Tuesday 25 January 2011

Potter vs. Abanes' cant

Never tell a lie. Even if the Nazis were to come pounding on your door, demanding to know the whereabouts of the family hiding in your basement, you should never tell a lie.

Heard that one before? There are "theologians" who hold that position. Hew to the truth, and consequences be damned, because who can second-guess God? That old ratbag Kant held a similar view. A less sophisticated exponent is Richard Abanes. The idea is that consequences (the death of a family, for example) are irrelevant to the rightness of the deed.

Even poor young Harry Potter had Abanes all in a lather because he's been a very naughty boy.

I wonder if Abanes who is, among other things, an outspoken evangelical apologist, has ever actually read the Bible. Take Jeremiah 38 for example. The king of Judah, a vacillating character called Zedekiah, summons the prophet to a secret meeting. Things are looking bad, the Babylonians are at the door. Jeremiah appeals to the king to turn himself over to the invader for clemency, but Zedekiah is capable of little more than hand-wringing. The meeting concluded, Zedekiah asks the prophet to lie.

Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no one know about this conversation lest you will die. If the officials hear that I have spoken with you and if they come to you and ask you what I spoke of to you, even though they threaten you, you will say to them: I only made a petition to the king not to send me back to the house of Jonathan to die.”

It seems a fairly straight forward situation for any 'divine command ethics' exponent. You'd think Jeremiah, of all people, would know a 'divine command' imperative when he saw one. Be staunch! Fess up at the first opportunity! But Jeremiah seems to be closer to Potter than Abanes.

All the officials came to Jeremiah and questioned him. He replied just as the king had instructed him, and they said no more since no one had overheard the conversation.
Which perhaps goes to show that you can't always swallow Kant's cant...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. “Do the Harry Potter Books Promote Immorality and Immoral Behavior” link was written by an atheist, who should know the answer.

    Immanuel Kent was no slacker. He is held to be the greatest member of the idealist school of Germany. The same year he published a scientific essay in Newtonian cosmology in which he anticipated the nebular theory of Laplace, he predicted the existence of the planet Uranus, before its actual discovery.

    Has Richard Abanes anticipated any new theories or predicted the existence of new planets? No, but did discover the DNA of Mormonism and writings of Eckert Tolle.

    The deontology slide is an oversimplification of Kant's categorical moral imperatives. He was not a fool.

    Kant's ethical deontology stresses the ends rather than only the means to an end, meaning to act in such a way that you always treat humanity never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.

    It simply states that we should never use people for our own benefit, thinking nothing of them as people. Instead, we should see the benefit of others as our end goal, rather than the means justifying the ends.

    Au contraire, Kant would have no problem in sparing the life of “Mr. A” from the Nazi police.

    But if that “A” was “Mr. Armstrong” Kant was hiding from the Nazis in his house, Kant's categorical moral imperative would be to tell only the plain truth, and hand him over immediately!

  3. PH, to respond to each question in turn.
    (1) Read on
    (2) No
    (3) No
    (4) No
    (5) No

    I'm just not that myopic any longer, and am getting to the stage where I have zero interest in CGI/WCG.

  4. AP, as I wrote, Kant "held a similar view." Similar, and yes I've simplified, as I'm sure the slide has. The comments are a blog post, not a dissertation.

    The singing, dancing Mr. Abanes however is another kettle of fish...

  5. I have zero interest in CGI/WCG?

    What in the world has Computer Generated Imagery had to do with the Worldwide Church of God?

    [I thought from the beginning that someone should sue the Grace Communion International for some sort of copyright / trademark using GCI and now I'm certain of it.]

  6. Corrie Ten Boom obviously had no trouble telling fibs to the Nazis.

    If I was in such trouble, I think that I would want such a good liar on my side:)

    Correct me if I'm wrong but the commandment that folks cite as having to do with not lying has to do more with the perversion of justice then exact truth telling.

  7. Mickey,

    It has been said that Armstrong's Worldwide Church told the best lies of any.

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