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EdEarl

You don't need religion to have morals.

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Mooeypoo,

 

"I don't think there's a judge at all, and I believe morality is not fixed; it evolves with time and changes with different societies, as we can see all over the world. That said, this fits the idea that morality can exist outside of religion, which is what this thread is about.

We seem to be in agreement here, unless I'm missing something."

 

We are in agreement on many things. But the "idea" of a judge is what I beleive allows us to have morals.

You say there is not "a" judge, which I agree with in some regards but not others. The concept of unity is not only singularity, and singularity is not only unity. There is not "a" specific judge, but there are judges. We each individually have human judgement. I know it, I count on it and have a theory of mind that places something similar to my human judgement in the minds of other humans, that have the same basic arrangement of senses and brain as I do (genes), and the same basic "outside" history of stories and ledgends, rules of behavior, history of ideas, wars, religions, political establishments and technological advances (the real world). What I judge to be correct behavior under the circumstances, is liable to coincide somewhat with what another human considers correct behavior. We have ideas and laws and religion to be our judge. Ideas that trancend any particular judge, or group of judges.

 

You say that morality changes, which it obviously does. That would indicate to me that one can not say "I have morality" as if you are endowed with such at birth, before you learned anything about it. The judge is required. We as atheists and scientists have already determined that we seem to do all the things we do without any particular sky faries being either evident or logically required. We see a lot of pain and evil and wrong being done in the name of one religion or another so figure it best to do without it. Christopher Hitchins made quite a point of it, and relegated religion to the force that messed everything up. What I am considering here, is that both religion and morals are related to how we judge ourselves and others, and there is a good side to religion that has given us the ability to know when things are messed up.

 

Thus my hypothesis that one can be moral without religion, but that one cannot have a judge, an unseen other that would be pleased with certain behavior and displeased with other behavior, without the real world having something to do with being that judge. John Cuthber is here, without religion, and constitutes in reality one of the judges that judge my behavior and intent. His judgement matters to me, I am responsible for crafting a plan of behavior and intent that would please him, and not annoy him, based upon what my theory of the mind of John Cuthber would consider his "better" judgement.

 

My "better" judgement of a situation is partially reliant on satisfying the "better" judgement of unseen others. This is "a" judge. An external judge, that I have internalized.

 

You say there is not a judge. But it is not true to say this, in the sense that I am here to judge the veracity of your statement, as John Cuthber is here to call any statement of mine into question. We judge each other, since we all have human judgement, and when we judge based on common stories and lessons, principles and codes, we have the good part of religion.

 

In this, my stance on this thread is not that Forufes is correct and religion is all good, or that Hitchens is correct and religion is all bad, but that we got our morals from religion, regardless of which particular god we chose to be our personal god, or which particular god of others we find insufficient to be considered the "final" judge.

 

I know I got my morals from my parents and my schooling, and my reading about the ideas of philosophers and prophets, as well as from my own muses and insights, logical determinations and epiphanies, about the world around me. And this proceedure, that endowed morals in me was not devoid of religion. In fact it was steeped in it.

 

So I am arguing you can be moral without being religious, or believing in God, which is perfectly possible in the case of John Cuthber, and in the case of TAR, but you cannot be moral without considering a transcendent judge that exists that would be pleased or annoyed at your behavior and intent. Moral people act "as if" their actions and intent are being judged by an outside party. And this "idea" comes from religion. Whether you have a particular religion or not.

 

Or so, my argument and hypothesis goes.

 

Regards, TAR2

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Mooeypoo,

 

"I don't think there's a judge at all, and I believe morality is not fixed; it evolves with time and changes with different societies, as we can see all over the world. That said, this fits the idea that morality can exist outside of religion, which is what this thread is about.

 

We seem to be in agreement here, unless I'm missing something."

 

We are in agreement on many things. But the "idea" of a judge is what I beleive allows us to have morals.

 

You should read Hobbes :)

 

I understand what you're saying, but I disagree. I don't believe in a power that judges our actions, and yet, I am moral. Not only that, I care about discussing morality and ethics so we can continue to evolve them to fit our societies as they, too, evolve. I (and according to Cuthber's repeated statements, him as well) am the example of where this statement is wrong.

 

I don't believe in a judge, and have moral == therefore you don't *have* to have a judge to have morals.

 

Unless, of course, you don't believe I'm moral... ;)

 

You say there is not "a" judge, which I agree with in some regards but not others. The concept of unity is not only singularity, and singularity is not only unity. There is not "a" specific judge, but there are judges. We each individually have human judgement.

No offense, bu that's a bit of a cop out, isn't it?

 

If the judge is human judgment, then judging by the fact we each *clearly* have different judgments (hence the arguments and discussions) and we can't really pinpoint who's absolutely right and who's absolutely wrong, we can't have a way to figure an authority of judgment. Whether it is within us or not, it seems to be either social (out of cooperative attempt to construct a social contract and keep discussing it) or personal.

 

So I am not sure I see how we require a judge.

 

I know it, I count on it and have a theory of mind that places something similar to my human judgement in the minds of other humans, that have the same basic arrangement of senses and brain as I do (genes), and the same basic "outside" history of stories and ledgends, rules of behavior, history of ideas, wars, religions, political establishments and technological advances (the real world). What I judge to be correct behavior under the circumstances, is liable to coincide somewhat with what another human considers correct behavior. We have ideas and laws and religion to be our judge. Ideas that trancend any particular judge, or group of judges.

I'm a bit confused about what you mean here. Can you clarify?

 

You say that morality changes, which it obviously does. That would indicate to me that one can not say "I have morality" as if you are endowed with such at birth, before you learned anything about it. The judge is required. We as atheists and scientists have already determined that we seem to do all the things we do without any particular sky faries being either evident or logically required. We see a lot of pain and evil and wrong being done in the name of one religion or another so figure it best to do without it. Christopher Hitchins made quite a point of it, and relegated religion to the force that messed everything up. What I am considering here, is that both religion and morals are related to how we judge ourselves and others, and there is a good side to religion that has given us the ability to know when things are messed up.

Well, I think saying "I have morality" or "I am a moral person" suggests (or, at least, I hope it does) that you care to (constantly) evaluate your moral beliefs to continue being moral within the confines of society you belong to. I don't find morals as something external to us, so "having morals" is not really something you have in the literal sense.

 

I love reading Hitchens, but he's too radical for my taste. I think he has a point in that organized religions messed things up, but he also has a tendency to conflate it as well as expand it to include all people of faith, which I disagree with. In any case, I don't think religion is evil, I think there are problems with organized religion, it cannot be said to be totally moral, *And* I think that morals that are imposed on us by an external authority (any external authority) are not morals at all. This relates to my earlier comment about "having morality" being something you consider, debate, discuss, and consider.

 

People who have morals imposed on them do the opposite, and I think that goes completely against being a moral person. *THAT* is my problem with Religions; but it isn't true to all religious people, so I try not to generalize the two. (Does this make sense?)

 

 

Thus my hypothesis that one can be moral without religion, but that one cannot have a judge, an unseen other that would be pleased with certain behavior and displeased with other behavior, without the real world having something to do with being that judge. John Cuthber is here, without religion, and constitutes in reality one of the judges that judge my behavior and intent. His judgement matters to me, I am responsible for crafting a plan of behavior and intent that would please him, and not annoy him, based upon what my theory of the mind of John Cuthber would consider his "better" judgement.

Okay. But again, we seem to differ on whether we need a judge or not. You should really read Hobbes, if you haven't already. I also wrote a paper in my undergrad years, showing how even Hobbes the "coward" (he insisted people must have an absolute sovereign to make sure they remain moral to one another, otherwise they revert to their state of "nature" where they only live for their own reasons) -- but even he went *against* the statements that religions "knows best" about morality, and said the best morals come from rational thinking.

 

 

My "better" judgement of a situation is partially reliant on satisfying the "better" judgement of unseen others. This is "a" judge. An external judge, that I have internalized.

Yes, my problem is that I don't see how this is ever external, except to say that we as a society must decide on a common social contract?

 

You say there is not a judge. But it is not true to say this, in the sense that I am here to judge the veracity of your statement, as John Cuthber is here to call any statement of mine into question. We judge each other, since we all have human judgement, and when we judge based on common stories and lessons, principles and codes, we have the good part of religion.

Wouldn't that mean there are many judges? If so, who's right? Isn't the whole point of having "a judge" is that you have an authority? If you have endless judges, there's no real authority, and so what difference does it make?

 

In this, my stance on this thread is not that Forufes is correct and religion is all good, or that Hitchens is correct and religion is all bad, but that we got our morals from religion, regardless of which particular god we chose to be our personal god, or which particular god of others we find insufficient to be considered the "final" judge.

If we're talking historically, then you're mostly right (we can quibble over where the morals in religion came from themselves, since they're absolutely not detached from the reality they were written in) -- but that's it; historically. Considering the fact religion(s) rules the ancient world, we can say we got everything from religion.

 

And yet, if we take a closer look, there's a whole list of things we got *despite* of religion.

 

Religion isn't all bad and isn't all good. It *is*; it was, it's a fact of life that the world had it. I'm not sure it's that simple, however, to say that morality came from religion. If you want, we can start a new thread about analyzing the specific moral statements made in the old testament (since I studied them) and I can explain what I mean. Otherwise, I'll move on, since that's off topic to this thread.

 

I know I got my morals from my parents and my schooling, and my reading about the ideas of philosophers and prophets, as well as from my own muses and insights, logical determinations and epiphanies, about the world around me. And this proceedure, that endowed morals in me was not devoid of religion. In fact it was steeped in it.

 

So I am arguing you can be moral without being religious, or believing in God, which is perfectly possible in the case of John Cuthber, and in the case of TAR, but you cannot be moral without considering a transcendent judge that exists that would be pleased or annoyed at your behavior and intent. Moral people act "as if" their actions and intent are being judged by an outside party. And this "idea" comes from religion. Whether you have a particular religion or not.

And in the case of me.

 

I think I more or less understand what you mean in this case, at least. So, I act moral not because I am worried of some external judge who will punish me in hell, but because I am worried of my own judgment, which is also a judge (did I get this right?)

 

If that's the case, then my earlier problems still stand -- in a social environment, morals have to somehow work together. We can't all be completely individualistic. So... what makes morals morals if judgment is completely individual?

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Mooeypoo,

 

One of the books on my shelf has Hobbes in the title. I don't remember any specifics since I read it long ago in the 70s, but I know I read it cause it was assigned to me in a Philosophy course and papers and exams were based on understanding the ideas and logic he proposed, and I passed the course and have been in communication and had discussions with the professor, since, so I think Hobbes might already be intergrated into my thinking. I am in general, rather convinced that everybodies thinking, everybody that I have read, and talked to, heard on the radio and tv, and learned about through their actions, is somewhat integrated in my thinking. It could be argued that that is what my thinking consists of, an integration of all the sense input I have had during my life, all the experience of the world that I have internalized, to build a model of it, within my skull.

 

In this, one does not come to an idea by themselves. It takes a world to model, to have a model of it in ones skull.

 

One cannot divorce themself from the world, and consider their ideas are self generated and self sustainable. Well, one can, but then one flies jets of people into the World Trade in response to a thought that exists in their head which has nothing to do with the real world. Here we are in agreement, that using your self generated judge, and projecting him onto the world, as your authority, is false, and results in evil behavior in the eyes of every body else, that does not go by the same, made up, non-existing judge.

 

Personally, I hate the ideas and the people that took down my World Trade center, but this goes against my Christian values of loving ones neighbor, and not judging them, so I have a dillema.....

 

(am 15 minutes behind schedule...have to go take a shower to go to work... to be continued)

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Later...so my solution to the dilema was to consider it OK to have enemies if their thoughts, intentions and behavior made you an enemy to them. Still OK to attempt to convince them they are wrong about you, and about the world, but the lines being thusly drawn, and in the absence of an ultimate judge, and with only the judgement of yourself, your familiy, your friends and workmates and other team members, and city, county, state, and national fellow citizens, along with other like minded indivuals that might hold similar philosophies to yours located around the world, to go on, the judgement of others, when taken together, amounts to a real judge, with real existence in the world, that one can internalize and hold as a conscience, to go by. Moral peer review if you will.

 

In the absence of the God of the Bible as a real entity, the idea of the God of the Bible, can be commonly held, without the requirement of there actually being God, Devil, heaven and hell. The idea gets the job done, without the actuality. Which makes the idea a real thing with real holders of it, and real behaviors based upon it, and real agreements and common beliefs held, with the idea of God, in the sense of there being an ultimate judge to which you are responsible, being a souce for people to believe that everyone has a God given right, to freedom, the pursuit of happiness, and justice. Without such an ideal, the term "human rights" would have no basis in the real world, that one could build up to from quarks and crystals and chemicals and neural nerve arrangements without the emergence of language, stories, rules of behavior passed from generation to generation, and yes, without religions that came up with the idea of there being a master soul, a heavenly father, creator, sustainer and judge.

 

There is no evidence that such a master soul exists in the real world. Most everybody knows this by now. The idea has been relegated to "another plane of existence", a fellow that is outside this universe, etheral and not physical, or residing on another planet, or consisting of pure thought and spirit and no measurable material or energy. God is no longer considered to drive the chariot of the Sun, or live on a mountain top, or in the clouds. We have not found such a fellow in any of those places, but continue to, in my estimation, hold on to the idea. Not that it IS true, but "as if" it is true. And use each other, as real world examples of judges that will care about our behavior and intent, find it moral or immoral, and remember our behavior and intent long after we are dead and gone.

 

If the idea of a spirit or judge that still exists as something that trancends death was not evident to you and to me we would neither care what Hitchens would think about us, or think it would make any difference to him. We would not continue to debate his ideas, if they only existed in his brain, because his brain is no longer functioning. So they must now exist in ours, and on the pages of his books, symbolized with the characters and words and grammar of the languages they have been translated into. If we live with reverence toward our ancestors, or with reverence toward Plato or Aristotle or Moses or Jesus or Mohammed, Hobbes or Einstein, Newton or Gallileo, Freud or Joan of Arch, or just our departed Grand Father, or Aunt Sally who was a good person and whose judgement we respected and whose will we would have done, and who we still wish to please and not make turn over in their graves, we must be holding a moral model of an abstract, non material, non-scientifically-existent kind.

 

John Cuthber believes he can cobble together this ideal from genes and logic and chemicals alone, with no religion required before or around him.

 

I don't believe he has a way to get to morals, without the emergence of symbols, and speach, stories and religion. They are part of our history, part of the fabric of our societies, laws and norms of behavior. Religion is institutionalized and has real gathering places still of "common believers". It is a real component of our reality, and saying we can be moral without it is a baseless assertion. And saying that when we see moral behavior in animals and babies that have no religion, that it is proof that morals can be had, without religion, is analogous to me considering that my s..thead dog is showing moral behavior, when he does not pee on Momma's curtains.

 

Regards, TAR


source and speech, not souce and speach, sorry my editor was not working, I had to append this

Edited by tar

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I think you're conflating "religion" with "philosophy". The arguments for ethics and morality, while existing in the time of religion, didn't come *from* religion. On the contrary, many of these arguments were seen to be against religion because they challenged the dogma of having a perfectly rigid set of rules given by God.

Of course in earlier times philosophers were religious because everyone was religious (though, honestly, if you read a lot of Hobbes, I am not sure at all that he really was, and neither are some others, but that's besides the point) That doesn't mean that morals came from religion, and it doesn't mean that religion was required to have morals.

 

You seem to claim that since the discussion came from religion, religion was required for morality. But that's not the case at all; the discussion came from philosophical discussions (and publications of those discussions) *DESPITE* religious dogma.

 

You don't need religion to have morals, we as human beings are perfectly capable of making rational, logical explanations for what should and shouldn't be considered valid in a society. Whether some come from our nature as human beings ("genetic") or from our existence in groups ("social") is besides the point. These are just angles that allow us to analyze our situation and discuss morality.

 

 

Most moral discussions, from Descartes to Hobbes to Plato and Socrates were done *despite* of religion's insistence of dogmatic rules, not because of it.

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Mooeypoo,

 

Dogma. Is that what we are considering religion? Dogma has a restrictive, lack of free thinking taint to it. Under the circumstances its very easy to cast another's beliefs as some form of slavery or brainwashing, that a moral person would be against. Some foolishness or weakness that the other has, that you are better than. identifying some weakness in the other, that makes you feel strong, or morally right. I do this myself all the time, I see other people do it all the time as well. I think it rather natural and true to divide the world into First Person, Second Person, and Third Person. Part of our natural grammar, part of our way of perceiving and talking about the world.

 

But the rub comes when you realize your particular dogma is not considered dogma to you. There came up in another discussion that people tend to frame the exact same thing in a positive light when referring to themselves, a neutral light when referring to second persons and a negative light when considering it in the third person.

I am borrowing these examples from a linquist I read recently, probably Steven Pinker, but I don't recall.

 

I am exploring my sexuality.

You are loose.

She is a slut.

 

After 9-11 I read the Koran twice, once for the jist and once for comprehension, to learn about my enemy, where they got the ideas they got, and why they consider me the devil.

 

Easy for me find the places in the Koran where Mohammed has usurped the power of the universe and called belief in him, the prophet, required to show your belief in Allah. Easy for me to see how Mohammed turned belief in Allah and the "right way" against the money lending, interest charging Jews, and the Christians who erroneously believe that Allah has associates like a son, or is split into three. Easy for me to see the foolishnish in expecting rivers of honey and virgins as a reward for blowing up infidels.

 

Easy for me to know these things, because that is not how the universe operates, and does not coincide with my understanding of and relationship to the greater universe. If there were an Allah, in the general objective figurative sense of the creator of me, and you and everybody else and everything else, he/she/it/them, is not like that, and could not be both "with" everybody, and "against" a selected portion, so the "problem" must be coming from us framing first person as good, second person as neutral and third person as negative. And if we put ourselves in the shoes of the third person, as if it is a first person view, that is good and moral and right. To consider an objective reality that cares and to which ones behavior and intent matters.

 

So on the one hand 100 thousand Muslims circling the Stone in Mecca, reciting the same memorized words as everybody else, in some sort of mass hypnotic trance, is definitely Dogma to TAR. To the people there, its quite a glorious and moving experience, to share the moment and the place with so many others, of like mind. Probably not completely different a occurence as what John Lennon's Imagine, was considering would happen if we had no religion.

 

Regards, TAR2

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What are the standards of being moral? Only religon can tell us the standards.

e.g Among the dacoits who is a moral person who steal after murder or without murder?

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Only religon can tell us the standards.

 

Maybe you should read, at least, some of this thread before making such an assertion.

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What are the standards of being moral? Only religon can tell us the standards.

e.g Among the dacoits who is a moral person who steal after murder or without murder?

 

 

"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

 

Albert Einstein

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What are the standards of being moral? Only religon can tell us the standards.

Maybe you should read, at least, some of this thread before making such an assertion.

 

I agree completely. It's like Devansh burst into the conference room to boldly assert the exact opposite of what it took everyone in the room weeks to determine.

 

Rigor is not optional.

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