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The source of morality for theists and atheists


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#1 ewmon

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Posted 5 February 2013 - 02:26 PM

Please consider these three posts as the start of this thread; they were copied from the "Are all religious people hypocrites?" thread. 

 

(One little mechanical comment: I have trouble quoting quotes on this forum.)

 

 

 

"As far as I can tell, atheists don't have an invariant source of moral code or inevitable and eternal consequences to avoid."

 

​You rather seem to have missed the point that the theists don't have one either.

 

Well, theist believe they do, but you don't believe they do.

 
You're obviously someone who doesn't believe, so you don't know how believing can so strongly motivate a person. Let me say then that theists thoroughly "believe" they have an invariant source of moral code with inevitable and eternal consequences. 

 

That's the wrong way round.

I might escape punishment by others (as long as I don't get found out) but I can't escape the knowledge that I did something wrong.

However, if I belonged to the right faith, I could go to confession and then forget about it because I would consider it "absolved".

I'm the one who has to consider how I will feel for the rest of my life so I'm the one with a requirement to get the moral decisions right.

"So what I should have said was that, although a Christian and an atheist might commit a wrong, the Christian believes he cannot escape judgment and punishment unless he confesses and repents, but an atheist does not believe this. This gives atheists a lot more moral wiggle room than Christians."
 

 

Let's say a man finds a money bag labeled "First National Bank of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota" loaded with $1 million of randomly numbered small bills, so he knows to whom it belongs. Society and the government think it is "wrong" (ie, illegal) for him to keep the money, but the man is socially and legally safe because, in a moment of weakness, he kept the money and destroyed the bag, so only he knows the true owner of the money.

 
A theist man believes that God already knows what he has done, and if he doesn't confess and repent and return the money, he will suffer supernatural judgment and eternal damnation. So he confesses his greed, and repents from greediness, and returns the money. And yes, he can forget that he had committed this momentary wrong that he did. Otherwise, if he feels guilty and condemned for the rest of his life (ie, does not gain any moral relief, or feel absolved) as if he kept the money, he may as well actually keep the money and gain some benefit/compensation from feeling guilty and condemned. So it makes perfect sense that he no longer feels guilty and condemned. 
 

An atheist man who can't escape the knowledge that it's "wrong" can only do so if he lives by some moral law; however, where does he get this moral law — what does he use? As I said, there isn't any Atheist Manifesto. He could easily justify keeping it. By their own rules, the First National Bank and the government police forces will have spent a certain amount of money/effort to try to find it and then they will stop, knowing that the FDIC (or whatever) will cover such losses, and assuming that, most likely, the money will eventually be found by someone and that most people would keep it. If they really wanted the money, they would have kept looking for it, right? Finding so much money rarely happens, so everyone expects people to behave like this, right? "Finders keepers, losers weepers", right? Anyone else who found the money would keep it, right? He just happened to be in the right place at the right time, right? The money and the bag are so old, that it must have been stolen/lost a long time ago and everyone has forgotten about it, right? 

 

John Cuthbar, in your last sentence, you basically say that an atheist gets to decide how s/he will feel for the rest of his/her life, so s/he is required to get his/her moral decision "right". This is circular reasoning. To paraphrase Bill Cosby's response to the idea that marijuana enhances one's personality, let me say: What if the man who found the money is a jerk? 

 

Do we really want to live in a society where everyone gets to decide what's morally right or wrong for themselves? Andrew Kehoe was morally right, he just got caught, that's all. Lee Harvey Oswald was morally right, he just got caught too. Jack Ruby also. And all those pedophile priests. And, of course, reductio ad Hitlerum, Adolf Hitler was morally right, he just got caught, that's all. 

 

To top it all off, the pain of guilt only lasts, as you said, for the rest of the atheist's life, so death comes as a relief — there's no pain after that. Life's a bitch and then you die, right? May as well go for the gusto while you can. Start a bucket list. This is all there is. Look out for Number One. Keep the money. 

 

 

"Well, theist believe they do, but you don't believe they do."

"You're obviously someone who doesn't believe, so you don't know how believing can so strongly motivate a person. Let me say then that theists thoroughly"believe" they have an invariant source of moral code with inevitable and eternal consequences. "

 

Then they need to look up the word invariant.

It's not so long since the church approved of slavery.

That doesn't depend on what I believe: it's a straightforward fact.

​They firmly believe something which is obviously false.

 

"An atheist man who can't escape the knowledge that it's "wrong" can only do so if he lives by some moral law; however, where does he get this moral law — what does he use? As I said, there isn't any Atheist Manifesto. He could easily justify keeping it."

No he couldn't. You seem to think atheists don't know right from wrong. He might keep the money anyway, but he would know it was wrong (For what it's worth, it's "Theft by finding" as far as the law is concerned)

 

 

" they really wanted the money, they would have kept looking for it, right? Finding so much money rarely happens, so everyone expects people to behave like this, right? "Finders keepers, losers weepers", right? Anyone else who found the money would keep it, right? He just happened to be in the right place at the right time, right? The money and the bag are so old, that it must have been stolen/lost a long time ago and everyone has forgotten about it, right? "

No.

Wrong, wrong, wrong wrong, and wrong again.

 

Why don't you think atheists are moral?

Why this constant defamation?

 

Do we really want to live in a society where everyone gets to decide what's morally right or wrong for themselves? Andrew Kehoe was morally right, he just got caught, that's all. Lee Harvey Oswald was morally right, he just got caught too. Jack Ruby also. And all those pedophile priests. And, of course,reductio ad Hitlerum, Adolf Hitler was morally right, he just got caught, that's all.

 

"Do we really want to live in a society where everyone gets to decide what's morally right or wrong for themselves?"

We do.

That's why, in spite of the bible telling people that they should stone their children to death for swearing, people don't.

They make their own moral judgement.

The atheists are the ones who have noticed this.

 

You on the other hand, have run up against Godwin's law (and Hitler was, by the way, a theist).

 

 

It's not so long since the church approved of slavery.

That doesn't depend on what I believe: it's a straightforward fact.

​They firmly believe something which is obviously false.

 

I wouldn't trust that fact to work on Ewmon.  I tried the same thing as far as "burning homosexuals alive" being immoral.  His response, which was admirably un-hypocritical, was that they deserve to be burned alive.  They sin, and spread disease, and whatever the hell else he said... it was altogether awful.

 

So, I think we have a fairly straight firing line.  The religious want to kill and maim (and keep slaves if they're consistent), and they think all of humanity deserves to suffer.  The anti-religious think the opposite.  Let's just see who wins the moral high ground here.

 

"invariant morality"  HA!


Edited by ewmon, 5 February 2013 - 02:28 PM.

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#2 hypervalent_iodine

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Posted 5 February 2013 - 02:31 PM

This works too, I guess. I'll just copy my comment from the other thread here.

 

There were a few comments made by ewmon in another thread that I wanted to address here as the setting is more appropriate.
 
The argument made by him and many others is that morality is impossible without religion. I disagree with this for a number of reasons, the predominent one being that I do not believe the evidence is in support of moral instincts evolving from religion, but rather developing much earlier than and independant of religion.
 
The claim that athiests do not ascribe to moral codes and do 'whatever feels good' is as false as it is offensive. We owe a great deal of our success as a species to our ability to cooperate with other members of the same group to achieve greater goals; this cooperation is dependant on prosocial mechanisms, which in turn give rise to standards in our instinctive moral judgement. Since this level of interaction has been present in societies predating religious factions and is present across all societies irrespective of the predominant religious belief (or lack thereof, as the case may be), it's hard to argue that its origins may be found in any religion, let alone one in particular. More prudently, studies (http://www.sciencedi...364661309002897 has a good overview of these) have shown that inituitive moral judgement is not only the same between people of different religions, but also between religious and non-religious people.
 
And of course, regardless of all that, the Bible is full of atrocities that no sane person would call good moral behavior. How can the Bible be the source of ethical code when, for instance, it codones acts such as slavery?


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#3 ydoaPs

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Posted 5 February 2013 - 02:36 PM

Well, theist believe they do, but you don't believe they do.

And they're wrong. Where do they get them? The Bible (a book which condones slavery, the sex slave, capital punishment for disobedient children, etc)? Nope. Is it from God Herself?

Is morality itself intrinsic or extrinsic to God? That is, does it come from God (via Her nature or will) or does it come from outside of God? This dilemma has been around since at least Plato and as such Divine Command Theory was long dead before Christianity joined the game. Plato's version comes from one of his earlier texts called the "Euthyphro" which is the name of the person with which Socrates is talking. He poses a form of this question which has since become known as the "Euthyphro Dilemma". It goes roughly like this, "Are pious things pious because the gods say they're pious, or do the gods say they're pious because they're pious?". Now, this formulation has caused a lot of people who like the Divine Command Theory to try to say it's a false dilemma, but every attempt at trying to pull out a third "horn" has proved unsuccessful as they inevitably essentially collapse into one of the initial horns. To curb this issue and preserve the initial problem, philosophers have come up with the formulation I gave in the first sentence.

If morality is extrinsic to God, then humanity can be moral even in worlds without gods.

If morality is intrinsic to God, then morality is arbitrary and/or meaningless (which one depends on your method of trying to claim morality is intrinsic to Her).

So, which is it: is morality meaningless and/or arbitrary or are no gods required?


And then there's the historical fact that theistic morality has changed throughout time.






 

You're obviously someone who doesn't believe, so you don't know how believing can so strongly motivate a person. Let me say then that theists thoroughly "believe" they have an invariant source of moral code with inevitable and eternal consequences. 

Whether or not they believe it to be true has no bearing on whether or not it is actually true. The universe doesn't care what you believe.
 




 
 

Let's say a man finds a money bag labeled "First National Bank of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota" loaded with $1 million of randomly numbered small bills, so he knows to whom it belongs. Society and the government think it is "wrong" (ie, illegal) for him to keep the money, but the man is socially and legally safe because, in a moment of weakness, he kept the money and destroyed the bag, so only he knows the true owner of the money.
 
A theist man believes that God already knows what he has done, and if he doesn't confess and repent and return the money, he will suffer supernatural judgment and eternal damnation. So he confesses his greed, and repents from greediness, and returns the money. And yes, he can forget that he had committed this momentary wrong that he did. Otherwise, if he feels guilty and condemned for the rest of his life (ie, does not gain any moral relief, or feel absolved) as if he kept the money, he may as well actually keep the money and gain some benefit/compensation from feeling guilty and condemned. So it makes perfect sense that he no longer feels guilty and condemned. 
 

An atheist man who can't escape the knowledge that it's "wrong" can only do so if he lives by some moral law; however, where does he get this moral law — what does he use? As I said, there isn't any Atheist Manifesto. He could easily justify keeping it. By their own rules, the First National Bank and the government police forces will have spent a certain amount of money/effort to try to find it and then they will stop, knowing that the FDIC (or whatever) will cover such losses, and assuming that, most likely, the money will eventually be found by someone and that most people would keep it. If they really wanted the money, they would have kept looking for it, right? Finding so much money rarely happens, so everyone expects people to behave like this, right? "Finders keepers, losers weepers", right? Anyone else who found the money would keep it, right? He just happened to be in the right place at the right time, right? The money and the bag are so old, that it must have been stolen/lost a long time ago and everyone has forgotten about it, right? 

 
John Cuthbar, in your last sentence, you basically say that an atheist gets to decide how s/he will feel for the rest of his/her life, so s/he is required to get his/her moral decision "right". This is circular reasoning. To paraphrase Bill Cosby's response to the idea that marijuana enhances one's personality, let me say: What if the man who found the money is a jerk? 
 
Do we really want to live in a society where everyone gets to decide what's morally right or wrong for themselves? Andrew Kehoe was morally right, he just got caught, that's all. Lee Harvey Oswald was morally right, he just got caught too. Jack Ruby also. And all those pedophile priests. And, of course, reductio ad Hitlerum, Adolf Hitler was morally right, he just got caught, that's all. 

You do know that there's an entire field of what we ought/ought not do (in which gods are conspicuously absent)? Funny how even the nihilists don't say "do whatever you want". Care to try something other than a straw man?




 

To top it all off, the pain of guilt only lasts, as you said, for the rest of the atheist's life, so death comes as a relief — there's no pain after that. Life's a bitch and then you die, right? May as well go for the gusto while you can. Start a bucket list. This is all there is. Look out for Number One. Keep the money. 

Or he could keep the money, kill everyone else in town and take THEIR money, jump off a building repenting to Jesus on the way down, and have no consequences!
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#4 ewmon

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Posted 5 February 2013 - 04:32 PM

The phrase to learn for today — "invariant source of moral code".

 

The fact to learn for today — Bashing Christians with the Jewish Bible doesn't work. 

 

Ewmon: 

Let me say then that theists thoroughly "believe" they have an invariant source of moral code with inevitable and eternal consequences. 

 

John Cuthber: 

Then they need to look up the word invariant. .

It's not so long since the church approved of slavery.

 

No, you need to look up the word "source". And I said "invariant source" not "invariant interpretation". 


It's not so long since America approved of slavery. Likewise, the SCOTUS has the US Constitution, which is pretty much an "invariant source", and SCOTUS is constantly re-evaluating and updating its interpretation of it. (However, from time to time, an Amendment is added to it, so it's not exactly an "invariant source".)

 

Ewmon:

An atheist man who can't escape the knowledge that it's "wrong" can only do so if he lives by some moral law; however, where does he get this moral law — what does he use? As I said, there isn't any Atheist Manifesto. He could easily justify keeping it.

 

John Cuthber:

No he couldn't. You seem to think atheists don't know right from wrong. He might keep the money anyway, but he would know it was wrong (For what it's worth, it's "Theft by finding" as far as the law is concerned)

 

I never said that atheists don't have any morals; I said they don't have an invariant source of moral code. You have said yourself that you make up your own morals, and that you had to make sure you got it right. So, what's "right"?

 

Ewmon:

If they really wanted the money, they would have kept looking for it, right? Finding so much money rarely happens, so everyone expects people to behave like this, right? "Finders keepers, losers weepers", right? Anyone else who found the money would keep it, right? He just happened to be in the right place at the right time, right? The money and the bag are so old, that it must have been stolen/lost a long time ago and everyone has forgotten about it, right?

 

John Cuthber:

No.

Wrong, wrong, wrong wrong, and wrong again.

Why don't you think atheists are moral?

Why this constant defamation?

 

Atheists are moral, but I said that they don't have an invariant source of moral code ... no Atheist Manifesto;  you just said, essentially, that you make it up as you go. 

 

Ewmon:

Do we really want to live in a society where everyone gets to decide what's morally right or wrong for themselves?

 

John Cuthber:

We do.

That's why, in spite of the bible telling people that they should stone their children to death for swearing, people don't.

They make their own moral judgement.

The atheists are the ones who have noticed this.

 

Sure, lots of people get to decide what's morally right or wrong for themselves — and you list yourself among them — and it's especially difficult for them to do when they don't have an invariant source of moral code. 

 

Let me try to say once and for all that bashing Christians with the Jewish Bible doesn't work. Think of the New Testament as an amendment to the Old Testament. in the same way that the Amendments modified the Constitution. Go bash Jews with the Jewish Bible — oh, wait, you can't do that because it's not politically correct, and they'll sic the JDL, the Massad and maybe the ACLU on you.  Okay then, go bash Muslims with the Qur'an — oh, wait, you can't do that because they'll declare a jihad or a fatwa — or both — on you. 

 

John Cuthber:

It's not so long since the church approved of slavery.

That doesn't depend on what I believe: it's a straightforward fact.

​They firmly believe something which is obviously false.

 

Iggy:

I wouldn't trust that fact to work on Ewmon.  I tried the same thing as far as "burning homosexuals alive" being immoral.  His response, which was admirably un-hypocritical, was that they deserve to be burned alive.  They sin, and spread disease, and whatever the hell else he said... it was altogether awful.

 

So, I think we have a fairly straight firing line.  The religious want to kill and maim (and keep slaves if they're consistent), and they think all of humanity deserves to suffer.  The anti-religious think the opposite.  Let's just see who wins the moral high ground here.

 

Hopefully for the last time, bashing Christians with the Jewish Bible doesn't work. Please read the New Testament, and then get back to me; otherwise, you can't talk knowledgeably about Christianity.  

 

Here are some Cliff Notes on the New Testament — Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Turn the other cheek.  Go the extra mile. Feed the hungry. Welcome the stranger. Clothe the naked. Tend the sick. Visit those in prison. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. Be merciful.


Iggy:

"invariant morality"  HA! 


And again, hopefully for the last time — invariant source of moral code


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If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds,
and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them;
however, the line between good and evil runs through every human heart.

— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


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#5 ydoaPs

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Posted 5 February 2013 - 04:59 PM

The phrase to learn for today — "invariant source of moral code".

Thing to learn for today: Euthyphro Problem

It's not so long since America approved of slavery.

Is slavery, or is it not, moral? When the God of the universe was telling mankind the "invariant moral code", she explicitly endorsed full-on American South-style slavery. She also explicitly endorsed the sex trafficking trade. As well as capital punishment for disobedient children.

The fact to learn for today — Bashing Christians with the Jewish Bible doesn't work.


...

Let me try to say once and for all that bashing Christians with the Jewish Bible doesn't work. Think of the New Testament as an amendment to the Old Testament. in the same way that the Amendments modified the Constitution.


The fact to learn for today-the above quote is directly opposed to the words of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament and the words of the God of the universe herself as recorded in the Old Testament.


"THINK NOT THAT I COME TO DESTROY THE LAW, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, TIL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till ALL be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."-Jesus (Matthew 5:17-20)

"And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail."-Jesus (Luke 16:17)

Perhaps you should actually read the whole thing sometime rather than just the bits your pastor cherry-picks. I mean, you didn't even know the above quote from Matthew existed even though you paraphrased the part immediately following it in another thread. Come on, man. The atheists here tend to know the Bible better than the Christians-probably because we've actually read the thing.
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#6 Iggy

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Posted 5 February 2013 - 04:59 PM

Iggy:

I wouldn't trust that fact to work on Ewmon.  I tried the same thing as far as "burning homosexuals alive" being immoral.  His response, which was admirably un-hypocritical, was that they deserve to be burned alive.  They sin, and spread disease, and whatever the hell else he said... it was altogether awful.
 
So, I think we have a fairly straight firing line.  The religious want to kill and maim (and keep slaves if they're consistent), and they think all of humanity deserves to suffer.  The anti-religious think the opposite.  Let's just see who wins the moral high ground here.

 
Hopefully for the last time, bashing Christians with the Jewish Bible doesn't work.

 

That's the first time you said that to me, [edit]ok, the rest of this paragraph was a bit much for polite company[/edit]

 

Please read the New Testament

 

Thank you, I've read both and know far more about it than you. I've read the boring bits. I've pronounced the names in the chapters dedicated entirely to genealogy which requires the symbols signifying long vowels, and things about that book you couldn't imagine not knowing.



But, please, continue...

 

, and then get back to me; otherwise, you can't talk knowledgeably about Christianity.

 

Everyone who has yet spoken to you has amply demonstrated their ability to speak on that subject far more intelligibly than you.

 

Here are some Cliff Notes on the New Testament — Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Turn the other cheek.

 

Those are called the beatitudes. Read about them in the secular world. Gain about 20 years more education, then get back to me.

 

Iggy:
"invariant morality"  HA! 
 

And again, hopefully for the last time invariant source of moral code.

 

You don't have one. What part of those four words don't you understand?


Edited by Iggy, 5 February 2013 - 05:05 PM.

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#7 iNow

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Posted 5 February 2013 - 05:40 PM

The source of morality is the community.  Inputs from that community are filtered and perceived through certain tendencies with which we're born.  Those tendencies more often than not result in us aligning our beliefs and understandings of norms and social mores closely with the surrounding pack, with our tribal elders, or even just with our parents.  This is true for everyone regardless of worldview, ideology, or beliefs.

 

To suggest that morality comes from a two thousand year old internally inconsistent anthology of fictions written by goat herders in the desert or perhaps through fear of punishment from some imaginary cloud surfing ethereal sky dictator does little more than to betray ones ignorance of the subject.


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#8 Iggy

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Posted 5 February 2013 - 10:59 PM

By the way, Ewmon, I thought this went without saying in my last post (since I pointed it out previously), but I realize you need it spelled out.  The verse I gave you about gay people being justifiably burned is in the new testament.  It was Romans 1:26 and 27.  It isn't the only one.  Paul was quite the gay basher.  You keep appropriate company.

You can find the warrant for slavery in the new testament too.  From Jesus himself, "blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes" in Luke 12:37.  Some people take that seriously.  You probably would if you knew anything about it.

But, no, you apparently don't even know that the old testament is part of the Christian bible.  It's really sad.  You've been lied to your whole life by religious authorities, never asking yourself what motives were behind their pontific smile.  You just smiled back, handed over your money, and believed every word of it. 

 

A few days ago you said that atheists don't have morality.  You said "a Christian is able to admit that some acts are wrong, whereas atheists tend to think that, if doing something feels good, then do it."  How insulated must a person be from the real world to think that?  I feel for you.  It's extremely sad.


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#9 Moontanman

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Posted 6 February 2013 - 12:06 AM

I once found $127 in a small plastic baggie in the parking lot where I worked. The bag smelled of Cannabis sativa, and no one was nearby when I found it. I asked around if anyone had lost any money, i had several people tell me they had but they couldn't tell me how much money was in it. Several others said the money was mine because i had found it, finders keepers, several others told me since it was obviously drug money i should keep it. Every last one of those people were theists, many claimed to be very devout fundamentalist theists. None of them thought I should try and return the money, a few days later a woman come to me in private and named the amount and where she had lost it, I gave it back... I felt relief the moral duty of finding the owner was lifted from me, I was then as now an atheist, they only one I knew at the time. What would your morals have told you to do ewmon?  


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#10 SamBridge

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Posted 6 February 2013 - 12:20 AM

 If the point is that morals are impossible without religion I completely disagree, I don't have a religion right now but I still have moral standards that I hold myself to regardless of what any religion says. Wasn't religion the basis for all those old wars and even many now? The Crusades even? Burning people alive cause they're gay? Comes from religion. Of course there's religions like Buddhism and Shintoism and Taoism and Confucianism and some old Celtic religion I can't remember the name of, which aren't so bad.

Also if morals cannot be independent from religion, how did religion get started in the first place? Someone had to have had some moral standard before in order to base a philosophical understanding of the world off of it. 


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#11 Ceasium

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Posted 6 February 2013 - 09:48 PM

Honestly, I think that the moral code between atheits and theists is not very different. The stories about finding money are too stereotypical ... . It depends on person to person what he or she does with the money. A religious person can justify keeping the money by thinking:' Well god put this money on the street for me for a special reason, and therefore I am in my right to keep it, because god wanted this to happen for me.' An atheist can act the same way by thinking:' Hahaha, that s*cker lost his money lets live up to Darwins rules, survival of the fittest, the winner keeps it all.'

 

Most of us agree on that whether you are religious or not, the action above is immoral. Our sense of morality is cooked into us by our parents/the bible, but mostly by nature. You can encounter a situation which is completely new to you and still make a decision that is moraly right, without any support from 1. God 2. Your parents 3. Another example in society.

 

Someone above me mentioned that the bible states that any child who swears should be stoned to death. All religious people (except for some nuts among them) still don't do this. Why? It is immoral to stone anyone to death, even when the bible says that this is ok to do. This is a gut feeling that surpasses the 'morality' of the bible.

 

 

From: What is the purpose of morality


Simplifying greatly, it seems to me that morality helps to provide
security to members of the community, create stability, ameliorate
harmful conditions, foster trust, and facilitate cooperation in
achieving shared or complementary goals.  In short, it enables us to
live together and, while doing so, improve the conditions under which we
live. 



Of course, moral institutions do not always achieve these objectives. 
Also, moral institutions can be used and have been used to oppress
certain groups -- usually by excluding them from the scope of the moral
community.

http://www.centerfor...se_of_morality/

 

An intresting interview on where morality comes from:

 

http://abcnews.go.co...ory?id=12226888


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#12 lightburst

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Posted 7 February 2013 - 02:19 PM

Think of the New Testament as an amendment to the Old Testament.

Well that's not fair. That's just as arbitrary as saying the old testament should be the 'correct' interpretation because of seniority. Not that it's actually older, but you know being called 'old'. haha

I'm wondering why having an invariant code of morality is important? It leaves room to choose the most morally satisfactory choice and choose the most generally satisfactory moral code. I guess I'm a relativist that way.

Imagine how it would be if we honored our wife beating polygamous father because a rock said so. By not following that particular rule, you are already diverging from this 'invariant source of morality' of yours and is applying whatever interpretation you have of what it means to be moral and what the righteous thing to do is. Your argument is invalid. Or are you going to say that you are actually sinning by not honoring your wife beating polygamous father?

Following an invariant set of rules for morality without question or thinking is just as void of morality as is a person accidentally saving a million people from a biological attack because his car crashed and got the terrorists caught in traffic long enough to get caught. If you do do it with question and thinking, then what's the point? Your argument is invalid.

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#13 ewmon

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Posted 7 February 2013 - 02:23 PM

I highlighted some parts of this quote that I address below. 

 

hyperactive_iodine:

There were a few comments made by ewmon in another thread that I wanted to address here as the setting is more appropriate.

 

 
The argument made by him and many others is that morality is impossible without religion. I disagree with this for a number of reasons, the predominent one being that I do not believe the evidence is in support of moral instincts evolving from religion, but rather developing much earlier than and independant of religion.
 
The claim that athiests do not ascribe to moral codes and do 'whatever feels good' is as false as it is offensive. We owe a great deal of our success as a species to our ability to cooperate with other members of the same group to achieve greater goals; this cooperation is dependant on prosocial mechanisms, which in turn give rise to standards in our instinctive moral judgement. Since this level of interaction has been present in societies predating religious factions and is present across all societies irrespective of the predominant religious belief (or lack thereof, as the case may be), it's hard to argue that its origins may be found in any religion, let alone one in particular. More prudently, studies (http://www.sciencedi...364661309002897 has a good overview of these) have shown that inituitive moral judgement is not only the same between people of different religions, but also between religious and non-religious people.
 
And of course, regardless of all that, the Bible is full of atrocities that no sane person would call good moral behavior. How can the Bible be the source of ethical code when, for instance, it codones acts such as slavery?

 

To begin with, I don't recall saying that morality is impossible without religion. If I'm wrong, then I apologize. Someone please show me where I ever said that. 

 

In fact, I said that "atheists are moral". It is, however, a question of on what they base their morality. John Cuthber said he bases his moral decisions on being able to live with them. That is a rather minimal and trivial answer and, in fact, it seems to be part of the definition of having morals. So, what are the consequences of John Cuthber making the wrong moral decision besides, say, not getting a good night's sleep? So, there's two questions actually — the standard by which an atheist bases his morality, and the consequences when the atheist makes the wrong moral decision. If I understand atheism correctly, the consequences of having to live with it only lasts until he dies because atheists don't believe in an afterlife — and, in fact, it's a really good reason not to believe in an afterlife. 

 

As a scientist, I have run 100's of thousands of tests on samples — mechanical tests, electrical tests, and chemical tests. And with every test I used a standard full well knowing that if I didn't, then the results would be baseless. Hypervalent_iodine believes evidence supports moral instincts developing much earlier than, and independent, of religion. But I'm asking by what "standard" does an atheist judge (ie, base) his moral decisions? Atheists seem to enjoy bashing Christians with the Bible, but what can be used to bash atheists? On what do they base their morality? Getting a good night's sleep? Does the moral decision made by an atheist yesterday still hold true or today and for tomorrow? I'm not saying that theists have absolutely unchanging morals, but something is much less likely to change or to change greatly if it's based on an invariant source. 

 

As to atheists ascribing to moral codes, I consistently said that atheists don't have an "invariant source of moral code". Anyone, please point out where I said atheists are immoral, and I will apologize. 

 

As to atheists doing what feels good, this is attested to John Cuthber himself admitting that he bases his moral decisions on being able to live with his decisions (ie, what makes him feel good). 

 

As to the Bible condoning slavery, western culture thinks of American masters and African slaves. Before I continue with this form of slavery, realize that slavery in other cultures often meant something different. I once sat and talked with a woman whose father owned slaves (and I seriously doubt anyone else here experienced anything similar). People would sell themselves into slavery to pay off debts or as a form of protection from addiction (substances, gambling, crime, etc), knowing the master would enforce good behavior as a crude form of social security. Some men ended up slaves as an alternative to execution as an enemy soldier. This is how the American-African slave trade began — instead of tribes capturing and killing their enemies, they would capture, imprison , and sell them to slave traders (which is actually more difficult than just capturing and executing them). So, what would be more cruel if it happened to you — to be executed, or to be sold into slavery? But I'm not saying that the Africans should have been grateful to be slaves, but the alternative seems to have been death. 

 

Certainly, slavery occurs in the Bible and, in fact, some of the most notable enslavements happened to the Israelites because they were screwing up. If you screw up, you might end up a slave. Any mystery there? Even if God didn't exist, if you screw up, you might end up a slave. And people (including atheists) might well say that they "deserved it". You live next door to an aggressive people, you let your guard down (as it were), and they enslave you. I admit that I don't know every instance of slavery in the Bible, but I do admit that Christ said that, if you're a slave, then be a good, hard-working slave. Joseph did exactly that, and it won him his freedom and much more.  

 

Many of America's founding fathers owned slaves, but I don't see here any condemnation of American's today. Why is that? Because they don't believe in slavery. And the same goes for Christians. Does any atheist here honestly believe that Christians are plotting in secret to, say, somehow enslave atheists? Oh my. 

 

I must announce something here. Because of my current work, I have an extremely busy schedule, and I can post here only briefly every day. If you notice my weekday posts, they almost always occur in the morning. I will certainly post here again, and I want to answer everyone looking for a response from me. Thank you. 


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#14 John Cuthber

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Posted 7 February 2013 - 03:05 PM

"John Cuthber said he bases his moral decisions on being able to live with them."

Oh no he didn't.

What I said was that my morals mean that I have to live with my decisions.

That's not the same as it being my basis for them.

And, since that wasn't (and isn't) the basis for my morality, the rest of your post makes little sense.

Please try to avoid strawmanning in future as it's a breach of the forum rules.

 

"But I'm asking by what "standard" does an atheist judge (ie, base) his moral decisions?"

OK, since you ask, (a bit belatedly, after making a silly assumption).

​I generally base my view of right and wrong on "What would happen if everyone did that?"  and "Would I like it if other people did that, if not then I probably oughtn't do it"

 

As it happens, those tie in pretty well with the biblical version "do unto others ...". Religion may well have got that right.

However, I gather there is evidence of "morality" of a sort in non-human animals which suggests to me that we had morals before we were human and that we took those morals and added them to our proto-religions very early in mankind's history rather than the (in my view, absurd) idea that we were immoral until someone suddenly invented religion.

 

Incidentally, this" I'm not saying that theists have absolutely unchanging morals, but something is much less likely to change or to change greatly if it's based on an invariant source. " is demonstrably false,

Read the Old Testament. The source hasn't changed but attitudes to slavery etc have completely reversed.

It's not a case of "less likely to change"- they have changed.


Edited by John Cuthber, 7 February 2013 - 03:07 PM.

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#15 imatfaal

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Posted 7 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

./opening salvo snipped to save space

To begin with, I don't recall saying that morality is impossible without religion. If I'm wrong, then I apologize. Someone please show me where I ever said that. 

 

In fact, I said that "atheists are moral". It is, however, a question of on what they base their morality. John Cuthber said he bases his moral decisions on being able to live with them. That is a rather minimal and trivial answer and, in fact, it seems to be part of the definition of having morals. So, what are the consequences of John Cuthber making the wrong moral decision besides, say, not getting a good night's sleep? So, there's two questions actually — the standard by which an atheist bases his morality, and the consequences when the atheist makes the wrong moral decision. If I understand atheism correctly, the consequences of having to live with it only lasts until he dies because atheists don't believe in an afterlife — and, in fact, it's a really good reason not to believe in an afterlife. 

If you act on the basis of the consequences of that action in an afterlife then your act has no moral or ethical content whatsoever - it is a mere profit and loss calculation.  I pay my taxes and submit an annual return because the revenue would fine and prosecute me if I did not - I vote for socialist political parties who are likely to tax me more because I think it is the morally correct course of action.  John has already answered most of the points put at him - but I would argue one point.  Being able to live comfortably with a decision is not unfortunately a part of that decision being morally correct; I have been forced into situations in business in which my decisions (that I can only justify on moral and ethical grounds) have had long, painful and negative consequences that continue to make life difficult for me and others.  I took those decision because they were the right way to act - not because they would be easy to live with

 

As a scientist, I have run 100's of thousands of tests on samples — mechanical tests, electrical tests, and chemical tests. And with every test I used a standard full well knowing that if I didn't, then the results would be baseless. Hypervalent_iodine believes evidence supports moral instincts developing much earlier than, and independent, of religion. But I'm asking by what "standard" does an atheist judge (ie, base) his moral decisions? Atheists seem to enjoy bashing Christians with the Bible, but what can be used to bash atheists? On what do they base their morality? Getting a good night's sleep? Does the moral decision made by an atheist yesterday still hold true or today and for tomorrow? I'm not saying that theists have absolutely unchanging morals, but something is much less likely to change or to change greatly if it's based on an invariant source.

Feel free to bash atheists on their actions - be a nice change.  And I will continue to bash the church as a whole, and individual church-goers who support the institution, for their actions on contraception, abortion, rape, subjugation of women, homosexuality...  I don't care what motivates your (pl.) actions - merely that your (pl.) actions are morally abhorrent and completely unjustifiable in a modern pluralistic democracy 

 

 

/reciprocating strawmen and misquotes snipped

 

 

As to the Bible condoning slavery, western culture thinks of American masters and African slaves. Before I continue with this form of slavery, realize that slavery in other cultures often meant something different. I once sat and talked with a woman whose father owned slaves (and I seriously doubt anyone else here experienced anything similar). People would sell themselves into slavery to pay off debts or as a form of protection from addiction (substances, gambling, crime, etc), knowing the master would enforce good behavior as a crude form of social security. Some men ended up slaves as an alternative to execution as an enemy soldier. This is how the American-African slave trade began — instead of tribes capturing and killing their enemies, they would capture, imprison , and sell them to slave traders (which is actually more difficult than just capturing and executing them). So, what would be more cruel if it happened to you — to be executed, or to be sold into slavery? But I'm not saying that the Africans should have been grateful to be slaves, but the alternative seems to have been death. 

That is as insulting as it is ignorant.

 

Certainly, slavery occurs in the Bible and, in fact, some of the most notable enslavements happened to the Israelites because they were screwing up. If you screw up, you might end up a slave. Any mystery there? Even if God didn't exist, if you screw up, you might end up a slave. And people (including atheists) might well say that they "deserved it". You live next door to an aggressive people, you let your guard down (as it were), and they enslave you. I admit that I don't know every instance of slavery in the Bible, but I do admit that Christ said that, if you're a slave, then be a good, hard-working slave. Joseph did exactly that, and it won him his freedom and much more.  

 

Many of America's founding fathers owned slaves, but I don't see here any condemnation of American's today. Why is that? Because they don't believe in slavery. And the same goes for Christians. Does any atheist here honestly believe that Christians are plotting in secret to, say, somehow enslave atheists? Oh my. 

That's a wickerman sized strawman.  This point was raised concerning an invariant source - how is the source invariant when it changes all the time?  And if you don't see any condemnation of America today perhaps try reading more widely - even on this very point many commentators pointed out the outrageous similarity between the slave-owning old south and the conservative religious south.  It's in living memory that Americans had to fight for the right to vote freely - and even in this election conservative religious racists seemed to be changing rules in a manner calculated to disenfranchise black voters.  And no we don't think you are trying to enslave atheists (although I think many are trying to enslave women through a gradual diminution of their rights over reproduction) - merely that christianity is attempting to enforce its  ancient and hideous dogma onto our democratic progressive society

 

I must announce something here. Because of my current work, I have an extremely busy schedule, and I can post here only briefly every day. If you notice my weekday posts, they almost always occur in the morning. I will certainly post here again, and I want to answer everyone looking for a response from me. Thank you. 


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#16 ydoaPs

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Posted 7 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

As to the Bible condoning slavery, western culture thinks of American masters and African slaves. Before I continue with this form of slavery, realize that slavery in other cultures often meant something different.

No, it didn't. The Bible condones full-on American South style slavery:

"And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he [is] his money."-Exodus 21:20-21

But I'm not saying that the Africans should have been grateful to be slaves, but the alternative seems to have been death.

The alternative would be to have been living how they had been living before they were kidnapped and sold.

 

Certainly, slavery occurs in the Bible

AND IS EXPLICITLY CONDONED IN BOTH THE OT AND NT

Many of America's founding fathers owned slaves, but I don't see here any condemnation of American's today. Why is that? Because they don't believe in slavery. And the same goes for Christians. Does any atheist here honestly believe that Christians are plotting in secret to, say, somehow enslave atheists? Oh my.

So, is it invariant or not? The God of the universe Herself said that slavery is good. Who are you to disagree with Her? 
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#17 Moontanman

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Posted 7 February 2013 - 04:06 PM

I highlighted some parts of this quote that I address below. 

 

hyperactive_iodine:

There were a few comments made by ewmon in another thread that I wanted to address here as the setting is more appropriate.

 

 
The argument made by him and many others is that morality is impossible without religion. I disagree with this for a number of reasons, the predominent one being that I do not believe the evidence is in support of moral instincts evolving from religion, but rather developing much earlier than and independant of religion.
 
The claim that athiests do not ascribe to moral codes and do 'whatever feels good' is as false as it is offensive. We owe a great deal of our success as a species to our ability to cooperate with other members of the same group to achieve greater goals; this cooperation is dependant on prosocial mechanisms, which in turn give rise to standards in our instinctive moral judgement. Since this level of interaction has been present in societies predating religious factions and is present across all societies irrespective of the predominant religious belief (or lack thereof, as the case may be), it's hard to argue that its origins may be found in any religion, let alone one in particular. More prudently, studies (http://www.sciencedi...364661309002897 has a good overview of these) have shown that inituitive moral judgement is not only the same between people of different religions, but also between religious and non-religious people.
 
And of course, regardless of all that, the Bible is full of atrocities that no sane person would call good moral behavior. How can the Bible be the source of ethical code when, for instance, it codones acts such as slavery?

 

To begin with, I don't recall saying that morality is impossible without religion. If I'm wrong, then I apologize. Someone please show me where I ever said that. 

 

In fact, I said that "atheists are moral". It is, however, a question of on what they base their morality. John Cuthber said he bases his moral decisions on being able to live with them. That is a rather minimal and trivial answer and, in fact, it seems to be part of the definition of having morals. So, what are the consequences of John Cuthber making the wrong moral decision besides, say, not getting a good night's sleep? So, there's two questions actually — the standard by which an atheist bases his morality, and the consequences when the atheist makes the wrong moral decision. If I understand atheism correctly, the consequences of having to live with it only lasts until he dies because atheists don't believe in an afterlife — and, in fact, it's a really good reason not to believe in an afterlife. 

 

As a scientist, I have run 100's of thousands of tests on samples — mechanical tests, electrical tests, and chemical tests. And with every test I used a standard full well knowing that if I didn't, then the results would be baseless. Hypervalent_iodine believes evidence supports moral instincts developing much earlier than, and independent, of religion. But I'm asking by what "standard" does an atheist judge (ie, base) his moral decisions? Atheists seem to enjoy bashing Christians with the Bible, but what can be used to bash atheists? On what do they base their morality? Getting a good night's sleep? Does the moral decision made by an atheist yesterday still hold true or today and for tomorrow? I'm not saying that theists have absolutely unchanging morals, but something is much less likely to change or to change greatly if it's based on an invariant source. 

 

As to atheists ascribing to moral codes, I consistently said that atheists don't have an "invariant source of moral code". Anyone, please point out where I said atheists are immoral, and I will apologize. 

 

As to atheists doing what feels good, this is attested to John Cuthber himself admitting that he bases his moral decisions on being able to live with his decisions (ie, what makes him feel good). 

 

As to the Bible condoning slavery, western culture thinks of American masters and African slaves. Before I continue with this form of slavery, realize that slavery in other cultures often meant something different. I once sat and talked with a woman whose father owned slaves (and I seriously doubt anyone else here experienced anything similar). People would sell themselves into slavery to pay off debts or as a form of protection from addiction (substances, gambling, crime, etc), knowing the master would enforce good behavior as a crude form of social security. Some men ended up slaves as an alternative to execution as an enemy soldier. This is how the American-African slave trade began — instead of tribes capturing and killing their enemies, they would capture, imprison , and sell them to slave traders (which is actually more difficult than just capturing and executing them). So, what would be more cruel if it happened to you — to be executed, or to be sold into slavery? But I'm not saying that the Africans should have been grateful to be slaves, but the alternative seems to have been death. 

 

Certainly, slavery occurs in the Bible and, in fact, some of the most notable enslavements happened to the Israelites because they were screwing up. If you screw up, you might end up a slave. Any mystery there? Even if God didn't exist, if you screw up, you might end up a slave. And people (including atheists) might well say that they "deserved it". You live next door to an aggressive people, you let your guard down (as it were), and they enslave you. I admit that I don't know every instance of slavery in the Bible, but I do admit that Christ said that, if you're a slave, then be a good, hard-working slave. Joseph did exactly that, and it won him his freedom and much more.  

 

Many of America's founding fathers owned slaves, but I don't see here any condemnation of American's today. Why is that? Because they don't believe in slavery. And the same goes for Christians. Does any atheist here honestly believe that Christians are plotting in secret to, say, somehow enslave atheists? Oh my. 

 

I must announce something here. Because of my current work, I have an extremely busy schedule, and I can post here only briefly every day. If you notice my weekday posts, they almost always occur in the morning. I will certainly post here again, and I want to answer everyone looking for a response from me. Thank you. 

 

 

Ewmon, way to cherry pick, ignore the parts you can't agree with then pick out the parts that agree with modern moral codes. I suggest you take off your biblical glasses and read the bible as it is instead of what other say it is or what you want it to be. 

 

Does any atheist here honestly believe that Christians are plotting in secret to, say, somehow enslave atheists? Oh my. 

 

Ewmon, I honestly thought you knew more about your religion than this... Do you honestly think the nice candy coated, wrapped in pretty paper, with a nice shiny bow package currently displayed by your religion is what your religion really is? No ewmon, what you see today as Christianity is the gelded version, religion unchained, especially the Abrahamic monotheistic religions do indeed lay claim to enslaving those who do not believe, in many cases it is convert or die, slaves are not taken because it is wrong but because grown men are difficult to enslave but females, and especially female children are often spared to be used as slaves, if they are lucky, in some cases everyone who doesn't believe is simply killed man woman and child, sometimes even the animals of these people ohmy.png the passages allowing this are often interpreted as sexual slavery, it certain seems to allow if not actually demanding it. Read your bible ewmon, not in tiny sound bites given to you by your leaders but read it as the horror story it truly is, the story of an insane, jealous, amoral, psychopathic supreme being who demands his followers kill and or enslave unbelievers, yeah it's in there and I for one am quite tired of pointing it out to god botherers...

 

God is nothing but a excuse for humans use to dehumanize anyone who opposes them, it's sickening and I for one will have no part of it...

 

William Lane Craig, Christianities leading "thinker" tells it well  

 

  

 

but possibly this video tells it better, the relevant information starts at around 03:00, how you you kill a small child for god? 

 


Edited by Moontanman, 7 February 2013 - 04:12 PM.

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#18 ewmon

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Posted 9 February 2013 - 02:32 PM

Note: Although I have not read thoroughly through all these posts, I hope someone is addressing the atheist source of morality and are not just bashing me with the Bible. There IS the second part of the thread’s title — What is the source of morality for atheists? Just because you claim Christians don’t have it doesn't mean that atheists do.


@Iggy

 

Iggy may have given us a real-life example of morality. Iggy slightly misquoted me twice, and it has made me look bad. Where I said “invariant source of moral code”, Iggy misquoted as “invariant morality”, and where I said that both heterosexuals and homosexuals spread disease, Iggy quoted me as saying that homosexuals spread disease. So, possibilities exist as to how Iggy’s misquotes happened.

 

1 — Maybe Iggy is dyslexic or illiterate.
2 — Maybe Iggy is ignorant.
3 — Maybe Iggy intentionally misquoted me to make me look bad.

4 — Other.


So, my questions to Iggy are —

  • Did you intentionally misquote me, and if so, by what morality can you justify doing so?
  • Also, if you intentionally misquoted me, can you live with it? That is, for example, are you losing any sleep over it? And if you can live with it, does that make it morally okay? 

 

 

@YdoaPs

 

You have repeatedly used the term “straw man” with me when I present an example of a claim that someone has made and then ask the person to address that claim as it applies to that example. Here you do it with my example of a person finding some money, and previously you did it with the idea that it’s supposedly impossible for someone to “do science” and “do religion” (whatever that's supposed to mean) at the same time.

 

You use the term “straw man” incorrectly. A request to explain the application of a claim to a specific instance is not a “straw man”, otherwise, no one would ever need to justify their claims.


If I ask what I must stop “doing” religion-wise in order to pipette fluids, operate a chemistry analyzer, and compute results, then I am not setting up a “straw man” as you might think, and my question cannot simply be dismissed by calling it a “straw man”.

It is actually unscientific to make a claim and then to refuse to address a specific instance in which it supposedly applies. Someone may claim that all dogs bark, but if I ask them to explain that claim regarding basenjis and dingoes, I am not setting up a straw man, and the person cannot simply dismiss their obligation to explain their claim as it applies to those examples.

Using the term “straw man” as you have done is simply illogical and, consequently, bad science. Ouch.

 

 


@others

 

There are many statements here to address, as I should have known that this would be controversial.

 

To begin with, I have read the Bible cover to cover twice, and I have studied many of its books individually and repeatedly as well as having done topical studies. And sorry to disappoint, but I don't have a pastor. 


Second, I can’t be held accountable for the decisions and actions of Christians in the past, just as you atheists cannot be held responsible for decisions and actions of other atheists, both past and present. Okey dokey? As for the crusades, slavery etc, I certainly wasn’t alive at the time. Just because some Christians got some strange idea stuck in their craw and acted on it, doesn’t make me responsible. I acknowledge that some of it was certainly wrong. For example, I certainly would not have gone on the Crusades. 


Third, of all these claims of what Christians are supposedly to be, if you are not seeing it in real life, do you truly, truly believe that Christians are mentally/morally lurking in the shadows waiting for public sentiment to change so they can practice these alleged Christian morals (such as capital punishment for disobedient children), or is it much more likely that you have misinterpreted what the Bible says? Hmm. Ockham’s Razor? 
 

I am still reading here and still answering posts, but I also have a blizzard to contend with, and I have an obligation to go into work this weekend, although I don’t know how. 


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If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds,
and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them;
however, the line between good and evil runs through every human heart.

— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


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#19 Moontanman

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Posted 9 February 2013 - 03:29 PM

Ewmon, I will say this again, what you see as your religion is not what your religion really is, your religion is constrained by the laws of man, take away those restraints and you get a theocracy that has no limits in it's brutalization of man by men who think they are following the words of a magic sky genie. With out laws to protect us from your religion we would still be burning people for believing a different way, wars have been fought in far more places than the middle east over who is worshiping your god the right way and it is not in the distant past either. In fact right now in Africa your religion is pushing laws that allow homosexuals to be imprisoned and in some cases killed. People, often children are being killed because they are thought to be witches as proscribed by your religion.

 

you do not know your own religion ewmon, all you know is what you want to know, what you feel comfortable knowing... kind of sad really...

 

Atheists get their morality from evolved human behaviors that promote social cohesion, many animals from apes to wolves show moral behaviors we can recognize, the suggestion that atheists lack morals or hijack the morals of religion fails at the most basic level...   



BTW ewmon, you failed to answer my last question in post #17, I think it's one that should be answered since god demands this type of action.... 


Edited by Moontanman, 9 February 2013 - 03:36 PM.

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#20 John Cuthber

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Posted 9 February 2013 - 03:29 PM

"Third, of all these claims of what Christians are supposedly to be, if you are not seeing it in real life, do you truly, truly believe that Christians are mentally/morally lurking in the shadows waiting for public sentiment to change so they can practice these alleged Christian morals (such as capital punishment for disobedient children),or is it much more likely that you have misinterpreted what the Bible says?"

No. It's most likely that notwithstanding their claim that they follow the bible, they don't really do so.

 

And just for the record, there's nothing "alleged" about it.

It's right there in the book. Deuteronomy 21:18-21

"If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die:"

Or if you prefer there's Leviticus (as usual) 20 :9

For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

 

You have to accept that Christians don't follow the Word of the Bible because they don't, for example, stone disobedient or rude children to death.

 

It's not a matter of misinterpretation.

That's what the book says.

 

If you think it is wrong to do that, then your belief in what is wrong can not come from the Bible.

 

The point you seem to have missed is not that we think you are responsible for the actions of others in the past.

the point is that they did things in the name of Christianity which you would, in the name of  Christianity, stop people doing.

What Christianity says is "right", has changed.

It's not invariant.

 

"As for the crusades, slavery etc, I certainly wasn’t alive at the time. Just because some Christians got some strange idea stuck in their craw and acted on it, doesn’t make me responsible. I acknowledge that some of it was certainly wrong. For example, I certainly would not have gone on the Crusades. "

 

Don't you realise where they got that "strange idea" from?

It's from the Bible.

Leviticus 25:44

"Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves."

 

You say you read the Bible.

How come you missed those bits?


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