God has ordered you to kill
I have asked this question to dozens and dozens of people, across continents and across religions. I thought it might be interesting to ask it here, too. A couple of threads have skirted around the question, but none yet have come right out and asked it that I have seen.
The hypothetical situation
The hypothetical situation that this question is based on works is simple. Somehow your god has conveyed to you a message that you must kill a person. However this was done, you have no doubt in your mind that the message really is from your god. There is no deception or trickery, and you have been convinced of this somehow.
The person you have been ordered to kill is not an obviously dangerous person. For example, your god has not ordered you to kill Osama ibn Laden or Pat Robertson, but an average person who, by any reasonable estimation, is harmless. There is no reason to suspect that this person is in anyway a threat to anyone or anything. They are an ordinary, average person with an ordinary, average job and family.
So, to summarize, you have been given an order that you are sure is from your god to kill a person that you cannot see a secular reason to kill. What do you do?
Before you answer
Before you answer, here are some qualifying points:
First, you can't simply say that your god would never ask you to do such a thing, unless you can prove that not only have they never done it, but they definitely never would. For most religions, if not all, that is not possible.
Second, you can't simply say that you don't have enough evidence that it really is the will of your god. The assumption of the question is that you have had it proven to you in some way or another that this really is a request from your god.
If you do either of these things, you are avoiding the question. The question assumes that your god has asked you kill someone, and you have proof that the request actually came from your god.
(However, if you can actually prove that your god would never ask someone to kill, feel free to present it. Clearly that is not the case for any of the Judaistic religions: Abraham was ordered to kill his son. Sure, God ordered him to stop at the last minute, but the point of the affair was that God ordered it and Abraham was prepared to do it. And of course, there are plenty of other cases of God ordering killing, often of innocents, such as in Exodus 32, Deuteronomy 7, Joshua 8-11, Judges 20, 2 Chronicles 22, Ezekiel 9... need i go on?)
So in summary, the question at hand is:
Once you have answered that, you can answer the followup question: What would it take to convince you that an order to kill someone actually came from your god?
If I had a god like this, i rather believe in no god
If you are a Jew, Christian or Muslim, you do have a god like that. Basically what i've done is put you in Abraham's shoes (sandals, whatever). God ordered him to kill his son, for no apparent reason. Abraham chose to comply with God's command. Would you?
Indi, you so kindly left out the rest of the story. God ordered Abraham to kill his son, but then stopped him in the process. God was testing Abraham's faith and obedience. Abraham didn't actually kill his son.
Please don't leave things like that out - your statement completely changed the meaning of the story.
Nothing left out. Stop feeling attacked, and consider answering the question. As I read it, the question is about the believer, not about God.
Ok, so God stopped him, what about the genocides that God commanded the Israelites to do?
Read the bible, there are many more examples of God telling people to kill or more accurately, people who clam to hear Gods voice.
I would kill anyone if God (not just mine, but 'ours') told me to. But if he gave me choice, I wouldnt do it. But if He says its something only I can do, I would do it. Its detestable to me, and I dont believe I will ever do anything like that, but if God told me to do it, i would, but one or both of the following conditions should exist:
1) Reasonable proof that he is the TRUE god, the creator, top boss. He can like bend space/time on a whim, raise the dead, let me talk to my dead relatives and know everything there is to know (or at least know everything I want to know) He will have answers to any question I ask. He will not just tell me the answers, he will show them to me.
2) Reasonable explanation why the person should be killed. could be a deadly virus in his blood, he needs to be killed before it becomes contagious, or else an entire city will die.
If a voice in my head tells me to do something unreasonable, then it could not possibly be God, and I would not do it. Id sooner put the gun to my head than kill anyone else. I am catholic but I dont take the things written in the bible as facts. There are a lot of good things written in it and a lot of truths, but it is very difficult to weed out fact from 'artistic expression' (surely the early writers were also thinking of their market/readers) for example Abraham's story of killing his son could just be a story about faith and love for your God or your beliefs. It is a story that wants to tell us how exceptional this man was. how exceptional his relationship with God was. Its just a story, we dont know if it was real. If it was real, we dont know the exact circumstances that were present during that time. I know, there are a lot of instances in the bible that tells of blind faith, but to obey without thinking is not right. To obey without thinking is to act without using all the faculties given to us to make the correct decisions.
I won't be sure if I am raise as a muslim, christian or jew, but for what I am now, I won't. I mean, if I for some reason converted to either one of these three religion now, and god put me in Abraham's shoe, i think I will lose my faith right away...
My Goddess would not ask me to kill. Why should she bother, if she really wanted someone dead, she could do it herself. She would know that I would not intentionally kill someone, so wouldn't ask me. Most importantly, in my religion, life is sacred, so for me to kill someone would mean going against my religion.
Absolutely correct. i don't care about God's behaviour in the matter. i'm concerned about Abraham, and by extension, all followers of all gods.
Abraham was ordered to kill, and set about to do it. That God stopped him is a non-issue. Abraham was going to kill.
The question is if you were asked to kill, would you? The question is not would God ask you to kill, or would he allow you to follow through on it. Those are issues for another thread. There is only one issue here. God has ordered you to kill. What do you do?
i don't care. The question was not would your god(dess) ask you to kill. It was if he(she/it) did order you to kill, would you do it?
Telling me what your particular god would or wouldn't do is of absolutely no interest to me. i don't believe they exist, remember. Discussing the characteristics of a figment of your imagination is just wasting my time.
You exist. And it is you that i am concerned with. i don't want to hear about how awesome your god is, or now compassionate your religion is. i want to hear what you would do if your god demanded that of you. Would you obey? Would you turn your back on your god and refuse?
Yes, that is a provision of the hypothetical situation. In the hypothetical situation, you have no doubt that the order is really coming from your god. It has been proven to you somehow, by whatever standards of proof you require.
Is it appropriate to demand explanations from a deity? What if your god tells you, "It is not your place to know these things."? (And remember, it has already been proven to you that the order is coming from your god.) If your god chooses not to explain to you why you must follow the command you've been given, will you defy?
Does it really matter if the situation was literally real? The fact is that the incident with Abraham is held up as an example of how one should interact with God. The first part lesson is that when God commands, no matter how distasteful the command, you obey. End of story. The second part of the lesson is that you can trust God's commands to always have your best interest at heart. To put it altogether, the lesson is "obey God's commands without question; he always looks out for your best interests wherever possible".
That's a fine lesson, but as i said above, i don't care about God's qualities or his motivations. It's a fascinating topic, sure, but not the topic of this thread. i care about people's actions in this kind of scenario - in this particular case, Abraham's (whether those actions were real or simply myth is also unimportant, because they are usually taken as a lesson of how one should respond to a command from God).
Here's the problem though. You know that it is God talking to you - this much has been proven to you (in the hypothetical situation). If you know that God is ordering you to do something - in this case, to kill someone - is it your place to analyze the propriety of that action? What if God simply chooses not to tell you? What if he does tell you the reason, but you disagree - do you trust God anyway, or do you defy him?
That's what I was referring to, not the original post.
And if you want to discuss genocide in the Bible, bring up the verses, and we'll talk.
While it is a foreign idea for a lot of people here to actually read the first post in a thread before replying, it shouldn't be necessary to redundantly reiterate what was already said there in every post made after it. That way, discussion gets nowhere.
The verses have already been brought up (once again in the first post), but they're not needed. Indi's reply says it all. Leave this on-topic.
I refuse. My belief in God is just that, a belief. And when it came down to doing the deed, I would have to say I have more faith in my own (God given?) sense of right and wrong.
I will add that I think the question sits on an impossible premise. There is no way that the situation could arise that I wouldn't be more likely to believe that I was delusional as opposed to thinking that the all-mighty was revealing himself to me.
But given the premise, I would have to decline to kill.
I "know" its God, if it is him then I have nothing to worry about, if he tells me to kill someone its probably for some good reason. But, what if its not Him? he is supposed to be infallible but I am not. What if its some telepathic alien messing with my brain, telling me to collect fetuses...then Im screwed. What if its some weird allergenic reaction to some chemical, making me delusional? I dont think any law would accept 'God told me to do it' as an excuse.
in your hypothetical situation, if it is God, I would do it. If I just know its God, I would still rely on my reasoning, if it goes against reason, I wont do it. If he says something like 'do it to prove your faith..' Id say kiss my a$$... if your really God I dont have to prove anything to you. I know, instances in the Bible show that God did that, he tests men's faith... those are just stories, they could mean anything.
Er, just out of curiousity, how would you know the difference?
Good question. I was thinking hypothetically. Practically speaking, I would not do anything that goes against reason. Your question is different from Indi's. Your question is, 'how would you know it really is God when you see Him?'. Indi's hypothetical question assumed that this question has already been answered. I honestly dont know what the answer to that is. I dont know how I would know that a being claiming to be The God is not a fake. I always assumed that I would just know.. but that's plain stupid. I have to think about that...
Not many theists are not going to answer the question, these questions they avoid.
Your objections are irrelevancies. i didn't think i would have to explain this concept step by step, but apparently that seems to be the case.
Is there anything in that timeline that anyone objects to? It's as factual and unbiased an account of what (supposedly) happened as i think possible. You can't get anymore literal and unbiased when describing the gross outline that event. That's it there, the hard facts, in temporal order.
You can't seriously have an objection to that timeline, can you?
Now, given that timeline, the question i have asked in this thread is obviously not relevant to God or God's choices and actions, it's about Abraham and Abrahams choices and actions. Is that clear to you now?
God is not on trial. His religion is not on trial. We're talking about Abraham, and what you would do in Abraham's place. i said as much explicitly in the bit you quoted. Is that also clear to you now?
So given that we're discussing Abraham's actions and choices, and given the implicit assumption that Abraham - unlike God - did not know the future, consider step 2 in the timeline. Let me say this again, Abraham can't see the future, so he is unaware of what is going to happen in steps 3 and 4. Do you get this? Is there any part of that that you have difficulty understanding?
So at step 2, Abraham is only aware of what happened in step 1. Ok?
So all Abraham knows is that God has ordered him to kill his son, for no apparent reason other than that God feels like it. It is this information - and only this information - that Abraham has on hand when he makes the decision he makes in step 2.
Do you understand this? Is there anything in the above that you don't understand or don't agree with?
Now the question of this thread is what decision would you make in Abraham's shoes. Get it? Clear?
Note that the premise and the question do not require me to talk about God's actions after step 2. They're simply not relevant. All that matters is that God ordered Abraham to kill without rational explanation. That is the only information that Abraham had when he made his decision, and it is his decision that we're examining. Do you understand this?
If you managed to get here, then you should realize that your objections so far in this thread have been irrelevant background noise. It doesn't matter what happened after. It doesn't matter what God did or why. All that matters is God ordered someone to kill without giving them a rational reason. That person chose to do it. What God did a couple of hours later, or the next day, or next year - none of that is relevant. What Abraham did the day before, the colour of his outfit, what he had for breakfast the next day - none of that is relevant.
All that matters is God ordered someone to kill without giving them a rational reason. That person chose to do it. Would you?
That's the question of this thread. Simple.
If you had a valid argument for why God would never ask such a thing, you'd be welcome to present it. But you don't. You can't. It's absurd to even claim you do, because, clearly, God did make that request. It doesn't matter what happened next or whether or not God recanted. God made that request of Abraham, and Abraham was forced to make the choice i am asking you to make.
Please stop posting irrelevancies.
Sure. But not here.
The quantity and nature of the genocides in the bible - if there are any - is not really relevant. God can and did order someone to kill without offering a rational explanation. The person had to make a decision. End of story.
What happened the next day is not relevant. Whether or not the massacre of the other millions in the bible was justified or not is also not relevant.
You have the question. You have the justification for the question. Answer it - or at the very least discuss it - or find another thread.
Yes, the question you guys are considering adds a whole new dimension of complexity to the problem. It's a valid question too, that does complicate the issue for people that are trying to answer the original question.
Most people have chosen to worship the god(s) they worship because they believe that that god is not batshit crazy. Therefore, the issue of what they would do in such a situation strikes them as almost paradoxical - non-sensical, like asking "what would you do if you got your tongue caught in a jet engine?". First one wonders how such a thing could ever happen (what would i be doing licking a jet engine, let alone one in operation), then one can't really offer a logical answer because the question is functionally meaningless (if your tongue is caught in the intake of a jet engine, there's not really much you can do anyway - you probably won't even have time to process what has happened before you're a fine red mist).
The thing is, in virtually every conception of a god, that god is conscious, intelligent and has the ability to do just about anything it pleases (omnipotent, or close enough to). It's also generally aware of many things that we're not. It usually also demands obedience, more often than not unquestioning obedience.
For example, take the objection above by woundedhealer:
This objection is not valid. First, take the statement: "My Goddess would not ask me to kill." Assuming his goddess could ask him to kill (that is, that his goddess is capable of making such a request - and if it was not even capable of making that request, it is a severely limited entity), then there is no functional way that he can assert it never would. We can't even assert that animals, let alone humans, will never do something that they are capable of. It is completely illogical to make that statement about a higher being.
The second part of the objection is also not valid: "if she really wanted someone dead, she could do it herself." The point of the exercise is not that the goddess wants someone dead, it's that the goddess wants you to kill them. If you want to believe there's a hidden reason for them wanting you to do the deed, go ahead. The issue is that the goddess can make such a request, and in the hypothetical scenario, has.
And given that hypothetical, the last bit of the objection becomes meaningless. It was asked (in the hypothetical situation). If you simply won't do it, then your answer is to refuse the deity.
You see, NemoySpruce, the question you now find yourself hung up on is based on the assumption that your god would never make such a request of you. That's the same assumption woundedhealer made and can't get past.
I designed the hypothetical situation to make that issue irrelevant by bypassing the conundrum with the assertion that you know that your god is making the request. Now the assumption that your god would never ask that of you has become academic, because you have been asked, and you know the command is legit.
But of course, in practice, you don't have that kind of absolute certainty. Thus the assumption has great relevance.
That's why i asked the question in two parts. The first part is where you assume you've been asked, and you know the request is legit. In this part, you have to consider how much you trust your god. The second part is where you ask what you'd need in order to know the request is legit. In this part, you have to consider how much you trust your faith.
This question is not only relevant to theists. They're just unique in that their belief system has such clear-cut absolutes.
Replace "your god" with "your commanding officer" for soldiers, or "your president" or whoever you trust completely. It's not as difficult an issue because it's easy to sidestep the issue by pointing out that people are fallible (where gods are not), but it's the same question, really.
1) I would kill.
2) What would it take to convince you that an order to kill someone actually came from your god? mebe something like this....
I find a box and open it. In it are 15 fortune cookies, a note and a gun. The note says:
I know this is the first time I have talked to you but I just need a favor. Would you mind killing that guy next to you, I'd do it myself but It would really be entertaining to see you do it. It gets boring up here sometimes. Yes I have read your posts on Frihost so I know I have to prove myself to you before you do it. Thats what the fortune cookies are for. Ask all your questions, not outloud, just think about them, then pick a cookie smash it and read whats inside, after the 15th question you will be convinced its really me.
Lots of luck and see you soon. They are gonna give you the chair.
PS, dont forget to remove the safety before you shoot.
Some people deserve death. Death of innocent people is a crime. Don't we habve wars, accident(by faulty drivings). "Should death only be natural or can be brought by others?" If it's okay when a judge orders to kill. God can be this judge.
This is a very controversial question indeed and I pesonally have mixed thoughts about this matter. If I were to kill someone innocent for religious reasons, I would refuse. The God as I see Him is Love, so I find it absurd that He would ever want me to kill. Anyone, for any reason.
And about Abraham... I'm not a biblist, so I don't know if my views on that matter are accurate, but I would not take this story literally. The biblists claim that Abraham was the first historical character in the Bible, however, in my opinion, this story is still some kind of parable. The true message of it is not that God wants us to kill, it is that God wants us to sacrifice what we love the most. Abraham was so crazy about Isaak, that he became more important to him than God, that's why God wanted to check if he is able to fully dedicate his everything to Him. But it's unbelievable for me that this sacrifice should go that far, I guess this should be some kind of metaphore...
The figment of my imagination would be the Goddess telling me to kill somebody. There are many people in secure institutions who firmly believe their god told them to kill. They are deluded.
If I believed the Goddess told me to kill, I would be mentally ill, so I can't tell you what I would do under those circumstances.
As you do not believe in any God/dess your question seems like a resonable one to you. To those of us who do believe in one, your question is meaningless.
Why do you not have any interest in what I have to say? How am I wasting your time? You ask about something, which to me is imposible, and then don't wish to hear why it is imposible. Surely a negative reply needs qualifing.
No matter who the person is, I would not kill someone without a rational reason why, be the "commanding officer" my president, my dad or my soulmate.
But I've been hesitant to answer your question regarding God because I'm not very religious, so my idea of God is not completely as defined by my religion. I've always thought of God as more or less spectatorial judge. He cannot really completely control my destiny. Possibly, He has some control over the world he created, but once he gave it a life of its own and free will, he cannot have absolute control over it. What is He the judge of? I'm not completely sure... perhaps the judge of our actions here on Earth (I believe in the afterlife). But I don't yet have enough faith in this theory (I need to perfect it some more before I'm satisfied) to kill someone if God comes down and says "Kill this chap, and I promise you Heaven"
You're missing the point of the question. It doesn't matter whether the incident with Abraham was literal or metaphorical. As you said it above, the story can be considered to be a parable demonstrating that God wants you to be ready to put everything you value aside - sacrifice it even - for God if called upon. For Abraham, that was his son. For you, it might be your desire for non-violence. Abraham didn't want to kill his son, you don't want to kill anyone. Abraham was expected to put his own desires aside when God commanded it, and, ostensibly, so are you.
If you were asked by God to kill someone, and you refused, do you understand the consequences of that refusal? Do you understand what it implies? It implies that you know better than God what is right and wrong. If God says something is right, then it is right, no? By refusing the order, aren't you telling God that you believe you know better than he what is the correct thing to do? Given God's infinite knowledge and wisdom, can you make that claim?
Because you're not answering the question, you're evading it. Observe:
The question has nothing to do with the mental stability of people who think their gods are talking to them. The question clearly stated that you have received the order to kill from your god and it has been proven to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that the order did legitimately come from your god. So whether or not you're mentally ill is not relevant. The situation given states that you have had it proven to you that your god really did give you that order. It is worded in such a way that if you do not accept that your god has ordered you to kill, you must be mentally deficient, because it has been stated that it was proven to you. Read the first post again. It's right there, in bold.
This question is a thought expermient using a hypothetical situation. If you are unwilling or unable to consider the hypothetical situation, then you are simply not willing or capable of answering the question. In other words, you're wasting my time.
If you could prove that your god(dess) would never make such a request of you, that would be of marginal interest, but you haven't even done that. All you've done is point out you would be crazy if you thought your god was telling you to kill someone, to which my response is: duh. But you haven't really answered any question asked. No one asked if you thought it was possible that your god would ask that question. And no one asked if you would be sane if you believed they did. You were asked to assume you have been asked and have confirmed the request actually comes from your god, and then come to a decision based on that. Or alternatively, prove that your god is incapable of making that request. You have done neither. Hence, again, you are just wasting my time.
If you want to take a serious stab at answering the hypothetical situation, go ahead. Or, alternatively, if you want to try to prove that your goddess could never ask such a thing, go for it, but see this post for the start of a rebuttal to that.
See, that's why i deliberately worded the question as "god". ^_^ It's too easy for most people to dismiss when you use a regular person as the figurehead, because you can just say that people are not infallible.
Hm, you're almost describing a "clockmaker" concept of god - a deist concept. Very roughly described, it goes like this: the god makes the universe, then starts it, and whatever happens, happens. Some forms of deism almost imply that god is not sentient, but you don't seem to be on that end of the spectrum.
Would you describe god as a manager? He can choose to micromanage when he feels the need, but generaly he lets the company run itself, according to the rules he set when he incorporated. Nevertheless, he is always observing the performance of the employees to determine who's getting lucky at bonus time. Does that sound close?
At any rate, the hypothetical situation doesn't really require a god who controls destiny. Far from it in fact. Consider: does god have infinite or near-infinite knowledge and wisdom? Wouldn't he be aware of things that that you are not? Thus, wouldn't it be safe to assume that there is a motivation for the request that is beyond your understanding? So (coming back to the question), if god ordered you to kill - even if he opted not to give you the reason - isn't it logical to assume that he has one, and possibly a really, really good one? In which case... wouldn't it be wise to kill when he asks?
Congratulations, you made me really confused. But after getting deeper into that matter, I can't add anything more to what I wrote. I guess my point of view on God is somewhat different from what you wrote. The God I believe in does not punish people during their lives, but gives them a chance to change [Matthew 13:30], and definitely does not let the people to give out judgements and punishments [John 8:7]. What is more, everything we do to any single person, affects Him personally [Matthew 25:40], and He would never sentence someone to death just because of experimenting on me. [All of the examples I took were from the New Testament, I know that the Old Testament is full of wars and killing, but remember that it was adressed to people living more than a thousand years before Christ and written by someone at their spiritual level. Jesus has updated the message of God a little bit ]
That's why if I were to kill in the name of God, I wouldsimply refuse, because it would be definitely not in the name of the God that I believe in. [I know that throughout the history, there were thousands of people who claimed exactly the opposite, but luckily, there were also some that gived away their lifes in the same name. I guess the first interpretation has something to do with 'commercial' religion for the masses .]
i can't say i'm surprised that you're confused. ^_^ It's a confusing subject. Most people can't even wrap their minds around the question, let alone answer it. For example, you've tripped over it yourself.
When you say: "The God I believe in does not punish people during their lives..." i have to point out that i said nothing about punishment anywhere. ^_^ YOU added that element. Same for: "... He would never sentence someone to death just because of experimenting on me." Where did i say you were being experimented on? Where did i say this is a test of faith? It was a test of faith in the case of Abraham, but that doesn't mean it would be one in your case. You have interpreted the question using your own narrowed interpretation, and then answered it based on those grounds. i said only that God ordered you to kill. i did not say that the person you had been ordered to kill was being punished (on the contrary, i said that you had no idea why you were supposed to kill them), and i did not say that you were being tested. The only thing i said was God ordered you to kill. Anything else you found you put there yourself.
i also didn't say you were being asked to "kill in the name of God". i said GOD ORDERED YOU TO KILL. You're deliberately twisting the question to make it more convenient for yourself.
You quoted verses that don't really have bearing on the question - only on the interpretation you made up - except for the last one (Matthew 25:40) but only sorta kinda. Nevertheless, even within the new testament (incidently, Jesus himself said that you couldn't just ignore the old testament the way you're doing, but that's not really an issue here), there are dozens of instances where you are instructed to obey God's laws. Peter says in Acts 5 that God's law is above the laws of men. Peter and John both say the same thing in Acts 4. In fact, i challenge you to find one instance in the entire bible where it says it's ok to ignore a command from God. Are you saying that it's ok to ignore a command from God?
If it's not ok to ignore a command from God, and if God commanded you to kill someone, would you still refuse?
what about you "indi"
make a short " yes or no"
and by the way
do you believe in god?
which religion you follow?
and do you think answer to your question differs from person to person up to his character or his religion?
i think this question as absurd as this question
"can god (ALLAH in my word)" create a bigger(or more powerful)
creature than himself."
If i would be 100% sure it's from God and not from some scammer i'd be happy to do his will ;>
Which is why I highlighted person . I saw where you're coming from.
I guess so... I must admit that all this still requires a lot more thinking on my part.
The more I think of it this way, the more I begin to think I would seriously consider carrying out that order/request from God. However, I'm yet to be fully satisfied about the existence of God, his intelligence, potence, etc. Right now, I'm closer to the believer end of the spectrum, not there yet completely, because I'd believe more whole-heartedly in God if I could get a satisfactory answer to those questions.
And now, just a few minutes later... I'm beginning to think that I would probably not do it unless I see the reason behind it, irrespective of whether God asked me to or a human did. The problem, however, is that one of the major reasons I think twice before doing anything is because I think it would have a positive/negative impact on my afterlife (whether it's heaven/hell or a rebirth), or maybe even later in this life (a simplified, single-lifetime idea of karma)... and what if God decides what happens in the afterlife? Firstly, is there an afterlife? Is there a God? (there's still too many questions to be answered to/by me before I can answer your question)
I understand your question explicitly states that if MY God (implying that God does exist) asked me to, would I kill... but that's just the thing... what is MY God?
I can tell you in certainty, though, that whatever decision I make now will probably not have any bearing on what I would actually do if your situation did arise. I would have to make a decision right then and there. I guess it's just one of those questions where you can't really choose, or rather... don't want to choose... when either decision is made because of your strong belief in an ideal and yet is against another of your ideals in which you strongly believe. So, I'll be honest... I can't really answer your question... it will have to be a sudden decision when (and if) the situation arises... unless of course, I solidify my ideas about God. If and when I have a solid enough idea of God, I will answer your question.
Alternately, if you'd like to create an image of God and ask the question again, I'd try to answer.
This is indeed a confusing question. I don't believe in God but I know that if I had one and if he asked me to kill someone. I'd like to know why but I'm sure I'd do it. Because it's God.
I would have to refuse.
Unless I had actual proof that the message came from god - not just my own belief that it was god.
Othewise even if I was 100% convinced that the message came from god I would have to force myself to accept that it is most likely something wrong with me in my head and no matter how much I believe it was god it really isn't and is just a delusion that I am experiencing.
I mean you hear about it all the time that people say they get messages from god or they are god...
If there was full proof that this was god speaking to me I would then accept the order. I mean proof as in I see a dead person come to life, water turns into wine, I am given some kind of powers etc.
i can't make a short yes or no because i don't believe in a god. In order for me to answer this question, i would have to imagine a god... but which one?
Yes, but i don't think it should. For each religion there is only one correct answer. For yours (Islam, i presume), the only correct answer is "yes". If Allah tells you to do something, you'd better do it - without question.
Firstly, shouldn't it be thirdly or fourthly and not secondly? ^_^
It is most certainly not an absurd question. It's not a meaningless hypothetical question. As i've already shown, it has already happened - to Abraham. If it's happened before, who's to say it can't happen again. You can't claim to know what Allah will or won't do - that's claiming to know the will of Allah. So any day now, Allah could speak to you and order you to kill someone. You simply can't say this will never happen without claiming to know what Allah's plans are.
And if you are ordered to kill, what will you do? That is not an absurd or meaningless question. It has happened before. It can happen again. What will you do if it does?
What is the point of asking a question that's easy to answer? ^_^;
You're absolutely right. The question is designed to create a contradiction of faith (for most people - for cold-blooded killers or real religious nuts, obviously it doesn't work). On the one hand, you have a being who is pseudo-infinitely superior to you and who must be obeyed, and on the other you have your own personal moral compass (more on this later). When the commands of your god and the logic and ethics of your own moral standards come into conflict, you're forced to make a decision. Who to follow - my god or myself?
If you just ask that question, theists snap to the stock answer - you follow your god. But when you actually create a situation that really tests that resolve, it all falls apart. It strikes at a fundamental issue in all religion - whether your god is an external thing/entity, or just something internal to you that you have labelled.
That would be pointless. ^_^ The question is intended to make you consider what your god is to you. i could give you concepts of gods ranging from across the spectrum, but there's no real gain in that. You'd just be making a fairly shallow analysis of their gods, instead making a really deep analysis of your own faith.
That's really kind of the only correct answer. But you can make it more specific if you want.
If your god is all knowing
Then you would be an idiot to refuse. Because your god would be infinitely smarter and wiser than you, you would be a fool to believe that you know better. For all you know, your refusal would mean the start of WW3 and the deaths of billions. You can't second guess a being that is infinitely smarter than you.
If your god is all loving
Then you would be an idiot to refuse. Because if your god is all loving, and if it made such a request of you, there must be a greater motivation that it will not or cannot tell you, but that must have an important benefit. Because if your god really is all loving, then there must be something that you are unaware of that must provide greater benefit to humanity than the evil you're causing. Because an all-loving god would not introduce more evil than good - any evil introduced must be in the service of an even greater good. Thus by refusing the order, you would be allowing the greater evil.
If your god is the one who decides what is right and what is wrong
Then you would be an idiot to refuse. If the god's will is the definition of good, then by refusing that will you would automatically be doing evil.
"God" is a nebulous concept that everyone defines differently. But given some of the most commonly accepted traits of a god, refusal of an order is rather idiotic. And in some cases, downright dangerous.
You're not going to like this, but it's a question that has to be asked. How was it proven that the order came from the God/dess?
EDIT. I've just discovered my question is irelevent. I'm short on timenow so I'll explain why tomorrow.
I'd just like to say thanks Indi for this lesson and for being as tenacious as any of my teachers
To be honest, I don't think I would obey. Even though there are places where I am told in the Bible that I am supposed to have unconditional faith, I also have seen the news, where people are killing others based on their faith. I believe that this is twisted, and I would not go that far. That's just sick.
If the theists don't ignore the question, they doge it.
The question is simple and reinvents. If God tells you to kill some one and it has been proven to you that it is God asking you (it doesn't madder how its been proven but it has), would you do it?
If God told me to kill - and I knew without a doubt that it was God telling me to kill, then there really isn't an option is there? "Obey the Lord your God."
As unlikely as it is to happen, I'd kill - as ordered by God.
How's that for dodging the question?
My justification: God's plan is all-inclusive, and everything happens for a reason.
but we believe god tells only to the prophets( like abraham)
And if you where a prophet and god told you to kill?
If a person believes in a God, this is a personal belief, that's how I think. I think that God would never go for that. If so, my belief in that God would just collapse.
CITIZENSHIP values must never be destroid, even by religions.
That's the conclusion I get.
If the Bible says that God commanded to kill, perhaps that's not the case, there are a lot of interpretations of the Bible. And if so, can we doubt that? Was really God who wrote that part of the Bible or were there human influences?
Welcome, and thank you.
i believe it's important for everyone to critically examine the more difficult aspects of their beliefs. There is no such thing as a perfect philosophy. There are consequences for whatever you choose to believe. Most people just ignore or gloss over the trickier aspects of what they believe, or downplay how much of their beliefs rely on their own, arbitrary judgement calls.
i made this thread in response to this thread. That thread throws out the challenge to atheists, pointing out that if their values are not externally defined, then they must be internally defined. The most basic internal motivation is self-preservation, often at the expense of anything else (although not always, and i'm surprised no one's caught that trick in that thread yet), so if your belief system is internally defined, then you have to explain how it is that your instinct for self-preservation and self-advancement can be subordinate to the good of a society.
This thread is throwing down the same challenge to theists. If your values are externally defined, then it is possible that the external values may be in opposition to your internal values (unless you believe that you don't have any internal values at all - for example you believe that your sense of right and wrong is really just external entities, angels and devils, whispering in your ear - but in that case, there is no such thing as free will). Theists do consider that problem often, but only in a self-serving way. They only consider cases where their internal motivations are bad (lusts, desires for wealth and power) but the external motivations are good. This scenario is a way of creating a case where the external motivations are negative, and the internal ones are...? Positive (you don't want to kill)? Negative (you're thrilled that you finally have a chance to kill with impunity)? Neutral (you don't want to kill, but neither do you want to not kill - you just do whatever your told)?
(Incidently, it's actually also a rebuttal to the other thread's question. If it were really true that all good motivations come from external sources - gods - then you would be happy to kill when your god asked you to. If this question is difficult at all, it implies that you have good internal motivations - that it is possible to have positive ethics without a god (not only that, but it's possible to have positive ethics in spite of a god). This is the atheist's defence. If it were true that only a god can make you not want to do self-serving evil, then theists should have no problem with the hypothetical question. They should simply shrug and say "i would kill, as told".)
Honestly, that's the only answer that is "correct", in that it is the only one that is not hypocritical, given the context of most theist beliefs. If you accept that God is superior to you (for example, that he has a plan that you may not be aware of), and that that plan is benevolent, then the only logical response is to do as your told, and not second guess. As i said, you'd be an idiot to do anything else - not because of the threat of punishment, but for the same reasons that a young child is stupid to ignore the warnings of loving parents.
But... are you comfortable with that possibility? As you said, it's unlikely to happen, but not impossible. Are you ok with suppressing your own internal voice that says killing is wrong, causing suffering is wrong? Are you ok with suppressing your free will - willingly surrendering your freedom of choice to do what you feel is right - in order to obey the commands of your god? Are you comfortable with the idea of murdering someone because someone (something) else told you to - without ever knowing or understanding the reason for it?
meet in rio
Er, well if I were certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was God, he existed, and there was no possibility that it was just me going insane... I would.
I'd tell a medical professional of my intention, have myself locked up and examined, and if it were truly meant to be then I assume that a) they wouldn't be able to find anything wrong with me and b) God would somehow help me to escape and carry out his will.
And of course, if it really were God, then he'd probably be damn right wouldn't he?
It is possible (to have positive ethics without a god), but illogical. If, as you say, your motives are self preservation/advancement and purely material (having no belief in anything that cannot be explained by natural laws), why would it be wrong to kill, steal and cheat? Why would it be wrong to use homeless people for medical experiments? You would be inhibiting the freedom of a few people, but you would be benefiting the entire society.
Dont get me wrong, I dont think I can call myself a theist. I am also not an atheist, I guess Im sort of on the fence, leaning towards the theist side because in my view atheism leads to anarchy, theism leads to order, not perfect order, but better than every man for himself type of society. So my feeling is, atheism is a step back.
Again I am not vilifying atheists, I have a lot of atheist friends, and they are all nice people. But all of them grew up catholic, their moral values are catholic. They do not cheat, they abhor violence (the real kind) and they respect freedom. But could you teach these values to a child without using some sort of religion as framework?
To be honest though I think most people in the modern world are atheists., even those who claim to be theists, I think if they examine their beliefs closely, they will be surprised to see that they are atheists after all.
Not everything that is possible is logical. Not everything that is logical is possible. Just because a system of ethics does not have a logical basis, that does not make it invalid.
There is no logical basis for an ethical system based on a deity's commandments, after all. When a Christian says killing is wrong and you ask them why, the only real answer is "because God says so". Why does God say killing is wrong? "Dunno, he just does". There's no basis in logic for such a system of ethics, you're just doing what you've been told.
The same thing applies to atheists, really. Ask them why is killing wrong (assuming you can get away with it and you're not weakening the pack by killing off the strongest, etc. etc. - in short, getting all of the logical answers out of the way), and if you dig deep enough, long enough and hard enough, you going to get the answer "because I feel it's wrong". Why? "Dunno, I just do".
Honestly, if you want my advice, you'd keep the concept of logic far away from a defence of theism and theist ethics. You're only setting yourself up to be torn apart by someone who knows how to do it. If logic is properly applied to theist morality, it all falls apart.
*ahem* Where did i say that my (or atheists in general) motives were "self preservation/advancement and purely material"? Read what i wrote more carefully. i said nothing of the sort.
As for the answers to the other questions... atheists aren't stupid, you know. Do you really need an answer any more detailed than that? Can you really not see - using simple, plain, secular logic - why those things are wrong? Do you sincerely mean to tell me that you need a god to tell you not to kill, steal, cheat or perform medical experiments on helpless human subjects? And... just for laughs... why don't you quote me the bible verses that state that human medical experimentation is wrong? Or rape? Or slavery? (Hint: don't take that challenge up. If you know anything about the bible, you know that whatever verse you quote on those topics, i have a dozen more ready that suggest or state clearly that those things are a-ok with God.)
A step back from what? A world where civilization bases its ethics entirely on religious precepts... aka the dark ages?
Yes, you can. i was raised atheist from birth. i knew people who were religious in various religions, but what they believed never really came up as a topic of discussion. i met my first Christian missionaries when i was... hrm, can't remember - but by that point i was already fairly well read and aware of the world and world events - 8 maybe? They were from the Berean Bible Institute, and they themselves came from... Maryland i think. Nice people. But my moral framework existed long before i met them.
The way i was taught morals is that they are based on the precept of doing the least harm possible. Why? Because harm is bad. Even an infant knows that. If you harm someone, chances are they're going to harm you back (and this is true even if they don't know that it was you that harmed them - to wit: say you stole Paul's bike, now Paul is without a bike and he needs money to buy a new one, so he steals your radio, even though he didn't know it was you that stole his bike - or he steals Peter's radio who now needs to recover his lost radio and HE turns around and steals your piggy bank, etc. etc.). So if you don't want to be harmed, don't harm others. All you have to figure from there is what is harmful and what is not. Simple.
Of course, that's how i was taught as a child. Such a child-like understanding of morality - essentially "hurting others eventually hurts me" - is fine for a child, but a more adult view requires a little more depth. As i grew, my understanding of the nature of harm, and why it's wrong even when there's no danger of reciprocation, all grew with me. (Which raises the obvious question: what about theist ethics? For a child, it's "don't do wrong because you'll make your god angry (or disappoint him, whatever)". For an adult, it's "don't do wrong because you'll make your god angry (or disappoint him, whatever)". Hm.)
That statement is non-sensical. If you believe a god exists you're a theist. Otherwise, you're an atheist. There's nothing to be confused about. "Does a god exist?" "Yes." "Theist." Or "No/i don't know" means "atheist".
No I will not obey if God order me to do so.
if you believe God is the Almighty,
God know(clearly) how deep the loyality of Abraham to Him.
And God know he will kill his son (already) before God have to test Abraham and speak directly to Abraham.
this story is very contradictive to the God Himself.
God will never do such a thing.
why God need to know something that He already know.
when you said --> The most basic internal motivation is self-preservation, often at the expense of anything else (although not always, and i'm surprised no one's caught that trick in that thread yet), so if your belief system is internally defined, then you have to explain how it is that your instinct for self-preservation and self-advancement can be subordinate to the good of a society.
I thought (I may have misunderstood, sorry if i did) :
atheist -> internal motivation -> self-preservation and self-advancement +(this part I added: no belief in anything supernatural) (ultimate prize to have a fruitful/productive/enjoyable life)
is the same as a theist. almost.:
theist -> internal motivation -> self-preservation and self-advancement + belief in supernatural absolute entity (ultimate prize, to get to heaven.)
So an atheist will try and get the most out of this life, while a theist believes this life is not important, but the things you do in it are. In your belief structure, stealing is wrong because you know it will come back to you... sounds like the concept of 'karma'. But in your example there are no supernatural forces that enforce it, and it is actually possible, if you are smart enough, to steal without being affected by the subsequent chain reaction.
Im sure you read the bible more than I do. but i remember somewhere Jesus said "what you do to the least of your bretheren, you do unto me" and "love your neighbor as you love thy self.." or something like that. To me its like a rule of thumb, you dont need to think about the details of the situation (like is slavery bad?) just put yourself in the victims place, and if your not happy with it then its wrong. These ideas are religious concepts (karma, love your enemies..etc) without these ideas, do you honestly think our society would have reached the middle ages?
Religion has provided you with the luxury to become atheist. You were born atheist, but you were surrounded by theist concepts protecting you from true atheism.
NemoySpruce: You tried this in another thread and I tore you're arguments to peaces.
Steeling is wrong cause? 1. You are taking something that dose not belong to you with out the owners permission. 2. It can cause massive financial problems when they have to replace what was stolen. 3. You could steel something they need to live. 4. Things can have allot of sentimental value.
Killing is wrong why? 1. Cause when you kill some one, they are dead, they can't come back. 2. Every one is unique and when a person dies that unique thing is gone for ever.
Rape is wrong why? Cause you are doing harm to that person and the worse kind, mantel harm.
Ethics comes out of morality and morality come from a basic evolutionary principle: social creators have rules cause with out rules social creators can not survive as social creature. As social creators we need rules for our society to exist, those rules are called morels. Morel people are better at surviving in in society thus have a better chance of passing on there DNA. All social creators have rules, those who fallow those rules remain in the social structure while those who don't, don't last on the social structure. Morality is burn into us, we all have a sense of morality not cause of religion, not cause of raising, we are burn with it. This is why those who do wrong justifies there actions.
I'm sure the Goddess would not order me to kill somebody. There is no precedence that I can find to show She has ever ordered a person to kill another human being.
The Goddess is the Great Mother. A mother protects, nurtures, guides, teaches, loves and provides for her childrens needs. A woman who is worthy of the title "mother" would not order her child to kill someone. She would, if neccessary, kill to protect her child, but would not want her child to be in a position where they had to kill someone. Even when a child becomes an adult, a mother would still want to protect her child if she could because no matter how old that child is, there is still the maternal instinct.
If we relate the Goddess' children to a human family, then what you are suggesting is that a sibling kills another sibling.
Generally speaking, even the most dangerous of animals protect their young offspring with their lives. Would the Great Mother do less than the animals? I think not.
This is what I have learnt to be the Truth. I could add more, like the vows I made when I became a Druid. But as I have learnt that the Goddess would not ask any of her children to kill, it is irrelevant here.
As to the message to kill being proven to come from the Goddess, I've learnt that it could not be satisfactory proved.
Just out of curiosity... but why do most herbivorous animals move around in flocks or herds? Because staying together helps. It benefits an individual when he's in a group so that tasks can be divided, those skilled at one particular thing can do that one particular thing... the same applies to humans... so, basically, for preservation/advancement, the betterment of the society is important for the individual.
Also, just because you don't believe in a God doesn't mean you lack the basic human capacity to live in groups, make friends and fall in love, and to get sentimental. Atheists are also capable of showing charity, pity, sympathy and empathy.
Applying very simple logic (since after college, my brain is tired and I'm not very much in the mood to think too much), I'd also say that killing would be wrong because unless there was a system in place to prevent killing, what would prevent you from being someone else's victim tomorrow? I could venture as far as to say that basically, your subconscious tells you killing is morally wrong because unless you were afraid to do it, and unless you prosecuted those who did, you could end up being killed, and nobody would be punished for it.
When you tell a child "Don't cheat or God will be angry", you're basically using a scare tactic... you can use a scare tactic based on anything else... instead of the child being afraid to hurt his God, he could be made afraid of hurting his parents "Mommy will be very sad if you steal that boy's pencil".
Once a little older, you can start teaching about manners and ethics, etc.
"....without being affected by the subsequent chain reaction."
WEll, at least you're admitting that there's likely to be a chain reaction. Chain reactions which cause other chain reactions, and even more chain reactions... until society degrades... every man could be someone waiting to pick your pocket... the really desperate ones murder you for money, or even clothes and food... no one feels secure in their own homes... etc etc...
So, you see... even logically, stealing is wrong...
You could tell me just about anything that any religion says is wrong, and I can give you a logical reasoning as to why it's wrong or harmful.
Non of the answers of the poll is right for me.
I do believe in god, but not that he speaks to me.
Someone could make me think that god orders me to kill by hypnotising me.
But then I probably will be unable to refuse. But if my mind is totally clear I will refuse.
i said it was the most basic instinct. i didn't say it was the strongest, and i certainly didn't say it was the only one. There are many primal motivations that are unrelated to self-preservation - and some of them override the instinct to self-preserve. We are all biologically inclined to do what's best for the species. Not for ourselves. It just so happens that in the overwhelming majority of situations, there is no conflict - what's good for us is good for the species.
It's not hard to manufacture a conflict, though. Using this thread's theme as the starting point, just say that you've been ordered to kill someone, and if you don't you will be killed instead. However, because atheism encompasses a much broader range of beliefs than theism, and because many of those beliefs give the individual ultimate authority over their own destiny, it's impossible to give a general answer to that scenario for all atheists.
(Also, atheism does not necessarily mean amysticism. It doesn't even mean non-religious - there are atheist religions. Atheism means nothing more and nothing less than not having a belief in a god. There are atheists who believe in karma, and atheists who believe that good and evil are actual "physical" forces, etc. etc. You have a very narrow view of what atheism is.)
You can't freaking well be serious. -_-
So, i show a completely atheist (not just atheist, completely amystical and irreligious) derivation of the law of reciprocity, and your answer is "well it kinda looks like karma/the golden rule, which is a religious thing, so you owe your morality (and life!) to religion after all".
Come on. -_- It seems to me that you're not really seriously interested in trying to understand an atheist viewpoint.
Just because i get close to the same functional moral results as what's written in the bible, that doesn't mean that the bible inspired or was necessary to the moral framework i outlined. Aside from the names "Peter" and "Paul", did you see anything in my outline of atheist children's morality that came from any religion?
And as for the objection: "it is actually possible, if you are smart enough, to steal without being affected by the subsequent chain reaction." Yes, it is. But you'd have to be omniscient to be "smart enough", and i'm not. So logically, the smart thing to do is to avoid causing harm.
You seem to be under the impression that we are all savage and selfish animals barely restrained by the trappings of religion. Is that what you believe? If it were proven tomorrow that no god existed, would you go on a murder/rape/theft rampage?
Pardon me but..Jesus Christ!! you are one mixed up kid. You did not 'tore my argument to peaces. or did you mean pieces? Providing a defenition of the word is not the same as explaining why it is wrong. Steel is a metal, steal means to take something that does not belong to you. Morality is not burned in our DNA, our instincts does not include thou shall not steal. If we were born with morals, we wouldnt have crime, wars and terrorists. We wouldnt need laws, and the justice system would be useless. Morals are learned. Each society has a different set. Stealing is wrong, for us its wrong because of our society, our rules. Your moral set as you define it is based on causing someone distress. Stealing is wrong because you cause someone distress. Killing is wrong because you cause someone distress. Then by your moral set, your existence is wrong, because you are causing me distress. We cannot just say something is wrong because it is.
We also have an instinct for self preservation yet people kill them selves, we have an instinct to protect our offspring yet there are parents who kill there children, we are burn with an instinct to pass on our DNA yet there are people who chose never to have children.
Every one has a sense of morality, its instinctual. Every religion and philosophy has morels, even the church of satin (one of th most arrogant philosophy's in the world) has a morality.
I am comfortable with the idea of surrendering my thoughts and actions to God - because that's what we're supposed to do. It would be scary, that I won't deny, but God is superior. God knows everything. God does everything, and for a reason.
If I were ordered to kill, it would be for a reason. Perhaps I can't tell you that reason, but I know there would be an underlying meaning.
And it is not wise to disobey God - He flooded the world, destroyed many a city, and is the final judge.
I disagree. A parent may give his life for his child, and you could say that is instinct to preserve his genome. But would you trade your life for a stranger's? Why? if you are atheist, it doesnt make sense. knowing this is all you have, when you die its over. My life for this stranger's life? no way. For a theist, this would translate to my soul for this guy's soul..no way. My life for his life? sure why not. but my soul goes to heaven. its the same selfish reasoning only in different levels.
Not really. If your thinking of the species, Hitler had the right idea. And I would probably be one of the first ones in the oven.
I understand atheism basically means not believing in a god. But I have thought a lot about atheism (not as much as you though), my views are not narrow by normal standards. My view is, if you believe in anything that is supernatural (mysticism etc..) I can argue that you would have to acknowledge the existence of a supreme being. So to me, a mystic atheist just has not thought his belief system through.
Im sorry, I guess my theist upbringing is pretty thick. I do believe in open thought, and would like very much to gain insight on what atheists think. I have to admit, I have no idea what this law of reciprocity is or where it came from. Is it the same as the quadratic law of reciprocity? if so I dont see how it applies here. but you have to admit, it really does look like karma? common view.
"...So if you don't want to be harmed, don't harm others. --Indi"
Bears striking resemblance to:
"Doing to others as we would have them do to us." --Matthew 7:12
Im not saying you could not have come up with the golden rule on your own without religion. Thats entirely possible.
You dont have to be omnicient. People do it all the time. Politicians do it, and are doing it as we speak (or read) Lawyers do it all the time, what about Identity theft? do you think all those who do it get caught?
I know, but like I keep saying, Im not demonizing atheists. It does not matter what you believe in. There are evil Christians. There are evil theists. I think that if you are a good person then you can be satanic for all I care, but still be a good person. Im just trying to point out how important theism is to our society. And I get ticked off when I see people toss it out the window without thoroughly thinking about it. I sincerely think that without religion our society will collapse, because there are really bad, evil people out there, and a lot more stupid people. And if you put evil people in charge of a lot of stupid people...well you get the picture.
Yoou've thought allot about atheism? No you havn't, you keep sayiong atheists are amorel dicks who only care about them selvs. That is not the way atheists are. Atheists are just as giving as theists, atheists are just as caring as theists, atheists are just as morel than theusts, atheists are just as ethical as theists, no atheitst are even more so than theists. You keep talking about logic but your argumints have no logic in them.
If god ordered me to kill, I would without question. Of course I would have to be sure it was actually God asking lol.. but yea. There is a story in the bible where he asked somebody to kill his own son in order to test his faith. He stopped him at the last instant of course, but he was gonna do it, and therefore passed the test!
This thread scars me. 1 person saying "if God told me to kill, I'd do it" is too many. What you people are saying is "if I go insane and start hearing voices that I believe to be God, I'd do what the voice says even if its wrong."
The answer form every one should be "No", even if you believe on God cause if your hearing voices, you could be crazy or it could be the devil tricking you into killing. Even if you are convinced its God you still shouldn't do it cause you are human and humans can be manipulated into believing things.
You cannot be hypnotised to kill somebody if it is against your nature.
And what's to prevent the religious, yet evil people from taking control? Have you never heard of religious wars?
And why is that?
Don't tell me being atheist automatically qualifies you as being a really, really evil person?
And like I said in my previous post, you don't really need religion to reach the moral and ethical ideals you've reached with religion. You can get there mostly by logic, or just a general sense of right and wrong, harmful and helpful.
This is easy for you to say because you've already assumed that there's no God. So whenever someone thinks God is asking him to kill someone, YOUR first thought is that that person is somehow being manipulated or has lost mental stability.
However, if you just imagine that there is a God who created the world, is omniscient, and does everything for one's good, and if you are sure beyond a doubt that it is THIS God telling you to kill someone (which is the hypothetical situation created by Indi), then what?
If animals can find motivation for altruistic behaviour, it hardly requires theology. Altruism is a documented fact in nature. It doesn't require a theology to happen. There are many theories for why it happens, if you care to research them.
As i've said, you have a very dim view of human/animal behaviour. Despite what you seem to think, we're not all biologically inclined to be wildly murderous or selfishly savage.
You also seem bound by the thought that nothing matters to atheists but feeling good, avoiding suffering and living as long as possible, even if that life is without any greater purpose - essentially hedonism in the extreme. Just because an atheist's purpose for living is not externally defined by a supernatural entity doesn't mean that they have no purpose at all. There are such a wide range of atheists that there is no single purpose that you can generalize to all of them.
For me, everything that i am, was and ever will be - the very thing that defines my existence - is the effect i make on the universe while i exist in it. If i leave no trace of my existence - that is, if i've left the universe in the same state that i found it - then it would be like i never existed. If i leave a poor trace of my existence - that is, if i've left the world in a worse state than i found it - then it would be as if i shouldn't have existed. Thus my purpose for existing is to leave a positive trace on the universe. That's why i became a peacekeeper, then an engineer, and now i'm working towards becoming a researcher in nanotech - everything i've done has been to either eliminate or minimize suffering (peacekeeping for example), or create better conditions for the present (engineer) or future (research).
O.O! Hitler had the right idea? What idea did he or any of the nazi thinkers have that was right - aside from the idea to control a population by introducing an enemy, using that enemy to scare the bejeezus out of them, then insisting that only by giving them more power can they eliminate that enemy (a tactic that they did not invent, and has been used before and since)? The entire nazi philosophy was flawed logically and scientifically.
So, essentially, you can't think of a way to believe in the supernatural without believing in a god, therefore there can't be a way?
No, it doesn't look like karma - what it looks like is the logical conclusion for how you should behave if you assume karma exists. Karma is the means by which the law of reciprocity is enforced.
Of course, all that is irrelevant. Just because it looks like the golden rule of Christianity/Bhuddism/Hinduism/whatever, that does not mean that it owes its origin to any religion. Right in front of you - albeit in brief - i derived the ethic of reciprocity from completely atheistic and non-mystical propositions.
To claim that just because it looks like "do unto others..." is then it must have theist origins is dishonest. After all, i showed clearly that there is no need for any religion or mysticism for that ethic. Derive it yourself if you don't believe me. The starting propositions are "harm is bad", "someone who has been harmed is far more likely to cause harm than someone that has not" and "the more harm is caused, the more likely i will be a victim". That's it. If you want to make it iron-clad and generalize it, you can add the proposition that you are not omniscient, so you can never know when harm you cause will boomerang back to you. And all that is without adding the assumption that anyone else is even capable of suffering - everyone else could be shadow puppets as far as you're concerned. If you add the supposition that other people are thinking and feeling creatures too, and add just a little empathy, you make the ethic even more iron clad.
"Entirely possible"?!?! i did it! Right in front of you! In black and white (or whatever colours you have the forum set to). In simple steps. Showing all of my assumptions. You even quoted part of it above - that bit you quoted was the conclusion!
Here, i'll put it in even clearer terms:
1.) Harm is bad.
2.) An entity that has been harmed is more likely to cause harm.
3.) The more harm is caused, the greater the chance that i will be harmed.
Do you deny any of the propositions?
A.) From (1) it follows that i should want to see that the amount of harm i endure is minimized.
B.) From (A) and (3), it follows that i should want to minimize the amount of harm that is caused by everyone, in order to minimize the chance of myself being harmed.
C.) From (2) and (B), it follows that if other entities are harmed less, the chance of my getting harmed decreases.
D.) Therefore, i should minimize the amount of harm i cause other entities.
That's it. Not a verse-chapter citation or "god says" in sight. Nothing in that formulation requires any assumptions or faith. No "karma" either. Everything can be inferred from observation or logic. You don't even need to assume that anyone else but you is conscious (of course, if you do, it only supports the conclusion).
There it is. The impossible! Atheist ethics! Amazingly enough, they don't look that much different from theist ethics (hardly surprising if you assume that there is no god and theist ethics were ultimately written by people anyway - but that's hardly constructive debating because there's no way you'd accept that premise). The only real difference (other than how the ethics were derived) lies is where the seat of morality lies. For an atheist, it's internal. For a theist, it's external. Thus the key question of this thread creates a dilemma for theists, but not atheists.
(There are, of course, other minor differences due to the method of derivation. For example, how do you derive that cruelty to animals is wrong using a theist formulation? How do you show that clear cutting and the destruction of animal habitats is wrong? If we were capable of mounting an expedition to Venus, why would it be wrong to suck it dry of its mineral resources and leave it a hulk of useless dirt? Not to mention that although the law of reciprocity is mostly correct, the formulation of Jesus is flawed. Nevertheless, by and large, atheist ethics are mostly the same as theist ethics - they're just derived by different means, and the seat of authority (internal vs. external) is different.)
Eh? Do what? Predict the future? Know the consequences of their actions with absolute certainty?
Do you claim that none do, and that you know with absolute certainty that you won't?
What you're saying is "this is how i feel about it"... because? You give no reasons for your claims. You just state that theism is important without any evidence (especially in light of the fact that i showed that atheist ethics are pretty much the same). Do you have any real basis for the claim that the world will fall apart if atheists take over, other than your obvious bigotry?
You talk about how you're mad that "people" don't take theism seriously, but, frankly, i don't really care about how the world makes you feel. If you don't like that theism is being marginalized... tough. Atheism was marginalized for millenia by religious regime after religious regime, and it still continues today in many parts of the world (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_atheists and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_against_atheists). Shit happens. If you weren't actually a part of the problems outlined in the links i just gave, i might be more sympathetic to your plight. As it stands, you're insinuating atheists are amoral monsters with no evidence and no real research to back your claims up, and complaining that not everyone agrees with your largely unfounded opinions.
If you could actually point out a real reason why atheism is a threat, i'd be happy to listen - but so far all i've seen is bigotry and ignorance. Have you ever done any real research of your own into non-religious ethics and motivations? Doubtful. And yet, you have a conclusion! More than that, you have a conclusion that you are sure of - to the point where you claim that people who disagree haven't done enough thinking. You don't see a problem with that?
Such as the Taliban in charge of Afghanistan? Or centuries of theocratic rule by christianity throughout Europe, including such highlights as crusades and inquisitions?
Atheism is not evil. Theism is not evil. But evil people can co-opt either belief system to further their own evil ends.
OK. I'll concede that. You are right, altruism is a behavior produced by selective breeding. Theology just sensationalized it.
You must live in a very nice neighborhood. Good for you.
I have to say you will probably accomplish more in your life than I ever will. Your goals in life are very noble, I hope you succeed in everything that you are aspiring to do. But I hate to be the one to tell you kid, the universe is a lot bigger than all of our egos put together. I doubt the universe will even notice anything we do. (do you remember the name of the caveman who invented the wheel?) There is nothing we can do that will not eventually be done by somebody else.
I meant Eugenics. Which incidentally, will not violate your ethics. Infanticide will also be excusable under your definition of ethics. Kill babies, if their parents agree with you, then it is acceptable. No one is harmed other than your victim.
No, I can argue that if you believe in anything supernatural, then you must also believe in a supreme being.
I apologize, it looks like the effects of Karma. My mistake.
Its iron clad all right. but it doesnt hold water. It only works for people like you, who are intellectual and affluent. It would work, if we lived in a utopia.
No, people inflict harm to other people with impunity all the time. And people who do good still get harmed. Its a nice theory, but it doesnt really work.
Ouch. I guess I deserved that. Ok. I need to read more about atheism. For what its worth I apologize to anyone that I have offended.
This is my idea why atheism is a threat. The world is not ready for it. It depends too much on the assumption that humans are inherently altruistic organisms. They are not. If we were, then we would be living in paradise. As it is, our society needs laws and means to enforce those laws. Atheism does not have the necessary infrastructure in place to enforce ethics. Religion does.
You have convinced me though, ethics need not rely on theology. It exists on its own in nature. Our ability to understand and question them sets us apart from animals.
You are right. I was wrong about that.
What? Nothing he's said makes such horrible and stupid things ok in his morality. The victim is harmed, thus it is wrong in his morality!
read a damn history book! Anytime religion become very important, it leads to suffering and death, the Inquisitions and crusades of the middle ages, the human sacrifices of the Americas and lets not for get whats going on middle east right now. Thats is what religion brings, with out religion this world would be a much better place.
Well I'm an agnostic bordering atheist, in so much as I quite simply believe that there is no way that I can know the truth, but atheism makes a lot of sense to me in many regards. Although I find the "belief" in science held by some to be ridiculous. It's not like scientists make that mistake.
Anyway, in this scenario, I would refuse unless given adequate proof that the man was a threat in some way. If god does exist then he gave us free will. That much is evident at least.
If there is a god then it may just be another entity. Possibly one that came into existence several big bangs ago and evolved past physical existence before it's universe got crunched. It may well have had a shaping influence on our universe, but didn't create it.
I'm just adding that to put my stance into perspective.
I don't see the logic in saying that God is infinite and hand crafted the entire universe from nothing but there's no way that the universe itself could be infinite.
I think that all too often various branches of Christianity forget that their god gave them free will. Such as those that chose to refuse medical treatment instead leaving it in God's hands, who in turn has already insisted that it's in their hands.
I don't believe in a god that controls our life (i've a very warped mentality when it comes to the way of life and it's higher powers).
Anyway, given that the 1 true god came down and gave me that 1 instruction, i'd refuse.period.
Strange... that would mean that even I live in a verynce neighbourhood, although I don't really. However, I don't see your logic?
Indi says "we're not all biologically inclined to be wildly murderous or selfishly savage.", and you say he lives in a good neighbourhood?
So, do you live in a neighbourhood which requires you to carry a shotgun and walk in groups to avoid being wildly mudered or acted upon by savage behaviour?
Are you implying that apart from these "good neighbourhoods", all other neighbourhoods are filled with people who are wildly muderous and selfishly savage?
There's flawed logic again.
For starters, I doubt cavemen had names, but that's probably just the smallest of your logical errors...
Tell me anyway... just because we don't remember WHO in fact actually invented the wheel, do we still not use it very effectively? Would not life have been very difficult without one?
Had Edison not invented the bulb, wouldn't we still be without electric power for a long time?
Why would you rather wait for someone else to do something when you can do it now?
And what if everyone thought like you and lazed away their time because whatever one can do, someone else can eventually do anyway?
Who would make inventions?
Who would improve the standard of living?
More importantly... how does this come into a discussion of theists-vs-atheists.
Just make a very simple assumption that the baby in question could have been a leading researcher among a team of doctors to have found the cure for cancer or a vaccine against AIDS, or any otherbig disease.
Alternately, assume that he may have been the inventer of an alternate mode of transport that is highly convenient and yet, very fuel efficient.
Alternatively, assume he could have been a politician who could have changed a great many things about the world (or at least of that particular country).
Even if you assume that the baby you killed isn't going to be any of those things... just think along the lines of what Indi said... every living being has some amount of influence on the universe (any change, no matter how small, in this world, affects the universe, since the world is a part of it)... by killing the baby, you are deriving the world of a chance to have some sort of change in it.
Also, the baby, if allowed to live and become a man (no matter how wretched or waste his life may be) would still have some amount of effect on others. He could invoke thought, poetry, literature... yet, invoke feelings of empathy, sympathy... love?
I don't live in Utopia... I live in a rather poor little country in Asia, and this logic still makes sense to me.
So, basically, you're saying we should act the way others act? If you kill my father, should I kill your wife?
But what do I get out of it? Happiness? I doubt it. If I felt pain when you killed my father, I'd feel pain at even more loss of life. Of couse, if I was a psychopath gaining pleasure from watching people die, that would be different. However, let's just assume that most of the world's population does not consist of murderous psychopaths.
I don't think atheistic progression of a society depends on the assumption that humans are inherently altruistic. Me and Indi have already proven with simple logic that what may appear altruistic is actually the only way to do something in order for us to propagate or live as we are living now.
Rad Ultima 2
Would God be upset at him if he refused to kill his son?
Your logic is odd. Who cares if anyone remembers that it was me, personally, that invented the wheel? I'll be dead - the popularity or lack thereof will hardly affect me. Yet the wheel exists. That's what matters - why would personal credit be an issue?
Right now i'm enjoying an ice-cold can of caffeinated sin - the sweet nectar of the gods that fuels my existence. i don't know who invented cola. i don't know who invented the can. i can't remember off the top of my head the list of people responsible for the theory and application that led to the refrigerator. Their names and life stories may be of mild interest, i suppose, but i don't really care about them at the moment. All i care about as i suck back another swig of liquid bliss is that it's DAMN good, and it's DAMN good to have it in a convenient can form, chilled just above freezing. Even though the specific names of the people responsible for this miracle aren't on the tip of my tongue, i thank them wholeheartedly for making my life happier.
Someday i hope someone will say the same about me and something i've left behind. i don't care if they don't know my name. The point is that i would have made their lives better, just as others have done for me before me. All that we are in the end is the effect we leave on the universe. All i want is to leave the best trace on the fabric of the cosmos that i can, because then that would have validated my existence, and made my life meaningful.
Hitler's "eugenics" program had no rational basis in science or in logic. His entire philosophy was founded on false premises based on a very narrow worldview that was defined by a sense of self-superiority. Eugenics in general is a flawed concept based on a misunderstanding of Darwin's "survival of the fittest" law. It misinterprets "fittest" as a judgement that can be made in advance of survival. That's simply not correct. The opposite is true. An organism does not survive because it is fit. It is fit because it survives. Artificially selecting who will survive and who won't will make the survivors fit for only one thing: the selection process. They won't necessarily be fit for actually existing in reality.
Infanticide is not "excusable" under my ethics. It may be allowable under the law of reciprocity, but as i said, reciprocity is a shallow ethic - it's a child's morality. The real world is far more complex, and a deeper understanding with more advanced ethics is necessary in order to act morally within it. Observe:
The core premise - that every human life is valuable - i will have to present without proof, because the proof is very long and complicated. But here are some highlights so you can get the gist of it. First of all, when considered as a whole, the average human being makes more positive contributions to humanity than negative. Why? Several reasons. First the biological: each person increases the genetic diversity, which makes the species more robust. Second, the logistical: it's actually really, really hard to hurt the species in any large-scale, lasting fashion, although it's not that hard to make a small contribution to increasing the survival chances of the species - a handful of people can invent something like a more efficient refrigerator that will make life better for millions, including subsequent generations, but what can a handful of people do to harm that many people (and when i say harm in this case, i don't just mean hurt their feelings, i mean cause harm that damages the species). Third, the empirical: get a hundred people in a room - what percentage of those people do you think are doing something to contribute to the betterment of mankind, and do you think that percentage is greater than the percentage of people who are doing something to actually harm it (and the people who are doing no measurable good or harm are neutral, so they don't count for either side)?
So, given the assumption that an average person is more likely to make a positive contribution to mankind than a negative, and given the fact that without omniscience you can never know whether a person's net contribution over their life will be positive or negative, the logical bet is to assume that they are going to make a positive contribution. It's a safe bet, too, because if a person tries to do harm to the species there will most likely be an effort to stop them (because the species itself doesn't want to be harmed), whereas if a person tries to do good for the species there will most likely be an effort to assist them. So essentially, a person is more likely to do good for the species (which is a basic trait bred into us, for obvious reasons), and they are more likely to succeed in an attempt to do good because they will be supported (generally speaking).
As i said, it's a long and complicated proof, and the wall of text above is just the cole's notes version. But the conclusion is that the general assumption is that a human life is valuable because it is more likely to have a positive net influence on the universe (with the unstated assumption that what's good for mankind is good for the universe in general).
So given that a human life is valuable, obviously infanticide is not an intelligent decision. The child you kill may grow up to be an Einstein or a Hitler, but statistically they are more likely to be a Spencer Silver (invented the glue used on post-it notes, although he did not realize that it was useful at the time). And if they do become a Hitler, that's the risk we have to take in order to get the Einsteins - people should be punished for crimes they have committed, not crimes they may commit. To deny a person life because they might be evil is immoral. Therefore, the logical moral choice is that infanticide is not right.
The same argument can be extended to eugenics, with the additional weight of the biological evolutionary factors that eugenics proponents don't grok. Both are specific instances of the general conclusion that intelligent life has an average net positve value.
The law of reciprocity is children's ethics. You can't actually build a functional, growing society using it. Real ethics requires real thought.
Which means that someone who believes in ghosts but not god is... what? Stupider than you? Or they just haven't given their beliefs that much thought - you have given their beliefs more thought than they have?
But i don't get your argument. Why does assuming we can't predict that a harmful action will eventually come back to harm us fail in an imperfect world?
The point isn't that it happens, it's that you can't predict when it will happen. You can't predict in advance whether a good deed will result in good or harm, but it's more likely that a good deed will result in good to you, no? Same for bad deeds - you can't predict that a bad deed will result in harm to you, but it's far more likely that it will, eventually. Sometimes you'll be harmed while doing good, sometimes you may do harm and get away with it, but both of those results are statistically unlikely. So what choice to you make? The safe choice, logically. You're less likely to be harmed if you do no harm. If you do harm and hope to get away with it, you're just taking unnecessary risks for only slight chance of benefit. In other words, you're being crazy.
The same situation exists in an external ethics system, such as yours. You know that God will be displeased if you hurt others. But on the other hand, you know that there are people who displease God with their actions, and do a lot of harm. So you have a choice. Play it safe and leave them be, doing no harm. Or kill them, doing a service for God by removing the dangerous person - on the one hand, God may be pleased with your action (there are several instances in the bible of God celebrating people who killed bad people, often without prompting from God)... but that's not very likely, is it? Chances are, he'll be pissed. Essentially, you would be taking the unnecessary risk of displeasing God for a slight chance of pleasing him. Who'd take such a wild risk, other than a crazy person?
Altruism is a nice but unnecessary component for a civilization to survive. All that a civilization needs of its citizens in order to survive is for its citizens to not do anything to harm the civilization.
If you had a civilzation full of people who did no good, but did no harm, the civilzation would continue to exist. It won't grow, and it won't imrpove, but it will survive.
If you then add a drive to make a positive influence on the universe, now the civilzation grows.
You see? Altruism is not required. It exists, i've already shown that, but it's not necessary for the survival of a civilization - it's simply icing on the cake. All you need for a civilization to survive is an ethic to do as little harm as possible. From an atheist perspective, a child's ethical framework - the law of reciprocity - is sufficient for that.
But if survival is not enough, if you actually want your civilization to grow and improve, you need more. Not much more though. All you need is a drive to make the world better. Given that all an atheist has is the world, they have far more motivation to make it better than a theist, who has a heaven to look forward to. What motivation does a theist have to do something that will benefit the human race? All they have to do is follow the rules and do no evil and they're going to heaven (pretty much) - why should they invest their lives in improving a world that they're only passing through, when the world they really care about is heaven/hell?
Given those points, i state that both theist and atheist ethics are sufficient for maintaining a civilization. However, atheist ethics are better suited for improving a situation. As evidence, i submit the centuries of theocratic rule throughout Europe and the Middle East with little or no advancement of the society, as compared with the current rise in atheist principles in civilization (starting with the separation of church and state) that correlates to the rapid advancement of the last two centuries.
If God ordered Abraham to kill his son, and Abraham refused - this would prove to God that Abraham was disloyal and disobedient.
I think the God talk to Abraham is fake.
from what I know the God is All-knowing.
but The God in the story don't know the Loyality of Abraham
and have to making testing on him.
why the God have to ask something that He Alraeday know?
The God is doubt on His Own ability of Knowing.
that's probably the evil.
I will not kill my son or maybe Adolf Hitler if the God order me to Kill someone for good.
that's my answer, Mr Indi
I don't believe or i will not obey to the God that's allow killing as a solution to defeat His Enemy.
The fact is God wouldn't ask you to commit a sin.
So none of the choices really apply.
Why would God need to test him when God is omniscient? Or is God not omniscient? Cause if God needed to test him than God can not be omniscient.
God needs prove? You do not need prove to believe in God, but God needs prove to believe in you? Please clear it, who is omniscient, God or you?
Everybody seems to assume that God was testing Abraham when he ordered him to kill his son. To me, that sounds like a childish assumption.
Doesn't it make more sense to say that Abraham was testing God?
Anyway, the point of the question here is that you don't know why God has asked you to kill. I did not say this was a test of faith. If you assume he's just testing you and refuse on those grounds, fine and good. But what if he wasn't testing you? What if he had some greater purpose that required you to act? Many parts of his plan in the past have required people to act in certain ways. What would have happened if Herod had relented and not executed Jesus? What if that Egyptian had not saved Moses? What if you were supposed to kill someone at a certain time... and did not?
The fact is, in just about every major religion, he has.
So maybe you'd better read up on your religion a bit more, hm?
Rad Ultima 2
Thanks for those who replied to my last message/question. Here are some of my thoughts:
Does God know the past, present, and future of every place at every time?
If he does, than this means that he already knew what Abe was going to do. Technically speaking, it did not prove to him anything then. Instead, I think this was to get the message across to us that we should place God's plans above our own.
If he does not know the past, present, and future, then this means he really was testing Abe's faith/loyalty to God. However, that would also support that he gave us a choice (like with Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) and did not know what we would choose.
Just my thoughts.
I'm an atheist, so if a supernatural being ordered me to kill somebody, I would assume I was having a severe mental breakdown and seek medical attention, and take my chances with the lightning bolts.
Unless I was ordered to kill Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin by having them buried alive in a dumpster full of syphilitic rats. Or eaten by wolves. Or gunned down by wolves, from a helicopter. That would be cool.
well i f there is a God (and spirits!!!) and it wants to kill someone (actually a spirit since the spirit just lives on after the body has collapsed) - well the only one who can erase a spirit must be God! So then God erases itself!!!
Weird question, if something like that was going on in my world I would have myself committed to the nut house You know the original question, about being convinced that god was telling me to kill some random person.
I guess that's my short answer to the original question, NO!
As far as god goes, you know more humans have died on planet earth in the name of someone's god than for any other reason. Sad but true Most people think that I'm an atheist and don't believe in god, which is quite far from the truth. Thing is I believe with all my heart in god, just not a anthropomorphic god. More in a force that creates life in all forms. I don't think it is as simple in how it talks to us as voices or instructions of that sort. It is more synchronous events and an inner knowing with no voice. Things like murder and death are only the balance points for it in this world, and I feel that it can't differentiate between the sanctity of life, all life, even those that we might deem evil. Strange I know, but I think the eb and flow of dark and light, and life and death from gods perspective are radically different from how we as humans on planet earth see it.
But what do I know.....?
Being who I am today, and being brought up in a culture and trained in moral values that condemn killing other people, I would have to refuse. (considering everything that has been presented by the topic starter)
My decision stands even if it is proven to me that God exists, because then I would be led to believe he is not omnibenevolent by just observing everything around me.
From a Christian perspective, this becomes a paradox. God has given you two commands, namely, to kill, and not to kill (Exodus 20:13).
You may be familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22), in which God orders Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. It turns out this was just a test of faith, and Abraham ends up sacrificing a ram instead (luckily, an angel of God appeared to Abraham just in time to curb him from killing Isaac). Note that at this point, God had not given the 10 Commandments to Moses, so he was not in violation of anything.
At this point in time, God would be violating his own word if he were to ask anyone to kill... But ignoring that, let's get straight to the issue:
I would disobey any God that commanded me to kill, because independent of religion and God, I feel it is not right to kill [other humans].
Um... Remember Troy? Started because several Goddesses had a little argument over who was prettiest?
Or try this hypothetical on for size: Herne the Hunter appears to you in is full antlered glory as Lord of the Wild Hunt and tells you you must join his hunt as a hunter or you will become the prey? Would you join, knowing that you would be compelled to hunt down and slay some innocent person who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or would you refuse, knowing that once the hounds have your scent your fate is sealed.
Don't fall into the trap that many Pagans do and think that the Lord and Lady are all sunshine and light - they do have their dark aspects. (Hecate, the Morrigan, Ares, Hades, etc...)
As for me, if a God or Goddess popped up and said, "Hey, go kill that dude over there." I'd tell them to go stuff it where the Consort's light don't shine (In much more polite terms, though. They may not be ALL powerful, but it's still not good policy to piss them off needlessly.), and promptly strike that Diety from my Libation list.
The Old Gods are known for being petty, capricious, and vicious, and I'd prefer not to be used as a weapon by one of them. They can do their own dirty work.
As for the Christian/Jewish/Muslim God - never cared much for the schizophrenic old bastard, not gonna start taking orders from him now.
Not necessarily. If I wanted to I could believe that all supernatural events (ESP, Ghosts, poltergeists, pyrokenisis, magic, etc...) are simply poorly understood side effects of the phenomenon of quantum entanglement as controlled by human thought and perception. I may not be correct in that belief (or I might, you never know), but I can certainly believe that if I want - no supreme being involved.
I don't really believe in god, in the religious sense any way.
I just had an interesting thought though as I was pondering on the issue that if it actually was god one would have to either obey in the hope that there was a justification or disobey thereby declaring their disbelief in their gods integrity.
But what really interested me is that many people are even this moment killing other innocent people at the request of their earthly leaders/governments with very little questioning of the justification.
It's funnyb I think most people would find it easier to kill in the name of their country than in the name of their god.
Not sure waht this actually implies though. Have to think about that.