Is belief in God morally wrong?
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08-03-2012, 06:30 PM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2012 03:57 PM by Thomas.)
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
(08-03-2012 01:04 PM)Superluminal Wrote:  Let me try and rephrase this in the way I understand Thomas to be making his argument.

Let's first start with the viewpoint of these three videos by QualiaSoup that I think are well done in analyzing how rational based morality is possible and in fact superior to religious based morality: QualiaSoup Morality Playlist

In the 3 videos he lays out essentially how you go about constructing a moral foundation from a rational standpoint, and(here is the important part), why absolutes such as the idea of infallible perfection without rational justification CAN NOT function as a basis for morality.

So now let's replace the word "God" in Thomas's argument in this thread, with the word "perfection." If you are trying to construct a morality based around reason and rational thinking, simply believing that something such as "perfection" exists breaks your ability to accurately construct that morality.

If I'm misrepresenting you here Thomas feel free to say so but I think some people are not quite getting the point of your argument.

That just may be workable. Good thoughts.
(08-03-2012 05:23 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  Lastly, the conclusion drawn from your arguments (if correct) is that all believers are immoral. Why are you guys so desperate to paint believers as evil? They do that to us unbelievers, and their point is just as invalid. A person's actions can be good or evil, but a person himself or herself is not good or evil... we all do a mixture of both good and evil actions, because our motivations behind what we do changes depending on what we're currently doing. Stop trying to find a way to label people that you disagree with. To quote one thing the theists got right: "Love the sinner, hate the sin".

I believe that I understand your hesitation to go for "believers are immoral" on a hard line. I am thinking along a softer line myself at his point which may be what you are saying here.

In summery, I would argue that unfounded belief can be immoral, but not to imply that they are a bunch of wild killers on the loose. Maybe a more subtle immoral position based on belief where they can snob unbelievers and others believers of slightly different faiths...and then take part in things like "honor killings".

Thanks for all the posts. All have helped me better get my thoughts together on this. Though the conclusions may be subjective by all I think we at the least have it surrounded.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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08-03-2012, 09:12 PM
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
(04-03-2012 12:59 AM)hollowpointm16 Wrote:  I don't have a problem with someone being religious if it makes them happy.


Being an alcoholic also makes someone happy.
Alcoholics also lose the ability to reason once becoming and alcoholic.

I view being religious as a slightly smaller cousin to being a drunk.


So to take this as a whole to the people who say being religious isn't morally wrong, or believing in a god isn't either, well, I disagree. They are intentionally not listening to what propagates their best judgement. This is morally wrong, because others can be affected.

"We Humans are capable of greatness." -Carl Sagan
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08-03-2012, 09:38 PM
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
(08-03-2012 06:30 PM)Thomas Wrote:  Thanks for all the posts. All have helped me better get my thoughts together on this. Though the conclusions may be subjective by all I think we at the least have it surrounded.

Good. I hate arguing with atheists. But there are less and less theist arguments floating around the forum these days.

Thanks, too, for taking the time to reply.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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09-03-2012, 03:58 PM
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
(08-03-2012 09:38 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(08-03-2012 06:30 PM)Thomas Wrote:  Thanks for all the posts. All have helped me better get my thoughts together on this. Though the conclusions may be subjective by all I think we at the least have it surrounded.

Good. I hate arguing with atheists. But there are less and less theist arguments floating around the forum these days.

Thanks, too, for taking the time to reply.

It's all in good fun, always....

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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13-03-2012, 04:31 PM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2012 04:42 PM by Stevil.)
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
Is belief in god morally wrong?

This question is actually impossible to debate.
There are three major issues with the question.
1. What is god?
2. What is morality?
3. How can a belief (as opposed to an action) be morally right or wrong?


Elaborating on these three issues
1. There is no clear definition of a god. If you were walking along the street and you happened to bump into something, and maybe you were wondering if it is a god or not, what would be the tell tale sign? How would you recognise it as a god?

So what do gods have in common?
Let's say they are able to consciously make decisions, to choose to manipulate some part of the universe.
If this were the case, then I myself am a god. At face value I am a collection of atoms, stacked up into a form, a physical system, but I think that I am able to make decisions. I can choose to move my physical self from one part of the planet to another part. I don't simply rest where gravity, friction, and momentum dictate I ought to be.

2. What is morality?
Morality it seems is the concept of making a judgement on actions. Sorting actions (or potential actions) into those that are right, wrong or neutral. This assumes that right and wrong are meaningful constructs on their own.
Many theists will go along with this concept, that there is an objective right and objective wrong and that this is revealed to us by their god/s and their sacred scriptures.
Most atheists go along with the concept of morality but suggest that there is no objective morality, that morality is subjective but exists none the less.
The vast majority of people on the planet would consider themselves to be morally based individuals but would look at other groups or individuals and judge them to be immoral (refer to the title of this thread for example).
It seems that the concept of morality comes hand in hand with the concept of judgement of others (not just the self). The major criticism of subjective morality is that all moral systems are equally valid. e.g. person A can no more assert that their own morality is more correct than what person B will assert of their own morality. The major criticism of objective morality is that for the most part people around the world do not agree on any morals, therefore how can any be objective?
I myself have no belief in morality, I am therefore an amoralist.

3. How can a belief (as opposed to an action) be morally right or wrong?
I would suggest that this thread topic is more about the actions of theists rather than their belief in deities. Beliefs, themselves have no bearing on morality as morality is a judgement of actions where-as belief is not an action but instead an assertion.

It is easy to see how non Christians would see some Christian morals as being instead immoral. But you can simply replace the two instances of the words Christian in the previous sentence with Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, etc...
You can even get more specific:
It is easy to see how non Catholics Christians would see some Catholic morals as being instead immoral.
And since most religions are personal beliefs then you can see how (for instance) an individual Catholic would see another individual Catholic's morals as being instead immoral.
Since atheists are an uncoordinated bunch we are more likely to be diverse with our own personal understanding of moral rights and moral wrongs.

As an amoralist Atheist, I suggest we rid ourselves of the morality concept, we stop judging each other and instead embrace the diversity that humanity has to offer. We of course require rules within which our society operates, so that we can be reasonably safe as we cohabitate and interact with each other, but these rules must not be based on morality. A belief in morality only leads to oppression and conflict.
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13-03-2012, 10:44 PM
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
(13-03-2012 04:31 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Many theists will go along with this concept, that there is an objective right and objective wrong and that this is revealed to us by their god/s and their sacred scriptures.
Most atheists go along with the concept of morality but suggest that there is no objective morality, that morality is subjective but exists none the less.

I highly disagree with these two statements. First of all, there are some theists that believe that God reveals an objective morality... and those people don't understand the meaning of "objective". The subject that their morality is based upon is God. Rational theists understand this and don't have a problem with it, because they aren't arguing that there has to be an objective standard for morality. I think you're straw-manning their position.

And I think you're also straw-manning the atheist position. Most atheists don't believe in an objective morality? Objective means "not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion." The humanist position is one in which we can base objective morality on because we can name several acts that are damaging to the good of humans without argument. Theft, for instance, is universally seen as immoral because no one benefits from having something of value taken from their possession. Murder is always unwelcome, and assaulting someone is generally wrong for the same reason. The golden rule (or better yet the slightly modified rule of "do unto others as they want done unto them") is an objective standard because it doesn't require interpretation; there are things that others factually want done to them or not.

So I actually think that most atheists believe in an objective morality, if for no other reason than the popularity among the atheist community of the books of Hitchens, Dawkins, and especially Harris that all make an argument for an objective morality.

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14-03-2012, 12:58 AM (This post was last modified: 14-03-2012 01:53 AM by Stevil.)
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
(13-03-2012 10:44 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I highly disagree with these two statements. First of all, there are some theists that believe that God reveals an objective morality... and those people don't understand the meaning of "objective". The subject that their morality is based upon is God.
Yes, it seems more subjective towards the god's moral perspective. But in my personal experience of discussion with theists on atheist and theistic forums, the vast majority tell me that their god's morality is an objective morality. So I am not intentionally strawmanning, just relaying my observations from past conversations.

However there is a strong case for theistic morality, not actually being a moral based system but instead being a law enforced by coercion of eternal happiness or eternal damnation.

(13-03-2012 10:44 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  Most atheists don't believe in an objective morality? Objective means "not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion." The humanist position is one in which we can base objective morality on because we can name several acts that are damaging to the good of humans without argument. Theft, for instance, is universally seen as immoral because no one benefits from having something of value taken from their possession. Murder is always unwelcome, and assaulting someone is generally wrong for the same reason. The golden rule (or better yet the slightly modified rule of "do unto others as they want done unto them") is an objective standard because it doesn't require interpretation; there are things that others factually want done to them or not.
Most atheists that I have interacted with subscribe to subjective morality. You are the first that I have heard that says there is objective morality.
With regards to your argument about the golden rule being an objective morality. Well, I feel it is a principle rather than a morality and not everyone agrees with it. They don't have to, it isn't written into our DNA. Atheists do not have to subscribe to the golden rule.


(13-03-2012 10:44 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  Murder is always unwelcome
Depends on your definition of murder.
Catholics consider abortion, some forms of contraceptive, euthanasia and death sentence to be murder.

Is self defense murder?
What if you shoot and kill someone that is stealing your car? Your life isn't in danger, but you killed the person because you had a gun and you wanted to stop them stealing your car.

What about a revenge killing? Maybe a person raped your daughter and got off on a technicality?

If you had a home invasion, would you sneak out the window and run away avoiding conflict or would you get your gun out and shoot the invader?
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14-03-2012, 07:09 PM
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
On the whole, I would have to disagree with your argument, I do not think that believing in a God by itself is morally wrong. Also, your description of God is a "personal God", which not all who believe in a God believe in, myself included.


(03-03-2012 09:58 PM)Thomas Wrote:  To believe in God is basically a rejection of our humanity. We accept on face that we are damaged goods and God must balance our flaws. Imperfection is a negative human trait and the ideal is the perfect which is impossible. Only God is perfect. The only true aspiration of human existence is to gain the acceptance of the perfect God.

Instead of pressing forward with human solutions to human problems we see our efforts as insignificant and ourselves as incapable of solving our problems. God knows what is best for us, not us. We only solve problems through God’s power and guidance. Without God we would not even exist. We thank God for the food we eat, although we produced it. We give thanks for God’s healing though we developed modern medical procedures. Humility is a virtue as we acknowledge all goodness belongs to God. We are nothing.

The human experience is irrelevant. It is God who deserves all the credit for the human experiences and only through him can we understand it. God’s plan is the one we must follow as human plans are flawed, shallow, worthless and foolish. God is in control of all things.

We are not capable of defining or understanding what is moral and just. God is the arbiter of all that is moral and we are to blindly follow the teachings of his profits.

The essence of being human is in God’s plan for us. We are nothing more than pieces of furniture, designed for an end in mind, to worship God. The more flawed pieces of furniture are thrown to the fire.

Yes, believing in God is morally wrong and I reject all of the above.

The essence of being human is not defined for us. We decide what our lives mean. Our humanity is our gift to each other. We are not just flawed machines; rather our imperfections make us strong. We are inventive, creative, passionate and worthy of our accomplishments.

We are human beings and we need put no false Gods before us.
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15-03-2012, 10:21 PM
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
(14-03-2012 07:09 PM)daghostwhowalks Wrote:  On the whole, I would have to disagree with your argument, I do not think that believing in a God by itself is morally wrong. Also, your description of God is a "personal God", which not all who believe in a God believe in, myself included.

Anyone believing in a God would dissagree with believing in that God as immoral.
This is a philosophical question, not a theological.
For the humanist, belief in God is rejecting our humanity.
It is giving credit to another for what humans have acheived.
It is a sin against ourselves, where with the religous taking any credit is a sin against God.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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15-03-2012, 10:31 PM
RE: Is belief in God morally wrong?
(04-03-2012 01:30 PM)Thomas Wrote:  
(04-03-2012 11:02 AM)KidCharlemagne1962 Wrote:  Belief in God is not morally wrong. The actions taken in the name of the God may be. While it would be better for us all if people didn't delude themselves and others, I have no issue with belief that does not result in others being coerced, killed or otherwise marginalized.

You would agree then that building a $60 million mega church is ok as it is a monument to God and provides a place for thousands to worship. It's their money right? I’m not taking a cheap shot at the parishioners here. I will never tell someone what they ought to do with their money, but what if religion did not exist. What it they all had a completely humanist view of charity. Would they make a different decision with their spare cash? This is the point that I would like to drive home. Religion steals our humanity and diverts our efforts toward a useless pursuit of paying respect (and money) to a false belief. We have good, decent people believing that they are doing the right thing in worshiping a God with their finances.

Some will say that churches do a great job at charity. Sure some do, with what is left over. They do not open their large buildings to the homeless, but will donate to or even fully operate a homeless shelter miles away from their mega church. Again, not throwing the well meaning parishioners under the bus, but they believe that they are doing the right thing. They pay their money to God firsts, then the needy humans. That’s what God wants. They put God’s house in order first to take care of God’s business, souls. The needy humans with what’s left over. God is the immoral actor here, or the belief in God. Belief in God therefore is morally wrong.

Hi Thomas. I totally agree with you! Well written, well said! More people need to realise this.

Have a look at 2 of my blogs, as i too have thought long and hard about this issue..
http://www.markfulton.org/christianity-a...al-society and
http://www.markfulton.org/the-psychologi...ristianity
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