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Old 02-09-2013, 11:20 PM
 
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It's not that morality is relative, but that moral reasoning proceeds through various stages and that religious morality is arguably at a lower stage on the ladder because it relies on authority as opposed to relying on an individual's ability to decide what to do on his or her own.

Little children tend to judge the morality of an action based upon it's direct consequences. A young child will have a limited interest in the needs of others. S/he is more concerned with what will happen if s/he does something. So a child might take another child's toy if s/he believes s/he will not be punished for this. If s/he believes her parent might punish her, s/he will probably not take the toy.

Adults who are religious, are concerned with social mores. The law comes into play here as well as the authority of *god.* Still, this moral reasoning is based in obedience to authority rather than any actual evaluation of whether or not the rule, commandment or law is a good one. So, we have a view of sexual morality that says *thou shalt not have sex outside of marriage,* but there is no real reason for this except that *god* says so.

The next stage judges actions as relative to the individual or his society. This is moral relativism where we respect others beliefs and morality, but we may still have our own values. We don't judge others for certain actions because they go against *our* beliefs.

Still this is not the most satisfactory position from a rational pov. Morality based on abstract reasoning comes with a commitment to fairness and kindness to others. By this reasoning, we determine that we should disobey an unjust law in order to change it. Note that western society tends to place a large emphasis on justice. Other societies may actually consider individual justice less important than caring for the group. What this kind of morality has going for it though is that each of us has an obligation to walk in the shoes of the *other* before making decisions on what the *right* action is. It is difficult to find individuals who act at this level of morality consistently, but I see more atheists who do this than theists.
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Boy View Post
If we have no soul, then what value are we?
This is a complete non-sequitur.

Quote:
If there are no consequences, why be disciplined?
There are plenty of consequences. Having to pay a fine is a consequence, being put on a road crew, hard prison time is a major consequence. And death is the ultimate consequence.

Quote:
If we only live once, why suffer?
To work to reduce/end suffering? I assure you that YOU suffer far less than someone did 1000 or even 100 years ago. Mainly thanks to science and secular law/morality. Your god's morals certainly have done little to nothing to make the world a better place. In fact they have achieved quite the opposite.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:34 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,113,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgiafrog View Post
Dear Sizzly, of whom I respect....

The value placed upon a human being in the absence of a God is inferior to the value if there is one. The reason being is that the value could change according to our will. If the value is subject to such an elastic will as ours, then there can really be no inherent value at all.

Consequence for actions in a world where human beings have inherent value are different than subjective consequences. I feel like you are assuming a reality rather than projecting a possible one.

If there is no God, then we are the authors of morality. If we are the authors of morality, then morality is subject to change upon our whim. If morality is subject to change, then there is no absolute morality. If there is no absolute morality, then our judgements of actions are inane. If our judgements of actions are inane, then all things are permitted/justified, morally. I do not believe that morality can be explained sufficiently without a celestial author.
Yep. And you can remove the "if", thus transforming your last paragraph to "Since there is no god..."
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:42 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,113,415 times
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atheism --> nihilism, end of story. Dostoyevsky knew it. I know it. Do you know it, dear reader?

Interpreting history in terms of changing subjective morals is easy to do now, but in doing so it's easy to overlook the MASSIVELY important fact that subjectivity of morals was not assumed by any of those cultures even as they were making their subjectively derived changes to their moral codes--these were rationalized, and everyone bought into the rationalizations, without knowing that they were being hoodwinked, or were hoodwinking themselves. Only "now" (recent past) do we know...thus our situation is unique. Stop pretending it isn't.

Hilarious to see that South Sudan has greater atheism than the good ole US of A, btw. I wish some satirical brigade of Scandinavian atheist "missionaries" would impose themselves on this country and give "us" (I am an American, after all) a taste of our past/present
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:50 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,113,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBlueSky_ View Post
I assure you that YOU suffer far less than someone did 1000 or even 100 years ago.
You can't assure that, moron. I'd actually hazard a guess that it tends towards the opposite correlation (greater psychological suffering now...ever so slightly), so long as we avoid obvious anomalous historical examples like early 1940s Auschwitz or something. Even there, Viktor Frankl was able to find meaning, famously. Now, people such as myself know that it is impossible to find meaning. Physical pain does not equate to suffering, and material abundance does not equate to contentment. Do I really need to state the obvious? Guess so.

Last edited by Matt Marcinkiewicz; 02-10-2013 at 03:02 AM.. Reason: took a typo to Auschwitz
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:01 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,113,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
You have decided to try and obscure this depressing truth by dreaming up ridiculously extreme examples of morally justified horrors, and then hoping that I would fall into some trap by signing off on them. History is chockablock with plenty of morally justified horrors, given the right circumstances, any of us may end up justifying pretty much anything. I believe that Balzac was onto something when he wrote "Behind every great fortune, there is a crime."

Conscience is that little voice inside us telling us that someone may be watching.
For the purposes of this discussion, forget history. History is instructive about human nature, for sure. But not in a way where we can make simplistic comparisons across millennia. Every circumstance is truly unique, and the zeitgeist of this, February 10 2013, is, to perhaps coin a word, incomparable to random date X. Multiverse theory didn't exist a century ago. Quantum physics didn't exist a century ago. Philosophical materialism might've been acknowledged by the most enlightened Continental philosophers, but not by the average intelligent citizen of rich nation X like it is now (excluding our idiocracy of America, of course). This is unique, unprecedentedly nihilistic. Love it or hate it--I myself vacillate between those poles and occupy other places along that continuum--ultimately I'm depressed by reality, but I do have my moments of exhilaration that keep me from killing myself.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:06 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,113,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuminousTruth View Post
The accountability is in people, as it always has been... hence we have law systems. The accountability is that Egotistical people will not survive, hence they had to adopt religions to color and mask their anti-selection personalities. I'm sure there might be a great deal who can bend the system for their self, they do it today and they did it in the ancient days.
Read Free Will by Sam Harris, or The Atheist's Guide To Reality by Alex Rosenberg. Obvious implication of the materialistic worldview is that free will does not, cannot exist, and therefore law/justice is a charade.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:56 AM
 
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Charade, or human invention or an illusion - but a very convincing one. The fact is that we are here, we have to try to get along and we have mental tools for doing so (as opposed for instincts for NOT doing so).

It is pointless to bemoan the fact that we have had to evolve a society, moral codes and systems of law, very often variously coming to the same conclusions as we did so.

It seems to me that it is no less wrong and absurd to lament the fact that we have had to devise them ourselves rather than having them imposed on us unilaterally by some invisible dictator, than for a composer to bemoan the fact that he had to write a symphony himself based on a long -evolved system of musical conventions (originating in primitive howling and prancing about to the sound of twanged hunting -bows, perhaps) when it would have had more value if Apollo had simply dictated it to him.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Rome, Georgia
2,706 posts, read 3,341,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
Read Free Will by Sam Harris, or The Atheist's Guide To Reality by Alex Rosenberg. Obvious implication of the materialistic worldview is that free will does not, cannot exist, and therefore law/justice is a charade.
Which either makes a materialistic world view incorrect, or your own words mindless drivel.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Rome, Georgia
2,706 posts, read 3,341,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuminousTruth View Post
That would depend on if the goal was maintaining a population. It's a simple calculus. Would you rather allow 2 rapists to live and rape and murder 1000000000000 little girls. Or kill the broken-men and save the girls? quite a double standard, if "murder" was "wrong always". For the population problems, Asking for volunteers would be the first moral thing to do. Then reassessing the goal. Then trying education. Then thinking about other more moral methods to achieve the goal. Then doing what needs to be done, even if it means "killing two rapists is bad right now, but not when they are out to rape one-trillion little girls."
Just wanted to be clear where we stood here.
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