bookmark_borderBrigham Young: Racist Prophet of the Mormons – Part 3

In January of 1852, Brigham Young encouraged the Utah territorial legislature to pass a law that prohibitted sex between white people and black people, and publically declared that black people (or people with a black grandparent or great grandparent) “Cannot hold the priesthood”:
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Mormon Anti-Miscegenation in Utah Law
Brigham Young addressed the Utah territorial legislature on January 6, 1852 to push through a law that not only legalized slavery in the territory but also made black-white sexual relations illegal. As recorded by Wilford Woodruff in his journal, Young first explained to the legislature about Cain’s murder of Abel and his subsequent curse. God then marked Cain with black skin so all would see his curse, and his descendants would all be likewise cursed and marked. Young then explained, “Any man having one drop of the seed of Cane in him Cannot hold the priesthood & if no other Prophet ever spake it Before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ. I know it is true & they know it.” Young then addressed intermarriage with “the seed of Cain”:
Let me consent to day to mingle my seed with the seed of Cane[,] It would Bring the same [Priesthood] curse upon me And it would upon any man. And if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane the ownly way he Could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cut off & spill his Blood upon the ground. It would also take the life of his Children….Whenever the seed of Judah mingled with the seed of Cane they lost their priesthood & all Blessings.
As an Ensample let the Presidency, Twelve Seventies High Priest[s] Bishops & all the Authorities say now we will all go & mingles with the seed of Cane and they may have all the privilege they want. We lift our hands to heaven in support of this. That moment we loose the priesthood & all Blessings & we weould not be redeemed untill Cane was. I will never admit of it for a moment.[45]
Thus marriage, sexual intercourse, and reproduction between the chosen seed and the cursed seed bore eternal consequences of such a heinous nature that the only way to expiate for this deed, would be for the white person to voluntarily “come forward” and be ritually killed by his priesthood superiors in an act of blood atonement, along with his or her mixed-race children. Young ended his speech by declaring that blacks were by their very nature suited to serve, while whites were given the role of ruler. Preventing marriage between whites and blacks preserved this divine social order and prevented the Devil from ruling over the righteous by gaining power through mixed-race children. Young said, “The Devil would like to rule part of the time But I am determin[ed] He shall not rule at all and Negros shall not rule us….We must guard against all Evil.”
A month later, again addressing the legislature on the topic of divine slavery, Cain, the natural right of whites to rule and blacks to serve, and blood atonement for black-white marriages:
Were the children of God to mingle there seed with the seed of Cain it would not only bring the curse of being deprived of the power of the preisthood upon them[selves] but they entail it upon their children after them, and they cannot get rid of it. If a man in an ungaurded moment should commit such a transgression, if he would walk up and say cut off my head, and [we then] kill man woman and child it would do a great deal towards atoneing for the sin. Would this be to curse them? no it would be a blessing to them.— it would do them good that they might be saved with their Bren [brethren]. A man would shuder should they here us take [talk] about killing folk, but it is one of the greatest blessings to some to kill them, allthough the true principles of it are not understood.[46]
Young’s law of course unanimously passed the all GA legislature. It is one of the few state or territorial laws in the history of the US to prohibit sex, instead of marriage. Section 4 not only prohibits slave owners (male or female) from having sex with their “servants” but all black-white sex was made illegal:
1852 Territorial Law
Sec. 4. That if any master or mistress shall have sexual or carnal intercourse with his or her servant or servants of the African race, he or she shall forfeit all claim to said servant or servants to the commonwealth; and if any white person shall be guilty of sexual intercourse with any of the African race, they shall be subject, on conviction thereof to a fine of not exceeding one thousand dollars, nor less than five hundred, to the use of the Territory, and imprisonment, not exceeding three years.[47]
45. Wilford Woodruff Journal, undated entry between January 4, 1852 and February 8, 1852, pp. 97-99.
46. George D. Watts, “Speech by Governor Young (expressing his views on slavery) given in Joint Session of the Legislature etc.”, February 5, 1852, Brigham Young papers, LDS Archives.
47. “An Act in Relation to Service”, Acts, Resolutions, and Memorials Passed by the First Annual, and Special Sessions, of the Legislative Assembly, of the Territory of Utah, 1852, printed by Brigham Young Jr.
[excerpted from:]
“I would confine them to their own species”
LDS Historical Rhetoric & Praxis Regarding Marriage Between Whites and Blacks
Connell O’Donovan   March 28, 2009
http://www.salamandersociety.com/blacks/mormon_black_white_marriage/
viewed 8/25/13
==============================
Also at the urging of Brigham Young, slavery of blacks and native Americans was made legal in Utah:
==============================
… Though no law authorized or prohibited slavery in Utah, there were slaves in the territory, and all appeared to be “perfectly contented and satisfied.” … By 1850 nearly 100 blacks had arrived, approximately two-thirds of whom were slaves. Bernhisel had performed his task well.74
The official acceptance of slavery in the Mormon community extended fully to slave owners as well. Bishops, high councilmen, and even an apostle were ordained from their small number. However, by chance or design, a number of the slaveholders were sent to San Bernardino in 1851 to establish a Mormon colony, and in the process their slaves became free.75
The “laissez-faire” approach to slavery in Utah was short-lived, and came to an end early in 1852. As the Mormons quickly learned, Mexicans had carried out slaving expeditions into the region for decades, buying Indians from local tribes who staged raids for “captives of war.” Periodically children were offered for sale to the Mormons. The enslavement of Indians, a “chosen people” in Mormon theology, posed a much more serious problem than had Negro slavery. Governor Brigham Young took action to stop the raiding parties, and in January 1852, requested legislation on the slavery question.76
In his request Brigham Young made a definite distinction between Indian and Negro. After condemning the Indian slave trade, he observed, “Human flesh to be dealt in as property, is not consistent or compatible with the true principles of government. My own feelings are, that no property can or should be recognized as existing in slaves, wither Indian or African.” However, in view of the “present low and degraded situation of the Indian race” and their current practices of “gambling, selling, and otherwise disposing of their children,” the Governor would condone a “new feature in the traffic of human beings”—”essentially purchasing them into freedom, instead of slavery.” This was not simply buying the children and setting them free, but also caring for them and elevating them to “an equal footing with the more favored portions of the human race.” …
Negro slavery was different:
It has long since ceased to become a query with me, who were the most amenable to the laws of righteousness; those who through the instrumentality of human power brought into servitude human beings, who naturally were their own equals, or those who, acting upon the principle of nature’s law, brought into this position or situation, those who were naturally designed for that purpose, and whose capacities are more befitting that, than any other station in society. Thus, while servitude may and should exist, and that too upon those who are naturally designed to occupy the position of ‘servant of servants’ yet we should not fall into the other extreme, and make them as beasts of the field, regarding not the humanity which attaches to the colored race; nor yet elevate them, as some seem disposed, to an equality with those whom Nature and Nature’s God has indicated to be their masters, their superiors….77
The suitable regulations were shortly forthcoming, and within a few weeks Young signed into law acts legalizing both Negro and Indian slavery.78
74. The figures are my own estimate, based largely on accounts included in Carter, Negro Pioneer, pp. 9, 13, 15-33, 38-39, 44; and Beller, “Negro Slaves,” p. 125. The official census figures for Utah in 1850 report 50 Negroes, of which 24 were slaves. See Negro Population 1790-1915 (Washington, D.C.: Department of Commerce, 1918), p. 57.
75. Apostle Charles C. Rich was one of at least eight slaveholders to be sent on the mission to San Bernardino. Most of the “ex-slaves” continued to be “servants” for their masters, and several appear to have returned electively to Utah when the mission was recalled. At least one of the slaveowners, Robert M. Smith of the San Bernardino bishopric, attempted to take his slaves to Texas but was prevented from doing so by the sheriff of Los Angeles County. See W. Sherman Savage, “The Negro in the Westward Movement,” Journal of Negro History, 25:537-8. Also, Beller, “Negro Slaves,” pp. 124-26; Andrew Jenson, “History of San Bernardino 1851-1938,” typescript, LDS Church, p. 10; and Joseph F. Wood, “The Mormon Settlement in San Bernardino 1851-1857,” (Ph.D. diss., University of Utah, 1967), pp. 150-52. Apostle John Taylor and N. H. Felt were later cited as informing a “Chicago Paper” that “some slaves had been liberated … since they were taken to Utah; others remain slaves. But the most of those who take slaves there pass over with them in a little while to San Bernardino [sic]…. How many slaves are now held there they could not say, but the number relatively was by no means small. A single person had taken between forty and fifty, and many had gone in with small numbers.” Millennial Star, 27 Jan. 1855, 17:62-63.
76. “Governor’s Message, to the Legislative Assembly of Utah Territory, January 5, 1852,” LDS Church Archives. This was the organizational meeting of the legislature. The Mormons turned down the first two children offered for sale in the winter of 1847-48; when the Indians threatened to kill them if they weren’t purchased, one was bought, and the other was killed. Two others brought shortly thereafter were also purchased. H. H. Bancroft, History of Utah (1889; reprinted Bookcraft, SLC, 1964): p 278. See also Orson Whitney, History of Utah (Salt Lake City: Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co, 1892), 1:508-11; Daniel W. Jones, Forty Years Among the Indians (Salt Lake City, 1890, 1960 ed), pp. 48-51; several articles in the Utah Historical Quarterly 2 (July 1929), 67-90; and Brigham Young’s comments (e.g. Journal of Discourses, 1:104, 170-71; 6:327-29).
77. Ibid.
78. “An Act in relation to Service,” approved 4 Feb. 1852; “A Preamble and An Act for the further relief of Indian slaves and prisoners,” approved 7 Mar. 1852.
[excepted from:]
Neither White nor Black
Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, eds.
Chapter 3
Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview
Lester E. Bush, Jr.
http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=445
viewed 8/24/13
====================================
Brigham Young was pleased with the pro-slavery legislation because he believed that it helped to keep blacks out of Utah:
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No other territory legalized both Indian and Negro servitude. New Mexico eventually legalized slavery in 1859, but census figures the following year listed slaves only in Utah among the western territories. Actually the Negro population throughout the West was negligible, and several territorial legislatures even banned Negro immigration. A recent study has argued convincingly that antislavery sentiment in frontier territories was in part reflective of racial prejudice, and was designed to exclude Negroes from the region.80 Brigham Young interpreted Utah’s anomalous proslavery legislation as accomplishing this same end. In a message commending the legislature late in 1852, he observed, “The law of the last session so far proves a salutary measure, as it has nearly freed the territory of the colored population; also enabling the people to control all who see proper to remain, and cast their lot among us.”81
80. Eugene H. Berwanger, The Frontier Against Slavery: Western Anti-Negro Prejudice and the Slavery Extension Controversy (Urbana; University of Illinois Press, 1967).
81. “Message to the Legislature of Utah from Governor Brigham Young,” 13 Dec. 1852, in Millennial Star, 15:422.
[excepted from:]
Neither White nor Black
Chapter 3
Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview
http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=445
==================================
Although Brigham Young’s position on slavery appears to contradict the anti-slavery views expressed by Joseph Smith in 1844, Young believed his views on this subject were already established in the Mormon church:
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Other more obvious factors contributed to the legalization of Negro slavery in Utah. Without the influx of southern converts with their slaves, no legislation would have been required. Perhaps the most fundamental factor was the declaration by Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders that the Lord had willed that Negroes be servants to their “superiors.” During his tenure as head of the Church, Young showed none of the variability on this subject manifest under Joseph Smith. He fully accepted the traditional genealogy of the Africans through Canaan and Ham to Cain, and repeatedly taught that this connection gave divine sanction to the servile condition of the Negroes. Nonetheless, he did not claim new information on the subject. As early as “our first settlement in Missouri…. we knew that the children of Ham were to be ‘servant of servants,’ and no power under heaven could hinder it, so long as the Lord should permit them to welter under the curse, and those were known to be our religious views concerning them.”82
82. Journal of Discourses, 2:172 (18 Feb. 1855).
[excepted from:]
Neither White nor Black
Chapter 3
Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview
http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=445
====================================

bookmark_borderBrigham Young: Racist Prophet of the Mormons – Part 2

It is not clear why Brigham Young followed the racist pro-slavery views of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery from 1836 instead of the more liberal-minded abolitionist views of Joseph Smith from 1842 to 1844.  However, confronting the reality of mixed-race marriages and sex between black men and white women appears to have pushed Young further in the direction of racist beliefs and practices:
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One of the most significant, and simultaneously most obscure marriages in LDS history took place on September 18, 1846.  On that day, 21 year-old Enoch Lovejoy Lewis married 19 year-old Mary Matilda Webster in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[4]  At first glance, this couple and their marriage seem rather unremarkable.  Both were members of the LDS Church in the Lowell MA branch.  The young bride, Mary Matilda, was from Chester, MA – a tiny rural village in the southwestern area of that state.  Her parents did not marry until almost two years after her birth, so Mary was either illegitimate or one of her parents had a previous, unknown marriage that produced her. The importance and uniqueness of this marriage lies in the fact that Mary Matilda’s groom, Enoch Lovejoy Lewis, was the son of a black father and a mixed-race mother.  And Matilda, the name she went by, was white.  Three years after Massachusetts repealed its ban of allowing white people to marry either those of African or Native American descent, this inter-racial marriage of a white Mormon woman and a black Mormon man ignited a firestorm in the LDS Church, and its effects are still being felt to this day.
[Excerpted from a web article:]
“I would confine them to their own species”
LDS Historical Rhetoric & Praxis Regarding Marriage Between Whites and Blacks
Connell O’Donovan   March 28, 2009
http://www.salamandersociety.com/blacks/mormon_black_white_marriage/
viewed 8/25/13
 =======================================
This marriage between a black Mormon man and a white Mormon woman appears to have provided part of the motivation for Brigham Young to formulate and promote racist beliefs and practices for the Mormon church:
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On February 24, 1843, the Massachusettsstate legislature voted to repeal the old law.  Just three and a half years later, Enoch and Matilda faced each other and under God pledged their marital vows in an extraordinary act of newly gained social and political freedom.  Matilda, by the way, was two months pregnant at the time of her marriage to Enoch and some six months later, she gave birth to Enoch Lovejoy Lewis Jr.  Unfortunately for them, the president of the eastern states mission, a man named William I. Appleby, was proselytizing in the Boston-Lowell area at the time of little Enoch’s birth.
A month after Enoch Jr. was born, Appleby visited the Lowell Branch on May 19, 1847.  He was shocked to discover that not only had a black man been ordained to priesthood (Enoch’s father, Walker Lewis) but also that Enoch had married a white LDS woman.  Two weeks later, Appleby wrote a letter to Brigham Young, informing him of this situation and wanting to know if the church indeed approved of blacks holding priesthood and marrying white women:
At Lowell…I found a coloured brother by name of ‘Lewis’ a barber, an Elder in the Church, ordained some years ago by William Smith.  This Lewis I was informed has also a son who is married to a white girl and both members of the Church there.  Now dear Br. I wish to know if this is the order of God or tolerated in this Church  ie to ordain Negroes to the Priesthood and allow amalgamation [inter-racial marriage].  If it is I desire to Know, as I have Yet got to learn it.[9]
Almost a month later, Appleby decided to investigate further and went to the Enoch Lewis home to witness their relationship:
In looking for a Br. in the Church, I called at a House, a coloured man resided there, I set myself down for a few moments presently in came quite a good looking White Woman, about 22 years old I should think, with blushing cheeks, and was introduced to me as the negro’s wife, an infant in a cradle near bore evidence of the fact. Oh! Woman, thought I, where is thy shame, (for indeed I felt ashamed and not only ashamed, but disgusted, when I was informed they were both members of a Church!) [Where is] Respect for thy family, thyself, for thy offspring and above all the law of God?[10]
9. William I. Appleby to Brigham Young, May 19, 1847, LDS Archives, copy in my possession.
10. Autobiography and Journal of William Appleby, June 16, 1847, LDS Archives, photocopy in my possession.
[Excerpted from a web article:]
“I would confine them to their own species”
http://www.salamandersociety.com/blacks/mormon_black_white_marriage/
 ==========================
In a December 1847 meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve, Brigham Young put forward some racist views that would influence Mormon belief and practice for more than a century:
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…Pres. Appleby wrote a report to Brigham Young about his discovery of Enoch Lewis’s marriage to Matilda Webster.  He mailed this report to Brigham Young with an address at Council Bluff,Iowa, where it was then forwarded to Winter Quarters,Nebraska, and there remained.  Young, of course, was just settling in Utah at the time, so the acting Mormon president did not receive the letter for some six months.  Ironically, Appleby’s letter, Brigham Young, and William I. Appleby himself, all converged at Winter Quarters at the beginning of December 1847.  Brigham Young returned to Winter Quarters from theSaltLakeValley, when Elder William I. Appleby arrived there on December 2 from his mission presiding over the eastern states.  Young read Appleby’s letter regarding the marriage of Enoch and Matilda Lewis and then immediately met with Appleby in person to ensure the accuracy of the details of the inter-racial marriage of Enoch and Mary Matilda Lewis.
…Young called a meeting of the members of the Twelve who were present in Winter Quarters, and had Appleby appear to personally give an account. Here are Thomas Bullock’s minutes of that meeting:
bro Appleby relates…
Wm. Smith ordained a black man Elder at Lowell & he has married a white girl & they have a child
Prest. Young    If they were far away from the Gentiles they wod. [would] all on [sic – ot? ought?] to be killed – when they mingle seed it is death to all.
If a black man & white woman come to you & demand baptism can you deny them?  the law is their seed shall not be amalgamated
Mulattoes r like mules they cant have children, but if they will be Eunuchs for the Kingdom of God Heaven’s sake they may have a place in the Temple
B. Y.    The Lamanites r purely of the house of Israel & it is a curse that is to be removed when the fulness of the Gospel comes –
O. H.  Has taught that if girls marry the half breeds they r throwing themselves away & becoming as one of them
B. Y.  It is wrong for them to do so.
B. Y.  The Pottawatamies will not own a man who has the negro blood in him – that is the reason why the Indians disown the negro prophet [Warner McCary]. 

It is here in this meeting that the Mormon theology prohibiting marriages between blacks and whites was born. Although the minutes are extremely sparse, they are densely compacted with theological themes that will be carried on into the following decades.
[Excerpted from a web article:]
“I would confine them to their own species”
http://www.salamandersociety.com/blacks/mormon_black_white_marriage/
==================================
Young indicated that death was an appropriate punishment for the mixed-race couple, though it is not clear whether the sin meriting death was getting married or having sex and producing a child together.  The pronouncement that “the law is their seed shall not be amalgamated” and the racist belief that “Mulattoes r like mules they cant have children” suggests that Young believed the greatest wrong to be having sex and producing a mixed-race child.

Brigham Young re-affirmed this belief that sex between whites and blacks was a terrible sin deserving of death on at least two other occasions:
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Blood Atonement Is Necessary
In 1847, with the Enoch and Matilda Lewis case, Young first introduced the idea that black-white marriage merited capital punishment, promising that if the Lewis’s lived “far away from the Gentiles” they would be killed.
When Enoch’s father, Walker Lewis, was wintering in Salt Lake Cityin 1851 and 1852, Brigham Young pointedly had the legislature pass a law forbidding not marriage between blacks and whites but all sexual relations between the two races.  In getting the all-LDS territorial legislature to pass this statute in February 1852, Young told them that it was such a serious crime against God that the only way to atone for it was through capital punishment:
And if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane the ownly way he Could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cut off & spill his Blood upon the ground.  It would also take the life of his Children.[20]
Eleven years later, in the midst of the Civil War, Brigham Young again affirmed blood atonement for black-white marriage on March 8, 1863:
Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race?  If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.[21]
In 1897 George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency, said in a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve:
he had understood President Taylor to say that a man who had the priesthood who would marry a woman of the accursed seed that if the law of the Lord were administered upon him, he would be killed, and his offspring, for the reason that the Lord had determined that the seed of Cain should not receive the priesthood in the flesh; and this was the penalty put upon Cain, because if he had received the priesthood the seed of the murderer would get ahead of the seed of Abel who was murdered.[22]
20. Wilford Woodruff Journal, undated entry between January 4, 1852 and February 8, 1852, pp. 97-99.
21. Journal of Discourses, (Liverpool: F. D. and S.W. Richards, 1854), Vol. 1, p. 110. [I believe the volume number is a typo. The quote if from Volume 10, p. 110].
22. “Excerpts From The Weekly Council Meetings Of The Quorum Of the Twelve Apostles, Dealing With The Rights of Negroes In the Church, 1849–1940,” George Albert Smith Papers,UniversityofUtahLibrary.
[Excerpted from a web article:]
“I would confine them to their own species”
http://www.salamandersociety.com/blacks/mormon_black_white_marriage/
 ==============================
To be continued…

bookmark_borderBrigham Young: Racist Prophet of the Mormons – Part 1

Brigham Young was a racist white man who initiated racial discrimination into the official policies and practices of the Mormon church (more specifically: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement).
One key racist policy of the Mormons was to exclude blacks from “the priesthood”. In the Mormon faith “priesthood” was not limited to just a few select members of the church (as in the Catholic faith). Any adult male or boy who is at least twelve years old can, and usually does, become a member of the priesthood in the Mormon faith:
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In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement, priesthood is recognized only in men and boys, who are ordained to offices in the priesthood as a matter of course once they reach the age of 12, so long as they meet requirements of “worthiness”. There are no other requirements for ordination, although prior to 1978, the church did not ordain men or boys who were deemed to be of black African descent, based on the mid-19th century teachings of Brigham Young…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priesthood_(Latter_Day_Saints)
viewed 8/24/13
===========================
So, excluding blacks from the priesthood did not only keep blacks out of leadership roles in the Mormon church, it also made black males clearly and obviously second-class members of the Mormon church.
Brigham Young initiated this racist policy and practice in 1852, and it remained in place for 126 years. Mormon Church President Spencer Kimball ended the policy of excluding blacks from the priesthood in June of 1978.
Although the Mormon church has officially abandoned the racist policies and practices of its past, racism is still a problem in the church, as indicated by the recent racist remarks of a Brigham Young University professor of religion:
====================
February 29, 2012 7:56am
Racist Remarks by popular BYU Religion Professor Spark Controversy
Post by JOANNA BROOKS
[except from opening paragraphs of the article]
Racist apologetics by a popular Brigham Young University religion professor are sparking controversy, as election-year scrutiny sheds a revealing light on the persistence of racist belief among LDS Church members.
On Tuesday, Randy Bott, a BYU professor of religion, told the Washington Post that the LDS Church’s historic prohibition on priesthood ordination for men of African descent was a “blessing” to blacks because they were not “ready” for priesthood authority.
“God has always been discriminatory” when it comes to whom he grants the authority of the priesthood, says Bott… Bott compares blacks with a young child prematurely asking for the keys to her father’s car, and explains that similarly until 1978, the Lord determined that blacks were not yet ready for the priesthood.
“What is discrimination?” Bott asks. “I think that is keeping something from somebody that would be a benefit for them, right? But what if it wouldn’t have been a benefit to them?” Bott says that the denial of the priesthood to blacks on Earth—although not in the afterlife—protected them from the lowest rungs of hell reserved for people who abuse their priesthood powers. “You couldn’t fall off the top of the ladder, because you weren’t on the top of the ladder. So, in reality the blacks not having the priesthood was the greatest blessing God could give them.”
Bott was the highest-rated professor in America in 2008, according to RateMyProfessor.com. He teaches large sections of required religion courses, including courses designed to prepare future missionaries, to as many as 3,000 students a year. This semester, more than 800 students are registered in Professor Bott’s classes. (Eleven are registered for BYU’s African-American history course this semester.) Professors at BYU routinely find themselves having to address racist and sexist content taught in Bott’s classes, and many are outraged and embarrassed by his rogue remarks to the Washington Post, say sources at the university. “Dr. Bott does not speak for BYU or the Church and his views are his own,” one religion faculty member told me.
http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/5748/racist_remarks_by_popular_byu_religion_professor_spark_controversy/
viewed 8/24/13
=============================
Brigham Young was not the first racist leader of the Mormon church. That distinction belongs to Joseph Smith, who founded the church in 1830. In 1836 Joseph Smith published a pro-slavery article that gave a number of standard arguments in defense of slavery:
================================
At least five major objections to the abolitionist cause can be identified in Joseph Smith’s discussion:
—First, he believed the course of abolitionism was “calculated to … set loose, upon the world a community of people who might peradventure, overrun our country and violate the most sacred principles of human society,-chastity and virtue….”
—Second, any evil attending slavery should have been apparent to the “men of piety” of the South who had raised no objections to the institution.
—Third, the Prophet did “not believe that the people of the North have any more right to say that the South shall not hold slaves, than the South have to say the North shall …”; the signing of petitions in the North was nothing more than “an array of influence, and a declaration of hostilities against the people of the South….”
—Fourth, the sons of Canaan (or Ham) whom Joseph Smith identified with the Negro were cursed with servitude by a “decree of Jehovah,” and that curse was “not yet taken off the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great power as caused it to come … and those who are determined to pursue a course which shows an opposition … against the designs of the Lord, will learn … that God can do his work without the aid of those who are not dictated by his counsel….”
—Fifth, there were several other biblical precedents for slavery (in the histories of Abraham, Leviticus, Ephesians, Timothy).
[excepted from:]
Neither White nor Black
Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, eds.
Chapter 3
Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview
Lester E. Bush, Jr.
http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=445
viewed 8/24/13
=======================================
In the same issue of Messenger and Advocate (April 1836), Oliver Cowdery proposed his own racist defense of slavery. Oliver Cowdery was Joseph Smith’s right-hand man, at least during the initial year of their new religion (Smith was known as “First Elder” of the church, and Cowdery was known as “Second Elder”):
=========================================
Oliver Cowdery’s article was more directly concerned with race. He touched on most of the points raised in the other two articles, but dwelt at much greater length on the problems of insurrection and the social implications of emancipation:
… Let the blacks of the south be free, and our community is overrun with paupers, and a reckless mass of human beings, uncultivated, untaught and unaccustomed to provide for themselves the necessaries of life—endangering the chastity of every female who might by chance be found in our streets—our prisons filled with convicts, and the hangman wearied with executing the functions of his office! This must unavoidably be the case, every rational man must admit, who has ever travelled in the slave states, or we must open our houses, unfold our arms, and bid these degraded and degrading sons of Canaan, a hearty welcome and a free admittance to all we possess! A society of this nature, to us, is so intolerably degrading, that the bare reflection causes our feeling to recoil, and our hearts to revolt….
He also saw little alternative to slavery:
… The idea of transportation is folly, the project of emansipation [sic] is destructive to our government, and the notion of amalgamation is devilish! … And insensible to feeling must be the heart, and low indeed must be the mind, that would consent for a moment, to see his fair daughter, his sister, or perhaps, his bosom companion, in the embrace of a NEGRO!
[excerpt from Chapter 3 of Neither White nor Black]
http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=445
viewed 8/24/13
=================================
A few years later Joseph Smith changed his mind and began to oppose slavery. During his presidential campaign in 1844, “he proposed abolishing slavery by 1850 and compensating slaveholders through sale of public lands.”
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith, viewed 8/23/13).
The one racist idea that Smith held onto was opposition to interracial marriage, specifically marriages between white persons and black persons:
=========================
In favoring “equal rights” for Negroes, Joseph Smith did not wish to remove all legal restrictions on that race. Nor should the impression be conveyed that he was completely free of nineteenth-century prejudices. The aversion to miscegenation apparent in the articles in 1836 was later incorporated into the laws of Nauvoo; and in the same breath that the Prophet advocated “national equalization” for Negroes, he expressed a desire that they be confined “by strict law to their own species.”
(from Neither White nor Black, Chapter 3)
http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=445
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For some reason Brigham Young adopted the racist pro-slavery views of Smith and Cowdery from 1836 and ignored Smith’s more liberal-minded abolitionist views from 1844.
One likely explanation for Young’s taking a racist pro-slavery position in 1852 was that this was, in part, a reaction against marriage and sex between black men and white women, specifically marriage and sex between a particular black Mormon man and a particular white Mormon woman in Massachusetts, which occurred shortly after Massachusetts rescinded its law against such marriages.
To be continued…

bookmark_borderDid Jesus Exit? – Part 14

Mitt Romney is a lying sack of human excrement. Which is one of the reasons why he lost the election.
Among MR’s many moral failings was his promotion of a racist religious tradition: Mormonism. MR grew up in a publically and openly racist Mormon church. As a young man he went to France to encourage French citizens to join his then openly and publically racist Mormon church.
But MR is not the only believer in the USA who comes from a racist church background. The largest Protestant denomination in this country is the Southern Baptist Convention:
The Southern Baptist Convention issued an apology for its earlier stance on slavery. The issue had split the Baptist church between north and south in 1845. But a century and a half later, in 1995, Southern Baptist officials formally renounced the church’s support of slavery and segregation.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112329862
viewed 8/17/13
To my knowledge, the Mormons have never issued an apology for the racism that was the accepted belief and practice in their church for most of the history of their existence:
Most Protestant denominations, however, gradually apologized for their past racism. In contrast, while Mormon leaders generically criticize past and present racism, they carefully avoid any specific criticism of past presidents and apostles, careful not to disrupt traditional reverence for the church’s prophets.
(Why Race Is Still a Problem for Mormons: nytimes.com/2012/08/19/opinion/sunday/racism-and-the-mormon-church.html)
I grew up regularly attending Methodist and Presbyterian churches. I don’t recall any open or public racism in the churches I attended, but there was at least one clear but subtle bit of racism that was passed on to children in Sunday school: pictures of Jesus as a tall, blond, white, European-looking male:

Most American Christians should be somewhat skeptical about what they learned in Sunday School, because most American Christians were indoctrinated in Sunday School with this subtle bit of racism: Jesus was a GOOD GUY, so he must have looked like a white European male NOT like a 1st century Palestinian Jew (as in the picture on the right).
But the canonical gospels indicate that Jesus was Jewish. Now there are a couple of different meanings of the word “Jewish”, and Jesus was portrayed as being Jewish in BOTH senses of the word. He was portrayed as being an adherent of the religion of Judaism, and he was portrayed as being a descendant of the Hebrew people.
The question at issue now, in this series on the oldest sources of the canonical Gospels, is whether Mark, Q, L, and M all represent Jesus as being (a) an adherent of the religion of Judaism, and (b) a male descendant of the Hebrew people.
I will start by examining the Gospel of Mark. It is very clear in Mark that Jesus was an adherent of the religion of Judaism. It is also fairly clear that he was represented as being a male descendant of the Hebrew people.
Jesus prayed to Jehovah, the God of the Jewish faith, and he encouraged others to do so. Jesus was familiar with the Jewish scriptures and quoted or referenced passages from the OT in support of various religious and moral beliefs that he held. Jesus often visited Synagogues, and he observed the Sabbath, even if somewhat less rigourously than some other Jews of his time. Jesus made a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem, and he observed the Passover, which was a religious ritual in Judaism. All of this, and more, is how the Gospel of Mark represents Jesus.
Mark very clearly represents Jesus as an adherent of the religion of Judaism:
Jesus and Jewish scripture: Mark 1:40-44, 2:23-27, 4:10-12, 7:5-13, 10:2-9, 10:19, 11:15-19, 12:9-11, 12:25-27, 12:28-31, 12:35-37.
Jesus and Synagogues: Mark 1:21-22, 1:37-39, 3:1-5, 6:1-4.
Jesus and the Jewish Temple:Mark 11:11 & 11:15-19, 12:35-37, 13:1-2.
Jesus and Passover: Mark 14:12-26.
Jesus and the Sabbath: Mark 2:23-28, 3:1-5.
Jesus was Baptized by a Jewish apocalyptic preacher (John the Baptist): Mark 1:4-9.
Jesus and the Messiah: Mark 8:29-30, 12:35-37, 13:20-23.
Jesus and Prayer: Mark 1:34-36, 6:45-47, 11:24-26, 14:31-40.
Mark also gives a number of indications that Jesus was a male descendant of the Hebrew people:
Jesus spoke Aramaic (not Greek, not Latin): Mark 5:41, 7:34, 14:36, 15:34.
Jesus was called ‘Son of David’ (meaning he was a descendant of King David): Mark 10:46-52.
Jesus expresses negative sentiments about ‘gentiles’(which suggests that he himself was a descendant of the Hebrew people): Mark 7:24-30, 10:41-44.
Jesus grew up in a small town with a synagogue in Galilee (which was presumably dominated by descendants of the Hebrew people): Mark 1:9, 1:24, 6:1-4, 10:47-48.
People supposedly argued during Jesus’ lifetime about whether Jesus was the expected Messiah of the Jews, but no one objected that Jesus was NOT a descendant of the Hebrew people. If Jesus had been Greek or Roman or African or Egyptian or Persian, that would have been one of the first and loudest objections made to the idea that Jesus was the Messiah. But there is no indication in Mark that such an objection was ever raised to this idea.
That Jesus is represented as a male is indicated first and foremost by the fact that his name was ‘Jesus’ or rather ‘Yeshua’, which is usually translated into English as: ‘Joshua’. Joshua was a famous male military leader of the nation of Israel. Just as ‘Joshua’ is a boy’s name in English, so ‘Yeshua’ was a boy’s name in Aramaic.
That Jesus is represented as a male in Mark is also indicated by his being called ‘the Son of Man’ (14:62) and ‘son of David'(10:47) and ‘the Son of God'(1:1), ‘my Son’ (by God himself, 1:11), and ‘son of Mary'(6:3) as well as ‘brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon’ (6:3).
Note that the Greek word for ‘son’ can also mean ‘child’. However, there is a different Greek word for ‘daughter’ which is only used of female offspring, and the Greek for ‘daughter’ appears in at least seven different verses in Mark, and is never used of Jesus. So, the fact that the Greek word for ‘son’ is consistently used of Jesus, and the Greek word for ‘daughter’ is never used of Jesus, indicates that the Greek word for ‘son’ in these cases probably means ‘male offsrpring’ not just ‘child’.
Also, the Greek word for ‘brother’ is a (slightly) different word than the Greek word for ‘sister’, so the fact that Jesus is called a ‘brother’ of James and Joses…etc (as opposed to being called their ‘sister’) is a clear indication that Jesus was a male.
Finally, the Messiah was expected to be a ‘son of David’ (Mark 12:35-37), that is, a MALE descendant of King David. So, if Jesus had been a woman, then in the sexist and patriarchal Jewish culture of that time, this would have been a loud and frequent objection to the idea that Jesus was the Messiah. The fact that there is no mention of such an objection in Mark is evidence that Mark and his fellow Christians believed Jesus was a male.

bookmark_borderInitial Impressions on the Andrews-Schieber Debate: Part 5

This will be the final post in my series on the Andrews-Schieber debate on Christian theism. In this final post, I want to comment on just one statement made by Max Andrews in his closing statement.
Remember that Schieber’s soteriological argument from evil is as follows:
(21′) If the Christian God exists, he is essentially morally perfect, omnipotent, omniscient.
(22′) If the Christian God exists, he chose to create Hell and send the vast majority of people to suffer eternally within it.
(23) There is no moral justification for sending anybody to suffer eternally in Hell.
(24) A being who acts in a way that is morally unjustified cannot be essentially morally perfect.
(25′) The Christian God does not exist.
In his closing statement, Andrews says this.

Secondly, the argument against God due to hell is a demonstrable lack of understanding of divine love and justice. Likewise, this argument severely lacks a biblical and hermeneutical interaction of the biblical text and he completely side steps my philosophical arguments. This is an intra-Christian issue and should it be the case that the interpretation of an eternal hell not be true it does not negate the existence of God. This argument, at best, demonstrates a revision of hermeneutical approaches to the doctrine. This argument simply doesn’t belong in this debate and should be considered off topic.

This response fails because it contradicts the axioms of the probability calculus. To be precise, it violates the theorem of total probability. Here’s why. Let Pr(CT) be the epistemic probability that Christian theism is true. We can partition Christian theism into two versions: those that include an eternal hell (H) and those that do not (~H). (For those familiar with Venn diagrams, draw a circle to represent CT and then divide the circle into two parts, one for H and for ~H. The size of the parts does not matter at this point.)
According to the theorem of total probability, Pr(CT) is equal to an average of the probabilities of CT&H and CT&~H. It’s not a simple straight average, however, because the probability of CT conditional upon H, Pr(CT|H), may not be equal to the probability of CT conditional upon ~H, Pr(CT|~H). Rather, it’s a weighted average which takes Pr(CT|H) and Pr(CT|~H) into account. Applied to our discussion, the formula looks like this:
Pr(CT) = Pr(CT|H) x Pr(H) + Pr(CT|~H) x Pr(~H)
If Pr(CT|H) > Pr(CT|~H), then Pr(CT) will be closer to Pr(H). If, on the other hand, Pr(CT|~H) > Pr(CT|H), then Pr(CT) will be closer to Pr(H). So if we believe that Christian theism is committed to some sort of doctrine of Hell, then the theorem of total probability tells us that the Pr(H)  is relevant to Pr(CT).
Suppose you agree with me so far. You may be asking, so what? Well, suppose the doctrine of Hell is internally inconsistent. Since anything that is internally inconsistent has a logical probability of zero, we should set our corresponding epistemic probability to zero as well. So if the doctrine of Hell is internally inconsistent, then Pr(H) = 0. And the greater the value of Pr(CT|H), the closer Pr(CT) will also be to 0.
So, contrary to what Andrews claims, the argument against God due to Hell is at least relevant to a debate on God’s existence.

bookmark_borderInitial Impressions on the Andrews-Schieber Debate: Part 4

In this post, I’m going to comment on Schieber’s’ first rebuttal.
Schieber’s First Rebuttal
In defense of his argument from divine lies, Schieber writes:

As to my argument against Christian knowledge, Mr. Andrews replies that he knows God is essentially truthful – that it is impossible for God to lie because it logically contradicts his moral perfection. The problem here is that nothing about moral perfection logically entails always telling the truth. While lying is usually seen as a moral deficiency, there are certainly obvious instances where lying is justified because it is necessary for some over-riding greater good or to avoid some greater evil. To claim that it is impossible for God to ever be morally justified in lying, Mr. Andrews would need to be morally omniscient – he would need to have exhaustive knowledge of all possible goods that God might act towards and evils that he might act to avoid then conclude that none of these reasons could, in any circumstance, justify a divine lie.

Excellent point. Schieber continues:

Moreover, Mr. Andrew’s criticism of the noseeum inference in the Rowe-style evidential problem of evil wont [sic] allow such epistemological boldness. …

Not exactly. In fairness to Andrews, his primary objection against the argument from divine lies is not a noseeum inference based upon the failure to think of any greater goods which would justify divine lies. Rather, his objection is based upon God’s moral perfection, a point which Schieber addressed above.
Turning to the fine-tuning argument, Schieber writes:

I want to address these arguments in the order they were presented – though, a few comments first. Regarding likelihood arguments, Elliot Sober, Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at University of Wisconsin writes,
[Likelihood arguments] don’t tell you which hypotheses to believe; in fact, they don’t even tell you which hypotheses are probably true. Rather, they evaluate how the observations at hand discriminate among the hypotheses under consideration.

That is what we call a “money quote.” And Sober’s point is very similar to an objection I made in part 1, albeit worded in a different way.
What about the Thomistic cosmological argument? Schieber writes:

That aside, lets examine Max’s first argument – a likelihood version of a Thomastic-type cosmological argument that argued for the existence of an uncaused cause of the contingent constituents of the Universe. For the sake of argument, I am willing to go along with Max’s conclusion here – World-views that are atheistic have no problem adopting necessary beings.

When I first read that, I said out loud, “Huh?” Atheistic worldviews are logically consistent with abstract objects, impersonal things which include necessarily true propositions. But I cannot figure out why Schieber would say that “World-views that are atheistic have no problem adopting necessary beings.” I’m not sure off the top of my head, but it may be true that atheistic worldviews have no logical problem adopting necessary beings. In other words, it may be the case that there is no logical contradiction between “There is no God” and “There are one or more necessary beings.” But even if that is so, I think the existence of one or more necessary beings would be an evidential problem for atheism. If such beings exist, they would be metaphysically necessary. I don’t see any way to reconcile such metaphysically necessary beings with metaphysical naturalism, since any metaphysically necessary beings would have to be supernatural persons by definition. And metaphysical naturalism is very probable on the assumption that atheism is true. So the existence of necessary beings would be evidence against atheism.
Furthermore, if Schieber admits there are necessary beings, then it seems that Schieber is conceding the Thomistic cosmological argument to Andrews in the debate. He admits that the conclusion of the argument (4) is true.
Andrews’ First Rebuttal 
Abductive Arguments
As puzzling as I found Schieber’s statement about atheism and necessary beings, I found Andrews’ statements about abductive arguments to be the most bizarre statements in the entire debate. He writes:

First, he argues against my wording concerning the relationship of the evidence and the fine-tuner. This is simply a dislike for abductive arguments on his part. It is not the case that the premises strongly support the conclusion. It is the conclusion that supports the premises. An abductive argument for fine-tuning is very similar to induction. Rather than the premises adding to the probability of the conclusion the conclusion adds to the probability of the premises.  This is not to completely exclude the role of the premises adding to the probability of the conclusion but there is a greater emphasis of using the best explanation (the conclusion) to fit the data (the premises).  The belief in question is assessed as the consequent and then considering what may be the best explanation for that belief, antecedently.  This may seem fallacious but inference to the best explanation is a commonly accepted form of reasoning.  Additionally, this abductive process only comes into the process when assessing whether the evidence sufficiently corresponds to the belief since the belief typically arises by the antecedent evidence and then as the consequent, it is the assessment of the belief that requires working backwards.

First, the idea that abductive arguments are separate from both deductive and inductive arguments is a controversial idea among logicians, but Andrews writes as if it were a fact. For my part, I think abductive arguments are a type of inductive arguments, but I recognize that not all philosophers agree.
Second, abductive arguments are invalid arguments. (To be precise, abductive arguments are deductively invalid because they commit the fallacy of affirming the consequent.) In other words, if the premises of an abductive argument are true, that does not guarantee that the conclusion is true. The conclusion may or may not be true. But that entails that the truth of the conclusion is uncertain. So what? Here’s the problem for Andrews: probability measures uncertainty. It makes no logical difference whatsoever  whether the person making an abductive argument is placing “greater emphasis” on “using the best explanation” than on “adding to the probability of the conclusion,” since there is no logical distinction between the two. The best explanation for the data must be the most probable explanation of the data.  
I don’t know if this applies to Andrews, but in my experience what typically motivates the “abduction is an independent category of logic, not a type of induction” position is this. People who hold that view think of induction as nothing but induction by enumeration, i.e., moving from an enumeration of individual cases to a generalization. But induction includes much more than enumerative arguments. To cite just one example, statistical syllogisms are universally recognized to be inductive arguments, but statistical syllogisms are not enumerative arguments. (In fact, they go in the opposite direction: they move from premises about what is generally true of a population to a conclusion about an individual.)
Third, Andrews is simply mistaken when he writes, “It is not the case that the premises strongly support the conclusion. It is the conclusion that supports the premises.” That is simply false. Even in abductive arguments, the premises supports the conclusion.
The Fine-Tuning Argument
While I disagree with much of what Andrews writes in defense of his fine-tuning argument, I’m going to comment on only one item. Andrews writes:

What is an adequate cause for the effect in question—the origin of cosmic information? Logically, one can infer the past existence of a cause from its effect, when the cause is known to be necessary to produce the effect in question. In the absences of any other known causes then the presence of the effects points unambiguously back to the uniquely adequate cause—a mind.[4] This issue will also address the range of possible values for constants. If physics can be expressed counterfactually then we can certainly derive a random sample by which to compare to some type of background information. The full range of values is not a necessary epistemic component. It’s my suspicion that the greater the range is it inversely increases the probability for the fine-tuning argument to be true.

Once again, Andrews is understating the evidence. In order to avoid begging the question in favor of intelligent design, let’s focus on all examples of complex specified information except for complex specified information related to intelligent design.(In other words, we’re going to temporarily ignore cosmological fine-tuning, the origin of life and biological information, the origin of complex specified information related to the Cambrian “explosion,” etc.) For all of the remaining examples of complex specified information, let’s assume, but only for the sake of argument, that the only known cause of complex specified information is a mind. But Andrews fails to mention that the only known cause of that (remaining) complex specified information is not only a mind, but a mind dependent on a physical brain and a mind working with preexisting matter (and laws of physics). So, to sum up, the only known cause of that complex specified information has three features: a mind, a brain, and preexisting laws of physics. It seems arbitrary for Andrews to focus solely on the one feature which supports the inference to fine-tuning while ignoring the two features which count against it. At the very least, this much is certain: Andrews has not yet given us any reason to justify that.
Schieber’s Second Rebuttal
I’m only going to comment on one item in Schieber’s rebuttal because I think Schieber’s point is so important.

Nearly every one of Mr. Andrew’s blog posts related to Fine-tuning cites the work of prominent Christian philosopher Robin Collins – so, clearly, this is someone who Mr. Andrews holds in high esteem – and rightly so. However, In his excellent and very well-known article in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, Collins makes this very point much clearer than I.
Because of certain potential counterexamples, I shall use what I call the restricted version of the Likelihood Principle, although I shall often refer to it simply as the Likelihood Principle. The restricted version limits the applicability of the Likelihood Principle to cases in which the hypothesis being confirmed is non-ad hoc. A sufficient condition for a hypothesis being non-ad hoc (in the sense used here) is that there are independent motivations for believing the hypothesis apart from the confirming data e, or for the hypothesis to have been widely advocated prior to the confirming evidence.
Now, because Max’s fine-tuning argument clearly fails to restrict the likelihood principle to hypotheses that are Non ad-hoc, Robin Collins would almost certainly agree with my criticism. This is a significant technical problem for Mr. Andrews‘ particular formation of the argument as it is now susceptible to damaging counterexamples.

This objection is not just “damaging” to Andrews’ fine-tuning argument, but devastating.

bookmark_borderInitial Impressions on the Andrews-Schieber Debate: Part 3

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I reviewed each debaters’ arguments for or against Christian theism. In this and future posts, I want to selectively comment on statements from their rebuttals which caught my eye. I’m emphasizing the word “selectively” because I’m not simply not going to be able to parse the rest of the debate transcript with the same level of detail found in parts 1 and 2. In this post, I’m going to comment on Andrews’ first rebuttal.
Andrews writes takes issue with (23), the third premise in Schieber’s soteriological argument from evil. For reference, here is (23):

(23) There is no moral justification for sending anybody to suffer eternally in Hell.

Here is Andrews:

Concerning Mr. Schieber’s argument on the impossibility of God due to hell I contest the truth of P3—“There is no moral justification for sending anybody to suffer eternally in hell.” This premise is flawed on many levels. Again, for the argument to be unsound, and thus false, the premise must simply be demonstrated to be false in any capacity. My first objection is that God doesn’t send anyone to hell; rather, he permits them to go their own way.

I think the “send vs. permit” distinction makes very little difference. Schieber could very easily modify (22) and (23) as follows:

(22′) If God exists, he chose to create Hell and permit the vast majority of people to suffer eternally within it.
(23′) There is no moral justification for allowing anybody to suffer eternally in Hell.

With the argument so modified, the first objection no longer applies.
Let’s return to Andrews’ reply:

Secondly, God is morally justified in permitting the reprobate to be eternally separate from God. I don’t think the Bible is describing eschatological furniture when describing hell so all I’m willing to commit to is that it is an eternal separation from God—the worst state of an unglorified existence.

When Andrews says, “I don’t think the Bible is describing eschatological furniture when describing hell,” I interpret that to mean that Andrews is uncertain about whether Hell involves merely “eternal separation from God” or “eternal separation from God” plus other bad things (such as eternal torture). So, for the sake of simplicity, let’s divide the doctrine of Hell into two variants: Hell1, mere eternal separation, and Hell2, eternal separation and torture. Hell1 is supposed to the enormous moral problems with Hell2, while at the same time being consistent with the Bible. Since I have zero desire to debate Biblical interpretation, I’m going to assume (but only for the sake of argument) that Hell1 is compatible with Biblical teaching.
I want to explore two questions about Hell1. First, is Hell1 a punishment? Second, regardless of whether we call Hell1 a type of punishment or something else, is it fair?
Let’s turn to my first question. Is Hell1 a type of punishment? In my experience, Christians who promote Hell1 as the correct understanding of Hell waffle on whether it is a good thing or a bad thing for the inhabitants of Hell1. Andrews seems to be a case in point. On the one hand, Andrews says, when God permits people to go to Hell1, He is simply giving people what they want.

God passively permits individuals to go to hell because that’s what the individual chooses. As a decision to reject the revelation brought before an individual they consequently choose a life of eternal separation from an eternal God. The[y] choose hell because that’s what they want and in the end, God gives them what they want.

But, on the other hand, Andrews says that Hell1 is a type of punishment.

There is sufficient warrant to believe that some people who have not had their sins atoned for by Jesus Christ die without atoning for their sins in this lifetime.  Posthumously, this person must atone for his own wrongs in order for God to be perfectly just.  Each sin warrants a finite punishment; however, this person will not cease to sin in the after this life since he has not had his sins atoned for by Christ. He will not be ushered into a state of beatitude (which can be warranted based on rewards and the concept of justice and the moral beatification of atonement).  Because this person continues to sin he will always incur consequent self-atonement for each sin and if there are a[n] [potential] infinite set of sins then the duration will last without end as well.  Self-atonement without beatification (because this person chose to atone for his own sin) will be eternal by the successive addition of sins.  Sins imply punishment, so an infinite duration of punishment is warranted as well.

If these two quotations do not outright contradict one another, they are certainly in tension. Consider the following example. A man steals a car, is caught by the police, tried in a court of law, and found guilty. In the sentencing phase of the trial, the judge announces the following sentence: “You are guilty of theft. Since it is the policy of this court to give people what they want, therefore, your punishment is that you get to keep the stolen car.” That doesn’t sound like a punishment to me.
Andrews may reply that this analogy is flawed. Since the car is stolen property, a law-abiding judge cannot let the thief have it. Of course, that reply raises its own problem for Hell1 proponents like Andrews: it means that the Christian God cannot consistently give the unsaved what they want. But let’s put that issue aside and rewind to the judge’s sentence. Suppose, instead, the judge says this. “You are guilty of theft. I am a really cool guy. Since it is the policy of this court not to let criminals like you hang out with me, therefore, your punishment is that I am going to shun you. You are eternally forbidden to hang out with me.” The problem with this, however, is that it doesn’t seem like a punishment. Most, if not all, criminals have no desire to hang out with judges. Hell1 faces essentially the same problem. Andrews suggests that the unsaved have no desire to spend eternity with God. If all Hell1 consists of is God giving  people what they want, this sounds like no punishment at all. Indeed, on Andrews’ logic, if God wanted to punish the unsaved, one might expect Him to do the opposite of Hell1 and send the unsaved to Heaven! (They wouldn’t be getting what they want, so it would be a punishment.)
Let’s turn now to my second question, is the doctrine of Hell1 fair? The first step is answering this question is to notice that something can be bad even if it is not a punishment. For example, suppose for the sake of argument that a man gets cancer and the cancer is not in any way linked to any behavior one might consider immoral. It’s just the result of a freak genetic mutation. Along the same lines, Hell1 could be bad for the people inside Hell1, even if Hell1 is not a punishment.
The second step is to notice that Hell1 is, in fact, supposed to be bad for the people who are in Hell1. On the assumption that Christian theism is true, it is hard to even imagine how it could fail to be the case that being in Hell1 would be bad. If for no other reason, people in Hell1 are missing out on the opportunity to experience God, which is a good thing by definition.
The third step is to notice that, on Andrews’ view, God interferes with or “arranges” the world in a way that decreases moral accountability.

I hold to an infralapsarian view of salvation. Under this view, God elects all individuals who would freely cease to resist his saving grace.  God will so arrange the world, via strong and weak actualizations, to bring about a person’s experiences and circumstances in which they would freely refrain from rejecting God.  With this understanding of election, God is both sovereign in actualizing salvation and permissive in allowing the reprobates to go their own way.

Just as we saw with Andrews’ flawed reply to the “coarse-tuning evidence,” once again Andrews writes as if the Christian God isn’t omnipotent. God can arrange the world so that some people freely refrain from rejecting God, but not all people. How convenient! In fairness, I admit that, at one level, there is some plausibility to the idea that some people are “bad apples” and maybe there is no set of experiences or circumstances that would lead them to freely refrain from rejecting God. But, at a deeper level, that idea overlooks the fact that we are talking about the Christian God, not a human parent. If Christianity is true, then God created all humans with the personalities that they have. God created altruists like Gandhi and Mother Theresa, but He also created psychopaths like Ted Bundy. The point here is not that personality is fixed at birth for all people–though in the cases of some people, like psychopaths, they may be. The point is that if Christian theism is true, God created the whole system. He could have created everyone with  altruistic personalities, but he didn’t. That is why Hell1, as a bad thing, is unfair.
 

bookmark_borderDid Jesus Exit? – Part 13

I have taken a quick look at the L-source passages in Luke, and my conclusion is that the L source does represent Jesus as a flesh-and-blood person. So, Bart Ehrman is clearly the winner of the first round. But there are several more rounds to go before I will have enough facts and data to make a reasonable general conclusion about whether and to what extent the sources of the canonical gospels support the Minimal Jesus Hypothesis (MJH), and then after that we need to look at the non-canonical evidence that Ehrman points out.
Recall that Ehrman does not explicitly specify that Jesus was portrayed as a flesh-and-blood person in the gospels and their sources. However, I take it that being a flesh-and-blood person is part of what he (and others) means by saying that Jesus was an historical person or that Jesus existed.
So, Jesus being a flesh-and-blood person is a part of Ehrman’s thesis, and since Mark, Q, L, and (to some degree) M represent Jesus as a flesh-and-blood person, this aspect of Ehrman’s view is supported by the facts. What really will determine the success or failure of his Seven Gospels Argument (SGA), however, is whether these various sources agree on most or all of the basic aspects of the life and death of Jesus, as specified in MJH.
Here is my assessment of the L-source passages:
14 passages are NOT RELEVANT to the question of whether Jesus was represented as a physical person
9 passages provide SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT for the view that Jesus was represented as a physical person
3 passages provide WEAK SUPPORT for the view that Jesus was represented as a physical person

The following nine passages are the ones that I think provide significant support for the view that Jesus was represented in the L-source as a flesh-and-blood person:
Luke 7:11b-15 Jesus raises son of widow in Nain
Luke 7:36-47 A sinful woman forgiven
Luke 10:39-42 Mary and Martha dispute
Luke 13:10-17b Healing on the Sabbath
Luke 13:31b-32 Warning about Herod
Luke 14:2-5 Healing on the Sabbath
Luke 16:19-31 Parable of the rich man and Lazarus (“even if someone rises from the dead.”)
Luke 17:12-18 Ten Lepers healed
Luke 19:2-10 Zacchaeus repents

The following three passages are the ones I think provide some weak support for the view that Jesus was represented in the L-source as a flesh-and-blood person:
Luke 10:30-37a Parable of the Good Samaritan
Luke 13:1b-5 Repent or perish (discussing current events “He [Jesus] asked them…”)
Luke 14:8-10 & 14:12-14 Parable of choice of place at table (“He [Jesus] said also to the one who had invited him…”)

Ehrman wins the first round. Now on to round two.