Is human life sacred?
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03-05-2013, 07:48 AM
RE: Is human life sacred?
(02-05-2013 10:52 PM)jhantheman Wrote:  Just gonna try and jump in here since I'm new and gotta start somewhere...

Ameron, spot on. Nothing is ..sacred.., important, or consequential about an individual human life. The life we have so fortunately obtained is just that- fortune, luck of the draw, and the fact that we are even here to witness the universe around us is much more than most deserve. That is what makes it so great, really. We know there is no god or being watching us, we know there is nothing special about our lives, but yet we still respect those alive around us. That is proof of the evolution of our species. We have subconscious morals because we developed as a social species, and societal acceptance is an innate requirement to our well-being. If we had evolved differently, premature death might be a much more expected and likely thing than it is.

There is nothing special about us other than the fact that we can actively comprehend our own existence. We are egotistical creatures that want nothing more than to have a life that means something...nothing sacred about that.

The very fact that you can formulate this opinion gives you a leg up on the vast majority of matter in the universe. The entire concepts of things like "Sacred," "egotistical," "consequential," "morality"... to our current knowledge, they only exist for homo sapiens. We invented them, we get to define them. I would postulate that human life is sacred, to the extent we deem it so.

It's interesting, to me, anyway, that Human Life always becomes more sacred to people that hold very little sacred, like Atheists. A religion may claim that human life is sacred, but given the wrong circumstances, it's amazing how eager to end people's lives religions become. It seems that if you hold God sacred, other life will be far less sacred to you that it could otherwise be.
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03-05-2013, 09:02 AM
RE: Is human life sacred?
True, if sacred is the right word to use to describe us. Of course, this assumes we are the only sentient beings in the universe! Perhaps there are millions of societies out there and nothing is special about us, really.

I was reading about dolphins this morning (I can't remember why...maybe it was on npr? pfff I was half asleep) and it reminded me that we aren't the only self aware creatures on this hunk of rock. Being self aware doesn't give us a universal edge on everything else, it just makes us realize that life is finite and that death is forever. I'd say 'unique' is a better word for our lives, at least on this side of the Milky Way.
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03-05-2013, 09:06 AM
RE: Is human life sacred?
(03-05-2013 09:02 AM)jhantheman Wrote:  I was reading about dolphins this morning (I can't remember why...maybe it was on npr? pfff I was half asleep) and it reminded me that we aren't the only self aware creatures on this hunk of rock. Being self aware doesn't give us a universal edge on everything else, it just makes us realize that life is finite and that death is forever. I'd say 'unique' is a better word for our lives, at least on this side of the Milky Way.


Okay, good call. I like you now.
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05-05-2013, 06:46 AM (This post was last modified: 05-05-2013 06:56 AM by fat cat.)
RE: Is human life sacred?
Thank you for expounding, Ghost. I appreciate the effort.

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  That was a pretty awesome gobbledegook response Cool

I can't tell - is this a completely sincere praise or a partially sarcastic insult?

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  You don't like the word bankrupt for whatever reason. Fine. But you know exactly what I meant by it. If you didn't, you wouldn't have had an objection.

You may replace it with whatever term you desire, so long as the meaning is understood.

I agree the word could be replaced with any other word and be effective, because all language is arbitrary like that, but I objected to the word, because I wasn't certain I understood the meaning. To me the word represents nothing more than your emotional disposition, but I wasn't willing to assume that's all it represents to you, so my objection came from a wish that we would use words more specific to what we're describing. If "bankrupt" represents nothing more than how you feel (as opposed to how the people you're describing feel), then I think it would be more fitting to say something like "I feel ____ when others don't perceive their life as sacred."

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  You WOULDN'T observe or feel bankrupt. Because you don't recognise the existence of a problem. An alcoholic that does not recognise that they are an alcoholic does not consider themselves an alcoholic and, in fact, is often offended by the accusation.

I am a cultural relativist. If you honestly see no problem, I accept and even understand that. But that does not change the fact that I feel it is bankrupt. Not one jot. I am speaking for myself, not on behalf of some objective truth.

The concept of denial and being offended by efforts contrary to it is something I've been familiar with since childhood, but I don't mind you mentioning it as if I was unfamiliar with it. And you were correct that I see no problem in not perceiving human life as sacred, so I of course don't mind you mentioning I don't. What I do mind, however, is that you mentioned these things in response to my simple statement about not perceiving "bankruptcy" in myself, as if such a statement were any clear indication I perceived no problem and didn't understand the concept you mentioned. That is, I mind that you apparently weren't skeptical of yourself when reading more into my statement than is explicit in it. You may perceive a problem in me not considering life sacred, but you know nothing about the effects that perception has had and currently has on my life, whereas I have directly experienced those effects and continue to observe them. Unlike you, I am in a position to make an informed decision about whether or not I have a problem relative to not considering human life sacred.

That apparent lack of self skepticism is what I was questioning with my original comment. Like me not seeing a problem, the people you consider "bankrupt" are in a position to determine whether or not they are "bankrupt", whereas you are not. I won't call it "a problem" that you characterize my (and others') experience as "bankrupt", but I see that perception of yours as something that may prevent you from actually understanding me and others who don't perceive human life as "sacred", because conclusions "jumped" to through generalized views take effort to clarify and correct if that's needed. That's why I made my original comment in response to yours. I knew you were speaking for yourself, but I was trying to point out that you might not accurately understand the situation of people who don't consider life sacred, with the end goal in mind being that you might eventually feel more positive in response to what you perceive as "bankrupt".

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  For me, it seems that there is a devaluation of human life involved, beginning with the devaluation of one's own self.

That doesn't sound healthy to me on a psychological level. It's not healthy in the sense that a person that devalues their own existence will not take proper care of themselves (the men in Fight Club were on a mission of self-destruction) and not healthy in the sense that a person that devalues their own life and the life of others won't treat other people as well as they could/should. That is to say, they won't be fully capable of empathy because empathy is about recognising the same value in others that you recognise in yourself.

For some who don't perceive human life as sacred, there might be a corresponding devaluation, but I can tell you that has not been the case within me. While many mental/emotional changes have occurred in me since I stopped perceiving human life as sacred, how I regard and treat myself and others has changed little relative to that perception. There were and are many parameters which influence what value I ascribe to myself and other human beings, but whether or not we are sacred has just become a parameter irrelevant to that value, and thus irrelevant to my motivations and intentions in interpersonal relations. For me, no longer considering human life sacred has been not a devaluation, but a revaluation.

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I mean, I can totally get down with the idea that there's billions of humans and that life may very well be ubiquitous in the universe meaning there's an incalculable number of organisms in the universe and so forth. But that being said, the ubiquity of life, to me, does not devalue my life, nor does it devalue the lives of others. I can't be blazay about my life. It seems that there is an inherent "specialness" to life in general and my life in particular. I cherish my life. For me, I have a sacred relationship with my own existence and that impels me to treat myself and others with a degree of reverence. There's such richness in that IMO. I've certainly had episodes in my life where I didn't give a fuck about myself and the result, always, was a physical, mental and spiritual breakdown.

I too have been through periods of indifference. I've also been through periods of depression. However, ever since disregarding the idea that life is sacred along with many other generalized and unsubstantiated conclusions about existence, such periods have occurred less frequently with a much lesser degree. Limiting my perception of life's value to "objective" measures is both why I don't consider life "sacred/special/etc", and why my perception of life's value has nothing to do with how many humans exist nor how many organisms exist. My existence is unique from every other human's existence, though we all share the fact we are creatures of carbon and other elements arranged in a bipedal fashion. Applying that thinking comprehensively, every entity's existence is unique from every other entity's existence, though the concept of existence is the same for all entities at some "level". So the value of each entity, to me, is the entity's existence itself. Because every entity is unique and a part of one unique and continuously changing whole we call the "universe", distinctions such as "sacred" and "special" mean nothing to my perception - that is, they have no objects of reference. My view is that if anything is "sacred" or "special", everything is "sacred" or "special", respectively. Any reverence I feel, when I feel it, is for everything in existence, not just my existence or humanity's existence.

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Again, I'm not a Theist and I'm not arguing that God made man and so we're special. I'm talking purely from the point of view of someone who exists and who sees the power of sacred relationships and the effect of the absence of the sacred. To have seems richer to me than to deny.

I hadn't assumed you were talking from a Theistic position, because I consider it inconsiderate to make such presumptuous conclusions about you or anyone else. Nevertheless, I'm glad you mentioned it, because to me it emphasizes that you and I are of quite similar positions on this matter. I'm also talking from the point of view of someone who exists and who sees the effect of the absence of the sacred. What appears different is that I prefer to see the power of all relationships, not just some.

Some people feel rich due to their assets, but assets don't make me feel rich, just as when it comes to perceptions, my richness isn't so simple as having and denying a particular belief. What makes me feel rich is happiness, so when it comes to beliefs, I only want to have whatever I can know, because like many others, I'm addicted to "truth". No longer perceiving sacredness has not been the result of denying anything, but instead of recognizing unsubstantiated beliefs which formed in me at a young age. I know nothing which makes life sacred, though I know I at times really love my existence, so rather than saying life is not sacred, it would actually be more accurate for me to say I don't believe life is sacred...though for all I know it may be.

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  I suspect that life is abundant across the universe. But it is not sacred! It is just life. Even the universe we live in is a flicker in the vastness of time. We and all of our kind are basically meaningless.

How do you know the "vastness of time" if you only know your existence within the universe? If you think life is not sacred because it is just a flicker within a flicker in the vastness of time, I think you could contemplate more on the notion that we are "basically meaningless". Might life be neither "meaningful" nor "meaningless" because life is just life?

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  So, why are we moral? Because our existance would be even shorter if we weren't. If we didn't support the small lives that we live, with "morality",and we lived "Each man for himself", the world would end very quickly!

This generalization presupposes the nature of "Each man for himself". One could argue that by some measures, that's how even the "moral" people live. The factors determining the length of our existence are more complicated than you convey here, especially since just the idea of "morality" is unique to each individual.

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  You could almost say "biblically". Because the bible teaches us to kill and oppress those who don't agree with us.

That's another generalization, because the Bible also teaches forgiveness and love and other such things which exclude killing and oppressing.

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  Eveloution developes the need to survive as long as possible. Religion creates the need to die as soon as possible! The sooner you die, the sooner you reap gods rewards.

This is another simplified view, because many faithful people believe that doing anything to hasten the reaping of God's rewards will only prevent them from receiving God's rewards.

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  You don't need god to create the universe. But you do need the universe to create god!

Granted, but whether we "need" a god to create the universe is irrelevant to how the universe actually came to be.

(02-05-2013 10:52 PM)jhantheman Wrote:  Nothing is ..sacred.., important, or consequential about an individual human life. The life we have so fortunately obtained is just that- fortune, luck of the draw, and the fact that we are even here to witness the universe around us is much more than most deserve. That is what makes it so great, really.

"Importance" and "consequence" are relative terms. An individual human life can be subjectively "important" and "consequential" to other people, and is objectively "consequential" to all entities directly affected by that individual human life. That stands regardless of the fact that there may be nothing "important" or "consequential" about our existence beyond our existence, such as to a god. Call it "fortune", "luck of the draw", "circumstance", or whatever else, but that's exactly what makes life "consequential" and thus potentially "important" to some.

If life is not sacred, then what does your concept of what others "deserve" come from?

(02-05-2013 10:52 PM)jhantheman Wrote:  We know there is no god or being watching us, we know there is nothing special about our lives, but yet we still respect those alive around us.

I think it's more accurate to say we don't know there is no god or being watching us, but instead believe there is no god or being watching us.

(02-05-2013 10:52 PM)jhantheman Wrote:  We have subconscious morals because we developed as a social species, and societal acceptance is an innate requirement to our well-being.

If you consider what "morals" objectively are, perhaps you can consider that societal acceptance being an innate requirement to our well-being is not the result of something specific to developing socially.

(02-05-2013 10:52 PM)jhantheman Wrote:  If we had evolved differently, premature death might be a much more expected and likely thing than it is.

As far as I'm aware, there is no such thing as "premature" death.

(03-05-2013 07:48 AM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  It's interesting, to me, anyway, that Human Life always becomes more sacred to people that hold very little sacred, like Atheists. A religion may claim that human life is sacred, but given the wrong circumstances, it's amazing how eager to end people's lives religions become. It seems that if you hold God sacred, other life will be far less sacred to you that it could otherwise be.

I'd suggest a more cautious approach to making conclusions about what seems to be the case in things as broad as religion, as well as what always happens. The "eagerness to end lives" exists on an individual basis. In some cases it might have changed while what a "religion" claimed remained the same, and in other cases, that eagerness may have remained unchanged while what the "religion" claimed changed. That is, the eager individuals might not at all truly adhere to what the religion (in the form of the sincerely pious) may claim. Therefore if you knew the facts about such eagerness and religions, you might not at all be amazed. Similarly, what you say "always" happens might not actually happen in many situations. Perhaps the Atheists who most consider life sacred don't actually consider it more sacred than do some religious folks.

(03-05-2013 09:02 AM)jhantheman Wrote:  True, if sacred is the right word to use to describe us. Of course, this assumes we are the only sentient beings in the universe! Perhaps there are millions of societies out there and nothing is special about us, really.

I was reading about dolphins this morning (I can't remember why...maybe it was on npr? pfff I was half asleep) and it reminded me that we aren't the only self aware creatures on this hunk of rock. Being self aware doesn't give us a universal edge on everything else, it just makes us realize that life is finite and that death is forever. I'd say 'unique' is a better word for our lives, at least on this side of the Milky Way.

Do you see the irony between you saying being self aware doesn't give us a universal edge on everything else, and you saying perhaps nothing is special about us because there might be millions of societies out there? Other creatures being self aware doesn't detract from us being self aware, just as other societies existing would only detract from us being special to a person if that person's concept of our specialness depended on us being the only existing society.

Also, "unique" refers to different conditions than do words like "special", "sacred", etc, so there really is no measure of "better/worse" between "unique" and them.
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08-05-2013, 06:26 AM
RE: Is human life sacred?
nah.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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08-05-2013, 01:10 PM
RE: Is human life sacred?
(05-05-2013 06:46 AM)fat cat Wrote:  Thank you for expounding, Ghost. I appreciate the effort.

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  That was a pretty awesome gobbledegook response Cool

I can't tell - is this a completely sincere praise or a partially sarcastic insult?

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  You don't like the word bankrupt for whatever reason. Fine. But you know exactly what I meant by it. If you didn't, you wouldn't have had an objection.

You may replace it with whatever term you desire, so long as the meaning is understood.

I agree the word could be replaced with any other word and be effective, because all language is arbitrary like that, but I objected to the word, because I wasn't certain I understood the meaning. To me the word represents nothing more than your emotional disposition, but I wasn't willing to assume that's all it represents to you, so my objection came from a wish that we would use words more specific to what we're describing. If "bankrupt" represents nothing more than how you feel (as opposed to how the people you're describing feel), then I think it would be more fitting to say something like "I feel ____ when others don't perceive their life as sacred."

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  You WOULDN'T observe or feel bankrupt. Because you don't recognise the existence of a problem. An alcoholic that does not recognise that they are an alcoholic does not consider themselves an alcoholic and, in fact, is often offended by the accusation.

I am a cultural relativist. If you honestly see no problem, I accept and even understand that. But that does not change the fact that I feel it is bankrupt. Not one jot. I am speaking for myself, not on behalf of some objective truth.

The concept of denial and being offended by efforts contrary to it is something I've been familiar with since childhood, but I don't mind you mentioning it as if I was unfamiliar with it. And you were correct that I see no problem in not perceiving human life as sacred, so I of course don't mind you mentioning I don't. What I do mind, however, is that you mentioned these things in response to my simple statement about not perceiving "bankruptcy" in myself, as if such a statement were any clear indication I perceived no problem and didn't understand the concept you mentioned. That is, I mind that you apparently weren't skeptical of yourself when reading more into my statement than is explicit in it. You may perceive a problem in me not considering life sacred, but you know nothing about the effects that perception has had and currently has on my life, whereas I have directly experienced those effects and continue to observe them. Unlike you, I am in a position to make an informed decision about whether or not I have a problem relative to not considering human life sacred.

That apparent lack of self skepticism is what I was questioning with my original comment. Like me not seeing a problem, the people you consider "bankrupt" are in a position to determine whether or not they are "bankrupt", whereas you are not. I won't call it "a problem" that you characterize my (and others') experience as "bankrupt", but I see that perception of yours as something that may prevent you from actually understanding me and others who don't perceive human life as "sacred", because conclusions "jumped" to through generalized views take effort to clarify and correct if that's needed. That's why I made my original comment in response to yours. I knew you were speaking for yourself, but I was trying to point out that you might not accurately understand the situation of people who don't consider life sacred, with the end goal in mind being that you might eventually feel more positive in response to what you perceive as "bankrupt".

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  For me, it seems that there is a devaluation of human life involved, beginning with the devaluation of one's own self.

That doesn't sound healthy to me on a psychological level. It's not healthy in the sense that a person that devalues their own existence will not take proper care of themselves (the men in Fight Club were on a mission of self-destruction) and not healthy in the sense that a person that devalues their own life and the life of others won't treat other people as well as they could/should. That is to say, they won't be fully capable of empathy because empathy is about recognising the same value in others that you recognise in yourself.

For some who don't perceive human life as sacred, there might be a corresponding devaluation, but I can tell you that has not been the case within me. While many mental/emotional changes have occurred in me since I stopped perceiving human life as sacred, how I regard and treat myself and others has changed little relative to that perception. There were and are many parameters which influence what value I ascribe to myself and other human beings, but whether or not we are sacred has just become a parameter irrelevant to that value, and thus irrelevant to my motivations and intentions in interpersonal relations. For me, no longer considering human life sacred has been not a devaluation, but a revaluation.

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I mean, I can totally get down with the idea that there's billions of humans and that life may very well be ubiquitous in the universe meaning there's an incalculable number of organisms in the universe and so forth. But that being said, the ubiquity of life, to me, does not devalue my life, nor does it devalue the lives of others. I can't be blazay about my life. It seems that there is an inherent "specialness" to life in general and my life in particular. I cherish my life. For me, I have a sacred relationship with my own existence and that impels me to treat myself and others with a degree of reverence. There's such richness in that IMO. I've certainly had episodes in my life where I didn't give a fuck about myself and the result, always, was a physical, mental and spiritual breakdown.

I too have been through periods of indifference. I've also been through periods of depression. However, ever since disregarding the idea that life is sacred along with many other generalized and unsubstantiated conclusions about existence, such periods have occurred less frequently with a much lesser degree. Limiting my perception of life's value to "objective" measures is both why I don't consider life "sacred/special/etc", and why my perception of life's value has nothing to do with how many humans exist nor how many organisms exist. My existence is unique from every other human's existence, though we all share the fact we are creatures of carbon and other elements arranged in a bipedal fashion. Applying that thinking comprehensively, every entity's existence is unique from every other entity's existence, though the concept of existence is the same for all entities at some "level". So the value of each entity, to me, is the entity's existence itself. Because every entity is unique and a part of one unique and continuously changing whole we call the "universe", distinctions such as "sacred" and "special" mean nothing to my perception - that is, they have no objects of reference. My view is that if anything is "sacred" or "special", everything is "sacred" or "special", respectively. Any reverence I feel, when I feel it, is for everything in existence, not just my existence or humanity's existence.

(02-05-2013 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Again, I'm not a Theist and I'm not arguing that God made man and so we're special. I'm talking purely from the point of view of someone who exists and who sees the power of sacred relationships and the effect of the absence of the sacred. To have seems richer to me than to deny.

I hadn't assumed you were talking from a Theistic position, because I consider it inconsiderate to make such presumptuous conclusions about you or anyone else. Nevertheless, I'm glad you mentioned it, because to me it emphasizes that you and I are of quite similar positions on this matter. I'm also talking from the point of view of someone who exists and who sees the effect of the absence of the sacred. What appears different is that I prefer to see the power of all relationships, not just some.

Some people feel rich due to their assets, but assets don't make me feel rich, just as when it comes to perceptions, my richness isn't so simple as having and denying a particular belief. What makes me feel rich is happiness, so when it comes to beliefs, I only want to have whatever I can know, because like many others, I'm addicted to "truth". No longer perceiving sacredness has not been the result of denying anything, but instead of recognizing unsubstantiated beliefs which formed in me at a young age. I know nothing which makes life sacred, though I know I at times really love my existence, so rather than saying life is not sacred, it would actually be more accurate for me to say I don't believe life is sacred...though for all I know it may be.

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  I suspect that life is abundant across the universe. But it is not sacred! It is just life. Even the universe we live in is a flicker in the vastness of time. We and all of our kind are basically meaningless.

How do you know the "vastness of time" if you only know your existence within the universe? If you think life is not sacred because it is just a flicker within a flicker in the vastness of time, I think you could contemplate more on the notion that we are "basically meaningless". Might life be neither "meaningful" nor "meaningless" because life is just life?

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  So, why are we moral? Because our existance would be even shorter if we weren't. If we didn't support the small lives that we live, with "morality",and we lived "Each man for himself", the world would end very quickly!

This generalization presupposes the nature of "Each man for himself". One could argue that by some measures, that's how even the "moral" people live. The factors determining the length of our existence are more complicated than you convey here, especially since just the idea of "morality" is unique to each individual.

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  You could almost say "biblically". Because the bible teaches us to kill and oppress those who don't agree with us.

That's another generalization, because the Bible also teaches forgiveness and love and other such things which exclude killing and oppressing.

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  Eveloution developes the need to survive as long as possible. Religion creates the need to die as soon as possible! The sooner you die, the sooner you reap gods rewards.

This is another simplified view, because many faithful people believe that doing anything to hasten the reaping of God's rewards will only prevent them from receiving God's rewards.

(02-05-2013 06:27 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  You don't need god to create the universe. But you do need the universe to create god!

Granted, but whether we "need" a god to create the universe is irrelevant to how the universe actually came to be.

(02-05-2013 10:52 PM)jhantheman Wrote:  Nothing is ..sacred.., important, or consequential about an individual human life. The life we have so fortunately obtained is just that- fortune, luck of the draw, and the fact that we are even here to witness the universe around us is much more than most deserve. That is what makes it so great, really.

"Importance" and "consequence" are relative terms. An individual human life can be subjectively "important" and "consequential" to other people, and is objectively "consequential" to all entities directly affected by that individual human life. That stands regardless of the fact that there may be nothing "important" or "consequential" about our existence beyond our existence, such as to a god. Call it "fortune", "luck of the draw", "circumstance", or whatever else, but that's exactly what makes life "consequential" and thus potentially "important" to some.

If life is not sacred, then what does your concept of what others "deserve" come from?

(02-05-2013 10:52 PM)jhantheman Wrote:  We know there is no god or being watching us, we know there is nothing special about our lives, but yet we still respect those alive around us.

I think it's more accurate to say we don't know there is no god or being watching us, but instead believe there is no god or being watching us.

(02-05-2013 10:52 PM)jhantheman Wrote:  We have subconscious morals because we developed as a social species, and societal acceptance is an innate requirement to our well-being.

If you consider what "morals" objectively are, perhaps you can consider that societal acceptance being an innate requirement to our well-being is not the result of something specific to developing socially.

(02-05-2013 10:52 PM)jhantheman Wrote:  If we had evolved differently, premature death might be a much more expected and likely thing than it is.

As far as I'm aware, there is no such thing as "premature" death.

(03-05-2013 07:48 AM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  It's interesting, to me, anyway, that Human Life always becomes more sacred to people that hold very little sacred, like Atheists. A religion may claim that human life is sacred, but given the wrong circumstances, it's amazing how eager to end people's lives religions become. It seems that if you hold God sacred, other life will be far less sacred to you that it could otherwise be.

I'd suggest a more cautious approach to making conclusions about what seems to be the case in things as broad as religion, as well as what always happens. The "eagerness to end lives" exists on an individual basis. In some cases it might have changed while what a "religion" claimed remained the same, and in other cases, that eagerness may have remained unchanged while what the "religion" claimed changed. That is, the eager individuals might not at all truly adhere to what the religion (in the form of the sincerely pious) may claim. Therefore if you knew the facts about such eagerness and religions, you might not at all be amazed. Similarly, what you say "always" happens might not actually happen in many situations. Perhaps the Atheists who most consider life sacred don't actually consider it more sacred than do some religious folks.

(03-05-2013 09:02 AM)jhantheman Wrote:  True, if sacred is the right word to use to describe us. Of course, this assumes we are the only sentient beings in the universe! Perhaps there are millions of societies out there and nothing is special about us, really.

I was reading about dolphins this morning (I can't remember why...maybe it was on npr? pfff I was half asleep) and it reminded me that we aren't the only self aware creatures on this hunk of rock. Being self aware doesn't give us a universal edge on everything else, it just makes us realize that life is finite and that death is forever. I'd say 'unique' is a better word for our lives, at least on this side of the Milky Way.

Do you see the irony between you saying being self aware doesn't give us a universal edge on everything else, and you saying perhaps nothing is special about us because there might be millions of societies out there? Other creatures being self aware doesn't detract from us being self aware, just as other societies existing would only detract from us being special to a person if that person's concept of our specialness depended on us being the only existing society.

Also, "unique" refers to different conditions than do words like "special", "sacred", etc, so there really is no measure of "better/worse" between "unique" and them.


"How do you know the "vastness of time" if you only know your existence within the universe? If you think life is not sacred because it is just a flicker within a flicker in the vastness of time, I think you could contemplate more on the notion that we are "basically meaningless". Might life be neither "meaningful" nor "meaningless" because life is just life?"

You are correct that "time" is a difficult topic and I am no expert on it. But, at the present, science has many theories regarding the concept of time since the big bang. So I suspect that time is enourmosly vast. Life is meaningful. To ourselves and to future generations on this and other planets. But it is not meaningful in some existential or religious way. God is not there to judge it. Will all life ever end? Personally, I doubt it. Because the universe is vast (to say the least). But life on Earth is likely to end. Science even offers the possibility of "multiverses".

"This generalization presupposes the nature of "Each man for himself". One could argue that by some measures, that's how even the "moral" people live. The factors determining the length of our existence are more complicated than you convey here, especially since just the idea of "morality" is unique to each individual."

You are correct that the question of morality varies from person to person. But that supposition supports the prospesct that no deity exists. It seems logical that a loving deity would have all that it had created understand its ideal of a perfect universe in order to bring them utopia.

"That's another generalization, because the Bible also teaches forgiveness and love and other such things which exclude killing and oppressing."

So it's logical to teach both ideas at once?

"This is another simplified view, because many faithful people believe that doing anything to hasten the reaping of God's rewards will only prevent them from receiving God's rewards."

Huh? Sorry, but you lost me there.

"Granted, but whether we "need" a god to create the universe is irrelevant to how the universe actually came to be."

"A" god? Any god will do?
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09-05-2013, 01:07 AM
RE: Is human life sacred?
(08-05-2013 01:10 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  You are correct that "time" is a difficult topic and I am no expert on it. But, at the present, science has many theories regarding the concept of time since the big bang. So I suspect that time is enourmosly vast. Life is meaningful. To ourselves and to future generations on this and other planets. But it is not meaningful in some existential or religious way. God is not there to judge it. Will all life ever end? Personally, I doubt it. Because the universe is vast (to say the least). But life on Earth is likely to end. Science even offers the possibility of "multiverses".

The fact that time's vastness is just theory is all I was getting at with my question, so I see now my question was quite irrelevant. Nevertheless, whether time is vast or not is irrelevant to whether or not life is "meaningful". I'm with you in believing we can only conclusively know life to be meaningful to us human beings who perceive life that way, but I am unwilling to assume there is no god which can also find our life meaningful. Nor will I assume life will or won't ever end, though I didn't think that was relevant to our conversation, anyway.

(08-05-2013 01:10 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  You are correct that the question of morality varies from person to person. But that supposition supports the prospesct that no deity exists. It seems logical that a loving deity would have all that it had created understand its ideal of a perfect universe in order to bring them utopia.

Logic can tell us nothing of what we've perceived nothing of, so morality being subjective doesn't support the notion that no deity exists, just like objective morality wouldn't support the notion that any deity does exist. Morality's nature and any existing god's nature (if there is any) are two different things.

(08-05-2013 01:10 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  So it's logical to teach both ideas at once?

I said nothing about what is logical to teach. I was only pointing out that the Bible also teaches things contradictory to what you said it teaches.

(08-05-2013 01:10 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  Huh? Sorry, but you lost me there.

You said, "Religion creates the need to die as soon as possible." That's only true for people who interpret religion in that way, though, and I'd add that such people comprise an extremely small minority of religious folks. What I was getting at is that many people believe doing anything to hasten their death goes against God's purpose for them, and thus bars them from receiving God's post-life rewards. For those people, religion does not at all create the need to die as soon as possible.

(08-05-2013 01:10 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  "A" god? Any god will do?

You hadn't capitalized "god" nor specified any "god", so I assumed you weren't talking about any particular god, and therefore assumed I didn't need to talk about any particular god to make a statement relevant to yours. Since we don't know the origin of our universe, when it comes to speculating about it, any god which had the ability to create our universe will do, if any such god existed.
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