At the risk of being redundant I will address some of my opponent’s folly again from his rebuttal.
My opponent’s argument consists of two parts: theoretical ans circumstantial. My goal here is to show that each part does not achieve closure.
In theoretical part there was attempt to prove quote: From a purely logical perspective the God of the Bible must be “Moral”
So far so good, I did indeed make this argument.
The standard that is “Moral” either;
- Does not exist in the absolute (if there is no supreme authority above man this is the case).
- Morals do exist in the absolute (if there is a supreme authority above man, then that authority defines what is “Moral”).
All laws passed by men are statements on the subject of right and wrong, acceptable or unacceptable. These “laws” only have authority amongst the men who author them and in the context of the authority that various men design and accept.
These “laws” have no authority in other jurisdictions and can be altered either by a change of opinion amongst the people who structured them or if the people are conquered by other men who nullify their concepts of “Morality” and replace them with their own.
Without a single authority that is superior to man there are no “absolutes”, therefore there are no “Morals”.
Just ever changing opinions on what is right or wrong based on different opinions, culture, geographical location and circumstance.
I have no doubt that my opponent tried carefully to choose his 2 stated “standards” with the intention of establishing a “Moral” standard for our debate that would be accepted by most who read them. This does not make them “Morals”. If they are not based a supreme authority then they are nothing more than the opinion of men at this given time, place and situation, just the opinion of men.
In society men are required to obey the law whether they agree with the law or not or even if they know of its existence. That is because law emanates from authority.
If God is real and as described in the Bible then he is not subject to the opinion of any part of his creation. God is the permanent authority in this scenario and therefore the definer of the standards and the definition of “Moral”.
If the God of the Bible (or any god) is not real and does not exist than there are no “Morals”, just opinions of the day that are subject to change via multiple means.
Unfortunately, this logic is flawed. The premises do not require for such God to be moral; it is easy to imagine an all-knowing, all-powerful creator and ruler, who may be a complete monster, worse than the God in the Bible. What can prevent if God wants to rape and torture young virgin girls for fun? Will it become a standard then?
Yes, in this hypothetical the standard would be terrible in mans opinion but “Moral” nonetheless.
Is it immoral when a mother abandons the runt of her litter to die?
Is it immoral when the strongest animal eats his fill first without regard to the others?
Is it immoral when one animal kills another to establish supremacy or to eat?
Is it immoral when a male animal has sex with any female he chooses without concern for her opinion?
No, because these animals are acting on instinct based on their creators design (whether you believe that creator is God or random chance is not relevant for this point)
Anyone’s “opinion” about whether these animals are acting like “Monsters” is meaningless because we have no authority over their design and actions.
My opponent may criticize the God of the Bible, reject the God of the Bible or refuse to believe in the God of the Bible if he wishes but authority is the basis for establishing a “standard”.
A “standard” is necessary to define which actions are “Moral” and which actions are not.
That definition (once established) is not subject to individual opinion or knowledge; it supersedes the opinions of those who are subject to its authority.
If God is real and defined as the Bible defines him, he is the very definition of “Moral”.
If no God is real, there is no such thing as “Morals”.
In the second circumstantial part of his response my opponent made an attempt to give justification to the atrocities God commits against innocent children in the first case on disproportional response in the second case.
False, I simply pointed out that my opponent’s claim of “innocence” was not supported in the only known text that records these events.
My point was “A lack of damning details listed does not equal the non existence of damning details”.
My opponent is assuming that there are no damning details.
For my Opponent’s position to have merit the text would have to record that these “youths” had never committed any justifying offense prior to mocking Elisha.
Since God presumably endorsed and designed the punishment the text would also have to state that these “youths” would NEVER have committed any atrocities in their future that would justify this punishment because the God of the Bible knows all that has occurred and all that will occur.
The text records no such statement.
The “mocking” event was the catalyst for Elisha cursing them. That does not indicate that no additional facts exist and does not indicate that the God who responded was only considering Elisha’s immediate concern. Those details are not given.
The point of the story is to show that after Elijah was “taken up”, Elisha was now the “Prophet of God” in Israel who God approved of and recognized. The point was to publicly establish Elisha, not for God to justify himself before my opponent or anyone else.
My opponent is making a case against Elisha, his arguments might be fitting if our topic was “does mocking justify a verbal curse in return” but He is not establishing a case against the Just nature of the God of the Bible.
In my two examples, my opponent accuses me of (and I quote) “insert[ing] his assumptions as to the details that are not recorded in the story to make his case that God violated his ‘reasonable standard of morality’.”
I did and I stand by that accusation.
I’d like to point out, that our debate is to evaluate the morality of the Biblical God . . . This means we need to analyze his character as described in the Bible.
Yes, to do this we need to consider ALL that is described of God in the Bible, not just a few selected acts and evaluate them without considering all of the Biblical Gods declared attributes.
In my first example, I only took what was written in the Bible literally, while it was my opponent who made fictional assumptions like the youths had other faults or God killed them for reasons other than those listed.
My opponent ignored the limits of the information and claimed that these “youths” were “innocent”.
As I said “The absence of damning details listed does not equal the non existence of damning details”
My opponent is attempting to condemn God as not “Moral” based on an assumption that the text does not support. These “youths” are NEVER said to be innocent.
I am sure one with strong imagination can think of a plethora of mitigating circumstances that could potentially make the youths in my first example guilty;
That is why I did not go there with specifics, the text does not offer enough information to condemn or condone this act, only that the act occurred.
The purpose of this story is to record the public endorsement of Elisha by God, the only absolute conclusion that can be drawn from the details recorded make that case very well.
We would need a warehouse of volumes to record every detail of every one who died or was punished in scripture in order to lend credibility to my opponent’s claim of “innocence”. That is not the purpose of scripture.
In scripture, only one man is responsible for the guilt of the entire race, Adam.
This is the doctrine of the “corporate fall of man”, if we are going to evaluate the Morality of the God of the Bible then all of the other relevant statements in the Bible must be included.
the Bible very clearly lists the reason bears were sent upon the youths: They mocked Elisha.
The Bible says the mocking caused Elisha to “curse them in the name of the Lord”.
The bears were Gods decision, the text does not include any information as to why this decision was made over any other and the text does not ascribe lifelong “innocence” to this gang of “youths”.
If my opponent has any Biblical reasons for doubting the validity of the claims in this passage, I invite him to bring them forward with appropriate references. However, if his refutation is based solely on what he feels are the traits of the True God ™, then such has no place in our formal debate.
I do not doubt this passage or any other.
I also do not insert conclusions that the text does not support.
I also did not state any attribute of God based on my “feelings”, every attribute I ascribed to God is Biblical.
My opponent is the one using an illogical standard to “debate”
My opponent is ascribing “innocence” and “guilt” with no information to establish either.
And for the second example, I would have to point out that many of the victims were newborns and toddlers. Children of such an age cannot possibly be guilty of anything that justifies a slow, painful, and psychologically damaging death, such as the one inflicted upon them by God. To refute this point, my opponent would first have to explain to me what actions the 3 years olds took or what mindset they had to make them guilty.
This is the same false logic as before.
War is Hell, it always has been.
These societies were condemned as extremely evil and their judgment was well justified to preserve the rest of the inhabitants of the land.
The “virgins” were the only ones who were not “defiled”and considered salvageable, that is why they were spared. In this culture they were probably less than 12 years old if they were still virgins. They were divided up among the families so they would not die alone in the desert.
What other option would seem better?
The boys, men and women were all destroyed because they would carry on the traditions of the culture and the war if they were allowed to live. Every time Israel failed to eradicate its enemies and took “compassion” on them they sentenced themselves to centuries of bloodshed, rape, torture and murder.
If my opponent wants to make the case that generational warfare is more “moral” than a single isolated war he is free to try and do so.
If my opponent wants to argue that “all war is immoral” he is free to try and do so.
That is the task before him if he is going to call this example of a wars conclusion “immoral”.
Those who have Palestinian rockets landing on their head every day probably have no trouble seeing the superior “Morality” in rendering your opponent impotent once and for all when you have the chance.
And the “what could a 3 year old have done” is another attempt to selectively choose scripture. Age is not relevant in judging “The God of the Bible” because “The God of the Bible” knows ALL the future.
This debate is “is the God of the Bible Moral by any reasonable standard”
I intentionally did not choose the topic or the rules, I left all that to my opponent including what side of the debate he wanted to advocate.
The “God of the Bible” knows all from start to finish, to claim any act of God is immoral would require my opponent to posses the same knowledge and be an equal or greater authority to the God of the Bible.
My opponent does not posses this knowledge, power or position.
I await the demonstration of why we should choose to ignore what the Bible literally says
The Bible “Literally” records the event happened.
The Bible “Literally” records only Elisha’s motive, not Gods.
The Bible does not “Literally” ascribe innocence to anyone except The Christ Jesus.
My opponent’s choice to misuse the word “literally” notwithstanding, I have merely pointed out the only two factors that are relevant to refute his chosen premise in this debate.
That this text does not provide enough information to establish or condemn the “Morality” of anyone based on any reasonable standard, much less the God of the Bible.
That if the “Moral correctness” of the “God of the Bible” is to be determined by any standard it is necessary to have all the information about every recipient of justice both of their past and future since the “God of the Bible” is declared to have this knowledge.
My opponent has rendered an opinion with insufficient information and chosen an entity to identify and condemn that he cannot possibly substantiate within the limits of his human abilities or the only existing historical record.
If my opponent wanted to debate “does the God of the Bible exist” or “does the God of the Bible really posses all the attributes the Bible ascribes to him” he could have chosen those topics and I would be offering different arguments in response.
I am only debating this topic.
My opponents premise is illogical and indefensible based on the criteria and topic that he chose to debate.