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Sun Jan 27, 2013, 12:59 PM

Where do you atheists get your morals?

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Reply Where do you atheists get your morals? (Original post)
cleanhippie Jan 2013 OP
temporary311 Jan 2013 #1
longship Jan 2013 #2
griloco Jan 2013 #5
Motown_Johnny Jan 2013 #17
Fearless Jan 2013 #24
sakabatou Jan 2013 #19
TM99 Jan 2013 #3
alfredo Jan 2013 #6
ajk2821 Jan 2013 #8
AlbertCat Jan 2013 #20
BlueJazz Jan 2013 #26
Walk away Jan 2013 #27
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #56
RiverNoord Jan 2013 #25
TM99 Jan 2013 #199
RiverNoord Jan 2013 #200
TM99 Jan 2013 #202
mr blur Jan 2013 #30
rationalcalgarian Jan 2013 #45
TM99 Jan 2013 #134
rationalcalgarian Jan 2013 #144
TM99 Jan 2013 #147
rationalcalgarian Jan 2013 #196
russspeakeasy Jan 2013 #46
Starboard Tack Jan 2013 #58
Angry Dragon Jan 2013 #64
MissMarple Jan 2013 #68
TM99 Jan 2013 #133
bhikkhu Jan 2013 #103
beac Jan 2013 #4
alfredo Jan 2013 #7
BainsBane Jan 2013 #9
jbone45 Jan 2013 #10
Curmudgeoness Jan 2013 #11
AlbertCat Jan 2013 #21
Curmudgeoness Jan 2013 #31
Coyotl Jan 2013 #43
eggplant Jan 2013 #52
eppur_se_muova Jan 2013 #140
cui bono Jan 2013 #54
LuckyLib Jan 2013 #111
NYC Liberal Jan 2013 #12
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #125
GeorgeGist Jan 2013 #169
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #171
NYC Liberal Jan 2013 #172
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #13
Arugula Latte Jan 2013 #14
pnwest Jan 2013 #23
iandhr Jan 2013 #15
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #40
Deep13 Jan 2013 #16
needledriver Jan 2013 #18
Spitfire of ATJ Jan 2013 #22
Duer 157099 Jan 2013 #28
rug Jan 2013 #29
eallen Jan 2013 #32
rug Jan 2013 #34
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #91
tavalon Jan 2013 #35
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D23MIURG23 Jan 2013 #121
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rug Jan 2013 #170
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Warren Stupidity Jan 2013 #57
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rhett o rick Jan 2013 #59
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intaglio Jan 2013 #81
rug Jan 2013 #84
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jeff47 Jan 2013 #135
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djean111 Jan 2013 #151
Deep13 Jan 2013 #114
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grantcart Jan 2013 #145
rug Jan 2013 #167
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Phlem Jan 2013 #33
eallen Jan 2013 #39
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Phlem Jan 2013 #60
eallen Jan 2013 #70
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eallen Jan 2013 #80
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tama Jan 2013 #82
Deep13 Jan 2013 #115
Phlem Jan 2013 #55
tama Jan 2013 #67
prole_for_peace Jan 2013 #37
jonthebru Jan 2013 #42
Rain Mcloud Jan 2013 #44
humblebum Jan 2013 #47
stultusporcos Jan 2013 #51
humblebum Jan 2013 #72
stultusporcos Jan 2013 #100
Javaman Jan 2013 #162
WinkyDink Jan 2013 #48
on point Jan 2013 #49
Deep13 Jan 2013 #116
on point Jan 2013 #149
brewens Jan 2013 #53
AAO Jan 2013 #83
tama Jan 2013 #109
AAO Jan 2013 #126
tama Jan 2013 #129
AAO Jan 2013 #158
tama Jan 2013 #163
AAO Jan 2013 #166
tama Jan 2013 #173
Deep13 Jan 2013 #117
thesquanderer Jan 2013 #61
Ian David Jan 2013 #62
Angry Dragon Jan 2013 #63
blkmusclmachine Jan 2013 #65
WillyT Jan 2013 #66
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CRH Jan 2013 #102
Lane1340 Jan 2013 #110
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Deep13 Jan 2013 #118
eridani Jan 2013 #119
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D23MIURG23 Jan 2013 #120
tpsbmam Jan 2013 #122
gtar100 Jan 2013 #148
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kestrel91316 Jan 2013 #130
Mr.Bill Jan 2013 #131
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freshwest Jan 2013 #136
LiberalFighter Jan 2013 #138
rocktivity Jan 2013 #139
ca3799 Jan 2013 #150
yurbud Jan 2013 #155
tama Jan 2013 #157
Zorra Jan 2013 #154
tama Jan 2013 #160
Javaman Jan 2013 #161
dr.strangelove Jan 2013 #174
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Fight2Win Jan 2013 #178
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Rob H. Jan 2013 #182

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:00 PM

1. Joe Pesci.

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Response to temporary311 (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:10 PM

2. Joe bless you.

It's amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.

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Response to longship (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:28 PM

5. an amusing baseball bat at that. n/t

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Response to longship (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:46 PM

17. Its like I always said.....

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Response to longship (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:19 PM

24. +1000!

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Response to temporary311 (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:48 PM

19. George Carlin strikes again.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:14 PM

3. The same place anyone gets their morals

Part of it comes from one's own innate temperament. Part of it comes as our personalities develop being shaped and influenced for good or ill by our families, our schools, our social group, and our culture.

The rest comes in adulthood from personal experience, learning from our mistakes, and growing in character. At that point, we make the choices and allow what systems (philosophical, religious, or psychological) we want to influence our personal ethical system which hopefully will continue to grow and evolve as we age and mature.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:29 PM

6. +1

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:32 PM

8. Well said

My belief in my religion is not what gives me morals. I had the same morals when I was at different churches or no church at all.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:04 PM

20. The same place anyone gets their morals

Best Buy????

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #20)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:28 PM

26. I got mine when they had the Black Friday sale. Had to stay up all night...

...but it was well worth it. Got "Kindness, forgiveness, empathy, charity and a few others.

Was going to get "Truthfulness" but ran out of money.

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Response to BlueJazz (Reply #26)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:31 PM

27. You can have mine. It's highly overrated and can be dangerous to your health. nt

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Response to BlueJazz (Reply #26)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:10 PM

56. LOL. It's obvious you didnt get "truthfulness". nm

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:21 PM

25. Exceptionally well put

I'm an atheist and am routinely baffled by the question as it is presented to me a few times a year. I'm just as weary of answering it as the comic strip character, as the person asking seldom wants an accurate answer. The person usually wants something to confirm the 'badness' of atheists to himself/herself, in order to feel a little more comfortable with the idea that the atheist, as decent, kind, sensible, honest, etc., as he/she seems, is supposedly still going to hell...

May I copy and paste your statement in order to construct a standard response sheet? .

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Response to RiverNoord (Reply #25)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 04:43 AM

199. Thank you

Last edited Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:28 AM - Edit history (1)

Yes, of course, I don't mind if you copy and paste it.

I grew up in a very liberal mainstream church family. I attended the Anglican church through high school. Ever since I was a boy I questioned and never 'believed', however it wasn't until then that I began to identify myself as an atheist. After decades of study, exploration, psychology training, etc., now, if asked, I am ignostic.

I do not accept the proposition of god/dess or god/desses existence as meaningful or valid. It is "not even wrong" as Pauli would say about certain scientific theories. The theist, polytheist, panentheist, etc. all accept the proposition as meaningful and deem it to be 'true' in some form, shape, or fashion. Atheists also accept the proposition as meaningful and deem it be 'false'. Agnostics also accept the proposition as meaningful and deem it be 'inconclusive' without further proof. There are as many 'god/s' as there are human beings to have individual psychological conceptions. Therefore, I tend to address individuals and not religions. No two Christians are alike as are no two atheists. If science does not have an answer for a question, then I am ok with accepting the mystery of not-knowing at this time.

But my first principles no longer rest on the proposition of 'god/s exist'. I find it allows me to approach living with an even more open mind than I espoused as a younger man. I am free to participate or not in the communal aspects of religion as I accept them for the psychological necessities they often are as opposed to supernatural realities so many wish them to be. Some religions and philosophies are more amenable to such ways of thinking - Taoism, Buddhism, certain schools of Hinduism like Vedanta, Ifa, and Philosophical schools such as Stoicism - and those are the ones that most interest me.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #199)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:05 AM

200. You're excellent at discussing complex issues with...

very straightforward and accessible language. My compliments.

As for myself, I grew up in small town North Dakota - Lutheran country (basically, they want their pastors to be more or less moderate regarding everything - not too much hellfire and brimstone and not too much touchy-feely) - and my family really focuses on 'eternal life' and related (selected, of course - the rich having as much chance of entering heaven as a camel getting through the eye of a needle is pretty inconvenient sometimes), but isn't too firm on anything else. I sought a lot of meaning at an early age, and I suppose I still do (although the inevitable outcome of such searching for me is the lowering of expectations...) When I was told 'this is true,' I took it literally - something either is or isn't. So... I became rather tied up in the Bible that was available to me and grew deeply disturbed by the dichotomy between what it seemed to me to be clearly prescribed manners of behavior and what really went on around me.

Eventually, I underwent a painful and necessary shift from blindly accepting King James Bible writings as absolute truth to quite another perspective - that I accept nothing as likely to be true unless I evaluate the subject carefully based on information made available to me through personal experience and, generally, sources I have strong reason to believe are trustworthy on the particular subject.

What probably differs most between us is that I find the psychological 'benefits' to individuals resulting from communal religious activity to be of negative value when aggregated over the range of entire societies. Religions tend toward provincialism and that provincialism is easily manipulated to set groups (or entire societies/nations) against each other. I suspect that many of the religions/philosophies you mention are more universalist in scope, but they still bond people together in us/them mentalities (Buddhism has been used by many societies to promote warfare and Hinduism definitely has been employed in the same capacity over many, many years).

My attitude is that if some psychological benefit is to be derived from communal religious activity, then there must be forms of communal secular activity that should provide the same benefit. Such activities are probably less likely to result in easily manipulated us/them perspectives. Of course, I may be wrong...

Thanks again for sharing such well articulated and thoughtful perspectives

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Response to RiverNoord (Reply #200)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:31 AM

202. We agree much more than we disagree

I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state within any country or political system. I accept the necessity of 'congregating' with those of like mind, and you are quite correct that this can and often does lead to provincialism.

I am a pragmatist in many ways and recognize that even if all of humanity were willing to face the fear of the unknowable without resorting to god and even if all of humanity were willing to accept that we as sentient beings have created and continue to create systems of ethical action, i.e., morality, we would still form social groups. It is inevitable, laudable, and quite often terrifying. Religious groupings and secular groupings ultimately tend to look and act the same. They just seem different on the surface. Just look at the provincialism of political parties in America and the us versus them of Democrats and Republicans. How like 'religion' has that become?

And I agree, even Buddhism has been used by cultures to wage war, though historically, it has been far less often than the revealed religions of Abraham in the West.

Thank you for the compliment. I have many to thank for who I am today and how I communicate. I was fortunate to have college English professors for parents. An undergraduate degree in Philosophy taught me how to reason and argue. My profession is the 'talking cure' so words and how they are spoken are both fascinating and important to me. I suppose I also just enjoy a good conversation and the chance to teach knowing that what I say affects others. I piss off as many as I please these days.

Very nice chatting with you and look forward to more here in the future.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:38 PM

30. +2

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:44 PM

45. Could not have said it better

Hope you don't mind if I cat-and-paste this for future reference.

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Response to rationalcalgarian (Reply #45)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:24 PM

134. Thanks

No I do not mind if you 'cat-and-paste'. I like cats.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #134)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:48 AM

144. Fat-fingered me!

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Response to rationalcalgarian (Reply #144)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:34 AM

147. I figured as much

so I was just having a little fun.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #147)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 01:46 AM

196. And typing in the dark doesn't help, either!

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:46 PM

46. + 450

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:15 PM

58. Pretty much sums it up!

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:56 PM

64. +161

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:11 PM

68. That sounds a lot like like Jonathan Haidt.

for you both.

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Response to MissMarple (Reply #68)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:22 PM

133. Thank you

Dr. Haidt and I have actually had quite a few discussions on the subject. We come from different psychological schools - his is Positive Psychology with a strong grounding in scientific materialism and mine is a Psychodynamic Psychology with a grounding in the phenomenological philosophy of somaticism. We agree on some points and we disagree on others. But we do both agree that human beings have an innate 'ethic'. Now whether it fully develops into a chosen 'morality', a given cultural religious 'morality', or is perverted and damaged to the point of an 'anti-morality', I think he and I disagree on those.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:07 PM

103. Very true. Humanity has a basic morality, wired in.

A part of us that is as often perverted and sidestepped by the intervention of religion as it is improved.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:24 PM

4. K&R from another atheist cheese-lover.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:30 PM

7. eBay

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:33 PM

9. Actually there is a famous case involving cheese

and the the sixteenth century Inquisition. Menhocchio found himself brought before the Inquisition for describing creation as like the making of cheese: "All was chaos, that is earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and of that bulk a mass formed—just as cheese is made out of milk—and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels."

Carlo Guizburg's The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller chronicles the story: http://www.amazon.com/Cheese-Worms-Cosmos-Sixteenth-Century-Miller/dp/0801843871

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:34 PM

10. Hmmmmmmmmm... Cheese Nachos for dinner!

 

How does the adulterated sodomitic fornacating war-making persecutering theivist false witness to witch burnings who worship money can claim to have any morals at all?

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:34 PM

11. Cheese is love.

Or, uh, I mean I love cheese. And cheese said "take and eat, this is my body". And I ate.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:08 PM

21. "take and eat, this is my body".

Praise Cheesus!

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #21)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:39 PM

31. Cheesus! ROFL!

People here never cease to amaze me. Any topic, no matter what, you can post a pic that is so suitable. Incredible.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #21)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:34 PM

43. Can I get a Cheesus sandwich, please?

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #43)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:02 PM

52. Coming right up.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #21)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:06 PM

54. Love Cheesus, but love the quote in your sig even more.

Saving that one.

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Response to cui bono (Reply #54)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:05 PM

111. Yes. A keeper of a quote.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:40 PM

12. Everyone chooses their own morals...

People choose which religion and holy books to follow.
They choose which interpretations of their holy books to follow.

Much of people's religious beliefs (and the morality that comes from them) is based on how they were raised, the society and community in which they live, and their own personal experiences.

In other words, everyone gets their morality from the same places.

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:26 PM

125. only to a point and as adults as some one said up thread.

 

there are studies that show most people worldwide die in the same religion they were born in. it is more rigid than class structure in 21st century usa and that is saying something.

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:49 AM

169. Not really.

But whatever floats your boat.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #169)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:06 AM

171. Wow, what a convincing argument!

But whatever floats your boat.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #169)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:10 AM

172. Yes really.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:42 PM

13. Ah... the eternal Cheese vs Bacon debate

 

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:43 PM

14. I also get morels when I forage in the forest.

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #14)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:17 PM

23. HA!!!!!!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:43 PM

15. Blessed are the cheesemakers (with help from Monty Python.)

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Response to iandhr (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:28 PM

40. Where do you come from...

Nose City?

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:45 PM

16. I got the Moral Value Pack from Sears. nt

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:47 PM

18. I got it at my mother's knee

or some other low joint.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:08 PM

22. This could become a cult...

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:36 PM

28. Costco

I get the megapack.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:37 PM

29. There's nothing in atheism that requires moralty.

In fact, it's completely silent on the subject.

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:44 PM

32. Yes, but people, including atheists, are moral agents

They judge their own acts. They judge other people's acts.

They think on how they should make those judgments, and on how those judgments should affect their future behavior.

There is a very real sense in which, as a previous poster wrote, atheists get their morality from the same place as the religious. We invent it, or borrow it from other people who invent it. The difference is we know that, and don't spin tales about some god giving it to us.


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Response to eallen (Reply #32)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:52 PM

34. If they are, it has nothing to do with atheism.

An atheist who does good does so because that person is good. That person is a moral person not a moral atheist.

Anyone is free to criticize religion. In order to do that it is not necessary to make atheism any more than what it is.

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Response to eallen (Reply #32)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:45 PM

91. "The difference is we know that, and don't spin tales about some god giving it to us."

Best. Answer. Ever.


Well done!

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:07 PM

35. But on the theist side, it's fucking everywhere

They make out the embeciles that follow them as such sheep that they require the church to not only introduce, but then anneal there belief and the church further acts as the punisher if someone doesn't properly execute the church provided morality.

I only trust morals from someone who was either never exposed to this institutional brainwash or one that was but walked away and did the hard work of figuring out their own personal ethics and beliefs, without the taint of church.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #35)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:11 PM

36. But it doesn't answer the OP at all.

By definition, atheism can not be the source of morality.

Morality has many souces, including religious belief.

BTW, it's "imbecile".

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Response to rug (Reply #36)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:07 PM

121. "God" is also not a valid source of morality, and neither is "religious belief".

The source of morality unique to religion is religious authority. Religious authorities write holy books and issue arbitrary dictates, and these are taken seriously because people are willing to believe that these authorities are acting at the behest of a deity. They believe this, in all cases, in the absence of evidence for such a being.

The other sources of morality are empathy and concern for the common good. As an atheist I see no reason to cling to authority as a source of morality, but simple empathy seems to work pretty well for me in most instances.

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Response to D23MIURG23 (Reply #121)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:39 AM

165. Your statement sums up my thoughts on "morality"

The other sources of morality are empathy and concern for the common good.

Atheists are concerned with the here and now. Theists concentrate on the "hereafter." I don't know how many times growing up I heard "If you sin, God will condemn you to Hell." It's almost like we were obsessed with earning a ticket to God's Kingdom by acting "morally" in this life.

As for "morality," perhaps we should—
•Ask the Catholic Church if it is "moral" to harbor pedophile priests;
•Ask conservative Muslim clerics if it is "moral" to throw acid into the faces of girls because they wanted to go to school;
•Ask conservative Mormons if it is "moral" to wed 12-year-old girls;
•Ask conservative Protestant ministers if it is “moral” to endorse political candidates as part of their sermons;
•Ask members of the Westboro Baptist Church (Wichita, Kansas) if it is "moral" to protest the funerals of gays and soldiers with signs that read “God Hates Fags.”
—and so on.

But we were living life based on religious authorities and holy books.

"Empathy and concern for the common good" in the here and now should provide the foundation of society. As a nonbeliever, I'm amused at the importance given the 10 Commandments in this country. Several years ago I read HWF Skaggs' book, "Civilisation before Greece and Rome." In his tome, he points out that laws forbidding murder, theft, and lying were already in existence long before the Christian world appeared. It seems reasonable considering such laws were necessary to maintain social order.

But let’s take a look at those commandments. Remember, violation of these “laws” means eternal damnation and, in some cultures, maiming and death—
1) You shall have no other gods before me—does not apply to the third largest (non-) belief system in the world;
2) You shall not make for yourself an idol—ditto, if this were enforced, the pop-culture industry would disappear overnight;
3) You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God—ditto. If you don’t believe in God, then how can you use His name wrongfully?
4) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy—ditto. As a former bartender, it’s very difficult to keep the Sabbath holy when you get home from work at 4:00 o’clock on a Sunday morning;
5) Honor your father and mother—if this were enforced, just about every teenager in America would be in jail;
6) You shall not murder—okay, now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. Civilizations before Judea-Christian heritage had laws forbidding this.
7) You shall not commit adultery—does this really need to be addressed?
8) You shall not steal—again, this predates the Judea-Christian heritage.
9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor—another that predates Judea-Christian heritage.
10) You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or anything that belongs to your neighbor—if this was really enforced, the entire marketing and advertising industry would crumble.

Let’s tally ‘em up—
•30% (nos. 6, 8, and 9) are found in civilizations before the “Judea-Christian” heritage, and are the bedrock of civilization. It stands to reason that writing laws and proscribing punishment for murder, perjury, and theft are necessary for the betterment and advancement of civilization;
•40% (nos. 1-4) are merely instructions on how to worship some other guy’s God;
•And 30% (nos. 5, 7, and 10) make up a "wish list."

So there you have it—and some folks think we'll be “better Americans” if these were posted on the walls of public institutions.

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Response to D23MIURG23 (Reply #121)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:50 AM

170. Valid? What is your standard for valid?

It sounds very much like your opinion.

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Response to rug (Reply #170)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:29 PM

181. Its just basic logic.

God can't be a source until you actually show some evidence that it exists. Asserting that your morals come from god is the same thing as asserting that they come from a flying spaghetti monster.

Religious beliefs can inform morality, but religious beliefs aren't first principals; they have origins. If I am a hindu, my religiously informed morality is different than yours would be if you were a muslim. Religious books and clergy are the sources we can actually verify that shape religious belief, so it follows that those are the source of religious morality.

Secular sources of morality are derived by assigning goals for morality (such as minimizing suffering, or upholding certain ideals) and determining standards of behavior that bring them about. Moral philosophers may disagree with the constructions of other philosophers, but they are all basically working along these lines. In fact, the aforementioned religious leaders are probably also working along these lines in most cases. I would expect that the gaggle of christian theologians who argue that the humanistic proclamations of jesus are more important than the exodus verse about stoning children for disobedience, are actually doing so because the find the consequences of applying the former versus more desirable than the latter.

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Response to D23MIURG23 (Reply #181)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:12 PM

189. There's your first problem; logic is not a function of evidence.

It begins with a datum, demonstrable or undemonstrable, and proceeds from there.

So, once again, your validity is simly based on your opinion. Your opinion is that you will consider nothing that doesn't comport with your view of evidence.

As for secular sources of morality, you seem to be saying they all share a commonality. I daresay there are more varieties of secular morality than of religious morality.

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Response to rug (Reply #189)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:27 PM

190. Daresay

 

I daresay there are more varieties of secular morality than of religious morality.


Are you referring to variety of secular legislation vs. less variety of religious normative codes?

How about "scientific" sociopsychological and emotional evolutionary base of ethical behaviour and various religious interpretations of?

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Response to tama (Reply #190)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:34 PM

191. No, I'm referring cultural mores and norms, along with all their subsets.

At core, I agree with Marx's notion of the superstructure of ideologies and cultures resting on the means of production and the class that controls those means. The variety is astounding. Look how much variety there has been in China alone in the last 50 years as its economic systems has changed. From the Red Guard to condos in 40 years along with everything in between. That is not the product of religion.

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Response to rug (Reply #191)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:11 AM

197. Source of ethical behavior

 

on individual level is also good question, which often get's confused with level of cultural mores and norms.

Social conditioning is one source, but people do go against their social conditioning and their cultural mores and norms (whether religious or secular) because of deeper ethical causes, so that is not the only source. In Buddhist etc. teaching there are many deeper levels, that can be found and practiced through contemplative methods, various levels of awakening and awareness, and deeper you go, more effortless and automatic ethical behavior comes. Love and compassion comes from inside, some people call that "God-within", others don't use any theological vocabulary.

PS: I somehow came by this talk by a Monsignor about "rainbow bodies", thought you might be interested: http://noetic.org/library/audio-lectures/the-rainbow-body-phenomenon-with-father-francis-ti/

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Response to tama (Reply #197)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:12 AM

201. Thanks, I never heard that term.

Bookmarked for later.

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Response to rug (Reply #189)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:34 PM

194. By data you just mean premises.

Of course you can consider anything you want for your logical arguments, but your propositions don't leave the realm of fantasy until you have actual data on them (and by data, I mean measurements of things). Furthermore, faulty premises lead to false conclusions. That isn't my opinion, its the reason science has actually made progress in explaining the physical world.

As for your change of subject:

As for secular sources of morality, you seem to be saying they all share a commonality. I daresay there are more varieties of secular morality than of religious morality.


I'm basically saying that they share the fact that they are secular, and that they are rooted in the desired outcomes of the people who design them. That doesn't mean they have any substance in common. The do diverge from religious morality in that they don't pretend to be about something supernatural.

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Response to D23MIURG23 (Reply #194)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:36 PM

195. Datum, as in a given.

Still, religious and secular morality often reach the same conclusion about human behavior.

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Response to D23MIURG23 (Reply #194)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:52 AM

198. As someone said:

 

Explaining is not living.

Science has since Decartes et alii concentrated on measuring the world of external five senses and coming up with more and more predictive explanations of external phenomena. Much less with 1st person experience and ethics and compassion etc. as experiental reality, or inclusion of ethics and compassion etc. in secular education. That may be changing and I hope it is.

Explanations with strong predictive power of external world can be used for both ethical and unethical purposes, I believe we agree on that. Question is, how do we continue to live with those scientific explanations and their power to destroy and create, as conscious experience and emotions and ability to harm and heal.

The question in OP is: Where do you atheists get your morals? We all agree on this thread that secular people don't need theological explanations to act ethically, and I also believe that we are in agreement that scientific explanations of external world are neutral in that sense. The question is ultimately not about explaining, but about living ethically.

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Response to rug (Reply #36)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:07 AM

137. It seems one of the attrations of religion,

is people love that they can just go confess their 'sins,' say a few prayers and all is well

We've seen this behavior so many times by public right wingers

It only shows me, that they are shallow and disingenuous.Their morals are all hat no cattle

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:24 PM

38. Religions "require" morality and followers do bad things anyway

Our prisons are full of people who believe in a higher power. They knew what they did was wrong but they did it anyway. The fact that they believe in a book that says they shouldn't kill or steal didn't keep them from doing it.

I'm an atheist and always have been agnostic or atheist. I was raised that way. But no one ever told me I shouldn't kill or steal. I think some "morals" are innate in a sense, because we know that society would be chaos if it was okay to murder and take each others belongings. That being said, I have no problem with people being religious. They are generally raised that way, just like I was raised an agnostic.

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Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #38)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:30 PM

41. A criticism of religion, with nothing more, does not create a virtue in atheism.

I'm glad you don't murder. I don't either. Fortunately for society, it doesn't matter why we don't.

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Response to rug (Reply #41)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:44 PM

128. The virtue of atheism is that it enables analysis of moral precepts on their own merits.

This is the same reason why our secular legislative and judicial system are a superior source of law to the theocratic system of Saudi Arabia. If our government is functioning correctly it assesses potential policies in terms of costs and benefits to humans and other inhabitants of the planet. It doesn't accept arbitrates that are more harmful than useful, such as the following:

exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

exodus 31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

I'll grant that religious people often don't follow the majority of the dictates found in their religious texts, or historically associated with their religions, but in doing so they are allowing their morality to become less theological and more secular.

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:11 PM

57. Correct, as it is a non-belief in gods, not a moral system.

Did somebody in this thread claim otherwise? Instead we have made the claim that morality does not require religion.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #57)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:58 PM

76. Therefore, atheism s irrelevant to morality.

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Response to rug (Reply #76)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:51 PM

93. Correct, atheism is the non belief in gods, not an ethical system.

Atheists, in general, do not make ridiculous claims about the origin of ethics.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #93)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:52 PM

95. That qualifier should be in bold face.

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Response to rug (Reply #95)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:17 AM

141. The OP is a simple question.

From the viewpoint of a believer in a metaphysical god that lays out rules and morals, and perhaps punishments, it is difficult for them to envision how we arrive at a structure of morals without said (non-existent) guiding hand. So they ask us.

I derive my morals from first principles. Most of it rests on the axiom of Self-Ownership. Easy to describe things like non-aggression (they know it as the golden rule) from that as your foundation.

There are other ways to derive a moral structure without a metaphysical influence (or the perception of a metaphysical influence, however real or unreal).

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #141)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:48 AM

168. Cartoons aside, the question has a simple answer.

Certainly people, with or without belief, find morality from many places. From family, neighbors, schools, philosophies, experiences, ad infinitum. Religion is one of those sources.

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:20 PM

59. It appears to me that you are making the assumption that atheisim

has a creed. There is no such thing. Atheism is a label assigned to people whether they accept the label or not. They are not joined in any creed or set of beliefs. They are individual people that have many beliefs but agree that there is no evidence of God.

Morals dont necessarily come from religion. Religion can teach good morals, but some actually teach bad morals.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #59)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:57 PM

74. In that case, the discussion of atheism and morals is nonsense.

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Response to rug (Reply #74)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:00 PM

77. I agree. The discussion of morals and religion is also nonsense. nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #77)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:05 PM

79. No, because religion explicitly addresses morality.

Atheism does not.

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Response to rug (Reply #79)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:54 PM

96. Indeed, many religions make ridiculous claims about the origins of ethics and morality.

That would be a problem with religion that atheism doesn't share. But you will have to excuse from the rest of this fascinating discussion, as I have to go slaughter eat my children, not having a religion mandated moral code and everything.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #96)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:56 PM

97. Do you enjoy draping yourself in ludicrous stereotypes?

Tell me, has anyone actually accused you of that or do you just like strawmen?

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Response to rug (Reply #97)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:57 PM

98. Project much?

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #98)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:20 PM

106. Not me. I'm not going around saying people are accusing me of killing babies.

I'd give you my sympathy for such an outrageous slur, had I bebelieved it ever happened.

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Response to rug (Reply #106)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:29 AM

152. No you are accusing atheism of not doing something it doesn't claim to do.

And you are hoping to establish that religion is the source of morality. I disagree with that. Religion codifies existing morality. In the case of, for example, the Catholic Church, it codified the existing morality of the mid to late Roman Empire, plus some Old Testament nonsense. Some of those rules make sense, we shouldn't kill each other or take each others stuff without asking, etc. all pretty much universal rules. Much of the rest is indistinguishable from sharia, which leaves apologists off cherry picking from the rules trying to make some case for modern legitimacy of the useless institutions proselytizing them.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #152)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:03 AM

153. He's not

 

He's not accusing atheism of anything but saying the same as what all atheists here say about atheism. And he's not saying that religion is THE source of morality, just the obvious that religion is A source of morality. Note the difference between definite and indefinite article in previous sentence.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #152)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:24 AM

164. Now who's projecting?

I'm glad we agree that atheism is irrelevant to morality.

Now since the OP asks where atheists gets morals, why do you feel the need to attack religious morals? Is it that your atheism has no meaning without dragging religion into it?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #77)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:28 AM

143. Depends.

Most religions make moral claims, or outline moral rules. So I agree it is nonsense in the context that there is no supreme rule giver. But to the believer, it is highly relevant.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #143)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:54 AM

159. Yes of course. I was being flip. I should have said that the discussion that

morals are exclusively taught by religions or even mostly taught by religions is nonsense.

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:55 PM

73. Did you read that in the Holy Book of Atheism?

 

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Response to AAO (Reply #73)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:57 PM

75. No, Dawkins bores me.

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Response to rug (Reply #75)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:15 PM

85. Then what resource were you referring to here?

 

"In fact, it's completely silent on the subject."

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Response to AAO (Reply #85)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:19 PM

86. Are you aware of any source that says it is?

Why, I've been told right here, many times, that atheism is no more than the absence of belief in a god(s). Period.

Sorry to startle you.

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Response to rug (Reply #86)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:29 PM

88. The fact that you are weaseling out of my questions doesn't startle me.

 

You are the one that implied some source "was completely silent on the subject". If it was a poor word choice, why not just admit it and move on?

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Response to AAO (Reply #88)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:36 PM

89. There's no weaseling at all.

Do you disagree with that definition? If you don't, show me the moral content of it.

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Response to rug (Reply #89)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:40 PM

90. I agree 100% with the definition. That wasn't my point, and you must know that.

 

Have a good day.

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Response to AAO (Reply #90)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:51 PM

94. Adios.

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Response to AAO (Reply #90)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:22 AM

142. Atheism isn't a belief structure.

a-THEISM is a lack of belief in theistic ... stuff.

The fact that I don't believe in any supernatural beings doesn't provide me with a moral framework for interacting with others. I arrive at that by entirely different means.

Theism is not just a one-way street, you project faith in one direction, and it projects back at you dogma by which to arrange your life, including a moral framework.

Atheism isn't even a street. It's nothing. Lack of.

Therefore, Rug is correct, it is silent on this subject. The correct objection to his original premise would be, 'you weren't asked how atheism provides you morals'. The general question is, whence do atheists get morals. (Since we do not respect, believe in, recognize, etc, the 'supreme source' for such laws to a theist)

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #142)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:46 AM

156. So now this continues with you.

 

When you say atheism "is silent on this subject', what book or tract are you reading where you find "it is silent on the subject"? I agree with everything you said before you said "Therefore Rug is correct".

I've been an atheist for about 48 years, so I think I know what it means. I'm starting to wonder if anyone understands English around here.

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Response to AAO (Reply #156)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:59 AM

176. That is not where the burden of proof lay.

What book or tract gives rise to the idea that Atheism itself DOES lay out morals, rules, etc?

I am aware of none. I don't spend my time trying to prove there is no 'atheist' tract, however badly reasoned or written out there, anywhere in the world, that might support your line of logic.


I can give pointers to many philosophies and sciences that attempt to explain not only why we non-believers have morals, but why we MUST have them, but none of them are predicated upon, or are issued from the concept of Atheism. Sociology and evolution can tell us much about why we have innate morals, but none of that information is predicated upon Atheism. In fact, intelligent design creationists will quickly point out that it is 'compatible' with their brand of nonsense. We can also dig into why 'believers' fail so consistently to follow their supposedly supernaturally issued moral rules, placebo effects, and all that.

This is the whole of Atheism(TM):

atheism (ˈeɪθɪˌɪzəm)
— n
rejection of belief in God or gods



That's it. That's the whole 'doctrine' right there. It tells me nothing about how to derive my morals for interacting with society. From there, I can delve into secular humanism, which offers some, or first principles, which is the branch of philosophy I follow, or you can plow into philosophical biology, evolutionary ethics, or other avenues. The only thing Atheism tells me, in the subject of source morals, is that any avenue of theism, to a supernatural law giver, is closed to me. (or rather, not 'closed', but non-existent)

So again, where Rug said 'it is silent on this subject', that is accurate. What was inaccurate was, that wasn't a valid answer to the question posed in the OP. The question posed in the OP was 'Where do atheists get their morals?', which has no singular answer. There are many source materials one can reference. In a sense, the same is true of a 'believer'; many different sources. Though the question doesn't flow smoothly when flip it around and ask them, because if you happen to be talking to a christian, he or she isn't likely to give any credence or consideration to, say, moral commandments issued by allah, and vice versa.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #176)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:40 AM

177. That's what you 2 don't seem to understand

 

When you say "'it is silent on this subject'", what is "it".

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Response to AAO (Reply #177)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:09 PM

180. Atheism.

'it' is atheism, from the starting point of Rug's tangent that didn't answer the OP.


"There's nothing in atheism that requires morality. In fact, it's completely silent on the subject."

That was a true statement. 'It' is clearly defined. What it isn't, is a complete answer to the OP's general question:
"Where do you atheists get your morals?"

The OP did not ask 'where in the concept of atheism do you get your morals?', therefore, responding to the OP with 'atheism does not define morals/silent/etc' is at best a partial answer of where our morals DO NOT come from.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #180)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:11 PM

183. You still haven't explained how atheism could be silent or not silent.

 

If you said about tree science, the Tree has no comment, I would treat it as sarcasm. But his initial post didn't mention atheism, just "it".

I'm not going to continue the meaningless back and forth. If there is ever an "it" which can be vocal or silent REGARDING atheism, let me know. I know there is not, but Rug seemed to suggest there was. I was only wondering where this "it" was and what for it took.

Take care!

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Response to AAO (Reply #183)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:23 PM

185. It's a rhetorical statement.

You might also say 'it does not apply' rather than 'it is silent on XYZ'.

Atheism does not apply to the question of source morals beyond excluding, for the atheist, one otherwise possible source of morals. It makes no positive statements or establishes no moral framework whatever.

"But his initial post didn't mention atheism, just "it". "

Yes it did. Here it is, subject line and body, together:

"There's nothing in atheism that requires morality. In fact, it's completely silent on the subject."


(I just realized his statement is even further from answering the OP's question than I thought, with the use of 'requires' rather than 'supplies')

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #185)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:01 PM

187. 'it does not apply'

 

That's exactly what I was trying to get at. Thanks!

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #180)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:14 PM

184. Maybe this is a better way to put it

 

Atheism cannot be silent because that assumes Atheism could be otherwise. A tree doesn't remain silent, it simply has no verbal way to communicate. Remaining silent assumes you could choose to not be silent. Atheism cannot be either. That is my only point.

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Response to AAO (Reply #184)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:37 PM

186. He obviously didn't mean it LITERALLY....

Atheism could 'speak to' some question of morality, if it contained any moral precepts at all. However, being a single-issue concept (no belief in god or gods) it is 'silent' on the issue of morality.

It's an idiom.

"speak to something

to address, indicate, or signal something. This event speaks to the need for good communication. Your present state of employment speaks to your need for a better education."


Atheism doesn't 'speak to' morality, therefore it is 'silent' on this subject.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #186)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:04 PM

188. Atheism couldn't speak if it wanted to. 'it does not apply' is a better way to say it.

 

I can't believe this got so out of control. My initial post to Rug was just a good-natured ribbing. His response kind of set me off. Sorry about the wasted time.

I think we are all on the same page, although Rug didn't take advantage of his opportunity to say so.

Take care!

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:10 PM

81. Whereas Christianity often proposes proposes bad morals

You know, like genocide in Deuteronomy 7:2 ands Samuel 15:2-3
Subjection of women - 1 Timothy 2:12, Ephesians 5:32, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Sending out a woman to be gang raped - Judges 19:24-28
Child sacrifice - Judges 11:30-39
Slavery - 1 Peter 2:11 and Colossians 4:1, Luke 17
Antisemitism - Titus 1:10-11, Acts 3:14-15
Incest - Genesis 19:30-38.

Of course the believer will say that these chapters and verses are taken "out of context"

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Response to intaglio (Reply #81)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:14 PM

84. Does criticizing religion make you feel better about atheism?

Does the teaching of Christianity, or any other religion, have any bearing whatsoever on the silence on morality in atheism?

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Response to rug (Reply #84)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:11 PM

104. My post merely points out that religion often has little do do with "morality"

whilst cheap shots about a lack of moral guidance for those who do not believe are just that, cheap shots. Some people produce these because they fear or hate or because they are suffering effects of confusion on their rigid world view.

Atheism leaves morals up to the individual and group in the light of valid philosophical studies, like ethics, and legislative necessity in a complex world. There is no need for guidance from some primitive preoccupations packaged as a faith; there is no necessity to follow the arcane pronouncements of elderly men raised into positions of power because of their deep knowledge of folklore and legend. There is a preference for reason and empathy and a loathing of precedent as the justification for the actions of humans.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #104)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:14 PM

105. But the question in the OP concerns the source of morality for atheist, not religious people.

The answer is, not atheism.

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Response to rug (Reply #105)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:42 PM

107. The answer is not religion

Simple enough for you?

Atheism does not pretend to be "an answer" it is a principle. Mostly it is a principle based on observation, logic, empathy and ethics. Very often it is the need for a reasonable morality that brings people to atheism, the knowledge that the most venal, hateful and immoral behaviors can be justified by "holy writ" drives people to search for an alternative.

The cartoon in the OP shows that asking for a source for atheist morality is a stupid question. What is not said is that because atheists can be moral it demonstrates that religion is not the sole arbiter or source of morality.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #107)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:55 PM

108. Nonsense.

Atheism is a conclusion, not a "principle".

I take it, then, that since you say religion is not the "sole" arbiter or source of morality, that you must accept it is one arbiter or source of morality.

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Response to rug (Reply #108)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:48 PM

135. No, it's not a conclusion

After all, we're all born atheists. We have to be taught religion.

Morality comes from society. Whether the person is religious or an atheist is irrelevant.

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Response to rug (Reply #108)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:25 AM

146. Principle

Virtually all atheists will admit, with Dawkins, that they cannot be 100% certain that there is no god; their only certainty is that they do not believe in a deity. Of course it can be a conclusion as well but it remains the principle that guides the actions of those who follow it. An example is that there is no deity to accept the blame for my actions therefore I must be prepared to take personal responsibility for what I do.

You next assume that I do not believe that there are religions, unfortunately there are. Religions set themselves up as judges of moral behaviour but, unlike you, I do not think that they are or should be the sole judges of what is moral and what is not. This last is because many, if not all, religions teach that which is immoral - as I demonstrated in the case of Christianity.

Next, no religion will say that it is the source of morality but some, like the Abrahamic faiths, claim that all morality has its source in the godhead. Pretty obviously a source of morality as tainted as the deity in which you have faith cannot be the fount from which morality flows.

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Response to rug (Reply #84)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:24 AM

151. Oh please. You are implying that someone feels bad about being an atheist.

Project much?
No - it looks to me like you feel bad about other people being atheists.
And not believing in something is not an institution.
Lot of words wasted in trying to make that so.

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:30 PM

114. Fortunately, morals are inate. nt

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:16 PM

123. True.

We get morality from other places. Kindergarten, parents, natural law, etc.

Atheism is basically nothing......a fantastic nothing, a reasonable nothing, but a nothing nonetheless.

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:50 AM

145. Not so sure on that.


Atheism requires intellectual honesty.


That is the foundation of any moral system.

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Response to grantcart (Reply #145)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:45 AM

167. Not necessarily.

All that it requires is nonbelief. It is silent on why one does not believe. There is not a shred of intellectual honesty in Ayn Rand.

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Response to rug (Reply #167)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:08 PM

192. There are always excepts to any rule, obviously.


But if you accept that, and I think there is good scientific reason to do so, belief in a higher metaphysical power is an evolutionary advantage and part of the DNA, then those that fought that part of the instinct to go along with the established religious establishment and stand up to public hostility would have to have an element of courage and intellectual honesty, in general.

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Response to grantcart (Reply #192)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:27 PM

193. Well, that does not seem evolutionarily astute, does it?

Whether it is a result of intellectual honesty, which implies a detached search for truth, or a reaction to something for which one feels antipathy, remains to be seen. Doubtless many exhibit intellectual honesty, which is also true for any minority intellectual conclusion, but I don't think the data is there to describe intellectual honesty as a concomitant attribute of atheism.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:46 PM

33. Morals existed before religion.

That's a scientific fact.

-p

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Response to Phlem (Reply #33)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:26 PM

39. Given that they both go back to the myst of prehistory, how do you know that?

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Response to eallen (Reply #39)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:51 PM

50. I was there. It was in Green Bay.

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Response to Phlem (Reply #60)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:25 PM

70. Bad reasoning, there

That link gave evidence that morality 1) is old, and 2) spans different religious notions.

But it gave no evidence that religion isn't just as old.

Obviously, current religions aren't that old. By an order of magnitude. But religion might be.


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Response to eallen (Reply #70)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:02 PM

78. I'm thinking more along the lines that

basic group behavior is based on what is OK with the group or not, and doesn't require predicating religion.

If there wasn't some order required to belong to a group/unit, we wouldn't have communities.

Mountain gorillas live in harmony and multiply without the notion of anything having to do with something written in stone from some imaginary being. There is what is not OK, and what is, with no Cheesus in between.

I would gather the same from our prehistoric ancestors.

-p

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Response to Phlem (Reply #78)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:08 PM

80. Yes, but some primates also seem to engage in mourning.

For all we know, religion and morality evolved as we did.

Some aspects no doubt serves practical purpose.

Some aspects no doubt are the detritus of our particular history.


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Response to eallen (Reply #80)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:47 PM

92. I wouldn't necessarily think

that mourning predicates religion too.

-p

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Response to Phlem (Reply #92)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:57 PM

99. Depends on what the mourner is thinking.

Not every religion has a god. But every religion has a notion of how to view death and provides some ritual around that. Perhaps earliest man invented religion as a response to thoughts about the lost of loved ones and comrades? Or maybe earliest man's predecessor!

Which doesn't make it true or necessary. But perhaps quite old.


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Response to eallen (Reply #80)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:59 PM

101. This doesn't mean

"mourning" isn't a spiritual thing, and to me religion, and spirituality are two very distinct things.

One requires a recipe book to follow and whence completed are somehow then allowed to transcend while the latter is a unending self discovery.



-p

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Response to eallen (Reply #70)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:12 PM

82. Yup

 

that's the question, do we define e.g. chimpanzee rituals as religious behavior?

And how far definitive word games help to comprehend the issue - right and wrong, ethical behavior, moral codes; the emotional and social basis of those concepts.

Empathy and compassion manifest in many animals, perhaps in all life, and as such precede complex symbolic structures. And if we understand moral/ethical behavior as that emotional basis instead of symbolic structures of social norms, then we can say with good reason that they are more fundamental than religions in the sense of complex symbolic structures.

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Response to eallen (Reply #39)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:30 PM

115. It's biological, the result of Darwinism.

Actually, they both are.

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Response to Phlem (Reply #33)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:10 PM

55. Look it up.

Plenty of records of man and their respect for each other in older smaller communities way before the Jewish culture. Fossils of burials with flowers and the like found at burial sites.

Try a subscription to Scientific American. Lot's of things to learn. Try history or archaeology documentaries. It's all there for everyone to see who's willing to search and find, and learn.

Check the atheist groups. Witness civil and moral exchange amongst non believers.

-p

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Response to Phlem (Reply #33)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:06 PM

67. How so?

 

Religion and morals are matters of definition, and as I'm guessing yours, are you saying that other species have had moral behavior before religious behavior? Or what is the scientific fact you are referring to, more exactly?

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:17 PM

37. A co-worker asked me that question.

He does not know I am an atheist because I live in SE Texas and have not "come out" to anyone but my brother and his family who are also atheists.

This co-worker probably wanted to discuss with me because I almost always have the opposite view of everyone else in the firm.

Anyway, he says "Since atheists don't believe in heaven or god they should be ok with what Hitler did to the Jews". It took me a few moments to get my brain around that and I told him that you don't have to believe to have a sense of right and wrong and that most people have an internal concept of ethics. And that if a only a fear of hell that stops a christian from murdering and torturing and not some kind inherent knowledge of right and wrong, than I am more scared of that christian than I am of any non-believer

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:34 PM

42. Morals are relative to any life.

And any culture.
One of the things I live by: "Its easier to tell the truth because there is less to remember."

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:40 PM

44. Morals?

 

WTF do morals have to do with anything,anything at all? God? Maybe he has morals but after much Bible study,it escapes me what they are exactly.
It seems to me that God enjoys treating people like shit and so maybe that it is why certain religious people are pricks.
Atheists too,seem to exhibit symptoms of godly morals when cornered on their beliefs.

My guess is that if you hold morals up for others to admire then you have a problem.
Morals do not make the world go around.
Morals do not make the sun or moon rise and fall.
Morals do not advance the seasons.
Morals do not feed hungry children or pets.
Morals do not keep people from harms way or incarcerate them to prevent harm to others.
Morals do not turn a profit.
Morals do not heal the sick.
Morals are not the driving force behind generosity or charity.
Morals seems to be abusing children to teach them morals.
Morals seem to imprison people to teach them morals.

So you see where this all leads?
Morals?
F#ck them!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:46 PM

47. Some cheese really smells.

 

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Response to humblebum (Reply #47)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:00 PM

51. But smelly cheese is the best cheese!

 

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Response to stultusporcos (Reply #51)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:53 PM

72. Not to everyone.

 

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Response to humblebum (Reply #72)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:59 PM

100. True most people in America think Velveta is Cheese

 

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Response to humblebum (Reply #72)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:14 AM

162. Try it with beer!

It cures even the smellest cheese.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:47 PM

48. These days, at the Dollar Store, unless I have a coupon.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:50 PM

49. Derived from basic Human Rights, just like it always was before some needed divinity to enforce it

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Response to on point (Reply #49)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:32 PM

116. The idea that humans have rights arose during the Enlightenment...

...in response to early modern absolutist states and churches.

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #116)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:54 AM

149. As a named concept yes, but I would argue early morality is human rights in religious guise

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:03 PM

53. Mostly I want to be honest and kind because I like people to like me and be happy.

I don't know if that has to be called morals. I don't want to be mean or dishonest because that would ruin everything. I guess the "God fearing" people can't just behave without a threat of being punished.

I suppose I got that way by example of my parents and experience. I have a friend who said when referring to if he didn't believe in God, "then why wouldn't I just go out and kill and rape" or something like that. It's guys like that who really don't have any morals. He'd rape some sexy woman if he wasn't afraid of going to hell. Most of us wouldn't do that no matter how much we might want the same woman because we wouldn't want to hurt anyone.

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Response to brewens (Reply #53)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:12 PM

83. I'm not mean or dishonest because it would make others feel bad

 

which in turn would make me feel bad (the fact that they may take retribution is a secondary thought). The reason is human compassion and empathy. It exists in the human heart. Some people have more and some less. It's the intersection between the more and the less that lends to most of our modern political conflicts. The far-right is less compassionate and the far-left is more compassionate.

Who would you rather be in charge of the morals department, a teabagger, or a progressive? And which group contains a higher percentage of Bible-thumpers.

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Response to AAO (Reply #83)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 08:30 PM

109. Who would you rather be in charge of the morals department?

 

Not any belief system preaching us-against-them. Heart is enough.

And this is very logical and follows from what you say about compassion and empathy, which both common sense and scientific studies show to be in-group phenomenon. So progressive ethic would be to constantly expand and deepen the sense of in-group and circle of empathy, not create us-against-them barriers where empathy stops. Not even against "teabaggers" and "bible-thumpers". In this light, you don't have to believe in Bible to see wisdom in the advice to love thy enemy.

And it's not personal issue. Though of course there are individual differences at given moments, main point is that circle of empathy can be widened and compassion consciously practiced. And only one who can really to that and change oneself towards better human being is oneself. Others can help and the whole world is teacher, but deconstructing individual barriers of empathy is ultimately the responsibility of the individual.

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Response to tama (Reply #109)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:28 PM

126. It shouldn't be us against them, but we should be against those

 

that use their lack of compassion against the accepted societal norms to create hatred and divisiveness, and a more fearful world.

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Response to AAO (Reply #126)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:48 PM

129. "Be the change you want"

 

I believe that instead of personalizing processes that create hatred and divisiveness, it is more helpful to just seek to understand those processes and their causes. While learning compassionate approaches to react to those processes and their causes.

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Response to tama (Reply #129)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:54 AM

158. It's difficult to be compassionate with those that want to do you harm.

 

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Response to AAO (Reply #158)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:21 AM

163. Yes, it can be difficult

 

And it is easy to forget that people are much more than their thoughts, belief systems and world views that guide their emotions and actions in the political arena. Much more than our generalizations and categories and precepts about other peoples, religious, national etc. etc identities.

It helps to try to see issues from the other point of view. The recent discussions about the urban-rural divide have been very good, IMHO.

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Response to tama (Reply #163)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:40 AM

166. I always try to see the other side. The Teabagger agenda is not compassionate.

 

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Response to AAO (Reply #166)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:17 AM

173. The agenda is politically and ethically very disagreeable

 

Much of it arises from empathy in very local and narrow in-group. Independent and self-sufficient rural community is fine ideal, and even better practice. When you are materially self-sufficient and not dependent, you can have more to give to those in need. But the ideal, which is fine, is in Teabagger cases seldom practical reality, and that can lead to many kinds of confusion. The liberal or progressive ideal of progress towards global village and global empathy and compassion is also fine, but not necessarily less confused, as in practice it is happening mostly in authoritarian top-down manner (neoliberalism and neocolonialism) with much injustice and suffering, not building organically in bottom-up manner.

BTW I just read that "Bible-thumping" Amish are doing lot of good and common sense aid work in Haiti. But of course as they don't usually vote, they don't much register on politically oriented site like DU.

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Response to brewens (Reply #53)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:33 PM

117. Bing! bing! bing! bing! We have a winnah! nt

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:47 PM

61. It's the Great Potato. See the Dinosaurs episode "The Greatest Story Every Sold" (nt)

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:49 PM

62. Star Trek, MASH, Little House on the Prarie & Twilight Zone. Nt

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:54 PM

63. Golden Rule

I would think that everyone has a different definition of what is 'morals'

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:56 PM

65. K&R

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:57 PM

66. LOL !!! - Perfect !!! - K & R !!!






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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:21 PM

69. I get my morels in the woods....





oh, wait--morals! I don't have any of those--I just do what's right..............

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:48 PM

71. If I told you, you wouldn't get it. nt

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:24 PM

87. where do we get our morals?

we watch republicans and do the opposite. We know that is the right thing to do, always.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:01 PM

102. Kinda says it all. n/t

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 08:56 PM

110. That's great

 

And makes a good point!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:05 PM

112. I hear they get 'em from the "Bulk Morals" section at Costco.

Probably get a decent price on 'em, as well.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:15 PM

113. And you can spread cheese without pissing people off.

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Response to JBoy (Reply #113)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:35 PM

118. Vegans will not approve.

It's much better just to tell the truth as one sees it than it is to worry about who will be offended by it, because one can never win.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:37 PM

119. Schenectady

That's what SF writer Harlan Ellison said when asked where he got his ideas from.

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Response to eridani (Reply #119)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:38 PM

127. every comic knows cleveland is funnier.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:47 PM

120. Brilliant. n/t

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:10 PM

122. When I was 6-years-old, Dad took my big sisters and I fishing....

We were in a dinghy out on the harbor we lived on during the summer at our grandfather's house. My sisters would send up squeals of excitement when they caught something. I was miserable watching those little fish struggling for their lives. Then I managed to catch one myself.....and I started crying and screaming "get it off, get it off!" and made Dad throw it back as soon as he did. I was inconsolable after that and believe me, Dad was NOT happy with me. Didn't matter. All I cared about was that we were hurting and killing those fish and it finished me. We ended up cutting fishing short thanks to the little PITA 6 y.o. whose heart was breaking because of what she'd seen and done.

And I became a vegetarian, the only one in my family.

That never changed. The same applied to people. I was the one who befriended the class rejects, the one who a friend could depend on for a shoulder even at a very young age. There were a few times in my life when I failed to be that kind of good friend, and those are the times I truly rue and which are the things that bug me to this day. I tried all along not to hurt others, again having instances where I failed but I tried overall. Aside from very young childhood stuff with siblings, I've never hit another living thing. And lo and behold, I chose a caring profession as an adult.

Part of that meant doing my best to be honest with myself and others. I didn't live up to that 100% but sure as hell tried and, again, it bugged me when I didn't and informed my future behaviors. It meant, in essence, living by the golden rule -- too often, I treated others better than I thought I deserved to be treated (took a long time to work on that self-confidence & self-esteem).

In short, my moral code seems to have been inborn -- it was, truly, a central part of who I was and who I became as a person. Though my parents were good people and instilled good morals in all of us, I diverged a little.

(I'm really, really far from perfect! I can be a whole lot of things, including snide -- not one of my best qualities. E.g., I live next door to a fundie minister. When we were getting to know each other, I did my best to bite my tongue when he'd say things that drove me crazy -- had to live next to him for the next umpteen years, after all! At one point, he told me he loves hunting -- I cracked, "Oh, so you love killing God's creatures, huh?" I gave him a wink and he laughed, thank goodness! I did sorta mean it though.)

Mom & Dad were believers. They were casual church-goers, Dad more than Mom (don't think she went at all except for ritualistic times after Dad died). We were brought up in the Episcopal church -- I went through the motions but don't recall a time when I was ever really a believer. I finally told Mom & Dad in my teens that I didn't share their beliefs -- fortunately, it was cool. Lucky me!


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Response to tpsbmam (Reply #122)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:03 AM

148. :) thank you for your post

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:21 PM

124. 'well for starters, i can prove cheese.'

 

hahahahaha! that is some funny shit.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:49 PM

130. I just assumed everybody got theirs as a Blue Light Special

at WalMart like I did.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:54 PM

131. When asked this question, I usually respond

obviously I got them from a better source than Jimmy Swaggart.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:59 PM

132. That's Gouda place as any.

Yes, I should be reported

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:00 AM

136. Hell if I know!

That would be my first answer to 'morals.' I don't trust people of any ilk who talk of them.

I simply know and do what is the right thing, and I always knew what it was and what it is.

That doesn't mean it's the easiest thing or the thing that advantages me. I believe that real love in whatever form one possesses, is the source of right behavior.

Be it love for others or anything... it guides one to treat the world with kindness and generosity - not trying to own anything or anyone except one's own feelings, etc..

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:06 AM

138. If my morality came from religion

I would be advocating lots of people being killed either for being heretics or violation of crazy religious laws.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:07 AM

139. LEARNING morals and BEING moral

are two entirely different things.

Morality minus piety does not equal immorality. Religion (which has shown that it can be just as immoral as anything else) does not confer morality -- environment, conscience and maturity do.


rocktivity

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:51 AM

150. It's the Bible that teacher us that peole are 'bad'..

It's the Bible that teacher us that people are 'bad'.. fallen, unworthy, short of glory, etc.

It the statement that morals come from God were true, then there would be no bad religious people.

I think morals are really ethics and ethics are innate and evolutionary.

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Response to ca3799 (Reply #150)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:19 AM

155. I agree with your last sentence though people are imperfect and may act in unethical ways

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Response to ca3799 (Reply #150)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:47 AM

157. Ethea and mores

 

from which ethics and morals are derived, are Greek and Latin for 'customs of a community'. Bible has at least two distinct theologies, tribal deity of Israel, and New Testament deity as source of agape or 'loving-kindness'.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:09 AM

154. Oh please. The Cheesists have it all wrong. Morals obviously come from

spores.



Let us prey.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #154)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:07 AM

160. You know

 

those are just the sexual organs of fungi living mostly beneath surface, growing forests to harvest sunlight and turn it into sugar for fungi. The blessings of fungi are infinite, they feed plants water and minerals so they can grow higher and harvest sunlight more efficiently, they turn sugars into beer and wine, and ordinary cheese into blue cheese. Fungi are the neural networks of Mother Earth and they let humans also to eat their sexual organs, including psilocubea, amanita etc. that allow human brains and bodies and consciousness to connect more comprehensively intelligent levels of shroom and Gaia awareness.

Cheesist theology is indeed much to narrow and limited to count as functional theology. In recent discussions between Western scientists and Tibetan Buddhists, who fancy big hits, in respect to positive aspects of cheesist theological schools, however want to celebrate quantum physicists and their contribution to philosophy by giving them big hats with lots of holes. IIRC there are pictures of Quantum hats already posted in this thread, or some other, so I refer to those mental objects without visual aid in this post.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:12 AM

161. And let's face it, everyone loves cheese. :) nt

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:44 AM

174. I got mine at a garage/tag sale, slightly used but still in good shape

They tend to hold up pretty well, at least better than any pair of shoes I have ever had. Shoes I go through quick, but this the only set of morals I have ever had. Still have never killed anyone and I do my best to avoid even hurting anyone. I like to think it is a good set that I have. When do theists get their morals. I thought most people got them at Walmart, Sears, Target or one of those high and fancy stores like Macys. We poor people have to get them second-hand.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:58 AM

175. Where do I get my morals?

I grow my own.
It's easy.
All it takes is common sense, and the ability to tell right from wrong.
You don't even need a book!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:54 AM

178. I was raised catholic, but my agnostic husband is more 'moral' than anyone I grew up with

 

I have noticed on this board that the atheists are much more kind, more in touch with humanity than most self-proclaimed religious people.

Here is my theory. There is a 'holy spirit' if you will, that connects all of humanity, that can reach any of us with enlightenment and wisdom at the right moment at the right time. Every religion speaks of this unconditional love for humanity we should attempt to achieve.

Religious people isolate themselves from this, choosing only to get their direction from an intermediary in Church on Sunday, and Sunday is the only day they will spend thinking about the teachings of the Bible, and even with that, mass was mostly repetition and memorization of prayers. There is a rare 5 minutes where the bible is discussed, and the teaching of Jesus are a very small part of religion.

Religious people, because they attend church, now feel that they can do anything they want the rest of the week, God knows you gotta make a living so you can give 10% to the church. Jesus spoke of these same hypocrites back in the day.

When you do not put up a false front rejecting the 'holy spirit' that rums rampant through humanity, encouraging us to love and care for each other, helping us understand when we lift everyone up, we all benefit....then you are just more naturally accepting of wisdom and love from the universe and just naturally a better person. At least that has been my experience...

I never quite understood unconditional love, or the teachings of Jesus until I left the church.

It is pretty obvious the many self proclaimed religious people, are the meanest nastiest excuses for human beings the world has ever seen, people who would never lift a finger to help the masses of people being crushed by corporations and government in this country, and would instead turn their back and let authoritarian government harass and kill the least among us as long as they were still benefiting from it.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:08 PM

179. This comic had me until it poked fun at religious belief in general

I'm an agnostic. Maybe atheist.

I attended a church with my extremely Christian girlfriend until the preacher implied that if you don't subscribe to the belief that morals are handed down by a Christian God, then you have no right to consider the mass-murder attack on the Twin Towers an immoral act. I refused to go there again. So now we go elsewhere.

Although, I'm open to the idea of a higher power and don't consider it stupid.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:39 PM

182. I like these quotes:

It seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it's useful, rather than because you think it's true.
- Bertrand Russell

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
- Abraham Lincoln

Man's ethical behavior should be based effectively on sympathy, education, and social ties; 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

I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday, and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.
- Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson (like this one so much it's my sig line)

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