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Ethics without Religion

Laslow

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I have studied a bit of ethics. To this point, my main takeaways are simple. Right and wrong are not relative, and people are born with individual value not dependent on society. I'm not saying they have no societal obligations, I'm simply saying a government couldn't declare people disposable and have them killed, or have a justification for a caste system. Considering that one political party has a clearly anti religious stance, how would they reconcile a society's view of right and wrong? Many casually declare you do not need God for people to have a sense of right and wrong, but without a religion, doesn't that give a government carte blanche to justify any act against its citizens in the name of societal responsibility?
Even on a personal level, ethics without religion seems chaotic. For people who argue that right and wrong are relative, it would just create a system where the powerful could grant themselves any definition of good that suits them. Would an atheist consider that a better model for a society than a society with a religious sense of right and wrong? How could you protect the less powerful from powerful in a purely secular way?
 

johngaltshrugged

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Adoption of atheistic principles results in a nihilistic outlook where the ends always justify the means since there is no meaning or higher purpose to life.
It is the creed of hopelessness
 

task0778

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doesn't that give a government carte blanche to justify any act against its citizens in the name of societal responsibility?

Yes, it sure as hell does and that is why totalitarian gov't ruthlessly stamp out religion in their countries.



Even on a personal level, ethics without religion seems chaotic.

The medical profession has certain ethics that IMHO have nothing to do with religion, yet they police themselves uh, religiously to maintain the high standards that society requires of them. You gotta be able to trust your doctor, right?

I think ethical behavior exists both with and without religion, although it may be that our Judeo/Christian background has ingrained some of that into many of us from an early age. You don't have to be religious to be ethical, but it couldn't hurt and might even help a little bit. The Golden Rule isn't about gold, and I think it has it's foundation in religion.
 

surada

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I have studied a bit of ethics. To this point, my main takeaways are simple. Right and wrong are not relative, and people are born with individual value not dependent on society. I'm not saying they have no societal obligations, I'm simply saying a government couldn't declare people disposable and have them killed, or have a justification for a caste system. Considering that one political party has a clearly anti religious stance, how would they reconcile a society's view of right and wrong? Many casually declare you do not need God for people to have a sense of right and wrong, but without a religion, doesn't that give a government carte blanche to justify any act against its citizens in the name of societal responsibility?
Even on a personal level, ethics without religion seems chaotic. For people who argue that right and wrong are relative, it would just create a system where the powerful could grant themselves any definition of good that suits them. Would an atheist consider that a better model for a society than a society with a religious sense of right and wrong? How could you protect the less powerful from powerful in a purely secular way?

Which party has an anti-religion stance? Traditional Christians don't follow Scofield, Hal Lindsey or the rapture and Armageddon/Megiddo.
 

Donald H

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I have studied a bit of ethics. To this point, my main takeaways are simple. Right and wrong are not relative, and people are born with individual value not dependent on society. I'm not saying they have no societal obligations, I'm simply saying a government couldn't declare people disposable and have them killed, or have a justification for a caste system. Considering that one political party has a clearly anti religious stance, how would they reconcile a society's view of right and wrong? Many casually declare you do not need God for people to have a sense of right and wrong, but without a religion, doesn't that give a government carte blanche to justify any act against its citizens in the name of societal responsibility?
Even on a personal level, ethics without religion seems chaotic. For people who argue that right and wrong are relative, it would just create a system where the powerful could grant themselves any definition of good that suits them. Would an atheist consider that a better model for a society than a society with a religious sense of right and wrong? How could you protect the less powerful from powerful in a purely secular way?
Atheists are as ethical as Christians but don't require an imaginary god to make us so.
 

Donald H

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Atheists are as ethical as Christians but don't require an imaginary god to make us so.
Which brings to mind the fact that America is more religious than other democracies, but has started so many wars since WW2, while the other democracies have not.

Could it be suggested that christianity is responsible for the American 'culture' of war and killing?
 

jwoodie

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Which brings to mind the fact that America is more religious than other democracies, but has started so many wars since WW2, while the other democracies have not.

Could it be suggested that christianity is responsible for the American 'culture' of war and killing?
Quoting yourself is a sign of mental infirmity.
 

BULLDOG

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I have studied a bit of ethics. To this point, my main takeaways are simple. Right and wrong are not relative, and people are born with individual value not dependent on society. I'm not saying they have no societal obligations, I'm simply saying a government couldn't declare people disposable and have them killed, or have a justification for a caste system. Considering that one political party has a clearly anti religious stance, how would they reconcile a society's view of right and wrong? Many casually declare you do not need God for people to have a sense of right and wrong, but without a religion, doesn't that give a government carte blanche to justify any act against its citizens in the name of societal responsibility?
Even on a personal level, ethics without religion seems chaotic. For people who argue that right and wrong are relative, it would just create a system where the powerful could grant themselves any definition of good that suits them. Would an atheist consider that a better model for a society than a society with a religious sense of right and wrong? How could you protect the less powerful from powerful in a purely secular way?
You seem to think that people aren't capable of having their own morality. That morals must be dictated to them by either religion or some government agency. You are wrong, and a little silly.
 

task0778

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Which brings to mind the fact that America is more religious than other democracies, but has started so many wars since WW2, while the other democracies have not.

Could it be suggested that christianity is responsible for the American 'culture' of war and killing?

You can suggest whatever you want, but in this case you would be absolutely wrong. In all of American history there has never been a war that we started or got involved in for religious reasons. And the idea that Christianity is responsible for the American culture of war and killing is preposterous.

Also, the claim that America is more religious that other democracies is questionable.
 
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Laslow

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Yes, it sure as hell does and that is why totalitarian gov't ruthlessly stamp out religion in their countries.





The medical profession has certain ethics that IMHO have nothing to do with religion, yet they police themselves uh, religiously to maintain the high standards that society requires of them. You gotta be able to trust your doctor, right?

I think ethical behavior exists both with and without religion, although it may be that our Judeo/Christian background has ingrained some of that into many of us from an early age. You don't have to be religious to be ethical, but it couldn't hurt and might even help a little bit. The Golden Rule isn't about gold, and I think it has it's foundation in religion.
That is a great point on the Golden Rule. One of the most interesting things I have ever seen is the similarity between Kant's Kingdom of Ends and the Golden Rule. Kant makes a beautiful philosophical argument for people treating each other well. In my head, I know you don't need religion for the application of the Golden Rule, but I can't see that as a societal norm in any practical sense.
 
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Laslow

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Which party has an anti-religion stance? Traditional Christians don't follow Scofield, Hal Lindsey or the rapture and Armageddon/Megiddo.
Only one party throws around the term 'theocracy' on a regular basis and thinks you need to get rid of Christmas parties in schools because they feel it is indoctrination. Democrats seem to fear religion.
 
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Laslow

Laslow

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You seem to think that people aren't capable of having their own morality. That morals must be dictated to them by either religion or some government agency. You are wrong, and a little silly.
Of course people are capable of having their own morality. I mentioned before that I don't view morality in a subjective or relative way. What happens when everybody is walking around with their own personal morality. Doesn't this beg for people to see ethics in a relative way? A society needs a shared sense of right and wrong, and religion was helpful in this respect. Without it, the government would surely come into play. In a previous post someone brought up the Golden Rule, and said it did not need a religious origin. He was absolutely right, but can you picture a society where everyone has their own versions of morality. This seems to be a quick trip to relative ethics and the powerful picking what is good by whatever suits them.
 

Blues Man

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Adoption of atheistic principles results in a nihilistic outlook where the ends always justify the means since there is no meaning or higher purpose to life.
It is the creed of hopelessness
Not necessarily.

Read the Camus' Myth of Sisyphus.

A person is more than capable of defining their own meaning of life without any religion.
 

Blues Man

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You seem to think that people aren't capable of having their own morality. That morals must be dictated to them by either religion or some government agency. You are wrong, and a little silly.
Morals are not an entirely individual thing.

Moral are a result of people living together in large stationary societies and there are behaviors that are beneficial to that society as a whole and those that are detrimental to the society as a whole. Morals are nothing but a set of rules that encourage the beneficial behaviors and discourage the detrimental.
 

JohnDB

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Morality is usually shaped by a society.
Which has issues in itself.
Because how many nations are actually still in existence with the same Morality and legal system and government from 1,000 years ago?
(None)

And it all centers on the definition of one word.
GOOD

Whether you like it or not the USA has had the longest running same Government in place in world history that has gone way beyond the lifespan of the framers.

And that was because the definition of "GOOD " has remained a constant as defined by the Bible.

Where that is not a popular notion today...that's the reason. It's consistency and unwavering definition has provided the Morality for stability...stability brings people...as in families growing and immigrants. It also brings economic dominance.

As this nation gets further away from that original definition we are going to have issues. No doubt about it. People groups are self destructive. Even altruistic ones.
 

rupol2000

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Bullshit. Religion is political state ethics as official patriotism, it is not ethics but zombification for the sake of the interests of the authorities

The source of true ethics is the national spirit and tradition, the values of the people

The relativity of good and evil is also nonsense. Predation is always evil.
 

Blues Man

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Bullshit. Religion is political state ethics as official patriotism, it is not ethics but zombification for the sake of the interests of the authorities

The source of true ethics is the national spirit and tradition, the values of the people

The relativity of good and evil is also nonsense. Predation is always evil.
Good and evil are man made concepts and as man made constructs they are relative
 
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Laslow

Laslow

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Bullshit. Religion is political state ethics as official patriotism, it is not ethics but zombification for the sake of the interests of the authorities

The source of true ethics is the national spirit and tradition, the values of the people

The relativity of good and evil is also nonsense. Predation is always evil.
Thank you for giving a detailed view, and I agree with you about predation. Even if you are not a religious person, you have to admit it was useful, and gave us some national spirit and tradition. If it was zombification, it was at least merciful in that one person wasn't supposed to be better than another and people were supposed to treat each other well. I fear the post religious model won't be so merciful. What traditions do you see being the future values of the people?
 
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Laslow

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Good and evil are man made concepts and as man made constructs they are relative
I wish I had a great reference to argue that good and evil are not relative. Maybe someone can give links to arguments to that effect. I know I believed that at one time, and many people do, but I can't remember the arguments that changed my mind. I know that during my time in school, it was accepted that ethics were not relative. Assuming that they are relative, how do the secular purists structure their society. How do they keep it from becoming the territory of the corrupt and powerful?
 

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