an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Fundamentally Flawed Extra: Dustin Segers and Reynold Hall

Earlier this evening I hosted Dustin Segers and Reynold Hall debating morality. Skype played up, Audio Hijack Pro hijacked rather more than it was meant to in the first 20 minutes, but otherwise it was a very interesting debate.

Have a listen.

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13 thoughts on “Fundamentally Flawed Extra: Dustin Segers and Reynold Hall

  1. Time limit: Meh…seemed to be something that Dustin and I agreed on afterwards when we talked after the "debate". We talked for almost an entire hour…more than the actual debate itself. Got along better than it seemed we did in the debate. Seems a nice fellow one-on-one.Erm…anyway, the debate: I prefer written as should be obvious from my performance. Written format gives one time to look and check stuff up (Ex: Specific verses that deal with the order to kill Canaanite babies. (Big 5 minute pause while I looked for it as Dustin challenged me to):Deut. 20:16-18 But as for the towns of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them — the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites — just as the LORD your God has commanded, so that they may not teach you to do all the abhorrent things that they do for their gods, and you thus sin against the LORD your God.Though babies are not specifically mentioned as they are in the verses that deal with the Amalekites (which I believe I did bring up, I think) as in 1 Samuel 15:1-3, it's pretty safe to assume that they're included in the orders given in Deut. above.The morality and reasons for such actions were among what was debated.For more on the Canaanites which has some points that I'd have liked to bring up…

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  3. Anyhow, a point that I didn't get time to address:This verse that Dustin brought up:Philemon 1:10-15 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus … that thou shouldest receive him for ever; Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved.Was implied in debate to be a shot against slavery in general since he was to treat this guy as something much more than a slave.Dustin said that the bible didn't specifically condemn slavery because that would've messed up the economy of the Roman empire and brought down their wrath. "situational ethics/evolving morality" vs. "objective morality"??Dustin said that "Jesus didn't want to be a social revolutionary" (or something like that). I figure: fair enough, but I would have thought that Jesus could have said something to the effect of: slavery is not something that God wanted for humans on earth itself as opposed to saying that it won't exist (along with "male and female" in heaven itself like in Galatians 3:28)When it comes to verses like 1 Timothy 6:1-5 I would figure that if the slave owner is a christian, while the society may not have enabled him to actually free the slave, that the verse would imply that since god is against such things in the first place, that he's to treat the "slave" especially well, perhaps if it's possible, find a way to free him. Instead, there are verses like: 1 Peter 2:18, etc. There is, after all, a difference between subtly undermining a social institution like slavery, and actively propagating it! In Jesus' parables, slavery is always spoken of, it seems to me, a favourable context. Note that some of those parables are themselves supposed to describe the kingdom of heaven itself. (ex Luke 12:47-48)The problem it seems to me is that when it comes to moral teachings, the bible is not very consistent. Slavery is an excellent example, as one can find apparent anti-slavery verses in there, (1 Corinthians 7:23) even though it should have brought the Empire down on them since that verse in particular says that believers should not be "servants of men"! But: There are also pro-slavery verses! To me, "objective morality" is not something that should be able to be cherry-picked. It should be consistent, if not outright blatant.

  4. I think a longer discussion would be fruitful on the future, unfortunately I had things I needed to do later as well, so the hour had to be around that. However, I'd recommend (if you're using a PC) grabbing http://voipcallrecording.com/ which means you can record the discussions yourself without needing me :) I'll always be happy, if you want to, to put the recording up as a Fundamentally Flawed Extra podcast.Dustin is a perfectly nice chap one on one, far better than Sye IMO.

  5. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, and not sure when I’ll be able to. But I saw Reynold’s comment above about Dustin and whether or not the bible is pro-slavery. Just thought I’d point out something that Dustin (“Dusman”) wrote to me back in 2006 on this issue. He wrote:"As to slavery, i believe you are correct: slavery is perfectly biblical–always has been, always will be until Christ comes again and sets up a society that is free of all work, hardship, suffering, and servitude of any kind." (See my discussion with Dustin where he says this here.)This strikes me as clear as any confession can get that the Christian worldview does not stand against slavery. There’s much more I could say on this, but I think Dustin’s words pretty much seal the point.Regards,Dawson

  6. Well, snog it….I could have so used that..oh well.It's what one gets when one doesn't do enough research I guess. As for recording discussions myself, hmm. I have no idea. I may just stick to the written media for the reasons I said earlier.

  7. Oh yeah, Alex, I wasn't dissing you on the time limit..I figured that you had other things to do, it's just one of the reasons that I prefer the written style.

  8. You'll be glad to know there's a lot of good feedback for this – people are saying they reckon you handed Dustin's arse to him.

  9. I'd have asked Dustin that if whatever God commands is moral, and the act is therefore justified even if we don't know the reason, would he (Dustin) kill some babies if God told him to?Whenever I've asked Christians this before their stock answer is normally "God wouldn't ask me to do that", which is an obvious cop out.Hopefully Dustin will reply…

  10. Just wanted to share a tweet that I posted while listening to this fascinating discussion: "I'm confused. Currently listening to Segers & Hall. Why would a Calvinist believer worship that God? I'd just be scared shitless."Also, I thought both Dustin and Reynold would be interested to review this explanation from a Christian philosopher/theologian as to why Calvinism is irreconcilable with a maximally loving and merciful god: http://randalrauser.com/2011/11/calvinism-and-the-arbitrary-camp-director-revisited-a-response-to-andrew/ This should not concern Dustin … he can always play the mystery card.

  11. Dave, that is a question that Christians hate because they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. They will just answer that their God woulodn't do that – it's too bad that Abraham didn't have that get out of jail free card.

  12. And yet another thing I should have brought up: When Dustin was talking about having to kill even the Amalakite infants because they'd corrupt the Israelies later, I should have pointed out that there was one case in the bible where Midianite women virgins were spared by god's permission.If infants could grow up and corrupt the Israelites just based on the stories they heard, and thus had to be killed, how much more likelihood that Midianite teen women and girls could corrupt the Israelites since they'd have the memories of their culture instead of just stories? That, and they'd have been "taken in" by the very people that wiped out their families?

  13. Totally agree, Reynold. I thought Dustin's 'the babies might corrupt the Israelites!' line was especially poorly argued by him – it made almost no sense at all.

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