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Old 07-14-2006, 06:28 PM   #76
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Originally posted by Irvine511




not to mention historically inaccurate.
Sometimes I use extreme examples to make a point - and I don't want to get into "what percentage of the Germans were anti-Semitic between 1927 and 1945” debate.

The point is, just because something has a cultural consensus, it doesn't make that something "right."
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:12 PM   #77
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I don't believe we are, but some people can't seem to decide. I can see no logical reason why an atheist would come to the conclusion that there really is a right or wrong way to live or life, yet they cast judgments of right and wrong on others every day. As far as I see see it atheists who feel the need to make such judgments are hypocrites. Why claim to know anything about the idea of right or wrong if you don't claim to have any concrete grounds to make such assertions?
Concrete grounds? An atheist would likely say that you do not need divine grounds for moral judgements. That we do not enjoy inflicting pain on others or causing them harm* because we recognise our own humanity in their pain. That the human spirit therefore is imbued with a sense of right or wrong. That this sense of right or wrong is our moral compass in life but that this moral compass is not objective since it springs from our individual perception of what ‘harm’ is. Is it causing damage to your feet and spine by wearing stiletto heels? Well, a good doctor will tell you so, but many women still wear them. ‘Harm’ and ‘pain’ come with sliding scales and that adds to the complexity of the issue.

*I’m excluding those with sociopath-like personalities. They are mentally ill and should not be used as examples – and this includes anyone who would ‘chop up babies in little pieces’.
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:13 PM   #78
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“Subjective consensus” is really more of an intellectual exercise than a real, livable system. And, of course, it is predicated on absolute application to everyone.

We cannot dismiss the notion that something is always wrong based on our perception that one culture acts or believes differently. To the contrary, it appeared that milder actions such as circumcision fell into the category of always wrong. The example of the holocaust, while a highly charged subject, is a good example of why cultural relativism cannot work.

Conversely, it has been repeated here that certain actions are always right (love one another).
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:41 PM   #79
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An atheist would likely say that you do not need divine grounds for moral judgements. That we do not enjoy inflicting pain on others or causing them harm* because we recognise our own humanity in their pain.
An atheist assumes that human beings have moral value, but he has neither a rational or ontological foundation for such a presupposition. A theist believes humans have moral value because they are created in the image of God.

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That the human spirit therefore is imbued with a sense of right or wrong. That this sense of right or wrong is our moral compass in life but that this moral compass is not objective since it springs from our individual perception of what ‘harm’ is.

How would an atheist define “spirit?”
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:47 PM   #80
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An atheist assumes that human beings have moral value, but he has neither a rational or ontological foundation for such a presupposition.
Nice assumption.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:10 PM   #81
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An atheist assumes that human beings have moral value, but he has neither a rational or ontological foundation for such a presupposition. A theist believes humans have moral value because they are created in the image of God.
‘Believe’ being the operative word. Your ‘proof’ of moral value is that man is created in God’s image. If there is not God then it’s a lost argument. An atheist’s ‘proof’ of moral value is that humans have a sense of right or wrong whether they believe or not – except that I find it hard to believe that an atheist would use the word proof in this context.

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How would an atheist define “spirit?”
Use ‘mind’ then. I have no preference either way.

You know, we could have an argument about the merits of different concepts of ontology but it’s a bit outside the subject of this thread.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:11 PM   #82
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Nice assumption.
And their assumption turns out to be right (either by accident or philosophically "piggy-backing on theism) - but they can offer no reason WHY it is right. And because they offer no reason why it is right, the atheistic assumption of human moral value can, and does, change quite frequently. It has no anchor in reality.

Essentially, you cannot assert there is such a thing as an Objective Moral Law - without including an Objective Moral Lawgiver.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:22 PM   #83
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‘Believe’ being the operative word. Your ‘proof’ of moral value is that man is created in God’s image. If there is not God then it’s a lost argument. An atheist’s ‘proof’ of moral value is that humans have a sense of right or wrong whether they believe or not – except that I find it hard to believe that an atheist would use the word proof in this context.



Use ‘mind’ then. I have no preference either way.

You know, we could have an argument about the merits of different concepts of ontology but it’s a bit outside the subject of this thread.
If the atheist claim there is no God, then it necessarily follows that there is no cosmic purpose (being that everything is just time + matter + chance). An atheist then moves from purposelessness, impersonal, amoral, materialistic or naturalistic processes to – viola – the emergence of intrinsically-valuable, personal, moral beings.

Within theism, there exists a moral continuity. There is a transference of moral properties from one moral being to beings in His image.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:35 PM   #84
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And their assumption turns out to be right (either by accident or philosophically "piggy-backing on theism) - but they can offer no reason WHY it is right. And because they offer no reason why it is right, the atheistic assumption of human moral value can, and does, change quite frequently. It has no anchor in reality.

I was talking about your assumption that they have no rational reasoning.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:43 PM   #85
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I am an atheist and I am perfectly capable of acting in a manner that doesn't greivously infringe upon other individuals rights and liberties - I am not making a claim to morality, that is something that can only be dictated from the often toxic well of revealed truth. It may not be moral, but at least it is logical.
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And their assumption turns out to be right (either by accident or philosophically "piggy-backing on theism) - but they can offer no reason WHY it is right. And because they offer no reason why it is right, the atheistic assumption of human moral value can, and does, change quite frequently. It has no anchor in reality.
I do not beat another individual because that would be violating their rights, I would be right if I harmed an agressor to protect my rights or liberties, homosexuality or practically any sexual kink between consenting adults that doesn't infringe upon other parties is alright. We are not imbued with divine moral goodness, there is no outside force whatsoever, we have individuals living their lives and the rights that they have must take precedence - the rights of the individual and the ability to excercise their liberties both positive and detrimental can define the borders of a society in a manner more considered and less arbitrary than religion.

To have a dynamic system of rights and recognition in a civil society is a very good thing, the idea that we should live in an a static state of what is ultimately subjegation to God only produces the fatalistic nihilism or resigned opression of theocracies.

I justfy my thoughts on the basis of a logical axiom that the ideal state of man is to be able to live free and excercise their rights - one can then derive the best approximation of those on social issues - it's not perfect and it will come up with contradictions and sometimes painful ethical dilemmas (such as abortion and drug abuse) but it is rooted in the strictly materialistic universe that we live in, it is justified on the basis of valid argument and thought - a mechanism of self correction in any society and

You are making the claim that it is without rationalism, that point is invalidated if the materialistic view is built from a rational position of individual rights and liberties and is especially wrong when it is coming from a position that an unquantifiable and unfalsifiable deity imbues a moral rightness in man - something that is virtually impossible given the nature of the universe and the workings of the human organisms mind.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:56 PM   #86
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Originally posted by silja


Concrete grounds? An atheist would likely say that you do not need divine grounds for moral judgements. That we do not enjoy inflicting pain on others or causing them harm* because we recognise our own humanity in their pain. That the human spirit therefore is imbued with a sense of right or wrong. That this sense of right or wrong is our moral compass in life but that this moral compass is not objective since it springs from our individual perception of what ‘harm’ is. Is it causing damage to your feet and spine by wearing stiletto heels? Well, a good doctor will tell you so, but many women still wear them. ‘Harm’ and ‘pain’ come with sliding scales and that adds to the complexity of the issue.

*I’m excluding those with sociopath-like personalities. They are mentally ill and should not be used as examples – and this includes anyone who would ‘chop up babies in little pieces’.
You have no concrete grounds for anything yet you like to make concrete judgments on others. A "spirit" by your definition is in reality completely influenced by its culture. Just like I was talking about how in other cultures things like female circumcision and sacrifice are acceptable. Are you telling me they're wrong? And if so, why? Because you feel like they are? You seem to be very selective about being objective and subjective.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:00 PM   #87
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Why do anyone's rights matter...?

Atheists always seem to say an action that infringes on the rights of or hurts others is somehow universally wrong, when in reality there is no reason to believe that except for that fact that you feel that way, when you have no reason to believe your feelings about anything matter in the slightest.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:07 PM   #88
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You are making the claim that it is without rationalism, that point is invalidated if the materialistic view is built from a rational position of individual rights and liberties...-
Wanderer, may I ask - where in an atheistic viewpoint does the idea of an "individual right" come from? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but a materialist believes, in essence, we are simple comprised of energy and matter, part of the "furniture" of the universe.

If this is true, what individual rights, or moral value, do I have as a human being over that of a hamster? Or the planet Jupiter?
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:14 PM   #89
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Female circumcision and human sacrifice are generally violations of the rights if the individuals that suffer such fates.

A young girl has the right over her body - by slicing off her clitoris against her will that is a clear violation of her rights. If she was at an age of consent and wanted to be mutilated then I would be resigned to allow it even though it would be a very detrimental excercise of her liberties.

Human sacrifice is also a case where a persons right to live is being violated, often with strong coercion, individuals do not have the right to go around infringing upon the rights of other individuals, when they do that they forfeit some of their rights and punishment becomes a course of action - of course the nature of crimes and punishments have to be worked out within the confines of a workable civil society.

The religious lay claim to objective revealed truth - but their claims are devoid of substance because there is no divine will influencing the writing of their tomes or interperatation thereof. We live in a universe where information has a speed limit, we live in a universe where mass and energy while interchangable are conserved. Applying rational investigation in the manner of reductionary scientific method is the best way to approximate what is going on in an objective manner, it is self-correcting because incorrect ideas will fail to explain the observations, science is a progressive and dynamic system of knowledge. Religion on the other hand is dictated from authority, it is revealed from pre-existing text and it does not have the self-correcting mechanisms to ensure that it's state of knowledge is accurate.

Faith is a thought process. Euphoria is an emotional reaction. Everybody can experience the same feelings as the divine but they come from within and not from any outside power.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:16 PM   #90
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I still don't understand why you think violating someone's rights is wrong.
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