White Debate: Is the New Testament Evil?

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by Porter, Jul 14, 2010.

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  1. Porter

    Porter Puritan Board Freshman

    Dr. White has a debate upcoming on August 30th on the topic Is the New Testament Evil? (previously to be against Christopher Hitchens, now David Silverman).

    My question is (and this is posed because I was too lazy to research the issue): what is the thrust of the argument that Silverman (previously Hitchens) makes in affirming that the NT is evil?
     
  2. Repre5entYHWH

    Repre5entYHWH Puritan Board Freshman

    i believe it is concerning the morality put forth in the new testament.
     
  3. Porter

    Porter Puritan Board Freshman

    I was thinking the same thing, Josh. I was just wondering what their premise might be.
     
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Cameron,

    The typical new Atheist argument is to argue that modern society agrees that certain principles are "moral". Under humanistic terms, what is becomes normative and so we find ourselves in a state where humanity has evolved socially to a point where certain things are "good" and others are "bad". On the basis of what society currently agrees is "right", they then judge ancient cultures as morally wrong. Do a search some time for the term "out of step" in News and you'll see it is a common term to refer to someone holding on to some outdated view of what is considered good. Reflexively, in our society, nobody wants to be viewed as "out of step" because it is considered bad because the prevailing view is that as man evolves so do societies and so does our sense of propriety.

    The God of the Scirptures is "out of step" and all an atheist really needs to do to play to the unthinking masses is to appeal to the agreed upon sense that wherever the society currently rests on an issue is good.

    This is obviously wrought with problems and suffers, logically, from the "is-ought" fallacy. This is what you're left with, however, when man is the measure of things. There is also a tremendous amount of philosophical naivete that assumes that the sense of morality that our culture has is an evolved sensibility ignoring the impact of wanton sin as well as the restraining effects that Christianity has had on Western culture.
     
  5. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    I read this guy who is a evolutionary psychologest who suggested that sociopaths might be more highly evolved because they are somewhat fitter to survive, being that they don't have things like emotions and morals holding them back.
     
  6. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I believe that White chose that topic when scheduling the debate with Hitchens because the latter entitles a chapter in his book, God Is Not Great, "The 'New' Testament Exceeds the Evil of the 'Old' One."
     
  7. Staphlobob

    Staphlobob Puritan Board Sophomore

    In other words,, what society says is good, right, proper, IS good, right, proper. Hence Nazi Germany's discrimination against, and killing of Jew was good, right, proper. Only the Confessing Church was "out of step" with the prevailing viewpoints and values.

    Still completely subjective and dependent on who has the power. Hence the "new atheist" has a very old and worn out argument.
     
  8. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    That's right Kevin. In fact Greg Bahnsen challenged Gordon Stein with this point in their Great Debate and Stein lamely replied that Nazi Germany was wrong because they were out of step with Western Civilization as a whole It's a completely irrational, arbitrary, and sentimental notion.

    In Dan Barker's debate with Paul Manata he admitted that we all have the same ultimate worth as a stalk of broccoli but insisted that we assign meaning in a sentimental way and so there is meaning only in that sense. As a materialist, his view was anti-materialist and anti-emperical and self-referentially contradictory.
     
  9. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I'm not so sure the new atheist view is one of evolution of ethics but rather the progress of ethics. Just as we've made progress in science and technology, we have also made progress in our understanding of ethics. It has more to do with the cultural advances of a civilization than biological evolution.
     
  10. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    The two are related. It obviously depends upon whether the Atheist is a functionalist but Humanists, since Hegel, have seen progression of society as axiomatic. When the theory of evolution came along, philosophical though applied those principles to society. Positivist law was birthed at Harvard Law School when an evolutionary scientist was made Dean of the Law School in the 19th Century not long after Darwin's work was released.
     
  11. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I guess I just see people other than atheist using the language of evolution to describe the atheist views on ethics much more than the atheist himself.

    I am interested in what parts of the NT are considered "out of step." Normally atheists go to the OT to show how the ethics of the bible don't comport with modern sensibilities. The NT seems to provide a lot less material. The only points I can think of is the NT seems to promote the subjugation of women, the institution of slavery, and submission to evil governments. Any other examples that are likely to come up?
     
  12. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Depends on the atheist but most atheists who use the argument are not self-consciously aware of what they import into a discussion. Many are philosophically naive (especially the most prominent New Atheists). One does not need to hear someone state his philosophical reasoning to discern what his operating principles are when he makes certain arguments.
     
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