<<<To answer such a question, it seems one would have to have a working idea
of what 'morals' and 'morality' are. So, I looked up these often undefined
terms in my Bibles to find a definition for each, and these terms do not
appear once in all those ancient pages. These terms seems to have escaped
the Bible's authors, and consequently, the Bible nowhere gives definition to
"While it is certainly true that the words "morals" and "morality" are not
found in the Bible,"
Here Peter acknowledges with certainty that "the words 'morals' and
'morality' are not found in the Bible." So far, we are in agreement on this
point (indeed, how could one dispute this?).
"that by no means demonstrates that the concept itself is not located
By what means did you form this concept? And what definition are you
assuming? Where did you get this definition, if not from the Bible? (If the
Bible does not even contain these terms, as you admit above, then logically
you could not have gotten the definitions which you assume from the Bible.)
"Indeed, one cannot read many pages without discovering the fact that the
entire Bible is a commentary on humanity and also a demonstration of what is
right and wrong."
One "cannot"? Really? When I read it, I find that it is a commentary on what
primitive people *believed*. I see no relevance to my life or the life of
any other individual who seeks to live his life according to reason (instead
of "faith"). For instance, any source which says "thou shalt love..."
obviates itself, since this bespeaks an inadequate understanding of human
nature and love. One cannot "command" others to love something. This is
irrational. This is an expression of the lust for controlling the minds of
"Right and wrong behavior is exactly what morality is concerned with."
Says who? Does the Bible state this? Oh, that's right, these terms do not
even occur in the Bible. You must be reading your own concept into your
interpretation of the Bible. Christians do this all the time. How does the
Bible define the terms 'right' and 'wrong'? See, you're only making problems
worse for yourself by claiming the authority of the Bible on matters which
the Bible does not even define. How can a document be an authority on
something which it does not even define? Perhaps definitions of terms are
not important to you? Or, like most believers, you simply take them for
granted, right? Again, inadequate.
"So when the Bible says that it is wrong to steal, it is making a moral
judgment, and therefore by defintion it is referring to morality."
Now you're begging the question, since this is precisely what you are called
to establish, and since you have not cited one verse in all the thousands of
verses throughout the Bible which define the terms in question, your
interpretation here is without authority. Inadequate.
"Any work that is concerned with good and evil deals precisely with the
issue of morality."
How does the Bible define these terms 'good' and 'evil'? Please cite book,
chapter and verse, and explain why the definitions provided therein (if you
can find any) are superior to ones which non-believers formulate? You
continually introduce new terms, Peter, but you are not offering Bible-based
definitions as you go. You're just making matters worse by multiplying your
"Let me make it easy for you. For the purposes of our discussion, morality
is defined simply as a statement that any specific action (or actions) is
either wrong, and therefore deserving of punishment, or right."
Please cite the source of this definition. That is all you are essentially
being asked to do. Did you take this definition from the Bible? If so,
please cite the passage specifically. If you did not take it from the Bible,
then from where did you take it? Why doesn't the Bible define this term?
Have you ever asked yourself this? Why doesn't the working definition of
'morality' which you propose above make any reference to values? How can man
live without values? How can one assess the worthiness of actions proper to
man without reference to values? Again, ignominiously inadequate here.
"Punishment does not need to be "hell" or anything."
If one is assuming a reality-ruling form of consciousness (e.g., "god's
will") then the concept 'necessity' (and related terms like 'need') are out
the window. God can do whatever he wants. He has no limits, certainly not
those which its believers arbitrarily throw up for argumentative
convenience. All things being equal, there's no reason why God could not
make the punishment to consist of standing on one foot for a year or digging
holes in hard earth for 1000 years. If this is what was written in the Bible
in place of "hell" believers would believe it. Again, it's a fantasy. There
is no value here for those who embrace reason and are unwilling to
compromise their reason with mind-negating fantasies of this nature.
"Being grounded for stealing a cookie from the cookie jar when your parents
told you not to would count as punishment, and therefore the statement that
"stealing a cookie from the cookie jar when your parents told you not to is
wrong" is a moral statement."
But what makes it wrong? Someone SAID so? No reference to reality? That's
what we find in the Bible. God simply commands. He does not give reasons.
Again, what does "wrong" mean? What definition are you assuming here? You
have not provided one. And here again you speak of morality (and beg the
question by restraining examples to parent-child scenarios), and still
nowhere have I seen any statement about values. If you can live without
values, then perhaps you find the Bible's content adequate. However, my life
requires values in order for me to live. Therefore, those sources which are
said to be authoritative on moral matters but which neglect the crucial
issue of values is entirely and irrescindably inadequate for my life.
"Actions which are "right" need not merit anything, as I'm sure we would
agree doing the "right thing" does not always grant you praise or reward."
But what you write here is effectively meaningless if you do not define
'right' (which so far you have not done).