe you do too, since you hedgingly admitted burning is wrong "in this era", although you can't go the Full Monty and admit that it's always wrong because that would force you to deny the pretzel logic that is in the bible.

If execution by burning wasn't an established universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, it cannot be said it was wrong. This is basic logic.

So is there anything that is universally repugnant to you? We know burning is sometimes OK for you, and slavery. How about rape? Torture? Fixing NBA basketball games?

Are you saying you've never requested a Christian provide evidence to support his or her claims???? Get real.

I'm saying, if I held you to the same standard of proof that you are holding me to, you would be in a lot of rhetorical trouble.

You believe God exists, and did all this inexplicable, cruel bizarre shit, for whatever reasons you have. That's your prerogative and you and I and everyone else reading this knows that asking you to "prove" the existence of God would be a waste of time.

I believe that burning people is wrong, because of empirical evidence. I have burned various parts of my body accidentally throughout my life now and then, and it sucks. An all-consuming full body burning inflicting death would be unimaginably painful. I wouldn't want a full body burning inflicted on anyone, even the most heinous of criminals.

How do I "prove" that something like torture, burning alive, slavery, etc. is universally wrong? You can't. It's just something that makes society worse when it exists, drags down the human race, and we are a better society for having gotten rid of it. Better still if we get rid of the death penalty altogether, but as Steve pointed out at least we have made that humane, a step up from what's suggested in the bible.

I'm asking Steve if he thinks execution by burning was a universal moral wrong because no one else seems capable of answering this simple question.

"Yes. It is."

Now your turn to answer a question: is burning people alive a good thing to do, under any circumstances? If yes, what circumstances would those be? Is it acceptable in another era not our own? If God changed his mind and instructed you to burn someone alive, would you spring to action?

I don't really expect you to answer these questions straightforwardly, since you won't answer Steve's very straightforward questions either, but what the hell.

Jason said...

Darren,

Since you have no proof that execution by burning was a universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, you have no basis for claiming to be correct, or, more appropriately, you have no basis for claiming I'm incorrect.

As I said in the last post, I know that burning is wrong because I have common human decency. I believe you do too, since you hedgingly admitted burning is wrong "in this era", although you can't go the Full Monty and admit that it's always wrong because that would force you to deny the pretzel logic that is in the bible.

What you're continuing to ignore is that burning by execution hasn’t always wrong unless you can somehow show that a 'common human decency' existed at the time the law was given that condemned such an action. I don’t think you can. Can you?

I also don’t think you can even prove ‘common human decency’ has remained unchanged for the past 4000 years. Can you?

So is there anything that is universally repugnant to you? We know burning is sometimes OK for you, and slavery. How about rape? Torture? Fixing NBA basketball games?

Non sequitur. My point was that if execution by burning wasn't an established universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, it cannot be said it was wrong. This is basic logic. I don’t see how you could disagree with this. If it’s not wrong, it’s not wrong. What don’t you agree with?

I'm saying, if I held you to the same standard of proof that you are holding me to, you would be in a lot of rhetorical trouble.

You already consider Christians to be in a lot of rhetorical trouble. The point is, the standard of proof you expect from Christians is now being placed on your lap and like many others here, you have nothing to offer except idle ethnocentric conjecture.

I believe that burning people is wrong, because of empirical evidence. I have burned various parts of my body accidentally throughout my life now and then, and it sucks. An all-consuming full body burning inflicting death would be unimaginably painful. I wouldn't want a full body burning inflicted on anyone, even the most heinous of criminals.

That’s fine. But we're not talking about the 21st century. 200, 500, 1000, 4000 years ago, people did execute by burning without any record it was considered to be morally wrong. Stating your opinion on the matter doesn’t affect history. I'm sorry.

How do I "prove" that something like torture, burning alive, slavery, etc. is universally wrong? You can't. It's just something that makes society worse when it exists, drags down the human race, and we are a better society for having gotten rid of it. Better still if we get rid of the death penalty altogether, but as Steve pointed out at least we have made that humane, a step up from what's suggested in the bible.

Drags down the human race? Society made huge advances, morally, culturally and technologically when execution by burning was still being practiced. Pick up a history book.

That aside though, because you’re finally now admitting it can’t be proven execution by burning is universally wrong, you can’t claim it was morally wrong at the time for people to be executed in this manner. If it wasn’t immoral then quite obviously it wasn’t immoral. Therefore, execution by burning wasn’t considered immoral at the time God gave this law to the Israelites. Ergo, your entire argument falls apart.

I'm asking Steve if he thinks execution by burning was a universal moral wrong because no one else seems capable of answering this simple question. - "Yes. It is."

Does he have the proof you claim doesn't exist?

Now your turn to answer a question: is burning people alive a good thing to do, under any circumstances? If yes, what circumstances would those be? Is it acceptable in another era not our own? If God changed his mind and instructed you to burn someone alive, would you spring to action?

Yes. Yes. Yes. What’s the relevance of this to the laws God gave the Israelites?

I’ve answered every question asked of me and I expect the same in return.

1. Show me any legitimate 21st century source that calls ancient civilizations "morally challenged". Can you at least do this?

2. Where is there evidence that humanity, at any point in time, collectively decried the use of execution by burning?

Hugo said...

Now your turn to answer a question:
1. is burning people alive a good thing to do, under any circumstances?
2. If yes, what circumstances would those be?
3. Is it acceptable in another era not our own?
4. If God changed his mind and instructed you to burn someone alive, would you spring to action?


1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. What’s the relevance of this to the laws God gave the Israelites?

I never thought he'd answer so clearly.
(answer 2 might need some more flesh but I guess by saying "Yes" you mean that you would find any situation acceptable)
Okay, jason by those answers you are officially an immoral human being.

Jeez, burning people is a good thing, I hope law enforcement is reading along and starts to keep tabs on you (that's some wishful thinking on my part).

Dave said...

It’s not without irony that Jason is perhaps Steve’s biggest asset in converting people away from Christianity. Giving up on religion is not easy, but Jason is a shining example of why it must be done.

Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics said "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

I am sure, Jason, you are a good person, but rarely has one demonstrated so well how Christianity can make someone morally bankrupt. You need to file for Chapter 13.

Jason said...

Hugo,

If God commanded believers to burn someone alive for a crime, and there’s no really no reason to imagine He would, be definition, a Christian would believe it to do be right. This is why I have to answer “yes” to #1 since the “any” circumstance includes a direct commandment from God. Outside of a commandment from God, as stated a half dozen times already, I don’t think there’s any moral justification for executing someone by burning today.

Now I’d like answers to the questions you continue to ignore.

1. What you're continuing to ignore is that burning by execution hasn’t always wrong unless you can somehow show that a 'common human decency' existed at the time the law was given that condemned such an action. I don’t think you can. Can you?

2. I also don’t think you can even prove ‘common human decency’ has remained unchanged for the past 4000 years. Can you?

3. If execution by burning wasn't an established universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, it cannot be said it was wrong. This is basic logic. I don’t see how you could disagree with this. If it’s not wrong, it’s not wrong. What don’t you agree with?

4. Show me any legitimate 21st century source that calls ancient civilizations "morally challenged". Can you at least do this?

5. Where is there evidence that humanity, at any point in time, collectively decried the use of execution by burning?

Jason said...

Dave,

There are many, many, many people out there who know it's impossible to judge past actions based on the morals today. This is why teachers don't tell their students the Aztecs were immoral and history books don’t condemn ancient civilizations for their behaviour. In other words, nothing I’m saying here is anything new.

Secondly, what does religion have to do with this? We could be talking about the Assryians or Persians for all anyone cares - it doesn't make a difference. I've never read or heard anyone say the Babylonians were 'morally bankrupt' because of their laws, have you?

Until you can logically explain why we should be judging ancient history based on the moral standards of the 21st century, I will continue to reject this entire argument. It's ridiculous and based on nothing more then blind ignorance and ultra- ethnocentrism.

Dave said...

Jason, you make good points about the human moral standards of past civilizations, and I have not participated in those discussions. I think, however, the subject is bigger then that. I mean, we are talking about an omnipotent omniscient perfect loving god here, and I think he is the last guy that would argue that morals depend on what society happens to be up to at the time. Seems it should be the other way around, that god should be constant and unchanging. God should be setting those moral standards, not just going along with them, even offering guidelines for people burning, stoning, owning slaves, etcetera.

I have German ancestry in my family, and I have often wondered if I lived just a little earlier in Germany would I have gone along with what was happening during Hitler’s time. I guess that if I was the religious person I was 6 years ago, I probably would have gone along with it, just as you admitted you would be burning folks if you were alive back then. With my present mindset as an ex-Christian, however, I believe I would not have gone along with it. Did history ever record the feelings or inaction of such people? No. But what choices did they have to express themselves back then? And what would the consequences have been? Today, with the internet, folks like Steve and others here finally have an equal voice that is heard by millions. Conversations like this reveal the true character of Christianity and other religions and are exposing it for what it really is.

Welcome to the revolution!

Jason said...

Dave,

The simple fact is God gave the Israelites laws that operated perfectly and morally within the existing system of conduct. There was nothing morally wrong with any of them. Therefore, they weren't immoral. Matter settled.

Could God have introduced lethal injection to the Israelites or some "morally acceptable" punishment to a crime? Sure He could of. But He didn't. This doesn't affect the moral acceptability of execution by burning at the time.

This conversation actually has very little to do with Christianity or religion, Dave. These kinds of conversations are taking place in many different places by many different people from all walks of life, some religious and some not. The question being asked is: How can people judge their ancestors based on the morals of today? It's simply not possible. Many agree, many disagree, but as of yet, I haven't found one valid argument that would change my mind and after having read the responses here and seen the general unwillingness to provide any shred of proof or answer even the most basic of questions, it's only validated my position.

sconnor said...

Nut-case Jason, stomping his foot like a two year old, said, The simple fact is God gave the Israelites laws that operated perfectly and morally within the existing system of conduct. There was nothing morally wrong with any of them. Therefore, they weren't immoral. Matter settled.

The matter is only settled in your fucked-up, delusional, cranium-cavity.

It's not a fact, Jason, it's antiquated, lore mixed with the supposed voice of god, to lend legitimacy and a false sense of authority -- a delusion that you desperately cling to. In reality, the simple truth of the matter is, primitive, superstitious, uncivilized, men, came up with those absurd, laws and barbaric, vile, forms of torture, as punishment. In essence, you are condoning the immoral actions of ignorant, barbaric torturers, that are veiled with your illusionary, god. You are the insane captain of delusions, on a sinking dingy, in the middle of the ocean, in a raging storm -- you got nothing.

--S.

Hugo said...

So much wrong, so little time to respond.
jason, you have a very dangerous mind, by you own admission if your god speaks to you (ie. if you hear voices) you'll not even stop if it/they tell you to kill, even burn people!
There are institutions for people like you.

Everything needed to create a humanity that does not burn people has been said in this thread yet you still need to be able to find burning a good thing and leave an open door to allow burning someone someday.

Really, really think about this:
jason wrote:

Humanity collectively condemned the Nazi's for their actions. If nothing else, this should be a clear indication regarding the immorality of what they did.

How can you say that when there were (and STILL ARE) countries hiding Nazi war criminals, when the Nazi society accepted the Nazi way of life, the laws were acceptable to the people that lived at that time (even outside Germany) and even now there are a lot of people who would like nothing better than to reinstate such a society (look up ratlines, neo nazis, ...).

If you cannot find the Aztecs morally deprived and if you cannot condemn the Aztecs for what they did then you cannot possibly condemn the Nazi's.

You say that the Aztecs are not condemned but they are, every law against violence that we have is a condemnation of the Aztecs, if a society would rise based on Aztec laws then it would be the top priority of the UN and it would be invaded ASAP.

I do not like to discuss too much with someone who has the mindset that would allow him to burn me if he was desperate enough, I try to write a response but this keeps popping to the front of my mind, if this were real life I'd put some distance between us.
The way I've been brought up (without religion, in Belgium that is possible) I know that I would never do that, I'd turn myself in if I started hearing things like that, I do not need laws to stop me from burning people.

Jason said...

Hugo,

Incredibly, you're still ignorant on my standpoint of execution by burning. Let me explain it to you again in simplistic terms: I think execution by burning is wrong today. I think execution by burning was morally acceptable 4000 years ago. I have never passed a personal judgment on this kind of behaviour other then stating the acceptability of it as historical fact. I've continually explained we're in no position to judge either way and that we can only comment on the rightness or wrongness of execution by burning based on the moral standards at time the law was given. Don't misrepresent my beliefs on the subject.

Regarding the Aztecs, no one considers the Aztecs morally deprived and I've already asked for evidence supporting the claim suggesting otherwise (Question #4 below).

The laws nations pass today aren't moral judgments on previous civilizations. This is absolutely absurd. Get your head out of the sand. When was the last time you heard a politician say "We're now legalizing marijuana which means any culture that ever existed that didn't have this same law is now officially condemned"?

Since I've been dutifully answering your questions, I expect some common courtesy in return.

1. What you're continuing to ignore is that burning by execution hasn’t always wrong unless you can somehow show that a 'common human decency' existed at the time the law was given that condemned such an action. I don’t think you can. Can you?

2. I also don’t think you can even prove ‘common human decency’ has remained unchanged for the past 4000 years. Can you?

3. If execution by burning wasn't an established universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, it cannot be said it was wrong. This is basic logic. I don’t see how you could disagree with this. If it’s not wrong, it’s not wrong. What don’t you agree with?

4. Show me any legitimate 21st century source that calls ancient civilizations "morally challenged". Can you at least do this?

5. Where is there evidence that humanity, at any point in time, collectively decried the use of execution by burning?

Hugo said...

I quit, it's like talking to a brick wall.
This were your answers were they not?

1. is burning people alive a good thing to do, under any circumstances?
2. If yes, what circumstances would those be?
3. Is it acceptable in another era not our own?
4. If God changed his mind and instructed you to burn someone alive, would you spring to action?

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. What’s the relevance of this to the laws God gave the Israelites?


I see no "in this era" in that first answer so you find that there could be circumstance even today to justify burning people.

You have a dangerous mindset, stay in Canada.

Your questions have been answered, answer mine.

Jason said...

Hugo,

Yes, they were my answers. I explained my thought process behind them and even just finished clarifying my position on execution by burning. What else do you want?

Please don't lie - my questions haven't been answered. By anyone. Please do so now.

sconnor said...

If everyone had the same fucked-up deluded thinking Jason has we would still be living in the dark ages. Can't you see it's morally acceptable to burn people to death; it's morally acceptable to own people; it's morally acceptable to abuse children and beat them with a rod, cause god says so. Jason is a mindless, coward and could never stand up and say these vile and immoral acts are unacceptable. It took truly, courageous people (people NOT shackled by superstition and the supposed authority of god) to stand up and voice that these acts were horribly wrong and went against everything that is humane. Jason is a follower, a puppet of his fucking, retarded, Christadelphian, cult, blinded by delusions and ignorance.

Darren asked, So is there anything that is universally repugnant to you? We know burning is sometimes OK for you, and slavery. How about rape? Torture? Fixing NBA basketball games?

Asshole Jason, not answering said, Non sequitur. My point was that if execution by burning wasn't an established universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, it cannot be said it was wrong. This is basic logic. I don’t see how you could disagree with this. If it’s not wrong, it’s not wrong. What don’t you agree with?

Once again, Jason is playing with big words that he has no idea how to use. Here's an example of a non sequitur, you might understand:
Jason is an asshole, Canadian. Therefore everyone from Canada is an asshole.

Darren's questions is valid and completely relevant to the discussion, but you can't honestly answer it, because it blows your position out of the water. You are a pussy-ass, cowardly, motherfucker, who, if it was left in your lap, how the path of humanity was to be traveled, we would still be eating our food laced with feces, beating our slaves and burning witches, all the while justifying it with -- because god says so.

--S.

Anon said...

I just saw how much this topic exploded since last time I looked.

Jason said "I've continually explained we're in no position to judge either way and that we can only comment on the rightness or wrongness of execution by burning based on the moral standards at time the law was given."

Okay, then for the sake of argument, let's not judge them for the moment. I'll put a series of questions for you or others to respond to, and I'll respond to your list and other points you made.

This is a site and blog about religious issues. So let's not judge the Israelites on what they did. Let's only consider God for now. As a believer, can you please tell us what God thinks of burning people to death, based on what he says and does in his holy book?This way, we will know what God thinks on the matter.

Jason said: Regarding the Aztecs, no one considers the Aztecs morally deprived

I think the Aztecs, when they sacrificed and tortured people, were both morally deprived and depraved. Their moral deprivation (lacking the necessary moral system) arguably excuses to some extent their depravity (perversion/immorality).

But it doesn't mean sacrificing and torturing people was right, it just means they didn't know any better. Maybe if God wasn't so busy telling the Israelites not to mix fabrics in clothing, he could have visited the Aztecs to tell them not to sacrifice people.

God didn't tell the Aztecs not to sacrifice people. Do you think God was okay with the Aztecs sacrificing people?

Jason said: 1. [...] Burning by execution hasn’t always wrong unless you can somehow show that a 'common human decency' existed at the time [...] I don’t think you can. Can you?

If you (or someone else) can provide a more precise definition of "common human decency", maybe this can be explored further.

In any case, I would think "common" human decency, by definition, would be what was "common" at the time. So maybe you've/we've been confusing morality and common decency all this time. It was wasn't considered indecent to burn someone alive in those days among the Israelites and other civilizations. The Bible seems to indicate that people (or at least the authors of the Bible) generally were okay with the horrors contained in it, as long as God give his okay on them.

Was God okay with the Israelites burning people?

Jason said: 2. I also don’t think you can even prove ‘common human decency’ has remained unchanged for the past 4000 years. Can you?

I may disagree with others here, but I don't think CHD has remained unchanged. Giving the person ahead of you in line a penny if they're a cent short would be a decent thing to do, but is it immoral not to? I think decency and morality aren't the same thing.

Do you have a source (the Bible, or elsewhere) showing us the difference between common human decency and morality? Does either stem from God?

Jason said: 3. If execution by burning wasn't an established universal moral wrong at the time the law was given to the Israelites, it cannot be said it was wrong. This is basic logic. [...] What don’t you agree with?

The word "establish" here is the problem, so I disagree with your premise. I checked, and you are the one who introduced it into the conversation. There was nothing I know of that was discovered "establishing" that burning people was wrong in ancient times.

Do you consider the old law as proof of God "establishing" the fact that burning people was moral back then?

Jason said: 4. Show me any legitimate 21st century source that calls ancient civilizations "morally challenged". Can you at least do this?

I would think most legitimate scholars wouldn't put a familiar expression like "morally challenged" into a serious academic journal, just as they wouldn't write in a scholarly review that believing the Earth is flat is "utterly ridiculous", even if it is.

So while a scholar may have said this somewhere, I'm not going to look for it. In our semi-casual discussion on here, I think morally challenged (which darren introduced) is an appropriate term, although maybe not politically correct. Vision exists even if a given individual or group of individuals lacks it (visually-challenged). Morality exists, even if a given individual or group lacks it (morally-challenged).

Did Jesus consider the old law morally challenged since he fulfilled and replaced it with the new law?

Jason said: 5. Where is there evidence that humanity, at any point in time, collectively decried the use of execution by burning?

I know of none. It's kind of like water boarding: the right not to be tortured is considered a human right under the UN Declaration of Human Rights, but it doesn't specifically mention burning or water boarding. It would be darn near impossible to list all forms of torture and killing.

In any case, your implicit argument here is that things are only wrong if they are collectively decried. I disagree with the premise.

Do you think that something is wrong only if there is a universal edict establishing that it is wrong? Would you consider the Ten Commandments or Jesus' new commandments universal edicts, even though there were not agreed upon by all nations then or now?

Jason said...

Anon,

Thanks for the responses but instead of beating a dead horse, here's the issue:

1. There’s no evidence society condemned execution by burning during the time of the Israelites
2. There’s no evidence that execution by burning was a universal wrong at the time of the Israelites

Considering these two points, it’s a logical, straightforward conclusion that execution by burning wasn’t immoral at the time of the Israelites. It’s as simple as that.

Dealing with one other issue, you said “In any case, your implicit argument here is that things are only wrong if they are collectively decried. I disagree with the premise.”

By disagreeing with this premise, you’re saying something can be considered wrong if only a few individuals say they are. In which case, something can also be considered right if only a few individuals say it is. Therefore, if the Israelites said execution by burning isn’t wrong, it isn’t wrong, and your argument fails.

Anon said...

Jason, Thank you for your reply. You are jumping the gun on your conclusion, however.

The premise is that things are only wrong if they are collectively decried is. Refusing this premise does not mean that I must accept that "something can be considered wrong if only a few individuals say they are".

Rejecting the premise in no way forces me into your proposed premise; it's not one or the other. I might think something is only wrong if it kills 10 people or more, or only if it occurs on February 11th, or only if it causes the Yankees to lose. I might think nothing is wrong no matter what God, Oprah, or anyone else says.

There are nearly infinite possibilities of what my premise might be after I reject yours. In reality, I believe that burning someone to death is wrong regardless of who does or doesn't say it's wrong, regardless of what time period it occurs. I do not believe something must be collectively decried for it to be wrong. Your examples about trade with China indicate you believe trading with them is wrong due to their human rights record. The US and most countries have normal trade relations with China, and there is mostly silence on their abuses. But you and I still believe it's wrong. Are we mistaken?

By the way you said "if the Israelites said execution by burning isn’t wrong, it isn’t wrong". God is the one who said burning was okay (Leviticus 20:14). So do you mean "If God said execution by burning isn't wrong, it isn't wrong"?

Finally, you repeatedly chastised people for not replying to your questions. I've replied to yours, and you and others are welcome of course to point out other possible problems you see in my answers.

You haven't answered mine yet. You mention "beating a dead horse", but I think the majority of my questions haven't been addressed elsewhere yet. They're in bold, so I won't repeat them here. I would appreciate it if you (and/or other Christians) could reply to these.

Hugo said...

I think a question jason has to answer for himself is:
Have humans changed so much that burning did not hurt during his god's time and it fucking hurts now?

Jason said...

Anon,

Considering the topic, the problem you have to yet address is if something can be wrong even if the action or behaviour is not collectively condemned by humanity, then anyone is just as justified to say it's not wrong. My opinion must be just as acceptable as yours since there is no universal means to judge which one of us is correct.

In other words, if something can be wrong even if humanity doesn't collectively say it's wrong, then what are you using as the basis for judgment?

So do you mean "If God said execution by burning isn't wrong, it isn't wrong"?

Sure. God, the Israelites, the Babylonians, the Aztecs. Whoever. If they said it wasn't wrong. it wasn't wrong. You must accept this as a valid argument considering the absence of a universal edict stating such behaviour was wrong.

Answers to your questions:

1. As a believer, can you please tell us what God thinks of burning people to death, based on what he says and does in his holy book?

Believers aren't not told what God thinks about burning people to death.

2. God didn't tell the Aztecs not to sacrifice people. Do you think God was okay with the Aztecs sacrificing people?

I think God was quite unconcerned with the actions of the Aztecs. His chosen people were the Israelites.

3. Was God okay with the Israelites burning people?

God expected the Israelites following His commandments, whether that meant stoning or burning someone to death for breaking the law.

4. Do you have a source (the Bible, or elsewhere) showing us the difference between common human decency and morality? Does either stem from God?

a) No b) Who's sense of human decency and morality are we talking about?

5. Do you consider the old law as proof of God "establishing" the fact that burning people was moral back then?

No, and there's no reason to.

6. Did Jesus consider the old law morally challenged since he fulfilled and replaced it with the new law?

No.

7. Do you think that something is wrong only if there is a universal edict establishing that it is wrong? Would you consider the Ten Commandments or Jesus' new commandments universal edicts, even though there were not agreed upon by all nations then or now?

Something can be considered wrong if just one person says it is. Something can also be considered right if just one person says it is. The point is, how can anyone objectively judge history if it's based on (subjective) opinion? You can't - and thus, the argument that execution by burning is immoral isn't based on anything more then conjecture.

A few more relevant points:

"If we are to pass moral judgment upon the founding fathers, our judgment must follow the basic conditions of moral evaluation. This means that we must "take the moral point of view," which entails, in part, that we must (a) utilize principles that are general, and (b) regard ourselves as spectators, rather than directly interested individuals... From the moral point of view, denotatively particular persons have no preference. Our forebearers could not foresee us, and even if they could have, they shouldn't have. Moral rules apply to persons only if these persons have general qualities, or relations, to which these rules have application." (reference)

Presentism is a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas and perspectives are anachronistically introduced into depictions or interpretations of the past. Most modern historians seek to avoid presentism in their work because they believe it creates a distorted understanding of their subject matter. (wiki)

"Presentism, at its worst, encourages a kind of moral complacency and self-congratulation. Interpreting the past in terms of present concerns usually leads us to find ourselves morally superior; the Greeks had slavery, even David Hume was a racist, and European women endorsed imperial ventures. Our forbears constantly fail to measure up to our present-day standards. This is not to say that any of these findings are irrelevant or that we should endorse an entirely relativist point of view. It is to say that we must question the stance of temporal superiority that is implicit in the Western (and now probably worldwide) historical discipline. In some ways, now that we have become very sensitive about Western interpretations of the non-Western past, this temporal feeling of superiority applies more to the Western past than it does to the non-Western one. We more easily accept the existence and tolerate the moral ambiguities of eunuchs and harems, for example, than of witches. Because they found a place in a non-Western society, eunuchs and harems seem strange to us but they do not reflect badly on our own past. Witches, in contrast, seem to
challenge the very basis of modern historical understanding and have therefore provoked immense controversy as well as many fine historical studies." (reference)

Chronological snobbery is a logical fallacy coined between friends C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield describing the erroneous argument that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present. (wiki)

Anon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anon said...

Jason said: Considering the topic, the problem you have to yet address is if something can be wrong even if the action or behaviour is not collectively condemned by humanity, then anyone is just as justified to say it's not wrong.

I agree that this is a problem, to which I don't currently have a solution. Everyone can't just declare that he or she alone knows what is moral or not.

But you don't have a solution for your point of view, either. There is no "collectively" accepted definition of what "collectively condemned" would even mean.

If defining something as morally wrong means a majority of people would need to condemn something, do you propose we poll 6 billion people (or however many there are at a given time) to get their view on whether or not something is wrong, and anything over 50% is declared immoral?

If you mean just a majority of national governments, do we count ones such as North Korea where the government clearly doesn't represent the will of its people?

Do you think each nation must hold a referendum to determine what is or isn't moral in its country? Can morality change back and forth from year to year? Please explain what you mean by "collectively condemned" and how you propose this would be determined.

I think morality can't be put up to a popular vote. I've read in various places that if you had held a referendum on school integration and other issues related to racial equality in the US south in the 1950s or 1960s, there's a good possibility the majority would have been fine with continuing to withhold civil rights from African Americans. Does this mean it was immoral in the South to integrate schools since it wasn't collectively agreed upon?

No, of course not. Fortunately, the politicians in Washington DC were (for once) more enlightened about the right thing to do, and African Americans were soon allowed to go to the same schools, drink in the same water fountains, etc.

I don't know how to officially determine what is wrong or what is right, but it's certainly not by what most people collectively think. You think morality itself evolves over the ages; I think our understanding of morality changes, but acts remain right or wrong regardless of what percentage of people do or don't agree with them at a given time.

I'll try to briefly address your other points in another post.

Anon said...

Jason said: Believers aren't not [sic] told what God thinks about burning people to death.

We are told God burns people to death. We are told he commands people to burn others to death given a certain crime. Doesn't this show that God thinks burning to death is acceptable in some circumstances? Or did he only used to think it was acceptable, and he's changed his mind?

I think God was quite unconcerned with the actions of the Aztecs. His chosen people were the Israelites.

God's changed his mind about who his chosen people were. After Jesus came, we are all his chosen people, aren't we? (John 3:16 comes readily to mind). The height of the Aztec empire was well after Jesus' first coming. (Wikipedia) Why would God not care about the Aztecs, then?

God expected the Israelites following His commandments, whether that meant stoning or burning someone to death for breaking the law.

So in other words, yes he was okay with the Israelites burning people.

Who's sense of human decency and morality are we talking about?

Humanity's sense of human decency and morality. Don't these come from our creator? If not, where does morality and/or decency come from?

No, and there's no reason to [consider the old law as proof of God "establishing" that burning people was moral back then]

So if the old law didn't establish that burning people was okay, was it God's actions (i.e. burning people himself) that established this?

You also indicated that Jesus did not consider the old law morally challenged. The morality in the two appears strikingly different (love thy neighbor as thyself vs. burn thy neighbor if he didst something wrong). Do God the son and God the father have different moral codes (good cop, bad cop)?

You cited noted Christian authors C.S. Lewis and Owen Barfield as believing it to be erroneous to hold that "the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present."

I never said thinking, art, science, or morality for that matter of an earlier time was "inherently" inferior. I take each individual case and judge it on its merits. Ancient Egyptian architecture was unmatched in some areas of architecture. We couldn't build a Great Pyramid nowadays if we wanted to. Leviticus 19:35 says that others should be treated fairly, which is a very moral stance to take. I take issue with burning people to death, however. It's not wrong just because it's old or different. It's wrong because it's cruel.

You included talk of presentism in your post as well. I agree historians should not take a stance on morality. They are like reporters: they are there to tell the facts. It is up to us as individuals and as a society to consider the mistakes of our ancestors and learn from them. Otherwise, we would never learn; we might still be burning witches in Salem to this day.

Jason said...

Everyone can't just declare that he or she alone knows what is moral or not.

Precisely.

There is no "collectively" accepted definition of what "collectively condemned" would even mean.

Thus, my argument. We cannot judge the actions of our ancestors based on the morals of today. We can only pass judgment by considering and based on the morals of the time and place in which the action took place.

Please explain what you mean by "collectively condemned" and how you propose this would be determined.

I mean the vast majority of mankind agreeing on what is right and what is wrong. To me, this is the only way to prove a universal wrong (or right), something both Darren and Hugo claim execution by burning is. As for how this would be determined, I wanted to know this as well which is why I was asking for evidence supporting their claims of a universal wrong. By way of reference: Moral absolutistism

...but acts remain right or wrong regardless of what percentage of people do or don't agree with them at a given time.

Untrue. It wasn't 'wrong' to clear cut a forest 3000 years ago. It wasn't 'wrong' to kill a dodo bird 50,000 years ago. It wasn't 'wrong' to draw and quarter criminals 400 years ago. It wasn't 'wrong' to smoke on an airplane 50 years ago. And the list goes on ad infinitum.

Which acts are you specifically talking about and how do you know they're always wrong or always right (apparently irrespective of how many people actually agree with you)?

Exactly who decided, and when, which acts would always be considered immoral or moral? As you said "Everyone can't just declare that he or she alone knows what is moral or not".

Jason said...

We are told God burns people to death. We are told he commands people to burn others to death given a certain crime. Doesn't this show that God thinks burning to death is acceptable in some circumstances? Or did he only used to think it was acceptable, and he's changed his mind?

He didn't change His mind - He established an old law that would ultimately give way to a new law. Hebrews 10:1 "The old system in the law of Moses was only a shadow of the things to come..."

God's changed his mind about who his chosen people were.

The Jews have always, and will always, be God's chosen people.

After Jesus came, we are all his chosen people, aren't we? (John 3:16 comes readily to mind).

It's off topic but this verse doesn't talk about God changing his mind about who His chosen people are.

The height of the Aztec empire was well after Jesus' first coming. (Wikipedia) Why would God not care about the Aztecs, then?

Perhaps you should get to the root of your Aztec argument because I'm not sure where you're coming from...

So in other words, yes he was okay with the Israelites burning people.

In terms of following a commandment regarding a man sleeping with his mother-in-law, yes.

Humanity's sense of human decency and morality. Don't these come from our creator? If not, where does morality and/or decency come from?

You asked me if "[common human decency and morality] stem from God. I'm asking you to define "humanity's sense of human decency and morality". Is it anything that anyone says is right or wrong or is it something more?

So if the old law didn't establish that burning people was okay, was it God's actions (i.e. burning people himself) that established this?

Who knows?

You also indicated that Jesus did not consider the old law morally challenged. The morality in the two appears strikingly different (love thy neighbor as thyself vs. burn thy neighbor if he didst something wrong). Do God the son and God the father have different moral codes (good cop, bad cop)?

Nope. But society did, in the same way we have a different moral code then 100 years ago.

I take issue with burning people to death, however. It's not wrong just because it's old or different. It's wrong because it's cruel.

It was a cruel world 100, 500, 4000, 5000, 10000 years ago. Take your pick. This doesn't make anything inherently wrong. It just makes the time and place vastly different then ours today.

You included talk of presentism in your post as well. I agree historians should not take a stance on morality. They are like reporters: they are there to tell the facts. It is up to us as individuals and as a society to consider the mistakes of our ancestors and learn from them. Otherwise, we would never learn; we might still be burning witches in Salem to this day.

That's fine but the point still remains: historians don't take a stance on morality because they're there to tell the facts and the fact is, execution by burning wasn't wrong 4000 years ago.

Anon said...

I only have a few seconds to reply, but a couple of thoughts:

Jason said: It's off topic but this verse [John 3:16] doesn't talk about God changing his mind about who His chosen people are.

Please tell me where in this verse it says that he's only saving his "chosen" people: the Israelites/the Jews. It says he's saving the whole world, and that whoever believes in him (no specification on race, time period, or geographic location) will live forever.

Jesus (allegedly) came to give salvation to the whole world, not a specific people or race. Do you disagree with this? When people say God bless America, does God turn a deaf ear (unless the person speaking is of Jewish stock)? Does God not care about any civilization that's existed except the Israelites and their descendants?

You also say that God the father and Jesus didn't have different moral codes, but society did, in the same way we have a different moral code then 100 years ago.

So God and Jesus were only preaching to the choir, so to speak? The Israelites think it's okay to burn people, so God told them to burn people (and did so himself). Jesus' contemporaries had (mostly) outgrown that sort of thing, so to play to a different audience Jesus didn't go around burning people or telling others to do so?

hugo said: I think a question jason has to answer for himself is:
Have humans changed so much that burning did not hurt during his god's time and it fucking hurts now?


I think Jason was saying it was perfectly fine to hurt or kill whoever you wanted to back then, as long as no one cared and there was no general consensus against it. Is this correct?

sconnor said...

Jason, obsessively maintains, That's fine but the point still remains: historians don't take a stance on morality because they're there to tell the facts and the fact is, execution by burning wasn't wrong 4000 years ago.

It was wrong for the Jains. The most fundamental value of Jainism is nonviolence, or ahimsa. Ahimsa means harming no living being as well as protecting all living beings from harm.

If only your demented, psycho-fuck, "almighty", sky-papa could have had the empathetic, propensity, for such a radical view on morality, then perhaps, causing people to suffer, in such sick and vile ways, could have been averted, for all these thousands of years.

But true to form, Jason, insanely, bangs that square peg into the round hole, to justify and condone the sadistic, actions of superstitious, barbarians -- disguised as his imaginary, moral-giving, supreme being.

--S.

Jason said...

Anon,

I didn't say God is only saving His chosen people. What I'm saying is God hasn't changed His mind about who His chosen people are. "God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew..." Romans 11:2.

I also didn't say it was perfectly fine to hurt or kill whoever you wanted back then. What I'm saying is that the laws regarding execution by burning weren't considered immoral at the time they were given.

Hugo said...

Jason said:
Humanity collectively condemned the Nazi's for their actions. If nothing else, this should be a clear indication regarding the immorality of what they did.

Explain that.
(keep in mind that in 1930 antisemitism, protectionism and nationalism was an accepted part of life not only in Germany, the Nazi party had much support in the US and UK, and was allied with Italy and Japan and after the war and even now there are sympathizers, how do you define that "collective" 50%,60%...)

Jason said...

Are you serious? We're talking about a condemnation of the systematic extermination of millions of Jews, Poles, POWs, Communists, homosexuals, gypsies and political dissidents through forced labour, mass shootings, gas chambers and torture.

If you want to argue mankind didn't condemn the Nazis for their actions, do so elsewhere. I'm not interested.

Hugo said...

Are you serious? We're talking about a condemnation of the systematic:
- sacrificing of virgins [Aztecs]
- decapitating of people for petty offences [Aztecs,Spanish inquisition]
- burning people [Aztecs,Israelites,God,Spanish inquisition]
- Horrific torture of anyone who didn't agree with /our/ dogma or who looked funny [all of the above]

If you want to argue mankind didn't condemn [the Aztecs,God,the Spanish inquisition,the Israelites...] for their actions, do so elsewhere. I'm not interested.

Jason said...

Hugo,

I've asked you over and over again to prove that execution by burning was condemned by humanity at the time the law was given and you've consistently been unwilling or unable to do so so until you can offer some shred of evidence that supports your claim, we have nothing to talk about.

Darren Delgado said...

Jason said...

I've asked you over and over again to prove that execution by burning was condemned by humanity at the time the law was given and you've consistently been unwilling or unable to do so

It doesn't matter if it was condemned by humanity. It was (supposedly) approved by God. That trumps what humans thought. When God tells you to do something, if you're a primitive middle eastern peasant living 7 millennia ago, you do it. You don't question its morality. So God (or whoever wrote the bible) legitimized these awful abuses.

Either:
(1) they were hoodwinked into accepting immoral behavior by their religious leaders (nonbeliever's stance), or
(2) God really approves of and promotes immoral behavior like burning people alive (believer's stance).

The idea that the God of the Bible takes his cues from what is morally acceptable by humans at the time is absurd from both sides of the argument.

Hugo said...

I've said it before I feel uneasy talking to someone who allows his mind to consider burning people to be the right thing to do in certain circumstances plus I'll take your queue:
"If you want to argue mankind didn't condemn [the Aztecs,God,the Spanish inquisition,the Israelites...] for their actions, do so elsewhere. I'm not interested."

Jason said...

Darren,

It absolutely matters if it was condemned by humanity. How else can you possibly prove execution by burning was immoral at the time? I'm also not sure why you're implying this form of punishment was only endorsed by the Israelite God. The Egyptians did it (sans God), the Assyrians did it (sans God), the Romans did it (sans God), the British did it (sans God), the North American Indians did it (sans God), and the list goes on and on. Execution by burning was a perfectly legitimate form of capital punishment up until only a few centuries ago. We may not like it in the 21st century but according to the standards of the day, it wasn't an immoral form of punishment. You can argue the point all you want, it's not going to change the moral standards of our ancestors.

The idea that the God of the Bible takes his cues from what is morally acceptable by humans at the time is absurd from both sides of the argument.

Great. Then please explain why, in your infinite wisdom, you think it would have been better for God to have enacted laws that were deemed immoral by the people of the time.

Anon said...

Jason said:I didn't say God is only saving His chosen people. What I'm saying is God hasn't changed His mind about who His chosen people are.

This may be your opinion, but it is not universally accepted (with Matthew 21:43 as support). But in any case, if the Jews are supposedly still his chosen people, then he has a strange way of showing it. God saves anyone who believes in Jesus, even though the majority of his chosen people don't believe in Jesus. So most of his chosen people either die eternally or burn in hell, depending on your interpretation of the Scriptures. Maybe if he "softened" the hearts of his so-called chosen people, they would believe and be chosen to live forever in heaven...

Jason said:I also didn't say it was perfectly fine to hurt or kill whoever you wanted back then.

Not in those words, but that is the logical conclusion of your argument. For something to be morally wrong, it must be "collectively condemned" by one's contemporaries. If you killed someone in a way that wasn't collectively condemned, then in your worldview it's perfectly moral to do so, based on your comments here at least. Could this not also be stated as "kill and torture people however you want, as long as society doesn't object"?

Darren said: So God (or whoever wrote the bible) legitimized these awful abuses.

Exactly. That's what Jason doesn't seem to understand. God telling the Israelites it's okay to burn people gives it God's stamp of approval. Jason's God is completely ambivalent apparently and just says and does whatever is already de rigueur regarding morality.

God isn't a moral guide, he's a slave to humanity's morality. Sounds suspiciously like an atheistic stance to me: we humans create God's morality.

Sconnor brought up a very good point that I think you will find hard to refute, Jason. Jainism has been around since at least the 9th century BC. sconnor said burning someone to death "was wrong for the Jains. The most fundamental value of Jainism is nonviolence, or ahimsa. Ahimsa means harming no living being as well as protecting all living beings from harm."

I've heard of Jainism before, but didn't know much about it. Jainism may not be as popular as the big three (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) today, but its influence was "pervasive" in the East, predating Buddhism and greatly influencing Hinduism, according to Wikipedia, among others.

You say the Nazis were wrong because other cultures condemned what they did (it wasn't condemned as collective as it should have been, as others have pointed out, but that's another matter). Other cultures thought killing the Jews was wrong, so it was wrong, regardless of what the Nazis thought.

Let's suppose hypothetically that Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism had more adherents than Judaism did in 9 BC. If these other religions believed burning people at the stake was morally wrong, during the same time period that the Israelites thought it was okay to do, wouldn't this indicate that the Israelites were morally wrong to do so? If not, please explain why.

Jason said...

Anon,

You're only going over the same ground again and I'm not interested in discussing hypothetical situations when real evidence has been sadly lacking. The reality of the situation is not one shred of evidence has been provided to support the claim that execution by burning was considered immoral 4000 years ago. If it wasn't a universal, or even cultural wrong, it's logically impossible to objectively judge the actions of our ancestors since the judgment has already been passed in the fact it wasn't considered wrong. Simple as that. Moral standards can only be measured against the moral standards that exist at the time. You can argue and vent and criticize all you want - it won't change a thing. What was moral 10,000 years ago was moral 10,000 years ago. What was moral 4000 years ago was moral 4000 years ago. What is moral today is moral today. No amount of hindsight or 21st century 'wisdom' can change the experiences or moral understanding of our ancestors. Period.

"That is to say if you maintain that there are universal truths and that many people do not live by them then you lose all ability to say what those truths are because any attempt to define them will be based upon your prejudiced conception that you are of course right... You are inevitably compelled to answer either that there are no universal truths or that even if there are they might as well not be since we’ll never know what they are. Or of course you can ignore the logic and steadfastly refuse to give up your perceptions of your own superiority (in this cases “you” refers to a hypothetical moralist)." (reference)

Until someone here can intelligently and logically prove, supported by evidence, that execution by burning is a moral absolute, nothing more needs to be said.

sconnor said...

Jason, was it moral, 4,000+ years ago to practice human and child sacrifice?

4,000+ years ago, the Edomites, Ammonites, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Levants, Moabites, Egyptians, Pagan Arabians, in fact, all of the Middle East, except the Israelites, committed human and child sacrifice. The rest of the world, Neolithic Europe, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Germanic Pagans, Ancient China, India, and Pre-Colombian Civilizations, committed human sacrifice 4,000+ years ago.

Was it moral?

--S.

Anon said...

Jason, we are having an intelligent discussion, or at least the parts you are willing to discuss.

Jason said:Until someone here can intelligently and logically prove, supported by evidence, that execution by burning is a moral absolute, nothing more needs to be said.

Can you "intelligently and logically prove, supported by evidence," that God exists? No, you can't. Can I prove he doesn't exist? No I can't. We can still discuss the possibilities and try to learn something about our world and our ideas from the discussion.

You ignore my hypothetical, even though you yourself talk in hypotheticals to further your point. (e.g. earlier in the thread, you said So, in 100 years from now, if lethal injection is abolished in favour of another, more humane means to kill, does this mean Steve was "immoral" for supporting the use of lethal injection?) You pose hypotheticals, but say you won't reply to them? This is what politicians on both sides of the aisle have been doing of late, and it only serves to close minds and discussions instead of opening them.

You quoted the GNN blog as stating "if you maintain that there are universal truths and that many people do not live by them then you lose all ability to say what those truths are because any attempt to define them will be based upon your prejudiced conception that you are of course right... "

This is incorrect on several fronts. I don't think anyone claims that all people share universal truths about morality. There have always been, and always will be, people who do not accept the morality of others, or who actively work against this morality for their own benefit. If a mass murderer says he doesn't recognize killing people as morally wrong, do we accept his view on morality and let him free? One person objecting to something being moral does not shatter the concept of morality.

The blog continues: You are inevitably compelled to answer either that there are no universal truths or that even if there are they might as well not be since we’ll never know what they are.

I agree that we may never know for sure what they are. That doesn't mean there aren't moral absolutes just because we'll never be 100% sure. We need to act as best as we can given the knowledge and experiences accumulated over the years. That's why, in my opinion, we are better at understanding morality than we used to be.

Since you pose hypotheticals, I will repost mine in hopes you will answer.

If these other religions believed burning people at the stake was morally wrong, during the same time period that the Israelites thought it was okay to do, wouldn't this indicate that the Israelites were morally wrong to do so? If not, please explain why.

Also, I would like to know what you think of Darren's point: Does God saying Israelites can burn people legitimize (and arguably prolongs) the practice?

If you won't answer my hypothetical, will you answer Sconnor's non-hypothetical about human and child sacrifice? To be more specific (since there's plenty of killing going on in the Bible), there was no ritualistic human sacrifice, by which Israelites systematically killed people as part of a religious ceremony. Was it wrong to ritualistically sacrifice humans in the ancient world, even though it appears that many if not most civilizations did so?

Thank you in advance for your replies.

Jason said...

Anon,

We're dealing with inarguable historical fact, not idle hypothesizing or random possibilities.

As I previously stated, no evidence has been provided to support the claim that execution by burning was considered immoral 4000 years ago. If it wasn't a universal, or even cultural wrong, it's logically impossible to objectively judge the actions of our ancestors since the judgment has already been passed in the fact it wasn't considered wrong.

Moral standards can only be measured against the moral standards that exist at the time. What was moral 10,000 years ago was moral 10,000 years ago. What was moral 4000 years ago was moral 4000 years ago. What is moral today is moral today. No amount of hindsight or 21st century 'wisdom' can change the experiences or moral understanding of our ancestors.

For example, a little more than 100 years ago, it was considered immoral for a woman to show her ankles in public. Yet today women skip about in costumes that leave little to the imagination. Does that make them immoral or morally inferior? Certainly not. It simply means that the times have changed and people have become more comfortable with the human body. Yet, if there were some set of 'universal' morals established a century ago, the women of today would justifiably be labeled immoral tramps. The point is, times change. So do attitudes about what is and isn't acceptable.

As for your questions:

If these other religions believed burning people at the stake was morally wrong, during the same time period that the Israelites thought it was okay to do, wouldn't this indicate that the Israelites were morally wrong to do so? It's not an issue of religion, it's a matter of social justice and the answer to your question is most likely, yes.

Also, I would like to know what you think of Darren's point: Does God saying Israelites can burn people legitimize (and arguably prolongs) the practice? As soon as Darren chooses to answer my questions, I shall happily answer his.

Was it wrong to ritualistically sacrifice humans in the ancient world, even though it appears that many if not most civilizations did so? Wrong from who's point of view? Ours? The Ancient Egyptians? The morals of the universe?

Anon said...

Jason, I could act outraged at your comparing killing someone by burning them to the choice of women's clothes, but I won't because I know you weren't implying that they are the same level of severity.

Your analogy about women's clothing is interesting. I don't think everything is morally wrong or morally right. I don't think clothing length is a moral issue (although I'm sure some would disagree). This is an issue that evolves as time goes by, and I don't think there is a right or wrong: just what people think. I guess it would fall under decency or propriety rather than morality, just like burping after a meal is expected in some Asian cultures but frowned on in the West. It's not right or wrong, it's just custom.

If you purposely wear an offensive shirt for the sole reason of offending or upsetting other people, that's probably wrong. If there's a reason behind it (political protest, etc.) it would depend on the circumstance I suppose. But there's nothing inherently wrong with what type of clothes one wears, whereas there is something inherently wrong with burning someone to death, in my opinion.

Thank you for answering my question about the morality of burning if other religions were against it; it was a very honest answer. I would like to know though why you divorce morality from religion.

Many if not most Christians believe that morality comes from God and/or the Bible. Atheists and agnostics are often criticized and told they "can't" be moral people if they don't believe in God, but you seem to separate the two. I agree with this separation, but it seems like an interesting stance for a believer to take.

About ritualistically sacrificing humans: I mean wrong in the same way that burning people was or wasn't moral (at the time of the Israelites, or regardless of the time period, whichever you prefer to address).

Jason said...

Your analogy about women's clothing is interesting. I don't think everything is morally wrong or morally right. I don't think clothing length is a moral issue (although I'm sure some would disagree). This is an issue that evolves as time goes by, and I don't think there is a right or wrong: just what people think. I guess it would fall under decency or propriety rather than morality, just like burping after a meal is expected in some Asian cultures but frowned on in the West. It's not right or wrong, it's just custom.

You not thinking clothing length is a moral issue today is ignoring the point. My point was that times have changed as have attitudes about what is and isn't acceptable. 4000 years ago, people thought it was right to execute a criminal by burning them. We think it's wrong today. Thus we have a change in thought. Neither one is any more right or wrong, it's just different.

If you purposely wear an offensive shirt for the sole reason of offending or upsetting other people, that's probably wrong. If there's a reason behind it (political protest, etc.) it would depend on the circumstance I suppose. But there's nothing inherently wrong with what type of clothes one wears, whereas there is something inherently wrong with burning someone to death, in my opinion.

You’re again speaking from a 21st century point of view – your opinion on the matter, while interesting, isn’t relevant to a conversation revolving around the morals of a completely different time period. We’re talking about what was considered acceptable back then based on the standards of the day.

Thank you for answering my question about the morality of burning if other religions were against it; it was a very honest answer. I would like to know though why you divorce morality from religion.

Because as stated before, this isn’t about religion. This is about a lawful, socially accepted form of capital punishment that was used for thousands of years by dozens and dozens of varied civilizations.

Many if not most Christians believe that morality comes from God and/or the Bible. Atheists and agnostics are often criticized and told they "can't" be moral people if they don't believe in God, but you seem to separate the two. I agree with this separation, but it seems like an interesting stance for a believer to take.

The topic isn’t about examining the source of morals. The topic is about examining an action that was considered moral by our ancestors and someone explaining how it’s possible and reasonable to judge their actions from a 21st century point of view.

About ritualistically sacrificing humans: I mean wrong in the same way that burning people was or wasn't moral (at the time of the Israelites, or regardless of the time period, whichever you prefer to address).

If you asked an Ancient Egyptian if they thought ritualistically sacrificing someone was wrong, what do you suppose they would say?

sconnor said...

Isn't it completely obvious that Jason is a fucking idiot and he can't honestly answer the questions. He knows he is fucked and now he has to answer questions with questions and diverge, like a two-bit suck-wad magician, in a bad tuxedo, to protect his, oh, so, precious religious philosophies -- albeit, delusional, strained and ignorant religious philosophies.

--S.

Hugo said...


If you asked an Ancient Egyptian if they thought ritualistically sacrificing someone was wrong, what do you suppose they would say?


Lets see, if you ask the one about to be sacrificed I think quite a few would say it was wrong (if you have definite statistics on how many found it right and how many found it wrong please provide the evidence)
If you ask the man in the street (alley) quite a few probably know people or had relatives being sacrificed and might say that it was wrong (if you have definite statistics on how many found it right and how many found it wrong please provide the evidence)
If you ask the executioners some might enjoy some might not like it but they are not in a position to question the morality what they're doing because then they end up on the block. (if you have definite statistics on how many found it right and how many found it wrong please provide the evidence)
If you ask the priests and rulers, some might really think it is completely the right thing to do and some might see some wrongness in it but weighted against the consequence of Ra's punishment they order and supervise the sacrifices anyway (if you have definite statistics on how many found it right and how many found it wrong please provide the evidence)
So what was your point again? Why does our society not burn people anymore, if the morals of a society are lawful and socially accepted how can they change?

sconner you're right off-course but it isn't moral to say it :-)
Plus jason's beliefs are so weird, it's mesmerizing to read his replies like watching a youtube video of a monkey eating his own shit, it's wrong but you can't look away ;-)

Darren Delgado said...

hugo wrote:

If you ask the priests and rulers, some might really think it is completely the right thing to do and some might see some wrongness in it but weighted against the consequence of Ra's punishment they order and supervise the sacrifices anyway (if you have definite statistics on how many found it right and how many found it wrong please provide the evidence)

Throughout this whole discussion, I find it amazing that the old-time widespread belief in gruesome punishment is being offered up as some kinda moral validation.

It was not moral, it was COMPLIANCE THROUGH FEAR. People believed in the bible, and they believed that if they didn't comply they would burn themselves, forever, in hell. Or be turned into salt. Or some other nonsense.

Hugo said...

Yes, and we (well the enlightened ones amongst us anyway) can see that those beliefs were fantasy.
So the action was done on false beliefs no matter how devout those beliefs may have been that their gods punishments were forthcoming it does not matter for the rightness of an action, the Nazi's very much believed in what they were doing as well.

Jason said...

Hugo,

Why does our society not burn people anymore, if the morals of a society are lawful and socially accepted how can they change?

There's a really interesting phenomena called 'social change'. Perhaps you've heard of it...? Take some time to read this:

"...neither traditional moral norms nor traditional philosophical ethics were up to the task of coping with the problems raised by these dramatic transformations. Traditional morality was adapted to conditions that no longer existed...As social conditions change — for example, the technology and tactics of warfare, and our ability to affect the interests of distant others — rules of conduct that had been accepted in the past must be subject to revision, lest learning cease and people remain mired in dysfunctional habits. A method of moral inquiry is needed that can revise given rules, laws, and habits in light of new problems and circumstances. This method would take current and past customs and laws as data for moral theory, in conjunction with the history and anthropology of custom, the history of systematic theoretical reflection on morality, and the social sciences, which inform us of the probable consequences of attempting to institute this or that new law or custom. Intelligent moral inquiry, while it begins with current customs and convictions about the right, treats them as hypotheses to be tested in experience." (reference)

**Note the complete lack of judgment on past moral standards**

As for my beliefs being "weird", you seem to be missing the point that we both agree - execution by burning is wrong today. The difference between us (and the one everyone seems to be getting upset about) is that I believe it's impossible to judge the actions of our ancestors based on 21st century morals. This isn't a unique thought - it's shared by historians, philosophers and every day people the world around. Unless you can show that the moral standards of the time defined the specific action as immoral, your argument holds no water.

And I know how much everyone likes to talk about themselves here but get with it already. The rightness or wrongness of actions 4000 or 10,000 years ago don't somehow hinge on what individuals consider right or wrong today. This isn't about you. This is about history. Execution by burning was a perfectly legitimate form of capital punishment up until only a few centuries ago. This is historical fact. We may not like it in the 21st century but according to the standards of the day, it wasn't an immoral form of punishment. You can argue the point all you want but it doesn't change the moral standards of our ancestors.

sconnor said...

Wow, Jason Numbnuts, is quoting atheists now.

Naturalists and materialistic monists such as, John Dewey considered the natural world to be the basis of everything, denying the existence of God or immortality.

--S.

Anon said...

Jason said: You not thinking clothing length is a moral issue today is ignoring the point.

No it's not. My favorite color is blue. This is not a moral choice, so I don't judge someone morally if their favorite color is red. Everything is not a moral issue.

Jason said: this isn’t about religion.

I don't believe morality has to do with religion, but I assume you do. You don't think picking Christianity over Islam is like picking blue over red, do you? Please explain to me how, in your opinion, morality has nothing to do with Christianity, or Christianity has nothing to do with morality, and I will accept this assertion from you. Otherwise, it just means you're avoiding the question.

Jason said: The topic is about examining an action that was considered moral by our ancestors and someone explaining how it’s possible and reasonable to judge their actions from a 21st century point of view.

Were you old enough in 1930s and 1940 to condemn what the Nazis were doing then? If not, according to your standards, you can't say what they did is or isn't moral. You can say that the society of the time judged it to be immoral, but you can't claim that it is still immoral today. Am I correct? I say what the Nazis did was immoral, would have been immoral 1000 years ago, and will still be immoral 1000 years from now. In your limited idea of morality, only contemporaries can judge.

If you asked an Ancient Egyptian if they thought ritualistically sacrificing someone was wrong, what do you suppose they would say?

If you asked Adolf Hitler if he thought exterminating 6 million Jews and countless other Gypsies, handicapped, and other "undesirables", what would he say? According to your system, it's what one's contemporary humanity collectively believes, correct? In mine, it is regardless of how misguided an individual or society may be at the given time. So neither of us think asking an Aztec would determine whether human sacrifice was moral.

Hugo and Darren bring up some very good points: acceptance does not equal morality. Coercion, self-interest, ignorance, and many other factors might play into whether or not someone rises up against a law or a punishment. The fact that the punishment of burning people exists in the Bible doesn't indicate by any means that most people at the time thought it was moral. Unless you can prove that this was the case, your argument that it was moral back then cannot be sustained.

That execution by burning existed is a historical fact, I don't think there's any dispute on that point. But you can't prove that most people thought it was moral to do. I say it's inherently immoral, regardless of whether or not we ever find out if a majority of people supported it or not.

About Jason picking a Non-Christian source, I'm sure this was done intentionally. Just as all Christians do not believe the same thing, all non-believers don't believe the same thing. It is interesting to bring up, however. There are Christians and non-Christians who fall on different sides of the issue, apparently.

sconnor said...

Jason said, I believe, and logically so, that morality is based on what's deemed acceptable by the majority of mankind at the time.

Sconnor asked in a previous debate, Throughout history, in many civilizations and cultures, human sacrifices (babies, children, and adults) took place; do you find those morally repugnant or only the child part? Or can't you make a decision without using your fairytale, Bible, that has only an illusion of authority, you delusionally, deem viable ?

Jason answered, I consider them all to be morally repugnant.

Uh, oh, dumb-fuck, how can that be? You don't find burning someone to death morally repugnant 4,000 years ago, because of your convoluted reasoning, yet, somehow, you think, logically (I might add) that the majority of mankind who performed human sacrifices are morally unacceptable. It's quite dizzying, isn't it, Jason? Cuckoo, cuckoo!

I await your thoroughly confusing, convoluted, (trying to wallop the square peg into the round hole), rationalizations and non-answers, or better yet, stick your tail between your fuckin' legs and get the fuck out of dodge, you delusional, psycho-fuck.

--S.

Jason said...

No it's not. My favorite color is blue. This is not a moral choice, so I don't judge someone morally if their favorite color is red. Everything is not a moral issue.

I didn’t say everything is a moral issue. Please don’t misrepresent my comments. What I’m saying is that some things, such as clothing length, were once considered moral issues. My point, again, was that times have changed as have attitudes about what is and isn't acceptable. 4000 years ago, people thought it was right to execute a criminal by burning them. We think it's wrong today. Thus we have a change in thought. Neither one is any more right or wrong, it's just different.

I don't believe morality has to do with religion, but I assume you do. You don't think picking Christianity over Islam is like picking blue over red, do you? Please explain to me how, in your opinion, morality has nothing to do with Christianity, or Christianity has nothing to do with morality, and I will accept this assertion from you. Otherwise, it just means you're avoiding the question.

I didn’t say morality has nothing to do with Christianity. Again, a more careful reading of my posts would be appreciated. What I did say was that execution by burning is about a lawful, socially accepted form of capital punishment used for thousands of years by dozens and dozens of varied civilizations.

Were you old enough in 1930s and 1940 to condemn what the Nazis were doing then? If not, according to your standards, you can't say what they did is or isn't moral. You can say that the society of the time judged it to be immoral, but you can't claim that it is still immoral today. Am I correct?

I can claim it is still immoral today because if the same actions were carried out today, they would still be considered morally reprehensible.

I say what the Nazis did was immoral, would have been immoral 1000 years ago, and will still be immoral 1000 years from now. In your limited idea of morality, only contemporaries can judge.

Incorrect. What I’ve reiterated time and time again is that the morality of an action or behaviour can only be judged by considering the moral standards of the time. What’s moral today is moral today, what’s moral tomorrow is moral tomorrow, and what was moral yesterday was moral yesterday. This is a basic, unalterable, inarguable fact. If it was wrong to imprison criminals 500 years ago, it was wrong to imprison criminals 500 years ago. If it was acceptable to burning criminals 20,000 years ago, it was acceptable to burn criminals 20,000 years ago. If it’s immoral to own a dog in 2098AD, it’s immoral to own a dog in 2098AD. No amount of hindsight or foresight alters the moral standards of a time not our own. I see no logical reason for you to disagree with these facts.

If you asked Adolf Hitler if he thought exterminating 6 million Jews and countless other Gypsies, handicapped, and other "undesirables", what would he say? According to your system, it's what one's contemporary humanity collectively believes, correct?

Contemporary humanity didn’t condemn execution by burning up until only a few hundred years ago. Contemporary humanity condemned the actions of the Nazis.

In mine, it is regardless of how misguided an individual or society may be at the given time.

What is your system? How do you judge a misguided society if they didn’t have the knowledge to know they were misguided? In your system, who defines what is ‘guided’ or ‘misguided’?

The fact that the punishment of burning people exists in the Bible doesn't indicate by any means that most people at the time thought it was moral. Unless you can prove that this was the case, your argument that it was moral back then cannot be sustained.

I’ve already proven that many, many ‘world’ empires and ‘civilized’ nations incorporated execution by burning into their justice system and I have yet to find any evidence of a legitimate anti-execution by burning movement prior to the 18th century. This is more then enough evidence for me. I’ve seen nothing (and I literally mean nothing) from your camp that would give me cause to rethink my position.

That execution by burning existed is a historical fact, I don't think there's any dispute on that point. But you can't prove that most people thought it was moral to do. I say it's inherently immoral, regardless of whether or not we ever find out if a majority of people supported it or not.

And people who lived 4000 years ago would disagree. Since we’re talking about THEIR standard of morals, I will remind you again that voicing our 21st century opinion on the matter changes nothing.

Hugo said...

I'll just highlight this because it cuts to the heart of things:

Contemporary humanity didn’t condemn execution by burning up until only a few hundred years ago.
As been pointed out, you do not know that!
The fact that it happened and was supported and performed by the rulers and their guards does not mean that humanity was OK with it, and the fact that there is no evidence of anti movements does not mean that there were none (weird that I have to argue this to a believer), it could just mean that the rulers and practitioners of the time were good at quenching opposing voices.
However clearly at one point there were enough anti voices to get rid of the practice, if there had not been our rulers could still be using those practices.

Contemporary humanity condemned the actions of the Nazis.
And this is the major flaw in jason's logic, contemporary (certain members of) humanity condemned (to various degrees) the Nazis AFTER the facts, leading up to and during the war the Nazi party had LOTS of supporters, the Nazi invading force was welcomed into Austria (and several other countries), even after Poland's annexation the opposition was trying to "keep the peace" and they full well knew of the existence of antisemitism laws and Jewish persecution.

Jason said...

Hugo said: As been pointed out, you do not know that!

Based on historical records, I do. Since there's no evidence humanity didn’t condemn execution by burning up until only a few hundred years ago, I can logically and fairly make the claim humanity didn't condemn execution by burning until only a few hundred years ago. If you want to argue the point, I suggest you provide counter-evidence.

The fact that it happened and was supported and performed by the rulers and their guards does not mean that humanity was OK with it, and the fact that there is no evidence of anti movements does not mean that there were none (weird that I have to argue this to a believer), it could just mean that the rulers and practitioners of the time were good at quenching opposing voices.

And following the logic of your argument, it could just as easily not mean that. You have no proof to support your claim - your entire argument is based on conjecture.

However clearly at one point there were enough anti voices to get rid of the practice, if there had not been our rulers could still be using those practices.

I'm not arguing otherwise.

And this is the major flaw in jason's logic, contemporary (certain members of) humanity condemned (to various degrees) the Nazis AFTER the facts, leading up to and during the war the Nazi party had LOTS of supporters, the Nazi invading force was welcomed into Austria (and several other countries), even after Poland's annexation the opposition was trying to "keep the peace" and they full well knew of the existence of antisemitism laws and Jewish persecution.

For the last time, we're not talking about anti-Semitism or Jewish persecution. We're talking about the systematic destruction of Jews, Poles, Communists, homosexuals, etc.. Unless you're prepared to suggest humanity didn't condemn the Holocaust, drop this argument.

Hugo said...

You don't get it, it is your logic that would not allow us to condemn the Nazi's, I condemn them, the same way I condemn the Aztecs, the bible people, the French guillotine, the Chinese ...
If you were consistent you would also say that the Nazi's acted according to their society the same way the Aztecs did.
AGAIN

For the last time, we're not talking about burning a few really evil people.
We're talking about the systematic destruction of first born virgins, other tribes, Spaniards, homosexuals (meh, this was probably a sin with the Aztecs too), etc..

Jason said...

History shows humanity condemned the Nazi's for the Holocaust. History shows humanity didn't condemn anyone for executing criminals by burning them. I'm not sure what you're struggling with...? How you can justify condemning your ancestors for participating in immoral behaviour when the moral standards of their day didn't condemn them is beyond me.

We're talking about the systematic destruction of first born virgins, other tribes, Spaniards, homosexuals...etc..

No we're not. We're talking about an ancient form of capital punishment, specifically execution by burning for a specific crime.

Anon said...

Jason: I didn’t say everything is a moral issue. Please don’t misrepresent my comments. What I’m saying is that some things, such as clothing length, were once considered moral issues. My point, again, was that times have changed as have attitudes about what is and isn't acceptable.

I was not intentionally misrepresenting your comments, but I understand your point. It is included along with the old law in the Old Testament, and as I said some would disagree with my categorizing dress as outside the realm of morals. My point was that some things are amoral, rather than everything being moral or immoral.

Jason: 4000 years ago, people thought it was right to execute a criminal by burning them. We think it's wrong today. Thus we have a change in thought. Neither one is any more right or wrong, it's just different.

This doesn't allow for progress, and causes definitional problems as well. Slavery was considered moral in the 1800s in the US and much of the world. Then people (in the minority) started fighting against it. Wars were fought. Eventually, the tide turned and most people thought slavery was wrong.

In your viewpoint, slavery was apparently morally right until a humanity collectively decided it was wrong. Can you pinpoint when this occurred? Was it at the conclusion of the US Civil War? Was it when the French freed their slaves in 1848. At what point was it no longer moral to own slaves?

As Hugo said: You don't get it, it is your logic that would not allow us to condemn the Nazi's

It wasn't until after Hitler invaded Poland that much of the world suddenly got a conscience (publicly at least) and realized that Naziism had to be stopped. Even after then, many still supported the Nazis. Was Hitler's plan for the master race moral until some scattered people started to speak up against it in the early to mid 1930s? Until most of the world woke up in 1939? Until the US entered the war in 1941? Until Naziism was defeated in 1945?

Jason said: I didn’t say morality has nothing to do with Christianity. Again, a more careful reading of my posts would be appreciated.

I've been reading your posts very carefully. You refuse to say what the relationship is between religion and morality. After numerous attempts to find out your view on this, I am taking your lack of response, and your continual recourse to secular arguments about a Biblical issue (we agree that burning people is dictated by God and performed by him in the Bible, don't we?), as an indication that you believe morality and Christianity are unrelated. If you think morality and God are related despite your silence on the subject, please explain how.

Jason said: What is your system? How do you judge a misguided society if they didn’t have the knowledge to know they were misguided? In your system, who defines what is ‘guided’ or ‘misguided’?

Misguided in many cases by their politicians, their religious leaders (and so-called holy books), corporations, and other entities trying to get humans to act in ways contrary to the common good.

Most Americans thought invading Iraq was the right thing to do because they were (mis)guided into believing so. If most Israelites thought burning people to death was fine, how do we know it wasn't because they were (mis)guided into believing so by their religious leaders and the (supposed) word of God?

I believe some things are inherently moral, some things are inherently immoral, and some are neither. I think that since there is no deity to tell us what is right and wrong, humans gradually have come to a better understanding of morality on our own. Gender equality, racial equality, conservation of our planet; these are all moral issues. Humans, as they understand the relationships between each other and their environment, are becoming more moral.

Without a clear moral guide from on high, humanity's had to figure it out on its own. We make mistakes, and people go against morality sometimes, but we're gradually moving towards a more just world.

The reason you can't explain the relationship between morality and religion is because you know that you can't prove that most of our so-called "modern" morality has anything to do with what's in the Bible. Unlike what many if not most Christians believe, morality as we understand it today is hard to find in the Bible among all the amoral and immoral stories like execution by burning.

If what is recounted in the Bible about burning people and so many other issues can no longer be considered moral, but is instead immoral as we understand it today, then why should people pay it any heed whatsoever, unless they like reading stories or they are afraid of dying?

Jason said...

This doesn't allow for progress, and causes definitional problems as well. Slavery was considered moral in the 1800s in the US and much of the world. Then people (in the minority) started fighting against it. Wars were fought. Eventually, the tide turned and most people thought slavery was wrong.

What doesn’t allow for progress? 4000 years ago, people thought it was right to execute a criminal by burning them. Today we don’t. I’m not sure what you’re disagreeing with…?

In your viewpoint, slavery was apparently morally right until a humanity collectively decided it was wrong. Can you pinpoint when this occurred? Was it at the conclusion of the US Civil War? Was it when the French freed their slaves in 1848. At what point was it no longer moral to own slaves?

No idea.

You refuse to say what the relationship is between religion and morality. After numerous attempts to find out your view on this, I am taking your lack of response, and your continual recourse to secular arguments about a Biblical issue (we agree that burning people is dictated by God and performed by him in the Bible, don't we?), as an indication that you believe morality and Christianity are unrelated. If you think morality and God are related despite your silence on the subject, please explain how.

We’re discussing a law given to Israelites 4000 years ago which is approximately 4000 years before the existence of Christianity, hence my confusion why you’re trying to connect Christianity with the 4000 year-old moral issue of execution by burning. We’ve also seen there were many, many other civilizations who carried out the same form of capital punishment so I fail to see why you’re limiting this issue to only the Israelites. Burning criminals wasn’t a religious matter, it was a judicial matter.

Misguided in many cases by their politicians, their religious leaders (and so-called holy books), corporations, and other entities trying to get humans to act in ways contrary to the common good.

That's fine but it doesn’t answer my questions. What is your system? How do you judge a misguided society if they didn’t have the knowledge to know they were misguided? In your system, who defines what is ‘guided’ or ‘misguided’?

Most Americans thought invading Iraq was the right thing to do because they were (mis)guided into believing so. If most Israelites thought burning people to death was fine, how do we know it wasn't because they were (mis)guided into believing so by their religious leaders and the (supposed) word of God?

Once again, this isn’t about the Israelites. This is about every civilization (and there are a lot of them) who thought execution by burning was an acceptable form of capital punishment. It’s like condemning a lost civilization found in the Amazon because they practice cannibalism. It’s not a logical response because the knowledge they require to know that mankind frowns upon cannibalism simply doesn’t exist. This is also why we don’t condemn our ancestors for behaving or acting in a certain way if it was accepted by the moral standards of the day.

The reason you can't explain the relationship between morality and religion is because you know that you can't prove that most of our so-called "modern" morality has anything to do with what's in the Bible. Unlike what many if not most Christians believe, morality as we understand it today is hard to find in the Bible among all the amoral and immoral stories like execution by burning.

Absolutely irrelevant. We’re not talking about the morals of the 21st century. I don’t know why we have to keep coming back to this. The fundamental fact of the matter is for thousands and thousands of years, humanity didn’t condemn execution by burning. It wasn’t immoral to execute by burning 10,000 years ago, 8,000 years ago, or 2000 years ago. The moral standards of the day were what they were. The morals of today are what they are. It was different back then as it’ll be different 1000 years in the future. Our standard of morality applies to ourselves and ourselves alone.

If what is recounted in the Bible about burning people and so many other issues can no longer be considered moral, but is instead immoral as we understand it today, then why should people pay it any heed whatsoever, unless they like reading stories or they are afraid of dying?

Why shouldn’t people pay heed to it? There are wonderful examples of courage and dedication and love and faithfulness. We find the same kinds of thing in any history book, whether it’s about the history of the Jews or the history of the pilgrims. We read history for what it is: history.

Anon said...

Earlier, you said Jason: We think it's wrong today. Thus we have a change in thought. Neither one is any more right or wrong, it's just different. Your earlier position was there was a difference in ideas, not progress.

When I argued that this doesn't allow for progress, you said: What doesn’t allow for progress? 4000 years ago, people thought it was right to execute a criminal by burning them. Today we don’t. I’m not sure what you’re disagreeing with…?

So you agree with me, then, that it is progress to no longer accept executing criminals by burning them to death? It's not just "different", but we've actually made progress on this issue since the days of the Israelites. Do you agree with this? This is what I and others have been arguing all along: it's better not to burn people to death.

We’re discussing a law given to Israelites 4000 years ago which is approximately 4000 years before the existence of Christianity, hence my confusion why you’re trying to connect Christianity with the 4000 year-old moral issue of execution by burning.

You're intentionally being difficult here. The Christian Bible contains the Old Testament. We're on a site that discusses religion. Millions if not billions of Christians believe the Old Testament to be the word of God. If a matter is covered in a religion's holy book, then it is a religious matter and appropriate for discussion here, is it not? If you want to call it a Judeo-Christian matter, be my guest, but it is also a Christian matter.

We’ve also seen there were many, many other civilizations who carried out the same form of capital punishment so I fail to see why you’re limiting this issue to only the Israelites.

Just because other societies burned people doesn't mean we can't examine the Israelites. Do you believe the Bible to be holy, or superior to other religious texts?

I'll ask you again to explain how morality relates to the Judeo-Christian texts in the Bible. Feel free to put aside the issue of burning for the moment. Is the Bible, or the Old Testament, a moral guide? Is it a holy book? Is it simply a history book? Is it all of these things? When I read the Bible, tell me what I should be thinking.

As for me: as I've said before, I don't believe there is a "source" for morality. Most Christians believe God is the source, or at least a source, for morality. Do you disagree?

sconnor said...

Hang it up Jason, you're not on firm ground. Your arguments are built on quicksand and only the faint, echo of your loquacious, blatherings can be heard, as you took your last gulp of air and went under.

Your argument has been obliterated. If you can say it was morally reprehensible 4,000 years ago to practice human sacrifices, why can't you say it was morally repugnant and wrong to burn people to death 4,000 years ago?

Jason says, the morality of an action or behaviour can only be judged by considering the moral standards of the time.

Really Jason? Then, how did you come to the conclusion that it was morally repugnant to practice human sacrifice, when the moral standards, of the time, deemed it moral to sacrifice humans?

Every time you vomit up your blatherskite, you keep cutting your own throat. You just keep digging your grave deeper and deeper. You are a pathetic dolt.

--S.

Jason said...

Earlier, you said Jason: We think it's wrong today. Thus we have a change in thought. Neither one is any more right or wrong, it's just different. Your earlier position was there was a difference in ideas, not progress.

Correct.

So you agree with me, then, that it is progress to no longer accept executing criminals by burning them to death? It's not just "different", but we've actually made progress on this issue since the days of the Israelites. Do you agree with this? This is what I and others have been arguing all along: it's better not to burn people to death.

What I was enquiring about was why you think my initial comment doesn’t allow for progress. I'm merely trying to understand how you came to this conclusion - I'm not stating one of my own.

You're intentionally being difficult here. The Christian Bible contains the Old Testament. We're on a site that discusses religion. Millions if not billions of Christians believe the Old Testament to be the word of God. If a matter is covered in a religion's holy book, then it is a religious matter and appropriate for discussion here, is it not? If you want to call it a Judeo-Christian matter, be my guest, but it is also a Christian matter.

I'm not being difficult. You’re trying to link the Christian standard of morals to ancient laws given to Jews. I’m merely explaining to you that this link doesn’t exist. The Christian standard of morals is based on the laws given by Christ, not the laws given to the Jews. A distinction between the two is obviously required considering your questions regarding Christianity and morality.

Just because other societies burned people doesn't mean we can't examine the Israelites. Do you believe the Bible to be holy, or superior to other religious texts?

That's fine. But what I’m saying is that execution by burning isn’t something that’s limited to only the Israelites even though some of the language being used here is trying to suggest this. I’ve provided ample evidence that this form of capital punishment was included in the system of law in many other civilizations.

I'll ask you again to explain how morality relates to the Judeo-Christian texts in the Bible. Feel free to put aside the issue of burning for the moment. Is the Bible, or the Old Testament, a moral guide? Is it a holy book? Is it simply a history book? Is it all of these things? When I read the Bible, tell me what I should be thinking.

A Christian derives their standard of morals from the teachings of Christ. We read the OT to understand the history of the Jews, the plan for Christ, God’s expectations of mankind and examining the lives of men and women from which we can draw lessons from.

What does this have to do with the ability or inability to judge the actions of our ancestors using a 21st century standard of morals?

As for me: as I've said before, I don't believe there is a "source" for morality. Most Christians believe God is the source, or at least a source, for morality. Do you disagree?

Since you made reference to it, I’m trying to find out what your ‘system’ is. I'd like you to define it for me. Furthermore, I would appreciate answers to these questions: How do you judge a misguided society if they didn’t have the knowledge to know they were misguided? In the absence of a source of morality, who defines what is ‘guided’ or ‘misguided’? This is important as it will help explain why you’re struggling with the issue of morally judging our ancestors.

sconnor said...

Jason keeps giving himself more rope to hang himself with.

Jason considers it immoral for people, throughout time, to practice the barbaric action of human sacrifice but can't say it was immoral, at the time, for barbarians to burn people to death.

Why is that Jason?

What's the matter, does reason and logic have your tongue?

--S.

Anon said...

Jason said: A Christian derives their standard of morals from the teachings of Christ. We read the OT to understand the history of the Jews, the plan for Christ, God’s expectations of mankind and examining the lives of men and women from which we can draw lessons from.

If the OT is meant to help you draw lessons, do you think this would be a valid lesson:

1) God burns people in the Old Testament and commands people to be burned
2) Jesus doesn't burn anyone or command anyone to be burned
3) Therefore, God no longer thinks burning people is okay

If this isn't the type of lesson that Christians are supposed to learn from the old law, then what is?

How do you judge a misguided society if they didn’t have the knowledge to know they were misguided?

It depends on what you define by judging. I, and others, have said that I believe burning people to be timelessly immoral. But if people weren't smart or compassionate enough back then to know it, then that's understandable.

I'm not saying the Aztecs should burn in hell eternally because they sacrificed people. But the act of sacrificing people is wrong. If we don't recognize this, and we tell ourselves and our kids "it was okay for the Aztecs to sacrifice people because that's what people did back then", then we are teaching our kids that sacrificing people, or injustice in general, is fine as long as people don't object.

Most Americans thought it was okay to invade, destroy, maim, and kill people in Iraq. Fortunately, some people realized right away this was wrong, and gradually more and more people are understanding this.

If everyone just accepted what is considered right at the time to be the be all and end all of morality, and decided to sit things out because the majority think something's morally right, then how does any moral progress happen? How does humanity get less cruel? How does anyone learn that next time a similar situation comes up, it's wrong to do unless you can say some things are wrong, no matter how many people currently believe they're right?

The Geneva Conventions, which you originally brought up, are an attempt to do just that: to say, no matter what happens, no matter what anyone else says, you can't treat prisoners a certain way. Bush and company decided to take a relativist approach and say that the war on terrorism gave them the right to ignore the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Conventions weren't meant to be valid just for that time period; they were meant to be universal rules and rights.

There are some things that are simply wrong no matter what. It's not an exact "system", and never claimed it was, but I feel it is better than your alternative of anything is fine if the majority doesn't object.

Jason said...

If this isn't the type of lesson that Christians are supposed to learn from the old law, then what is?

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal 3:24)

It depends on what you define by judging. I, and others, have said that I believe burning people to be timelessly immoral. But if people weren't smart or compassionate enough back then to know it, then that's understandable.

By judging I mean what you're doing with Israelites. Regardless, firstly, your comment sounds an awful lot like chronological snobbery. Secondly, by your own admission, you might never know what the universal morals are so I’m not sure why you think your argument holds water…? You could just as easily be wrong and execution by burning isn’t a universal moral so I don’t see how you can be so dogmatic about your position. I think you've set yourself up for having no say in the matter by admitting you don't know if you're right.

I'm not saying the Aztecs should burn in hell eternally because they sacrificed people. But the act of sacrificing people is wrong. If we don't recognize this, and we tell ourselves and our kids "it was okay for the Aztecs to sacrifice people because that's what people did back then", then we are teaching our kids that sacrificing people, or injustice in general, is fine as long as people don't object.

Instead of passing any kind of judgment, good or bad, we teach history for what it is: history. No one says it was "good" for people to pour burning oil over their enemies when a castle was under siege. Likewise, no one says it was "bad". No one says it was "good" that people fought with swords and spiked clubs, no one says it was "bad". It just was.

If everyone just accepted what is considered right at the time to be the be all and end all of morality, and decided to sit things out because the majority think something's morally right, then how does any moral progress happen?

I don’t see how you’re coming to this conclusion. Societies change. People change. Morals change. Just because a civilization accepted execution by burning as a morally acceptable form of capital punishment doesn’t require them to maintain this moral standard for eternity. As new ways of doing something comes along, old ones become obsolete. This is how the world works. The new and improved ways of killing people now don't make the old ones immoral - they simply make them old.

There are some things that are simply wrong no matter what. It's not an exact "system", and never claimed it was, but I feel it is better than your alternative of anything is fine if the majority doesn't object.

But because you don’t know what those universal wrongs are, why bother having this conversation?

Question for you: Under the system you moral refuse to define, is mankind governed by a system of timeless, unwavering universal morals? I ask because by your own admission, there is no source of morality. Therefore, in the absence of such a source, how can universal morals exist?

"A primary criticism of moral absolutism regards how we come to know what the "absolute" morals are. The authorities that are quoted as sources of absolute morality are all subject to human interpretation, and multiple views abound on them. For morals to be truly absolute, they would have to have a universally unquestioned source, interpretation and authority. Therefore, so critics say, there is no conceivable source of such morals, and none can be called "absolute". So even if there are absolute morals, there will never be universal agreement on just what those morals are." (wiki)

Anon said...

Jason, do you agree with the Geneva Conventions? If you believe morality is dependent on the society and the moral beliefs of the time, then the Geneva Conventions are meaningless in today's world. They are simply a historical document that carries no weight over half a century later. Each country should decide whether or not it is moral to torture prisoners based on what the public thinks and the circumstances at the time. Do you agree with this?

About the Galatians verse, it doesn't answer the question of what lesson(s) the Old Testament is supposed to teach. And several verses on Bible Gateway indicate that "to bring us unto Christ" can or should be translated as "until Christ came".

The best I can see is, the Old Testament is what the Israelites used to do. Then, Jesus came. Now you should do what Jesus says instead. If Jesus is silent on a given matter, then (depending on your denomination) you should either go with the Old Testament, or make it up on a case-by-case basis as you go along.

If there is some other relationship between the morality of the Old and New Testaments, please explain.

Anon said...

I neglected to answer part of your post, Jason.

I think you've set yourself up for having no say in the matter by admitting you don't know if you're right. [...]

Do you realize it would be essentially the end of science and knowledge (and religion, for that matter) if we just refused to speak on matters we weren't 100% sure of? You have to hypothesize, and pursue your hypotheses to confirm or reject them, in order to gain any sort of understanding on something.

You have no more standing than I do on the matter. Appeals to authority are interesting and can be useful in pursuing a response, but they are not proof. You can cite one source that argues for moral relativism. I can cite a different source that argues for moral absolutism. But neither source would have "proof", only argumentation. I don't see how one could ever prove there were or weren't universal morals unless God himself told us so.

by your own admission, there is no source of morality. Therefore, in the absence of such a source, how can universal morals exist?

There are some things we can't or may never be able to prove or disprove.

We know the universe exists. Many scientists argue the Big Bang is the source of the universe. But we don't know where the matter for the Big Bang came from, and I don't see how we'd ever prove it.

Many Christians believe God created the world. But we don't know where God came from, or if he always existed, I don't see how we'd ever prove it.

So we take the arguments for and against unprovable positions, and come to conclusions that will hopefully lead us to a better understanding.

I think this pursuit of knowledge is essential, whether it's dealing with the origins of the universe, morality, religion, or any other question out there.

Jason said...

Jason, do you agree with the Geneva Conventions? If you believe morality is dependent on the society and the moral beliefs of the time, then the Geneva Conventions are meaningless in today's world. They are simply a historical document that carries no weight over half a century later.

Why would the Geneva Conventions be meaningless? Have the standard of morals changed that much in the past 50 years that these regulations are no longer applicable?

Each country should decide whether or not it is moral to torture prisoners based on what the public thinks and the circumstances at the time. Do you agree with this?

We both do. What are the circumstances? Are our families at risk? Is the world on the brink of nuclear devastation and the information to prevent it is known by hardened prisoners who will only give it up under extreme duress? What if torturing a prisoner resulted in avoiding another 9/11? Isn’t it in the interests of the ‘common good’ to torture one person to save millions…? If the public agrees that the time and circumstance called for such drastic actions and since, according to you, there is no universal source of morality, who has the authority to claim it’s immoral? No one does unless they can claim to be the source of morality – which they can’t be since one doesn't exist.

About the Galatians verse, it doesn't answer the question of what lesson(s) the Old Testament is supposed to teach. And several verses on Bible Gateway indicate that "to bring us unto Christ" can or should be translated as "until Christ came".

I’ve already answered this question: We read the OT to understand the history of the Jews, the plan for Christ, God’s expectations of mankind and examining the lives of men and women from which we can draw lessons from.

The best I can see is, the Old Testament is what the Israelites used to do. Then, Jesus came. Now you should do what Jesus says instead. If Jesus is silent on a given matter, then (depending on your denomination) you should either go with the Old Testament, or make it up on a case-by-case basis as you go along.

And in which instances would a believer have to go to the Old Testament for such guidance?

Do you realize it would be essentially the end of science and knowledge (and religion, for that matter) if we just refused to speak on matters we weren't 100% sure of? You have to hypothesize, and pursue your hypotheses to confirm or reject them, in order to gain any sort of understanding on something.

That’s fine but how have you been going about confirming or rejecting your hypothesis?

You have no more standing than I do on the matter. Appeals to authority are interesting and can be useful in pursuing a response, but they are not proof.

They’re proof enough for the purposes of this discussion. There’s no indication whatsoever that anyone, prior to a few hundred years ago, thought executing by burning was immoral. You claim otherwise but have nothing to show for it. You claim there are moral absolutes but the fact that billions of people disagree, whether now or in the past, is apparently of no consequence since you know better then they do.

I don't see how one could ever prove there were or weren't universal morals unless God himself told us so.

By a basic examination of historical behaviour. If something is a universal immoral, it should be apparent as such throughout history by people speaking out against it, by people rejecting it, or by people simply refusing to engage in the action. Doesn't this make logical sense?

There are some things we can't or may never be able to prove or disprove.

Coming from an atheist on a Biblical matter? Ouch! So you don’t actually know if universal morals exist, is this true? Which means you can’t actually definitively say execution by burning is immoral since you’re not even sure if you’re right and even if you are, you can’t prove it. Seems pretty hopeless...

Anon said...

Jason, you apparently cannot discuss this honestly and this conversation has long passed the point of being productive. Here is my last post.

Why would the Geneva Conventions be meaningless?

Your definition of morality is consensus of contemporaneous society. The conventions were 50 years ago. Most people alive today weren't around back then. Unless you think society's make-up and morals have remained unchanged the past half century, then in your world view the conventions should be outdated.

I said: Each country should decide whether or not it is moral to torture prisoners based on what the public thinks and the circumstances at the time. Do you agree with this?

You replied: We both do.

No, I don't. Based on your argumentation, I'm not surprised you think torture is fine. But I think it's wrong, no matter what. I pity you if you honestly think it's okay to torture people and hope you never get in a position of power where you would be in a position to torture someone.

About OT lessons: I’ve already answered this question

No, you have yet to cite any examples of what kind of lesson one might get from the Old Testament.

I said: Appeals to authority are interesting and can be useful in pursuing a response, but they are not proof.

Jason said: They’re proof enough for the purposes of this discussion.

Appeals to authority, and citing the number of people who believe something, are not sufficient proofs in logical debates. They are well-known logical fallacies. Over a billion people believe in Allah; that doesn't proof Allah does or doesn't exist. Bush's claim of WMDs in Iraq isn't proof that WMDs were or weren't in Iraq.

I said: There are some things we can't or may never be able to prove or disprove.

You said: Coming from an atheist on a Biblical matter? Ouch! So you don’t actually know if universal morals exist, is this true? [...] You’re not even sure if you’re right and even if you are, you can’t prove it. Seems pretty hopeless...

Well, at long last you admit it's a Biblical matter. I speak only for myself, but I don't see any way of proving morals are or aren't universal.

I also can't prove there is no God, alas, any more than you can prove he does exist. The evidence leads me to believe there is no God. I'm happy with the evidence that God doesn't exist, just as I'm sure you're happy with your faith that God does exist. The arguments against God are stronger than the ones for it, but that's an issue for another day.

If there is no way to prove or disprove God's existence definitively, and I have to choose between a worldview where there is an all-powerful God who burns his creations to death and kills little babies, and one with no God capable of doing such things, then the latter is a lot more appealing to me.

Jason said...

Anon,

My apologies if I’ve come across as being dishonest - it wasn’t my intention to do so.

Your definition of morality is consensus of contemporaneous society. The conventions were 50 years ago. Most people alive today weren't around back then. Unless you think society's make-up and morals have remained unchanged the past half century, then in your world view the conventions should be outdated.

My question to you was: Have the standard of morals changed that much in the past 50 years that these regulations are no longer applicable?

No, I don't. Based on your argumentation, I'm not surprised you think torture is fine. But I think it's wrong, no matter what. I pity you if you honestly think it's okay to torture people and hope you never get in a position of power where you would be in a position to torture someone.

I don't think torture is "fine". But would I have a moral problem if my government tortured one person to save millions? Of course not.

Hence, my questions to you: What are the circumstances? Are our families at risk? Is the world on the brink of nuclear devastation and the information to prevent it is known by hardened prisoners who will only give it up under extreme duress? What if torturing a prisoner resulted in avoiding another 9/11? Isn’t it in the interests of the ‘common good’ to torture one person to save millions…? If the public agrees that the time and circumstance called for such drastic actions and since, according to you, there is no universal source of morality, who has the authority to claim it’s immoral?

No, you have yet to cite any examples of what kind of lesson one might get from the Old Testament.

My apologies, I didn’t know you were looking for a specific example. If so, personally, I like the lessons of forgiveness we can learn from Joseph, the lessons regarding the dangers of jealously from Michal, the lessons of respecting the divine from David, and the lessons of patience and humbleness from Job.

Appeals to authority, and citing the number of people who believe something, are not sufficient proofs in logical debates. They are well-known logical fallacies. Over a billion people believe in Allah; that doesn't proof Allah does or doesn't exist. Bush's claim of WMDs in Iraq isn't proof that WMDs were or weren't in Iraq.

"...there is no fallacy involved in simply arguing that the assertion made by an authority is true, in contrast to claiming that the authority is infallible in principle and can hence be exempted from criticism:" (wiki) Please note that I've argued that the assertion made by the authority is true, not the Egyptian criminal code was infallible. Nonetheless, we're not talking about a wishy-washy religious matter, we’re talking about a capital punishment issue that history records as existing in civilizations who didn’t worship God or Allah. No one here has offered anything, and I literally mean anything, by way of proof, evidence, etc. that supports the concept that execution by burning is universally wrong. If you were in my shoes, how would you respond?

Well, at long last you admit it's a Biblical matter. I speak only for myself, but I don't see any way of proving morals are or aren't universal.

Fair enough. Thank you for admitting as such.

There were a few other questions you didn’t answer: 1) In which instances would a believer have to go to the Old Testament for guidance? 2) How have you been going about confirming or rejecting your hypothesis? 3) If something is a universal immoral, it should be apparent as such throughout history by people speaking out against it, by people rejecting it, or by people simply refusing to engage in the action. Doesn't this make logical sense?

sconnor said...

Jason is a babbling lunatic, with zero credibility. Everything is based in his own perverted, delusional, Christadelphian interpretation of scripture or plucked from the hopeless cranium-abyss, he calls his mind. Jason is an uneducated, fool and has nothing to really add to any debate on christianity, except only the most mindless drivel.

Jason was finally banned from the excellent Debunking Christianity Blog, which is linked from the equally impressive Dwindling in Unbelief Blog. Among other things Jason was banned, because he obsessively quotes scripture, as if that's all he needs to do, to support his wholly inadequate arguments, not ever comprehending that the scriptural words he uses have no validity or authority. He also keeps making the same futile arguments over and over again, without adding anything new. Sounds familiar? But what got him hung over at DC was everyone came to the conclusion that Jason is a necient imbecile, who's too much of chicken-shit pussy, to take the DC challenge. Click Here

John W. Loftus said to Jason, Stay ignorant. Be afraid. But your time is limited here if you don't grow a brain, and I'm serious.

Later he said, Jason, you are not interested in learning from us. You do not believe we have anything to say that you can learn from. We exist only for you to show us wrong.

You are hereby banned.

No more posts from you will be published, until or unless you take Mike up on his offer.


BTW Mikes offer was to buy a book for Jason to read -- which of course Jason refused, in an effort to protect his feeble, superstitious beliefs.

--S.

Jason said...

Ah, so that's what happened. Thanks for clearing that up. Can't have a Christian quoting Scripture now can we! :)

sconnor said...

Jason being the brain-dead fool that he is, said, Ah, so that's what happened. Thanks for clearing that up. Can't have a Christian quoting Scripture now can we! :)

Quote away asshole, but to our ears it is non-authoritative, babble with zero credibility, which reeks of ignorance and that of an uneducated, bat-shit crazy, delusional, preacher in a cheap suit, proselytizing on a street corner. You are nothing but fodder, something to point our fingers at, and laugh.

And you still don't get it. You were banned because you are an ignorant, little bitch, of a christian, cowering under you bunker of bibles, not willing to educate or arm yourself with new information. You are too much of a pussy to explore or examine the information -- so like a large flightless bird, you plant your tiny, mind-numbingly stupid, head, firmly in the sand.

--S.

gorunnova said...

Just reading through this a little after the point, and I just wanted to point out that whether burning people 4000 years ago was moral or not then is irrelevant to a discussion involving modern morality.

The thing is, the God who condoned and demanded these burnings way back then is the very same God that is worshipped today by Christians (if it was a different God, that would 1) be a heresy, and 2) mean that the God of Christ neither made the universe nor did anything in the Old Testament). Since it IS the same God, and since this God now exists in an era of modern morality, therefore it is proper to gauge His previous actions according to modern morality.

Since it is highly immoral to burn people for pretty much any crime in modern society, therefore God is immoral by having committed / ordered committed such acts in the past, regardless of his 'new stance' on things. You don't forgive a mass murderer and torturer solely on the merit of him saying, "Oops... sorry. I won't do it again"... especially when He hasn't said that, and instead continues to do it. (Hell, anyone? Whether it's eternal torment or instant death, it's a fairly harsh punishment for mere nonbelief given the sheer lack of evidence pointing to his unambiguous existance. "You didn't see me through this brick wall in the other room, so I'll smite you FOREVER! Nyaaah!")

From a logical standpoint, this is VERY important. What good is a 'source of good morals' if it's, well... IMMORAL? What good is a moral code if the creator / instigator of the moral code itself pisses all over it through His own actions? God's morality is 'might makes right'... "I'm stronger than you, so everything I do is right. Disagree, and I'll hit you hard."

These burnings are another shining example of why God is a horrible source for moral teachings. At worst, He's a monster that HAS no real morals himself, and at best He's a hypocrite who tells, not does. If God indeed exists, and He's the God of the Bible, then I wouldn't worship him even if it did mean going to Hell.

(Note: I don't believe God exists, so it's really a moot point for me... but I wouldn't worship a monster like Him if He did exist.)

Hugo said...

gorunnova, you're right of course but the theists who engage in the debate here have all kinds of cop-outs to say that their god could not communicate these "new" morals to the people back then (apparently he's not a good communicator) or that in fact it was not bad at the time so at the time god was not bad (thereby saying that god's morals are human morals and if we change (s)he/it changes...)

Now my brain hurts again for trying to think like them! thanks a lot for that gorunnova!
:-)

anticarrot said...

"it is wrong always and everywhere to burn to death anyone for any reason whatsoever."

Sorry, but that is not true. There have been multiple occasions in recent history when it HAS been judged acceptable to burn someone to death. Fire is a weapon, and fire storms, napalm, flame-throwers, and nukes, (all of which can set people alight) have all been used during the past 100 years.

It is something to be avoided if at all possible, but against opponents who are fanatical enough to prefer death to surrender, then there is a moral argument that you should not endanger your fellow soldiers trying to talk the idiot down.

It is a common viewpoint in modern warfare, that beyond a certain moral point forgiveness and mercy are neither possible, practical, nor desirable. Beyond that point you kill the bastards, using any and means at your disposal, including fire.

This of course very similar to the Bible's PoV. Heresy is unforgivable and can endanger the souls of others, and thus must be stamped out. Though personally I think resetting the moral bar at the genocide of thousands does make it slightly different.

Brendan said...

Answer from a Jew:

The punishments given at those times are not eternal. They were given in order to maintain order and minimize disorder, since the Hebrews at the time were at major risk of turning to paganism. Since, in today's modern society, it is clear that Jews won't all become pagans, this punishment is no longer relevant.

Connie said...

Jason,

Sugar, killing other human beings is wrong, it has always been wrong and will always be wrong and anyone who ever did it for any reason other than direct self defense is pure evil.

My parents had no religion so they never told me that killing was wrong, there was need to say it because it was so obvious that even a child knows that harming others is always wrong.

You had free will, you chose to throw it away and now you think that killing human beings is a good thing and totally justifiable and you argue on the side of murder over and over in these blogs.


Since you have no moral compass because of your religion induced hysteria, I can only hope that the future generations will not have their minds poisoned by the likes of you.

Srinivasan said...

This is not meant to be ad hominem but this Jason character seems full of crap. He is trying to defend his non-existent god by evading the real questions. So god wrote that law to appease the Hebrew barbarians of that time? If god's judgement is timeless, why would he modify his judgement to suit the mores of contemporary society? Men's moral values may change with time, but those of god should not!

It seems obvious to me that the laws and thus the bible, were written by men rather than their god.

To answer the original question, yes, it is absolutely, unequivocally, wrong in this era and in any era for a god to burn people to death, no matter what the crime.

Srinivasan said...

Question to Brendan the Jew:

Why exactly is paganism a major risk? What is so wrong about paganism that your god had to annihilate an entire people that practised it? Why is worshipping your god exclusively of such importance that transgressors are dealt with such unmitigated cruelty? Isn't your god mature enough to know that all forms of worship reach the one absolute deity? Why is your god such a jealous god? If he is the only god in the entire universe, how can he feel jealous towards something that doesn't exist?

rahul said...

So god is this angolan diamond hating maniac or some barbarian with a vengeance towards what ,israelites.

looks like there is no "skyman" watching over us,more like stories concocted by a bunch of neandearthal jockers ( what could that be,hmmm ?).

One thing is clear,God is mighty appreciative of existing societal norms as amply demonstrated by jason.Way to go,god.Next time he will approve of the current attraction of priests towards young boys.

Looks like the biblical god hasnt evolved.Had he evolved ,a new bible would have been revealed by now.one that incorporates the angolan conundrum as well as the chinese human rights situation and a New and Improved moral code that takes into account the current social circumstances and delivered via ipad ( God had only clay tablets in those days,speak of less advanced gods,now we have silicon and nano gods),may be he will reveal before steve jobs to give us a discount like 50% off.Talk is cheap ,you know.

Mitchell said...

I think the bottom line is that we need to start following the bible better.

Clearly we need to work on our law enforcement.

For instance, I haven't seen a single police township with a proper human burning area designated!

If you ask me, we need to re-write all our laws and every township will need a stake/burn zone where we can set flame to all of those involved just like leviticus commands us.

- Let's face it, leviticus say's it's wrong to be gay and they all admit that law must be followed, so just as well we must burn those law breakers. (or stone, based on what leviticus commands.)

Mitchell said...

<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>
QUOTE FROM BRENDAN: Answer from a Jew:

The punishments given at those times are not eternal. They were given in order to maintain order and minimize disorder, since the Hebrews at the time were at major risk of turning to paganism. Since, in today's modern society, it is clear that Jews won't all become pagans, this punishment is no longer relevant.
Sun Mar 29, 11:18:00 AM 2009
<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>

So burning is no longer relevant?

We can pick and choose what leviticus laws NEED to be followed at will?

Can you tell me where GOD comes out and tells us that we no longer need to follow these old laws? Or where in the bible it is said that we don't have to follow a law because WE don't want to and that is acceptable with God? HMMM?

rv guy said...

The bible, supposedly the word of an all knowing god, should be timeless. What is right is right,period. Now, then and always. Not subject to culture or opinion. Is it too much to ask from guide that his guide to living is clear and easy to understand. I mighta believed if somewhere it mentioned the world was round.

Lucas said...

"A god who commands people to burn other people to death is not a good god. This verse alone should be enough show that the Bible was not inspired by a kind and loving god."

Why? You started with the assumption that burning people is wrong and ended with that assumption. Only if we followed you on that assumption, could we derive the conclusion, "the Bible was not inspired by a kind and loving god." I need a larger circle in circular arguments than this.

Hugo said...

So Lucas you think burn people (to death) is not wrong?

consti2tionalist said...

I have always made this argument:

If you put a blowtorch to your child's face for even a second, it would make the nightly news, you would be worse than Hitler himself and you would of course be considered a psychpath and rightly so. But when 'god' burns his children for eternity he is considered to be a loving god. After all if god created everything certainly he created hell. In fact he said he was the creator of good and EVIL...

Your god is a PSYCHOPATH!!!