Basis for Atheist Morality
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
11-02-2014, 07:11 PM
Basis for Atheist Morality
Your friendly neighbourhood deist here. Been a while since I started a thread, so I have a question and I'm curious to find out the atheist answer.

What is the basis of atheist morality (or, is there such a thing)?

And, as a related question:

Is there any reason for an atheist not to steal from a stranger if they know they won't get caught?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes lookingforanswers's post
11-02-2014, 07:22 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2014 07:32 PM by DLJ.)
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
It is an ill-defined question.

I'm pretty sure that this answer has been looked for and find-able in multiple previous threads but whatever.

Atheism is not a worldview. It is a stance regarding a single topic.

Therefore, the idea of 'atheist morality' is kinda a non-starter.

If you are asking, "how does someone who rejects Divine Command Theory derive their basis for assessing / judging right from wrong, good from evil?", there are many, many threads on this subject too.

And here is Stanford's take on it:
“The term “morality” can be used either:

1. descriptively to refer to some codes of conduct put forward by a society or,
a) some other group, such as a religion, or
b) accepted by an individual for her own behavior or

2. normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

What “morality” is taken to refer to plays a crucial, although often unacknowledged, role in formulating ethical theories? To take “morality” to refer to an actually existing code of conduct put forward by a society results in a denial that there is a universal morality, one that applies to all human beings. … “Morality” has also been taken to refer to any code of conduct that a person or group takes as most important.

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...”



So there we have it; morality only exists with a consensus... a framework (or axiology) that everyone signs up to.

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 11 users Like DLJ's post
11-02-2014, 07:32 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
Depends on what I should steal and how much impact it's gonna have on the person. I have no problem with stealing food if they have plenty.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
11-02-2014, 07:32 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2014 07:39 PM by sporehux.)
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
Morality/altruism is either a result of naturally selected evolutionary traits similar and directly relative to empathy, defensive and happy emotions.

Or its the infamous "God of the Gaps" did it.

There is enough evidence for the former, to build upon and attempt to falsify the hypothesis.

For the later it come down to faith. And since all cultures that currently exist have morals, regardless of their non materialistic views. Atheism has nothing to do with morality. We just don't accept the God of Gaps did it.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
11-02-2014, 07:34 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(11-02-2014 07:11 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Is there any reason for an atheist not to steal from a stranger if they know they won't get caught?

Yeah, the negative impact it has on the victim of theft. Same goes for pretty much anything you do that negatively affects others. Of course I would say necessity rules over moral obligations, like stealing food from someone who has more than enough if you're starving and have no other way to feed yourself. Basically treat others how they want to be treated.

As far as murder goes... I would think that people working together in communities had an advantage over single or paired humans. Those tribes which felt it was okay to kill each other within the tribe were less likely to survive than the tribes which felt it was wrong to kill each other.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes WeAreTheCosmos's post
11-02-2014, 07:39 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
Try playing the Steam game "RUST".
Its a good test of moral character, rage quits abound.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes sporehux's post
11-02-2014, 07:47 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
I'd say it's primarily a combination of two things.

1) Subjective rules and taboos (Yes, this is totally arbitrary).

2) We accomplish a lot more working together than if we go it our own. We can't work together without an understanding that we won't screw each other over at any given possibility. I can go to Taco Bell and buy a bunch of tacos without worrying about getting stabbed and robbed by the guy behind the window. I can sit down at my computer and know that I'll have working Internet because I payed my ISP and they're honoring an agreement. At the end of the day, everyone gets by much better this way.

When you look at the way our punishment systems are set up with our laws, it's to incentivize people to work together and to discourage any behavior that undermines the system.



Well, three things, really: I honestly don't like doing a lot of blatant, hurtful things. Sure, if I get all introspective, I'll realize that money I spent on Borderlands could have been spent to feed someone, but I'm talking about the more obviously direct harmful actions. I just don't have it in me.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
11-02-2014, 07:49 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(11-02-2014 07:47 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I'd say it's primarily a combination of two things.

1) Subjective rules and taboos (Yes, this is totally arbitrary).

2) We accomplish a lot more working together than if we go it our own. We can't work together without an understanding that we won't screw each other over at any given possibility. I can go to Taco Bell and buy a bunch of tacos without worrying about getting stabbed and robbed by the guy behind the window. I can sit down at my computer and know that I'll have working Internet because I payed my ISP and they're honoring an agreement. At the end of the day, everyone gets by much better this way.

When you look at the way our punishment systems are set up with our laws, it's to incentivize people to work together and to discourage any behavior that undermines the system.



Well, three things, really: I honestly don't like doing a lot of blatant, hurtful things. Sure, if I get all introspective, I'll realize that money I spent on Borderlands could have been spent to feed someone, but I'm talking about the more obviously direct harmful actions. I just don't have it in me.

Sounds more like a totalitarian dictatorship.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
11-02-2014, 07:50 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
Whatever isn't from evolution, we have to use reason on to find the moral ground.

Why do you even ask? A deist has no divinely revealed moral code either. If god doesnt intervene in the universe, you're basically like the rest of us. Its the theists that are required to follow terrible (im)"moral" codes.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like WeAreTheCosmos's post
11-02-2014, 07:55 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
Sorry, missed this part:

(11-02-2014 07:11 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Is there any reason for an atheist not to steal from a stranger if they know they won't get caught?

From an objective point, you don't do it because it undermines the system. Even if you don't get caught, that other person might see less reason to not steal from others. Also, while the example is "if you know you won't get caught", but in real life, that happens far less. There's also risk aversion.

In addition, if people believe that they won't be robbed, their life is a lot more enjoyable and relaxing. The more thefts that occur, the less certain this seems.

There's also the subjective point, in that in general, it bothers us when people steal.

And, again, stealing from someone isn't something that I have in me. I've had chances and haven't done it.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes RobbyPants's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: