Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Picking and Choosing Your Moral Code

I saved the best for last. These two clips are the final in the list I had made to share with my religious friend, and they also happen to be my favorites.

This is episode #503 of the Atheist Experience. The topic is on responding to apologists. The portion of this episode that I want to focus on is in the last fifteen minutes or so, but feel free to watch the entire episode. Go to the 1:14:00 mark to listen to a great conversation between the hosts and a Christian caller.

The discussion here eventually turns to biblical inerrancy and morality. When the host points out some of the deplorable acts of god and his immoral laws in the old testament, the caller claims that those things no longer apply and that those laws were to "train up" the people of ancient times. The host knocks her argument out of the water by making three important points.

  • In the bible, god says that he us unchanging and therefore if something was morally correct in the past, it should be morally correct today
  • Jesus himself in the new testament says that not a single aspect of the old laws will be changed (Matthew 5:18)
  • The caller believes that the ten commandments are binding today, yet those are written in the old testament

This is a great example of how many believers are guilty of picking and choosing from their religious text. They focus on only the positive parts of their doctrine that make them personally feel good. And they ignore (or choose to remain ignorant) of all of the horrific acts and commands. Here's a nice long list of cruelty and violence found in the Christian bible. It says to kill children, kill those who commit adultery, kill non believers (hey, that's me!), kill homosexuals, cut off the hand of a woman if she touches a man's genitalia, etc. Now why do you think Christians ignore all of those commandments? Probably because they don't want to follow them, because an average human being is much more moral than this psychopathic deity character that so many millions of people worship. It makes no sense to me. But I suppose I would rather have them pick and choose and only focus on the good stuff than try to live out what the bible says word for word. But I still find it really, really annoying when believers pick and choose parts of their doctrine that they like and ignore everything else.

This is another Christian caller and the discussion in these clips focuses on the morality of human beings and god. Moral superiority and inferiority, justification of adequate punishment for misdeeds, biblical portrayal of the nature of god, and thoughts on hell. I don't have much to add here because I think this video needs no commentary. I do share the host's frustration and disappointment with the caller. He seems like a very nice, very decent guy and he just doesn't have the balls to oppose his religious dogma. The last two thirds of the second clip are a passionate rant by the host on the caller's reluctance to be honest with his feelings.

Well, that's it! I finally finished posting all of these clips. I'm going to make another post later that has every single one of these clips embedded to make it easy to reference. I also have a lot of other videos I found related to these discussions that I'll share in another large post. But I'm not going to analyze and discuss each of them like I have done so here. Most of them are long documentaries, but they really taught me a lot and gave me some interesting perspectives on the matter. Thanks for sharing in all this material with me and I hope that you thought about the topics and gained something out of it!

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