No Morality without Christ
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23-06-2011, 04:45 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
Guys - if you can spare 7mins 28 seconds, Sam Harris has some cracking views on the whole morals/religion/atheism thing. Here

If you haven't read it, he's written an excellent book on the subject called the Moral Landscape too...

(I am happily married...but a teenie tiny bit gay for Sam)
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23-06-2011, 09:49 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
Hey, Shannow.

Man, I've seen a bunch of Harris' stuff now and I'm actually quite perplexed by the fact that I can't get down with just about anything he says. I'm perplexed because other people seem to feel that the man is brilliant. I don't know how to reconcile that.

I think my problem with him is that he frames things in a very specific way, that's his set up, and then speaks of them as if they were self-evident.

Also, I'm a subjectivist and he seems to base all of his theories on the notion that there is hard, self-evident, inviolable objective truth in the universe, he has it and you're an idiot if you can't just see it. I find it difficult to engage with.

That and he's kind if overtly prejudiced. I can't take a prejudiced social scientist seriously.

Anyhoo, if you like him, that's cool. I've just found that I can't.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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24-06-2011, 04:29 AM
RE: No Morality without Christ
Fair enough Ghost...one day I'll say something you'll agree with Wink

Cheers

S
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24-06-2011, 05:28 AM
RE: No Morality without Christ
I agree with both BnW and Ghost in their argument today =p Morality is definitely something that you learn and frame as you grow, and that is heavily affected by society. On the subject of chastity I'm poly-amorous =p My sexual morality is that the truth must always be known. Truth is one of my larger moralities. So while I have no interest in monogamy (I feel that it is a very damaging view that demands you give up your own desires), I still have a moral outlook that any time you do something with someone else it is imperative to let everyone know. This allows the consensual agreement of partners in all acts and removes the aspect of "cheating". I generally only sleep with the main person I am interested in, but I always leave things open to the possibility of more, because I understand my own personal needs and possibly the needs of others and accept that it's better to allow for more than to limit how we can experience life together. My view on this is heavily supported by a large portion of the world, so I don't worry much when it's considered "wrong" where I live.

Now that we are able to more understand other societies it is more common to have conflicting morals within a society. I find there to be absolutely nothing wrong with appearing nude and am fine to do so. Plenty of people think it's a horrible disrespect to others to show your body which they will not want to see. I say, it's your body and there's not much of a problem, wearing clothes to me is more a convenience than a leash though I understand the law and accept that I must curtail my own morals in order to follow the societal law. That is not fear of being caught that is the rational understanding of the risk-benefit system of life. You decide how important something in your life is, and you weigh it against those things which forbid it. If it's not important enough to risk then you are simply being irrational in risking the case anyway.

My most hated view of morality is the "morality of fear". I don't talk to god fearing christians, by this statement they are saying that they would live horrible lives if not for this "god". I will talk to other christians who simply see this "god" concept to be their framework. It is true that there are some with very little ability to rationalize and occasionally they will maintain order by being afraid, but I do not see this as a very large group in the world. When talking to someone you can generally get a basic understanding of their rational capabilities. And anyway, those who fear "god" could live the exact same way by fearing something else. The morality of fear is a disingenuous morality which suggests that you will do these actions at any time this fear is set aside. Those who fear "god" will act immorally when "god" is in doubt for them. "God" being omnipresent does not mean that they will always fear it.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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24-06-2011, 07:17 AM
RE: No Morality without Christ
I heard a good dismantling of a theist basis for morality yesterday. The theist was asserting on the radio that our laws were based on the ten commandments. An atheist then quoted the commandment about not having any gods before Him, and asked where that fit into our 1st amendment to worship any god you like. That stumped the theist.

The theist then said without the ten commandments he could kill the atheist and commit adultry with his wife and kill her, and that would be okay because the atheist didn't believe in the ten commandments.

Besides sounding like a passive aggressive threat is just preposterous and denies any natural law basis for morality and law.

Why are you still reading this line when it is obviously my signature line?
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24-06-2011, 07:41 AM
RE: No Morality without Christ
Well he could kill the atheist and commit adultery but he'd still suffer punishments from these actions. Sometimes christians need to realize that there are plenty of laws in place and their book is not the only thing making it happen.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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24-06-2011, 09:23 AM
RE: No Morality without Christ
Noob question. Do the Ten Commandments predate Hammurabi's Code (from 1700BCE)?

That being said, while that Atheist was right to pwn the Theist (which denomination) about the put no God before me thing, I think that it's reasonable to say that the Ten Commandments have had a very direct influence on Western law. That is different than saying that Western law is based on the Ten Commandments, but their influence seems clear.

For the first half of my life, it was illegal to have your business open on Sunday.
Murder law.
Adultery is not so much illegal (although I can't speak for Kentucky) but it has quite serious ramifications in divorce law.
Theft law.
Perjury law.

Again, for me it's not so much about basis, but influence. These Christian tenets have served as a sort of lobbying force for their companion secular laws. That's not to say that they are the only thing that kept them around, but part of the complex.

Anyhoo, I don't think that any of this means that there can be no morality without Jesus.

Hey, Shannow.

Shannow Wrote:...one day I'll say something you'll agree with

I doubt it! Ohhhhhhhhh! The madness continues!

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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24-06-2011, 09:35 AM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(24-06-2011 09:23 AM)Ghost Wrote:  For the first half of my life, it was illegal to have your business open on Sunday.
Murder law.
Adultery is not so much illegal (although I can't speak for Kentucky) but it has quite serious ramifications in divorce law.
Theft law.
Perjury law.

hehehe you forgot slave laws...

“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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24-06-2011, 10:51 AM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(23-06-2011 09:49 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Shannow.

Man, I've seen a bunch of Harris' stuff now and I'm actually quite perplexed by the fact that I can't get down with just about anything he says. I'm perplexed because other people seem to feel that the man is brilliant. I don't know how to reconcile that.

I think my problem with him is that he frames things in a very specific way, that's his set up, and then speaks of them as if they were self-evident.

Yes, there have been a few threads about this already. I find Harris completely misses the point. He says "Morality can be approached scientifically because what's good for an individual or species can be objectively verified". While that's true enough, he still doesn't explain how he decided that the good of the individual or species is MORALLY GOOD. It's good in the sense of species survival, that's undeniable, but how is that MORALLY good? That's the conceptual leap that he doesn't explain. And that's his biggest pitfall IMO.

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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24-06-2011, 12:16 PM (This post was last modified: 24-06-2011 12:26 PM by Ghost.)
RE: No Morality without Christ
Hey, Myst.

There are no slave laws in the Ten Commandments. There are in Hammurabi's Code though.

Hey, Sy.

Quote:He says "Morality can be approached scientifically because what's good for an individual or species can be objectively verified".

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think he even says that. He asks if there is any doubt that there could be an objective morality when we see horrifying practices like burning people with acid, which is a non-sequitor but a powerful emotional plea. He doesn't actually say what the objective morality is or even how we might approach it scientifically. Most of us can agree that acid burning is wrong, therefore it must be objectively wrong (not merely consensus) and if it is objectively wrong, then some things must be objectively true. He bases his entire speech on asking us to admit that there is an absolute right and wrong as if it's a foregone conclusion. His opening sentence is pretty much, let’s just assume that everything I’m about to say is correct. He doesn't even define what good means (neither in a general sense nor, as you say, a moral sense). It's like in Thank You For Smoking. If he's championing vanilla ice cream and, I suppose, Theists are championing chocolate ice cream, he's not arguing that vanilla is better, he's arguing that chocolate is bad, because if chocolate is bad then vanilla must be better. 1, 2.

Like when he talks about corporal punishment, he speaks as if it is obvious that it is bad because it's in unenlightened states, not enlightened ones like Connecticut, they "subject" children to it, they don't just hit, they hit "hard", they causes bruises and even break the skin. He defines it as subjecting children to pain and violence and public humiliation as a way of encouraging healthy emotional development and good behaviour, ie, is it a good idea to do these terrible things to reach an obviously good goal. He paints it as an unenlightened barbaric practice only. He's not asking if corporal punishment is bad, he's asking if barbarism is bad, right after he painted corporal punishment as barbaric. He then asks if there's any doubt that there is an answer and that it matters, which basically means, what do you support? Barbarism or something better? He won't tell you what that better is, but can there be any doubt? If barbarism is bad then Haris must be right, whatever it is he's supposed to be right about. It's very clever rhetorical skill, but it's BS.

He says it himself. There may be many ways to be on a peak (he won't suggest how), but there are many more ways to not be on a peak. So all he has to do is take something that will generally be considered abhorrent, like beating your wife, associate it with a culture, like the Afghanis, gloss over the fact that the spousal abuse is also endemic in our own culture, which is necessary to do so that he can claim that it is only they that do it because it is a product of their culture, and poof, their entire culture does not represent a peak. It's not that vanilla is good, it's that chocolate is bad.

Like James Brown said, he's talkin loud, but he ain't sayin nuthin.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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