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When Is Murder “Good”?

I present the following proposition for consideration:  “Every human being has infinite value and therefore one can never justify killing a human being on the ground that killing that human results in a net overall increase in pleasure even for the human in question.” 

What reasoning could possibly warrant believing this proposition to be true?

Let’s say we have two people debating the matter.  “John” accepts the first principles of the Judeo-Christian belief system.  “Sam” is a metaphysical materialist.

John:  This is easy.  One of the first principles of the Judeo-Christian belief system is that humans are created imago Dei, literally, in the “image of God.”  God is, by definition, the most valuable of all things, and it follows that anything that is created in his likeness shares in that value.  Therefore, each human has infinite value and unique dignity and cannot be traded for any other “good.”  Therefore, John says in answer to the question in the heading, “never.”

Sam:  Hmmm.  Well . . . You see . . . Hmmm.  I got nothin’.

Sam has nothing indeed.  Will Provine is correct.  If God does not exist and has not declared an ethical standard then there simply is no foundation for ethics.  Everyone is cast adrift in a sea of conflicting opinions about the grounding of any ethical norm, including the ethical norm, “Thou shalt not commit murder.”  In fact, one system of materialist ethics (consequentialism, especially the utilitarian version of it) holds that no absolute statement such as this is ever true.  If you ask a consequentialist whether it is OK to murder someone, all he can say is “Does it increase overall happiness to murder that person?”  If yes, go ahead and murder him.  So the materialist who subscribes to consequentialism answers the question in the heading “depending on the circumstances, sometimes.”

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76 Responses to When Is Murder “Good”?

  1. So you are really saying that murdering Hitler would have been an unethical thing to do? If so I have to disagree. If not I think you need to explain why.

  2. Barry, what you’re saying is critical; I just want to add something. Some people think that if there is “no foundation for ethics,” there just won’t be ethics. They are mistaken.
    There can easily be uncorrected, evil ethics.

    We are going through a horrendous criminal trial here where, if the allegations against the defendants prove true, women had no more rights in their group than kitchen rats.

    The thing to see is that under atheist rules, their culture is as good as the traditional one that is trying them.

    My point? Don’t assume that “no foundation for ethics” just means “Nobody gets married any more here, Mister.” It’s way more than that. It strikes at the moral integrity of any justice system to assert, “Well, maybe she’s no use to you, bud, but you can’t kill her. Not here. Not legally.”

    He can say, “It’s my culture and mine is as good as yours. ”

    In my country, we just got through a horrific battle to gain the right to even tell the truth about these situations, which we wrung from our “moral and intellectual superiors” who believe what you describe.

  3. Apparently I’m giving up on my intention never to quote much scripture. But here goes anyway.

    Ezekiel 18:4 – “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.”

    The simple point is that all living things belong to God. He made them. They are his, and he reminds us of this when stating that he may choose to take back their life.

    My possessions belong to me. I am in a unique position to do with them as I wish as I see fit. No one else may throw away so much a rusty paper clip without my permission, and I may remove or destroy what is mine for my own reasons.

    Thankfully, we have ample evidence that God exercises this authority with love and justice. He does not view us as we might paper clips or old neckties. But if we analyze individual cases to determine whether execution was right or wrong, we miss the point. They were his. What life they had was given by him. Their lives were his to take. It is not our place to evaluate those decisions. If we disagree, we may carve ourselves an idol and attribute precisely our wisdom to it.

    Christians submit to God on the basis of his authority, not because they have judged him and found him acceptable, even though he invites us to see for ourselves that he is good.

    These statements found in the Bible are simple and they are true. They are superior to any theology or philosophy, if there is even a difference.

  4. “I present the following proposition for consideration: “Every human being has infinite value and therefore one can never justify killing a human being on the ground that killing that human results in a net overall increase in pleasure even for the human in question.”
    What reasoning could possibly warrant believing this proposition to be true?

    John: This is easy.”

    –Is it “easy”? Here’s a scenario that, unfortunately, is quite possible. I’m in a hospital with, say, terminal cancer, in unimaginable pain. The max dose of pain killers are being given and are no longer working. I’m at the point where I’ve had enough and am ready to die, and even my loved ones are ready. The docs estimate that death won’t occur until several weeks. Should extra doses of painkillers that will ease the pain and speed death be considered, or other forms of euthanasia?

    I hope that if I’m ever in such a situation that the hospital is not following the ethics as given above.

    This is why I believe empathy and reason should be a foundation, not a list of laws.

    I would be concerned to be old and sick and to be in a hospital that said “never” to any form of euthanasia.

    “One of the first principles of the Judeo-Christian belief system is that humans are created imago Dei, literally, in the “image of God.” God is, by definition, the most valuable of all things, and it follows that anything that is created in his likeness shares in that value. Therefore, each human has infinite value and unique dignity and cannot be traded for any other “good.””

    –“most valuable” in what sense? And why should we care about what’s “valuable”? How does it “follow” that anything created in his “likeness” (whatever that means) shares in that “value” (whatever that means)? Why can’t that “value” be “traded for any other “good” (whatever that means)? A lot of words, but nothing is actually said.

    “Everyone is cast adrift in a sea of conflicting opinions about the grounding of any ethical norm, including the ethical norm, “Thou shalt not commit murder.””

    –I’ve seen on a few threads references to a case in Canada of a father who killed his children. With “thou shalt not commit murder” I guess this would be an “easy” action to call immoral. Although in the same book of the Bible where those words can be found (Deuteronomy) it also says you can kill children that are disobedient and rebellious, which is exactly why the father said he killed his children.

  5. Are you saying that

    a) religious people do not have ethical dilemmas?

    b) that it is always good to be sure about what is the right thing to do?

    Personally I prefer the person who is prepared to have a bit of human empathy and therefore may find cases such as euthanasia truly uncomfortable and difficult to resolve. It shows they care about the people involved rather than a set of rules.

  6. God is, by definition, the most valuable of all things, and it follows that anything that is created in his likeness shares in that value. Therefore, each human has infinite value and unique dignity and cannot be traded for any other “good.”

    Except when God commands genocide in the Old Testament, I guess.

  7. “Barry, what you’re saying is critical; I just want to add something. Some people think that if there is “no foundation for ethics,” there just won’t be ethics. They are mistaken.
    There can easily be uncorrected, evil ethics.
    We are going through a horrendous criminal trial here where, if the allegations against the defendants prove true, women had no more rights in their group than kitchen rats.”

    –Is this about the Shafia family? If so, they hardly feel that they have “no foundation for ethics”. They believe they have exactly the same foundation as you do – an objective morality based on the laws of the Creator. A lot of good it did. In fact, their treatment of women is based on their “firmly grounded” ethics. I’m glad that Christians typically in the modern Western world don’t follow the Bible (either OT or NT) in the treatment of women.

  8. Some pertinent facts left unmentioned in this article:

    1. We’re all going to die, most of us in well under a hundred years. Our deaths will not cause infinite damage to human society, which will continue to grow, build, and thrive.

    2. Allowing individuals to murder at will would wreck human society’s ability to grow, build, and thrive; therefore all human societies have (and will continue to have in the future) very strictly enforced laws against murder.

    3. Murder if you like, but you almost certainly won’t get away with it — you’ll be carted off to a gruesome prison; game over.

    Puzzling over whether murder is “justifiable,” whether human individuals have “infinite value,” and whether the answer to those questions can be found in a religion like Judaism or Christianity, is certainly an interesting intellectual diversion — but it has virtually nothing to do with really dealing with the problem of murder. Society already has an excellent handle on it, and as the science of genetics improves, that handle may soon be getting a whole lot better.

  9. But you see, that’s just the point, goodusername. A free-for-all does not produce a better ethic. It just produces an ethic that prevails in the end, Darwin-style.

    Here we fondly quote the words of General Sir Charles Napier on a related subject, in direct contrast: “This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

    But we would rather prevail by example and persuasion.

  10. 10

    How do you justify one theistically grounded ethic over another? That’s goodusername’s point. Seems we have exactly the same problem as the materialist does.

    Now, I will agree that atheistic regimes have enacted much worse genocide than any religious regime. However, religious regimes still do horrific things, even with theological grounding.

  11. 11

    But you’ve only pushed the problem up one level. Sure, wanton murder messes up a functioning society, but prohibiting murder assumes the powers that be want to promote a functioning society. Perhaps, like many leaders today, they merely look out for themselves. Once people only care about looking out for themselves, then their only rational course of action is to screw the other guy before they are screwed themselves. From that point your society quickly collapses.

    Perhaps altruistic people try to engineer society so only altruists make it to the top. However, narcissists seem to be much more effective at moving up the corporate ladder, as evidenced by modern corporations. What we need is some sort of internal check on immoral behavior, and the only effective one, as identified by a couple millennia of philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, Nietszche), is the belief in a just God.

  12. The root of the value of man is embodied in our constitution:

    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

    And indeed the United States fought a tremendously bloody Civil war defending this ‘self-evident’ truth. Whereas Atheism can ground no such value for humans. Indeed it is extremely difficult to figure out how the atheist’s materialism can ground any proper value to humans in the first place, i.e. Just how do you derive value for a person from a philosophy that maintains transcendent values are illusory?:

    How much is my body worth?
    Excerpt: The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils invested many a hard-earned tax dollar in calculating the chemical and mineral composition of the human body,,,,Together, all of the above (chemicals and minerals) amounts to less than one dollar!
    http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia...../worth.asp

    Whereas Theism, particularly Christianity, has no trouble whatsoever figuring out how much humans are worth, since infinite almighty God has shown us how much we mean to him:

    John 3:16
    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism (man becoming his own god), would be hard to exaggerate,,,

    From Darwin To Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A

    Chairman MAO: Genocide Master
    “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
    http://wadias.in/site/arzan/bl.....de-master/

    Whereas despite what atheists may say, and as I’ve heard more than one pastor say, ‘You would not want to live in a world without Christianity’. Moreover, the status of women and even infants greatly improved under Christianity

    Early Christian Opposition to Infanticide
    Excerpt: “Infanticide was common in all well studied ancient cultures, including those of ancient Greece, Rome, India, China, and Japan.”,,, From its earliest creeds, Christians “absolutely prohibited” infanticide as “murder.” Stark, op. cit., page 124. To Christians, the infant had value. Whereas pagans placed no value on infant life, Christians treated them as human beings. They viewed infanticide as the murder of a human being, not a convenient tool to rid society of excess females and perceived weaklings. The baby, whether male, female, perfect, or imperfect, was created in the image of God and therefore had value.
    http://christiancadre.org/memb.....icide.html

    From Josh McDowell, Evidence for Christianity, in giving examples of the influence of Jesus Christ cites many examples. Here are just a few:

    1. Hospitals
    2. Universities
    3. Literacy and education for the masses
    4. Representative government
    5. Separation of political powers
    6. Civil liberties
    7. Abolition of slavery
    8. Modern science
    9. The elevation of the common man
    10. High regard for human life

    But to reflect on why Christianity would so uniquely elevate the status of humans to infinite worth, it is simply because the infinite creator God Himself, chose to redeem man from his sinful fallen state by humbly becoming a man, living a sinless life, dying on a cross for our behalf, so as to pay the penalty for our sin, so that God, through His infinite love for man, could free man from death and hell. It is in this infinite selfless act, and this infinite selfless act alone, that ‘infinite worth’ and love is found for finite and sinful man.

    Verse and music:

    Hebrews 2:14-15
    “Since we, God’s children, are human beings – made of flesh and blood – He became flesh and blood too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could He die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in that way could He deliver those who through fear of death have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread.”

    You Are My King (Amazing Love) – Newsboys
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJrcwzBlaXw

  13. further notes:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life! – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/i.....-formation

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Front and Back 3-D images – articles and videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    This following recent video revealed a very surprising holographic image that was found on the Shroud:

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041205

    Even with the advantage of all our advanced space-age technology at their fingertips, all scientists can guess is that it was some type of electro-magnetic radiation (light) which is not natural to this world. Kevin Moran, a scientist working on the mysterious ’3D’ nature of the Shroud image, states the ‘supernatural’ explanation this way:

    “It is not a continuum or spherical-front radiation that made the image, as visible or UV light. It is not the X-ray radiation that obeys the one over R squared law that we are so accustomed to in medicine. It is more unique. It is suggested that the image was formed when a high-energy particle struck the fiber and released radiation within the fiber at a speed greater that the local speed of light. Since the fiber acts as a light pipe, this energy moved out through the fiber until it encountered an optical discontinuity, then it slowed to the local speed of light and dispersed. The fact that the pixels don’t fluoresce suggests that the conversion to their now brittle dehydrated state occurred instantly and completely so no partial products remain to be activated by the ultraviolet light. This suggests a quantum event where a finite amount of energy transferred abruptly. The fact that there are images front and back suggests the radiating particles were released along the gravity vector. The radiation pressure may also help explain why the blood was “lifted cleanly” from the body as it transformed to a resurrected state.”
    http://www.shroudstory.com/natural.htm

    If scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light which made the “3D – photographic negative” image I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) in Judeo-Christian cultures. It is in their testimonies that you will find mention of an indescribably bright ‘Light’ or ‘Being of Light’ who is always described as being of a much brighter intensity of light than the people had ever seen before. All people who have been in the presence of ‘The Being of Light’ while having a deep NDE have no doubt whatsoever that the ‘The Being of Light’ they were in the presence of is none other than ‘The Lord God Almighty’ of heaven and earth.

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The NDE of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

    It should be noted: All foreign, non-Judeo-Christian culture, NDE studies I have looked at have a extreme rarity of encounters with ‘The Being Of Light’ and tend to be very unpleasant NDE’s save for the few pleasant children’s NDEs of those cultures that I’ve seen (It seems there is indeed an ‘age of accountability’). The following study was simply shocking for what was found in some non-Judeo-Christian NDE’s:

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand – Todd Murphy:
    Excerpt:The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of ‘going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves.
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    Bill Wiese – 23 Minutes In Hell – 2010 video
    http://vimeo.com/16155839

    Another very interesting point about the Shroud is, since the Shroud had to be extremely close to the body when the image was made, and also considering the lack of any distinctive shadow patterns on the image, it is apparent the only place this supernatural light could have possibly come from, that made the image on the Shroud, was directly from the body itself ! Yes, you read that last sentence right:

    THE SOURCE OF LIGHT WAS THE BODY ITSELF !!!

    God’s crowning achievement for this universe was not when He created this universe, as astonishing as that is. God’s crowning achievement for this universe was when He Himself inhabited the human body He had purposely created the whole universe for, to sanctify human beings unto Himself through the death and resurrection of his “Son” Jesus Christ. This is truly something which should fill anyone who reads this with awe. The wonder of it all is something I can scarcely begin to understand much less write about.

  14. markf,

    There are people (many people, actually) who work in healthcare because they do have empathy for people, and they would never consider euthanasia on a person no matter what, as a matter of ethical and moral principle.

    Are you saying that their adherence to a principle means that they have no empathy, given that a person in pain and suffering chooses to die?

    I have a friend who recently committed suicide. Very sad. No one (including myself) had any indication from him that he was struggling and in pain. He was cheerful most of the time, and quite pleasant to engage with. There were no indicators as far as I could tell.

    Now suppose there were some indicators. Here’s a man who wants to die and is giving indicators that he might kill himself. Are you saying that because he’s in pain – very real pain I’m sure, that it would be against a sense of empathy for him to try and talk him out of the suicide? To try to help him find some other alternative to ease his suffering?

    I fail to see how those who work within a principle of respecting life could not be empathetic towards those who want to die simply because they won’t be involved in or supportive of their taking their own life.

    So the principle allows there to be no ethical dilemma here. There are of course other areas where there are ethical dilemmas, so we are not always sure about what is the right thing to do. I agree with that, but that does not negate that there are circumstances where adherence to certain principles resolves the dilemma without sparing empathy.

  15. If we are truly made in God’s “image and likeness” (as I am certain that we are) then we cannot die, can we, since He cannot die. Since our bodies die, this must mean that who we actually are is something other than our bodies, something immortal. This points to the truth that who we are is pure spirit, temporarily inhabiting these bodies. The body can be killed, but Who We Really Are cannot. So Who We Really Are is, in His image and likeness, a non-corporeal essence that shares God-like qualities–Love, Joy, Creativity, Wisdom, Compassion, and Knowledge, to name a few.

    This also means, by the way, that the question of justifying murder cannot be settled by appealing to our being made in God’s image and likeness, because that aspect of us in in no way the bodies that are destroyed by murder.

  16. You are right I phrased it wrong. I should have said:

    I prefer the person who does not let their rigid adherence to a rule overcome their natural human empathy.

    I expect some of the Maoist bureacrats and secret police who murdered and imprisoned people on the principle that it was good for the revolution had empathy for their victims but put it aside because they felt they were serving a higher cause (likewise Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler – all the usual cliches – likewise the Protestants burning the Catholics at the stake and vice versa). It is very dangerous to get your ethics rigidly from what you feel is a higher cause.

    I know this is repeating a debate we have had a million times … but it is important.

  17. Yes, absolutely. But perhaps the higher causes or the ethical principles upon which such “higher causes” are based are problematic. Perhaps there are other ethical principles higher than the supposed ethical principles upon which such “higher causes” are based.

    Thanks for clarifying though. I wasn’t trying to suggest that you were agreeing with euthanasia per se. I don’t know. But I’m glad you clarified this.

  18. I recently watched the Ken Burns civil war docu.
    it confirmed to me what is the issue about killing humasn beings.

    Its about whether we can kill a human being and send them to their eternity for reasons other then saving other human beings from being killed.

    In short God has a higher standard for finding us guilty of murder then we do.
    We kill for less important reasons.
    This in Gods eyes is murder.

    Our value is as made in gods image. One could only kill that image to stop it killing another image.
    one can not say one is innocent because of no malice in ones heart.
    the soldier can’t say I’M not a murderer because theres no malice in his heart when he shoots another soldier under national orders but ignorant of the reasons.

    Bank robbers can’t FAIR AND SQUARE shoot chasing policeman and say its self defence or no malicious intent was in their heart and so they are not murderers.

    only self defence from being killed justifys killing someone save in punishment for a successful murder.
    This would cover actions for most of our wars.
    Not Vietnam or Iraq or Libya.
    It would cover the revolutionary war and civil war for the North.
    It would of eliminated most wars on earth.
    This is for man but not God.

  19. Bruce David as to:

    who we actually are is something other than our bodies, something immortal.

    Though atheists have long denied that there is anything eternal, and transcendent (a soul), within man, there is now a strong case to be made, from the scientific evidence we now have in hand, that each man does indeed have a unique eternal soul that lives forever in a higher timeless/eternal dimension. i.e. there is a mysterious ‘higher dimensional’ component to life:

    notes:

    The predominance of quarter-power (4-D) scaling in biology
    Excerpt: Many fundamental characteristics of organisms scale
    with body size as power laws of the form:

    Y = Yo M^b,

    where Y is some characteristic such as metabolic rate, stride length or life span, Yo is a normalization constant, M is body mass and b is the allometric scaling exponent.
    A longstanding puzzle in biology is why the exponent b is usually some simple multiple of 1/4 (4-Dimensional scaling) rather than a multiple of 1/3, as would be expected from Euclidean (3-Dimensional) scaling.
    http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/~dre.....18_257.pdf

    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.,,, The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection.” Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79

    4-Dimensional Quarter Power Scaling In Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5964041/

    Though Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini rightly find it inexplicable for ‘random’ Natural Selection to be the rational explanation for the scaling of the physiology, and anatomy, of living things to four-dimensional parameters, they do not seem to fully realize the implications this ‘four dimensional scaling’ of living things presents. This 4-D scaling is something we should rightly expect from a Intelligent Design perspective. This is because Intelligent Design holds that ‘higher dimensional transcendent information’ is more foundational to life, and even to the universe itself, than either matter or energy are. This higher dimensional ‘expectation’ for life, from a Intelligent Design perspective, is directly opposed to the expectation of the Darwinian framework, which holds that information, and indeed even the essence of life itself, is merely an ‘emergent’ property of the 3-D material realm.

    Indeed this ‘transcendent’ component to life is found to be required from a thermodynamic perspective:

    Information and entropy – top-down or bottom-up development in living systems? A.C. McINTOSH
    Excerpt: This paper highlights the distinctive and non-material nature of information and its relationship with matter, energy and natural forces. It is proposed in conclusion that it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.
    http://journals.witpress.com/paperinfo.asp?pid=420

    And this transcendent component has indeed now been found within life.,,, Quantum Action confirmed in DNA by direct empirical research;

    DNA Can Discern Between Two Quantum States, Research Shows – June 2011
    Excerpt: — DNA — can discern between quantum states known as spin. – The researchers fabricated self-assembling, single layers of DNA attached to a gold substrate. They then exposed the DNA to mixed groups of electrons with both directions of spin. Indeed, the team’s results surpassed expectations: The biological molecules reacted strongly with the electrons carrying one of those spins, and hardly at all with the others. The longer the molecule, the more efficient it was at choosing electrons with the desired spin, while single strands and damaged bits of DNA did not exhibit this property.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....104014.htm

    Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8AQgqFqiRQwyaF8t1_CKTPQ9duN8FHU9-pV4oBDOVs/edit?hl=en_US

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    It is very interesting to note that quantum entanglement, which conclusively demonstrates that ‘information’ in its pure ‘quantum form’ is completely transcendent of any time and space constraints, should be found in molecular biology on such a massive scale, for how can the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ in biology possibly be explained by a material (matter/energy) ’cause’ when the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ falsified material particles as its own ‘causation’ in the first place? (A. Aspect) Appealing to the probability of various configurations of material particles, as Darwinism does, simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the capacity of the material particles themselves to supply! To give a coherent explanation for an effect that is shown to be completely independent of any time and space constraints one is forced to appeal to a cause that is itself not limited to time and space! i.e. Put more simply, you cannot explain a effect by a cause that has been falsified by the very same effect you are seeking to explain! Improbability arguments of various ‘special’ configurations of material particles, which have been a staple of the arguments against neo-Darwinism, simply do not apply since the cause is not within the material particles in the first place! Yet it is also very interesting to note, in Darwinism’s inability to explain this ‘transcendent quantum effect’ adequately, that Theism has always postulated a transcendent component to man that is not constrained by time and space. i.e. Theism has always postulated a ‘eternal soul’ for man that lives past the death of the body.

    Genesis 2:7
    “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

    Further notes:

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Steve Talbott
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....onsequence

  20. Further note:

    Mathematically, it is shown that the transcendent quantum information within us is of a superior quality, of a ‘higher dimensionality’, than the higher dimensional 4-dimensional space-time we currently reside in:

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

    3D to 4D shift – Carl Sagan – video with notes
    Excerpt from Notes: The state-space of quantum mechanics is an infinite-dimensional function space. Some physical theories are also by nature high-dimensional, such as the 4-dimensional general relativity.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VS1mwEV9wA

    On the Mystery, and Plasticity, Of 4-Dimensional Space-Time
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FFKL3FeyebpNNyal1DQ64y20zlplVrjkaLXrM0P5ES4/edit?hl=en_US

    It is also very interesting to note that we have two very different qualities of ‘eternality of time’ revealed by our time dilation experiments;

    Time Dilation – General and Special Relativity – Chuck Missler – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/7013215/

    Time dilation
    Excerpt: Time dilation: special vs. general theories of relativity:
    In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, time dilation in these two circumstances can be summarized:
    1. –In special relativity (or, hypothetically far from all gravitational mass), clocks that are moving with respect to an inertial system of observation are measured to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer accelerating, hypothetically, to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop).
    2.–In general relativity, clocks at lower potentials in a gravitational field—such as in closer proximity to a planet—are found to be running slower.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

    i.e. As with any observer accelerating to the speed of light, it is found that for any observer falling into the event horizon of a black hole, that time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop for them. — But of particular interest to the ‘eternal framework’ found for General Relativity at black holes;… It is also interesting to note that entropic decay (Randomness), which is the primary reason why things grow old and eventually die in this universe, is found to be greatest at black holes. Thus the ‘eternality of time’ found at black holes can rightly be called ‘eternalities of decay and/or eternalities of destruction’.

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?
    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”

    i.e. Black Holes are found to be ‘timeless’ singularities of destruction and disorder rather than singularities of creation and order such as the extreme order we see at the creation event of the Big Bang. Needless to say the implications of this ‘eternality of destruction’ should be fairly disturbing for those of us who are of the ‘spiritually’ minded persuasion!

    verse and music

    Matthew 10:28
    “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    Casting Crowns – Voice Of Truth –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwsvqVmFV6Y

  21. Nobody seems to have responded to myname’s point, so let’s revisit it. On July 20, 1944, plotters set off a bomb inside Hitler’s headquarters. The bomb failed to kill Hitler, but had it succeeded it would have been murder. I’d say that it would have also related in a large net increase in pleasure as the whole non-axis world celebrated.

    As myname asked, would this murder have been an unethical thing to do? If not we need an explanation why.

  22. Again if justice is good and the genocide was just- not that Nick could grasp that simple fact…

  23. dmullenix:

    “Nobody seems to have responded to myname’s point, so let’s revisit it. On July 20, 1944, plotters set off a bomb inside Hitler’s headquarters. The bomb failed to kill Hitler, but had it succeeded it would have been murder. I’d say that it would have also related in a large net increase in pleasure as the whole non-axis world celebrated.”
    ====

    Here’s how it’s been explained to me. I have asked in the past just why the 60,000,000,000+ citizens(taken from a 1926 German Census of those in Germany identifying them selves as Christian- 40%=Catholic -60%=Evangelical) put the man Adolf Hitler in power in the very first place when they knew he never once hid his racist agenda to the public.

    Now the Christendom participation in the war effort was put to me this way. They’ll reference the one of the ten commandments where is says, “Thou shallt not murder” , but then proceed to say it speaks nothing of killing anyone. So in their minds murder and killing are two separate issues. Clearly from what I gather, they would consider the attempted killing of Hitler justified since it wouldn’t be considered a murder. Don’t ask me to explain the logic here. I can’t. But you’ll have to ask one of those who reason this way.

    To be further honest, these same individuals who attempted to assainate Hitler didn’t ever once consider killing Hitler when their side was winning(like after France’s unconditional surrender), but only after it was apparent that the Allies turned the tables and were winning and they thought they could spare themselves some further grief by suing for peace.

  24. Is all killing equal to murder?

    If I kill someone in self-defense is that murder?

  25. Joseph:

    “Is all killing equal to murder?”

    “If I kill someone in self-defense is that murder?”
    =====

    Who were those 60+ Millions of German citizens self-defending themselves against before or even at the beginning of WWII ??? If Hitler used Social Darwinism to justify his racial views(I believe he did), then why on Earth did 60+ million Christians(40% Catholic/60% Evangelical) put him in power to begin with ???

    I’m not justifying another side here, just asking questions that should have been asked by the folks who could/should have made a real difference way back when!

  26. Eocene-

    The way they saw it they were defending themselves against the people who were ruining their country- and the Germans were desperate at the time…

  27. Perhaps there are other ethical principles higher than the supposed ethical principles upon which such “higher causes” are based.

    But what do you mean by “higher” and on what criteria do you decide one principle is higher than another?

  28. That’s a very good question. Thinking about it, even organizations who require certain ethical considerations (which would be most legal ones) have dilemmas they must overcome. Usually they have certain policies that are above others when such dilemmas occur.

    In law:

    We have laws against murder, but the law protects us if we kill someone out of self-defense. So morality as far as the law is concerned is circumstantial, and being circumstantial, there’s a heirarchy, which dictates what is lawful. It’s not simply “this person committed this act and this is the punishment.” Also there are degrees of sentence in our laws. There’s misdemeanors and felonies, and sometimes 2 people who commit the same crime could be charged differently depending on the circumstances of the crime. If I kill someone in one state only, then it’s a state or local crime. If I kill people in several different states it becomes a federal crime with stiffer penalties.

    If I kill a police officer or government official, it’s more serious than if I kill someone other.

    Personal morality:

    I’m of the belief that I should love people. This means that I honor my parents and I trust the judgment of those in my family (conditionally).

    But it doesn’t mean that I must trust every stranger who comes along out of love.

    I believe in giving money to charities. I don’t give money to every person who walks up to me. I simply couldn’t do it and survive (you have to understand where I live to appreciate it – as everywhere I go there’s someone who needs money). So I have to make a decision when people ask for money, and sometimes that decision might be the wrong one; but generally I can tell the difference (now) between a person who’s desperate and a person who does it for a living. The people who do it for a living won’t accept other non-money involved help, while the people who are desperate will take any help they can get. Those are the ones I will help either with money or a ride somewhere, or extra clothing or whatnot.

    These are the best I could come up with, but I’m sure there are plenty more.

    But I live by something that is above ethical considerations (which keeps me within whatever ethics or laws are in place), and that is the Shema. “Hear O Israel….” I’m not Jewish, but it applies to Christians as well. I’m not perfect at it and neither is anyone else, but I believe that it is a safeguard against corruption. And the other item that keeps me reminded about what is right is Galatians 5:22-23 where it talks about the 9 fruit of the spirit, which have no law against them.

    So the highest principle is that which is closest to that which is perfect.

    BTW, the fruit of the Spirit, which means what grows out of a certain attitude of the heart are: love, joy, peace, forbearance, Kindness, goodness, gentleness faithfulness and self-control.

    I can hardly see how these combined could be the heart attitude of anyone who justifies religiously based slaughter of the kind you mentioned. Those people either were ignorant of these passages or they forgot who they were, or something worse – wolves in sheeps’ clothing, but that goes without saying.

    And these particular words were written by a former religious persecutor, Paul the Apostle. A man who literally had a change of heart. I think he knew how one can justify atrocities in the name of religion. I also believe he came to understand the principles by which they can be avoided. And I think you will also notice that they are not so much principles as attitudes of the heart.

  29. And I think you will also notice that they are not so much principles as attitudes of the heart.

    And as you can see I am just fine with attitudes of the heart. But the person who refuses to offer an overdose of morphine to hasten the end of someone who is dying in agony seems to me to is not putting aside an “attitude of the heart” because of a rule they were told or read in a book.

  30. Let me try that again ….

    And I think you will also notice that they are not so much principles as attitudes of the heart.

    And as you can see I am just fine with “attitudes of the heart”. But the person who refuses to offer an overdose of morphine to hasten the end of someone who is dying in agony, is, it seems to me, putting aside an “attitude of the heart” because of a rule they were told or read in a book.

  31. I don’t think it’s true to say no-one considered killing Hitler as long as Germany was winning. Consider for example Georg Elser‘s attempt in 1939.

    Also, it’s a little harsh giving the whole population the blame when he only won 30% of the vote.

  32. I think someone has mentioned this before, but it is interesting that you consider genocide could be just. Can you provide an example of a just genocide?

  33. If the people are just too far gone to be dealt with in any other way, then it would be just.

    As I said God was going to kill ALL humans because He said it would be just…

  34. So you agree that God killing all humans could be just?

  35. Timbo,

    -”So you agree that God killing all humans could be just?”

    If ALL of humanity had stepped past the (as TVtropes calls it) the “Moral Event Horizon” then yeah, God killing everybody would be just.

    Thankfully, that hasn’t happened. Even when/if the flood came there were still at least eight left considered to be decent.

    - Sonfaro

  36. How many unborn babies still in their mother’s wombs do you suppose God killed in the Flood? Must have been in the tens of thousands at least.

    Seems like that makes the Christian God the world’s most deadly abortionist. But I’m sure those unborn babies had it coming.

  37. Well its certainly not like they were human right? I thought you were okay with abortion. Geez.

    ;)

    Anyway, as far as I remember, the Christian position was/is that the unborn are heaven bound anyway. If the adults were all evil wicked people who required judgement, who’d stick around to take care of the kids? The goats? -_- They’d have wandered around and died a far more painful death.

    Of course this assumes that the Bible is inerrant and that it happened as written. I’m far more agnostic on that.

  38. First the terms used for religion are Catholic and protestant. The evangelical term here is not true evangelicals but only protestants in the usual disinterested way.
    I’m sure Evangelical christians in Germany were a tiny percentageof 1-3%.
    Naughty , naughty with terms.

    Its not murder to kill people tryng to murder.
    One can shoot in the back the opposing General while petting his dog on break.
    He’s taking your peoples lives, with effect, in a unjustified way.
    its murder to kill the good guy General.

    War and killing comes down to the equation of whether the killing is justified solely because they otherwise would murder human beings.

    You have to figure out before the killing starts who is the good guy.
    The bad guy will be a murderer regardless of any personal malice in his heart.

    There were no good japanese, Germans, italians etc etc.
    unless they sincerely believe they were killing only to preserve their lives.
    Its simple.
    the stuff of stories.

  39. Incredible, you just condemned your own faith and any credibility of all of Christendom being different from atheists , agnostics or all of pagandom.

    In 1941, I remember reading a quote from the high Reverend of the Evangelical Church of Mainz Germany who was giving a moving public prayer to the faithful. It was immediately after France surrendered unconditionally to Nazi Germany in that infamous restored railroad passenger car outside of Paris.

    In prayer the Reverend thanked almighty God for sending Adolf Hitler to save Germany. What do you think Jesus Christ was thinking at that moment ??? Especially when he taught Peter an object lesson of pacifism in the Garden of Gethsemane where he said, “All who live by the sword shall die by the sword.” Matthew 26:52

    This was nothing more than a whitewashed “Gott Mit Uns” excuse, which by the way was on a number of uniforms and military metals and other Nazi emblems.

  40. Well, this certainly explains the present chaos the world finds itself in. This is alsi illustrative of the United States global action of spreading it’s own version of “Pax Americana” on other nations who boldly object to it’s own version of National Interests. Anyone ever watch the film staring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek called “Missing” ??? Jack Lemmon played this die hard God & Country love it or leveave it father who had been at odds with his conscientious son.

    One day his idealistic writer Son disappears during the Right Wing military coup in 1973 Chile, his wife(Sissy Spacek) and American businessman father(Jack Lemmon) try to find him.

    Based on the real-life experiences of Ed Horman, this is the story of an American father of conservative background who comes to a South American country to search for his missing son, a journalist. Ed joins with his daughter-in-law Beth, who like her husband is politically polarized from the father, in prying through the bureaucracy and dangerous political intrigue in search of their son and husband. Little by little, the father comes to realize that his own beloved government is not telling him the truth. In the end, Jack Lemmon playing the father is told by a spokesman at the U.S. Embassy that what America is trying to accomplish around the globe is to the preserving of a lifestyle. So sometimes that requires looking the other way.

    What more can anyone say!

    *sigh*

  41. Bornagain77:

    Re: Your very last quote (Matthew 10:28) and the accompanying YouTube video:

    The video is very interesting. The refrain is “The Voice of Truth”. The singer does not say from whence that voice originates, but it is pretty clear that it is saying to him that you find truth in the Bible.

    Well, I hear a voice of Truth also, and it tells me that I have absolutely nothing to fear from God, for several reasons:

    1. God loves me unconditionally. There is never anything to fear from unconditional love. It’s really that simple.

    2. God created me out of Himself. We are each of us Him, individualized and localized, made in His image and likeness. What possible purpose could be served by His destroying or harming a part of Himself?

    3. God is the self sufficient being. Therefore, He has no needs. So the idea that He needs us to behave in any particular way is self-contradictory.

    4. What possible purpose could such a place as Hell serve an unconditionally loving being?

    The Bible, insofar as it portrays God as judgmental, condemning, and punitive, is incorrect. That vision of God is a reflection of imperfect understanding by those who wrote the books that have been incorporated into it. Insofar as it portrays us as separate from Him, the Bible is incorrect in that regard as well. Insofar as the Bible portrays humans as miserable sinners, unfit to be in His presence instead of the magnificent beings (made in His image and likeness, don’t forget) that we are, it is incorrect. For these reasons I believe that Christianity is in serious need of a revision of its beliefs. It is time, past time really, for an infusion of new understandings into Christianity (and the other major religions as well).

  42. I believe Christianity is doing quite well and it is Bruce David who is in serious need of revision of his beliefs.

  43. Yeah, well, Darwinists believe that Darwinism is doing quite well also. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  44. Bruce, If you feel that you are able to face the perfection required of God’s judgement on your own merit without the propitiation offered freely by Christ, you are simply living in denial as all the Darwinists are with their materialistic philosophy. But then again, are you not the pantheist who denied the existence of evil, all together!!! and moreover don’t you believe that your god created himself in the big bang or something to that effect, since you believe, in your pantheism, that all is god, and all is good, or some tripe like that??? No thanks for you request for me to revise!!!, I’m starting to remember that you were the one shown to be without a foundation 7 ways to Sunday, by numerous UD commentators, and still, much like neo-Darwinists who comment on UD, you refused to concede the irrational basis of your beliefs compared to how reality is actually structured!!!; Perhaps you would do very well to humbly let God be God, instead of demanding that the creation of God is god as you do in your pantheistic beliefs!!!

    Erasing Hell by Francis Chan
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnrJVTSYLr8

    G.O.S.P.E.L. Poetry Slam; To The Point
    http://vimeo.com/20960385

  45. Bruce, Billy Graham has a recent article out!

    Nearing Home: How To Live One’s Latter Years And The Reality of Heaven
    Excerpt: Soon I will celebrate my 93rd birthday, and I know it won’t be long before God calls me home to heaven.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....se#s277965

  46. Sonfaro, so why do Christians object to abortion? If the unborn are going to heaven (which by all accounts is better than life down here) should not the abortionists be upheld as saints?

  47. “And as you can see I am just fine with “attitudes of the heart”. But the person who refuses to offer an overdose of morphine to hasten the end of someone who is dying in agony, is, it seems to me, putting aside an “attitude of the heart” because of a rule they were told or read in a book.”

    It’s called a hippocratic oath, and it prevents doctors from nilly-willy killing people – with the exception of abortion doctors, of course, but they ain’t really docs.

    Seriously though, the decision to end someone’s life should not be in the hands of healthcare workers. I can see (legally) if someone’s been in a coma and has signed a DNR, but when you give them that power all sorts of abuses can occur other than simply putting someone out of their misery. There are no easy answers to this, but I think you will find that many health-care workers and most doctors do not want that responsibility. That’s why they have DNR’s, but In my view even that’s going a bit too far. Some people have survived comas up to several years.

    You can almost bet that if infanticide (of the Kevorkian kind) were legalized we would find a lot of cases of murder by injection or pulling the plug. Do we want that kind of society?

    Furthermore, there’s a lot of research regarding pain management for people who are suffering. That research is being done because of people who care about people who are suffering but do not agree with the alternative you’re suggesting. The results have even helped those who are not immediately dying. If we had enacted laws like you seem to be suggesting, much of that research might have come to an end or never begun, because people would have taken the easy way out; just like people take the easy way out with the number of abortions every year in this country; which is astronomical.

    The best policy is respect for human life. Ease peoples’ suffering as much as you can and make them as comfortable as you can when their time comes. I firmly believe that and I don’t think it’s heartless, as I believe most healthcare workers – especially those who work in intensive care and cancer wards would agree. I worked in healthcare for a number of years, and it’s not an occupation centered on death, but on life and ease of suffering.

    I understand your views and why you have them, but it’s not as simple as you make it sound.

  48. Correction: A DNR is not likely to apply to someone in a coma.

  49. Bornagain: “Bruce, If you feel that you are able to face the perfection required of God’s judgement on your own merit without the propitiation offered freely by Christ, you are simply living in denial…”

    You’re right. I deny that an unconditionally loving being, God or anyone else, will ever judge, condemn, or punish. To do so would contradict the unconditional love. You have never answered that argument, namely that unconditional love on the one hand and judgement, condemnation, and punishment on the other are mutually exclusive. And since we all agree that God’s love is unconditional, ergo, it is logically impossible for Him to punish anyone. (Note: this does not preclude consequences for actions, but consequences that are consistent with unconditional love do not include any kind of punishment, and certainly not eternal damnation.)

    This, by the way, is very good news. I’m telling you that God actually LOVES us. Not some half baked, I’ll love you as long as you do what I want you to kind of love, but real love, love that doesn’t quit, love that’s there no matter what. We actually have nothing to fear from God! Isn’t that spectacularly exciting?!

  50. CY – the last thing I want to do is simplify. I am all for laws and other pragmatic rules which are judged on their consequences. What I am against is rigid rules that are followed because they are the rules. The rules should be judged on (our best estimate of) their results, and the results should be judged on our “attitude of the heart” towards those results.

    Wrt to the decision to hasten the end of the terminally ill. There are many different circumstances and I am not at all sure that it is possible to devise a law or principle which covers them satisfactorily. Of course most healthcare workers are focussed on life and ease of suffering. But people do get into situations where they are in pain and want to die. Pragmatically for most doctors round the world pain killers mean morphine and a high dose will hasten the patient’s death. The decision has to be made. To hold back on the morphine is to lengthen the period of pain – often against the patient’s wishes.

    In some circumstances, I would be furious with someone who objected to the extra morphine on some theoretical moral principle (as opposed to pragmatic consequences).

  51. Bruce, no matter how much you may want to believe pantheism to be true, and no matter how much you imagine God to be evil for permanently separating the evil from the good (the wheat from the chafe), pantheism is simply absurd on several levels. From a purely scientific point of view, your philosophy does not even make it to first base with me since if failed to postulate the beginning of the universe!!! If your philosophy is/was so spectacularly wrong about how reality came to be in the first place, just as materialism was/is, why in blue blazes do you even give it the time of day as to anything else???

  52. Bornagain:

    I’ll take your points in order.

    1. I do not imagine God to be evil. I am merely pointing out that a God (or anyone) who loves unconditionally does not punish. Period. Rather than imagining Him to be evil, I in fact imagine God to be unconditionally loving. You actually do not.

    2. Based on what you have stated elsewhere, you appear to believe that this separation of the “wheat from the chafe” is entirely on the basis of whether or not one has accepted Christ as one’s personal savior. Therefore, your statement amounts to a belief that “good” people are those who have accepted Christ, and “evil” people are those who have not. It’s an odd definition of good and evil, to say the least.

    3. There is nothing in my version of pantheism that denies a beginning in time to the Universe. What I do believe is that God, who in His transcendent aspect is eternal and timeless, continually creates everything that exists out of Himself in the eternal Now, including our sense of time. The physical universe and all its properties, including the Big Bang, are manifestations of the operation of the Mind of God.

    4. You still pointedly refuse to grapple with my contention that unconditional love is incompatible with judgement, condemnation, and punishment. Instead, you deflect the conversation to the question of pantheism. This stratagem also reminds me of Darwinist debate tactics.

    5. In any case, I am under no illusion that anything I write will move you off your position regarding the truth of Christian dogma as you understand it. I write in hopes that at least one person might be moved by my words to open themselves to the possibility that their religion, whatever it is, might not have the final answers to all questions, that perhaps there is something they don’t know, the knowing of which could change everything.

    I hope to open people to new spiritual possibilities. I do this because I look around me at the world as it is, and I notice that the world’s religions have collectively failed to create a world of peace, harmony, and love, and in fact have contributed significantly to the disharmony, pain, suffering, and killing that exist on the planet. I am convinced that this is a reflection of beliefs found in all religions, beliefs such as that we are separate from each other and from God, that “my” religion is the one true religion, that God punishes those who do not believe in the beliefs of “my” religion (so therefore I may do the same with impunity), and others. Further, I notice that for the first time in history, we have the technological capacity to destroy ourselves and our planet as we know it. Therefore, I believe that new spiritual understandings are essential if we wish to preserve this beautiful planet and therefore survive as a race.

  53. Hi everyone,

    Just a couple of quick comments.

    1. Dmullenix: I don’t think that killing a tyrant qualifies as murder, if that’s the only way to get rid of him. I’d call that defense of innocent human life against a killer. So I don’t have any problems with what Claus von Stauffenberg did – although some might argue that he should have acted sooner. FYI:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....misgivings

    2. Bruce David: I’m afraid I don’t share your intuition that loving someone unconditionally is incompatible with punishing them. What I will say is that certain kinds of punishment are incompatible with unconditional love. Which kinds? Now that’s an interesting question.

  54. NOPE. Your just saying protestants are the same . tHe word evangelical segregates. it segregates greatly people of the true faith from regular church going people regardless of titles.
    very few evangelicals existed in germany then. it was a secular society just as today.
    Everyone protestant probably had the word evangelical as a historical identity thing.
    Yet its not the real mccoy whatsoever.
    In fact Evangelicals anywhere are always been at best 10% of the population unless early America had more. Probably not.

    the Lutherans and cAtholics in nazi germany were people not influenced by religion. Just as today its a minority of Evangelicals and Catholics who actually believe our stuff and live it out.
    Watch your species.

  55. Well then, how about an infinite amount of horrendous punishment (an eternity in Hell) in response to a finite amount of “sin” (what a person does of a sinful nature in their lifetime)? Does that sound like unconditional love to you?

  56. My last comment was addressed to vjtorley. I thought I clicked the button that would put it subordinate to #16. Oh well.

  57. 57

    That sounds like Assyrian, Babylonian, and Greek mythology which was eventually superimposed upon Judeo-Christian beliefs right around the same time they started adopting all their festivals (and putting on those giant hats.)
    If a parent punished their child by placing his hand on a hot stove for even a second, we would regard that, not as loving, but as cruel and sick. It doesn’t follow that God would implant that in our conscience and then do far worse to the same child after he dies.
    Such ideas are not in the Bible. They contradict it.

  58. Bruce you state:

    ‘There is nothing in my version of pantheism that denies a beginning in time to the Universe.’

    That’s just it Bruce ‘your pantheism’ is merely post hoc philosophical rationalization that did not a priori predict what has been found by science for the transcendent origin of the universe, thus, much like my disdain for materialistic rationalizations involving multiverses etc.., I find your philosophy completely inadequate scientifically since it dares not put itself in a place of falsification, by making a solid scientific prediction beforehand, such as the transcendent origin of the universe, and yet has the audacity to claim that it can explain everything. i.e. It is simply pathetic rationalizations parading as hard truth and nothing more as far as I am concerned!!!

  59. Yes, it does. The full truth is that love is inseparable from justice. Another side of the problem of sin is that sin is not only an outward act, it is also a state of our being. So hell, also being a state, is a logical consequence of the state of sin. In fact, our experience of sin is an experience of hell to varying degrees depending on how serious is the sin committed. The theology of love in the aspect of eternal punishment can be found in the works of the Fathers of the Church, notably of St Isaac the Syrian. According to him, sinners will be punished by the same fire as the one in which the righteous will be enjoying, i.e. God’s grace. This can be likened to gold and dross, separated by the same melting fire: the same fire cleanses the first and gets rid of the second.

    If you are really interested to learn about this theological problem, St Isaac’s writings are a place to start.

  60. 60

    Actually, in the Bible, “Hell”, a.k.a. Sheol, Hades, is just an expression that refers to being dead, in the grave.
    Note that Ecclesiastes 9:10, Solomon indicates that everyone who reads the verse is going there. In Genesis 37, when Jacob thinks that Joseph is dead, he believes that Joseph is in Hell and that he himself will also go there when he dies. Jacob had no reason to think that either he or Joseph were deserving of any particular punishment. They would simply die like all sinful men.

    It’s just a figurative expression. All the fancy meanings we hear today were added later.

  61. Scott,

    The Orthodox Christian tradition teaches differently. As this is not a theological blog, I’ll just point out the difference without too much arguing. Sheol before and after Christ’s Resurrection are different things and eternal punishment is real. Before the Redemption, all souls went there as you rightly point out. After the Resurrection it is no longer the case. However, the responsibility of sinners after Christ’s Sacrifice is much higher. The teaching of eternal punishment is strictly Biblical (cf. e.g. the book of Apocalypse, Christ’s own words in the Gospel about the worm that never dies and fire that never goes out).

  62. Eugene S:

    Scott,

    “The Orthodox Christian tradition teaches differently.”
    ====

    No doubt about it. The apostacy of the 2nd century onwards was more of a political coup more than religious. Whatever group formed the religious Christian thought well long after the death of the Apostles(I’m assuming it was the infant birth of the Holy Roman Empire created in the beginning by Constantine) adopted as a means of control over what was left of ancient pagan Rome by fusing both pagan and Christian ideas to hold together what was left of the empire. Therefore adopting this pagan concept of the hellfire doctrine fit in perfectly to rule the ignorant with fear. Still a tool that is often useful today in various goverments. Even in the Atheistic countries of Soviet Union and Peoples Republic of China , etc, the use of convert or die by the sword in whatever form the threat has always been persuasive in achieving goals.
    —-

    Eugene S:

    “As this is not a theological blog,”
    ====

    Well yes it’s not a Theological blog, but it does border on such. BA77′s posts bare this out. However, I’m beginning to believe it has more to do with politics and ideological issues, just as do the Evolutionists blogs and websites across the Net.
    —-

    Eugene S:

    “I’ll just point out the difference without too much arguing. Sheol before and after Christ’s Resurrection are different things and eternal punishment is real.”
    ====

    Not true. The Hebrew ‘sheol’ is identical to the Greek word ‘hades’ as evidenced by New Testament quotings of Hebrew scriptural texts in which the word ‘sheol’ is used. The problem is the average Christian today will not take the time to look up original meanings when traditional beliefs held dear for centuries are more favourable when dealing with one’s opponants. They’ve(Laymen) been trained very well not to think for themselves and allow all religious clergy to do their religious thinking and study for them. In the end it offers nothing of value other than further distancing others from any arrival at the truth of a matter. Such as setting up road blocks here in any hopes of intelligent discussion of natural wonders.
    —-

    Eugene S:

    “The teaching of eternal punishment is strictly Biblical (cf. e.g. the book of Apocalypse, Christ’s own words in the Gospel about the worm that never dies and fire that never goes out).
    ====

    There is no argument about the punishment being eternal. But the punishment as the Bible at Romans 5:12 & 23 says it is death that is the penalty, not Hell. There is no logical reason to torment and suffer someone for all eternity, except from the imaginative corrupt and hideous reasonings and wishes of a wicked Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. Take the case of William Tyndale for example. What possible horrible reasons could the Clergy of that time have justified burning this wonderful man at the stake ??? What we find is an ecclesiastical hierachy not so much as having the mind of Christ as they do Satan.

    I would say that the scriptural reference at John 8:44 applies to these same ones who accuse God of such terrible deeds as only a Devil and wicked humans could reason up for their own selfish purpose.

    John 8:44

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    (44) “You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false.”

  63. Eocene is dead on.

    God told Adam that if he sinned he would die. After Adam sinned he told him that he would return to the dust. Moses wrote Genesis so that would have been his understanding. Jacob expected to go to Hell.

    That’s awfully misleading, telling people that they would return to the dust and then surprising them with eternal agony.

    Paul said that both the good and the bad would be resurrected.

    Jesus spoke of a fire that never goes out – exactly that fire existed in the valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) outside of Jerusalem. They never threw in living people. They threw the dead bodies of criminals there without a burial. This was a contrast to Jesus’ statement that all in the memorial graves would hear his voice and rise again. It meant a one-way trip.

    Similar symbolism is used in Revelation 20, a lake of fire that burns forever. Death is thrown into the fire, as well as a figurative “wild beast,” so it is clearly figurative. Hell is thrown into it, so it cannot be Hell. It says those in Hell come out.

    That’s a pretty clear picture. Add to that the fact that eternal hellfire is incompatible with God’s personality and justice, and that it has long been a teaching of pagan religions, and it becomes obvious that it is not a Bible teaching.

  64. Scott, Eocene,

    The only other thing I will say is that I agree on this with Sts John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian, Basil the Great and a host of other Christian saints :)

  65. 65

    Eugene S,

    I’m with you – I don’t like debating this stuff on the internet. So I’m going to stop too.

    That being said :) none of those saints are in the Bible either. (That may elicit a rebuttal. I’ll let your response be the last word.)

  66. Bornagain:

    You’re confusing science and philosophy. The ability to make a “scientific prediction beforehand” has never been a requirement for a philosophical system. Philosophies are judged on the basis of their explanatory power, their internal consistency, and whether any known phenomena, facts, or experience contradict them, not on their ability to make predictions. My own philosophy is the product of decades of study, exploration of ideas, spiritual journeying, and pondering all of this deeply. It is the best explanation I have found so far for ALL of my experience and knowledge.

    And frankly, I really don’t much care whether you find it adequate or not. As I said above, I am under no illusion that anything I write will move you off of your obviously entrenched philosophical/religious position.

  67. Bruce, you are completely twisted in your thinking, let’s correct your paragraph to show others where you twist stuff:

    You’re confusing demanding integrity between science and philosophy. The ability to make a “scientific prediction beforehand” has never always been a requirement for a coherent philosophical system. Philosophies are judged on the basis of their explanatory power, their internal consistency, and whether any known phenomena, facts, or experience contradict them, not especially on their ability to make accurate predictions about reality. My own philosophy (which I have personally molded to fit any evidence that originally countered it) is the product of decades of study rationalizations, exploration ignoring of contrary ideas, spiritual journeying idol making of a god of my own choosing (which when you die just so happens to conveniently become you), and pondering swallowing hook, line, and sinker all of this deeply. It is the best explanation I have found made up out of my imagination so far for ALL of my experience and knowledge.

    And frankly, I really don’t much care whether you find it adequate or not, because I’m going to believe what I want to be true instead of the actual truth. As I said above, I am under no a illusion that anything I write will be true no matter what evidence comes to light move you off of your obviously entrenched philosophical/religious position.

    Music, verse and video:

    Liar – Three Dog Night (Studio Recording)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a50_nJj699s

    Ephesians 5:6
    Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

    23 MINUTES IN HELL (DVD full length video) by Bill Wiese Testimony of hell, 23 questions about hell
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv8pLUMDVRc

  68. 68

    BA77,

    Requiring philosophy to make scientific predictions redefines philosophy as science.
    It always calls to mind Plato reasoning on the immortality of the soul. It’s among the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. He begins with a vague, meaningless axiom (‘If a thing comes to be and comes from its opposite, it can only come from its opposite’) and makes a far-reaching application (‘The souls of the living must come from the dead.’) From where does he determine that there is even a separate ‘soul’ to be immortal or otherwise? Why would he or anyone else trust such a conclusion to be accurate?

    It’s like something the short guy from The Princess Bride would say when he’s trying to figure out which cup is poisoned. (I think that very disconnect between so-called higher reasoning and reality is exactly what was being mocked.)

    That’s a tangent. I don’t mean to bash philosophy as a concept, since it means a lot to some people. But often as not it seems to go down such bizarre paths, or leads to discussions of knowledge about knowledge about knowledge, which are never as useful as the the knowledge the knowledge is about is about.

    Philosophy means “love of wisdom,” but in practice it means “the art of opinion about important things.” It’s harmless as long we recognize that.

  69. 69

    And in the context, I especially don’t mean that against Bruce’s personal philosophy. We all form a personal way of understanding reality. Some of us just do it more consciously.

  70. ScottAndrews2 you state;

    Requiring philosophy to make scientific predictions redefines philosophy as science.

    Not exactly, it just grounds philosophy to rigid accountability so that we may discern which philosophy is true. A rigid accountability, which you duly noted, is severely lacking in many philosophical circles. In fact I used it in the following article to, in my very rough manner, separate materialism from theism:

    Materialism compared to Theism within the scientific method:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc....._5fwz42dg9

    verse, video, and music;

    Colossians 2:8
    See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

    Woman Attempts Suicide Went to Hell, Then To Heaven and Survived –
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=KDPPZ7NX

    Kingdom Of God Vs. Kingdom Of Darkness
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4060606

    Skillet – Awake and Alive” –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw20o0gOorI

    Creed – Bullet
    http://www.youtube.com/v/KtCHF.....autoplay=1

  71. corrected link:

    Skillet – Awake and Alive
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aJUnltwsqs

  72. As well, since we are considering the poverty of any other philosophy, compared to our Judeo-Christian heritage, to make successful predictions of the scientific evidence we have now found, I think it is very fitting to point out that Judeo-Christianity was the only philosophy to successfully give birth to sustained scientific development in the first place:

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    Christianity Is a Science-Starter, Not a Science-Stopper By Nancy Pearcey
    http://www.pearceyreport.com/a.....post_4.php

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video
    http://vimeo.com/16523153

    Christianity and The Birth of Science – Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
    Excerpt: Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity – Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe’s materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin’s assumptions, you don’t have a case of “closet atheists.”
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

  73. Eugene S:

    “Scott, Eocene,

    The only other thing I will say is that I agree on this with Sts John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian, Basil the Great and a host of other Christian saints”
    ====

    Well of course when you state this with confidence, I believe you.
    However, rather than believe any eccesiastical hierarchy run by imperfect man, I’ve always trusted what the bible itself says and how it defines itself by comparing the context with the help of good Hebrew and Greek Lexicons and independent unbiased Bible dictionaries.

  74. Bornagain: re: #11.1.1.1.9

    I’d like to consider one particular part of your “correction” of my last post, where you state that “I’m going to believe what I want to be true instead of the actual truth.”

    My first response was along the lines of “Oh, typical, you assume you know the what the truth is and everyone who disagrees with you doesn’t.” But as I pondered my response, I began to realize that something a little deeper was at work here. You actually believe that there is a truth “out there” available to anyone who cares to look, and that people who don’t accept that truth are in denial, unwilling to face the hard facts, or some such. It follows that there is in your mind an authority who reveals to us what that truth is. One doesn’t have to look very far to see who that authority is, of course; it is Jesus Christ.

    Now I say that to the contrary, the one and only authority with regard to the truth in your reality is you, and in mine, me. Similarly for everyone. We are inevitably and inescapably the sole authority for truth in our own lives. This is the human condition.

    Who is it that decides for you that Jesus is the authority? You do. No one else can make that decision for you. You often cite the scientific anomalies with the Shroud of Turin as evidence. But the MOST that those anomalies provide is evidence that there was something special, supernatural even, about Jesus. They don’t provide proof that he is the authority, and even if they did, it is you who must decide whether the proof is valid. A Muslim, for example, would say something like, “I’m not surprised about the shroud. We believe that Jesus is Ruch Allah, the spirit of God. But Muhammad is His messenger, and it is to Muhammad that we must turn as the authority on how to live our lives and the true nature of God and our relationship to Him.” What authority can tell you whether to accept Jesus or Muhammad as the source of truth? You. Only You.

    And once you decide that Jesus is the authority, then how do you know what Jesus teaches us regarding the truth, since he isn’t here to tell us himself? I suspect you’d say that we turn to the Bible for that. Thus, the Bible becomes the authority. But which interpretation of the Bible? Catholic? Eastern Orthodox? Southern Baptist? Amish? Mormon? Church of England? Lutheran? Missouri Synod? Your own personal interpretation of scripture? Who chooses? On what authority? You do on your own authority. You can’t escape it. You choose your own truth. Always. You are your own authority, as I am mine.

    So you actually have no basis for concluding that I “believe what I want to be true instead of the actual truth.” You know what the truth is for you, but you don’t know what the truth is for me, other than what I tell you it is.

  75. Bruce, I’m done with you!

  76. Bornagain:

    I’m surprised you lasted as long as you did. But I appreciate the opportunities you have given me to express my point of view to a larger audience.

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