Saturday, November 1, 2008

Faith, Bad Faith, No Faith

Without god, how could there be right and wrong? Frank Turek asked this question of Christopher Hitchens many times and in many forms during their recent debate. I think this constitutes as much answer as that question deserves:

A 13-year-old girl who said she had been raped was stoned to death in Somalia after being accused of adultery by Islamic militants, a human rights group said.

Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo, Amnesty International and Somali media reported, citing witnesses. The Islamic militia in charge of Kismayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her, the rights group said.
Since following the path of god's standard of right and wrong led to this, we have to ask of what use was the path? It is demonstrably vile.

And if the response is "that's the wrong god," then the demand is to demonstrate that -- not just (and not foremost) to the satisfaction of atheists like me, but to the people so convinced of their god that they're killing rape victims by hurling stones at them. Convince them they have the wrong god or the wrong interpretation of god's wishes.

This looks like the outcome of a despicable bundle of prejudices given a strong warrant by an ancient text that relabels them as "god's will." Unless and until a god floats down to demonstrate otherwise, it follows that "god's will" and "despicable prejudices" are functionally identical -- they do the same work in the world, one is no better than the other.

Prattling about the ontological status of moral claims and pretending to worry that "without god, all is permitted" is empty and fraudulent when set beside the reality of what's actually being done and justified in god's name.

(H/T for the debate audio)

1 comment: said...

i do not know the exact position of the report whether the rapped has been condemmned to death in somalia?but the position of law pertaining to rape in islam is somewhat different than reported by you: in islamic law the rapped person is protected and on standard proof the rapper is punished not the raped as is reported by you. i hope you may kindly see yourself the law and quote islamic position on it than what happened at somilai.nevertheless; if adultry is promoted in the society by either sex; both of them if found gulity are laible for punishment in the society where islamic laws operate. i may add the present civilised laws on rape in advanced countries hardly could prevent such crime from being commited. even; the rape graph alone in united states is very high inspite of laws operating in nuited states to prevent it. thanks