An atheist meets with Mormon missionaries

I'm back from a long hiatus and ready to hit the ground running. Sorry for the long delay, I hope to more than make up for it over the next few weeks.

This morning I agreed to meet with some Mormon missionaries -- you may remember that I'd met with some missionaries a number of times before, and the last time I mentioned that I was probably finished with it. I had figured that I would be, but I got a call earlier this week and the temptation too great to pass up.

So this morning, I met with 2 missionaries and 1 other mormon (not a missionary) at the mormon institute for missionaries converting people (not the exact name). The missionaries that I had normally talked to were gone for various reasons, so I had two new people for fresh encounters. It was nice, I ran through a number of arguments that I've written about and a few that I haven't yet written about.

One of the Mormons tried to convince me that God exists because we have an innate moral sense. I immediately agreed that we have an innate moral sense that we can use to determine right and wrong.  I then asked, so how is it that you worship a God that commanded people to kill others with a sword? Specifically, God (allegedly) ordered people to go into a certain tribe and kill every man, woman, child, and infant. That's clearly wrong -- if our moral sense can ever give a clear answer it's on this situation. I will elaborate on it more, but I worded the question that was for a reason -- it covers all the basic reactions that you'd get (which I got). If you are a seasoned conversational atheist yourself, you may be thinking of the answers yourself:

  1. Maybe these people were truly awful people and deserved to die
  2. Whatever God orders is moral
  3. How do you expect me to explain God's actions and thoughts?

Among others.

I'll just indulge in how I've responded to the second choice for this blog entry. Since we'd already established that humans have an innate sense of right and wrong, I said, we can rightly judge whether the actions of God are good or evil. Perhaps they will say something as silly as "Whatever God does is moral" or something equivalent. The best question is, "Does God have free will? Can He choose to do evil?" -- If He can, the question of whether He does is valid (and both answers are available). If God does not have free will (rare claim to find people making); then He is not praiseworthy for his actions, He's an automaton that could not have done otherwise.

Anyway, I had a grand time today (too much fun). I'll be elaborating on the discussions in the very near future. Let me know if you have any questions/comments.

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