Secular Morality
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
17-08-2012, 07:06 PM
Secular Morality
One of the primary "arguments" against atheism would be that there is no moral foundation for atheists. I've heard and read some on this, but I want to be bulletproof in my countering of this premise.

Point 1: Morals must come from a higher power

I can't say everything about this, but I will try to say enough about it to make a point. First, anyone who says that the personal Gods of the Bible/Koran/whatever are examples of morality have not read their holy books. Second, the most secular/atheistic countries have the best standards of living in the world! Less murder, rape, higher education, literacy, etc. Third, it is wholly unreasonable to think that without a higher power, there can be no morals. To think that people only are moral because of the threat of eternal punishment or lure of infinite reward is seen in my eyes as a form of divine extortion. As Dawkins said, this means that we must look at the "great surveillance camera in the sky" in order to keep order in our societies. Einstein said that if such were the case, then "we are a very sorry lot indeed." Many people have already touched on this in much greater depth, so I will leave that at that.

Point 2: Secular regimes have been more deadly than any religion (Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.)

First, it is unclear whether Hitler was an atheist or a believing Roman Catholic. Stalin was an atheist, and I am not sure about the other leaders, but it doesn't matter. Aren't all these regimes utterly dogmatic and totalitarian in nature? I argue that atheism doesn't make you a better person at all (although, I think Dawkins said that secular humanism might.) Atheism does nothing for your morality. Religion generally changes your standards for morality, for better or worse. Often, the latter is the case, when the religion is used as justification for immoral acts. Religions such as Jainism might increase moral standards (although I would argue against complete pacifism applied to all circumstances), but we generally deal with the Muslim/Christian population, at least in areas where most of us live. There are no doubt many moral Muslims/Christians out there, but I doubt that if we replaced all of these people with secular humanists, the world would be a much less habitable place.

I think that dogma is generally a source (not *the* source) of immorality. Religious dogma is a subset of the dogmas we see in the world. Secular dogma is another subset. We should avoid dogma, because religious or not, it leads to devastating consequences. The problem isn't religion. It's dogma.


Those are the two main points I hear, and my best argument against them. Help please? This is a tough one to deal with, but a necessary one.

"Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned" - Anonymous
I am glad to live where there is no God, for I am moral, and mortal; I do not wish to worship He who crafts an immoral immortality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
17-08-2012, 07:22 PM
RE: Secular Morality
When it comes to morality, this is the best explanation I've found in my few years searching through speeches and youtube videos.
TheoreticalBullshit (aka Scott ) expresses my own thoughts on the topic and words it all much better.




Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Rahn127's post
17-08-2012, 08:15 PM
RE: Secular Morality
What Rahn said.

The more terse and deadly response would be...

I don't have morality; I have ethics.

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
17-08-2012, 08:19 PM
RE: Secular Morality
(17-08-2012 08:15 PM)DLJ Wrote:  What Rahn said.

The more terse and deadly response would be...

I don't have morality; I have ethics.

Thumbsup

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
17-08-2012, 08:24 PM
RE: Secular Morality
Wow; I watched the whole video and it makes a compelling argument (or set of arguments.) Unfortunately, in real-time conversation or thought, I am unable to articulate my ideas so smoothly. I will try to absorb these ideas and dwell on them. Thanks so much!

"Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned" - Anonymous
I am glad to live where there is no God, for I am moral, and mortal; I do not wish to worship He who crafts an immoral immortality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-08-2012, 04:09 AM
RE: Secular Morality
(17-08-2012 07:06 PM)nsguy1350 Wrote:  Point 1: Morals must come from a higher power

Well, homo sapiens sapiens has been around for 250,000 to 150,000 years (depending upon the best estimates). Compare that to the length of time that we've had dogmatic religious morality. If anyone thinks that morality didn't exist prior to that, then they seriously don't understand what it means to be a social animal. And humans are very much social animals.

Chimpanzees have morality. So do dolphins, lions, dogs... and, basically, pick any social animal and put its name in the list. When creatures interact with each other, they do so with an understanding of reciprocity and hierarchy. How they treat each other determines how they are treated in return. That is morality, regardless of how simple or complex it is.

Non-social animals don't have morality. They don't need it.

(17-08-2012 07:06 PM)nsguy1350 Wrote:  First, it is unclear whether Hitler was an atheist or a believing Roman Catholic.

It is very clear that Hitler was not an atheist. He was a Catholic, with pagan influences. His hatred of the Jews was (to a large extent) an extension of him seeing himself as a good Christian fighting the Christian fight... all those Jesus-killers to be dealt with.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Red Celt's post
18-08-2012, 05:00 AM (This post was last modified: 18-08-2012 05:07 AM by Red Celt.)
RE: Secular Morality
(17-08-2012 07:22 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  When it comes to morality, this is the best explanation I've found in my few years searching through speeches and youtube videos.
TheoreticalBullshit (aka Scott ) expresses my own thoughts on the topic and words it all much better.

Bad video. He spent nearly all of it going on about God. For the first 5 minutes (and the summary at the end) he basically said that Utilitarianism is the answer, mentioning unnecessary harm without defining what "necessary" means.

From a position of moral philosophy, his argument was weak.

Tsze-kung asked, saying, "Is there one word which may serve as a rule of
practice for all one's life?" The Master said, "Is not Reciprocity such a
word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."

— Confucius, Analects XV.24
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-08-2012, 05:22 AM (This post was last modified: 18-08-2012 05:26 AM by Vosur.)
RE: Secular Morality
(18-08-2012 04:09 AM)Red Celt Wrote:  
(17-08-2012 07:06 PM)nsguy1350 Wrote:  First, it is unclear whether Hitler was an atheist or a believing Roman Catholic.

It is very clear that Hitler was not an atheist. He was a Catholic, with pagan influences. His hatred of the Jews was (to a large extent) an extension of him seeing himself as a good Christian fighting the Christian fight... all those Jesus-killers to be dealt with.
For anyone who is unsure about whether or not Hitler was an Atheist, I suggest you to read his book Mein Kampf (free online version). Here are some excerpts:

"If, with the help of the Marxian creed, the Jew conquers the nations of this world, his crown will become the funeral wreath of humanity, and once again this planet, empty of mankind, will move through the ether as it did thousands of years ago. Eternal Nature inexorably revenges the transgressions of her laws. Therefore, I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator: By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work." page 84

"The increase of our race and our people, the nourishment of its children and the preservation of the purity of the blood, the freedom and independance of the fatherland in order to enable our people to mature for the fulfillment of the mission which the Creator of the universe has allotted also to them." page 289

"The result of any crossing, in brief, is always the following:
(a) lowering the standard of the higher race
(b) Physical and mental regression, and, with it, the beginning of a slowly but steadily progressive lingering illness.

To bring about such a development means nothing less than sinning against the will of the Eternal Creator." page 393

"The undermining existence of human culture by destroying its supporters appears, in a folkish view of life, as the most execrable crime. He who dares to lay hand upon the highest image of the Lord sins against the benevolent Creator of this miracle and helps in the expulsion from Paradise." page 581

"By this the State for the first time receives an inner higher goal. In the face of the ridiculous slogan of a safe-guarding of peace and order for the peaceful possibility of mutual cheating, the task of the preservation and the promotion of a highest humanity which has been presented to this world by the benevolence of the Almighty appears a truly high mission." page 601

There are even more references to God, but I'll leave it up to the one's who are interested to read the rest for themselves.

Anyway, the members of the German Wehrmacht also had "Gott Mit Uns" (i.e. God with us) imprinted on their belt buckles.

[Image: gott-mit-uns.jpg]

And don't even get me started about Hitler and the Church.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Vosur's post
18-08-2012, 05:31 AM
RE: Secular Morality
(18-08-2012 05:22 AM)Vosur Wrote:  For anyone who is unsure about whether or not Hitler was an Atheist, I suggest you to read his book Mein Kampf (free online version).

Well, exactly. Which is why it annoys me when I read lines like "well, it isn't clear if Hitler was an atheist or not". Oh, it's very clear indeed.

I downloaded a copy of Mein Kampf years ago. Partly, because I like to know how my enemies think... partly because of the historical importance of those words (and what would follow in the aftermath of its publication). I never did read it (to completion).
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-08-2012, 05:55 AM
RE: Secular Morality
It would appear then that the guy was a deist. But, for debating puposes nsguy (or should I call you 1350?), no specific cult is mentioned so it should not be mooted that he was a catholic.
He did, however, seek the pointy-hatted ones as allies - this is in itself does not indicate personal attachment as it was likely just a shrewd (anti-jew) political move.

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: