Morality

mandescience
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Morality

So, I am a new member here and also an atheist (for about 3 or 4 years). Ultimately, i do not agree with the notion that humans can only be moral when they have a fear of a hell. But my question is: what have others in this community adopted with respect to morality? what is your motivation to commit selfless acts and other deeds considered moral?  What's the point to even being moral in the first place? What's your philosophy-- existential, humanist, other? These questions are probably more relative to former christians, more or less.

“I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."


Ivon
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I have never understood why

I have never understood why some people attribute morals to religion as if without religion people would just go around killing each other. If you ask me, an atheist with good morals is far more a better person than someone who is moral simply to avoid hell.

 

As for why we’re moral, my guess would be because we are social animals that live in communities. A community would never survive unless its members had a sense of group preservation. So the tendency to get along with each other is in our genes. Obviously, we don’t always get along with everyone since other factors might slip in like fighting for dominance or just the need to act like a drunken asshole, but over all, humans have a genetic bond to look out for eachother.

Free your mind.


nigelTheBold
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Just to expand on what Ivon

Just to expand on what Ivon said, I base my morality on one simple thing: I want to be happy.

How does that translate to selflessness? Because we live in communities, and are happiest when living together in communities (in general). The most likely way to maximize my happiness is to maximize the general well-being of the community. To use a cliche: a rising tide floats all boats.

That means sometimes I must sacrifice something that would make me happy in the short term for the well-being of the community. In that way, I will be generally more happy, rather than specifically happy for one instant. This might be the gratification of retribution when someone cuts me off on the freeway, or the satisfaction of calling a stupid person stupid, or some other selfish act that really does me no good, but harms the community.

In the extreme cases, such as risking my life to potentially save another: well, that I can't really answer, except in terms of emotions, empathy, and self-respect; and all of these are squishy feel-good terms that are hard to pin down using mere language.

Mostly, though, my actions are dictated by selfishness tempered with the thought of how my actions may help everyone else be happier, so that I may be happier.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


Psychosavant
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When I was a devout

When I was a devout Christian I had a strong moral compass. Today, it is just as strong as it was back then. While I believe that good for goodness sake is better than good for pleasing a diety, I don't think anyone, even theists are good for the latter reason. Including myself.

Even then, believing in God, I was good only because I knew that it is always in your best self interest to be good to people. That didn't change when I became an athiest.


Vastet
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Morality is a subject that

Morality is a subject that has seen much debate on this site. A scan through the forums will show you pretty well everything you could ask for. If you don't want to spend much time searching, then you can use google to search through the forums for you. The best responses regarding morality, in my opinion, have come from the following users:

Hambydammit

Sapient

todangst

Vastet

darth_josh

This is not to say that others haven't contributed equally or perhaps even better than these(and yes, I have shamelessly added myself), but those are some names that come off the top of my head, that can be found in multiple topics regarding morality.

I did not mention them in any particular order.

 

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Boon Docks
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Welcome

mandescience wrote:

So, I am a new member here and also an atheist (for about 3 or 4 years). Ultimately, i do not agree with the notion that humans can only be moral when they have a fear of a hell. But my question is: what have others in this community adopted with respect to morality? what is your motivation to commit selfless acts and other deeds considered moral?  What's the point to even being moral in the first place? What's your philosophy-- existential, humanist, other? These questions are probably more relative to former christians, more or less.

 

      Are we only good because we have an in-borne fear of a hell?  Perhaps some are, but we can be good for goodness sake.


mandescience
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Yeah I agree, I hope I

Yeah I agree, I hope I didn't sound like i meant that there is no possibility to be moral without a dogma. What i was asking is, rather, what motivates you to go out of your way and perform moral acts.

 

 

“I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."


mandescience
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nigelTheBold wrote:Just to

nigelTheBold wrote:

Just to expand on what Ivon said, I base my morality on one simple thing: I want to be happy.

How does that translate to selflessness? Because we live in communities, and are happiest when living together in communities (in general). The most likely way to maximize my happiness is to maximize the general well-being of the community. To use a cliche: a rising tide floats all boats.

That means sometimes I must sacrifice something that would make me happy in the short term for the well-being of the community. In that way, I will be generally more happy, rather than specifically happy for one instant. This might be the gratification of retribution when someone cuts me off on the freeway, or the satisfaction of calling a stupid person stupid, or some other selfish act that really does me no good, but harms the community.

In the extreme cases, such as risking my life to potentially save another: well, that I can't really answer, except in terms of emotions, empathy, and self-respect; and all of these are squishy feel-good terms that are hard to pin down using mere language.

Mostly, though, my actions are dictated by selfishness tempered with the thought of how my actions may help everyone else be happier, so that I may be happier.

 

I think you put it pretty well, thanks.

“I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."


Hambydammit
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Vastet
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mandescience
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Vastet wrote:Hambydammit

 

lol, i'll be sure to look over both of your guys' suggestions, thanks

“I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."