Why I Believe
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11-05-2017, 01:57 PM (This post was last modified: 11-05-2017 02:03 PM by Vera.)
RE: Why I Believe
Undecided

Et les vents parlaient beau, charriaient les espérances

Je suis comme un voilier qu'aucun port ne console
Je suis las de voguer sans ancre ni boussole
Où trouver lance bleu à la gorge sereine
Où trouver le repos et l'oubli de tant de peine

Mon ami, mon frère
Dis-moi comment faire
Pour nous aimer sur terre

Dans le monde il y a tant d'amour en souffrance
Tant de vies revêtues d'un manteau d'innocence
Qu'un beau jour tu es sûr de la voir arriver
Celle qui comprendra que la vie t'a oublier

Mon ami, mon frère
Je sais comment faire
Pour être aimé sur terre




"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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11-05-2017, 06:20 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(11-05-2017 01:57 PM)Vera Wrote:  Undecided

Et les vents parlaient beau, charriaient les espérances

Je suis comme un voilier qu'aucun port ne console
Je suis las de voguer sans ancre ni boussole
Où trouver lance bleu à la gorge sereine
Où trouver le repos et l'oubli de tant de peine

Mon ami, mon frère
Dis-moi comment faire
Pour nous aimer sur terre

Dans le monde il y a tant d'amour en souffrance
Tant de vies revêtues d'un manteau d'innocence
Qu'un beau jour tu es sûr de la voir arriver
Celle qui comprendra que la vie t'a oublier

Mon ami, mon frère
Je sais comment faire
Pour être aimé sur terre




> Garçon! Another root beer! Tongue
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14-05-2017, 02:42 AM
RE: Why I Believe
I was reading a discussion on Google+ and this question struck me: How can we tell if something is good or bad?

I was a little concerned because I'm not sure I can answer the question from a non-theist point of view. I'll have a go though.

Due to human experience, we class things into what causes pain and what doesn't cause pain. Physical and mental pain hurts. Because I have experienced all sorts of pain, I try to avoid it, and also, I try to avoid causing pain to other human beings.

This is how I can tell that physical and mental pain is bad; I have experienced it.

Likewise, giving food to the hungry, or a coat to someone who is cold, or a ride home to someone who is lost, or saying things to alleviate a person's grief, or calming their anger, or reading a story to a blind person.

I can recognise that hunger, cold, being lost, grief, anger, and being blind, are things that cause me pain. So I can tell these things are not good, and therefore I can tell that alleviating this pain, is good.

Have I missed anything?

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14-05-2017, 04:52 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 02:42 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Have I missed anything?

Christians themselves allege that every human can tell good from bad (eating from the tree of the knowledge of good an evil ring a bell?). Even if you're an atheist, they think you "just know" what is right or wrong.

For me morality - good and bad - are personal things, which have a certain amount of overlap due to a. biology b. society c. common culture d. communication. There's no absolute morality. e.g. There's no laid down natural law that says killing is bad, most of nature if anything says the opposite.

Certainly it's possible to define it according to the do no harm principle but then you can always go down a rabbit hole of what harm is (e.g. would it be better to kill half the people on the planet so that everyone else has a good life without resource problems), or what "doing no harm" means.

Realistically, you just form a consensus, make a law and leave it at that. Sometimes later you change the law because consensus changes. At the root of it, there's no morality involved. Even for something you'd think would be clear cut, like killing, there's endless shades of grey. Accidental killing. Murder with intent. Legal killing (in times of war or executions for a crime). etc. It's pointless to talk of killing being bad in some intrinsic sense.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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14-05-2017, 05:13 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 02:42 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I was reading a discussion on Google+ and this question struck me: How can we tell if something is good or bad?

I was a little concerned because I'm not sure I can answer the question from a non-theist point of view. I'll have a go though.

Due to human experience, we class things into what causes pain and what doesn't cause pain. Physical and mental pain hurts. Because I have experienced all sorts of pain, I try to avoid it, and also, I try to avoid causing pain to other human beings.

This is how I can tell that physical and mental pain is bad; I have experienced it.

Likewise, giving food to the hungry, or a coat to someone who is cold, or a ride home to someone who is lost, or saying things to alleviate a person's grief, or calming their anger, or reading a story to a blind person.

I can recognise that hunger, cold, being lost, grief, anger, and being blind, are things that cause me pain. So I can tell these things are not good, and therefore I can tell that alleviating this pain, is good.

Have I missed anything?

Yep, it's not that complicated, we have a sense of empathy and have built societies loosely based around that concept. That's why there are many, different societies that operate from a different perspective, yet share many commonalities.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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14-05-2017, 05:44 AM (This post was last modified: 14-05-2017 05:49 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 02:42 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I was reading a discussion on Google+ and this question struck me: How can we tell if something is good or bad?

I was a little concerned because I'm not sure I can answer the question from a non-theist point of view. I'll have a go though.

Due to human experience, we class things into what causes pain and what doesn't cause pain. Physical and mental pain hurts. Because I have experienced all sorts of pain, I try to avoid it, and also, I try to avoid causing pain to other human beings.

This is how I can tell that physical and mental pain is bad; I have experienced it.

Likewise, giving food to the hungry, or a coat to someone who is cold, or a ride home to someone who is lost, or saying things to alleviate a person's grief, or calming their anger, or reading a story to a blind person.

I can recognise that hunger, cold, being lost, grief, anger, and being blind, are things that cause me pain. So I can tell these things are not good, and therefore I can tell that alleviating this pain, is good.

Have I missed anything?

Sure, these are sensible standards by which to judge how actions impact humans.

I've never understood how "God" has anything to do with it. You can state God's opinion on what is good and bad, but unless you can give a reason why this is actually important, it's just arbitrary. That's assuming anyone actually knows God's opinion, if there is one, which they do not. God just happens to agree with each theist, while they disagree with each other.

I don't accept God's opinion without supporting arguments, any more than I do anyone else.

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14-05-2017, 05:55 AM
RE: Why I Believe
If you think about things in terms of well being, then actions that promote health, happiness and well bring, while also minimizing harm are good.

Those actions that cause harm, decrease well being and promote unhealthy actions can be viewed as bad.

It's not all black & white though. There are shades of grey. One must also look at intent and not simply the action itself.

If someone asked, "Is cutting another person's skin, with a knife, good or bad ?"

It depends on if the person being cut is in surgery or being mugged.

You have to look at each scenario separately.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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14-05-2017, 06:13 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 04:52 AM)morondog Wrote:  Realistically, you just form a consensus, make a law and leave it at that. Sometimes later you change the law because consensus changes. At the root of it, there's no morality involved. Even for something you'd think would be clear cut, like killing, there's endless shades of grey. Accidental killing. Murder with intent. Legal killing (in times of war or executions for a crime). etc. It's pointless to talk of killing being bad in some intrinsic sense.
Exactly. And this imprecise, subjective, and to some extent ever-evolving moral consensus is plenty sufficient to its task. We are able to usefully cooperate on projects as a society that we could not accomplish as individuals. It serves division of labor, coordination of responsibility and everything else it needs to serve, not only well enough ... but in practice actually better than would a rigid, predefined, black and white morality. That would be undesirable for the same reason that law would be undesirable if we shut down legislatures and courts and just kept the laws in effect at that time under the mistaken notion that they are perfect and would be undermined if they were changed, and that it is impossible for law enforcement to be mistaken in their application.

And you're right, even for things like human-on-human killing, there are countless exceptions and extenuating circumstances. If I were to randomly kill every 100th person I encounter for no particular reason, I'd be found guilty on each and every count, unless maybe one of those people just randomly happened to be attacking ME at the moment I decided to kill them, or unless I decided to do that because I was insane. But there's always a conceivable "unless" to contemplate, which is why we have courts, and why we have legislatures, to clarify them and to take in new scenarios that arise as society and technology and culture evolve.

Nor is it just a matter of formal law; it's countless informal explicit and implicit understandings, customs, and conventions enforced by the giving or withholding of social reciprocity. Things as objectively meaningless as whether belching at dinner is an insult or a compliment, whether obesity signifies sloth or prosperity, whether showing up on time and not one second later is important or not, or whether one even typically agrees on a specific appointment time, ever. It goes on and on.
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14-05-2017, 06:22 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 05:44 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I've never understood how "God" has anything to do with it. You can state God's opinion on what is good and bad, but unless you can give a reason why this is actually important, it's just arbitrary.
God is invisible and unfalsifiable, and so is anything he says or any opinion he holds. It is just people asserting without evidence, "god hates x". It is simply someone trying to short-circuit the process of evolution of societal morality based on generally rational consensus judgment about the net harm or benefit of the actions under consideration. It is an appeal to imaginary authority when authority isn't even the criteria for what's (im)moral in the first place. Whether an authority approves of a thing or not, says nothing inherently about whether or not the thing is harmful or harmless and whether society should allow or prohibit it.

In other words morality doesn't need a backing authority, that is not an issue of morality but of enforcing morality AFTER it has been determined. And even if it needed authentication by some cosmic cop, some random person claiming that cop told them something is right or wrong, with no evidence at all, wouldn't constitute the will of the cop. Theists can't elucidate how they can tell the difference between the voice of god and their own internal voice, between concepts of god and their own imagination, between god's scourgings and simple bad luck, between god's rewards and simple good luck. And different theists come up with different pronouncements from the same god. So how would that have any credibility even if it had anything to do with actually determining benefits and harms?

Contrary to what theists constantly claim, secular societal morality does not lead to chaos, it is quite orderly compared to the chaotic system where random people just make shit up and claim it's god's law. And no, inerrantists don't get around this by appealing to scripture. That is also subjective, and their interpretations are subjective, even about the things the scriptures cover, much less their stony and inherently persistent* silence on matters they don't even discuss.

* Persistent silence because the scriptures must never be added to, subtracted from, or corrupted or deemed errant.
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14-05-2017, 06:24 AM
RE: Why I Believe
And how can you tell them from a THEIST point of you?

It most certainly doesn't say in your (general you) ultimate source of morality that rape and slavery are even WRONG, and it actively recommends STONING people to death (I won't even mention the homophobia and other lovely examples of hatred and bigotry).

So, how DO THEISTS tell good from bad?

(And it isn't it a little - a lot! - scary - that they are okay with downright admitting they are so deficient in basic human empathy, they wouldn't be able to tell right fro wrong if it wasn't for the incoherent, bloodthirsty rambling of their primitive ancestors?)

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