The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
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20-01-2015, 09:48 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
I'm always amazed by the total lack of knowledge of history when a person argues for religion=morals.

Monotheistic religion is at best 5000 yrs old, long before the myths of Moses, Yahweh and Jesus, before that polytheistic religions and before that Zoolatry and before that...

Since the genus homo left Africa some 150,000 years ago we've collectively managed to survive as a species without some cosmic creator giving us rules to live by. We evolved as a species with such traits as altruism because it is what kept us alive.

That our big brains wanted to find correlations and patterns and started making crap up is unfortunate but not totally surprising. That some guy had the bright idea of calling himself a Shaman and thereby acquiring power for himself in no way validates his claims, nor I dare say, yours.

Religion has hijacked morality, it has not gone willingly.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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20-01-2015, 10:40 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-01-2015 10:27 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-01-2015 09:46 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  YOU attempt to corner people. as that's the way you have learned to dismiss and trivialize non-believers, and ridicule them. There are no "eternal moral laws" as have been easily demonstrated here, and which YOU AVOIDED addressing, per your usual.

You seem to do this quite frequently. If my OP was written to argue for the existence of eternal moral laws, to convince you and others of such a thing, then you would be justified in accusing me of avoiding addressing this.

My OP was written to explore a particular question, regarding how such beliefs entered our imaginations in the first place. In fact my OP benefits from the fact, of assuming that an eternal moral law does not exist. And it's important that you keep this in mind, before accusing me of avoiding an argument, for a claim that I didn't make here.

Quote:The hesitation is that YOU introduced "indoctrination" which is (or could be) an over-simplification. Read nothing further into it.

Indoctrination is the accusation I see leveled at nearly every other religious belief, so I thought it would be the same regarding beliefs about eternal laws. I find it surprising that beliefs in an eternal moral law, are not being treated in such a way. That the concept is not one easily categorized as a common indoctrinated beliefs, and delusional ones.

The responses resulted in a reversal of my expectations. A very interesting reversal, which I'm just trying to get my head around, and comprehend as to why.

You're overthinking this.

I'm an example of a complete lack of indoctrination. I had a unique upbringing. I grew up in a very isolated mountainous area, no TV, no radio, far from a town or city. I had no idea of any god concept, had never heard of anyone named Jesus or any of the other deities, yet....... I'm a totally moral person. (Someone should do a study of me and my siblings. ) So how did this happen?

As a family of six living out in the woods, we took care of each other because, even though we had almost no money, there was safety in numbers. It became a natural thing to look out for other family members. It kept us strong and healthy.

We didn't need some commandment written in some old musty book, we didn't need any belief system, no dogma, no ritual sacrifice of some Joe Blow two thousand years ago. We only needed to keep each other safe from mountain lions, snowstorms and wild bears and sickness so we could progress through the cold winters and survive. As I said, safety in numbers.

There is no eternal morality, this is just a woo word people have come up with to make morality sound like some god influenced magic. My morality came from nature and natural evolution.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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20-01-2015, 10:54 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(20-01-2015 09:18 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Religions have benefited in the sense that the morals that religion thinks it is putting words to, precede religion and are more in-line with basic instincts of life. […]

As for it only being necessary to believe it exists (this innate moral commandment to "do good"), it simply isn't. There is no actual reason to believe it does exist.

Well, here’s the thing, the belief in intrinsic moral obligations (this innate moral commandment to do good), doesn’t precede religion (unless of course we assume that such things do exist of course).

If you want to say the instincts that guide our moral behavior, the way they guide the behavior of other animals, precedes religion, yes you are right. But human beings unlike other animals, are creatures of justifications, and beliefs as well. Our beliefs shape our individual behavior, a point argued ad nauseam by unbelievers who speak about the harmfulness of religious beliefs. But you can’t have your cake and eat it to, you can’t believe that this only works oneway, that the influence of beliefs on our instincts are solely negative and destructive. If this is true, than the other side of the coin would also be true, that beliefs can have a positive influence on our behavior and instincts.

You can’t be dismissive of beliefs, by appealing to these preceding biological instincts. Because we all know that beliefs can have a great deal of influence in shaping how we actually behave.

Now, it may possibly be true, that a belief in intrinsic moral obligations, that we are commanded to be good, doesn’t keep good people, from being good. Our common atheists can be a testament of that. If they were religious, they likely were fairly decent people at that time, and continued to be so after leaving religion. But what if this perception of a command, acts as a fictive contagion around bad people, and inclinations to bad behavior? DLJ was somewhat suggestive of this, when he said: “Look at the damage they do when they do think there are moral laws!”.

This perception in my view creates a dissonance for those acting immorally, either they have to find a way of justifying what they are doing as Good, in order to continue doing it, or they are not able to find a way to justify it, and are forced to acknowledge what they are doing is not Good, is immoral that they are failing this very obligation.

This aspects not only contains their behavior, within some fictive parameters. It also allows those who oppose their behavior to argue that they are failing this very obligation. And if those opposers, protesters of bad behavior, are persuasive enough, to convince these individuals that they are failing this obligation, that they are not doing what is good, and rather serving as perpetuators or participants of evil, of immorality, they have a capacity to shift a moral paradigm.

You’d be hard pressed to argue that such a belief in eternal moral laws, in intrinsic obligations, that are so prevalent that it’s hard to find any society or culture that denies them both historically, and into the present day, play no vital role in shaping our social behaviors, that they are merely prevalent beliefs that served no real purpose or function.
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20-01-2015, 11:33 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(20-01-2015 10:54 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(20-01-2015 09:18 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Religions have benefited in the sense that the morals that religion thinks it is putting words to, precede religion and are more in-line with basic instincts of life. […]

As for it only being necessary to believe it exists (this innate moral commandment to "do good"), it simply isn't. There is no actual reason to believe it does exist.

Well, here’s the thing, the belief in intrinsic moral obligations (this innate moral commandment to do good), doesn’t precede religion (unless of course we assume that such things do exist of course).

If you want to say the instincts that guide our moral behavior, the way they guide the behavior of other animals, precedes religion, yes you are right. But human beings unlike other animals, are creatures of justifications, and beliefs as well. Our beliefs shape our individual behavior, a point argued ad nauseam by unbelievers who speak about the harmfulness of religious beliefs. But you can’t have your cake and eat it to, you can’t believe that this only works oneway, that the influence of beliefs on our instincts are solely negative and destructive. If this is true, than the other side of the coin would also be true, that beliefs can have a positive influence on our behavior and instincts.

You can’t be dismissive of beliefs, by appealing to these preceding biological instincts. Because we all know that beliefs can have a great deal of influence in shaping how we actually behave.

Now, it may possibly be true, that a belief in intrinsic moral obligations, that we are commanded to be good, doesn’t keep good people, from being good. Our common atheists can be a testament of that. If they were religious, they likely were fairly decent people at that time, and continued to be so after leaving religion. But what if this perception of a command, acts as a fictive contagion around bad people, and inclinations to bad behavior? DLJ was somewhat suggestive of this, when he said: “Look at the damage they do when they do think there are moral laws!”.

This perception in my view creates a dissonance for those acting immorally, either they have to find a way of justifying what they are doing as Good, in order to continue doing it, or they are not able to find a way to justify it, and are forced to acknowledge what they are doing is not Good, is immoral that they are failing this very obligation.

This aspects not only contains their behavior, within some fictive parameters. It also allows those who oppose their behavior to argue that they are failing this very obligation. And if those opposers, protesters of bad behavior, are persuasive enough, to convince these individuals that they are failing this obligation, that they are not doing what is good, and rather serving as perpetuators or participants of evil, of immorality, they have a capacity to shift a moral paradigm.

You’d be hard pressed to argue that such a belief in eternal moral laws, in intrinsic obligations, that are so prevalent that it’s hard to find any society or culture that denies them both historically, and into the present day, play no vital role in shaping our social behaviors, that they are merely prevalent beliefs that served no real purpose or function.

You are still arguing as if the "eternal moral laws" are real, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that morality is a behavior that humans (and other animals) posses.

In fact, we know some of the behaviors of the early humans and their reverence for death through the burial of the deceased, which predate religion by millennia.

We see animals behave morally, in fact it is an entire realm of study (altruism) in evolution and biology.

You first said you were interested in discussing what the effects of believing in religious morality had on society, but you've flipped and flopped back and forth constantly between that and arguing as if it has been conclusively shown that morals are eternal and given by a god to humans.

To put it more simply, what are your intentions with this conversation? Do you believe that you are demonstrating evidence for the existence of eternal moral laws? Do you believe that the morals peddled by religion are good? (you also largely avoided my point about amorality when it comes to following guidelines you are told are moral without questioning them. One can't be a moral actor by doing what you are told, you are merely following a command under the assumption that it must be moral, this is where I pointed out that this type of thing happens far too often in society, and tends to lead to things like the Holocaust.)

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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20-01-2015, 11:39 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
You also seemed to ignore my point that throughout history, we have believed all manner of nonsense (flat Earth, young Earth, Geocentric Universe, slavery is fine, torture is fine, etc), a lot of this rubbish was not only supported and endorsed by religion, but originated from it (not all of it, clearly slavery and torture predate some religions). It is more a matter that humans do good in spite of the religious commandments and the religious "morals" when they dare to question them. Indeed, the bible was used aggressively to support slavery in the US, to resist the allowing of interracial marriage and homosexual marriage, and has been utilized by numerous groups to prop up their fascist and/or racist ideologies (KKK, Neo-Nazis, etc).

We are not moral because of religion (crusades, inquisition, burning witches and homosexuals and non-believers, stoning adulterers, etc), we are moral in spite of religion.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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20-01-2015, 12:03 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(20-01-2015 10:40 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  I'm a totally moral person. (Someone should do a study of me and my siblings. ) So how did this happen?

I don't know. Perhaps the way it happens for chimpanzees, who also take care of their young, and their families. And sometimes when shit gets real, they engage in genocidal wars, and infanticide. But for the most part they just take care of their young, and families.


Quote: My morality came from nature and natural evolution.

Well, all our feelings can be said to be rooted in nature and natural evolution. Those violent impulses, the drive a man to murder, and those caring impulses that lead a mother to tend to her child. Those inner feelings that drive all of destructiveness and creativeness have roots in our nature and evolution.

When we hear about chimpanzees engaging in heinous displays of tribal violence, we likely won't pass any moral judgements, or call on an international coalition to euthanize or cage the violent offenders. We won't label these offenders as evil, or anything of the sort. They're just animals doing what animals do, according to preordained nature.

Perhaps upon your perch upon the mountains, when you hear of the Rwandan Genocide, you look upon it no differently than as you would in regards to chimpanzees, just a bunch of animals doing shit that animals do.

Or perhaps you have some concept of evil, that you label such a thing with. Is it nature that gave you this idea? Did your parents sculpt that concept for you? If they did, do you think they sculpted that concept removing all it's religious parts that gave birth to it before handing it to you? Like a fish they removed the bones out of prior to your consumption.
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20-01-2015, 12:08 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
ARGUMENT FROM CHRISTIAN MORALITY

(1) Somewhere, someone who called himself or herself a Christian did something nice.
(2) This person was probably not lying.
(3) Therefore, this person was a Christian.
(4) Therefore, Christians do nice things.
(5) Therefore, Christians are moral.
(6) Christians believe in the Bible.
(7) Therefore, the Bible is moral.
(8) The Bible is God's word. It says so.
(9) Therefore, God is moral.
(10) (We are just ignoring all the not-nice things that Christians may or may not have done in the past, it's hard to trust history anyway, there are enemies of God working everywhere).
(11) A moral God would be really nice.
(12) Therefore, God exists.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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20-01-2015, 12:08 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(20-01-2015 10:54 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Well, here’s the thing, the belief in intrinsic moral obligations (this innate moral commandment to do good), doesn’t precede religion (unless of course we assume that such things do exist of course).

You know this as true based on what? You haven't learned well from before that asserting things isn't the way to come to true statements.

How do you know which came first of Humans evolving with a strong community bond that has intrinsic moral beliefs or that humans created religious thoughts then began to apply moral obligations? Where is the basis for your knowledge to think it was the latter?

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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20-01-2015, 12:10 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(20-01-2015 12:08 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(20-01-2015 10:54 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Well, here’s the thing, the belief in intrinsic moral obligations (this innate moral commandment to do good), doesn’t precede religion (unless of course we assume that such things do exist of course).

You know this as true based on what? You haven't learned well from before that asserting things isn't the way to come to true statements.

How do you know which came first of Humans evolving with a strong community bond that has intrinsic moral beliefs or that humans created religious thoughts then began to apply moral obligations? Where is the basis for your knowledge to think it was the latter?

Feels.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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20-01-2015, 02:09 PM (This post was last modified: 20-01-2015 02:21 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(20-01-2015 12:08 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  How do you know which came first of Humans evolving with a strong community bond that has intrinsic moral beliefs or that humans created religious thoughts then began to apply moral obligations? Where is the basis for your knowledge to think it was the latter?

Uhm, I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, since i'm not too sure what you mean by intrinsic moral beliefs. Are you implying that such beliefs do in fact exist intrinsically? Are you implying that intrinsic moral beliefs exist?

Or are you trying to say that strong community bonds, led people to believe falsely that intrinsic moral beliefs exist? Or in other words strong community bongs led people to hold false religious beliefs?
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