The Great Divorce Debate: Redux!
--Turkel Responds Again and Mr. Krueger Answers—
Submitted by Doug Krueger
Following is Part 4 of Mr. Krueger’s rebuttal to Turkel’s on-going rant over Mr. Krueger’s original divorce article. The format here is what Mr. Krueger used. I have not edited any of the material he sent to me. Recall that whenever Turkel quotes from critics that use his real name, he replaces it with his pseudonym, “Holding,” in brackets.
Turkel has another minor defense of his view, which is that ANE cultures did not view laws as being exceptionless (and he quotes a writer named Hiller to this effect), so no one would have thought that Jesus' statements in Mark and Luke would have been without exception. It is true that ANE cultures had such a view of laws in some sense, but I pointed out several problems with this as a defense. First, that the first of the ten commandments was thought to be without exception shows that the Jews would not have understood all laws as having exceptions. So if Jesus specifically gives a law as a universal and no exceptions ("whosoever"), this would not have been assumed to have exceptions. So the fact that some laws had no exceptions, and the fact that Jesus stated a law in this way, speaks against Turkel's claim that Jesus thought that his audience would assume an exception.
Turkel attempts a rebuttal:
The "no other gods" rule does not stand alone; it is expanded upon with pounding-home regularity as the Israelites are also told to destroy pagan altars and religious artifacts (as well as reinforced by the "do not take my name in vain" rule, which stresses the holiness which makes God unique).
(i) The "no adultery" rule was not "pounded home," so to speak, since so many OT heroes had multiple wives and concubines, so apparently Turkel must admit that we should assume that it has exceptions. This is absurd. Turkel's defense is reduced to absurdity.
(ii) Jesus' "No remarrying" rule did not stand alone. Paul supported it too, as I have shown.
Romans 7:2-3 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.
1 Cor. 7:10-11 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord: Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried.
So although Paul allows divorce, he either does not allow remarrying while the husband is alive (in Romans) or does not allow it at all (1 Cor.). So at least the prohibition that you cannot remarry, with no exception for fornication, which Jesus states in Mark, is "expanded upon" and pounded home. This is enough to contradict Matthew, who allows remarriage.
Merely hauling up rules that are exceptionless does not negate the evidence that this particular rule was not exceptionless.
So Turkel admits that some rules are exeptionless. As far as Mark's Jesus is concerned, this is clearly one of them. If it wasn't, why didn't Jesus say so in Mark when he was giving "a correct accounting"? Such an omission makes an explanation incorrect, not correct. Since the prima facie formation of the rule in Mark is that it has no exceptions, and the Jews knew that some rules have no exceptions, and Jesus explains why there can't be laws that take apart a man and wife, everyone was justified in believing that Jesus advocated that there was no divorce and remarriage. He had just said so and given theological reasons why there are no exceptions. Period.
Well, nothing new from Turkel. Same old easily refuted arguments. He puts most of his defense in the "they would have assumed" line, and it doesn't work.
However, as if he hadn't shown enough poor reasoning, Turkel has added this:
BONUS SECTION: DOUG KREUGER (sic) ACCIDENTALLY PROVES THAT KINDNESS IS BAD!
In a startling turn of events, errancy list member, Doug Kreuger (sic) accidently proved that acting in kindness is wrong. "I don't know how it happened, " the distraught Kreuger whimpered. "One minute, I was proving that the Christian God was immoral, and the next thing I knew, it was brought to my attention that I had constructed a valid and sound argument that conclusively proved that kindness was bad." One of our members was an eye-witness and recalled the event as it happened that fateful day:
"Doug presented his argument against God that went something like this, " said Ima B. Leever.
1. Your God is a just God, giving individuals exactly what they deserve.
2. To be fair, one must treat everyone equally.
3. Your God is a merciful God, giving individuals less than what they deserve.
4. Unless everyone can be treated with the same degree of mercy or kindness, to be merciful or kind to any one person is to be unfair.
5. Being merciful and kind is therefore unjust and unfair.
"As soon as he spit out the conclusion, I saw a deeply puzzled expression cross his face, " Ima said amusedly.
We asked Ima how she felt about having had her God disproven earlier that day by Kreuger (sic), right in front of her very own eyes. Ima said that she didn't notice her God being disproven but she did notice a peculiar smell of burning straw.
"In any case," stated Ima, "I really am happy that things worked out the way they did because it takes the pressure off of me to be nice to my mother-in-law at Thanksgiving. Thanks Doug!"
No, thank you, Turkel, for allowing me to show your subscribers (via other routes, since you haven't the courage to post this stuff) that you fall flat on your face again.
First, I don't know which version of the Incompatible Attributes Argument you refer to, but your reconstruction of the argument is obviously inaccurate, using "fair" sometimes and "just" at other times.
Second, these kinds of arguments are not about what I personally believe to be fair or unfair, or what I think a god should or shouldn't do, but they are about whether your concept of god is consistent. Can your god be both perfectly just and perfectly merciful? No. A better formulation would be this, which has a valid form:
1. A perfectly just being gives every individual exactly what he or she deserves.
2. A perfectly merciful being gives every individual less punishment than what he or she deserves.
3. If god exists, then god is both perfectly just and perfectly merciful.
4. If god is both perfectly just and perfectly merciful, then god gives every individual exactly what he or she deserves and god gives every individual less punishment than what he or she deserves.
5. No being can give every individual exactly what he or she deserves and also less punishment than what he or she deserves.
6. Therefore, god is not both perfectly just and perfectly merciful.
7. Therefore, god does not exist.
To be closer to your conclusion, we have to abandon "perfectly" as a modifier for god's attributes (as will be obvious), and here is another argument with a valid form:
1. If god is just, then he gives some individuals exactly the punishment they deserve.
2. If god is merciful, then he gives some individuals less punishment than they deserve.
3. To always be fair, one must always treat everyone equally.
4. If god gives some individuals exactly the punishment they deserve and some individuals less punishment than they deserve, then god does not always treat everyone equally.
5. If god does not always treat everyone equally, then god is not always fair.
6. God does not always treat everyone equally.
7. Therefore, god is not always fair.
What is unjust or unfair here is not that god is merciful in some cases but that god is not merciful in others. If person G treats some people with kindness and mercy but treats some people badly, it is not bad that she sometimes treats some people well but that she sometimes treats people badly. The lesson here is that if you are just, it is not that you can treat your mother-in-law badly but that you can't treat her badly because that would be unfair to her since you don't always treat others badly. Fundies are so quick to sink to cruelty!