Religion

Talk about current events, entertainment, technology or anything not related to soccer
Post Reply
matt
EF Forum Legend
Posts: 1150
Joined: 03 May 2005, 19:20
Location: Cambridge, England

Post

Absolutely, a godless person is perfectly capable of wronging his fellow man. This goes back to a post I made in the debate a few pages back - my view is that the only judgments you get for your actions come from yourself, your society and your peers, the rest of mankind basically!

Personal failure can be rationalised in the Edison way of thinking, i.e. finding ways that don't work. It depends on whether you learn from your mistakes. But it's not quite as simple as being a matter of progress; if, for example, I upset someone, I can reason that I now know what not to do or say to that person. However I shouldn't use people as guinea-pigs for my own ends; I still have to apologise and make amends. The only forgiveness I would seek is from whoever it is that I have wronged.

In short it is still wrong to do bad things to other people; our consciences dictate that, as soccer11 demonstrated with that Lincoln quote. Absolution for me comes not from praying or talking to a priest, but from apologising, making amends and learning from my mistakes.
The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.

Hugh
Veteran Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 20 Jan 2007, 20:26
Location: Vancouver

Post

Nat_H wrote:About what Hugh said, if personal failure can be rationalized, is it failure at all? Then, can a godless person do wrong?
You don't have to be godless to rationalize your failure, it's as simple as saying that something that you did isn't your fault. Politicians who are religious regularly do this sort of thing, it has nothing to do with being religious or not.

Besides, God is the one who's handing out free forgiveness; most non-religious people tend to try to make up for their mistakes but as far as God is concerned it's usually OK if you're just sorry about it.

Nat_H
Veteran Member
Posts: 1559
Joined: 11 Jun 2008, 18:03

Post

I don't see how you can have any moral code or a conscience without a God. Anyways, morality in society today has religious roots.

Edit--Anyways, I just consider this evidence for a Creator. I would challenge you all to let go of humanistic and naturalistic assumptions. I know I've said this before.

matt
EF Forum Legend
Posts: 1150
Joined: 03 May 2005, 19:20
Location: Cambridge, England

Post

I wouldn't say atheism is an assumption, it is a belief. Rather like Christianity or most other religions.

The difference in my opinion is that whilst atheism is rooted in scientific reasoning, rationality and physical evidence (e.g. for evolution), the major religions are based on faith, which often defies rationality and physical evidence.

No one can ever say that there is absolutely no chance that there is a God - even Richard Dawkins says that there might be a tiny possibility. In my view, the existence of a God or creator is incredibly unlikely (for a number of reasons which I won't go into now), and therefore I don't believe in one, nor do I follow any particular religion.

In fact a pretty good definition of 'faith' would be to believe in something for which the evidence is not concrete. Atheism for me is therefore not a matter of 'faith'.
The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.

Hugh
Veteran Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 20 Jan 2007, 20:26
Location: Vancouver

Post

Nat_H wrote:I don't see how you can have any moral code or a conscience without a God. Anyways, morality in society today has religious roots.
To be honest I find it kind of offensive when religious people say stuff like this; it's like there's a pervasive attitude in evangelical religions that non-religious people are not whole or complete because they don't believe in god. I'm sure that it's not intentional but so often it sounds condescending when I'm being asked if I have "acknowledged my lord and saviour" or when people talk about pitying those who "haven't found their faith" or have "lost their way".

How can I have a moral code or a conscience without a God? I do what I think is right, that's my moral code. If other people don't like my morals well tough nuggets, we all have the same code in general: that's what forms the basis of law but outside of that general definition I just do what I think is right.

Point in case: pre-marital sex.

The bible quite clearly believes that pre-marital sex is morally wrong and I disagree. Between consenting parties there is nothing wrong with pre-marital sex, group sex, gay sex, oral sex, anal sex or whatever weird and kinky sh*t you're into. According to God gay sex is similar to murder in that they're both morally reprehensible actions, but to be honest it doesn't affect me and even if it did I doubt that I'd feel like a bad person for having gay sex so no, I don't think that there's anything wrong with that.



I don't understand how you can be a moral person if you follow a school of thought that is constantly intolerant and discriminatory towards a sizeable segment of the population and that has in the past encouraged war, torture, slavery and sexism.

Of the two religious affiliations I think that the moral standing of Christianity is a lot more questionable than that of Atheism.



EDIT: I would also echo what matt said about atheism not being a matter of faith. If Stephen Hawking came out tomorrow and showed everyone proof of a higher power then I would accept that; I'm not opposed to the idea of a higher power, I just don't think that there is any credible evidence that there is one.

Nat_H
Veteran Member
Posts: 1559
Joined: 11 Jun 2008, 18:03

Post

I think the best question to ask yourself, then, is would you believe in the supernatural if you saw it?

To matt; is atheism a belief but not a faith?

NewBornProdigy
Admin
Posts: 2695
Joined: 23 May 2008, 19:51

Post

Nat_H wrote:I don't see how you can have any moral code or a conscience without a God. Anyways, morality in society today has religious roots.
Morality in modern day society is based off its religious influence, Christianity for us...

Most of Christianities morality came from the teachings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle

So on the contrary, Christianities morality is based off the teachings of a Polythiestic society

Look it up if you don't agree

My entire morality is based off my own exploration, everything from Taoism to Bob Marley has influenced me... I'm happy to say Christianity and God's moral code is one of the least diverse and conservative I've come across

I actually feel putting moral faith in God, takes a certain degree of responsibilty from a persons moral conscience that seems present in alot of young well educated athiests
I think the best question to ask yourself, then, is would you believe in the supernatural if you saw it?
Yes... Obviously
I would challenge you all to let go of humanistic and naturalistic assumptions.
I beleive in a higher power. It's not Christian. How bout you let go of your thiestic assumptions.... for once

klc123
Veteran Member
Posts: 2820
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 16:26

Post

If you see something happen, it cannot be supernatural. Supernatural is a sort of label word, used to describe ideas or possibilities that go against nature, or have not been seen in this Universe.

You could argue that God is supernatural, but that argument only stands if you believe God not to be real in the first place, which creates a circular argument.

Something I consider to be proof of God's existence, might be viewed by someone else to be something considerably different, and have no relationship to God, so its difficult to define God as a supernatural occurrence.

This may be similar to someone who claims to have been abducted by Aliens. To people who have not seen this, it would be considered supernatural, but to the person who is convinced they saw what they saw, it is as real as the world around us.

Just to clarify however, I don't believe in Alien abduction stories. Our planet is such a vast distance from any other planet, and the laws of physics dictate it is impossible to travel at or above the speed of light, so it would take several million years to travel from the nearest possible solar system that may sustain life. There are theories that go into the depths of wormholes and time travel, some theories are that what we see as Aliens are a super-evolved form of human beings, from many years in the future, travelling backwards in time to our own planet. This again has its own complications, because at the current rate at which the human race is developing, by the time we had made such developments our planet would have being engulfed many years before.

I don't know how this post turned into a theoretical Physics lesson.

Nat_H
Veteran Member
Posts: 1559
Joined: 11 Jun 2008, 18:03

Post

NBP, then my questions were not directed at you.
Most of Christianities morality came from the teachings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle
False. Biblical morality comes from the Torah.

Regardless; my question was how is there morality with no god? Without a god, there is no non-human, immutable power that declares right from wrong. Therefore, there is no morality besides what societies and individuals decide; this is something I reject for myself.

matt
EF Forum Legend
Posts: 1150
Joined: 03 May 2005, 19:20
Location: Cambridge, England

Post

Nat_H wrote:
To matt; is atheism a belief but not a faith?
I think the best way to answer that is to say that atheists believe that there is no God, and that that belief is not borne out of faith. Instead I weigh up the pros and cons of each argument and make a rational choice.

Sorry I know that still isn't particularly clear but the point is that belief and faith are different things.
The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.

Icy
Veteran Member
Posts: 813
Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 19:47

Post

Regardless; my question was how is there morality with no god? Without a god, there is no non-human, immutable power that declares right from wrong. Therefore, there is no morality besides what societies and individuals decide; this is something I reject for myself.
Sure, there is no *true* right or wrong without something greater to declare such. There is however what you think is right or wrong.

It's not a universal law that it's wrong to kill. Although I personally feel it is. So sure, if someone is to kill someone I view that as wrong. But universally it's not really right, or wrong, it just is.

The majority of people seem to accept the above as true, regardless of if they're religious. Such is the case with many things religious people clam as morals that only come from god(s).
"Somewhere along the line, we seem to have confused comfort with happiness"

Hugh
Veteran Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 20 Jan 2007, 20:26
Location: Vancouver

Post

Dude morality is what we make of it as a society. As a Christian you would hold that the beliefs of the ancient Greeks and Romans were false but would you go so far as to say that they were an immoral people? By todays standards their laws might be considered lax in certain areas but on the whole you could do much worse than the ancient Greek school of morality.

Their morals weren't a product of the christian god, they were distilled by philosophers and lawyers into stories, myths and laws that formed a basis for their society. People were taught to accept that school of morality and if they didn't follow it then they were ostracized from the community or punished according to the law, it has been this way for millenia.

In its most rudimentary form human morality derives from the fact that we are social primates that survived by forming groups, communities and tribes that were stronger than any lone human being could be. When such a group is formed there must be an established code of behaviour such that members of the group cannot threaten its stability or effectiveness. These group instincts manifest themselves in the sharing or pooling of resources and other self-sacrificial behaviour that can be construed as basic morality.

Anyone who's had a roommate can tell you that empathy is the key to effective group living which is why many scientists now suspect that human brains are hardwired towards empathy. Further corroborating this hypothesis are the findings that Chimpanzees and our other close animal relatives display behaviour that we would consider rudimentary morality.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/20/science/20moral.html

This article details some of the ways that this pseudo-morality has manifested in groups of primates around the world. I found the part about chimpanzees that can't swim drowning to save others quite interesting.

Basically, we don't need God to be moral because we're already predisposed towards it (Not because of god. Because of evolution.).

Nat_H
Veteran Member
Posts: 1559
Joined: 11 Jun 2008, 18:03

Post

I didn't read all of that article; it looked interesting. I have to disagree with the idea that the topic of morality should be handled by biologists. Even biologically-rooted reasons for behavior are handled by psychologists. The two disciplines are completely separate. This is not to say that each party cannot learn from the other. It's as ridiculous as putting issues of theology in the hands of a scientist (or issues of science in the hands of a theologian). Just because one discipline has "broken through" in a certain area, does not validate that discipline's assumption of power over others.

I expect some witty retort about Christian preachers taking over science; but think twice before responding. Understand that each discipline has bias (of every kind). I'm simply saying that the statement "science cannot find God"** is TRUE but is the decision of a scientist AND neither invalidates the existence nor provides evidence against there being a god. There exist many strong theological and philosophical arguments FOR the existence of a god, but these theologians and philosophers have nothing to say about scientific processes.

I consider many of you men of science in that you only place import in the discoveries of science. Take this from a student of science (me): science can only explain or deal with the repeatable and the empirical. To reject a god, you are not using science, but philosophy (or you are taking offense to a specific theology). I can respect that you do such but want to put this in the proper perspective.

**being the specific Judeo-Christian God

Icy
Veteran Member
Posts: 813
Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 19:47

Post

I consider many of you men of science in that you only place import in the discoveries of science. Take this from a student of science (me): science can only explain or deal with the repeatable and the empirical. To reject a god, you are not using science, but philosophy (or you are taking offense to a specific theology). I can respect that you do such but want to put this in the proper perspective.
Yes, that's what science is about, evidence, and a repeatable process.

I've said this already, but why don't you believe in something unicorns, or leprechauns? There are books which talk about them, yet there is no evidence of them being real. So you don't believe in them. Yet, when it comes to something infinitely powerful, which imaginatively seems more impossible you accept something without evidence, but a book.

Do you believe in the loch-ness monster?
"Somewhere along the line, we seem to have confused comfort with happiness"

Hugh
Veteran Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 20 Jan 2007, 20:26
Location: Vancouver

Post

Obviously the entire discussion of morality doesn't need to (and shouldn't) be handed over to biologists, they're not the most qualified people for that. But what I was saying is that biologists think that empathy in humans is a result of the unique structure of the brains of higher primates and that this is the most likely reason for humankind's tendency towards morality. The reason I brought this up was to disprove your point that God is the cause of our morality.

To reject god completely is not scientific. But to operate on the assumption that he exists is also not science, the proper scientific approach to god is to say that it is possible that a higher power exists and that the probability of that higher power being the judeo-christian god is exactly the same as the probability of that god being Thor.

Post Reply