Superiority of Secular Morality over Religious Systems


I didn’t watch the video, it’s too long. I have a couple of thoughts though.

You say that some things are better than others for people, and I agree, which leads me to believe that there are optimal behaviors for human happiness and flourishing, at least for people interacting with each other. That implies objective morality.

The trial and error process has been going on as long as we’ve been around and religion formalizes the teaching and adherence to those behaviors that have been discovered to work best. I know, it’s not perfect because people like complicate it. I think most religions have discovered good behaviors, and some do it better that others. Catholics do it best, of course. :slight_smile:

One thing (I’m sure there are more) that secular morality has a problem with is recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of the human person. It’s hard to reason for someone being a “spark of the divine” if you don’t believe in the divine. I think Christians, specifically Catholics, focus on this the most. Without this concept we don’t have individual rights, or it’s very hard to argue for them.


I just wanted to add that Catholic moral rules and principles are quite practical and aim for the goal of “human well-being”, or as I like to say, happiness and fulfillment. There are good answers, even from a secular viewpoint, on why Catholics have the rules they do.


Here is a break down of the time markers on the video:
0000 - 0730: Who is Matt Dillahunty
0730: Lie told - You can not have morals without some external authority.
0800: Secular morals are superior in almost every demonstrable way.
0900: We want explanations, not assertions.
0922: Evaluating moral or immoral is based on referencing some standard or value
0950: Makes no difference, whether the standard by which you measure is ultimately the source by subjective opinion or objective truth. Once you have the standard, you can make objective claims of good or bad.
1030: Chess game example: creation of a game and strategy to win. The strategy to win is equivalent to a moral structure.
1130: Dishonest to say that different people with different strategies then we are unable to say anything about which strategy is superior. Judge the strategies by their results towards the goal.
Why we are the way we are is irrelevant to the discussion.
1257: How effective is your moral system for figuring out how good something is verse how bad? What process do you go through for determining those goals?
1312: Advantage of secular morality: we can assess any strategy on its own merits and use extreme examples as a guide line to help filter scenarios that are less obvious.
1420: Contrast secular moral systems to non-secular moral systems:
a: What is the origin of the core values and goals in each system?
b: Who’s interest are served?
c: How does each system handle the issue of justification and authority?
d: How does each system address the need for modification to the values and goals?
e: Process for resolving conflict about values
f: How robust is each system?
1500: Design game and government
1553: Secular systems: the source of the core values is internal to the system. Predicated on views both rational and emotional. Your emotional connection to something is considered and accounted as well. Just like how you will treat your spouse better than a stranger.
1630: Non-secular Systems: the source of the core values is external to the system. There is no necessary direct link between the values and the participants.
Example: Governing god figure, in the transcendence sense, Imposing its morals. Dictators are in and above the laws. No longer applicable: ancient writings of a person that can on longer participate in the discourse for updating and modifying the system in reference to the values.


1750: You can be happy if people pick your values for you. Such as the parent/child relationship.
Not the same as deciding what our values are. There is no guarantee that you are allowed to participate in the creation of those core values in the decision making process.
1830: Secular systems allow change to seek happiness on some other path.
1839: Whose interests are served? Secular systems address the interests of the players of the game, not the benefit of some external source. Secular systems are all internally referenced.
1900: Non-secular systems may or may not serve the interests of the players. They ultimately conform to some external opinion of what is in the best interest of the players. “I’m doing this for your own good.” They perceive what your best interest to be is.
1955: Secular systems rely on internal authority for values, goals, and enforcement. Self organized, modified, and enforced. Non-secular systems rely on external authorities for these. Internal authorities are accepted, while external authorities are imposed.
Not the issue if the external authority exists or not. Assessing the values of that source and values that are predicated.
2105: Resist any form of Might-Makes-Right from or system. Definitionally not secular.
2210: Modifications and Alterations: Secular systems are internal, dynamic, encouraged to change. Primary goal: best outcome for the participants. Builds on the data from conflict and resolution and outcomes. Agreement on New Rules = All is Fair. Secular systems do not change the game, just the strategies.
2550: Non-secular system make change difficult or do not permit change. Changes come from an external source. “new Testament, prophets, etc.” Rigid, Still may not consider the best interest of the players. Change in religious systems is when the world passes them by: Fear of Obsolescence.
2737: Conflict of moral systems
2815: Secular systems are inclusive and particapatory


2831: Non-secular systems rely on coercion or conversion.
3026: How to settle disputes in all religious systems: all indoctrination, coercion, or conversion.
3116: Secular systems are more complex; evolve and mature; Fewer big unresolved surprises; more energy to solve nuance.
3239: Non-secular tend to remain simplistic; trail behind secular counter parts.
3524: The absence of an absolute clearly defined standard is not equivalent to having no values and no way to construct a standard. The absence of no clear defined strategy is equivalent to no strategy at all is absurd.
3618: All opinions are not equal or to be considered. There are people you don’t have to listen to when the goal is considered.
3850: Several possible rights answers (better or worse): without absolute right answers from an outside authority figure is absurd to conclude anarchy.
3910: When is it appropriate to disregard someone’s opinion about morality?
4010: Secular systems start from simple beginnings and build from there: Life > Death, Pleasure > Pain, etc.
4200: Keep good ideas wherever they come from and drop the baggage and garbage; unlike religious systems. Secular systems is flexible by data driven input.
4310: Human Rights
4430: What type of government?
4600: Secular Moral System
a: Free from appeals to an external authority
b: robust
c: inclusive
d: powerful tool that is evolving and improving with new data gained.
4620: Admittance by non-secular systems proponents that secular systems are better: By comparing their actual values to the values of their particular religion. Demonstrated by the results.
We say so, not I say so.
4950: Questions and Answers.


He doesn’t address this it seems.


Just posted the video topic break down and their time markers


Just posted the video topic break down and their time markers


Just posted the video topic break down and their time markers

Hope your week went well.


Just posted the video break down and time markers. Hope your week went well.


To the flurishment of everyone involved in the discussion of how to live a good life while struggling with conflict of self vs group, as we all do. That’s my initial assumption


Matt argues the point that secular moral systems have an internal system for developing their goal to reference the good and the bad. Non-Secular systems have an impossed external source that may or may not serve the needs of the people of that system.
He also concludes that religious people are stealing from the secular model when the religious people show what their actual morals are dispite what their religious texts clearly advocate for.


Matt argues the point that secular moral systems have an internal system for developing their goal to reference the good and the bad. Non-Secular systems have an impossed external source that may or may not serve the needs of the people of that system.
To your two points, since the love for your deity and your neighbor comes from you, thats just fine. But the deity being an external source for moral system is a problem. It is an imposed morality that may or may not have the best interest of humanity as its goal


Matt argues the point that secular moral systems have an internal system for developing their goal to reference the good and the bad. Non-Secular systems have an impossed external source that may or may not serve the needs of the people of that system.
As to the idea of test subjects, no. Since we all have the commonality of the basic human reference points, life is preferable to death, pain is prefered to be avoided, etc. We are the reference point of what is the good and the bad. What strategies we think up to maximize those goals for everyone is what we are trying to figure out. We stand on the shoulders if people before us to figure out what not to do so we know what we should still work on.


That’s the problem though. Religious ethics are necessarily from an external source of reference, impossed on people, and it may or may not have the best interest of humanity as its goal. Secular Morality is necessarily an internal reference point for the goal of human flurishment since it is using the human experience of everyone involved as the reference point of the good and the bad and discussing different strategies on how to maximize that for everyone.


They are not forcing a nature on to anyone. Thats like saying, while playing the game of chess, the game of chess is forcing a chess-like nature on the game. The basic nature of humanity is the universal reference points or goals of the game. Just like chess, the goal is to not lose. The goal of just being human is to generally prefer life over death, avoid pain, live in a social group, etc. Those basic starting points of the commonality of the human experience are the same as the rules for chess. Now we all need to sit down and figure out the best strategies for maximizing those goals. To not lose in chess and to maximize human well-being.


No sir,
Secular moral systems are definitionally interally referenced for the goals of what to reference as the good or the bad, moral and immoral. The reference point comes from the agreed upon most common overlapping truths of just being human. Life is preferable to death, avoid pain, live in a social group, etc. Now we can all sit down and come up with strategies on how to maximize those goals.
Non-Secular systems have an external reference point of the good and the bad that is impossed on the people and it may or may not have everyone’s best interests as the goal.
When religious people update their religious practices, for fear of becoming irrelevant when society is passing them by, they scramble and update their morality, stealing from the secular moraly system and then the religious become infallable all over again.


So the basic idea that we are created sick and then commanded to be well. Teaching people that, no matter what they strive for will never be good enough for the reward to one of our greatest fears, death. So they are taught that they will never be good enough to gain this reward themselves, but if they are willing to grovel and subject themselves to a brow beaten slave like state to the master, then they get to come in out of the fields. We will fundamentally never agree that definition of religion is something to be valued or respected.


In political terminology, this is putting a “negative spin” on religion, really negative. Technically speaking in the case of Catholicism (Christianity generally), we are not CREATED sick but rather we made ourselves sick by sinning against G-d (original sin of Adam and Eve). According to Judaism, however, even this is not correct. We may have disobeyed G-d by sinning but we do not pass on that original sin from one generation to another. On the contrary, we are born with the potential for goodness. Still, we must safeguard against our human tendency toward the potential destructiveness caused by selfish behavior in regard to both ourselves and others. (Selfishness is not regarded by Judaism as necessarily destructive; in fact, aggression can be beneficial toward our survival at times.) But neither Christianity nor Judaism considers human obedience toward G-d as “groveling” as a “slave” might do toward his “master.” On the contrary, following and practicing the commandments is a means of enriching our lives by making us more aware that our freedoms entail responsibilities toward one another, and not merely acting based on individual impulse designed to achieve the goals of pleasure, security, reward, and so on. In other words, the Law compels us to think before we act by taking into account what effects our behavior may have on the safety, security, health, happiness, and well-being of ourselves and of others. The Law consists of things that we might not have even been aware of using our own human reason, and thus adds a further moral dimension to the human consensus toward behavior in the service of all participants. Unlike (some aspects of) Christianity, Judaism does NOT believe in the superiority of natural law; indeed following our natural instincts can often lead us astray. That does not mean we should abandon human instinct, reason, judgment, interpretation; however, we should be cautious of our human limitations to perceive the best course of action in difficult situations, and take into account the wisdom of our ancestors when we confront the challenging situations of life.


Your position as an atheist is noted.

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