Atheism & Morale (split from INSIGHTS ON ATHEISM)


#1

There is discussion going on in the thread INSIGHTS ON ATHEISM about atheism and morale. I think it is time to split this for readability, I don’t know how much response levels this forum software can handle. It deserves a separate debate too.

To recapture my arguments, how a set of morals can be established without divine interference:

  1. Humans are gregarious animals and not lone wolfs. To survive humans need to cooperate. Unsocial behaviour harms the herd, thus lowering the chances of survival. Morale keeps the individuals in line thus helping the herd to survive. Basic evolution after all.

  2. The simple principle “treat other people, like you want to be treated” is reasonable and egoistic. Since nearly nobody wants to get murdered, raped, kidnapped, etc. it is quite logical that a human society invents laws against those deeds. On the other hand one wants to survive illness, have a good life when aged, etc. thus no wonder, that human societies have invented systems to care for that.


#2

Let me explain to those who wonder what an atheist is doing here and why he is posting messages on a catholic board.

[list=1]
*]I am not trying to “deconvert” anybody. I don’t care what you believe, as long as that belief is not forced upon me.
*]It is entertaining to have an interlectual debate, and it is even more fun to do that with someone of a diametric different opinion.
*](main reason) I have experienced that theists in general and christians especially most often regard atheists as evil, satanic, non-patriotic, cold-blooded thugs without any morale… The list of insulting attributes is endless. If I can convince one person to think otherwise, my being here was not a wasted efford.
[/list]


#3

I don’t see any concept of right or wrong in your description, only the concept of possibly beneficial vs. possibly harmful. As an example, I can’t see how keeping the seriously ill or handicapped (physically or mentally) alive helps the herd to survive. In fact, it drains the resources of the herd. So why should we do it, or for the sake of the herd should we let them die?


#4

“Herds…animals”…I love it when atheists try to LOWER the nature of man in comparing him to the social standards and ettiquette of BEASTS, instead of raising MANKIND up to the elevation of which God wishes us to attain to… :stuck_out_tongue:

It always reminds me of that song, which many atheists liken as their “national anthem”

You and me baby, we aint nothin’ but mammels, so lets do it like they do on the discovery channel… :smiley:


#5

Of course many theists (Christians, for example), can do anything they want as long as they sincerely ask for forgiveness later. How does that make for a guarantee of a civil society?


#6

[quote=VociMike]I don’t see any concept of right or wrong in your description, only the concept of possibly beneficial vs. possibly harmful.
[/quote]

Right and wrong are not absolutes, just like good and evil. Both are defined by the social standards. When those standards change, right and wrong change.

My argument was, that the urge to survive initiates a set of morals for the benefit of all. If a minority is not allowed to benefit from that set, it is a danger for the individual because one day he might belong to that minority. Your argument is of course valid, we know enough societies thorughout history which did just that. As long as resoruces are plentiful, a society has the luxury to care for everybody. When resources run low, the killing will start, and it will hit the weakest first. Not wrong by my defintion? Perhaps. Uncomfortable thought? Sure. And history prooves, it doesn’t need an atheistic society to perform an atrocity.

As for the handicapped, we shall not allow them to become priests (Lev 21:16-21).


#7

Most animals of one species do not kill each other. Most animals do not kill for sports. And surely they do not kill each other over a dispute how a god should be worshipped.

Regarding humans as “mere” animals is a compliment compared to the usual christian “we are all dirty rotten sinners, we don’t deserve anything, we must be saved, …” whining. Now who lowers the nature of man?

Just my opinion though…


#8

[quote=squirt]Of course many theists (Christians, for example), can do anything they want as long as they sincerely ask for forgiveness later. How does that make for a guarantee of a civil society?
[/quote]

Where in the world did you get this idea? Of course we can’t go out and commit any sin we want and then go to confession and be forgiven unless we are truely sorry and do not intend to do it again. If we commit adulty and go to confession, but do not intend to stop commiting adultry, we are not forgiven. We all make errors in judgement and are sinful but that does not give us license to go out and do anything we want as long as we ask for forgiveness. As a matter of fact if we are truely Christian we will want to do the right thing, we will do our best not to sin, but being human we know we will fail yet we make every effort to be better in the future. :thumbsup:


#9

[quote=Lance]Where in the world did you get this idea? Of course we can’t go out and commit any sin we want and then go to confession and be forgiven unless we are truely sorry and do not intend to do it again. If we commit adulty and go to confession, but do not intend to stop commiting adultry, we are not forgiven. We all make errors in judgement and are sinful but that does not give us license to go out and do anything we want as long as we ask for forgiveness. As a matter of fact if we are truely Christian we will want to do the right thing, we will do our best not to sin, but being human we know we will fail yet we make every effort to be better in the future. :thumbsup:
[/quote]

At least for mortal sins, a Christian theist

(1) Knows that it is gravely wrong.
(2) Does it anyway, of his own free will.
(3) Knows that God is merciful and will forgive him if he sincerely repents.

Are mortal sins uncommon among Christians?

(I’m playing around here, seeing who catches the holes in the arguments … ):wink:


#10

It puzzles me why Catholics would believe that atheists, as a group, would not have morals.

If we believe that God implanted ‘natural law’ in our hearts (too lazy at the moment to find the CCC reference)… a law that can be known regardless of whether or not we are able to perceive that God exits … then, we believe that this ‘natural law’ is made known, via God, to all of us … theist and atheist alike.

I think that the fact that atheists try to find an explanation for their inner drive towards morality in terms of ‘survival of the fittest’ is a good thing. In some sense, it is an attempt to affirm that morality is in fact ‘natural.’

I think that coming to know God is better, but looking for answers in different ways isn’t ‘bad.’

(Finally a serious post from me on this thread.)


#11

I see two possiblities:

Good is indipendant of god.

Goodness is what god says it is


#12

I have known so many wonderful, caring, kind, charitable,etc… atheist in my life,was one myself not long ago. Being an atheist does NOT make a person bad or evil…just LOST, My opinion.

My question to any atheist is… Do you ever wonder, just for a moment…WHAT IF? :confused:

I have more respect for an atheist who strives to live a good and charitable life than I do those “Sunday” Christians who profess to love Jesus while in church, then spend the next 6 days committing every sin in the book. I’m sure we have all met or have known that kind of Christian. :frowning:

Just one time, consider the possiblity that God exists, might be surprised to actually find Him. :thumbsup: He has a way of showing up from time to time when you least expect it :love:


#13

[quote=mkw]I have known so many wonderful, caring, kind, charitable,etc… atheist in my life,was one myself not long ago. Being an atheist does NOT make a person bad or evil…just LOST, My opinion.

My question to any atheist is… Do you ever wonder, just for a moment…WHAT IF? :confused:
[/quote]

What if what?

Although I definitely have to agree on the fact that just because I am an Atheist doesn’t mean I cannot possess similar emotion to any OTHER human…:tsktsk:


#14

[quote=Faithful 2 Rome]“Herds…animals”…I love it when atheists try to LOWER the nature of man in comparing him to the social standards and ettiquette of BEASTS, instead of raising MANKIND up to the elevation of which God wishes us to attain to… :stuck_out_tongue:

It always reminds me of that song, which many atheists liken as their “national anthem”

You and me baby, we aint nothin’ but mammels, so lets do it like they do on the discovery channel… :smiley:
[/quote]

I think that it is even more humorous when people, regardless of what they believe, decide to completely stereotype another set of people based upon their belief(s), or lack there-of.

I’m curious where you get the song by the Bloodhound Gang as our “national athem.”? This is an absurd claim. I have been an Atheist coming on 10 years, and I have never heard this, EVER, ANYWHERE, from ONE Atheist.

I can only hope you were trying to be funny, but IMHO, you failed miserably.

Chris


#15

I have heard little on atheistic life purpose and would love to hear comments from an atheist on the subject. It would be interesting to theorize where the idea of purpose of living even came from. It seems that the survival of humans is the basic purpose driving us in the context of a godless universe. One must wonder what end we are trying to survive to obtain? Would we be hoping to evolve into space flying mutants at some point down the road? Even then, it doesnt make sense to dwell on the future existence of other beings when as an individual, one would simply cease to exist and nothing from that point on would have any meaning to them. The fate of their children and children’s children would be meaningless to a being that no longer exists. Now considering that everything is meaningless after death implies that the temporary pleasures in life were in effect meaningless too
because they lack permanancy. I mean, what do you care about a tasty cheeseburger you had when you were 16 after you no longer exist. For that matter, that cheeseburger (yes I like cheeseburgers) doesnt mean much even a week later.
At any rate, I am more than anything looking for info or even resources on the idea of atheistic life purpose. This is a subject of some curiousity to me.
I would also like to note that atheists should feel free to pray to God to make Himself known to them on occasion, as an atheist doesnt really have anything lose if they are wrong. If nothing else, think of it as an expiriment.

~Mike


#16

“WHAT IF” there is a creator,“WHAT IF” God truely exists. “WHAT IF” atheism just might be wrong :rolleyes:


#17

[quote=dolffn]I have heard little on atheistic life purpose and would love to hear comments from an atheist on the subject. It would be interesting to theorize where the idea of purpose of living even came from.
[/quote]

That would be interesting, but it seems rather unnecessary in the face that we exist, reason or not.

It seems that the survival of humans is the basic purpose driving us in the context of a godless universe. One must wonder what end we are trying to survive to obtain?

Have you ever considered the possibility there is no purpose, end, or goal of humanity? Except, perhaps, that which we prescribe to ourselves.

Would we be hoping to evolve into space flying mutants at some point down the road? Even then, it doesnt make sense to dwell on the future existence of other beings when as an individual, one would simply cease to exist and nothing from that point on would have any meaning to them. The fate of their children and children’s children would be meaningless to a being that no longer exists. Now considering that everything is meaningless after death implies that the temporary pleasures in life were in effect meaningless too because they lack permanancy. I mean, what do you care about a tasty cheeseburger you had when you were 16 after you no longer exist. For that matter, that cheeseburger (yes I like cheeseburgers) doesnt mean much even a week later.

A rather disturbing slippery slope you have there. When I die, humanity will continue on. My death doesn’t stop that. And, keeping that in mind, I can do what I can, now, to help humanity continue on. My existence may not have a global effect, but it can have a local effect, and it’s indeterminable what that effect will have (if anything). To completely render my life, and all of existence, completely meaningless in terms of not caring, is to be a naysayer. My life does not need an ultimate direction or purpose to make me happy. I enjoy the cheeseburger, I enjoy sex, I care about my family and my friends. Why is it that simply because I don’t believe a supernatural being is behind all of this, that it therefore is completely void of value or meaning? It isn’t. But I do ask - how significant is ONE cheeseburger in the grand scheme of your life? Stubbing your toe on the parkway? Banging your elbow on the table? Not very meaningful, but that doesn’t differ from an Atheist to a Christian, except perhaps the expletive they scream out in pain. :smiley:

At any rate, I am more than anything looking for info or even resources on the idea of atheistic life purpose. This is a subject of some curiousity to me.

Info, yes.
I’m not so much a resource, by I have no purpose other than to be.

I would also like to note that atheists should feel free to pray to God to make Himself known to them on occasion, as an atheist doesnt really have anything lose if they are wrong. If nothing else, think of it as an expiriment.

I invite you to pray to the Invisible Pink Unicorn, and She has some of her Horny Wisdom to impart upon you. You have nothing to lose, as she does not laugh out of spite, and if you feel embarassed, She will give you a hug.

Maybe that can put into perspective how absurd to an Atheist it would be to pray to something they do not even believe in, in the first place.

Chris


#18

[quote=mkw]“WHAT IF” there is a creator,“WHAT IF” God truely exists. “WHAT IF” atheism just might be wrong :rolleyes:
[/quote]

If I thought about all the “WHAT IFs” out there I’d be in a mental institution…


#19

[quote=mkw]“WHAT IF” there is a creator,“WHAT IF” God truely exists. “WHAT IF” atheism just might be wrong :rolleyes:
[/quote]

What if I die in a car crash tomorrow while pondering said questions, all because I wasn’t paying attention?
What if a nuke is dropped over Antarctica?
What if someone memorizes pi to 20,000 digits?

Chris


#20

[quote=Nil Desperandum]What if I die in a car crash tomorrow while pondering said questions, all because I wasn’t paying attention?
What if a nuke is dropped over Antarctica?
What if someone memorizes pi to 20,000 digits?

Chris
[/quote]

What if somebody thinks that “this sentence is true”??? :stuck_out_tongue:


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