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06-12-2011, 02:31 PM
RE: New to the group
Hello and welcome to the forums! I can relate to your struggles- being a former devoted Christian myself. My entire family on my side is staunch fundamentalist republican. I know being a republican doesn't have anything to do with religion, but I mention it because they are both very religiously active and politically active and I hear about it constantly. I am the polar opposite in both views.

I've struggled with the same questions on morality and I ultimately realized the following:

1) There is no "objective" morality, as Christians would claim. Like Peterkin said, think through the past about what has changed in regards to what is considered good and what is bad, it has not been a static history as some people would have you think. Expand that situation to include other religions of the god of Abraham, and then other religions of the world, and all other societies and you'll find one consistent theme through time: change.

The morality of the bible was evolved over time, just as the bible itself was, just as all other religions and the moral codes of those religions. What Christians like to call the "objective" morality of god is really just a "subjective" evolved and evolving compilation of moral codes throughout the history of the development of the bible. There is very little consistency for a moral code from start to finish throughout the entire bible, and what moral code does exist is frequently broken by the very same god that is supposed to have created it.

2) Subjective morality is not a bad thing. The extremes of "everyone can follow their own morality", or "there is no moral base" simply are not true. We all belong to a society and the society's ethics prevail over the individual's ethics. The moral code of a society change with that society as it changes itself, and this is as it has always been.

3) If you do what you think is good only because you think there is an ever-watchful eye trained on you, it doesn't make you a better person. If you do what you believe to be good because you believe it is the right thing to do and the good thing to do, then that makes you a better person. As is often said, is the only thing keeping you from going on a murderous rampage the idea of a god watching and judging you? If so, which of us is the more "moral" person?

There is much more to say on that subject, and others will be able to sum it up much better than I. But those are some of my thoughts on this subject.
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06-12-2011, 03:27 PM (This post was last modified: 06-12-2011 03:33 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: New to the group
(06-12-2011 02:31 PM)themanchicken Wrote:  I guess much of this line of thought came from the inevitable question from my almost-four-year-old of "where do babies come from." I used to think I had an answer for that, one that promoted heterosexual marriage as the extent of acceptable moral human sexuality, and it's feeling strange to re-think that.

Luckily, you have time to figure it out. A four-year-old doesn't need the whole story; "they grow in mummy's tummy" is about enough. The most important trick to answering children's questions is listening to the questions. Be sure you understand exactly what the kid wants to know. Then, of course, you have to guage how much information, and in what vocabulary. (Hint: When they start combing their doll's hair, or calling the dog, they've heard enough.) At this age, the simple pragmatic aspect of things is usually more relevant than the moral or philosophical aspects. At thirteen, you'll have a lot bigger problems - but by then, you'll be equal to them.

In your own ethical quest, i think the best way to go is from your center outward. What do feel, deeply, in your tenderest heart, to be good? Start by preserving whatever serves that good and rejecting whatever threatens it.
For example, most sane and decent people (and many insane ones, too!) consider love to be an ultimate good. Love of spouse, parents, siblings, children. Whatever helps, nurtures, comforts and secures the people you love is good. Anything that damages, causes pain to, humiliates or diminishes those people is bad. Build on that, situation by situation.
(Example from life. Two fathers in the same hard-ass denomination discover that their teenaged son is gay. One drives the boy out of his house and disowns him. The other embraces his son and disowns the church. Which is the moral man?)

Another idea is to keep a journal, or at least make lists from time to time, so that you can tick off items as you deal with them, and see progress.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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08-12-2011, 02:15 PM
RE: New to the group
(06-12-2011 09:32 AM)themanchicken Wrote:  I still have a hard time not thinking it's a bad thing. I still sometimes feel like I'm being provocative even by such menial actions as visiting atheist websites or listening to Seth's podcasts. I'm sure I will overcome that in time.

You will. Right now you're like an animal just released from its cage. You're looking around thinking "What's up with this? This doesn't feel right? Is my jailor testing me? Is he getting ready to eat me?" It shouldn't take long before you realize that you have been liberated and should get the fuck out of Dodge before the jailor changes its mind. Free from sin, free from guilt, free from all that bullshit baggage. Understanding and appreciating that the bullshit promise of a postmortem preservation of identity is utter and complete nonsense is the most liberating experience I've ever had.

With apologies to the late, great MLK and not to diminish the ongoing centuries long plight of African Americans, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" Once you appreciate that "God Almighty" is nothing more than a metaphor not to be taken literally, you're good to go. Wink

Welcome ChickenMan!

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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08-12-2011, 02:32 PM
RE: New to the group
Hi TheChickenMan -
Lots of stuff here to check out and respond to. Lots to learn as well - have fun.
Smile Welcome to the forum.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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