No Morality without Christ
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22-06-2011, 02:04 PM
No Morality without Christ
I really get sick of the theist argument that there can be no morality without religion or christ.

I know of two cases of people lauded in their community as being good christians who then were found to be charged with serious crimes.

The Tax Collector

The Singing Minister

These are just two examples in my community. To say that belief in or disbelief in a religion will make you either more moral or less moral is absurd. People are people.

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22-06-2011, 02:07 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
Dang, we posted these topics within a minute of each other, lol.

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22-06-2011, 02:08 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(22-06-2011 02:04 PM)FaceOfBoe Wrote:  I really get sick of the theist argument that there can be no morality without religion or christ.

I know of two cases of people lauded in their community as being good christians who then were found to be charged with serious crimes.

The Tax Collector

The Singing Minister

These are just two examples in my community. To say that belief in or disbelief in a religion will make you either more moral or less moral is absurd. People are people.

Actually I find that being "moral" simply out of fear of punishment from their invisible god makes them less moral.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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22-06-2011, 02:15 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(22-06-2011 02:08 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  Actually I find that being "moral" simply out of fear of punishment from their invisible god makes them less moral.

I have sort of a "natural law" view of morality. It sort of draws on the best of John Lock and others, but filters out the God stuff.

Basically we are born free and have a right to exist, own property. As long as what I do doesn't harm you, kill you, or take away your right to exist and own property we're cool. Also from our mere existence we are born with the ability to reason, and through this reason we derive our morality.

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22-06-2011, 02:36 PM (This post was last modified: 22-06-2011 02:44 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: No Morality without Christ
Someone started a thread on another forum years ago about this very subject. They based it on an essay posted on Yahoo Q&A. The essayist's main argument was that atheists ultimately derived their morality from religion because the secular laws they try to abide by are based on religious laws. I didn't really know that much about the study of morality at the time, so the only thing I could do on the thread was to question the essayist's view that all morality comes from the Christian religion. I have since then read a little on the subject. This is what I posted on the thread recently:

Quote:Animal behaviorists specializing in wolves to apes have noticed that all social creatures have a system of right and wrong. Whether it be body language in the face of a social superior, or a female ape pulling the weapon out of the hand of a male who is about to go off to war. Apes are known to even seal peace treaties with a kiss. Psychologists have found there are two different kinds of morality: instinctual and rational. Instinctual morality harkens back to our animal and early human past when a split second decision would mean life or death. Rational morality came after the advent of settled civilizations when people had time to formulate what their particular culture thought was good or bad (different cultures have different morals). A good example of instinctual morality is something known as a “trolley problem.” Psychologists asked volunteers a set of questions. The first question involved a hypothetical situation where five people are walking on trolley tracks unaware of a runaway trolley approaching them. The volunteer is told that they are standing next to a rail switch, meaning they can divert the oncoming trolley. However, there is a homeless person on this side track off in the distance. They have to make the decision to save the five at the cost of the one. Ninety percent of the volunteers said it would be permissible. The second question had to do with the volunteer sitting on a bridge above the tracks. They see the trolley coming. They know the trolley can only be stopped by a large object, but the only object that is within reach is a fat man. The number of people who would throw him off the bridge to save the five dropped to ten percent. When the volunteers were asked to justify their answers, seventy percent couldn’t give a plausible reason. Why? Both instances are murder. What difference does it make? These types of split second decisions that cannot be explained rationally show that morality is not the product of civilized religious societies. It is inherent in our animal nature.

It is clear one can be moral without Christ. I love how Christians try to vilify us as murderers and rapists even though we travel a higher moral ground. We don't go around killing, raping, or stealing because it's wrong, not because we are afraid of heavenly retribution.
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22-06-2011, 02:42 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
Hey, Sy.

That's kind of an invalid complaint. EVERYONE acts morally because of the limits to freedom imposed on the individual within a social group, that is to say, fear of consequence is the universal motivation for morality. Just sayin.

Hey, FoB.

I always understood that morality comes FROM Christ, not that Christian morality has the magical ability to make you moral. I always understood the argument (which I disagree with BTW) to be that Christian morals are clear and from a, shall we say, reputable source; whereas, Atheist morality is unclear and springs from no source. That's why they consider theirs "better" and are confused about how an Atheist can be moral at all without any access to the certainty of divine morality.

All of that being said, as a relativist, I can't get down with morality being exclusive to Christianity.

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22-06-2011, 02:58 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
In my opinion morality is a product of the living standards of the society you live in. We live in a culture that can allow for "high morals"... Where the morals come from is, to me, irrelevant. Like a vapor they disappear the moment they get in the way.

Example... Take a bunch of "high moral" Americans that have never had to worry about where their next meal is coming from and drop them on a deserted island with limited resources. Stand back and watch what happens to their "high morals"....

“We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.” Orson Welles
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22-06-2011, 03:04 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
There was a christian caller on the atheist experience once telling the hosts how evil and disgusting they are, and when confronted with the question "what would you do without the bible" he said he would rape, murder, steal, and torture people whenever he wanted, saying "well why shouldn't I, if there is no god to tell me not to?"

Hey brother christian, with your high and mighty errand, your actions speak so loud, I can't hear a word you're saying.

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22-06-2011, 03:16 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(22-06-2011 02:36 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  Someone started a thread on another forum years ago about this very subject. They based it on an essay posted on Yahoo Q&A. The essayist's main argument was that atheists ultimately derived their morality from religion because the secular laws they try to abide by are based on religious laws. I didn't really know that much about the study of morality at the time, so the only thing I could do on the thread was to question the essayist's view that all morality comes from the Christian religion. I have since then read a little on the subject. This is what I posted on the thread recently:

Quote:Animal behaviorists specializing in wolves to apes have noticed that all social creatures have a system of right and wrong. Whether it be body language in the face of a social superior, or a female ape pulling the weapon out of the hand of a male who is about to go off to war. Apes are known to even seal peace treaties with a kiss. Psychologists have found there are two different kinds of morality: instinctual and rational. Instinctual morality harkens back to our animal and early human past when a split second decision would mean life or death. Rational morality came after the advent of settled civilizations when people had time to formulate what their particular culture thought was good or bad (different cultures have different morals). A good example of instinctual morality is something known as a “trolley problem.” Psychologists asked volunteers a set of questions. The first question involved a hypothetical situation where five people are walking on trolley tracks unaware of a runaway trolley approaching them. The volunteer is told that they are standing next to a rail switch, meaning they can divert the oncoming trolley. However, there is a homeless person on this side track off in the distance. They have to make the decision to save the five at the cost of the one. Ninety percent of the volunteers said it would be permissible. The second question had to do with the volunteer sitting on a bridge above the tracks. They see the trolley coming. They know the trolley can only be stopped by a large object, but the only object that is within reach is a fat man. The number of people who would throw him off the bridge to save the five dropped to ten percent. When the volunteers were asked to justify their answers, seventy percent couldn’t give a plausible reason. Why? Both instances are murder. What difference does it make? These types of split second decisions that cannot be explained rationally show that morality is not the product of civilized religious societies. It is inherent in our animal nature.

It is clear one can be moral without Christ. I love how Christians try to vilify us as murderers and rapists even though we travel a higher moral ground. We don't go around killing, raping, or stealing because it's wrong, not because we are afraid of heavenly retribution.

More and more studies find signs of "moral" behavior in animals. Vampire bats for example, fill their throats with blood and bring it back to the nest, then share it with both their offspring and others in the group. When researchers prevented the bats from sharing the blood, the next time another bat came back with a full load, it would refuse to share it with the bat that didn't share the first time around. The sense of "fairness" seems to be more biological than rational, and certainly doesn't seem to have much to do with sacred books, which bats don't read.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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22-06-2011, 03:26 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(22-06-2011 02:42 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Sy.

That's kind of an invalid complaint. EVERYONE acts morally because of the limits to freedom imposed on the individual within a social group, that is to say, fear of consequence is the universal motivation for morality. Just sayin.

I completely disagree with this.

I know people who steal cable. They sell these boxes where you can get every pay channel for nothing. The box costs around $300 or so, and you subscribe to basic cable and you get everything at no extra cost. Movie channels, pay-per-view, etc. all for free. Periodically the cable companies will send a "pulse" into their network that can destroy these boxes, but those can be beaten too. The odds of getting caught for this are virtually zero and the penalties if you do get caught are minimal. The reason I don't have that box is not because I can't swing the $300 or because I'm afraid of getting caught. I don't do it because I was taught you don't steal.

I also travel a lot. Not as much as I used to (used to be 6 months of the year I was on the road) but I spend a lot of night sleeping in hotels. One of the perks of traveling, if one is so inclined, is there is a lot of opportunities for sex. I've been traveling for 15 years and married for almost 14. In the 14 years I've been married (and even before when were were dating) I have never cheated on my wife. It's not because I have not had opportunities, it is not because I don't like sex (because I really do) and the thought of having it with some woman I will never see again does not excite me (because it certainly does) and it's not because I'm afraid of getting caught because I'm sure I could get away with it. I don't cheat on my wife because I made a commitment to her and because I love her and because it would be immoral for me to sleep with someone else. Fear of getting caught never enters into my thinking.

Morality is not what you do because you are afraid you'll get caught. Morality is a value system that you have and dictates how you act when you know that no one is looking.

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When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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