Might makes right

POI wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2024 12:36 pm The answer to my first question takes me back to my prior point. Which is basically, “because he says so.” How is this not (might makes right)?

We’ve covered this many times…

otseng wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 9:40 am

POI Simplified… It’s ‘right’ because God says so, or, it’s right because of other reasons (which does not need God).

Wrong simplification. It’s right because it’s God’s nature.

otseng wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 8:09 am

POI I know. I did. It relates to “might makes right.” If one violates God’s nature, God may punish them.

If you attack claims that I have not made, then isn’t that a straw man?

But let’s go with your argument. What is wrong with punishing someone who violates objective morality? Isn’t that what the state does? If someone murders or steals or rapes, they are punished.

Also, God does not punish people every time they violate objective morality. So, there is no might or punishment in these cases.

Now, if you’re referring to “might” as authority instead of punishment, then I agree with you. In all cases authority would apply.

otseng wrote: Sat Feb 03, 2024 7:16 am

And second, you then need to explain why this objective moral law giver’s objective moral pronouncements are not merely appealing to “might makes right”?

It’s not might makes right, but God’s being and nature makes it right.

Bottom line, the argument is not “might makes right”, but it’s only what you have been repeatedly asserting. To attack a position that I do not claim and only you construct is a straw man argument.

This is also related to the Euthyphro dilemma. The dilemma states, “Is good and just because God wills it or whether God wills it because it is good and just?” But this is a false dilemma because God does not “will” or decide on what is good and just. Instead good and just flows from God himself and his nature.

Jonathan Sacks wrote, “In Judaism, the Euthyphro dilemma does not exist.” Jewish philosophers Avi Sagi and Daniel Statman criticized the Euthyphro dilemma as “misleading” because “it is not exhaustive”: it leaves out a third option, namely that God “acts only out of His nature.”


Even if God decided something to be right, it is authority that would make it right, not necessarily might.


POI wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2024 9:08 am POI Stay with me here. I’m not offering a strawman. See the part, near the bottom, in red. Let’s start with a short video from Frank T. He explains the same argument well in this video. But then his position falls apart at minute 2 and beyond.

How does it fall apart?

For which I respond with the following:
WLC: A Challenge for Christian Moral Realists
So I ask anew… Please tell us WHY gay sex is wrong without becoming circular — (by using “God” in your argument)?One of your prior responses gives reasons outside God’s say-so, as to why gay sex is bad. But, as the video above explains, you rejected those already given arguments the second you claim morals are subjective without God.

I treat the moral argument for God’s existence and the ethics of the Old Testament as two separate issues.

The moral argument is arguing for the best explanation of objective moral values. This argument assumes objective moral values exist. And I’ve argued extensively that OMV exist starting at:

I have yet to see any rational argument from skeptics that OMV do not exist. Rather, since they cannot counter the moral argument, the only recourse is they must reject OMV exist because they assume God does not exist.

In none of these arguments for OMV do I mention male-on-male sex. So, by this fact alone shows there is no circular argumentation.

Given OMV exists and God exists, then we specifically looked at the ethics of the Old Testament. As I stated at the onset:

otseng wrote: Thu Nov 23, 2023 9:37 am First thing I want to point out is by making an ethical judgment on the God of the Old Testament, it does not demonstrate whether he exists or not. It’s not logical to complain about the moral attributes of an entity if that entity does not exist. I’m not going to go around complaining that the flying spaghetti monster is an evil monster and violates basic human ethics. I don’t even believe the FSM exists so why should I care what attributes it has? This pretty much goes for any claimed deity. I don’t care about the lustful habits of Zeus or the cannibalistic tendencies of Cronus or the self-mutilating character of Chhinnamasta.

However, the attributes of a god would matter if it leads its followers to act unethically. One can rightly complain about such a belief of that religion. But, it is still possible that deity exists, even if one doesn’t like its ethical attributes or what it teaches. For example, Christians believe the devil exists, but they do not like his attributes.

Bottom line, the moral characteristics of God cannot demonstrate He does not exist. But moral characteristics is relevant if it leads to unethical behavior of its followers.

As for male on male sex, we see it is prohibited in the Old and New Testaments, so it is wrong according to the Bible.

As for the charge of circular reasoning, male sex is not mentioned in the argumentation for the moral argument of God’s existence, so therefore there is no circular logic involved.

You may want to know my position. Well, it’s simple. I do not know if morals are objective or subjective? Thus far, they may be merely subjective. If this is the case, then God is offering his subjective opinion. And the only reason(s) I should follow HIS opinion is because (might makes right). Why? Because it is ‘in his nature (even if it disagrees with mine)’, ‘he creates’, and ‘he has more power’. All such reason(s) apply to the ‘might makes right’ position.

Makes no logical sense. You’ll need to make a more coherent argument without the “I do not know” and “they may be” and “if this is the case” to make any logical conclusion. If you do not know if all morals are subjective, then you cannot assume that is true to argue further.

If “God’s nature” was to state gay sex is right, does this mean gay sex is right?

Sure, I’d grant that. Where does the Bible say gay sex is right?


POI wrote: Sat Mar 02, 2024 11:52 am (U) No, the moral argument doesn’t assume does God exists, but it assumes God could exist. And since there is no viable alternative explanation other than God, therefore God is the best explanation for OMV.

POI Do you reject premise 1 of Dr. Craig’s moral argument, as presented in the 2nd video? (i.e.):

Here’s his argument:

P1. If God does not exist then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C. Therefore God exists.

P1 does not assume God does exist, but God does not exist. An implied assumption in the moral argument is God could exist.

Dr, Craig is asserting, in P1, that you CANNOT have OMV’s without God. Is this your position too?

Yes, I believe that, as well as several atheist philosophers.

If so, it is YOUR burden to explain why this is so?

I’ve summarized my arguments in atheism and morality.

“Objective morality is the idea that right and wrong exist factually, without any importance of opinion. It’s the concept that some actions and beliefs are imperatively good or inherently bad, and that the goodness or badness of those things holds true no matter who you are or what else you believe in.”


Please explain WHY the statement “gay sex is an abomination” IS an OMV? And please do so without stating something to the effect of… “because God says so.“.

As I’ve mentioned before, there is no need to explain the why. Rarely do any rules or laws in society explain the why of those laws, so why should the Bible have to explain the why?

As for possible reasons why, I’ve offered several arguments.

So far, I’m saying that if God does exist, all theists have demonstrated is that “might makes right“.

You’ve stated this multiple times, yet actually have yet to substantiate this claim.

How do you define “might”?
What is “right”?
Why does might make right?
How is the Bible using might to make right?

because Frank’s attempt at a 3rd position is merely circular.

There is no circular argument. There is no assumption that God exists to prove that God exists.

POI Then you missed my point. What is God’s defitnion of ‘love’? Please tell me his defitnion? You may have already provided it in the past, but I do not recall?

Here is a quote from you on the definition that I provided:

POI wrote: Wed Feb 14, 2024 11:25 am (U) [1Co 13:4-7 NASB20] 4 Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. 5 It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own [benefit;] it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong [suffered,] 6 it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


Diogenes wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 4:48 am This appears to be a distinction without a difference. What makes one (or an institution) an “authority?” How is this different than “might?” In both cases, with both ‘might’ and ‘authority’ a claim of a moral (or immoral) act achieving that status is based on power. If there is any distinction at all, it is merely that “authority” is conferred upon whomever has the power (‘might’) to enforce the rules.

Here’s how I define authority…

“power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior”

“the moral or legal right or ability to control”
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dic … /authority

“the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.”

“the power to give orders or make decisions : the power or right to direct or control someone or something”

What gives something authority?

Ultimately God gives something authority, but we can table that for now.

Authority exists within a group that operates within a certain domain. For example, the authority of this forum is the rules of the forum. By joining this forum, people agree to follow the rules. If people drive on the road, they must follow the rules of the road. If people work at a company, they must follow the rules of the company. If people are part of a country, they must follow the laws of the country.

How is authority different than might? Though authorities do carry the ability to enforce the rules, it is not might itself that makes things right. As with this forum, it is not the disciplinary actions that make things right, but the rules that decides what is right.

Or if a school bully forces a kid to give him his lunch money, it does not making stealing right. Or if the mafia forces a business to pay protection money, it doesn’t make extortion right.

So, it is not might that makes something right, but authority.


Diogenes wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 6:56 pm you still haven’t defined a difference between ‘might’ and ‘authority.’

Definitions of might:

“power, strength, or force”
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dic … lish/might

“power to do something : force or strength”

“physical strength, superior power or strength; force”

What is the difference between authority and might (power)?

Sometimes people use the terms Authority and Power interchangeably; however, there are some differences between both. While Authority is the legitimate power or right granted to an individual, position, or entity to exercise control, make decisions, and enforce compliance within a specific domain or scope; Power is the capacity of managers or leaders to exert influence, make decisions, and achieve desired outcomes within an organization.

https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/differenc … and-power/

When the question is about influencing or manipulating others, two things go that side by side in the field of management are Power and Authority. These two are used to make people respond in the manner directed. Power is referred to as the capacity of an individual to influence the will or conduct of others. As against, authority is termed as the right possessed by a person to give the command to others.

https://keydifferences.com/difference-b … ority.html

Power and authority. These two terms carry a lot of weight, especially in the workplace.

Most people might think of these two forms of influence as the same, especially regarding authority vs. power in management.

Although it appears that there’s a fine line between them, they are different in many ways.


And the problem with using morals as a way to distinguish between might and authority is that it begs the question. Having ‘authority’ grants you the power. Having ‘might’ grants exactly the same power. Then this comes full circle with the frequently voiced claim by many fundamentalists that, ultimately the ‘God of Abraham’ has authority to decide what is right, based on his might, his ‘Almightiness’

I’m not using morals to argue for authority. Rather, because God is the authority, then what he states is right.


POI wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2024 7:39 pm (U) I’ve given the definitions of authority from multiple dictionaries, which is contrary to your definition.

POI Being all powerful, who cannot be overturned, and also creates, are all attributes of your God, right?

God also has many other attributes – love, patient, just, merciful, etc. Just because God has an attribute doesn’t mean all the attributes mean the same. With your argument, then mercy makes right, love makes right, just makes right, etc.

(U) Ultimately, because I created this forum and I set the original rules.

POI Then as Frank Turek has pointed out, in video 1, your given response indicates that your reasoning is arbitrary.

Don’t follow your logic. What exactly did Turek state that makes me creating the forum to set what is right arbitrary?

(U) Note that I could have set the rules and not have any form of enforcement. It would still be what is right, even though there is no “might” behind it.

POI But WHY is your given rules for this arena actually right? Is it merely because you say so, or are there reasons outside your mere say-so? In other words, what reason(s) propelled you to elect such given rules?

The why doesn’t matter. Did I the provide the justification for the rules on the rules page? No. Do they still define what is the right behavior that is expected on the forum? Yes. Are they actually right for this forum? Yes. Has anybody asked for the why for the rules before? No.

God is ‘right’ because he assigns what is right/wrong, based upon his own nature. And since he possesses the “might”, as I have defined, is why he is “right”. Therefore, “might makes right”, which as Frank T. points out, is arbitrary.

And as I’ve pointed out, you have a circular definition of right:

otseng wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 7:37 am

“Right” – Whatever God says is considered ‘right’, because he possesses the ‘might’.

This is a circular definition.

And you also have a definition of might contrary to dictionary definitions:

otseng wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2024 3:58 pm

POI wrote: Sat Mar 09, 2024 1:01 pm POI My given definition of ‘might’ encompasses your given definitions of authority. (i.e.) All powerful, cannot be overridden, creates.

I’ve given the definitions of authority from multiple dictionaries, which is contrary to your definition.

So your entire argument of “might makes right” is entirely based on faulty definitions.

(U) The buck stops with any highest form of authority. There is no more appeal after the Supreme Court. There is no more appeal after a king. There is no more appeal to anyone after I make a decision on this forum.

POI I agree. But is this WHAT makes the ruling actually right?

At a minimum, it is subjectively right for that particular area of domain (US, a kingdom, this forum). What would make something objectively right? The only basis would be if it could be traced back to God.

POI Do your rules need to be followed merely because you say so, or are your reasons justified outside your say-so?

Everyone needs to follow the rules because they are part of the forum. Though I do have reasons for the rules, it is not necessary for the rules to be explained in order for them to be the standard of right behavior on the forum.

Ultimately though, I base the principles of the forum on my sense of moral values and the principles of the Bible. I believe everyone should be respected because everyone is created in the image of God. I believe everyone should be treated fairly and there should not be preferential treatment for those “on my side”.

So far, in regard to the topic of ‘anal sex’, it is bad because God says so, which is arbitrary, as explained in video 1.

And as I’ve repeatedly asked, what has been shown in the video that I have not addressed?

POI Maybe you now realize the conflict. It is either because God says so, which is arbitrary, (or), reasons outside God’s say-so, which then means we no longer need God.

God’s nature is not arbitrary, so there is no conflict.

You have debated with others, of the reason(s) as to why ‘anal sex’ is ‘bad’. Hence, you have demonstrated that you no longer need God to justify your morals.

Yes, I’ve given both religious and secular reasons why anal sex is bad. Providing both does not mean the other is nullified, but rather provides additional support to each.

This is exactly why Frank tries to argue for a third circular option. The latter part of video 2 explains why.

And I have to ask again, what is exactly stated that I have not addressed?

(U) We’re talking about morality, not about if terms are objective or not.

POI So am I. Jesus Judges the ‘rich’. He is assigning a judgement value upon an objective finding. So-and-so has X amount of money, which is X. Is ‘rich’ an objectively moral term, or is it always subjective? I am not offering a red herring. My point being, is that once God/Jesus weighs in on a topic, theists no longer deem that topic subjectively moral or immoral, it is now objectively moral. (i.e.)

Jesus says anal sex is bad – objective!
Jesus says Bob is rich – objective!

No, your analogy is not relevant as I’ve been pointing out.

“Rich” is not a moral term. Where does the Bible say it is wrong to be rich? There is no normative claim about being rich in the Bible (or in any human laws), so being rich is not even relevant to morality.

If I say either of the two, and do not conjure up some invisible God-like-force to substantiate it, then theists state I cannot justify “objective morality.”

You’re not even talking about morality when discussing being rich.

POI More rubberstamping. So, you believe male-on-male hand jobs, male-on-male French kissing, and male-on-male oral, is all okay with the God of the Bible? Seriously?

Yes, I’m providing more rubberstamping of corrections of your false attributions. Here’s what I stated: “I’m not saying anything not explicitly prohibited in the Bible is okay. Nothing is mentioned about many things, but that doesn’t mean they are okay. But, if one wants to interpret the Leviticus passages as encompassing all sexual activity, they are free to do so. But, I believe it’s specifically referring to anal sex.”

POI My prior explanation explains the relevancy. Many humans think gay sex is an ‘abomination’ because God gives us our morals to think this.

Do you, or do you not think God gives humans their moral compass?

God gives people their moral intuition, but that doesn’t mean we all have perfect or identical moral judgments and behavior. We are still fallen and prone to sin and have skewed moral judgments. So just because some people have a certain stance on morality doesn’t mean that is how God views it.


POI wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2024 11:44 am (U) God also has many other attributes – love, patient, just, merciful, etc. Just because God has an attribute doesn’t mean all the attributes mean the same. With your argument, then mercy makes right, love makes right, just makes right, etc.

POI According to who or what? His say-so, or, because of reason(s) outside of his say-so? It cannot be both, I’ll explain below.

According to your own logic, since you’re the one claiming might makes right.

(U) Don’t follow your logic. What exactly did Turek state that makes me creating the forum to set what is right arbitrary?

POI Did you arbitrarily make up some rules, or did you make up rules based upon reasons outside of your arbitrary choosing?

This is similar to the Euthyphro dilemma which I’ve addressed multiple times.

I create a board game. A rule in which I created states that every time one rolls a ‘5’, you take one step forward. Did I create this rule arbitrarily, or because of reason(s) outside my own personal whim(s)?

There is a difference between you creating a board game and God creating the entire world. The subjects are completely different and the objects are completely different. Also, nobody is claiming God decided to create objective morality.

There is also a difference between objective morality and rules and laws, though there is an overlap. Objective morality is more an intuitive sense and it’s not defined by a list of rules. Rules and laws are not necessarily objective, but can be subjective.

So arguments about objective morality are separate from arguments about specific laws (like male on male sex).

POI Pointing to the WHY is what demonstrates my point. As I told you prior, we know why the said bullies and mafia bosses did what they did, for money!

And even if we know the why does not make it right.

Why does God hate anal sex? Is it because he says so, or, does he abide by reason(s) outside his necessity?

Not sure how it can be outside his necessity since God created sex.

I honestly do not look at the ruleset in this forum. I abide by my own set of ‘morals’ to assure I do not get kicked off this forum. It is not necessary for you to tell me the rules.

Well, that explains why you don’t use the standard practice of bbcode quoting.

For the most part, if I break a rule, I usually know I’m doing it ahead of time without reading what rules you put in place.

People as well don’t engage in anal sex while not having read the prohibitions against it.

And if you happen to place a rule in there, in which I do not agree with, you, being the authority of this forum, is not what makes the rule actually right, unless you can substantiate the given rule, using reason(s) outside your whim(s) to decide to create the said rule in the first place.

Actually, there is no rule that I need to explain the why of the rules before disciplining anyone for violating the rules. It does not matter if you do not like the rule or if you do not know the why behind the rule. If you break a rule, I have the right to enforce the rules without explaining to you the why of the rules. As a matter of fact, nobody that has ever been disciplined has asked for the why of the rules.

(U) At a minimum, it is subjectively right for that particular area of domain (US, a kingdom, this forum). What would make something objectively right? The only basis would be if it could be traced back to God.

POI Negative. God states what is right, based upon his own nature, or whim(s). If his nature happened to be that raping every firstborn child is a necessity, then this would also be what is “right”. God’s nature happens to be to think that anal sex is an abomination. Hence, it is truth?

Talking about multiple things here – authority, morality, and truth. Each by itself is complicated and even more a mess by mixing them all together. I’ve already deep dived into morality and if we want to deep dive into authority and truth, we could possibly do that.

(U) God’s nature is not arbitrary

POI Does this mean God bases his laws upon reason(s), which no longer necessitates him at all? Arbitrary – “based on a personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

As explained above, God being the basis of OMV is separate from specific laws. Laws can be based on multiple things. Some laws might not be based on OMV, but on other things like practical reasons.

(U) Yes, I’ve given both religious and secular reasons why anal sex is bad.

POI Then you do not need God to justify the position. We only need to evaluate the reason(s) or systems to determine if anal sex is objectively bad or not.

(U) Providing both does not mean the other is nullified, but rather provides additional support to each.

POI It kind of does. If you take away the reason(s), all you have left is God’s whims or God’s nature. If you take away God’s whims or God’s nature, you are left to critique the reason(s).

Not sure what you mean by “if you take away the reasons”.

And if both religious and secular reasons support anal sex is bad, then on what justification do opponents claim anal sex is not bad?

(U) And I have to ask again, what is exactly stated that I have not addressed?

POI Did you watch the 1st video at least? It’s only 3 minutes long. He gives a third asserted option. But this option is circular, as the 2nd 4-minute video explains. I asked if you had a 4th option – (outside of the three given options)? I do not recall much of any follow up here?

Again, what is exactly stated? Simply saying “He gives a third asserted option” is not stating what is the third option.

(U) “Rich” is not a moral term. Where does the Bible say it is wrong to be rich?

POI It is to Jesus. ‘Rich’ becomes a moral construct merely because Jesus weighs in on it. (i.e.):

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.” James 5:1-6

For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:25

Nowhere in these passages does it state it is wrong to be rich. In the James passage, it is not being rich itself that was the issue, but withholding wages and living selfishly. In Luke, it does not exactly state it’s impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom. It adds:

[Luk 18:26-27 KJV] 26 And they that heard [it] said, Who then can be saved? 27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

(U) There is no normative claim about being rich in the Bible (or in any human laws), so being rich is not even relevant to morality.

POI Yes it is, to Jesus. Jesus tells folks that being rich is bad.

No, being rich is not bad. We have many rich men in the Bible (Abraham, Joseph, Job, David, Solomon, Matthew, Joseph of Arimathea, etc.) and they were not condemned for being rich.

(U) You’re not even talking about morality when discussing being rich.

POI Yes I am. The Bible God weighs in on it, so it becomes a moral construct.

It’s not being rich that is bad, but it’s the love of money that is bad.

[1Ti 6:10 KJV] For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

And as I’ve stated, theists will tell unbelievers that their assessment about ‘morals’ cannot be justified without the assertion of a supernatural agency telling them what is right or wrong.

Actually, I’ve never claimed this. As a matter of fact, I believe people can intuitively know what is right and wrong without being told it by anybody.

I guess this means that because I do not think anal sex is an abomination, I must be plagued by evil/other.

I’ve given religious and secular reasons why anal sex is considered bad. On what justification should it not be bad?