Sunday School

Sunday School January 20th 2019

This topic contains 44 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    The benefits of a Catholic education and the magazine that according to a Christian hate group is glorifying the homosexual lifestyle choice. Meanwhile the Vatican claims that a priest had consensual sex with a teenager.

    National Religious Freedom Day was last week. Who gets the most freedom? Project Blitz continues to ensure Christians will. Will that help promote the Christian Scientist lifestyle choice?

    A Turkish theologian gets dismissed for defending atheists.

    Here is a fun one this week. Does this apologist really destroy atheism in one tweet?

    Truth and Transparency is a site worth a visit.

    This weeks’ Woo: Fasting diets need the backing of Science.

    Climate Change: The Paris Agreement rule-book explained.

    Opponents of GMO’s and scientific literacy.

    I knew thinking I was dumb was irrational. Now where did I leave my bosons and bubbles?

    Philosophy should make you think differently even when it comes to Science.

    A computer scientist on free will. Does he consider his own decision making an art?

    What is this thing you call social justice?

    This week I am reading this book: Educated.

    We pause to remember: All our final conversations.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video:  How Neanderthal are you? Sam Harris on Quackery.


    Have a great week everyone!!

    Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.

    Thomas Jefferson, 1787.



    As for catholic education,,,In the 40 plus years after graduating from catholic school I have yet to meet a bigger bunch of assholes.



    Thanks, Reg!  Snowed in, here. Nice to have some quiet reading today. Plow guys nowhere to be seen as 15” snow buries the garden and driveway.


    Sounds like a good plan Strega. A bad plan would be to travel to Sydney this week.



    Bloody hell!


    Simon Paynton

    Does this apologist really destroy atheism in one tweet?

    – there’s a lot here to answer, and a lot to say.  I’ll take Dr Salviander’s points in the initial tweet:

    2. However, also start with Christian morality

    We start with a Western morality, if that is what she means.

    3. Remove the bits you personally don’t like

    I think it’s fair enough to do that.  What does anybody do?

    4. Proclaim that it’s self-evident

    To be fair, I don’t believe that atheists actually do this.  We try and find reasons for “our” (i.e. Godless) morality.  Or, more usually, we knock down the other side without proposing anything in its place.  But I don’t find that point 4. is true.

    5. Ignore the meaninglessness of a Godless universe

    She has a kind of point, in that the existentialist philosophers (I believe) embraced the “meaninglessness of a Godless universe”.

    However, life without God is not meaningless.  I will agree, that the over-arching transcendent meaning provided by belief in God is a good source of meaning for those who like that sort of thing.

    My life as an atheist isn’t meaningless.  One meaning of “meaning” is the way that something is relevant to my goals: I want to thrive and survive: things have meaning in the way that they are relevant to these primary goals.

    However, some atheists are prone to finding life meaningless, it’s true.  How could someone “ignore” meaninglessness?


    Simon Paynton

    The article makes a number of points in itself.

    Without a transcendent Being that has authority, no one can rightfully claim that it’s wrong to do anything. Without the existence of a God, I am free to do whatever I want.

    The point here is, I think, who keeps people in line without God?  The answer is, each other.  You’re free to do whatever you want, and you’re free to take the consequences of those actions.

    Sure, people can band together and form a society that restricts actions that they agree impede their collective goals. But, if another group takes power and decides to pursue goals that allow for previously restricted actions to be unrestricted, there is no outside authority to which those who disagree can appeal to. Might makes right.

    The other groups keep this bully group in line.  Again, the “groups” answer to “who keeps this group in line?” is “other groups”.

    Many atheists like to pretend that their position is the intellectual position. It’s not. It’s a wholly unsubstantiated claim that has to steal ethics from the Christian worldview in order to keep from promoting a society ruled by utter chaos.

    Dr Salviander says in a tweet:

    My first Atheist crisis occurred in college when I tried a bottom-up approach to designing, from observable facts and pure reason, what was essentially a Godless Christian morality. It failed spectacularly.

    She should have tried harder.  I agree that moral philosophy is generally a failure, and Christian ethics are generally a success.  But we can reconcile the two.



    Simon Paynton

    The author of the article, John Ellis, says this:

    The reality is that if the universe is impersonal, then morality is socially constructed with no basis in objectivity.

    It depends what you mean by “objective”.  I presume that the Christian definition, or Ellis’ definition at least, is having an external arbiter outside of any human being.  For an atheist, this doesn’t really happen.

    But there are other forms of objectivity, and one which I suspect that Dr Salviander would subscribe to is “something that everyone believes”.  In this form, objective morality exists, in two versions: small group morality (interpersonal morality) and large group morality.

    Since small group or interpersonal morality [must have at least begun to have] evolved around 2 million years ago, those people were the ancestors of the entire human race, and we have all inherited their morality of kindness, fairness and personal loyalty/obligation.  If you think about it, these are the qualities needed to cooperate in small groups on the savannah.

    Later, from perhaps 4 hundred thousand years ago, we began to form larger groups.  Large group morality accounts for the moral foundations of authority/tradition/subersion, liberty/oppression, and loyalty to the group.  Another moral foundation (as proposed by Jonathan Haidt) is moral purity which gets confused with physical cleanliness.  This must have evolved with large groups as large groups require social norms to regulate everyone.

    All groups tend to treat out-group members with disdain, as “outsiders” (gaijin (Japanese), gorgeas (gypsy), gringos (Mexican(?)), goyem (Jewish)) and fair game for rough treatment.  If a group is a cooperative unit, then outsiders are potentially cheats and free riders.

    And so, here is a version of (interpersonal) objective morality, the moral compass, based on putting either “me first” or “we / you first” and combinations thereof.  We can construct this, because it exists in real life.


    Simon Paynton

    an external arbiter outside of any human being

    There’s also this: the pressure to thrive and survive, common to all living things.  Along with cooperation, this was Jesus’ main message in my opinion.  Simples.



    @simonpaynton Re meaning or lack thereof.

    Who do you want to matter to?  Why do you want to matter? Why do you feel your life ought to have meaning? Where does the desire for meaning come from?



    Simon, you seem oblivious about the purpose of the jesus. Its not about thriving, it’s about dying. To save you from the celestial dictator. You really need to read your bible. I can’t believe I just said that,


    Along with cooperation, this was Jesus’ main message in my opinion…

    I also don’t get that Simon. Jesus was all about abandoning everything. In some verse in Luke 14 Jesus says that if you want to follow him you must love him more than anyone in your own family. You must love him even more than your own life! How can anyone thrive under those mandatory conditions??

    Nothing in this world matters. It is all about the next life. This is delusional madness. Forget the Jesus character, if he even existed. There is nothing of value to be gleaned amongst the horrors of the Bible that cannot be discovered by non religious dialogue. It will even shine brighter if you dig it up yourself.

    We are talking about the same guy, yeah?



    Thanks for the Sunday School Reg!

    Enjoyed the article “We pause to remember: All our final conversations.” Was struck by the number of people that claim that “the room is crowded” when there is no one there. I think it has to do with not wanting to die alone. Not wanting to be alone cause dying is scary enough.


    I think Noel that we all die alone, no matter how many spectators are present 🙂

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