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gollygee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 11:16 AM
Original message
Morals and religion
I've never really thought about my lack of religion but it's come up a lot lately and it's been making me think about things people say that probably wouldn't have bugged me before.

I keep hearing people say that we need religion so that people know to do the right thing. Obviously, I don't agree that people need religion to know right from wrong.

What really bothers me is that religious people, particularly fundamentalist Christians, are willing to take credit when religion causes someone to make a good choice and do the right thing, but don't accept when people use religion to make a bad choice or do the wrong thing. Many "sins" have been commited in the name of Christianity, and in the name of religion in general.

How is this justified? How can people say, "If we didn't have religion, people wouldn't do the right thing" and not consider slavery, the Spanish Inquisition, hate crimes, or any other of the times terrible things have been done in the name of their religion?
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fshrink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. Actually, as so often happens,
this is exactly the opposite. Where religion is, there is NO morals. There are a number of rules, regulations, prohibitions that people always find ways to go around, ignore, minimize, forget. No inner sense of right and wrong. All external.
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GOPFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Well said!
Edited on Sun Jan-30-05 03:17 PM by GOPFighter
In fact I suspect many people are attracted to religion so they don't have to make any moral decisions of their own. If the preacher doesn't speak out against torture or bigotry, or capital punishment, then it must be okay.
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toddzilla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
2. my favorite thing to say...
"do you really need a book to tell you not to kill someone?"

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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 03:49 AM
Response to Original message
3. Was once asked if we can rape, murder, and torture if we want to
My response was "I don't want to. Do you?"

It is interesting. They believe their ethics come from the book or god or whatever. But in reality they have internalized the process just as we have but they proclaim that their justicifcation comes from god on high. This despite the fact that getting the same moral sense of reasoning from any two Christians is unlikely. Each has their own measure of right and wrong.

This is not to say that there is not something going on here. It is all based on the leveraging or usurping of our own natural tendencies by the religion. For you and myself morals and ethics are a question of what we consider good for ourselves and society around us. Our notion of what we consider to be good behaviour to ourselves is naturally extrapulated to probably be good to other people. And as we are part of a society working to build a society that treats everyone good is in our best interest.

But to the religious mind, their survival has been hijacked by the concept of the soul. Since our drive is for survival religion has evolved the idea of the soul in order to shift our focus from self to the particular religion. If a belief teaches you about a soul and its surviving death then this takes precidence over mere physical body issues. But as the survival of the soul is predicated on behaviour and adherance to the religion their modus becomes one with the religions.

Thus where our notion of ethics and morality are bases on our continued existance within a harmonious society theirs are based on the continued existance of their souls in a divinly harmonious society. This creates the illusion for them that morallity can only be based on belief in god.
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Bzzzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
4. The difference between Atheists and fundies...
Atheists believe that morality and justice is for EVERYONE! The fundies believe morality and justice is their own restricted ownership.
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Dookus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
6. I agree....
actually, it always sorta scares me when people use that argument. It makes me think they really DO want to rape and kill and steal.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I met one that believes she would kill without God's commands not to
I used to belong to a group of humanists that met regularly. One of them had a SO that was a liberal Christian. She would attend our meetings at his insistance (it was IMO unreasonable of him to do this as it was simply not her desire). She admitted that if it were not for God's commandments she would take a shotgun to some of the conservatives she had heard from. I suggested to her that her resistance was perhaps for reasons more close at hand. Namely her own sense of morality. But she seemed quite convinced that if it were not for God she would have killed already.
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Dookus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. wow
that's amazing. And scary. Amazingly scary.
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gollygee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. This particular conversation
it was weird. She thinks if her husband wasn't a Christian, he would cheat on her. Or leave her for a younger woman.

It must be sad to think that the only reason your husband stays with you is because he's afraid of punishment.

And Christians are hardly beacons of morality as far as sexual issues go.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-31-05 03:28 AM
Response to Original message
10. The question I like to ask.
Why did people get married before they knew about the Ten Commandments?

Silence...

I know. A lot of them don't understand the question. I often have to rephrase it.

Mostly, except for occasional questions of that sort, I don't get into prolonged discussions of religion with believers. I usually don't start it. If they want to convert me, they soon see they'll get nowhere, or I tell them they'll get nowhere.

Frankly, I'm not a biblical or religion expert, but I always know more about it than the people who try to convert me.

There are those rare discussions where people seek to compare views and those can be pleasant. Most of the time though, people are unable to disengage from the memes that support their beliefs.

(Note: This is the first time I have used the word meme in a post. Hope I got it right.)

--IMM
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-31-05 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
11. Forced Morality is NOT Morality
Edited on Mon Jan-31-05 09:24 AM by Beetwasher
If you're only refraining from killing people because you think you'll go to hell if you do, then you're not a moral person, you're a murderer being held in check by threat and fear of punishment. If you refrain from killing people because you personally really do think it's wrong, then you ARE a moral person. See the difference?

Religion gives people an excuse and a reason to NOT be moral, especially Xtianity. Think about it. You can live the most foul, debased, immoral life imaginable (like Bush does) and then repent on your deathbed and be forgiven and go to heaven because theoreticallly, Christ already died for those sins. So as long as you accept him before you die, none of your immoral behavior matters and you don't have to fear being punished and going to hell.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-31-05 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
12. I just asked this question in the Religion forum.
Should be insteresting to see thje answers, if anyone answers.
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uberotto Donating Member (589 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-31-05 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
13. Have you ever heard of the Euthyphro Delemma...
The Euthyphro dilemma rests on a modernised version of the question asked by Socrates in the Euthyphro:
(1)Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or
(2)are they morally good because they are willed by God?

Each of these two possibilities leads to consequences that the divine command theorist cannot accept. Whichever way the divine command theorist answers this question, then, it seems that his theory will be refuted.

If the answer is (1), then morally good acts are independent of God's will.

If the answer is (2), then such statements as God is good, Gods commands are good and Gods actions are good are irrelevant. Statements such as these are often used to justify why God is worthy of worship. But to accept (2) is to accept statements such as God is as God chooses to be, God's commands are God's commands and God's actions are God's actions. If these statements are true, then God is not worthy of worship. If the Divine command theorist does not accept the God is not worthy of worship, they must also not accept Answer (2).

Answer (2) also raises the possibility of Abhorrent Commands. In other words if God commands people to murder, rape and torture others, then according to Answer (2) these acts are morally good. If you do not accept that these acts are morally good, then you can't accept Answer (2).

For a better and more in-depth explanation of the Euthyphro Dilemma:
http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/euthyphrodilemma.h...

or
http://www.str.org/free/commentaries/apologetics/evil/e...

Both sites present both sides of the argument pretty well.



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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-31-05 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
14. They have an interesting kind of reasoning
Well, that was kind; actually it's just false reasoning.

Ask a xian how they support their moral stance and they will likely use the bible as reference. The problem is that the bible is sufficiently vague and contradictory that it becomes a tool for what ever cause they want to fight for or against. Sadly, liberals often use the bible for political gain too (however, not as blatantly). While Jerry Falwell declares we should kill as many terrorists as possible in the name of JESUS, Catholic priests and nuns protest the war in the name of the same JESUS. It's moot.

In reality, I don't think most xians can actually explain how they think religion supports morality. Too much exploration into their "faith" is time consuming, difficult, and dangerous. Why should they bother? Pastor Bob will 'splain it on Sunday in short, easy sentences.
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-02-05 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Michael Shermer talked about this...
...at a Skeptic's Society meeting once.

He had just debated some Fundie asshat over at one of the churches in the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles).

A member of the audience stood up and said the usual: "If there is no God, then people can just do anything they want. If God's Word (tm) in the Bible isn't true, there's nothing to stop me from killing you."

I don't remember Shermer's verbatim response, but it was something like this: "If the only thing keeping you from killing people is a 5,000 year old book of fairy tales, personally I don't think you should even be walking around loose."
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