Forums - Politics Discussion - If Hitchen's challenge is correct, then why are there ethical lapses?

I remember seeking Christopher Hitchens bring up a challenge to Christians in a debate:

http://www.religionforums.org/Thread-The-Christopher-Hitchens-Challenge

Name one moral or ethical action or behaviour committed or carried out by a believer that could not have been committed or carried out by an atheist.

 

So, then the conclusion from this challenge (I am taking the first part) is that an atheist can live a completely moral life without God.  Well, if that is the case, then why are there ethical lapses?  If it is simple for man in and of himself to end up doing what is right, then why do people have ethical lapses?  And, I would have to ask then here: Does anyone know anyone personally, or themself, who could end up saying honestly that they never had any moral lapses?  In short, how many sinless people do you know of?

If Hitchen's challenge is that simple to do, then why does it seem to fail so much?

The second half has to do with doing evil in the name of God.



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Come on really? You are taking what he said to an absurd extreme.

This is the Game of Thrones

Where you either win

or you DIE

You seem to be extremely confused about the challenge and have failed to present a rebuttal in any sense of the word.

Modus Tollens argument used here displays your severe lack of understanding of logical matters.

No one said it it easy to be ethical and moral at all times. All Hitchens stated was that for any given person, it is no easier or harder to remain ethical or moral regardless of religious belief.

He's removing the "religion yields morality" argument that is so commonly used to trump up the gigantic pile of non sequiturs that plagues religious apologetics' debates.

So you are basically asking why atheists sin despite being able not to? That doesn't make much sense and could easily be answered by saying that people are egotistical by nature while atheists don't fear committing sins.

I think a better question would be why believers sin despite being believers. If in the end everybody commit sins whether they believe in God or not, why strive for being a believer?


In any case though, Hitchen's challenge still stands.



I don't think you understood his challenge.

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dsgrue3 said:
You seem to be extremely confused about the challenge and have failed to present a rebuttal in any sense of the word.

Modus Tollens argument used here displays your severe lack of understanding of logical matters.

No one said it it easy to be ethical and moral at all times. All Hitchens stated was that for any given person, it is no easier or harder to remain ethical or moral regardless of religious belief.

He's removing the "religion yields morality" argument that is so commonly used to trump up the gigantic pile of non sequiturs that plagues religious apologetics' debates.

Who said my comment was about rebutting the argument.   In the case of Hitchens, he actually argues atheism is MORE moral because atheists can do everything moral theists do, but they don't have any of the evil done in the name of God.

Anyhow, who says my comment is a rebuttal.  My comment is  different animal.  It ends up asking: If what Hitchens said was true, and is taken in a way someone who is concerned about ethics would respond, then what of sin?  Why is it, if it is so easy to do then why don't people do it all the time?  Maybe the issue is that it isn't easy to do at all, and no one really can.  And in light of this, the issue then becomes exactly WHAT can cause there to be better results in the area of ethics.  Does nothing, which atheism is (a-theism is a negation of a belief in God and nothing else) produce more ethically good acts, than something which at least is a positive belief in something?

As for one thing, how about people laying down their lives for the sake of another?  People are more likely to do this if they believe there is a loving God and an afterlife, than if there isn't.



SlayerRondo said:
Come on really? You are taking what he said to an absurd extreme.

No, I am trying to practically apply what Hitchens said to a reality, asking exactly what good or evil people, do.  One can argue that a person, in a religious community, is capable of doing good they wouldn't be alone, because they have encouragement and moral support, to help make right decisions, that they would lack without having.  Person comes under the influence of others and lives a life where they give up things, or start doing things.  Atheism doesn't produce such communities.  What you get under atheism is pretty much government programs that do things.  You don't see atheists really doing what Mother Teressa did.  You will actually end you have Penn Gilletes of the world end up saying stuff like science and free markets do more good than Mother Teressa did.

No, I am looking at a practical reality, unless one wants ethics to be nothing more than just some sort of impractical scoreboard we use to feel good that we feel bad, and remind us we are not barbarians and savages.  

So again here, if Hitchens is correct in that, there is NO act anyone needs any God for to do, that is right, then exactly why do people fall short?



Looks like others have already beaten me to the punch, but I'll say it anyway: why do Christians sin when they're told in definitive terms what is right and what is wrong?

Because human beings are fallible and influenced by many divergent factors. You know this already, I'm sure. In fact, Christianity hinges on this idea to a large degree.

richardhutnik said:

What is sin? And why do people do it?

As for one thing, how about people laying down their lives for the sake of another?  People are more likely to do this if they believe there is a loving God and an afterlife, than if there isn't.

Because some people are selfish.

Bullshit. This is another argument that does not follow any logic procession.

They are certainly more likely to blow themselves up though.



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richardhutnik said:

So again here, if Hitchens is correct in that, there is NO act anyone needs any God for to do, that is right, then exactly why do people fall short?

You keep saying "if". There is no if. He is undeniably correct that non-believers can be just as moral as believers. He is equally correct that people have done incredibly wicked things in the name of God which they would otherwise have had a difficult time justifying.

Is your question where morality comes from if not from God?