Withteeth and I were not expecting the response that we got to the last post I wrote, so I thought I’d write a similar post using the Moral Argument Against God found here: http://infidels.org/library/modern/raymond_bradley/moral.html.
Here is the argument:
Premise 1: It is morally wrong to deliberately and mercilessly slaughter men, women, and children who are innocent of any serious wrongdoing.
Premise 2: It is morally wrong to provide one’s troops with young women captives with the prospect of their being used as sex-slaves.
Premise 3: It is morally wrong to make people cannibalize their friends and family.
Premise 4: It is morally wrong to practise human sacrifice, by burning or otherwise.
Premise 5: It is morally wrong to torture people endlessly for their beliefs.
Conclusion: God violates of our moral principles.
The author of the page given above did their own discussion of this argument, so you can click the link if you would like to read theirs. I will write my own discussion of the argument here. This argument is meant to show that God, namely the God of the Bible, is not a moral agent. It is not meant to disprove God.
The first premise states that it is morally wrong to deliberately and mercilessly slaughter men, women, and children who are innocent of any serious wrongdoing. I don’t think this is something many people would disagree with. I think that it can be assumed to be true. However, what is “serious wrongdoing?” Given what I was told when I was doing my review of the Bible, it seems as though believers either assume that the people the Israelites slaughtered couldn’t be innocent, or that it was all the Israelites’ fault that the slaughter happened and not God’s. I find the second line of reasoning dishonest because the Bible credits God with ordering the Israelites to commit the slaughters. As such, you either have to ignore what the Bible says, or accept that the Bible has problems. The second option is more commonly accepted than the first, but I’ve seen the first occur too. However, the argument that those the Israelites murdered couldn’t be innocent is a problem for this premise. The Bible doesn’t actually say what the people did to deserve slaughter, it just said that they did bad things. Really, it could be anything. And it’s hard to imagine a two year old doing anything so bad that they deserve to be slaughtered. But it is possible to define “serious wrongdoing” in a way that excuses the slaughter committed by the Israelites: “serious wrongdoing” is committing any act that God deems wrong. By this definition, a two year old can commit serious wrongdoing simply by being born into a group that won’t teach them to worship the God of the Bible.
Premise two states that it is morally wrong to provide sex-slaves for men. Again, I doubt many people would disagree with this, so I think this premise would be said t be true. In the Bible, God tells Moses to kill all the men and boys, but allow the female virgins to live so that they could be used as sex-slaves (Numbers 31). This one is a bit harder to get out of, because God very clearly orders Moses to keep the girls alive to be raped. I’ve seen this passage excused as being “taken out of context,” however, the meaning in this passage is very clear. If the Bible is the word of God, or even it merely portrays events accurately, then God ordered girls to be captured for the purposes of being used as sex-slaves. One would have to say that the Bible is wrong in order to get around this premise.
Premise three states that it is morally wrong to make people cannibalize their friends and family. Another true premise. I can’t imagine that very many people would assume that this is moral either. But in Jeremiah 19:9 God says “I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh because their enemies will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them.” Once again, ignoring God’s word or dismissing the Bible as wrong is the only real way around this. I’ve heard people say that God is merely warning people of the consequences of their actions, but, if this is what God meant, one must wonder why God said “I will make.” If God is not making them eat people, why is he saying he is? Why not just say “You will”? This is not a misinterpretation, and saying it is is merely an excuse to avoid dealing with the problem.
The fourth premise states that it is morally wrong to practice human sacrificing. Again, I doubt very many people would disagree with this. However, it ignores the fact that, in certain cultures, people chose to be sacrificed. I think it can be said that sacrificing someone against their will is wrong, but I’m not sure it is so cut and dry in the case of those who chose to be sacrificed. But this isn’t really an issue with the God of the Bible, since God seems to just demand that specific people be sacrificed to him.
Premise five states that it is morally wrong to torture people endlessly for their beliefs. Since this is in obvious reference to hell, which is accepted as just by many people, I’m not sure how many people would actually accept this premise. I believe it is true. I don’t think it is ever okay to torture someone, and I don’t think physical torment should ever be used as a punishment. But it is often justified either because “it’s God’s will,” which, for some reason, means “don’t question it,” or because humans are fallen, which, for some reason, means the actions of someone who lived at least 4000 years ago makes me deserving of eternal punishment regardless of what I do. Of course, there are a lot of people who will say “but God doesn’t send us there any more” or “hell wasn’t built for us,” but that still means that God did in fact build a place for the intended purpose of torturing a living, sentient being for eternity.
The conclusion is that God violates our moral principles. He does things that we determine to be immoral. What’s more, he does things that he has told us are immoral (ie. Killing). This is often excused with “everything God does is moral” or “God’s actions cannot be understood but humans.” But this is another cop-out. If humans can’t understand God’s actions, then how do we know the things he tells us to do are moral? How do we know God isn’t just testing us and we actually aren’t supposed to do what we are told to do? How is it even useful to say “we can’t understand”? “Everything God does is moral” is even more problematic. If everything God does is moral, then it is moral to commit murder and genocide because God did it. So, if genocide and murder are now moral, why shouldn’t humans do it? As such, I can only conclude that this is a valid argument.