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EdEarl

You don't need religion to have morals.

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John Cuthber, on 11 Feb 2014 - 06:42 AM, said:snapback.png

All you have done is said that my comments refer to an older religion than, for example, Christianity or Judaism.

So what?

 

 

 

 

I was questioning what your source was for the statement:

 

 

 

It seems morality was doing OK until religion came along.

 

Since religion is a part of the earliest recorded history, how do you know how morality was doing before that earliest recorded history?

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Since religion is a part of the earliest recorded history, how do you know how morality was doing before that earliest recorded history?

Three things, if we didn't cooperate we would die out. we didn't die so we must have cooperated

Our innate morals

Our evolutionary ancestors' morals.

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You don't ask for much:) I'll provide a link to Morals in Wikipedia, which has more to say than I is reasonable for a response in this forum, plus Wikipedia lists 69 references to books and articles. In addition, here is one dictionary.reference.com definition: "of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes."

 

Ok, well I can see the religious argument for morals:

 

Deity created man

Man is therefore subject to deity

Deity dictates morals

 

How is that structure implemented without religion or are you saying something, more along the lines of:

 

Each man must chose their own morals

No one man's morals are above another's

Everybody should just do as they please

Three things, if we didn't cooperate we would die out. we didn't die so we must have cooperated

Our innate morals

Our evolutionary ancestors' morals.

 

So you're just assuming that religion wasn't a part of society at some stage and then positing that people still had morals because they didn't die?

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Ok, well I can see the religious argument for morals:

 

Deity created man

Man is therefore subject to deity

Deity dictates morals

Do you believe that God dictates morals to people; in other words, we do not have a free will, and our moral compass is unerringly set by God?

 

Or, do you believe we have a free will, and that we choose our moral compass, because God does not interfere with our free will; God only asks us to follow a set of morals?

 

If you believe in the free will idea, then God can never interfere with anything we do, ever, including never answer a prayer; otherwise, we don't have free will. Since everything we learn can affect our decisions, any message from God would screw with our free will. For example, God says do not kill. That moral affects what we do; thus, if God gives us a free will, God cannot establish our moral code.

 

If we have free will and God tells us something, then we are just as likely to ignore the message as act on it--the same as if God didn't tell us anything. Otherwise, God hasn't given us a free will.

 

It doesn't appear that God establishes our morals and we cannot disobey, and it seems illogical that God gives us free will and gives us a set of morals, because that action contradicts free will. I am confused, unless I believe man has a free will and establishes his own morals.

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​OK, how come religion keeps getting morality utterly wrong (in the ways I have already pointed out)?

 

By what standard is it utterly wrong?

 

Do you believe that God dictates morals to people; in other words, we do not have a free will, and our moral compass is unerringly set by God?

 

Or, do you believe we have a free will, and that we choose our moral compass, because God does not interfere with our free will; God only asks us to follow a set of morals?

 

If you believe in the free will idea, then God can never interfere with anything we do, ever, including never answer a prayer; otherwise, we don't have free will. Since everything we learn can affect our decisions, any message from God would screw with our free will. For example, God says do not kill. That moral affects what we do; thus, if God gives us a free will, God cannot establish our moral code.

 

If we have free will and God tells us something, then we are just as likely to ignore the message as act on it--the same as if God didn't tell us anything. Otherwise, God hasn't given us a free will.

 

It doesn't appear that God establishes our morals and we cannot disobey, and it seems illogical that God gives us free will and gives us a set of morals, because that action contradicts free will. I am confused, unless I believe man has a free will and establishes his own morals.

 

How does defining a moral code but allowing people to go against it not free will?

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By what standard is it utterly wrong?

 

 

How does defining a moral code but allowing people to go against it not free will?

If God says, "Do not kill, or you will go to Hell," then your decisions are affected, always, your free will is changed by that edict. You will no longer do the same things you would have done if you had not gotten that message.

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Do you believe that God dictates morals to people; in other words, we do not have a free will, and our moral compass is unerringly set by God?

 

Or, do you believe we have a free will, and that we choose our moral compass, because God does not interfere with our free will; God only asks us to follow a set of morals?

 

If you believe in the free will idea, then God can never interfere with anything we do, ever, including never answer a prayer; otherwise, we don't have free will. Since everything we learn can affect our decisions, any message from God would screw with our free will. For example, God says do not kill. That moral affects what we do; thus, if God gives us a free will, God cannot establish our moral code.

 

If we have free will and God tells us something, then we are just as likely to ignore the message as act on it--the same as if God didn't tell us anything. Otherwise, God hasn't given us a free will.

 

It doesn't appear that God establishes our morals and we cannot disobey, and it seems illogical that God gives us free will and gives us a set of morals, because that action contradicts free will. I am confused, unless I believe man has a free will and establishes his own morals.

 

I agree that there remains an existential decision with the individual to chose what is or isn't right regardless of religious position, but their religious position then dictates what those choices ought to be. Morals are about what someone ought to do.

 

I don't see much point in debating free will, if I was pushed for an answer I would say we ultimately don't have free will mostly because I can't imagine how such a thing would occur, but that argument is based on beginnings, while this is concerned with where we are regardless of such beginnings.

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You still have the ultimate choice

You may still have a choice, but you will feel differently about the choice, whether you kill or not. Your will has been affected; thus, you do not have a free will. You might say, I can exercise my free will if I disobey God, but maybe your free will would do what God wants, so you can't know one way or the other, whether you are exercising free will.

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Well theoretically one could have the ultimate choice. No-one can ever know if they are truly exercising free will about anything. I don't believe it's possible to know for certain one way or the other.

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I don't see much point in debating free will, if I was pushed for an answer I would say we ultimately don't have free will mostly because I can't imagine how such a thing would occur, but that argument is based on beginnings, while this is concerned with where we are regardless of such beginnings.

An example of freewill, in my opinion, is choosing to act, through cognition alone, contrary to strong instinctive influences e.g. " I really really want to sleep with that man/woman but I won't because I don't want hurt their partner"

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" I really really want to sleep with that man/woman but I won't because I don't want hurt their partner"

 

If you wait till the partner is finished, he won't get hurt, Mr Impatient. biggrin.png

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John Cuthber,

 

You say religion keeps getting morality utterly wrong, but that is a gross generalization condeming all religion by using the basic tenants of most religions as your standard, and cherry picking this or that religious war, or this or that slavery/master situation as wrong.

 

Let's say for instance that I am a white male heterosexual, raised as a Christian in the U.S. (I am actually, so I can myself imagine the situation pretty well). My standards of right and wrong behavior come from what I learned in church, what my parents taught me, what I learned in school, and what I learned about human interaction from all the human interactions I have had over the past 60 years, plus the law of the land, and the rules and codes posted by the different organisations that I have been a member of during the last 60 years (family, school, church, clubs, army, companies and corporations, and last but not least, the rules of this forum). For me, it is not so immoral that a white male heterosexual Christian should be in charge of something, especially if its me that would appreciate a little control and have my judgement of a situation respected. Some "power" comes into play in human interaction, in a natural type of way, where one's will is done at the expense of another's will, most of the time, and the "best" behavior is the behavior that satisfies the individual, while either helping or at least not interferring with the goals and desires and will of everybody else.

 

Now do you really think I have come to this understanding of "best" behavior, without the influence of religion on my thinking, and the experience of human interaction that "works" by following certain common understandings, many of them with roots in the Bible?

 

But, now let's say I have also determined in my lifetime that it is "better" to be heterosexual, than homosexual. Have I commited an immoral act, by feeling uncomfortable showering naked next to a man that I knew was homosexual? Am I "allowed" by your standards of morality to feel there is something "wrong" with the guy?

 

If morality comes naturally, and I naturally feel uncomfortable with a man sticking his penis into another man's annal cavity, am I immoral or moral to feel that way, and are my feelings based on religous beliefs or on my natural human moral compass? Bearing in mind that I have been an atheist since my late teens.

 

Regards, TAR2

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John Cuthber,

 

You say religion keeps getting morality utterly wrong, but that is a gross generalization condeming all religion by using the basic tenants of most religions as your standard, and cherry picking this or that religious war, or this or that slavery/master situation as wrong.

Although you are responding to John, I'm going to put in my two cents of reply.

 

I too am a white heterosexual, who was reared in a Christian church, and don't like to think about what homosexuals do in private, but it is none of my business. Since my mid teens I have questioned the value of religion, and now believe igtheism makes the most sense. I came to that belief because of flaws I discovered in the Christian belief system. Foremost, is one that my familial religion (fundamentalist baptist) preaches that divorce is a sin; one shared with Catholics and some other religions. In general, I believe a long term heterosexual relationship is a good thing; however, not always. My mother was poor at choosing a mate. My father was an alcoholic, and she left him shortly after I was born (oops, she committed a sin). My first step father was abusive to me, and my mother stayed with him several years after he physically beat me, a three year old. Later she said she consulted with the preacher and he recommended staying married and trying to work things out...while I was abused.

 

A problem with Christianity is that the commandments and other rules are taken as inviolate...the word of God. Religions teach faith, rather than reason so their members will not question their God. Therein lies a fatal flaw that leads members to making poor, sometimes catastrophic mistakes. For example, Ms. Pearly Christian sees a man who is about to push the button on an atom bomb that will blow up a major city, she can kill him, save the people, and spend eternity in Hell, or ignore him and continue walking to church. Does she rationalize, "No one is crazy enough to push the button. God must be testing me. I wonder?"

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Ed Earl,

 

Well yes, the problem with religion is the reliance on an irrational, impossible "reason" to be good (that god will either strike you down, or bar you from heaven and send you to hell if you aren't). Or if you want to take some Eastern religions, there is the irrational, impossible progression of a clear and distinct, individual soul, making its way through a carnate/incarnate progression, whose main goal, or way of being "good" is to deny desire and "lose" the self, and become aware of a merging of the gross world and the subtle world and the mental world and thusly obtain a god state, where your goal is reached, and you become like, or rejoin the "master's" soul, and then do not have to go through being in a body anymore.

 

The flaw in the both, is that this reality, and the actual individual consciousness is denied, for the promise of something "better" if you are "good". And in both or perhaps all religious considerations, there is this master/slave relationship between the universe and the individual, and it is better to be on the master's side, then go against him/her/it. This general rule happens to be actually reasonable and apparent, that one should not or can not fool mother nature, and the universe does rather overpower a mortal soul, and even at the level of society, the good of the many outweighs the good of the few, so the general metaphors of religion are apparent and real, but the actual prescriptions and "reasons" given for being good are impossible and deny the self.

 

In this the promoters of religion somehow usurp the power of the universe, call it their own, and use this as a "reason" for others to become their subjects. This use of religion to become the master of another is the "thing" that us ignostics find immoral about religion. And it is from this vantage point that we can feel moral in the absence of religion, and consider we already know we are subject to the universe, without requiring any intermediate masters.

 

But religion itself, is not the problem in this construct of mine, it is rather something we already embrace and already understand, on the metaphoric level, where it has reason and reality. There is already "good" to do, And good has already been done, before we were born, and will continue to be done after we die.

 

So it is not a matter of having morality without religion, but having religion without mastery.

 

Regards, TAR

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John Cuthber, on 12 Feb 2014 - 09:27 AM, said:snapback.png

Three things, if we didn't cooperate we would die out. we didn't die so we must have cooperated

Our innate morals

Our evolutionary ancestors' morals.

So you're just assuming that religion wasn't a part of society at some stage and then positing that people still had morals because they didn't die?

Obviously, not

If I was just assuming it was to do with our survival I wouldn't have mentioned the other reasons.

Are you somehow unable to count to three or something?

 

Pears,

Are you saying that religion got it right when telling you where to get your slaves from?

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Pears,

Are you saying that religion got it right when telling you where to get your slaves from?

 

No I'm asking you by what standard religion gets it utterly wrong. It sounds like an appeal to a universal. Is it?

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I don't see any sensible doubt about the wrongness of slavery.

Even by the standards of most religions, it's wrong.

Have a look at what I wrote in post 25.

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Obviously, not

If I was just assuming it was to do with our survival I wouldn't have mentioned the other reasons.

Are you somehow unable to count to three or something?

 

 

 

What exactly are innate and evolutionary ancestors' morals?

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John Cuthber,

 

But slavery is not a completely objective truth.

 

I was thinking a few months ago about how most of us are actually willing slaves.

 

Looking at the history of America, we had outright slaves on the plantations, then somewhat slaves in the coal mines and iron works, with the company stores that commanded the wages of the worker, and now most of us are still obligated to the bank, through our mortgages and credit cards. And even those of us, not in debt, need to work a forty hour week to pay the electric and fuel and insurance and food and cable bills. (and taxes).

 

In this, the subjects of any intermidiate master, are somewhat willing subjects, and therefore not slaves. Depending on your subjective definition of such.

 

There would be an argument, based on the homosexuality of the greeks, that the "giver" was the master, and the "taker" was the slave. Dominance and recessivity takes two parties, and the dynamics are complicated when you talk about groups where many are subject to one, or one is subject to many. Or where you can find examples, in any individual's situation, of where they are the master and where they are the slave, and where there is willingness, or unwillingness, agreement or revolt.

 

In regards to religion, as a set of moral standards, it seems somewhat good to be subject to the standards themselves and not anybody in particular. That this can be metaphorically considered as having God as your judge, does not require that God is anybody in particular.

 

Regards, TAR

Edited by tar

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I don't see any sensible doubt about the wrongness of slavery.

Even by the standards of most religions, it's wrong.

Have a look at what I wrote in post 25.

 

So it's wrong by an absolute and universal standard of morality that is not subjective, and is therefore external to humanity?

Edited by pears

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John Cuthber,

 

But slavery is not a completely objective truth.

 

I was thinking a few months ago about how most of us are actually willing slaves.

 

OK, I own you, I'm tired of feeding you. I kill you.

happy?

Or do you think slavery means something else?

I'm a wage-slave, but that's just a rhetorical term.

 

So it's wrong by an absolute and universal standard of morality that is not subjective, and is therefore external to humanity?

It's wrong, even within it's own frame of reference.

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OK, I own you, I'm tired of feeding you. I kill you.

happy?

Or do you think slavery means something else?

 

John Cuthber;

 

I think maybe you are confusing two issues. Slavery, in and of itself, was not originally such a bad thing, and may have been the best choice in some situations. Consider two villages that were at war; when one village is defeated, it may no longer have the ability to provide for its people. So what do the winners do? They can leave the people to starve, kill them off, or bring them home. If they decide to bring them home, they can not allow the defeated people to have any authority or status because the defeated people would be dangerous. There would be too much bad feeling and anger left over from the war. Eventually, most of these "slaves" would gradually incorporate into the new society, so that in a few generations, no one would really care who was the ancestor of a slave and who was not. This is how it worked in many tribal societies.

 

But once you incorporate racism, everything changes -- then true evil can result from slavery. So I do not see the problem as "slavery", I see it as "racism". There are some religions that support racism, and they are evil; there are some religions that do not support racism.

 

My Great Grandmother came over from Ireland as an indentured servant right after the Great Potato Famine. She brought her younger sister and was indentured to a shopkeeper for seven years for their passage. She was in her late teens and caught the eye of a wealthy farmer, who was a widower with eight children. He paid off her indenture, married her, and she gave him 12 more children. So one could say that she just changed masters and was a slave all of her life, or one could say that she was lucky found love and lived happily ever after -- it just depends on how you tell the story.

 

But one thing is clear to me; if she were black, he would never have married her, her children would have been bastards, and they would never have gone to college.

 

G

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John Cuthber,

 

I worked for a company for 24 and they no longer required my services and laid me off, killed me, said I was done. I was an "at will" employee to them, but I was reliant on the salary to live. There is a slavery component in there somewhere. More than rhetorical. Much more than rhetorical. I interviewed and was hired back, by the same company 4 months later, in an other department, and am again "subject" to their whims and am required to "take care of" the paying customer. If I were to step out of line, I would be "killed" (rhetorically?).

 

Gees,

 

If initially its "alright" to treat non-tribe members in a sub-tribe manner, then racism is not without reason, and therefore no more immoral than slavery.

 

Regards, TAR

I went to mass with a girlfriend I had in the Army, I was not Catholic, did not know when to kneel or stand, or when to repeat what the priest said, or when to say lines that everybody else knew. I was not allowed to take communion (not that I wanted to). What was moral and proper was known to the congregation, but not to me, an outsider. I think to some extent, this is how people operate, and there are Americans, and aliens, or Ukranians and others, or people from a certain district of India and people that are not. Language, or religion, club membership or being part of a company or having a certain political affiliation, can cause insiders and outsiders. Therefore treating outsiders differently than insiders would more or less have to be expected of everybody, and therefore could not be an immoral act, on a universal morality scale.

 

Regards, TAR

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