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Morals without God or Religion?


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#151 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:45 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:

 

I always feel this way.

 

I wish you and others would still post though - I'd like to read more people's opinions and I think some don't post for the reason you reveal. There are nuggets of wisdom and ideas worth considering from everyone.

 

p.s. I, personally, love your posts.

 

p.p.s. I know I need to work on condensing my posts - I struggle with clarifying ideas -  often fleshing them out as I write (rather than before I write)



#152 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:03 AM

Of course, but how did this self-evident responsibility come to be written on our hearts?

Evolution maybe? We're wired with mirror neurons that allow us to empathize. Another answer:  self-interest may also lead us to not want to harm others because we don't want to be harmed?  Or as Burke asserts, cultural indoctrination via language.  I don't know, just looking for alternative explanations other than a deity figure/religious explanation. 

 

and some don't seem to feel the same responsibilities. If we're wired to be moral, and if a deity wrote these morals on our hearts, how come everyone has different ideas and understandings of them?

Perhaps, but why "reinvent the wheel?"

because there are competing wheels, some of which are outdated, judgmental, sometimes serving the inventors of the wheel rather than the users of it, and they're often filled with semantic and pragmatic complexities that have driven me away from it them :)

 

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.

 

hard to embrace, given the suffering much of humanity endures.



#153 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:15 AM

I'll give an example of what I'm saying about moving towards the light...the Amish community had a terrible terrible event happen when a gunman came into a school of young Amish children, shot the place up killing 10 girls. The community responded with forgiveness.  "I don't think there's anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss in that way but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts."[15] 

 

Theirs is a community that remains peaceful and does not let anger and vengeance grow in their hearts, because even in the face of the worst kind of pain, they acted in generosity. It could have gone another way, and it would have healed nothing. They did not focus on the wrong, they focused on the right. 



#154 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:19 AM

Evolution maybe? 


 

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


 

...thereby deducing that some behaviors seem to serve earthlings/the planet and some don't. Some invite pain and some alleviate it.

 

 
Evolution > A theory of consciousness (including language) > Recognition of what serves life and what doesn't  ... will be the road to a system of morals. Not sure I can get it right though. 



#155 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:20 AM

I'm unsure of the validity of this, but (speaking to what G.S. suggested - focus on the thou shalts versus though shalt nots), wouldn't this be transformative?!?!?

 

How an African tribe deals with crimes.
December 6, 2012
 

I was recently told of an African tribe that does the most beautiful thing.

When someone does something hurtful and wrong, they take the person to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him. For two days they’ll tell the man every good thing he has ever done.

The tribe believes that every human being comes into the world as GOOD, each of us desiring safety, love, peace, happiness.

But sometimes in the pursuit of those things people make mistakes. The community sees misdeeds as a cry for help.

They band together for the sake of their fellow man to hold him up, to reconnect him with his true Nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth from which he’d temporarily been disconnected: “I AM GOOD”.



#156 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:21 AM


 


 

 

 
Evolution > A theory of consciousness (including language) > Recognition of what serves life and what doesn't  ... will be the road to a system of morals. Not sure I can get it right though. 

 

I like it.

 

keep 'em coming



#157 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:27 AM

I'm unsure of the validity of this, but (speaking to what G.S. suggested - focus on the thou shalts versus though shalt nots), wouldn't this be transformative?!?!?

 

How an African tribe deals with crimes.
December 6, 2012
 

I was recently told of an African tribe that does the most beautiful thing.

When someone does something hurtful and wrong, they take the person to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him. For two days they’ll tell the man every good thing he has ever done.

The tribe believes that every human being comes into the world as GOOD, each of us desiring safety, love, peace, happiness.

But sometimes in the pursuit of those things people make mistakes. The community sees misdeeds as a cry for help.

They band together for the sake of their fellow man to hold him up, to reconnect him with his true Nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth from which he’d temporarily been disconnected: “I AM GOOD”.

 

 

Oh man YES! Wow. There is much to be learned from Africans. I heard a story from a western man that was going through a terrible depression and went to an African medicine woman, and she made a list of all the things that were needed to draw this out of him...long story short he found himself drenched in the blood of a goat in the daylight with a community of people dancing and chanting around him calling the darkness out of him...after Rwanda the westerners came in and wanted to put them into a solitary room, not well lit, to talk about the trauma, over and over expecting some healing- the tribe knew better- you need to bring it out and expose it in the light, with the community of people around you dancing and singing until there is no more room for the darkness.

 

(that's not EXACTLY the way it was told, but it's the gist and it was POWERFUL.

 

Didn't mean to veer topic. :lol:



#158 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:36 AM

just found this

 

"I saw an interview with Jared Diamond on TV the other day.

He's studied indigenous tribes in Papua New Guinea and other places.

He mentioned his theory that when civilization is small, around 40 people or so, there tends to be no tribal leaders, however the social and moral customs vary widely. As civilization grows, the role of the leader emerges and obedience to the ruler or ruling class becomes an expected norm. Other things like property and so forth become more standardized across civilizations, too.

It's an interesting theory. I might read some of his stuff. This is the book he was doing the rounds over: The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?."

 

 

 

so it could be said of religion--it's born out of a need for a leader, a way to control the masses, it provides standardized codes to keep us in check, help navigate permissible behavior... we fear chaos and uncertainty so we rely on religion to provide direction. 

 

if it were to succeed in doing this, would people care that it invoked an imaginary friend in the sky in order to succeed?



#159 china cat

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:46 AM

Oh man YES! Wow. There is much to be learned from Africans. I heard a story from a western man that was going through a terrible depression and went to an African medicine woman, and she made a list of all the things that were needed to draw this out of him...long story short he found himself drenched in the blood of a goat in the daylight with a community of people dancing and chanting around him calling the darkness out of him...after Rwanda the westerners came in and wanted to put them into a solitary room, not well lit, to talk about the trauma, over and over expecting some healing- the tribe knew better- you need to bring it out and expose it in the light, with the community of people around you dancing and singing until there is no more room for the darkness.

 

(that's not EXACTLY the way it was told, but it's the gist and it was POWERFUL.

 

Didn't mean to veer topic. :lol:

 

yes, if we reconceptualize our understanding of human nature as not born of original sin, but rather full of light and kindness how things might shift!

 

If we talked more of cooperation rather than competition.

 

If we showed positive news/stories of human kindness rather than human cruelty, would we create more kindness? I think so

 

If we rewrite the narrative, we may well rewrite human behavior. We're malleable. There is hope.

 

This documentary does that (in tear inspiring ways). Argues from scientific perspective that we're hardwired to cooperate. Favorite.documentary.ever. (not because I see all of it as accurate, but because I was so inspired after watching it) If you are inclined:

 

http://www.filmsfora...atch/i_am_2010/



#160 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:53 AM

yes, if we reconceptualize our understanding of human nature as not born of original sin, but rather full of light and kindness how things might shift!

 

There it is. :smile: 



#161 Tim the Beek

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 11:19 AM

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.

 

If this is the case, and "he" doesn't include you, I wanna have a word with him. :)

When I look at the vastness and complexity of the known universe I have a difficult time accepting the notion that we're the focus of it all. That a God would love the whole of creation equally seems far more likely to me than that we get special treatment.

Further seems to me that the "special treatment" idea is born of the gifts we have of self awareness and intellect, which have pushed us in the self-centered direction of explaining our existence as somehow more important or valuable than the rest of creation.

One man's thoughts...



#162 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 11:59 AM

When I look at the vastness and complexity of the known universe I have a difficult time accepting the notion that we're the focus of it all. That a God would love the whole of creation equally seems far more likely to me than that we get special treatment.

Further seems to me that the "special treatment" idea is born of the gifts we have of self awareness and intellect, which have pushed us in the self-centered direction of explaining our existence as somehow more important or valuable than the rest of creation.
We are "the focus of it all"! It's just that, God being infinitely immanent and transcendent, so is all existence. Infinite love is infinitely loving all the beloved throughout all space-time.

#163 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:32 PM

We are "the focus of it all"! It's just that, God being infinitely immanent and transcendent, so is all existence. Infinite love is infinitely loving all the beloved throughout all space-time.

 

That's what I thought & hopped you'd reply. God being in love with people wouldn't mean he's not in love with frogs, martians, rocks, all the structures and inhabitants of the Pinwheel Galaxy, and all other parts of everything.

 

 

 

UC, I do have a questions about your conception of God. Forgive me if any of my questioning or phrasing here is insulting or diminutive, I don't mean it to be. As I said above, I just don't see how saying one believe in God means anything unless we have some idea of what the word and sound "God" means. 

 

 

Is God omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient?

 

If God it those things, is God the same as everything (everything being all space, all time, all forces, all things -- what some call the entire universe)?

...Everything being  all space, all time, all forces, all things -- what some call the entire universe

...Universe not being just what happened after the "Big Bang" but all of everything through all time.

...Time being not just something created after the "Big Bang" but whatever was "around" before that and whatever will be around after it.

 

If God is not the same as everything, how does God differ from what we mean when we just say everything.

 

Is God conscious, an agent that can make decisions beyond mere physics?

 

Can God make things happen or change things beyond the limits of mere physics? (i.e. Intervene in our lives or perform miracles)

 

I assume you don't mean God to be simply a conditions of the mind that helps us, like a belief in a rescue boat coming to save us whether one really exists or not.



#164 Tim the Beek

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:46 PM

God being in love with people wouldn't mean he's not in love with frogs, martians, rocks, all the structures and inhabitants of the Pinwheel Galaxy, and all other parts of everything.

 

It wouldn't necessarily. But if we're speaking of the Judeo-Christian God, it's certainly implied in scripture and liturgy that people are elevated above the rest of creation.

God created man in his image.
We are stewards over the rest of creation.
etc.



#165 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:49 PM

It wouldn't necessarily. But if we're speaking of the Judeo-Christian God, it's certainly implied in scripture and liturgy that people are elevated above the rest of creation.

God created man in his image.
We are stewards over the rest of creation.
etc.

 

Indeed, and I believe this is one place where we have the seeds of the domination of one over another that has plagued our globe. First it was man over beast, then man over woman, then man over others...our morality took a very dark turn. 



#166 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:58 PM

It wouldn't necessarily. But if we're speaking of the Judeo-Christian God, it's certainly implied in scripture and liturgy that people are elevated above the rest of creation.

God created man in his image.
We are stewards over the rest of creation.
etc.

 

Fair enough. I was seeing it as just a conversation between UC and you, not bringing in things from scripture Judeo-Christian that hadn't been said. But I certainly see why that was present even though unstated, especially since UC did say he had turned to organized religion. Just a misreading on my part.



#167 Jabadoodle

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 01:03 PM

Indeed, and I believe this is one place where we have the seeds of the domination of one over another that has plagued our globe. First it was man over beast, then man over woman, then man over others...our morality took a very dark turn. 

 

I'd only like to add that it's also been women over others (slavery), women over beasts, and women behind some of men out creating the plagues on our globe.



#168 Ginger Snap

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 01:07 PM

I'd only like to add that it's also been women over others (slavery), women over beasts, and women behind some of men out creating the plagues on our globe.

 

 Of course that's how it ended up, we have been fully enculturated in societies built on domination of each other, but I believe it was recognizing that first difference among peoples, that there was a difference between man and woman, and exalting one over the other that started it. And then as different tribes met with one another, another difference...and on and on. 

 

Edited: Actually like I said earlier, first having dominance over nature, then we turned on each other. Or perhaps at the same time, I don't know. :lol:

 

My point is it started somewhere- it was not always this way. To add a little more to where my moral context is, it's pretty rooted in dominator verses partnership models and systems, partnership models being preferable of course. 



#169 china cat

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:50 AM

http://www.ted.com/t...olden_rule.html



#170 hoagie

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:49 PM

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

 

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. 
 

 

 

Proven by who/what? Science.
 

 

 
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.

 

I believe the meaning or definition of God, gods, etc is ineffible.  Experience and mindfulness leads me to also believe we are all a part of *God, The Neverending Story, Universe, etc* the ineffible reality that is.

 

I also believe we each have our own valid point of view in this life, and every belief (or interpretation of reality) matters in the grand scheme