# The source of morality for theists and atheists

## 95 posts in this topic

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 0 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661309002897 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? 2 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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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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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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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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, ok, the rest of this paragraph was a bit much for polite company[/edit]

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.

, 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
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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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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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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? 1 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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. 0 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/what_is_the_purpose_of_morality/ An intresting interview on where morality comes from: http://abcnews.go.com/News/famed-biologist-frans-de-waal-argues-humans-inherited/story?id=12226888 0 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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. 2cents 0 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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. -2 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites "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 1 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites ./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. 3 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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? 2 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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 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 1 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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. 0 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 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 1 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites "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? 2 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites BTW, this paragraph here shows just why your religion is flawed, can you guess why that is? 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? If you disagree then you can say the interpretation is incorrect, no matter what a theist claims his holy book says if you disagree he can always say you are misinterpreting it... talk about a free ticket to anything... 1 #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites ydoaPs 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. 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. 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? 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! Regarding extrinsic/intrinsic morality, are you claiming that atheists have a morality that's available without gods and that's meaningful and non-discretionary? Regarding changing morality, are you claiming that atheist morality has never changed? On the universe "caring", if the universe cared about morality, people wouldn't need to think, talk or "do" morality. I've already addressed your false use of "straw man". Atheists probably have difficulty understanding repentance because they believe in judgment/punishment in the here and now. If your child is truly repentant, would you exact punishment? Apparently atheists would, so it seems they don't believe that repentance matters. And if repentance doesn't affect the outcome, then why repent? When one lives in the world, one becomes as cold and uncaring as the world. Hopefully my new format is easy to figure out. I indent my replies to parts of posts that they follow. YdoaPs Ewmon 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-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. As always, please give citations. For example, Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery was implicitly wrong, but Joseph being a "good slave" had its rewards (even though he was further wronged by Potiphar's wife who lusted after him) and ultimately saved him and his family. I think it's pretty obvious that, if he was a trouble-making slave, no good would have come from it. BTW, do you know the alternative to being sold into slavery was in sub-Saharan Africa during the American slave trading period? I'm not saying that slavery was "good", but that the alternative was death. What would you have chosen? "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. As I said, I read the Bible cover-to-cover twice with plenty of book and topical studies along the way. "... till all be fulfilled" refers to the predictions of the Bible. You stop quoting at Matthew 5:20. Why? From Matthew 5:21 onward, he says that even angry thoughts and words are like murder, lustful thoughts and ogling are like rape, and so on. Do you honestly believe that slavery, sex trafficking, capital punishment for children, etc are secretly lurking in the dark parts of Christian souls ready to act once society comes under Christian control? These are some of the issues that Christians act out against most strenuously. For example, I am thoroughly against slavery, sex trafficking and capital punishment of anyone. When the Illinois governor abolished death row, it brought me to tears, and I thanked him with an email. Any atheists here do that (even without the tears)? I've volunteered my time and energy for more charities than I can remember, and some of them being non-Christian. I was married to a suicidal, delusional, remorseless abuser who would tell my children harmful lies about me, who would then angrily confront me when I came home from work. And I would tell them, when someone tells you something about what I supposedly do, you can believe what you see me do. Otherwise, if I mentioned her name to them, she would fly into one of her rages. Anyway, when people interpret the Bible one way, but see Christians acting contrary to that interpretation, they can believe what they see — and maybe they will ask Christians to explain their morality. Iggy Ewmon 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. Yeah, good luck to anyone on the pronunciation of names. My first Bible study was in Numbers (ie, how many people in each tribe). Yawn. Everyone who has yet spoken to you has amply demonstrated their ability to speak on that subject far more intelligibly than you. Those are called the beatitudes. Read about them in the secular world. Gain about 20 years more education, then get back to me. That's the Christian-based secular world. People of other cultures/moralities can act far differently than westerners. You don't have one (ie, an invariant source of moral code). What part of those four words don't you understand? The Bible is an invariant source, although interpretation may change slightly over the years. Are you claiming that atheists have an invariant source of moral code, and thus, are better? They don't have anything close to an Atheist Manifesto or an Atheist Mission Statement. People here have yet to show me any source of morality by atheist except for the trivial "living with it" (which means, "makes me feel good"). Atheists don't have one (ie, an invariant source of moral code) — what part of those four words don't you understand? Just because you're claiming that Christian morality is wrong doesn't make atheist morality right. It must be awesome to live without a moral code that you or others can bash you with. How do you know that you've acted morally; do you use the can/can't sleep at night criteria? What are the consequences when you make a moral mistake? What do you do when someone expresses sincere regret? iNow Ewmon 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. I pretty much agree. If we lived in China, we could more easily believe that aborting female fetuses and killing female babies is morally okay. If we lived in Muslim communities, we could more easily believe that female genital "mutilation" is morally okay. What I have yet heard from atheists here is that western communities/morals were founded on Christianity, not Islam or other 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. See my reply above. Also, the 2,000+ years relevancy is quite impressive. Even though you're wrong about the Bible apparently being written exclusively by "goat herders in the desert", are you saying that goat herders in deserts can't be morally right? Wow, that would be a slap in the face to goat herders in deserts throughout history. It would be slanderous, defamatory, etc. Besides, parts of the Bible are much older than that, and parts of the Bible were written by non-herders (eg, Luke was a physician, Paul was a tent-maker, some were fishermen, etc). I like "cloud surfing ethereal sky dictator" except that "dictator" makes him sound tyrannical. The Bible clearly shows that he is actually slow to anger. For example, when Adam sinned, God first asked him questions instead of simply punishing him. Iggy Ewmon 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. Citations are necessary and scientific. The first thing that Romans 1:26-27 says is that God let them be homosexuals. How do you interpret that sentence? 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. Slaves would do well to seek favor with their masters. Consider Joseph in Egypt.As I have said, there were many reasons for slavery, not simply the American-African kind that we're most familiar with and find abhorrent Besides that, Christ was a moral non-conformist in his time, but in a sense, he was a social conformist. Whatever people's social situation, they shouldn't rock the boat directly, but through the goodness of their actions. If you slap someone's cheek, and they turn the other one to you; or if you make someone carry your baggage a mile, and they agree to carry it an extra mile (thus the saying "go the extra mile"), how would you feel? Would you feel like a jerk; would it soften your heart? I would hope so, and so would you. A slave that rebels will confirm his master's idea about slaves being no good as well as bring trouble to himself, but a slave who softens his master's heart can change his master's attitude toward slavery and all his slaves. So, should a slave be selfish, or should he consider others. 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. The Christian Bible is the OT and the NT. All I'm saying is that both apply. You don't know me at all, you don't know what I've experienced, and you repeatedly have taken a lot of liberty with supposedly knowing me. Who I really am may very well shock you. But I know of the mindless drones of which you describe. A few days ago you said that atheists don't have morality. Please link to what you dubiously (and repeatedly) claim. Your repeated failure to give a link is beginning to speak for itself. 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. So, Iggy, for all the world to finally understand you, what do you base your moral decisions on? John Cuthber has already said that he must live with his moral decisions (ie, it feels good), yet this is merely a fundamental facet of any moral decision-making. How many sugars I put in my coffee is not a moral decision; no one loses sleep over such a decision. A judge sentencing someone to death is a moral decision, something that someone can lose sleep over. Moontanman Ewmon I once found127 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?

Having found it on company property, I would have turned it into the office.

SamBridge

Ewmon

If the point is that morals are impossible without religion I completely disagree,

Morals are possible without religion.

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.

Atheists caused plenty of wars, punished gays, etc. Shintoist Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. A Buddhist monk famously immolated himself. So they are as "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.

Morals are certainly possible without religion; I don't recall saying anything differently.

Lightburst

Ewmon

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

Then the American Bill of Rights are invalid?

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.

People cannot make moral decisions without any source of morality (ie, principles), written or otherwise. Recording them tends to make them invariant.

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?

Who is this wife-beating polygamous father that people honor?

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.

I don't know any Christians who do not question or think about their morality; it's what Christians do a lot; by definition, it's what they must do.

Lightburst

Ewmon

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

Then the American Bill of Rights are invalid, having been written after the Constitution was written?

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.

People cannot make moral decisions without any source of morality (ie, principles), written or otherwise. Recording them tends to make them invariant; otherwise they lose their quality of being principles or standards.

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?

Who is this wife-beating polygamous father that people honor?

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.

I don't know any Christians who do not question or think about their morality. Wow, it's what Christians do a lot; and by definition, it's what they must do.

John Cuthber

Ewmon

"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.

I'm sorry, I never meant to strawman. I can't do it now, but I must revisit my last post and correct any instances of it there.

Yes, we all must live with our moral decisions.

"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.

Then I would guess that you probably grew up in a Christian/western society, although other societies have similar principles.

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.

I don't know whether morals or religion occurred first. I'm far from sure as to whether it matters. I mean, what if it was moral for a long-ago people to throw virgins into volcanoes sans religion? Maybe a virgin fell into a smoking volcano that then failed to erupt. Maybe their morality came from a sort of science: Smoking volcano + Virgin = No eruption.

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.

So, if people didn't have any record to reference, their attitudes would be less changeable? I can't agree.

PS — Please cite the OT verse about slavery. As far as I can tell, it wasn't looked favorably upon. Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt was portrayed as wrong, and that was in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, actually ¾ of the way through.Genesis.

Edited by ewmon
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"For example, I am thoroughly against slavery, sex trafficking and capital punishment of anyone. When the Illinois governor abolished death row, it brought me to tears, and I thanked him with an email. Any atheists here do that (even without the tears)?"
so, when a secular government finally decided to ignore the biblical idea that the state should murder its own people- in spite of the Biblical requirement of an eye for an eye etc, you were happy.

Did you realise that you were commending the guy for explicitly following a morality that goes against the Bible?

"Atheists probably have difficulty understanding repentance because they believe in judgment/punishment in the here and now. If your child is truly repentant, would you exact punishment? Apparently atheists would,"

Oh look, a couple more lies about what atheists do.

I remind you that such slurs are against the rules here.

"I don't know whether morals or religion occurred first. I'm far from sure as to whether it matters."

You don't understand cause and effect?

Whichever happened first (and it's probabaly morality) can not have been caused by the one that came afterwards (probably religion).

So it's clear that religion didn't give us a sense (or the details) of morality.

Far from it, our morals require us to ignore the teachings of the Bible.

"Maybe their morality came from a sort of science: Smoking volcano + Virgin = No eruption. "

Do you think this passes the "do unto others..." test? What if the virgin concerned was you?

And, if it were "some sort of science" then they really ought to have checked that it worked by no throwing people in (not to mention noting the eruptions even when they did.

That's one of the differences between science and religion.

If they threw a virgin in next time and the volcano erupted anyway, then science would accept that OK that didn't work.

The religion would say " we didn't throw in enough virgins (or he wasn't one) because we know that the 'virgins+ volcanoes' bit is correct because it's written down in a Holy book".

What, again?

OK I will copy and paste it from where I wrote it yesterday

"Leviticus 25:44

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

" As far as I can tell, it wasn't looked favorably upon."

What, you think "you may buy slaves" isn't looking favourably on the slave trade.

Never mind not reading the Bible,you didn't read what I wrote, did you?

"Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt was portrayed as wrong, and that was in Genesis,"

Nope, his sale into slavery was portrayed as part of God's plan that he would end up in a position of power advising the Pharaoh.

" the first book of the Bible, actually ¾ of the way through.Genesis."

I know.

Not only may the devil quote scripture, he might have played the Pharaoh in a school production of Joseph and the amazing technincolour dream coat.

"It's all there in chapter 39 of Genesis"

from

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Iggy

Everyone who has yet spoken to you has amply demonstrated their ability to speak on that subject far more intelligibly than you. Those are called the beatitudes. Read about them in the secular world. Gain about 20 years more education, then get back to me.

That's the Christian-based secular world. People of other cultures/moralities can act far differently than westerners.

Christians in other cultures act different from you. Christians in the second century acted far different from you. You don't have a point.

You don't have one (ie, an invariant source of moral code). What part of those four words don't you understand?

The Bible is an invariant source, although interpretation may change slightly over the years.

You can't hide behind "slightly different interpretations". There is only one way to interpret things like "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live". Either you favor burning witches at the stake or you do not have an invariant source of morality in the bible. There is no wiggle room.

Are you claiming that atheists have an invariant source of moral code, and thus, are better? They don't have anything close to an Atheist Manifesto or an Atheist Mission Statement. People here have yet to show me any source of morality by atheist except for the trivial "living with it" (which means, "makes me feel good")... Just because you're claiming that Christian morality is wrong doesn't make atheist morality right.

You are wrong primarily three ways.

1) No one has suggested that atheists have an invariant source of morality. They do not. No group of people (no culture, no religion, no society, no country) has ever had such a thing.

2) An invariant source of morality wouldn't make a group of people 'better'. It is only fit for a people's moral attitude to improve as people learn more and become more civilized.

3) There is no such thing as "atheist morality" because it is a nonsense idea. Atheism means that you don't believe in god. That has absolutely nothing to do with morality. An atheist could be a sadistic killer or a kind and empathetic advocate for truth and justice. Atheism is not an ideology like Christianity is so it simply isn't related to morality the way christianity is.

It's like asking "what is the morality of left handed people"? Being left handed has nothing to do with morality so it is a nonsense question.

It must be awesome to live without a moral code that you or others can bash you with.

I'm a humanist. What the hell do you know about my moral code?

Thinking that an atheist doesn't have a moral code is like thinking a helicopter doesn't fly because it doesn't have wings. You have to know next to nothing about the topic to think it.

How do you know that you've acted morally

You can't imagine how evident it is from an outside perspective... how thoroughly you've been lied to and how completely you've been fooled. It is good that you're here on this forum. You really need to get out and meet some people who are different from you. Acquaint yourself with the family life of a Buddhist or a secular Jewish person. The world outside the box you've made for yourself is very different from the way you imagine it.

Iggy

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.

Citations are necessary and scientific.

What does that mean? I gave the verse.

The first thing that Romans 1:26-27 says is that God let them be homosexuals. How do you interpret that sentence?

The same way I interpret "the Lord hardened the heart of the Pharaoh". It means that your God occasionally abandons people then pours liquid fire on them because that's what genocidal dictators tend to do.

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.

Slaves would do well to seek favor with their masters.

No, that's morally disgusting. Slaves should resist their masters. Evil should be resisted.

If you slap someone's cheek, and they turn the other one to you; or if you make someone carry your baggage a mile, and they agree to carry it an extra mile (thus the saying "go the extra mile"), how would you feel? Would you feel like a jerk; would it soften your heart? I would hope so, and so would you. A slave that rebels will confirm his master's idea about slaves being no good as well as bring trouble to himself, but a slave who softens his master's heart can change his master's attitude toward slavery and all his slaves. So, should a slave be selfish, or should he consider others.

Really? Submitting to be whipped will make the slave master feel like a jerk and trying to be a good slave will make the master reconsider the arrangement? You wonder what is wrong with your moral code. Wow!

A few days ago you said that atheists don't have morality.

I quoted you exactly. I don't see any links to my posts when you quote me.

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."

If you want to know where you said it then I welcome you to go back and look at your old posts. It is a claim that you continue to repeat so there would hardly be a point.

So, Iggy, for all the world to finally understand you, what do you base your moral decisions on?

Innate morality, secular humanism, culture and family, logic, philosophy, experience, and education.

From an emotional standpoint I try to base moral decisions on empathy and solidarity, but I sometimes fail when anger and divisiveness get the better of me.

I dare say those are the things you base your moral decisions on as well, but your recognition of that fact has been hijacked. Your dignity and self respect should not so easily surrender something that is innately yours -- your knowledge of right and wrong.
Edited by Iggy
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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

Then the American Bill of Rights are invalid, having been written after the Constitution was written?

It is, if we actually follow your, and I think every christian I know's, arbitrary reasoning on why the new testament trumps old testament teachings. Although your reasons might be different from every christian I know, to be fair. Let's hear it, I guess. Preferably verses from jesus specifically saying that the old testament is to be ignored in favor of new testament, jesus', teachings. I'd even dare say, given my brushing knowledge of the bible and a few years of church, that jesus thinks well of the old testament.

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.

People cannot make moral decisions without any source of morality (ie, principles), written or otherwise. Recording them tends to make them invariant; otherwise they lose their quality of being principles or standards.

There are several sources of morality. I consider myself as a utilitarian socialist, yet relativist, for one, and so I apply myself according to those principles I believe to be the right way to live by. If a better idea comes up which I consider to be a better set of ethics and principles, then I would then live by that. That being said, I do not particularly read heavy about the ideas I claim to abide by and then follow them as they are written because I can think for myself.

Writing them down doesn't *add* any value; it doesn't make you any more moral nor does it make your morality better. Of course everyone justifies moral decisions from somewhere/something, be it primal instinct, society they grew up on, the bible, or even from experience. Just because it's not written in a book(or somewhere) means it means less? You are more likely to go for another set of beliefs in your favor? Religious people do that all the time, those that abide by some book. Just look at the number of sub-religions on every religion like the catholic church, born-agains, mormons, orthodox, jewish, etc. Hell, some even bother setting up sex cults in the name of jesus.

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?

Who is this wife-beating polygamous father that people honor?

If we actually did brainlessly follow your 'invariant source of morality'. The fact that you would not honor a wife beating polygamous father is proof that you do nitpick and disproves your point about consistent morality via an invariant source of morality. Unless we're not on the same page, I was talking about the 10 commandments. Or maybe it's just a coincidence that you do follow the other 9 commands, and not specifically.

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.

I don't know any Christians who do not question or think about their morality. Wow, it's what Christians do a lot; and by definition, it's what they must do.

Then that totally defeats the purpose of having an invariant source of morality given that you can nitpick, or should I say *question*, what is told and expected of you.
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