Secular Morality
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12-05-2014, 02:07 AM
Secular Morality
I know this topic has been beaten to death. And yet, there are still Christians who flop out their tired, dusty copy of "You Can't Be
Moral Without God!" argument, and present it as if it's never been challenged, and unassailably true.

So bear with me, as it's not my intention to make this thread all about me, but I'm using myself as a model, and here's why:

And as someone raised secular, it makes me want to gouge my eyes out, and scream. I have seen some of the most immoral, downright evil people use religion to cover up what they've done. I've been over the ontological argument for God's existence repeatedly, with a guy I later discovered believed without God there could be no morality -- and coincidentally used to break into women's homes, and steal their undergarments.

And being raised wholly secularly, with no exposure to church save for the occasional holiday service, or when I actively sought it out myself out of curiosity, and no exposure to the bible save for my teenage years when I actively sought it out and read it with a bunch of other holy texts, this absolutely boggles the mind.

I have a moral framework so rigid that I've actively worked at making it more pliable to enjoy a normal life. For me, there are clear, obvious distinctions between ethical behavior, and unethical behavior.

Without getting into the rest of personal experiences with "Without God there's no morality" types, is it me, or does this sort of person actually need a Dexter Code to live by?

In the Christian tradition, human beings are seen as fundamentally flawed, and unable to make moral choices without higher guidance.

Children are told that original sin tainted their entire bloodline, and to behave ethically, they must look to the church, and authority figures for guidance.

This doesn't make any sense. On the surface, it does, because I can recall making mistakes, and later trying to rectify them. But no outside authoritative guidance was necessary. I knew my choice was wrong, and tried to the best of my ability to right it.

And I've always been a natural confidant. I have no idea why, but one of the reasons I hate using public transportation is I apparently exude an aura of "tell me everything about yourself" to complete strangers. It's worse with friends, and every girlfriend I've ever had.

If you tell me about your past, and I am significantly emotionally attached to you, I am going to try to right what I discern as wrong, to the level of compulsion, to my own detriment, without exception.

One of the major tenants of Christian ethics I profoundly disagree with is "forgiveness" for harm. As an extreme example, without getting into detail and breaching multiple confidences, forgiving your childhood rapist is wrong, without question. If you tell me that someone wronged you to that extent, I am morally compelled to expose and rectify it, without regard for personal feelings, or familial impact, you will have direct closure, and I will have to live with the consequences, whether they be internal emotional turmoil, or sitting up at night for a month of Sundays, willing myself to let go of the urge to physical violence and retribution, because it's not my fight, no matter how clear the moral transgression.

So when a Christian trots out the "How can you be moral without God" argument, I have to bite my tongue until it bleeds.

It's obvious. Why isn't it obvious to them?
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12-05-2014, 02:15 AM
RE: Secular Morality
Don't bite your tongue. Tell them what you think. Ask them if they would become immoral if they learned god does not exist.

When they trot that crap out they disrespect themselves as well as others.

Oh and to answer your final question. They're morons.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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12-05-2014, 02:27 AM
RE: Secular Morality
I have an atheist ex-bf. Unfortunately, I was still fundy at the time. That argument in the OP was one of his issues with how I thought at the time.

Yes, I thought he was wrong. And yes, I now agree with him. Hindsight ftw.

And yes, this was a bit irrelevant. sorry

A person very dear to me was badly hurt through a misunderstanding and miscommunication. For this, I am sorry, and he knows it. That said, any blaming me for malicious intent is for the birds. I will not wear some scarlet letter, I will not be anybody's whipping girl, and I will not lurk in silence.
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12-05-2014, 02:42 AM
RE: Secular Morality
We get our morality from the same place Christians do, societal consensus.

Unless they endorse slavery, human sacrifice and all the other good stuff, they do not get their morals from the babble.

Good point about forgiveness, it can be the wrong way.

"While religions tell us next to nothing useful or true about the universe, they do tell us an enormous amount - perhaps an embarrassing amount - about ourselves, about what we value, fear and lust after." Iain M Banks
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12-05-2014, 04:46 AM
RE: Secular Morality
You have devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Which shoulder has the angel ? They are both invisible. How do you decide which is which ?

Fundy says "I'll ask god""
You reply with "god says I gave you free will. You need to use that free will to evalute which one is good and which one is bad. If I tell you the answer you will no longer have free will because you will then do everything I tell you to do"

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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12-05-2014, 06:12 AM (This post was last modified: 12-05-2014 06:29 AM by Monster_Riffs.)
RE: Secular Morality
People want easy and quick answers in general but because the argument of ethics and morality is a complex one, the less interested or intelligent among us don't follow on and get lost, this is a massive contributor to the 'because God', crowd.

Many times we explain to the religious about communal consensus which discerns agreement. They follow to a point but usually arrive at, 'yeah but moral relativism, it's subjective so I am right because God'. I even saw our resident Cunt Jeremy trot out some beheading atheists straw man in another thread.

The religious would do well to understand how the shifting moral zeitgeist works, I will try to explain it to the best of my understanding.

It starts when we started to communicate. In small bands and pairs, conflicts would arise, should we/shouldn't we kill an injured hunter as he will use resources and slow us down? Some bands may have killed him and some not. Eventually as we networked and formed tribes, not 100% but a trend or consensus will have been reached.

So let's say for arguments sake 9 out of 10 tribes didn't kill their injured but 1 did. These tribes integrated to form a village or town. Through evidence of benefits and general consensus even against resistance from the minority, laws will have eventually been made which stopped people killing their injured. It becomes the norm and in a short period of time, the idea of killing the injured seems absurd, especially seeing as hunters slowing bands down is not even a sociological issue anymore.

The shifting moral Zeitgeist grows in parallel with society. Let's look at the USA. Any point of view which effects someone else is fair game in the Zeitgeist, a Christian could indeed propose that decapitation of atheists would solve national problems, in regards to how the SMZ (Shifting Moral Zeitgeist) works, would this idea take hold? Would it trump other established ethics like, to kill/not kill your father/mother/sister/brother? Is it OK to murder over a verbal disagreement? Will enough people become atheist killers in 1 go, so the murder laws in the USA change overnight and I avoid prison? Etc; it is an unlikely proposition.

However, look at the gay rights movement. ... is it OK for someone to kick my son/brother to death because he is homosexual? This is now on the most part unacceptable but there are pockets of resistance, like the tribe that still wants to kill its injured. We are in that process in society now, we are coming out of the other end of it with gay marriage being accepted etc. In a short period of time we will once again be confused as to why it was ever a problem. SMZ is not restricted to one plateau at one time, you may get 9 cities that agree on certain practice and 1 that doesn't because of a different historical factor exclusive to that city, like entrenched homophobia. The historical factor may be a higher proportion of fundamentalist Christians. You will then have two subjective relative worldviews colliding, one will state that your view is incorrect, attack Bible etc; one will state the other is wrong and attack secularism, source of morality etc. Just because two points of view are subjective does not automatically imply both views should be left to themselves. This is probably socially impossible, for example, if someone attacked my lesbian cousin for religious reasons, their actions essentially make a claim, that this is an ok thing to do in our society and here are my reasons why in the Bible etc. This draws other people in the same society in to the conflict as in a very real sense they don't want the shit kicked out of themselves or a loved one. Yes both views are subjective, only 1 will eventually prevail, simply because it is impossible to be simultaneously ok and not ok to beat up my cousin.

This is why religion is under attack. Religions hold on social moral control was lost during the enlightenment of the 17th and 18th century through the exact process of SMZ I have been explaining, which is why the proposition of, secularists get there morality from religion is preposterous, sad and hilarious. That claim merely demonstrates an immense ignorance on the part of the claimant. We have become more moral inspite of religion never mind because of it! Even in the North East of England, only 200 years ago, whipping children, forcing them to work down mines and up chimneys was totally acceptable, it was often backed up with Bible verses of honouring your father. The slave trade and underpaid servants were rife, women had no rights etc, inspite of the fact that all of these things were Bible sanctioned SMZ presented its voice and won out through better evidence for well being, social growth and humanitarian reasons.

SMZ operates on many levels. 1 to 1, small groups, villages, towns, cities, states, counties, countries, continents and globally.

Once a person understands how The Moral Zeitgeist works they will see it is something that is always there and there's no way to stop subjective relativist opinion clashing with subjective relativist opinion. Just understand that a subjective, relativist opinion reached by a consensus is not pulled out of thin air but by shared experience of a biologically hardwired communal ape.

For the religious on here, especially Jeremy (you Cunt) if you can't get your head around this, I sincerely recommend you do some reading around it. Or if you simply decide not to get your head around it and continue to bang the 'no because God' drum, just fuck off you Cunt (Jeremy)

Ps sorry for typos, I did this on my phone

I'll just play the 'can I help you' lick!!!
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12-05-2014, 11:30 AM (This post was last modified: 12-05-2014 11:35 AM by Deltabravo.)
RE: Secular Morality
This is a fundamental issue in ethics. I don't think one is acting morally because one is acting out of fear of consequences from an all powerful being who might send one to either heaven or hell for eternity, or because someone else told one to do something. That isn't acting morally because it doesn't involve a person making their own decisions.

The issue was dealt with by Immanuel Kant who pondered whether it was possible to derive a moral way of behaving from reason alone and he came up with the "categorical imperative". That simply put, means that one only acts morally if one acts on a principle which can be applied universally. In other words, you can't say to someone that they should go around hurting people because you would, by implication, be telling them it was right to hurt you. And as you would be stupid to say something like that to someone else, you shouldn't act on the principle yourself.

Here is a good analysis of that idea: http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/alevel...reason.pdf

My particular take on Chrisrtianity is that it is actually not what it seems. The New Testament sets up as the Christian "god", the "word" or "logos" which is "in the beginning" and "is" god. This "logos" is only "reason". From this flows the fundamental principle of Christianity which is the golden rule, to treat others as you would have them treat you. If you read the link I have posted, you will see that Kant's categorical imperative is merely a restatement of the golden rule which flows from the notion that morality is based on reason, not on adherence to dictates from an anthropomorphized godhead who scares and entices you to do what he says because, well, just because he says so. Presumably "he" is reasonable too so one can actually "skip" god and just go to "what is reasonable".

That is why I think the NT is just a vehicle for delivering this idea to pagans who worshippped a host of different gods. It weaves a story around a man who was probably identifiable as a leader in the Jewish community and a Nazarite and embellishes his life with familiar mythology, simply to make the story sell to the masses. It is just a literary tool, and if the writers of the NT actually were Essenes who believed that reason was at the center of moral thinking, then they didn't actually believe in the narrative as being true anymore than J.K. Rowling believes Harry Potter is a real person even though he defeats his evil foes. The parables of Jesus are just examples of how the principles work in real life, ie.,how to apply reason to a particular stuation and it is for each person to apply the rule for himself.

As for forgiving people. Would you want to be forgiven if you realized you had done something and later you wondered why you had done it? I am not defending your proposed assailant. Most people like that don't ask for forgiveness because they can't see why what they did was wrong and if they aren't locked up, they will carry on doing it but that is an extreme case is it not? How about someone who stole something in order to survive but later, when thing improved, felt guilty about it? Or they got violent while drinking and depressed and later regretted it? Most crime is like that. And most of us have done something we regret, haven't we?
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12-05-2014, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 12-05-2014 01:56 PM by rampant.a.i..)
RE: Secular Morality
Be that as it may, I'm not talking about forgiving moral breeches out of desperation, or a will to survive. The major problem with Kant's categorical imperatives is the use of maxims, that are too inflexible to be applied accurately in all instances.

I'm talking about extreme moral breeches where someone irrevocably affected someone else's life because of poor impulse control, over a number of years.

Someone who repeatedly victimizes another person out of convenience is not worthy of forgiveness. They've done nothing to deserve being forgiven, they have committed multiple crimes for which there were no consequences.

Take for instance an example where a brother rapes his sister repeatedly from the time she is 12 to 14, and when confronted years later says he has "nothing to apologize for; he's already gotten over it". How does someone like that, who obviously doesn't understand or care about the impact of their actions, because they have no consequences to them deserve forgiveness?

Christianity is a cancer that leaves this kind of person to fester like an open sore, relying on some future "divine judgement" that will never happen.

Here you have someone who has basically destroyed the formative years of another human being, to the point that two fucking decades later they will wake up screaming, and take 15 minutes to be convinced there's no one else in the room, and this person "deserves to be forgiven" because "we all do things we regret"?

They don't regret anything, they've rationalized it away with the help of the victim, who refuses to come forward and spread the pain to the rest of the family, like the majority of victims.

Christianity in fact states that this person isn't even worthy of punishment if they say they're "really really sorry," not even to the victim, but to God. Hands washed, everything's hunky-dory, they go to heaven with no questions asked.

What the fuck? How is that acceptable?

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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12-05-2014, 04:18 PM
RE: Secular Morality
(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  I know this topic has been beaten to death. And yet, there are still Christians who flop out their tired, dusty copy of "You Can't Be
Moral Without God!" argument, and present it as if it's never been challenged, and unassailably true.
Tell me about it. The X-tians are fuked up.

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  So bear with me, as it's not my intention to make this thread all about me, but I'm using myself as a model, and here's why:

And as someone raised secular, it makes me want to gouge my eyes out, and scream. I have seen some of the most immoral, downright evil people use religion to cover up what they've done. I've been over the ontological argument for God's existence repeatedly, with a guy I later discovered believed without God there could be no morality -- and coincidentally used to break into women's homes, and steal their undergarments.
Straight-up?!?! What does he do with the underwear???

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  And being raised wholly secularly, with no exposure to church save for the occasional holiday service, or when I actively sought it out myself out of curiosity, and no exposure to the bible save for my teenage years when I actively sought it out and read it with a bunch of other holy texts, this absolutely boggles the mind.
How can you even cope as an adult - I know I can't.

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  I have a moral framework so rigid that I've actively worked at making it more pliable to enjoy a normal life. For me, there are clear, obvious distinctions between ethical behavior, and unethical behavior.
Oh, that's cool. What do you do about people who insist that the dictionary is perfect???

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  Without getting into the rest of personal experiences with "Without God there's no morality" types, is it me, or does this sort of person actually need a Dexter Code to live by?
Hey genius, you're claiming you know all this shit about morality and ethics - how bout you lay it on us - show us the way??? - genius

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  In the Christian tradition, human beings are seen as fundamentally flawed, and unable to make moral choices without higher guidance.
Whoa dude - what's You got? Anything??? Just your own moral code that you live by that's perfect, except the fucking Christians are coming around with their shit. I don't want to hear no jesus shit either, but I also don't want to hear this "No religious shit" political opposition. I'm going to negotiate the peace treaty with those mother-fucking Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and the blacks - You ever think maybe the blacks are not as civil and just as they claim to be???

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  Children are told that original sin tainted their entire bloodline, and to behave ethically, they must look to the church, and authority figures for guidance.
Why do you worry about such shit. I wonder why it doesn't bother me so much - you ever think maybe you're over reacting? You think the famous atheists leaders have it easier than us peons???

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  This doesn't make any sense. On the surface, it does, because I can recall making mistakes, and later trying to rectify them. But no outside authoritative guidance was necessary. I knew my choice was wrong, and tried to the best of my ability to right it.
You get things right now, don't you??? Except for those fucking Christians fuck shit up - right?

You really think you're a smart mother-fucker - smarter than me???

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  And I've always been a natural confidant. I have no idea why, but one of the reasons I hate using public transportation is I apparently exude an aura of "tell me everything about yourself" to complete strangers. It's worse with friends, and every girlfriend I've ever had.

If you tell me about your past, and I am significantly emotionally attached to you, I am going to try to right what I discern as wrong, to the level of compulsion, to my own detriment, without exception.
My parents were inadequate - they believed in god and thought I was the product of miracle and that the miracle would guide my life. Now, I belief the definition of "atheism" is incorrect, and all the atheists hate me. I am very confident that I am the smarter person and that I am delivering the ultimate guide to organizing society, and part of it requires atheists to realize that the definition of "atheism" is wrong.

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  One of the major tenants of Christian ethics I profoundly disagree with is "forgiveness" for harm. As an extreme example, without getting into detail and breaching multiple confidences, forgiving your childhood rapist is wrong, without question.
Ohhhh, what brings this on??? Something there, or are you just fucking around with us???

maybe, you should have posted in the psych section.

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  If you tell me that someone wronged you to that extent, I am morally compelled to expose and rectify it, without regard for personal feelings, or familial impact, you will have direct closure, and I will have to live with the consequences, whether they be internal emotional turmoil, or sitting up at night for a month of Sundays, willing myself to let go of the urge to physical violence and retribution, because it's not my fight, no matter how clear the moral transgression.
Why are you getting involved with fucked-up people - can't find no better?

(12-05-2014 02:07 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  So when a Christian trots out the "How can you be moral without God" argument, I have to bite my tongue until it bleeds.

It's obvious. Why isn't it obvious to them?

Because you do not understand that you do not have a morality if it is not shared by everyone in your community. The Christians share this political district and there is no law forbidding them from preaching publicly, and most people do not have a problem with and are not complaining. If Christians were to complain about it then you might have some standing. But, as long as you agree to live in this country which has a long history with Christianity, it is pretty doubtful that you are going to win the political argument that you want to progress - stupid.

You want to prove how smart you are - generate a rendering of that constitution that you hold so dear to reflect the perfect society that you believe you know is possible. Believe me, the blacks can't do it.

Nelson Mandela died knowing that educated black people would rather cry of oppression in America than help him organize a country for black people. The whole world is beginning to recognize this and black people will probably be the last to recognize it, because of their vicarious and zealous identification with a black man being president of the historically "prejudiced," and corrupt, United States government. It is a good guess that Mandela refused to see President Obama, because of this dilemma; and world leaders are converting political slights at his expense.

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
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12-05-2014, 04:31 PM
RE: Secular Morality
[Image: Gossip.jpg]

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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