Here I was, thinking that you’re arguing a viewpoint that presumes and requires the existence of a deity as a source of morality — which is, of course, unsupportable as long as you can’t prove the existence of such a deity — and you were… um, not arguing, nor supporting such a viewpoint?
Geez! You misunderstood my argument from the beginning, even AFTER I restated it to make it clear that I was raising a secular question which was not dependent on the reality (or not) of a God.
Dude. You were just in the mood to throw rhetorical bombs at a religious person, and didn’t bother to understand what I was saying.
I will try once more. I don’t think anything I’m about to write is particularly controversial:
- When I say “moral framework” what I mean is a set of tools that help people make difficult decisions. Examples of such tools are “Love your neighbor as yourself”, OR “Treat others as you would want them to treat you”, OR “The end never justifies the means.” Those sorts of things.
- The user of the tools may or may not be religious; the tools themselves are not inherently religious; they are philosophical. (This is why my first response to you referenced Pascal’s Wager, which you flew right by without responding to. )
- If I go to a hundred people and ask them if they try to live their lives according to some moral “code”, some % of them will say yes, some will say no. The ones who say yes, in almost every case, will refer to a code imparted to them by a religion. There will be the odd person, of course who may refer to Hume, or Plato, or “enlightened self-interest” perhaps, but most will refer to back a framework they got from religion.
- Again, the person may well be an atheist who simply uses the Christian morality they learned in their youth as their “tools” for solving moral dilemmas. Doesn’t matter if they believe in a God or not, and doesn’t matter if there IS a God or not. Doesn’t matter if religion causes more evil than good, doesn’t matter if salvation is real or a myth, doesn’t matter of the Sermon on the Mount happened or not.
- Now, what happens IF, suddenly, religion is removed? Well, now, 0% of those hundred people mentioned above are living their lives according to a moral framework. And if 0% are living according to a moral framework, what sort of moral framework will they default to? (Jere Krischel understood this point from the beginning, which is why she posted what she posted.)
- My POINT is that the moral code they default to is going to be more self-centered than the one they’re currently using, and won’t end well. (For all your criticism of the macro effects of religion, the people sitting in the pews on a daily basis, be they in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, are being taught self-sacrifice, charity, giving to the community, and good works. What happens if you pull those influences out of society? What do people do then?)
So no, precisely none of my original argument depended on the actual existence of a God. It was entirely a thesis which questioned what society would be like at the local level if religious moral frameworks suddenly disappeared.
Hope that helps. And thank you for reminding me why I stopped debating religion a decade ago. Everyone keeps talking past each other.