12. The Biblical God doesn’t Care so much about Animals

Once again, our two debaters go back to an oft-visited well to drink. The atheist talks of animal cruelty and conspicuous absence of consideration for animals and how Jesus made it worse by permitting the eating of all animals (as opposed to promoting vegetarianism or humane farming). The Biblical God is evil, therefore… The atheist also works in the problem of suffering; it is not just the Biblical God that promotes suffering, but any God that created the world is a God that created a world with vicious, capricious, heinous predation and parasitism.

The Christian’s response is basic: if you care so much, you must be religious. By reducing nature to the “pitilessly indifferent” description offers by Richard Dawkins he asserts that anyone who cares about animal suffering has failed to recognise the consequences of an atheistic worldview. The Christian then adds in a redemption narrative: apparently all of nature needs to be exonerated. There are some Biblical passages to suggest that God is procrastinator on a Biblical scale: ‘I’ll fix it later’ he says while millions of individuals live and die in suffering in the meantime.

I want to coin a new informal fallacy: the Nietzsche fallacy – If I can’t see the secular value, there isn’t any. If it’s not grounded in God it is somehow a reductionist valueless waste. We are conscious beings and our experience is the greatest thing. We don’t need a God to recognise that.

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8 thoughts on “12. The Biblical God doesn’t Care so much about Animals”

  1. I’m not quite sure I follow the neitzsche fallacy. I think in this post you were a bit too short. I got the overall gist of the chapter, but when you detailed things, as when you coined the fallacy, I couldn’t follow. (It could also be that I’m just thick; running into my 11th hour at work. Tired!)

    1. It does need some expansion (but I was pretty tired myself when I wrote it, so I am excusing myself).
      I assume you’ve come across Neitzsche’s Mad Man. The narrative is of a man who accepts that God doesn’t exist, but then very much throws the baby out with the bath water; without God the Man Mad concludes that all interpretations of morality (and its absence) must be permissable and that all of beauty and wonder also go down the plug hole with God.
      This is the basic form that a few arguments take: ‘what is the value of love, if there is no God?’, ‘there is no moral right and wrong if there is no God’, and ‘there is no beauty if there is no God’. Often these arguments are accompanied by the Richard Dawkins quote about nature being pitilessly indifferent, but they are basically the argument from Neitzsche’s Mad Man.
      The first reason this is a fallacy is if you take a broader reading of Nietzsche (as in, anything other than this one narrative) Neitzsche presents Christianity as the uiltimate negative nihilism. The Mad Man is a satire. He’s called ‘the Mad Man’. Knowing what Neitzsche thinks about religion reveals Neitzsche’s Mad Man to be a satire (allbeit, poorly received).
      So, any argument that assumes that without God there is no value (e.g. love, beauty, morality) –or at the least, objective value–is wrong. The Neitzsche Fallacy. (I may post about it when the rest of these are done. I’m starting to get a ‘to do’ list for blogging, that is new)

      1. Thanks for elucidating that. Makes much more sense now. I wasn’t familiar with his Mad Man, though I did just finish his Anti-Christ. Holy cow, was that a good book. I didn’t understand a full half of the book, nor 1/4 of the words he used, but it was an amazing book. If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll love it!

  2. I agree with the comment above, but I understand the fallacy. This is a fallacy natural to religion as it tends to try and find the gaps in science and fill them up. For example, we do not know how life was created at first so religion claims that it must be them, not the same thing but quite similar.

  3. Well, to guarantee a world free of suffering, God would have create a world in which sin (that brings about suffering) never takes place. To do that, God would have to create creatures without free will (i.e., without the freedom to sin). The creatures would have to be creatures that God pre-programmed to always do what God wanted them to do.

    1. God could lessen the desire (we already know other people want to sin to different levels). God could change the standard (after all, He invented it, didn’t he?). God could make sin impossible (like He did for destroying energy or unaided human flight).

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