“This is a fallacy of question-framing. Jim acts as if a “yes” or “no” answer settles the question in favor of antinatalism. But that’s grossly simplistic.”
Actually, a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ pretty much covers what I was looking for, with perhaps the added codicil in place (which I also posted)-
“Question: Do you believe that for a child who ultimately ends up suffering an eternity of unceasing, hellish torments forever and ever, it would have been better for that child never to have been born?
Answer: Yes, but because of a, b and c (fill in the blanks) I am justified in overriding my concerns vis-a-vis my child's possible hellish fate.”
“ Notice the blatant equivocation. On the one hand he denies that his argument was predicated on “objective” or “universal” moral standards. On the other hand he appeals to “normative” moral sensibilities based on empathy.”
That’s because ‘normative’ in the context of the reply falls short of ‘objective’ or ‘universal’, a fact I expanded on by saying “ If your personal standard is that a child is better off being tortured for eternity originating in your decision to procreate, then any of my arguments simply don’t apply to you.” It was always a question of personal standards; thus, no equivocation. Normative simply describes a moral position that (I believe) most people subscribe too, a position that I feel stands against the desire to procreate.
“Even on its own terms, the appeal to empathy is a double-edged sword. What about empathy for those denied the opportunity to enjoy eternal bliss–a la antinatalism?”
Imaginary people don’t require empathy. Isn’t that rather obvious?
“Underlying this objection is Crawford’s systematic failure to distinguish between harming someone and wronging someone.”
This and all that follows seems irrelevant, since if a child is never born, she neither is harmed nor brings reason for punishment upon herself. Again, the whole exercise here isn’t meant to question the veracity of your God’s form of justice, but simply to point out that, from their own ideological standpoint, Christian procreationists are automatically exposing their offspring to the threat of eternal Hell, and to explore their justifications for doing so.
“Crawford is attempting to generate a dilemma for Christians. But he’s also generating a dilemma for his own argument. To generate a dilemma for Christians, he must grant Christian theological assumptions for the sake of argument.”
Granting a disagreed-with position for the sake of a hypothetical argument is pretty standard fare in argumentation, and certainly presents no dilemma for me. The ‘given’ is, after all, part of the argument.
“However, those theological assumptions include the assumption that God is trustworthy. Therefore, on Christian assumptions, it is not an unacceptable risk to procreate, even if (ex hypothesi) one of your kids will be damned. On Christian assumptions, it is never an unacceptable risk to trust God’s providential wisdom.”This is a SUPERB example of how people can disassociate themselves from feelings of guilt for doing terrible things, simply by saying “Oh, well, God told me to do it, so it must be right.” It’s the crossroad where religion and pathology meet. Empathy short-circuited by edict.
“Crawford also assumes, without arguing the point, that children of Christians are at risk of hell. Since that’s a key assumption of his argument, he needs to argue for that assumption. As I noted in my previous reply to him, that’s not a given.”
Yeah, I did assume that, didn’t I? Naturally, I’m aware of the apologetical backflips contrived to somehow fashion a feeling that all the children of Christians are automatically saved, all without quite coming out and saying it (because, after all, that might be going TOO far). However, since this isn’t a critique of Christian doctrine, even farfetched doctrine according to most orthodox understanding of the matter, I’ll just say that if you think your children are automatically saved via the efficacy of your own salvation, my argument doesn’t apply to you. Just another example of cut-and-paste bible reading in my book, but so be it :)
“Even if Christians have a child who will go to hell, it doesn’t follow that they must be forever inconsolable. Even in this life, our feelings about our “nearest and dearest” are subject to dramatic change.”
Yes, it’s quite comforting to realize we can eventually be hardened to the knowledge of our children's suffering, isn’t it?
“It is a deprivation to miss out on the prospect of eternal bliss. That’s an incomparable lost opportunity.”
When you can demonstrate how an imaginary person can be deprived in any way that actually impacts that imaginary person, would you mind getting back to me? I’m more than curious.
UPDATE: Reading back through this, I can't help but be tickled by the utter lack of shame some of these apologists have. Or perhaps more kindly, their ability to pull pat answers out of their backsides to fit any occasion, even contradictory premises. I'm reminded of a post I wrote on my anti-apologetics blog exploring the 'why doesn't God heal amputees?' problem. Invariably, the answer from the apologists came in two parts:
1. Who says He has to?
2. Who says He doesn't?
Talk about covering your bases with a load of nothing! LOLOL! Steve of Triablogue does something similar here regarding the children of Christians who go to hell:
1. Who says they DO go to Hell?
2. Even IF they DO go to Hell, their parents will eventually come to not give a damn about it.
This is equivocation of the highest order, and is fashioned to blunt the harshness of my premise (some children of Christians will go to Hell) by hinting at THE POSSIBILITY of an escape clause, while at the same time offering (a rather lame) option for those who just can't buy the 'Christian Parent Exception' as being scriptural. Actually, the 'immunity' question is floated around quite a bit amongst Christians, for obvious reason. Everybody wants an edge, it seems, and if they have to procure it through rather imaginative exegesis, so be it :) Again, Christian parents, you'd better keep your fingers crossed.
DOUBLE UPDATE: Now that I think more about it, this 'all children of Christians are saved' means that, once one person is saved, all his progeny, and his progeny's progeny, and his progeny's progeny's progeny on down the line from 2000 years ago up to today, are one and all and without exception, Christians! I wonder how that premise holds up to analysis. Quite poorly, I'd wager.
TRIPLE UPDATE: It ALSO means that the parents of a child who dies a heathen were also always heathens themselves. Oops!