Picking up with “rebuttal” number 10, titled “Because Morals come from the creator”, calling himself responding to Dr. Turek’s argument made here, Bob writes,
[The] Constitution is explicitly secular, history revisionists like to go back to references to a “Creator” and “Nature’s Law” in the Declaration of Independence. The DoI is an important historical document, but that’s it. These references impose nothing on American society today, and they’re not even Christian references but are deist.
Again, this is an instance where Bob wants you believe something merely by assertion, namely that the Constitution is an “explicitly secular” document. The problem with making such an assertion is that the Constitution doesn’t have the word “secular” anywhere in it, much less does it declare that the United States is a purely secular republic.
And if you asked why there’s no mention of religion or God in the text of the Constitution, they would probably say something along the lines of, “did we have to?” It was in the air that the founders breathed. The fact that a document doesn’t say something explicitly, doesn’t mean that the author(s) of it had a particular context that its statements need to be understood in and are implicit within the document. Similarly, when Bob says that Declaration of Independence doesn’t “impose…on American society today,” I would love to ask him if he enjoys celebrating the Fourth of July?
The Declaration of Independence is the atmosphere that manifested the rains of liberty that fall from the Constitution. Further, if anyone knows anything about deism, it is actually self contradictory, especially when it comes to the matter of Providence and God’s interactions with the world.
The DoI makes clear that “Governments [derive] their just powers from the consent of the governed,” not God. And when a government becomes abusive, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” The government answers to the people, not God. Frank can’t find much support in this argument.
I would just like to point to the full sentence, and not just a portion that was quoted:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Let’s just unpack this for a moment.
- Rights are endowed to men as created beings by God.
- Men form governments for the purpose of protecting those rights.
- One of the rights that is endowed by God is the right to reject unjust government.
Now, while men organize and institute government, they do so because there is a moral obligation for man to arrange himself so that he treats his fellow man justly with respect to the rights that they has been granted by God. Since government is made up of men, we are responsible to one another as image bearers. However, when the government becomes corrupt and fails to do its duty, it is rejecting the divine mandate the it possesses as a worker of the will of God, for the Scriptures say,
[There] is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. (Romans 13:1-5, ESV)
So, the authority that man has to organize government comes from God as a tool to protect rights and punish evil. I’m sorry Bob, you were saying?
Since he struggled here, he moves onto the matter of morality, in his eleventh “rebuttal”, “My standard call me beat your standard!”
Bob continues his response to Turek’s argument, writing,
Frank next appeals to objective morality. You gotta have an objectively correct moral stance to make any moral claim, Frank tells us, and such a stance admits a god to ground it.
Frank adds qualifiers—a real standard or something being truly right—to refer to objective morality, but I doubt that such a thing exists. (Emphasis original)
Then upon what basis is he appealing to make his argument?
Bob continues in the next paragraph,
It’s like Frank isn’t aware of how social change works. You have a moral belief because you’ve concluded that it’s correct. You can then explore the why, but in the end the buck stops with you. It is your opinion.
The problem is that Bob is insisting that his opinion is the right one, that same-sex mirage somehow makes society better. The question is, what is he appealing to in order to justify his claims. You might conclude that it is “correct”, the problem comes when you check your reasoning and your logic. And in this moment, he’s using the term “opinion” equivocally. What Turek’s point is that just because you have an opinion about something and believe that it’s right, that doesn’t mean that it is until you bring the whole scope of reasoning into the light and allow it to be examined.
Think of it this way: let’s say that you come to believe that something about society needs to change. The question is what needs to change, why does it need to change, and to what standard are you appealing to to justify both?
If we take the issue of slavery and the eventual civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s as an example, many of the arguments on both sides were drawn on religious grounds. One side argued that because there was no explicit injunction against the institution that there was no argument that could be made against it, while the other side argued that while that point might have been true, the means and methods—namely kidnapping and enslaving—was inherently unjust in current practice, elements of it were condemned in Scripture, and that there was no means of emancipation.
The opponents of slavery argued that since those in favor of the institution and appealed to Scripture to justify it ignored the parts that didn’t fit their schemes and as such the whole institution deserved to be abolished as a result. The civil rights movement, which largely sought to have black Americans vested with the full rights of every other citizen was an extension of that movement. The only meaningful standard to appeal to for both positions to be praised or condemned was Scripture.
Of course the response might be, well, that’s just your opinion. I simply ask for anyone what could be appealed to coherently and consistently to come to any other conclusion. I haven’t found anything that can, from the bottom up, do so without smuggling in Biblical presuppositions of equality, responsibility, and accountability.
Bob fires a closing volley,
I don’t claim that my conclusions are objectively true, and your claims to be able to tap into objective moral truth are backed up by nothing more than wishful thinking. I agree that God doesn’t affirm same-sex marriage, but God does affirm polygamy. You still want to model marriage after what God says?
Let’s think this, if Bob doesn’t think that his conclusions are true, what is he arguing against?
Short answer: nothing. I’ve dealt with a similar argument from a “bible scholar” here, so ’nuff said.
This is an explicit admission that he actually has no argument. He’s wasting his time, my time, and your time. Further, by bringing a simple historical fact—the practice of polygamy—he’s not helping his own cause, as I have said before, the practice of having multiple wives as a historical reality, is not an argument against monogamy. Those who bring it up are attacking a straw man.
So, as we close out this post out, let’s just keep in mind that Bob has undermined his own position. This is not only demonstrates the absurdity of any argument in favor of same-sex marriage, it also demonstrates the absurdity of atheism in trying to attack Christian theism.
Until next time, keep thinking.