In my previous post, I began an analysis and response to this post on the blog of an atheist known as Rosa Rubicondior. In it, I pointed out several problems with the assertions that she was making, based upon her professed worldview. This post will continue that action.
Rosa shifts her focus from science to morality, quoting from her book,
Where moral actions are mandated, they are frequently simply because God says so. It is not until we get to the New Testament in the Bible that there is any suggestion that we should do good simply because it is good, with for example the story of the Good Samaritan where the ‘goodness’ of the act is immediately obvious to anyone who already knows what goodness is (and so do not need a parable to tell them).
Yes. God being the Creator, being an absolute being has the full right to prescribe and proscribe the behavior of his creatures. The creature has no rights and no excuse before his Creator, other than what is allowed. Then she slips, saying, “It is not until we get to the New Testament in the Bible that there is any suggestion that we should do good simply because it is good […]” Actually what is said is,
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48, ESV)
Men are to be perfect, showing perfect mercy, perfect justice, and perfect humility.
She goes on, “[…]with for example the story of the Good Samaritan where the ‘goodness’ of the act is immediately obvious to anyone who already knows what goodness is (and so do not need a parable to tell them).” I am just guessing, but I don’t think that she’s read the New Testament, much less the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is found in the 10th chapter of Luke’s gospel in verses 25-27.
There, we see a self-righteous man challenge Jesus asking what he has to do to gain eternal life. Jesus turns the question back around on the man who quotes what is referred to as the summation of the law, saying,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:5, ESV)
The response is a combination of two Old Testament passages, Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:17-18. So, it’s not simply “to do good” but to, first, love God and, second, love your neighbor. The Apostle Paul, picks up on this line of argumentation in his epistle to the Romans, saying,
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10, ESV, emphasis added)
The question then is how does one know that they should not do wrong to their neighbor but, instead, show them love that looks to do good to them. “Goodness” is not what is in question, what is in question is what it means to be a neighbor and fulfill the requirements of God, who is good. The story of the Good Samaritan, actually goes against her professed belief in materialistic neo-Darwinian micromutational evolution. From her own perspective, the heroes of the story are the priest and the Levite who were concerned about what could happen to them, that they could fall into a trap and end up worse than the man in the ditch. Whatever happened to the man in the ditch was no concern of theirs from a Darwinian perspective because their only goal is to get their genes into the next generation, not to risk those chances by stopping to give aid to someone competing for resources. This exposes the inconsistency in Rosa’s worldview.
A little further along in her excerpt, she gives this quote,
An atheist is free to pick and choose and decide for himself or herself if these writers were right or wrong or whether the morality they include is relevant to today or not. A devout, God-fearing Christian or Muslim is basically stuck with what the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age authors of their respective holy books considered right for their times.
Let’s address her first assertion that, “An atheist is free to pick and choose and decide for himself or herself if these writers were right or wrong or whether the morality they include is relevant to today or not.”
Based upon what standard can they do this? To make a moral judgment about anything you have to have an authority to appeal to in order to make a judgement. That authority has to be logical and consistent. That authority cannot be any culture or convention of culture, because those are subject to judgment as well. It also cannot be a product of a biological process (ie evolution), because the belief that it is would also be a product of the same process. It also cannot be based upon emotions or personal preferences because those are subject to change. The standard would have to be transcendent, crossing all cultures and emotions and biological processes. It would have to be personal, able to speak to the individual, and only beings can be personal. The only transcendent and personal being that can do that is the God who is revealed in the Bible.
Also, upon what meaningful basis can we judge those who were in the process of gaining revelation? All that can really be done is compare and contrast the cultures against the one which revelation went into, and how the concepts that accompanied revelation were applied either consistently or inconsistently. Atheists fallaciously assume that they have grounds to judge, but conveniently exclude their own position from examination as to its grounds or its ability to identify and address questions of morality.
Also she says that, “A devout, God-fearing Christian or Muslim is basically stuck with what the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age authors of their respective holy books considered right for their times.” Speaking as a Christian, this accusation is both bigoted and completely inaccurate. But, for the sake of the argument, let’s just say that it was true. Upon what basis could she meaningfully claim that Christians or Muslims were wrong to do so? She’s essentially refuting herself, because, by her own standard, she could choose either one of them or could create a patchwork out of both or choose neither but, and this would be dollars to donuts, I’d almost guarantee that almost any moral concept she could dream draws from the Judeo-Christian worldview. Oh, and the Muslim draws his worldview from a medieval point of view, not a Bronze or Iron Age one.
Now, in her book, she may go into greater detail, but having had several interchanges with her over the years, her grounding for many of her assertions about moral judgments are, at best, groundless and at others fallacious.
She goes on,
Religion is of course, primarily about control.
I would argue that most of the struggles of life are about trying to control features and facets of life, including the lives of others. Have some used “religion”, however you want to define it? At times, but largely it’s been political means.
There are two basic ways religions seek to control people: they seek to impose their beliefs through the government in the form of laws reflecting religious beliefs rather than laws maximising freedom of conscience, and they seek special privileges for themselves and their followers.
Here’s where the test of consistency comes in. As a matter of conscience, I’m perfectly willing to grant to Rosa the right to follow the dictates of her conscience in regards to her beliefs. I’m willing to allow her to articulate her position and argue for it, but then, I have a basis, a foundation upon which to draw from. My question to her, is she willing to extend the same courtesy to a Christian, such as Baronelle Stutzman or Melissa Klein? Would she be willing to stand up and fight for their rights of conscience? It’s only the Christian worldview that can conceive of ideas like the rights of conscience and ground them meaningfully. She doesn’t realize that she is trying to impose her views upon others while at the same time making the same accusation about others. If she is not willing to defend the rights of conscience of people with whom she disagrees, she’s created a straw man argument that refutes itself.
She begins to close her post with this statement,
If you doubt that a society can function effectively without religion I invite you to compare present-day Europe with the present-day Middle East. Europe has had peace and stability for the last seventy years as we have become increasingly secular and religion has declined almost to insignificance in many places.
There’s a correlation/causation fallacy in her assertion. Just because there is a correlation between the prosperity of Europe and the rise of secularism does not mean that one is related to the other. In fact, the reasons for both could be completely unrelated. In fact, given that there seems to be a growing personal dissatisfaction, poverty, which is proceeded by fatherlessness, and crime, it could be argued that secularism is actually undermining the prosperity of Europe, which was built upon, what sociologist Max Weber coined as, the Protestant Work Ethic.
This statement in her closing is the most telling,
[…]I [wrote the book to] explain why faith is not a rational basis for belief and can’t be used with any confidence as a basis for real-world decisions.
Does she truly believe that statement. She seems to assert it rather confidently, or with faith, the question then is, what is she putting that faith in?
It would make science impossible…
I refuted this assertion in the first part of this response, but just to restate my point: atheism makes science impossible because it has no grounds for it to be done.
[…] and would result in a moral code and framework of law which is both fossilised and unchangeable and useless for a modern society today, let alone in the future.
I have just spent over a thousand words refuting this assertion as well in this post, but just to reiterate: her materialistic atheism cannot provide any moral code or framework of law for either today or tomorrow because it doesn’t have a meaningful authority to ground to. It is only the Christian worldview, with God at it’s center, from which comes the value of our fellow man to whom, as a fellow image bearer of God, we should give any consideration or have any moral obligation to.
Faith is a drag on society and a fallacy which delivers power and control into the hands of an unaccountable elite with a long and sorry record of abuse, corruption and amoral self-service.
Let me just change this around and demonstrate the fallacious nature of the argument: atheism is a drag on society and a fallacy which delivers power and control into the hands of an unaccountable elite with a long and sorry record of abuse, corruption, and amoral self-service. The point being, and history bears this out in the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China as atheistic regimes that it’s a tu quoque, ad hominem fallacy. What’s the difference then, you may ask? As a Christian, I have a grounding and an authority by which to judge those in power, but not only judge them but challenge them, because I know where their authority comes from. Rosa has to tacitly assume my worldview to make those judgements, which is an inconsistency on her part.
That’s all for this review and response. Hope that it’s been helpful and informative.