Worthiness of life

August 18, 2006 | Atheism, Background, Human Life | 30 comments

(I apologize in advance for any typos or grammar mistakes. It’s been a long day.)

As I ate breakfast this morning I talked to my mother-in-law, trying to console her as she faces yet another difficult day. She has had an elderly friend living with her for two years whose physical and mental health is rapidly declining. This friend, I’ll call her “Eleanor, ” was swindled out of her substantial life savings by a sociopathic relative. Eleanor has no children and no other family, no money and nowhere to turn. And as her condition declines and she’s able to take care of fewer and fewer of her personal needs it weighs heavily on my poor mother-in-law.

Shortly after that I looked outside to see that our family dog, a beautiful Chow/Lab mix whom we’ve had for 12 years, had not eaten for the second day in a row and her legs had become so atrophied she could no longer walk. I took her to the vet and ended up deciding to put her to sleep. I’d known it was coming for a long time but that didn’t make it any easier. She was a wonderful dog.

When I returned home I came across this article (via the excellent Mary Meets Dolly). It’s a stunning display of pompous condescension, short-sightedness and ignorance by professor David Barash, in which he advocates for creating a human/animal hybrid for the sole purpose of upsetting Christians. He explains that “in these dark days of know-nothing anti-evolutionism…a powerful dose of biological reality would be healthy indeed” to dispel “the fallacy that Homo sapiens is uniquely disconnected from the rest of life.”

He thinks that such a hybrid would “[bolster] a ‘reality-based’ as opposed to a bogus ‘faith-based’ worldview…the powerful payoff that would come from puncturing the most hurtful myth of all time, that of discontinuity between human beings and other life forms.”

The two events from my morning immediately came to mind. I had a dog who could no longer take care of herself and whose life had become miserable, so I decided to end her life. But what gave me that right? Why couldn’t the dog take me to the doctor and have me put to sleep? And what about my mother-in-law and Eleanor?

Eleanor’s life is terrible. She has no family, no home, no money. Her mind is fading. She has difficulty taking care of her basic personal needs. Her life is “not worth living” by most people’s standards, and she’s a financial burden to my husband’s mother.

Yet I think most people, even atheists, would agree that it would no be OK for my mother-in-law to just take Eleanor to the doctor to have her euthanized like you’d do with a pet. But why? Well, the Christian answer goes back to the inherent dignity of each person, that the beginning and end of each human life, including Eleanor’s, is to be determined by God. And what is the atheist answer?

I spent some time thinking about this, about how I viewed the morality of euthanasia in my pre-God days. For an atheist, it’s hard to know where to draw the line in terms of what (or whom) to kill, but the general rule would appear to be that the more intelligence a being is able to display, the more worthy they are of life. If human life is nothing special than I suppose this system is as good as anything else. It’s no biggie to kill a gnat; you want to give pause before killing a dog; and you want to avoid killing a functioning adult human. The unborn and “brain-dead” don’t have much intelligence that we can recognize or relate to, so it’s OK to lump them into the same category with the lower animals and other beings whose lives we have the right to terminate.

The consequences of this are terrifying indeed and have been discussed more clearly and thoroughly in other places. But what interested me about this issue is that I finally realized why atheists are so obsessed with intelligence. We all want to be smart but it’s really what the anti-religion crowd lives for. I believe that the only reason they waste their time debating Christians and trying to destroy others’ faith is because they think it’s a good opportunity to appear smart. And now I finally understand why. Because, without God, the only yardstick with which we’re left to measure the worthiness of life is intelligence.

30 Comments

  1. Catholic Mom

    Jen,
    You have conceptualized a nugget of wisdom that many never get.Humans are distinct from animals. Human life is always worthy because we are created by God in his image. That alone gives us intrinsic dignity. Those who deny God must rely on a utilitarian measurement of life’s worthiness. That is a very frightening proposition The value of a life becomes dependent on the values of whoever is doing the judging. This pushes those who try to live without God to always put themselves in the role of judge lest they themselves be judged unworthy.

  2. Tim

    Great insight into the futility of atheism, Jen.

  3. RobK

    Your post is insightful – it got me thinking. We know there is more to life than intelligence, or one of the other athiest yardsticks power, will, prestige, social value, etc.

    I really wanted to say that I am sorry to hear about your dog. Our dog died a couple years ago – it was hard. It is always hard when a being we love dies.

    In your post, it sounded like you weren’t sure about your decision. I struggled with what to do before Mojo died. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I said a prayer for you because of your loss and for your Mother-in-law that her burdens feel light.

  4. Ersza

    Jen, I am going to post this comment up here, even though it belongs with the RCIA post. I went through your exact process two years ago. The technical term for your experience is that you are “baptized but unchatechized”. You need adult catechism. That’s the easy part. The hard part–and I’m sorry to drop this bomb on you at what is already a difficult time in yourl ife–is that your marriage is invalid. Sorry, honey. I researched it extremely thoroughly, and according to church law and practice, every baptized Catholic (that’s you) has to have permission from the bishop to marry a non-Catholic (that’s your husband) and it must be done by a Catholic priest IN a Catholic church. If you two were non Christians, or if you were both protestants, this obstacle wouldn’t exist. I am sure there will be half a dozen other people who will immediately protest that this is not true. Trust me. I have looked it up and looked it up.

    So this is the list you need to fill out:

    adult formation, catechism
    confession
    confirmation
    first communion
    CONVALIDATION of your marriage

    The marriage convalidation should be a simple process. This may be why your priest was sounding confused. Or it may be that he was just confused from having you present the history of two people to him simultaneously.

    By the way, your husband’s baptism is valid if the officiant said “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” while pouring water three times. Baptists use this formula, and Baptists don’t practice infant baptism, so your husband will know for sure that he was validly baptized.

  5. SteveG

    Ersza,
    I’ll be the first to protest. You are almost certainly incorrect on this.

    The recent clarification from the Holy See on what constitutes formal defection from the Church by a baptized Catholic would have you as correct, if and only if that recent clarification is deemed retroactive.

    Unless the Vatican explicitly says that it is retroactive (and it hasn’t), it almost certainly is not.

    Here’s a pretty good post by Jimmy Akin on the topic… Formal defection

    At the time of her marriage, under the understanding of the canon law involved at the time of her marriage, it would be almost impossible to conclude other than that Jen had performed the necessary act(s) to have been considered formally defected. If that is the case, then she needed no such permission, and her marriage would be valid in the eyes of the church.

    More importantly than the likely misreading of the canon law involved is that neither you nor I are in any position to actually speak to the validity of Jennifer and her husband’s marriage. That’s why we have pastors. Each case needs to be individually assessed and there are often surprises in that regard.

    Jennifer, I don’t know if Ersza’s comment troubled you or not, but it shouldn’t. Even if her assessment ultimately turns out to be correct, this is something you should work through with your pastor as he’s going to be the one who assist you in determining if anything needs to be done, and if so, what.

    Oh, and by the way. Awesome post! This insight is something that has been staring me in the face with discussion with many atheists, but I never picked up on it. When you formulated it in this post, I had an ‘ah ha!’ moment of my own. Thanks!

  6. Jennifer

    My mom is facing the same struggle about putting our family dog down. “You don’t do this to people, so how is it right to do this to our dog,” she asks. I asked the vet I work for and the response I got was, “Because we can help end the dog’s suffering, we aren’t allowed to do this with people [yet].” Not really a helpful response.

  7. Jennifer F.

    Jennifer – Funny you mention that, my vet made the same comment, implying that it’s a bit of a shame that we can’t put humans out of their misery in the same way. I gave him a “let’s not go there” look before moving on.

    Ersza – That’s not a bomb. I’d already read this, plus I don’t know why it would be valid. I was married outside the Church and didn’t say one word about God or Jesus in the ceremony. In terms of being a marriage blessed by God, I don’t think it would be since we never invited Him to the ceremony, so to speak.

    I’m actually working on a post about that now, as well as an update re: my meeting w/ the RCIA director.

  8. Jennifer F.

    To clarify something on the marriage issue…

    Based on my research, the confusion here is around the word “valid.” The Church does consider civil marriages between two validly baptized people to be a sacrament. I.e. that couple isn’t living in sin, they’re children aren’t illegitimate, etc.

    However, such a marriage is not a valid *Catholic* marriage, so you can’t receive the Eucharist until it’s validated.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

  9. SteveG

    Jennifer,
    One thing to consider is that the Church does consider some non-Catholic marriages as valid. A marriage between two atheists for instance is valid (while not sacramental).

    In my own case for example: I was a baptized, and confirmed Catholic, but at some point I had ‘committed’ formal defection from the Church. At that point, I didn’t need to get a priest’s permission to marry outside the faith. I then married an atheist.

    Later when we were both entering the Church this issue came up, and the details were actually sent to our Bishop for his decision on whether the marriage was valid or not. To our shock, it was.

    It was because we were both outside the Church at the time due to my formal defection. But valid did not mean sacramental. Our marriage took on a sacramental nature when my wife was baptized and entered the Church (I already had) without any further action on our part.

    One thing to keep clear is that validity and sacramentality are not one in the same.

    You can even see this in the Q&A you linked to…

    2. Do Catholics ever validly enter into non-sacramental marriages?

    Yes. Marriages between Catholics and non-Christians, while they may still be valid in the eyes of the Church, are non-sacramental. With permission, a priest or deacon may witness such marriages.

    I suspect the key question here will be the nature of your relationship with the Church at the time of your marriage. Were you a Catholic, or not? I’ve already admitted that I don’t have a clue to the answer, and that the answer could fall as Ersza suggests. But I have a difficult time conceiving how you could have still been considered a Catholic in the sense necessary to put you under the ‘jurisdiction’ of the church in regards to needing permission to marry.

    If you were in a state of formal defection, your marriage would be valid, but non sacramental. That latter part would be rectified by simply completing the rites of initiation at the Easter Vigil.

  10. SteveG

    Based on my research, the confusion here is around the word “valid.” The Church does consider civil marriages between two validly baptized people to be a sacrament. I.e. that couple isn’t living in sin, they’re children aren’t illegitimate, etc.

    However, such a marriage is not a valid *Catholic* marriage, so you can’t receive the Eucharist until it’s validated.

    You got it! Just subsitute ‘valid’ in the second cast (valid Catholic marriage) with sacramental as I explained in my last post.

    I may be wrong, but I am pretty sure Ersa was saying that your marriage was both non-sacramental AND invalid. She can clarify if I misunderstood.

  11. SteveG

    One final addendum here..
    so you can’t receive the Eucharist until it’s validated.

    I don’t think this is ‘technically’ correct. If your marriage is considered valid, then you are not living in sin, and that would not be an impediment to the Eucharist.

    But if that’s the case, that would be because you were considered formally defected, which would need to be rectified before you could receive in good conscience. It’s all very complicated at times. That’s why I keep saying that a conversation with your pastor exploring the situation is best.

  12. Jennifer F.

    Steve –

    Thanks for that info! And, yeah, I am certain that I would be considered to have formally defected from the Church. I didn’t even remember that I was baptized Catholic until my mom mentioned it a couple years ago.

    And I’d love to hear about how your wife went from atheist to Catholic. This is why you need a blog. 🙂

  13. Ersza

    I researched this issue in depth, and was guided through this process by a priest who is a canon lawyer and had formerly worked for the vatican on marriage annulments. Not only is the marriage of a Catholic (defined as anyone baptized in the faith) outside of the church non-sacramental, it is invalid, as in they are not married in the eyes of the church. This is not an individual, case-by-case thing. This is the law of the church. I anticipated that Catholics would disbelieve this because that is the reaction I got from many Catholics I knew at the time. The reason is that Catholics know that the church considers some marriages outside the church to be valid, but they do not know the whole story. These outside marriages do not apply when one or both have been baptized in the church. It has nothing to do with whether a person “defected” from the church. Only with whether they were ever in it to begin with.

    Steve, I appreciate your knowledge of the faith and your expertise, but this is one issue where a google search is not going to make you an expert on this–certainly not on an issue where I have already been advised in depth by a canon lawyer. I was even more surprised, because unlike Jen, my marriage was originally solemnized in a Lutheran church and I had been told that Lutheran marriages are valid in the Catholic Church. I was told wrong, but the people who told me this were lifelong Catholics who were very well catechized and active in their faith.

    What you are turning up in your searching, Steve, is information that’s pertinant to annulments. Even though the rule I cited above is very clear, if a Catholic is getting married and have ever been married before, even in a civil ceremony, or even a common law marriage, that previous relationship has to be investigated and possibly formally annuled. You cannot automatically assume you are free. But a current marriage between a one or more baptized Catholics that was not carried out in the Catholic church is INvalid. It is also not sacramental, but a sacramental marriage is the only kind the church will recognize for us. This is what they mean when they say “once a Catholic, always a Catholic”. In the Church’s eyes, Jennifer has been one of their own ever since her baptism even if she didn’t know it.

  14. SteveG

    Steve, I appreciate your knowledge of the faith and your expertise, but this is one issue where a google search is not going to make you an expert on this

    My opinion is not based on google search, but on my own experience and in depth research as well (including working with two orthodox priest and an orthodox bishop).

    I’ve already briefly explained in my own circumstances, my marriage was indeed deemed valid. I am quite familiar with the canon law, and the issues involved.

    I’ve also already said that it’s possible you are correct. But the fact is that it is not as certain as you are assuming. My own case should be enough evidence.

    It most certainly DOES matter a great deal whether the person has formally defected from the church or not, as that is indeed why my own had been deemed valid. If that occurs, then that de facto puts the person outside of the canon law involved.

    I can only suspect that in your case (as in my own brother’s case) nothing was done that could be considered formal defection. In my own case that was not so.

    And it certainly can and does vary with individual circumstances. There’s really no debate on the issue. I have two examples in my own family involving my brother and myself which had different circumstances and thus were judged differently.

    Did you read the link I provided which has this discuss in part with an additional link to a canon lawyer who discusses the issue of formal defection. It goes into this all in great detail.

  15. Ersza

    Steve,

    Were you originally married BY a priest, IN a Catholic church? If so, then it’s no surprise that your marriage was valid, even if you were not practicing the faith at the time. If not, did you then have a blessing ceremony? This can either be done as a formal wedding or during a quick five minutes during a regular mass. That is the point when the sacrament is conferred. I am not privy to all that went on between you and your priest and the Bishop at this time, but if your marriage outside the church had been considered valid, the church would have had no need to “bless” it. When two married protestants enter the church, the marriage blessing is optional. Do you get the distinction I am making? The discussion of defection is a red herring.

    Either way, Jen needs a convalidation of her marriage, either sooner or later, according to her priest’s preference.

  16. Ersza

    By the way, Steve, I did check out the link you provided, and it backs up every word I said. In order to be exempt from the requirement to follow the Catholic form of marriage, one needs to have defected from the church IN WRITING. How are you getting from this that I am “almost certainly wrong?” You have just provided evidence that I’m exactly right. 🙂 Jen’s upbringing as an atheist in no way excludes her from being required to have a Catholic marriage for it to be valid in the eyes of the church, just as my agnostic, semi-protestant upbringing did not erase my Catholic identity in the eyes of the Church. This is no biggie, but it is yet one more hassle along the way, and some people in fact do interpret this situation as one in which husband and wife must abstain from intercourse or have their marriage convalidated before receiving eucharist and coming into communion with the church, so it is nothing to scoff at.

  17. SteveG

    Were you originally married BY a priest, IN a Catholic church?
    No, in a hotel banquet room, by a Justice of the peace.

    If so, then it’s no surprise that your marriage was valid, even if you were not practicing the faith at the time.

    E, this is about formal defection. I was not simply ‘not practicing the faith.’ By acts both willful and ignorant, I had done things that caused the bishop to consider that I had formally defected. THAT is why the marriage was valid, no other reason.

    I assure, I am not confused on this. I still have the letter the bishop sent explaining this and why he judged as he did. This is simply not a misunderstanding on my part, but on yours. I am sorry to be so blunt, but this is really not a debate because there is nothing debatable about it.

    I am aware of the type of situation you appear to have been in (intimately so, as I worked through something similar with my brother and his wife and they had the same result as you), and in fact this was fully what we had anticipated in our case, but did NOT happen. But you appear unaware of the issues related to formal defection and the situation I and some other exceptions fall into.

    If not, did you then have a blessing ceremony? This can either be done as a formal wedding or during a quick five minutes during a regular mass.

    No, no blessing ceremony was required. I know exactly what you are referring too. This was specifically addressed as well.

    That is the point when the sacrament is conferred. I am not privy to all that went on between you and your priest and the Bishop at this time, but if your marriage outside the church had been considered valid, the church would have had no need to “bless” it. When two married protestants enter the church, the marriage blessing is optional.

    Right. Hopefully you are starting to see that as we did not have nor need the blessing ceremony.

    Do you get the distinction I am making? The discussion of defection is a red herring.

    I saw it from the beginning, but I hope you are starting to see that you are missing the full picture. You see very well the situation that you and most other fall into, but that is not the case for all individuals. The issue of formal defection may or may not apply in Jennifer’s case, but it is not a red herring in the least.

    I’ll ask again if you bothered to read the link above? The post by Jimmy Akin also includes a link with a canon lawyer’s discussion on the ‘red herring’ of formal defection.

  18. SteveG

    one needs to have defected from the church IN WRITING.

    But you missed the fat that the entire point of that post was that the IN WRITING is a recent clarification that is NOT retroactive.

  19. SteveG

    fact not fat. Duh! typos!

  20. SteveG

    Ersza: I have feeling troubled that I’ve been unnecessarily confrontational in this discussion, so I’ll first apologize for if I’ve caused any offense.

    I’ll make this my final post on the topic and let you have the final word after that…if you want it.

    Ersza Said: How are you getting from this that I am “almost certainly wrong?”

    That opening on my part was far too strong. Neither of us really knows which of our own cases applies to Jennifer. I have admitted a couple times now and will do so again, that you could be correct with regard to the particular judgment in this case. You are not ‘almost certainly’ wrong, but you ‘could have been wrong’,* and I hope my own case shows that indeed there are exceptions at times.

    *From Jen’s latest update, if I read it correctly, she does indeed need convalidation.

  21. Ersza

    Steve,

    Yes, I did read that link, and frankly I don’t understand how you fell under the category of defection under either the old rules or the new. The new rules are stricter, but the old rules also required the person to be very clear and deliberate in their defection. It’s just not a situation that I see applying to very many people, and I am surprised that your Bishop found your marriage to be valid. Thanks for bringing up this very interesting and obscure loophole. I apologize for my assumption that you were just google-searching something you know nothing about in order to be contrary. 🙂

  22. SteveG

    Since we’ve moved on from debate mode to friendly mode, 😉 I’ll break my promise and respond again under the thought that some of the details might be of interest.

    Yes, I did read that link, and frankly I don’t understand how you fell under the category of defection under either the old rules or the new. The new rules are stricter, but the old rules also required the person to be very clear and deliberate in their defection.

    FWIW, I certainly didn’t lobby for such a judgement. My wife and I were already in the process of dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s for convalidation when the letter came back from the bishop.

    Basically my understanding is that the reason for it was that as a teenager (post confirmation), I’d been involved with a particularly virulent strain of anti-Catholic fundamentalism. While I wasn’t re-baptized, I most certainly publicly repudiated my faith and renounced my Catholicism.

    I specifically remember conversations with family members where I was told that I was baptized Catholic, and would always remain so, to which my response was a resounding, clear and unequivocal repudiation of Catholicism (whore of Babylon and all that).

    I can only surmise that my actions were deemed to have fallen under the bolded part this…

    The following may be considered to have defected from the Catholic Church by a formal act: those who have made a public declaration of their abandonment of the Catholic faith, either in writing or orally before two witnesses, and those who have formally enrolled by some external sign in another Christian church or another religion [commentary on c. 1117].

    It’s just not a situation that I see applying to very many people

    I agree with that, especially under the newer, stricter guidelines.

    , and I am surprised that your Bishop found your marriage to be valid.

    Again, so was I. It had always bothered me and I thought ‘how could this be?’ So much so that when I had moved to a new city/diocese a few years later, after I’d become friends with a priest who is actually the head of Religious education for the entire diocese, I broached it with him to get his thoughts on it.

    We went through all the details again, and he assured me that the Bishop had given a correct judgment. Honestly it still bugs me and the part of me that tends towards scrupulosity still isn’t satisfied, but I have tried to trust the judgement of my shepherds at this point.

    I apologize for my assumption that you were just google-searching something you know nothing about in order to be contrary. 🙂

    Me, contrary?! Never! 😉 No problem anyway. Cheers!

  23. Krystalline Apostate

    Jen:
    For an atheist, it’s hard to know where to draw the line in terms of what (or whom) to kill, but the general rule would appear to be that the more intelligence a being is able to display, the more worthy they are of life. If human life is nothing special than I suppose this system is as good as anything else. It’s no biggie to kill a gnat; you want to give pause before killing a dog; and you want to avoid killing a functioning adult human. The unborn and “brain-dead” don’t have much intelligence that we can recognize or relate to, so it’s OK to lump them into the same category with the lower animals and other beings whose lives we have the right to terminate.
    Excuse me? I’m an atheist, & I don’t even kill spiders: I use a glass & a piece of paper, & release them outside.
    I have to say: what an utterly repugnant comment.
    Life is precious all the more so for us atheists: it’s the only one.
    I believe that the only reason they waste their time debating Christians and trying to destroy others’ faith is because they think it’s a good opportunity to appear smart.
    The only reason? Yeesh, what a bigotted remark.
    The larger % of us are very, very nervous. For a lot more reasons than trying to ‘appear smart’.
    You may want to keep up w/current events. There’s more than the few ‘clues’ you’ve plucked out of the air.
    FYI, I cried when we had to put my dog to sleep.
    Atheists have hearts too, you know.
    So you have my sympathies on that matter.

  24. Jerret

    Atheism or lack thereof has nothing to do with one’s moral structure. The two are utterly seperate. For example, I don’t need God to tell me how to be a decent human being, I figured it out from society while growing up.

    And for the record? Most of us don’t try to destroy your faith. We would be happy to live side by side with people who worship gods, so long as they don’t trample our rights, like most of them attempt. Freedom of religion (or lack thereof) is one of our best freedoms.

    All that said, I found all of your blogs (That I read, I admittedly skipped most. I’ll probably read them at some point.) interesting and enjoyable reading, and I’d like to link to your blog from mine, if you wouldn’t mind. :).

  25. ELC

    Atheism or lack thereof has nothing to do with one’s moral structure. The two are utterly seperate. For example, I don’t need God to tell me how to be a decent human being, I figured it out from society while growing up.

    Nonsense. Your idea of being a “decent human being” is illusory. It’s no more than a particular society’s understanding of being a “decent human being”. If you were growing up now in certain neighborhoods in Palestine, there’s a real good chance you’d learn that being a decent human being involves blowing yourself up while murdering innocent Israeli citizens.

    In fact, it’s not EVEN a particular society’s understanding of goodness. We’re all just molecules and chemicals. We’re all an almost infinite accumulation of random accidents. And that’s it.

    Your allegedly atheistic attempt at morality is merely a delusion abetted by the remnants of theism in your society, family, personal life, whatever. And that’s it.

  26. Krystalline Apostate

    elc:
    Nonsense. Your idea of being a “decent human being” is illusory. It’s no more than a particular society’s understanding of being a “decent human being”. If you were growing up now in certain neighborhoods in Palestine, there’s a real good chance you’d learn that being a decent human being involves blowing yourself up while murdering innocent Israeli citizens.
    That sounds like moral relativism to me.
    In fact, it’s not EVEN a particular society’s understanding of goodness. We’re all just molecules and chemicals. We’re all an almost infinite accumulation of random accidents. And that’s it.
    You make that sound like it’s a bad thing.
    Your allegedly atheistic attempt at morality is merely a delusion abetted by the remnants of theism in your society, family, personal life, whatever. And that’s it.
    Oh, pish posh. It’s nearly impossible not to bump into some theistic thought in this country by simply turning around.
    Morality’s not contingent on theism. Morality sprang from evolutionary modes. So did religion.
    So y’all don’t get to claim the high ground, or even to be the source.

  27. ELC

    Morality sprang from evolutionary modes. So did religion.

    What is that supposed to mean?

    Perhaps I am mistaken, but I sort of remember that evolution is the gradual emergence of one species from another. (Right?) Since human beings have been human beings for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years and are still human beings now, evolution can have had nothing to do with morality and religion. Unless you are attempting some bait-and-switch with the meaning of the word “evolution”.

  28. Jerret

    The remnants of theism in my life? I’d like to inform you the only remnants of theism in my life, are the theists who try to enforce their will on our government through laws., and passing discussions with my friends, atheist or otherwise.

    Interesting you use suicide bombings as an example. Tell me, how many atheists have blown themselves up, killing innocent people, for a cause they can’t even justify?

    Of course “decent human being” is illusory. All things tied to emotion and feelings are illusory. It’s amazing how predictable and surprising the brain is at the same time.

  29. Krystalline Apostate

    elc:
    Perhaps I am mistaken, but I sort of remember that evolution is the gradual emergence of one species from another.
    No, you’re not mistaken.
    Since human beings have been human beings for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years and are still human beings now, evolution can have had nothing to do with morality and religion.
    Wait: ‘if not hundreds of thousands’? You’re not 1 of those young Earthers, are you?
    So how is it evolution had nothing to do w/morality or religion?
    I can show otherwise.
    & please spare me all that folderol about it being ‘only a theory’, or ‘violating the 2nd law of thermo’.
    Unless you are attempting some bait-and-switch with the meaning of the word “evolution”.
    Oh, please, you know, I’m not insulting your integrity, I’d be much obliged if you didn’t insult mine.

  30. Krystalline Apostate

    elc:
    Sorry, I meant ‘old earth’ creationist. My bad.

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