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I completely agree that engaging in the debate is worthwhile. But I think you can engage more effectively if you understand how people might come to the opposing point of view.


trying to do the right thing counts

Jesus very plainly disagreed:

"Mark16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."


Matthew 25:46

Yeah, that's a better example.


other crimes

Fair enough, but a lot of those "other crimes" are thought crimes too, e.g. Exo20:17, Mat5:28.

was never intended to be taken literally

Jesus was pretty clear about this. Mat13:42 (and in case you didn't get it the first time he repeats himself in verse 50), Mark16:16.


Exactly. "Did not" is not the same as "can not." Particularly since God's threats are intended to have a deterrent effect. The whole point (I presume) is to try to influence things so that evil acts don't happen even though they can.

But we don't even need to look to God's forced familial cannibalism in Jeremiah. The bedrock of Christianity is the threat of eternal torment for a thought crime: not believing in Jesus.


the intent behind those words was not given

"The LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him". Again, I don't see how God could have possibly made it any clearer that the intent of putting the mark on Cain was to prevent the otherwise very real possibility of people killing him.

I think it's "kill them and six members of their clan/family", but I'm not sure.

If you're not sure, then you must believe that there could be circumstances under which killing six members of a person's family as punishment for a crime they did not commit could be justified. I find that deeply disturbing.

the first part seems, to me, to refer to wicked deeds

No, it simply refers to an evil state of being. It says nothing about what brought about that state. But it doesn't matter. The fact that it specifically calls out thoughts means that the Flood was at least partially retribution for thought crimes.

But my moral intuitions are also, to a large degree, a product of my environment, and specifically of my upbringing.

Sure, and so are everyone else's.

my moral intuition is closer to God's Word than it would have been had I been raised in a different culture

A Muslim would disagree with you. Have you considered the possibility that they might be right and you are wrong? It's just the luck of the draw that you happened to be born into a Christian household rather than a Muslim one. Maybe you got unlucky. How would you tell?

But you keep dancing around the real question: Do you really believe that killing innocent bystanders can be morally justified? Or that genocide as a response to thought crimes can be morally justified? Or that forcing people to cannibalize their own children (Jeremiah 19:9) can be morally justified? Because that is the price of taking the Bible as your moral standard.


I read it as more along the lines of "No, nobody's going to kill you.

You are, of course, free to interpret literature however you like. But God was quite explicit about His thought process:

"Ge4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."

I don't know how God could possibly have made it any clearer that He thought someone killing Cain was a real possibility. (I also can't help but wonder how you take sevenfold-vengeance on someone for murder. Do you kill them seven times? Kill them and six innocent bystanders?)

Doesn't mean they weren't doing a lot of evil, though

You have lost the thread of the conversation. The Flood was a punishment for thought crimes (Ge6:5). The doing-nothing-but-evil theory was put forward by you as an attempt to reconcile this horrible atrocity with your own moral intuition:

I'd always understood the Flood story as they weren't just thinking evil, but continually doing (unspecified) evil to the point where they weren't even considering doing non-evil stuff.

You seem to have run headlong into the fundamental problem with Christian theology: if we are inherently sinful, then our moral intuitions are necessarily unreliable, and hence you would expect there to be conflicts between our moral intuitions and God's Word as revealed by the Bible. You would expect to see things in the Bible that make you go, "Whoa, that doesn't seem right to me." At this point you must choose between the Bible and your moral intuitions. (Before you choose you should read Jeremiah 19:9.)


I agree with most of what you say. Consciousness is not supernatural. But it is still problematic because:

the only outcome the participant can expect to experience, and that they will experience with certainty

"Only outcome you can experience" is not quite the same thing as "Will experience with certainty." Let's go back to the case where you survive in both branches. The outcome you do experience is the only outcome that you can experience. The trick is that this is really two statements disguised as one. After the event there are two you's, you1 and you2. The outcome that you1 do experience is the only outcome you1 can experience, and the outcome you2 do experience is the only outcome you2 can experience. This remains true (I believe) even if one of those experiences is the null experience of having your consciousness enter the cosmic void.

Reasonable people could disagree, I suppose. We can never know what the null experience "feels like" because by definition it doesn't feel like anything. Personally, I find even the possibility that this argument could be correct to be sufficient reason for me to avoid playing quantum roulette. But everyone needs to choose their own risk posture.


Oh, come on. Surely you do not dispute that there are ways of dying that are both unavoidable and non-instantaneous. What difference does it make what the details are?


But both MWI and QIT predict that you will continuously notice that the gun doesn't fire.

No, that's not quite true. QIT predicts that if you notice anything then you will notice that the gun didn't fire. But QIT does not guarantee that you will notice anything. You could just die.

Notice (!) that when you start to talk about "noticing" things you are tacitly bringing consciousness into the discussion, which is a whole 'nuther can o' philosophical worms.

See also my response to akvadrako.

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