Christian vs. Humanist Morality
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21-02-2017, 08:12 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(20-02-2017 09:54 PM)Astreja Wrote:  
(20-02-2017 08:34 PM)socialistview Wrote:  No sign will be given to an adulterous generation.

"Adulterous generation"? Adultery has been around for many thousands of years. (It even gets a mention in 2 Samuel 11, with David fooling around with Bathsheba.)
In the context of that quote, "adulterous" = "unfaithful [to god]". But even with that understanding, every generation has been faithless. Because holiness is deliberately constructed to be unattainable by actual people.
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22-02-2017, 02:16 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(21-02-2017 05:33 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(20-02-2017 09:54 PM)Astreja Wrote:  "Adulterous generation"? Adultery has been around for many thousands of years. (It even gets a mention in 2 Samuel 11, with David fooling around with Bathsheba.)

Amusingly, no Christian to whom I have ever spoken seems aware that David already had two wives before he became king and started acquiring several more. That was no problem... God made the man married to two women a king!

But taking another man's wife, as with Bathsheba... wwweeellllll, oh now we have a problem!

I usually bring this up when I'm having the "God wants One Man And One Woman For Life!" argument with my family members. Dodgy

Let me guess: they totally deflect and fail to address it, then treat it like you'd never said it next time the same conversation happens?

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22-02-2017, 07:15 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(22-02-2017 02:16 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(21-02-2017 05:33 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Amusingly, no Christian to whom I have ever spoken seems aware that David already had two wives before he became king and started acquiring several more. That was no problem... God made the man married to two women a king!

But taking another man's wife, as with Bathsheba... wwweeellllll, oh now we have a problem!

I usually bring this up when I'm having the "God wants One Man And One Woman For Life!" argument with my family members. Dodgy

Let me guess: they totally deflect and fail to address it, then treat it like you'd never said it next time the same conversation happens?

Among my immediate family members, yes. They've generally learned to stop throwing out the "Declarations of The Way It Is" (which Christians seem to so love doing) around me, since I'll correct them when they spout bullshit. Most have stopped trying to convince me of their bullshit, or to think about my responses to their bullshit.

To her credit, my mother-in-law did actually attempt to address it by claiming that God "allowed" the violation of the one-man-one-woman concept, then later punished David for the "consequences of polygamy"... Bathsheba and the wars between his sons, for instance.

I countered by pointing out that David and Solomon are considered the greatest of all kings-by-God's-command, raised to the throne by the will of God, and that neither of them had any problems among their offspring that couldn't just as easily have emerged with a monogamous marriage that had multiple sons in line for a throne.

That's when she stopped responding, except to tell me I didn't understand it. Rolleyes

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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22-02-2017, 08:28 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
Sounds about right!

I did a massive rant about morality recently which I'd like to share, so this seems like a good place to do it.




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22-02-2017, 01:13 PM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
Rob, I studied ethics at university. There are a number of different schools of moral philosophy. There are ethical theories, such as ethical relativism, ethical egoism, utilitarianism. They all have a central principle. In utilitarianism it about the "geatest good for the greatest number".

What ethical philosophers do is to analyze these and see if they hang together rationally and consistently. For instance, in ethical egoism, one is told "you should do what is best for you". But logically, this can't work as a moral philosophy. If I tell you that you should do what is best for you and you happen to think that means taking away my business or sleeping with my girlfriend, then I would not want to even espouse such a philosophy because it involves me acting illogically, by telling you to do something which is not the best thing for me.

The most logical expression of morality is Kant's categorical imperative, that we should all act on a maxim such that it can apply universally. In other words, the only workable ethical proposition is one which can apply to everyone, including oneself. This is close to "do unto others as you would have others do unto you". I've been trying to make this point here for some time, that Christianity is just a story wrapped around this Greek/Hellenistic philosophical principle which has no relation to the existence of a god and does not need a god.
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22-02-2017, 02:01 PM (This post was last modified: 22-02-2017 02:51 PM by Robvalue.)
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
Very interesting, thanks Smile

Personally, I find that trying to apply any one set of principles robotically is inadequate. As such, I tend to find any particular mode of ethics lacking in at least one area. But I think that most of them have something to offer, and discussing them all is certainly worthwhile. When assessing my own actions, or the actions of someone else, I tend to try and consider as many angles as possible and to take each one on its merits.

The problem comes when trying to discuss morality with someone who has a totally different basis, such as "what God wants". You can't even begin to discuss any of these systems until you've tried to find some common ground here. Doing what is "best for someone" is going to take on an entirely different meaning for someone who is constantly relating things back to God and religious point-scoring. It may be that it's impossible to find enough common ground, at least in the short term.

But talks should always be ongoing, and I live in hope that one day the needs of humans (and other animals) will be globally considered of the highest priority, instead of the whims of sky fairies.

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22-02-2017, 03:25 PM (This post was last modified: 23-02-2017 07:54 AM by mordant.)
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(22-02-2017 02:01 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  Very interesting, thanks Smile

Personally, I find that trying to apply any one set of principles robotically is inadequate. As such, I tend to find any particular mode of ethics lacking in at least one area. But I think that most of them have something to offer, and discussing them all is certainly worthwhile. When assessing my own actions, or the actions of someone else, I tend to try and consider as many angles as possible and to take each one on its merits.

The problem comes when trying to discuss morality with someone who has a totally different basis, such as "what God wants". You can't even begin to discuss any of these systems until you've tried to find some common ground here. Doing what is "best for someone" is going to take on an entirely different meaning for someone who is constantly relating things back to God and religious point-scoring. It may be that it's impossible to find enough common ground, at least in the short term.

But talks should always be ongoing, and I live in hope that one day the needs of humans (and other animals) will be globally considered of the highest priority, instead of the whims of sky fairies.
True enough, but stripping away the stated reasons why a thing is right or wrong, it's always interesting to note that religious morality is never VERY different from the morality of the society the religion operates within. Why? Because morality actually comes from SOCIETY, and is enforced by society (either by police / government or more informal structures like threatened or actual withholding of social reciprocity). Therefore, no religious morality can differ that much from societal morality without it becoming ... immoral in the eyes of society, which would then sanction or even shut down the religion. The only exception I've seen to this, and it's a partial one, is Scientology getting its tax-exempt status in the US un-revoked through various mafia-like tactics (and I have to say, I am aware of no other group that's managed to intimidate the IRS).

At any rate my point is that Christian morality can have requirements different from societal morality (particularly if they exceed the requirements / standards of society) so long as society doesn't care about the outcomes. But it's all at the behest of the actual source and enforcer of actual morality.

Even when Christian morality exceeds society's requirements -- such as the way fundamentalists used to decry radio, attendance at movies, and "immodest dress" (once defined as "shorter than ankle length") -- if you depart too much from societal norms you end up being considered "odd" and looked upon with suspicion, and may have difficulty fitting into even utilitarian things like the workplace with all your special requirements. And at some point, it becomes untenable. That's why modern fundamentalists think nothing of radio, movies, and skirts of a length once considered scandalous.

All religious morality evolves, just slowly, and a discrete one to three generations behind the rest of society (sometimes more; it took the RCC several hundred years to formally admit Galileo was right and shouldn't have been treated by the church as he was). But evolve it does. Belying the notion that religious morality is universal, timeless and immutable.
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23-02-2017, 12:10 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
Very good points! Excellent.

You're totally right. It's hilarious to me how well Christianity has flexed, almost to breaking point, in order to fit into secular cultures. For some people, the entire bible has been jettisoned, leaving just Jesus saying "do unto others..." That's it. If you refer to anything else that ever happens in the bible, they find ways of showing you why it should effectively be ignored.

Islam, on the other hand, seems far less willing to flex. And this is why it's grating much more against secular culture.

Ultimately, all any religious person is doing is adding an argument from authority to their own morality. But sadly, they are often taught bigotry (even against themselves in some cases) which they then feel the need to justify.

I think the origin of religion has a lot to do with governing/controlling people. If one guy stands up and says, "Stop hitting each other with rocks!", people would say, "Why should we listen to you?" So adding an invisible authority and intangible benefits/punishments gets people to listen.

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23-02-2017, 12:23 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(23-02-2017 12:10 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Ultimately, all any religious person is doing is adding an argument from authority to their own morality.

You nailed it.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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23-02-2017, 07:50 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(23-02-2017 12:10 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Very good points! Excellent.

You're totally right. It's hilarious to me how well Christianity has flexed, almost to breaking point, in order to fit into secular cultures. For some people, the entire bible has been jettisoned, leaving just Jesus saying "do unto others..." That's it. If you refer to anything else that ever happens in the bible, they find ways of showing you why it should effectively be ignored.

Islam, on the other hand, seems far less willing to flex. And this is why it's grating much more against secular culture.

Ultimately, all any religious person is doing is adding an argument from authority to their own morality. But sadly, they are often taught bigotry (even against themselves in some cases) which they then feel the need to justify.

I think the origin of religion has a lot to do with governing/controlling people. If one guy stands up and says, "Stop hitting each other with rocks!", people would say, "Why should we listen to you?" So adding an invisible authority and intangible benefits/punishments gets people to listen.


I'm not sure that Christianity has flexed to fit in with a secular culture. I struggled with this until very recently and then started reading about Epicureanism, which is Greek/Roman secularism and disappeared as Christianity gained hold. My feeling is that Christianity is a "cunning plot" to wrap a secular morality up in a "superman" story. In some ways, it's a very flexible religion because the morality doesn't depend on the story. Of course, it does for proper Christians but then the NT contains a spoiler when the disciples ask Jesus why he always speaks in parables and he basicly says that its because most people are stupid. lol
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