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The Atheist Moral Argument


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#31    Goddess_Lilith

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 04:52 AM

Define morality. In my opinion and what I believe to be moral(be kind, loving, tolerant, accepting, etc...)is exactly opposite of what the bible teaches. Before you start shoving scriptures down my throat, read what I wrote...didn't say the bible doesn't SAY all those things, I said it doesn't TEACH those things. So what exactly is your definition of morality as a believer?


#32    Mr Walker

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:47 AM

 Ron Jeremy, on 28 March 2013 - 01:17 AM, said:

He actually believes that 1/3 of heavenly denizens actually revolted against the God of Universe. That alone deserves a South Park treatment.

Its a big if, but if you believe in the bible srory as truth, that is a very important and basic part of the story.The war between satan and his angels, and god and his angels, is the cause of the fall of humans from eden and it defines much of the overall context of the story, especially in genesis and in revelations, (the bookends of the bible story) but also in the gospel story and christ's relationship with god and satan. Ps he is in "good"  company. John Travolta and  hundreds of millions of other  ordinary christians have the same belief. It is a basic part of any "fundamentalist"  biblicaly based belief.
I dont believe the bible literally at all, but I respect (as beliefs) ALL human theologies which attempt to explain mans place in the universe and his environment.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#33    Frank Merton

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:56 AM

The story of war in heaven is a bit hard to credit.  After all, these are beings directly exposed to the presence of God and who have direct knowledge of Who made them.

Milton attributes the rebellion to pride.  Come now.  Of course one suspects Milton was an atheist in disguise trying to convey without getting into trouble how ridiculous it all is.


#34    Mr Walker

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:01 AM

 Liquid Gardens, on 28 March 2013 - 01:34 AM, said:

I don't think morality can be used to 'refute' religion, and as Arbenol already noted you are mistaken that relative morality means no morality.  I do think there are a few arguments to be made against religions concerning morality depending on which tenets are considered to be true.  I think it's valid to point out that if one believes that God is all-good and all-loving and simultaneously believes that the unsaved are doomed to eternal torment, there appears to be a contradiction there concerning the supposed 'morality' or qualities God is supposed to have.  I think God ordering genocide is also problematic for obvious reasons. Agreed, things like this do not refute religion, which is to be expected since religion is a lot more than just claims concerning morality, but I don't think they help the theists' case depending on what they believe.



Keep in mind that if both sides were to truly just stick to facts (as opposed to beliefs), especially scientific ones, then the Theist presentation of their case would be a very short one.
What "facts' pertain to human conceptual morality and ethics? These are driven by what we believe and value as individuals and as communities  ie our philosophical and logical thinking not any objective facts or  specificaly scientific thinking.
Ps there is no basic contradiction in your main issue. If god is all loving he may create a self willed individual. If he is all loving he may know that interfering in self will is a greater evil and causes greater ills than  alowing free will to play out for example it prevents a mind form learning growing evolving and making its own decisions and being accountable for them.

From there it is humans who are responsivle for their ultimate destiny and who can choose it. God condems no one to death. We condemn ourselves by our own choices, thoughts and actions.
I dont believe in heaven hell after death, but i do know that every decision I make as a free willed individual has  outcomes which i can predict and pre -know to be  creative or destructive. I can take my life heaven or hell here on earth by the free willed choices i make. I take that as a very important allegory within the bible. Certain actions will have destructive outcomes for me. Others will have productive and creative outcomes. God warns us which are which .

Edited by Mr Walker, 28 March 2013 - 08:08 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#35    Frank Merton

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:24 AM

As free willed individuals we make our own choices and either enjoy or live with whatever consequences follow.  There is no need for divine interference here.  Over time the casino gambler always loses, even though appearances may be otherwise in the short term (chance plays a role and even when the odds are against you, you do sometimes do better than the odds).


#36    libstaK

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 11:30 AM

 ciriuslea, on 27 March 2013 - 09:57 PM, said:

I tend to think upon the lines of I wouldn't like that done to me so perhaps its best not doing it to someone else....not always successful, but its the thought that counts

 Arbenol68, on 27 March 2013 - 11:04 PM, said:

I think that if there is an absolute morality, this is it. All our moral principles derive from this one concept.
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

Sorry, couldn't help myself :P

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

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#37    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 12:28 PM

 Mr Walker, on 28 March 2013 - 08:01 AM, said:

What "facts' pertain to human conceptual morality and ethics? These are driven by what we believe and value as individuals and as communities  ie our philosophical and logical thinking not any objective facts or  specificaly scientific thinking.

My comment concerning facts was in response to Aquila saying that atheists should just stick to the facts, not that morality or ethics are facts (which they are, they're just not absolute).  It is just noting that theists by the same measure certainly do not just stick to the facts so I see no reason for this admonition to go just one way.

Quote

Ps there is no basic contradiction in your main issue. If god is all loving he may create a self willed individual. If he is all loving he may know that interfering in self will is a greater evil and causes greater ills than  alowing free will to play out for example it prevents a mind form learning growing evolving and making its own decisions and being accountable for them.

From there it is humans who are responsivle for their ultimate destiny and who can choose it. God condems no one to death. We condemn ourselves by our own choices, thoughts and actions.

I don't buy this argument.  I have little problem with God condemning non-believers to actual death, my problem is with eternal torment.  For those who believe in that, God has condemned the non-saved, he is the one who set up the effect of every cause. He is the one who says that hell is the punishment for non-believers, no one else did that, and he allows hell to exist in the first place.  If I put you in a room in the center of a house and fill the rest of the house with poisonous gas and instruct you that if you leave this room you will die but you'll be fine as long as you stay in the room, would your death be purely a result of you 'condemning yourself' if you decided to leave this room?  You would be responsible for your ultimate destiny, and I am blameless?  After all, I didn't take away your free will at all.

Quote

I dont believe in heaven hell after death, but i do know that every decision I make as a free willed individual has  outcomes which i can predict and pre -know to be  creative or destructive. I can take my life heaven or hell here on earth by the free willed choices i make. I take that as a very important allegory within the bible. Certain actions will have destructive outcomes for me. Others will have productive and creative outcomes. God warns us which are which .

And unfortunately in the case of eternal torment, he has established an outcome that, to me, is the exact opposite of the morality he has supposedly written in the hearts of everyone.  Feel free to make a case for something you believe is more evil and unloving than eternal torment.  Many of us lowly humans treat domesticated animals better than that.

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#38    Frank Merton

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 12:34 PM

I object to eternal torment, but I also object to "softer" notions, such as extinction or going to a place where one is without God (assuming that is a bad thing).  They are all in contradiction to what the religions teach us -- that God is love and ergo wants everyone saved.  No person can frustrate something God wants.  They are all irrational and they are all disproportionate and therefore unjust (something eternal for the offenses of a short human lifetime).

We have to make ourselves out of God's model of love and compassion and forgiveness, not make God out of our model of revenge and envy and lack of compassion.


#39    ciriuslea

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 01:05 PM

 libstaK, on 28 March 2013 - 11:30 AM, said:

31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

Sorry, couldn't help myself :P

That doesn't surprise me, there isn't much that religions don't cover...It would be interesting to know if a similar sentence/passage exists in the Torah. or was that the first time we see it, I personally feel the concept is far older than any monotheistic religion.


#40    Frank Merton

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 01:24 PM

Actually, while well intentioned, the Golden Rule is a rather poor formulation.  If we take what it says literally, we could never, for example, vote in a Jury to convict someone, since we would do as we would have them do to us, and surely we would have them acquit.

Edited by Frank Merton, 28 March 2013 - 01:24 PM.


#41    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 01:29 PM

 ciriuslea, on 28 March 2013 - 01:05 PM, said:

That doesn't surprise me, there isn't much that religions don't cover...It would be interesting to know if a similar sentence/passage exists in the Torah. or was that the first time we see it, I personally feel the concept is far older than any monotheistic religion.

I believe the Golden Rule was somewhat articulated by Confucius centuries before Christ's lifetime.  I think it was formulated slightly differently, 'don't do to others what you don't want them to do to you' or something like that, the intent was largely the same.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into"
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" - C. Hitchens
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

#42    HerNibs

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 01:31 PM

I can only speak for myself regarding morality, or MY morality.  My morality is based on a few simple rules.  

Be kind.  
Be understanding.  Put yourself in "their" shoes.
Don't hurt anyone physically, mentally or emotionally.  If you do, fix it and don't do it again.

I'm one of "those" atheists.  I argue that religion cannot judge or state what is moral based on it's own doctrines and behavior.  I support this argument on the basic idea of most religions.  That idea - "Our way is right.  If you don't accept and believe, you are damned for eternity and cannot be considered a "good" person."

Most religions state that their deity allows man "free will" yet damns anyone who uses that free will.  Where exactly is this moral?  It's like an eternal "gotcha" joke.

Most religions state that it is acceptable to kill in their deity's name.  Yet some one like me cannot be considered "good".  Again, how does this "morality" become the "better" and the version that is "right"?

I practice forgiveness.  The REAL kind.  I forgive, I don't forgive on MY terms.  That's a negotiation, not forgiveness.

So yeah, I consider morality a valid argument against religion and the "will of god".  It doesn't speak to the existence of a deity but it certainly helps display the contradiction in the term "morality".

Again, I can only speak of my own morality and what drives my decisions but I can and DO speak against religious ideas of their "GODS ABSOLUTE MORALITY" on the basis that this religious morality is contradictory, negotiable, changing, hypocritical, vague, one-sided and subjective.

So yep, I'll use the "morality argument" in a religious discussion.

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#43    ciriuslea

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 02:01 PM

 Liquid Gardens, on 28 March 2013 - 01:29 PM, said:

I believe the Golden Rule was somewhat articulated by Confucius centuries before Christ's lifetime.  I think it was formulated slightly differently, 'don't do to others what you don't want them to do to you' or something like that, the intent was largely the same.

Its far more philosophical than religious, especially if you reduce it to its bare meaning, its kind of fundamental, I think where religion fails....is with the supernatural consequence concerning morality, to me it reduces the impact, I cant quite describe what I mean, I think when you take away the consequences according to religion, it takes on a whole different aspect...more like your allowing your compassion, respect and so on to flourish naturally..if that makes sense ?


#44    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 03:17 PM

 ciriuslea, on 28 March 2013 - 02:01 PM, said:

I think where religion fails....is with the supernatural consequence concerning morality, to me it reduces the impact, I cant quite describe what I mean, I think when you take away the consequences according to religion, it takes on a whole different aspect...more like your allowing your compassion, respect and so on to flourish naturally..if that makes sense ?

I think I do understand, and I agree.  If you believe certain things to be moral and immoral largely because of the supposed supernatural repercussions and conform your life to that understanding of morality, I personally am less impressed than the same person being moral out of their sense of compassion and empathy without the promise of reward or punishment.  The former is just obedience and, insofar as it is taken dogmatically, is usually inflexible and not open to improvement; the latter provides more understanding and to some extent does provide the opportunities for improvement as the moral environment changes.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into"
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" - C. Hitchens
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

#45    Frank Merton

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 03:27 PM

I think most believers in some sort of God-reward/punishment are not motivated by that but by their own personal goodness.  It's just that the atheist has no other reason.





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