A Plea to Atheists: Pedophilia Is Next On the Slippery Slope; Let Us Turn Back Before It Is Too Late

August 29, 2011 5:52 pm 469 comments

Peter Singer, atheistic professor of "Ethics" at Princeton University - pictured here with a strapping, healthy, strong young ram - approves of bestiality and has stated that, "I don't have intrinsic moral taboos." Photo: Derek Goodwin.

It is axiomatic that in the world of the atheist there is neither morality nor immorality, only amorality. This is often misunderstood to mean that atheists have no values. That conclusion would clearly be erroneous. To associate atheism with amorality is not to say that atheists have no values, they certainly do; amorality is a commentary, not on the existence of values, but on the significance of those values. Since in the atheistic worldview we are nothing more than upright walking primates, our value systems have no more significance than those of our jungle dwelling relatives. In the Darwinian view, the human is to the cockroach as the cockroach is to the paramecium. To imagine that we are something “more” is just that: a product of the human imagination.

It  would be absurd then for the atheist to suggest that any particular individual or society has the authority to dictate to all human beings what their values should or should not be; it would be even more absurd to suggest that the pronouncements of any individual or society obligates others to behave accordingly. For the atheist, morality is simply a word that is used to describe the type of system that an individual or society subjectively prefers. Each society establishes, maintains, and modifies its values to suit its own needs.

“Morality is the custom of one’s country and the current feeling of one’s peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibalistic country.” (Samuel Butler)

Since these values are nothing more than reflections of the prevalent subjective preferences they obviously will shift and metamorphose to accommodate changing needs and attitudes. In my own lifetime I have witnessed radical societal swings in moral behavior and attitudes regarding marriage and sexuality, homosexuality, the killing of unborn children, euthanasia, and the use of illicit drugs.

One can reasonably predict that as the infatuation with skepticism and atheism grows among the influential “intellectual elite” of our society, so too will their readiness to embrace more radical changes in moral values. Religious believers expressing dismay and horror at the ominous moral storm clouds looming on the horizon are met with smug derision, hysterical counter-accusations, or utter indifference. There is nothing that atheistic societies are incapable of rationalizing and accepting – including the sexual molestation of children.

No doubt, this assertion will appear preposterous to some atheists, and will spark outrage. Yet the logical and philosophical consequences of atheists’ belief systems are inescapable. When asked by journalist William Crawley if he thought that pedophilia was “just wrong.” Professor Peter Singer of Princeton University – a world-famous philosopher of “ethics” – responded as follows:

I don’t have intrinsic moral taboos. My view is not that anything is just wrong…You’re trying to put words in my mouth.” (http://www.youtube.com/watchv=gAhAlbsAbLM&feature=related)

Singer went on to explain that he is a “consequentialist.” For the benefit of the philosophically challenged let me explain “consequentialism” in a nutshell: If you like the consequences it’s ethical, if you don’t like the consequences it’s unethical. Thus, if you enjoy child pornography and having sex with children it’s ethical, if you dislike child pornography and having sex with children it’s unethical. In an article entitled “Heavy Petting,” Singer likewise gave his stamp of approval to bestiality. As a reward for producing such pearls of wisdom, he has been granted the privilege of teaching our children “ethics” at an Ivy League university. Moreover, he is by no means the only atheistic philosopher industriously engaged in greasing the precarious slope on which Western society totters. Hence, my “plea” to atheists, for the philosophical groundwork for the acceptance of pedophilia has already been put in place by such philosophers.

Joel Marks, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the U. of New Haven, who for 10 years authored the “Moral Moments” column in Philosophy Now, made the following, rather shocking about-face in a 2010 article entitled, “An Amoral Manifesto.”

“This philosopher has been laboring under an unexamined assumption, namely that there is such a thing as right and wrong. I now believe there isn’t…The long and short of it is that I became convinced that atheism implies amorality; and since I am an atheist, I must therefore embrace amorality…I experienced my shocking epiphany that religious fundamentalists are correct; without God there is no morality. But they are incorrect, I still believe, about there being a God. Hence, I believe, there is no morality. (http://www.philosophynow.org/issue80/An_Amoral_Manifesto_Part_I)

Marks then quite boldly and candidly addresses the implications of his newfound beliefs:

“Even though words like “sinful” and “evil” come naturally to the tongue as say a description of child molesting. They do not describe any actual properties of anything. There are no literal sins in the world because there is no literal God…nothing is literally right or wrong because there is no Morality…yet we human beings can still discover plenty of completely naturally explainable resources for motivating certain preferences. Thus enough of us are sufficiently averse to the molestation of children and would likely continue to be…

At this point the utter intellectual (and moral) bankruptcy of Marks’ position becomes apparent. After correctly concluding that a world without God is free from the shackles of the illusory concepts of morality and immorality, he pathetically attempts to have his cake and eat it too by suggesting that there is something “good” or “better” about the preference to being averse to child molestation. One does not know whether to laugh or cry at this dismally transparent exercise in grasping at straws. Isn’t that very point the entire difference between “preference” and “morality?”  The recognition that there is something inherently and intrinsically abominable in child molestation renders the act immoral, rather than merely not to one’s taste. Morality implies that there are principles of behavior that are part of the very fabric of reality; principles which Dr. Marks understands can only have significance if they come from God. Preference, on the other hand, is subjective and notoriously capricious. As in: I prefer chocolate ice-cream over vanilla. I prefer jazz to hip-hop. I prefer that people have sex with adults instead of children and the family pet.

However, as Dr. Marks acknowledges, others have different preferences, no less valid than his own. Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins University proclaims: “If I were to see the case of a boy aged ten or twelve who’s intensely erotically attracted toward a man in his twenties or thirties, if the relationship is genuinely totally mutual, and the bonding is genuinely totally mutual…then I would not call it pathological in any way.”  (In view of his professional opinion, I wonder how many neighbors are courageous enough to arrange play-dates for their children at the Money residence.)

On August 17, 2011 a symposium sponsored by an association of mental health professionals called B4U-ACT took place in Baltimore, Md. The official brochure declared:

“This day long symposium will facilitate the exchange of ideas among researchers, scholars, mental health practitioners, and minor-attracted persons who have an interest in critical issues surrounding the entry for pedophilia in the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association.”

In plain English, this is a symposium whose goal is to facilitate the removal of Pedophilia from the American Psychiatric Societies official list of Mental Disorders (DSM). B4U-ACT has already coined a bland, innocuous, and inoffensive term to make the idea of child-sex more palatable: “minor-attracted persons.”  This phrase sounds almost pleasant, distinctly unlike those nasty and soon-to-be-politically-incorrect words like “pedophile” and “child molester.” (How does pedophobic grab you?) Not surprisingly, the featured speaker is Dr. Fred Berlin of Johns Hopkins University, a colleague of Dr. John Money. Child advocate, Dr. Judith Reisman disclosed that the conference is part of a strategy to condition people into accepting pedophiles: “The first thing they do is to get the public to divest from thinking of what the offender does criminally, to thinking of his emotional state…to empathize and sympathize…You don’t change the nation in one fell swoop, you have to change it by conditioning.”

Although first published nearly two decades ago, a special issue of The Journal of Homosexuality called “Male Intergenerational Intimacy” edited by three prestigious scholars (all PhD’s) gives us a taste of what is to come:

“In contemporary Western society, intimate sexual relations between men and boys are considered as immoral…regardless of the emotional contexts in which they occur [not according to Joel Marks and Peter Singer!]…the current social climate makes it rather difficult to look at these relationships in an objective way…man-boy relationships are not uncommon. As in homosexuality, man-boy sexuality occurs and not seldom in a context in which both partners consent…in these relationships a diversity of feelings are or can be expressed: affection, attachment, desire, domination and submission…men who feel attracted to boys have to legitimize their feelings toward themselves as well as towards society.”

All we are missing now is a scholarly “scientific” study which informs us that we have finally isolated a “man-child attraction” gene! An old German expression comes to mind: “So fangt es immer an”- “It always starts in the same way.” What also comes to mind are the lyrics of an old protest song from the 60’s: “And you tell me over and over again my friend, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction?”

The atheistic notion that life emerged randomly from ancient Earth’s prebiotic slime, coupled with the Darwinian belief that humans are no more than intelligent chimpanzees, leaves us morally bereft. In a society whose schools consider it a noble undertaking to teach a teenage boy how to use a condom, but streng verboten to teach him that God has forbidden us to steal or murder, how can one anticipate anything other than a gaping and ever-expanding moral sinkhole? While there exist real challenges in determining exactly what God requires of us in the moral sphere, let us, at least, agree on the following before it is too late, and move forward from there:

  • All men are created in the image of God and are therefore inherently and intrinsically precious.
  • All men have been endowed by God with unalienable rights and among these are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Thou shalt not murder.
  • Thou shalt not steal.
  • Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  • Thou shalt not commit adultery, incest, or bestiality.
  • Thou shalt not have sex with children, and if you do you will be looked upon as a disgusting and contemptible criminal and will be treated as such.
  • Thou shall teach these laws to your children.

We hold these above truths to be self-evident, not by proxy of some pragmatic social contract that can be amended and revised as often as societal whim and convenience demands, not as the result of the pompous and vapid philosophical musings of so called professors of “ethics,” but because they reflect the eternal, immutable, and absolute moral laws that emanate from Almighty God, the Creator of the universe and all mankind.

A wise man once observed that while belief in God after the Holocaust may be difficult, belief in man after the Holocaust is impossible. The choices before us are clear: we will either seek a transcendent moral law to which we will all submit, or we will seek our own personal and societal indulgence. If we turn to God in our quest to create a moral and just world, we have a fighting chance; if not, we are doomed to spiral into the man-made hell of the human jungle.

Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website at http://rabbimaverick.com/

469 Comments

  • its clear the religious r desperate losing it to our atheist higher morals witch even go beyond that of their vile and evil massmurdering god..and their own conduct as can be red in history books and seen and red every day on the tele and internet.

    time to outlaw religion for what it is , a vile and evil fashist terrorist and criminal organisation

  • I’m sorry but this is just retarded.

    The author obviously has no clue what consequentialism is, let alone what Peter Singer means by it.

    Did you even bother to google the term?

    Same thing with atheism.

  • “The atheistic notion that life emerged randomly from ancient Earth’s prebiotic slime”. Not necessarily atheistic.
    “the Darwinian belief that humans are no more than intelligent chimpanzees”. Obviously we are more than this.
    “streng verboten to teach him that God has forbidden us to steal or murder” There are laws. These are secular and you can learn about them in a civics class. You usually pick them up from the culture at a very young age.
    “All men are created in the image of God” An unproven statement. If life is considered precious, it’s because we humans have decided that it should be so. It is a rational value that it should be so, because most people don’t want to be killed.
    “endowed by God with rights” Again, unproven. If they have rights, they’ve been endowed by them with nature, that is, rights are based on natural predispositions.
    “Thou shalt not murder” Comes under the preciousness of life. See above.
    “Thou shalt not steal”. There has never been a civilization which maintained that it’s OK for everyone to steal. Such a civilization would not last.
    Likewise with bearing false witness.
    “Adultery”: Should not be a crime or offence. “Incest”: Very widespread prohibition, in many cultures, for good reasons.
    “Bestiality” comes under the non-harm principle.
    “Thou shalt not have sex with children” Well here’s one we can all agree on.
    “Thou shall teach these laws to your children”. Just by living in society with other humans, in a country with established laws, they will absorb must of what they need. If you want to boil morality down to one principle, just teach them the Golden Rule. Let them work out the rest for themselves.

  • A moral law which is transcendent, which is derived from an external source (whether that is God or Man) is, by definition, subjective. To be objective, a “law” (or any other thing) must be inherent to the thing it relates to. Just as 2 x 2 = 4 is true regardless of who says it, a law that says “X is right and Y is wrong” must be as well.

  • Oh let’s see who is the most “amoral” when it comes to pedophilia:
    …name a PROVEN pedo who’s known to openly declare atheism,
    …for each PROVEN pedo who is known to claim religious faith.

    Let’s start with RABBI David Kaye. :-)
    (In Judaism’s defense, there are only a handful of Rabbis, a few dozen more Observant Jews who got caught — but the Muslims & especially CATHOLICS are where I’ll REALLY be able to get going!)

    How SILLY & BIGOTED to presume that amorality — pedophilia being just 1 example — is even more COMMON to (let alone exclusive to–which I doubt is what you’re trying to say) atheists.

    • Moshe Averick

      Zeev,

      Your self-righteous zeal clouded your rational faculties and you missed the entire point of the article. It was a PLEA to atheists – in other words: with an understanding that on this issue, at this point in time, we are on the same page. If you teach children that there are no inherent moral taboos; that sex with children is not inherently immoral, what you will end up with is not pedophiles, but that child sex will be normal and acceptable.

      • Under Jewish law, isn’t marriage permissible for girls as young as 12? In our culture that would be considered pedophilia (although it was accepted fairly recently). It’s immoral because our culture raises children to remain younger longer, therefore a 12 year old girl today would be unlikely to be ready for sex and marriage. If we lived in a different culture, where children matured sooner, it might not be immoral. The underlying moral question is whether or not someone is injured as a result of the action. A person (in this case a child) may or may not be injured, depending on the social mores in effect. The moral law remains absolute, but its application varies depending on social context.

      • I’m sorry, do you really have that much trouble with the concept of consent? Can you really not tell the difference between what will cause harm and what is forbidden by religion?
        I don’t have sex with anyone who is incapable of giving consent because I would not wish to be in a position where I had sex forced on me, not because a deity forbids it.
        I try not to damage other people because I would not wish to be damaged. It’s called empathy, and as far as I have been able to tell a person with religion and no ability for empathy usually does far more hurt in the world than a person with empathy who has no religion.

  • As an atheist I whole heartedly disagree with Singer’s positions on abortion, infanticide, and human rights.

    Here’s a related blog post:
    http://tinyurl.com/ar2lphd

    Religion is a natural phenomenon. So the good that comes from religion is natural. There are atheists who are concerned about abortion, and who absolutely do not agree with Singer.

    Without god everything is permitted? No. There is no god, and not everything is permitted. So the answer is no to that proposition.

    In your article you don’t need to paint all atheists as immoral. We aren’t we’re human just like you. And humans have human morals.

    And as for Singer, I recommend you read my blog post & related comments I included by Sam Harris & Christopher Hitchens, on the problems with moral & cultural relativism, and an advocacy for discouraging abortion.

  • Ramon Casha

    The first premise is wrong. Of course atheists have morality. They just don’t derive it from atheism. There are several systems of ethics – or morality – which are not derived from a god or scripture. Morality can be arrived at through reason – which is for instance what happens in secular humanism. Of course there are also atheists who are immoral even in the views of other atheists, and certainly there is no atheist who can speak on behalf of every other atheist.

    Asking a deeply-religious, anti-atheist person about atheists is little different from asking a Nazi for his opinion about the Jews. If you want to know about atheists, ask an atheist not one who despises them.

  • Averick once again shows that he has no right to a public platform. Vicious, small-minded, and dangerous.

  • And anyhow, it is theism that is historically tied to pedophilia — while the latter has no particular connection to atheism.

  • Wow, I just noticed this particular wildly absurd declaration from Rabbi Moshe Averick: ‘d. You actually believe at some level, that there are “values” that transcend your own personal desires, this of course would mean that you are not really an atheist, you just don’t realize it.’

    The Rabbi rejects the only proper basis for morality: rational judgment. Then he claims that, since reference to “personal desires” isn’t sufficient (which it certainly isn’t), then the only alternative source of morality is whatever one happens to feel is commanded by that fantastic authority, God. In other words, the Rabbi doesn’t have a clue about morality.

    The Rabbi’s claim that understanding human nature is equivalent to believing in some supernatural power remains, as mentioned earlier, wildly absurd. To hear Moshe tell it, “respect for nature” equals “submission to the supernatural.” Weird.

  • Rabbi Averick posted: ‘I reject atheism and amorality …” as if he believed that sharing the prefix “a” somehow tied the two together — when it is practically the opposite that is the case. That is, theism is more logically associated with amorality than is atheism.

    Theism and amorality are similar in being subjectivist attempts at dealing with life.

    He followed that up with this thought: ‘If God does not exist then I would agree with Joel Marks, Peter Singer, Michael Ruse, Will Provine, Bertrand Russell, etc. that morality “is an illusion put into us by Darwinian evolution.”’

    The goofy notion that morality “is an illusion” is totally false — but then so it the notion that God exists.

    An objective approach to life recognized that morality is natural, and that the supernatural is nowhere to be found.

  • Don, appreciate the effortless cool you brought to our lives. Go along with God and strut down the Soul Train Line using the angels.

  • When I was growing up, Saturday failed to BEGIN until “Soul Train” came on the air! I not really know what personal hell drove you to take your own personal life, Brother Don, but understand that you were–and always will be–loved and revered inside my house FOREVER! Love, Peace, and SOUL!

  • Don, thanks for the effortless cool you exposed to our lives. Choose God and strut down the Soul Train Line with the angels.

  • Jeffry Picaro

    Devastated. I didn’t miss a show, irrespective of where I was, for my entire childhood. Which was where we SHONE. Every other dance show since was only trying to keep up.

  • Humans who are against zoosexual, Pedo or whoever are thinking they are better than whoever. One human that dies cannot be better or worse than another simply because we die. That’s why the KJV has this verse that religions do not teach. if it was taught the conflict with the zoo or Human called the Pedo would not exist. Here is the verse Philippians 2 :3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

    Humans that bow to war will use a name like the military uses a weapon.

  • Jerry Sandusky is Methodist.
    Sandusky was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, the only son of Evelyn Mae (née Lee), an Irish Catholic homemaker.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Sandusky

    He(Sandusky)is a longtime parishioner at St. Paul’s Methodist Church and is believed to be an usher, though privacy concerns preclude the Rev. Edwin Zeiders from confirming that. http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/7219828/no-one-seems-really-know-former-penn-state-assistant-coach-jerry-sandusky

    My apologies if this has already been stated, but Rabbi Averick asserted to me that Sandusky is a non-believer.

    Facts triumph over belief.

  • I savor, result in I discovered exactly what I used to be having a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  • As an atheist, I can tell you personally I would never, ever have sexual feelings for a child. This article is ridiculous and not based upon any facts at all. Of course, I could only expect as much from a conservative. Disgusting. I suppose you forget that if Mary were a real person, she would have been about 13 and Joseph probably in his 30s. I do believe that’s pedophilia.

  • I am no longer sure the place you’re getting your info, but good topic. I must spend some time studying more or working out more. Thanks for wonderful info I was on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  • Moshe,

    I see you’ve taken the time to reply to another post, quite a well written one. Yet still you refuse to address basic questions that I have asked. Is it just because I am unwilling to pay you for a response? Is your faith such that you will only publicly defend it when there is a royalty involved? This is sad.

    I realize that you don’t owe me a reply and it is perfectly within your rights not to answer but it is pretty contemptible.

    So, maybe if I paraphrase… since there is no reason to believe in any deity, how is theistic morality any different from atheistic? It is not. If morality exists for the theistic but is “illusory” for the atheist, why is the outcome of moral choices so often the same? The reason is that morality, as I have said and you have repeatedly not addressed, is an evolved set of behaviors, the same for the theist as the atheist.

    • Mike,

      If God does not exist there is obviously no difference. but that is simply a tautology. I obviously assert that God most definitely does exist. Buy the book, Mike, I guarantee, you’ll “see the light.” If not, sell it a garage sale or use it as a doorstop. But even if you are not able to understand my arguments for God’s existence, you will have done a “moral” deed by helping to support my family. I thank you in advance.

      • I am glad you have openly admitted the self-evident truth. When considered with cognizance of there being no deity of any kind, atheistic and theistic morality are exactly the same thing, contrary to your claims.

        So, to support your claims you must somehow support the existence of not only a deity but a deity with the traits you ascribe to him/her/it. You refuse to do this, instead repeatedly directing me to buy your book. You are willing to make claims in this forum but not back them up. That is too bad.

        As to your arrogant claim that you can guarantee my conversion to your point of view, I wonder what kind of guarantee do I get? Will you give me a refund of the purchase price, plus compensation for the time I will have wasted re-reading tired arguments I have heard before? I will return your guarantee with one of my own… I have heard every argument you make in your book before. I know why they are wrong. So, I propose a deal… I will buy the book and read it. If I am convinced or even if I find a novel argument, I will admit it here or in any forum you choose. In return, you promise to pay me $100.00 for the price of the book and my time and trouble.

        By the way, I think it a moral act to not buy your book or to win the above wager. It might encourage you to get honest work to feed your family rather then doing what you do now.

      • Waiting for your reply. You ready to put up or shut up?

        • Mike,

          I’ve tried my best to communicate with you respectfully and with civility. In all honesty, however, I think it’s time for you to get a life.

          • Who cares what you think? From what I can see you don’t. I’m still laid up at home and you are the entertainment of a few days. I have a life, thank you… one superior to yours. I don’t live it in bondage to foolish myths and I’m not raising my family to be as sadly limited as you are raising yours.

            You may ask, if I don’t care what you think, why am I bothering with you at all? You and people like you are a blight. Using simplistic sophistry to confirm the biases of the stupid, you make this country a sadder and more ignorant place with every word you utter.

            The kind of person you are is clear in the knowing lie here.You never tried to communicate civilly. You tried to communicate arrogantly and with an undeserved sense of moral superiority. Moshe, you are not only spouting absolutely unsupportable nonsense. You are worse then that, you are without the courage of your convictions, unwilling to back what you say you believe so fervently.

            You really are just a huckster just in it for a few dollars, aren’t you? You actually think it’s appropriate to rant and rave and then say “Give me money to get a defense of my lies!” Being so clearly only in it for the money, one must ask, are you even really Jewish?

            Running from my simple challenge like a sniveling coward is pathetic. You GUARANTEED I would be convinced by your arguments. When I asked you to back up that guarantee, you are suddenly done with me? Unsurprising. You know there is nothing new in your book and that it unpersuasive to anyone with understanding beyond the pitiful levels of a Rabbi.

  • Rabbi,

    1. Atheism does *not* imply nihilism. Again, I’m a utilitarian. All I need is to see that happiness and suffering exist, and choose to increase the former and decrease the latter. That is what I, according to my ethical framework, would call moral. But ultimately it doesn’t even matter whether I apply the label ‘moral’ or not. The point is that I choose to value the happiness of others.

    I do not need a higher authority to tell me not to inflict suffering onto others. Now, who’s more moral of the two of us?

    2. “If you grew up in a different society you would feel differently.”

    How is that not *obviously* true also of religious people?

    3.” [...] I would agree with Joel Marks, Peter Singer, Michael Ruse, Will Provine, Bertrand Russell, etc. that morality “is an illusion [...]“”.

    Give me a reference where Peter Singer says that morality is an illusion, or “has no foundation”. Peter Singer is someone who strongly argues *for* being moral. Either you are being ignorant or you are, sorry, simply *lying*.

    The difference between homosexuality and paedophilia is that the latter *hurts* people (the children). If you can argue that this is also true of homosexuality, then this is something to consider, but you need to make that argument. But here that’s besides the point. The point is that there is a clear difference, to an atheist, that distinguishes the two.

    *Of course* Peter Singer is against paedophilia (I can give you a link). What Peter Singer is saying is that paedophilia is not inherently bad because it is paedophilia, but because it *hurts* people. That’s what it means to be a consequentialist. An action is bad or good not by itself, but depending on the effect it has.

    You can disagree with these positions, but stop to blatantly misrepresent what those positions are. And if you don’t know them, read ‘Practical Ethics’ by Peter Singer. Or ‘How Are We to Live?: Ethics in an Age of Self-Interest’. You know, the book where the first reviewer on Amazon says:

    “Singer presents a very convincing argument for taking the ethical path and not ending up feeling lacking.”

    Do you see? Writing that Singer says that morality is without foundation is a *lie*.

    • David R.

      Even though I disagree with most of your points, I appreciate that it was put together coherently, unlike so many of the other posts on this article.

      1.”I choose to value the happiness of others” – I am very glad to hear that this is how you have chosen to conduct your life. I hope that most people will choose to agree with you. If you’ll look at the first paragraph of my article you’ll see that I never tried to imply that atheists don’t have value systems. You, like many others, obviously do. My main point was that this is your personal choice and has no more validity or significance than someone who has decided to make their own financial gain (or acquiring power) the supreme principle that guides their life.

      2. “I do not need a higher power to tell me not to inflict pain on others” – Again, I’m glad to hear this. If this is your nature, then like every other animal, you act according to your nature. The question is what would stop you from inflicting pain on others if you were overcome with intense jealousy, lust, envy, greed, etc. and your calculation was that it would be to your benefit to inflict pain on someone else? It would be for one of the following reasons:

      a. you have such a gentle nature that it would be too upsetting

      b. You would be afraid of getting caught and punished by the law

      c. You have been so strongly psychologically conditioned by your society to think of such things as “bad” and you cannot overcome this conditioning

      d. You actually believe at some level, that there are “values” that transcend your own personal desires, this of course would mean that you are not really an atheist, you just don’t realize it

      3.”Which one of us is more moral?” – This question actually begs the question. What do you mean by moral?
      When you (or any atheist) uses the word “moral” you simply are using a made up word to label your own personal preferences as to how people or society should behave. The question really should be stated as follows: Which one of our personal preferences are better? The answer of course is that no personal preference is better or worse, it’s just personal preference.

      4. Michael Ruse, Will Provine, Joel Marks, all state explicitly that morality is an illusion. Peter Singer puts it differently: “Nothing is intrinsically wrong” -It is all personal judgement which determines morality or ethics. Peter Singer has set up his own personal system and everyone is entitled to set up their own personal system. Atheists ridicule religion because they say it has not objective truth or reality, it is simply a product of human imagination. Peter Singer’s method of deciding what is “ethical” is all a product of his imagination. He has made a purely subjective decision that “harm” is significant, and we should use that to evaluate “ethics”. Besides the fact that this standard itself is nothing more than a product of his imagination, the way each individual decides what is “harmful” is also purely subjective. Again, as I stated in the article, it is not the existence of the value system that is illusory, it is the SIGNIFICANCE of the value system that is illusory. In a purely materialistic world thereis no difference between Peter Singer declaring that we should evaluate whether or not to experiment on an animal by how much “harm” it causes, and me declaring that God told me that it is “harmful” for me to eat pork. Both have significance only in my imagination (subjectively).

      5. Nowhere do I claim or accuse Joel Marks or Peter Singer of being pedophiles or even approving of pedophilia. What I said was that atheistic philosophy (and their’s in particular) lays the philosophical groundwork for the acceptance of pedophilia. That is why I called the article a “Plea” to atheists.

      6. I reiterate: Consequentialism essentially means that you evaluate the “ethical” value of an action by its consequences. Peter Singere is entitled to decide for himself what he thinks are “preferrable” consequences and what are “unpreferrable” consequences.
      I, of course will decide the same for myself, as you will for yourself, and as Josef Stalin will decide for himself. “Morality” means that something is inherently evil or bad no matter what you think of the consequences. Morality (theistic, that is) means that there are moral precepts which are metaphysically part of the very fabric of reality and are not subject to human evaluation at all. In other words, Dr’s Money and Berlin of Johns Hopkins could make a case where child-sex is not “harmful” in their evaluation. To the theistic moralist, their “evaluation” is irrlelvant, it is inherently wrong, period.

      Again, I appreciate your well thought out comments.

      • “d. You actually believe at some level, that there are “values” that transcend your own personal desires, this of course would mean that you are not really an atheist, you just don’t realize it”

        Ah. There lies your problem. You equate atheism with moral nihilism. These two things are simply not equivalent. Maybe you think that atheists should be nihilists logically, or that people who believe in non-subjective morality are actually closeted theists. But one way or another, many self-identified atheists simply aren’t moral nihilists. The atheism you’re attacking is a strawman. If you want to attack the nihilists, then you should say so.

        As to *why* atheism doesn’t imply nihilism, again I will only speak for myself, and not for the other myriad of philosophical frameworks that justify morality without appeal to god. But in my case it’s based on the happiness and suffering of beings.

        Now, it’s true that my decision to value others’ happiness is arbitrary. But such is the nature of free will, if you believe in it. Even if there was a divine law, and if I knew of it, I could still decide whether I want to follow it or not. And apparently even religious people still can, and do, decide either way.

        That you need a divine stamp of approval to add “significance” to one option over another is your issue, not mine.

        “Peter Singer puts it differently: “Nothing is intrinsically wrong” -It is all personal judgement which determines morality or ethics. Peter Singer has set up his own personal system and everyone is entitled to set up their own personal system”

        Again let’s be clear here. Singer believes what makes an action right or wrong is dependant on whether it interferes with the preferences of the *affected*. He comes to his moral framework using his personal judgement, but *within* his framework, it is not his personal judgement that makes things right or wrong. It is the exact opposite (wikipedia):

        “Singer’s ideas require the concept of an impartial standpoint from which to compare interests.”

        And even you use your personal judgement in deciding what is right or wrong, don’t you? You might believe there is absolute wrong or right as defined by god, but you still have to use your personal judgement in practice.

        Which brings me to another issue: You claim that atheism leads to dangerous moral relativism. But isn’t claiming to have access to absolute laws of wrong or right just as dangerous, if not more so? Because that is the kind of thinking that allows people fly planes into buildings, while thinking what they are doing is morally *right* by divine law.

        Finally:

        Let’s assume you convinced me, rabbi. Maybe there is a god, and an absolute right or wrong. What now?

        There’s a mosque across the road. An Anglican church further down. I walk past a Scientology place twice a day. I don’t know of any Jewish communities, but there are a lot of Hindus around.

        They all claim to know something about what God, or the gods, wants me to do. Whom should I believe, and on what grounds should I make that decision.

        The thing is, even if I were to believe in a god: I’d still be in the same position. I’d still have to use my personal judgement, my personal intuitions about morality to decide what’s right or wrong. And then, I’d still have to decide whether I actually would want to adhere to what I think is right or wrong. Effectively, it wouldn’t make a difference.

        You know, maybe the Abrahamic religions have it right. Maybe there is god, a fatherly figure in the sky. And maybe, like any good parent, he wants me to be a proper grown-up, and come to my *own* conclusions about what is right or wrong, and true or false. Use my rationality, and my compassion, rather than pick one out of many supposedly divinely inspired texts, making a decision based on nothing else but tradition or wishful thinking.

        • David R,

          You have raised some very interesting points. However, I will not be able to answer until sunday or monday. Take care
          Moshe

      • This is disturbing. Firstly, we must realize that there are separate types of people. Those who are guided by logic and those who are irrational, due to some circumstance.

        I have to ask, however, if you are unaware of the common use of logical fallacy, especially in regards to the “Slippery Slope” fallacy. Unless you can provide evidence that such philosophy leads to the acceptance of such actions, then why is the whole of this article not invalid due to lack of logic and reason?

        It is not my nature not to hurt others. It is human nature. When a baby, incapable of exhibiting rationality, is presented with the experience of someone being hurt, it upsets them. We can therefore safely assume that we are born with certain traits, those which cause us to want to avoid suffering, not just for ourselves, but for others. This is what guides us.

  • Poor Moshe has gotten so put out with me, he has seen fit to take me to task in personal e-mail rather then publicly. I post his e-mail below:

    If you want to see a proper, comprehensive presentation of the argument, buy the book. If you don’t, then don’t complain. I’m not the first person to write
    a book, nor the first person to promote a book. Every author promotes his book. That has nothing to do with the almighty dollar. Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins also promote their books. It makes perfect sense to me. I have no problem with the idea of someone promoting his or her book, even if I disagree with the content. You remarks are childish.
    Moshe

    I present my reply:

    I don’t think they were and am completely indifferent to you thinking they are. I will make valid complaints, such as “You don’t present your arguments when they are challenged unless you can get paid for it” all I want until your site bans me. It is irrelevant that other people do it also. It is bad form and very annoying. I don’t have a problem with your making a living, I do have a problem with you making claims and not baking them up in the forum in which you make them.

    Never fear, Mr Averick. I am off work for a few days and thus have little to do. You will be able to go back to your poor arguments and false claims with one less person to protest then soon enough.

    Mike

    From here on was not in the e-mail.

    Your arguments are weak and you’re a whiner, Moshe. You haven’t addressed my criticisms of your position once. I will present them here, clearly for your response.

    1. All of your claims presuppose the existence of a deity. Provide evidence or withdraw your claim.

    2. Your position that naturalistic morality is “illusory” completely ignores the fact that it is a clearly extant evolved trait that contributes to survival by making productive groups possible.

    You have tried, futilely and stupidly, to repeat or reframe your views over and over as if that were an answer to criticism. It is not. I challenge you to actually address these points or admit either that you can’t or won’t.

    Also, lets keep any communications public, shall we? I have no desire whatsoever for private communication with you.

  • Wow. A truly embarrassing piece of drivel. Look up “consequentialism” in the dictionary, Einstein.

  • Thank you for providing me with more material for my own blog. I’ll make time to debunk this thoroughly and then provide you with a link . . .

    RJA, MD

    • DR.

      Looking forward. Please just read the article carefully and don’t misrepresent my position. Many people have criticized me for saying that atheists are pedophiles, which of course is ridiculous. I never said any such thing.

  • If you reject a possible position just because you do not like its implications, then you are intellectually dishonest.

    I’m an atheist and a moral nihilist, but the conclusion I came to does not scare me. Why would it? 99.999% of people have instincts telling them not to hurt people or molest children. Because murderers and molesters are so outnumbered, they can always be found guilty in a court of law. Even if murder was suddenly made legal, normal people would not start killing each other for the lulz.

    Another question regarding God-based morality: Is it moral because God has said it is, or is it moral despite God’s commands? If it’s the former, then morality is subjective – God says one thing, Cthulu says another. If it’s the latter, then God is not the source of morality. So how do you account for morality in a theistic worldview? What’s stopping you from murdering people and molesting children?

    • Mira,

      I agree with you fully. I do not reject positions because I don’t like their implications. I reject atheism and amorality not because I don’t like their implications but because I believe they are simply not true.

      If God does not exist then I would agree with Joel Marks, Peter Singer, Michael Ruse, Will Provine, Bertrand Russell, etc. that morality “is an illusion put into us by Darwinian evolution.”

      I think you are fooling yourself when you say that 99.99% of people have the instincts you mentioned. Just contemplate the history of the last 100 years.

      You have raised the old philosophical question known as the Euthyphro Dilemma. In my book I have a chapter entitled “Euthyphro: A Philosophical Dinosaur”

      I urge you to read it. The Euthyphro Dilemma applies to pagan gods, like Zeus, Mercury, Superman or the Incredible Hulk, but not the God of Monotheism. Time does not permit me to recount the entire chapter.

      Once a non-believer realizes that morality is an illusion, (as atheistic philosopher Michael Ruse has put it), what stops them from murder is one of three factors:

      A. They have no reason or desire to commit murder, for example, perhaps they are very gentle by nature and bloodshed upsets them too much

      B.They are unable to overcome the psychological conditioning of their society that there is something inherently wrong with murder (i.e. the Darwinain illusion)

      C. They are afraid of going to jail

      What other reason would they have for not committing murder?

      • No, no, no, Mr. Averik. You’re wrong again. I don’t know why you reject Atheism but you are certainly wrong in doing so. As always, there is no evidence for an deity and unless you can present some, we have to proceed with the idea that their isn’t one. Amorality has nothing to do with Atheism. Atheists are not de facto amoral, although some small percentage doubtless are, probably exactly the same percentage of theists that are.

        The Euthyphro dilemma does apply to your idea of a monotheistic deity. I put a variant of it to you in another post but you have not replied to it. If you want any argument you have presented concerning it to be considered here, I suggest you put it here. I will certainly put no money in your pocket.

        It is amusing that you produce your three options for why atheists are not monsters. It is a magnificent combination of ignorance and arrogance. Those are the options? The only options? Are their perhaps choices you don’t include? It is an argument from ignorance, in fact. You are saying “I can’t think of any other options so these must be the only ones.” Funny… I can think of other options right off the top of my head.

        Again, you are unimpressive.

        • Mike,

          So let’s hear your other options

          • 4. As no God can be shown to exist, it is only reasonable to address the question of morals with the assumption of no deity. Morality doubtless exists, as both atheist and theist commonly refrain from murder. It is necessary that these behaviors are achieved naturalistically, so it is likely that an atheist will engage in moral behavior because there is an ingrown, evolved ability for and tendency towards empathy.

            Easy.

          • Mike,

            You confirmed what I said. If someone has an empathic nature they may very well shy away from killing..unless of course they are raised in Sparta where they were taught to overcome such foolish weaknesses. If someone has a less empathic nature, or a cruel nature or even if they are empathic and they have a good enough motivation to kill, they will do it if they think they can get away with it. Don’t forget, people have empathy, but they also have cruelty and self-interest. These are also part of our nature. For the atheist, it simply becomes an issue of pragmatism which to follow.

        • Mike,

          “three options why atheists are not monsters”

          It’s not three options why atheists are not monsters. It is three options why someone like Joel Marks, Michael Ruse, Peter Singer, Jean Paul Sartre – and all the other atheistic philosophers who understand clearly the implications of an atheistic worldview, and who understand that “morality has no foundation” and that “there is no logical reason” why the non-believer should be obligated to any particular set of values – would not kill another upright walking primate with impunity. I don’t suspect Joel Marks of committing murder, even though he is honest enough to admit the inescapable amorality of atheistic philosophy. I imagine he is a pleasant person to talk to and a good friend. Either that is his nature or he has been psychologically conditioned to behave that way.

          By even using the word “monster” you have presupposed a set of values by which to judge a human being. There is no intellectual basis for the establishment of such a paradigm. It is all your subjective feeling. If you grew up in a different society you would feel differently. Even to say the certain systems work “better” is presupposing certain values.
          You have actually begged the question: “Better” according to who? According to what standard? “better” according to whose definition? It doesn’t matter what standard you use, all of them are purely subjective.

          Let’s say I grant you for arguments sake that my religious beliefs are illusory, it still does not change the philosophical realities of an atheistic worldview. It seems to me that you still have not understood the truth that Marks and Singer understand.

          • There’s no moral justification against murder, but it also follows that there is no moral justification *supporting* murder either. Objectively, murder is neither right nor wrong, but morally neutral. But subjectively, for most people, murder is bad. People (with the exception of psychopaths) have evolved to have an instinctive revulsion to killing randomly, because killing randomly harms the fitness of the species’ population and it therefore endangers the species’ survival. Furthermore, society reinforces from a young age that hurting people is wrong. Therefore, most people, no matter what their religious beliefs are, will not kill people. (Murderers make up a very, very small percentage of the population.)

            Don’t get me wrong, I agreed with that post. But none of that would make me suddenly recoil from atheism in horror.

            And, to be frank, although I’m certainly no murderer or rapist, I find my views much more freeing and bright than other people make it out to be.

            Our human instincts are not objective, and do not provide an ultimate justification for the morality or immorality of murder. That is not in question. To be honest I’m a little confused about the point you’re trying to make. Are you trying to bash atheism (because it leads to moral nihilism), moral nihilism (because moral nihilism is bad, mmkay), or are you just asking why we godless heathen atheists aren’t killing people for the lulz?

            P.S. – Your tone is a little condescending. You’re assuming the position that God must exist, and more specifically, that it is *your* God and not the God of some other religion. That is incredibly close-minded. You should at least examine the basis of your own belief to see if it is warranted before doing any philosophical discussion about it.

          • I understand it quite well. It is incorrect, as are you.

            It is charitable of you to grant the obvious “for arguments sake”. This is a very positive step for you and one that I encourage. Keep it up and you may make some real progress.

            Now, you keep claiming that morals do not exist because they are “illusory”. I have heard and understood your argument. You have not responded at all, not once, to my counter argument. I will repeat it again. Morality exists because it is an evolved trait, relying largely on empathy, that allows humans to live in groups.

            Morality is not perfect, like every evolved trait. We struggle along and do the best we can. Individuals and groups sometimes fail. That doesn’t mean the structure as a whole doesn’t exist.

            Stop engaging in argument from authority. Also, your claim about my use of the word “monster” is idiotic. I was extrapolating from what you think of atheists

          • Aladdin Connolly

            You say that morals values are required if you believe in a “God”. Are those values required because of Gods power? Is this “might (God’s) makes right?” Can we limit God to only consider “good” what we currently consider “good”. In Jewish and Christian tradition God changes his mind. Is there a “good” or “bad” outside of God that God adheres to? If God were to start ordering indiscriminate slaughter and genocide (as Jewish and Christian tradition holds he has done in the past) would that be “good”. If so in a religious viewpoint the words “good” and “bad” are also tautology and denote the meaning “what we currently think “God” wants, but if he flips it tomorrow then good and bad will become opposite to their current meaning (i.e we will be morally obligated to do what we called “bad” yesterday). If you say that is impossible then you are acknowledging a “good or bad” outside of God which he adheres to and making God a surplus piece of the equation have no relevance to the issue of whether there is such a thing as good and bad.

        • Mike,

          I think you need to read what Mira has to say very carefully. In my opinion, she gives a very coherent, candid, and honest presentation of the atheistic position.

      • Oh, and you do reject options because you don’t like their implications. You have consciously rejected atheism.

  • “Since in the atheistic worldview we are nothing more than upright walking primates, our value systems have no more significance than those of our jungle dwelling relatives.”

    Again, misguided and 100% wrong. You really don’t understand much.. which explains your choices in life: Such as writing this article that you find so true.
    There is no logic to what you are saying here.
    You have yet to learn that a statement can be so false that it is not worth considering.
    Moshe, if you do not learn to ask questions you will never find correct answers.

    • Cwayne,

      If we actually are nothing more than upright walking primates (which seems to be the obvious, self-apparent truth in a Darwinian view of reality), why would our value systems be more significant than that of any other animal?

      If we are not just upright walking primates, then what are we? How are we qualitatively different?

      • Firstly, you say “once you accept it.” That is false. Natural selection exists whether one accepts it or not. Nothing about nature actually changes just because you form an opinion to or against it.

        Secondly, our moral systems actually ARE very similar to other primates. The differences that exist are explainedby the fact that we are our own species, with our own environments.

        We are conditioned, not by society, but by BIOLOGY not to kill other humans. That’s why military units have to train so hard in order to break down that “do not kill” response.

        Chimpanzees, for instance, will war with other tribes, but it is highly unusual for a chimpanzee to just kill members of his own tribe. Does that sound familiar to you? Hint: It’s how most humans view the difference between war & murder.

      • They are more significant to us because they are ours. The value systems of Bonobos are probably pretty significant to them.

        We are smart, upright hairless apes. Of course we are. The problem with the way you pose the question is that it implies that this fact somehow demeans us. It doesn’t.

  • “but because they reflect the eternal, immutable, and absolute moral laws that emanate from Almighty God, the Creator of the universe and all mankind.”

    What utter nonsense.

  • Moshe,
    1. There is no such thing(s) as God/Gods
    2. Save all your persecution and proselytizing for the afterlife

  • Atheism leads to pedophelia. That’s the main claim of this article, correct?

    Then I don’t need to hear anything else from you. It is demonstratably false. We have no atheists campaigning for pedophelic relations, quite the opposite, in fact.

    Note that all of the quotes you mined are attempting to resolve the paradox that is the lack of existence in absolute morals AND the widespread preference against certain practices. The field of ethics evolves over time from the bickering of philosophers, and no one philosophy completely describes human nature. You should be no more surprised of this paradox’s existance than you should be of the fact that Kant rejected the Ontological Argument, yet was still a Christian.

    So, no matter how good you might THINK your logic is, if that’s not what’s happening, then that’s not what’s happening. Facts don’t disappear just because you don’t like them or don’t want to believe in them. This is why atheists aren’t supporting pedophelia even if you think they should, and it’s why morals are relative, even if you don’t like the implications of that.

    But it’s worth noting that people fail to see the opposite side of that coin: Since morals ARE relative, they can be shaped by social pressures. If this were not the case, the Civil Rights Movement would have never succeeded.

    It’s like your Holocaust quote. Man both started AND ended the holocaust. It proves nothing about God, just like the state of the world wouldn’t change whether moral absolutes were proven or disproven, but it provides a silver lining in that tyrrany can be overthrown.

    • Lithp,

      The point of the Holocaust quote is that there is absolutely nothing that humans are not capable of doing.
      IF an advanced, educated, sophisticated, scientific society is capable of doing what Japan and Germany did, why do you think the acceptance of pedophilia is not an option?

      • Germany was predominately Christian and Japan was predominately Buddhist-Shinto. It is interesting how you’ve yet to find any society that was mostly atheist OR practiced pedophelia, let alone one that does both.

        Let me spell it out: You have ID’d atheism, specifically, as a root cause of homosexuality, but you actually have no real world evidence of this.

        • Lithp,

          It is precisely because I do not want to see our society slide into the acceptance of pedophelia that I wrote the article. I don’t know how old you are, but I mentioned that in my own lifetime I have seen radical shifts in the moral values of this country. You are being naive if you think that somehow pedophilia is sacrosanct. There was a time when it was inconceivable that homosexuality could be accepted as “normal”. There was a time when it was inconceivable that the killing of unborn children would be looked at as no more significant than swatting a fly.

          My guess is that you are very young. I find it very difficult to understand the reactions of many of the commenters on this site. Why don’t you complain to Joel Marks, Peter Singer, or Michael Ruse? They are atheistic philosophers, they are the ones who explicitly state that there is no basis for any absolute moral values. I just happen to agree with them.

          THe most “successful” atheistic ideology, Communism, was also the bloodiest in human history.

          A question: If you teach your child that he is qualitatively indistinguishable from any other animal, what logical reason could you give him if he decides to live that way? Because you say so? Animals kill each other in order to eat, why shouldn’t we? Because it disturbs you personally? So Don’t. That doesn’t obligate anyone else.

          • “I find it very difficult to understand the reactions of many of the commenters on this site.”

            I can see that. But unless you can provide evidence of your hypothesis’s real world applications, then all you get is a 5/10. It’s the best I can do for you.

          • Aladdin Connolly

            You describe the changes in society such as accepting homosexuality as a moral slide downwards. This shows that you derive your morality not from a care for your fellow humans welfare, but from arbitrary pronouncements of ancient texts, that also promote genocide and all sorts of abominations you reject. You are the cherry picker choosing your own morals and then placing an authoritative “God” stamp on them to quiet reasoned discourse. The idea that you equate homosexuality and pedophilia where one is consenting adult behavior and one is abuse of a person in a position of power over someone who is immature and unable to understand the consequences of the situation shows you know nothing of love for your fellow man. The only similarity (which you harp on I might add) is that at one time “society” found both revolting, and so you conclude if that changes the other will also. By that same theory you should still be promoting the persecution of your people and racism since once society found Jews and blacks revolting so if they change on that they might all become pedophiles. Yeah society has is less homophobic and you are still homophobic so clearly this change was a slide “downhill”. That’s some sophisticated philosophy there!

        • Lthyp,

          5/10 is better than nothing! thanks

          Moshe

  • The Rabbi is building grand castles on air. Because he has chosen to believe in a completely unsupported assertion for no reason other then cultural ones (I’m sure he thinks he has good reason for his faith but he is mistaken… no person has ever had good reason to believe in any deity) he assumes that he holds his values more dear in a more unchanging way then atheists. This is a completely illogical argument, since his base assumption is unproven. More, it is in direct opposition to fact. The morals of those who are, they wrongly believe, motivated by a timeless interpretation of an ancient book are changed with time and fashion.

    In the Hebrew bronze age middle east, the religious fully supported slavery.

    In Catholic Germany in the 1930′s, the religious fully supported, at least tacitly, mass murder.

    In the protestant American west, the extermination of Native Americans was preached from the pulpits of every church.

    The list goes on and on. It is a cardinal error to equate religion with a static set of morals that don’t change, as much as it is to claim that the morals of Atheists are inferior, subject only to the whims of the moment.

    Human morals are ever changing, whether you are Atheist, reasonable and wise or theistic, unreasonable and a fool, like the Rabbi here.

    • Tolpuddle Martyr

      And in that bronze age text God smiled approvingly when the Israelites killed off the Midianites and took their virgin girls to be their wives. So…God hates pedophilia-unless it’s the justified war-rape of Midianites right?

      Or Jabesh-gileadites, or women in marriage or…

      Also the author evidently believes that a good number of Catholic Priests are atheists!

      • One suspects that the Rabbi may be a cherry-picker, trumpeting those parts of his holy book he likes and “interpreting” away those he doesn’t.

        • Mike,

          A comprehensive understanding of Judaism and the Torah is a complex subject. The problem is that many of the people writing here think that because they read an English translation they understand it all. In fact, most of the comments indicate a Mickey Mouse level of understanding of Judaism. I don’t blame people, they simply don’t know.

          The other point is that most of the comments are beside the point. If you want to reject Jewish law, be my guest. It does not change any of the problems with atheistic ideology. Many of the people use their misconstrued ideas about Judaism to avoid confronting the issues I raised in the article.

          • What you call a “comprehensive understanding of Judaism” is simply unneeded. Any argument or position is flawed and incorrect if it’s assumptions are not factual. The base assumptions of Judaism are not acceptable as facts… there is no evidence for them. I notice in your protests that everyone else here has a weak understanding of what is being discussed, you skip over this simple fact. Not surprising, given that it seriously weakens your position.

            You also fail to admit the deep flaw in your logic. If atheists are amoral and their ethics given to change with time and fashion, why is it that the morals of theists clearly change with time and fashion? Why are the ethics of theists not immune from the charges you make about atheists? The reason, of course, is that the morals of theists and atheists are exactly the same thing, an evolved set of behaviors that allow humans to live in groups. Like every evolved structure, it is not perfect. It is good enough most of the time. A knee joint will keep you upright and moving most of the time but some individual knees will be weak and fail easier. The moral sense evolved in humans will keep people from doing terrible things to those they perceive as their group most of the time but some individuals will fail. It’s exactly what would be predicted and look… it’s exactly what we observe.

            So please, if you choose to respond to me again, don’t brag about your superior understanding, don’t claim that everyone else is just a big dumbhead, actually address what I’m saying.

            Briefly…

            1. All your claims are invalid due to the unsupported a priori assumption of the existence of a law-giving deity.

            2. The morals of atheists and theists have no actual observable difference, in contrary to your position.

          • Moshe,
            I’m afraid this is wrong. Judaism and Torah are made up cultural rules to control people and bring them closer together in a community.
            I don’t blame you for not understanding that “God”, “Gods” do not exist and why this is so. You simply don’t know and are unlikely to find out/understand.
            You do not understand the ‘atheist ideology’.

      • Martyr,

        Certainly not worse than the fire bombing of Tokyo in WW 2 where 100,000 men, women, and children were killed in one night. War is hell. The women became servants, not wives. Rape is not permitted under Jewish law.

        By the way, do you have any complaints about things that happened less than 3,400 years ago?

        • Tolpuddle Martyr

          What specific acts of servitude require the servants to be female and virgins Rabbi? Why kill all the men, boys and women who had known a man? Do they have a bad rep for dusting and mopping or somesuch?

        • I don’t think that anyone has in anyway implied that the firebombing of Dresden was anything other then an atrocity… anyone other then you that is.

          Is the time period of a great wrong some bar to condemning it? I don’t believe it is.

          On another subject, I suppose the enslavement of all those women was a moral act? It raises the question, allowing for the sake of this argument that your idea of god exists, of whether an act is moral for it’s own sake or because god says it is. Is your deity an all-wise interpreter of morality or is a thing good or evil merely because your god says so?

          • Mike,

            I don’t think that the firebombing of Dresden was an atrocity, nor the firebombing of Tokyo or dropping Atomic bombs on Japan.

            Whose rules are you following? Who made up your rules? The whole point is that from an atheistic perspective no individual rules or societal rules have any more significance than any other. Who are you or who is any other society to dictate to everyone what the rules should be?

          • I thought you had admitted that you had nothing of value to contribute. You were right in that admission, of course, yet here you are again, spouting nonsense.

            I am following my rules, the rules of my culture, which pass logical muster. Show me where they don’t and I’ll change them.

            You make the mistake of saying “The whole point is that from an atheistic perspective no individual rules or societal rules have any more significance than any other.” This does not mean they have no significance. This does not mean that there are not systems that work better then others.

            It is comical that you criticize atheist morality, in all its strength, by saying “Who are you or who is any other society to dictate to everyone what the rules should be?” This is exactly what you want to do… impose your particular relative set of morals on everyone because you mistakenly believe they come from a divine lawgiver. You have no evidence for that position and to cling to it as strongly as you seem to is rather silly.

          • Oh, by the way, I suspect you of lying. I bet you do think those acts were immoral. Lying is wrong according to Judaism, yet you can throw that precept out the window to meet your own ends. In this case, to make a point.

            Moral relativist!

        • Rape is not permitted under jewish law? Did you read your holy scriptures lately? Deuteronomy 22:28-29 and Judges 21:21-24 come to mind.

        • Tolpuddle Martyr

          “By the way, do you have any complaints about things that happened less than 3,400 years ago?”

          Dear me, If Mr Averick is suggesting that an act of genocide was more acceptable then than an act of genocide would be now, doesn’t that also strongly imply that you know-values and standards change over time?

          How do you reconcile this with a belief in a rock-solid and unchanging standard of morality set by God?

  • My, how embarrassing for the Rabbi, defending the indefensible.

    • Jon W,

      that’s funny, I felt the same way about most of the people commenting on this article.

      • // I felt the same way about most of the people commenting on this article //

        Of course you do, cupcake. It’s all about the way you feel, isn’t it?

        You’ve got nothing going here except your feelings. You feel other people are wrong, and you feel like you have the right to tell them they are wrong, and you feel you have the ability to show them how they are wrong.

        Seriously, atheists are not at all the way you imagine and misunderstand. The greatest group identification with pedophilia is among religious leaders. And you aren’t making any sense.

        The one thing that atheists will stoop to doing that the religious refrain from is exactly this–telling religious leaders that they are wrong.

        You, Moshe, are wrong.

        You are incapable of understanding why and how you are wrong, so thus endeth the lesson.

      • Hey Mosh, I see you don’t have the guts to approve my post. Here’s the first part again:
        If the only reason a person is not out there right now molesting children is because their god commanded them not to, they are not a moral person. They are a child molester on Holy Probation.

        • ATheist,

          I have nothing to do with approving posts, don’t give yourself so much credit. I am not the administrator of the site.

          You have missed the entire point. AS Joel Marks said, in the amoral atheistic view of reality there is no such thing as right and wrong, as an atheist he embraces amorality. The only thing that is left to say about child molestation is that it is not to his personal taste.

          Assuming for the moment you are a healthy normal male heterosexual who is sexually attracted to women, The reality you have not confronted is the following: If you had the same sexual lust for children as heterosexual males have for women, what would stop you? You are doomed to live a life with no sexual fulfillment.

          • If an atheist had a sexual attraction to minors the exact same thing that stops theists would be stopping them. Both would be doomed to a life of no sexual fulfillment if they choose not to pursue their desires.

            Since your theistic position is fundamentally flawed from the very outset, it necessarily follows that since moral behavior exists, it has a source other then a deity. Thus, the morality of a theist and an atheist must have the same source, which is not surprising, given that the observed outcomes are the same for both groups.

            The exact same thing stops the theist and the atheist from immorality.

      • That’s funny. Jon is right and you aren’t.

        Look! I can do silly, meaningless one-liners too.

        • Mike,

          If God does not exist, then morality is an illusion. that is the whole point to the article, and a position which has been explicated over and over again by nearly every major atheistic philosopher.

          • Again, you simply have no idea what you are talking about. You are ascribing ideology that is completely incorrect. Please just go away and stop writing dangerous nonsense, accusing people of believing things they certainly do not believe in. “Pedophilia is next on the slippery slope”: what utter dangerous trash.

          • “If God does not exist, then morality is an illusion.”

            Absolutely false.

            There is no evidence for any god, thus no reasonable person should believe in them. Unless you or someone can provide such evidence, the only possible position is that there is no deity.

            Morality does exist in spite of the lack of existence of any deity. Societies continue to exist. Thus, morality has some source other then a law giving deity.

            The best explanation available is evolved behaviors, which are universal to both atheist and theist.

            It is uninteresting that you produce an unsupported assertion and then engage in an appeal to authority (ironically an authority you probably don’t agree with) in a failed attempt to support it.

            Do you have anything more to offer? Anything of substance at all?

          • Again, you are missing the point in Mikes previous post:
            What you call a “comprehensive understanding of Judaism” is simply unneeded. Any argument or position is flawed and incorrect if it’s assumptions are not factual. The base assumptions of Judaism are not acceptable as facts… there is no evidence for them. I notice in your protests that everyone else here has a weak understanding of what is being discussed, you skip over this simple fact. Not surprising, given that it seriously weakens your position.

            You also fail to admit the deep flaw in your logic. If atheists are amoral and their ethics given to change with time and fashion, why is it that the morals of theists clearly change with time and fashion? Why are the ethics of theists not immune from the charges you make about atheists? The reason, of course, is that the morals of theists and atheists are exactly the same thing, an evolved set of behaviors that allow humans to live in groups. Like every evolved structure, it is not perfect. It is good enough most of the time. A knee joint will keep you upright and moving most of the time but some individual knees will be weak and fail easier. The moral sense evolved in humans will keep people from doing terrible things to those they perceive as their group most of the time but some individuals will fail. It’s exactly what would be predicted and look… it’s exactly what we observe.

            So please, if you choose to respond to me again, don’t brag about your superior understanding, don’t claim that everyone else is just a big dumbhead, actually address what I’m saying.

            Briefly…

            1. All your claims are invalid due to the unsupported a priori assumption of the existence of a law-giving deity.

            2. The morals of atheists and theists have no actual observable difference, in contrary to your position.

          • I didn’t think you did. I hope you have learned a few things from this, that you will open your mind to all your sad errors. I doubt you will, but hope springs eternal in the atheist human breast. I hope you do… it will help you.

            If you need anything else explained to you, I will be dropping back in here form time to time to point out your errors.

      • Doesn’t it bother you that a good number of people here are picking apart your original article, and you are completely unable to respond with a coherent defense? I would think that you would be rather embarrassed by how often this happens

        • Arkasi,

          Who is picking apart whom is obviously a point of contention between the two of us.

          • You have added nothing new, in spite of valid points being presented to you, by myself and others. I, for one, am unimpressed with your cutesy little comments like this.

          • A real man of learning would have checked his hypothesis against reality. Since atheists are no more likely to be pedophiles than the average population, he would then conclude that his hypothesis is incorrect. Since you didn’t do so, you obviously don’t care about the truth of your statements. All you care about is defending your presuppositions.

            Stop calling yourself a rabbi. You don’t deserve the title. You are insulting all the good men who have earned it who are truly interested in advancing their knowledge

          • Well said, Arakasi. Mr. Averick has put on a very poor show here. His points are just wrong and his responses to honest rebuttal snide or non-existent.

            It is weak reasoning and lack of ability to defend their positions typical of the theist. One almost hopes for hypocrisy on the part of people like Mr. Averick. The only other possibility is a sad combination of stupidity, stubbornness, and misplaced arrogance.

  • An Atheist’s Creed

    I believe in a purely material universe that conforms to naturalistic laws and principles.

    I believe that the life we have is the only one we will have, that the mind and consciousness are inseparable from the brain, that we cease to exist in any conscious form when we die, and that it is therefore incumbent on us to enable each person to live their one life to the fullest.

    I believe in the power of science and reason and rationality to further deepen our understanding of everything around us and to eventually overcome superstition and erase the petty divisions sown by religion, race, ethnicity, and nationality.

    I am in awe of the beauty, vastness, and complexity of nature and the universe, and the fact that all arose purely by the working of natural laws.

    I believe in the power of ideals such as peace and justice and shared humanity to inspire us to create a free and just world.

    I believe in kindness, love, and the human spirit and their ability to overcome challenges and adversity and to create a better world.

    I believe in the necessity for credible and objective evidence to sustain any belief and thus deny, because of the absence of such evidence, the existence of each and every aspect of the supernatural.

    I refuse to bow, prostrate myself, or otherwise cower before the deities of any religion.

    I am neither tempted by the fiction of heaven or any other form of eternal life nor fearful of the fiction of hell.

    I choose to live the dignified and exhilarating life of a free-thinker, able to go wherever knowledge and curiosity takes me, without fear of contradicting any dogma.

    • Ichthyic,

      If I was an atheist I would look at the world almost exactly the same way. In fact I wrote an article about my own creed if I was an atheist. It is on the Algemeiner website. It is entitled: “Why Don’t Atheists
      Get It? (Actually, some do)” I would be curious to hear your reaction. The only place where I would disagree with you is that you arbitrarily drew some lines for yourself.

      • > The only place where I would disagree with you is that you arbitrarily drew some lines for yourself.

        Just like you do. Just like everyone does. And that is the point!

        But of course your centuries-old-list-of-arbitrary-rules-handed-down-from-on-high is the one true list of moral rules… oh, but of course it is! ;)

        That is sarcasm, by the way. (I don’t like to point it out as it should be obvious, but I have learned that those who are willing to believe anything — like you and your religious brethren — tend to not get sarcasm.)

      • Moshe,
        you are completely on the wrong track. Your lack of understading and morality do not apply to others. Unless they are as dangerous and misguided as you.

  • The rather simplistic error the Rabbi is making is one common to theism. The unsupportable a priori assumption that not only does some form of a deity exist but also that it is the deity that the particular theist believes in. The idea that atheists are amoral is based on this assumption and the nearly direct corollary that morality is something more then an evolved construct that allows human groups to live together.

    Since the Rabbi, and in fact no theist in history, has ever given any good reason to believe in any deity, it is necessary to accept that morality has a naturalistic explanation. Rabbi, you and others may not accept that no good evidence has ever been presented but that is irrelevant. Present it if you can. Maybe you will succeed where everyone else has failed.

    So, unless you are going to claim that atheists lack morality (and if you are, you are a fool) in fact the morality of atheists and theists come from exactly the same place. They are ultimately the same thing. Your claims of some quality inherent in atheism that is permissive of pedophilia is simply wrong. There is something in a minority of humans; atheist, catholic or jewish, that wants to have sex with children. Trying to co-opt an undeserved moral superiority is repugnant and you should be ashamed of yourself.

  • “For the benefit of the philosophically challenged let me explain “consequentialism” in a nutshell: If you like the consequences it’s ethical, if you don’t like the consequences it’s unethical. Thus, if you enjoy child pornography and having sex with children it’s ethical, if you dislike child pornography and having sex with children it’s unethical.”

    That is utterly ridiculous. If you want to criticise something, first you have to *understand* it. Please, look it up on wikipedia or something.

    As for morals without god, like Peter Singer I am a utilitarian. In simplified terms, all need I is to recognize that happiness and suffering exist, and then decide that I want to increase the former and decrease the latter. It’s as simple as that.

  • Just about every part of this article is a misrepresentation of what atheists actually believe. The rabbi is just lying.

  • Dear Rabbi Averick,

    It’s no secret and should be no surprise that child marriage has been the norm through most of human history — it doesn’t look that way since our attention is so focused on the west in the last century, arguably the one tiny corner of history in which child marriages were swamped by adult marriages.

    Was this long history of child marriages — of female slavery, essentially — protested by the world’s religions as the hallmark of heathenism? No, of course not. Early Judaism wrote the book on child marriages. Many forms of Islam still justify it. One has to look to the fringes of Christianity to find it these days but you can find it in Utah. Again, it isn’t that fallible human beings use their holy books to justify child marriage, it is that the holy books are themselves the playbook on child marriage.

    And if child marriage is actually immoral, or sinful, as we now believe, these hundreds of generations of folks living according to the rules passed down to them by their holy men must face God and explain that they felt they were doing good. “We were only following your rules!” Here we find at last what you’re missing about morality and atheism. When you behave a certain way because those are the rules you are not behaving morally, you are acting selfishly. You are trying to avoid the consequences of breaking the rules. Rather than controlling yourself, you are submitting yourself to an outside system of control. And if that system breaks or malfunctions or was never that good to begin with, where does that leave you?

    So you miss the point when you call atheism a “slippery slope.” Atheism is a reaction to the slippery slope that religion put us on thousands of years ago. For thousands of years ago, child marriage was normal and carried the imprimatur of that old-time religion. Atheism is standing up and saying, “No, raping children is wrong even if it’s always been done, and even if the holy book says it’s OK.” The morality of atheists is the morality of thinking agents engaging in self-rule, rather than of slaves obeying their master in the light of day and sneaking scraps at night.

    There’s a slippery slope, but it slopes the other way, Rabbi. We nonbelievers will keep trying to drag you into the light of reason, no matter how much you may scream and kick and clutch at the holy words of a people who were utterly barbaric by any modern measure.

    Also, a Rabbi should probably be willing to give a better account of consequentialism than the hit job here. Poor form.

  • Where’s your proof that there is a God and that it’s the God of the Old Testament?

    Also, you seem to think that reading an English translation of the Old Testament is not useful for actually understanding it. Doesn’t that make it quite useless as a moral guide for everyone except people who can read it in its original language? I can only read English and a bit of French. There are billions of people who can only read translations of the Bible (be they in Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, etc.). It seems to me that if this book was actually intended to be a moral guide for all of humanity, God would have revealed it to each different society, in a language they understand. That, or it would be easy to translate.

    I guess you could make an arguement that we all learn Hebrew, but not everyone has the time on their hands to do that. I’d like to see some hard evidence that the God of the Old Testament (or Torah, etc) is actually the creator of the Earth and its inhabitants before I go believing that it’s actually a divenely inspired moral guide.

    This brings me to my final point: I simply do not believe in God. I can’t force myself to and if there were an omniscient God, he’d know I was just acting anyway. Given that I am not a murderer, thief, or sexual predator and am charitable and try to treat all people in a kind manner, why do I need to use any sort of scriptures as my moral guide?

    I think the fact that there are religious pedophiles and other criminals shows that forcing people to use scriptures as a moral guide does not 100% prevent criminal behaviour anyway.

    • Mary,

      You raise some valid points. As far as the existence of God, please read my book. The link is at the end of the article. Once we agree on the existence of God, spirituality and the soul, we can talk about the God of Abraham and Mt. Sinai. One thing at a time.

      If you want to understand the general moral principles that Judaism teaches to all humanity see the following website: http://www.1stcovenant.com/seven_laws.htm

      I’m sorry, but there simply is no way to properly understand the details or spirit of Jewish law by reading a translation of the Five Books. It was never written to be used that way (at least not as a JEWISH book) Just one simple example: “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” was never understood by any Jew in the 3,300 year old history of the Torah as a command to poke out someone’s eye if they did that to someone else. It always meant monetary compensation. Every Jewishly educated child knows that. There are countless examples of similar misunderstanding throughout the Torah. This is simply the fact. Judaism has been misrepresented by many people

      • “I’m sorry, but there simply is no way to properly understand the details or spirit of Jewish law by reading a translation of the Five Books. It was never written to be used that way”

        then I’m sorry, but by your own admission, the morality supposedly contained within those books does not apply to anyone outside of those who can read them in the original Hebrew.

        with this one, rather minor really, detail, your entire argument about atheists, let alone any other group of individuals out there, does not apply.

        epic fail.

      • Moshe,
        “Read your book”? No thank you. You have no proof of “Gods” “God”. Or you simply ‘believe’ you do. What passes in your head as sense is misguided and dangerous.

      • You do keep shilling that book, don’t you? Never stop chasing that almighty dollar. Sadly, I think you are a bad influence so I won’t monetarily rewarding you for your drivel. Put some arguments here where they can be addressed and stop trying to scam people out of their hard-earned money.

  • Moshe Averick – I read your piece. You are the spawn of the devil himself poorly disguised as a rabbi. You speak hate. You lie. Your evil dumbness have cosmic proportions. In the afterlife you’re going to hell. To your fathers house. You are a being without honor, dignity or grace. You are a hatemonger. A false jew. The love you feel, the truths you know – are all imaginary ones – implanted by your father, the devil. You live a life funded on lies. May God have mercy on your twisted soul.

  • Catholic. Priests.

    ’nuff said.

    • Two Words,

      If the issue was that simple, I would have an even simpler response: Stalin, Mao, Pol-Pot, the greatest mass murderers in the history of mankind. ALL ATHEISTS.

      Take a deep breath and start to discuss and think like an adult.

      • ” Stalin, Mao, Pol-Pot, the greatest mass murderers in the history of mankind. ALL ATHEISTS.”

        They might have been atheists but their crimes were not committed in the cause of atheism but for the advancement of their political agenda.

        “Take a deep breath and start to discuss and think like an adult.”

        May I suggest you take heed of your own advice.

        • Roy,

          You obviously did not take note of the context in which I wrote that comment. I was answering the simplistic response of “Two Words.”

          But as long as you brought up the issue, here is a short excerpt from my book where I discuss the point you raised:

          “Richard Dawkins, the atheist equivalent of The Big Kahuna, lamely attempts to disassociate himself from the mass murder committed by atheist tyrants with the following: “The bottom line of the Stalin/Hitler debating point is very simple. Individual atheists may do evil things, but they don’t do evil things in the name of atheism.”
          He’s absolutely correct. Nobody makes wars or commits mass murder in the name of atheism. The reason for this is the same reason that nobody makes a war in the name of tiddlywinks. In order to do “great” things, you need a “great” idea. You cannot inspire people to fight a war in the name of tiddlywinks because it is trivial. Atheism is the most trivializing idea of all. In fact atheism represents the negation of everything great in humankind. Atheism implies that we are all just a bunch of purposeless, meaningless, glorified bacteria spinning around in space. How could you possibly arouse the masses to do anything in the name of atheism?
          However, while the concept of atheism itself negates any form of greatness, being an atheist does not eliminate the inner need of the human being to seek greatness. Once an individual has thrown off divine moral restrictions by declaring himself an atheist, he can now use all his ambitions, talents, energy and passion to achieve “great” things, without any moral boundaries whatsoever. H.G. Wells, Konrad Lorenz, George Bernard Shaw, and the Nazis did not advocate murdering unfit humans in the name of something as trivial as atheism. They advocated these policies in the name of the glorious cause of “creating a race of thoroughbreds,” as Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood so eloquently termed it, or building a “New Republic,” or “perfecting the human species,” or “creating a Master Race.” It was atheism, however, that intellectually, psychologically, and spiritually allowed them to justify the use of any means necessary, without “the inescapable authoritarian control” of divine moral restrictions, to achieve their goals.
          Josef Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and Pol Pot absolutely and literally applied the words of Lenin, “Our morality is entirely subordinated to the interest of the proletariat’s class struggle,” and those of atheist Mikhail Bakunin, one of the founders of the Anarchist movement, “To [the revolutionary] whatever aids the triumph of the revolution is ethical; whatever hinders it is unethical and criminal.” (Catechism of the Revolutionist)”

          • Your common response to people taking issue with your comments is that they didn’t understand you. Perhaps you should begin considering that you are a poor writer.

      • Hitler. Catholic, and backed by the Vatican.
        Kim Jong-Il. Believes that HE is a god.
        The Crusades.
        The Spanish Inquisition.
        Al Qaeda.

        Don’t even get started about how atheism is somehow responsible for the greatest murderers in history. It’s one of the most easily-refutable non-arguments that you can have, and pedophilia is FAR, FAR more prevalent in Christians and Muslims than in any other group. Your article is full of vague, meaningless arguments and is insulting. You’re a failure as a so-called ‘scholar’.

        • James,

          I don’t have to get started. It is simply a fact. The greatest mass murderers in history have been atheists. Exactly what role their atheism played in their actions is an important discussion. No matter what, however, it has to give you pause to think.

          • The greatest mass-murderer of history was your supposed god…

            You people clearly do not know your own texts.

            ————

            God is an atheist. So why disagree? ;-)

          • It is sad how often this ignorant chestnut gets trotted out. All the people you list were also men, so should we assume that being male leads one to mass murder? They were also fanatically dedicated to some particular political idea. Maybe that had something to do with it. They were also atheists (except for Hitler, of course, who was a catholic). Have theists ever been so dedicated to an ideal that was unconnected with their theism that they did terrible things? I would say they have. Atheists have done the same.

            Considering what we are talking about here does indeed give one pause to think. It is only when one does so shallowly that one can come to any indictment of atheism. Really thinking about actually leads away from your conclusions.

      • The Catholic church systematically covers up priestal abuse, moving abusers on to fresh pastures. They don’t fully cooperate with the police. Check into the recent Irish Cloyne report for one example, of MANY.

        By stating these facts, nobody is painting EVERY catholic with the same, negative brush. It has to be said, since that conclusion is often jumped to. It’s a criticism of the organisation, the higher ups who run it. Yanno, the guys who sit there claiming they have the monopoly on moral authority all the damn time, atheists don’t do that(we’re too busy trying to convince people that we have feelings, lol).

        I think the issue is as simple as that, really. The RCC won’t take responsibility for the abuse or work to fix it, they’re kinda evil.

      • Ingatzio Ibarretxe

        Good people will the good; bad people will the bad. Religion or ideology does not change that.

        BUT… if you want to play numbers games, take a look at surveys of prison populations and see that Christians make up 80% of the nation and roughly 80% of the prison population, but Atheists make up 8% of the nation and comprise only 0.2% of the prison population. So are you ready to think like an adult, Moshe?

      • Stalin used religious tactics on a people used to religion. And it is that simple. Religious groups/people have a higher occurrence of pedophilia/pederasty than non. Your article is full of mistakes, errors and misconceptions. You might want to do some research before just writing what you want to, instead of what are facts. Looks like you bore false witness.

  • Last time I checked it wasn’t Atheists getting in the press for raping children then covering it up. I suggest you make friends with some Atheists and try talking to some of us – it may help prevent you from publishing sophistry of this tenor.

  • Yes, us Atheists are “morally bankrupt” and should be ashamed. We should request the moral guidance of those who worship a jealous, megalomaniacal, genocidal, infanticidal, homophobic, atrocious, obnoxious, and downright cruel invisible wizard.

    I think I will go molest a puppy now.

    • Asdef,

      I didn’t say you should go to Harry Potter for moral advice!

      • I certainly wouldn’t come to you for moral advice.
        The religious and political philosophy you promote, and your energetic support for the immoral behaviour of your countrys institutions, suggests some sort of psychopathic mental illness. Maybe you should consult your physician?.

      • Why shouldn’t we go to Harry Potter for moral advice? Harry Potter displayed courage, honesty, loyality, love, perserverence in the face of adversary, tolerance for those who are different, compassion – all traits we admire and encourage in our children. What better role model than Harry Potter? Certainly a far better role model than your just-as-fictional god.

        Your fictional god, on the other hand, displays all of the traits we least admire, which Asdef so capably listed in his post.

    • Harry Potter vs. God.

      Harry Potter:
      Jealous – no.
      Megalomaniacal – frequently downplayed involvement
      Genocidal – definitely not.
      Infanticidal – that was Voldemort.
      Homophobic – hung out with a gay wizard
      Atrocious – no.
      Obnoxious – I suppose you could make the argument.
      Cruel – no.
      Wizard – yes.

      God:
      Jealous – yes. frequently murders people for it too.
      Megalomaniacal – constantly taking credit for all.
      Genocidal – multiple instances.
      Infantacidal – often.
      Homophobic – yup.
      atrocious – uh huh.
      obnoxious – yes.
      cruel – eternal punishment for minor “crimes”
      invisible – no evidence for him yet.
      wizard – how else do you describe a magic man?

      I think I’ll be taking my morals from Harry Potter, thanks.

      • Gee, I had no idea how Harry Potter is taken so seriously. It was a joke, people.

      • Why learn from Harry Potter? Why not Darth Vader?

        In an atheistic world, everybody is just making up a system of values out of their own feelings, perspective, imagination, etc. None of them have any more validity than an imaginary religious system made up by deluded religious people.

        Darth Vader is just as good a role model as Harry Potter.

        • Well since you completely missed the point of the consequence quote its no wonder you believe Darth Vader is a good role model, or “god” for that matter.

          Now that i think of it Darth Vader and Palpatine probably is a reference to god anyway, they are quite similar…

        • My goodness, you don’t take correction well do you, Mr Averick? You have an epic ability to ignore counter evidence.

          You again make the false claim, oft repeated by you yet never supported, that in the naturalistic world (which by the way, is the one you live in even if you won’t admit ) there can be no morals. This is completely untrue, Morals evolved as a mechanism for living in groups.

          Harry Potter is a fictional character whose goals and message to his readers is a positive one of inclusion and defiance in the face tyrannical evil.

          Darth Vader and Jehovah, on the other hand ARE the fictional faces of tyrannical evil.

  • I don’t see what is the big deal with zoosexual activities that are not forceful and do not harms the animal, when done with fully sexually mature adult animals who can consent to sex.

    And yea I’m a zoosexual, but that doesn’t mean I’m bias, I base my morals on act utilitarianisms and critical objective thinking.

    Child molestation almost always harmful (if not always harmful) that is the difference between zoosexuality and child molestation. Zoosexuality can easily be done without harming anyone, only the rapists (the ones that violate consent) are the ones that cause harm.

    PS: I’m not an atheists nor theists, I’m an apathetic agnostic.

  • based on your article you have obviously no clue what atheism means or how morality and ethics works. On top, claiming that atheism leads to atrocities and pedophilia is funny coming from someone whose religion includes the old testament which is full of pedophilia, bestiality, infanticide and genocide- all in the name of a “loving” god.

  • Rabbi since you’re obviously not going to reply to the empathy dilemma that I’ve constantly brought up to you, I would like to bring up one more thing (out of the many) that you did not answer to. Your statement “A wise man once observed that while belief in God after the Holocaust may be difficult, belief in man after the Holocaust is impossible” How can you possibly say anything of the sort. How on earth can you sit there and say to me that you believe in god and love god, who sat with folded arms and watched as your people were tortured, murdered, and worked to death, (debatably in his name) and then say that you can not believe in humans, the people from all over the world that risked THEIR lives and DIED setting your people free? It is humans who toppled the third reich rabbi not a god I have plenty of objective evidence to show you. Where is your objective evidence to say that God had anything to do with it. That statement is probably the most offensive that you make rabbi.

    Schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com Don’t Stop!

    • And I beg you rabbi to not attempt anymore informal fallacies, I’ll point them out. Simply answer my question

    • Schnig,

      Can’t always keep up with what everyone writes. If you are saying empathy is a basis for a value system, that is perfectly fine, it is just another subjective approach to the topic. If you are an empathic person, that is great. If your empathic nature is what animates most of your behavior that is wonderful. Just like a lion’s nature animates his behavior and a Jackal’s nature animates his behavior, and a cow’s nature animates his behavior, and a beagle’s nature animates his behavior, your nature animates your behavior. Congratulations, you another member of the animal kingdom, and just like there is nothing immoral or moral about the behavior of a lion or beagle, there is nothing moral or immoral about your behavior.

      The incredible miraculous saga of Jewish history – of which the Holocaust and the prophetically predicted return to the land of Israel by the Jews is just one chapter – is the evidence of God’s hand.

      • We are ALL members of the animal kingdom. We evolved from other animals, whether you like it or not.

        There is absolutely NO evidence that some god had a hand in ANYTHING.

  • Your article, was ignorant and offensive and your meanderings about sex make me think the pathology lies within you and not the people who you condemn for merely existing as a canvas upon which to paint your twisted sexual fantasies.

    The reason we humans are not extinct is because ethics and co-operation and protection of the young is in our very DNA. We are the only primates who adopt other humans’ children and take care of them as our own. The reason people misbehave is not due to a lack of belief in a god, but because they have a pathology.

    Grow up and take your mind out of the gutter.

    • Cat,

      “Twisted sexual fantasies”? That’s a first!

      In any case, your notion of people misbehaving as being a reflection of some sort of pathology.

      Perhaps you should read Dr. Steven Pinker’s (atheist professor, Harvard University) article about infanticide where he discussed the fact that it becomes quite difficult to call infanticide the result of psychopathology when it has been such a widespread practice throughout the history of mankind, (it is still relatively common in China and India, the victims usually female babies) and the perpetrators not showing signs of any psychological disorders. Here is the relevant citation from Dr. Pinker’s essay:

      “Neonaticide, many think, could be only the product of pathology…But it’s hard to maintain that neonaticide is an illness when we learn that it has been practiced and accepted in most cultures throughout history. And that neonaticidal women do not commonly show signs of psychopathology…Several moral philosophers have concluded that neonates are not persons, and thus neonaticide should not be classified as murder. Michael Tooley has gone so far as to say that neonaticide ought to be permitted during an interval after birth.”

      I would never accuse you of having your head in the gutter, Cat, but you need to raise your head up and get a broader, more comprehensive view of your own moral ideology.

      It is also interesting to note that the Roman Historian, Cornelius Tacitus, wrote that one of the “sinister and revolting” practices of the Jews is that “they consider it a sin to kill a child, both born and unborn.”

      • Averick are you some kind of troll?
        I’ve looked at the other blogs you invited us to view. Same again, dishonesty, distortion and comments taken out of context. I don’t think Christopher Hitchens is the Charlatan; you are.

        With regard to your last quote. “It is also interesting to note that the Roman Historian, Cornelius Tacitus, wrote that one of the “sinister and revolting” practices of the Jews is that “they consider it a sin to kill a child, both born and unborn.”

        Things have apparently changed since the times of Tacitus. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have obviously no qualms about infanticide, or sinning against Jewish Religious teaching.

        • He hides behind the title ‘Rabbi’ to spread his hateful, misinformed rhetoric. Really the only thing we can do here is to demonstrate that Averick is more interested in adversarial argument rather than intellectual agreement.

          At least it’s good to know that sheer ignorance and pompous fallacies aren’t limited to backwoods Pentecostals. Even those who claim to be learned can be shown to be blind.

        • I love how you geniuses show up to illustrate the writer’s point for him.

          “Things have apparently changed since the times of Tacitus.”

          No duh. Social preferences change. That’s exactly Averick’s point. Preference for infanticide and pedophilia can come in or out of fashion, and have throughout history, so claiming that social preferences are a defense against those things is clearly false. You’ve simply offered more evidence against Cat’s claim that “ethics and co-operation and protection of the young is in our very DNA”

          • Of course, religious morals change as well, which seems to pretty well nix the “absolute morality” argument. It’s absolute and unchanging, except when it’s not, just like everyone else’s morality. If you think there’s no god-sanctioned infanticide in the Bible, you obviously have never read it.

          • Aladdin Connolly

            Thanks for the revelation. Things have also changed since old testament times when “god” commanded mass genocide. So has he changed as well?

    • “We are the only primates who adopt”←I find hard to believe that other primates do not adopt any infant from their own specie or even from other species. Do you have evidence that we are the only species that adopt?

      • Actually, many species; primate, mammal and bird, adopt. It’s not quite as widespread as it is among humans, but we’re advanced enough to have systems in place specifically FOR that purpose.

  • TO ALL,

    I try hard to respond to as many commenters as possible when I have time. Please don’t be offended if I am not able to respond. If you found this article thought provoking, perhaps look at some of the other articles I have written on this website, including:

    “Seriously, Aren’t Atheists Embarassed by PZ Myers?”

    “Christopher Hitchens: The Elmer Gantry of Modern Atheism”

    “An Open Letter to Dr. Jerry Coyne”

    and others, Here is the link:

    http://www.algemeiner.com/?s=moshe+averick

    ENJOY!

  • I guess that’s why American Athiests have had such a huge problem with child molestation and covering it up. Or maybe it was the Catholic Church. It was definitely one of the two.

    • Boo,

      If nobody had noticed that there was a terrible problem with child molestation among priests, I would have had to write an article about it. The problem has already been publicized. However, one thing is certain: no self respecting catholic, christian, or Jew will ever try to justify pedophilia. They all know it is a horrible crime, sin, etc. That is why it is so scandalous if a priest is found to have been molesting children.

      The problem I have pointed out (and I keep repeating over and over again, that is why I called this a “plea” to atheists) is that atheistic philosophy is being used – quite reasonably – as a justification for the normalization of pedolphilia. After reading what Marks and Singer have to say, the issue of child-sex becomes something we can discuss. If it can be discussed, it can be rationalized. The fact that priests, or other clergy, have molested children, as horrible as it is, is completely besides the point and irrelevant to what I have said. I know about it just like you.

      There is simply no denying that atheism implies a totally subjective set of values. I did not say the things that Peter Singer or Joel Marks said, THEY said them. When British atheistic philosopher Michael Ruse writes that there is no objective reason why someone should not rape, murder, and pillage like a Roman legionaire and that morality has no foundation, please do not blame me. When Sigmund Freud writes that in objective reality, human life has no value, please do not blame me. When Julian Baggini, another British atheistic philosopher writes that there is no logical reason for the atheist to behave morally, do not blame me. It is time for honest atheists to look inward and take a good hard look at the implications of their beliefs.

      Many out there will say (and have said), Rabbi the Old Testament is horribly immoral. I am quite aware of what the Torah says. Most of the claims that people make are based on terrible misconceptions about what the Torah system is. The notion that fathers give their daughters away to old men is absurd. There may be cultures that do that today, it does not happen among Jews and never did.

      • “However, one thing is certain: no self respecting catholic, christian, or Jew will ever try to justify pedophilia. They all know it is a horrible crime, sin, etc. That is why it is so scandalous if a priest is found to have been molesting children.”
        and yet they do. It’s being excused with “well we didn’t know better at that time” and “those were different times”. It is still being covered up.

  • How old where the brides in the bible compared to the men I wonder? Plus how many “wives” did Abraham have? The old testament is not a wonder of modern moralism.

    • Sherry,

      Polygamy is not considered to be immoral in any way whatsoever. However, it is clear from the book of Genesis that the Patriarchs considered it best to practice monogamy. Abraham and Isaac were married to one woman and Jacob only married (“married” – a committed relationship) more than one woman because of the odd circumstances that you can read about yourself. I find it strange that people who can accept the rampant and casual promiscuity that exists in American society today, particularly on the university campus, have some kind of problem with polygamy.

      Practicallty speaking however, polygamy was banned by Rabbinic decree well over a thousand years ago. Jews do not practice polygamy and since that time it is strictly forbidden.

      • Aladdin Connolly

        Wow polygamy = not immoral (I agree by the way.
        Polygamy is strictly forbidden (arbitrary rule anyone?). Would society accepting or promoting polygamy be part of your slippery slope I wonder?

  • Our dear Rabbi firstly needs to read “End of Faith” by Sam Harris if he is to argue effectively on subjective and objective morality. He, however, must be laughing at the attention as far as I can see. Many responses carry the tag “when you buy my book…”.

    This is just a rather dishonest discussion on the benefits of Amazon over other good (or bad) bookstores.

    • Quincyme,

      Of course I have read The End of Faith, and analyze some of the assertions by SAm Harris in my book.
      It is available on Amazon.com (yuk-yuk)

  • In a finely tuned universe we, (life as we know it,) can see beauty and ugly.

    But of course, if life (as we DONT know it) was to find itself in a ‘different’ universe, what we today, find ugly and repugnant – yuck factor – MIGHT seem beautiful.

    I wonder why/how the no-god hypthesis of atheism can find any “yuck factor” in abortion, pedophilia, marrying a sheep, eating wombat feces, etc, in a ‘reality’ which only just ‘happens’ to be the way we find it.

    According to the people who find reality NOT finely tuned, we would find ANY reality we encountered – “finely tuned”.

  • Mate, you’re an idiot.

    I have no imaginary friend inciting me to violence and evil against people of different creeds, or who commit heinous sins such as working on the Sabbath or giving up their virginity before marriage.

    On the contrary, with no dusty old anthology of bronze-age tribal myths to justify my prejudices, my morality is defined by the greater good.

    The sooner we’re rid of religious nonsense like this the better off we’ll all be.

    • Senexis,

      I appreciate your well thought out and penetratingly incisive comments.

      Within several decades of the publication of Origin of Species the first major atheistic ideology was born: Communism. The atheistic ideology of communism was responsible for the spilling of more innocent blood and causing more human misery in a 70 year period than all religious fanatics had managed to achieve in the previous 1000 years. It seems that as problematic as religion can be, there is only one thing worse: Atheism.

      Perhaps, my statement was a little over-dramatic, however it seems to me that at the very least, it should give you some pause to think, and may help bring about a more intelligent and thoughtful discussion of this issue.

      • Friedrich Engels actually published a few years before Darwin

      • Are we really playing this game again? Hitler was a Christian. He repeatedly used Christianity in his speeches, and Nazi military belt buckles had “God with us” written on the front.

        If you truly WANT to have that argument, it’s usually a trivial one for Atheists to win, given that Theists can only dredge up people who happened to be Atheists, rather than people who used Atheism to justify atrocities, which is the pertinent detail. Find me a speech where Stalin says “I consider it my duty as an Atheist to [horrible thing]“. It VERY easy to find correspondingly religious speeches like that from Hitler. Also, there does seem to be some evidence that Stalin was somewhat of a Deist, rather than what we would today consider an Atheist (link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_former_Christians#cite_note-37).

        Not that it matters. The whole “Your side has more dicks, no YOUR side has more dicks” argument is asinine. Whether or not religion is TRUE is what’s important. Just saying, if you WANT to go down the “Your side has more dicks” road, you’re probably betting on the wrong team.

  • Daniel Schealler

    I’m disappointed in you, Rabbi.

    I thought you knew better.

    You’ve contrasted the idea of a top-down moral authority with the idea of a subjective free-for-all as if those were the only choices. Then, because atheists do not qualify for the first, you place us in the second.

    There’s two problems here.

    1) False Security
    That if someone claims that their words have divine authority, and they convince enough people, then there is nothing from preventing that one person to impose their subjective whim as divine law. Having a single objective source of morality does not save us from subjective whim – it only empowers the subjective whims of the moral-law-makers. And while we could allege that moral law comes from God, that law still had to come to us via the mouths and hands of human transcribers. What about their subjective whims?

    Putting faith in an absolute moral authority offers only a false sense of security. It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    2) False Dichotomy
    The other problem is that the two ideas you’ve contrasted aren’t the only options.

    The reality is – as always – more complicated than that.

    I can’t speak too loudly for Singer (I’m only peripherally aware of his work). But from what I do know regarding his work on expanding circles of inclusion and how that should apply to the animal kingdom as well as our own, I do get a very strong feeling that you’re taking his comments out of context.

    Similarly I can’t speak for all atheists. But I think that my personal take on morality wouldn’t prove to be entirely unrepresentative.

    First of all, I’ll use the term secular morality. The moral system I propose doesn’t exclude religious people – it just excludes supernatural justification for moral statements.

    As I see it, religious moral systems ultimately derive from a single source – God.

    The system of secular morality I attempt to apply within my own life derives from many sources.

    It’s equal parts classical and contemporary literature, evidence, argument, hindsight, trial-and-error, consequentialism, ulitarianism, idealism, meliorism, and much more besides. Everything is fodder for moral reasoning, every resource to hand should be applied.

    When I say everything, I really mean it. Even as an atheist, I don’t consider that scripture or religious tradition should be excluded outright. I only insist that scripture be regarded for what it is – one thread of shared human cultural history in the overall tapestry of human moral discourse. And that religious tradition should only given weight proportionally to its status as one thread amongst many.

    The key point of morality to me is that it is to do with human behavior, and human behavior is always contextualized. There are no moral precepts in a vacuum. Therefore any moral prescriptions or proclamations we make regarding a kind of behavior need to be highly sensitive to the context within which that behavior takes place.

    Is stabbing someone with a blade immoral? What if it is self defense, or the attempt of a surgeon to save a life? What if a deluded person falsely (but sincerely) believes themselves to be a surgeon and begins cutting up an unconscious (but alive) person in order to help them get better? Context changes things – both motivation and circumstance are part of the greater context. And context is king.

    Another one: Is the consumption of alcohol by children immoral? What if it is a 16-year-old at a large family roast dinner and – given that child’s excellent school grades, his proud (and slightly tipsy) mother allows that child to have a shandy* with his lunch?

    On the subject of child rape: I can personally think of no context in which any moral system could react with anything other than disgust and condemnation^. But even here in an apparently cut-and-dried case it does not necessarily follow that we have discovered a fundamental moral law in the fabric of the cosmos. We have only identified that a particular pattern of behavior happens to be condemnable in all possible contexts, which is different. The moral prescription against child rape is a consequence of the functioning of reality, not a cosmic precursor to it.

    When we take the time to engage in thoughtful moral reasoning and taking input from every available resource, thing do get complex very quickly. But this is an indication that such a system is actually up to the task.

    Life is complicated. Reality is complicated. Any system of morality or moralizing that attempts to address how to live in reality should be expected to be proportionally complicated with the exponential relationship between the two.

    Morality in this sense is difficult… Just as living in reality is difficult.

    Morality in this sense will flex and change over time… Just as life and reality flex and changeover time.

    Sometimes, as in the case of child rape or slavery, our moralizing can be very easy.

    Other times it isn’t so easy. Sometimes we are stuck with the judgement call to make a trade-off between two or more moral precepts or schools of thought with no obviously right answer. It’s a heavy responsibility that we all must bear.

    The way to shoulder that burden is to try our best, accepting that sometimes we may fall short of the mark, so remaining open to criticism and correction – both from hindsight as well as from the lips of others both living and dead. We can learn from experience and from consuming as much of the shared discourse humanity has developed regarding morality over the ages as we can.

    The way to not shoulder that burden is to declare it to be too hard (or too dangerous), throw in the towel, and pass the buck over to a God that speaks only through his intermediary texts, priests… and Rabbis. Let them make the hard decisions and then blindly obey, obey, obey…

    Religious morality of this sort is lazy. It isn’t the fulfillment of moral responsibility. It is the abdication of moral responsibility.

    That isn’t to say that a religious person shouldn’t consider the words of priests, Rabbis and scripture. These things certainly do have a role to play as a source of advice and inspiration. Even I will dip into scripture (Old Testament, New, Buddhist Suttas, everything has a role to play. So far only my forays into the Qu’ran have come up entirely bereft of useful fodder for moral mastication – but even then, that’s ‘so far’, and I may have missed something.)

    However, the responsibility must still lie with the individual believer to interpret and judge such advice – improving or dismissing scripture where appropriate.

    That is why I refer to this kind of morality as secular – not atheistic.

    Secular morality isn’t explicitly anti-religious. To the contrary. Secular morality should consistently cut across all groups regardless of religion or lack thereof.

    Anything less is just a dressed-up and self-righteous rehearsal of in-group/out-group tribal prejudice and pieties.

    We should aspire to a morality that is more than that: The morality of a thinking adult that makes careful and difficult decisions, rather than the morality of a child that has all the tough choices made for them.

    Or to put it another way, it is the difference between:

    1) The parent who tells their teenage child: Do Not Drink, and;
    2) The parent who tells their teenage child: Be Safe

    Two very different conceptions of morality. And in this, at least, I think we can be confident that the second is very much superior to the former.

    —————————————–

    * For those not in the know, a shandy is mixed beer and lemonade – usually 1:1.

    ^ However, we could stand to be moved to a certain sympathy simultaneously with disgust and condemnation. The narrator of Nabokov’s Lolita is an educational example of the tragic villain that inspires simultaneous disgust and sympathy.

    • I wanted to respond to the rabbi, but you have said this far better than I could have done. Thank you.

      • Daniel Schealler

        Ha!

        Stop it – I have enough problems with my bloated ego as it is.

        But thanks for the kind words all the same.

    • I find it interesting that while the good Rabbi has seen fit to reply to many other of the replies, including several that come after this one, he is silent here.

    • Very well said. Of particular importance is the idea that rigid moral laws are often found wanting when it comes to complex moral dilemmas. One common hypothetical scenario is the doctor faced with 5 sick patients and one healthy; each of the sick patients requires an organ transplant to survive, and the doctor discovers that the healthy patient is a compatible donor. Is it moral for the doctor to ‘harvest’ the healthy organs, thereby sacrificing 1 life to save 5?

      Doctrines such as ‘do not kill’ and ‘life is sacred’ found in scripture will not necessarily provide a clear-cut answer, and the water is muddied further if the scenario is changed so that it is the doctor who was the cause of the 5s’ injuries or if the donor is, in fact, willing. Similarly, the utilitarian doctrine of ‘the greatest benefit to the greatest number’ when taken at face value, would seem to demand the sacrifice of the one, despite going against what moral intuition would suggest. Which is why such precepts should be flexible enough to allow for consideration of circumstances and take into account the wider picture. For example, the utilitarian doctrine may be satisfied by not carrying out the transplants if one considers the value to society of being able to trust doctors and maintaining the value of the free will of the donor. It is extremely unlikely that there is any single moral rule that can adequately deal with all situations, which is why pragmatism must be employed and why, therefore, justification for the eventual decision is necessary.

      My background is in law, and one of the fundamental concepts of the Rule of Law is that, while laws should be applied equally and fairly to all, they should be mindful of individual circumstances so that no one is unduly affected by their own characteristics; discretion based on rationality is therefore vital.

    • Daniel Schealler

      Rabbi

      I’ve had this little conversation in the back of my mind this week, and another thought occurred to me that might be relevant.

      Briefly: We haven’t really defined our terms yet, have we? Very sloppy of us. ^_^

      However, I always get a bit cagey about defining what morality is. I think that’s bound to be too hard, and also too misleading.

      I’m much more comfortable in trying to describe what morality is for. What does it do? How does it perform?

      To my mind, morality is easiest to explain by its absence. In the absence of some kind of moral system we wind up with the famously supposed war of all against all – the ultimate tragedy of the commons.

      Such a situation is open to very large improvements – and morality is one of the tools we have devised as a species to make that improvement.

      This assumption about the role of morality is tacit throughout my previous post.

      I cannot be certain of your own views, but if I were to hazard a guess I would assume that you viewed morality to be something of cosmic significance with some kind of reality of its own. Perhaps a Platonic ideal in the mind of God, or something along similar or more nuanced lines.

      I think the chances are good that you and I may have very different ideas about the role that morality plays in the greater abstraction of culture as well as in the specific details of individual human lives. If this is correct, any difference of opinion we have about morality may well be traceable back down to that core idea.

      Bringing such differences of opinion out into the light at the get-go might be a useful place to start. If we’re very lucky it could even reduce the chances of talking past each other. Stranger things have happened, after all. ^_^

    • Aladdin Connolly

      @ Daniel Good lord. If only this were the top comment! Please let me know if you ever write a book. I would love to read a mature and responsible tome. Thank you!

      • Daniel Schealler

        Thanks very much!

        Although you probably wouldn’t say that if you’d read some of my *other* writing. O_o

  • I call my version of humanism [ Google:] covenant morality for humanity- the presumption of humanism. It is consequentialist,using our evolved moral sense, which ever needs refining, to see what consequences happen to humans,other animals and the environment. It is objective like science in that we inter-subjectively see what happens and debatable like science. It does depend on the situation as sometimes we have to lie to save others.
    Wide -reflective subjectivism underpins it. This means that our rational, considered moral position overrides our whims and tastes: we have found out that bi- and homosexuality are moral,so whatever qualms people have about them are so irrelevant!
    Now, even for some people simple subjectivism is fine! Lord Russell had a fine one, and Michael Ruse has a fine one. Of course, this does indeed exclude the pathological.
    Thus, we humanists-atheists can ground our humanism in the objective reality of consequences as Pfeiffer so states!
    Straw men makers thus have no reason for finding us on the slippery slope! Furthermore, that slope is such a logical fallacy!We use the evidence of consequences to decide where to draw the line. We draw it at pedophilia and such!
    Miserable, miscreant misanthropes of yore just imagined those evil and stupid commandments out of their wrong-headed subjectivism- their whims and tastes!
    Thus, we supernaturalists do morality right, they do our humanism in using reason and facts instead of our living on their wrong-headed simple subjectivism!
    Epicurus [Rabbi Griggs]

    • epicurus,

      I am very glad that you draw the line at pedophelia and I pray to God it stays that way. However, there is no escape from the subjectivity and arbitrary nature of atheistic morality. You can analyze “consequences” all day long, but the standards you use are your own arbitrary standards. They are nothing more than products of human desire, thought, and imagination.

      They shift with the tide, the wind, and the latest op-ed piece in the Village Voice.

  • Pedophilia is not a new secular phenomenon. Of all the factors that determine whether or not a person my commit pedophilia, lack of religion doesn’t appear to correlated at all. In fact, rates of incarceration of the non-religious are lower than those of religious people. Certainly, the catholic priest cases have not escaped your notice. I believe this flawed thinking comes from your conflating homosexuality with sexual perversion and so the line may appear vague to you. It is not to those of us who feel that consenting adults should be free to make their own sexual choices with each other.

    If you have 13 minutes to spare, I hope you will look at this youtube video that discusses how morality can exist without religion http://www.youtube.com/user/QualiaSoup#p/u/7/T7xt5LtgsxQ

    The reason why pedophilia is inherently wrong whether you are religious or not is because it harms the child. There are studies that show it harms children. This is not a vague theory, all evidence suggests that sexually assaulting a child does lasting damage to their psyche and can physically hurt them. If someone tells you that anything that makes you feel good is right, they have a pretty flawed view of the world and will find themselves behind bars pretty quickly, but that’s not the thinking of any of the atheists that I know and certainly not reflected in the writings of any of the big named atheists out there today. It is just as easy to find devoutly religious individuals who have equally flawed views of the world.

    Whether or not you can find a single individual who happens to also be an atheist to say that he, personally, cannot make any statements about what is morally right and what is morally wrong doesn’t make that true for all atheists. There are, of course, complexities to every topic. If a 16 year old marries an 18 year old and they have sex, is that morally wrong because the 16 year old is technically a minor and the 18 year old is an adult? Does their being married change that dynamic? This might be why the individual you quote is hesitant to make any sort of sweeping generalities.

    Atheists are nothing to fear. Police are as happy to arrest atheists for illegal behavior as they are anyone else. We abide by the same laws. There are people who are raised in cultures that have never been exposed to Judaism who still feel the same way about pedophilia that you do, that it is wrong. If they came to that conclusion without the help of your religious text then clearly that concept is not linked to Judaism alone.

    • Miss M,

      Thank You. I will try my best to watch the video and respond.

    • MissM,

      I could not find your other post. although some of your points about divergent and conflicting views and interpretations within the torah world are valid, there are still limits. To put it succinctly, when someone “authoriatively” states that rape is permissible according to the Torah as long as you pay a few shekels to the father, this person has no understanding of what Judaism is about.

  • So I guess all of those priests molesting children where closet atheists as was the entire Catholic church that felt it more important to cover things up than protect children. Right there your entire ridiculous argument falls apart.

    • Kim
      You really need to go back and re-read the article. Your comment makes it clear that you misunderstood what I was saying. I am aware of the priest scandal as much as you are. Child molestation is horrible no matter who the perpetrator. I never said that atheists are child molesters. Please read it again, you missed the point entirely.

  • Hey, so where in the bible exactly does it forbid pedophilia? Oh yeah, it’s… NOWHERE. You’d think they’d make it a commandment or something!

    • Nordel,

      You’re kidding, right?

      • An answer to the question would be a better response. Where in the bible is pedophilia forbidden.

        The truth is, the bible is not a very good moral guide. As a matter of fact, it is a very shitty moral guide as everything from rape to genocide is acceptable and sanctioned in the eyes of the Lard.

        • This man has a very valid point. The bible doesn’t even really cover the subject, except where incest in concerned (Leviticus, etc.). C’mon, Rabbi- Give us something good from the torah or the bible that supports your argument :)

  • “It is axiomatic that in the world of the atheist there is neither morality nor immorality, only amorality.”

    Your first paragraph is basically, “No disrespect, but my ideological opponents? Complete assholes.” I thought you deserved an equivalent litany of bold assertions and insulting insinuations, but I went with a little more explanation than that.

    Atheists tend to be, on the whole, at least as moral as believers. One could argue further, citing the religious breakdown of the prison population – but there are problems with that data, including what I consider a predatory clergy within the prison system.

    Further, if you look at the religious beliefs of modern moral philosophers, they tend to be a majority of atheists. Atheists, in general, consider morality /very/ carefully for the very reason that they don’t have some cursory, bronze age rule of thumb as handed down from Voldemort via his diary.

    So, if this is your premise you’ve basically falsified the rest of your article – whether your meaning is that atheists are amoral, or your meaning is that atheists do not use or have any moral construct, you’re simply wrong.

    • Your first paragraph is basically, “No disrespect, but my ideological opponents? Complete assholes.”

      You said that not me. I said exactly what I meant to say. Atheists certainly have values. However, in objective reality those values have no significance.
      That point is agreed upon by Bertrand Russell, Michael Ruse, Michael Tooley, Peter Singer, Joel Marks, Will Provine, Emile Cioren, Sigmund Freud, Richard Dawkins, Julian Baggini, Jean Paul Sartre, etc.

      Please read the article carefully before you comment.

      • “Please read the article carefully before you comment.”
        That’s pretty condescending. your expectations to your readers is obviously higher than to your writing.
        “Please learn about morality and ethics outside of religion before you comment”

  • Is it just me or does anyone else read someone saying “Since atheists have no God, they would have no problem doing X,” as really saying “If not for my fear of God, I would totally do X”?

    • Salmo,

      Let’s say I accept your view and we are both atheists.
      We evolved from the pre-biotic slime and we are as Peter Singer has put it, intelligent “great apes.”

      I assume that according to your moral values, lying to woman in order to seduce them and to convince them to give me their money would be improper or immoral -
      If I am successfully making a living doing just that, explain to me why I should be obligated to follow your moral standards.

      • See, this is exactly what I mean. Moishe just said that if he didn’t believe in a god, he would make his money by lying, stealing, and seducing. The fact that it’s wrong because it harms the women doesn’t occur to him apparently.

        And why do you cite Singer and put “great apes” in quotes. That’s simple fact. There are four genera and five species of great apes, or hominids, and humans are one of them. Genera ‘homo’ species ‘sapiens’.

      • Aladdin Connolly

        @ Moshe This is funny, you write: “I assume that according to your moral values, lying to woman in order to seduce them and to convince them to give me their money would be improper or immoral -
        If I am successfully making a living doing just that, explain to me why I should be obligated to follow your moral standards.” Of course this is supposed to be a hypothetical, but it seems to describe you very well. Although you do not seem focused exclusively on women.

  • This is absolutely contemptible. Rabbi, you are an immoral fool. To claim that atheism leads to immorality is simply inane. theism in all it’s forms has time and again led to remarkable evil done with a absolute certainty of morality. From the holocaust (German Catholics killing Jews with the accepting silence of the Vatican) to the violent invasion that resulted in the establishment of Israel and the sexual excesses of clergy (not just Catholics mind you… is your obsession with blaming others for pedophilia a cover for something?) religion spawns evils and abuses. The only counter for the wrongs wrought for ages in the name of lies is atheism and you, in your insipid, utter predictable idiocy sees fit to tell these kinds of lies? Shame on you. If there were a hell where the immoral received their due, you and the rest of the self swerving, child abusing, lying clergy would be the first ones feeding the firs.

    • Mike,

      Of course when you are referring to the “violent invasion” that resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel you are referring to the attempted invasion of Israel, by five Arab Armies after the United Nations voted to partition the are into an Jewish state and an Arab state. Israel recognized the Arab state, No one else in the middle east did, in fact the Arab Palestinian state never even recognized itself. You are correct, that brutal, vicious, violent invasion by the Arabs was disgusting and immoral. Arab/Moslem violence, terror and murder continues until today. Thank you for pointing that out.

      Ath the end of your hysterical rant you accuse me of child abuse. I have told you many times, Mike, you always say strange things when you forget to take your medication. Please take care of it or you’ll end up in the hospital again.

      • Aladdin Connolly

        @ Moshe I love your respect for the UN. They voted that the massive influx of Jewish people in the region necessitated the formation of a Jewish state, so de facto the Jews have a right to Israel. When the UN votes a Palestinian state in a few weeks will you be celebrating that this make the Palestinian state 100% legitimate?

  • Er…with all due respect Mr. Averick, have you looked around at the world in the past couple of decades?

    One of the highest rates of pedophilia for any group of any kind is in the Catholic Church? You may not see eye to eye with them on everything, but you can’t claim they don’t have the same relative level of divinely inspired morality.

    Orthodox Judaism is not exactly a beacon of purity in this regard either.

    Before you try to make a straw man of some other group, try cleaning up your own house first.

    • unbound,

      There are certainly orthodox Jews who have been guilty of child molestation. It is a horrible crime no matter who the perpetrator. How could anyone be so blind as to think that what I wrote excuses child molestation by Jew, Catholic , buddhist, Hindu, white, black etc.?

      However, it is impossible (despite the terribly distorted claims commenters have about the Torah system) for an Orthodox to in any way shape or form to rationalize and justify child-sex.

      What I have shown in the article, is that by the very words of atheistic philosophers, it is possible for child-sex to be justified in the context of an atheistic world view.

  • This piece is as offensive as it’s inaccurate. This rabbi claims not bearing false witness is a very important rule, yet this piece is an intentional lie (because I do not believe all these attacks on atheists originate from sheer ignorance) with the intention to defame atheists as a group.

    For one thing atheists are not bound to uphold the immoral commands of a religion, which go as far as ordering murder to be committed (the Torah orders this on various occasions, for instance capital punishment for very trivial things). Therefore atheists can be expected to be more morally sound on average: they do not struggle with upholding immoral religious commands, and can do the right thing without having to justify their good actions against evil teachings of a fictional supreme being.

    Quite frankly I also found it shocking that a rabbi of all people does not seem to know his own religion;
    Another of his important rules is not to have sex with children.
    Has he truly forgotten what the LORD had to say about that? Does he not know the holy texts speak aprovingly of a man who sells his own daughter as a sex slave? This is not denounced, on the contrary, g’d even goes on to order that if the sexual abuse of the daughter are not satisfactory, the father has to refund the poor girl’s master, and take her back. That is part of the word of the LORD on sex with children.

    Quite frankly I’m confused if this rabbi defies the teachings of g’d knowingly, or is himself a bit atheist in that he doesn’t believe this cruel form of slavery to be just, even if the LORD commanded that it be so. Myself, I am hoping for the latter.

    • Thomas,

      You have a very distorted picture of Judaism. No one is allowed to sell his daughter as a sex slave, don’t be ridiculous. The problem is that you are trying to understand what Judaism is by reading an English translation of the Five Books of Moses. For your benefit and others I will reproduce several paragraphs from my book: NONSENSE OF A HIGH ORDER: THE CONFUSED AND ILLUSORY WORLD OF THE ATHEIST. I urge you to read the whole book. I would be more than happy to discuss your reactions and comments to it.

      • “For your benefit and others I will reproduce several paragraphs from my book: NONSENSE OF A HIGH ORDER: THE CONFUSED AND ILLUSORY WORLD OF THE ATHEIST. I urge you to read the whole book.”

        Ah. A piece of the puzzle falls into place. :-)

        • Mac,

          Ok, you caught me…shameless self promotion.

          Ahh, We all have our vices (and as an orthodox rabbi, I’m not allowed that many)

          • Perhaps you should consider taking an intentional break from the orthodox mindset for a defined period time as a form of observational experiment.

            I’m reminded of a popular British tv show where the hosts embarked on a trip through the American “Bible Belt”. Admittedly, it was “Top Gear” and the vehicles involved were meant to draw negative attention from local extremists along the way.

            My suggestion is more clandestine. It involves extracting yourself from the constant saturation of a particular mindset and unobtrusively observing. Try for two months.

            In reality, atheists are difficult to categorize by observation. Some are outspoken but most have just come to the conclusion that thousands of years of repetition and tweaking of misunderstood explanations of natural events appear to be intellectual excuses for organized insanity.

            I picture each of us beginning our time here as a swatch of white linen. We are almost immediately dyed and scented by those around us without knowledge or consent and woven into a cultural tapestry based on geographical location.

            My parents treated me with the equivalent of Scotch Gard before I could be exposed to the dyes and perfumes. I was then patterned and saturated by two perceptions of Biblical interpretation; not by my parents but by those to whom I was exposed as I aged.

            It’s taken decades for me to wash away the graffiti and odor that had been forced upon me. My “Scotch Gard” has been the ability to question everything. My bath has been the spray of rationality from ones making honest attempts at determining the true nature of reality.

            I’m fairly sure that, were we to discuss these subjects over dinner, you would find that our definitions of morality would differ only in the limitations forced upon you by your particular dye and perfume.

            You imply that a devine set rules is required in order to keep humans from behaving like animals. You also imply that without devine intervention, society would fall into chaos.

            I respond that I will instinctively protect a young person from harm just as does every species on the planet. The question about the source of that instinct is obvious; perpetuation of the species. Going out and actually observing the natural world provides compelling evidence that everything from viruses to humans have their own set of “moral codes”.

            When “Atheism” (which is to say, “Not My Colors Or Smell”)
            is attributed to antisocial behavior, I begin to feel as though your swatch has been saturated.

            Even ants exhibit anti-social behavior.

            I’m fairly sure ants are atheists.

  • “Joel Marks states explicitly that child molestation is not immoral.”

    Your religious books do not explicitly say that child molestation is immoral either….there is a point in here somewhere..isn’t there? BTW what is the age of consent outlined in those books?

    “Peter Singer says that he has no intrinsic moral taboos. In the same interview in response to the question about Pedophelia he says that “nothing is just wrong.””

    Correct. There is a reason that things are morally and ethically *wrong*, but I guess you neglect to address that for a reason?

    • MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMMENTED ON THIS ARTICLE CLEARLY HAVE A DISTORTED PICTURE OF JUDAISM; SOME THINK THAT IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO RAPE, SOME THINK THAT A MAN CAN SELL HIS DAUGHTER FOR A SEX SLAVE, SOME THINK THAT JEWISH COURTS DID NOTHING BUT PUT PEOPLE TO DEATH FOR VARIOUS CRIMES; ALL THESE NOTIONS ARE COMPLETE NONSENSE. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO EXPLAIN EVERY DETAIL OF JUDAISM AND SET STRAIGHT EVERY DISTORTION, BUT I THINK IT WOULD BE HELPFUL IF EVERYONE READS THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS FROM MY BOOK: “NONSENSE OF A HIGH ORDER; THE CONFUSED AND ILLUSORY WORLD OF THE ATHEIST”

      THE ISSUE DISCUSSED IN THE ARTICLE IS DEALT WITH COMPREHENSIVELY AND PERHAPS WOULD HELP FOSTER A MORE INTELLIGENT DISCUSSION ON THE SUBJECT. THIS IS FROM CHAPTER TWO OF THE BOOK: (C) 2010 MOSHE AVERICK

      “Ground Rule #5: Even though I am a Rabbi, this book is not about “defending the faith” of Judaism
      Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins and other atheist propagandists lambaste many different religions and their scriptures in their writings and speeches. As I made quite clear, this book is not about scripture or a particular religion. Therefore, excepting the few remarks I will make here and perhaps some tangential remarks scattered throughout, I do not even intend to put forth a comprehensive defense of Judaism against these vituperative railings. Suffice it to say the following…
      Generally, these atheist writers display spectacular ignorance about what Judaism is, and most crucial of all, how Jews have understood and related to the Torah (Bible) for the past several thousand years.
      A pilot’s manual for an F-15 fighter-bomber is not written to enable the average person to pick it up, read it and attempt to fly an F-15. The manual is written with certain assumptions about the knowledge, background and training of the person who is reading. Without this knowledge, background, and training there is no possible way for the uninitiated reader to have a proper understanding of what the manual is and what it is supposed to accomplish. The Jewish Torah is no different. Speaking as an ordained Orthodox Rabbi who has been a Jewish educator for three decades, I can categorically state the following: It is not possible to have a coherent or accurate understanding of either the mission and nature of the Jewish people, Jewish law and Jewish religious obligations, nor the weltanschauung of the Jew, by reading an English adaptation, of an English translation, of a Latin translation, of a Greek translation of a Hebrew Bible. The Torah as a Jewish Scripture does not mean whatever any particular reader thinks it means any more than the manual for the F-15 means whatever any particular reader thinks it means. Judaism has its own guidelines, parameters, and traditions, regarding the study, interpretation, and applications of, the Torah. Any explication of the Torah that is made in ignorance of, or outside of these guidelines (no matter how fascinating, creative, or novel it may be), has nothing to do with Judaism. Judaism and its Torah are not beholden to, nor defined by the personal musings or speculative theories of a group of new age atheists. If an individual wants to criticize the Torah worldview he should first and foremost take the trouble to find out what it actually is. As I pointed out above, a superficial reading of an English translation of the text is at best, a scratching of the surface of a real understanding of Judaism. (To put it colloquially: The devil can and does quote Scripture for his own purpose)
      As long as we are on the subject of the devil quoting scripture, if awards were given out for grotesque distortions of Judaism by atheistic authors, Christopher Hitchens would be in a class by himself (ironically enough, he is Jewish). His obscene depiction of a Jewish circumcision ceremony could have been plagiarized from the pages of Der Sturmer, the rabidly anti-Jewish, quasi-pornographic tabloid published by Julius Streicher, a Nazi war criminal who was executed by the Allies in 1946. The way in which Hitchens portrays the ceremony is so vulgar and divorced from reality that one could justifiably pause to wonder whether it might not be a projection of some unresolved issues of his own regarding the genitals of infant boys. At the very least, it indicates some sort of pathology, be it emotional, spiritual, or intellectual. If that weren’t sick enough, he also informs us (obviously after months of painstaking research on the subject) that Orthodox Jewish couples have intercourse through a “hole in the sheet.” It would have been closer to reality if he had informed us that the earth was flat. After all, at least from our limited perspective the earth looks flat. Where did he dig up this disgusting lie? It is obvious that he simply made it up. In light of the above, we can safely assume that unless presented with conclusive evidence to the contrary, anything Christopher Hitchens writes about Judaism is either a distortion, an outright fabrication, or presented so out of context that it is the equivalent of an outright fabrication. Having said that, I will resist the temptation to speculate about other unresolved issues that are afflicting his soul.
      In any case, if Hitchens, Dawkins, or Stenger (God: The Failed Hypothesis) want to read the Torah and understand it in their own distorted way, they should at least display some basic integrity (again I caution the reader against holding his or her breath while waiting for this to happen), and call it Stengerism, Hitchensism, Dawkinsism, or any other name that suits them. Just don’t call it Judaism. My assumption is – and I believe it is a quite reasonable assumption – that they have grossly distorted facts about other faiths as well.”

      • However the average person (assuming they are intelligent) is capable of learning about what everything the manual describes.
        Also, the Bible, allegedly being an “instruction manual for how to live you life” should be understandable to all.
        You cannot just say that you people don’t understand so everything you say is irrelevant, you actually need to address the concerns.
        You say it doesn’t say those things we just misunderstand, for you to say that, you should at least know the section people are talking about and misunderstanding, so rather than just embracing ignorance and saying we don’t understand, enlighten us. Tell us what it really means.

        • “However the average person (assuming they are intelligent) is capable of learning about what everything the manual describes.”

          Why don’t they learn it?
          Because either they are
          A: not intelligent;
          B: lazy;
          C: don’t want to learn it;
          or any combination there of.

          “Also, the Bible, allegedly being an ‘instruction manual for how to live you life’ should be understandable to all.”

          Why must the Bible be understandable for A, B, C or any combination there of? This would be asking the impossible.

          “Tell us what it really means.”

          Have you asked Moshe already? And if you have, has he refused to answer?

          • Your ABC’s imply someone who can’t or won’t read it. If some one reads it, they should be able to easily understand it. And yes we have asked the rabbi, multiple times, and yes he has, so far, refused to answer.

        • LOL,

          In Judaism, there is no age of consent. Sex is strictly forbidden outside of marriage. The age of marriage depends on the culture. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Jerusalem it was very common for jews to marry at 13 and 14 years old (male and female). Of course because of the society they lived in they were mature enough at that age to be married. In our society many people in their 20′s are barely mature enough to be trusted with a credit card at the mall, forget about being able to assume the responsibilities of marriage.

          Child

          • More mature? In what way?

            The only person I see here making excuses for pedophiles is you.

          • “In Judaism, there is no age of consent. Sex is strictly forbidden outside of marriage.”

            That is not true. Where did you get this information from?

          • Aladdin Connolly

            @ Moshe Ah here we get to the crux of the matter. In many comments he vehemently condemns pedophilia in no uncertain terms, but he never defines it. Now he says the culture gets to define it, and 13 is not a problem if the girl is “mature”. He does not list an age range she could marry, nor did the culture he is referring to and defending. What age does it become a problem? Turns out he has already ridden the slippery slope to pedophilia as the vast majority of people reading his article would describe it. If only he had begun his “plea” with a forward that said “this article is a plea for Atheists to stop the slippery slop society is descending where even pedophilia may be defended. Why I myself think in the right societal context an old man having sex with a thirteen year old girl is no problem at all! You see how easily society might descend when even rabbis like myself have this thinking? Atheist I plead with you save us from this!

        • Jack,

          What do you want to know? Just out of curiousity, are you Jewish?

      • Mr. Averick you seem to rely on the premise that no one gets to make any arguments regarding the torah if they haven’t read the original, untranslated version and studied it, and you claim that were someone to do so, it would be unambiguous and require no interpretation. If this is so, why are there different sects of Judaism and different interpretations of what is acceptable and not acceptable? How can multiple religious scholars come to different conclussions if they are starting with the same unambiguous text? Does every individual who has studied the original, untranslated version of the torah, agree with you on all details? You won’t see 7 different fighter pilots telling you an altimeter is used for different things, yet I can find 7 different rabbis with different views on whether women should be allowed to be photographed, teach men, have their hair uncovered, or what constituted the preparing of food on the Shabbat.

        You seem to find it acceptable to say that no one else is allowed to question your authority on the topic of Judaism, yet you feel completely at ease defaming all atheists, accusing them of being pedophiles, based on your interpretation of what they think. I hope you can see how hypocritical this is. You do not believe in Allah, in Zeus, in Isis or in Vishnu. You do not believe that Jesus is the messiah. To people who do now or have ever believed deeply in any of these deities, your interpretation of religion is essentially the same as atheism. They believe in one true interpretation that you fail to recognize as valid. Their arguments, no matter how well researched, how all consuming in their life, are unpersuasive to you. Atheism is your view minus one, the one interpretation that you feel is true. If the only thing keeping you from sexually assaulting a child is that you believe in the torah, that is something you need to reconcile inside of yourself, but don’t assume that’s what exists in the minds of others. No one else hears the voices inside the schizophrenic’s mind.

    • LOL,

      Child molestation is a heinous crime in Judaism. In the times of the SAnhedrin (Jewish Supreme Court), if there was reasonable evidence that someone was guilty of such a crime (even if unable to convict in a court of law) the court had the power to do whatever was neccessary to protect the community, including imprisonment, severe corporal punishment, or even death.

      For someone like Peter Singer, murder itself is not “just wrong.” There must be a pragmatic reason why it is wrong. Therefore, according to his logic, if there is a pragmatic reason to commit murder, it would be fine. “Pragmatic” of course is in the eye of the beholder. The bottom line – and this is the main thrust of the article – from an atheistic point of view, nobody’s value system is more valid than anyone else’s.

      The commandment from God “Thou shalt not murder” means that murder is immoral no matter what the pragmatic considerations. If a baby is born with severe physical handicaps, it has inherent preciousness because it is created in the image of God. No pragmatic consideration can be applied in the decision to preserve his/her life. Human life is sacred, period. There is no room for rationalization.

      Pedophelia is absolutely “just wrong” from a Torah perspective, it makes no difference what “experts” at Johns Hopkins University have to say about the matter.

      • You say that murder is wrong is absolute but thats a very blatant contradiction rabbi to your earlier statement that courts were able to (PRAGMATICALLY) decide what should be done to a molester to protect the community EVEN DEATH which renders this argument null and void because the courts were, according to you, doing something correct that was blatantly against the, according to you, no exceptions rule, of thou shalt not murder. Your argument is, as your holy book is rabbi, full of contradictions. try again.

      • and again if anyone would like to follow me I’m at schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com. Don’t stop!

      • Mosh,you have no idea what you are talking about.

        There is some discussion about wether non-marrital and extra-marrital sex is forbidden by the Torah or the Rabbis (with some major mephorshim arguing the latter). More importantly, everyone concludes that sex after kiddushin but before nisuin is entirely permitted by the Torah (but forbidden by the Rabbis according to some or all).

        Only an adult male can proffer kiddushin. A father can accept kiddushin for the daughter before she becomes an adult (ie. when she is still a child). Once the father has accepted the kiddushin, God (I assume you believe God wrote the Torah) allows the husband to have sex with her. Hence, God allows an adult male to have sex with a child.

        Theism is just fine with pedophilia.

        QED

        • (Non)Maimonidean,

          The Constitution of the United States allows the President to order nuclear missiles to be launched on his command. Obviously we are all perfectly happy and fine with nuclear war.

          • You said “child molestation is a heinous crime in Judaism,” and I showed that it was not, at least in God’s eyes, considering how according to the Torah it is entirely permissible. The argument against your position that it is a “heinous crime” begins and ends with the fact that it is not a crime at all. Of what relevance is a Cold War defense protocol?

          • [Your e-mail:
            Just because in an emergency the President is allowed to launch nuclear weapons does not mean we long for nuclear war and approve of it, nor is it permissible. It is an option that is open in the most unusual and extreme circumstances.

            The fact that you think "child molestation" is entirely permissible is a reflection of how distorted your understanding is of the halachos involved. Under the most dire and extreme circumstances such an arrangement can be made, and it is of course assumed that everyone involved will conduct themselves according to the spirit and kedusha of the Torah. ]

            I have a very clear understanding of the halachos involved, and they aren’t emergency halachos, they are entirely ordinary. Although, I’m curious how, in any circumstance having sex with a child is in “the spirit and kedusha of the Torah.” However, I am sure you can come up with one. After all, there is nothing that theistic societies are incapable of rationalizing and accepting – including the sexual molestation of children.

        • (non) Maimonidean – Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe you didn’t distort the halachos involved. I don’t think you’ve even read them at all.

          • You’re right Mosh. I haven’t learnt Mesechot Kiddushin and Gittin with many mephorshim, and of course I didn’t understand them well enough to figure out novel solutions to difficulties in these gemarot and that Rabbanim of import accepted them. Your perspicacity is astounding.

            /sarcasm

            You can’t field an argument, only dodge them and use ad hominem attacks. Calling an honest person a liar shouldn’t been done by someone like you, as it is both immoral and in violation of halacha. I’ve said my peace, and I don’t think you either aren’t ready to or capable of engaging in a real discussion. Goodbye.

      • “Child molestation is a heinous crime in Judaism.”
        But not killing a group of people because you want their land, huh?

  • Also, where do you get these truths from?
    I know they are not all written in the Bible or the Torah or the Koran.
    Where does it say that because we are made in God’s image we are precious?
    Where does it say God has given anyone inalienable rights (or any rights, other than the Jew’s right to steal, rape and murder)?
    As for murdering and stealing, that would depend on your definition.
    With most peoples definition, God commands the Jews to do that, so I would say that is not in the Bible.
    Ill agree with the bearing false witness.
    As for incest? The Bible has so much of that it isn’t funny. Adam and Eve and thier children have to commit it to populate the Earth, Noah and his family need to do it to repopulate the Earth, several times it has it being directly stated that one of God’s chosen people do it. The Bible seems to be unable to make up its mind on this, just like murder and theft. However it does say adultery and bestiality are bad.
    No where does it say that having sex with children is wrong. If you get your morals from the Bible or Torah, you should have no problem with having sex with children or slavery.
    And I guess it does kindof say that you should teach them to your kids (although it doesn’t have them).

    Here are some more truths from the Bible/Torah:
    People who leave their house on Saturday should be killed.
    Slavery is fine, as long as when you beat your slave it will live for a day or 2 (if it dies after that it is fine).
    If you rape a unbetrothed virgin, you are to marry her (this was used by God’s people).
    If you rape an engaged virgin (in the city) you and her are both to be put to death.
    Isn’t it wonderful?

    • Jack,

      Do me a favor. Your understanding of Judaism is so distorted it is beyond absurd. Are you Jewish?

      • That’s not really asking a favor rabbi….just a statement and a question about his faith. and of course we can’t understand your faith. how convenient for you. Theres nothing superficial about those readings I can see that Thou shalt not murder is in your holy book(s) in an english translation and we both agree on what that quite blatantly means. Why is it that the english translation is suddenly incorrect for something that harms your argument? I’d REALLY like to get this cleared up Rabbi but you probably won’t respond.

        Schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com for those of you interested in following me

        • Schnig,

          Imagine someone who is totally unfamiliar with American culture comes to the USA. He overhears someone make the following remark,”The Pirates massacred the Indians in Cleveland yesterday.” He is mortified, how could such a thing happen in a civilized country he thinks to himself, this country is barbaric, etc. Of course we understand that this is laughable.

          In the same way, if you are unfamiliar with the way the Torah uses language, unfamiliar with a Jewish outlook and Jewish way of life, if you are unfamiliar with what the Torah is and how you are supposed to use and read it, then you will get a terribly distorted picture by reading an English translation.

          Some of the statements that people have written based on a reading of an English translation of the Torah are as laughable as the example I used above.

      • Disappointed in you

        Do you really have any right to say this after your absurd attack on atheists?

        The perspective on Judaism you’re calling absurd comes from a real knowledge of your holy book and a different interpretation of it. Your perspective on atheism is conjecture derived from utter ignorance. Have you read *anything* on the subject of secular morality and philosophy? Even wikipedia?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_ethics

        There is a wealth of secular arguments for morality derived not from an arbitrary authority, but from the objective nature of human suffering. Secular morality thus can make the unique claim to objectivity and universality, whereas religious ethics, by their nature of changing over time and contradicting the ethics of competing religions, can only be relativistic.

      • Hysterical! Moshe, are you atheist?

  • And Humans are to God as robots are to humans. Guess what, a god giving morals doesn’t make them any better. Us being made by a god does not make us any better than any other animal.
    Having God decide morals is no different to having Hitler decide them.
    Why is God so much better?
    If there are objective/absolute morals, they must come from above God. If they come from God, they are subjective, and I see no reason to follow them.

    • “If there are objective/absolute morals, they must come from above God.”

      What is above God?

      • Christoph I do believe you completely missed Jack’s point, He’s not saying that there has to be objective absolute morals, he’s simply saying that if there were they couldn’t come from someone (like the selfish vindictive racist pig of a god that the jews worship) That wouldn’t make them objective they would be subjective to that someone. Jack is saying that objective morals (if they were to exist) can’t objectively come from anyone or anything they have to simply be, or they are subjective. Please correct me if i’ve misrepresented your opinion Jack.

      • Christoph,

        Why would you say that objective morals must come from above God? The problem here is a misconception about the nature of morality.

        If you could DEFINE morality we could continue the discussion. “Define” does not mean listing actions which you think are “right” and those which you think are “wrong”. It means giving a definition of the concept. Part of the confusion in many of these discussions is because most people talk about morality without defining what it is.

        Let me give an example: Most people would say that morality involves being kind and considerate to others. When American soldiers landed at Normandy on D-Day, most people would say their moral duty was to kill and maim as many German soldiers as neccessary and to treat the Germans with kindness and consideration would have been grossly immoral and shirking their normal duty.

        What is the underlying principle that makes it moral in one situation to be kind and considerate and in another to smash someone’s skull to pieces with a rifle butt? Remember, if it is a true definition it must be valid for the Nazi soldier also and he should be able to apply it to his own actions.

        • Moshe, I’m sorry for being unclear when quoting; I quoted Jack:
          “If there are objective/absolute morals, they must come from above God. If they come from God, they are subjective, and I see no reason to follow them.”
          and I asked him what he meant with “above God”.
          (For my own use of the concept ‘God’ there is nothing above God.)

          I like this definition of morality:
          “Morality is what you do.”
          The underlying principle of morality is free will.
          Each human being has the duty to act out of morality and develop his morality.

          A good deed is one that is in harmony with God’s will, the divine world order. In order to be good you need to know God’s will.

          How could I ever know God’s will?

          About this question human beings struggle with each other. Because even if we try hard to find out what God’s will is we tend to err and do bad when we intend to do good. Some even deny the existence of God, but the question remains, and the challenge remains that you have to understand the world in order to be able to do the right thing.

          Relating this to the the American soldier who has to kill the German one: The ideal soldier is the one who obeys without questioning. The ideal human being is the one who acts out of true knowledge of God’s will. There will be a discrepancy between the two for eons to come.

        • Aladdin Connolly

          @ Moshe you asked for morals to be defined. Please do so. Thank you!

  • So what, exactly, is the plea, here? Stop being atheist and accept the bible as universal moral truth? Try again.

    Sufficiently offensive, sir. Mission accomplished, I assume. No matter how you try to logic it out, you’re basically calling a growing segment of the population latent (or active) pedophiles. That is the very definition of bigotry, especially considering the glut of pedophilic offenses by clergy in America. Since bigotry is born out of ignorance (in this case, glaring ignorance of how the atheist mind actually works) you’re forgiven. You may have to consider a HUGE apology to the homosexual community after that one, though.

    Going through this thing point by point would be an excercise in hilarious futility, and my lunch break ain’t that long, but the real fault here seems to be your insistence that morality can only come from religion, and not a secularly constructed moral code based on our naturally accumulated ethical code, that we can all somewhat agree on.

    And while we’re on the subject of child abuse, where does threatening young children with eternal torture if they don’t do as they’re told fit in?

    • Mark,

      It seems to me that you did not read the article very carefully. Where did I call atheists latent or active pedophiles? You missed the entire point. Please read it again and pay a little more attention to what I wrote, and then perhaps post another comment.

      I don’t understand: Are you accusing me of threatening young children with eternal torture? Where did I say that? What are you talking about?!

      • Howard Fortran

        Um… in the title of the article? “A Plea to Atheists: Pedophilia Is Next On the Slippery Slope; Let Us Turn Back Before It Is Too Late” … if that’s not saying that atheists are latent pedophiles then I’m not sure what is….

  • The rabbi, in replying to many of the comments (admirable of him not to hide away I might add), has repeatedly tried to stress that his article was not meant to imply that atheists are immoral, sadistic or callous, but that it was meant to highlight the ‘implications of an atheistic worldview’. The main implication being that without a universally recognised source of arbitrary law, any action has the potential to be morally justifiable. Except that consequentialism relies on the utilitarian calculus to be able to justify an action; genocide, rape, bestiality etc. could not be justified in this manner since there is no ‘good’ or ‘ends’ which could outweigh the harm caused. ‘Personal preferences’ is another phrase which seems to have been overused on this page and this is not helpful. A utilitarian does not make an arbitrary decision on whether or not he/she ‘prefers’ the harm caused by criminalizing homosexuality to the harm caused by allowing it, they can (quite objectively) quantify the two and make a rational decision. For a utilitarian to justify paedophilia would require that person to measure the harm caused by non-consensual sex of minors, infant pregnancy and child pornography against the harm caused by denying certain individuals the right to choose their sexual partners. The existence of such a thought process is a strength of the consequentialist since they can explain their position clearly; actions which are ‘manifestly’ immoral will not survive such a calculation in a rational society.

    • Phil,

      I appreciate your well though out comments. There are certainly atheists who will not be prepared to justify pedophilia no matter what arguments are put forward. My “plea” was in part directed toward them to make their voice heard that under no circumstances will they accept a normalization of pedophilia. It is criminal and must remain criminal.

      The flaw in the rest of your argument is that “harm” is in the eye of the beholder. In 70 years, Communism spilled more innocent blood (70-100,000,000 murdered) and caused more human misery than all religiously motivated persecutions combined from the previous 1000 years. I don’t know how old you are, but communism was supported by academics all over the world. It took a long time for many highly educated, liberal, progressive individuals to give up on Communism.

      People see things the way they need to see them. Once it is in human hands to decide, the justifications that need to be put forward will be put forward. Read Himmler’s speech to SS Officers in Poznan, Poland, (1943?) I believe the text and the original recording are available on Wikipedia. What you realize after reading it is that there is NOTHING that cannot be made into a noble cause. EVERYBODY can justify their position and are certain they are right.

      • Insane, Harm is not in the eye of the beholder and it is absurd to suggest such a thing. Because of empathy, which you keep conveniently leaving out of your arguments and not responding to, harm is not “in the eye of the beholder” stating things like number of people killed and twisting facts with no actual relevance to seem supported and intelligent, fallacy. but honestly pretty par for the course rabbi.

        • Shnig,

          As disturbing as you may find it, the simple truth is that the Nazi soldier was as confident in the “morality” of his position as you are in yours. “harm” means whatever you want it to mean. As far as I’m concerned abortion is a form of murder in many cases. If it is so obvious to me, why do so many people feel that not only is it not murder but that is a fundamental right of a woman to destroy her unborn child? “Harm” is most definitely in the eye of the beholder.

          • You and your fallacies. You just can’t let them go can you rabbi? Straw man this time is it? The Nazi’s knew that it was harmful to kill jews, they knew they were feeling pain. Mothers who abort their children don’t say they aren’t harming a living thing they know they are. through empathy they know that harm is being done. These individuals have simply logically seen a benefit to the harm. to the nazi’s it was that they were grossly misinformed about the jewish people, who they are, and what they could do, for Hitler he justified it, among other ways obviously, by seeing the jewish people in the way of his christian religion. The mothers and doctors rationalize the harm that they do in many ways as well. the most logical of which (to me of course) is that the baby will not be cared for correctly and would have a very high chance of ending up dead or as yet another member of the impoverished. So no Harm is most definitely not in the eye of beholder rabbi. Again I say: Try again.

            Schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com Dont’ stop!

        • Harm is not in the eye of the beholder and it is absurd to suggest such a thing.

          Are you arguing that harm is always wrong? In that case, was it wrong of American soldiers to shoot at Nazis?

          Because of empathy, which you keep conveniently leaving out of your arguments and not responding to

          Empathy isn’t a basis for anything. A person could empathize with a child molester just as much as they could with a child. Not that it matters. Feelings of empathy provide no objective basis for right or wrong anyway.

    • I would argue that utilitarians can only make arbitrary decisions. You can look at facts as objectively as possible, but when you make the decision then you are the arbiter. There is the danger. People who don’t believe in God as the source of all objectivity have to put themselves in his place, and make the decisions as god. Because they think they are god themselves they call their decisions ‘objective’. (And woe to you if you do not agree with them.)
      Every claim that there is an universal truth is a claim for the existence of God.

      “A utilitarian does not make an arbitrary decision … they can (quite objectively) quantify the two and make a rational decision.”

      If this statement were true, all utilitarians would come to exactly the same conclusions. Since they obviously do not, are they still ‘true’ utilitarians? Are there ‘true’ utilitarians and ‘false’ ones, and who decides which kind each one is?
      (And with tongue in cheek: Which is the right utilitarian religion?)

      • Different people may arrive at different conclusions depending on the value each of them places on certain ends, goods, rights etc. But this does not, in itself, preclude the possibility that there is a ‘correct’ answer. Imagine Dworkin’s hypothetical ‘Hercules’, the perfectly rational, logical and knowledgable man; such a person would be capable of determining the fair value of each and reaching a conclusion without resorting to personal prejudice.

      • christoph,

        I think you said it quite eloquently. by the way I mistakenly addressed one of the above posts to you, I meant it for Jack.

        • The term ‘arbitrary’ is not the same as being an ‘arbiter’. The latter means that your are merely the decision-maker, the former requires that the decision be made without regard to laws or rules. A utilitarian might be the ‘arbiter’ of a decision, but their decision would not be ‘arbitrary’ provided they adhere to, for example, the maxim “the greatest benefit to the greatest number” (an over-simplified version)

  • Averick Your article is a dishonest mis-representation of the views of the people you cite and atheists in general. A melange of distortion, half truths and pseudo intellectual BS.

    The only honest part is where you claim to be the Author of “Nonsense of a High Order”.

  • Jerry W Barrington

    I’m curious: exactly what is the “plea”?

    That we accept his connect-the-dots and just start believing? Belief doesn’t work that way.

    That we hypocritically claim to believe, for (as he sees it) the good of society? Is that the basis of his own belief?

    • Jerry,

      Thanks for you question. My “plea’ is twofold.

      No matter what you believe write Singer, Marks, and B4U-ACT and let them know loud and clear that you are disgusted by any attempt to change the status of pedophilia. It is criminal and morally reprehensible.

      Re-evaluate your moral position in light of the fact that in objective reality from an atheistic view of things, there is nothing wrong with child molestation.

      • Don’t let the rabbi fool you by invoking irrelevant Scientific name like B4U ACT as Eric Pfeifer told the Rabbi it’s a red herring these organizations are trying to find a way to cure pedophiles From Eric Pfeifer “B4U-ACT even states that their goal with pedophile mental care is to “…give them hope for productive and fulfilling lives, rather than waiting for a crisis to occur.” The rabbi has not answered to this. Nor has he answered to the fact the pfeifer and I both have raised numerous times. the fact that for his argument to be a vaild one Atheists would all have to be psychopaths, more specifically, void of empathy which the overwhelming majority of human beings is not. (and those that are aren’t reproducing) Empathy is a chemical process in the brain and is not going to disappear simply by rejecting religion. The rabbi twists facts and interprets to support his views when in fact he has not answered to this argument crushing problem that we have brought up continuously. I sound like a broken record.

        • Shnig,

          It would be much easier to answer you if you would eliminate the hysteria from your posts and simply state your position and arguments disspassionately without all the wild editorializing. It makes it difficult to pick through what you are actually trying to say.

          We are having a discussion here, you seem to be preaching the atheistiic point of view.

          • I think my stance is quite clear in that statement to simply say otherwise without a stating what i made unclear is another of your plentiful fallacies rabbi. You refuse to answer to the implications that empathy makes your claim null and void. because we can empathize which is a chemical process in the brain we know when someone is hurting. We would have to not be capable of empathy for you claim that atheistic society will let pedophilia go without a glance. If we were devoid of empathy I would have to agree with you but since we are not you need to address this problem. so please DO. I’m honestly not sure how I can make that much more clear to you.

            Schnigtheatheist.bolgspot.com Don’t stop!

      • (**Overwhelming majority of atheists *are not) sorry about that

      • I also just read that he tried to slip in that these organizations/people are trying to CHANGE the status of pedophilia, yet another BLATANT lie from the rabbi’s endless supply to try and support his twisted argument. These individuals have only explained that, objectively, nothing can be absolute wrong or absolute right because there is no objective absolute moral basis. They aren’t advocating for pedophilia as the rabbi underhandedly tries to imply to you. Through empathy along with a very basic survival instinct we develop morals over time through a trial and error process that get more and more complex. You can see varying degrees of moral complexity in more socially complex animal societies and less socially complex animal societies. It’s quite easy to grasp the question is (to take from one of his own titles): Why Doesn’t the Rabbi get It?

        • Shnig,

          They want pedophelia removed from the DSM. I don’t understand why that is not changing the status. they also strongly object to the registration of child-sex offenders as they currently stand. I never said that YOU are advocating pedophelia, but there are people who do.

          • Rabbi, you again try your underhanded fallacies on me. To remove it from the DSM is not to change it’s status as a harmful or sociologically WRONG action as you were pitifully trying to imply to jerry. It is to change it’s status as a mental health disorder. And I never said that you were saying that I was advocating pedophilia in my comment. I said that you were implying that THEY are advocating pedophilia so stop adding more fallacies to my argument by putting words in my mouth. I also think it’s interesting that you say that there are people who advocate it but do not state Singer and marks names as you tried to get away with up top. try again rabbi.

            Schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com Dont stop!

          • adding fallacies to *your argument by putting words in my mouth. sorry if that was unclear

      • and I apologize once more for the grammar of that damn sentence What I did not mean to put “atheists are not” I meant to say “Humans are not” and simply correct the “is” to and “are”

      • and I apologize once more for the grammar of that damn sentence. I did not mean to put “atheists are not” I meant to say “Humans are not” and simply correct the “is” to an “are”. Oh my goodness. I hope you understand even if this is incorrect haha

      • “Re-evaluate your moral position in light of the fact that in objective reality from an atheistic view of things, there is nothing wrong with child molestation.”

        Apparently you object to paedophilia being removed from a list of mental illnesses. Is paedophilia a sin or a disease? If you object to paedophilia being removed from that list then I must assume you believe it is an illness.

        I dislike causing upset, so could you please give me a list of other diseases I must avoid so as not to offend your moral sensibilites?

        • Squagnut,

          In fact, whether or not it is an illness is beside the point. Pedophilia is morally despicable with no exceptions, no matter what “experts” at Johns Hopkins University have to say about the matter. The problem is that if the so called “experts” remove it from the list of illnesses, in the public’s eye it becomes less problematic, similar to the path of normalization that occured with homosexuality. I’m not interested in discussing homosexuality, it is a distraction from the main point.

          If children are taught that “man-child” sexual attraction is natural and does not reflect any pathology, it is one step closer to complete normalization of the phenomena.

          • This can’t possibly be the argument Rabbi. By NOW I would have expected much more. Keep in mind I’m not advocating or denouncing Homosexuality. “The normalization” this is a misnomer (not to mention a red herring). For centuries cultures were quite practiced in homosexuality and It’s been quite “normal” for a very long time and can be observed in a copious number of animal societies to this day as well, to add to your normal statement. But I digress. It does not become less problematic if you remove it from the list of of mental illnesses It is still harming a child along with doing so without consent which we can all see as wrong because of empathy (something you STILL have not confronted) As to the issue of rationalizing a sexual love for children or “man-child sexual attraction”, rabbi, this does nothing for your argument. The children involved in pedophilia are non-consenting minors which suggests they haven’t developed the cognitive skills (which we can observe develop) to be able to consent. Although you on several occasions have gone back to when in jewish culture marriages were happening at 13/14 years of age (with consent usually coming from the father) so I strain to see your problem if there is consent in the man child sexual attraction (as long as they get married that is)

          • oh I forgot: Schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com Don’t stop!

      • I’d like to invite anyone who’s interested to start following me at schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com. Together we can educate people to not fall for these underhanded fallacies and look for the truth themselves.

      • Perhaps you should reevaluate your moral position. In light of the Bible, there is nothing wrong with paedophilia. If you choose to only get morals from God, then you must accept paedophilia as a perfectly acceptable moral practice, just like slavery. If you choose to say it is wrong, you must have something else tell you that.
        Also, with your view, there is no objective morals, just the subjective morals given by God that you want people to follow.
        If there are objective morals, they must exist without cause. There can be no moral law giver, or else they will be subjective.

      • This is where you are wrong, there might be nothing wrong for the childmolestor but it harms the child as has been proven many times therefor it is wrong. Not because of the law any other made up reason about heaven/hell etc. Its wrong because it harms the child. It has nothing to do with atheism or religion.

  • What this article really tells us is that, absent any external force telling him not to do it, Rabbi Moshe would rape little boys. As such, it’s incomprehensible to him that for most people, the absence of external restraint is not a license for such behavior. Fortunately, he happens to believe in a magical sky-fairy who does, indeed, forbid such actions. While I’m generally an advocate of spreading critical thinking skills, it might be best if we all let Rabbi Moshe continue in his current course.

    You know, for the sake of the children.

  • It is axiomatic that religious fundamentalists misrepresent atheism because they are terrified of atheists.

  • This article is just pure garbage from start to finish. Strawmen, quote mining, misrepresting people and one huge slippery slope argument that is not backed up in any way.

    First, atheists don’t live in an “amoral” void. Everything we do has an effect on other people. There’s an increasing number of not just atheists but also rationalists, whose conduct is based on social contracts, consent, empathy and reasoning. Evolution has hard-wired some moral values within our brains, but we have the ability to evaluate how a specific action resonates within our society. Whatever I do to others can be done to me. Helping a friend is something I value, but killing somebody is something I hold condemnable to the highest degree. A murderous psychopath would probably disagree, but psychopaths unempathetically see humans as tools and this view ignores all the social, economical and societal impacts of various deeds.

    Second, Singer’s ideas aren’t my ideas. His values aren’t my values. Just because Singer is an atheist and says something doesn’t mean I automatically accept it. Reasoning behind the idea is what I’m after.

    Third, if a person is ready to face the consequences, it doesn’t make any action right. The people who are affected by these actions both directly and indirectly and people who know the effects of the action better are the ones to make that call. “Forbidden” behavior should be evaluated with reason – not just say that these things are wrong. If something is a taboo and questioning this taboo brings a good reason for condemning this behavior, then one has a stronger case against this behavior. If there’s no good reason, why hold this behavior as a taboo? Homosexuality is still seen by some as an unquestionable sin, even in the face of having no good secular reason against it.

    Sex with children is seen as immoral and for a good reason. Children are not physically or psychologically ready for sexual encounters. A child doesn’t understand what is happening when they see or experience this sort of behavior. Also, I doubt that a child would propose an adult that they’d like to try out what sex feels like. The adult is a commanding authority abusing their power and the child is just a ragdoll. The child is, in most cases, just a tool to achieve pleasure for a pedophile. Even if an adult would “truly romantically love” a child, realizing that this child doesn’t understand commitment or sexuality and the “relationship” would end up damaging the child is a signal to back off. The age of consent (16+) is about there when teenagers are on the doorstep to understand the bigger picture of life, including intimate relationships.

    But rabbi Averick’s condemnation of child molestation isn’t from himself. He has no other reason for condemning child molestation but that it’s a commandment from God. He doesn’t use his empathy or reasoning powers to think about the childs perspective or the adults dominance or any other factor at all. There is no laying out the reasons so everyone would be able to equally come to the agreement that child molestation is bad. There’s only “God says so and atheists are perverts”, period.

    To be able to condemn anything as the proposed word of any god, one would have to provide a reason to believe that this god exists in the first place. I became an atheist as I discovered that people believe in various gods for as equally bad reasons as people believe in chakras and ghosts. The article’s choice between atheism and Judaism is simply a false dichotomy with the added notion that Judaism (and no other religion, for that matter) has no evidential support for it whatsoever. We know the natural world and other people exist. To demand the same respect to a set of supernatural claims with no evidential support is simply ridiculous.

    This article isn’t worth anyone’s time. It’s just the same old mud flinging with the baseless “atheists have no morals” argument.

    • AKI,

      It’s hard for me to understand how you claim that I say that atheists have no morals when I stated exactly the opposite in the very first paragraph of the article.

      Amorality, which is an inescapable outcome an atheistic worldview, does not mean that atheists don’t have values. Of course they do. You have outlined your own values quite clearly above. The implication of amorality/subjective values is that the morals/values have no objective significance. They only mean as much as you want them to mean. Let’s face it. Many of your values are nothing more than a reflection of the society in which you were raised and psychological conditioning.

      Your values have as much objective significance as the values Peter Singer, Orthodox Judaism, or National Socialism. In effect, different strokes for different folks.

      AS Bertrand Russell put it: “I cannot see how to refute the subjectivity of ethical values, but I find myself incapable of believing that all that is wrong with wanton cruelty is that I don’t like it.”

      Russell’s incredulousness notwithstanding, in an atheistic world, that is exactly the way it is.

      • Thelastcondor

        Rabbi,

        From an atheist point of view, we already know that your reasoning is flawed. All of your writings, eloquent though they are, are by definition, the ramblings of a brilliant mind, polluted by the indoctrination of your childhood. You appear to be obsessed with the intellectual significance of thoughts and opinions whilst ignoring your own gods ambivalence to your cause. Far from being gods “chosen people”, he rejects you at every opportunity. All of your pleadings must be judged within gods own dealings with you. He allows your lands to be stolen, your people murdered on an industrial scale and Muslims to pick you off one bomb at a time. And still, you don’t get it.

        Like the man in the asylum believing he is napoleon, yes rabbi…. Your right.

  • The Church used to be able to claim to be the highest authority, moral and otherwise, in times when literacy was poor. Now people can actually read books like the bible for themselves the Church cannot have been surprised to see their authority erode at an alarming rate.

    Oh and I watched the interview and I didn’t hear a comment where Singer “approved” bestiality at all.

    Just goes to show how much a person will read between the lines to make a point.

    Just like the moron taking me to Court right now after reviewing his book supporting Creationism.

    • Vaughn,

      Singer wrote about bestiality in an article entitled “Heavy Petting” , not in the video. The video was where he responded to the question about pedophilia.

      Also, if you have a complaint about the Catholic Church, I am the wrong address, I’m an Orthodox rabbi.

    • Thelastcondor

      Vaughan, concerning your court case, consider the stupidity of holding the bible to declare that you will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god . Anyone want to scream.

  • If atheism is so bad, and atheistic societies are so bad, would you care to explain WHY in more atheistic Western societies they have:

    *LOWER rates of STD infection.
    *LOWER rates of violent crime.
    *LOWER rates of murder.
    *LOWER rates of teenage pregnancies.
    *LOWER rates of child and adult mortality.
    *LOWER rates of abortion.

    And more besides.

    Please do explain why the most religious Western nation (the USA) has millions of abortions, STDs, murders, etc. each year, while in Sweden (where 80% are atheist) abortions, STD rates and murders are virtually NIL.

    You whole argument is nothing more than a bigoted piece of nonsense which is not supported by academic facts – and you religion is just the same.

    As I’m an atheist, perhaps you’d care to tell me why I haven’t killed someone? Why I haven’t raped someone? Why I haven’t abused a child? Why I haven’t had an STD? Why I haven’t committed any crimes? Why I haven’t had a violent fight?

    What’s stopping me exactly?

    It’s a little something called INNATE MORALITY. I know what will harm someone, and what will not. I have the ability to empathise with my fellow human being, whereas you clearly can’t.

    I know, for example, that child rape harms a child and society in so many ways. I also know, that Catholic priests are renowned for it.

    But I also know, that a loving gay couple, harm no-one. But the same Catholic priest, who willingly sucks a child’s privates, tells you that their loving and consensual adult relationship is evil.

    I know where I get my morality from, and I know where you get your morality from.

    The thing is, I’m not a weak mind who needs to be told what is right and wrong. I can see and think about what’s right and wrong – and why. But you can’t do that. You’ve no empathy, you’ve no intelligence and you are just a bigoted idiot with no clue about the world.

    Religion stops a thinking mind dead – just as it has with yours.

    • Robert,

      Many respondents bring up the Catholic Church in their posts. I’m an Orthodox rabbi, I don’t know that much about the Catholic Church.

      I have never done a comprehensive study of Swedish culture so it is hard for me to respond to what you wrote. Assuming for the moment that what you wrote is true; I would have to see how long Sweden has been so predominantly atheistic, they certainly had a Judeo-Christian tradition for many years. My guess is that many of their core values are still based on that. In truth though I am speculating. I would have to look into it more.

      Be that as it may, ultimately ideas are what animate people. If you believe that a human being is the result of a directionless, meaningless, and purposeless process, eventually it will start to affect very deeply how you look at people and how you treat them. You have clearly inherited many of the core values of a Judeo-Christian tradition. The most fundamental of all is that a human being has inherent and intrinsic value and preciousness. This concept is based on Biblical statement that man is created in the image of God.
      In a sense you believe that, you have just eliminated God from the picture. You do not view people as glorified cockroaches, which is in reality what we are.

      Sigmund Freud stated: The moment a man contemplates the meaning and VALUE OF LIFE, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence.

      My understanding is that you try to treat people as if they have real value, totally contradicting an objective view of a godless world. I hope you continue that way. However, that is a legacy that is almost impossible to pass on to a new generation that has never been exposed to a religious cultural tradition.

      Sadly, there is no such thing as INNATE MORALITY. Our so called innate moral sense gives radically different messages to different people in different societies in different time periods. This “innate moral sense” is notoriously fickle. One man’s deep moral feeling is another man’s indigestion.

      • I love how you wave away the evidence he put to you by saying “Be that as it may” and then ramble with speculative statements that have no evidence backing them up whatsoever. “eventually it will start to affect very deeply how you look at people and how you treat them.” where is your evidence/proof for that statement rabbi? Robert brought legitimate numbers and you wave them off as to suggest they don’t mean anything. THEY DO MEAN SOMETHING. and once again I tell you to stop quoting that irrelevant statement to simply invoke Freud’s name. It has nothing to do with what he’s talking about and in fact does nothing for your argument. I do hope people can identify and see past these fallacies because under them your argument is nill as I have explained above with the issue of empathy.

      • I’d invit anyone who’s interested to follow me at Schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com

  • Well, Mr. Averick, I think that “smug derision” adequately captures my response to your article.

  • Morality is determined by culture. That’s it. Religion is part of some cultures, not so much in others. It’s just one piece of a very complex puzzle that’s never static. That is just the way it is. Deal with it.

    For those who want to claim that there is some ultimate moral code handed down from just one of the ancient Hebrew deities, the god in question first needs to show up. Being invisible and only communicating through hallucinations and ghost writers is not anywhere near a valid claim to even consider worthwhile.

    We have to live with the fact that we are the ones who set our own rules. We create the cultures under which we exist. Any faults found are with us, as are the benefits. There is no group of atheists that advocate or even consider pedophilia as a viable cultural option. This author is just plain nuts. He tries to produce an example of psychiatric professionals discussing topics they should be discussing as a point of moral decline somehow. Not discussing things is what gets us in trouble, just like abstinence-only “education” for kids actually increases unwanted pregnancies.

    Information is good–all kinds of information. Myths and superstitions don’t qualify.

    • NixManes,

      I agree with you. In an atheistic world we “set our own rules.” None are more valid or invalid than any others.

      That is why at least Singer and Marks (and virtually every other major atheistic thinker) are honest enough to state that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with molesting children.

      • Rabbi again you underhandedly try to imply that atheistic thinkers see nothing wrong with molesting children. They do I assure you. They state, once again I’ll explain since you can’t understand, that NOTHING is intrinsically wrong. You like to only state molestation but they believe that NOTHING is intrinsically wrong OR intrinsically right (Including molestation) because there is no innate intrinsic moral basis. That does not mean there is not a moral basis that we come up with through empathy, learning and science. It amazes me that you can still spout such garbage after this has been explained to you. Stop twisting statements to suit your unfounded argument.

      • Schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com

      • Every major atheistic thinker states that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with molesting children?

        Evidence to this assertion, please? Articles, newpapers, interviews? Let me see where Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, or Dennett have said this, in a verifiable format?

        The “Bible condones rape” comments come from, for example, the story of Lot and his daughters in Genesis 19:8. If the reading in every English translation is incorrect, what is the real story?

  • A person whose faith is in a book that tells them that rape is OK if you pay the father $800 has no place telling anyone what their morality should be.
    Kindly stop wasting your time and ours.

    • Anubis D,

      No one forced you to read the article,(that is if you actually did read it.)

      I don’t know who told you that rape is OK in Judaism. It’s hard to imagine a more ridiculous statement. I know that you got that distorted idea from reading an English translation of the Five Books of Moses.

      As I explained in my book, the Torah is comparable to the pilot’s manual of an F-15 fighter bomber. It was not written to instruct the average person to read it and start flying an F-15. It was written with certain assumptions about the knowledge, background, and training of the person reading it. The Torah as a JEWISH book is no different. without proper knowledge, background, and training, you will get a highly distorted understanding of what Judaism is. Your statement about rape, although to a certain extent understandable, is a perfect example. To reiterate: It is hard to imagine a statement that is so divorced from the reality of Judaism as what you wrote about rape being OK.

      If you feel it is a waste of time to read my articles, by all means, read something else. However, before you make authoritative declarations about Judaism you should really learn more and know what you are talking about.

  • What is so shocking to me about the comments following this post is the atheist anger and the atheist irrationality.

    Are these people so deaf that they cannot see what the Rabbi is saying? Could he have stated it more clearly — that he was not calling atheists immoral — but that he was saying that atheism provides no ontological basis for morality.

    Francis Schaeffer put is something like this. Since atheism cannot provide a foundation for morality (other than personal preference), the atheist has to run upstairs to the theist’s storey, steal their morality, and run back downstairs again.

    Honestly, people in New Zealand often say Americans are stupid, and now I am starting to believe it.

    • Chris Hollier

      This is a message I replied to Moshe with, perhaps it will help you see that his article is for the most part incorrect.

      “The question you asked me is a false dilemma, and it is this logical fallacy that you’ve built your argument on. My choices aren’t limited to objective morality or amorality, which is what the question you’ve presented me with asks me to choose between. This error is probably why you claim that since an atheist by definition must reject objective morality that its obvious that they adhere too an amorality worldview. This isn’t true, and you did cherry pick one atheist (Joel Marks) that judging by the one quote you did recall who’s worldview would line up with what you’ve argued in this article.

      But, again, those aren’t the only two options, and selecting the few atheists that do agree doesn’t wash away the false dilemma you’ve created.

      When we are assessing an action the determination of whether or not something is moral or immoral is based on evaluating an action to some standard or value. Positive evaluations of an action are labeled good or moral, negative evaluations of an action are labeled bad or immoral, and neutral evaluations might truely be morally neutral or could be too complex for a clear moral evaluation to be made. The key here is the standard or value by which we assess actions, once we have that we can objectively judge where a action falls (moral, morally neutral, or immoral).

      It doesn’t matter whether the standard in which we use to assess actions is ultimately a subjective opinion or an objective truth. Once you have that standard, the assessment of an action with regards to that standard becomes objective.

      You’re claim is that we cannot have morality without some sort of external authority. Keeping this in mind, any rebuttal you form must stick to this idea. You cannot claim that a moral system that judges actions based on per-set subjective values is inferior to a moral system which is guided by an external source, since doing so admits that a moral system can be created even without an objective moral standard. This admission destroys your original stance.

      I think I’ve clearly showed you how this isn’t a choice between objective morality and amorality. There are other options, and the secular morality that most of the atheists you’ve listed above is what you should be addressing – not some strawman that you’ve created.”

    • What many of us are protesting is the implication that our morality stems from god and religion, and that as such:

      a) Atheists are intrinsically amoral – which the rabbi asserts is not a bad thing but there is an undercurrent of disapproval. I tend to agree with this notion of intrinsic amorality, but only from a purely external, objective viewpoint. I do not believe that there is such anything that is intrinsically, absolutely ‘wrong’, because I question where that ‘wrongness’ comes from. I will not accept the judgment of an external authority, but rather be guided by my own conscience.

      b) Atheists need borrow their morality from religion. I absolutely disagree with this assertion. Atheists are completely capable of being moral while disagreeing with morality at an intellectual level. But rather, I prefer the term ethics. My ethics come from how I would wish to be treated, and my own sense of empathy. There is no required input from any religious source to instruct me on the finer details of right and wrong. There is no ‘right and wrong’, but
      respecting and treating others as I would wish to be treated personally, and hopefully see this mindset transcend the individual perspective. Beyond all ‘do no harm’. Everything I do that involves others should not involve the violation of their autonomy and be completely consensual.

      Sure, atheist provides no ontological basis for morality, but hey, it doesn’t need to. We rely on our internal conscience, empathy and reasoning. The problem with divinely-endowed morality is that it implies that that it is the sole basis for morality. Which is far from the truth.

      • Marco,

        I appreciate your candidness. It seems we agree on every major point.

        “Everything I do that involves others should not involve the violation of their autonomy and be completely consensual.”

        According to this a lion should never attack a zebra. Nothing violates autonomy like eating someone else for lunch. If your response is that we are “more” than lions and can formulate different modes of behavior, what does “more” mean other than your own subjective pragmatic considerations. That might be a basis for a non-binding social contract but it has no objective reality. It is as significant as you want it to be. Others have very different ways of looking at things. You are under the mistaken impression that humanism is somehow objectively more valid than Nazism.

  • Pharisee Averick,

    Surely by now you must find it EXTREMELY odd that so far you have not received ONE supporting comment or argument on this incredibly lengthy thread of comments. Do you not get that your assertions are clueless, based on statements taken totally out of context by your so-called “atheist philosophers”, and that the only one out here who is being defensive is YOU? When are you just going to admit that you have absolutely no clue???

    • That there is few (I’ve just seen one) defenders of the article does not mean that there is no-one out there agreeing with it. Moshe is defending his views excellently, unfortunately he does not seem to get through to his critics, which is not a sign that his arguments are bad.
      As the atheists’ morality can only be be based on what he likes or dislikes, he also seems to conduct discussions on the basis what he likes or dislikes. Therefore most posts here–not all–do not throw new light on the issue, but only on the atheists way of thinking (or non-thinking), and this is in it’s own way interesting (up to a point).

      • Religious morality is no morality at all. Because there is no thought to it except for how to get around it or extrapolate so as to control other people, it is just “Obey these dictates” and don’t consider if there is a sound basis for the dictates.

        Don’t consider “Does this harm other people” or “is the harm worth it” – just obey the dictates and you are gonna be fine.

        Consider the case of those who lied in order to shelter Jews from the Nazis. From an atheist point of view they were heroes – they did something that would normally be immoral (lying) in order to achieve a very moral result (saving lives.)

        From an inherent morality point of view what they did was wrong – because lying is inherently wrong.

        The calculation with atheists is a cost benefit one – the thing is it isn’t only the cost to ourselves that is in the equation, but also the cost to those we are interacting with and society as a whole.

        To Averick the only cost in contention is the one to himself. It is an incredibly shallow moral system, in which if God told him to sacrifice his much beloved son, Averick would do it. The only costs which would go through Averick’s head are to himself, he would not for one second consider the cost to his son.

        Thus because Averick would personally love to have sex with children, and he can’t consider costs that are not to himself, if it wasn’t for some force threatening him in order to get him not to he would do it. He thus projects this attitude onto his opponents.

        • I fail to understand how following the dictates of a sadistic, bullying megalomaniac with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old, i.e., the rabbi’s favorite god, can be moral. According to the propaganda, this deity kills people just because he can. How is that moral?

    • Tony,

      By the way, I take Pharisee as a true compliment, thank you. 2 + 2 = 4 is true no matter how many people disagree.

      But in fact, many of the things I have stated have been supported even by some of the more hysterical commenters. Many of them agree that there is no objective basis for an atheistic morality. It is purely subjective. However, many of them have a very hard time facing up to the implications of that simple philosophical truth that nearly all atheistic philosophers (including of course Singer and Marks) admit to.

      To avoid confronting the fact that in an atheistic world the worldview of Ghengis Kan and Abraham Maslow are equally significant and valid, they invoke mystical concepts like “empathy” as if their own particular emotional make-up should determine the values of all humanity.

  • Casewithscience

    Thank the flying spaghetti monster for the church of the flying spaghetti monster. Without the holy guidelines in the Book of Ravioli, I would be an immoral monster.

    Alternatively, I could simply engage my empathy and make reasonable decisions about morality without having to refer to arbitrary viewpoints which are largely irrelevant to the modern world.

    Only if I had no empathy (like a psychopath or serial killer) would be best to have an arbitrary rule book, like a religion. Fortunately, I am not a psychopath or serial killer ;)

    • CasewithScience,

      Didn’t see anything remotely scientific about the argument you presented. You are free to engage your own particular emotional make up to determine your actions, just like every other person is entitled to determine their actions by their own particular emotional make up. If your own emotional make-up included a powerful attraction to little girls then that is the way you would go.

  • I see Moshe Averick has presented us with another example of how theist arguments miss the reality boat. Ironically, they are perfect for turning people off religion.

    Seriously, if your finding yourself debating with stubborn theists and want to gain ground quickly, direct them towards his articles. Tell them to read his article(which they will probably agree with) and tell them to read all the comments. It’s better than iron chariots wiki. Granted the content isn’t as complete but each of his arguments are thoroughly trashed by the posters with plenty of room to spare for his replies to the posters. I’m about 5 for 7 with this method. Well the results really aren’t as clear as that but the sentiment stands.

    I know you can’t force critical thinking on people, but if you expose them to it some of it leaks in. There is no critical thinking in his articles and people love to point out where he fails. And every time he tries misinformation, blind assertions or out right lies….people call him on it.

    This cloud against reason has a silver lining.

    On that note, I keep reading his articles because of hits from google news. Does anyone have any other favorite theist apologists who regularly post whom I can use in a like manner?

    Oh… and I’ve read the bible. I have a good idea what’s moral and what’s not though I can’t define it. My morality is not authority based. I can tell when something is not moral. High up on the list of fictional character who are not morale would be the christian god. The dude is seriously evil.

    Theists ability to consider the morality of actions based on the power of the individual goes a long way to explaining how a pedophile enabler can become the leader of their movement without fear of consequences.

    Thankfully most people do not get their morality from the bible despite claims to the contrary.

    • This is another example exemplifying why I disagree with anything this guy has to say. What’s disturbing is his accusations towards non-believers, when he’s grossly incorrect in his opinionated rant.

      Morality refers to a particular “system of values” and “principles of conduct” that tell us whether an action is right or wrong. How do you determine what’s right and wrong?

      Non-believers and secularist maintain that morality is a subjective system of values, meaning, “it is base upon or influenced by personal feelings, tastes or opinions”. Morality is often derived through a consensus of what is defined as “right or wrong” at a particular point in time; therefore, it is perfectly acceptable for moral values to change in order to reflex a society’s changing perceptions. Scientific research can help guide public opinion on certain topics, altering views that were once widely held amount the populace. (IE… homosexuality was the devils work.)

      Secular morality maintains:
      1) A morally right action must preserve ones’ autonomy – allowing the individual to freely make decisions and engage in behavior according to their personal wants and desires, so long as it doe NOT infringe on the autonomy of others. This falls under the umbrella of the “golden rule”.
      2) A morally right action must also benefit society as a whole – promoting harmony, health and the happiness of it’s members.

      1) A “Morally wrong” action must: deny one’s autonomy – preventing the individual from freely making decisions and engaging in behavior according to their personal wants and desires.
      2) And/or cause determine to society, producing chaos, destruction and a lack of wellbeing amongst its members.

      While this is understanding of right and wrong is subjective, meaning it’s based on our personal opinion, anyone, believers and nonbelievers, can use these guidelines to asses a particular subject and reach similar conclusions, this means we can reach an objective conclusion. Secular morality is both subjective and objective, but not absolute.

      In this particular subject/case, pedophilia, it’s obvious to both believers and non-believers that this is an immoral stance. While a few psychologist may proclaim that the “thoughts” of a pedophile are their “normal” and that mutual consent is okay, in the case of morality, it is painfully obvious that the idea of pedophilia is immoral in that it, deny’s one’s (children’s) autonomy. Children have not developed their emotional state or cognitive functions to a state of maturation (Numerous scientific studies to support this position), which this type of action would be a detriment to both their personal autonomy and or negative to society as a whole.

      So, to claim that non-believers have no morals is absurd and an intellectual outrage to those who this is directed.

      • Coscooper,

        I expected that many people would disagree with me, but I had hoped that they would at least accurately portray what I said.

        Nowhere do I claim that non-believers have no morals. I stated in the first paragraph that atheists certainly do have morals (“values”).

        All I stated was the simple truth that you obviously agree with. Atheistic morals are nothing more than a reflection of personal, subjective preferences. Despite everything you wrote about “secular morality” – it has no objective significance. It means nothing at all outside your own head. It obligates no one to do anything. The Nazi system of morality (personal preference) is just as valid or invalid. It all depends on your personal preference. It’s hard for me to understand your editorial comments when essentially we agree.

        • Chris Hollier

          Moshe Averick,

          “but I had hoped that they would at least accurately portray what I said.”

          That’s hard to do when you’re changing your claim constantly. First you claimed, in your article, that the atheistic worldview was amoral. Now you’ve changed your tune, and are claiming that their moral system is merely subjective. Which is it?

          Perhaps you’ve changed your tune because of a reply I submited to you in this article. An atheist can create a system of morals, thus destroying the amorality argument in your article.

          I’d love to have a discussion with you about subjective morality and secular morality, but first you need to understand that this amorality line of argument is only true for a few atheists. Which is why I said you picked one or two atheists whose world view is easy for you to attack, then pretend that all atheists feel this way. That’s not true at all, you need to address what the majority of us are saying.

        • This is an accurate portrayal of what you said:

          — Singer went on to explain that he is a “consequentialist.” For the benefit of the philosophically challenged let me explain “consequentialism” in a nutshell: If you like the consequences it’s ethical, if you don’t like the consequences it’s unethical. —

          Would you care to share with the world the source where you learned this definition of “consequentialism”?

          • Squagnut,

            I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that the concept of consequentialism was holy and came from Mt. Sinai. Was I mistaken? Why don’t you give me the “true” definition?

        • Moshe, my apologies for your perspective, but you may want to review what “Amoral” means, which you wrote clearly, several times. While you may attempt to redeem using the “they (atheists) have values, you stated, they are Amoral which is defined as:

          –Dictionary.com–
          AMORAL –
          not involving questions of right or wrong; without moral quality; neither moral nor immoral.
          2.
          having no moral standards, restraints, or principles; unaware of or indifferent to questions of right or wrong: a completely amoral person.
          — End —

          So, unfortunately, in other words, you infer that atheists are without moral and indifferent to right or wrong, when nothing can be further from the truth.

          Second, like so many, you honed in on the first aspect, personal autonomy and misconstrued that thought by claiming it’s only my head, but overlooked the society aspect, which is NOT just in my head. All actions should incorporate both personal and social ramifications.

          Rob – no one attacked, I find Moshe’s rants opinionated and without merit and antagonistic, so to state I do not agree, which is not an attack, but a statement of opinion.

          Stating my position and then stating it’s pathetic is an attack, which I will not stoop to the level which you portend to disdain out one side of your mouth, yet utter negativity and quasi-attacks out of the other. (Hypocrisy comes to mind.)

          Your patronization about “my morality has no authority, I can tell when something is immoral” is shallow and not what I stated at all. In fact, by providing legal authority, condoning decisions based upon morality, I subscribe to authority in the here and now, not the future after death or in the kingdom come.

          Reason and intelligence can ascertain when something is detrimental to oneself and society (others), so while those words are not anything near what I stated, your words, I do subscribe that intelligence knows when something goes against others autonomy (independence or freedom) both individually and social, then execute authority in our government and legal system in respect. So, yes, it’s obvious and doesn’t require the ancient laws, which by the way condoned stoning and slavery with clearly defined laws in quit some detail, yet, current religiosity claims we’ve grown from those barbaric days. REALLY? So, it’s again, obvious that the religious minded pick and choose from biblical standards, subjectively, to meet currently accepted moral ground, like me and every other sane, intelligent being. However, if the religious condone stoning and slavery, then I will question their sanity, intellect and ability for holding office, be in any position of power and so-on.

    • CosCooper is like so many of his ilk. Why don’t you actually going to give an argument for your position instead of attacking the man?

      Pathetic.

      Virtually every paragraph is a silly rant with no intellectual content to engage with.

      Oh wait, there is one stupid claim:

      “My morality is not authority based. I can tell when something is not moral.”

      Really Cos? Well, in some cultures they love their enemies. In other culture they eat their enemies. Tell us which is right, and then tell us why.

  • It’s trivially simple, people: Atheists don’t have morals, and we must have morals, therefore we will pick the morals of some arbitrary religion originated from some arbitrary part of history. QED.

  • If this is the quality of philosophy produced by religious thinkers, then I have no anxiety about the spread of atheism in the future.

    “Peter Singer says that he has no intrinsic moral taboos. In the same interview in response to the question about Pedophelia he says that “nothing is just wrong.””

    I seriously can’t believe that I have to explain this to you, O man who pretends to be learned.

    Singer states that ‘nothing is just wrong’ – he does not state that pedophelia is right. Pedophelia is wrong because of the consequences of pedophelia, which is to cause psychological damage to a child. When you pretend that Singer is blessing pedophelia from a hedonistic standpoint, you simply demonstrate your inability to engage in critical discussion without underhanded linguistic tricks.

    Likewise, ‘no inherent taboos’ simply means that from a consequentialist perspective there is no forbidden act – all actions are judged based on the consequences, including punishment by society and internal guilt at having caused suffering. Pedophelia is not wrong because children are sacred, but because it harms children and carries severe social sanctions.

    I would respect your argument more if you could accurately portray the arguments of your opponents rather than attempting to smear them with half-understood misconceptions.

    • I thought this was excellent Eric. I hope it’s ok but I posted this comment on my blog, crediting you of course, along side my own. If you have any objections just let me know and I’ll happily oblige. The blog is schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com

    • Eric,

      It seems to me that we essentially agree. We both agree that Singer does not find anything inherently wrong with pedophelia. It is all dependent on the “consequences”. If you like or are prepared to accept the consequences then it’s perfectly fine, and if you don’t it’s not. In other words, just like I said, it is entirely dependent on your personal preference. That is my entire point. Peter Singer and Joel Marks have made it clear that for the atheist, all moral decisions are based on personal preference.

      It might very well be that your personal preference as an atheist might be that pedophelia disgusts you. However, it clearly does not disgust the atheists over at Johns Hopkins University, like Dr. John Money and the mental health care professionals at B4U-ACT. Society’s attitudes change and shift all the time. I don’t know how old you are, but when I started high school, (1969) it was absolutely unthinkable that homosexuality or abortion would ever be accepted.

      What will you do as an atheist to make sure that these people do not succeed in conditioning society to accept pedophelia?

      • If pedophilia had no consequences, what would be the harm in it? By definition those things with zero consequences cannot harm, nor do good – they cannot do anything.

        Pedophilia, murder, stealing, and lying all have consequences and it is how we judge these consequences which determines whether we consider those actions moral or not.

        Contrast this approach with the direct actions of a reportedly perfect moral being. If the stories are to be believed, Yahweh, the god of the Old Testament, drowned the entire planet killing practically everything, razed cities to the ground with fire and brimstone, caused pestilence, plagues, and death whilst hardening the Pharaoh’s heart, drowned opposing armies, and turned women into pillars of salt.

        “Never mind”, the theist retorts, “I am sure there is a perfectly just and moral reason for these atrocities.”

        Pshaw! I say. Excusing the horrendous, violent, and immoral behaviour of the believers “most perfect” being only lays the path for future horrors “in the name of god.” The insanity must cease.

      • “It seems to me that we essentially agree.”

        No, we don’t. Please don’t try to strike common ground with me as a way of avoiding your errors in argumentation.

        “We both agree that Singer does not find anything inherently wrong with pedophelia. It is all dependent on the “consequences”. If you like or are prepared to accept the consequences then it’s perfectly fine, and if you don’t it’s not.”

        Your main error here is assuming that atheists are psychopaths. One aspect of consequentialism that you ignore is empathy – the ability to feel the pain of others. Pedophelia inflicts pain upon the victim. You are correct in stating that dealing with ‘consequences’ is a large portion of variable value morality, but to extrapolate that into stating that a non-fixed moral code is one lacking in empathy troubles me. One consequence of pedophelia is an inevitable guilt at doing harm to a helpless person. Individuals who do not feel this guilt are likely to be deficient in the sort of social coherence which leads to a society, meaning that your argument hinges upon atheists lacking any sort of ability to internalize the emotions of others.

        “In other words, just like I said, it is entirely dependent on your personal preference. That is my entire point. Peter Singer and Joel Marks have made it clear that for the atheist, all moral decisions are based on personal preference.”

        Your point is that atheists have a moral system which allows them no external guilt, thus they have no morals. Unfortunately, you ignore the internal aspect of guilt in order to make your case. For your argument to work, you have to assume that an individual can only feel shame due to external pressure.

        “It might very well be that your personal preference as an atheist might be that pedophelia disgusts you. However, it clearly does not disgust the atheists over at Johns Hopkins University, like Dr. John Money and the mental health care professionals at B4U-ACT.”

        This is a red herring. You are taking the work of mental health professionals acting to cure pedopheliac individuals and you explain it as the excusing or mitigation of pedophelia. This is a monstrous line of argumentation, which serves my initial point that you cannot argue without smearing your adversary as a villain.

        B4U-ACT even states that their goal with pedophile mental care is to “…give them hope for productive and fulfilling lives, rather than waiting for a crisis to occur.” I suppose you would prefer these individuals to be killed in public like the demons they are. That is not very compassionate.

        “Society’s attitudes change and shift all the time. I don’t know how old you are, but when I started high school, (1969) it was absolutely unthinkable that homosexuality or abortion would ever be accepted.”

        To me, this statement simply dates you as a moral dinosaur. You would prefer an imaginary, hateful past rather than a realistic, loving future.

        I have a newsflash for you: homosexuality was not invented in 1970. Nor were abortions. Yet they were practiced every day, undoubtedly by people who attended your very high school. Would you prefer that the flaws of imperfect people in an imperfect world be agonized over in the dark? Or would you seek a supportive and accepting world, where it is possible for individuals to make mistakes and then seek redemption?

        “What will you do as an atheist to make sure that these people do not succeed in conditioning society to accept pedophelia?”

        I will not succumb to paranoid fantasies rooted in moral panic. I strongly suggest you calm down and realize that the world around you is constantly changing. You may feel displaced and lost at the way society is moving, but this is a reflection of your own internal feelings rather than some collapse of society at large. I mean this in the most supportive and least insulting way possible: please consult a therapist.

        • Though really, I feel that the reason you write such unreasonable and hateful arguments is simply to boost your pagecount. Unfortunately for you, science has invented adblockers. Simply one more way in which rationality inevitably triumphs over the incense shadows of mysticism.

          • Eric,

            I wrote about ideas that I felt were dangerous. Peter Singer said he has no intrinsic moral taboos. Joel Marks said he embraces amorality. My contention is that they are speaking honestly about the implications of their atheistic outlook.

            I did not preach hatred of anybody. If I did please point out where. You, on the other hand sound quite hateful.

        • Eric,

          Instead of confronting the implications of an atheistic outlook without sugar coating (which Singer and Marks are honest enough to do to a certain extent), you invoke the mystical concept of “empathy” as if that trumps everything and determines the moral path for all human beings. I, like all human beings have many different emotional tugs and desires. I have the ability to be empathic, but I also have the ability to be cruel. I can enjoy doing a favor, and I enjoy taking for myself an exerting power over others. Perhaps you are one of those gentle souls who has no desire to harm or take ever. That’s fine, that does not make you moral, it simply means that like all animals, you follow your inborn nature. The lion has a nature to kill and eat a zebra, the cow has a nature to eat and walk around and be quite harmless.
          The beagle wags his tail and is friendly to children, this has nothing to do with morality.

          It would seem quite presumptious on your part
          Eric to dictate values to all humanity based on your personal inborn nature. It seems clear, that as difficult as it may seem to accept, in the atheistic view we are animals and will simply act as our nature dictates, just like all other animals. to somehow label that as “morality” is illusory. On the other hand perhaps our powerful desire to categorize our actions in a different manner than animals is the reflection of a Godly soul, that actually does make us different than animals.

          • “perhaps our powerful desire to categorize our actions in a different manner than animals is the reflection of a Godly soul”

            Or perhaps it is the reflection of a frontal lobe, Rabbi.

            Like all humans, I take pleasure in what makes me happy. That could be the warm fuzzy feeling that I get when I give someone a present, or the feeling of schadenfraude I get when someone I dislike is embarrassed or put in their place. It could be a million other emotions that are personally satisfying to me.

            What stops me from being cruel to people for the sake of cruelty, is not some mythical being who may someday punish me for being awful, it’s quite simply – would I want to be treated that way? Or, “empathy.” You know empathy, right? It’s that concept that you keep brushing aside and acting like it either doesn’t exist or is completely irrelevant, despite being an OBVIOUS factor in morality.

            I know that you’re not Christian, Rabbi, but I’m going to quote the New Testament to you for a second: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, said “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” when questioned what was the most important commandment. In other words, he taught empathy. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you like being treated in that way? If the answer is no, then don’t do it.

            It really is that simple, no matter how difficult you’re trying to make it. Let me ask you – are you a jerk to people behind the counter at stores? Waiters? Bellhops? Cab drivers? I’m sure you’re not. Why is that? There is no Biblical proclamation demanding that you not be rude or condescending. SO what stops you from doing it? Is it because you know that it sucks when others are a jerk to you? If so, then congratulations, you fully understand and can employ empathy. So, please, stop pretending that the claim that empathy drives a sense of morality is stupid.

        • Hear, hear.

  • So, apparently to you Rabbi, morality doesn’t exist without some magical sky dictator telling us what it is? That is simply arbitrary nonsense and, as an argument for morality, has been destroyed. Ever hear of Euthyphro Rabbi? Apparently not! This is especially hilarious, since you’re claiming that the basis of all morality is a book, the Torah, that advocates genocide, slavery, rape, racism, misogyny, and child abuse. Yet somehow according to you, it is atheists like myself, who find those actions reprehensible whether sanctioned by a magical sky dictator or not, who are the ones without morality!

    Actions are objectively ethical or unethical and we don’t need some imaginary sky tyrant to tell us which is which. It was social animals, like ourselves, who have developed moral systems to facilitate more harmonious social environments, since the fact remains that they are based on actions which have real world consequences. Unlike you and other people like you who base your morality on an arbitrary standard (the ravings of crazy bronze-aged savages who cared more about the state of a man’s foreskin then the life of a young virgin girl who had been taken as spoils of war or the life of a woman raped and forced to marry her rapist, since it was deemed as nothing but a property crime against her father or husband), I have an objective standard for morality; pain and suffering. If an action causes pain or suffering in another without their consent and without the direct need for survival or to stop another from causing pain in others, it is immoral. You on the other hand, have no objective standard of morality, as your morality is coming from the arbitrary ancient writings of your culture and is stuck in the times in which those writings were written.

    And Rabbi, if the rape of a woman was really as unacceptable to the people who wrote the Torah as you say it is, why was it omitted from the 10 commandments when petty things such as coveting property and worshiping the sky tyrant more then any other sky tyrant is? Apparently, we are justified in thinking that your disgusting cult views women as property and as such, in it’s view, rape isn’t a crime against a woman, but a property crime against either her father or husband. Which is disgusting and destroys your argument that your culture is the one that holds the key to objective morality.

    Lastly, you are taking the words of Pinter Singer WAY out of context, as this is the guy who helped launch the modern animal rights movement based on the ideas that if an action hurts any animal, including us, you don’t have the right to do it. To make the claim that he agrees with having sex with another animal that can’t make informed consent means you are either misunderstanding his words or you are lying about them to bolster your case. So which is it Rabbi, are you stupid or lying?

    • Cameron,

      I actually have heard of Euthyphro. There is a chapter in my book called “Euthyphro: A Philosophical Dinosaur”
      When you buy the book, I would be very interested in hearing your opinion, if you are able to present your arguments without the childish insults.

      As I have replied to a number of people, I never claimed Singer ADVOCATED bestiality, I said he approved of it. It is clear from the article, that as long as it does not involve cruelty it is ho-hum.

      • There’s still a long way from “approving” of something to not having a strong feeling about it.

        I don’t disapprove of, say, children in religious families being taught to say Grace before meals. But as an atheist, I certainly don’t approve of it, either.

  • “In an atheistic world, moral values are nothing more than reflections of the subjective preferences of a particular society or individual.”

    Riiiight my view that allowing mass murder is bad for just about everyone involved is just my subjective preference based on my particular society. Why didn’t I think of that? It all makes sense now!

    Oh wait my mistake that’s a load of nonsense.

    Funnily enough our actions have consequences some of which are beneficial and others which are harmful. I possess the ability to THINK ABOUT THINGS and using evidence from the world around me to see how these things actually end up working in practice I can find a way of living in the world that maximises the amount of good for everyone involved. It’s far from perfect but it is also massivly different from what you seem to think atheists MUST accept.

    Why is this difficult for you to understand? I really don’t get it so I’m sorry if I’m condescending about it but you’re being a complete idiot on this subject and the simple fact that you can’t see that gets me very fustrated.

  • Thelastcondor

    Rabbi,

    I am a simple man. In 1942/45 six million of your fellow believers were led to the gas chambers. During those 4 years men ,women and children plus thousands of rabbi’s were systematically put to death. Your God never stopped even one from meeting their fate. He was’nt around much in those days. Is he back?

    Because your whole argument rests on him being back in the saddle and I see no evidence.

    • Thelastcondor,

      Have you ever heard of the State of Israel? We are still around and going strong, the Third Reich was buried under rubble. Just like Egypt,Babylon,Persia, Greece, Rome, The Holy Roman Empire, and the USSR.

      God is alive and well in Jerusalem along with his people. Am Yisroel Chai (The Nation of Israel Lives)

      • Buried by people rabbi not god. and it is an awful statement to suggest otherwise. PEOPLE risked their lives and DIED to topple the third reich and rescue your people. God did nothing. He sat with folded arms. As PEOPLE rescued those prisoners. The fact that you can somehow justify saying that God is responsible is outlandish, unfounded, and a BLATANT lie.

        • This comment by you clearly tells me how irrational and unsupported you are you pompous ASS. To suggest that God can take credit for what my grandfather and millions of other people risked their lives for, especially in such an unexplained biased manner, Is something you as an intelligent thinking human being who may or may not owe those people for your life or the life of loved ones should be inescapably ashamed of. God did NOTHING for the jews in those concentration camps! And you can not give me one OUNCE of real objective proof that he had anything to do with toppling the Nazi Regime in Germany. AND YOU KNOW IT YOU POMPOUS ASS.

      • Thelastcondor

        Rabbi,

        God is alive and well in Israel !!!

        Oh, God has a nationality and lives in Israel? Is god jewish then?

        Israel is a recently formed country and my question therefore is, where was god residing before that formation? Presumably you would accept that he never managed the journey to Auschwitz. Unless of course, 6 million dead Jews was ok with him.

        Jews (whom I quite like).. Have been driven backwards and forwards across the mediteranean and European continent since Roman Times. Your God doesn’t appear to like you very much. Centuries of praying and studying and worshiping and foreskin removing, hasn’t given you any peace in the world.

        I would suggest that there is a very simple and logical reason for this…….. You have backed the wrong horse.

  • Maybe the point ISN’T if god exists, if atheism has validity, or if breathing smoggy air will cause a crisis of faith, thus bringing on another Crusade..

    Maybe…just maybe…the internet is full of silly douchery like Moshe is spewing here, and we should all just smile, pat his head and move on. Continuing to play into him and others claiming to have the ear of god only leads to the dark ages coming back….see the dark on the horizon??

    YOU CAN’T FIX STUPID.

  • Ahahahahahahaha
    this article is wrong

  • My favorite part was where you defined your own set of “Ten Commandments” (actually eight), which are objectively better than the ones that your god himself supposedly gave to mankind.

  • I’m pretty sure it’s priests, not atheists that have a history of molesting children, but nice try.

  • “when jesus speaks, the listener is delusional”

  • Why do you think atheists will agree with you that pedophilia is bad? Is it because you know that we both really derive our morals from a sense of empathy for our fellow human beings, not because some invisible sky wizard told us we have to do what he says? If you ask me, atheist morality is far far superior to religious “morality” because it is not an arbitrary collection of rules handed down from some autocrat (who doesn’t even exist and really just reflects the primitive morality of the Bronze Age nomads who invented him). We atheists recognize that we humans are the only way that justice and fairness can make it into the world, and we do so without reference to superstition, in the genuine interest of making the world a better place, not just so we can selfishly rack up brownie points toward a fun afterlife.

  • So the only thing that keeps Moshe Averick from molesting children is his fear of God’s punishment. Isn’t that interesting.

  • This is some of the most comical rubbish I’ve ever read in my life. If it’s pedophilia and cannibalism you are worried about, you should turn your attention from atheists to Catholics. You are aware that according to church doctrine, in the ritual of the sacrament, one is not *symbolically* eating the body and drinking the blood of Jesus Christ, the host is, through magical powers, *literally* transformed into meat and blood, even though it still tastes like wine and a cracker. Add to that the rampant problem of priests molesting their choir boys and the systematic institutional covering up of these abuses, and you have a vastly more likely offender that we atheists.

  • “It would be absurd then for the atheist to suggest that any particular individual or society has the authority to dictate to all human beings what their values should or should not be…”

    You you suggesting that this is a flawed view? The only alternatives I see are fascism and old-style feudalism, when a feudal lord was able to dictate not just law, but morality. It was a theist, John Locke, using a theistic, scriptural argument that put this to bed in his letter concerning toleration.

    You seem to be suggesting that the theistic perspective is that it is NOT patently absurd for one individual to dictate to the entire human race what its values should be. I find this surprising, surprisingly so, and quite disturbing.

    • Noah,

      I am not suggesting that one individual should dicatate moral values, I am suggesting that only God can reveal absolute moral values.

      • How about some reliable and testable evidence that a god exists first before we start listening to the people who claim to speak for it.

        It’s very simple. What’s more probable, that a god exists and chose certain individuals to spread his absolute moral values? Or that people made the god up and the moral values along with it? We can easily demonstrate the latter since people actually exist and are prone to make things up. I think it’s time we gave up basing morality on old fantasy books.

  • I have no interest in arguing with you, “rabbi”–a misnomer if there ever was one. I’ve commented on your idiotic rants before and you have not changed at all. You’re a dishonest purveyer of an insane religion. You misrepresent facts, you twist facts, you ignore facts, and you make up whatever suits your obscene theology. In other words, you’re an ignorant liar. Not worth anyone’s time.

  • Rabbi;

    I think the issue you’re having is that while addressing one very specific statement by one particular atheist, you then make a ‘plea’ to all atheists with the assertion that, with atheism, ‘Pedophelia is next on the slippery slope.’ This may be why you’re experiencing pushback while attempting to get people to go back to what’s being said by the researchers. Moreover, you have (possibly inadvertently) misrepresented the work.

    Let’s go back and look at what he actually said:
    ““Even though words like “sinful” and “evil” come naturally to the tongue as say a description of child molesting. They do not describe any actual properties of anything. There are no literal sins in the world because there is no literal God…nothing is literally right or wrong because there is no Morality…yet we human beings can still discover plenty of completely naturally explainable resources for motivating certain preferences. Thus enough of us are sufficiently averse to the molestation of children and would likely continue to be…”

    Let us be very clear: This is NOT an endorsement of child molestation. In this context, it is being used as an example of a moral judgement. Moreover, the writer is more concerned with the words ‘sin’ and ‘evil,’ explaining that because there is no god, the words themselves are semantically null, and therefore inappropriate to apply as descriptors to any act. The researcher is positing that even without religion, there are natural, reasonable explanations for finding the act of child molestation repugnant. He then goes on to assert moral relativism, something that is currently recognized as factual even if it is not accepted by everyone.

    There are several different ideas being argued here. Perhaps addressing each separately would best accomplish the message you’re trying to convey.

    • Deborah C,

      It would not bother me if I was getting “pushback”; that I expect. What most of the commenters do is simply react hysterically instead of actually addressing the points as you do.

      Joel Marks obviously does not endorse or advocate child molestation. The article was not called “A Plea to Atheists: Stop Joel Marks from Molesting Children”, it is about the slippery slope that has opened up as a logical outcome of the inescapable amorality of an atheistic world view. Despite that fact that I stated in the very first paragraph that “amorality” does not mean that atheists don’t have values, many of the commenters have said that I accuse all atheists of being child molesters, etc.

      What Joel Marks has essentially stated is the following: there are no such thing as objectively moral or immoral acts, nothing is actually right or wrong, it is all a matter of PERSONAL PREFERENCE. Joel Marks’ personal preference is that he dislikes (probably intensely) pedophelia. The problem is that there are many people who have no problem at all with pedophelia and from an atheistic point of view there is no moral potency at all to stand in its way. it is an argument about personal preference. It’s hard to get very passionate about personal preference.

      • It is difficult to not react harshly when so much is being overlooked. However, for the sake of brevity I will leave it at this: Objective morality is something which is never a good thing. Regardless of value judgements and the like, morality is determined by human beings. Hence, why it is has changed over time and become more morally just. Your argument fails for a very simple reason. The God of Abraham advocates slavery, rape, murder, genocide, and many other completely immoral and horrid acts. I know you have heard all this before, but you seem to so easily overlook it. How can you rationalize all your points about being created in the image of God, when your God is totally immoral? Even if you turned out to be right, which you are not, then slavery is okay because God says it is?

      • And yet, some people HAVE addressed your points. I’ve noticed that those who do so don’t get a reply from you.

        Just let them slide off the page. Ignore them, and talk about how no one has addressed your points.

  • This is what I like to call a “Wouldn’t that suck” argument. Let’s say, hypothetically, that I accept that pedophilia can’t be immoral if Atheism is correct. Wouldn’t it suck if pedophilia was okay? Yes. Yes it would.

    By the same token, wouldn’t it suck if cancer were real? Yes. It DOES suck that cancer is real. That doesn’t mean that the most sensible thing to do is to DISBELIEVE cancer. Disbelieving cancer isn’t going to make it so cancer isn’t real. If Atheism implies no objective morality, then there is no objective morality, and if we want there to be morality, then we all have to figure out how to deal with that lack of an objective source of morality as best we can. If Theism is true, we’re all in the same boat. If Theism is wrong, we’re still all in the same boat. What matters isn’t what we WISH were true, what matters is what IS true.

    If there is no god, nothing is gained by pretending that there is one. The important question is the question of whether or not god is real. If god isn’t real, then it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not, he’s still not real, and whatever the consequences for moral thought are, they are still real as well. It makes no sense to argue that Theism is correct because it would suck if it weren’t correct. It’s either right or wrong, and regardless of which it is, we are all better off knowing the truth than pretending that a lie is true.

    It makes no sense to believe that cancer doesn’t exist because cancer sucks. And it makes no sense to believe that objective morality exists if it doesn’t exist. It is better to live in reality–to believe an uncomfortable truth than a comfortable lie, no matter how much we may wish the lie were true.

    • You’re the only person I’ve seen to correctly call out the rabbi’s useless article. Strange how there has been no response to you, yet Moshe found the time to respond to tons of other easy targets who actually did miss the real weakness in this argument. It’s just a giant argument from consequences (and a slippery slope).

      If you believe Sir Isaac Newton, then people who fall from tall places will die! If you believe that people fly, then nobody will have to fall to their death ever again! You obviously should believe the latter cuz then people will be happier and stuff.

      • He does seem to have ignored me, doesn’t he? Suppose I should’ve expected nothing less.

        I also find it rather silly that people go off on this “Atheists have no basis for morality” rant for another reason: I actually don’t think that the religious really have any more legs to stand on than we do. Essentially, the objection religious people make is that all Atheists have is subjective preference, which is objectively meaningless. In running with that idea:

        Say there was a person who preferred a world without morality. In what way could a religious person argue that that person was objectively wrong? In what way could a religious person argue any better than an Atheist that a world in which morals exist is objectively better?

        The desire to live in a moral world is a subjective preference, just as the desire to live in an amoral world would be. Therefore, even if the religious supposedly have an objective source of morality, they don’t have any objective reason to say people should follow that morality. If the preference for living in a world with morals vs a world without morals is inherently subjective, then a Theist has no more basis for saying that we should abide by moral laws than an Atheist has for making their own moral choices.

    • “If there is no god, nothing is gained by pretending that there is one. The important question is the question of whether or not god is real. ”

      It’s not about god(s) or morality, it’s about power.

      People who believe in a god obey its orders. Therefore they obey religious leaders, who are the only ones able to interpret these orders. And since they come from God, they don’t need to bother with explanations.

      People who don’t believe in a god are more difficult to lead, because they want explanations. “Because God said so” is not an acceptable answer.

      Everything must be explained, and in the end everybody benefits, because the need for explanation lead to new discoveries, who breed new questions, and so on and so forth.

      … and systematic questioning isn’t on any god’s agenda;)

  • Peter Singer is an atheist. Peter Singer believes in immoral acts. Therefore atheism is bad.

    This is a very poor argument Mr. Averick.

    I could just as easily say that Minister Paul Jennings Hill is a Christian. Minister Hill murdered an abortion provider. Therefore Christians advocate murder.

    Does Mr. Hill represent all Christians? Of course not. And neither does Peter Singer or any other person that Mr. Averick provides as an authority represent all Atheists.

    Peter Singer is simply wrong. It is immoral to have sex with animals because they are unable to provide informed consent.

    The same could be said for children. They too are unable to provide informed consent to sex.

    Atheism doesn’t “imply” anything. It is simple a statement that a person doesn’t believe in a God. Either that person lacks a belief (due to the overwhelmingly abundant LACK of evidence) or he holds a disbelief (usually due to the impossibility of any religion defining what they mean when they say, “God”.)

    Mr. Averick is also being dishonest here, in suggesting that his morality is supported by God. In actuality he bases his morality upon religious texts that he (and others) have interpreted to mean what they want them to mean.

    In the past, religious people have used their religious texts to support slavery, to deny women the right to vote, to argue against the mixing of races by marriage.

    These positions are all immoral.

    Yet religious people have changed, and have reinterpreted their holy texts to accommodate these ethical positions. Their “morality built on a foundation of God” has slipped over time, due to interpretation.

    There are, of course, those minority people who still take a literalistic view of religion and base their morality upon it. “Stormfront” and the KKK are excellent examples of these very religious people.

    Is Mr. Averick ethical because he follows what God has said?

    Is something moral merely because God says it is moral? If so, then morals are arbitrary.

    Is something moral because it is intrinsically moral? If so then morals are fundamental, and not discovered through God. God is unnecessary.

    In reality, morals and ethics have evolved. We see their evidence in non-human animals. Mammals that are more socially complex demonstrate better ethics than those that are less socially complex.

    But Mr. Averick doesn’t seem to believe in evolution either. Not surprising.

  • You state that “In an article entitled “Heavy Petting,” [Peter] Singer likewise gave his stamp of approval to bestiality.” I noticed that you did not supply a link to the article, so I Googled it (http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/2001—-.htm) and read it in it’s entirety. I see no indication that Mr. Singer either approves of OR condemns bestiality here. He relates historic references of bestiality and/or suspected bestiality, he cites research results(Kinsey), and he relays anecdotal accounts of sexual activity between humans and non humans. His article is informative and objective and reads more like a news story than an endorsement. Your implication otherwise calls your own objectivity into question as far as I’m concerned.

    I am not an expert on Singer or his work so I do not know how accurately you assess his comments on consequentialism, but I completely reject your assertion that liking or disliking the consequences determines ethical from non-ethical. An act that consequently harms or damages another creature or the resources required to sustain life is unethical and has nothing to do with one’s preferred outcome. Awareness and empathy toward the suffering of another are the determining factors, not preference.

    • Moshe Averick

      Wanda,

      Peter Singer is a philospher of “Ethics”. The nonchalance with which he discusses the subject makes it implicitly clear where he stands. Perhaps, I will clarify things a bit; I did not mean to say that Singer ADVOCATES bestiality but he certainly approves of it.

      “An act that consequently damages or harms another creature” – this sounds good at a superficial level, however, the crippling philosophical flaw is that determining damage or harm to a creature is a subjective judgment – To 150,000,000 Spaniards and Mexicans bullfighting is a wonderful, exciting sport and perfectly acceptable.

      As I wrote in my post above, where I put in the entire text of the original draft, roasting human beings for lunch was not considered harming another creature or immoral in the Fiji Islands. It stopped because of Christian/Western influence.

      In other words, Wanda, you will determine what is consider “harming another creature” based on your personal preference. What else is there?

      • Rabbi you keep bringing up cannibalism as if it helps your argument. Cannibalism was done for the simple fact that they thought they were receiving or doing something for the eaten by eating the body. something that can be chalked up to religion. These societies never got very far until a society that had realized that there is nothing to get from eating the human body came along and explained the mistake. I again put to you what you have not answered bellow. Rape is sanctioned by your holy book and yet we, as a society, have deemed it wrong because there is no consent from the raped. So you can easily rape someone by saying it’s sanctioned and therefore by being the infallible word of god, moral. I as an atheist can not say this and can not do it. We have arrived at morality by constantly discussing and discovering what helps our society and what hurts our society. It’s really quite simple and I don’t know why you refuse to badger me but not answer to any of my statements.

        • Moshe Averick

          Schnig,

          The point is that if you grow up with cannibalism it will seem perfectly normal to you. Those who object will seem like the strange ones. If there are no absolute moral values, in fact there is nothing wrong with it.

          If you grew up in Rome you would think it was perfectly normal to watch people kill each other for entertainment.You have inculcated basic Judeo/Christian values as the basis for our moral outlook. You consider human beings to be inherently important. That is a direct consequence of the Biblical statement that man is created in image of God and adapted into the Dec.of Ind. as “all men have been endowed by their creator with unalienable rights.” This is not a Greek, Roman, or Babylonian idea. An atheistic world outlook sees a human being as the unintended, purposeless outcome of a blind and directionless evolutionary process. From that perspective a human being is as significant or as insignificant as you want him to be.

          Objectively however, a human has no intrinsic value from that view of reality. AGain, Sigmund Freud: “the moment a man contemplates the meaning and value of life he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence.”

          This is not his personal feeling, it is the simple truth as an atheist that he is stating. If you want to assign value to a human being, by all means, but it has no significance outside of your own head.

          The Torah obviously does not sanction rape although I can understand how from a superficial reading of an English translation of a Latin translation of a Greek translation of a Hebrew Five Books of Moses, you might get that distorted impression. One of the things I explain in the book is that it is impossible to understand Judaism from reading the translation of the five books of Moses.
          But in the meantime, until you actually do some serious study to understand Judaism, feel free to reject orthodox Judaism, and let’s agree on the principles that I mentioned in the article, and we will go forward from there.

          • There’s nothing superficial in the reading on the sanctioning of rape or slavery rabbi. not to mention the moral obligation kill anyone who works on the sabbath PLEASE do not insult my intelligence or yours by saying such things. Freud’s quote that you seem to love stating adds absolutely nothing to your argument he’s saying nothing of morals. I agree with freud, a persons meaning is only subjectively assigned by themselves, but, rabbi, we’re not discussing meaning so stop quoting it to simply invoke Freud’s name. And I understood your trivial point with your idiotic cannibalism anecdote it seems more that you obviously did not understand mine. I agree that children growing up in that culture will of course not see a problem because, AS I SAID, they believe through most likely religious convictions that there is a logical reason such as healing properties of eating the human flesh. When western society comes along and explains that there is no logical reason for thinking that eating the flesh gives any sort of healing benefit that belief along with the morals that it buttresses are abandoned. It is through advancements in society, through advancements in reason, logic, and science that we are able to have social discussions about what is moral. We don’t need some imaginary friend to police us an tell us. I mean do you honestly believe that until the almighty sent down his commandments to moses they were killing each other left and right. Thats absolutely absurd they wouldn’t have made it to the mountain if that were the case. and If you say morals are innate (just incase) then again I tell you that claim is completely unfalsifiable because we can’t take the morals away. And finally I’d like to comment on your quote from the wise man about the holocaust. It is completely the opposite sir. How could you possibly believe in a god who sat with folded arms while “his” people suffered OVER men and women around the world, Humans, mankind, who risked THEIR lives to set your people free. Reading that from you, a fucking RABBI, is probably the most insulting thing you could ever have said.

      • *Why you Badger me about definitions that I have hopefully explained to you by now but refuse answering to any of my statements.

      • I still see no indication in the article that Singer voices either approval or disapproval. He clearly expresses an understanding of the point of view expressed by the humans and non humans in his stories, but nowhere does he take a stance for or against. And I suspect this is what bothers you; since he doesn’t make an outright condemnation you deem that as approval.

        I agree that, at any given point in time, there may be some question as to what constitutes harm. There always will be in the natural world where we are continually making new discoveries and learning how relationships between life forms and systems affect each other. Culture evolves, just as life forms do. And apparently so do the rules of morality that you attribute to a god, which makes them no more objective than my philosophy.

        • Wanda,

          We can agree to disagree about Singer’s stance on bestiality. I think it is clear he has no problem at all if the farmer who owns the ram that he is pictured with had a “loving” relationship with that animal.

          The rules of morality that I listed, do not change at all, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not sure where you got that idea. Thou shalt not murder is eternal and immutable, whether in relation to a down’s syndrom infant or any other human, including unborn children.

      • Rabbi-

        Certainly you’re not saying you base what’s right on the Torah. How many of the 613 Mitzvot do you obey? I’m sure you’ve overseen the stoning of those caught working on the sabbath as commanded in the law and demonstrated succinctly in Numbers, correct?

        Oh wait, you pick and choose based on what you know to be right and wrong. You certainly don’t get wrong and right from the ramblings of bronze age shepherds and their make-believe friend, do you? That would be silly, wouldn’t it?

        Chris

        • Chris,

          Your question about stoning for Sabbath violations is a valid one. Suffice it to say the following: There are capital crimes in the Torah just like any other legal system,
          It is almost impossible to actually apply the death penalty under Jewish law, it was abolished by the Sages close to two thousand years ago, and “stoning to death” is nothing at all like you think and does not even remotely resemble what goes on in the Moslem world today.

          • Aladdin Connolly

            @ Moshe again and again you claim to derive morals from “Gods commands” And repeatedly refer to the abolishment of the practices God commanded by “sages”. Should we obey “God”. Or become enlightened and abolish his barbaric commands?

      • Chris Hollier

        Moshe Averick,

        “Peter Singer is a philospher of “Ethics”. The nonchalance with which he discusses the subject makes it implicitly clear where he stands.”

        No it doesn’t, that’s simply what you want him to imply because it makes it easier to argue against. Neither in that paper, or the video you provided a link for, do we see Peter Singer voicing his support for bestiality.

        Talking about something in a nonchalance manner doesn’t imply support, it implies open mindedness. Open mindedness doesn’t imply support, it merely suggests that someone is willing to talk about an idea in an unbias manner.

        You are grasping at straws here, the straws from a strawman that you and so many other theists have created.

        • Chris,

          “That may be because Galdikas understands very well that we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes. This does not make sex across the species barrier normal, or natural, whatever those much-misused words may mean, but it does imply that it ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.”

          For Singer, it is clear that sex with animals, as long as it does not involve cruelty, is ho-hum. I never claimed he ADVOCATED bestaility but he clearly approves, even if tacitly.

          I think it would be a mistake to understand Singer otherwise, although I do see how someone could interpret his stance on the subject as being neutral.

          ——————————————————————————–

          • Chris Hollier

            Moshe Averick,

            It’s not “ho-hum”, its an interesting topic. If there is no suffering involved, then why is it wrong?

            Claiming that “It just is!” isn’t an explaniation at all. Perhaps you’re so uncomfortable with Peter’s questions because you see how loosely grounded your objective morality is.

            While Peter is honestly thinking about a wide spectrum of topics and whether or not they are right or wrong, you’ve simply turned off your brain and accepted the dogma that your religion teaches you – hook, line, and sinker.

  • Slippery slope arguments are ridiculous. If he’s worried about sex abusers and pedophiles, he should look at those nice religious folks in jail. I don’t know if this is an accurate statistic, but purportedly 98% of prisoners are purportedly religious. Hmmmm….

    • Moshe Averick

      Dave,

      If slippery slope arguments are ridiculous, I dare you to spend your golden years in Holland, where you run the real risk of being killed by a doctor against your will because they need the hospital bed.

      • Mr. Averick, why are you lying about euthanasia in the Netherlands? Euthanasia there is very strictly regulated, and is not performed against a person’s will.

        If you want us to take you seriously, you should stick to the truth.

        • Moshe Averick

          Calladus,

          First of all euthenasia is murder, secondly in some theoretical sense perhaps it is regulated but practically speaking it is the perfect illustration of the slippery slope.
          I don’t have time but I will post some more information on this later if it will help.

          • I’m not the one who needs help with this Mr. Averick.

            Agreed, euthenasia is murder.

            Fortunately, this is not what is practiced in the Netherlands. What is practiced is assisted suicide. I would assume that you know the difference? If so, I would assume that you are intentionally lying to confuse the two.

            Practically, a “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy – and by relying on slippery slopes to prop up your arguments you demonstrate poor reasoning skills.

      • “I dare you to spend your golden years in Holland, where you run the real risk of being killed by a doctor against your will because they need the hospital bed.”

        You have completely lost any respect I may have had for you with that ridiculous assertion.

  • Moshe’s obviously got way too much time on his hands. Such silliness I’ve rarely encountered in my 61 years.

    • Moshe Averick

      Aunt Bee,

      How are Andy and Opie? Perhaps you are able to carry on a coherent conversation with them.

  • Chris Hollier

    Moshe Averick,

    Instead of cherry picking one or two atheists that happen to have an line of thought with regards to morality that’s particularly easy for you to attack, why don’t you actually try to address the ones who do not view morality that way? It seems that you ignore the vast majority, instead focusing on a few people who are relatively easy targets…

    Aapparently you don’t feel that you don’t have a strong enough case to make and have resorted to strawmanning your targets. Peter Singer’s “consequentialist” isn’t “If you like the consequences it’s ethical, if you don’t like the consequences it’s unethical.”. It dealt with the question of “was there any suffering inflicted by this particular action?”. It had nothing to do with personal taste, as you pretended it did.

    And with regards to morality, Rabbi, I personally don’t give much weight to what you have to say on this issue. I guess you’ve glossed over how young girls were when they were seen as being able to have, and consent, sex in Hebrew culture. Or worse, the genocide your God either carried out or commanded, which included the senseless killing of children, on a regular basis. Or the slavery, or the stoning for petty crimes, or any of the other horrible actions in your holy book.

    You want to pretend that there is a danger in ideologies here? I’ll take the sexual activities that do not harm or cause suffering (whatever that may turn out to include) over the mass, senseles, killing of innocent children any day of the week.

    • Moshe Averick

      Chris,

      I did not cherry pick one or two atheist thinkers. The amorality of an atheistic worldview is the simple obvious truth that is acknowledged by these thinkers.
      Sigmund Freud wrote “When a man contemplates the meaning and value of life he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence.” The amorality of an atheistic existence is acknowledged by not only Peter Singer and Joel Marks, but by Michael Ruse, Michale Tooley, Bertrand Russell, Jean Paul Sartre, Richard Dawkins, Will Provine, Julian Baggini, et al.

      It is very frustrating to read the comments and to see that over and over again, people are in such a defensive mode that they seem to have missed the entire point of the article. Nowhere did I say that because atheism inescapably implies amorality, this means that atheists will go outside and sexually molest the first child they can get their hands upon.

      When I was in grade school, homosexuality and abortion were viewed with the same disgust as most of the readers of this article view pedophilia. They are both now perfectly acceptable and even considered to be virtuous. What changed? Many will answer that we have progressed past the narrow minded prejudices of the past, but of course that is just begging the question. They are not immoral because society has accepted them and is used to them. When societal mores change, there is always some sort of rationalization that takes place and then people get used to the idea and it becomes acceptable. This is not a MORAL process, it is a socialogical and psychological process.

      I again ask you the simple question: Are there such things as actions which are intrinsically wrong or is it just social conditioning. If the former, then we can declare pedophilia to be immoral and inherently abominable and we can stop it in its tracks, if the latter, it is simply an academic issue: there is realy nothing wrong with it, it is just a question if society will accept it or not.

      • Chris Hollier

        Moshe Averick,

        The question you asked me is a false dilemma, and it is this logical fallacy that you’ve built your argument on. My choices aren’t limited to objective morality or amorality, which is what the question you’ve presented me with asks me to choose between. This error is probably why you claim that since an atheist by definition must reject objective morality that its obvious that they adhere too an amorality worldview. This isn’t true, and you did cherry pick one atheist (Joel Marks) that judging by the one quote you did recall who’s worldview would line up with what you’ve argued in this article.

        But, again, those aren’t the only two options, and selecting the few atheists that do agree doesn’t wash away the false dilemma you’ve created.

        When we are assessing an action the determination of whether or not something is moral or immoral is based on evaluating an action to some standard or value. Positive evaluations of an action are labeled good or moral, negative evaluations of an action are labeled bad or immoral, and neutral evaluations might truely be morally neutral or could be too complex for a clear moral evaluation to be made. The key here is the standard or value by which we assess actions, once we have that we can objectively judge where a action falls (moral, morally neutral, or immoral).

        It doesn’t matter whether the standard in which we use to assess actions is ultimately a subjective opinion or an objective truth. Once you have that standard, the assessment of an action with regards to that standard becomes objective.

        You’re claim is that we cannot have morality without some sort of external authority. Keeping this in mind, any rebuttal you form must stick to this idea. You cannot claim that a moral system that judges actions based on per-set subjective values is inferior to a moral system which is guided by an external source, since doing so admits that a moral system can be created even without an objective moral standard. This admission destroys your original stance.

        I think I’ve clearly showed you how this isn’t a choice between objective morality and amorality. There are other options, and the secular morality that most of the atheists you’ve listed above is what you should be addressing – not some strawman that you’ve created.

  • A little thought experiment.

    Suppose the young Moshe Averick had picked up a defaced copy of the Torah in which someone had added that adults SHOULD have sex with children – and by some amazing coincidence this error in religious teaching had never been corrected (remember, this is just a thought experiment) . . .
    What then ? – and why not ?

    • Mike P,

      You have raised an excellent point.
      The answer is obvious. If young Moshe and Mike P. had grown up in the Fiji Islands two hundred years ago, we would have enjoyed without a second thought a barbecue consisting of cooked human beings. It would never cross our minds that we were doing anything wrong. If we grew up together in ancient Rome we would have tailgate parties outside of the Coliseum where we would then go in and watch people kill each other for entertainment and we would cheer as the Christians and other criminals were rippped apart by hungry animals.

      If we would have grown up in ancient Greece where pederasty was accepted…..well we would have accepted that also. Your thought experiment is the entire point of the article. Are there such things as absolute moral principles or is it just a matter of where you grew up, how you were raised, and what your society is ready to accept? If God exists and has made moral principles part of the fabric of reality, then the answer is the former, in an atheistic world, the answer is obviously the latter.

      • You appear to have missed the point.

        I’m talking about the silliness of being blindly obedient to the rules of some book.

  • Wow, this is one of the most ignorant articles I’ve ever written. You’ve wasted a lot of time being over-wordy (windbag?)

    and the things you’re saying are completely ignorant and based on a fundamental misunderstanding of atheism and people in general.

    I feel bad for you. I actually, truly pity you.

    • i mean read.. not written.. sheesh.

    • Chelsea,

      I appreciate the succinctness of your comments even though you didn’t really add anything to the discussion except to make unsubstantiated proclamations.

      However, that is preferable to a long, over-wordy (windbag?) series of unsubstantiated proclamations.(like many of the other commenters have done)

      I’m still open to hearing a coherent argument explaining your view of things.

  • IN ORDER TO SHORTEN THE ARTICLE I EDITED OUT SOME PASSAGES. JUST FOR THE SAKE OF CLARITY I AM REPRODUCING THE FIRST SEVERAL PARAGRAPHS OF THE ORIGINAL DRAFT. IT MIGHT CLEAR UP CERTAIN MISUNERSTANDINGS THAT WERE RAISED IN SOME OF THE COMMENTS

    “It is axiomatic that in the world of the atheist there is neither morality nor immorality, only amorality. This is often misunderstood to mean that atheists have no values. That conclusion would clearly be erroneous. To associate atheism with amorality is not to say that atheists have no values, they certainly do; amorality is a commentary, not on the existence of values, but on the significance of those values. Since in the atheistic worldview we are nothing more than upright walking primates, our value systems have no more significance than those of our jungle dwelling relatives. In the Darwinian view, the human is to the cockroach as the cockroach is to the paramecium. To imagine that we are something “more” is just that: a product of the human imagination. When a lion pulls down and kills a zebra, the act is neither moral nor immoral. The fact that the zebra, subjectively, does not want to be caught and eaten has no bearing at all on the moral implications of the act. The lion wants – and needs – to eat and the zebra wants to run away. That is simply the way of the world. We are no different. The fact that one human, subjectively, does not wish to be harmed by another does not ipso facto create a magical concept called “morality” which floats mysteriously in the air and binds and directs human actions. To imagine that the various pragmatically driven social contracts that we have devised have true objective existence and significance is also just that: a product of human imagination.

    A wonderfully logical, accurate, and precise distillation of this Darwinian/materialist view of reality was formulated by Jean Paul Sartre, the French existentialist philosopher: “It disturbs me no more to find men base, unjust, or selfish, than to see apes mischievous, wolves savage, or the vulture ravenous.”

    It is absurd for the atheist to suggest that any particular individual or society has the authority to dictate to all human beings what their values should or should not be; it is even more absurd to suggest that the pronouncements of any individual or society obligates others to behave accordingly. For the atheist, morality is simply a word that is used to describe the type of system that an individual or society subjectively prefers. Each society establishes, maintains, and modifies its values to suit its own needs.

    “Morality is the custom of one’s country and the current feeling of one’s peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibalistic country.” (Samuel Butler)

    Although this self-apparent truth is acknowledged by the major atheistic philosophers, many atheists find it disturbingly difficult to accept that the cannibal in the Fiji Islands regarded a feast consisting of roasted human beings with the same nonchalance as does a typical American contemplating his Fourth of July barbecue. Still more disturbing is the observation that there is no objective reason for the cannibal to view his own feast as immoral.

    On the other hand, for the believer values are metaphysically and spiritually existent realities, as real as the laws of chemistry or physics. They emanate from the eternal, transcendent, and absolute existence of God himself. From the viewpoint of the believer, despite the fact that the cannibal is horrifyingly ignorant of the immorality of his lifestyle, the immutable and eternal moral law remains firmly in place. And while it is certainly true that belief in God does not guarantee moral and saintly behavior, it remains the only rational and philosophical basis for moral and saintly behavior. (It also must be pointed out that individuals are perfectly capable of deluding themselves into believing that their particular value system has been revealed to them by God. Although an important issue – and one regularly raised by skeptics – it is not the subject of this article.)

    To reiterate: In an atheistic world, moral values are nothing more than reflections of the subjective preferences of a particular society or individual. Therefore, these values will shift and metamorphose to accommodate changing needs, attitudes, and preferences. In my own lifetime I have witnessed radical societal swings in moral behavior and attitudes regarding marriage and sexuality, homosexuality, the killing of unborn children, euthanasia, and the use of illicit drugs……..”

  • Now let me just see if I’ve got this correct. It seems that the rabbi could just as easily rationalize pedophilia as I could being an atheist (regardless of the fact that he could very easily rationalize is it by saying that rape and sexual abuse are quite blatantly sanctioned in his holy book) The difference being he can rationalize it but doesn’t do it because he’s got his celestial babysitter and I can rationalize it and don’t do it because through empathy, morals, and values I know that it’s wrong. Now please someone correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the fact that I don’t do it to kiss ass to my imaginary master so that I won’t be sent to hell make me….inescapably more moral than the rabbi?

    • Schnig,

      How come you “know its wrong” yet Peter Singer and Joel Marks, two prominent atheistic philosophers don’t know it’s wrong? What is the source for your values, besides your own personal preferences? What would stop you from molesting children if you had the same physical desires as a pedophile?

      Please define “morality.” It would be helpful if you gave a definition. It seems clear to me that in an atheistic world, the definition proposed by Samuel Butler that was quoted in the article, is spot-on.

      • I think I can stomach that definition rabbi. Cannibals don’t really often get very far as far as advancing their society. To me and I’m sure many atheists, morals have evolved sociobiologically starting with simple things that helped a species survive and grow through empathy we realized that what hurt us probably hurt others thus the golden rule was born which I believe most moral code is constructed on. By saying more moral than you I was implying that i’m a better person if that helps. and I don’t KNOW it’s wrong that was irresponsible of me to say I’m simply fairly sure its not too pleasant for that person again through empathy (which they have proven is a chemical process in the brain so don’t go off about empathy) I can infer that it wouldn’t really serve anyones best interest to engage in such behavior. while, again, you say that the only reason you don’t do this is because you’re heavenly babysitter is watching you. that seems completely immoral by the standard i’ve just explained.

      • And you’ve sort of toppled you’re own argument I don’t do it because it’s disgusting. asking what if i had the sexual desires of a pedophile does nothing for you’re argument. It’s obviously not atheism thats allowing him to be a pedophile he’s just that way. it doesn’t matter what dogma or non dogma he prescribes to he’s still going to question why its wrong whether he has a holy book telling him it’s wrong or laws of the majority telling him its wrong. come on rabi

        • Shnig,

          Again, you have avoided confronting the real issue. While I take you at your word that you find peodophilia disgusting, it is for only one of two reasons:
          a. there is nothing inherently wrong with it, but you have been conditioned by your society to feel that way

          b. you believe that there is something inherently and intrinsically wrong with pedophilia which means that without being aware of it you believe there is some higher source for moral values.

          You have conveniently ignored the fact that all major atheistic philosphers (I mentioned specifically Joel Marks and Peter Singer) understand that atheism inescapably implies amorality. It has become glaringly obvious that none of the atheists commenting on this article have the courage or integrity to directly confront what Marks and Singer have to say.

          Without any reasoned argument to back it up, you claim I take them out of context. Joel Marks says he does not believe there is anything that is moral or immoral, INCLUDING CHILD MOLESTING.

          Please explain how I took that out of context.

          • You insist to believe that it’s wrong I must believe in god rabbi as a higher power and that i have not addressed many things in your argument. to suggest that we all have some innate moral compass set there by god is quite convenient for you isn’t it? it is however unfalsifiable because, again, conveniently for you I can’t take this compass away, and therefore a non explanation as far as i, science, and MANY major atheistic philosophers and scientists are concerned (notice i did not make the awful mistake you did of saying ALL major atheistic philosophers because i’m POSITIVE that not ALL of them agree with the line of thought suggested by marks) and if it is inherent in us how do you explain pedophiles? slipped past god in the compass assembly line? to turn your accusation around on you, you’ve answered NONE of my statements regarding what you would do if there was definitively no god to babysit you while i have answered everything you’ve brought to me rabbi. We as a society have conversed, and arrived at the morals that say pedophile is wrong. It is not just seen this way in jewish societies, but in christian, muslim, hindu, buddhist, and so on. If you claim that at least the last three are entirely untrue as your religion suggests that means that they’ve come to these conclusions ON THEIR OWN without your god telling them what to do.

          • I think rape is an excellent easy to understand example of my point. It’s sanctioned by your bible but we as a society have arrived at the conclusion that it is wrong. There is no consent in rape as there is no consent in pedophilia (Because it suggests someone too young to have developed and matured the ability to consent) So you are able to rape the virgins that you capture however I because I and society have arrived at the conclusion that it is wrong.

          • do not. I apologize for not finishing the sentence.

          • I Also hope, rabbi, that it is now GLARINGLY obvious to you that I have both the courage and integrity (not that it takes much) to confront Marks and Singers claims. I understand their ine of thought but do not agree as you can see glaring you in the face above. again, I do hope that’s glaringly obvious now.

          • Or c) that pedophilia harms a child. Because it brings harm to a child one chooses not to, like one chooses not to do many things that negatively affect another. I’m an atheist, but I manage to see it. Why, oh why, dear Rabbi, can’t you?

      • I’ll end with saying this rabbi because to be honest I probably won’t come back to the article. The morality argument has been done, always badly as i think you’ve proved here today once again, and always explainable by atheists. You’ve taken these men out of context as so many theists do. I’m unimpressed, disappointed, and frankly infuriated that you’ve brought this back up AND in a way that says that because I don’t believe in God I can molest a child. If your religion were proved wrong as well as there was proved to be no god tomorrow you wouldn’t go out and molest a child I’d like to give you and your people more credit than that. and to suggest that is the case is insulting to me as an atheist and should be to you as a human being. I expect more rabbi I really do.

      • If anyone would like to follow me I do have a new blog at schnigtheatheist.blogspot.com

      • You keep claiming that Peter Singer and Joel Marks are “two prominent atheistic philosophers” like they’re leaders of the New Atheist movement and represent all atheists. They might be atheistic philosophers, but hardly leaders in the New Ahteist movement – and I doubt you’ll find Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Sam Harris, or any of the other truely prominent Atheists trying condone sexual conduct with animals or children.

  • You don’t understand evolution. You don’t understand social science. You don’t understand human sexuality. And you don’t understand atheism. Thanks for wasting my time.

    • Ryan,

      What about evolution don’t I understand?
      Which part of human sexuality don’t I understand? Are you a “minor-attracted” person? Do you think I am not empathic enough?

      Joel Marks and Peter Singer say quite openly that atheism implies amorality. Do you think they understand atheism?

      • Nice. Someone disagrees with your article and ask them if they’re a pedophile? So much for reasoned debate.

        • rich,

          Nice. Ryan did not disagree with my article. To disagree would imply he had found the flaws in my argument and presented his counter arguments. Ryan simply made proclamations. My tongue in cheek remark was to point out to him that most likely he has no coherent arguments to present, so instead he makes childish declarations.

          In other words, what Ryan had to say was as far from reasoned debate as Joel Marks is far from believing in morality.

    • Ryan you’ve missed the point. This debate has nothing to do with knowledge or reasoned debate, and all to do with slandering a growing minority. It’s born out of fear and hatred.

      • Matthew,

        Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is Matthew? I took the trouble to construct a series of arguments to make my point. My contention is that atheism inescapably implies amorality which means that there is nothing that cannot be accepted and rationalized. I cited two highly accomplished and prominent atheistic philosophers whose writings support my position. Show me where I went wrong. If you are able to take up the challenge then you truly are interested in knowledge and reasoned debate, if not, you are clearly the one who is running scared, not me.

  • You’d think someone making his profession in the world of theology would actually know a little bit about his competition… but here we have another theist who completely does not understand secularism.

    What’s more disturbing is that he doesn’t seem to understand morality. And for someone who is in a position to be a role model and moral guide to thousands and thousands of people, that is disturbing beyond belief.

    Before Rabbi Averick wastes any more of his time writing nonsensical drivel that consists of inventing some phantom atheist persona and then attacking it with his own rationalizations, I suggest he do a little bit of studying — perhaps talking to *actual* atheists or reading books by secular thinkers instead of just imagining them to be some kind of bogeymen with no morals.

    • Matthew,

      Like most of the commenters you address none of the points I made, just react with hysterical accusations.

      Joel Marks, Peter Singer, Michael Ruse, Jean Paul Sartre, Sigmund Freud, Will Provine, who all agree on the amorality of atheism are not “phantom atheist persona”

      In fact, Matthew, you are the one who does not understand atheism, secularism, or morality.

      • Matthew is quite right though. The main problem with this whole peice is that you stereotyped all atheists – made them fit into your definition. And to classify his response as a “hysterical accusation” is rather over-dramatic and makes you look like a “hysterical” loon.

        If atheistic societies can rationalize anything, why is it societies where half the population identifies as secular have less violence, drugs, and divorce?

        If you look at any non-biased research, most sexual preditors are male, straight, and religious. Atheists don’t need a diety to tell them that harming a child is wrong. I can’t lump all atheists together, but since science says the brain isn’t fully matured until the late teen years, minors don’t have the mental capacity to make full consent. It’s atheistic rationals that even define what a minor is. If we left it up to the religious nuts, people would still be marrying 12 year old virgins.

        • Nicole,

          If you’ll read the article carefully, you will see that I did not stereotype atheists at all. In fact I was not talking about the behvior of atheists per se. I was talking about the implications of an atheistic worldview.

          I have yet to see one commenter directly address what Peter Singer or Joel Marks had to say. I repeat: Peter Singer, who ostensibly has a very clear understanding of the implications of an atheistic world view, has stated explicitly that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with pedophilia, Joel Marks has stated the same thing. Do you agree with them or not? If not, why?

  • Dennis Sadler

    A 2008 report from the US Commission on Human Rights entitled “Enforcing Religious Freedom in Prison” quotes a study by the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life. The study found that there were roughly 19 Christians for every atheist/agnostic in US society overall. In the US prison system, that number rockets to 660 (!) Christians per atheist/agnostic.

    Talk all you want about the moral bankruptcy of atheism. The numbers don’t support you.

    http://www.usccr.gov/

    • Dennis,

      I have not seen the report, and I have no idea how they are defining Christian. Before I could address your point I would have to investigate that information. There also might be many other factors that play a role in the statistic; I simply don’t have enough information to properly deal with it.

      However, in a certain sense it is beside the point. You did not address anything that I wrote in the article. For example: Euthenasia in Holland is murder as far as I’m concerned, but it is perfectly legal and no one goes to prison for it. That is the main thrust of my article. When the entire source for human values is human feeling and imagination, they can morph into anything at all. It just takes time for people to accept them. Sometimes it happens more quickly and sometimes it happens more slowly.

      • Except the euthanasia is consensual. It’s assisted suicide. They aren’t killing random people with it or anything. Here we go again with the willful ignorance…

  • To summarize this article: God is the only thing keeping Mr. Averick from screwing young boys?

    • Brian Westley

      Probably a good thing; his god certainly doesn’t keep him from defaming millions of people. I guess Motzi shem ra means nothing to him if it allows him to sell books by whipping up fear of the “other” on lies.

      • Brian,

        Who did I defame? Peter Singer and Joel Marks?
        Their ideas speak for themselves. It would be nice if one of you actually addressed the issues raised in the article instead of just making hysterical accusations (which I stated in the article is a typical atheistic reaction)

        • Well you sort of implied that gay rights is on a continuum leading toward pedophilia, I would call that insulting to millions of gay people and their families.

          • I believe the word I am looking for is “bigot”, actually.

          • Ryan,

            Do you agree with Peter Singer when he says that he has “no intrinsic moral taboos?” Do you agree with Joel Marks when he says that as an atheist he must embrace amorality and that there is nothing immoral about child molestation it is just not his “preference”? Could you please attempt to address the issues that were raised?

        • Brian Westley

          “Who did I defame?”

          Me, you lying prick.

    • Dkeane,

      You missed the point entirely. When I have a powerful desire to do something I know is wrong, my relationship with God is a very important factor that helps me stay on the right path.

      The reason why most people do not molest children is that they have no desire to molest children. If Peter Singer or Joel Marks had the physical desires of a pedophile, what would stop them? They don’t believe there is such a thing as morality or intrinsically wrong deeds. The only thing that would stop them is the fear of being caught.

      • I see, so if you have the desire to fondle children, the only thing that can keep you on the straight and narrow is a relationship with god. And that is why all the recent stories of child molestation have been associated with secular humanist organizations? As I stated in another post, please show me the data that says atheists are more likely to be pedophiles.

  • I don’t understand. Nowhere in the article do you give any argument that this “god” concept of yours is not only true but even relevant or meaningful. You just say rude things about people whose only “sin” is to have a brain so structured as not to accept the relevance of your “god” concept. Just saying “believe or society will collapse” is not an effective argument for the truth of

    • Barlingwood,

      Your observation is a valid one. The original article was longer and more comprehensive, perhaps I made a mistake by cutting it down too much. Tommorow I will post a longer response to the points you raised.

    • Barlingwood,

      Please see above where I posted some missing sections of the article. After you read them, perhaps we could continue our discussion.

      • Actually no, the missing sections you posted didn’t address those things at all. Furthermore, your claim that IF two Atheists believe in amorality THEN all atheists must be amoral is a fundamental failure in reasoning. It’s no different from saying “IF an Orthodox Jew raped and killed a little boy THEN all Orthodox Jews would rape and kill little boys if they had no fear of being caught at it.” I don’t expect you to agree because you appear to be incapable of rational thought when it comes to atheists and morality. IF that’s true THEN you must be incapable of any rational thought whatsoever. In which case all rabbis are incapable of any rational thought. It is irrational to eat a baby; rabbis are incapable of rational thought, therefore no baby is safe with a rabbi.

        No wonder you spout utter nonsense: it’s so much fun!

  • Catholic sex abuse cases
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases

    Baptist Scandals
    http://www.stopbaptistpredators.org/scandals.html

    Mormon Sex Abuse
    http://mormonmatters.org/2009/09/23/the-growing-mormon-sex-abuse-scandal/

    List of Christian Evangelist Scandals
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_evangelist_scandals

    Methodist Abuse
    http://www.reformation.com/CSA/methodistabuse.html

    Vienna Presbyterian Church seeks forgiveness, redemption in wake of abuse scandal
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/26/911-new-atheist_n_938356.html

    Sexual abuse in the church: not just a “Catholic problem”
    http://www.thinkchristian.net/index.php/2008/04/17/sex-abuse-in-the-church-not-just-a-catholic-problem/

    To name a few. Do you really want to start this argument? Sigmund Freud, who was no fan of religion, realized long ago that our morality is not divine.

    Our built in morality is not divinely inspired because there is no god.

    • epic win.

    • Scott M,

      You havent added anything to the discussion. From the atheist point of view, What is wrong with child molestation other than it might not be to your taste?

      If a believing Christian molests a child it is DESPITE everything he believes, if an atheist does the same…it is perfectly consistent with the amoral outlook of an atheistic world. Like most of the commenters you have totally ignored the points I made in the article.

      • The view from this Atheist is “I wouldn’t like to be raped, therefor I won’t do it to someone else.” As a society we function on the principals that if we try not to do to other people what we don’t like done to us, we’ll all be generally happier and live longer. Since the Old Testiment god seems to be fine with rape as long as you pay 50 shekels for it, I prefer morality based on empathy and reason than misogynistic dieties.

        • EnoNomi,

          Please see my post above about your misconception about rape in the Torah.
          Please don’t be ridiculous, rape is a horrible crime in the Torah system. The Sanhedrin had the power to do anything necessary to protect society from a brutal or serial rapist including putting him to death.

          To think that the fact that the Torah also makes him pay a fine to the father means that it is inconsequential is only because of your lack of any serious understanding of the Torah system.

          You are mistaken about your encapsulation of the atheist view of morality. All you have stated is your own personal view of things.
          Perhaps your nature is that you won’t do things that you don’t like done to you. do you ever gossip? AS I wrote to someone else,
          the nature of the lion is to kill Zebras for supper, the nature of the cow is to eat and eat and do not much else, the nature of the beagle is to wag its tail and be friendly. We are animals, Nomi, we act as our nature dictates. There is no right and wrong nature. There is only what is to your taste and what is not to your taste. That is unless we are actually qualitatively different than animals. Unless we have a Godly soul.

          • “AS I wrote to someone else,
            the nature of the lion is to kill Zebras for supper, the nature of the cow is to eat and eat and do not much else, the nature of the beagle is to wag its tail and be friendly. We are animals, Nomi, we act as our nature dictates. There is no right and wrong nature”

            There is only nature. Glad you realize that

            Looking at the zebra–when a heard is being stalked by one lion, does the herd turn around and attack and kill that lion? Nope, even though, by rights, they are physically able with numbers.

            Why don’t they? ‘Cause nature.

            What you’re fishing for is an ‘a-ha’ moment–”See, since atheists say there’s no moral absolutes, then yea for pedophilia!! Bad Athiests!! No athiest can dispute my incontravertible logic!!”

            Yey consistently through this entire comment section, we read about ethics and the ‘evolution’ of societal morals.

            Athiests seem to have a better grasp of what’s intrinsically better for society. Probably because they’re not burdened with rationalizing what’s going on today with some 5000+ year old text for a society that no longer exists.

            More importantly, however, is that it’s been stated here and elsewhere, pedophilia is pathological. This is not a moral issue, it’s a medical issue. Someone who wants to harm children, or any other member of society, needs to be addressed.

            As an aside, what’s better? Someone who does the right thing because they know it’s the right thing to do, or someone that does the right thing because someone else told them that it’s the right thing to do?

            I know where my answer lies, how ’bout you? We can get into the debate about how we know what the right thing to do is, but I’ll win that one as well if anyone brings religion in on their side.

  • Mr. Averick – you noted several changes in societal values during your lifetime. And yet, atheism has had little or no political power or societal influence during that time, so how does this relate to atheism? For that matter, societal changes have occurred long before your lifetime, when atheism was even less acceptable than it is now – note that changes in attitudes regarding slavery, or forced religious conversions, for example. It seems somewhat disingenuous for you to suggest that the amorality of atheism is at fault for shifting ethics when religion experiences exactly the same effect.

  • Brian Westley

    Mr. Averick, you’re immoral because you argue using dishonest methods (strawman attacks are dishonest representations of your opponent’s position).

    • Brian,

      Do you think such prominent atheist thinkers such as Peter Singer and Joel Marks are strawmen? I could have cited many others (which I do in my book), but they represent the ideas of the major atheistic philosophers. Perhaps you just have not yet come to grips with the implications of atheistic philosophy.

      • Brian Westley

        “Do you think such prominent atheist thinkers such as Peter Singer and Joel Marks are strawmen?”

        You really are dishonest. You know perfectly well that a strawman attack means you are MISREPRESENTING their views.

        “Perhaps you just have not yet come to grips with the implications of atheistic philosophy.”

        You simply lie about atheists. I notice you haven’t come to grips with the implications of Judaism as painted in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” either.

  • Another thought – atheism has been around along time, you think there would be a correlation between atheists and child rapists by now. An alternate theory would be that since we eat babies, they never get old enough for us to have sex with.

  • Kerie Campbell

    What a crock. Atheists don’t believe in “morality” which stems from religion. We have ethics. Which are much better things. This whole article is a slander of the worst kind and the rabbi’s ignorance and hatred defies imagination.

    The conclusion I have come to for the reason that theists hate atheists so much is that they fear us. We are the next step in human evolution – the evolution of the mind. The theists represent the last of the old mental order, that had its uses in the unscientific and technologically primitive desert of the fabled ancient founders of the Jewish faith. We have better ways of viewing the world now. Ways that allow us to use our minds the way they evolved to be — rational, logical beings that don’t believe in things that go bump in the night, Superman, Santa Claus, or any flavor of the sky fairy known as god that one might believe in.

    Your way is the old way, theists. You know it, you hate it, you fear it. So you hate us and make the most vile pronouncements about us that incite hatred and violence towards us from so called “peaceful” religious folk.

    You are a sham, Sir. And I find you vile and reprehensible for saying these things. You clearly know nothing of what you speak and spin lies to cause pain and grief in the lives of people who have done nothing to you and care nothing for you.

    If you theists would quit this kind of thing, atheists wouldn’t be so quick to tell you how full of utter dreck you all are. But you spread this kind of thing as if it is truth when the truth is you sound like Adolf Hitler condemning your own people with slander and lies of just this kind.

    Shame on you. Man of god, indeed. Either there is no god or it is a murderous, evil, lying, horrible creature and does not deserve worship.

    • Kerie,

      If I can engage your “evolved rational mind” for a moment…Do you believe in the amoral “ethics” of Peter Singer and Joel Marks? Peter Singer says that he has no intrinsic moral taboos. In the same interview in response to the question about Pedophelia he says that “nothing is just wrong.” Joel Marks states explicitly that child molestation is not immoral. Do you agree with them or not? I know it is more difficult to actually address issues than go off on a hysterical rant, but could you please try?

  • funny, you listed only 8 “truths”..only 3 of which are listed in your torah..where did the other 5 come from?…secular morality, that’s where.
    I’m an athiest, I try to do no one harm. That’s the only morality I need. It covers everything. I would never rape a child, even if it was legal.
    let me put your truths in atheist perspective:
    All humans are equal not just men.
    All humans have been endowed by their country’s constitution with unalienable rights and among these are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or not. If not, move to a better country.
    Don’t murder.
    Don’t steal.
    Don’t Lie.
    Don’t commit adultery unless it’s okay with your spouse. Don’t have sex with your kids or your dog or others kids or dogs.
    Question everything.
    Teach these ideas to your children.

    No need for superstitious gobbeldy-gook, see?

    • John,

      Again, you have missed the point. You accept most of these values because you were raised in a Judeo-Christian society which espouses these values. The only rational foundation for their immutable nature is God. That is exactly what atheistic professor Joel Marks was saying. For the atheist, they remain valid as long as your preferences stay the same. If they shift, so do your “commandments”. There was a time when everyone “knew” that homosexuality was a perversion. Now everyone “knows” it is completely normal. Right now MOST people think that pedophelia is a perversion, but not only can things shift rapidly, there are people working hard to make it happen.

      • I believe the problem with your Joel Marks argument rabbi is that you are thinking of atheism as if it is a religion. Just because one prominent atheist may think that does not make it true because the only thing that atheism means is the abscence of a belief in God. So that does not mean you can lump all of us into one philosophical group because we may have different ideas and the only common one is the abscence of god. But, as I’m sure you’re reply will be, if we are all freethinkers then where do we get our morals from. I would answer that as schnig said that they have evolved socially and through a sense of empathy. As to the point that you just raised there I am English one of the most secular societies in the world and was raised by a family of atheists and yet I haven’t turned out to be a paedophile even though I wasn’t raised surrounded by Judeo-Christian beliefs. Can you explain that for me?

      • There was a time when everyone “knew” homosexuality was a perversion, yes.

        Then we did some SCIENCE. Psychologists performed better, more insightful research, gathered objective data, laid old and clumsy preconceptions aside, and discovered that homosexuality hurts no one!

        It’s not true that “everyone” knows it is normal; you can go to Uganda and find plenty of people willing to arrest and murder gay folks.

        You need some empiricism in your life! Experimentation is a fantastic way to regularly check if your philosophical reasoning is in tune with reality.

        For example: You conclude that atheism can easily lead to child-rape. Do the experiment! Gather data on child sexual abuse. Do atheists ACTUALLY express pedophilia to a greater degree than the religious? If they do, then maybe you are correct; you will have a correlation though not a causation. If they don’t, then your reasoning is flawed.

        You’re not done with this issue by writing this piece. There’s more work to be done.

    • You say people should question everything. Alright, then when you say “don’t murder/steal/lie,” I ask “Why not?” In the real world, a wolf eats a lamb for no other reason than it satisfies its own needs and desires in doing so. Likewise, child molesters satisfy their own urges by exploiting the weak. The only thing “wrong” here would be if the child molester DIDN’T abuse; then he’d be suppressing his sexual appetite (a natural thing) for some principle just as imaginary as God. Reason has to run its course.

  • “Since in the atheistic worldview we are nothing more than upright walking primates, our value systems have no more significance than those of our jungle dwelling relatives.” – No, you are stating that atheists give no more value to primate value systems than human ones – which is a lie. How about “atheists would likely take up the value system of a starfish”.

    “Morality is the custom of one’s country and the current feeling of one’s peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibalistic country.” Yes, and I’m sure the Nazi’s thought they were moral also – but it would be impossible to live in a world were equal rights were offered to all human beings if people were thrown into ovens or eaten because of their ancestry or they lost a battle.

    “In my own lifetime I have witnessed radical societal swings in moral behavior and attitudes regarding marriage and sexuality, homosexuality, the killing of unborn children, euthanasia, and the use of illicit drugs.” – And equal rights for women, reduction of prejudice, interracial marriage, better health, and so on.

    “There is nothing that atheistic societies are incapable of rationalizing and accepting – including the sexual molestation of children.” – FU

    The rest of this article is quoting scientific and philosophers out of context. The word intrinsic means that there is no absolutes – we as humans have decided what is wrong and right through our evolution as a social animal and our understanding of empathy.

    I like the 20 year old reference to “male inter generational intimacy” – yes scientists use different terms than conversational speak – most journal articles don’t use the term “fudge packer” when talking about homosexuals. So two decades have passed, if it is this is starting out the same way, shouldn’t we have accepted this kind of behavior now? No, because the child is not an adult and therefore it is impossible for him/her to consent and the ultimate result is a person that will have to deal with a damaged notion of human sexuality for their entire life – something a consequentialist would take into account.

    “In a society whose schools consider it a noble undertaking to teach a teenage boy how to use a condom, but streng verboten to teach him that God has forbidden us to steal or murder” – which god – I’m pretty sure the god of your old testament has no problem with murder outside of ones tribe. I think we should present the moral rules of the Greeks – “like sand through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.”

    • DKeane,

      Again you are missing the point. When I say that our values have no more significance than those of our jungle dwelling relatives, I mean that in OBJECTIVE REALITY they have no more significance than those of our jungle dwelling relatives. They have as much significance as you want them to have, i.e. they can have zero significance or immense significance. It all depends on how you feel that day.

      • Yes – from the point of some third party, our morals have no more significance than other animals – except that we happen to live within moral structure, so we are not some disinterested party.

        And it has nothing to do with how I feel that day and everything to do with what kind of world I want to live in. I want to live in a world in which people have to justify their ideas of right and wrong with evidence – not from some appeal to an unseen moral arbitrator, whose only evidence is “might makes right”.

  • As enamored as we Americans are of the Declaration of Independence, I can’t see how it should be equated with the Torah. One key difference between what has been called “the American religion” and the Torah is that Americanism talks about rights while the Torah gives us commandments. There is a subtle difference between saying that G-d gave each of us a right to something and saying that G-d forbids us from taking that thing away from others. The Torah tells us (in this week’s parasha) to pursue justice. It doesn’t tell us to pursue happiness. And, in fact, I think the Torah approach to happiness is quite different from the American approach. A person who feels happy when molesting children (claiming to also make them happy without taking their life or liberty) could claim support from the Declaration, but never from the Torah.

    • Brian Westley

      Matthew, a person who feels happy killing Midianites could claim support from the Torah, but never the Declaration.

      • Brian, you just earned yourself a virtual hi-five.

      • Brian,

        Do you have any complaints about things that happened LESS than 3,300 years ago?

        • Yes; I complained about you defaming me, you lying prick, and you’ve never apologized for that.

        • Do you have any moral pronouncements from your god that are less than 3300 years old?

          • Leo,

            One of the most important moral pronouncements of all, in fact the basis for it all, that man is created in the image of his infinite creator- in the image of God, was slightly rephrased in the following way “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are CREATED equal, and that they have been endowed by their CREATOR with unalienable rights, and that among those are the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Of course that is 235 years old but still relatively modern

    • Remember the sexual slavery of the Midianites (and just about every enemy of the ancient Hebrews, other than the Amalekites)? Ever think there were kids in that?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.