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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-21-2006, 02:00 PM   #41
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Psyop:

How about starting with "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. " Keep in "self evident" but take out "Creator."

Seriously, Kant's formulation, the Golden Rule, Christ's "love thy neighbor as thy self," and similar simple precepts are all we need to lead a decent life. The impulse is probably hard wired into us as a social species. The few exceptions are seen for the sociopaths they are whether they are religious or atheists.

None of these precepts lead to anarchy. And Governments can establish secular laws that guard individual rights without need to reference some creed's rule book.
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-21-2006, 02:31 PM   #42
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PsyopRanger
The real question here is for atheists:

What or where do you derive your moral principles from?*
Are they subject to change based on individual circumstances?*
Do you believe that there should be a moral standard that a society cannot cross?
Nice way to cut to the chase, Ranger!* *Atheism doesn't define a set of beliefs -- it's just the rejection of various flavors of off-the-shelf belief systems.* So, obviously the universe of alternative belief systems is large.

I believe in evolution.* *Not just as a mechanism to shape species, but also as a mechanism to shape societies.* *Religious morals have obviously evolved over the years, and for the most part, all canned religions have a lot in common.* *They kept what worked.* *Incest is bad from a genetic fitness standpoint.* *Eating pigs can give you trichinosis, etc.

So, basically my made-up religion adopts random moral codes that have been selected over the years for fitness.* *I like the golden rule.* I like the Buddhist ideas about not adding any more misery to the world and embracing impermanence.* *I like the emphasis Jews put on education.* *I basically accept the ideas that I think are still relevant and reject those that I think aren't.

Yes, morals change.* *But if you're looking for something to root yourself in, I think you could probably find a biological basis for some morals.* *For example, the idea that all men are basically "good" is really rooted in the fact that humans are much more similar to one another than we are different, biologically speaking.* *There is a biological foundation for the emotions of love, for the act of laughing, and for all that "good" stuff.
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-21-2006, 04:48 PM   #43
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

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Originally Posted by wab
There is a biological foundation for the emotions of love, for the act of laughing, and for all that "good" stuff.
Hey, you talk like Richard Dawkins.*

One winter morning my then 11 year old son and I were outside. I was feeling strongly the beauty of the fir tress with a little snow on them. I said, God, how did all this get so beautiful!?

He looked up at me and said, ďDad, "it" didn't get to be beautiful, we humans are just here because we liked it, and so we were happy, and so we did well.Ē

Man, was that a high parent moment!

Ha
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-21-2006, 06:36 PM   #44
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Your average Joe (Abdul?) Muslim just wants to make the mortgage payment.
Believe it or not, the average muslim will neither charge nor pay interest, so no mortgages. It can be done by hook and crook...usually a 'proper' muslim mortgage is done by the bank or some other entity buying the house and 'renting' it to the muslim 'owner' at an inflated rate until the purchasing entity has paid off the cost. Also, the source of the money and the destination through the owning entity must be "proper", in other words, the bank must do something with the money thats approved by the religion.

At least thats how I understand it.
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-21-2006, 08:35 PM   #45
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Oh, you knew what I meant! I couldn't call him Joe Sixpack since they don't drink, can't say bringing home the bacon because they don't eat pork, and yes technically their not allowed to borrower or lender be. Analogy's are hard here! Our cultures are really divergent!
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-21-2006, 09:32 PM   #46
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Of course people were raising kids well and building successful societies long before Mosaic law. To those who need a list of "commandments," I think those drafted by Solon the Athenian are more useful than the "Mosaic Ten." By the way, Solon drafted the constitution for Athens, and his ideas found their way into the US constitution.

Solon's 10 commandments:
1. Trust good character more than promises.
2. Do not speak falsely.
3. Do good things.
4. Do not be hasty in making friends, but do not abandon them once made.
5. Learn to obey before you command.
6. When giving advice, do not recommend what is most pleasing, but what is most useful.
7. Make reason your supreme commander.
8. Do not associate with people who do bad things.
9. Honor the gods.
10. Have regard for your parents.

(I've got a problem with #9 )

- As a parent, I don't feel the need to invoke hell's fire or an omniscient God as an enforcement mechanism to help me teach my child how to be a good person, treat others fairly, and do the right thing. Yes, I can see how this might be handy--but it wouldn't be honest for me to try it.

- As far as societal morality goes--I'm not sure a case can be made that those based on monotheistic beliefs have kept to a higher standard than those based on polytheism--or no "supreme beings" at all. Slavery, torture, aggressive behavior toward neighboring societies, abuse of women-- some of the most morally repugnant behavior can, historically, be found in monotheistic societies.
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-21-2006, 11:08 PM   #47
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

The Golden Rule - IMO, it's all you really need. The rest is just details.

But, you need to think for yourself to figure out how it applies to a specific situation.


There are two problems I have with most people I meet that present themselves as deeply religious (I am generalizing here):

1) Some of them don't want to think - they want to be told what is right/wrong.

2) Some of them don't want to acknowledge that there are some grey areas and some hard answers - they want a black and white right/wrong.

I know people that spend hours each week in Bible study, chapter this, verse that. Yet, they can't seem to figure out that they have some basic responsibilities to their families that they are not living up to?

However, anyone that finds that a religious focus helps them to become a better person - they have my blessing!

-ERD50
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-21-2006, 11:57 PM   #48
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Consider applying the "silver rule": don't do unto others what you wouldn't want them to do unto you.*

That seems to me to work out a LOT better than the so-called "golden rule", which very much predates any form of Christianity.

If you want to do more investigation, you could check out many of the discussions at:

http://www.iidb.org/vbb/index.php

and articles at

http://www.infidels.org/

You might also consider the comment by Epicurus:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
* * *Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
* * *Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
* * *Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
* * *Then why call him God?

Also, it seems that very many people confuse morals and ethics, so it is a good idea to make sure just which term is appropriate to the topic you are discussiong.

Many atheists have no problem coming up with ethical modes of behavior.* Morals seem to be more of the "thou shalt not" stuff that vary from culture to culture (and epoch to epoch).

I think the latest numbers I saw by a Christian research organization was that there are over 30,000 different sects of Christianity, all of which differ with the others about something or other.* Tell me again about the blinding obviousness of religious truth?*

cheers,
Michael
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-22-2006, 12:51 AM   #49
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Quote:
The real question here is for atheists:

What or where do you derive your moral principles from?
*

Your question assumes I must have a predefined set of moral principles.* *Thus your question is flawed.* *I take a centric approach with decisions, but am very mindful of "karma" type effects.* *In other words, I make decisions that advantage me, and those I care about, but I am fully aware that if i do harm (of any kind) in the process, that it could eventually come back to haunt me (or harm me during the act of doing harm).* *I guage these potential harms vs benefits and act (or not act) accordingly.

I like to think that, in theory, all options are on the table.* *"Moral principles" to me suggest that some options are simply not there, and I interpret that as weakness.* *If you have a rule i dont, then that means i have the option to do something you cannot (unless you have no moral absolutes).*

Now i know this sounds pretty evil, but its really not.* I'm an emotional creature just like all of us, and i also have empathy, so sometimes the "greater good for me" might be helping a person in need.* *Someone else obviously benefits from it, and I as well feel good because I helped someone.* *So win/win.* No predefined rules, but still not an uncommon occurence for an atheist.

Quote:
Are they subject to change based on individual circumstances?
*

n/a per my answer to your first question.

Quote:
Do you believe that there should be a moral standard that a society cannot cross?
I dont particularily have any problems with the existence of "moral standards" either self imposed by the masses (such as via a religion) or via laws.* *If these things did not exist, then i would no longer have the advantage that i do, due to their existence.* These also have a host of other benefits, like keeping the masses pacified when they might otherwise be volatile.

I'm a scientist so just generally speaking, i do not like absolutes.* Everything's negotiable.* Lets sit down and look at the pros and cons.

..........

This discussion reminds me of the movie "Crash"; movie of the year last year.* *There's a lot of interesting moral topics dealt with in that movie, in particular how morality seems to be throw in the grey area.* * I liked that because i think it emphasized that morality isnt quite as cut and dry as many of the fundamentist would like to believe it is.

Anyone like ad&d?* If i were to have to pick an ad&d alignment for myself, it would be chaotic neutral.

Azanon

(edit)* cutthroat mentioned ebay.* For the record, i currently have 11 positives, 0 neutrals or negatives.* *So I guess there's another example of an atheist being dependable.* Common sense tells me that if i screw someone, they are going to click negative and then i will only be able to sell two types of items afterwards;* 1.* jack and 2. s*it.
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-22-2006, 01:30 AM   #50
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

It seems to me that children are taught most moral behavior long before they can possibly understand and accept religious doctrine. Small children are taught not to lie, not to use violence, basic manners, etc. from a very young age. They are taught the value of being loved and of loving.

Religion is far more complex and only comes later. It's hard for me to believe that very many children are able to truely understand religion before their teenage years. Christians may be able to rationalize their morals using the bible, but they don't form them from it.

Survival of the species requires that we learn to live together. Living together requires that we develop a certain level of respect and support for each other. Isn't that the basis of most moral beliefs? Get your morals from Allah, get them from Christ, get them from bokanan, or get them from logic. The common thread is that we need to respect and support each other if we are to thrive.
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-22-2006, 05:21 AM   #51
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee
Survival of the species requires that we learn to live together. Living together requires that we develop a certain level of respect and support for each other. Isn't that the basis of most moral beliefs? Get your morals from Allah, get them from Christ, get them from bokanan, or get them from logic. The common thread is that we need to respect and support each other if we are to thrive.
I few final notes:

It seems that we are comparing two extremes here; most comments were made about ultra right ďfundamentalistsĒ or ďborn-againĒ Christians who preach hell fire and all that.
I also feel these types of people go too far and give Christianity a bad name.

As for Muslims, I have worked in Muslim countries for the past few years, they are strong believers in their faith yet most cannot read Arabic or are illiterate and thus have to hear their religion from ďreligious leadersĒ this leaves them very open for corruption which is what is happening with the 1000 or so insurgents I have personally spoken with. The same could be said of ultra right Christians who believe someone elses extreme intepretation of the bible.

Many people thought this thread was somehow an attack on atheists or saying that atheists are not trustworthy or moral? Not true, I was just curious as to what guideline you use to base your ethics on. Many people sited far left or far right ideals yet it seems most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

I think sgeeeee gave the final word and thatís all that needs to be said, thanks sgeeeee.

Ranger
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-22-2006, 07:48 AM   #52
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PsyopRanger

It seems that we are comparing two extremes here; most comments were made about ultra right ďfundamentalistsĒ or ďborn-againĒ Christians who preach hell fire and all that.
I also feel these types of people go too far and give Christianity a bad name.
I mentioned this in another thread, read Bruce Bawer's "Stealing Jesus." He distinguishes between what he believes to be true Christianity and describes as the church of love and fundamentalism that he describes as the church of law. Excellent book for those of us who are not well versed in US religious history.
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-22-2006, 09:11 AM   #53
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PsyopRanger

Many people thought this thread was somehow an attack on atheists or saying that atheists are not trustworthy or moral?* Not true, I was just curious as to what guideline you use to base your ethics on.* Many people sited far left or far right ideals yet it seems most of us fall somewhere in the middle.*
I didn't think you were attacking atheists, but I think it's hard for many people with "faith/religion" to understand those without (and vice versa). If you (general - not personal) base the majority of your opinions / morals on your beliefs and you believe that those religious principles are the bedrock of your morality/humanity, it can be difficult to imagine another way of being.

Peace.*
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-22-2006, 01:54 PM   #54
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

a theist is someone who believes in the likes of a god or the gods. an atheist is not necessarily someone who does not consider empirical physicality to be the only reality. atheism simply denies god & gods.

so if morals are derived nonphysically, then there is no presumption that a christian can claim morality over an atheist. and if morality derives physically, then, as sgeeeee property enlightens, it presupposes religiosity.

"our life is always deeper than we know, is always more divine than it seems, and hence we are able to survive degradations and despairs which otherwise must engulf us." ~~ william james 1842-1910
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?
Old 07-27-2006, 02:37 PM   #55
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Re: Christianís, Atheists, and Morals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
I see you working, brother! But your total lack of malice makes it hard to actually push my button.
Laurence, I'm glad you forgave me before I even got started!

Hm... you leave a thread for a while, and everything's already been thoroughly discussed by the time you get back....
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