How do atheists defend their morality? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Harper
04-16-2012, 20:41
This is similar to another recent thread but I wanted to hone in on a more rudimentary problem and one less about personal feelings. Atheists often state "I don't need a god to tell me what is moral." They often seem to be dodging the issue of how they then justify it, as if we're to assume we all know that there is a right and wrong and we know what it is. Which is actually quite convenient for atheists because most people do believe in some morality, both religious and non-religious. It isn't true though, a few prominent philosophers have questioned the idea of good and evil and people disagree all the time about what is moral.

The other defense seems to be something in regards to how societies and their moralities evolve over time. This is cultural relativism, which it is a fact different cultures have different beliefs but that's not a justification as to why we'd be morally obligated to follow any of those beliefs and if we were obligated, that in itself would be another unjustified moral principle.

Atheists require proof in God, which is fine, but I've yet to hear a good defense from atheists proving why we should be 'moral'. You being an atheist, convince me I'm obligated to follow this thing you call morality.

I'm much more willing to accept that evolution and game theory has created this farce we call 'morality' and that the reality is we have no real obligation to follow it. We only should to appear that we are for the sake of social acceptance. I also think this might be the reason we don't have popular atheists saying 'morality is just some B.S. people made up, do whatever you can get away with'.

I'm really not interested in personal feelings. I want to see logical arguments.

Gunhaver
04-16-2012, 22:15
I've always found that asking myself if I'd want someone to do to me what I'm considering doing to them to be sufficient. As for why I feel the need to think that way, Dawkins can explain it better than I can.

Richard Dawkins On The Source Of Morality - YouTube

Guss
04-16-2012, 22:27
Morality is just the common consensus of what morality should be. If you don't reach consensus, people will call it something else besides morality. Is it moral to tell women to keep themselves covered up? If the consensus of a region says so, then that is their morality. Is it moral to stone adulterers to death? Morals are great. Pick some and use reason to convince others you are right.

Smacktard
04-16-2012, 22:33
tagged

Paul7
04-16-2012, 22:34
Long but good article by William Lane Craig showing that if there is no God, objective moral values to not exist.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-indispensability-of-theological-meta-ethical-foundations-for-morality

Here is a sample:

"The objective worthlessness of human beings on a naturalistic world view is underscored by two implications of that world view: materialism and determinism. Naturalists are typically materialists or physicalists, who regard man as a purely animal organism. But if man has no immaterial aspect to his being (call it soul or mind or what have you), then he is not qualitatively different from other animal species. For him to regard human morality as objective is to fall into the trap of specie-ism. On a materialistic anthropology there is no reason to think that human beings are objectively more valuable than rats. Secondly, if there is no mind distinct from the brain, then everything we think and do is determined by the input of our five senses and our genetic make-up. There is no personal agent who freely decides to do something. But without freedom, none of our choices is morally significant. They are like the jerks of a puppet's limbs, controlled by the strings of sensory input and physical constitution. And what moral value does a puppet or its movements have?

Thus, if naturalism is true, it becomes impossible to condemn war, oppression, or crime as evil. Nor can one praise brotherhood, equality, or love as good. It does not matter what values you choose--for there is no right and wrong; good and evil do not exist. That means that an atrocity like the Holocaust was really morally indifferent. You may think that it was wrong, but your opinion has no more validity than that of the Nazi war criminal who thought it was good. In his book Morality after Auschwitz, Peter Haas asks how an entire society could have willingly participated in a state-sponsored program of mass torture and genocide for over a decade without any serious opposition. He argues that

far from being contemptuous of ethics, the perpetrators acted in strict conformity with an ethic which held that, however difficult and unpleasant the task might have been, mass extermination of the Jews and Gypsies was entirely justified. . . . the Holocaust as a sustained effort was possible only because a new ethic was in place that did not define the arrest and deportation of Jews as wrong and in fact defined it as ethically tolerable and ever good.6

Moreover, Haas points out, because of its coherence and internal consistency, the Nazi ethic could not be discredited from within. Only from a transcendent vantage point which stands above relativistic, socio-cultural mores could such a critique be launched. But in the absence of God, it is precisely such a vantage point that we lack. One Rabbi who was imprisoned at Auschwitz said that it was as though all the Ten Commandments had been reversed: thou shalt kill, thou shalt lie, thou shalt steal. Mankind has never seen such a hell. And yet, in a real sense, if naturalism is true, our world is Auschwitz. There is no good and evil, no right and wrong. Objective moral values do not exist.

Moreover, if atheism is true, there is no moral accountability for one's actions. Even if there were objective moral values and duties under naturalism, they are irrelevant because there is no moral accountability. If life ends at the grave, it makes no difference whether one lives as a Stalin or as a saint. As the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky rightly said: "If there is no immortality, then all things are permitted."7

The state torturers in Soviet prisons understood this all too well. Richard Wurmbrand reports,

The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe when man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil. There is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil which is in man. The Communist torturers often said, 'There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.' I have heard one torturer even say, 'I thank God, in whom I don't believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.' He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisoners.8"

Harper
04-16-2012, 22:44
I've always found that asking myself if I'd want someone to do to me what I'm considering doing to them to be sufficient. As for why I feel the need to think that way, Dawkins can explain it better than I can.

Richard Dawkins On The Source Of Morality - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XtvWkRRxKQ&feature=related)

Thanks for the response but I think that video kind of highlights the dilemma I was talking about. The second guy ask 'if naturalism has given us these morals how do we account for keeping them?' Dawkins basically doesn't have a reason for us to follow this evolutionary morality. He even states that his following a morality is an irrational feeling that he wouldn't want to live in a society where people behave in a way he wouldn't wish them to.

"I've always found that asking myself if I'd want someone to do to me what I'm considering doing to them to be sufficient. "

Wouldn't it be better to convince others to treat you the way you want to be treated, then get over whatever you can on them?

Harper
04-16-2012, 22:48
Morality is just the common consensus of what morality should be.

I addressed this in my original post: "This is cultural relativism, which it is a fact different cultures have different beliefs but that's not a justification as to why we'd be morally obligated to follow any of those beliefs and if we were obligated, that in itself would be another unjustified moral principle."

How something came to be called moral is not what I'm interested in. I'm looking for a justification of why anyone is obligated to follow this 'morality'.

TalkToTheGlock
04-16-2012, 22:50
Can't you all just drop it already. I'm an Atheist and sick of hearing from both sides. Both Atheist and religious. You just rehashing the same stinking topics day in and day out. Does it really matter? No.

I believe what I want, you believe what you want. Who cares? With the state of our world right now, do you honestly think that anyone cares if you are an Atheist or religious or whatever.

I take of sick and dying people everyday and give it 100% physicially, mentally, and emotionally. Those people I care for and help either heal or make them comfortable in their dying days don't know or care what religion if any. I make them feel better and that is all that matters to me. I don't need you, a bible, or any middle man to tell me how to be compassionate and caring. I just am. It is how I feel. You can't control feelings with anything. I don't need a catalyst.

But, what do I know about morality. I have hundreds of thank you cards from patients and families that I have helped and cared for.

If you are questioning anothers good moral decisions and "If they believe in this or that then howndonyou explain morals", the problem doesn't lie within that group, it lies within yourself. That goes for believers and non-believers.





iPhone 4

Guss
04-16-2012, 23:02
... I'm looking for a justification of why anyone is obligated to follow this 'morality'.
You can either follow it because you believe it is the rational thing to do or you can follow it because the majority will toss you in jail if you do not. It's always nice when people adhere because of the first reason, but the second reason will catch them in any event.

Harper
04-16-2012, 23:06
Can't you all just drop it already. I'm an Atheist and sick of hearing from both sides. Both Atheist and religious...

Like I stated previously "I'm really not interested in personal feelings. I want to see logical arguments."

This is not a religion vs. atheism thread. I'm not even promoting that morality is real. I sincerely am curious about what the atheist justification is. I have no agenda other than to learn.

I don't mean to be rude but I really don't want to read about feelings.

Javelin
04-16-2012, 23:09
They attend guest speaker dinners and send gift cards in the mail.

Guss
04-16-2012, 23:13
...
Wouldn't it be better to convince others to treat you the way you want to be treated, then get over whatever you can on them?
That's something you should always bring up when trying to achieve consensus on a moral issue under discussion. Your comment reminds me of agnostic Sir Bertrand Russell's opinion of the Golden Rule from the Bible... "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," leaves room for the temptation to remake others in our own image, to impose what we think is best for them. Russell said "Do not do unto others what you would have them do unto you, because their tastes may be different!"

So clearly there is no simplistic objective set of rules that can be followed.

Guss
04-16-2012, 23:20
I addressed this in my original post: "This is cultural relativism, which it is a fact different cultures have different beliefs but that's not a justification as to why we'd be morally obligated to follow any of those beliefs and if we were obligated, that in itself would be another unjustified moral principle."

How something came to be called moral is not what I'm interested in. I'm looking for a justification of why anyone is obligated to follow this 'morality'.
Yes, it is cultural relativism. It's a dynamic thing, always shifting, always being discussed. It doesn't really matter to us until it becomes codified into a law. At that point, it doesn't matter whether you like it or not, you will obey or risk consequences.

CitizenOfDreams
04-16-2012, 23:29
This is similar to another recent thread but I wanted to hone in on a more rudimentary problem and one less about personal feelings. Atheists often state "I don't need a god to tell me what is moral." They often seem to be dodging the issue of how they then justify it, as if we're to assume we all know that there is a right and wrong and we know what it is.

Are you asking what keeps non-religious people from doing things they consider immoral? Same reason that keeps people from eating spoiled food. We don't need to consult The Holy Cookbook to recognize stale bread.

Animal Mother
04-16-2012, 23:41
You being an atheist, convince me I'm obligated to follow this thing you call morality.
You're not, in any objective sense, but if you don't follow the morality of the society you inhabit you risk the consequences imposed by that society. In some instances, that threat may be what prevents actions that would be classified as immoral, in other instances it may be a sense of empathy or altruism.

Guss
04-16-2012, 23:49
...
I don't mean to be rude but I really don't want to read about feelings.
Can you rationalize why you exclude feelings from morality? One person commented that he helps people just because he feels like it. Isn't that reason enough?

Gunhaver
04-17-2012, 05:24
Thanks for the response but I think that video kind of highlights the dilemma I was talking about. The second guy ask 'if naturalism has given us these morals how do we account for keeping them?' Dawkins basically doesn't have a reason for us to follow this evolutionary morality. He even states that his following a morality is an irrational feeling that he wouldn't want to live in a society where people behave in a way he wouldn't wish them to.
Well, that's kind of like saying, "If naturalism has given us a fear of dark woods then how do you account for keeping that fear". It's ingrained in us just like he said the desire to have sex is ingrained in us. We've all been naturally selected for it. Sure there are those with a screwed up sense of morality, no fear of the dark and little to no interest in sex but across the board most of us have those things. It's evolutionary psychology and it explains most of what we do.

"I've always found that asking myself if I'd want someone to do to me what I'm considering doing to them to be sufficient. "

Wouldn't it be better to convince others to treat you the way you want to be treated, then get over whatever you can on them?

There is certainly a lot of that going on which is where we get lawyers and politicians. It's not a constant for everyone. To me it explains why people in small, tight knit communities tend to be more honest and polite. You just can't get away with much when word gets around but people in big cities that are far less likely to re-encounter strangers are much more likely to do what they can get away with because the odds are better.

In my opinion humans are simply animals with a higher social structure and greater ability to understand the impact of their actions on others. My personal definition of 'evil' is an unencumbered selfishness by people that have not inherited that tendency to suppress impulses for fear of social repercussions. Someone is greedy and takes all the berries but that aids their survival. That's what we call evil and it works the same way even up to someone killing millions for their own power. Again we label it evil. Another realizes that by always being good to others in the group they will want that individual to stick around and help him to survive. We call that good and it works the same way all the way up to Mother Teresa and Gandhi. Which way you go is mostly a matter of what you're good at.

Keyhole
04-17-2012, 06:01
Like I stated previously "I'm really not interested in personal feelings. I want to see logical arguments."

This is not a religion vs. atheism thread. I'm not even promoting that morality is real. I sincerely am curious about what the atheist justification is. I have no agenda other than to learn.

I don't mean to be rude but I really don't want to read about feelings.

You don't need an old book or a magical man to give you morality. It comes from the life experiences of the individual. I don't need Jeebus to tell me not to steal from or hurt someone else, but if you do...please church it up by all means!

Lone Wolf8634
04-17-2012, 06:16
Humans are social animals. Our first morals are instilled in us by the "pack" we live in, just as in other animals who raise their young in a social setting. We learn what is expected of us, what our place in the pack is and what is acceptable and non-acceptable behavior from those around us. This continues through childhood, all the while we learn our place in larger and larger packs, until as adults, we are able to function in our society.

From there, we act according to our needs. If we want power and money, our morals will change accordingly to allow us to gain that power, in other words, a driven businessman will be able to justify actions that.....say a person who wishes to join the clergy may consider "wrong" or vicious.

Criminals can justify most any action they commit, because thats what they want at the time.

Some folks are honestly altruistic and want to help others, or at the very least, not hinder or hurt them if they can help it.

IOW, morals are relative to the individual, group and society.

I probly made a mess of explaining that though....

airmotive
04-17-2012, 06:39
You don't need an old book or a magical man to give you morality. It comes from the life experiences of the individual. I don't need Jeebus to tell me not to steal from or hurt someone else, but if you do...please church it up by all means!

This.
Some people need to be threatened with eternal fire in order to not rape their daughters and kill their brothers.

I need no such threats. I can decide all by myself to not do such things.

Just like on a jobsite....some people show up and work. Other people need the threat of having their pay docked or being fired in order to get minimal effort out of them.

If an old book and a man in a $3000 suit yelling at you on the TV is the only thing that keeps you from being a child rapist, I'll take my godless moral compass, thank you.

fgutie35
04-17-2012, 06:59
This is similar to another recent thread but I wanted to hone in on a more rudimentary problem and one less about personal feelings. Atheists often state "I don't need a god to tell me what is moral." They often seem to be dodging the issue of how they then justify it, as if we're to assume we all know that there is a right and wrong and we know what it is. Which is actually quite convenient for atheists because most people do believe in some morality, both religious and non-religious. It isn't true though, a few prominent philosophers have questioned the idea of good and evil and people disagree all the time about what is moral.

The other defense seems to be something in regards to how societies and their moralities evolve over time. This is cultural relativism, which it is a fact different cultures have different beliefs but that's not a justification as to why we'd be morally obligated to follow any of those beliefs and if we were obligated, that in itself would be another unjustified moral principle.

Atheists require proof in God, which is fine, but I've yet to hear a good defense from atheists proving why we should be 'moral'. You being an atheist, convince me I'm obligated to follow this thing you call morality.

I'm much more willing to accept that evolution and game theory has created this farce we call 'morality' and that the reality is we have no real obligation to follow it. We only should to appear that we are for the sake of social acceptance. I also think this might be the reason we don't have popular atheists saying 'morality is just some B.S. people made up, do whatever you can get away with'.

I'm really not interested in personal feelings. I want to see logical arguments.

To understand morality or right and wrong, all you have to do is to go back to Cain and Abel, and start from there. Many Atheists go around the bush, not wanting to discuss the idea of a pre-set of instruction ingrained in our DNA, because that will imply they acknowledge the existence of a God or Intelligent Design Creator.:whistling:

GreenDrake
04-17-2012, 07:21
This.
Some people need to be threatened with eternal fire in order to not rape their daughters and kill their brothers.

I need no such threats. I can decide all by myself to not do such things.

Just like on a jobsite....some people show up and work. Other people need the threat of having their pay docked or being fired in order to get minimal effort out of them.

If an old book and a man in a $3000 suit yelling at you on the TV is the only thing that keeps you from being a child rapist, I'll take my godless moral compass, thank you.

Dawkins has a myriad of excellent examples but yes, the basis of morality is, bottom line, the Golden Rule. To me, religion is nothing more than "well we wrote this story to answer all the questions and control the masses, people got educated, evolved and learned....so now what?"

I am all for people finding their salvation, some of them just can't understand it is a facade. Some finally do, to each their own. The hypocrisy of condemning evolutionary proof by asking for a monkey to give birth to a human, or the primordial soup argument...then turning around and believing 100% in Gardens of Eden and all the other fairy tales they are brainwashed with, is truly entertaining.

Kingarthurhk
04-17-2012, 07:49
The answer is simple.

Heberews 10:15-16, "<sup>15</sup> The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
<sup id="en-NIV-30150" class="versenum">16</sup> “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”<sup class="footnote" value='[b (http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/#fen-NIV-30150b)]'>[b (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+10&version=NIV#fen-NIV-30150b)]</sup>

It is no mystery that there is a commonality in morality often times between Athiests and Believers. The same God who wrote the 10 commandments with his Finger, is the same God who wrote them in our hearts and minds so that we would know what is right and wrong.

Those of you who once believed, these laws were written in your hearts and minds. And though, you might want them to be quiet, their remnants are still there, reminding you of your first love.

GreenDrake
04-17-2012, 07:57
I respectfully disagree, for those of us who once believed....it was an involuntary indoctrination of brainwashing from and early age, starting with baptism. I see this in great detail when my 8 year old son is confronted by our VERY christian neighborhood kids. They flat out ask him if he believes in god, he stands his ground and says "no, I do not, but it is against your religion to judge me for my beliefs, do you want to go play Skylanders?" I taught him to stand his ground when confronted, but to respect other people's choices in what they believe in.

These kids are constantly presenting antagonistic arguments how humans walked the earth with dinosaurs, how magic is against god and Halloween is celebrating the devil's birthday. Thankfully my son is intelligent and understands what it is they are trying to do, and knows how to change the subject with deflection. These kind of arguments can go nowhere with kids.

ArtificialGrape
04-17-2012, 08:10
The answer is simple.

Heberews 10:15-16, "<sup>15</sup> The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
<sup id="en-NIV-30150" class="versenum">16</sup> “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”<sup class="footnote" value='[b (http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/#fen-NIV-30150b)]'>[b (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+10&version=NIV#fen-NIV-30150b)]</sup>

It is no mystery that there is a commonality in morality often times between Athiests and Believers. The same God who wrote the 10 commandments with his Finger, is the same God who wrote them in our hearts and minds so that we would know what is right and wrong.

Those of you who once believed, these laws were written in your hearts and minds. And though, you might want them to be quiet, their remnants are still there, reminding you of your first love.

I know that you're a presuppositionalist, but not everybody here is willing to presuppose the conclusion that the Bible is divine.

-ArtificialGrape

Kingarthurhk
04-17-2012, 08:11
I respectfully disagree, for those of us who once believed....it was an involuntary indoctrination of brainwashing from and early age, starting with baptism. I see this in great detail when my 8 year old son is confronted by our VERY christian neighborhood kids. They flat out ask him if he believes in god, he stands his ground and says "no, I do not, but it is against your religion to judge me for my beliefs, do you want to go play Skylanders?" I taught him to stand his ground when confronted, but to respect other people's choices in what they believe in.

These kids are constantly presenting antagonistic arguments how humans walked the earth with dinosaurs, how magic is against god and Halloween is celebrating the devil's birthday. Thankfully my son is intelligent and understands what it is they are trying to do, and knows how to change the subject with deflection. These kind of arguments can go nowhere with kids.

Children are bluntly honest. Their world is not about sophistries, philosophies, but the concrete steadfastness of the belief that they have.

Luke 18:15-17, "<sup>15</sup> People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. <sup id="en-NIV-25705" class="versenum">16</sup> But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. <sup id="en-NIV-25706" class="versenum">17</sup> Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Food for thought.

Geko45
04-17-2012, 08:13
I just posted this in the somewhat related thread, but it might be more applicable here:

Well, of course objective moral values would not exist since there would be no objective source for them, but subjective moral values still would exist and since we are all homo sapiens that generally have the same goals and purposes in life, our individual subjective morals are typically more in sync with one another than not.

Your next question will be, "What about the exceptions?" Yes, there are always exceptions. There are those that see nothing wrong with killing another human being or otherwise doing them harm for personal benefit. This is where Rousseau's Social Contract comes into play.

Rousseau proposed that there was an implied contract in society that we all agreed to live by that contained a set of rules (even some we personally may not agree with) because the overall proposition was a net gain for the individual. Or, to elaborate further, the benefit gained in being secure in your property and person was worth giving up the ability to attempt to take what you want from others by force.

We codify this contract in the form of laws. We say murder, assault, robbery should be banned. We agree to pay taxes to fund a legal system to pursue, prosecute and imprison anyone found breaking those laws. We do this so that we can all live in relative peace and not have to constantly look over our shoulders like we were living in a survival of the fittest scenario.

Now you'll ask, "But how do we decide exactly what those laws should be?" The answer to that depends on what you believe the implied contract really is. Each major form of government has a different idea of what that implied contract represents. A democratic republic, for instance, might phrase it as, "You are free to do as you please as long as you don't prevent someone else from doing the same." A socialist society might phrase it as, "We need to make sure everyone has enough food, shelter, medicine, etc."

So, as you can see, the often ignored social contract is where our multitude and varied forms of government originate. A different core premise is what then dictates the authority and limits that government has. Here in the US, we fare better than others because we didn't leave the social contract as an implied ideal, we actually committed it to paper in the form of our Constitution.

So there you have it, an accurate model of how societies develop their own moral code without the need for a divine objective source. Which I would also point out is a model that more accurately describes what we see in the real world as opposed to some mystical concept of having it "written on our hearts" by some deity.

GreenDrake
04-17-2012, 08:22
No, children believe what their parents tell them. Add in guilt and fear of eternal damnation, hellfire and brimstone and you have a rock solid marketing strategy.

Geko45
04-17-2012, 08:23
I just posted this in the somewhat related thread, but it might be more applicable here:

I would expand on my previous post by adding that as an individual, my morals and values are entirely subjective. They are what I want them to be. I may choose to apply a higher standard to myself than society requires or even a lower one, but if I choose the latter then I must account for the reaction of society in my decision making.

For instance, I may beleive there is nothing wrong with shoplifiting. Maybe I believe those big evil corporations have it coming and they're insured for loss anyway, so it's really not that bad. If I believe that, I still have to deal with the real ramifications that if I get caught then I might go to jail. I might choose to abstain for fear of punishment or I might decide it is worth the risk and do it anyway.

So, all morals are subjective to the individual, but we still can choose as a society to aggregate those that are shared by the majority into a common code of conduct and implement them in the form of laws. I may or may not agree with all of them, but overall I am better off than I would be if we let anarchy reign.

ArtificialGrape
04-17-2012, 08:25
This is similar to another recent thread but I wanted to hone in on a more rudimentary problem and one less about personal feelings. Atheists often state "I don't need a god to tell me what is moral." They often seem to be dodging the issue of how they then justify it, as if we're to assume we all know that there is a right and wrong and we know what it is. Which is actually quite convenient for atheists because most people do believe in some morality, both religious and non-religious. It isn't true though, a few prominent philosophers have questioned the idea of good and evil and people disagree all the time about what is moral.
Harper,
Perhaps you could answer a few questions in order to make it easier to address your question.

If your assertion (and by all means correct me if I'm wrong) is that morality comes from the Christian God, then it seems that your question is more accurately, "How do non-Christians defend their morality?", correct?

The other defense seems to be something in regards to how societies and their moralities evolve over time. This is cultural relativism
Do you believe that biblical morality is timeless and unchanged?

-ArtificialGrape

Guss
04-17-2012, 12:03
...
It is no mystery that there is a commonality in morality often times between Athiests and Believers. The same God who wrote the 10 commandments with his Finger, is the same God who wrote them in our hearts and minds so that we would know what is right and wrong.
...
Or, it might be a case of Social Darwinism writing it in our minds. Those who, through random chance, were born with better social skills survived better than those who were socially hostile. Those traits would then be passed down through the generations and reinforced by reproduction with those of like mind.

Harper
04-17-2012, 15:45
You're not, in any objective sense, but if you don't follow the morality of the society you inhabit you risk the consequences imposed by that society.

I believe this is what Nietzsche referred to as 'Slave Morality'; where the weak seek safety in the herd. It's like moral collectivism. Your answer is probably true, but there are quite a few atheists who believe in actual objective systems of morality. I figured someone would have argued for objectivism or utilitarianism... anything other than to accept we're just part of a herd. (Although utilitarianism is supportive of the herd, it's at least based on principle)

"We have found that in all the principal moral judgments, Europe has become unanimous, including likewise the countries where European influence prevails in Europe people evidently KNOW what Socrates thought he did not know, and what the famous serpent of old once promised to teach—they "know" today what is good and evil. It must then sound hard and be distasteful to the ear, when we always insist that that which here thinks it knows, that which here glorifies itself with praise and blame, and calls itself good, is the instinct of the herding human animal, the instinct which has come and is ever coming more and more to the front, to preponderance and supremacy over other instincts, according to the increasing physiological approximation and resemblance of which it is the symptom."

You don't need an old book or a magical man to give you morality. It comes from the life experiences of the individual. I don't need Jeebus to tell me not to steal from or hurt someone else, but if you do...please church it up by all means!

I addressed that in my original post, it doesn't answer the question though.

Harper,
Perhaps you could answer a few questions in order to make it easier to address your question.

If your assertion (and by all means correct me if I'm wrong) is that morality comes from the Christian God, then it seems that your question is more accurately, "How do non-Christians defend their morality?", correct?


Do you believe that biblical morality is timeless and unchanged?

-ArtificialGrape

No, I don't assert that. My question stands on its own - What proof do atheists have that anyone is obligated to follow a morality.

Harper
04-17-2012, 15:52
So, all morals are subjective to the individual, but we still can choose as a society to aggregate those that are shared by the majority into a common code of conduct and implement them in the form of laws.

If someone is promoting moral relativism then it really doesn't matter what they have to say, since they've already made it clear I'm not obligated to follow their morality.

A society certainly forms ethics and laws. It behooves me to appear to follow them out of personal self interest. This isn't really a moral obligation because I'm not doing these things because I think they are right or wrong, rather I'm just trying to trick the herd into thinking I'm one of them.

Geko45
04-17-2012, 15:54
If someone is promoting moral relativism then it really doesn't matter what they have to say, since they've already made it clear I'm not obligated to follow their morality.

You are free to try and beat the system and hope you don't go to jail (or worse).

Harper
04-17-2012, 15:57
Subjective Morality:
I consider common moral subjectivism to be one of the most obnoxious belief systems around. In fact, I have more intellectual respect for the religious ethicist than the moral subjectivist, based on one principle point.

If you go to a religious ethicist and ask, "What would be the implication if you were to discover that there is no God and everything you base your morality on is simply made up, having no tie to reality?"

The religious ethicist will answer, "That will be a problem."

Ask the same question to a moral subjectivist, and he would answer, "What do you mean 'if'?"

The subjectivist admits that his rules have no bearing on reality. He even draws a hard distinction between 'fact' and 'value' to stress the idea that any talk of 'value' has nothing to do with 'fact.'

In this, as I wrote yesterday, the subjectivist's so-called 'morality' has a lot in common with a child's game of 'let's pretend.' The moral subjectivist makes up a set of rules. He decides to act as if those rules were true. While, at the same time, he admits that they are not true.

Furthermore, if somebody else were to invent a different game of 'let's pretend' with different rules, he cannot say that his game is objectively better than theirs. All he can do is appeal to his own let's pretend rules. Those rules might or might not not include rules like, let's pretend that slavery is wrong or let's pretend that people who seek to execute all the Jews in a Holocaust are evil.

The particularly obnoxious feature of subjectivism is that it is a game of 'let's pretend' that is used to 'justify' real-world violence. The subjectivist's game of 'let's pretend' is a game of, "Let's pretend that it is okay to fine, imprison, enslave, or even kill X." Importantly, it is then actually used to fine, imprison, enslave, or even kill X.

Why is okay to kill them? Ultimately, the subjectivist answers, "Because I invented this let's pretend rule that says that it is okay to kill them. If I had invented a rule that says that they should live then, ergo, they should live. Of course these are make-believe rules, and I could have just as easily adopted a different set of make-believe rules in which these people lived rather than died. But, they happened to find themselves in a universe in which I adopted the make-believe rule that said that they should die. So I killed them."

The article continues here: http://atheistethicist.blogspot.com/2006/05/subjective-morality.html

Harper
04-17-2012, 16:06
So, all morals are subjective to the individual, but we still can choose as a society to aggregate those that are shared by the majority into a common code of conduct and implement them in the form of laws.

No, not always and what then? You can't even claim we should aggregate those morals which are shared because that would imply some objective moral standard that people other than yourself are obligated to follow.

Kingarthurhk
04-17-2012, 16:07
Or, it might be a case of Social Darwinism writing it in our minds. Those who, through random chance, were born with better social skills survived better than those who were socially hostile. Those traits would then be passed down through the generations and reinforced by reproduction with those of like mind.

If that were the case crime would pretty much be irradicated, the increase of social violence and unrest would be diminished, and criminal organizations wouldn't flourish. So, I am not buying that concept.

Paul7
04-17-2012, 16:45
No, children believe what their parents tell them.

Including that there is no God.

Geko45
04-17-2012, 17:20
Including that there is no God.

My parents taught me that there was a god. I love them, but they were mistaken.

Geko45
04-17-2012, 17:27
No, not always and what then? You can't even claim we should aggregate those morals which are shared because that would imply some objective moral standard that people other than yourself are obligated to follow.

Actually, the "should" comes from the idea of mutual benefit found in the concept of the social contract (not living in anarchy). I thought I was clear on that point?

A person can have a subjective set of morals he chooses to live by.

A soceity can have a subjective set of morals that all of its members are expected to live by whether they agree or not (see previous discussion on social contract and how it manifests in various governmental systems).

Neither is objective, but they are still there. They still exist and serve a purpose. That purpose being to keep things running smoothly and to keep it from deteriorating into a free for all that serves nobody.

Harper
04-17-2012, 18:27
Actually, the "should" comes from the idea of mutual benefit found in the concept of the social contract (not living in anarchy). I thought I was clear on that point?



You were but I was referring to societies where personal morals are not aggregated. For instance Stalin's Soviet Union. The people cannot aggregate those morals which are shared. By your reasoning(and any moral subjectivist) people in power have no obligation to consider the opinion or welfare of the rest of the population. If the "should" comes from the benefit, there's no "should" for people in power when they don't benefit from aggregating morals. If you are claiming morality should always be mutually beneficial, then that's not morally subjective but rather objective since it applies to everyone.

Geko45
04-17-2012, 18:44
You were but I was referring to societies where personal morals are not aggregated. For instance Stalin's Soviet Union. The people cannot aggregate those morals which are shared. By your reasoning(and any moral subjectivist) people in power have no obligation to consider the opinion or welfare of the rest of the population. If the "should" comes from the benefit, there's no "should" for people in power when they don't benefit from aggregating morals. If you are claiming morality should always be mutually beneficial, then that's not morally subjective but rather objective since it applies to everyone.

Ok, I can see what you're saying now, but I would counter that I don't think anyone here would characterize Stalin as "moral" by any standard, objective or subjective. In his case, the implied social contract would have read like "It all belongs to me".

However, even dictators take the risk of suffering consequences when they run contrary to the agregated norms of their people. Yeah, Stalin got away with it by ruling with an iron fist, but it didn't work out so well for Ghadaffi. Push to hard and they rise up because they have nothing to lose. Don't push hard enough and they rise up because they think you are weak.

Dictators face their own dilemna. Not many of them live to grow old enough to die in their beds.

Bren
04-17-2012, 19:06
The OP seems to assume that atheists have a single moral code, which is not true (pretty obviously). Religious morality is only one of many ways of determining right and wrong and atheists probably fall into all of them. Pick up a Philosophy 101 textbook if you want an answer to the question.



With that said, I really believe all people share the same moral system, christians, atheists and satanists included - they just don't know or admit it. That is a system where all actions are based on self interest and the explanations of right and wrong are just inventions to try to reconcile those actions with social interests.

ArtificialGrape
04-17-2012, 19:10
No, I don't assert that. My question stands on its own - What proof do atheists have that anyone is obligated to follow a morality.
Christianity suffers from just as much relativism.

I don't know what atheists are claiming that "anyone is obligated to follow a morality". Who are these atheists and where are these claims?

There may be consequences of not following accepted or codified morals, but one can always shun those anyway.

-ArtificialGrape

Harper
04-17-2012, 20:52
Dictators face their own dilemna. Not many of them live to grow old enough to die in their beds.

Yep.

The OP seems to assume that atheists have a single moral code


Nope, I even stated I thought at least someone would try to defend objectivism or utilitarianism.


I don't know what atheists are claiming that "anyone is obligated to follow a morality". Who are these atheists and where are these claims?


Jeremy Bentham and a few other historical atheists have. I sort have already outlined part of my qualm with modern day atheists. It seems to me they are really cunning about this topic. They've realized that most people have some sort of morality and generally regard certain things as immoral. This allows them to condemn religion for promoting things like slavery or rape without having to justify why it's wrong. The work is already done for them so to speak. I think they avoid using strong dogmatic language while still promoting the idea of morality. In this video Dawkins and Singer are clearly promoting an objective morality. Peter Singer - The Genius of Darwin: The Uncut Interviews - Richard Dawkins - YouTube

Here Hitchens uses an interesting tactic. He says forbidding murder, rape, etc is innate in us and to who it is not are sociopaths or psychopaths. He doesn't say we are obligated to follow a morality... just that you're mentally defective if you don't. So again, he banks on that most people accept certain moral tenets and those who don't he just dismisses.
Hitchens on morality - YouTube

You'll also hear people like Dawkins and Hitchens refer to altruism in nature and how that's our innate morality. However, there are quite a few atheists who don't even believe altruism is the moral thing to do, either because they think it doesn't exist or it's actually immoral.

I also want to say that if someone believes in an objective morality they do believe other people are obligated to follow that morality whether they come out and say it or not. If you're truly a more subjectivist you don't believe other people are obligated to adhere to a morality. Personally, it doesn't make sense that people like Dawkins, Singer and Hitchens who have been so outspoken on on the subject of morality are actually subjectivists who don't believe people are obligated to behave in any certain way.

steveksux
04-17-2012, 21:51
I'm guess I'm a little unclear as to why anyone thinks justifying your morality by claiming a magic man in the sky says it must be so is the gold standard for justifying morality.

If that's the standard, there's nothing morally wrong with Radical Islamicists killing Americans in the name of Allah.

I think I'd rather rely on a logical basis such as everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law to end up with a relatively fair system. And by relatively fair I mean there isn't a minority group that can be killed or enslaved with impunity such as blacks in early so called "Christian" America or non-Muslims in fundamentalist Islamic countries today.

Funny how that "objective" morality based on Christianity has been evolving over the years from the Old to the New Testament, and even just in America as we went from denying women the vote and treating blacks as chattel to a model based more on equality rather than "God gave us white males more God-given rights than the rest of you people".

Randy

ArtificialGrape
04-17-2012, 22:16
I also want to say that if someone believes in an objective morality they do believe other people are obligated to follow that morality whether they come out and say it or not.
Harper, do you believe that an objective morality exists?

Harper
04-17-2012, 22:34
I'm guess I'm a little unclear as to why anyone thinks justifying your morality by claiming a magic man in the sky says it must be so is the gold standard for justifying morality.


That's a good point but not relevant to this thread.

Harper, do you believe that an objective morality exists?

I think answering that will detract from the thread. I'm not looking to prove my beliefs.

G26S239
04-17-2012, 23:25
Why should I bother defending my morality?

ArtificialGrape
04-17-2012, 23:44
Harper, do you believe that an objective morality exists?

I think answering that will detract from the thread. I'm not looking to prove my beliefs.

On the contrary it would show good faith (if you will) from somebody trying to facilitate a discussion of morality, but refusing to answer questions posed to him.

Why should people bother to answer your questions when you're unwilling to reciprocate?

-ArtificialGrape

NMPOPS
04-18-2012, 00:48
I do not require proof of God's existence, I choose not to believe. That's all I need. As for morals; I have good morals because I believe it's the right way to be. Simple as that. Seems to me that Christians are obsessed with proving Athiests wrong when they can't decide which Christian religion is right.

cowboywannabe
04-18-2012, 00:51
wait!!!

i like the biblical morality. having sex with women younger than my wife to bare my children, beating my slaves for being unruley, being crowned king of a part of land, being called wise for threatening to cut a bay in half to give two women each a part of it.....there is just so many good things in the bible that we dont do any more.....

Bren
04-18-2012, 04:38
I do not require proof of God's existence, I choose not to believe. That's all I need. As for morals; I have good morals because I believe it's the right way to be. Simple as that. Seems to me that Christians are obsessed with proving Athiests wrong when they can't decide which Christian religion is right.

If you can "choose" what you believe, instead of having it dictated by evidence, you may as well become a christian.

Arc Angel
04-18-2012, 07:07
NOT an atheist; but I am old enough and savvy enough to know better. The personal acquisition of individual morality requires an equally personal perception of distinct ideals - Ideals which are often greater than one's own self. Such awareness begins with the realization that all idealism possesses intrinsic value and is, therefore, useful. A certain individual ability for abstract reasoning is required, as well as an awareness of, both, personal behavior and resulting consequence.

Sadly, however, human morality is seldom universal, always fragmented, and frequently disagreed upon. It is well within the nature of man to behave immorally. There might even be a strong social preference for immoral behaviors. You can see evidence of this (and the incumbent personal foibles that are always attached thereto) posted on this forum all of the time.

Immoral people tend to live in the moment and disregard all future consequences to their present behaviors. In my opinion the very first thing a person has to do in order to be moral is to become consistently pained and frequently hurt often enough to know better than to rail at any real sense of, 'higher being' or stoop to gross self-service. (You know, kind 'a like a reformed alcoholic, sex fiend, or drug addict. I'm, also, reminded of the biblical admonition, 'The fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom.')

It isn't so much a matter of an individual, 'defending personal immorality'; instead, it's more about a person continuing to be self-indulgent and distracted enough by current circumstances not to allow himself to really give a damn. Gross or habitual self-indulgence is, then, immorality; and, immorality always, always, always serves its own ends; consequently, no real justification is ever required. Being immoral is just something someone does without any particular recognition of, or further regard for, future consequences.

In my own personal experience, once an individual steps out of, 'life in the present moment' a profound diminution of one's own self immediately occurs; and an acute awareness of higher ideals and their incumbent morality begins to appear; BUT, the first thing you've got to do is to get yourself out of the present moment. Only then can any real personal progress be made.

'Behold, I was born in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, Thou desirest Truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part Thou shalt cause me to know wisdom.' (Psalm 51:5-6)




NOTE: To the OP. I suggest you read what I said again. These conclusions are the results of the work of an entire lifetime. I know the price I had to pay for this knowledge; and I very much doubt that you, or anyone else, is going to, 'get it' the first time around. Good luck! ;)

Harper
04-18-2012, 07:15
On the contrary it would show good faith (if you will) from somebody trying to facilitate a discussion of morality, but refusing to answer questions posed to him.

Why should people bother to answer your questions when you're unwilling to reciprocate?

-ArtificialGrape

The golden rule of discussion? It's quite ironic. I would like to point out it has gone three pages without me reciprocating. Maybe they shouldn't, maybe they have no real obligation to and the reason they seem to act altruistically is simply for selfish reasons. That's what I had already asked though, isn't it.

Arc Angel
04-18-2012, 07:32
The above is an interesting exchange! Everything a person does is selfishly motivated - Everything. In the material realm there are no exceptions of which I am aware.

Schabesbert
04-18-2012, 11:25
Originally Posted by ArtificialGrape
On the contrary it would show good faith (if you will) from somebody trying to facilitate a discussion of morality, but refusing to answer questions posed to him.

Why should people bother to answer your questions when you're unwilling to reciprocate?

-ArtificialGrape

The golden rule of discussion? It's quite ironic. I would like to point out it has gone three pages without me reciprocating. Maybe they shouldn't, maybe they have no real obligation to and the reason they seem to act altruistically is simply for selfish reasons. That's what I had already asked though, isn't it.
I'd also like to point out that it's gone on 3 pages without anyone offering any substantive explainations from the atheistic viewpoint.

AG, maybe it would be fair to ask the OP to give his opinion after others have offered some legitimate explaination for their own?

Harper, I salute you. Alas, it seems that most here don't understand your argument at all. Paul's reference from Dr. Craig is spot-on.

Paul7
04-18-2012, 11:39
My parents taught me that there was a god. I love them, but they were mistaken.

I'm sure your parents would say the same of you.

Animal Mother
04-18-2012, 14:17
I believe this is what Nietzsche referred to as 'Slave Morality'; where the weak seek safety in the herd. It's like moral collectivism. I disagree, it isn't that at all, at least not based on what I remember from my philosophy class.
Your answer is probably true, but there are quite a few atheists who believe in actual objective systems of morality. I figured someone would have argued for objectivism or utilitarianism... anything other than to accept we're just part of a herd. (Although utilitarianism is supportive of the herd, it's at least based on principle)If you concede my answer is probably true, what does it matter if others assert a different position?

Animal Mother
04-18-2012, 14:20
I'd also like to point out that it's gone on 3 pages without anyone offering any substantive explainations from the atheistic viewpoint. Are you reading the same thread I am? I've seen a number of explanations offered.
AG, maybe it would be fair to ask the OP to give his opinion after others have offered some legitimate explaination for their own? Perhaps you could enlighten us as to what would qualify as "legitimate".

Geko45
04-18-2012, 14:37
I'd also like to point out that it's gone on 3 pages without anyone offering any substantive explainations from the atheistic viewpoint.

Umm, yeah, I'll second the comment "are you reading the same thread?" There have been several well thought out sources for morality provided (including my own). I can see where you may not agree with them given your flawed worldview (good natured ribbing here), but to say nothing of substance has been offered? No, not a fair assessment at all.

Norske
04-18-2012, 14:45
Are you asking what keeps non-religious people from doing things they consider immoral? Same reason that keeps people from eating spoiled food. We don't need to consult The Holy Cookbook to recognize stale bread.

.....Although stale bread makes great French Toast. :rofl:

Norske
04-18-2012, 14:51
wait!!!

i like the biblical morality. having sex with women younger than my wife to bare my children, beating my slaves for being unruley, being crowned king of a part of land, being called wise for threatening to cut a bay in half to give two women each a part of it.....there is just so many good things in the bible that we dont do any more.....

Yeah. Take Lot for example.

Such a high minded, pious individual that Angels warned him to get the hades out of Sodom/Gomorrah before Yahweh smote 'em. :steamed:

Before that, of course, he offered his two daughters to a mob to be gang raped so the mob would just go away and not bother him and the so-called Angels that were visiting him at the time.

And after he vamoosed out of town and his wife got the pillar of NaCl treatment, he got drunk enough to impregnate both of those self-same daughters.

To go by the example of Lot, the Bible teaches that Incest is Best and we should all obey the Bible by keeping it in the family. Family Way (?)

:supergrin:

What was good enough for Lot is good enough for YOU!

Harper
04-18-2012, 15:09
I disagree, it isn't that at all, at least not based on what I remember from my philosophy class.

:dunno: "Slave morality is created in opposition to what master morality values as 'good'. Slave morality does not aim at exerting one's will by strength but by careful subversion. It does not seek to transcend the masters, but to make them slaves as well. The essence of slave morality is utility:[5] the good is what is most useful for the whole community, not the strong. Nietzsche saw this as a contradiction. Since the powerful are few in number compared to the masses of the weak, the weak gain power by corrupting the strong into believing that the causes of slavery (viz., the will to power) are 'evil', as are the qualities they originally could not choose because of their weakness." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2%80%93slave_morality


If you concede my answer is probably true, what does it matter if others assert a different position?

Because it may not be.

Harper
04-18-2012, 15:22
Umm, yeah, I'll second the comment "are you reading the same thread?" There have been several well thought out sources for morality provided (including my own).

Sure lot's of people have provided sources of morality but I don't think anyone answered the question/challenge I posed: "convince me I'm obligated to follow this thing you call morality."

Most said that morality is subjective, in which case I'm not obligated, and others flat out stated I'm not obligated. Some stated the obvious that it's in my best interest to adhere to social laws but that's not the same as being morally obligated; or if it is then talking in terms of 'morality' is pointless and confusing.

Who has made a case for me being obligated(morally) to any system of morality?

Is it simply that atheists haven't evolved beyond believing and speaking in terms of 'morality' yet?

Gunhaver
04-18-2012, 15:48
Yeah. Take Lot for example.

Such a high minded, pious individual that Angels warned him to get the hades out of Sodom/Gomorrah before Yahweh smote 'em. :steamed:

Before that, of course, he offered his two daughters to a mob to be gang raped so the mob would just go away and not bother him and the so-called Angels that were visiting him at the time.

And after he vamoosed out of town and his wife got the pillar of NaCl treatment, he got drunk enough to impregnate both of those self-same daughters.

To go by the example of Lot, the Bible teaches that Incest is Best and we should all obey the Bible by keeping it in the family. Family Way (?)

:supergrin:

What was good enough for Lot is good enough for YOU!

Well, when you put it that way, it sounds bad.

Lone Wolf8634
04-18-2012, 15:54
Sure lot's of people have provided sources of morality but I don't think anyone answered the question/challenge I posed: "convince me I'm obligated to follow this thing you call morality."

Most said that morality is subjective, in which case I'm not obligated, and others flat out stated I'm not obligated. Some stated the obvious that it's in my best interest to adhere to social laws but that's not the same as being morally obligated; or if it is then talking in terms of 'morality' is pointless and confusing.

Who has made a case for me being obligated(morally) to any system of morality?

Is it simply that atheists haven't evolved beyond believing and speaking in terms of 'morality' yet?

If thats all you wanted, then you should already know the answer.

Self interest. That's the one thing we all act on. Every action we take is based on it.

Harper
04-18-2012, 16:24
If thats all you wanted, then you should already know the answer.

Self interest. That's the one thing we all act on. Every action we take is based on it.

Why would atheists bother calling that morality? It entails no obligation to adhere to any morality. Are they ignorant or trying to be deceptive?

Lone Wolf8634
04-18-2012, 16:34
Why would atheists bother calling that morality? It entails no obligation to adhere to any morality. Are they ignorant or trying to be deceptive?

Why would you say that?

Self interest is the reason we do everything.

No moral code, including religion, entails an obligation to adhere to it.

You adhere to it because of self interest, enlightened self interest maybe, but still........

void *
04-18-2012, 16:40
Most said that morality is subjective, in which case I'm not obligated, and others flat out stated I'm not obligated. Some stated the obvious that it's in my best interest to adhere to social laws but that's not the same as being morally obligated; or if it is then talking in terms of 'morality' is pointless and confusing.

You not being objectively obligated does not mean that there would not be consequences for violating a subjective morality.

Harper
04-18-2012, 16:45
Why would you say that?

Self interest is the reason we do everything.

No moral code, including religion, entails an obligation to adhere to it.

You adhere to it because of self interest, enlightened self interest maybe, but still........

When you say "it" what specifically are you referring to? An objective morality?

Harper
04-18-2012, 16:50
You not being objectively obligated does not mean that there would not be consequences for violating a subjective morality.

There are consequences for actions but you cannot violate someone else's subjective morality by definition. In other words it's not a moral violation (if morality is subjective) to not adhere to another's morality.

Lone Wolf8634
04-18-2012, 16:52
When you say "it" what specifically are you referring to? An objective morality?


No moral code,



:cool:

muscogee
04-18-2012, 17:30
Why would atheists bother calling that morality? It entails no obligation to adhere to any morality. Are they ignorant or trying to be deceptive?

You're trolling and playing word games. The question has been answered.

Where do morals (mores) come from.

mo·res
plural noun Sociology .

Folkways of central importance accepted without question and embodying the fundamental moral views of a group.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mores?s=t

Harper
04-18-2012, 18:06
No moral code, including religion, entails an obligation to adhere to it.


Yes, they do by definition.

Code - 1. A systematically arranged and comprehensive collection of laws.
2. A systematic collection of regulations and rules of procedure or conduct:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/code

Among those who use “morality” normatively, all hold that “morality” refers to a code of conduct that applies to all who can understand it and can govern their behavior by it. In the normative sense, morality should never be overridden, that is, no one should ever violate a moral prohibition or requirement for non-moral considerations.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/

To clarify, by asking "convince me I'm obligated to follow this thing you call morality." I'm using using "morality" normatively.


You're trolling and playing word games. The question has been answered.

Where do morals (mores) come from.

Nope, I didn't ask where they come from. I stated in the very first post where most atheists claim they come from.

Kingarthurhk
04-18-2012, 18:23
I do not require proof of God's existence, I choose not to believe. That's all I need. As for morals; I have good morals because I believe it's the right way to be. Simple as that. Seems to me that Christians are obsessed with proving Athiests wrong when they can't decide which Christian religion is right.

Actually, this one is obsessed with trying to bring you to the peace that passes all understanding, to having meaning in your life past your own self, and meeting your Savior that will give you an eternity of joy and perpetual study and exploration of all of creation.

When that is a possibility, what can a person possibly offer in exchange? You can't. It has been freely extended to you. All you have to do to begin the journey is accept that.

ArtificialGrape
04-18-2012, 18:25
I'd also like to point out that it's gone on 3 pages without anyone offering any substantive explainations from the atheistic viewpoint.

AG, maybe it would be fair to ask the OP to give his opinion after others have offered some legitimate explaination for their own?

Harper, I salute you. Alas, it seems that most here don't understand your argument at all. Paul's reference from Dr. Craig is spot-on.

To paraphrase George Carlin since he's so well liked around here :cool: I have as much [moral] authority as the pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it.

I've posted my own morality here often enough that it should probably be in my signature, but here goes again just for reference... I strive to act with regard to the well-being (minimize suffering; maximize happiness) of others.

Pretty straight-forward, though I'm sure numerous dilemmas could be posed that would be challenging to answer.

Given that Harper has, so far, refused to weigh in with his beliefs, I'll just throw some preemptive issues out...

There are Christians here who regularly argue that without the morality of God/Bible, there is no objective, timeless morality. The blatant flaw with this is that God accepts owning slaves, and calls for putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, (some) rape victims,...

There are not too many people that I'm aware of that still endorse these actions.

The question then becomes:

Were these actions moral in the past, and they're moral today?
Were they immoral in the past and immoral today?
Were they moral in the past, but something changed and they're immoral today?
Or is there some other explanation?

Given that we don't see an en masse endorsement of these activities today, it certainly seems to me that not even the morality of God/Bible is immutable, so why is it reasonable to expect that any other morality would be objective?

The morality of the Bible has been used to justify an assortment of mistreatments from the Spanish Inquisition to Fred Phelps and the Loons. Perhaps I just lack diabolical creativity, but I don't see how the simple morality that I outlined could be abused in a similar fashion.

-ArtificialGrape

Lone Wolf8634
04-18-2012, 18:33
Yes, they do by definition.

Code - 1. A systematically arranged and comprehensive collection of laws.
2. A systematic collection of regulations and rules of procedure or conduct:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/code


http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/

To clarify, by asking "convince me I'm obligated to follow this thing you call morality." I'm using using "morality" normatively.




Nope, I didn't ask where they come from. I stated in the very first post where most atheists claim they come from.

I guess I'm just a bit thick today, because I'm failing to understand what you're wanting here.

Harper
04-18-2012, 18:48
There are Christians here who regularly argue that without the morality of God/Bible, there is no objective, timeless morality. The blatant flaw with this is that God accepts owning slaves, and calls for putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, (some) rape victims,...


This is a common concern and usually leads to Euthyphro's dilemma. I'm sure you're aware of it but if not, it basically says 'is it moral because God says so or does God say so because it's moral?' If God is real then by definition(Omnibenevolence being a defining characteristic) it's moral because he says so. So if God says owning slaves and rape is moral, then it is and that's just tough luck if you don't like it. That of course doesn't appeal to people and maybe the idea that there's an omnibenevolent, omnipotent,etc being is ridiculous but the reasoning is valid.


I've posted my own morality here often enough that it should probably be in my signature, but here goes again just for reference... I strive to act with regard to the well-being (minimize suffering; maximize happiness) of others.

That sounds like utilitariansim which is always to my knowledge an objective morality. There are other atheists like Ayn Rand who believe in an objective morality which is basically the opposite.

RC-RAMIE
04-18-2012, 19:01
This is a common concern and usually leads to Euthyphro's dilemma. I'm sure you're aware of it but if not, it basically says 'is it moral because God says so or does God say so because it's moral?' If God is real then by definition(Omnibenevolence being a defining characteristic) it's moral because he says so. So if God says owning slaves and rape is moral, then it is and that's just tough luck if you don't like it. That of course doesn't appeal to people and maybe the idea that there's an omnibenevolent, omnipotent,etc being is ridiculous but the reasoning is valid.



That sounds like utilitariansim which is always to my knowledge an objective morality. There are other atheists like Ayn Rand who believe in an objective morality which is basically the opposite.

That sounds like a crappy version of morality.

That is because like the Atheist here keep telling y'all atheism only answers one question that is all. We don't have to share any other political or even scientific ideas at all.




"Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it is realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy. - Ron Paul

void *
04-18-2012, 19:08
There are consequences for actions but you cannot violate someone else's subjective morality by definition. In other words it's not a moral violation (if morality is subjective) to not adhere to another's morality.

Sure. But that does not mean the other people who do hold that morality will not view it as a moral violation, and act accordingly.

ArtificialGrape
04-18-2012, 19:17
This is a common concern and usually leads to Euthyphro's dilemma. I'm sure you're aware of it but if not, it basically says 'is it moral because God says so or does God say so because it's moral?' If God is real then by definition(Omnibenevolence being a defining characteristic) it's moral because he says so. So if God says owning slaves and rape is moral, then it is and that's just tough luck if you don't like it. That of course doesn't appeal to people and maybe the idea that there's an omnibenevolent, omnipotent,etc being is ridiculous but the reasoning is valid.



That sounds like utilitariansim which is always to my knowledge an objective morality. There are other atheists like Ayn Rand who believe in an objective morality which is basically the opposite.
I'll weigh in again if you choose to share your personal views.

Regards,
-ArtificialGrape

Harper
04-18-2012, 19:22
I guess I'm just a bit thick today, because I'm failing to understand what you're wanting here.

I think we went down a bit of a sidetrack.

A few have stated we're not obligated to follow any morality or that morality is subjective(which is really the same thing). I don't think anyone really believes this, but rather they do think other people should act a certain way but they don't have any justification as to why.

Someone asked...
"I don't know what atheists are claiming that "anyone is obligated to follow a morality". Who are these atheists and where are these claims?"

I listed a few and know there are many who promote others follow a certain morality. Bentham, Dawkins, Hitchens, Singer, Rand, Nietzsche all promoted an objective morality. If someone can't justify it that's fine, I was hoping to find someone who could.

Rand even promotes an objective morality based on self interest. I'm not quite sure what the actual reasoning is and simply stating "self interest is why people do anything" is not a complete justification for me to be obligated to follow a moral code(which you weren't arguing anyway).

G23Gen4TX
04-18-2012, 19:45
I don't need to defend anything. I just behave in a certain way that I think is right. I treat people in a way that I think is right. That's it.

If I make a mistake, I apologize to the person. I don't need to ask some imaginary god for forgiveness.

Harper
04-18-2012, 21:00
I'll weigh in again if you choose to share your personal views.

Regards,
-ArtificialGrape

Alright, I don't think I could botch this any further. My views are pretty libertarian, similar to Ayn Rand (even if she didn't like whatever libertarians were in her day). I think liberty, life, property rights are moral values. I don't think altruistic obligation is moral. I think these morals are objective and others should follow them. I think laws and morality should be reason based but I'm not quite sure how to do that. The Declaration of Independence said that these rights were endowed by our creator. I'm not sure how we defend those rights without that.

ArtificialGrape
04-19-2012, 07:45
Alright, I don't think I could botch this any further. My views are pretty libertarian, similar to Ayn Rand (even if she didn't like whatever libertarians were in her day). I think liberty, life, property rights are moral values. I don't think altruistic obligation is moral. I think these morals are objective and others should follow them. I think laws and morality should be reason based but I'm not quite sure how to do that. The Declaration of Independence said that these rights were endowed by our creator. I'm not sure how we defend those rights without that.
Is tithing an obligation? Definitely seems at odds with a morality of selfishness.

Is God necessary for morality? Only for objective morality?

Thanks for your response.

-ArtificialGrape

ArtificialGrape
04-19-2012, 08:04
This is a common concern and usually leads to Euthyphro's dilemma. I'm sure you're aware of it but if not, it basically says 'is it moral because God says so or does God say so because it's moral?'...So if God says owning slaves and rape is moral, then it is and that's just tough luck if you don't like it.
So then do you accept the biblical morality of owning slaves, and putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, some rape victims,... as moral?

That sounds like utilitariansim which is always to my knowledge an objective morality.
I was very clear in my take on morality that "I strive to act", nowhere did I suggest that others were obligated to act accordingly. Do I think the world would be a better place if everybody acted accordingly? Sure.

-ArtificialGrape

Harper
04-19-2012, 14:37
Is God necessary for morality? Only for objective morality?

-ArtificialGrape

Maybe.

Subjective morality doesn't matter. Nothing is necessary for subjective morality.

So then do you accept the biblical morality of owning slaves, and putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, some rape victims,... as moral?


I don't believe in a biblically based morality.

ArtificialGrape
04-19-2012, 16:13
I don't believe in a biblically based morality.

I was confident that we would reach common ground.

That's a wrap.

-ArtificialGrape

Paul7
04-19-2012, 17:06
So then do you accept the biblical morality of owning slaves, and putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, some rape victims,... as moral?



Shouldn't the atheistic Communist morality of killing 100,000,000 people bother you more?

ArtificialGrape
04-19-2012, 17:57
Shouldn't the atheistic Communist morality of killing 100,000,000 people bother you more?

I know this has been pointed out, but apparently it's more difficult to grasp than I would think...

While atheism may be central to communist dictators, communism is not central to atheism.

I don't represent man as the omnibenevolent Creator of the universe and mankind. I would think that God could be held to a somewhat higher standard.

Fortunately my sense of morality is no more tied to communist dictators than it is to the Bible.

-ArtificialGrape

creaky
04-19-2012, 19:59
Sure. But that does not mean the other people who do hold that morality will not view it as a moral violation, and act accordingly.

Give an example of the acting accordingly part. Please.

creaky
04-19-2012, 20:03
That's a wrap.

-ArtificialGrape

A relief, I'm sure, as you were running on two out of four cylinders in this particular conversation.

creaky
04-19-2012, 20:05
If I make a mistake, I apologize to the person. I don't need to ask some imaginary god for forgiveness.

How do you know if you made a mistake?

muscogee
04-19-2012, 20:18
How do you know if you made a mistake?

If you unnecessarily hurt someone.

creaky
04-19-2012, 20:24
If you unnecessarily hurt someone.

How do you determine the difference between necessary vs. unnecessary?

ArtificialGrape
04-19-2012, 20:29
A relief, I'm sure, as you were running on two out of four cylinders in this particular conversation.

Not at all, my morality doesn't require squirming and spin.

Perhaps you'd care to answer this...

Owning slaves, and putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, some rape victims,...
Were these actions moral in the past, and they're moral today?
Were they immoral in the past and immoral today?
Were they moral in the past, but something changed and they're immoral today?
Or is there some other explanation?

Thanks!

creaky
04-19-2012, 20:44
Not at all, my morality doesn't require squirming and spin.

Perhaps you'd care to answer this...

Owning slaves, and putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, some rape victims,...
Were these actions moral in the past, and they're moral today?
Were they immoral in the past and immoral today?
Were they moral in the past, but something changed and they're immoral today?
Or is there some other explanation?

Thanks!

That's all you've done here is squirm and spin. Geko45 and G23Gen4TX are some examples of honest answers to the OP. Read over their answers and try again.

ArtificialGrape
04-19-2012, 21:10
That's all you've done here is squirm and spin. Geko45 and G23Gen4TX are some examples of honest answers to the OP. Read over their answers and try again.

Of course in lieu of squirm or spin you could just avoid the question as you've done.

The OP question was "How do atheists defend their morality?" I've had no cause to squirm or spin as my morality does not require defending. Yours on the other hand does.

Owning slaves, and putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, some rape victims,...
Were these actions moral in the past, and they're moral today?
Were they immoral in the past and immoral today?
Were they moral in the past, but something changed and they're immoral today?
Or is there some other explanation?

Any chance that you care to answer the question?

-ArtificialGrape

Paul7
04-19-2012, 21:13
While atheism may be central to communist dictators, communism is not central to atheism.

And whatever misdeeds of Christianity you like to point out aren't central to it, and are usually contrary to it.

Fortunately my sense of morality is no more tied to communist dictators than it is to the Bible.

If you don't have a transcendent moral standard, it isn't tied to anything.

ArtificialGrape
04-19-2012, 21:22
And whatever misdeeds of Christianity you like to point out aren't central to it, and are usually contrary to it.
The actions below are examples of morality as documented in your Bible.
Owning slaves, and putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, some rape victims,...

They are not contrary to the Bible, they are taken straight from it.
If you don't have a transcendent moral standard, it isn't tied to anything.

I haven't claimed that my morality is tied to anything. I was very clear that it is how I strive to behave. I'm still waiting for somebody to explain how the examples shown above are a transcendent moral standard. Do you care to explain?

-ArtificialGrape

Animal Mother
04-19-2012, 22:24
:dunno: "Slave morality is created in opposition to what master morality values as 'good'. Slave morality does not aim at exerting one's will by strength but by careful subversion. It does not seek to transcend the masters, but to make them slaves as well. The essence of slave morality is utility:[5] the good is what is most useful for the whole community, not the strong. Nietzsche saw this as a contradiction. Since the powerful are few in number compared to the masses of the weak, the weak gain power by corrupting the strong into believing that the causes of slavery (viz., the will to power) are 'evil', as are the qualities they originally could not choose because of their weakness." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2%80%93slave_morality From the same article, "What Nietzsche meant by 'morality' deviates from common understanding of this term. For Nietzsche, a particular morality is inseparable from the formation of a particular culture. This means that its language, codes and practices, narratives, and institutions are informed by the struggle between these two types of moral valuation."

Standards of conduct are necessary for any society to function, rather than descending into anarchy and perpetual conflict. Those standards of conduct vary over time and between societies. There is no universal, objective standard which exists above and apart from the ever changing ways that humanity comes together.

Animal Mother
04-19-2012, 22:35
Shouldn't the atheistic Communist morality of killing 100,000,000 people bother you more?
Shouldn't you first produce evidence that Communists in general believe that killing 100,000,000 people is a moral act?

Tilley
04-19-2012, 23:32
Shouldn't you first produce evidence that Communists in general believe that killing 100,000,000 people is a moral act?

The Democrats and pro-abortion advocates.

Harper
04-20-2012, 07:02
From the same article, "What Nietzsche meant by 'morality' deviates from common understanding of this term. For Nietzsche, a particular morality is inseparable from the formation of a particular culture. This means that its language, codes and practices, narratives, and institutions are informed by the struggle between these two types of moral valuation."


Yes, of course. I thought it went without saying that in Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil" he was not proposing there were two co-existing objective moralities which were both valid.

Bren
04-20-2012, 08:01
I suppose we could reverse the question - it is harder for me to see how christians defend their morality. Clearly they have a set of moral rules, but they are rules that must be followed under threat of punishment and promise of reward. In other words, christian morality (wisely, I agree) bases its system on pure self-interest and removes moral decision making from the individual (by being rule-based).

While that is a very effective system for governing people, the question that always comes to my mind is this hypothetical: You tell me to donate $100 to a very good and helpful charity, while pointing a gun at me. If I donate the money, you give me an apple pie and everything's fine, but if I don't you shoot me. Does it make me a morally "good person" because I donate the $100?

IndianaMatt
04-20-2012, 08:09
...You tell me to donate $100 to a very good and helpful charity, while pointing a gun at me. If I donate the money, you give me an apple pie and everything's fine, but if I don't you shoot me. Does it make me a morally "good person" because I donate the $100?

And this is why Christianity as a moral framework is very limited.

Charity, respect for the earth, and kindness to animals and other humans, when done solely for the reward of a splendid afterlife... well, that's not really altruism, is it? That sounds like very thinly-veiled self-interest in pursuit of a reward.

Schabesbert
04-20-2012, 08:22
Not at all, my morality doesn't require squirming and spin.

Perhaps you'd care to answer this...

Owning slaves, and putting to death homosexuals, witches, fortune tellers, adulterers, people who work on the sabbath, disrespectful children, children who strike or curse a parent, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, some rape victims,...
Why would this answer be important to you at all, other than as a red herring?
Is it that you find these things to be immoral? On what basis?

muscogee
04-20-2012, 08:49
How do you determine the difference between necessary vs. unnecessary?

I have to decide on the best evidence available at the time. If additional information proves I unnecessarily hurt an innocence, I repent. That's the best anyone can do.

I don't buy in to BS sins like lusting in my heart, working on the Sabbath (or Sunday if you wish). I'm not going to sell everything I have and give it to the poor. Then I would be poor and would have to wait until someone did the same for me. Then I would have to do it again.

Harper
04-20-2012, 09:20
Does it make me a morally "good person" because I donate the $100?[/I]

The bible says something like 'there is no one righteous, no not one.'

Bren
04-20-2012, 09:30
The bible says something like 'there is no one righteous, no not one.'

Do you deny that christians are trying to be "righteous" or "morally good"?

creaky
04-20-2012, 10:09
I have to decide on the best evidence available at the time. If additional information proves I unnecessarily hurt an innocence, I repent. That's the best anyone can do.Ok, now we're getting somewhere. So you are your own arbiter of what is moral or immoral? I'm just trying to be certain of what you're saying. Not society but you as an individual?

Harper
04-20-2012, 10:31
Do you deny that christians are trying to be "righteous" or "morally good"?

No...

Schabesbert
04-20-2012, 10:32
I have to decide on the best evidence available at the time. If additional information proves I unnecessarily hurt an innocence, I repent. That's the best anyone can do.
That's great, but why do you repent? Why is it bad to unnecessarily hurt an innocent? Could it be that there actually is an objective good or evil?

muscogee
04-20-2012, 10:55
Ok, now we're getting somewhere. So you are your own arbiter of what is moral or immoral? I'm just trying to be certain of what you're saying. Not society but you as an individual?

Aren't we all?

muscogee
04-20-2012, 11:02
That's great, but why do you repent? Why is it bad to unnecessarily hurt an innocent?

JMO. Possibly the way I was raised. Had I been raised differently I might have another opinion. No way to know.

Could it be that there actually is an objective good or evil?

Of course. Did you watch the Christopher Hitchens video that was posted? He asks, "Do you think the Hebrews followed Moses all the way to Mt.Sinai thinking it was OK to murder and steal only to have Moses come down and say, "I've got some real bad news for you. You can't do that any more"?"

Animal Mother
04-20-2012, 21:59
Could it be that there actually is an objective good or evil?It could be, but no one has yet demonstrated that there is.

ArtificialGrape
04-20-2012, 22:10
Ok, now we're getting somewhere. So you are your own arbiter of what is moral or immoral? I'm just trying to be certain of what you're saying. Not society but you as an individual?
In a self-defense situation, are you the arbiter of when to pull the trigger, or would you defer to society?

-ArtificialGrape

ArtificialGrape
04-20-2012, 22:51
Why would this answer be important to you at all, other than as a red herring?
Is it that you find these things to be immoral? On what basis?
Not a red herring at all. It is regularly argued by Christians on this forum that atheists have no basis for morality, and that God is the only basis for unchanging morality, but they don't seem able or willing to answer the question that I've posed.

It does not take God or a Book for most people to recognize that we really shouldn't rape and kill the children (I suspect that we'll always have psychopaths, etc.).

Reciprocal ethics can get us pretty far. Jesus' version distilled into the Golden Rule is probably the most well-known, but certainly not the oldest.

Will science ever be able to convince the religious that an objective morality can be discerned without a God residing outside of the system and dictating morality? I suspect not.

-ArtificialGrape

Harper
04-21-2012, 09:42
Not a red herring at all. It is regularly argued by Christians on this forum that atheists have no basis for morality, and that God is the only basis for unchanging morality, but they don't seem able or willing to answer the question that I've posed.

It does not take God or a Book for most people to recognize that we really shouldn't rape and kill the children (I suspect that we'll always have psychopaths, etc.).


Ok, Christians suck... now moving forward... You still should base an objective morality on science and reason. I'm surprised on a largely 'right wing', if you will, forum we have atheists who are content to say 'I don't need to base my beliefs on anything.'

Subjective morality you don't need to defend because it isn't worth anything. It's like saying "My imaginary friend doesn't need a driver's license". You don't need to justify something that doesn't exist but there are real consequences to crazy people believing in imaginary friends and subjective morality'.

There are some atheists who try to base their beliefs on science and reason (like Ayn Rand and Peter Singer) but apparently not on this forum.