Your Moral Compass
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25-09-2010, 01:03 AM
RE: Your Moral Compass
Another point to add. Is breaking a law that is immoral in its intent and being, immoral? Hiding Jews in Nazi Germany was illegal, but not immoral.
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25-09-2010, 08:11 PM
RE: Your Moral Compass
I'm no evolutionary biologist. But I was always under the impression that our morality was a positive trait that enabled our species to be so successful. Look at any social animals. Piranha's typically don't eat each other. Chimpanzees typically won't kill each other [ assuming they are in the same clan ]. I think morality is a social behavior attribute that creatures need to be successful. If those rules weren't set in place, all chaos could break loose and that species wouldn't be successful, and therefore parish.

(20-09-2010 09:46 AM)athnostic Wrote:  When I was a christian, I never gave a thought to where my morals came from. I assumed, like all christians, that they came from god.

Now that I'm an atheist, I've had to rethink my morality, where it comes from, and the guiding principles by which I can become the best human being possible.

Here are my questions:

What role did the evolution of our ability to empathize play in the development of our morality?

What ethical principles do you live your life by and why?
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26-09-2010, 02:24 PM
 
RE: Your Moral Compass
(25-09-2010 01:03 AM)No J. Wrote:  Another point to add. Is breaking a law that is immoral in its intent and being, immoral? Hiding Jews in Nazi Germany was illegal, but not immoral.

Breaking laws that are immoral definitely isn't immoral. It's moral. The fact that we would all probably agree with this says something about morality too. Smile
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12-11-2010, 05:58 PM
 
RE: Your Moral Compass
I think your morals start with your upbringing (parents, siblings, other family and family friends), Then you take things from school and other social things like being around friends and different interactions you witness. As you get older you are able to kind of have your on set of morals.

You don't need religion for morals. That is for sure. Look at your dog, does he bite you? No you taught him that was bad when he was a puppy.
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13-11-2010, 10:00 AM
RE: Your Moral Compass
Morality seems to change from culture to culture and even community to community. What is considered perfectly fine where I live would probably be a scandal in other parts of the US.

I always try to follow a simple rule of treating people the way I would want and expect them to treat me. And, I'll even extend that to treating people's children the way I would want and expect them to treat my own. Obviously you will get into some personal nuances this way but if you make it a point to defer to the most conservative position (which I admittedly don't always do), you generally can't go wrong.

Practical examples of this for me is if a cashier throws me an extra $10 and I realize it, I will give it back to him or her. I've no interest in stealing $10 from someone. I treat my employers money as if it were my own. I don't take things that don't belong to me, I say "please" and "thank you" to people with service jobs and I never assume people are there for my convenience. I avoid using profanity in public places and in front of children and, where possible, avoid walking around naked in public.

It's really not that difficult in my view.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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13-11-2010, 11:11 AM
 
RE: Your Moral Compass
Sam Harris has a new book out on it. Just so you know-

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/...landscape/

Apparently he feels that "morals" can be scientifically determined by analyzing how different actions affect the human brain and which actions produce the most positive results.
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13-11-2010, 12:40 PM
 
RE: Your Moral Compass
I was raised in a Christian family. To my knowledge no one on either side of the family line were atheist. When I adopted atheism as my personal philosophy, I never set to discern what adjustments needed to be made now that I'd found a new path to venture down.
When I was brought up I was never told the morality that my family instilled came from God. I was simply instructed and witnessed the example, of what it meant to be a decent human being. Compassionate, empathetic, honorable, upright and of strong character.

So, when I ventured toward atheism, the person I was bearing those aforementioned qualities was simply now an atheist.
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28-12-2010, 05:07 PM
 
RE: Your Moral Compass
The golden rule is a good thing. But what I think is important to reflect on why we all feel that this is a good rule to live? It is also a question we must answer if we want to discuss this theists. They were obviously on the ground that their god commands them. The easy solution is not available to us.
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01-01-2011, 09:27 PM
RE: Your Moral Compass
(28-12-2010 05:07 PM)cherylfoster Wrote:  The golden rule is a good thing. But what I think is important to reflect on why we all feel that this is a good rule to live? It is also a question we must answer if we want to discuss this theists. They were obviously on the ground that their god commands them. The easy solution is not available to us.

Yes it is. If we treated everyone else the way we wanted to be treated, we would end up being treated the way we want to be treated much of the time. We also would know we are being decent people by our own choice and not out of fear of reprisal.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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02-01-2011, 11:24 AM
RE: Your Moral Compass
1.Morality is necessary for all social species.See the Silverfox Experiment too see how transition from solitary to group lifestyle changes morality.

2.I agree with the golden rule - or a secular form of karma if you will.
I don't think that legal consequences are what keep people moral.I think it's a learn & nurture mentality - fear can keep people in line but that doesn't mean that's the only reason they refrain from murder/theft/rape etc.

My own opinion is that rape is the only unjustifiable action.
Murder may be justifiable in war or self defense , theft for survival and lying to protect people.I can't find any reason why rape could be justified so it's my no.1 capital sin.
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