Recently I had another interaction with an Atheist who wanted to pick a fight with me about a video I posted on the MarketFaith Ministries website. As you are probably well aware, there has been a lot of public pressure on Christians lately to deny our Christian faith, particularly as it relates to sexual morality and marriage. To help clear up some of the confusion on this topic, I did a video to delineate the line between religious freedom and discrimination. You can view the video at: http://www.marketfaith.org/2015/04/religious-freedom-vs-discrimination.
Well, true to form, a militant Atheist came on the attack with guns blazing. This attack, though, was a passive aggressive attack. Rather than engage me directly and honestly, he laid out a hypothetical situation and asked me to comment on it. His purpose, though, was not to get my honest opinion, but to try and trap me.
It is nearly impossible to have true civil discourse with people like this, but I gave it my best shot, anyway. Admittedly, at times I was a bit harsh with him, but with people who have the kind of attitude he came to the table with, you just about have to do that to try and force them to get honest. Fortunately, most Atheists you might interact with in daily life are not as snarky as the ones who attack Christians from behind their anonymous screen names on the internet. That said, you never know when you will need to stand strong against an attacker. It is my hope that reading this conversation will give you tools to deal with those who try to attack you because of your faith.
I have to wonder if you’d support a Muslim shop owner’s right to refuse service to women who enter his shop unaccompanied by a male family member, or who aren’t donning hijabs, or who otherwise offend his particular religious teachings and beliefs. Or, perhaps a shop owner feels that God didn’t intend the races to mix, and therefore refuses to cater to mixed race couples on that basis.
I have to wonder about anyone who would force people to do things which are against their religious convictions. If you can do it in one area you can do it in another. And who gets to decide who gets forced to do what? Are you seriously against freedom that much? And why would you even want to do business with someone who operated their business based on principles you don’t agree with? You either believe in freedom or you don’t.
So your answer is yes, you support a Muslim shop owner’s right to refuse service to women on the basis that they are unaccompanied by a male family member or have otherwise offended his understanding of the Quran, and you also support the right of shop owners to refuse service to mixed race couples on the basis that the owner believes that God has intended for the races to be separate.
As the old adage goes, your right to swing your fists ends where my nose begins. Clearly, our society operates not only by granting rights and freedoms, but also by placing reasonable limitations on those freedoms. You have every right to believe whatever you want to believe. You can have a deep seated belief or conviction that homosexuals should die, for example, but that conviction doesn’t give you any legal grounds to start killing homosexuals. So, clearly, when deciding what sort of action we should take in the world, there are other issues to concern ourselves with beyond our beliefs.
The rate at which you make assumptions and attack others based on your assumptions without any basis in reality is actually quite astounding. There are three kinds of people who come into a place and begin attacking without provocation. The first are those who really want to have an intelligent discussion. That is obviously not you because you have not tried to discuss. You have only tried to put me down. The other two are people who are truly ignorant and simply throw out arguments they have heard from others to try and support their point of view, and those who have an agenda and just want to put other people down. I am not yet sure which of those last two you fall into.
You have attacked me using a particular set of assumptions about the basis for morality which you have not stated nor backed up. You have simply assumed them and tried to paint me as bigoted based on your unstated beliefs. In my previous post I asked you some simple questions which you proceeded to ignore. You ignored them either because you don’t know how to answer them or because by answering them you would shoot yourself in the foot. I find your method of argumentation totally disingenuous. You set up straw men, knock them down and think you have made a point. The problem is, the very foundation which underlies your arguments is faulty.
Now, if you want to have an intelligent discussion, I will be happy to engage you. If all you want to do is make bogus arguments to try and put me down, you have chosen the wrong person. If you are interested, you can begin by establishing the foundation for your moral pronouncements.
I didn’t make any assumptions. My comment was a direct response to what you said, and I offered a hypothetical (believing that all gays should die) to illustrate my point. I didn’t ascribe that belief to you or assume that YOU, specifically, believe that. I meant “you” as in “anyone”.
And I answered you and you responded with an evaluation of my answer. Do you even know what an assumption is? And you still never answered a single question of mine.
What assumption about you do you think I’ve made? And where did I “attack” you? Let’s start there.
And, actually, now that I think about it, you never directly answered any of the questions that I asked in my original post. You responded with some rhetorical flourish and your own set of pointed questions. It should be an easy, “yes, I do support their right to do that”, or “no, I do not support their right to do that”.
Let’s start with the very first post you made. You said, “I have to wonder if you’d support a Muslim shop owner’s right to refuse service to women who enter his shop unaccompanied by a male family member, or who aren’t donning hijabs, or who otherwise offend his particular religious teachings and beliefs. Or, perhaps a shop owner feels that God didn’t intend the races to mix, and therefore refuses to cater to mixed race couples on that basis.” Since this was an attack on my video, there is an assumption that you think I believe something that you believe is wrong. That is an assumption. The problem is, since you have been coy about stating explicitly what you base your belief on, I am having to guess. That is why I put out the various possibilities that I did. And even though I have tried to get you to own up to what belief platform you are operating from, you have continued to try to play the little “gotcha” game. If you consider what you have said to not be an attack, then what is your point of trying to catch me in something. You are still being very disingenuous, and until you are willing to own up to your purpose, I will continue to call you out. So far, all you have done is play the troll.
Let me be a bit more direct. Typically people who attack the way you have (and believe me, I have dealt with many) end up being Atheists. Is that your point of view or is it something else?
“Since this was an attack on my video, there is an assumption that you think I believe something that you believe is wrong” – Asking you a question which directly pertains to your video, to help clarify your position for me on the matter of ‘religious freedom’, is an “attack”? I’m asking you what you believe, for the sake of clarity, specifically to avoid strawmanning you. Funny that I get accused of making “assumptions” after asking for clarification.
As to your charges of being “coy” and “disingenuous”, I have to again note that you have still not directly answered the very simple questions that I asked you. It’s rather comical, then, that you somehow think that I owe you direct answers to your questions when you clearly won’t extend that same courtesy to me. If you don’t want to have a discussion, then fine.
You must really think I am stupid. I have dealt with people like you on these forums for so long I can see you coming a mile away. If you were serious about a discussion you would have asked a direct question rather than setting up a hypothetical which contained assumptions which do not fit what was actually in the video.
And still, even in the middle of your attempt to play this game, I have offered to have an honest discussion with you. But I won’t do it until I truly understand what you are getting at and your motivation for doing it. If you are really interested in a discussion, you actually do owe me a direct answer to my questions because understanding where you are coming from allows me to answer in a way that actually gets down to the real issues rather than forever fending off attacks that do not even relate to the issue at hand. The fact that you are not willing to do that is proof that you have ulterior motives. You are a troll at this point and until you start getting real with me you will remain a troll.
“You must really think I am stupid.” – No, I think you’re projecting. Everything you’ve accused me of is actually what you’ve been doing (making assumptions, dodging questions, etc).
“If you were serious about a discussion you would have asked a direct question…” – I did ask you a direct question. I want to know if you think that “religious freedom” pertains to the situations that I described.
“…which contained assumptions which do not fit what was actually in the video.” – This statement makes no sense.
“I have still offered to have an honest discussion with you.” – No, you haven’t. You want me to answer your questions directly but you won’t extend the same courtesy to me, and I asked my questions first.
“If you are really interested in a discussion, you actually do owe me a direct answer to my questions because understanding where you are coming from allows me to answer in a way that actually gets down to the real issues…” – That’s exactly where I’m coming from and is precisely why I want you to answer my questions, because your response will get to the root of the actual issue here. You and I apparently don’t agree on what the actual issue is. I wouldn’t have any problem answering your questions, were it not for the fact that you won’t extend that same courtesy to me.
“The fact that you are not willing to do that is proof that you have ulterior motives.” – More projection. This dialogue began with me asking you a couple of questions that should have been easy for you to answer, but you still have yet to answer them. Instead, you want to steer the conversation elsewhere.
“You are a troll…” – You apparently don’t understand what a troll is. A troll is not someone who challenges you, questions you or disagrees with you. A troll would simply insult you and go out of their way to offend you. I haven’t insulted you, haven’t resorted to ad hominems, haven’t used any profanity, and have instead been attempting (in vain, it seems) to get you to directly engage with the simple questions that I asked. That’s the exact opposite of what a troll would do.
Perhaps you don’t know the meaning of projecting. I can’t project based on something I don’t know. What I don’t know is where you are coming from, so I can’t respond to you in a way that truly answers your question. I have specifically not made assumptions. What I have done is offer possibilities based on experiences I have had with others who have done what you are doing, then asked you if you fall into any of those particular categories. So far, you have adamantly refused to provide me a context for answering your question.
Speaking of which, your question was not a direct question. It was a hypothetical situation based on a set of presuppositions that you are not willing (or able) to own up to. If I answer you without knowing that information, there is no end to the potential distorted attacks you can make. I know the game and I simply will not play that one.
As for you not knowing what I believe, you must either be lazy or lying. What I believe and why I believe it is absolutely front and center. It is all over my website. Beyond that, you can know all about me because even my biographical info is out there. You, on the other hand, are hiding behind an anonymous handle and refusing to say anything at all, directly, about your beliefs. Your attempt to say I am not being open to you rings very hollow when my info is public knowledge and you remain crouched under your bridge. It takes two to tango, and I stand by what I said before: You do owe me a direct answer to my questions if you want to have an honest discussion. Otherwise, in spite of your attempt to say you are not one, you are a troll (perhaps you are the one who doesn’t know what it is). You have jumped out from under your anonymous bridge and thrown out a hypothetical without any context based on a hidden moral foundation to try to catch me in something.
So, if you want me to continue engaging you, you will have to become transparent on your beliefs. Until you do, you will continue to be nothing but a troll.
“I can’t project based on something I don’t know.” – You’ve continually accused me of doing things such as playing games, avoiding questions, being disingenuous, etc. These are all things that you are in fact doing. One who is ‘projecting’ will accuse others of having motivations, behaviors or desires that they themselves have, as a way of denying their existence within themselves by attributing them to others.
“What I don’t know is where you are coming from, so I can’t respond to you in a way that truly answers your question.” – My questions require a simple answer, such as “Yes, I support the Muslim shop owner’s right to do that”, or “No, I do not support the Muslim shop owner’s right to do that”. I don’t see why you should require additional information about myself in order to answer the straight forward question that I asked. This makes me suspicious that you have some sort of script or preferred line or argumentation that you’d like to steer the conversation towards.
“So far, you have adamantly refused to provide me a context for answering your question.” – If your response to a “yes or no” question depends on who is asking you that question, then I have to wonder how honest that response is. I would respond to the questions that you asked me the same no matter who had asked them, for example.
“Speaking of which, your question was not a direct question. It was a hypothetical situation based on a set of presuppositions that you are not willing (or able) to own up to.” – I presented you with a couple of hypothetical situations and asked directly if you’d support the shop owner’s ‘religious freedom’ in those situations. A simple “yes” or “no” should be easily offered by any honest person. The only “presupposition” that I’ve made is that you are able to read and write English.
“As for you not knowing what I believe…” – I know all about your biography and am aware of what you do for a living. I know that you are an evangelical Christian apologist and all of that. I never claimed to not know any of that. What I have claimed to not know is your honest answer to the question that I asked. None of the information about you that I listed above tells me how you will necessarily respond to the question that I asked. Which is why I asked in the first place. If I wanted to just assume things, I wouldn’t even have offered you the hypothetical scenario in the first place.
“You do owe me a direct answer to my questions if you want to have an honest discussion.” – Likewise. I asked my question first, so extend the courtesy to me that you wish me to extend to you. I don’t have a problem with your questions and can answer them all in one or two sentences. But I don’t see the point in doing that with someone who apparently can’t (or won’t) answer a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question until they gather some background information about me. My responses to your questions won’t depend on your background information, and your response to my questions shouldn’t depend on additional info from me, either.
“Otherwise, in spite of your attempt to say you are not one, you are a troll (perhaps you are the one who doesn’t know what it is).” – I know what sort of behavior the term is used to describe in common internet parlance, and my behaviour here certainly doesn’t fit the bill. You can feel free to use the term however you want, but I’m simply pointing out that you aren’t using it in a way that is in keeping with common internet parlance.
“…based on a hidden moral foundation to try to catch me in something.” – If you’re afraid that I’m “catching [you] in something” by offering a simple hypothetical scenario and asking for a simple “yay” or “nay”, then perhaps that says more about your own position and moral foundation than it does mine.
I have addressed every one of the things you have written. I refuse to repeat myself again. Troll.
And I am tired of correcting you and repeating myself over and over as well. Apologist.
You cannot correct what you don’t understand. You, obviously, don’t understand the implications of your own attack on me and are, just as obviously, not interested in an honest discussion. As long as you continue trolling I will continue calling you out. If you ever come to the place where you are willing to actually deal with the implications of this topic I will be glad to engage you.
I think it’s quite telling that you view a request for an honest response to a hypothetical situation as an “attack”. The idea that I need to provide you with an entire epistemic foundation for my worldview before you can respond to a straightforward ‘yes or no’ question is really quite absurd and smacks of a scripted debate tactic, rather than an invitation to honest discussion. Now, as I’ve said before, I won’t have any problem answering the questions you asked, but you’ll have to extend that same courtesy to me. And, since I asked my question first, the ball is in your court.
What is telling is that I am willing to have the honest discussion and you are not. Your hypothetical, in spite of your protestations, is not a straightforward yes or no question. Behind the question is a set of presuppositions that you are not willing to state. It is a trap. I refuse to play defense when I don’t have any idea about your intent with the question.
Quite interesting that you are using a scripted debate tactic to accuse me of using a scripted debate tactic. You are still a troll.
“What is telling is that I am willing to have the honest discussion while you are not” – Responding to a hypothetical scenario with a volley of your own questions is not even an attempt at honest discourse. It’s an evasive maneuver; a scripted debate tactic.
“Behind the question is a set of presuppositions that you are not willing to state.” – In the beginning of your video, you mention Christian shop owners who are “forced out of their jobs” for standing behind their religious beliefs. The hypothetical situation I gave you pertains directly to this part of your video. The only “presuppotions” that I can imagine that reasonably follow from the question are that you understand what Muslims are and recognize that they are capable of owning businesses.
If that is the only presupposition you can imagine that reasonably pertains to that part of the video, your knowledge of your own presuppositions, much less the universe of possibilities, is severely limited. In answer to your question, though, I do understand what a Muslim is and do recognize that they are capable of owning businesses. If that is all you wanted to know, you could have just asked that straightforward question and I would have answered you immediately. My guess, though, is that the answer I just gave is not what you are looking for. If it was, I’m sorry for overthinking the question. If it is not, though, I guess that is not your real question.
If you are reading other “presuppositions” into the question, then I’d be obliged if you’d enlighten me as to what you imagine them to be.
As far as the question is concerned, you conveniently left the part out about their ‘religious freedom’. I guess I’ve also presupposed that you are capable of reading and comprehending English. Perhaps that was my error. I’ve stated and restated the inquiry numerous times throughout this thread, so please let me know if you are still at a loss, and I will repeat it yet again for you.
At this point, I don’t really know what to say. I answered your direct question. As I suspected, there is another question hidden in your hypothetical that you want answered that you were not willing to spell out. Perhaps if you do that I will answer that one too.
As for the presuppositions, there are different presuppositions built into every worldview system. So, different meanings would be associated with each one. That is particularly important when dealing with issues which define morality. That is why I asked you the initial questions I did. I want to know where you are coming from so I will be able to answer you based on what you are really getting at. Whenever a person throws out a hypothetical with no context, there is always some hidden agenda built in. That is confirmed when the person refuses to clarify the intent of the hypothetical (which is exactly the game you have played).
At this point, there is no mystery to me in your inquiry. I know you are a troll. I know you are trying to set up a “gotcha.” I know you are not honest. I know that you are trying to hide who you are along with your motives. I know you are playing games. And, though you have yet to say anything specific, I suspect you are an Atheist.
I already told you, I am willing to have an honest discussion but I will not play your game. Get honest or get lost.
“As I suspected, there is another question hidden in your hypothetical that you want answered that you were not willing to spell out. Perhaps if you do that I will answer that one too.” – If you would like the hypothetical drawn out in crayon and restated with a question mark at the end of it, then here you go: Do you support a Muslim business owner’s (i.e. a Muslim who owns and operates a business in America) freedom to express their deeply held religious beliefs, such as that women should always be accompanied in public by a male family member and should cover themselves in a hijab, by refusing service to women who offend this set of deeply held religious beliefs (i.e. women who are not wearing a hijab and/or are unaccompanied by a male family member)? I can similarly restate the hypothetical about the business owner who cites their deeply held religious beliefs against interracial marriages for denying service to mixed-race couples, too, if you would like.
“Whenever a person throws out a hypothetical with no context, there is always some hidden agenda built in.” – The context, here, which I pointed out before, is the part of your video where you reference Christian shop owners who are “forced from their jobs” for upholding their religious beliefs. The “agenda” was to know what your response is.
“I know you are a troll. I know you are trying to set up a “gotcha.” I know you are not honest. I know that you are trying to hide who you are along with your motives.” – I know you are an apologist and I know that your entire business is built on teaching people a script to read from, to avoid honest discourse while projecting your own evasiveness onto your interlocutor. I know you are afraid of directly responding to the hypothetical because you feel it would expose some problem with your beliefs, so you would prefer to try to deflect the conversation towards what I believe, rather than give your honest response to the hypothetical.
“And, though you have yet to say anything specific, I suspect you are an Atheist.” – I am, but it’s irrelevant to the questions that I asked. Anyone from any worldview could offer you the same hypothetical. One of your friends at church could ask you whether or not you’d support a Muslim business owner’s right to express their religious beliefs by refusing service to customers who offend those beliefs, for example. A deist could pose this same question to you, in the same way. So could a Muslim theist. Or a Catholic theist. Or an agnostic, or a polytheist, and on and on. Your response to the question shouldn’t depend on the worldview of who is posing it to you.
You really don’t understand, do you? The problem is not the hypothetical, so simply making it longer does not address the real problem. But, even if inadvertently, you have finally supplied me with the information I need to answer you. If you had gone ahead and done this at the beginning instead of adamantly refusing, I could have answered you sooner.
First I will make a couple of observations about your comments above, then will get down to cases.
1. The context in question is not what is in my video, it relates to your beliefs about the principles of freedom, free will, and the existence of an objectively real morality. These must be understood before a reasonable answer could be given to your hypothetical.
2. Your assertions about my attempt to give people a script to avoid honest discourse is simply a blatant fabrication. You don’t know me and you don’t know my motivations. You have simply projected onto me characterizations that you have no way of knowing anything about and which are patently false.
Now for the answer to your hypothetical.
First of all, you obviously do not understand the distinction which is being made in the video. You have made a comparison using your hypothetical which does not correspond to that of the Christian business owner who does not want to participate in an event which goes against his or her religious beliefs. For instance, the baker who does not want to make a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding is not refusing to serve the homosexual in other ways which do not force him or her to participate in what they consider an immoral activity. You are making the very mistake that the video is trying to correct. If a business owner is discriminating against the “person,” that is wrong. If they are refusing to participate in an event they consider immoral, they have every right. This applies to either of your scenarios. Beyond that, I have based my explanation on the principles of Christian Theism which allows for the existence of human free will, values liberty, and believes in an objectively real foundation for morality.
Now, to really get down to cases and address why I would not answer you until you gave me your worldview framework. The fact that you are an Atheist means that the worldview presuppositions you base your approach to morality upon are naturalistic. Naturalism is the belief that the natural universe is all that exists. As such, there is no God and no transcendent reality. Beyond the fact that you have to believe this by faith and cannot demonstrate it to be true based on your own understanding of reality, it also puts you in a position to not be able to judge the moral position of anyone. If there is no transcendent moral code, that means that the only possible foundation for morality would be human personal preference. In other words, you can never call anything immoral or wrong based on any objective criteria. Something can only be wrong if you don’t like it. So, I am left wondering why you would put this hypothetical up in the first place. You did it as if there is a right and wrong way to look at the situation, while the presuppositions of your naturalistic worldview says there is no such thing. That means, you have made up your mind that there is some answer that is right based on your own made up beliefs. If your beliefs are wrong, as I believe, why in the world would I even care? Beyond that, why would you even care?
Of course, the answer to that is that, for whatever reason, you feel you are entitled to assert your personal preferences over those of people who believe something else. I realize that you believe that it is okay since the law of the jungle is the only possibility for establishing a moral framework in your system. Frankly, though, I believe you are simply wrong.
The truth of the matter is, God does exist as an objectively real person and he can be known in a personal relationship. He has revealed himself for that very purpose. If you would simply open your life to him, you can enter into a relationship with him as I have done.
“1. The context in question is not what is in my video, it relates to your beliefs about the principles of freedom, free will, and the existence of an objectively real morality. These must be understood before a reasonable answer could be given to your hypothetical.” – No, wrong. MY beliefs on these topics are only relevant when it comes to what answer I would provide for the hypothetical. The question itself is neutral to any of these issues, because the point was for YOU to provide your own justification for why YOU would or would not support the business owner’s “religious freedom” in the scenario. Thank you for finally doing that (even though it took nearly a week!)
“2. Your assertions about my attempt to give people a script to avoid honest discourse is simply a blatant fabrication. You don’t know me and you don’t know my motivations. You have simply projected onto me characterizations that you have no way of knowing anything about and which are patently false.” – I don’t know you in real life, but I know your M.O. in these types of discussions, because I’ve commented on a couple of your other videos in the past, and because I’ve seen your website. Perhaps you forgot that I’ve already told you that I know what you believe and what you do for a living? You do indeed stick to a routine/script, as evidenced by every response you’ve ever given to anyone in the comments sections of your videos, including the response you just gave to me.
“For instance, the baker who does not want to make a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding is not refusing to serve the homosexual in other ways which do not force him or her to participate in what they consider an immoral activity” – Likewise, a person who opposes interracial marriages on religious grounds ought to be able to refuse to bake a cake for an interracial wedding, then, yes?
“If a business owner is discriminating against the “person,” that is wrong. If they are refusing to participate in an event they consider immoral, they have every right.” – The Muslim business owner could be said to find the event of a woman appearing in public with her face uncovered to be immoral on religious grounds, just as the person who objects to race-mixing finds the event of an interracial marriage immoral on religious grounds. So, they could just as easily make the same argument that you’re making in support of their own beliefs. The Muslim could simply claim that he isn’t discriminating against the woman herself, just that he finds the event of seeing her face uncovered offensive, and therefore refuses to participate in a transaction of goods and services with her.
As for the rest of your commentary about atheism, naturalism and worldviews in general are concerned, I think that these are all interesting and worthwhile topics in their own rights, but your desire to shift the conversation in this direction is, in my opinion, a massive red herring as far as the rights of business owners in the United States are concerned. When you are discussing “religious freedom” in this context (shop owners being able to refuse to participate in events on religious grounds), then we are necessarily concerned with “rights” as they are understood in the U.S. Constitution. Which is why, much earlier in this thread, I noted that you and I likely do not agree on what the actual issue or context is here.
1) You are simply wrong in your evaluation and I already explained why.
2a) You don’t seem to be able to understand the difference in going by a script and repeating the same thing numerous times because it is the right answer. When people over and over make wrong statements, it requires making the right statement over and over. How stupid would it be to keep making up new answers? Your assessment that I have used a script is simply a lack of understanding of what is really going on.
2b) I believe I already answered that and I don’t see any need to repeat myself.
“… The Muslim could simply claim that he isn’t discriminating against the woman herself …” – So, what is your point? Are you attempting to make a moral judgment here?
You seem to have totally missed my point. My explanation was not a shift in the direction of the conversation. Rather, it was an explanation of the very foundation for understanding what is right and wrong, moral and immoral. You appeal to the Constitution as if it exists in a vacuum. But the Constitution was written using Christian Theistic concepts. As it applies to your hypothetical, there is no right enumerated in the Constitution for a person to be required to be served by anyone, period. In order to reach the kind of conclusion you are attempting to do, it becomes necessary to appeal to a legal philosophy based on Naturalism, not Christian Theism. By insisting on a “positive rights” approach, you change the actual nature of the very Constitution you are appealing to and turning it into something which it is not. That approach is so far away from the mentality used to write the Constitution as to be in a different galaxy.
When you go down that road, you are using a naturalistic worldview approach to dealing with reality – which is the law of the jungle. We obviously do not agree on the issue, but the root of that disagreement lies in the fact that you are working off of a naturalistic worldview platform and I am working off of one based on Christian Theism. And that, my friend, is why I was so adamant in identifying that. The entire approach to dealing with the hypothetical is dependent on what the worldview is, and I will not accept you judging my answer based on your worldview presuppositions. I simply don’t accept that approach and you cannot defend it. If I did accept it, all I would be doing is setting myself up to be your punching bag when it is your beliefs which don’t have a leg to stand on. You continue to allude to there being a right and wrong way to think about this issue, yet in Naturalism there is no such thing as an objective moral right and wrong. Until you can justify why you think that particular kind of discrimination is wrong, you really have nothing to say.
“You are simply wrong in your evaluation and I already explained why”– Rather than having “explained” anything, you’ve asserted a number of things that sound completely wrong to me. I think that I’ve correctly pointed out that the question itself is neutral, because anyone from any worldview could present you with the same hypothetical/question.
“You don’t seem to be able to understand the difference in going by a script and repeating the same thing numerous times…” – Your routine/shtick is always the same regardless of the subject matter and regardless of who is challenging or questioning you, and that shtick is this: No matter what the issue of disagreement is, always, always, ALWAYS change the subject to “world views”.
“(2b) I believe I already answered that and I don’t see any need to repeat myself.” – I didn’t have a (2b) in my post, so I don’t know what you’re referring to here. But, if you don’t care to repeat it, then I probably don’t care to read it, either.
“So, what is your point? Are you attempting to make a moral judgment here?” – The point is that you have failed to show that a Christian baker who refuses to cater to a gay wedding is not analogous to a Muslim shop owner who refuses to cater to a bare-faced woman. Thus, I can still say that they are, indeed, analogous.
“But the Constitution was written using Christian Theistic concepts.” – That is false. Nowhere does the Constitution appeal to Jesus, the Bible or the Christian God. The morality of the Constitution is secular in nature. You also seem to be presenting a false dilemma between Christian Theism and Naturalism, as you conveniently ignore that many of the authors of the Constitution expressed Deistic leanings.
“As it applies to your hypothetical, there is no right enumerated in the Constitution for a person to be required to be served by anyone, period.” – I guess you’ve forgotten about the Bill of Rights and the various clauses prohibiting certain forms of discrimination. You attempt to argue in your video that Christians aren’t discriminating against homosexuals, but I think I’ve managed to punch some holes in your argument.
“We obviously do not agree on the issue, but the root of that disagreement lies in the fact that you are working off of a naturalistic worldview platform and I am working off of one based on Christian Theism.” – The truth or falsity of Christian Theism and/or Naturalism has no bearing on the Constitution. At this very moment, the Supreme Court justices are debating the issue of whether or not States can choose to not recognize gay marriages that have been sanctioned in other States, and they will ultimately ground that decision in the language of the Constitution. They will not cite Bible passages, or Jesus Christ, or Yahweh in their decision. The justices will not be debating about naturalism, or theism, or which worldview can most fully account for human morality. Their task is simply to reconcile the arguments put forth by the plaintiff and defense with the language of the Constitution. Theism and Naturalism are not relevant to that endeavor.
It sounds completely wrong to you because you are evaluating it from a naturalistic worldview platform while I am operating from a theistic one. Of course it will sound wrong to you. Those points of view literally contradict one another. And saying that the question is neutral is meaningless. Regardless of anything, it is impossible to think or talk about an answer to it without involving your worldview beliefs. Your point is simply meaningless.
The reason for my “routine” is because when people are operating from different worldview platforms, it is only by dealing with the worldview beliefs that you are able to actually get at why an individual gives a particular answer. This is true “regardless of the subject matter and regardless of who is challenging or questioning me.” The fact that you don’t understand “the fact” that this is not changing the subject, but is actually allowing us to discuss “why” people answer certain ways is your problem, not mine. And complaining about it only shows you are not able to operate at that level. I would suggest you learn a little about worldview so you can get up to speed yourself.
I did show that “a Christian baker who refuses to cater a gay wedding is not analogous to a Muslim shop owner who refuses to cater to a bare-faced woman” but it obviously went right over your head. And the reason it did is because you are so invested in an answer based on your own worldview beliefs that when someone gives an answer based on a different set of beliefs you simply don’t get it (another reason why you ought to get up to speed on the topic). You have a concept of what the right answer is based on a moral foundation that you don’t even understand. That is why you don’t understand my answer.
I guess while you are working on getting up to speed on worldview, you ought to study some history, as well. To say that the foundational principles of the Constitution were not based on Christian beliefs demonstrates a total ignorance of the men who wrote it, their explanations of it, and the actual text of the document itself. And I have no idea what “certain forms of discrimination” you are even talking about. The constitution is all about limiting the power of government, not of imposing requirements on the citizenry. It is only when judges begin reinterpreting the document using principles of positive law that even the very ideas that you are proposing can even possibly come into play. And if, indeed, the justices do reinterpret the Constitution to find a “right” for homosexual marriage, it will not be because it is found in the Constitution. It is simply not there (in the same way a “right” to abortion is not there)! They will have to make it up out of whole cloth. And if they do, It will be because a majority will use an interpretive philosophy which allows them to make it up as they go along. And as far as the actual topic of worldview coming up, I am sure you are right that it will not. But that does not change the fact that EVERY one of the arguments they make and the philosophy they follow in making their decision will be based on their worldview beliefs.
If you really think you have poked holes in my argument, you are sadly mistaken. Once again, you have only demonstrated that you have no idea what you are talking about – or what I am talking about. And the more you try to dismiss the effect people’s worldview beliefs have on the way they think and act, the more you demonstrate how little you really know about what you are saying. Seriously, you need to get up to speed on this.
“It sounds completely wrong to you because you are evaluating it from a naturalistic worldview platform while I am operating from a theistic one.” – What you seem to be saying here is that I’d agree with you if I already saw everything the same way that you do. Well, no kidding. But it’s still a mistake to assume that the question itself is biased one way or the other with respect to theism or naturalism. Not all theists will agree with your point of view on this topic, for example. What you really were trying to do this entire time was to anticipate MY response, and tailor YOUR response accordingly.
“It is only by dealing with the worldview beliefs that you are able to actually get at why an individual gives a particular answer….” – Yes, but I was asking YOU the question. You wouldn’t answer the question until you had an idea of what my worldview is, which again tells me that you want to tailor your response to whatever my worldview is. That’s not a very honest way to go about answering a simple hypothetical.
“I did show that “a Christian baker who refuses to cater to a gay wedding is not analogous to a Muslim shop owner who refuses to cater to a bare-faced woman” but it obviously went right over your head.” — No, you didn’t. When I pointed out that a Muslim could make the exact same argument that you made in defense of their own position, all you said was “So what?” All that response suggests is that you apparently don’t care; it doesn’t explain or show anything.
” To say that the foundational principles of the Constitution were not based on Christian beliefs demonstrates a total ignorance of the men who wrote it, their explanations of it, and the actual text of the document itself.” – It sounds like you’re the one who needs to get “up to speed” with the men who wrote the Constitution and the language of the Constitution itself. The irony is that you think I’m being ignorant here. I’d like you to point out where the Constitution or the Bill of Rights mentions Jesus, Christianity, heaven, hell, the Bible, sin, salvation, or any other element of Christian theology.
“It is only when judges begin reinterpreting the document using principles of positive law…” This sounds like a euphemistic way to say, “Whenever judges interpret the Constitution in a way that I disagree with, that’s bad”. Can you please explain to me how a judge can interpret the Constitution without having an impact on public policy?
“It is simply not there (in the same way a “right” to abortion is not there)!” — The authors of the Constitution realized that they were not omniscient and included an amendment allowing for “non-enumerated rights” to be protected, as well. In other words, they understood that their list of rights was in no way exhaustive or limited to the ones that they could think of, and as such they outlined a way for “We, the people” and the 3 branches of gov’t to determine what these “non-enumerated” rights shall be.
Do you seriously think that any intelligent discussion can go on if people don’t have the same definitions of words and understanding of concepts? You keep harping that your “question is neutral” but that is a totally meaningless observation. If I answer your question and you interpret my answer in a way which is different than what I meant, we have not communicated. That is the whole point of my response to you. I have a difficult time understanding why you don’t get that. What I was refusing to do was answer you without understanding your interpretive framework. And the reason should be pretty obvious to anyone reading this, as you have done nothing but try and set up a “gotcha.” I already told you I refuse to play that game. You also don’t seem to understand that I would not change my answer based on your worldview beliefs. I believe what I believe and I have not hidden that at all (as opposed to some other person who seems to not want to really get to the heart of the matter). But it does effect how I frame my response.
Do you seriously believe that we are discussing mentions of Jesus, Christianity, heaven, hell, the Bible, sin, salvation, etc., in the Constitution? If that is what you think, you are more out of it than I thought. What we have been talking about is values/morality and the source of those which inform what was written in the Constitution. I have already said pretty bluntly that I am not for a theocratic form of government, so I don’t understand why you keep trying to imply that I do. But the values which our laws are based upon come from somewhere – and that somewhere was from the Bible. The values expressed by the Constitution are biblical values. You change the source of the value framework and you change the entire basis for the founding of our nation.
Do you have any idea what you are talking about when you speak of methods for interpreting the Constitution? You speak as if original intent is meaningless (which I actually believe you would agree with because your atheistic worldview foundation would promote that kind of belief). But as far as what I am actually advocating, contrary to the words you are trying to put in my mouth, it has nothing to do with what you or I agree with or the particular effect any judicial ruling has on public policy. It has to do with what the original writers intended when they wrote the law. Your slap at me on that front is totally misguided and shows a complete lack of understanding of hermeneutical concepts.
An amendment which allows for non-enumerated rights to be added by judges after the fact? Seriously? Which amendment is that and what in the world are you talking about? That whole comment is definitely messed up. The Constitution was not written to give rights to people or the government. It was written expressly to limit the government’s ability to abridge the people’s God given inalienable rights. All you are doing with your argument is providing a justification for judicial activism that was never intended by the framers of our founding document. Your approach to interpretation can only happen when judges use a hermeneutical method which is based on an entirely different worldview platform than the one the Constitution was originally based upon.
Hope this finds you well.
As frequently happens when people engage me in discussions like this, TestMeatDollSteak simply quit the conversation. It seems he finally came to a place where he had to actually face the implications of the arguments he was making. Naturalism has no means of asserting truth or morality beyond an individual’s personal opinion. When people come to that place, they only have a couple of choices: They can change their point of view or they can run away. More often than not, the choice is to run away.
Of course, it saddens me to see that happen. My intent truly is to share Christ with them and I always try to insert that in some way into these discussions. But I also realize that I don’t always get the be the harvester. Sometimes I have to be the cultivator, sower, or the weed puller. In hard core cases like this person, it is sometimes necessary to be hard toward them in order to shake their belief foundation so that they might be willing to listen to the gospel at some later point. In any event, it is my prayer that you will find reading this discussion helpful to you when you find yourself interacting with who use this kind of argumentation.
© 2015 Freddy Davis