Observations

I am always surprised how often atheists of even the most sophisticated variety miss the mark when it comes to discussions on morality. The question really isn’t whether a particular behavior can be explained or understood ‘naturally’, the question of the ages is can human behavior rise above nature?

Interestingly Jesus addressed that very question when He said:

Matthew 5:43-48

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

We can easily explain the way Nazi’s treated people via naturalism, but a transcendent morality is necessary to explain the actions of the people of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.

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3 Responses to Observations

  1. Mike D says:

    Oh, and in the spirit of fairness, since I couldn’t resist responding to this one, you’re not blacklisted anymore.

  2. jackhudson says:

    Thanks for responding Mike, I didn’t see you had another post out there until just now – WordPress holds posts with lots of links until they are approved.

    I have to say I am not a big fan of ‘argument via link’ that one so often finds on the internet – partly because it isn’t really evident what you are seeking to prove or what relevance it has on the discussion. Taken on a whole it appears what you are trying to support is de Waal’s conclusion that, “There is now increasing evidence that the brain is hardwired for social connection, and that the same empathy mechanism proposed to underlie human altruism (Batson 1991) may underlie the directed altruism of other animals.” If that is the case, then you seem to have missed the whole point of the post – I readily concede that we are naturally inclined to help those we see as being in our social group – that is what Christ was saying when he pointing out that our natural behavioral inclinations (to love those who love us, or greet ‘your own people’) wasn’t equal to the transcendent moral courage necessary to be His follower. Those behaviors can be easily explained as a byproduct of the fact that we designed to create cooperative social groups.

    But apes and humans are also aggressive to those they see as outsiders or competitors to natural resources. Chimps are known to kill males of another group and eat their offspring. If natural behavior = moral behavior as you seem to be trying to demonstrate, then we could easily justify the acts of the Nazi’s.

    But what none of this explains is why an entire village would conspire together to knowingly risk life and limb for complete outsiders with no self-benefit. More importantly, why do they appear to be the only community in occupied France to do so, if in fact such behaviors are natural? Mere comparisons to apes sharing sticks don’t suffice here, despite your tendency to absurd reductionism, but such actions can readily be understood by one familiar with the teachings of Christ on this matter. We don’t have to guess what motivated the citizens of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon it is already well documented; there is no indication it was their genes.

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