In this video the Evangelist (name unknown) is attempting to convince an open minded Agnostic Atheist that being guilty of lying, theft, lust, and anger directly relates to breaking the commandments of the Bible’s God. While it is true that the Bible makes such claims about a God, what isn’t known or really provable is whether such a God actually exists. Experiencing guilt for having lied, stolen, lusted, or being unfairly angry at others does not, I emphasize, does not make it clear that people have a God given conscience. Feeling bad about our regretful choices and actions could instead have a lot to do with how those choices and actions naturally impact others and ourselves negatively.
In other words, there’s this little thing called empathy which a large majority of humans are able to exercise in some capacity or another. This sense of empathy forces us to reflect upon how our choices and actions impact other people. We can see that lying to others who trust us, once found out, has a direct impact upon another person’s ability to keep trusting us. Think about the story of the boy who cried wolf, right? If we steal something from our neighbor, well, good luck on not being viewed as a threat to the community.
Again, it comes down to trust. Do we live lives that demonstrate integrity and trustworthiness, or do we disregard the ability of others to trust us and keep causing trouble? Thus we see why it is quite natural for society to create a system of justice, as well as for our communities to offer rewards and punishments. In the interest of keeping peace, trustworthiness, and a level of order, we make ourselves accountable to the other folks we share space with.
What the Evangelist wants, is he wants to incite guilt through his questioning. Though a healthy measure of guilt is good in the context of evaluating the consequences of our actions and how others are impacted, it certainly can be overly stressed and it’s implications overly drawn out. In this instance, the overly drawn out implications could be the insinuation that our thoughts and actions violate the laws of a God. This I would argue isn’t known. If God is a human invention, then it could be the case that we are being asked to direct our guilt toward a nonexistent being. That wouldn’t be very beneficial, would it? It’s certainly important to keep in mind.
Some other assumptions that this Evangelist holds are as follows.
1) It is simply being assumed that it is fair for a faultless God to apply a flawless standard upon imperfect human beings. Well, is it fair?
2) It is assumed that human beings deserve eternal punishment for finite choices and actions. In other words, the rather limited length of a human life and the temporality of our impact in the world and on others, even if we do choose to call such an impact evil and deserving of punishment, somehow translates to eternal and unending punishment? Does that seem even handed or just a tad extreme? It’s worth mulling over.
3) It is being assumed that sin exists and that there must be a system in place to remedy the problem. Well, what if the real issue is that this is a false hypothesis?
4) It is being assumed that it was good for the Bible’s God to punish an innocent human on behalf of everyone else’s wrongdoing. Is that fair? Regardless of this idea that Jesus was both God and man, the fact remains that we are being asked to find a solution by pouring the guilt and responsibility of everyone else upon someone that is supposedly perfectly innocent. Is that a fair way to carve out a path for justice and forgiveness? Punish the innocent one and apply such innocence to the guilty?
5) It is being assumed that breaking the ten commandments is an objective truth. Is it? Let’s think about this, if many believers in God admit that they don’t actually know if a God exists, and if many others who do not believe in the existence of God do not know this for a fact, then how objective is it to think that one has broken the stated commandments of a God? Would one not be concluding such a set of offenses subjectively? If it were objective that a God is offended by our actions then wouldn’t we all know this effectively? Wouldn’t it be obvious? Food for thought.