Morality of Non-Believers

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Coloradomtnman, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Coloradomtnman
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    Coloradomtnman Rational and proud of it.

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    There are many who still claim that the only source for true morality is faith in religion. For those who hold faith in an organized religion, it is typically the scriptures from which morality is known and learned to practice. For people who belong to organized religion, it seems impossible that atheists or agnostics or other non-believers can have morals or practice true morality in their lives. I've started this thread to refute that idea and start a discussion.

    Moral theory and principles

    Godless morality | The God Blog | Jewish Journal

    Godless Moral Values: Can Godless Atheists Have Moral Values? Morality Does Not Depend on Religion, Gods

    For non-believers, morality has more than one aspect.

    There is the social contract i.e. If I won't kill you, you won't kill me. Non-believers might contend that the social contract is evolutionary, or biological. Maybe its even genetically hardwired into our operating systems: the human race has survived through cooperation between individuals, and those who cooperated were more likely to survive to reproduce than those who didn't. And because human beings intellectualize or make instinct cognitive, it seems that this is something humans determine and not a natural sense and so perceive it as something more than instinctive.

    Godless Morality, by Peter Singer

    And there is the Golden Rule, which I won't spell out. But the implications are vast when thought of as the categorical imperative. Kant, a religious philosopher, took this to a deeper level saying that the Golden Rule should be not just "Treat others as you wish to be treated." but "Treat others as you believe all individuals should treat eachother in your society." The Golden Rule is logical from a human persepctive.

    Categorical imperative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Ethic of reciprocity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And for non-believers, morality isn't just about right and wrong, black and white, but good and bad (which are, of course, subjective) and shades of gray. For example, a terrorist is captured who is known to have knowledge about an impending nuclear attack on a city. Is it right that one terrorist be tortured to force him to divulge that information and avert the killings of millions of innocent people, or is torture always wrong? Should a woman who conceived from rape or incest have an abortion, or is abortion always wrong? Should a man convicted of murder be murdered in turn?

    As a non-believer I struggle with the meaning of life. If there is no creator or God, if the Universe is seemingly without purpose and if there isn't a universal relevance for intelligent life, then there can be no meaning for existence. We exist simply because we do. There is no meaning. Not a very comfrorting outlook, I know.

    But, since human beings operate by taking in information and making sense or meaning out of the seeming chaos of the Universe, it only seems logical that human beings must then "make" meaning for their lives. And the only way that I've been able to make meaning out of my life is to examine what it means for humans to be human.

    Since contradiction is anathema to human meaning the social contract is necessary for me to have a meaningful existence. That means that hypocritical behavior such as "do as I say, not as I do" would be meaningless in the grander picture. Same with the categorical imperative.

    What makes human beings special are the ability to love, to laugh, to reason, to think abstractly, and to understand meaning (and there are probably other capacities that I have missed).

    So to make my life meaningful, I must love, laugh, think and behave with reason, seek knowledge and deeper understanding of the Universe, and think about what my life means. That means I must have a sense of morality. There it is, morality is logical for happiness.

    So non-believers can use reason to have morality. Morality may be biological, it may be evolutionary, but it is necessary for survival, healthiness, and happiness.

    This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg.
     
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  2. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    you are addressing external containment vs internal containment...or the freudian concept of id and super ego...i do not know why people insist their goodness comes from god and their evil from a demon or devil..evil does exist...showing itself as indifference in people...like the people who listened and watched kitty genovise murdered and did nothing...immoblized by their lack of humanity and spine.
     
  3. Coloradomtnman
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    Coloradomtnman Rational and proud of it.

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    That made me think of something:

    If God embued man with free will, and humankind is supposed to use that free will to do God's will, then if Satan tricks you into committing a sin even though you thought you weren't doing something wrong, is it still a sin?

    For example: by thinking that since God gave us the ability to reason and then using that ability to reason you see the illogic of and error in the Bible and you, therefore, are unable to believe that Christ is your savior, you go to Hell. Is that just?
     
  4. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    Not only that, but the Christian faithful, for the most part, don't have "faith in religion". We don't worship religion.

    We worship God. There's a difference, do a little research, Colom.
     
  5. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    Oh good grief, not the Peter Singer thing again.

    Remember, people, Peter Singer is in prison, doing hard time, for terrorism.

    Also remember that he thinks it should be okay for ppl to have sex with animals, and it should be acceptable in our society.

    So now you know about the level of Colom's debate. He's a follower of a terrorist who promotes beastiality.

    No wonder you hate God so much, fella.
     
  6. FactFinder
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    FactFinder VIP Member

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    I would wonder where that supposed reason came from. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. Man has free will yes and that will running wild leaves one's mind subject to all sorts of forces. Been there, done that, no thank you.
     
  7. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    First: By saying goodness comes from their god the religious nutjobs are placing more importance on their own ideology, it's an ego stroke for them, but also detriments all humanity because then people feel less compelled to be good just to be good, as well as making all accomplishments invalid for humans as a way to make them feel worthless no matter how great their accomplishment.

    Second: Blaming all evil on some "other being" is practiced as a way to avoid their own guilt. It makes it easy to say 'the devil made me do it" and thus avoiding the responsibility of their own actions, while also granting an excuse to hate or even harm others with 'they serve the devil so they are evil'.
     
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  8. FactFinder
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    FactFinder VIP Member

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    Rationalizing the behavior of one who's shoes you have never walked is a presumptive endeavor. Faith is not a mental exercise.
     
  9. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    Um ... if that was aimed at me, need I remind you, I HAVE walked those shoes ... they didn't fit and felt dirty ... so I changed them as soon as I was no longer under the legal control of my mother.
     
  10. FactFinder
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    FactFinder VIP Member

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    Then you didn't do it for faith. So you didn't walk in the shoes. Wow you are either up very early or very late!!
     

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