2nd Debate, Atheism and Morality, 7th Round, Matt's Response

Seventh Round: Matt's Response


Note: the ">" signifies an earlier post.


--This will be my last response in this debate. I have too many things I need to take care of and basically, we are getting nowhere now. I will go through this once and make responses. Also, I am using a speech-recognition program to keep take my responses. In very believe there will be grammatical errors. I have tried to extract them as I have gone through this, but I will probably miss some. Please excuse my unintentional goofs.

Chad7: I will respond only briefly to this. I believe that my responses have, indeed, been on topic. In some cases you may not be able to understand this because (as you have made clear) you see us in a spiritual war and must view my answers through that light. In others it seems that you cannot follow the basic logic of my argument, e.g. when you claim that it is "off topic" to show that ~atheism leads to similar lapses as atheism. I submit, however, that your inability to follow an argument does not automatically indicate that it is unsound.

Matt7: I believe that many of your responses have been on topic, and I have been able to understand it. However, many points I have made you have not properly and adequately addressed as I pointed out in our earlier discussions. Furthermore, when you say that I have an inability to follow an argument, you're making an unfounded assertion.

Chad7: I have never expected to convince you of anything. I have known you (as a poster) too long to think this possible. And if it is your honest opinion that I'm wasting your time, I will certainly understand if you prefer to end the conversation. Meanwhile, I will continue to answer your questions as best I can in order that those reading, if not yourself, may come to a better understanding of my thinking and of atheism.

Matt7: There are many things that you probably could convince me of. However, the validity of atheism is not one of them. Therefore, "anything" is not an appropriate term to use.

Chad7: Having said that, I must make one comment on the page you link to with full replies. If it is intended merely to show you have answers to my post, as a link to this thread, that's fine. If, however, you plan to leave it up with a link from your Atheism page, I have an objection. To do so removes the context of what comes before and thus distorts the content of the discussion, while also giving you the position of final rebuttal.

Matt7: I will probably archive this debate someplace. I'm not sure what I will do that yet. I think it is a good example of the weakness of atheism morally as well as a good source of documentation of atheist-rule breaking.

Chad7: Of course it is up to you what you print on your own boards.

Chad7: As noted, I have never hoped to change your mind about atheism, so what you personally conclude will not surprise me. That said, I have no idea what you mean by my lack of ability to "shuttling respond".

Matt7: It must have been a typo.

Chad7: I've been very clear on this. My objection has always been to your assertion that one should conclude that atheists are here because we actively disbelieve in God. You have asserted that one should conclude this contrary to the simple testimony of individual atheists (i.e. one should conclude that we are speaking falsely about their own motivations) on the grounds that their actions are inconsistent with simply lacking belief in God.

Matt7: It can be many reasons why the atheists are on the carm discussion board. But the fact is, it is a board title "Atheism," and the atheists are there. It is fair to conclude that they are there because they are atheists. Since atheists disbelieve in God, I conclude that they are there because they disbelieve in God. Furthermore, I also believe that atheists may have many sub reasons why they are here. Perhaps they want to explain atheism better. If that is the case, since they disbelieve in God and they are on the atheist board, I'm concluding they are here because they are atheists. I also believe that atheists actively disbelieve in God. I do not see it as a passive thing. I believe it is an active choice that they make. I believe atheists actively choose to not believe in God.

Chad7: Originally I thought that by "belief" you meant simply belief in what does or doesn't exist. I concluded this because this was the only type of belief you discussed--the dichotomy of "lacks belief" and "actively disbelieves". Thus I brought up other motivations for actions, such as stakes and preferences.

Matt7: Yes, and I tackled that adequately. Let's not rehash old stuff.

Chad7: When you said that these were included among the beliefs that could lead to actions, I said I was quite happy (in that case) to concede that actions come from beliefs but pointed out that this only supported my objection to your central claim--that one should conclude that I and other atheists actively disbelieve in God.

Matt7: As I said, atheists actively disbelieve in God. The make a choice to not believe--to deny God.

Chad7: My list of beliefs in the last post aimed to show--and did show, IMO--that if we use "belief" broadly enough that it does capture all motivations, my actions on CARM are perfectly consistent with lack of belief in God combined with other positive beliefs--specifially, the ones listed in my last post.

Matt7: Please see my earlier posts regarding "lack of belief."

>. You have tried to get me
>to accept the idea that an assumption you have is not a
>presupposition you work with. I'm sorry, but logic does not
>allow me to accept that as a working theory.

Chad7: Easy to say . . . but you have yet to make such a case. I also note that you (deliberately?) omit the word "working" from "working assumption". The two are not identical.

Matt7: A working assumption is an assumption. It is an assumption that you work from. It is a presupposition. Again, please see it earlier posts on this.

>Let's work with your definition of subjectivity and
>objectivity. If your morality originates in your own mind,
>then it is subjective according to your definition, and you
>have no right to impose it upon anyone else. This means that
>you have no right to say that someone else is wrong and have
>your judgment imposed upon anyone else. If a man raped and
>murdered a woman, you would have no right to say that it is
>wrong because your subjective, self-originating, and
>inconsistent moral standard belongs to you; and you have no
>right to impose your moral judgment upon anybody else. This is
>a profound weakness in atheism. If you want to demonstrate to
>me that this is not a weakness in atheism, then please
>logically tell me why rape and murder are morally wrong?

Chad7: It is morally wrong because human life and human happiness are of great moral value. Thus, the taking of human life and the creation of great suffering are of great negative moral value (at the risk of speaking in geeky mathematical terms).

Matt7: You still do not make your case. You beg the question and validate my position. You beg the question by assuming something to be true without substantiating it to be true. You say human life and human happiness are of great moral value. How do you know that? You have a subjective moral system, and you are now stating a moral truth. But you have no moral standard by which to make that observation or declaration. What bothers me is that you are not admitting this. It is a fact that your subjective moral system does not allow you to impose a moral truth upon anyone else. Your statement is nothing more than an opinion and an unsubstantiated moral assertion that originates from your subjective moral standard. As far as I'm concerned, you are unable to the sale this problem; and your previous comment, begun with begging the question, substantiates this.

Chad7: None of this is invalidated by the fact that I recognize that these values (like all values) exist only in minds.

Matt7: If the values exist only in the minds, when you die, your values cease to exist. This means that your values are of no greater value than anyone else's values and are ultimately meaningless. All you have to offer in your atheism is subjective morality. As a result, you have no moral right to impose your moral judgment upon anyone else. Therefore, you have no moral right to condemn a murderer. All you can do is say you don't like it, and that it is your opinion that it is wrong. Society does not wrong best on opinions. It runs best on truth.

>7. On several occasions, you changed the
>terms I have been using in our discussion. For example, I was
>using the term "absolute" in comparison to your subjective
>morality. You use the term "objective" instead of the term I
>raised. Please consider the following quotes from earlier in
>our discussion, Round 4, where I introduced the issue of an
>absolute moral code and compared it to atheistic moral

Chad7: As you have said yourself, it is important to define the terms we will be discussing. The counterpart to "subjective" is "objective," not "absolute". Moreover, when you indicated that your definition of subjective included "fanciful" and "illusory" I knew we were speaking of two entirely different concepts. Thus, I explained what the words mean when I use them. If you wish to suggest alternative definitions, fine. But to complain about me wanting our terms to be clear is a bit much.

Matt7: we have not established that it is a counterpart. You have made another assertion. As far as my definition goes, I went to the dictionary to find. I tried to find something outside of my opinion. You were the one who uses the word; therefore, you should understand what it means. I only tried to clarify.

>8. You said, "You have asked on several occasions
>whether I (or other moral subjectivists) have a "right" to
>impose our morals on others? The problem with this question is
>that it contains a hidden word--you're really asking if we
>have an objective right. The answer to that is no. The right
>to do so is entirely subjective."

>First of all, my
>question does not contain a word that is not there. I wrote
>the question. It contains exactly the words I wanted there.
>There are no hidden words. Besides, if it were hidden, how
>would you know to look for it? Furthermore, where am I hiding
>the word? Where is it?

Chad7: By hidden, I was not implying anything deceptive on your part. I was simply pointing out that the question is only meaningful if you are asking what objective right I have, since the subjective right is obvious.

Matt7: I would say that the term "subjective right" is an oxymoron.

>Third, you
>have no right by your own admission to impose your moral
>standard upon anybody else--FINALLY!

Chad7: It's amazing the extent to which you complain that I'm not responding to your points or am distorting what you write when you quite often reverse what I've written. How did you get from, "The right to do so is entirely subjective," to no right at all?

Matt7: It is self-contradictory to say that something that is subjective is absolute.

> . . . I think (though I'm
>not sure for really is an actual response since it appears to
>be self-contradictory). So, you said you have no objective
>right to impose your moral standard on anyone, but then you
>said, "The right to do so is entirely subjective." As noted, I
>did not say "objective" right. You did. And, you admit you
>have no "objective right" to impose your morals on anyone, but
>then you say "the right to do so is entirely subjective." How
>can you not have an objective right to impose morality yet
>also have a subjective one to do that?

Chad7: Because if morality is subjective, then "objective right" is a non-sequitor, at least in the abstract. (One can certainly have an objective right within a particular moral code.)

>This a violation of
>the law of non-contradiction. To have a subjective right to
>do something "say you have a right," a moral right to impose
>your morality on others. This makes no sense at all,

Chad7: Fortunately, "Matt doesn't understand X" does not, in fact, imply "X is a violation of the law of non-contradiction."

Matt7: Unfortunately, it seems you don't understand the law of non-contradiction. The law states that something cannot be both itself and not itself at the same time. The use of the word "imply" does not suffice in the definition of what the law of non-contradiction is.

>9. I
>have concluded from what you have said that if God existed, he
>would have no right to impose His moral standard upon you,
>since, as you said, his morality would be subjective, i.e.,
>originating from within himself.

Chad7: This (and what follows), as I hope I can make clear below, is a conclusion you have drawn from your own preconceptions--not from anything I have said.

Matt7: On the contrary. I have base many my conclusions definitely from what you have said. This whole dialogue has been an interaction between yourself and myself. Therefore for you to say that my "preconceptions" are not from anything that you have said, is completely inaccurate.

Chad7: I am not at war with God, despite your presupposition to the contrary. If you are unable to shake this preconception and insist on reading my words through that distorting lens, it is unsurprising that you will come to conclusions like this.

Matt7: Yes, you are at war with God. Only, you don't know it. You may say that you're not, and you can tell me that you don't have any intention of fighting God. But your actions are contrary to that. Reality is that God exists; and since you're denying him and openly refuting support of his existence, you are at war with him. The fact that you don't believe that he exists does not mean that the war is not there, or that your attack upon his existence is not a war act in itself.

>Think about it: God the
>creator, the universe, and all humanity is denied the right of
>moral judgment based upon an atheist's subjective moral
>system. In other words, even though, as you say, that your
>moral system is subjective and originates in you, you can
>still impose upon God your subjective system. You do this by
>saying that He has an equally subjective system and cannot
>impose his morality on you? . . . is that right? So, you're
>making a moral judgment at this point. You impose upon God the
>moral judgment that he cannot impose his morality upon you.

Chad7: Just to be clear, I do not do this. See below.

Matt7: I know you don't.

>This is a moral judgment on your part and a demonstrably
>inconsistent declaration as well, that is, if I understood
>your position properly. By the way, when you meet Him, your
>argument will carry no weight at all; and instead, you will bow
>the knee.

Chad7: Quite likely . . . but also irrelevant to the discussion. Try to stay focused and on topic.

Matt7: You are the one challenging God about the right of moral judgment. You brought it up, and I commented on that. If I am not on topic, it is because you veered away from it.

>10. In
>our discussion of atheism and morality, you offered a veiled,
>and apparently, retaliatory attempt to discredit and malign
>me and Diane offering a highly transparent fictional
>scenario. You said you wanted to respond strongly, so, you
>deviated from the topic and sought to infer a moral judgment
>upon my actions. Again, this is not a discussion about
>Christianity and morality. It is a discussion on atheism and
>morality. Please, stay focused and on topic.

Chad7: I'm not sure why you're unable or unwilling to follow my simple logic (you certainly have ignored it in this response), but I will repeat it again. Your assertion that atheism leads to certain behaviors is unsound on several points. One of those points is that

Matt7: I resent your saying that I have ignored your logic. I responded to most every single thing you have. I have exposed many errors in your thinking and your logic, and then you say I have ignored your simple logic. We will never progress beyond this mainly because I won't respond to this thread further--since I have commitments to attend to--but also because you are fundamentally irrational. To say deny that atheism leads to certain behaviors is unsound in itself. An intellectual position results in action. I've spent a lot of time discussing this and proving it with the help of the atheists on this board.

~Atheism leads to similar behaviors.

Chad7: You have pointed to CARM rules violations and asserted that atheists are untrustworthy because they violate CARM rules. But unless it can be shown that non-atheists don't commit similar "untrustworthy" actions, the claim is meaningless. If you can look at a group in isolation and claim that any observations made about members of that group are caused by being members of that group, then why not claim that atheism causes tooth decay? I'm sure you could find that most atheists have had cavities.

Matt7: Here is an example of your lack of logical prowess. Whether or not non-atheists break the rules has no bearing on the trustworthiness of the atheists. The atheists themselves who broke the rules are the topic of this immediate discussion. If others who are not atheists keep the rules or don't keep the rules, that has no bearing on the atheists keeping the rules. You are not staying on topic. Atheism is a presupposition--a set of assumptions, denials, or whatever you want to call it. But the fact is that atheists behave in similar fashion because they have similar assumptions. Their behaviors result from their beliefs--not their lack of belief. If they promise by signing up on carm to abide by the board rules and then they do not, that definitely reflects on does individual atheists who break the rules. Since this discussion has been about atheist morality and not about non-atheist morality, the fact that the atheists moral system is inherently subjective means that the atheists who have promise to abide by the board rules (by signing up) and then willfully break those rules demonstrate that they are untrustworthy. Remember, by your own admission, the moral basis of the atheist is subjective. Since it is subjective, it can be applied or misapplied at the discretion of whatever the atheist feels like doing or not doing at the time. This is the issue; and as I have amply demonstrated with the help of the atheists, it is also true.

Chad7: In short, pointing out that Christians also commit dishonest acts or break CARM rules is not off-topic. It is an appropriate part of a demonstration that your conclusion does not follow from the evidence you provided.

Matt7: Yes, it is off-topic. The topic is atheism and morality--not Christianity and morality. This is yet another fundamental error on your part, and trying to broaden the topic by offering a red herring arguments is inherently fallacious.

>11. It
>is difficult to ascertain exactly what your position is on
>imposing moral judgments on others. You have given me a lot of
>your opinions but no rational basis for your moral judgments.
>All you've given me a subjectivity. Nevertheless, you have
>demonstrated that you can make a moral judgment upon someone
>else. You praised Limana by saying she is a "good" atheist.
>Yet, you fail to make negative moral judgments upon the
>atheists who committed blatant-rule violations. Therefore, you
>demonstrate your inconsistency.

Chad7: I invite you to read my last post in which I said that while I didn't consider their actions worthy of condemnation I also didn't agree with many of them. (If I wasn't clear, I meant agree on a moral level.)

>If you are able to say that
>one atheist is good. Are you also able to say that other
>atheists are bad? You cited Limana's actions on the board as
>evidence of her being good. Logically, the actions of the
>atheists who blatantly violated the board rules should be bad
>by your standard--wait, maybe you don't have a
>self-originating standard. Anyway, don't worry. I do not
>expect you to pronounce a moral judgment on your fellow
>atheists regarding their blatant-rule violations since it
>would not further your position in this argument.

Chad7: I think it would be interesting to collect a list of ad homs by you in this one post. Here, for example, you imply that I will act only in ways that further my position in the argument . . . a pure example of ad hominem.

Matt7: There is no ad hominem here. I am commenting on your presuppositional atheistic, moral subjectivity. You will not, in my opinion, outright condemn the actions of the other atheists who blatantly broke the board rules. Even if you did, to my surprise, what right would you have to do so? Remember, you have a subjective moral standard with no intellectual right to impose your views upon anyone else. The fact that you have not condemned their actions outright demonstrates that my premise about the weakness of atheistic morality is indeed true.

. . . even
>though you have pronounced moral judgment on at least one of
>them. Again, I see this as yet another grave inconsistency in
>your part.

>12. Now, regarding your quoting an
>alleged prominent CARMite who has a problem with my approach,
without disclosing who it is, and who apparently is a mind reader:
Chad, you are not helping your position at all. I am
>quite discouraged in my hopes for further rational dialogue
>with you. It seems you are trying to retaliate.

Chad7: Again, and at the risk of repeating myself, my wish was not to retaliate but rather to show that the failings you claim are the result of atheism are found in all people: atheist, Christian and others. Thus the assertion that they are caused by atheism is unsubstantiated.

Matt7: I have no problem admitting that there are failings in all people--equally shared. But the discussion is on atheism and morality. It is the atheists who have a relativistic moral system. Whether or not someone else is inconsistent in their morality does not deny the fact that the atheists themselves ARE CONSISTENT in their morality. You see, they are very consistent because they can apply their morality subjectively. The premise of the moral system in atheism is one of relativism. Therefore, no matter how they applied, they are being consistent with their moral system. Of course, you should be able to see the problems with this. Moral relativism is dangerous.

>This is
>getting old. Nevertheless, let's examine what this prominent,
>yet unnamed, CARMite says--at least when I used quotes, I
>stated who they were from.

Chad7: Your quotes were from public statements. Mine was not. It's ironic that you make such hay about rules violations by atheists and then seemingly object that I did not violate the rules by revealing his name (since the information was shared privately and I had permission only to use the content of that paragraph).

Matt7: Yes, public. For everyone to see. You go to an unsubstantiated, unverified, nonpublic venue. Just a substantial difference in approach, that's all.

>Anyway, he starts out with "It was
>intentionally divisive and inflammatory . . . " So, is this person
>able to read my mind and know that I was trying to be
>intentionally divisive and intentionally inflammatory? Do you
>believe the Christian who says that it was my intention to do
>so? It wasn't. But you use a mind reader as support for your
>position without critical examination of his claims. I use the
>term him "mind reader" on purpose. Think about that you quoted
>someone else's apparent ability to discern my intentions and
>motivations. You should have been more critical of the
>statement instead of jumping on it without thinking through
>what you were doing. Again, you're not encouraging me
>regarding the future of this discussion.

Chad7: Your claim that your post was not intentionally divisive and inflammatory is simply not credible. You said that you came to "rattle cages". More importantly, when your post created "division and flames" you said that you got exactly the reaction you expected. If an action causes effect X and the person who made the action and observed the effect says that he got exactly what he expected, it is unavoidable that he is saying he meant to cause X.

Matt7: Okay. It doesn't matter what I claim. You subjective system of moral application. So even if I tell you the truth, it doesn't matter. Sure, I like to rattle atheist cages periodically. What's the problem with that? Just because a post creates division and flames does not mean that the post is wrong. Truth has a way of causing division. Furthermore, to get the reaction I expect does not mean that post is intentionally divisive. If I expect atheists to behave badly and I post something that is true and they act badly, that is not my fault. It is likely creating a discussion board for atheism--knowing full well that the atheists will come in and then badly. Is it my fault that they do that? Of course not. My actions did not cause the atheists actions. They cause their own. And in their unfairness and in their hypocrisy, they like to twist whatever they can in order to make anyone else look bad . . . except themselves.

Chad7: In other words, no one is trying to read your mind, Matt. We are taking you at your word.

Chad7: Then prove yourself to not be a liar. Believe me when I tell you it was not to cause division. Those are my words.

Chad7: As an aside, my irony meter has special protections, so it was able to make it through you complaining about someone else not responding to points. It was even able to make it through you saying that it wouldn't be fair of you to declare yourself the winner when you already declared yourself the winner before making your last post. But when you claim over and over again to be able to determine my beliefs and the beliefs of other atheists by inference from our actions and yet complain about mind-reading, it's clear that my safeguards are insufficient.

Matt7: In and around four, I said this, "I propose (with possible future modifications) that morality within the atheist system is subjective; and because it is subjective, truth, right, and wrong are all relative. Because there are no moral absolutes and because atheist morality is subjective, atheists are free to alter their moral behavior depending on the circumstances and whatever desires suit them at the time." You have conceded the point that atheist morality is very subjective, and that you have no moral right to impose your moral judgments on anyone else. It is an inherent weakness in atheism. If your arguments cannot substantiate your position, and my arguments do substantiate mine. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that my arguments are better my position is probably correct. This is not rocket science.

>Regarding a pattern you claim to see: In this debate on
>atheism and morality, you offer your subjective observation
>about a pattern. Interesting.

Chad7: What is interesting is that you seem to think that repeating the word "subjective" back at me is some sort of rebuttal to anything. I made a challenge. That you are unwilling to accept it suggests that I'm right.

Matt7: . . . suggests you're right about what? That morality for you as an atheist is not subjective? That it is not interpretable? That you don't have the "right" to be able to apply a moral system that you invent to whatever situation you see at the time to be sufficient?


>Those were just some of problems and issues. So I
>propose that if you want to continue this discussion, that you
>focus; and I mean focus on the real issues. Here are some
>specific questions dealing with our conversation.

>Were the rule violations of the
>atheists morally wrong or not? Remember, you said Limana is a
>good atheist. You made a moral judgment one atheist. Let's
>see you be consistent and do it with those who blatantly broke
>the rules.

Chad7: Some of them were. Some were not. Some things on your list were not even rules violations.

Matt7: So, some of the rule violations were wrong? What gives it the authority to condemn the actions of another atheist? You have a subjective moral standard that you have stated belongs to you and you alone. You are demonstrating great inconsistency when you say that some of the rule violations were morally wrong. To say that they "were morally wrong" implies a standard by which you can authoritatively state that they were or were not wrong. Since you have no standard, all you have is your opinion.

Chad7: And, as noted, I do not consider breaking rules on a discussion board to be of great moral importance. I would, for example, rank it as less important than publishing an allegedly scientific essay with false facts from a position of authority.

Matt7: Of course you don't. I do. Your subjective moral system places little value on something that does not suit you. The fact that the atheists have essentially promised to abide by the board rules, then blatantly break them, demonstrates that they are liars and not to be trusted. Now, I certainly give leeway in the gray areas, admitting that mistakes happen--that we all goof often without intention. That isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the blatant, which is why I have used the word "blatant" rule violations of the atheists. I would hope that you would put a high value on the honesty of anybody. Apparently, you don't.

Matt7: Furthermore, your attempt to deviate from the topic by alluding to papers I have written or others have written thereon carm regarding evolution is a red herring. You told me to stay on-topic earlier, yet you repeatedly deviate from the topic. I find this disingenuous on your part.

>What right
>have you to impose your moral standard upon my actions of
>using the infamous atheist list in support of my proposition
>that beliefs lead to actions? I am not interested in hearing
>about your subjective opinion. I want to know what right you
>have to impose your moral standard upon my actions. This
>implies that you have a standard to begin with or do

Chad7: Have I said that it was immoral of you to use that list? I believe that what I said was that your argument was unsound, because:

Matt7: Well, you can say it was unsound. I think it was very sound. I think it was strategic, and I think that the atheists should have picked up on what was happening in the debate and self-regulated. They chose not to, and I used their own actions against them to demonstrate the validity of my position. They helped me a great deal.

Matt7: The fact that you deny the immorality of their actions further substantiates my premise: "I propose (with possible future modifications) that morality within the atheist system is subjective; and because it is subjective, truth, right, and wrong are all relative. Because there are no moral absolutes and because atheist morality is subjective, atheists are free to alter their moral behavior depending on the circumstances and whatever desires suit them at the time." You help me more than you realize.

Chad7: 1. You looked at a very narrow set of data and ignored data that indicated a different conclusion, 2. You made a judgment about a group of people based on the actions of individuals within that group while ignoring clear exceptions , e.g. HRG and limana who have (AFAIK) spotless records wrt CARM rules, and 3. Similar failings are found in those outside the group, undermining your (unsupported) claim that it is the nature of the group that caused the violations.

Matt7: No, I did not look at a very narrow set of data. I looked at a broad spectrum of atheist behavior and extracted out of that broad spectrum examples represented about the whole. Come on, you know where the aarm (atheist board) is. Go there and read through the posts of the atheists and take note of the vulgarities, insults, gossip, slander, etc., that is so prevalent there. It would be such an easy task to go there and extracted examples of atheist behavior based upon atheistic principles. But, it would be a waste of my time since I have already documented such things here on carm. What judgment have I made on a group of people? I have stated that the atheistic moral system is problematic, and I used atheists themselves with that same subjective moral standard as examples of that subjective morality. The atheists helped me substantiate my point very clearly. For you to say that HRG and Limana have spotless records may or may not be true. But then again, you're offering your subjective moral opinion about that, aren't you?

Chad7: However, lest you claim that I'm avoiding your question, let me respond as though the example were accurate--i.e. by what right do I impose my moral standard on someone else? The answer is simple: by the same right that everyone else does. You seem determined to read into my position some special right that I assign to myself but no others, and this is simply not the case. I am simply a moral agent whose moral values inform many of my actions. So are you. So is everyone else.

Matt7: That's it? That's your answer? "Because everyone else does"? "Everyone else does it, so that's why I can do it"???? So I suppose if the moral fabric of everyone else is atrocious and that the moral standard of "everyone else" is that murder is okay then "because everyone else does it," you can to? Chad, I am completely dismayed that is your response. It is so obviously weak, indefensible, and dangerous that it hardly seems worth the analysis that I have just given it. As far as I'm concerned, your atheism and subjective morality have pushed you further into rationality and immorality.

>Why have you not
>condemned the blatant-rule violations of your fellow atheists?

Chad7: Asked and answered. In all seriousness, Matt, if you ask me a question and receive a simple answer and then repeat the question as though it has not been answered it does not help. Try to stay focused long enough to read my answers so we can avoid this repetition.

Matt7: Yes, you answered it poorly.

>Why do you use a message
>from a supposed Christian, who claims to have the ability to
>read minds and actually try to use it in your argument
>without examining it critically beforehand?

Chad7: It is only your assertion that I didn't examine it critically, as it is only your (rather outrageous) assertion that he claims special mind-reading powers.

Matt7: Apparently you still are not able to critically analyze the e-mail from this person. You have not addressed the issue of his or her ability to know what my intentions are. This is of large problem that I had hoped it would have admitted.

Chad7: It is also only your (rather sad but rather typical of CARM's leadership lately) assertion that he is a "supposed" Christian.

Matt7: Well, I don't know if the person is or is not a Christian. You are the one who stated it. Furthermore, what qualifies you to be able to tell who is and is not a Christian? Second, I only have your word to take on this. Since your morality is based on subjective at it, why should I believe you that you ever received an e-mail? You have not told me who is so that I might verify. How to why know that your subjective morality has not led you to manufacture an e-mail in order to substantiate your position? Do you see the problems--the inherent problem with your position. It may very well be that you have such an e-mail. But the fact is because of your subjectivity, what reason is there to believe you in the first place? Don't you see that this is the problem--the heart of the problem?

Chad7: As for why I used it, there are two simple reasons. First, I thought it was an eloquent and accurate assessment. Second, I hoped (in vain, it seems) that you might actually listen if the message came from a Christian. Perhaps I should have anticipated that your response would be to conclude that he isn't a Christian.

Matt7: It was an eloquent and accurate assessment of my intentions? So now, not only does your supposed e-mail source claim the ability to read my mind and also my heart, so do you? After all, you say it is an accurate assessment, by default, of my intention. You're digging your hole deeper.

>Is someone else's
>opinion the direction you want to go to support your atheist
>position on morality?

Chad7: His statement, as you well know, was not about my position on atheist morality but rather on the nature of your own actions. Try to stay focused on what was actually said.

Matt7: I try to.

>Finally, I propose the

>Your moral source is
>subjective since it arises in you.

Chad7: Yes. My "moral source" are my values. Others certainly played a major role in their development but they exist in my mind.

Matt7: It is exactly what I have been stating the whole time.

>Your morality is

Chad7: Yes.

Chad7: You cannot
>impose your morality on anyone else, since your morality is

Chad7: Non-sequitor. You have repeated this assertion quite often but you have yet to support it. Why should I not act on my values?

Matt7: No, it is not a non sequitur. You have no moral standard or right by which you can impose a moral judgment on anybody else. By default, your subjective relativistic standard abides only in yourself. You are not God. You are on individual with opinions. It is perfectly logical to state that you do not have the right to impose your morality on anyone else because it is subjective. The fact that you called it a non sequitur demonstrates that you do not have a sufficient grasp on the logic of the issue.

Chad7: I value human life. Why should the fact that I recognize that this value exists in my mind prevent me from acting to protect and preserve human life? Why should the fact that I recognize that some other person may not value human life cause me to ignore what I believe?

Matt7: I am glad that you value human life. I'm not saying that your value prevents you from acting in any way. But you want sticking to it I have been asserting.

>You require
>that others not impose morality upon you.

Chad7: Another assertion that you have made but not supported. I "require" nothing of the sort. In fact, just as I will act on my own values, I expect that others will do the same. I give myself no special status.

Matt7: You are being inconsistent. You have stated that you will do not want anyone to impose their teaching about God upon your daughter. You also made statements about evolution and such and not wanting nonsense to be taught to her as well. You are imposing your moral standard upon others. You are demonstrating your inconsistency.

Chad7: Of course, I may consider some people's moral codes to be immoral--as they may consider mine. But the same thing is true when two people have different beliefs about what the alleged absolute moral code says.

Matt7: You can only consider them to become moral based upon your relativistic, subjective system. Therefore, what is in moral to you, may be perfect we moral to someone else. This means that your system is self-contradictory since we cannot have the same action--be both moral and not moral at the same time.

>To say that others cannot impose
>morality upon you is a moral statement since it deals with the
>issue of moral imposition.

Chad7: Irrelevant, since it is not something I say.

Matt7: On the contrary. It is very relevant. It deals with moral obligation and imposition. This is a topic we have been discussing here in atheism.

>to say that others cannot impose morality upon you is to
>impose your moral system upon them. This is a self-contraction.

Chad7: Irrelevant, since it is your projection onto me that is inconsistent rather than my own actual postion.

Matt7: Again, it is very relevant; and I believe that you are not able to adequately respond which is why you make the logical error of saying it is irrelevant.

>Since you do
>not want others to impose morality upon you, yet you do it to
>them (by stating that you do not want them to impose our
>morals upon you)--you demonstrate that you are
>self-contradictory. You are doing the very thing you say
>should not be done.

Chad7: Continuing on the same path. However, I will point out that there is nothing inconsistent in anyone not wanting others to impose their morality on them. I suspect that very few people actually want moral views they don't hold imposed upon them. The inconsistency would be in asserting some meta-moral right to impose one's views while calling similar imposition by others invalid. Since I don't do that, the point is moot.

Matt7: You have stated what you want. If your wants are irrelevant to your moral system, and why is it you don't want someone to teach your daughter about God or tell her that she is going to hell?


Chad7: I have answered your questions as completely and as simply as I can. I will continue to do so as long as you are interested in the subject, although I hope you will manage to do so without all the veiled attacks on my integrity.

Matt7: well, the claim of "completely" is open to debate. I have not tried to make any veiled attacks on your integrity. But I will say that I think your logic and morality are both bankrupt.

Chad7: Afterward:

Chad7: However, I will also understand if you choose to end the discussion. CARM has recently suffered the loss of three worthy volunteers. Although their only crime (so far as I am aware) is to disagree with you over the way you approached the atheist board (and in one case to share that opinion with me), they have been slandered repeatedly by CARM's leadership. Although to my knowledge they did not share private information and have not been confronted with any evidence that they did, they have been publically accused of doing so. They have been called Judas, non-Christian, "immature" and various other slanders. It is truly sad to see CARM coming to this, because in the years I have been posting here I have seen it be a great place of sharing and mutual learning and respect.

Matt7: How I handled by boards is irrelevant to our debate on atheism and morality.

Chad7: I suspect that the root cause of these problems is the perception by CARM's leadership that I and other atheists are not merely misguided but actually your enemy. That belief seems to distort not merely the reading of posts but also the motivations and even actions of any who do not share it. If you are determined to see enemies, you will see them even among your friends.

Matt7: Chad, if you are my neighbor, I would treat you with respect and dignity. If you are sick, I would be concerned for your welfare. If you needed help in some way, I would help you. You would find me to be amiable. However, you are an enemy of the gospel. You are an enemy of God. This is theologically, biblically very sound. It is not a statement by me intended to be insulting to you. It is a statement that has biblical truth to back it up. I do not want to write a paper here on this position dealing with the word "emnity" that is used in the Bible to discuss the relationship between God and the unsaved. Nevertheless, you are an enemy of the gospel as are the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Muslims, the Christadelphians, and all others who deny the true God. Yet, having said this, if you were my neighbor, you would find me a good neighbor. By way of comment, there is an atheist who posts here named Wabbit. When I lived in San Diego, he and I worked at the same place; and we had many discussions. You compete contact him and ask them if I was trustworthy and honest even though he and I had many disagreements about theology, God, atheism, etc.

Chad7: I have never been an enemy to CARM, or to Christianity. I don't claim always to have been a perfect friend, but I have never sought to undermine anyone's faith or to turn anyone from God. At the inspiration of KevinH, I spent a large amount of time in prayer at the time my daughter was born, honestly and openly seeking whatever God had to say to me. When another Christian (whose name I will not use out of respect for his privacy) had a crisis of faith and came to me with his doubts, I encouraged him not to abandon his faith and challenged the arguments by which he was doubting Christianity. These are not the actions of someone out to undermine Christianity.

Matt7: I understand what you mean. It is not your intention to be an enemy of carm or Christianity. I accept that. Frankly, I'm very forgiving; and if you had made mistakes, I really don't care. We all do that. But the fact is biblically, you are an enemy of God and of Christianity if you're not for God. This is a biblical position. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters." (Matt. 12:30).

Matt7: Nevertheless, your last paragraph is intriguing. In this one paragraph, you've altered my opinion of you. I have more respect for you now; and perhaps I have had an opinion of your character that not only was I unaware of but also I find that I must alter. If what you have said is true, I applaud you. In fact, I would prefer to dialogue with you as a friend than as an atheist. One more thing: your prayer is only valid thru Jesus, but that is another discussion.

Chad7: I hope, as you decide whether to continue this conversation, that you will consider these words.

Matt7: Time and other responsibilities prevent me from putting more effort into this dialogue. I appreciate your comments, and your last paragraph is something I will be considering for a while. Thank you for your time.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.