Words from a Father

Husband of One, Father of Four

Tag: anti-theist

461. Essay: Justice’s Framework

Justice is always couched in the language of measuring something against a perfect standard. If the thing falls short of what is right and good, we call it unjust; if it upholds what is right and good, we call it just.

But unless a theistic framework is used (and, I believe, specifically a Judeo-Christian one), no individual can level accusations of what is right or wrong, what is good or bad, and of what we ought or ought not do.

The two options then become:

  1. Approach justice from within a theistic framework: This means the anti-theist has not only ceded the high ground, but all ground upon which to stand.
  2. Reject the theistic framework: This makes the anti-theist unable to offer any guidance as to what justice could possibly mean, because temporary justice is simply no justice at all — it will either be utilitarian (“Let’s do this because it seems to work and make people happy.”) or humanistic (“We humans make our own rules so we should try to be nicer, I guess.”) or fatalistic (“This is the best we’ve got; we’ve never done better as a species and we probably never will.”).

When Marcus Aurelius wrote that injustice is impiety, I believe he was being perfectly rational and I think he was right. Injustice is an affront to a perfect being. But be certain of this: that thought came from the seedbed of theism. It could not have come from anywhere else and it cannot find its ultimate expression apart from an eternality imbued with perfect justice.

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458. Anti-theist Rage

It is hypocritical for an anti-theist to rage about God commanding slaughter at a few defined instances in the Bible, yet they do not rage against the perpetual daily slaughter of innocent children by abortion.

422. Essay: Morals, Ethics, and Laws at the World’s End

Morals, ethics, and laws are three different things.

Morals come from a divine source; they are foundational and, it could be argued, absolute regardless whether we agree with them and abide by them or not. Ethics are mankind’s way of codifying standards apart from a divine source, whether springing from a philosophy that is utilitarian, practical, altruistic, lack of purposeful harm, social contract, or what have you. Ethics are circumstantial. Laws are the details, whether coming straight from the undercurrent of moral absolutes via ethics, or coming from ethics without explicitly acknowledging moral codes. Either way, it’s a trickle down from the immovable to the detailed. Separating them this way helps me see them a bit clearer.

All ethical codes and laws are of temporal good, not eternal good; that’s the purpose moral absolutes serve. Ethical codes and laws will always eventually be shown futile because — and this is key — they do not change a person on the inside, but only recommend restraint of outward actions. True restraint, however, only comes from within, thus the emphasis on “internalizing” whatever ethical code one takes as their own. Think of all the laws passed in a city. Now imagine that city has suffered a cataclysm. No amount of signs reminding people not to steal will matter one bit; it’s every person for themselves. But no worry in imagining; it’ll happen again in just a little while. The world doesn’t go for too long in a state of meek stasis because we still haven’t been changed on the inside.

Now fast-forward to the end of the world as our solar system rips apart by colliding with another. If all is lost at that point, which laws matter and which do not? The correct answer from the anti-theist is that none of them do except as a form of control, a form of social etiquette. But when the earth’s mantle is caving in, etiquette matters not.

When did those laws cease to matter? A day before the cataclysm? A month? Five years or a thousand years before? There’s no clear time when they would be futile, so they shouldn’t matter now. It truly is just a matter of time. Let’s not begrudge a few moments here or there when the universe is winding down to its eventual heat death.

Laws are not an objective — immovable — standard. Whenever someone sees fit to break a law, they will and with little consequence. But breaking a moral injunction is akin to disemboweling your own conscience. The consequences are internal and they are grave, eventually spilling out over your stumbling feet. Without an objective moral standard, we tug at the fragile strings of what it means to be human, not realizing it is the cord holding back the hand with Dorian Gray’s dagger. Pull too hard and the youth dies in anguish with nothing but the remnants of a ruined life painted for all to see.

While each decade seems to display mankind’s increased ruination, keeping objective moral standards in place is our only saving grace. At the world’s end only an objective moral standard has enough impetus upon the human heart for right action, and that only comes from God, along with His promised strength to accomplish it.

420. Essay: The Paradox of Patience: Virtue or Figment

If an anti-theist tells you patience is a virtue, ask, “Why is patience virtuous? Humans are selfish by nature, so why is it a good thing to squelch one of the primary things that makes us human?”

Is it so we’re nicer to each other? No. At most, patience may only affect how quickly we start yelling at the moron who won’t drive when the light turns green. Patience barely registers as nice. We still yell.

Does exhibiting patience show that a person is internally good? No. Niceness is utterly distinct from goodness. Niceness is external; it’s about interacting with others. Goodness is about the essence of a thing; it is internal. Niceness will be exuded from the good, but goodness is not a byproduct of platitudes.

Is patience about acting in a more socially acceptable manner?

People tell others to be patient because selfishness is one of the brute facts of being human — evidenced by the sheer quantity of its existence. They are calling them to something higher, something above ourselves, something unattainable within the basic frame of being human. Patience is a charge: a delicate mixing of command and invitation, an entrustment of responsibility. But that is not all. The charge to be patient is the charge to look at true goodness and become like it so that you may practice the qualities of the good, of which patience is one. “Be patient,” is meaningless without an example of perfection because it is then only utilitarian. And if it is utilitarian it will be only a matter of time until patience is no longer useful; then it will not even be utilitarian, but begin to stumble under the terms that other undesirable qualities receive: antiquated, puritanical, old hat, not helpful in my situation, doesn’t apply to this circumstance.

You see, virtue is a religious term stemming from the understanding of the moral perfection of mankind. Anti-theism is not the least bit concerned with religion (obviously) or virtuousness. Virtue can only exist if there is a perfect standard, but perfection is not scientific, not evolutionary, not materialistic. Good and bad, right and wrong, ought and ought not are outside of the domain of science, evolution, and materialism. These things only exist where moral law is necessary and religion (the canonization of moral law aligned with the character of God) flourishes — in other words, virtues only exist where divinity exists.

My conclusion, then, is that patience may only be charged if virtues are necessary. Virtues are necessary if goodness exists. Goodness exists if a perfect standard exists. And a perfect standard exists only if God — perfect goodness in Himself — exists. However, if God does not exist, neither does a perfect standard. If there is no perfect standard, then goodness does not exist. If not goodness, then not virtues, of which patience is one — and it is not a human virtue, but one issuing from the essence of God and imparted within the requesting human.

If these are so, then patience may be considered a virtue; not because any society says so, but because God is patient in His essence. And if patience is a virtue, we can rightfully ask and expect ourselves and others to look to God’s example of patience in Jesus Christ. If none of these things are true, then requiring patience of yourself or others is worthless because patience flies in the face of everything human, but is sourced in the nature of God.

Patience is either virtue vérité or futile figment.

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