Tactics Chapter 9: Sibling Rivalry and Infanticide
guest blog by David Stoecker
There are many reasons that someone point of view can self-destruct. So far, you have covered two of them: Formal suicide and Practical Suicide. Today we will talk about two more self-defeating views: Sibling Rivalry and Infanticide. When someone has two objections that conflict, you have the Sibling Rivalry. If, on the other hand, someone’s view is built upon a previous concept that disqualifies their view, then you have Infanticide.
In conversation sometimes, you will hear something that sounds strange. You will hear objections used by the same person that are not consistent with each other. Since they cannot both be valid, you only have to do half the work. A reasonable person will concede on at least one of their arguments, when they are pointed out to them. Sometimes they will silence both of their arguments when they are shown to be in conflict.
An example of Sibling Rivalry would be someone who looks at the world today and is angered. They read about someone who has abused children or a dictator killing innocent people and say, "A good, loving God would never let this happen." Yet when those same people hear that some will be judged by God say, "A good, loving God would never send anyone to hell." By their very arguments, if God does not act against evil, He cannot be good and loving. Yet when he does act to punish sin, his goodness and love are put into question.
Sibling Rivalry is also the issue moral relativists run into when objecting to evil. A relativist will argue that we all have our own morality. Right and wrong are the business of the individual, who are we to judge. Therefore, they cannot really define evil. Evil only means that something is wrong for them to do. If you label something as evil, that means that it is not the way it is supposed to be. Unless things are meant to be different, this is a senseless word. If the world is unjust, than there must be a higher justice.
What the moral relativist is saying is, "If God were really good and loving, He would only allow things that I like and wouldn’t allow things I find displeasing." Gregory says, "The belief that objective good and evil do not exist (relativism) is i conflict (rivalry) with a rejection of God based on the existence of objective evil."
Infanticide is harder to understand. Imagine a father ending a letter with; "Son, if you didn’t get this letter, please let me know, and I’ll send you another. I made a copy." This is illogical because the son would have to receive the letter if he knew to ask for a copy, but if he got the letter he would not need the copy. There is a dependency here that is the very heart of Infanticide. Another example is saying "vocal chords do not exist." That statement in and of itself is not contradictory internally, but it requires vocal chords to speak the statement. So the parent concept (vocal chords) invalidates the child (claim there is no vocal chords).
The best example of Infanticide is when objectivists argue that God cannot exist because of evil. The atheist must first answer the question, "What do you mean by evil?" They will probably give examples: rape, murder, racism, child abuse. Those are good answers, but they miss the point. Where does their concept of evil come from. Before you can give examples of evil, you must know what evil is.
So, how do you know the difference between good and bad? Let’s look at bowling. In bowling, good and bad can be measured by pin count. A 300 is supremely good, and rolling all gutter balls is supremely bad. Even in sports that you cannot be perfect in, such as golf, we still keep score. When we use the word evil we have a moral scoring system that we depend on. Evil means that when put on the goodness scale, we are on the low end. C.S. Lewis saw this same problem:
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I gotten this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.
This is the problem atheists will run into. Where have they gotten their concept of good that allows them to label something as evil? How can there be a moral scoring system if morals are nothing more than a product of chance. In fact, why obey them at all if that is the case. Who is it that establishes how things are supposed to be? In the movie The Quarrel, Rabbi Hersh says:
If there’s nothing in the universe that’s higher than human beings, then what’s morality? Well, it’s a matter of opinion. I like milk; you like meat. Hitler likes to kill people; I like to save them. Who’s to say which is better? Do you begin to see the horror of this? If there’s no master of the universe, then who’s to say that Hitler did anything wrong? If there is no God, then the people that murdered your wife and children did nothing wrong.
So why do we need a God? What purpose does God serve in the argument about morals and morality? A morally perfect God is the only plausible standard for a moral scoring system that contains at the bottom end evil. If God’s existence makes evil intelligible, then evil cannot be evidence against God. In fact, it is great evidence for God. So morals actually prove that God exists!
When it comes to morals, sometimes people think that atheists can’t be moral. That is very untrue. They can be very moral, but they generally cannot make sense of morality without God. Just because you can’t explain gravity does not mean it does not work. The question for them is what grounds morality? Atheism creates a physicalist universe and morality is a nonphysical thing.
I would get into scientism as he does and how it commits suicide now, but that will take an entire blog. Look for a blog entitled Scientism Self-Destructs coming in the next week or so. See you next time when we look at Chapter 10!
*Written for TPE by David Stoecker of Spiritual Spackle.