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4/15/09

Atheism and the Columbine High School Massacre?

In the, relatively, near future I was going to mention the Columbine High School massacre but meanwhile ran across the material about the murderers contained HERE?

What thinkest thou?

24 comments:

  1. USA Today is an actual news source? Since when?

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  2. Case in point:

    ====================
    Had Harris, then 18, put off the attacks for a few years and landed a well-paying job, he says, "he could be much more like Tim McVeigh," mixing fertilizer bombs like those used in Oklahoma City in 1995. As it was, he says, the fact that Harris carried out the attack when he did probably saved hundreds of lives.

    "His limited salary probably limited the number of people who died."
    =============h======

    That's sick to say and even sicker to report as news. Please.

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  3. Here's a tip: Learn about evolution from actual biologists, and not bullshit artists like the people at any bloody "wiki" or "conservapedia".

    For one thing, you could learn what Natural Selection is, and just why some ignorant nutcases running around shooting people has got nothing to do with actual natural selection.

    Typical, Mariano, just typical.

    Jinx's quote does nothing to refute USAtoday as being a news source.

    This crap is why you're loosing your readership.

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  4. You know what opinions are like, and how many there are. Why would reading an opinion piece about Evolution be anything worthy of attention? I have lots of opinions about evolution, but I wont write them down and then offer them as information.

    Beware of people/groups who do otherwise. If not, then you're shopping for opinions, and that's nothing more than intellectual masturbation.

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  5. I think blaming things like this on evolution or atheism in some blanket way is silly. Clearly plenty of atheists do not go around killing everyone. It's the same thing as blaming it in some blanket way on violent games or something. It makes no sense.

    But I will repeat what has been said before - atheistic philosophy can't absolutely condemn this type of thing. It doesn't really have anything useful to stop this type of thing either. So before and after the fact, it can simply sit back with the sort of supposed uncaring nature of the universe. I'm not saying atheists do that, but atheistic philosophy ultimately goes back to that point - we're an accident and the universe doesn't care. As a Christian Theist however, I can consistently condemn this, and I do. I am saddened by what happened there, both for the innocent lives lost, and for the two boys who decided to do it.

    I have no doubt that their naturalistic philosophy had some role in what these boys did. But I think it was more along the lines of causing them to have emotional problems, which in their cases led to this result.

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  6. An atheist cannot consistently condemn mass murder? Since when?

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  7. I didn't say that. I did say that Christian theists can consistently condemn it however, and I meant in an absolute form, as made clear by the context.

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  8. @Leslie:

    Just wondering: since you say you can consistently condemn it, does that mean you also condemn mass murder when it's done by God (like, for instance, the killing of all the firstborn in Egypt)?

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  9. I knew that would come up at some point. I assume you already know my basic response to this. God's judgment is not at all the same as what these boys did.

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  10. Nice example of selective morality, Leslie. Then there's all the massacres done by the ancient Isrealites in the OT which served as a precedent for centuries of killings done and endorsed by John Calvin, the witch-hunters and of course your most famous theist (or at least a guy who pretended to be a theist), Adolf Hitler, who was never excommunicated from the Catholic Church, and who admired the protestant hero, Martin Luther who wrote On the Jews and Their LiesYep, it's athiests who can't condemn mass murder, yep. Because stuff like that would only put an end to the human experience as we know it, and everyone knows that that's not a good enough reason, nope! We need an invisible, morally inconsistent authority figure to tell us that!

    By the way Leslie, anyone tell you that athiesm is just a lack of belief in gods? That's it. It's not supposed to be a philosophy about anything else. Just like the belief that the earth is round is not supposed to be a philosophy of anything else.

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  11. Reynold,

    Just because you don't like the fact that a creator God who is perfect has the complete right to punish his creation, especially one who chooses to be sinful, doesn't change the fact that he still has the right do it. If you can't see the difference between the two, then I'm not sure what I can do or say to change that.

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  12. Leslie,

    Pray tell, which sin did the firstborn of Egypt choose to commit? Don't forget that these children were killed only to persuade the Pharaoh of Egypt. Also, don't forget that earlier God himself had hardened the Pharaoh's heart, so that he wouldn't give in throughout the nine other plagues that struck Egypt.
    So basically, these infants, toddlers and babies were killed by God to convince a man He himself had made un-convincible to begin with.
    Leslie, are you sure you are perfectly OK with that? Really? Would you go out on the streets with a T-shirt that says 'God kills babies. I love God'?
    Honestly, I cannot believe that.

    Fact of the matter is that your moral judgement stops at God. It always strikes me how Christians claim the higher ground, yet when it comes to God, anything goes. Whatever he does; it's good. Right?

    Oh, and by the way: just because someone has a right to do something, doesn't necessarily mean you have to agree with it.

    Example: Barack Obama certainly had the right to reverse the Bush Abortion-Funds policy. But do you agree with his decision?

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  13. Tax,

    Firstly, I think one thing needs to be made clear. If we are God's creation, we totally 100% belong to him. Our lives are in his hands and he can do with them as he pleases. Job recognized this when all the bad things happened to him - "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Maybe that doesn't always give me a warm fuzzy, but so what? Contrary to popular theology, God is not just a God of warm fuzzies. I have never heard a good answer as to why God would not have the right do with our lives as he pleases - only complaints from people who don't like it. Again, if we are indeed his creation, then it is totally consistent to believe that he is just in doing with his creation what he wants, even if the creation seems bothered by it. Hey, Jesus didn't even like it all the time, praying that he wouldn't have to go through the crucifixion, but in the end my job is to be like Him - may God's will be done, even if I don't like it.

    Secondly, you're ignoring the eternal aspect of things. You can't just take God's actions out of that context and then call him evil for it. What he did is in view of eternal consequences, not just temporary anger at the Egyptians.

    Thirdly, he warned their leader, who was responsible for his people. The leader failed to respond appropriately, so the people suffered. This is part of life. As a father and husband, when I fail, my family suffers consequences for it. It sucks for them, but that's how it is.

    Finally, contrary to popular opinion, Barack Obama is not God. He had the right to legally, but he, nor any other human, has the right to make the decision of when to take a life on their own. The only place in which humans have such authority (or any authority for that matter) is when God, who owns all authority, gives it to them.

    I know of course that you won't like these answers, because they assume the existence of God. But this is not a question of God's existence, it's a question of internal consistency. Christianity is internally consistent here.

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  14. Leslie said...

    Reynold,

    Just because you don't like the fact that a creator God who is perfect has the complete right to punish his creation, especially one who chooses to be sinful, doesn't change the fact that he still has the right do it. If you can't see the difference between the two, then I'm not sure what I can do or say to change that.
    Yeah, those lippy Amelakite babies really had it coming, didn't they?

    I guess by your reasoning, parents have the right to kill their kids when they beak off, don't they? Isn't there a bible verse about that?

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  15. Firstly, I think one thing needs to be made clear. If we are God's creation, we totally 100% belong to him. Our lives are in his hands and he can do with them as he pleases.Guess what, Tax? What you're describing is not morality.

    There's another problem, a verse (Matthew 5:48)that says:
    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.That verse says that the standards that "god" has set for us is the same standards that he sets for himself. Otherwise, that verse, even in context of the other verses around it, make no sense.

    Too bad that your god operates on a "do as I say, not do as I do" standard.

    It's odd that we're the sinful ones, yet god can do whatever he wants. Nice double standard, which totally disregards that verse.

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  16. Sorry, I forgot to add: How can your creator god be "perfect" if he's able to do whatever he wants, even if what he does would count as a "sin" if we were to do it? Remember, we're supposed to be "perfect" as he is, so that means that we're to follow his example. Nice example he's set, especially in the OT.

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  17. If we are God's creation, we totally 100% belong to him. Our lives are in his hands and he can do with them as he pleases.So, basically, you are saying that God has no responsibilities. OK.

    I have never heard a good answer as to why God would not have the right do with our lives as he pleases -...Well, how about responsibility?

    Again, if we are indeed his creation, then it is totally consistent to believe that he is just in doing with his creation what he wants,...The consistent thing to do is wonder why a God that tells his creation to not kill, expects to worship him while he does exactly that. Unless, of course, you think we should simply worship out of fear. That, indeed, IS consistent.

    ...even if the creation seems bothered by it.Which is the question I asked you in the first place, and which you haven't answered yet. So, Leslie, are you bothered by the fact that God killed children, babies and toddlers? Yes or no.

    ...but in the end my job is to be like Him - may God's will be done, even if I don't like it.There you go, you said it yourself: even if you don't like it. So what is it? Do yo or don't you like the fact that God kills babies? That's what I want to know.

    What he did is in view of eternal consequences, not just temporary anger at the Egyptians.Pray tell, what is the eternal consequence of killing the firstborn of every Egyptian (and their livestock, too).

    Thirdly, he warned their leader, who was responsible for his people.There's that word again: responsibility. It's quite ironic that you expect responsibility from humans while worshipping a God who, by your own words, has no responsibility AT ALL.

    The leader failed to respond appropriately, so the people suffered.Nice sleight of hand: you conveniently left out the fact that God earlier had hardened Pharaoh's heart, so he couldn't respond appropriately, even if he had wanted to. Quite an important detail.
    But to follow your analogy; do you think it's perfectly OK that if someone fails, his children should be targeted? If someone kills your child, would killing his child in return be a justified reaction?

    The only place in which humans have such authority (or any authority for that matter) is when God, who owns all authority, gives it to them.How can you be absolutely sure that God did not give the Columbine killers the authority to do what they did? It might have been God's will, in view of eternal consequences, remember? You can't just take God's actions out of that context and then call these actions evil, remember?

    Christianity is internally consistent here.No, you simply make your god escape through a loophole. Imagine you were there when all these children were killed; would you like the sight of it?

    You see, Leslie, it always strikes me how christians, when confronted with this question, justify God's actions by saying he had the right to do it and still is good and just.
    What they don't realise is that by doing this they actually destroy every reason to worship or even believe in this God.
    After all, if God can do anything, what difference does it make if you believe the Bible, if you follow all of its guidelines? It may all be one big lie; maybe everybody will go to Hell, regardless if they have kept the ten commandments or not. Maybe God put that story about the killing of the firstborn in the Bible to test people; to find out whether they are consequent in applying their morality universally, or rather try to excuse Him simply because he is God. Maybe God at Judgement Day will say to you: "Why didn't you, with the morality I gave you, condemn me for slaughtering innocent firstborn?", and send you to Hell for it, while atheists get sent to Heaven because they did condemn Him for it.
    If God can do anything, all of these things can be true. You cannot trust anything in the Bible. And if God made any promises in the Bible about going to Heaven if you do this or that; who are you to keep him to this promise. After all, even if he breaks this promise, he is still good and just, right?

    So: why believe in or worship this God? There is no point.

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  18. I just typed a big response to that, and then accidentally clicked away from it, and now it's gone. I'm too lazy to type it all again. I'll just say this quickly:

    A) No, I wouldn't want to be there, but that doesn't really matter since we're in different contexts. I wouldn't want to be at an execution, but I still feel like the gov't has the right to do it. I wouldn't even want to see a life saving surgery. Anyway, this is one of the first problems I ever dealt with when questioning my faith. Needless to say, I'm past it and I don't feel like this argument carries any weight against Christianity. My not wanting to see something doesn't change whether or not God has the right to do it.

    B) God is not a man. He does not have the same responsibilities to man as man has to man. I think this should be obvious. If the god you picture is just another man who has the same relationship to man as man has to his fellow man, then of course you will never understand why Christians don't seem as bothered by it as you do. This isn't to say God can do anything at all and still be consistent with his character, it just means his situation is radically different than our own. So he can do things that we can't and still be consistent with his character. This to me is one of those things.

    3) I trust God for a number of reasons I won't get into here. Obviously I'm not concerned that he's lying to me though.

    I know I'm not going to change any minds here. But I still say Christianity is internally consistent here.

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  19. A) No, I wouldn't want to be there, but that doesn't really matter since we're in different contexts. I wouldn't want to be at an execution, but I still feel like the gov't has the right to do it.Again you are hiding your moral judgement behind the 'right' of others to do things. Remember how Obama had the 'right' to reverse the abortion-policy? In that case this 'right' wasn't good enough for you. You are anything but consistent here.

    B) God is not a man. He does not have the same responsibilities to man as man has to man.Ah. Now it is getting interesting. So which responsabilities does God have to man? And since you claim God has a character; what exactly is this character? How do even know what God's character is?

    3) I trust God for a number of reasons I won't get into here.I'm sure you won't. But am I far off when I think the reason is a 'personal relationship with God'?

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  20. A) I'm not hiding anything. My subjective desire to see something has nothing to do with my moral judgment. Emotions are not the same as rational conclusions. I think it is not only morally acceptable, but morally good to perform a life saving operation on someone. Nevertheless, I would not want to be present when one was going on (unless of course I was the one being saved). Obama had the legal authority from our country to reverse the abortion policy. He did not have the moral "right" to. If our country instituted a law under which all members of congress could rape anyone they desired without any consequences, they would have the legal authority, but they still would not have the moral right to do so. I do not see how this is inconsistent. Again, my subjective feelings about something are not the same as my moral and rational judgment concerning it. God had the right to do what he did - that is my moral judgment. I cannot make it any plainer than that.

    B) I can't see any answer I give satisfying you. Your answer currently is: the Bible is false. Unless it is actually possible in your mind that the Bible is true and there is a good answer to why God would call for these things, nothing I say will matter. I'd rather not waste the time, and I would imagine that you would feel the same.

    C) Your inclination would be inaccurate. Certainly God's involvement in my life is part of why I trust him, but that is not the main reason.

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. A)Leslie, you say Obama does not have the 'moral right' to reverse the abortion policy. Yet somehow you seem to think that the government does have the 'moral right' to execute people. Why the disctinction? Where and when exactly did God give the authority you claim is needed to the government to take lives? You see, Leslie, you are anything but consistent: in one case a moral right is reason enough for you to be OK with the killing of people, yet in another case it isn't.
    Maybe I wasn't clear enough, but I didn't want to know whether is is OK for God to kill babies, I wanted to know if it is OK for you. As of yet you have given no good reason as to why your moral judgment should stop at God. If your moral judgment says: "It's ok with me because God had the right", then you are basically saying 'might is right', no matter which way you try to spin it.
    The reality though, is that you do not agree with God killing babies, but since it is the God you worship, and criticizing Him might cost you your seat in Heaven, you must find a loophole for him to escape. But trust me, Leslie, you're not alone: I've seen every christian I've asked this question do this.

    B)Not at all. Like I already said: the discussion was just getting interesting. But if you consider it a waste of time...well, OK: concession accepted. :-P

    C)Well, please enlighten us. Why so secretive? Unless, of course, you consider it a waste of time.

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  23. Here's all I mean when I say "waste of time": I don't see this conversation really going anywhere, and I'm just getting sort of bored with it. I hope that doesn't come off as a personal attack because I definitely do not mean it that way. It has nothing to do with you. I just get tired with going back and forth in blog comments after a while, especially if I don't see it really changing anything. I'll respond briefly here, but then I will take my leave. Feel free to respond - I'll read it - I just won't respond again, for the previously mentioned reasons.

    A) No, I'm not saying might makes right. I suppose if anything I say is spinning it then whatever I say won't matter. But I'll give it a shot anyway. The reason God has the authority is not at all connected to the "might makes right" phrase. It is, as I have stated before, because he created us (we totally belong to him in every way), and also because he is in control of our eternities also, i.e. our lives ending here is not the end of our existence totally, and he is in control of that existence as well. Humans share neither of these positions with God, therefore, humans do not have the same authority as God - we only have the authority here when God gives it to us, such as is the case with governments putting criminals to death. So, regardless of your accusations, I do not have a moral or rational problem with God killing his creation. He has the moral authority to do so. It belongs to him.

    B) Until you agree with the conclusion I came to in point A, nothing here would matter. You have to at least be open to the possibility that God could have the moral authority to do that. Also, you have to be open to the Bible being true, but that would take an entirely different discussion. The more broad you get in a debate, the more difficult it becomes to have a meaningful one.

    C) I'm not being secretive, it just seems besides the point to me.

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