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Old 04-12-2007, 07:46 AM   #106
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^ Great article, Irvine.
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Old 04-12-2007, 09:36 AM   #107
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Originally posted by dazzlingamy
in my experience, religious people are no more happier then the atheists. I do think religion fills a hole in which people don't like to look into, and perhaps gives a sense of community with your church and a warm feeling of giving through the church's charities - but non religious people get that too, through other groups and their own volunteering oppurtunities.
As a religious person, I totally agree. In fact, at least in the US, you can do any survey and find no significant differences between Christians and the population as a whole. Things like happiness, how much we give, crime rates, divorce rates....some religious people like to assume that their demographic will score higher, but they just don't.

It's all about what makes YOU, the individual, tick.
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:28 AM   #108
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Here is a question that friends and I were talking about today re: atheism and religion.
A lot of religious people make the argument (including here in FYM) that atheist are not moral seeing we have no "moral code" to abide by unlike religious people who have their scriptures etc to follow. But as an example, I am an atheist, and I am moral. I have standards that I place upon myself that I live up too, just like my other atheist friends. Therefore, are we the actual moral, kind ones? Because we have no higher power telling us what to do, instead we CHOOSE to act moral? We have no fear of hell, therefore why do we care how we act while on earth? This is an argument thrown at non religious people so much, but for the most, non religious people live moralistic lives, on par with religious people, perhaps with all the 'i did it cause god told me too' nut jobs, even better then religious people?

Anyway the question was asked, are atheists more moral because we choose to be moral and follow the rules, rather then being told what to do by our religious deities?

well it was an interesting discussion for us!
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:02 PM   #109
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Originally posted by dazzlingamy
Anyway the question was asked, are atheists more moral because we choose to be moral and follow the rules, rather then being told what to do by our religious deities?


well, my first guess might be that -- assuming the atheist and the believer essentially behaved in the same "moral" ways -- the atheist is more authentically moral than the believer.

you're doing it because you want to do it, not because someone tells you to do it.

but that's just an initial guess.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:19 PM   #110
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"Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace."

--Oscar Wilde

So is that line drawn for us or do we all construct our own lines of morality? Although many people choose not acknowledge the prior, surely there's a problem with the latter. Was slavery any less immoral when allowed by law?


Can morality be based on personal preferences rather than universal principles? We may not be able to agree which is better, Coke or Pepsi, because that's a preference. But don't we need a principle to allow slavery be seen as immoral by both the slave and the slave owner? Mustn't that principle also be absolute?


How can an absolute moral truth (true anytime, anywhere) be written by man without being prejudiced by the preferences or norms of the day? I don't think it can. Which is why I believe in a Lawgiver.


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"Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones. All men mean well."

-- George Bernard Shaw
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:26 PM   #111
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Religious people can be choosing to be moral too from an innate, inward moral sense just as you described that has very little to do with religious belief. To assume that any religious person's moral sense or code is derived solely from religion-it isn't always the case. Religious people can be choosing to live their lives in a certain way that is independent of that- to assume they are out of a fear of hell or any similar concept is sort of a stereotype.

I would say my moral choices are essentially derived from inner beliefs about fairness and justice and "rightness" that really have very little to do with my religious beliefs and could easily exist without them. I believe in the morals that Jesus stands for, but they don't dictate what my personal code is. And the institutional church certainly doesn't. I am doing all of it because I want to, not because of anybody telling me to.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:32 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally posted by dazzlingamy
Here is a question that friends and I were talking about today re: atheism and religion.
A lot of religious people make the argument (including here in FYM) that atheist are not moral seeing we have no "moral code" to abide by unlike religious people who have their scriptures etc to follow. But as an example, I am an atheist, and I am moral. I have standards that I place upon myself that I live up too, just like my other atheist friends. Therefore, are we the actual moral, kind ones? Because we have no higher power telling us what to do, instead we CHOOSE to act moral? We have no fear of hell, therefore why do we care how we act while on earth? This is an argument thrown at non religious people so much, but for the most, non religious people live moralistic lives, on par with religious people, perhaps with all the 'i did it cause god told me too' nut jobs, even better then religious people?

Anyway the question was asked, are atheists more moral because we choose to be moral and follow the rules, rather then being told what to do by our religious deities?

well it was an interesting discussion for us!
I would never, ever presume to be more moral than an atheist or accuse and atheist of being inherently immoral.

I think of it this way - EVERYTHING and EVERYONE on this earth has inherent potential for good and bad. I don't believe good and bad (or moral and immoral) are mutually exclusive, so sometimes I like to think of "bad" as the absence of good.

If you believe in the Christian God, you cannot say with any grain of credibility that some things are inherently moral while others are inherently bad because this severely limits the scope of where God can exist. To say someone or something is inherently evil because God is not there immediately assumes that God could have no power to be there. IMO, everything is God-willed and has the potential for good and/or evil.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:50 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally posted by dazzlingamy
Here is a question that friends and I were talking about today re: atheism and religion.
A lot of religious people make the argument (including here in FYM) that atheist are not moral seeing we have no "moral code" to abide by unlike religious people who have their scriptures etc to follow. But as an example, I am an atheist, and I am moral. I have standards that I place upon myself that I live up too, just like my other atheist friends. Therefore, are we the actual moral, kind ones? Because we have no higher power telling us what to do, instead we CHOOSE to act moral? We have no fear of hell, therefore why do we care how we act while on earth? This is an argument thrown at non religious people so much, but for the most, non religious people live moralistic lives, on par with religious people, perhaps with all the 'i did it cause god told me too' nut jobs, even better then religious people?

Anyway the question was asked, are atheists more moral because we choose to be moral and follow the rules, rather then being told what to do by our religious deities?

well it was an interesting discussion for us!
No one is more moral, or "better" moral. And saying that I'm a better moralist than a Christian would be to me a bit arrogant, as it is putting myself higher than another person.

A believer of any confession who says that atheists are no moral people, or responsible for all the bad in the world, would be the end of any serious debate for me.

However, if I told him that I'm more moral because my moral doesn't need some religious text, and as said before also religious people don't look everything up in the bible to make their own decision on what is morally, I would expect him to do the same.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:50 PM   #114
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Originally posted by INDY500

How can an absolute moral truth (true anytime, anywhere) be written by man without being prejudiced by the preferences or norms of the day? I don't think it can. Which is why I believe in a Lawgiver.


what do you consider an absolute moral truth?

also, haven't you just created a Lawgiver? don't we shape the Lawgiver to suit our needs? aren't the words of the Lawgiver precisely written by man?
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:39 PM   #115
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No reference to church or religion or even Christianity in my post. In fact, I deliberately chose two secular quotes to bookend myself. But in the context of this thread, some of us believe that; just as there are laws of physics to govern matter in the universe, there also exists a Moral Law to govern the actions of man. That we often choose to ignore it (matter has no such freewill) doesn't make it any less real.

Quote:
"Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can't really get rid of it."
--C S Lewis
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:46 PM   #116
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Originally posted by INDY500
No reference to church or religion or even Christianity in my post. In fact, I deliberately chose two secular quotes to bookend myself. But in the context of this thread, some of us believe that; just as there are laws of physics to govern matter in the universe, there also exists a Moral Law to govern the actions of man. That we often choose to ignore it (matter has no such freewill) doesn't make it any less real.



but how does that implicate a Lawgiver?

it seems to be that it's evolutionary advantageous to do unto others as you'd have done unto you.

but all interesting quetsions, and i'll step back and wait for A_W to take this one up.
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Old 04-12-2007, 04:00 PM   #117
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Originally posted by Irvine511




what do you consider an absolute moral truth?

How did Martin Luther King know he was just even as he sat in a Birmingham Alabama jail, his cause falling on deaf ears in much of the Christian community?

Quote:
One may won ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there fire two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the brat to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all"

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
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Old 04-12-2007, 04:00 PM   #118
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Originally posted by INDY500



So is that line drawn for us or do we all construct our own lines of morality? Although many people choose not acknowledge the prior, surely there's a problem with the latter. Was slavery any less immoral when allowed by law?


Can morality be based on personal preferences rather than universal principles? We may not be able to agree which is better, Coke or Pepsi, because that's a preference. But don't we need a principle to allow slavery be seen as immoral by both the slave and the slave owner? Mustn't that principle also be absolute?


How can an absolute moral truth (true anytime, anywhere) be written by man without being prejudiced by the preferences or norms of the day? I don't think it can. Which is why I believe in a Lawgiver.
Slavery wasn't wrong because it went against religion, it was wrong because it deprived human beings of their liberties and harmed them for their whole life.
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Old 04-12-2007, 04:08 PM   #119
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Slavery wasn't wrong because it went against religion, it was wrong because it deprived human beings of their liberties and harmed them for their whole life.
But WHY is that bad? Slavery was once legal, so who's standard of good & bad are you applying?
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Old 04-12-2007, 04:15 PM   #120
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Originally posted by INDY500
No reference to church or religion or even Christianity in my post. In fact, I deliberately chose two secular quotes to bookend myself. But in the context of this thread, some of us believe that; just as there are laws of physics to govern matter in the universe, there also exists a Moral Law to govern the actions of man. That we often choose to ignore it (matter has no such freewill) doesn't make it any less real.

I think that there we are hard wired to empathise and care in certain situations, I think that this reflects an evolutionary product of our ancestors social groups. It is advantageous for a tribe or pack to look out for eachother, especially when the others share a good proportion of genetic material.

But this is not an absolute law of the universe, it can be overcome rather easily against a different tribe and the history of conflict is a pretty good case for that.

Humans are animals, sentient and intelligent to be sure but still animals; imbuing us with innate moral goodness doens't make it so.
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