Question for Everyone: What differentiates Christian Morality from Atheist?

Hambydammit
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Question for Everyone: What differentiates Christian Morality from Atheist?

 I just stunned myself with a rather interesting thought.  I was thinking about how Francis Collins' evangelical Christian beliefs might get in the way of his objectivity as director of the NIH.  When it came down to brass tacks, I could only think of a few areas where Christians typically differ from atheists in their assessment of what is good or bad morally:

1) Sex.  Most Christians have some kind of non-scientific view of sex.  Abstinence before marriage, masturbation is bad, etc, etc.  

2) Abortion.  The overwhelming majority of people who support banning abortion are Christians.  It's damn hard to find a non-theist who favors banning abortion.

3) Marriage, childbearing, childrearing.  Christians think of marriage as a magic pact between god and two people.  Atheists don't.  Some Christians think of children as the manifestation of God's will.  Atheists tend to view them as the result of sexual intercourse.

4) Homosexuality.  Many Christians believe homosexuality is immoral.  Most atheists do not.

Can anyone think of any common Christian moral beliefs that differ substantially from a naturalist morality?

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Di66en6ion
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 You're all babbling about

 You're all babbling about logical links between morals and actions and it seems pretty axiomatic to me. That which survives, survives. Grouping together increases likelihood of survival, traits which reinforce this grouping strategy (Empathy: mirror neurons which can simulate what others are thinking through body language that has evolved prior) emerge and evolve even further. 

 

It's also nature vs nurture though. Behavior can be learned, obviously. Saving Jews from Nazis may not be in our immediate interest for survival but empathy most certainly plays a strong role (if not the strongest) in our cooperation as a species. The excercise of these different areas of the brain can deaden or pronounce responses to these actions.

 

I vew religion as sort of a holistic approach to living uncritically. It may not be efficient but it gets the job done. One can learn how to sew and harvest crops for generations to feed your village but once your population reaches a threshold it's no longer viable to live through tradition, you must adapt to advanced calculatory planning methods or die. Religion will bend to the rules of science or we'll go extinct, it's simple as that.


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Di66en6ion wrote: You're

Di66en6ion wrote:

 You're all babbling about logical links between morals and actions and it seems pretty axiomatic to me. That which survives, survives. Grouping together increases likelihood of survival, traits which reinforce this grouping strategy (Empathy: mirror neurons which can simulate what others are thinking through body language that has evolved prior) emerge and evolve even further. 

I'm sure it seems axiomatic to you, but it is not.  You are just giving me empirical claims. 

Would you say it is in the interest of the species to help mentally retarded individuals by placing them in group homes?  How would this help advance the species?  We are simply spending our tax dollars to help individuals who themselves will not contribute to the advancement of society.  Wouldn't it be more beneficial if we just killed them off?  Likewise with all the subsidies that we give to the elderly.  Why not just kill people off when they turn a certain age and lose their minds?  Then society will really advance.

Quote:
It's also nature vs nurture though. Behavior can be learned, obviously. Saving Jews from Nazis may not be in our immediate interest for survival but empathy most certainly plays a strong role (if not the strongest) in our cooperation as a species. The excercise of these different areas of the brain can deaden or pronounce responses to these actions.

Sorry, but there was no scientific reason whatsoever for us to rescue the Jews.  We could have let them perish and society would have gone on.  You are just grasping for straws.

Morality is not a means of advancing the species.  Morality, in many ways, is a burden that we, as people, have to carry.  In other words, there are certain things that we are obligated to do, whether or not we personally profit from them.


Thomathy
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Lord_of_Rock wrote:Thomathy

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

Isn't that just an assumption as well? 

It is. 

Nevertheless, even babies were born under original sin, which brings them under the righteous condemnation of God.  Therefore, God has a right to execute any baby that he wants.

Umm ...sure.  Not that it matters as its just a story ...


 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Lord_of_Rock wrote:Thomathy

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

Isn't that just an assumption as well? 

It is. 

Nevertheless, even babies were born under original sin, which brings them under the righteous condemnation of God.  Therefore, God has a right to execute any baby that he wants.

Do babies go to hell if they die? 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Juvenile Narcissist
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Lord_of_Rock wrote:Juvenile

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Juvenile Narcissist wrote:

If the context is taken into account, it's situational, not absolute.

You're just playing word games.  If your definition of "situational morality" is "morality evaluated within a particular context such that if that context presented itself again, what one ought to do would not change", then okay, Christian morality is situational.

How is it that I am the one playing word games? You yourself defined absolute as "without exception." The reason I asked you to define it is because I wanted to know what you meant when you referred to absolute morality. So we established it as something that is either moral or immoral without exception. Context provides an exception. So if you now say that things are moral in some situations but not in others, then you've undermined your definition of absolute as being without exception. And I just don't see how making it situational allows it to remain absolute in any meaningful way. I'm also confused why you still hold to certain things as being truly absolute by that definition "without exception." You gave the examples of raping little girls and lying. Why don't these things fall under your "situational absolutism"?

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Likewise, if your definition of "atheist" is "he who believes in God", then I am an atheist.

 

I think you're confusing me with yourself. You're the one who likes to define things as their antithesis.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:



I never used that reasoning.  I was merely elucidating the fundamental differences between slavery in the Confederacy and slavery in antiquity.  I never said that all slavery was okay because some slaves were willing.

I really don't see the fundamental difference. Both the US South and the Israelites had both debt bonded and chattel slaves. Distinctions between slaves were drawn down racial lines, different laws for European and African slaves in the South, different laws for Israelite men and foreign slaves in antiquity.

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

I do not care what your opinion is. 

I'm sorry that Christianity does not conform to your subjective morality, but if all of morality is subjective, then who are you to criticize Christianity?

I don't have to draw on my morality to criticize Christianity in this case. Just my ability to spot inconsistency. The OT doesn't conform to what Christians claim is their morality today. Now if Christians stood by the OT and declared that genocide, slavery, kidnapping and rape were all moral activities, then we could say we were having a moral discussion. And I would also be more likely to believe that Christians actually got their morality from the Bible, instead of from their society and upbringing, etc. like everyone else and are just desperately trying to mesh their modern morality with the antiquated morality of the Bible. And having a hell of a time doing it.

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

So your argument to this is that because people have a value (to which, as an atheist, I would love to know how you could rationally justify that people have a value), they ought to be able to do whatever they want?

People have value, because we give them value.

And, no, I don't think we should be able to do whatever we want. Consequences hold significance to me.

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

You are being pretty vague.  When did ownership of another person imply that this person could not make decisions for him or herself? 

The whole idea of ownership implies that the will of the person owned is subservient to the owner. I don't know why you would assume otherwise. When I own property, I tend to like to utilize that property. And I think the history of human ownership bears out this conclusion. I'm sure there may have been cases when people were purchased and then given some freedom to make their own decisions, but I would say, on the whole, when humans are purchased, they are purchased for a reason, and it doesn't really matter if they want to do otherwise.

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

You claim that slavery prevents someone from deciding their future.  Says who?  How is that in any way bound up with slavery?  Slavery is simply being the property of someone else.  Are you claiming that it is impossible for a slave-owner to permit his slave to choose things for himself?

No, just unlikely if that slave decides to do something contrary to what he was purchased for. Or if he wants to leave. Or any of the things he wants to do conflict with the will of his owner. Why is it hard for you to grasp that the likely reality will be that the owned will have to bend to the will of the owner? As has been the reality up to this point.

 

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

This is just an assertion and your own argument from emotion.

In what way is it an argument from emotion? When I think property, I think an object to be bought and sold. That conflicts with my idea of personhood.

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Your plans and your future already rest in a lot of people's hands. I really do not understand what would make being owned any different, unless you are already clinging to the preconception that all slavery is what you've learned in your elementary classes on the Civil War.

What is your obsession with slavery in the US south? You're the only one who's brought it up. Nothing I've said yet is based solely on that. And I've already addressed why being owned would likely be different from being free.

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Well, since you already believe that morality is subjective, it would be pointless of me to argue with you.  But like I said, I'm not interested in somebody's opinion.  I want some objective rules and guidelines.

I have guidelines for my behavior, you know. I don't just pull everything out of my ass at a moment's notice. In fact, the first reason I gave for owning someone being wrong is based on a guideline you and I should share. But I don't have the need to disengage my brain and simply live by rules I've been told. The world is more complex than that. But some people do need that, so we have laws. You're in luck.

 

 

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Yes, people are inherently bad.  We do bad things.  What's your point?

My point was the second part of that paragraph. You know, where I said, "We lose the ability to truly empathize them with. We can become apathetic to their needs and wants. And in some cases become cruel." That was my point. Viewing people as property makes it easier for us to do that. And I don't agree the people are inherently bad.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Okay.  You are giving me some empirical statistics.  I am in agreement that history has shown that it is not a good idea for people to own slaves.  Evidently, you are upset  because God didn't tell you that.  And as I've pointed ou earlier, God didn't mention a lot of things in the Bible that you may be emotional about.  

Why would I be upset about what a fictional character does or doesn't mention? No, I just find it inconsistent that a character so anal retentive about morality, would be so permissive and in fact endorse things most of his modern day followers find very immoral. Especially when morality is supposed to be absolute and this god unchanging. It makes perfect sense when you put it into the context that it's just a collection of myths by a bronze age tribe about the run-ins they had with their unpleasant and easily pissed off bronze age god. Anything beyond that, no sense. What does evoke an emotional reaction is when people contort themselves to justify the brutality and call it moral.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

 

Bingo.  So I am still waiting for you to tell me why slavery is bad.  You've given me some empirical facts and your own opinions about the implications of slavery.  Do you have anything else?

What bingo? Your position is that if something has an exception that isn't as bad as its usual MO that it's not bad? You're a very odd person. I've given you my reasons for seeing slavery as bad. And they're very good reasons. Certainly better than "we have better ways of paying off debt." What exactly are you looking for? A ruling in an ancient book of myths?

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

In other words, God did not comport with the morality that you had created for yourself, so you've decided to reject God.  Instead of facing reality, you created a reality that you would be more comfortable with.

There are better ways of explaining reality than using the Christian God. When held up against reality, God lost.  There were too many inconsistencies for me to maintain that belief system.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

That is what atheism is: the coward's way out.  You do not want to deal with issues.  You want to sanctify them and make them godly.

How exactly is it "the coward's way out"? What issues am I not dealing with? What am I trying to sanctify?

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Umm, it's stupid?

How is it stupid?

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Where in the world is slavery alive?  I'm not doubting this is true.  But tell me the surrounding circumstances and I'll tell you whether or not it is considered okay by Christian standards.

Here's a website that gives a little blurb about the most common types of slavery. Slavery is alive all over the world, including in the US.

http://www.iabolish.org/modern_slavery101/

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

What is weird about it?  If you are debted to someone, why would you need to sell yourself as a slave to pay off the debt?  We have developed more advanced mediums for debts to be paid.  For example, child support (I'm looking at you, Mr. Sapient!) could be garnished from your paycheck, mortgage companies offer payment plans or moratoriums, or you can file for bankruptcy.

Ah, yes, because everyone lives in or is from the industrialized world or countries that offer such things.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Those options were not available in antiquity.

Nor are they available to everyone today.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

I suppose someone could sell themself as a slave and it could conceivably be done in a way that is not immoral, but it would just be strange given the advanced mediums that we have.

Yes, it would be strange if people in the US started selling their children to the banks to pay off their mortgages. But the whole world doesn't work the way it does in your backyard. And you've yet to give me a reason why other forms of slavery are wrong. Is the slavery that is used to "pay off debt" the only form you have issue with?

 

Juvenile Narcissist wrote:
And here again we face the problems of absolute morality. Absolute morality would dictate that I not rape my daughter, even if it lead to my mother's death

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

So what?

Maybe if you read the rest of the sentence, you'd know. "Absolute morality would dictate that I not rape my daughter, even if it lead to my mother's death and my daughter being raped by the gunman and even greater trauma." With absolute morality, it wouldn't matter if more harm were done by my inaction. The outcome would be irrelevant.

 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

It's not an assumption.  If God exists, then God is good.  An evil God would be a contradiction.

How would it be a contradiction?

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

I've already defined what "absolute morality" means.  You are just playing word games.

No, I'm not. You're contradicting your own definition.

 

 

Rill


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For those of you who weren't

For those of you who weren't on last night, Lord of Rock is most likely Matt sock and created his usual topics about a prominent member of the forum and was then banned.