Moral Compass of an atheist?

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#151 Posted by MethoKi (12588 posts) - - Show Bio

The funny thing about morality and the Abrahamic religions is that it seems as though it was intended for humans not to have a moral compass. (Read Genesis)

We were supposed to blindly follow orders given, hence why I think Eve listened to the Serpent when he told her she would know what good and evil were.

To answer the question; morals are subjective and more of a social construct. This is not to say that they're meaningless, but that we make them and that we ultimately decide ourselves what's 'right' and 'wrong'. As broad a spectrum it can be seen as, most modern and civil societies agree on the most part on a basic 'do's and don'ts'. I'd say it's because we as animals along with any other living species have a duty to pass our genes on as much as possible.

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#152 Posted by Emperordmb (1987 posts) - - Show Bio

The funny thing about morality and the Abrahamic religions is that it seems as though it was intended for humans not to have a moral compass. (Read Genesis)

We were supposed to blindly follow orders given, hence why I think Eve listened to the Serpent when he told her she would know what good and evil were.

The concept of the Original Sin is in my view more of an allegory for how there is a pervasive capacity for sin amongst mankind. There are two important aspects to the original sin, one of which is that said act in the Bible bestowed upon humans an understanding of morality. The second aspect is in the nature of the fact that Eve was tempted by the prospect of becoming like God, driven by a desire to put herself on the same level as God which justified God’s direct command to her, a God-complex very accurately displaying the nature of pride, which is known as the father of all sin for a good reason. Arrogance is both what tempts us towards evil, and what allows us to justify acting out that motivation against morality, and I couldn’t think of a better allegorical way of showing that than to have a person sin in a way that God literally told them not to do with the intention of putting themselves on God’s level. So when the original sin is viewed as an allegory for why we have the capacity for sin, it conveys a truth that you don’t even have to be religious to recognize. We have a capacity for evil because we possess a knowledge of morality (as is bestowed by the fruit in Genesis) that makes us accountable for our actions, and because there is the insidious nature of pride which allows us to be motivated towards evil (as was the motivation for eating the fruit in Genesis).

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#153 Edited by AlphaQ (6729 posts) - - Show Bio

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

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#154 Posted by Skrskr (3908 posts) - - Show Bio

If you followed everything in the Bible and could honestly say everything in the Bible is a representation of your thoughts you would be considered extremely amoral in today's society.

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#155 Posted by MrHamWallet (3194 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a poor line of questioning and reasoning.

I consider myself atheist, though I may be closer to athiest-agnostic or whatever of those labels closest fits me...tbh I don't care to much.

My view is basically that religions are bs but I wouldn't ever say I 100% believe that there is no "God" because that's basically as ignorant as saying "I 100% know there is a God and it's my one". I also don't believe in a "God" because I don't believe it's worth believing in something there is no evidence of, but I do believe in the possibility.

With that out the way, my moral compass was developed by my family and the environment I grew up in, which luckily was a very good one and I appreciate that not everyone was as lucky with me in that lottery.

Just because I don't have anything to fear doesn't mean I think it's OK to be selfish and horrible, I am able to empathise with others.

Although athiests don't necessarily believe in an afterlife they believe in at least a tiny possibility of one so I guess it could be argued better safe than sorry. (This argument cannot be applied to religion, especially as it is largely based on geography).

As humans live in communities, it makes little sense to be a selfish a hole.

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#156 Edited by just_sayin (3775 posts) - - Show Bio

@alphaq said:

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

I think your logic is flawed. If there is an all powerful person, then he gets to make the rules, because, after all, who is going to stop him. If he also decides to be the final judge on everything then it doesn't really matter what you think or decide. It is good to be god, not so good to be you.

To take your statement that if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution that they aren't really moral, at face value; then that would mean that a psychopath who kills and eats children because they taste like chicken is more moral in your eyes than the god-fearing folk. The guy with the recipe for KFC chicken is doing exactly what he wants and feels is right, the god-fearing folk are curbing their selfish desires to do what they think god would want them to do. Don't take this personally, but I'd much rather have dinner with the bible thumper than the guy bringing a bucket of fried children to the party (unless there is buffalo sauce).

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#157 Edited by AlphaQ (6729 posts) - - Show Bio

@just_sayin said:
@alphaq said:

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

I think your logic is flawed. If there is an all powerful person, then he gets to make the rules, because, after all, who is going to stop him. If he also decides to be the final judge on everything then it doesn't really matter what you think or decide. It is good to be god, not so good to be you.

To take your statement that if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution that they aren't really moral, at face value; then that would mean that a psychopath who kills and eats children because they taste like chicken is more moral in your eyes than the god-fearing folk. The guy with the recipe for KFC chicken is doing exactly what he wants and feels is right, the god-fearing folk are curbing their selfish desires to do what they think god would want them to do. Don't take this personally, but I'd much rather have dinner with the bible thumper than the guy bringing a bucket of fried children to the party (unless there is buffalo sauce).

So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me. A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral.

I mean there isn't really a difference between a cannibal who kills people, and a cannibal who doesn't out of fear. They'd both be willing to eat someone, if they could. The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral. If someone tried to steal my car but I scared them off, they aren't any better than a thief who comes around the next day when I'm not around and succeeds in stealing my car.

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#158 Edited by deactivated-5aeee927346fb (1531 posts) - - Show Bio

I find it amusing that it's either God or moral relativism, God is the biggest moral relativist there is, He goes on a genocide spree in the Old Testament and then has the audacity to proclaim "Thou shalt not kill".

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#159 Posted by SpareHeadOne (7251 posts) - - Show Bio

We all support and follow evil institutions and corporations everyday because if we don't, we get left behind and we can't function in our world.

If we are willing to use goods and services even though we know they support evil, then what's the problem with using the religion of a god who isn't entirely good?

The biblical god has had to use evil to achieve his ends (to bring humanity to maturity, sonship, god-hood). Big deal, get on board with him or don't.

And don't tell me that I am not a loving father to my children just because I do some evil stuff sometimes.

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#160 Posted by dshipp17 (5720 posts) - - Show Bio

@alphaq said:
@just_sayin said:
@alphaq said:

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

I think your logic is flawed. If there is an all powerful person, then he gets to make the rules, because, after all, who is going to stop him. If he also decides to be the final judge on everything then it doesn't really matter what you think or decide. It is good to be god, not so good to be you.

To take your statement that if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution that they aren't really moral, at face value; then that would mean that a psychopath who kills and eats children because they taste like chicken is more moral in your eyes than the god-fearing folk. The guy with the recipe for KFC chicken is doing exactly what he wants and feels is right, the god-fearing folk are curbing their selfish desires to do what they think god would want them to do. Don't take this personally, but I'd much rather have dinner with the bible thumper than the guy bringing a bucket of fried children to the party (unless there is buffalo sauce).

So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me. A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral.

I mean there isn't really a difference between a cannibal who kills people, and a cannibal who doesn't out of fear. They'd both be willing to eat someone, if they could. The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral. If someone tried to steal my car but I scared them off, they aren't any better than a thief who comes around the next day when I'm not around and succeeds in stealing my car.

"So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me."

Well, actually, there is a being that fit the criteria that you're describing here; for all intent and purposes, Satan and his demons might as well be omnipotent powerful and he tempts humans to do these things all the time; the only reason he isn't doing those things himself is because he's restricted, at least on Earth; in hell, it's a free for all.

"A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral."

Well, there are many world religions; depends on which one you're driving towards.

"The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral."

And this proves that God's Laws serve a stabilizing function for humanity. And, this, in a nutshell, answers the OP question.

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#161 Edited by deactivated-5aeee927346fb (1531 posts) - - Show Bio

@spareheadone: Was that addressed at me? Regardless, this thread was made with a specific topic in mind, where does morality reside in a Godless universe, the answer is in the same exact place, God's morality is just as subjective and circumstantial as ours.

"The biblical god has had to use evil to achieve his ends", so the end justify the means, where is the cold heart set-in-stone and godly objectivity in that, where is your assurance that what you are doing it truly moral good or not. God as a character is flawed, he's vengeful, he gets angry, he then evolves, he becomes loving, in a sense he's human, because he's just a human creation.

"Big deal, get on board with him or don't", I don't, not just because I don't believe there even is a God, but because even if he does, he's not worth worshiping.

"And don't tell me that I am not a loving father to my children just because I do some evil stuff sometimes", it depends, not all "morally wrong" acts are equivalent, but if you go ahead and start straight up murdering your children, like good ol' Yahweh, then no, you aren't a loving father.

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#162 Edited by BlackLegRaph (5534 posts) - - Show Bio

@darkhoudini said:

I find it amusing that it's either God or moral relativism, God is the biggest moral relativist there is, He goes on a genocide spree in the Old Testament and then has the audacity to proclaim "Thou shalt not kill".

That would only make sense if God was the average Joe who lived down the street, not the ultimate arbiter of justice and morality. God is absolute in his morality, and he only gives humans leeway in ours so we could actually live a practical life. God could not be God if he dealt in arbitrariness.

On to the topic, op is absolutely right. The crux of the issue is that many confuse performing an act with the foundation of that act. You can do whatever you want, but that does not mean that that action logically follows from the foundation of your ideology. Any moral relativism is senseless because no action has anymore worth than any other, so an atheist without a basis for morality can still act good, but their act is meaningless based on the foundation of their ideology.

Every alternative proposed has failed. Just because you can empathize with someone is meaningless if there is no reason to act on that empathy, and if the end result remains the same regardless of whatever you do. Just because it may be better for a society is meaningless because why should an individual put the society above themselves?

Every such response given in this thread has the same issue, and it's unsurprising because many who take that position did so in the first place because they wanted to do things their way. It is a blank slate ideology that allows for anything, therefore making it a meaningless one.

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#163 Posted by SpareHeadOne (7251 posts) - - Show Bio
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#164 Posted by deactivated-5aeee927346fb (1531 posts) - - Show Bio

@blacklegraph:

God is absolute in his morality

He literally isn't, God has broken his own commandments, he has killed, actually he's committed genocide multiple times, but according to his own rules it's morally wrong, guess God can shape morality to fit his needs then... Hmm, where have I encountered this concept before...

Any moral relativism is senseless because no action has anymore worth than any other

So?

so an atheist without a basis for morality can still act good, but their act is meaningless based on the foundation of their ideology.

If doing acts that they deem good makes them feel good, that's all they need to in order to consider an act as good.

Just because you can empathize with someone is meaningless if there is no reason to act on that empathy, and if the end result remains the same regardless of whatever you do. Just because it may be better for a society is meaningless because why should an individual put the society above themselves?

You are using the word meaningless as if it means something, you can only create meaning for yourself. You see someone getting attacked, empathy kicks in and you save their life, you just acted on that empathy and changed the result of that scenario, surprise you actually feel good about it, empathy isn't just a driving force for doing things, it continues even after the action has been completed, if you make someone else feel good then you feel good too, it's a mutually beneficial relationship. And that's all everyone wants, to feel good.

Every such response given in this thread has the same issue, and it's unsurprising because many who take that position did so in the first place because they wanted to do things their way. It is a blank slate ideology that allows for anything, therefore making it a meaningless one.

Everything is allowed, and? Why can't you compute this? Just because everything is theoretically allowed this doesn't mean it does practically as well. Are you technically allowed to go around killing people? Yes. Will you be thrown in jail for it? Also yes. What makes the people that put you in jail objectively "more correct" that you? Nothing at all, they just had the power to do it and you were messing with their community, a community in which they live in, I don't think they felt very safe with a serial killer on the loose, so they took you out of the equation. Plain and simple, you can argue about the semantics of relativistic morality all you want from behind bars, you can write a thesis on how your subjective worldview fell perfectly in line with your killing spree, tough shit, you'll find that convincing people of your opinion is pretty hard to say the least, enjoy the rest of your life in a cell. That's how the world works, it's practical, not theoretical, there's no room for philosophical debates on the nature of "good" and "evil", multiple individuals band together in order to gain more power, they enter a mutually beneficial relationship, a society, when someone acts against one or many of them, they effectively act against all, and the collective power acts back, that's the most basic mechanism with which a society operates on matters of "good" and "bad".

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#165 Edited by Doofasa (2229 posts) - - Show Bio

This is the difference between finding/learning your morality in a book, and finding it everywhere else.

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#166 Posted by AlphaQ (6729 posts) - - Show Bio

@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@just_sayin said:
@alphaq said:

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

I think your logic is flawed. If there is an all powerful person, then he gets to make the rules, because, after all, who is going to stop him. If he also decides to be the final judge on everything then it doesn't really matter what you think or decide. It is good to be god, not so good to be you.

To take your statement that if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution that they aren't really moral, at face value; then that would mean that a psychopath who kills and eats children because they taste like chicken is more moral in your eyes than the god-fearing folk. The guy with the recipe for KFC chicken is doing exactly what he wants and feels is right, the god-fearing folk are curbing their selfish desires to do what they think god would want them to do. Don't take this personally, but I'd much rather have dinner with the bible thumper than the guy bringing a bucket of fried children to the party (unless there is buffalo sauce).

So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me. A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral.

I mean there isn't really a difference between a cannibal who kills people, and a cannibal who doesn't out of fear. They'd both be willing to eat someone, if they could. The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral. If someone tried to steal my car but I scared them off, they aren't any better than a thief who comes around the next day when I'm not around and succeeds in stealing my car.

"So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me."

Well, actually, there is a being that fit the criteria that you're describing here; for all intent and purposes, Satan and his demons might as well be omnipotent powerful and he tempts humans to do these things all the time; the only reason he isn't doing those things himself is because he's restricted, at least on Earth; in hell, it's a free for all.

"A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral."

Well, there are many world religions; depends on which one you're driving towards.

"The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral."

And this proves that God's Laws serve a stabilizing function for humanity. And, this, in a nutshell, answers the OP question.

I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example.

Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so.

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#167 Edited by silent_bomber (4947 posts) - - Show Bio

Hurting other people should make you feel bad/guilty regardless of whether you believe in God or not.

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#168 Posted by Iara (970 posts) - - Show Bio

We don't have one, we're all just waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill you all.

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#169 Edited by dshipp17 (5720 posts) - - Show Bio

@alphaq said:
@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@just_sayin said:
@alphaq said:

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

I think your logic is flawed. If there is an all powerful person, then he gets to make the rules, because, after all, who is going to stop him. If he also decides to be the final judge on everything then it doesn't really matter what you think or decide. It is good to be god, not so good to be you.

To take your statement that if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution that they aren't really moral, at face value; then that would mean that a psychopath who kills and eats children because they taste like chicken is more moral in your eyes than the god-fearing folk. The guy with the recipe for KFC chicken is doing exactly what he wants and feels is right, the god-fearing folk are curbing their selfish desires to do what they think god would want them to do. Don't take this personally, but I'd much rather have dinner with the bible thumper than the guy bringing a bucket of fried children to the party (unless there is buffalo sauce).

So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me. A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral.

I mean there isn't really a difference between a cannibal who kills people, and a cannibal who doesn't out of fear. They'd both be willing to eat someone, if they could. The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral. If someone tried to steal my car but I scared them off, they aren't any better than a thief who comes around the next day when I'm not around and succeeds in stealing my car.

"So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me."

Well, actually, there is a being that fit the criteria that you're describing here; for all intent and purposes, Satan and his demons might as well be omnipotent powerful and he tempts humans to do these things all the time; the only reason he isn't doing those things himself is because he's restricted, at least on Earth; in hell, it's a free for all.

"A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral."

Well, there are many world religions; depends on which one you're driving towards.

"The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral."

And this proves that God's Laws serve a stabilizing function for humanity. And, this, in a nutshell, answers the OP question.

I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example.

Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so.

"I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example."

Well, your original statement wasn't so specific; basically, you said "discovered I had omnipotent power"; you didn't say the most power of anything in existence; so, with your lack of specification, Satan would fit that bill and he would have to do with the attributes that you were describing in your passage (of the Christian religion); you were obviously directing your comment to Christianity under the veiled guise of the general use of the world religion. And, with this further clarification, the attributes you're describing are the attributes of Satan and his demons, not God; you'd need to study this topic on your own some, with the assistance of a Christian Pastor, to get the correct interpretation.

"Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so."

No, it isn't circular logic. Wouldn't you want someone who's all knowing, absolute good, and absolute justice, all at the same time, setting these types of perimeters, as opposed to a random Joe, or, especially Satan or a demon? Had God not set such a rule, humans didn't have a full and clear concept that murder was wrong, but, perhaps, some, given the the encounter involving Cain; and, murdering was described as one of the main reasons for the Great Flood. We have these moral concepts precisely because God introduced them, largely to Moses.

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#170 Posted by AlphaQ (6729 posts) - - Show Bio

@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@just_sayin said:
@alphaq said:

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

I think your logic is flawed. If there is an all powerful person, then he gets to make the rules, because, after all, who is going to stop him. If he also decides to be the final judge on everything then it doesn't really matter what you think or decide. It is good to be god, not so good to be you.

To take your statement that if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution that they aren't really moral, at face value; then that would mean that a psychopath who kills and eats children because they taste like chicken is more moral in your eyes than the god-fearing folk. The guy with the recipe for KFC chicken is doing exactly what he wants and feels is right, the god-fearing folk are curbing their selfish desires to do what they think god would want them to do. Don't take this personally, but I'd much rather have dinner with the bible thumper than the guy bringing a bucket of fried children to the party (unless there is buffalo sauce).

So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me. A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral.

I mean there isn't really a difference between a cannibal who kills people, and a cannibal who doesn't out of fear. They'd both be willing to eat someone, if they could. The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral. If someone tried to steal my car but I scared them off, they aren't any better than a thief who comes around the next day when I'm not around and succeeds in stealing my car.

"So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me."

Well, actually, there is a being that fit the criteria that you're describing here; for all intent and purposes, Satan and his demons might as well be omnipotent powerful and he tempts humans to do these things all the time; the only reason he isn't doing those things himself is because he's restricted, at least on Earth; in hell, it's a free for all.

"A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral."

Well, there are many world religions; depends on which one you're driving towards.

"The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral."

And this proves that God's Laws serve a stabilizing function for humanity. And, this, in a nutshell, answers the OP question.

I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example.

Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so.

"I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example."

Well, your original statement wasn't so specific; basically, you said "discovered I had omnipotent power"; you didn't say the most power of anything in existence; so, with your lack of specification, Satan would fit that bill and he would have to do with the attributes that you were describing in your passage (of the Christian religion); you were obviously directing your comment to Christianity under the veiled guise of the general use of the world religion. And, with this further clarification, the attributes you're describing are the attributes of Satan and his demons, not God; you'd need to study this topic on your own some, with the assistance of a Christian Pastor, to get the correct interpretation.

"Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so."

No, it isn't circular logic. Wouldn't you want someone who's all knowing, absolute good, absolute justice setting these types of perimeters, as opposed to a random Joe, or, especially Satan or a demon? Had God not set such a rule, humans didn't have a concept that murder was wrong; and, murdering was described as one of the main reasons for the Great Flood. We have these moral concepts precisely because God introduced them, largely to Moses.

Omnipotence always includes supreme power over anything and anyone else, since you can't have two beings who can do anything, or at least as far I understand it. So, I wasn't being intentionally unspecific at least.

I honestly wasn't trying to engage with Christianity, and I'd think the way I engaged with ideas like Satan and God wasn't really specific to one faith.

I wasn't prescribing negative characteristics to Christian God intentionally, it was more just for the sake of argument. I know in Christianity God is defined as being perfect (though admittedly some of his actions are questionable to me, but by definition and intent he's perfect).

Interesting. Let's say a god is a perfect moral being, who is absolutely good and just. But is he absolutely good because he "defines" what is good or is it because he has these traits for their own sake? If a demonic entity had supreme power and decided its okay to murder, we wouldn't say he is in the right.

When I was a Christian I wouldn't have said God was the source of morality, he was a being who is absolutely perfect in every way, and we get a lot of our wisdom about morality from his instruction, but morality was external from his decree. If God decided it was okay to kill, I wouldn't have agreed (though from what I understood he would never actually do this).

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#171 Edited by dshipp17 (5720 posts) - - Show Bio

@alphaq said:
@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@just_sayin said:
@alphaq said:

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

I think your logic is flawed. If there is an all powerful person, then he gets to make the rules, because, after all, who is going to stop him. If he also decides to be the final judge on everything then it doesn't really matter what you think or decide. It is good to be god, not so good to be you.

To take your statement that if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution that they aren't really moral, at face value; then that would mean that a psychopath who kills and eats children because they taste like chicken is more moral in your eyes than the god-fearing folk. The guy with the recipe for KFC chicken is doing exactly what he wants and feels is right, the god-fearing folk are curbing their selfish desires to do what they think god would want them to do. Don't take this personally, but I'd much rather have dinner with the bible thumper than the guy bringing a bucket of fried children to the party (unless there is buffalo sauce).

So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me. A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral.

I mean there isn't really a difference between a cannibal who kills people, and a cannibal who doesn't out of fear. They'd both be willing to eat someone, if they could. The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral. If someone tried to steal my car but I scared them off, they aren't any better than a thief who comes around the next day when I'm not around and succeeds in stealing my car.

"So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me."

Well, actually, there is a being that fit the criteria that you're describing here; for all intent and purposes, Satan and his demons might as well be omnipotent powerful and he tempts humans to do these things all the time; the only reason he isn't doing those things himself is because he's restricted, at least on Earth; in hell, it's a free for all.

"A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral."

Well, there are many world religions; depends on which one you're driving towards.

"The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral."

And this proves that God's Laws serve a stabilizing function for humanity. And, this, in a nutshell, answers the OP question.

I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example.

Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so.

"I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example."

Well, your original statement wasn't so specific; basically, you said "discovered I had omnipotent power"; you didn't say the most power of anything in existence; so, with your lack of specification, Satan would fit that bill and he would have to do with the attributes that you were describing in your passage (of the Christian religion); you were obviously directing your comment to Christianity under the veiled guise of the general use of the world religion. And, with this further clarification, the attributes you're describing are the attributes of Satan and his demons, not God; you'd need to study this topic on your own some, with the assistance of a Christian Pastor, to get the correct interpretation.

"Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so."

No, it isn't circular logic. Wouldn't you want someone who's all knowing, absolute good, absolute justice setting these types of perimeters, as opposed to a random Joe, or, especially Satan or a demon? Had God not set such a rule, humans didn't have a concept that murder was wrong; and, murdering was described as one of the main reasons for the Great Flood. We have these moral concepts precisely because God introduced them, largely to Moses.

Omnipotence always includes supreme power over anything and anyone else, since you can't have two beings who can do anything, or at least as far I understand it. So, I wasn't being intentionally unspecific at least.

I honestly wasn't trying to engage with Christianity, and I'd think the way I engaged with ideas like Satan and God wasn't really specific to one faith.

I wasn't prescribing negative characteristics to Christian God intentionally, it was more just for the sake of argument. I know in Christianity God is defined as being perfect (though admittedly some of his actions are questionable to me, but by definition and intent he's perfect).

Interesting. Let's say a god is a perfect moral being, who is absolutely good and just. But is he absolutely good because he "defines" what is good or is it because he has these traits for their own sake? If a demonic entity had supreme power and decided its okay to murder, we wouldn't say he is in the right.

When I was a Christian I wouldn't have said God was the source of morality, he was a being who is absolutely perfect in every way, and we get a lot of our wisdom about morality from his instruction, but morality was external from his decree. If God decided it was okay to kill, I wouldn't have agreed (though from what I understood he would never actually do this).

"When I was a Christian I wouldn't have said God was the source of morality, he was a being who is absolutely perfect in every way, and we get a lot of our wisdom about morality from his instruction, but morality was external from his decree. If God decided it was okay to kill, I wouldn't have agreed (though from what I understood he would never actually do this)."

Wow, claiming to be a former Christian and beforehand, claiming that you weren't taking a shot at God.

"Omnipotence always includes supreme power over anything and anyone else, since you can't have two beings who can do anything, or at least as far I understand it. So, I wasn't being intentionally unspecific at least."

Omnipotence could also just be the most powerful being that you know; but, your knowledge alone wouldn't make that the most powerful being.

"I wasn't prescribing negative characteristics to Christian God intentionally, it was more just for the sake of argument. I know in Christianity God is defined as being perfect (though admittedly some of his actions are questionable to me, but by definition and intent he's perfect)."

Well, that's a generalized statement that could encompass your previous statement; are you saying that some of these questionable actions included the actions that you'd previously specified?

"Interesting. Let's say a god is a perfect moral being, who is absolutely good and just. But is he absolutely good because he "defines" what is good or is it because he has these traits for their own sake? If a demonic entity had supreme power and decided its okay to murder, we wouldn't say he is in the right."

It could be both, he defines good and he displays the said traits. A demonic entity does have supreme power, it's just that the angelic beings and God are more powerful. And, because of that and the attributes demonic beings portray is the reason why we say the being's actions are not right. By the way, murder and kill have two very different meanings (e.g. one could be right, but the other could only be wrong).

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#172 Posted by MethoKi (12588 posts) - - Show Bio

@batman242 said:

The funny thing about morality and the Abrahamic religions is that it seems as though it was intended for humans not to have a moral compass. (Read Genesis)

We were supposed to blindly follow orders given, hence why I think Eve listened to the Serpent when he told her she would know what good and evil were.

The concept of the Original Sin is in my view more of an allegory for how there is a pervasive capacity for sin amongst mankind.

To my understanding of the concept of first humans, they were made without the ability to sin nor the knowledge of it. God did make them 'perfect'.

There are two important aspects to the original sin, one of which is that said act in the Bible bestowed upon humans an understanding of morality. The second aspect is in the nature of the fact that Eve was tempted by the prospect of becoming like God, driven by a desire to put herself on the same level as God which justified God’s direct command to her

I don't think it was a justification, because he was the one to tempt her to begin with by putting such an item in literal arm's length.

Arrogance is both what tempts us towards evil, and what allows us to justify acting out that motivation against morality, and I couldn’t think of a better allegorical way of showing that than to have a person sin in a way that God literally told them not to do with the intention of putting themselves on God’s level.

God himself was in no way clear on precisely why he did not want for them to eat of the fruit, but only gave a consequence. These were his only words on the topic;

"And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” - Genesis 2:16-17

He gave them a seemingly arbitrary instruction to begin with.

We have a capacity for evil because we possess a knowledge of morality (as is bestowed by the fruit in Genesis) that makes us accountable for our actions, and because there is the insidious nature of pride which allows us to be motivated towards evil (as was the motivation for eating the fruit in Genesis).

So he made us without sin, but forgot to take away the insidious trait known as pride that would ultimately lead us to ruin?

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#173 Edited by Emperordmb (1987 posts) - - Show Bio

To my understanding of the concept of first humans, they were made without the ability to sin nor the knowledge of it. God did make them 'perfect'.

There are two important aspects to the original sin, one of which is that said act in the Bible bestowed upon humans an understanding of morality. The second aspect is in the nature of the fact that Eve was tempted by the prospect of becoming like God, driven by a desire to put herself on the same level as God which justified God’s direct command to her

I don't think it was a justification, because he was the one to tempt her to begin with by putting such an item in literal arm's length.

Arrogance is both what tempts us towards evil, and what allows us to justify acting out that motivation against morality, and I couldn’t think of a better allegorical way of showing that than to have a person sin in a way that God literally told them not to do with the intention of putting themselves on God’s level.

God himself was in no way clear on precisely why he did not want for them to eat of the fruit, but only gave a consequence. These were his only words on the topic;

"And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” - Genesis 2:16-17

He gave them a seemingly arbitrary instruction to begin with.

We have a capacity for evil because we possess a knowledge of morality (as is bestowed by the fruit in Genesis) that makes us accountable for our actions, and because there is the insidious nature of pride which allows us to be motivated towards evil (as was the motivation for eating the fruit in Genesis).

So he made us without sin, but forgot to take away the insidious trait known as pride that would ultimately lead us to ruin?

As per your statement about early man being made without sin and without knowledge of sin, sin requires a certain level of awareness, so it's impossible to Sin if you have no understanding of morality.

I don't view the Garden of Eden story as literal as I just told you, I view it as an allegory. I don't need to justify God putting the fruit in distance of the Adam and Even, God allowing humans to eat the fruit, God giving an arbitrary instruction when I don't believe it was an event that literally happened or an action that God literally took.

And lastly I'm a Christian Universalist, which means I believe everyone goes to Heaven. So again I don't feel the need to justify people being lead to ruin, because I believe everyone's final end is Heaven.

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#174 Posted by MethoKi (12588 posts) - - Show Bio

@emperordmb: Interesting. So why do you think we're here?

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#175 Posted by AlphaQ (6729 posts) - - Show Bio

@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@just_sayin said:
@alphaq said:

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

I think your logic is flawed. If there is an all powerful person, then he gets to make the rules, because, after all, who is going to stop him. If he also decides to be the final judge on everything then it doesn't really matter what you think or decide. It is good to be god, not so good to be you.

To take your statement that if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution that they aren't really moral, at face value; then that would mean that a psychopath who kills and eats children because they taste like chicken is more moral in your eyes than the god-fearing folk. The guy with the recipe for KFC chicken is doing exactly what he wants and feels is right, the god-fearing folk are curbing their selfish desires to do what they think god would want them to do. Don't take this personally, but I'd much rather have dinner with the bible thumper than the guy bringing a bucket of fried children to the party (unless there is buffalo sauce).

So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me. A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral.

I mean there isn't really a difference between a cannibal who kills people, and a cannibal who doesn't out of fear. They'd both be willing to eat someone, if they could. The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral. If someone tried to steal my car but I scared them off, they aren't any better than a thief who comes around the next day when I'm not around and succeeds in stealing my car.

"So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me."

Well, actually, there is a being that fit the criteria that you're describing here; for all intent and purposes, Satan and his demons might as well be omnipotent powerful and he tempts humans to do these things all the time; the only reason he isn't doing those things himself is because he's restricted, at least on Earth; in hell, it's a free for all.

"A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral."

Well, there are many world religions; depends on which one you're driving towards.

"The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral."

And this proves that God's Laws serve a stabilizing function for humanity. And, this, in a nutshell, answers the OP question.

I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example.

Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so.

"I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example."

Well, your original statement wasn't so specific; basically, you said "discovered I had omnipotent power"; you didn't say the most power of anything in existence; so, with your lack of specification, Satan would fit that bill and he would have to do with the attributes that you were describing in your passage (of the Christian religion); you were obviously directing your comment to Christianity under the veiled guise of the general use of the world religion. And, with this further clarification, the attributes you're describing are the attributes of Satan and his demons, not God; you'd need to study this topic on your own some, with the assistance of a Christian Pastor, to get the correct interpretation.

"Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so."

No, it isn't circular logic. Wouldn't you want someone who's all knowing, absolute good, absolute justice setting these types of perimeters, as opposed to a random Joe, or, especially Satan or a demon? Had God not set such a rule, humans didn't have a concept that murder was wrong; and, murdering was described as one of the main reasons for the Great Flood. We have these moral concepts precisely because God introduced them, largely to Moses.

Omnipotence always includes supreme power over anything and anyone else, since you can't have two beings who can do anything, or at least as far I understand it. So, I wasn't being intentionally unspecific at least.

I honestly wasn't trying to engage with Christianity, and I'd think the way I engaged with ideas like Satan and God wasn't really specific to one faith.

I wasn't prescribing negative characteristics to Christian God intentionally, it was more just for the sake of argument. I know in Christianity God is defined as being perfect (though admittedly some of his actions are questionable to me, but by definition and intent he's perfect).

Interesting. Let's say a god is a perfect moral being, who is absolutely good and just. But is he absolutely good because he "defines" what is good or is it because he has these traits for their own sake? If a demonic entity had supreme power and decided its okay to murder, we wouldn't say he is in the right.

When I was a Christian I wouldn't have said God was the source of morality, he was a being who is absolutely perfect in every way, and we get a lot of our wisdom about morality from his instruction, but morality was external from his decree. If God decided it was okay to kill, I wouldn't have agreed (though from what I understood he would never actually do this).

"When I was a Christian I wouldn't have said God was the source of morality, he was a being who is absolutely perfect in every way, and we get a lot of our wisdom about morality from his instruction, but morality was external from his decree. If God decided it was okay to kill, I wouldn't have agreed (though from what I understood he would never actually do this)."

Wow, claiming to be a former Christian and beforehand, claiming that you weren't taking a shot at God.

"Omnipotence always includes supreme power over anything and anyone else, since you can't have two beings who can do anything, or at least as far I understand it. So, I wasn't being intentionally unspecific at least."

Omnipotence could also just be the most powerful being that you know; but, your knowledge alone wouldn't make that the most powerful being.

"I wasn't prescribing negative characteristics to Christian God intentionally, it was more just for the sake of argument. I know in Christianity God is defined as being perfect (though admittedly some of his actions are questionable to me, but by definition and intent he's perfect)."

Well, that's a generalized statement that could encompass your previous statement; are you saying that some of these questionable actions included the actions that you'd previously specified?

"Interesting. Let's say a god is a perfect moral being, who is absolutely good and just. But is he absolutely good because he "defines" what is good or is it because he has these traits for their own sake? If a demonic entity had supreme power and decided its okay to murder, we wouldn't say he is in the right."

It could be both, he defines good and he displays the said traits. A demonic entity does have supreme power, it's just that the angelic beings and God are more powerful. And, because of that and the attributes demonic beings portray is the reason why we say the being's actions are not right. By the murder and kill have to very different meanings (e.g. one could be right, but the other could only be wrong).

I mentioned I was Christian to convince you I wasn't bashing Christianity, and to get my general point across better.

Well, that's a generalized statement that could encompass your previous statement; are you saying that some of these questionable actions included the actions that you'd previously specified?

I'm not sure what you mean, what are you asking?

It could be both, he defines good and he displays the said traits. A demonic entity does have supreme power, it's just that the angelic beings and God are more powerful. And, because of that and the attributes demonic beings portray is the reason why we say the being's actions are not right. By the murder and kill have to very different meanings (e.g. one could be right, but the other could only be wrong).

Okay, so I think we're in some agreement that murder is wrong for its own sake, not just because a god says so.

Fair enough of the distinction.

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#176 Edited by BlackLegRaph (5534 posts) - - Show Bio

@darkhoudini said:

@blacklegraph:

God is absolute in his morality

He literally isn't, God has broken his own commandments, he has killed, actually he's committed genocide multiple times, but according to his own rules it's morally wrong, guess God can shape morality to fit his needs then... Hmm, where have I encountered this concept before...

Any moral relativism is senseless because no action has anymore worth than any other

So?

so an atheist without a basis for morality can still act good, but their act is meaningless based on the foundation of their ideology.

If doing acts that they deem good makes them feel good, that's all they need to in order to consider an act as good.

Just because you can empathize with someone is meaningless if there is no reason to act on that empathy, and if the end result remains the same regardless of whatever you do. Just because it may be better for a society is meaningless because why should an individual put the society above themselves?

You are using the word meaningless as if it means something, you can only create meaning for yourself. You see someone getting attacked, empathy kicks in and you save their life, you just acted on that empathy and changed the result of that scenario, surprise you actually feel good about it, empathy isn't just a driving force for doing things, it continues even after the action has been completed, if you make someone else feel good then you feel good too, it's a mutually beneficial relationship. And that's all everyone wants, to feel good.

Every such response given in this thread has the same issue, and it's unsurprising because many who take that position did so in the first place because they wanted to do things their way. It is a blank slate ideology that allows for anything, therefore making it a meaningless one.

Everything is allowed, and? Why can't you compute this? Just because everything is theoretically allowed this doesn't mean it does practically as well. Are you technically allowed to go around killing people? Yes. Will you be thrown in jail for it? Also yes. What makes the people that put you in jail objectively "more correct" that you? Nothing at all, they just had the power to do it and you were messing with their community, a community in which they live in, I don't think they felt very safe with a serial killer on the loose, so they took you out of the equation. Plain and simple, you can argue about the semantics of relativistic morality all you want from behind bars, you can write a thesis on how your subjective worldview fell perfectly in line with your killing spree, tough shit, you'll find that convincing people of your opinion is pretty hard to say the least, enjoy the rest of your life in a cell. That's how the world works, it's practical, not theoretical, there's no room for philosophical debates on the nature of "good" and "evil", multiple individuals band together in order to gain more power, they enter a mutually beneficial relationship, a society, when someone acts against one or many of them, they effectively act against all, and the collective power acts back, that's the most basic mechanism with which a society operates on matters of "good" and "bad".

Again, God is not the average Joe down the street. His is the decision to give life or to take, so he cannot break his own commandments because the commandments apply to humans, not to beings higher than humans. The reply indicates ignorance of why murder is wrong in the first place: man was made in the image of God, so one man taking another's is a breach of authority not given to man. That is why a man that kills another man deserves death.

So? Any act you do is of equal value to any other act. You are in the same boat as Hitler, Stalin and co. Rape, theft, murder, are no different than any act deemed good. Where you unaware of that?

In your own words: "If rape which you deem good makes you feel good, that's all you need to do to consider it an act of good." Senselessness.

Empathy is a pointless defense. You feel empathy, but why risk your own safety to help the person being attack. You ignore them and feel good after because you are safe. Who gives a lick if the other person dies? That scenario is of equal value to yours. If one prefers self-benefit, then they will tell you to shove your "mutually beneficial" down your throat. Sure everyone wants to feel good, which is why people steal and kill and abuse. Under your position, that is just as valid as any other act and therefore meaningless. You have given no reason at all why any act should be preferable to another. In fact, saying "do what feels good" is abhorrent for that very reason.

If one is supposed to act on empathy simply because they have it, then one is also supposed to act on rage when they have it, lust when they have it, envy when they have it, etc. Or were you unaware that empathy is not the only thing humans feel? Acting on every impulse is also senselessness.

Ah.....so the might makes right argument? Do you know how ancient the reasoning you give is? How utterly decimated it has been for centuries? That line of reasoning is impotence and stagnancy because no regime is anymore legitimate than another. It's not even relativistic morality, it is simply power makes right.

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#177 Posted by BlackLegRaph (5534 posts) - - Show Bio

Hurting other people should make you feel bad/guilty regardless of whether you believe in God or not.

Things cannot stop there though. What do you then do about that bad feeling? Ignore it and go ahead? Does one only have to act on feelings? When one feels the urge to take pleasure from another, should they just go ahead? Or when one likes something another has, should they just take it?

What we feel is simply not enough, in part because people have different ideas on what it actually means to "hurt" another.

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#178 Edited by Emperordmb (1987 posts) - - Show Bio

@batman242: For self-definition. I believe if we were created in our final forms in our final states already perfect we wouldn't really have any element of individuality, and we would be entirely conformed to a state we didn't have a hand in defining.

I believe we were created in an imperfect state in an imperfect world so that we have the freedom to choose between good and evil (hence why we exist with both love and pride within us), so that we have room for improvement, and so we have the capacity to impact the lives of ourselves and other people. Throughout our lives, we can make decisions, define through our choices who we are, have opportunities to solve problems, contribute to legitimate progress (something there wouldn't be room for in a perfect state of existence), experience good and evil, etc.

Then I believe once we die we gain a perfect emphatic understanding of how we've lived our lives that allows us to truly understand and feel the impacts our lives have made, which is a more or less painful or pleasant experience depending on how good or evil we've been. I believe that this process is a perfectly proportional punishment for sin, and that such an understanding equips people with the understanding they need to move past their remaining flaws and reach a state of perfect existence with God and others in Heaven.

Because we weren't already created perfect in a perfect state, who we are and the perfect state we eventually make it to are partially of our own making and partially of God's. This allows us to possess both individuality (from our own self-definition), and conformity (to God).

Something that gives this concept credence for me is that I've observed in the world that progress is built upon a balance between individuality and conformity. Conformity gives us a purpose to anchor ourselves to, yet such purpose couldn't exist without the freedom provided through individuality. Conformity also provides power through which to effect positive change within a system because to use a system you have to somewhat conform to it, however you can't truly possess power or seek change to begin with if you don't also have choice and creative thought which are derived from individuality. When it comes to government it can be observed that a state of complete anarchy (unrestricted individuality) doesn't work because there wouldn't be order protecting people, which is why government is necessary, but with too much government comes oppression and such a situation would be nearly immutable (unrestricted conformity). A balance between individuality and conformity creates a mechanism for progress, as society (conformity) gives rise to a person (an individual) who through individual contributions improves society, which is then more advanced when it gives rise to the next generation of persons, who through their conformity to that society start off further ahead, then through their individual actions they improve the society, and so on.

A balance between individuality and conformity is also how I would define connection, and connection seems to define love, power, knowledge, choice, and purpose, as well as the scientific laws that govern our universe. I believe in a higher power in the form of a consciousness (ie. a God) because of the cosmological argument (something must have caused everything else) and the teleological argument (we live in an ordered universe rather than a random one), and connection is the most transcendent thing in the universe (as it is the observable root of progress) and defines our universe (as it defines the interwoven nature of scientific law itself), so I believe that God would be something of an embodiment of connection, making said God all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-purposeful and all-choosing. Furthermore if connection is a balance between individuality and conformity, the Christian God fits this description, as the Holy Trinity is three beings in one being, three individual persons conforming to one person. Then further building off of this idea is that each aspect of the Holy Trinity connects to us in a different way, with the Father having created the physical universe, the Holy Spirit having endowed us with spirituality, and Jesus having lived as one of us.

To me the Holy Trinity perfectly exemplifies the nature of connection, and in particular God through Jesus being humble enough to incarnate and live as a poor human and loving enough to self-sacrifice for us is an example of a loving God that I find unmatched in religious theology. And on top of this, Jesus hits the nail on the head when he says the core of moral action is love, and when he tells people to be humble (with humility's opposite, ie. arrogance, being the root of all evil). Plus Jesus died for his beliefs as did most of his disciples, so I personally don't believe that Jesus or his followers were liars or delusional.

That's basically the gist of what I believe the purpose of our lives and the physical universe is, what I believe the nature of God to be, and why Christianity resonates with and makes more sense to me than any other religious/spiritual/philosophical perspective.

Just to be clear I'm not trying to convert anyone with this essay of a post, I'm merely explaining why I hold the beliefs that I do in the hope that my perspective can at least be respected even if completely disagreed with. I've put a lot of thought into my beliefs, and it's a bit disheartening when others view my beliefs as nothing more than me being delusional and ignorant and me blindly following something I don't even make an effort to logically understand.

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#179 Edited by dshipp17 (5720 posts) - - Show Bio
@alphaq said:
@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@dshipp17 said:
@alphaq said:
@just_sayin said:
@alphaq said:

There is no such thing as, say, an objective source of morality, or at least as far as I can see. A supreme entity wouldn't provide a source of morality, since power or having created someone doesn't give the right to decide what is right and wrong. If this omnipotent being had some divine knowledge that told them what is right and wrong, objectively, then it would only serve as a medium and not the source of any objective morality itself.

So, really, morality is a subjective thing. I understand empathy is influenced by biology, but people's own reasoning and socialization instill in them values and whatnot. But, yeah, its subjective. I myself just make an effort to be a good person, since according to what I value (freedom, honesty, empathy, etc.) I know it's the correct thing to do.

And, really, it isn't morality if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution. It's the same as doing something out of fear of earthly retribution, its an infringement on someone's autonomy, so it's not even a real decision.

I think your logic is flawed. If there is an all powerful person, then he gets to make the rules, because, after all, who is going to stop him. If he also decides to be the final judge on everything then it doesn't really matter what you think or decide. It is good to be god, not so good to be you.

To take your statement that if someone does something out of fear of divine retribution that they aren't really moral, at face value; then that would mean that a psychopath who kills and eats children because they taste like chicken is more moral in your eyes than the god-fearing folk. The guy with the recipe for KFC chicken is doing exactly what he wants and feels is right, the god-fearing folk are curbing their selfish desires to do what they think god would want them to do. Don't take this personally, but I'd much rather have dinner with the bible thumper than the guy bringing a bucket of fried children to the party (unless there is buffalo sauce).

So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me. A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral.

I mean there isn't really a difference between a cannibal who kills people, and a cannibal who doesn't out of fear. They'd both be willing to eat someone, if they could. The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral. If someone tried to steal my car but I scared them off, they aren't any better than a thief who comes around the next day when I'm not around and succeeds in stealing my car.

"So, even if I suddenly discovered I had omnipotent power I would get to decide what is fundamentally right or wrong? Even if I decided something like murder, torture or rape was acceptable? The might makes right argument doesn't convince me."

Well, actually, there is a being that fit the criteria that you're describing here; for all intent and purposes, Satan and his demons might as well be omnipotent powerful and he tempts humans to do these things all the time; the only reason he isn't doing those things himself is because he's restricted, at least on Earth; in hell, it's a free for all.

"A god who, just off the top of my head, killed children for fun would just be an evil entity, their power doesn't change that. It would be rational to obey an omnipotent person, but it wouldn't be moral."

Well, there are many world religions; depends on which one you're driving towards.

"The fear of God might be functional in that it persuades cannibals not to eat people, but that's not being moral."

And this proves that God's Laws serve a stabilizing function for humanity. And, this, in a nutshell, answers the OP question.

I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example.

Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so.

"I don't what Satan has to do with anything. I mean, if Satan suddenly became supremely powerful, more powerful even than God, we wouldn't consider his rule and immoral actions legitimate. Supreme power doesn't define what is right.

I wasn't driving towards any religion, it was just an example."

Well, your original statement wasn't so specific; basically, you said "discovered I had omnipotent power"; you didn't say the most power of anything in existence; so, with your lack of specification, Satan would fit that bill and he would have to do with the attributes that you were describing in your passage (of the Christian religion); you were obviously directing your comment to Christianity under the veiled guise of the general use of the world religion. And, with this further clarification, the attributes you're describing are the attributes of Satan and his demons, not God; you'd need to study this topic on your own some, with the assistance of a Christian Pastor, to get the correct interpretation.

"Isn't that circular logic though? God gets the right to decide what is good, since his rules lead to a good outcome, even though a good outcome, like less murders, is being decided by God in the first place when he makes the rules. We both know that murdering someone is wrong, and the Christian God agrees with us, but I don't think murdering someone is wrong just because God says so."

No, it isn't circular logic. Wouldn't you want someone who's all knowing, absolute good, absolute justice setting these types of perimeters, as opposed to a random Joe, or, especially Satan or a demon? Had God not set such a rule, humans didn't have a concept that murder was wrong; and, murdering was described as one of the main reasons for the Great Flood. We have these moral concepts precisely because God introduced them, largely to Moses.

Omnipotence always includes supreme power over anything and anyone else, since you can't have two beings who can do anything, or at least as far I understand it. So, I wasn't being intentionally unspecific at least.

I honestly wasn't trying to engage with Christianity, and I'd think the way I engaged with ideas like Satan and God wasn't really specific to one faith.

I wasn't prescribing negative characteristics to Christian God intentionally, it was more just for the sake of argument. I know in Christianity God is defined as being perfect (though admittedly some of his actions are questionable to me, but by definition and intent he's perfect).

Interesting. Let's say a god is a perfect moral being, who is absolutely good and just. But is he absolutely good because he "defines" what is good or is it because he has these traits for their own sake? If a demonic entity had supreme power and decided its okay to murder, we wouldn't say he is in the right.

When I was a Christian I wouldn't have said God was the source of morality, he was a being who is absolutely perfect in every way, and we get a lot of our wisdom about morality from his instruction, but morality was external from his decree. If God decided it was okay to kill, I wouldn't have agreed (though from what I understood he would never actually do this).

"When I was a Christian I wouldn't have said God was the source of morality, he was a being who is absolutely perfect in every way, and we get a lot of our wisdom about morality from his instruction, but morality was external from his decree. If God decided it was okay to kill, I wouldn't have agreed (though from what I understood he would never actually do this)."

Wow, claiming to be a former Christian and beforehand, claiming that you weren't taking a shot at God.

"Omnipotence always includes supreme power over anything and anyone else, since you can't have two beings who can do anything, or at least as far I understand it. So, I wasn't being intentionally unspecific at least."

Omnipotence could also just be the most powerful being that you know; but, your knowledge alone wouldn't make that the most powerful being.

"I wasn't prescribing negative characteristics to Christian God intentionally, it was more just for the sake of argument. I know in Christianity God is defined as being perfect (though admittedly some of his actions are questionable to me, but by definition and intent he's perfect)."

Well, that's a generalized statement that could encompass your previous statement; are you saying that some of these questionable actions included the actions that you'd previously specified?

"Interesting. Let's say a god is a perfect moral being, who is absolutely good and just. But is he absolutely good because he "defines" what is good or is it because he has these traits for their own sake? If a demonic entity had supreme power and decided its okay to murder, we wouldn't say he is in the right."

It could be both, he defines good and he displays the said traits. A demonic entity does have supreme power, it's just that the angelic beings and God are more powerful. And, because of that and the attributes demonic beings portray is the reason why we say the being's actions are not right. By the murder and kill have to very different meanings (e.g. one could be right, but the other could only be wrong).

I mentioned I was Christian to convince you I wasn't bashing Christianity, and to get my general point across better.

Well, that's a generalized statement that could encompass your previous statement; are you saying that some of these questionable actions included the actions that you'd previously specified?

I'm not sure what you mean, what are you asking?

It could be both, he defines good and he displays the said traits. A demonic entity does have supreme power, it's just that the angelic beings and God are more powerful. And, because of that and the attributes demonic beings portray is the reason why we say the being's actions are not right. By the murder and kill have to very different meanings (e.g. one could be right, but the other could only be wrong).

Okay, so I think we're in some agreement that murder is wrong for its own sake, not just because a god says so.

Fair enough of the distinction.

"I'm not sure what you mean, what are you asking?"

Are you saying that the actions that you mentioned in a prior post could be attributed to God or were things that God did, so His actions are questionable? Back to your prior point, are you now a former Christian as a protest against things described in the Old Testament?

"Okay, so I think we're in some agreement that murder is wrong for its own sake, not just because a god says so.

Fair enough of the distinction."

We're able to recognize it is wrong, because of God's Commandments, however. Those Laws brought us a long ways towards the recognition of wrong.

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#180 Posted by SeaGod (4904 posts) - - Show Bio

@iara said:

We don't have one, we're all just waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill you all.

Don't give our plan away!

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#181 Posted by SilverPool (4562 posts) - - Show Bio

I mean going by that logic a Christian could ask himself "why should I do what's right when I believe in Christ and will be forgiven anyways?"

People generally don't do bad things because they don't want to disappoint friends/family and maybe even more importantly get in trouble. Religion didn't create morality. Social norms and taboos are evident in more species than just humans.

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#182 Posted by Lunacyde (28306 posts) - - Show Bio

It's been said already but all morality is subjective. It is simply where you choose to derive your sense of morality from. None can be defined as objectively correct.

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#183 Posted by comicace3 (12437 posts) - - Show Bio

@seagod said:
@iara said:

We don't have one, we're all just waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill you all.

Don't give our plan away!

See I was right. Atheists are evil. That's why they're going to hell.

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#184 Posted by Emperordmb (1987 posts) - - Show Bio
@lunacyde said:

It's been said already but all morality is subjective. It is simply where you choose to derive your sense of morality from. None can be defined as objectively correct.

Moral relativism/nihilism disgusts me tbh. A world in which Hitler is not objectively worse than Ghandi is not a world I accept.

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#185 Edited by deactivated-5aeee927346fb (1531 posts) - - Show Bio

@blacklegraph:

Again, God is not the average Joe down the street. His is the decision to give life or to take, so he cannot break his own commandments because the commandments apply to humans, not to beings higher than humans. The reply indicates ignorance of why murder is wrong in the first place: man was made in the image of God, so one man taking another's is a breach of authority not given to man. That is why a man that kills another man deserves death.

Nope, what you are saying is relativistic, if there is true unquestionable objective morality then it wouldn't "just apply to humans", it would apply to all, if "beings higher than humans" are subject to different moral law, then morality is not only subjective but also based on power. Your proposition of objective morality is absolute, there is no room for exceptions, the very existence of an exception based solely on power is a massive gaping hole in a theory that should forever be unchanging. Breach of authority? I have no idea what you were even implying with that excuse. Is it that because God supposedly made us he has authority over us? And thus the only one that can kill us without repercussions? So if a society has created a new kind of artificial and fully sentient lifeform on it's own they would have the authority to murder their creations like they mean nothing? That is one good moral compass right there, 10/10.

So? Any act you do is of equal value to any other act. You are in the same boat as Hitler, Stalin and co. Rape, theft, murder, are no different than any act deemed good. Where you unaware of that?

Are you vaguely trying to say that what Hitler and Stalin did were no more bad that walking down the street, because there is no objective measurement of "goodness". You are right, Hitler and Stalin did things that they considered moral, in their little subjective bubble of morality they were good people, this doesn't mean I can't subjectively judge their actions myself. If you are so afraid that your feeding of the poor (for example) doesn't make you any better than Hitler because every action has no real objective numerical value then I kind of pity you, are you completely incapable of formulating a subjective moral compass of your own? Do you need a book to do it for you?

In your own words: "If rape which you deem good makes you feel good, that's all you need to do to consider it an act of good." Senselessness.

Yeap, rape is good for the person committing the act, doesn't mean I can't still consider it bad. Are you really so afraid of the actions you take having no objective worth?

Empathy is a pointless defense. You feel empathy, but why risk your own safety to help the person being attack. You ignore them and feel good after because you are safe. Who gives a lick if the other person dies? That scenario is of equal value to yours. If one prefers self-benefit, then they will tell you to shove your "mutually beneficial" down your throat. Sure everyone wants to feel good, which is why people steal and kill and abuse. Under your position, that is just as valid as any other act and therefore meaningless. You have given no reason at all why any act should be preferable to another. In fact, saying "do what feels good" is abhorrent for that very reason.

"Who gives a lick if the other person dies?", you do, because empathy, because guilt, because you are hardwired to care, because when you are making other feel bad empathy makes you feel bad too. You can only care about yourself, that's fine, and you can rape, kill and steal if it makes you feel good, and I can call the police and throw you in jail because I care about myself just as much and your actions threaten my safety. It's funny because everyone is doing what feels good, you think most people have any interest murdering others? Or raping or stealing? Those who actually and truly do are already doing it. I don't find those kind of actions appealing, It's not like if the Purge happened I would go around murdering and mutilating people, I don't find that enjoyable, do you? Better yet, would you if you knew for certain there was no God?

If one is supposed to act on empathy simply because they have it, then one is also supposed to act on rage when they have it, lust when they have it, envy when they have it, etc. Or were you unaware that empathy is not the only thing humans feel? Acting on every impulse is also senselessness.

They can and do act on those feelings, doesn't mean they have to commit heinous acts because of it. You are having trouble believing that most people aren't actually murderers and rapists deep down. I know this might come as a surprise, but I haven't met anyone who's been like "oh man, I wish I could just rape this little girl right now, sucks it's illegal though", I mean, if you or your acquaintances are like this then I might understand where you're coming from.

Ah.....so the might makes right argument? Do you know how ancient the reasoning you give is? How utterly decimated it has been for centuries? That line of reasoning is impotence and stagnancy because no regime is anymore legitimate than another. It's not even relativistic morality, it is simply power makes right.

Oh wait, but I though you were all about that power equals right thing... "His is the decision to give life or to take, so he cannot break his own commandments because the commandments apply to humans, not to beings higher than humans" and "man was made in the image of God, so one man taking another's is a breach of authority not given to man". Power does make "right", subjective right that is, you are trying way to hard to extrapolate some sense of objectivity out of all this, there is none, you are fearfully assuming all people are murderers and rapists if given the chance, you are also scared shitless of the fact that you would have had a different set of morals and values if you were born in a different society. I see the classic argument of "so if Hitler won WW2 and brainwashed everyone, killing Jews would be a good thing to do right?", looming over the horizon, and the answer is yes, in that alternate reality if everyone considered killing Jews good, then it would be, for them, for me, an individual who has and is experiencing a different world, no it wouldn't, am I more morally "good" for it, in my society yes, in theirs no, literally every aspect of morality is subjective, humans tend to agree though because a stable society is more prosperous and safer than one where everyone is running rampant performing the worst acts they possibly can.

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#186 Edited by Lunacyde (28306 posts) - - Show Bio

@emperordmb: I'm not a nihilist. In fact I am very opposed to nihilism. I believe in morality, to a great degree. I just don't believe that morality is objective as per the definition of objectivity. No matter how you look at it morality is socially constructed, only defined by created rules of conduct. There is no quantifiable or measurable way to define morality.It is therefore subjective.

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#187 Posted by _Logos_ (1922 posts) - - Show Bio

Dumbest topic title ever, not all atheists are the same or hold the same morals.

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#188 Posted by BlackLegRaph (5534 posts) - - Show Bio

@darkhoudini:

Nope, what you are saying is relativistic, if there is true unquestionable objective morality then it wouldn't "just apply to humans", it would apply to all, if "beings higher than humans" are subject to different moral law, then morality is not only subjective but also based on power. Your proposition of objective morality is absolute, there is no room for exceptions, the very existence of an exception based solely on power is a massive gaping hole in a theory that should forever be unchanging. Breach of authority? I have no idea what you were even implying with that excuse. Is it that because God supposedly made us he has authority over us? And thus the only one that can kill us without repercussions? So if a society has created a new kind of artificial and fully sentient lifeform on it's own they would have the authority to murder their creations like they mean nothing? That is one good moral compass right there, 10/10.

Nope. You clearly misunderstand what "relativistic" and "objective" mean. Objective doesn't mean that it applies equally to things of different natures, only to things of equal stations, like all humans. Relativistic means that each person can decide for themselves what morality is based on subjective feelings. Therefore, God having a different station and responsibilities from humans doesn't mean that it is "relativistic." What morality applies to humans is independent of any one human's subjective feelings, and that is what objective morality means, not that rocks, animals or God are subject to the same thing. Neither God nor rocks nor animals can commit adultery, so it is silly to suggest that that applies to them. It's as silly as saying humans are evil because they are not omnipotent like God. God angels, humans, animals, inanimate matter are on different levels, and each level is subject to a different objective standard just as each level has objectively different natures. Striking a sword through a rock is not the same striking it through a human. One act is evil and the other isn't.

No society can create a new kind of artificial lifeform because they did not create the materials for it. God created everything. Man can create nothing but only manipulate what God has created. We are clearly on very different levels. Whatever "artificial lifeform" you create will be able to replicate what humans can do and even surpass them. Humans can never replicate what God can do, neither are humans holy like God, so such judgements cannot belong to them. Judgement can only belong to the perfectly holy, and only God fits said criteria. It is laughable to suggest that the fallible is on equal footing with the infallible.

Are you vaguely trying to say that what Hitler and Stalin did were no more bad that walking down the street, because there is no objective measurement of "goodness". You are right, Hitler and Stalin did things that they considered moral, in their little subjective bubble of morality they were good people, this doesn't mean I can't subjectively judge their actions myself. If you are so afraid that your feeding of the poor (for example) doesn't make you any better than Hitler because every action has no real objective numerical value then I kind of pity you, are you completely incapable of formulating a subjective moral compass of your own? Do you need a book to do it for you?

There's nothing vague about it. That is exactly what your position entails. I didn't say that you can't subjectively judge their actions to be wrong, but such judgements are meaningless. Your "subjective" compass is of equal value to Hitler and Stalin's. Senselessness. It is as senseless as saying each person can choose what 1+1 equals to for themselves. Every answer becomes meaningless, and anyone trying to impose their's on others is logically unjustified.

Yeap, rape is good for the person committing the act, doesn't mean I can't still consider it bad. Are you really so afraid of the actions you take having no objective worth?

Sure, go ahead and consider it bad, but it's as meaningless as saying 1+1=5. The rapist simply sneers at you and logically and accurately concludes: "you are no better than I."

"Who gives a lick if the other person dies?", you do, because empathy, because guilt, because you are hardwired to care, because when you are making other feel bad empathy makes you feel bad too. You can only care about yourself, that's fine, and you can rape, kill and steal if it makes you feel good, and I can call the police and throw you in jail because I care about myself just as much and your actions threaten my safety. It's funny because everyone is doing what feels good, you think most people have any interest murdering others? Or raping or stealing? Those who actually and truly do are already doing it. I don't find those kind of actions appealing, It's not like if the Purge happened I would go around murdering and mutilating people, I don't find that enjoyable, do you? Better yet, would you if you knew for certain there was no God?

Lol. So a person that feels no guilt is exempt from your thinking? You are also hardwired to survive, so why should one hardwiring override another? You are still ending up in the same senseless place. You contradict yourself by saying one moment that you are hardwired to do something, and the next moment it doesn't matter. If it doesn't matter, then it is pointless to bring it up.

The point isn't whether someone has those urges or not, the point is that it is unjustified to criticize any such act based on your very own logic. It is the man who says "Any answer to the question 1+ 1 is valid" then flies into a rage when someone answers 69. It is illogical.

They can and do act on those feelings, doesn't mean they have to commit heinous acts because of it. You are having trouble believing that most people aren't actually murderers and rapists deep down. I know this might come as a surprise, but I haven't met anyone who's been like "oh man, I wish I could just rape this little girl right now, sucks it's illegal though", I mean, if you or your acquaintances are like this then I might understand where you're coming from.

No point in trying to make a strawman (if you can even call it that). I don't see anything from anyone that states they think everyone is a murderer and rapist. Although, it is highly humorous to make a strawman then act surprised that you believe that that is what the other person thinks. It's just as illogical as the position that every act is valid.

Lol, thank God you haven't met anyone like that. Unfortunately, there is most likely someone in the world that has, and just because you and I haven't personally experienced it doesn't make it so, no matter how desperately we wish it not to be the case.

Oh wait, but I though you were all about that power equals right thing... "His is the decision to give life or to take, so he cannot break his own commandments because the commandments apply to humans, not to beings higher than humans" and "man was made in the image of God, so one man taking another's is a breach of authority not given to man". Power does make "right", subjective right that is, you are trying way to hard to extrapolate some sense of objectivity out of all this, there is none, you are fearfully assuming all people are murderers and rapists if given the chance, you are also scared shitless of the fact that you would have had a different set of morals and values if you were born in a different society. I see the classic argument of "so if Hitler won WW2 and brainwashed everyone, killing Jews would be a good thing to do right?", looming over the horizon, and the answer is yes, in that alternate reality if everyone considered killing Jews good, then it would be, for them, for me, an individual who has and is experiencing a different world, no it wouldn't, am I more morally "good" for it, in my society yes, in theirs no, literally every aspect of morality is subjective, humans tend to agree though because a stable society is more prosperous and safer than one where everyone is running rampant performing the worst acts they possibly can.

Er...clearly not. I do not see how you get that from that statement. It is logical that only someone who is perfect in the first place can make any judgements on those who are not. It is an authority based on nature, not simply on power, just as the most powerful man on the planet declaring 1+1=5 doesn't make it anymore true than the peasant who says it's 2.

Lol. How do you come up with this stuff? Or where do you pull it from: "you are also scared shitless of the fact that you would have had a different set of morals and values if you were born in a different society." If you are trying to be a mind reader, you are failing badly. Or is it projection?

...and the answer is yes, in that alternate reality if everyone considered killing Jews good, then it would be, for them, for me, an individual who has and is experiencing a different world, no it wouldn't, am I more morally "good" for it, in my society yes, in theirs no

Then you are already lost, my goodman. For some reason you still try to sneak in the "it is more beneficial for a stable society" in the end there, but I thought we already covered why that is pointless by your very own logic. It is irrelevant because that is not the criteria you gave for morality. Sorry, but that is simply not reason enough.

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#189 Posted by Static Shock (53047 posts) - - Show Bio