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Atheist v/s Spirituality/Christianty


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#16    ShadowSot

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:37 AM

I had a similar experience with my mother. After a few arguments along this line, I simply replied "You."

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
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#17    Cosmic Radiant

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:19 AM

Why do good and have morals if you are an atheist? As an atheist, you believe that when you die, you no longer exist, and your body decomposes into the ground. So, why have morals if there is no consequence for anything you do in life, because everyone dies eventually?

I personally believe in karma, so that's why I choose to go good things and be as honest and loving as I can. I do not call myself an atheist, but more of an agnostic. I have my reasons for not being religious, but I feel as if we all have Souls and there is a great mystery that religion has tried to solve but cant.


Do you believe in anything life that? Cause to my understanding, atheists do not believe in any of that, including karma.

Im not starting a debate, just curious what kind of atheist you are.

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#18    Meiliken

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:13 AM

One doesn't need religion to be a better person.  I was raised on religion, and due to it making no sense, was forced to start a 10 year study of the history of religions.  I found religions to be products of people wanting to control others.  With that in mind, I gave up believing in fantasy, and began looking for something salvageable in the nature of mankind.  I'm hard pressed to find much.  Honor is vanishing in mankind, and with it, other virtues.  Love, integrity, honesty.  The path to becoming a good person "can" start with religion, but just as a child grows, so too does a persons belief.  If it ends at religion, it is stunting growth into a truly intellectually sound person.  With mankind giving in to their base desires, like greed, ego, animalistic sexual drives, they tend to devolve into little more than dogs humping on the side of the road.  If one loses their honor, they lose what it is to be civilized.  

I have no religion, nor am I atheist.  I believe there is a higher power, but no religion has ever, or will ever, grasp its nature.  The universe and all of existence is based on balance.  If you have too much of either good or evil, it inevitably destroys itself.  There must be a balance for advancement to continue.  Example would biology.  When you introduce a foreign element into an ecology, it either is destroyed, or it propegates and destroys the original economy.  Unless it finds a balance, that is inevitable.  The human race has no balance.  

Am I a good person?  I like to think so.  I never lie, would only hurt another person in defense of another(and even then only enough to subdue).  I'm always nice to others, even people who don't deserve such.  Like a drop of water in a pond, I intend to send ripples.   Why do I do it?  Because I'm part of the counter balance to the prevalent evil of mankind.  I'm an altruist.  I did not choose it, in fact, sometimes I lament it.  But like the story of the scorpion that was drowning and stung the one that was helping it causing both to drown, "it's my nature."  No belief in a deity.

The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself
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There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance
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A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.
David Hume

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
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#19    Paranoid Android

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:12 AM

View Postwillowdreams, on 15 April 2012 - 06:54 PM, said:

ummm I do not think I was thinking atheists are 'looked down upon'!

I could name a few specific posts that I have read just this past week, but I am not sure that singling out posts (hense, posters) is exactly called upon here, nor would I specifically do it, that would seem.. unseemly, which is why i 'generalized' it more for the topic here, as the topic does spread also off the forums to 'life' itself.

Many people do feel that morals come straight from god/bible, and question how atheist can have morals or good ethical values without god in their lives to influence them.

It is seen on the forums, usually in the forms of 'questioning' how atheists feel about such and such or view, and when you go through responses and such, though no one is ever really insulted for their non faith, you can get a general flavor of feelings towards almost sometimes like an emotion of 'wow, atheists understand that? or feel that?'

Never said anything bout others being intolerant, though I guess there may be a few, that had nothing to do with my question anyways.

as I mention in my Original Post

... there are humans out there I wish were not of the same species I am, but on the whole, most people try to do right and care

however there seems to be a general flavor of 'wow, how in the world can atheists have good morals without god' as well as the flavor of 'if atheists do not believe in god, then how can they support/believe/respect in..... (insert whatever) when to me it seems silly, of course atheists care, support causes.. et et.
Ok, perhaps I shouldn't have said "looked down on".  You didn't use those words.  But when I read your post (this one and your opening post) and you do generalise into phrases such as "there seems to be a general flavor of...", well that implies that this is the general consensus among religious folk, a majority view.  And since your thread revolved around people writing on this forum, I really had to question it, because after nearly seven years on this forum my impression of the general flavour is not that at all.  As I said, there are one or two people I have read who do ask these questions and wonder how atheists can be moral without God, but most religious folk on this site have no problem in understanding that atheists can have a strong moral code without belief in a deity.

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#20    Paranoid Android

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:31 AM

View PostEuphorbia, on 15 April 2012 - 06:18 PM, said:

I know this isn't directed at me but I have also seen some posts on these forums where atheists are looked down upon. I couldn't point out which posters made them, or in what threads they were made in, but yes, there have been posts like this.
As I said, I can think of one or two individuals who do think this, but the impression I got from the thread starter is that this is how religious folk on this site generally feel (ie, most religious folk, not a small minority of us).  I was questioning that assumption, thinking that they possibly were talking about their atheist life in America


View PostEuphorbia, on 15 April 2012 - 06:18 PM, said:

If atheists aren't looked down upon in Australia (or at least only to a lesser extent than here in the USA), then great.....one more reason for me to want to visit your country. I would be curious to see how atheists are viewed on a country by country basis. I know there are countries where they would put me to death and other countries that predominantly just don't care.
I live in South-West Sydney.  It's a very multicultural area.  I was down at the pub the other day, and I was chatting and drinking with a group comprised of a Samoan, a New Zealander, an Assyrian, a Vietnamese, a Sri Lankan, two South Americans, and two Aussies (plus myself, of course, as an Aussie with Latvian heritage).  By necessity we are a very tolerant group for different cultures and faiths (or non-faiths, as the case may be for atheists) - you can't hate atheists here because chances are you're sitting next to one on the bus or drinking with them or being sold your milk by one.  I'm assuming things might be a little different in some of the other areas where 95% of the population are white Anglo-Australians, so maybe they aren't as tolerant, but tolerance is a daily necessity of life where I live.

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#21    Paranoid Android

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:35 AM

View PostMeiliken, on 16 April 2012 - 06:13 AM, said:

The path to becoming a good person "can" start with religion, but just as a child grows, so too does a persons belief.  If it ends at religion, it is stunting growth into a truly intellectually sound person.
Just for the sake of interest, are you aware how insulting that sounds, to state that someone who ends their journey at religion is "stunted".  I mean, I'm growing my beliefs daily so I can't say my journey is at an "end".  No true human being will stop growing in their beliefs or non-beliefs.  But the way I interpret your words here, it sounds as if those who hold a religious faith are people worthy of pity for not being able to "grow" beyond faith in a particular deity.  And that is just plain insulting, whether you intend it to be or not.

Just a thought,

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#22    willowdreams

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 04:21 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 16 April 2012 - 08:12 AM, said:

Ok, perhaps I shouldn't have said "looked down on".  You didn't use those words.  But when I read your post (this one and your opening post) and you do generalise into phrases such as "there seems to be a general flavor of...", well that implies that this is the general consensus among religious folk, a majority view.  And since your thread revolved around people writing on this forum, I really had to question it, because after nearly seven years on this forum my impression of the general flavour is not that at all.  As I said, there are one or two people I have read who do ask these questions and wonder how atheists can be moral without God, but most religious folk on this site have no problem in understanding that atheists can have a strong moral code without belief in a deity.

~ Regards,

I did not mean it exactly how you seem to think I did, but as some people here and in private msgs have shown, i am not the only one who can taste this particular flavor is some peoples responses/posts.

You obviously do not see it as we do, and that is fine, this is txt, and people will feel/see things differently and I respect that.

But that was not what my original post was about. My post was about 'why is it some people feel that without faith/belief in god/spiritual being/s, when it comes to morals, you are lacking something? As if you need to be spiritual/believe in god/s or something in order to have good decent morals.

I am not going to pin point other posts/pple for ANYONE, a generalization is perfectly fine to help get my point/question out there.

Others understood/saw what I was saying.

I understand though, that you do not feel/see it and have no problems with that in any way.

Thank you of course, for responding to my posts.

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#23    Paranoid Android

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:18 PM

View Postwillowdreams, on 16 April 2012 - 04:21 PM, said:

But that was not what my original post was about. My post was about 'why is it some people feel that without faith/belief in god/spiritual being/s, when it comes to morals, you are lacking something? As if you need to be spiritual/believe in god/s or something in order to have good decent morals.

I am not going to pin point other posts/pple for ANYONE, a generalization is perfectly fine to help get my point/question out there.
The thing about a generalisation is that it has the effect of appearing to represent the status quo - what is expected of a person of a particular *insert generalisation here*  If the generalisation does not represent a majority view then it is an inappropriate generalisation.  That's all I'm saying.  You don't need to point to specific people, nor am I asking you to.  And unless it is your view that the majority of religious people here on UM believe that those without faith are lacking something, then your use of language (whether intended or not) is unfair to people who have faith.

This newest post uses language in a much more neutral manner, and if this was the opening post, I would have understood your position much better. In this post there is no indication that this "seems to be the general flavour...", or statements simply saying "do people really believe..." (no qualifier such as "some people" used).  I hope you can see my point better now.  I know your intentions in posting I was simply questioning the generalisation.  You seem to have expressed your views better in this post, so thank you for that.

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#24    Arbenol

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:48 PM

View PostParsip, on 15 April 2012 - 07:40 PM, said:

Hi, Willow, I've read some of your posts and I think you're one of the most good-hearted people ever :wub:, so don't take this the wrong way: the reason atheists are called amoral is because they simply don't believe in morality. To clarify, by atheist I mean nonspiritual atheist. Some religions, for example, believe in objective moral truths revealed by an omniscient entity (a god, for example). Atheists on the other hand are moral relativists and don't believe in objective morality. To an atheist, morality is subjective, and whether something is right or wrong is a matter of opinion, either because objective moral truths don't exist, or because we humans, being fallible creatures, are incapable of knowing them for certain.

Atheists can and do do things considered moral by theists. The question is: are their morals inherent, or due to the fact that they were raised in a theistic society? Would an atheist who grew up in a Yemeni village have the same morals as an atheist from Italy?

As you know, I disagree completely with you here.

I won't generalise, so I'll only speak for myself, as someone who doesn't believe in any gods and sees religion as entirely human constructs.

Morality isn't about individual opinion, it is arrived at by general consensus and it constantly evolves with society. You ask: "Would an atheist who grew up in a Yemeni village have the same morals as an atheist from Italy?", but you could equally apply that question to everybody, not just atheists.

Whether you accept it or not, morals are relative to time and place. Today we consider abhorrent that which our not too distant ancestors thought of as completely acceptable - and often used the Bible to justify. I know this is a tired, old argument; but it is true nevertheless that if we use the Bible to guide us as to right and wrong, we can easily justify rape, murder, genocide, homophobia, misogyny, etc as being righteous.

So, I would ask a couple of questions. If absolute morality exists, then can you define it? Where does it come from? Can you give me an example of something that is objectively moral? This is open to all, by the way.

If objective morality exists I would define it as: a moral truth that is evident to all people and at all times. Would anyone agree, or not.?


#25    willowdreams

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:23 PM

View PostParsip, on 16 April 2012 - 10:04 PM, said:

- post removed -

religious people can and do say killing is wrong, yet then they will use their religious quotes to say it is ok to kill the killer or go to war and kill whoever ceasar says to kill.

the main problem i have with your thought is, as an atheist i do not believe in god. *oh my.. this means there is NO higher power morality, just our morality in as many forms as we come in*

No spiritual person of any faith has ever been able to absolutely prove there is a god or spiritual omnipotent being. so saying there is like a HIGHER morality based on a higher being does not really work, because there has never been proof of such a being, not even in the religious/spiritual realm, in the end you have to break it down to the itty bitty of blind faith. and i do not believe or desire to believe in a morality based on blind faith.

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#26    Parsip

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:43 PM

View Postwillowdreams, on 16 April 2012 - 10:23 PM, said:

religious people can and do say killing is wrong, yet then they will use their religious quotes to say it is ok to kill the killer or go to war and kill whoever ceasar says to kill.

Well, that's their problem. Either they were violating their morality, or their morality allows murdering certain people and is therefore not correct morality.

Quote

the main problem i have with your thought is, as an atheist i do not believe in god. *oh my.. this means there is NO higher power morality, just our morality in as many forms as we come in*

I don't and can't believe this. If this is true, then whether slaughtering children for fun is right or wrong is a matter of opinion.

Quote

No spiritual person of any faith has ever been able to absolutely prove there is a god or spiritual omnipotent being. so saying there is like a HIGHER morality based on a higher being does not really work, because there has never been proof of such a being, not even in the religious/spiritual realm, in the end you have to break it down to the itty bitty of blind faith. and i do not believe or desire to believe in a morality based on blind faith.

Depends on what you mean by proof. I don't know about gods, but the existence of angel-like beings is pretty much a fact to me.


#27    ShadowSot

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 02:02 AM

Whenever morality is examined, religious authority an morality adapts to society, at least whenever it's considered progress.
  I mean, we now allow women to teach, slavery is mostly abolished, and we wear mixed fibers. Good times.

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
-Terry Pratchett

#28    willowdreams

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:21 AM

View PostCosmic Radiant, on 16 April 2012 - 05:19 AM, said:

Why do good and have morals if you are an atheist? As an atheist, you believe that when you die, you no longer exist, and your body decomposes into the ground. So, why have morals if there is no consequence for anything you do in life, because everyone dies eventually?

I personally believe in karma, so that's why I choose to go good things and be as honest and loving as I can. I do not call myself an atheist, but more of an agnostic. I have my reasons for not being religious, but I feel as if we all have Souls and there is a great mystery that religion has tried to solve but cant.


Do you believe in anything life that? Cause to my understanding, atheists do not believe in any of that, including karma.

Im not starting a debate, just curious what kind of atheist you are.

sorry i took so long to respond, yday was medicated and did not think i could really do anyone any justice by responding to much :)

Anyways, why do good? Why do bad? No, I do not believe in Karma. Why would I? I do not think things come back at people, i WANT there to be karma, but there is no. I have seen horrid pple do really really horrid things, and they have a great life and genuinely are happy! if there is karma after death, then it is no good now. it is this lifetime you suffer, yanno?

Anyways, since I do not believe in karma, i do not believe in heaven or hell, and i honestly believe this is it. WHY would I want to be bad? I have emotions, i feel for others in pain, hate it.. why would I want to cause bad feelings in other people? I mean, I believe this life is it, if I want pleasure and fun for myself, then wouldnt my neighbor?

Why would I make him or her suffer?

Why do bad? If I was a bad person who did not feel for others, did not have empathy, then sure, nothing would stop me aside of the law if caught or death.

But if you are christian and have no empathy, well believing in something is not gonna stop you from being bad if you like it a lOT and do not feel any empathy for others.

Karma? I doubt pple who dont care bout others care bout karma.

Besides, when i get down to the nitty gritty of things, i would hate to think that the ONLY reason i do good and not bad is because of karma, or something, i would like to believe that inside me i feel enough for other people to NOT want to hurt them, because i CARE.

I also believe it is what children need, to have their empathy fed, nurtured.. to teach them love, care, feel.

**shrugs** prolly did not explain it well, and that is ok, I did what i could :)

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#29    ShadowSot

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:45 AM

Why do good? Personally I always feel doing good to be the default position, doing harm to be the abnormal behaviour.

  And why not? What do I gain from acting immorally?

Life is short, and to make life worthwhile most of us require friends and family. Acting immorally will usually not reward you with a large amount of worthwhile friends, and might separate you from your family as well.

  
  And yes, your body may just rot in the ground, but hopefully your memory will live on. And for myself at least, I wish to be remembered well. It's not as lasting as the immortality offered in myths and legends, but if I were to die tomorrow I know for a fact people will miss me, my nieces will remember the time I spent helping them, my friends will remember what times we had, and hopefully I've provided some example (I  won't kid,mostly a bad example,but even so.) of how to find worthwhile things.

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
-Terry Pratchett

#30    Arbenol

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:45 AM

View PostParsip, on 16 April 2012 - 10:04 PM, said:

- post removed -

Fair point. I use the Bible as an example because it is most familiar to me.

Thanks for answering the first question (and second one - almost). So, you see objective morality as being revealed divinely and is unchanging. Is that right? I agree with this - if it did exist. I could describe in geat detail the lesser-spotted manchurian unicorn - but this doesn't make it real.

So, if objective morality does exist, then can you give me an example of it? I ask this because I can't think of one single moral principle that has not changed over time, or is conditional based on context.

For example (and sorry to use the Bible again) but one divinely revealed moral was "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Fair enough. Except that further revelations to Moses make it clear that it's fine (compulsory, in fact) to kill sinners, homosexuals, people who have sex with animals, people of have sex with their mother-in-law (Incidentally, I'm fine with this rule), and Canaanites (all of them).

Is it Ok to kill in self-defence or during war? Is capital punishment acceptable? This divine revelation is all very well but not that helpful when it comes to how to implement these things practically.

So, human created morality is not oxymoronic, as objective morality does not exist. Unless you can provide an example.

One more thing, as I said before, morality is not about personal opinion. You say: "  One human says murder is wrong, another says it's right. " but this isn't so. One may say it's right, but millions will say it's wrong. And when this goes wrong the whole world sees the damage that is done. This is why autocracies and dictatorships are often so malign. Democracies (for all their faults) would not allow this to happen, because it isn't about personal opinion, it's about collective opinion.





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