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Old 04-20-2011, 10:00 PM
 
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,792,273 times
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^ Asheville, your graphic up there points to a subtle but important underlying distinction in my opinion. If you derive your morals from "The Book" then your true belief lies not in the raw morality of certain actions, but rather in the book itself. You believe that "The Book" is true, rather than say "killing is wrong". You only accept that killing is wrong is because of "The Book" -- your belief that you shouldn't kill is incidental and has nothing to do whether you think it is wrong or right, you simply accept it because you believe "The Book" is right.

If "The Book" or god tells you to kill somebody, you would have no hesitation doing so (which is essentially the argument of people who kill their own children (starting w/ Abraham's attempt), people who kill abortion doctors, Islamic jihadists, and many more throughout history, because their god told them to).

If you ask a religious person, "If you got direction from your god (either through a vision or in your "Book") to kill somebody, would you do it?", what would be their response? If their response is yes, then they do not really believe that killing is wrong, and they do not really have fundamental morals that they derive from religion. If they say no, then obviously they have a fundamental sense that killing is wrong, in which case we don't really need religion to tell us that.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:48 AM
 
8,468 posts, read 13,663,262 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
To play devils advocate however, most theists do not actually say we could not be moral without a god. That is just a strawman many Atheists build up about Theists... which is not surprising given the existence of amoral people like Dinesh.

To be accurate... what they say (which is just as wrong, but at least it is what most of them actually say) is that while being moral we have no BASIS for arguing what is good and bad morality unless we ground that morality in an objective moral law giver.
Actually it isn't a strawman. It's a direct inference from their statements. If a theist believes that humans have no basis for arguing what's good or bad and that we need to appeal to an objective moral law giver, then that implies that, in its absence, we would have no way of deciding what's right or wrong and would be walking around clueless. But I maintain that most people have an intrinsic sense of what's right and wrong. Imagine if a theist suddenly discovered that God didn't exist and, in fact, never existed. Would he still believe that he has no basis on his own to decide whether murder is wrong? Of course not and I doubt you'll find many theists who would say so. People like D'Souza have to claim otherwise or else they admit that their entire premise is flawed.
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:41 AM
 
7,802 posts, read 5,289,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyCrane View Post
Actually it isn't a strawman. It's a direct inference from their statements.
From some yes, but in all my work with Atheist Ireland I have found that it is far from all... it is even far from the majority. The usual argument the majority of them subscribe to is that we can all ACT morally, but we have no basis for arguing what is moral, or immoral, without grounding something, somewhere, in an objective standard or truth.... which for them is "god".

There are, of course, those who simply think atheist is synonymous with being entirely amoral or immoral, especially in the United States where some polls even showed that people are likely to trust a rapist or murderer before an atheist.

The majority however, especially the majority on the debating circuit from Rabbi David Wolpe all the way through to the insane Matt Slick, usually say that of course atheists can act morally, but they have no basis for doing so other than picking and choosing.

The reason WHY they say Atheists can be moral, they just have no basis for it.... rather than just saying atheists are a/immoral... is that if they said the latter the onus would be on them to explain why there are so very many very moral and "good" atheists and there always has been. They simply can not explain that away.... so they go more often for the "basis" argument instead.

The point is however there is no need to appeal to any objective standard in order to build a workable moral system. So theists are just as moral as us... less so given many of them admit they actually have no morals themselves, but are given them from their imaginary friend. Like dinesh dsouza.

I do not think we have any inate sense of right and wrong per se. We simply have an inate sense of what will be most likely to allow us to successfully live together as a society. The things that are good for that we call "good" and things that are not we call "bad" or "evil". Good and evil do not exist, they are just labels we give to actions we do, and do not, want perpetuated in the society we want to be part of.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:06 AM
 
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I agree that good and evil are labels. We as a people have come to an agreement on what we consider good and bad. There's nothing in nature that says killing someone for his wallet is bad. Nature renders no opinion, but we as men have chosen to label that act evil.

The problem I have with the whole BASIS argument is that it begs the question "How does the objective law giver decide what's right and what's wrong?" If you and I, according to theists, have no basis for arguing what is moral and have to appeal to a higher authority, then naturally we're going to ask why that higher authority is more qualified. IMO, it's a cop-out. The person who believes God decides what's moral is essentially taking the easy way out. God decides what's right and wrong because I'm not qualified. Well then what does God base his answers on? Nothing, he's God so he doesn't have to provide a basis. Well that's awfully convenient. Now you can use God as an excuse for whatever you think is amoral. Homosexuality is a sin. How do I know this? Cause God said so in the Bible. Do you see how easy it becomes to justify any belief when you can invoke God? It serves as a nice cover. In the example of homosexuality being a sin, I think it's men who came up with that and ascribed it to God so as to avoid having to explain themselves.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Moving through this etheria
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cablejockey View Post
Other societies like the Greeks and Romans had very direct laws and rules pertaining to murder, theft and lying. There were precise punishments too. People figured out what they had to do to get along and make their society work.
And then a few authors, seeing a golden opportunity, codified and co-mingled common-sense ideologies and simple rules into a bible and claimed it as Godly. Their God, of course; never any other God.

Trouble is, such simplistic devices always stumble over themselves, as the bible does so frequently.
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Old 05-20-2011, 01:45 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,411 posts, read 2,991,103 times
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That religion gave us our morals is utter nonsense. I usually don't go into evolutionary theory. I'm not the scientific type, but in this case I do. We are humans. We are the most social animals on the planet. There is no way any of us would survive, to continue the human race and pass on genes, if we did not have good social skills, including morals.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:47 PM
 
Location: The Netherlands
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Well, what all religions generally do is collect stories (creation myths etc) and every story has a moral.
So in a sense this is true.
But contemplating reality, like any other philosophy doesn't necessarily have to be a religious experience.
But I guess that in the beginning it would only be natural to believe it is.

Unless man, blinded by hubris, actually believes that he created reality.
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Old 05-20-2011, 10:27 PM
 
40,176 posts, read 26,797,761 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
From some yes, but in all my work with Atheist Ireland I have found that it is far from all... it is even far from the majority. The usual argument the majority of them subscribe to is that we can all ACT morally, but we have no basis for arguing what is moral, or immoral, without grounding something, somewhere, in an objective standard or truth.... which for them is "god".

There are, of course, those who simply think atheist is synonymous with being entirely amoral or immoral, especially in the United States where some polls even showed that people are likely to trust a rapist or murderer before an atheist.

The majority however, especially the majority on the debating circuit from Rabbi David Wolpe all the way through to the insane Matt Slick, usually say that of course atheists can act morally, but they have no basis for doing so other than picking and choosing.

The reason WHY they say Atheists can be moral, they just have no basis for it.... rather than just saying atheists are a/immoral... is that if they said the latter the onus would be on them to explain why there are so very many very moral and "good" atheists and there always has been. They simply can not explain that away.... so they go more often for the "basis" argument instead.

The point is however there is no need to appeal to any objective standard in order to build a workable moral system. So theists are just as moral as us... less so given many of them admit they actually have no morals themselves, but are given them from their imaginary friend. Like dinesh dsouza.

I do not think we have any inate sense of right and wrong per se. We simply have an inate sense of what will be most likely to allow us to successfully live together as a society. The things that are good for that we call "good" and things that are not we call "bad" or "evil". Good and evil do not exist, they are just labels we give to actions we do, and do not, want perpetuated in the society we want to be part of.
Excellent exposition and analysis, Nozz . . . I am impressed. The factor that you miss in the objective establishment of morals is NOT a God who decides what they are . . . that remains capricious. The existence of an objective basis only validates the concept of morality itself. It is a God who establishes a purpose for our existence and validates the concept of morality. It is a purpose to existence that forms the basis for objective moral decisions. That which is constructive to our purpose is moral . . . that which is destructive to our purpose is immoral. Cosmic accidents have no purpose so there can be no moral value to any of their behaviors. They are all without purpose. With no purpose there can be no objective morality (or morality period) since it is entirely subjective and determined by the dominant members of any polity. That is the central argument using God . . . NOT God's capricious decisions.
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:11 AM
 
7,802 posts, read 5,289,313 times
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
The existence of an objective basis only validates the concept of morality itself.
That is... if one could show such a basis exists. So far it appears the existence of an objective basis for morality is entirely imaginary, and is little more than wishful thinking on the part of those who espouse it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
It is a God who establishes a purpose for our existence and validates the concept of morality.
Given your consistent inability to show such an entity is actually real, this statement also appears to be a fantasy. There appears to be no such entity, there appears to be literally no evidence or argument for such an entity, and there appears to be no objective "purpose" to our existence either. I have seen nothing on these pages, much less from you, to suggest any of these things are real.

The point I am making is that we do not need a purpose, or an objective morality, in order to establish a moral system that works for us.

What you are demonstrating is the first steps of falling into a series of circular arguments... a series that many, if not most, of the theists I have met fall into. They ASSUME there is a purpose to our existence and they ASSUME there is an objective morality, and then they use each to prove the other. If you need assumptions to prove your assumptions, you're in a circular argument. Similarly they ASSUME there is an entity which gives us a purpose. Then then ASSUME there is a purpose. The purpose proves the purpose giver... the purpose giver proves the purpose... circle again.

Were you able to establish there is a purpose to our existence without assuming anything else... or assume there is a god entity which is giving us said purpose.... then we could talk. Until then circular arguments are of little use to me.
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:21 AM
 
39,247 posts, read 10,913,531 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Excellent exposition and analysis, Nozz . . . I am impressed. The factor that you miss in the objective establishment of morals is NOT a God who decides what they are . . . that remains capricious. The existence of an objective basis only validates the concept of morality itself. It is a God who establishes a purpose for our existence and validates the concept of morality. It is a purpose to existence that forms the basis for objective moral decisions. That which is constructive to our purpose is moral . . . that which is destructive to our purpose is immoral. Cosmic accidents have no purpose so there can be no moral value to any of their behaviors. They are all without purpose. With no purpose there can be no objective morality (or morality period) since it is entirely subjective and determined by the dominant members of any polity. That is the central argument using God . . . NOT God's capricious decisions.
Excellent. It is often overlooked that a basis to morality (including both human self -interest and altruistic compassion for others) in evolved instincts is actually a sounder basis than some deity arbitrarily deciding what is or is not, good.

I'd just say that sometimes a developed morality might go beyond sheer self interest and what might appear to be constructive to our purpose.

Foe example, we might decide that as some particular animals serve no purpose, they might as well be removed and their space used for a car - park. But for a number of reasons which are complex and not fully understood and which look to me both instinctive and the result of education, we now think such a view is wrong.

At one time, we wouldn't think so, so the idea of a fixed god - given implanted moral code is not supported evidentially.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 05-25-2011 at 03:34 AM..
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