Atheism can't explain this?
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08-09-2010, 05:26 PM
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
There have been plenty of "bad" atheists, though. Stalin, one of history's all time greatest mass murderers, was an atheist. Being an atheist does not exempt you from the general depravity that so often engulfs mankind. However, you generally don't find people who kill, rape, pillage, etc. in the name of atheism the way you do with religion.

Atheists are probably under represented in jail but that is probably more because they tend to be better educated then because they are atheists. As a rule, better educated people are less likely to commit crimes, or at least the types of crimes, that lands you in prison. In other words, I think there is a definitive correlation between atheism and, say, not being in prison, but I'm not convinced there is causation.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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08-09-2010, 08:16 PM (This post was last modified: 08-09-2010 08:26 PM by catdance62.)
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
I would like to know how this turns out in class. Or what happens after you put the note on the teacher's desk.
Thinking more along the morality lines...I've often thought if I was a bad person, I would be a rich RICH person because I would, and could, exploit religion to bilk money out of people to the furthest extent possible. It would be SO EASY because many people are SO DUMB, especially with the threat of eternal hell hanging over their head. Or, if you tell them what they want to hear, they will give you money freely! HOwever, I am not a bad person, I am a good person and I would never do that because it would make me feel bad to take advantage of peoples' innate stupidity. And I am not a member of, or believe in, any religion or deity.
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08-09-2010, 10:33 PM
 
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
(07-09-2010 12:27 PM)omega21 Wrote:  "No we need religion for morality." Then the instructor replied, "Yes atheism has yet to answer how a society can function morally without religion."
Laws that govern a society are essentially that society's "moral code". Punishment for not following the laws is how the society functions morally without religion. Even if a person is inclined to be unethical they may fear punishment of the law to keep their morals in check. We've historically seen the opposite with religion. Religious followers may commit a generally agreed immoral act (e.g. blowing up the OK city building and killing innocent people) without regard to punishment of the law because they believe their eternal reward is far greater than their punishment on earth. This is (one of the many) detriments religion poses on society. The very opposite of the students reply and your **sigh** educators statement. The least religious nations are the most peaceful according to independent studies done by visionofhumanity.org. I tend to tell people that I am an atheist who follows the philosophy of humanism because being an atheist is really just to define the dismissal of a god(s) not a philosophy on living. So as an atheist I would say that if we adopt humanism and not religious dogma, along with a democratic legal system then we do have answer for how society can function morally without religion. If you're not familiar with humanism and want to know more, I recommend this website: http://www.americanhumanist.org/Who_We_A...ifesto_III

I am in no way affiliated with these websites, I just recommend looking into them. Good luck with starting a debate. I was pretty non-confrontational when I was young also but I now realize it's better to open my mouth and make the world a better place regardless of how many people don't like what I have to say. Sitting back quietly won't do anything and but keep the religious nonsense going. Peace!
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08-09-2010, 10:54 PM
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
I just came across an argument about this going on between a person I'm subscribed to on YouTube and another YouTuber. I think this has one of the most eloquently spoken rebuttals to the claim that morality comes from God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RqkskhzRCc

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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09-09-2010, 01:51 AM
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
Theoretical Bullshit videos are very well done, in composition, in content and in logical reasoning. Lucky this guy is an atheist.
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13-09-2010, 10:16 AM
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
I just finished my first paper in this class. The last question related to this about what I think religions impact on society is. I wrote about all the negative things, and povided a logical answer to how society can function without religion.
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13-09-2010, 12:13 PM
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
Very curious to see what the academic response is. Please keep us posted.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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14-09-2010, 07:39 AM
 
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
(08-09-2010 10:33 PM)Sunshine Wrote:  I tend to tell people that I am an atheist who follows the philosophy of humanism because being an atheist is really just to define the dismissal of a god(s) not a philosophy on living. So as an atheist I would say that if we adopt humanism and not religious dogma, along with a democratic legal system then we do have answer for how society can function morally without religion. If you're not familiar with humanism and want to know more, I recommend this website: http://www.americanhumanist.org/Who_We_A...ifesto_III

I am in no way affiliated with these websites, I just recommend looking into them.

Interesting site. I looked at the essay about secular extremists ... a good point. Extremists come in all flavors, not just those flavors unique to religious believers.

Generally, I prefer not to pigeonhole myself, so I would choose not to adopt the humanist belief system, as a whole. I might agree with many parts of it, but ... I just dislike labels.

I don't think it's necessary to adopt some particular belief system for societies to function in a moral fashion. It is a valid point that the legal system matters - if the legal system is inherently immoral, then individuals are not encouraged to behave morally. But when most individuals have a reasonable amount of personal freedom, we are programmed by evolution to cooperate with one another for the common good, in general.

Sam Harris has some work on this topic at his website and in some recent books by him that indicates there can be a scientific basis for understanding morality. It need not spring from religion at all.
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14-09-2010, 12:30 PM
 
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
2buckchuck - In general the humanist label is my best attempt at answering the tired old question/ statement from theists of "atheist's don't believe in anything" or "you're an atheist...we know what you don't believe in so what DO you believe in." Instead of listing out all of my personal beliefs and philosophies in detail, I usually direct them to look into humanism, as I follow and agree with the philosophy, in general. Of course, I too, am not stuck to it's as a whole, it's more of a general guideline to describe my philosophy on living. I personally don't care about labels anymore. People are always going to label you so rather than let others decide what label I fit, I choose to label myself. Makes me feel in control, I guess, lol.
I agree if the laws themselves are not moral then the society is not moral but that's why I said a democratic system because I too believe it's intrinsic and in a democracy the majority rules and the majority generally do tend to agree upon the greater good of society. So, yeah, all that to say, I feel ya. Wink
I've been looking forward to reading Sam Harris' new book on the topic. Coming out next month, I think.
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14-09-2010, 02:07 PM
RE: Atheism can't explain this?
Even if the laws are moral, they can be undermined if the people within the legal system acting immorally. It takes a lot of strong links in a chain to have a moral society. The larger the society the more links you have, such as a tribe compared to a country. A tribe can be moral by peer pressure of a moral leader, but a country has too many influences and is more complicated.
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