Why I Believe
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 3 Votes - 3 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
14-05-2017, 06:48 AM (This post was last modified: 14-05-2017 06:52 AM by mordant.)
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 06:24 AM)Vera Wrote:  So, how DO THEISTS tell good from bad?
Depends on who you ask.

A theist will reply that they consult their holy book, and locate a totally objective, unambiguous, not-subject-to-interpretation clear answer.

To anyone else that will look like cherry picking at best (because nearly any prescription or proscription, even when unambiguous, will conflict with another one someone else) and like making stuff up at worst (because the ruleset is attributed to an invisible magic being who no one has ever seen, which is, in practice, indistinguishable from pure human imagination).

Of course even the theist is often at a loss. The Bible can't tell you if it's net neutrality is a societal benefit or harm, or whether it's immoral to use tracking cookies without user permission. It can't tell you anything about how to determine if best practices and generally accepted standards were actually used in constructing a spacecraft or a piece of software. The best they can do is claim ownership of underlying principles like "don't steal" or "don't murder" but for 98% of actual civil interactions they have nothing to even say. And even there, they lack a holy rule that says, "don't enslave people", "don't rape women", etc. Indeed, they have rules for how to be "good" slave-owners, and tales of heroes in their Bible narratives who offered up their daughters for gang rape in the name of something more important (hospitality and appeasement).

And don't even get me started on how conservative Christians have utterly and permanently destroyed any credibility they may once have had on moral questions by enthusiastically supporting a pussy-grabbing, serial lying, treasonous plutocrat as their leader.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like mordant's post
14-05-2017, 07:54 AM (This post was last modified: 14-05-2017 07:57 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Why I Believe
I agree that "good" and "bad" are entirely subjective, since they are artificial value judgements made by an observer. But if we can come to an agreement of a rough idea about what they mean, then they can be useful. Seajay's description is pretty much the best starting point in my opinion, as it reflects our natural empathy. It's simple and effective for keeping people happy.

The question is then, why do we want people to be happy? Because we do, basically. We've evolved that way as a cooperative species. It has developed as a useful survival trait. Religion often uses the answer that God must have "given us morality", or else we wouldn't care about each other. That just represents a magical explanation for anyone who is ignorant of our ancestry and how natural selection works.

Religious texts, I would say, are roughly a reflection of the morality of the cultures at the time. Or at least, the authors' perceptions of it. People are on the whole fairly easily led, and will fit in with society thinks is acceptable. That's why I find it important to try and take a step back and analyse things from the ground up, rather than simply accepting the status quo.

I find psychopaths extremely interesting. They lack empathy. It's no good trying to appeal to it. So "good" and "bad" will only ever ultimately relate to themselves. In most people however, empathy is naturally present, and it can be nurtured or stifled depending on the environment.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Robvalue's post
14-05-2017, 09:24 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 07:54 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  The question is then, why do we want people to be happy?
An even more basic question, is, "what is happiness"? I mean, for certain sick fucks, happiness is watching (or even making) others suffer.

My definition for happiness is actually defined by a negative. Happiness is the absence of suffering. People too often confuse happiness with fun. But fun is just distracting yourself from your thoughts; happiness is actually just sufficiently reducing the impedance mismatch between what you expect from life and what you get from it. It is therefore a function of good luck and low expectations, combined with careful training of the mind and how it filters / interprets / frames what it perceives.

Metaphorically speaking, happiness is nothing more than a hot cup of coffee made the way I like it and the space and health to enjoy it when / where / how I see fit.

The will to happiness is inherent in everyone. Social reciprocity, compassion, empathy and rational self-interest extend the desire for happiness from ourselves to those around us. Stated in more practical terms, none of us wants to suffer or see others suffer. The latter is at issue even for a psychopath, because you can't protect yourself from suffering if you allow it in society generally, because lack of civil society means your own happiness is eventually compromised. It's just that psychopaths lack the self-awareness to see that or the impulse control to implement it.

Religious morality generally represents a failure to understand that people have different needs and perceptions and cultural norms and that there's nothing inherently wrong with that. It plays to the human tendency to assume that "X worked for me, therefore it will work for everyone, therefore everyone needs X". The canonical example is, a fundie meets a gay person who is unhappy / poor / ill at the moment. The fundie will tend to assume this suffering is due to being gay -- after all, the fundie isn't gay, and they aren't having those problems, and god "clearly" condemns "the gay lifestyle", which condemnation implies that the "lifestyle" is chosen and therefore un-choosable. It must be god punishing them for coloring outside the lines. Casting about for a way to make sense and dispense advice, they latch onto something that has no empirical connection to the actual problem at hand (or even to reality!), and therefore misdiagnose. Indeed, their very misdiagnosis may predispose them not to care about the person they profess to "help" and may even cause them to hate them. Though of course they won't admit to hating or not caring because that, in turn, violates their carefully constructed virtuous self-image which has to conform to yet other rules and regulations.

As I often say, fundamentalist thought is a funhouse hall of mirrors.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like mordant's post
14-05-2017, 10:41 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 02:42 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Have I missed anything?

Nope, haven't missed a thing. Other than it's pretty much just called empathy. Shy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
14-05-2017, 12:32 PM
RE: Why I Believe
Thanks all for the replies

Is anyone else having issues with notifications? They seem pretty random of late, sometimes I get them, other times, nothing.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
14-05-2017, 01:01 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 12:32 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  Thanks all for the replies

Is anyone else having issues with notifications? They seem pretty random of late, sometimes I get them, other times, nothing.
Can't say. I don't rely on them. I would miss half of them anyway in the blizzard of work emails I get daily. I just troll the subforums reading new messages when I'm waiting for a compile cycle or whatever.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes mordant's post
14-05-2017, 01:06 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 06:24 AM)Vera Wrote:  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?)

Haha. Mate was on FB earlier pontificating about how slavery was "unholy" even though God condones it in the OT. I was soooooooo tempted to take him up on it. But I already burned him a few times this past few months and I want to keep him on my friend list so I can torture him occasionally.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
14-05-2017, 01:16 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 01:06 PM)morondog Wrote:  Haha. Mate was on FB earlier pontificating about how slavery was "unholy" even though God condones it in the OT. I was soooooooo tempted to take him up on it. But I already burned him a few times this past few months and I want to keep him on my friend list so I can torture him occasionally.

But how do they do it, maroon, how do they make themselves believe something so blatantly untrue? How can they look at the sky and say it's green? How can they touch the snow and think they've burnt themselves? How can they breathe in the miasma coming off the biggest pile of steaming shit there ever was and think it smells of orange blossom and lilac (god, I miss lilacs so much!)? How do they it?!

Can you ask him if he's ever considered teaching a course about lying to yourself like a champ. Asking for a friend Angel

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Vera's post
14-05-2017, 01:24 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(14-05-2017 01:16 PM)Vera Wrote:  
(14-05-2017 01:06 PM)morondog Wrote:  Haha. Mate was on FB earlier pontificating about how slavery was "unholy" even though God condones it in the OT. I was soooooooo tempted to take him up on it. But I already burned him a few times this past few months and I want to keep him on my friend list so I can torture him occasionally.

But how do they do it, maroon, how do they make themselves believe something so blatantly untrue? How can they look at the sky and say it's green? How can they touch the snow and think they've burnt themselves? How can they breathe in the miasma coming off the biggest pile of steaming shit there ever was and think it smells of orange blossom and lilac (god, I miss lilacs so much!)? How do they it?!

Can you ask him if he's ever considered teaching a course about lying to yourself like a champ. Asking for a friend Angel

Please Vera, it's called Theology. Or theodicy. Or bloody epistemology. Or religious philosophy. Or some combination of all that shit. Because calling it "Lying to yourself 101" kiiiind of makes it a bit hard to do the aforementioned lying. And I wouldn't be surprised at *all* if he were to teach such a course at some point. Dodgy

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like morondog's post
14-05-2017, 01:38 PM
RE: Why I Believe
[Image: theodicycover.jpg]

I was recently told about a woman who's losing her two-year-old to cancer and is pregnant with twins, that this (the pregnancy) is god trying to make things better, glory be...

... in her defence, the person who said this did stop before she finished, because she knows my opinion on the subject. I just... I sincerely don't understand how *anyone* can think like this... Then again, I was also recently told about a couple who became vehemently religious (Seventh Day adventists, at that) after losing their child - that was, obviously, god's way of helping them find him. (Hell, my neighbour lost both her children, son at 15 to suicide and daughter at 40 to cancer, and she, too, was an ardent Seventh Day adventist.)

This doesn't even make me mad. Just so incredibly, unbelievably, indescribably sad...

"I burn down your cities-how blind you must be
I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
You all must be crazy to put your faith in me
That's why I love mankind
You really need me
That's why I love mankind"




"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Vera's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: