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Morals without God or Religion?


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#101 china cat

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 06:40 PM

oh, and I'd love to see a thread that debates atheism versus agnosticism. Isn't atheism just as much a belief system as, say,  Catholicism? Isn't it intellectually honest to instead call oneself an agnostic?

 

I know, if I want to see these threads, I should just start them (but G's the philosopher as of late :lol: )



#102 Tim the Beek

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:00 PM

Sorry, still didn't totally make the question right...
 

How do YOU know right from wrong? Not just what is your code, but how did you arrive at it? How can you justify it -- especially when applying it to others? If you don't have the bible or God to tell you what is right & wrong, how do you know?


Combination of some personal soul-searching and pondering some reading of both spiritual and non-spiritual writings.



#103 concert andy

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:04 PM

Combination of some personal soul-searching and pondering some reading of both spiritual and non-spiritual writings.

 

 

Tim that may be how YOU reach those conclusions, and I commend you for it, but I doubt the in general YOU is applying that much effort or research on what is right or wrong.



#104 Tim the Beek

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:12 PM

Tim that may be how YOU reach those conclusions, and I commend you for it, but I doubt the in general YOU is applying that much effort or research on what is right or wrong.


Maybe so. Maybe not. :)



#105 china cat

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:23 PM

Tim that may be how YOU reach those conclusions, and I commend you for it, but I doubt the in general YOU is applying that much effort or research on what is right or wrong.

 

But I think G's question is directed at those reading, not the general YOU. Isn't he asking each of us how we've arrived at the moral code that drives us?



#106 concert andy

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:29 PM

But I think G's question is directed at those reading, not the general YOU. Isn't he asking each of us how we've arrived at the moral code that drives us?

 

 

Yes, but like I said, I commend T for going about it that way, but I do not do as much research or effort.  Take the "in general You" above out and put "me" or "I" (for me).

 

 

Also, I added the in general You because I think we know many of the people posting in here, and further because we read each others comments often and have a feel for one another.  I think asking us is rhetorical, but I did not start the thread.



#107 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:42 PM

How do YOU know right from wrong?

An action is wrong if it harms the actor without benefiting another, or if it harms an innocent other.

Done. Now, all we have to determine is the objective meaning of "harm", "benefit", and "innocent", and we'll have a complete code.



#108 china cat

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 08:08 PM

Sorry, still didn't totally make the question right...
 

How do YOU know right from wrong? Not just what is your code, but how did you arrive at it? How can you justify it -- especially when applying it to others? If you don't have the bible or God to tell you what is right & wrong, how do you know?

 

I found that religion (or my understanding of it) invited a lot of unnecessary guilt (masturbation a sin? really?) and judgement (homosexual behavior = bad, divorce = bad, premarital sex = bad, this thinking invites guilt-inducing judgment of self and other). Therefore, I've found that moral codes based on organized religion, can be harmful.

 

It's also harmful because it's dogmatic and difficult to persuade people otherwise when people think their God and their faith has dibs on Truth.

 

Hence, the Burke post, which aims to take morality out of the realm of metaphysical unknowns and place it in the realm of humanistic drives and realities.

 

For example, how about we look at sexual behavior not from a religious perspective but from a sociological one, in order to come to conclusions about whether to encourage abstinence or waiting until marriage. Let's look at marriage/family from a sociological perspective rather than a religious one, etc. We should encourage postponing sexual behavior, not because God will judge you but because you'll be less likely to contract STD's and emotional regret (provide research on this). We might encourage marriage because, from a sociological and economic standpoint, it makes sense (or even base it on measure of happiness - research shows married people are happier than unmarried people) etc.... let's root our values, as a culture, in reality not unprovable faith systems.

 

To another of your questions, G: How have I arrived at my moral code, how do I know it's right?  I don't, but I guess I've arrived at my moral code by looking around... I observe both my own and others' behaviors. I listen and try to be aware of people and their reactions (and have become aware of some seemingly predictable consequences of certain behaviors) thereby deducing that some behaviors seem to serve earthlings/the planet and some don't. Some invite pain and some alleviate it.

 

Working to eradicate unkind behavior... working on keeping harmful emotions at bay... self-examination, taking responsibility for my contributions and my failings, listening when people perceive that I have hurt them... giving back in some way... trying to understand others...having compassion... these are moral ideals for me.



#109 china cat

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 08:12 PM

An action is wrong if it harms the actor without benefiting another, or if it harms an innocent other.

Done. Now, all we have to determine is the objective meaning of "harm", "benefit", and "innocent", and we'll have a complete code.

 

this, this, and this

 

on and on it goes.



#110 Ginger Snap

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 08:52 PM

oh, and I'd love to see a thread that debates atheism versus agnosticism. Isn't atheism just as much a belief system as, say,  Catholicism? Isn't it intellectually honest to instead call oneself an agnostic?

 

I know, if I want to see these threads, I should just start them (but G's the philosopher as of late :lol: )

 

I've never thought atheism reject any belief system, merely the existence of god or gods. Indeed atheism very much has a belief system based on science. :dunno: 



#111 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 08:55 PM

An action is wrong if it harms the actor without benefiting another, or if it harms an innocent other.

Done. Now, all we have to determine is the objective meaning of "harm", "benefit", and "innocent", and we'll have a complete code.

 

 

this, this, and this

 

on and on it goes.

We agree on the wayposts but arrive at different destinations. The semantic and pragmatic complexity you point out has driven me to embrace formal religion. Of all human creative endeavors, only spiritual growth is seen by some thoughtful people as something beginners should improvise. In every other pursuit, the thoughtful have no problem with formal study and practice.



#112 hippieskichick

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:33 PM

I've never thought atheism reject any belief system, merely the existence of god or gods. Indeed atheism very much has a belief system based on science. :dunno:

 

 

Atheism doesn't, it's the atheists that do. 

 

Just like most any kind of idea, the idea/belief is fine, it's the people that muck it all up. 

 

I'd actually say that atheism isn't necessarily based on science, but as you pointed out, just the disbelief in a deity. Though atheists and evolutionists/scienc-ey folks are most often one and the same. But not all. 



#113 Ginger Snap

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:12 PM

Atheism doesn't, it's the atheists that do. 

 

Just like most any kind of idea, the idea/belief is fine, it's the people that muck it all up. 

 

I'd actually say that atheism isn't necessarily based on science, but as you pointed out, just the disbelief in a deity. Though atheists and evolutionists/scienc-ey folks are most often one and the same. But not all. 

 

agreed



#114 china cat

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:33 PM

Atheism doesn't, it's the atheists that do. 

 

Just like most any kind of idea, the idea/belief is fine, it's the people that muck it all up. 

 

I'd actually say that atheism isn't necessarily based on science, but as you pointed out, just the disbelief in a deity. Though atheists and evolutionists/scienc-ey folks are most often one and the same. But not all. 

 

this. thanks.

 

and scienc-ey folks have been proven incorrect many times.

 

science has postulated only theories as to the origin of the universe(s). it cannot prove or disprove "God" 

 

Scienc-ey Atheists cannot disprove a deity

 

so, atheism seems to root itself in a belief, without evidence, that there is no god.

 

what justifies this belief anymore than the belief in an intelligent designer?

 

not argumentative, just curious



#115 china cat

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:48 PM

We agree on the wayposts but arrive at different destinations. The semantic and pragmatic complexity you point out has driven me to embrace formal religion. Of all human creative endeavors, only spiritual growth is seen by some thoughtful people as something beginners should improvise. In every other pursuit, the thoughtful have no problem with formal study and practice.

 

well said

 

but why must morality be considered "spiritual"  growth?  Couldn't it just be human growth? We study many ways that humans grow that have nothing to do with invoking a metaphysical originator.

 

Might we re-conceptualized morality as not tied to a deity but rather as tied to one another simply because we co-existing on the planet? Because we need each other? Morality as simply our responsibility to one another, rather than to a deity?

 

And, is it possible to embark on the formal study and practice of which you speak somewhere other than formal religion?

 

I ask these questions because I deeply respect your intellect and your answers (Socratic method).



#116 hippieskichick

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:01 AM

this. thanks.

 

and scienc-ey folks have been proven incorrect many times.

 

science has postulated only theories as to the origin of the universe(s). it cannot prove or disprove "God" 

 

Scienc-ey Atheists cannot disprove a deity

 

so, atheism seems to root itself in a belief, without evidence, that there is no god.

 

what justifies this belief anymore than the belief in an intelligent designer?

 

not argumentative, just curious

 

 

As an atheist and a science geek, I will share my beliefs on this whole 'thing'. 

 

The definition of an agnostic, summed up - I don't know

 

The definition of an atheist - someone who doesn't believe in the existence of a deity

 

The definition of a deity, summed up - supreme being, above and beyond human comprehension (this is my personal definition of a deity)

 

 

By definition, I'm agnostic. I don't know. IMHO, anyone who "believes" in anything should understand what the definition of a 'belief' is. Belief is not fact, it's belief. It's what a person holds true, and what is the 'truth' to them. IMO, everyone is technically agnostic, because none of us have any real answers. We just haven't found out yet, just speculated. 

 

By choice, I'm an atheist. As a scientific person, I analyze things. I have seen many, many different opinions/ideas/belief systems on the great "where did we come from/why are we here" question. Out of all the answers I have seen, the idea of a deity, to me, is laughable. To me, a deity is something that is all-powerful and all-knowing, and all that. I'm sorry, but while I do think there's a lot more to this universe than I see or understand, I think it's just a matter of learning and understanding it. 

 

So, to answer your question, it's not necessarily more things that justify my beliefs, but the elimination of ones that just don't sound feasible to me. 

 

I just don't like the definition of 'deity', I reckon. It's a matter of perspective. Long ago, changing atmospheric pressures made hurricanes, which made humans believe there was a deity that was pissed off. Long from now, our species as it is will look back at us and chuckle. IMHO. 



#117 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:03 AM

I'd actually say that atheism isn't necessarily based on science, but as you pointed out, just the disbelief in a deity.
Though atheists and evolutionists/scienc-ey folks are most often one and the same. But not all. 

 
Yes, atheism is not a belief system, only the disbelief in a god. 
 

Isn't it intellectually honest to instead call oneself an agnostic?

 

Either agnostic or atheism can be intellectually honest. In practice my observation is that atheists are more intellectually honest - they generally know more deeply what the terms mean and why they believe what they do. People claiming to be agnostic often say that but have not thought as deeply about it as theists or atheists. That is not to say all agnostics. 
 

 

and scienc-ey folks have been proven incorrect many times.

 

Proven by who/what? Science.
 

 

science has postulated only theories as to the origin of the universe(s). it cannot prove or disprove "God" 
 
Scienc-ey Atheists cannot disprove a deity
 
so, atheism seems to root itself in a belief, without evidence, that there is no god.
 
what justifies this belief anymore than the belief in an intelligent designer?
  

 
It's true that nothing, including science, can prove a negative. One can not prove that "god" does not exist using science. But bringing science into the question is the wrong approach. The reason I do not believe in god is not because of science, it's because of logic and semantics. 
 
The idea or belief in god works fine, until you try to define specifically what you mean by the term, then all hell breaks loose. You end up with "god" meaning nothing or everything. You end up either having to admit that "god" is a meaningless word, or admit it means everything -- and hence isn't saying anything beyond that existence is. Or, most often, one ends up obfuscating the conversation and then leaving it.



#118 Tim the Beek

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:14 AM

Seems to me that many (not all) atheists consider that/act as if their belief is fact. Just as many (not all) religious folks/theists do.

That's why I, for one, view atheism as a belief, and agree with china that there's much intellectual honesty in agnosticism.

 



#119 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:20 AM

As an atheist and a science geek, I will share my beliefs on this whole 'thing'. 


That's almost exactly where I'm at, I just want to add to it by adding another way of saying it. Agnostic, Atheist, and Theist are all statements about what we believe. So technically (any by what you called "by choice") people can be any of those three. Supposedly, since no one can know they are right, we all "should" hold and admit to the agnostic belief.


Again, it seems clear to me that there is no way (so space, no room) for "god" to exist -- as the word is usually used by the religious, god-believing, people or the scriptures.

There is one way that "god" can exist (semantically) . If we define "god" as a being that IS EVERYTHING. In that case, Everything is everywhere. Everything is all knowing, because it is everything. Everything is all powerful, because it is all the power and energy and matter that exists. In short, believing in "god" for me only means that the universe is conscious. Not even necessarily that "it" can "control" every portion of itself -- at least not beyond or in contradiction to God's/Everything's nature.. i.e.: The laws of physics. 

And, technically, I do believe it's possible that the universe is conscious. So, technically by my definition, I do believe in god. 

But I would not call it that. The term "god" does not seem to mean that to most people. To most people it seems to mean something outside of existence. Something that is all powerful, all knowing, but somehow separate from everything, somehow able to influence our existence beyond the normal ways of our world. 



#120 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:21 AM

We agree on the wayposts but arrive at different destinations. The semantic and pragmatic complexity you point out has driven me to embrace formal religion. Of all human creative endeavors, only spiritual growth is seen by some thoughtful people as something beginners should improvise. In every other pursuit, the thoughtful have no problem with formal study and practice.

 

That's a very critical and well thought statement.



#121 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:23 AM

Seems to me that many (not all) atheists consider that/act as if their belief is fact. Just as many (not all) religious folks/theists do.

That's why I, for one, view atheism as a belief, and agree with china that there's much intellectual honesty in agnosticism.

 

 

I agree. As a humble agnostic, I lay no claim to understaning and feel, that any entity larger than I wouldn't reveal itself anyway. I stand firmly in the "I don't know" camp.



#122 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:25 AM

IMHO, anyone who "believes" in anything should understand what the definition of a 'belief' is.

 

 
Taking HSC's words: IMHO anyone who holds a belief about god should first understand (and define) what "god" is; what they mean by the term. 

 

Seems to me that many (not all) atheists consider that/act as if their belief is fact. Just as many (not all) religious folks/theists do.

That's why I, for one, view atheism as a belief, and agree with china that there's much intellectual honesty in agnosticism.
 

 

What is it that you don't know whether it exists or not? 



#123 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:28 AM

What is it that you don't know whether it exists or not?

 

A deliberate intelligence behind the universe we scientifically try to understand.



#124 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:35 AM

The semantic and pragmatic complexity you point out has driven me to embrace formal religion. 

 

I hadn't every thought of it exactly like that before. Interesting. 

 

Of all human creative endeavors, only spiritual growth is seen by some thoughtful people as something beginners should improvise. In every other pursuit, the thoughtful have no problem with formal study and practice.

 

Another very good thought. Though, in most other areas of formal study, people are free to ask questions and change the dogma. It may be restricted in many areas, but it's usually open to change. Many areas of formal study even cherish when changes are made. Music. Art. Math. Medicine. Manufacturing. History. 

No so much with formal religion. 

 

 

And, is it possible to embark on the formal study and practice of which you speak somewhere other than formal religion?

 

Even more than what I said above... ^ This ^

If moral or spiritual growth is a complex area where following in the footsteps and thought-steps of long tradition makes sense, there are other things to study besides formal religion.

 


And, finally, why do we do this in other areas and not with this area? I say it's because until recently we had no alternatives. Because the old ways are ingraned in our lives and cultures so deeply it is exceedingly hard to shake off those thoughts. Because we are still waking up from history. 



#125 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:36 AM

A deliberate intelligence behind the universe we scientifically try to understand.

 

 

EDITED to ask a more meaningful question...

 

Good answer.

By "behind" do you mean an intelligence that is external or separate or beyond "the universe we scientifically try to understand". 



#126 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:38 AM

btw, I'd love to see a thread about individual rights versus social responsibility (or individualist versus collectivist cultures)

 

Me too. Though I think it would be more valuable after we get some more of the basis of morality solved / talked about. 



#127 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:39 AM

Wow, glad I asked the question - great answers and insight.

 

I perceive god as intelligent designer, not man with beard in the sky (and I really like G's definition of god as consciousness).

 

What other qualities an intelligent designer might have? Not too sure. Does it hand down morality? Don't think so, but if it does, "morality" might simply be defined as (in other words "good" and "bad" defined as) or identified by watching how energy manifests/consequences of energy. Love energy creates positive feelings and emotions, aids growth and development while unloving energy cause negative emotions, sickness, etc.



#128 hippieskichick

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:41 AM

Wow, glad I asked the question - great answers and insight.

 

I perceive god as intelligent designer, not man with beard in the sky (and I really like G's definition of god as consciousness).

 

What other qualities an intelligent designer might have? Not too sure. Does it hand down morality? Don't think so, but if it does, "morality" might simply be defined as ("good" and "bad") or identified by watching how energy manifests/consequences of energy. Love energy creates positive feelings and emotions, aids growth and development while unloving energy cause negative emotions, sickness, etc.

 

 

So are you open to the idea that our intelligent designers could be what we consider 'aliens'? 

 

 

Just asking. I realize it's a possibility. (plus, the sci-fi geek in me thinks its cool)



#129 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:45 AM

Seems to me that many (not all) atheists consider that/act as if their belief is fact.

 

I think I was approaching topic from this view. I've read Sam Harris and listened to Hitchens (though just bits and pieces of Hitchens) who seemed quite arrogant in their position. I was also watching an atheist program and the attitudes seemed much the same. So, I may have unfairly made synonymous a disbelief in god and an argument against the existence of god. 

 

not sure if that made sense?



#130 Tim the Beek

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:46 AM

What other qualities an intelligent designer might have? Not too sure. Does it hand down morality? Don't think so, but if it does, "morality" might simply be defined as (in other words "good" and "bad" defined as) or identified by watching how energy manifests/consequences of energy. Love energy creates positive feelings and emotions, aids growth and development while unloving energy cause negative emotions, sickness, etc.

 

I suspect that if there is an intelligent designer, it's much less concerned with people than we normally give it credit for...



#131 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:47 AM

EDITED to ask a more meaningful question...

 

Good answer.

By "behind" do you mean an intelligence that is external or separate or beyond "the universe we scientifically try to understand". 

 

:dunno:

 

I'm agnostic.



#132 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:47 AM

So are you open to the idea that our intelligent designers could be what we consider 'aliens'? 

 

I have no idea and, seeing how years of speculating has brought me no closer to answers, I'll simply say, "hell, could be"



#133 Tim the Beek

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:48 AM

 (plus, the sci-fi geek in me thinks its cool)

 

dork.

Firefly and Galactica are two of the best shows ever.



#134 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:49 AM

meninblacklilalien.png?itok=EN0soKsf



#135 hippieskichick

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:49 AM

dork.

Firefly and Galactica are two of the best shows ever.

 

 

Star Wars. 

 

I'm a Jedi. 



#136 hippieskichick

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:50 AM

:dunno:

 

I'm agnostic.

 

 

:lol: I knew that answer was coming!



#137 Tim the Beek

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:51 AM

Star Wars. 

 

I'm a Jedi. 


:clap:



#138 Tim the Beek

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:51 AM

I'm agnostic.

 

Prove it. :funny1:



#139 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:53 AM

Prove it. :funny1:

 

:lol:



#140 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 01:14 AM

As for morality without god or religion....I still think it's possible to base it on something more concrete, more able to be communicated and discussed and agreed/disagreed on by others than our own conclusions. CC pointed out that Burke "aims to take morality out of the realm of metaphysical unknowns and place it in the realm of humanistic drives and realities." This is what I've been trying to get at in this thread. Morality without God.  But, unless I missed it, Burke doesn't go on to say how we do build a moral system without metaphysics/god. He says "with language", but how? Based on what?


If we don't want our countries values and ethics to be religious based, what will we base them on? A a good place to start, it seems to me, is with the question, what do we base our own morals on? It might be enough to say to ourselves, "I'm not too sure about the specifics of where my morals came from. I read some. I thought about it. This is where I'm at."  But it's hard to get others to agree with you using that. It's hard to make a case that "it should be this way because that's what seems right to me". The other person can say exactly the same.

 

Most of you answered that your morals come from some combination of external observation, reading others thoughts, family, and internal reflection. I think that's a great starting point, but if we want to open those up to being able to talk about them with others (as in a policy discussion) we need to identify how those observations and reflections were turned into good and bads, rights and wrongs. 

CC said this, "...hereby deducing that some behaviors seem to serve earthlings/the planet and some don't. Some invite pain and some alleviate it." 

That's part of my starting place. What is good (in our frame of reference) is that which is good and necessary for life. 

 



 



#141 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 01:26 AM

:dunno:

 

I'm agnostic.

 

About what?



#142 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 02:21 AM

CC said this, "...hereby deducing that some behaviors seem to serve earthlings/the planet and some don't. Some invite pain and some alleviate it." 

That's part of my starting place. What is good (in our frame of reference) is that which is good and necessary for life. 

 



 

 

So the positive. What do we want? Starting from and building on what is good and from the light rather than the starting from the bad andwhat do we need to avoid from which we need to set up all kinds of rules to control the darkness from happening. 



#143 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 02:50 AM

but why must morality be considered "spiritual"  growth?  Couldn't it just be human growth?
I believe spirit and body are facets of the same jewel. It's their integration we term "soul". Thus, your two questions are equivalent, by my reasoning.
Might we re-conceptualized morality as not tied to a deity but rather as tied to one another simply because we co-existing on the planet? Because we need each other? Morality as simply our responsibility to one another, rather than to a deity?
Of course, but how did this self-evident responsibility come to be written on our hearts? We're "wired" to be "moral" (Saint Thomas Aquinas called that characteristic "rationality". How did that happen? I posit that it happened in the same way the dimensionless physical constants appear to be finely tuned to support human life.
 
is it possible to embark on the formal study and practice of which you speak somewhere other than formal religion?
Perhaps, but why "reinvent the wheel?"
I suspect that if there is an intelligent designer, it's much less concerned with people than we normally give it credit for...
Over the course of my six decades, my perceptions have often been shockingly in error, but I've perceived God is intimately involved (I'll go so far as to say "in love") with people, even me.

#144 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:15 AM

Theorist Kenneth Burke’s argument for language as the moralizing agent

 

There are no “nots” and “thou shalt nots” in nature. They exist only in language. Because language is uniquely human, thou shalt nots are uniquely human, thus, morality is uniquely human

 

There is a lot I like about the Burke post. There is also some (less consequential but still important) that I think he's got wrong. Haven't addressed all of that yet because the conversation is going other interesting places. But I will address it. I wanted to mention it here because what's quoted above is part of what is going on in this post...

 

 

... my father taught me very young (himself a seminary dropout)  a distinction between "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not" that has always stuck with me and I think helps frame my context...for the most part have little use for the "shalt nots." It doesn't lend anything to move towards and takes away rather than builds...although I don't completely discount them- torturing someone or something for enjoyment is wrong -for me would be a moral absolute I believe in and is framed as a "thou shalt not." 

 

I take your point and agree the positively-framed morals could get much more attention. I think the "shalt nots" have gotten a bad name. Maybe for good reason -- it's been over done and we would do well to consider some "Thou Shalt" morals like "thou shalt have fun with your life" and "thou shalt love all beings and all creation".

 

Still, doesn't it seem true that humans need fewer reminders about what to do than what not to? Isn't enumerating a few things we can't do easier and more direct than enumerating all the things we can do?  ~ When you leave your kids alone for a while (or whatever) don't you feel there are some things you tell them not to do, but you don't need to tell them all the things they can do?

 

 

So the positive. What do we want? Starting from and building on what is good and from the light rather than the starting from the bad andwhat do we need to avoid from which we need to set up all kinds of rules to control the darkness from happening. 

 

 

I'd say the starting point is what is supportive-of, necessary-for or conducive-to life. These things are defined as "good". Their opposites are defined as "bad". Upholding the good is "right". Supporting the bad is "wrong".

 

Personally I'd leave out light/darkness and some uses of "positive/negative" (in the sense of "positive energy"). I suggest this not because they are inherently wrong terms, but because when those terms are used it seems to me the discussion is usually at a much larger level, at a frame of reference of the entire universe or the entire history of the 4-billion year old planet -- and in those frames-of-reference there may not be right/wrong. Our moral system only needs to work in our more normal/everyday frame of reference.

 

 

ADDED: that doesn't mean a relativistic system and doesn't mean it doesn't have to work in unusual situations like war or stranded on an island.

 



#145 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:21 AM

Personally I'd leave out light/darkness and some uses of "positive/negative" (in the sense of "positive energy"). I suggest this not because they are inherently wrong terms, but because when those terms are used it seems to me the discussion is usually at a much larger level, at a frame of reference of the entire universe or the entire history of the 4-billion year old planet -- and in those frames-of-reference there may not be right/wrong. Our moral system only needs to work in our more normal/everyday frame of reference.

 

 



 

 

I use the terms dark and the light because it is undeniable that so many of us come from a strong "upbringing" of a higher power of some sort, so those are terms that if we don't want to speak in religious terms, can still speak to that without the necessity of religion, as well as your universe stuff. I see the merit and agree with your premise of developing a moral code based on something other than religion, but if you want to be able to have a conversation with others about it, you still have to speak to the fact that for a great many folks, their belief in something is a part of their context. 



#146 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:29 AM

and I want to thank you for continuing to engage me because I've deleted a number of posts feeling a little inadequate among giants here, but still wish to be a part. :smile:



#147 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:34 AM

Still, doesn't it seem true that humans need fewer reminders about what to do than what not to? Isn't enumerating a few things we can't do easier and more direct than enumerating all the things we can do?  ~ When you leave your kids alone for a while (or whatever) don't you feel there are some things you tell them not to do, but you don't need to tell them all the things they can do?

 

No I don't think so. I think our history of human beings is wrought with bloodshed and pain and we need to focus on what DO we do. Those are the reminders we need. Not point out that we shouldn't behave this way, rather, offer an alternative to that first.  And just because it's easy doesn't mean that's where we should start. Eat that frog! 



#148 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:39 AM

I use the terms dark and the light because it is undeniable that so many of us come from a strong "upbringing" of a higher power of some sort, so those are terms that if we don't want to speak in religious terms, can still speak to that without the necessity of religion, as well as your universe stuff. I see the merit and agree with your premise of developing a moral code based on something other than religion, but if you want to be able to have a conversation with others about it, you still have to speak to the fact that for a great many folks, their belief in something is a part of their context. 

 

Fair enough; makes sense. 

 

and I want to thank you for continuing to engage me because I've deleted a number of posts feeling a little inadequate among giants here, but still wish to be a part. :smile:


Whatever's in you you feel to be your part; still would like to see what you're thinking though.



#149 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:39 AM

G asks: "If we don't want our countries values and ethics to be religious based, what will we base them on?"

 

edit to condense, post was too convoluted:

 

options: 1. communicative rationality, 2. observable/research based outcomes, 3. a unifying cultural narrative that creates and encourages behaviors that lead to health and well-being, 4. the golden rule. 5. a figure in society or compilation of figures we admire-- taking the best and most agreeable from each (Gandhi, MLK, Jesus, Mother Theresa)

 

1 problem: who decides which arguments are most rational. what happens when competing ethical positions are all rational (arguments both for and against abortion could be considered rational).

 

2 problem: outcomes may be observable but beliefs about the rightness or wrongness of those outcomes is still up for debate, and probably contingent on individual circumstances (divorce may be sad and economically detrimental but in some cases still worth it). Would we push for a set of ethics that worked for most but left some marginalized?

 

3 problem: too many competing interests to have a unified cultural narrative? Who decides and promotes the master narrative? Besides, conflicting narratives create opportunity for debate. Maybe debate is healthy and necessary for our continued evolution?

 

4 problem: seems pretty good on the surface. though I'm sure some can find issues?

 

5 problem: some people admire Howard Stern



#150 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:43 AM

Still, doesn't it seem true that humans need fewer reminders about what to do than what not to? Isn't enumerating a few things we can't do easier and more direct than enumerating all the things we can do?  ~ When you leave your kids alone for a while (or whatever) don't you feel there are some things you tell them not to do, but you don't need to tell them all the things they can do?

 

No I don't. I tell them the things I would like to see done, and as you know, I have very few rules. A few, but I definitely leave saying, this needs to be done rather than don't do this. 

 

Edited to add: I think if we focus more on how we treat each other and ways to be, than we would need less focus on how not to be.