My first question here.

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My first question here.

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality? I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality? Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

 


 

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."


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 I'm guessing most of my

 I'm guessing most of my morality comes from how I was raised, empathy, and my concept of what fair is.  


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Morality is a mixture of

Morality is a mixture of upbringing, peers, culture, and personal temperament. If we used bible 'morality' we would still be slaughtering our neighbors, bashing their babies heads in, and selling our own unwanted daughters into slavery. Come to think of it, even the morality of the bible changed over the course if its composition, telling us that even religious morality is not absolute and unchanging.

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Desdenova wrote:Morality is

Desdenova wrote:

Morality is a mixture of upbringing, peers, culture, and personal temperament. If we used bible 'morality' we would still be slaughtering our neighbors, bashing their babies heads in, and selling our own unwanted daughters into slavery. Come to think of it, even the morality of the bible changed over the course if its composition, telling us that even religious morality is not absolute and unchanging.

So do you believe that morality is relative? Do you believe that truth is relative?

 

To some degree, I do agree that religious ideas may change, but that (From a Biblical standpoint, I don't speak for other religions, obviously) was because of the death of Christ. His death changed lots of things. The point I am trying to make is that Jesus Christ is the basis and grounding for our morality because Jesus was/is constant. The things your post mentions are all detestable, and Jesus Christ would agree.

The Athiest (as far as I'm concerned, feel free to prove me wrong), has no basis for his or her morals.

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."


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Truth isn't relative but I

Truth isn't relative but I wouldn't consider moral statements to be statements of truth.


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Manageri wrote:Truth isn't

Manageri wrote:

Truth isn't relative but I wouldn't consider moral statements to be statements of truth.

I don't quite follow, if I'm wrong, please help me out Smiling

Are you saying that if I told you "Stealing is wrong", it be untruthful? Why? Are any moral statements true?

 

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."


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Hands wrote:To my athiest

Hands wrote:

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality? I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality? Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

 

The question about moral absolutes is an interesting question no matter if it related or not to religion.

First of all, I have not seen many atheists claiming that a god IS an EVIL.  It would be possible to make such claim though if we compare moral standards found in the bible to the description of the god found in the bible.  But this would merely be a claim describing a character of the god of the bible and not claiming that he exists as evil.  ... never mind...

I have learned moral standards in Russia, no bible/quaran/torah/etc. involved.  The first and the foremost level of morality learning is from your family.  The second is your school friends and your school.  The third is "mass-media" and social interactions at teenage and early adulthood times. 

 

Whatever moral standards you read in the book, you alway check if they fit your personality and your environment.  It does not matter if you read them in your bible or in a Marxism-Leninism book for soviet pioneers.  For example, of course you know that the bible has multiple references to slavery as a normal and moral social relationship.  Of course, now you would probably say that this is immoral to have slaves.  If you read about history of slavery, you can figure it out how morality has been changing over time.   

 

For myself, I would say that most of 10 commandments (the lower part of it that is unrelated to god) applies to me, and I have learned it without any help from religion/bibles/god/evil/unicorns/etc. I even did not know that a bible/torah/etc. exists when I have already knew it is not good to steal/murder/lie/etc.  

 

The essential part of the morality statements in the bible (the part that is unrelated to god/religion) has been developed over thousands of years before the collapse of Roman Empire.  So please think twice if you are going to claim that the bible writers were directly inspired by some specific god. 

 

And by the way, if you want to find the true moral principles that apply to you, then study criminal law of the United States.  You will certainly find a good part of your ten commandments there.

 

 


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Hands wrote:To my athiest

Hands wrote:

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality? I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality? Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

The evidence shows that humans are born with an inborn moral sense with several distinct capacities, such as evaluating fairness, an aversion to direct physical conflict, a sense of compassion and empathy for others' feeliings and suffering, a deference to authority, and perhaps a couple others I'm forgetting. (And humans aren't even unique in these capacities. Several other species of animals display varying degrees of these moral capacities -- chimpanzees being the most obvious example.)

Upon this moral foundation are constructed various culturally inherited moral paradigms such as family structures, ancestor worship, tribal identities, religions, divine dictatorships, laws, states, governments, democracies, social philosophies, etc.

It is not a question of what *atheists* base their morality on, it's what *all humans* base their morality on, including yourself and every other religious person.

You've got your Bible, which you probably haven't even read all the way through, but you also have your innate moral senses, your family and community history and local traditions, as well as modern, popular culture, etc., which all shaped the way you think about morality today.

But, unfortunately for you, there is no evidence of any actual God, which I'm guessing that's where you *think* you get your morals from. But you don't. You get them from the exact same sources all humans get their morals from. The Bible is just a book, after all, just like any other book, a product of human culture. It's not even a particularly good book, to tell you the truth.

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Hands wrote:Manageri

Hands wrote:

Manageri wrote:

Truth isn't relative but I wouldn't consider moral statements to be statements of truth.

I don't quite follow, if I'm wrong, please help me out Smiling

Are you saying that if I told you "Stealing is wrong", it be untruthful? Why? Are any moral statements true?

 

 

Grhm...

What is "truthful" about "Stealing is wrong"???   "Stealing is wrong" is right (or maybe wrong for some thief).  In other words, when we talk about morals we use right-wrong, or bad-good.  But we cannot apply true-false to a statement that has no basic logic in it.  If you say "stealing is wrong because it hurts victims feeling and does not help to make good friends", then such logical statement can be considered to be true (or maybe false).  But not the absolute statement.


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natural wrote:The evidence

natural wrote:

The evidence shows that humans are born with an inborn moral sense with several distinct capacities, such as evaluating fairness, an aversion to direct physical conflict, a sense of compassion and empathy for others' feeliings and suffering, a deference to authority, and perhaps a couple others I'm forgetting. 

 

This is interesting.  I always thought that to the most part human morality is being developed through societal interactions and not "inborn". Do you mean that cannibalism is genetically pre-determined, for example?  Is there a quick reference to the degree of inborn morality in humans?  I am just curious.

 


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Hands wrote:So do you

Hands wrote:

So do you believe that morality is relative?

It is undeniable that different people have different answers to moral questions. Do you agree with every Christian on every question of morality?

Quote:
Do you believe that truth is relative?

Yes, truth is relative to reality. The less accurately some statement matches reality, the less 'true' it is. With this in mind, claims of gods are among the least true claims in existence.

Quote:

To some degree, I do agree that religious ideas may change, but that (From a Biblical standpoint, I don't speak for other religions, obviously) was because of the death of Christ. His death changed lots of things. The point I am trying to make is that Jesus Christ is the basis and grounding for our morality because Jesus was/is constant. The things your post mentions are all detestable, and Jesus Christ would agree.

First, your claims rely on an unproven assertion that Jesus is a god, and even more so on an unproven assertion that any gods at all exist.

Second, do you believe that you know the mind of Jesus? How do you? Are you in telepathic contact with his dead spirit? Or did you simply read some stories about what some human may have said, who may have been named Jesus? You realize that no one actually knows who wrote those stories, and there is no  historical evidence to support any of the claims of Jesus except the Bible itself?

Or worse, did you not actually read the Bible, and rely almost entirely on modern interpretations of what the Bible says?

Quote:
The Athiest (as far as I'm concerned, feel free to prove me wrong), has no basis for his or her morals.

As far as I'm concerned, you're in no position to judge the basis of human morals if you have not even heard of the recent scientific findings on the subject. All you've got is a book by people who didn't even know how to build a toilet. And you probably haven't even read the whole book.

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Hands wrote:So do you

Hands wrote:

So do you believe that morality is relative?

Yes

 

Hands wrote:
Do you believe that truth is relative?

No, not that the two are related.

 

Hands wrote:
To some degree, I do agree that religious ideas may change, but that (From a Biblical standpoint, I don't speak for other religions, obviously) was because of the death of Christ. His death changed lots of things.

I don't think he said much about dashing babies heads on the stones, and his followers continued to encourage slavery by telling slaves to obey their masters. It seems that our morality changed in those regards despite religion, not because of it.

Hands wrote:
The point I am trying to make is that Jesus Christ is the basis and grounding for our morality because Jesus was/is constant. The things your post mentions are all detestable, and Jesus Christ would agree.

Well, he wasn't all that constant or consistent, really. The whole "I come not to bring peace, but with a sword" thing kind of blows that out of the water. In Matt 10 he tells the disciples to not wear sandals or carry walking staffs, but in Mark 6 he tells them to don sandals & staffs. Not very consistent. The guy proposed a few reforms, mostly on dietary and holy day restrictions, but other than that he really didn't bring anything novel onto the playing field.

Hands wrote:
The Athiest (as far as I'm concerned, feel free to prove me wrong), has no basis for his or her morals.

And as far as I am concerned, only those that reject a religious source for morality are capable of true morality. It is not moral if you are coerced into doing it "Do as I say and get a reward of heaven, don't do as I say and get tortured forever!". That is not morality, that is obedience from fear. But once we understand that our morals are a product of our natural environment, we can begin to see where they are useful to society as a whole and expand upon them to make society better. We can stop selling our daughters into slavery even though we aren't afraid of an invisible person spanking us.  This, morality unbound by superstition and dogma, is the only true morality. Everything else is lip service to get cookies and avoid a spanking.

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natural wrote:Yes, truth is

natural wrote:

Yes, truth is relative to reality. The less accurately some statement matches reality, the less 'true' it is. With this in mind, claims of gods are among the least true claims in existence.

That is an interesting take on the matter, and not a way of viewing it that I would have came up with on my own. Thank you.

It takes a village to raise an idiot.

Save a tree, eat a vegetarian.

Sometimes " The Majority " only means that all the fools are on the same side.


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Hands wrote:I don't quite

Hands wrote:

I don't quite follow, if I'm wrong, please help me out Smiling

Are you saying that if I told you "Stealing is wrong", it be untruthful? Why? Are any moral statements true?

I'd say the only truth in that statement has to do with you, not stealing. It's like me saying "red is the prettiest color". That doesn't really say anything about the color, it says something about me, despite how it's phrased. I just don't see how you bridge the is-ought gap with any moral statement.


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100percentAtheist

100percentAtheist wrote:

natural wrote:

The evidence shows that humans are born with an inborn moral sense with several distinct capacities, such as evaluating fairness, an aversion to direct physical conflict, a sense of compassion and empathy for others' feeliings and suffering, a deference to authority, and perhaps a couple others I'm forgetting. 

 This is interesting.  I always thought that to the most part human morality is being developed through societal interactions and not "inborn". Do you mean that cannibalism is genetically pre-determined, for example?  Is there a quick reference to the degree of inborn morality in humans?  I am just curious.

 

No, cannibalism is not genetically pre-determined, it is not as simple as that. What is in-born are not specific "X is right", "Y is wrong", moral commandments, but instead a generalized moral sense, and this sense even differs from person to person. However, the sense *is* there, and *is* part of our evolved human genetic heritage.

See this talk by Jonathan Haidt, for example: http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

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Hands wrote: To my athiest

Hands wrote:

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality? I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality? Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

 

Since you seem to be sincere, I'll give you a sincere answer.

Are you a Quaker?  No?  Then it is either relative morality or semantics - take your choice.  (I am not intentionally posing a false dichotomy as I honestly can't think of any other options.) 

Self defense?  Or murder?

National defense?  Or murder?

Accidental death or manslaughter?  Or murder?

Suicide?  Or murder?

I'm fine with committing murder under certain circumstances.  Self defense, national defense, accidental death, suicide, abortion --- all murder and all fine with me.  You can tell me that some or all of those actions are not murder and I'll say - "murder is murder and dead is dead".  Murder is relative.

Stealing - taking someone else money without compensation or in exchange for goods and services.  Bad.  Very bad.  But I believe it is stealing for an health insurance executive to make over $1 billion dollars US in salary and compensation while at the same time, insisting on policies and procedures at his company that deny necessary health care to the people who pay for premiums.  That is stealing in my book - but the insurance company, the executive, and the more rabid capitalists say it isn't.  Stealing is relative. 

Or how about Enron?  Until a couple of years ago, it was Oregon state law that a corporation had to pay a minimum corporate tax - $10 per year.  No, I am not missing any zeros.  So Portland General Electric collected millions - millions - of dollars from their rate payers to pay their taxes.  PGE sent the money on to Enron accountants as Enron was their parent company.  When the accountants were done, Enron paid for PGE their state taxes - $10.  All perfectly legal.  That is stealing in my book.  The law has since been changed - if you collect money from your rate payers in anticipation of your state tax bill, you must either pay that much in taxes or return the money to your rate payers.  And they also raised the minimum corporate tax - to $150.  You should have heard the screaming.  It was put on the ballot and it passed.  Stealing is relative.

Honor your mother and father.  My mom died in 2006.  Whatever honoring I did for her is over and done with.  And you will excuse me from honoring my dad.  He is an alcoholic and I have not told him my address or phone number in years.  Drunken calls at 2 am my time, 4 am his time, are something I can not handle.  I figure not screaming at him or calling the sheriff's office in his town is honor enough.  But the thought of honoring your parents is nice.  If you have nice parents, be nice back to them.  Don't kick granny down the stairs and all that.  Elder abuse is not nice.  Whether to honor your parents or not is relative - abuse is not.

Do not commit adultery.  I once had a christian fellow tell me he was not committing adultery because his girlfriend was not married.  So his screwing around behind his wife's back was okay.  I say if you want to screw around take your spouse with you or skip it as a bad deal.  The fallout if you lie about it is horrendous - because you will get caught.  People who cheat on their spouse always get caught.  Adultery is relative - it is all up to the parties involved.

Do not bear false witness.  Don't lie.  Lying is worse than any thing else you can do.  Worse than murder or stealing in my opinion.  I've had people tell me this commandment was about not perjuring yourself in court, not about lying to family and friends.  So it was okay to tell your cousin that her brand new purple with pink polka dot dress did not make her look fat or like a circus clown.  When in reality she looked like some sort of hot air balloon that got lost from a circus.  I would tell her - um, that would not have been my first choice.  See?  truth without lying.  Lying is relative.

Coveting - getting all hot and bothered about the neighbor's spouse or car or house or perfectly trained kids/dog or whatever is a waste of time and energy.  Coveting can be relative - after all, who is hurting if I would like to have a well trained dog like my neighbor's?

The rest of the commandments are all about being a good jew.  Which I'm not.  So I don't have any other gods before the god of the bible because I don't believe in any of them.  I don't care about which day is the sabbath - Friday, Saturday or Sunday makes no never mind to me.  I figure the guy who wrote that particular commandment didn't have to take care of a two year old who doesn't care that it is the sabbath - s/he is wet, hungry, wants attention, needs to be kept out of trouble RIGHT NOW!  I don't worship idols - golden or otherwise.  I have a great deal of respect for good science - but that doesn't mean I worship science or scientists.  Relative?  Senseless in truth.

Where did I get my ideas?  From my experience.  Like or not, people need other people.  You can not survive alone in the wilderness no matter how many survivalists believe they could.  We must get along with the people we live near.  Tit for Tat is the winning strategy - I cooperate with you as long as you cooperate with me. 

One of the many reasons I quit christianity was because of their lousy moral standards.  Yes, I think christian morals suck.  You can shoot up a couple of fast food places, kill many people, steal the money out of the till, and all you have to do is pray to Jesus and you will be forgiven.  Forget that - I want some retribution, some justice, some comeuppance. 

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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natural

natural wrote:

100percentAtheist wrote:

natural wrote:

The evidence shows that humans are born with an inborn moral sense with several distinct capacities, such as evaluating fairness, an aversion to direct physical conflict, a sense of compassion and empathy for others' feeliings and suffering, a deference to authority, and perhaps a couple others I'm forgetting. 

 This is interesting.  I always thought that to the most part human morality is being developed through societal interactions and not "inborn". Do you mean that cannibalism is genetically pre-determined, for example?  Is there a quick reference to the degree of inborn morality in humans?  I am just curious.

 

No, cannibalism is not genetically pre-determined, it is not as simple as that. What is in-born are not specific "X is right", "Y is wrong", moral commandments, but instead a generalized moral sense, and this sense even differs from person to person. However, the sense *is* there, and *is* part of our evolved human genetic heritage.

See this talk by Jonathan Haidt, for example: http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

 

Thank you.  I now better understand what you meant.  Actually, this would be a good video for our "respectful friend" Jean if he is capable to comprehend it, that I doubt.

 

 

 


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  My issue with Christians

  My issue with Christians who claim a superior moral foundation is why so many Christians fail to actually live up to their own self-professed ethical standards.   They love to talk the talk but they frequently fail to walk the walk.  

   The not too infrequent headlines involving both Protestant and Catholic clergy and various sex scandals is a good example.  Bishop Eddie Long ( black Baptist church ) and his sexual dalliances with four male church members is one example I can remember just off the top of my head.  I read that in San Antonio,Texas a Catholic priest named John Fiala accused of sexually molesting a young man was actually attempting to have his accuser killed by a contract killer.

 

  So apparently even having unfettered access to the greatest moral guide to ever exist ( ie, biblical morality ) isn't enough to convince a surprisingly large number of God's servants to act like decent human beings.

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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RatDog wrote: I'm guessing

RatDog wrote:

 I'm guessing most of my morality comes from how I was raised, empathy, and my concept of what fair is.  

      I would say that is also how my moral standards most likely were formulated.  It's almost morality by osmosis. 

  Even speaking as someone who is now anti-religion if some of my own moral perceptions are also found in biblical examples ( or any other religious texts ) I don't see that as a problem.  In the end I don't care what motivates someone to act in a moral / ethical fashion just as long as they actually abide by those lofty standards.  

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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I get my ethics and morals

I get my ethics and morals from the same place the writers of the Bible got theirs.  Man would not have lived long enough to write a bible were we not to have created a moral code well before it's existence.  Hands, I hope that is something you'll ponder.  

 

Welcome aboard,

 

Sapient

 

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  Welcome Hands.  Sorry I

  Welcome Hands.  Sorry I forgot to extend a welcome to you before I jumped into this thread.  Enjoy your time here.

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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morality

"Morality is grounded in man's own rational nature and is self legislative.  Therein lies man's absolute worth and dignity." - Emmanuel Kant

 The Golden Rule is a good guide.

See The Science of Good and Evil by Michael Shermer

If one judges their god to be moral, where is he/she getting their morals from?

 

 

 

 


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The christian insistence on god-derived morals

 

that Hands is trotting out here seems to me to be built on an argument from adverse consequences. There's the suggestion that without god there'd be no morality in the world and there's an attempt to leverage the value of human morality as proof for a supernatural transcendental god about whom we could know nothing from this space time. It's a fallacious argument.

I think in the case of Hands - and many other christians - key questions relating to things like morality and abiogenesis are also an appeal to complexity. 'Morality is so amazing - where did it come from - how could it evolve by accident - I don't know and nor can you!'

Hands, why don't you go away and read something sensible about the development of morality in human beings that's not contained in the bible? There are dozens of good texts on the topic. Why not start with Bishop Holloway's Godless Morality? Piaget is a little dry but I like the structure of Kohlberg's principles. I also like Laurence Tancredi's Hardwired Behaviour: What Neuroscience Reveals About Morality. Tho's it's fair to say that last one might be a little challenging metaphysically speaking.

Everyday morality for mine, is objective learned behaviour that's so instinctive there's no need, generally, to consult the bible when you need to know whether to help an old lady across the road. Social morality is part of normal learned human behaviour. It's cultural, it evolves over time. It is part of life's journey. Some people are naturally better at it than others. Some folks are devoid of empathy or have it beaten out of them. Sometimes you do better at morality than others but at all times these truths are egocentric, Hands, they are subjective. My morality is not the same as yours.

The laws we make based on morality have concreteness as long as they last but they are not a fundamental set of moral laws written into the gluons of the universe.  You are another christian reifying nebulous human concepts into something they are not.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Hands wrote:To my athiest

Hands wrote:

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality? I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality? Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

There are no moral 'absolutes'. Morality is meaningless outside the context of a social group.

Moral behaviour is based on empathy and the desire for continuing friendship and support from our fellows. The most basic moral imperative is to not cause avoidable or unjustifiable harm or distress to a fellow being. So the pain of a medical treatment such as surgery, or dentistry, to provide relief and recovery from injury or disease is ok, but gratuitously hurting or injuring someone is not, unless it is in an attempt to fend off someone who appears determined to kill or injure you.

Upsetting someone in the process of criticizing foolish beliefs is a bit more tricky, but we have enough examples of people who express gratitude to the people who helped free them from the chains of such beliefs to feel it is worth trying in many cases. It is not as if we are causing them actual injury.

Much religious 'moral' teachings are indeed more like threats and coercion than true morality, as has already been pointed out.

A sense of 'fairness', one of the basic moral instincts, has been shown in many social animals, from dogs to primates.

The Garden of Eden story supports some really nasty ideas, such as the 'rightness' of strict obedience to authority figures - Hitler and Stalin would certainly endorse that. As well as punishing people for the 'sins' of their ancestors, thus justifying many endless conflicts, such as the conflicts in the Balkans and in Northern Ireland, and in many parts of Africa.

And the Crucifixion emphasise the idea of giving a 'sinner' a free pass if they just agree to 'worship' some third party, rather than by requiring them to truly atone for their wrong-doing by trying to make recompense to the injured parties, or their friends and family, if the 'sin' lead to death.

So the two key scenarios in Christianity are deeply flawed from a moral point of view.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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My Viewpoint

Hands wrote:

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality? I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality? Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

 

 

Well, I can only speak for me personallly on this one. (Remember Hands, Atheism in of itself is not a believe system with basic tenets, like religion, so different Atheists differ on many things). But in my opinion, I do not find religion to be moral. I do not find the teachings of Jesus to be good teachings, rational teachings, or even loving teachings. I get slightly irritated when I hear certain people try to tell me that they are atheistic in nature, but at the same time wish to hold to the notion that Christ was wise or a great teacher. I found his teachings to be deplorable and the person of Jesus "(if one existed) to be deplorable.

Some of my influences here can be found in the work of Hitchens. but I find that his work sums me up quite well. Here is my own personal take on Jesus, the Ten Commandments and morality :

Religion and Jesus teach a bleak and pretty disgusting picture of the human race in my opinion. Christ was a man that cared nothing for his own family, Christ was a man that did not wish for his apostles to even say good-bye to their family members before following him. Christ seemed to be a  nutcase that preached a sado-masochistic message where everyone was supposed to believe that they were inherently evil, and hopelessly doomed, but all they had to do to get out of this hopeless state was worship his father, the very father that created the humans in the image that he wished them to be. Christ taught of original sin, a fantastically cruel notion that states that every child, is automatically guilty of a sin. Christ wished for everyone to pray to his father all of the time and find no truth or joy or beauty of their own. I find nothing nice in the teachings of Jesus.

The Ten Commandments :

The Ten Commandments do not speak out against rape. The Ten Commandments do not speak against molesting children. The Ten Commandments do not speak out against slavery. The Ten Commandments do not speak out against discrimination of people for different beliefs. The Ten Commandments do not speak out against racism. The Ten Commandments do not speak out against abusing your spouse. The Ten Commandments do not speak out against abusing your children. The Ten Commandments are an utter waste for a moral compass, if you ask me.

The only tenets of the Ten Commandments that are even remotely used in law today is murder, theft, and perjury. All of which were included in doctrines that pre-date the Christian Religion.

Riddle me this about theft. If a person is living on the streets and starving to death, is it still breaking god's law if they take a loaf of bread ?

I believe that morals are relative. I do not believe in the morals that I was taught as a child,. I come from an extremely fanatical Catholic family that believed kissing a girl was a minor sin and sex with a consenting girl outside of marriage would send me straight to hell. It took me a long time to finally reject the notions of each and every one of the doctrines that were beaten into me from a young age.

I find nothing redeeming or uplifting in the tenets of Christianity nor the man-made inventions of the Ten Commandments nor do I find anything good about the teachings of Christ.

What would I regard as moral ? Something that has absolutely nothing to do with do's/don'ts. How about compassion, tolerance, friendship, understanding, and empathy ?

When I do something good for someone, it is not for the promise of a heavenly reward or good karma, it is simply because I attempt to choose a constructive over a destructive.

Do I claim that God is evil ? I do not believe in God. I believe that the man-made invention of God is very evil. I believe that the man-made God has probably been used to justify more tyranny and oppression, intolerance, judgemental attitudes and lack of humanity than any other movement throughout history.

I hope that you don't find my answers a bit harsh or perceive them as an attack on you personally. But, I would gravely differ with you on opinion, unless your here because you might suspect a flaw in your faith. Either way, ask all the questions you want and I'll be happy to answer any of them. I don't speak for all Atheists. I only speak from my own personal view as an Atheist and what that means to me.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Hi, Hands. (high five! )The

Hi, Hands. (high five! )

The short answers are:

Hands wrote:
To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality?

Our sense of morality comes from our environment and instincts.

Hands wrote:
I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality?

I assume you mean the God of the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Our morals just come from environment and instincts. It's not really an "ultimate basis."

When I say that something is 'good,' all I am saying is that I prefer it.

Hands wrote:
Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

Well, atheists are just people that don't believe in God, so it's not a worldview. We don't always agree; I've met quite a few atheists that held to absolute morality in some way or another.

Of course, I disagree with them......so, the answer is no, there are no moral absolutes in my worldview.

---

Here's a longer answer. Just from my personal experience, a lot of times, when people try to discuss this topic, they get confused between descriptions of what people believe is moral and what is actually moral. In other words, we tend to conflate descriptive relativism with meta-ethical relativism and conflate absolute morality with the assertion that people's moral beliefs don't change. In fact, I think it's already happened in this thread. As you can imagine, this makes it a bit harder to have a productive conversation.

What you believe is that some things are absolutely right and some things are absolutely wrong, correct? To claim that something is absolutely right or wrong is a truth claim. For example, when you say that honesty is 'good,' it is not the same as saying chocolate ice cream is 'good.' When you say that chocolate ice cream is good, what you mean is that you like chocolate ice cream; you prefer it. However, when you say that honesty is 'good,' you don't just mean that you like honesty, but rather that honesty is absolutely good i.e. even if not a single human existed, honesty would still be 'good.' And, you believe that these morals come from the God of the Bible.

I don't believe in God, and there is no "source" for absolute morality. Rather, morals are definitively preferences, and it is quite counter-inductive and inconsistent for there to be 'absolute preferences.' So, when I say that honesty is 'good,' it is not much different from saying that chocolate ice cream is good. All I am saying is that I prefer that people are honest, in general. There is no "justifications" or "basis," only preferences. As a social species, it was beneficial for our ancestors to evolve apparent altruism to an extent, so that is largely why we have the feelings about human thoughts and behaviors that we have (of course, it is a complex interaction between nature and nurture).

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


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Would it be wrong to lie to

Would it be wrong to lie to an angry husband in a murderous mood who comes to your door asking if you know where his wife is, if you have just provided shelter to her in your house?

Morality should be based on minimizing avoidable harm, not adherence to a set of simplistic definitions.

The ten commandments also do not condemn torture.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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BobSpence1 wrote:Would it be

BobSpence1 wrote:

Would it be wrong to lie to an angry husband in a murderous mood who comes to your door asking if you know where his wife is, if you have just provided shelter to her in your house? 

 

Yes, it would be wrong by my moral standards!

I actually was in a similar situation and my answer to such or similar question of an angry or just suspicious spouse is "I don't really care about whereabouts of your spouse and I have a lot of other things to do today but to help you finding your spouse.  Sorry, see you later, have a great day."   

 

Now, if he/she comes with a police and a house search order, then I would immediately admit that his/her wife/husband is in my house, but then I would see no moral problem since I do not assume that a policeman will participate in torturing the hiding person. 

 

 Edit:  I personally cannot lie.  Period.   I'd better figure out some elaborate way to not answer questions rather than to lie.


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100percentAtheist

100percentAtheist wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Would it be wrong to lie to an angry husband in a murderous mood who comes to your door asking if you know where his wife is, if you have just provided shelter to her in your house? 

Yes, it would be wrong by my moral standards!

I actually was in a similar situation and my answer to such or similar question of an angry or just suspicious spouse is "I don't really care about whereabouts of your spouse and I have a lot of other things to do today but to help you finding your spouse.  Sorry, see you later, have a great day."   

Now, if he/she comes with a police and a house search order, then I would immediately admit that his/her wife/husband is in my house, but then I would see no moral problem since I do not assume that a policeman will participate in torturing the hiding person. 

 Edit:  I personally cannot lie.  Period.   I'd better figure out some elaborate way to not answer questions rather than to lie.

But such a response would be a lie, in that you did care about her whereabouts, under the circumstances.

Don't worry, I do understand your response, I would probably try and find someway to minimise the degree of outright lying involved, but there would almost inevitably be some, depending on the actual questions asked.

That is actually a slightly different issue from saying it is 'right' or 'wrong' - it is a deep instinct or maybe habit, to avoid outright lying, but if the alternatives were telling a lie or letting the guy find his wife and probably injure or kill her, I would say that a lie was the right response, unquestionably, and if it required an effort of will to say something that was not strictly true to prevent real harm, I would do my best to overcome any such repugnance.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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 Jesus Christ is the

 Jesus Christ is the benchmark and authority for morality simply because His character never changes. Atheists can be morally good people of integrity. That isn't the issue! Having good morals doesn't mean you have objective morals. In atheism there is no moral right or wrong because when you remove God you remove the standard by which objective moral truth is established. 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20


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Hands wrote:To my athiest

Hands wrote:

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality? I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality? Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

I have not problem with moral absolutes so long as you are talking about laws that exist in virtually every civilization that are basically the same (i.e. Thou shalt not murder) or something like that?

The basis for such things come out of a need for civility in groups. I think other have mentioned this before....

 

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


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Lee2216 wrote: Jesus Christ

Lee2216 wrote:

 Jesus Christ is the benchmark and authority for morality simply because His character never changes.

Well, except that his character changes dramatically over the course of the story. He goes from  being a good Jewish boy wanting to make a few practical reforms to a raving lunatic that is cursing out of season fruit trees for not bearing fruit.  A little late in his life for schizophrenia, but very similar to syphilis.

Lee2216 wrote:
Atheists can be morally good people of integrity. That isn't the issue!

Why thank you! Believe it or not, I've rarely heard a Christian say that in this type of setting.

 

Lee2216 wrote:
Having good morals doesn't mean you have objective morals. In atheism there is no moral right or wrong because when you remove God you remove the standard by which objective moral truth is established. 

Wait, wait, what? Which god is this? Surely it isn't the wishy-washy biblical god that first decides to destroy all humanity with a flood, then changes his mind. This isn't the god that pronounced David good even though David sent his friend Uriah to a battle he was certain he would die in because he wanted to bang Uriah's wife. The same god that blessed Abram by giving him lots of slaves? The god that decides to kill Moses for having an uncircumcised son but is talked out of it?

Nah, must be a different god, because the biblical one can't even stick to his own rules. He is worse than amoral, he is downright sociopathic.

It takes a village to raise an idiot.

Save a tree, eat a vegetarian.

Sometimes " The Majority " only means that all the fools are on the same side.


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Lol

Lol


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Lee2216 wrote: Jesus Christ

Lee2216 wrote:

 Jesus Christ is the benchmark and authority for morality simply because His character never changes.

How is that a coherent argument?

Quote:
Atheists can be morally good people of integrity. That isn't the issue! Having good morals doesn't mean you have objective morals.

If they're good morals then what does it matter whether they're objective?

Quote:
In atheism there is no moral right or wrong because when you remove God you remove the standard by which objective moral truth is established.

How did you figure out that god's rules are the objective moral truth? If you can't use your own judgement then how do you do it? If you did use your own judgement then you already eliminated the need for morality to be passed down from god. There's really no difference between atheist and theists here.


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

100percentAtheist wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Would it be wrong to lie to an angry husband in a murderous mood who comes to your door asking if you know where his wife is, if you have just provided shelter to her in your house? 

Yes, it would be wrong by my moral standards!

I actually was in a similar situation and my answer to such or similar question of an angry or just suspicious spouse is "I don't really care about whereabouts of your spouse and I have a lot of other things to do today but to help you finding your spouse.  Sorry, see you later, have a great day."   

Now, if he/she comes with a police and a house search order, then I would immediately admit that his/her wife/husband is in my house, but then I would see no moral problem since I do not assume that a policeman will participate in torturing the hiding person. 

 Edit:  I personally cannot lie.  Period.   I'd better figure out some elaborate way to not answer questions rather than to lie.

But such a response would be a lie, in that you did care about her whereabouts, under the circumstances.

Don't worry, I do understand your response, I would probably try and find someway to minimise the degree of outright lying involved, but there would almost inevitably be some, depending on the actual questions asked.

That is actually a slightly different issue from saying it is 'right' or 'wrong' - it is a deep instinct or maybe habit, to avoid outright lying, but if the alternatives were telling a lie or letting the guy find his wife and probably injure or kill her, I would say that a lie was the right response, unquestionably, and if it required an effort of will to say something that was not strictly true to prevent real harm, I would do my best to overcome any such repugnance.

 

This example isn't good.  I can keep a guest in my house without carrying about his/her location as far as I am not concerned about my house, my privacy, and my belongings.  I do have guest in my house right now and sometimes they are not in the house and I don't really care if they are in or out, or maybe decided to leave.  

I think a better example would be if a woman (let's say an Afghan women) killed his husband and asked you to hide her in your house, and for some strange reason you agreed and hided her in your house.  And now a group of gentlemen with AK-47s politely asks you if you have this woman in your house or not, then this would be a dilemma.  But this is a simple one, I would lie of course.

A more interesting dilemma would be if the same group of gentlemen tells you that they know the woman is either in your house or your neighbor's house, and your neighbor did not open the door.  And they are positive that in the next minute they will fire an RPG in one of the two houses. Which one you choose?   You know that your neighbor has a nice family with kids, but you don't know if he's even at home.

 

Edit:  It is too late, too far from the topic...

 


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Hands wrote:To my athiest

Hands wrote:

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality? I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality? Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview? 

My own pleasure = GOOD.

My own misery = BAD.

 

This is everyone's morality including every single Christian. You're motivated by heaven and hell or getting Mr. Invisible to do some miracles for you in this life. But, how do we not share the same moratlity?

We only differ in what is reality. Mine comes from evidence and science, a religious person's reality comes from holy books and their religious indoctrination. But, our morality is both to please ourselves and avoid pain in the reality we believe is true.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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Lee2216 wrote: Jesus Christ

Lee2216 wrote:

 Jesus Christ is the benchmark and authority for morality simply because His character never changes. Atheists can be morally good people of integrity. That isn't the issue! Having good morals doesn't mean you have objective morals. In atheism there is no moral right or wrong because when you remove God you remove the standard by which objective moral truth is established. 

If Jesus exist, he doesn't follow his own moral teachings and neither do any Christians. He says "give to everyone who asks", but how many prayers does he refuse to grant? He says "do unto others as they would do unto you", but I would end suffering if I had the power, he refuses to end suffering in the world. He sends people to hell just for not believing, so he obviously doesn't have the mercy he expects of you.

And how many Christians have you met that follow the moral teaching of the sermon on the mount?

And why is God's morality superior to Satan's morality or any human morality? Because you believe God defeated Satan in a war and because he can lock up anyone that disagrees with God in Hell. So you're real morality is just that might makes right. If you believed Satan could kick God's ass, you'd kiss Satan's ass.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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Hmm, Relative Morals in Christianity

Lee2216 wrote:

 Jesus Christ is the benchmark and authority for morality simply because His character never changes. Atheists can be morally good people of integrity. That isn't the issue! Having good morals doesn't mean you have objective morals. In atheism there is no moral right or wrong because when you remove God you remove the standard by which objective moral truth is established. 

There is a church located in Kansas called the Westboro Baptist Church. For those of you unfamiliar with their activities, they love to arrive at military funerals with proud banners that say things like : THANK GOD FOR DEAD U.S. SOLDIERS. and GOD HATES FAGS. These people will tell you, with a straight face, that they are following the dictates of god and the bible as it was originally intended.

There is a  movement called Christian Identity. A movement that believes that the 12 lost tribes of Israel are the European races and that Jewish people are spawned by Satan. They do not believe that Christ will return to Earth until it has been cleansed (murder) of all non-white races. They will tell you that they are following the dictates of the bible and of god as it was originally intended. They will tell you that this is the TRUE message of Jesus Christ and that all other religions are false.

There are religions and churches that tell you that if you can not speak in unknown tongues, that it is impossible to enter the kingdom of heaven. "Filled with the Holy Ghost" they call it. They will tell you that they are following the dictates of god and the bible as it was originally intended.

There are churches, here in Tennessee, that proclaim that you must pick up a poisonous snake as a test of your faith. If you pick up the poisonous snake and have total faith in Jesus, you have nothing to fear. If you get bit and die, you had no faith in Jesus and it is God's will that you die because your faith was not strong enough to protect you. They would tell you that they are following the dictates of god and the bible as it was truly intended.

I could go on and on .

Questions I have yet to find a satisfactory answer from most Christians are these  : How are you going to enjoy eternal rewards in Heaven if you know that people are burning in Hell ? How is an eternal punishment for a finite lifetime even  just ? What are you going to do, if your spouse or your children end up in Hell ? How can something truly claim to love us if every action warrants the possibility of being tortured forever and then say that we have the freedom to choose ?

How is it moral or good or just, to base your whole life on the premise, that most people are going to suffer eternal damnantion while you receive eternal salvation ?

 

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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EXC wrote:If you believed

EXC wrote:
If you believed Satan could kick God's ass, you'd kiss Satan's ass.

That looks like marzipan.

*eats the whole thing*


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Thank you

Thank you Harleysportster!!!! I coudn't have said it better myself which is why I haven't even bothered to respond to this question. I love how we are questioned about our morals when they have Fred Phelps and do the strange tests of faith they do. Where's the morals in what Fred Phelps does? Where's the morals in telling someone to pick up a poisonous snake? The snake thing is just nuts!

If all the Christians who have called other Christians " not really a Christian " were to vanish, there'd be no Christians left.


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The objective evidence

 

Lee2216 wrote:

Jesus Christ is the benchmark and authority for morality simply because His character never changes. Atheists can be morally good people of integrity. That isn't the issue! Having good morals doesn't mean you have objective morals. In atheism there is no moral right or wrong because when you remove God you remove the standard by which objective moral truth is established. 

 

of the plain, simple and social beneficent lives of hundreds of millions of non believers over the course of history indicates that your assertion non believers have no sense of human right and wrong is a mistake. The moral code in the bible is appalling - it's confusing, it's contradictory. It's based in part on threat and reward. Yet both christians and non christians behave in a consistent moral manner. They look after each other and generally follow their societies' cultural rules.

Lee, you still don't understand that 'god' is an abstract noun. Using this word does not refer to any actual matter we have ever detected. This non-matter can have no will, no input into our lives, and demonstrably has had no impact on the anthropomorphic nature of human morality.

 

Lee2216 wrote:

"When you remove God you remove the standard by which objective moral truth is established."

 

Lee, could you show us how god is the standard by which objective moral truth is established, please? And don't just quote the bible where some priest/disciple/spin doctor wrote 'god is the way the truth and life'. Show us how this claim is not an assertion based on nothing at all.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Hands wrote:To my athiest

Hands wrote:

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality? I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral, so what is your ultimate basis for morality? Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

 

 

 

The simplest and least complicated answer is US, as humans. We evolved and as we evolved our morals evolved as well. I am sorry if that is not the sexed up answer you were looking for. Life is pretty plain compared to the imaginations humans have.

We do and don't call god "evil" depending upon what context you are talking about.

We cant in reality call Lex Luthor evil because Lex Luthor is a made up character, and that is how we see ALL god claims, past and present, yours and all others.

But, if we solely base "evil" on what the believer claims about the alleged character's attributes, then yes, we would call this alleged god "evil".

It is not a real god we are calling "evil" but the concepts people go around claiming.

You can look at it this way.

Claimant, "I claim X is true"

Skeptic, "Based on what you are saying about "X", this is what we would think of "X".

No, there are no moral absolutes. That doesn't mean atheists want lawlessness or anarchy or genocide. It simply means everything in life has shades of gray and is case by case and situational.

Like "Don't lie"

Well, if it is always not ok to lie, if you were hiding Jews in a WW2 house in Germany, would it be ok to lie to the Nazies to save those Jews"

"Don't kill"

What if someone is attacking your kid with a knife?

"Don't steal"

What if your spouse took off with your entire bank account and left your house in foreclosure and left you and the kids on the street and you had no job to pay for food?

However, there are general morals that all humans have.

We tend to  value our own family and friends, those close to us whom we love. We have a tendency to want to protect this. We value food and shelter and we also don't want these resources depleted or harmed.

The mistake humans make is equating morals to labels as if outsiders of other labels were not capable of those same morality. We use political party labels, religious labels, class status and job title, nationality and race all as a justification for what "true" morality is. Most of the time our species does a great job fucking things up with this tribal attitude.

No race, religion, nation or political party invented morals. It is something humans make for themselves.

 

 

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My sense of morals comes

My sense of morals comes from where everyone gets their sense of morals; my parents and my surrounding society. The difference is that I didn't get told morals come from some invisible deity, like most theists get told. Still comes from the same place.


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Well Being

BobSpence1 wrote:
Morality should be based on minimizing avoidable harm, not adherence to a set of simplistic definitions.

Ooooh, well said.

That brings The Moral Landscape to mind. That's similar to Harris' argument that what we need to start talking about is increasing "well being" instead of going back and forth about nebulous "morality". I always cringe to paraphrase a thinker like Harris but that's the basic idea I gathered.


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marcusfish wrote:BobSpence1

marcusfish wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
Morality should be based on minimizing avoidable harm, not adherence to a set of simplistic definitions.

Ooooh, well said.

That brings The Moral Landscape to mind. That's similar to Harris' argument that what we need to start talking about is increasing "well being" instead of going back and forth about nebulous "morality". I always cringe to paraphrase a thinker like Harris but that's the basic idea I gathered.

You are such a fuddy duddy. Morals are based on labels and tribalism. If you are an insider, everything you do is ok, if you are an outsider, everything you do is bad. We must never see ourselves as part of the same species. That would be horrible.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Ethics

Brian37 wrote:
You are such a fuddy duddy.

Now that's something I've never been called. I think I like it.

I would agree that, outside of any genetic hard wiring (which I know regretfully little about), morals are social construct. That seems evident enough. Harris wasn't making the point about right or wrong as I understood it, he was talking about what brings about what is good for the well being of sentient beings and what doesn't. That is an argument which can be made and defended (at least for a guy as clever as Harris).

Curtler also makes some interesting points in Ethical Argument. He goes on to say that, if we are searching for objective morals, that they would have to survive a list of requirements which he describes in detail. If they did then they could be considered a universal moral. Neat stuff, check it out.

 


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EXC wrote:  "So you're

EXC wrote:

 

 

"So you're real morality is just that might makes right. If you believed Satan could kick God's ass, you'd kiss Satan's ass."    

 

 

 

 

What an apt description.  That phrase should be on bill boards and bumper stickers.   

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This is why I love atheism.

This is why I love atheism. Almost everybody here has come up with different explanations for his or her view of human morality: environment, instinct, evolutionary benefits, empathy, upbringing, groups, personal values, society, logic, is-ought problem, family, etc. It's nice to hear a different justification for morality than "God said so," and it really gives you a sense of the diversity of people within the atheist community.

"The Aim of an Argument...should not be victory, but progress."
-Joseph Joubert (1754-1824)

"All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed."
-Richard Adams, Watership Down, 1972


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El-ahrairah wrote:This is

El-ahrairah wrote:

This is why I love atheism. Almost everybody here has come up with different explanations for his or her view of human morality: environment, instinct, evolutionary benefits, empathy, upbringing, groups, personal values, society, logic, is-ought problem, family, etc. It's nice to hear a different justification for morality than "God said so," and it really gives you a sense of the diversity of people within the atheist community.

 

As Jinn would say:

This is because atheists cannot have true knowledge .... Smiling 

 


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Hands wrote:To my athiest

Hands wrote:

To my athiest friends (I apologize if this is a simple or silly question): On what do you base your sense of morality?

Seems everybody is asking this question this week huh?

Hands wrote:

I know many of you claim that God is evil and not moral,

er, I think you'll find they're claiming that your god doesn't exist, and it is your church and its book which is full of of various evil and immorality.

 

 

Hands wrote:

 Are there moral absolutes in the Athiest worldview?

I really want to know why that matters. Since, demonstrably, secular morality is what has been successful in establishing peace and good relations between peoples in the world, while religion-based systems still, to this day, have strapping bombs to children and hacking up genitalia in their purview - what does it matter if it's absolute or not?

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I will give you credit

I will give you credit Hands, you came in here with an honest question, and seemed to be truly interested in our answers. I think Jean needs to take a lesson from you, not that he will.

Atheists do not, or at least should not, expect to force religion out of existence, even though we are out to debate it to show how people can, if they wish, live without superstition. So we really do want believers here to debate with and we are capable of liking and loving believers.

As long as a believer comes here to debate and not to preach, we welcome it. We wont rape your wives or barbecue your kittens and we are not evil. We simply do not hold a belief in invisible non-material magical super brains, by any name, polytheist, monotheist, past or present.

Atheism is not a "worldview" anymore than off is a tv channel. It only describes our position on the existence of a deity. We do vary in our class status, in our political views and even in our daily life of likes and dislikes. Some here are into the NFL, others here are into soccer, some don't watch sports at all, some like rap music, while others like metal, and others like classical, many like a combo of all of those.

Just like any other label in the world, we are just as diverse in our political and personal lives. Even if a believer comes here never being able to convince us, if they at least leave with the understanding that we are just as human and deserving of being part of society, that is a victory, not just for atheists, but all of human kind.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37