Why I bother....
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14-10-2014, 03:05 PM
RE: Why I bother....
(13-10-2014 03:24 PM)Tsukho Wrote:  Is Christianity based on previous myths?
If God exists and the Bible is true, then Christ as a person predates human creation. Christianity did not begin with Christ's birth on earth as Jesus. The person of Christ and God's intention to save his children predates humanity and all "myths." This is not a story of a hero fighting evil. There is no fighting with God. This is a story about reconciliation and a father who sacrificed to bring his children out of destruction. It began in our timeline as soon as the original sin occurred and has been playing throughout history. Everything else is the spin-off.
This is dishonest. Even in your view with God always existing, Jesus came to Earth at a specific time. That time was after the other stories that were similar. God didn't write the Jesus stories - humans did. And those humans already knew of the other stories or at least some variation of them.

(13-10-2014 03:24 PM)Tsukho Wrote:  Why all the similar myths? (Two reasons.)
If Satan exists as the Bible claims, then he is at war with God's children and he is a terrible adversary. Human intelligence pales in comparison. He knew God before our existence and is well aware of God's character. Wouldn't you think he had a good idea of God's plans and would put in place as much misinformation and propaganda as possible? He's at war. What else would he do?
Also, humans have known about God for six thousand years. As you point out, many stories are told, retold, changed and told again. This does not preclude an original story from being true.
Ah, the old deceit and deception. Well, even if true, then you just admitted from your own perspective that there is a very great chance that all the Jesus stories are merely products of Satan's deception - which of course still means untrue. Drinking Beverage

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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14-10-2014, 03:08 PM
RE: Why I bother....
(14-10-2014 03:05 PM)Impulse Wrote:  Even if true, then you just admitted from your own perspective that there is a very great chance that all the Jesus stories are merely products of Satan's deception - which of course still means untrue. Drinking Beverage

It's also unfalsifiable, by that (non)logic.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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14-10-2014, 03:40 PM (This post was last modified: 14-10-2014 03:59 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: Why I bother....
(14-10-2014 01:46 PM)Tsukho Wrote:  Timber1025,

Thanks for cutting through the fat. Let me be more plain, and correct me if I'm wrong.

Atheism would hold that we are simply natural creatures, spawned into a universe by accident. In universal context, we have no more meaning than a virus and no greater claim to survival. As far as we can tell from natural science, when we're dead, we're really dead. Morality is simply a set of mutually agreed upon rules for living together, but really have no meaning in and of themselves other than to facilitate society. Laws of physics exists, but laws of morality do not.

If this is so, shouldn't the atheist obey laws and live within society's mores as best helps him, but if he find it's better for him to shed morals, then do that?

Here's where I see the atheist contradiction. The Big Bang, evolution and natural selection is all you have, but you still take umbrage and skirt the point about morality as if it's objective and universal. You said, "If you cannot love your children with evolution being more true than a god, then you are warped and an ignorant twit." But you still haven't answered the question as to why. I can tell you an objective reason why we love our children, but you can't tell me, because you don't have an answer, at least that I've been able to find.

When I research aesthetic morality, all I find is reasoning about building society and living in harmony.

If morality is based around the advancement of our society as the greatest good (and no one can tell me why that is), then we're going about this the wrong way. Let's euthanize the weak, test for the best genes, and create a hive society. No unwanted children, slackers or old people. Or if some guy is smart enough or strong enough to steal your mate, grab your stuff, and push you outside of the circle, well good for him. It's better that he passes on his DNA than you, anyways.

On the other hand, if morality is based around building society as a way to help the individual, then the individual's benefit is paramount. Eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow may never come. If it turns out better for the individual to take advantage of society instead, then that's not only logical, but perhaps even moral.

Do you see the contradiction in following a system with no moral absolutes, yet then insisting people follow them? Who's being warped now? Why not be intellectually honest and say morals are non-binding constructs people adhere to when trying to live in a society. But that's just their opinion. You can bypass it if you want, just don't get caught, or they might make you pay because you trespassed their personal rules.

I must be missing something. What is it?

Tsukho,

First allow me a small apology, we have had a small herd of drive by "you are going to hell" ignorant creationists come through recently, so some of us are a bit....quick to jump, myself included.

I would love nothing more than to enter an intellectual discourse with you on anything related to religion, morality, or atheism. You will find I am fluent on mythology/religion. I can speak the Xtianity abrahamic based anthropocentric theory of god to great detail, even if I am a light weight here compared to others.

First I would like to invite you to a one on one discussion. As the sole person in a thread versus 30 atheists ripping your comments apart it is hard to make sense of all the mayhem...or to thoughtfully reply to any of it. We have a sub forum where only you and I can talk, but everyone can watch. I am busy as I am sure you are, but I drive by daily. I will paste the link below:

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...vil-debate

Now to give you a little food for thought on morality, I will post below a paper I wrote on this.

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Moral Theology is the study of how persons live in response to what God has done for them (Mueller 221).

Morality is concerned with human conduct but goes to a deeper level of personhood, such that our conduct is a reflection of who we are, a reflection of our character (Mueller 221).

Ethics can be defined as a discussion of the formation of human conduct… How responsible human beings capable of critical judgment should live using reflection on fundamental issues in description of concrete cases (Mueller 221).

Conscience is the voice of God written in our hearts, in accordance with the second Vatican Council. Natural law is considered one of the major sources of moral theology and answers the question: how do I know what is good or evil? Christians believe that natural law has been a factor in our decisions of what is morally right and wrong, good and evil (Mueller 222 – 227).

“This people who may personally and individually be moral and good people and have no intention of conflict and harm on others often share a Christian theory called the collective guilt “social sin.” (Mueller 257). The depths that theists go to fabricate the conception of sin knows no bounds, here you can be a good person yet you still have “social sin”. John Paul II said that social sins are “collective behavior of certain social groups, big or small, or even of whole nations or blocks of nations” (Mueller 258). Social sin becomes personal sin of individuals through complicity, indifference, or reluctance of those in a position to exert influence for change who do not do so (Mueller 258).

Catholic social teaching looks to gospel teaching to form the moral foundation the Catholic approach to questions of social justice. And assist the disciple in the ongoing task of reflecting on the challenge of Jesus in the sermon on the Mount and in discerning what it means in a consumer, technological, and globalized society to be poor in spirit and to embrace a sorrowing and the lowly (Mueller 260).


Secular morality is the aspect of philosophy that deals with morality outside of religious traditions. Modern examples include humanism, freethinking, and most versions of consequentialism. Additional philosophies with ancient roots include those such as skepticism and virtue ethics. Greg M. Epstein states that, "much of ancient Far Eastern thought is deeply concerned with human goodness without placing much if any stock in the importance of gods or spirits. Other philosophers have proposed various ideas about how to determine right and wrong actions. An example is Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative: "The idea that actions can only be considered moral if they could be imitated by anyone else and produce good results."

A variety of positions are apparent regarding the relationship between religion and morality. Some believe that religion is necessary as a guide to a moral life. This idea has been with us for nearly 2,000 years. There are various thoughts regarding how this idea has arisen. For example, Greg Epstein suggests that this idea is connected to a concerted effort by theists to question nonreligious ideas: "conservative authorities have, since ancient days, had a clever counter strategy against religious skepticism—convincing people that atheism is evil, and then accusing their enemies of being atheists.

Others eschew the idea that religion is required to provide a guide to right and wrong behavior. Interestingly the Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics states that religion and morality "are to be defined differently and have no definitional connections with each other". Some believe that religions provide poor guides to moral behavior.

Popular atheist author and biologist Richard Dawkins, writing in The God Delusion, has stated that religious people have committed a wide variety of acts and held certain beliefs through history that are considered today to be morally repugnant. He has stated that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis held broadly Christian religious beliefs that inspired the Holocaust on account of antisemitic Christian doctrine, that Christians have traditionally imposed unfair restrictions on the legal and civil rights of women, and that Christians have condoned slavery of some form or description throughout most of Christianity's history. Dawkins insists that, since Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Bible have changed over the span of history so that what was formerly seen as permissible is now seen as impermissible, it is intellectually dishonest for them to believe theism provides an absolute moral foundation apart from secular intuition. In addition, he argued that since Christians and other religious groups do not acknowledge the binding authority of all parts of their holy texts (e.g., The books of Exodus and Leviticus state that those who work on the Sabbath and those caught performing acts of homosexuality, respectively, were to be put to death.), they are already capable of distinguishing "right" from "wrong." (Boghossian 248).

The well-known passage from Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, "If God is dead, all is permitted," suggests that non-believers would not hold moral lives without the possibility of punishment by a God. This is absurd as all one has to do is look at Denamrk or Sweden to see that these largely atheist areas enjoy being at the top tier of civilization. This is broken down in great detail in a book by Phil Zuckerman, "Society without god".

Phil Zuckerman, associate professor of sociology at Pitzer College in California, in his article, "Is Faith Good For Us" states the following: "A comparison of highly irreligious countries with highly religious countries, however, reveals a very different state of affairs. In reality, the most secular countries-those with the highest proportion of atheists and agnostics-are among the most stable, peaceful, free, wealthy, and healthy societies. And the most religious nations-wherein worship of God is in abundance-are among the most unstable, violent, oppressive, poor, and destitute."

A study by Gregory S. Paul, entitled "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look," was done and the study's conclusion was that there was an inverse relationship between religion and poor societal health rates. What that means is that the higher the level of religious belief in a country, the lower the level of societal health (more violent crimes, suicides, teen pregnancies, etc.).

So it seems that a plethora of evidence exists to show that not only do we not need religion in our lives to be good humans, but that having it in our lives can be counter-productive and unhealthy.

Works cited


Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.

Boghossian, Peter. A Manual for Creating Atheists. Durham: Pitchstone Publishing, 2013. Print.

Zuckerman, Phil. Society without god: What the least religious nations can tell us about contentment. New York: New York University Press, 2008. Print.

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Looking forward to learning from each other....

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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14-10-2014, 04:17 PM
RE: Why I bother....
Chas,

Quote:I said: Atheism would hold that we are simply natural creatures, spawned into a universe by accident.
You said: No, it wouldn't. Atheism is not a philosophy or an explanation. It is a position of skepticism on the claims of religion; it is a lack of belief in gods.

I stand corrected. How about this? If atheism is a correct philosophy and there is no God, then by default the most likely scenario is evolution.

Quote:I said: In universal context, we have no more meaning than a virus and no greater claim to survival.
You said: Except we have consciousness, viruses do not. Viruses can't even be said to be alive.

Yes, we have consciousness and viruses don't, but that's not salient, unless you're saying the universe would prefer that we survive over a lower organism because we're smarter. Select a different organism of your choosing.

Quote:I said: Morality is simply a set of mutually agreed upon rules for living together, but really have no meaning in and of themselves other than to facilitate society.
You said: Not quite true. The evidence is that people have an evolved basic moral sense.

Assuming evolution to be true and that humans developed a basic moral sense, my point still stands. I'm not obligated to obey my moral sense any more than my olfactory sense, and the universe is ambivalent to both.

Quote:I said: Laws of physics exists, but laws of morality do not.
You said: Laws of physics are human-created descriptions of observation of the universe.

Yes, the point being that although the universe functions in accordance with the observed phenomenon we call the laws of physics, the universe does not depend on the concept of morality to function.

Quote:I said: If this is so, shouldn't the atheist obey laws and live within society's mores as best helps him, but if he find it's better for him to shed morals, then do that?
You said: That is certainly a rational argument, if you ignore empathy.

Agreed. If the baseline of no objective morality is self gratification, then it is rational to ignore empathy.

Quote:I said: Here's where I see the atheist contradiction. The Big Bang, evolution and natural selection is all you have,
You said: Nope. We also have art, music, dance, wonder, excitement, love, friendship, and bacon.

Everyone loves bacon. But my point is more along the lines that if God does not exists then these things and a few other imagine define our existence in this universe.

Quote:I said: but you still take umbrage and skirt the point about morality as if it's objective and universal.
You said: Our shared basic morality is sort of universal and objective, but the rest is subjective and negotiated.

I think you're using the word universal to mean shared and common. But I'm making the correlation that atheists seem to treat morality as if it were a natural phenomenon like gravity, as if it exists objectively in the universe and must be obeyed.

Quote:I said, "If you cannot love your children with evolution being more true than a god, then you are warped and an ignorant twit." But you still haven't answered the question as to why. I can tell you an objective reason why we love our children, but you can't tell me, because you don't have an answer, at least that I've been able to find.
You said: I think that's out of context, so I can't comment.

On the contrary, it comes from his previous post and directly speaks to the conversation. As an atheist, he espouses both evolution and morality. I'm asking if he can provide a logical, objective, argument that a father should love his children.

Quote:I said: When I research aesthetic morality, all I find is reasoning about building society and living in harmony.
You said: And human rights, dignity, respect, ...

Where did these come from? Are they inalienable? Who gives me these rights? If a society says human rights are evil, am I bad to try to appropriate them? Are these ideas dreamed up by people trying to hammer out a society for us all to get along? Are they equal for everyone? If I take yours, is that fair?
This is what I'm talking about. You speak about these things like they are truths of the universe separate from humans and we must obey them, instead of just concepts we humans devised and which we can change with a majority vote.

Quote:I said: If morality is based around the advancement of our society as the greatest good (and no one can tell me why that is),
You said: And no one here has said that, either.

I bring up two reasons for morality that I could understand, if there were no God. This is the first possibility. I often hear or read that morality a social construct to help our society (humanity or species) continue. Perhaps I should use the word species, not society.

Quote:I said: then we're going about this the wrong way. Let's euthanize the weak, test for the best genes, and create a hive society. No unwanted children, slackers or old people. Or if some guy is smart enough or strong enough to steal your mate, grab your stuff, and push you outside of the circle, well good for him. It's better that he passes on his DNA than you, anyways.
You said: OK, you just went off the rails. I call straw man extraordinaire on that.

Chas, what are you talking about? History is replete with example of what people do when morality is situation based and people start thinking that society would best be served by picking who gets to live.

Quote:I said: On the other hand, if morality is based around building society as a way to help the individual, then the individual's benefit is paramount. Eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow may never come. If it turns out better for the individual to take advantage of society instead, then that's not only logical, but perhaps even moral.
You said: False dichotomy, straw man.

If there are other options, please bring them out in the conversation. This is the second reason I hear for human-based morality. Morals help us get along so we all benefit. However if I can get along fine without you, then I have no need to follow your morals, I can follow mine, which may conflict with yours. Who's moral then?

Quote:I said: Who's being warped now? Why not be intellectually honest and say morals are non-binding constructs people adhere to when trying to live in a society. But that's just their opinion.
You said: You again left out empathy.

Your point is that a man must simply overcome the uncomfortable feelings of empathizing with others when he does something they think is immoral? Or that empathy is a universal truth we all must obey, like gravity?

These are the reasons I can think of when I think of human-based morality and also what I find when reading about other people's musings. Do you see others?
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14-10-2014, 04:27 PM
RE: Why I bother....
TheInquisition,

Why is this an issue? Go get a Bible and an applicable concordance and look up the Hebrew yourself.

Or perhaps you might try viewing some Japanese to English commercials on Youtube to understand interpretation is important. Not to even mention all of literature, philosophy and similar human endeavors

"All your base are belong to us."
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14-10-2014, 04:31 PM
RE: Why I bother....
Mathilda,

Read in context. The topic is morals. The question is why we SHOULD love our children.
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14-10-2014, 04:35 PM
RE: Why I bother....
Zippo,

Apologies for blanket statements. And thanks for the kind welcome.

I appreciate you being open, too. Being able to have a discussion without demonizing or belittling the other person is an excellent trait.

Thank you.
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14-10-2014, 04:38 PM
RE: Why I bother....
I posit that morals predated religion. This is because man predated religion. As man evolved and went from small hunter gatherer groups of wandering tribes and became more settled into villages, they evolved societal norms of expected and appropriate behavior. Killing each other doesn't make for a happy, safe trusting intra village relationship, neither does raping anyone you want, stealing someone else's food etc.

Since women were of special value because they bore children, which kept the village strong and defendable, they were a protected class. Anything that countered that one would think would be a negative development. This is purely my opinion, I have no way to prove it, but it is a view popular with sociologists when we look at how societies developed, laws and societal moral standards developed, accepted behavior etc. This is supported when one studies indigenous people who have had no contact with religion or even civilized people, and to no surprise these fundamental expectations of behavior are viewed there as well....all without "god".

..years later when the villagers would ask the elders why did the baby die, why did the crops not grow, why did the mountain get angry and spout smoke and fire, why did the rain wash out the village, the elders had to come up with answers..."the mountain god is angry we must appease it' Then man figured out how powerful this became, people turned to their elders for answers and thus that gave them power. Religion began and has been exploited ever since to control and subjugate people. Then when they began to write things down, they incorporated accepted societal norms as the word of "god".

Again, this is based on sociological studies, human psychology and the study of the development of societal norms. Secular morality is the aspect of philosophy that deals with morality outside of religious traditions. Modern examples include humanism, freethinking, and most versions of consequentialism. Additional philosophies with ancient roots include those such as skepticism and virtue ethics. Greg M. Epstein states that, "much of ancient Far Eastern thought is deeply concerned with human goodness without placing much if any stock in the importance of gods or spirits.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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14-10-2014, 04:39 PM
RE: Why I bother....
(14-10-2014 04:27 PM)Tsukho Wrote:  TheInquisition,

Why is this an issue? Go get a Bible and an applicable concordance and look up the Hebrew yourself.

Or perhaps you might try viewing some Japanese to English commercials on Youtube to understand interpretation is important. Not to even mention all of literature, philosophy and similar human endeavors

"All your base are belong to us."

There is no way to adjudicate between competing claims. One's interpretation is only an opinion, there are tens of thousands of Christian sects alone, each one based on an interpretation.
Because the bible can, and has been used to justify a multitude of atrocities, it renders itself a useless text. How many atrocities has the bible generated due to mis-guided interpretation? This is the hiding place of the charlatan, the tyrant, the suicidal cult, etc.
I'm simply not interested in your interpretation, it has no inherent value in it.
The only way you gain credibility external to the bible is with evidence.
There's that word again.....

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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14-10-2014, 04:41 PM
RE: Why I bother....
Mathilda,

I agree completely. Agreement of terms is very important. It hampers the discussion on my side just as much. For instance, when an atheist says an action is good, what does that mean?

Good compared to what? What makes the action better than the other action? By who's perspective is that measured? Is that attribute immutable or does it vary by the situation?
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