Your religion, your crutch...Part 2

I had to renew this thread, because 1. It did get off track a l bit, and 2. Someone used a word(s) that is blocked by our administrator…so please when replying do not use any word that the system may see fit to block (even if it’s borderline)…otherwise I will not be able to post anymore.

Ok…let me see if I can make myself a bit more clear…I tried to look into each individuals posts and get some responses but the system would not let me read all of it.

First…I am under the impression that it is IMPOSSIBLE (at least in our current state of scientific/philosophical understanding to know whether or not there is a god)…Some of you will most certainly say no…and that’s ok…plenty of people seem to know a lot of things about the world that are not able to be universally verified and accounted for.
2. I don’t consider myself an atheist…I don’t like to use that word, and I think it’s as lame as saying that you know that there is a god…so it would be lame for me to say that I know there isn’t…

  1. So this leads us to relevance…what is the RELEVANCE of your belief that can be conveyed to a free thinking individual of adequate intellect?..this ties directly into crutch. I hear a lot of responses like “It’s not enough to be good” etc… etc… Oh really? Don’t you understand that almost everything you’re trying to convey to me regarding your belief system if subjective? This is what is worrisome about the world…this is why we have wars, crime, all out wierdness purveying every aspect of our society…this is why devout people scare the living lettuce out of me. Why are you so devout? What are you scared of? Have you done something horrible that you are trying to atone for? Do you suspect that you may be evil, and are looking for help? This is why I consider it a crutch. I read posts throughout all of these threads…and quite frankly they are seriously scary…titles such as “why didn’t god stop the tsunami” etc…etc…etc…

Incidentally…why is it that anytime someone wants to have any type of discourse with a religious person…the devout always mention things like “it’s good that you’re questioning”…or “you are obviously on the path toward god”…what kind of weirdness is that? That’s tantamount to me saying that the fact that you are engaged in discourse with me could be viewed as moving away from a god belief??? NONSENSE!

I’m fascinated with the things that people believe and why…if you’re strong enough to post on a public forum then you should be strong enough to realize that someone may like to pick your brain a bit…plus I think it as my civic duty to help some of you people…hahahaaa…

So bottom line…can you objectively illustrate how you’re belief system enables you to lead a more fulfilling, just, moral life than an individual such as myself? AND once you realize that you indeed cannot do this…then hopefully you will start to realize how religion in fact divides us…holds us back from true universal compatibility and companionship with our fellow human beings.

The porblem with the crutch theory of religion is that it is the pot calling the kettle black. Read this article by Paul Vitz: The Psychology of Atheism which basically suggests that atheists are really projecting their conflicts with their natural fathers onto the universe.

Now I happen to think this is very specualtive, but guess what? It is no more speculative than the crutch-motivation theory of religion. You mentioned you are not an atheist, but the same idea applies. What deep psychological motives do you have for espousing radical skepticism? (And all the smarmy questions that follow from it: Why are you so skeptical? What are you scared of? Have you done something horrible that you are trying dispose of accountability to the Creator of the Universe?) There’s the problem: you can’t have a rational discussion if you think your opponent is irrational.

Scott

Strength,

Good to see ya again my friend; I was really enjoying our conversation and I certainly hope it wan’t I that used an ‘objectionable word’. Although I disagree with you on its face, I still thought our discourse was civil. With that being said…

First…I am under the impression that it is IMPOSSIBLE (at least in our current state of scientific/philosophical understanding to know whether or not there is a god)…Some of you will most certainly say no…and that’s ok…plenty of people seem to know a lot of things about the world that are not able to be universally verified and accounted for.


How do you base knowledge? Are there absolutes that define knowledge? I presented the Heisneburg Uncertainy Principle as a fact that it is impossible to make any measurement with absolute certainty, you didn’t accept it. But at the same time in the above statement you claim “plenty of people seem to know alot of things about the world that are not able to be universally verified and accunted for”. I am agreeing with you. Since I’m agreeing with you, then we have removed ‘objectivity’ from our arguments and must make our points subjectively.

2. I don’t consider myself an atheist…I don’t like to use that word, and I think it’s as lame as saying that you know that there is a god…so it would be lame for me to say that I know there isn’t…
It doesn’t bother me that you don’t want to be called an aethiest. Would agnostic be a better term? It seems as if the point of your post is that you don’t know that God exist and you don’t know that He doesn’t exist, correct?

3. So this leads us to relevance…what is the RELEVANCE of your belief that can be conveyed to a free thinking individual of adequate intellect?..this ties directly into crutch. I hear a lot of responses like “It’s not enough to be good” etc… etc… Oh really? Don’t you understand that almost everything you’re trying to convey to me regarding your belief system if subjective? This is what is worrisome about the world…this is why we have wars, crime, all out wierdness purveying every aspect of our society…this is why devout people scare the living lettuce out of me. Why are you so devout? What are you scared of? Have you done something horrible that you are trying to atone for? Do you suspect that you may be evil, and are looking for help? This is why I consider it a crutch. I read posts throughout all of these threads…and quite frankly they are seriously scary…titles such as “why didn’t god stop the tsunami” etc…etc…etc…


First you would have to accept that faith systems have MORAL ABSOLUTES - which is objective. As soon as subjectivity enters into the argument you are changing the beliefs faith systems have. With that you are absolutely right, subjectivity leads to an open-ended situation where it really isn’t relevent what belief system exists because subjectivity leads to “everyone is basically good” Previously, this is where we entered the good vs bad and positive vs negative argument. Subjectivity says that these terms are relative to the individual; objectivity would define these terms in an absolute manner. Subjectively - everyone is good in their own mind. Discussin why God didn’t stop the tsunami becomes irrelevant in the realm of everyone is basically good - which is subjective reasoning…

Incidentally…why is it that anytime someone wants to have any type of discourse with a religious person…the devout always mention things like “it’s good that you’re questioning”…or “you are obviously on the path toward god”…what kind of weirdness is that? That’s tantamount to me saying that the fact that you are engaged in discourse with me could be viewed as moving away from a god belief??? NONSENSE!


And I already get the impression that your goal is to get people to give up their belief in God; so, you’re right it is sort of nonsense.

I don’t think you read my post clearly, and I don’t see how your flipping the question makes any type of sense whatsoever? Radical skepticism? What?

Like I said…if you cannot demonstrate objectively that you somehow live your life more just, more moral than I can just by believing and worshipping a god idea…then yes…religion is a crutch…because how else is it relevant? The individual is

  1. Scared of going to hell
  2. Scared of the unkown…or
  3. Is harboring some type of guilt/problems, and is hoping for a god to save then from themselves.

Since it isn’t verifiable by any empirical means outside of our own subjective opinions and proofs (our mind)…then it is indeed a crutch…or a rock if that makes you feel better.

[quote=Scott Waddell]The porblem with the crutch theory of religion is that it is the pot calling the kettle black. Read this article by Paul Vitz: The Psychology of Atheism which basically suggests that atheists are really projecting their conflicts with their natural fathers onto the universe.

Now I happen to think this is very specualtive, but guess what? It is no more speculative than the crutch-motivation theory of religion. You mentioned you are not an atheist, but the same idea applies. What deep psychological motives do you have for espousing radical skepticism? (And all the smarmy questions that follow from it: Why are you so skeptical? What are you scared of? Have you done something horrible that you are trying dispose of accountability to the Creator of the Universe?) There’s the problem: you can’t have a rational discussion if you think your opponent is irrational.

Scott
[/quote]

Okay, can I use an illustration to sum up where I stand on this issue? First of all, I’m a geologist by profession and work with scientists and engineers. Thus, I am frequently in discussions with atheists/agnostics about my faith, most of which I do not instigate. Therefore, I think that I have a pretty good grasp on the objections to theism, but I’m no theologian and nobody special.
Anyway, you asked for objective evidence of God. The problem I find with this is that those who do not believe in God, the soul, an afterlife, or the spiritual will only consider evidence that meets the test of science and mathematics. Miracles, by definition, do not meet these criteria, and are, therefore, rejected out of hand. The spiritual experiences of individuals are dismissed as “wishful thinking”, a “crutch”, “sentimentality”, or “psychosis”. Historical evidence, such as the Gospel accounts of Jesus Christ, is considered fable or the exaggerated claims of religious fanatics.

Okay, so here we are with you, a non-theist, asking me, a theist, for objective evidence of God. You are asking for physical evidence of the spiritual. You will not accept “spiritual” or “paranormal” evidence. It is like a blind man insisting on proof that there is light.

Look, I am introspective and intellectually honest enough with myself to realize that my religious zeal may simply be a coping mechanism based on a fear of non-existence, but I don’t think so. If I die and there is nothing, okay, I can deal with that. I won’t even know about it anyway. On the other hand, I simply cannot explain the multitude of personal experiences that I have had, the inexplicable hope that I have, and the detached joy that I experience during times of prayer and when I am at Mass, as strategic releases of brain chemicals. If it is, then I will die a happy and fulfilled man.

I’m sure you are familiar with Pascal’s wager. Some call it intellectually dishonest to take the wager. I call it intellectual pride not to consider it, but that’s just my opinion.

I like what St. Augustine said about his own journey, "I used to think that I had to understand in order to believe, but found that I had to believe in order to understand.

Blessings

[quote=Strength] First…I am under the impression that it is IMPOSSIBLE (at least in our current state of scientific/philosophical understanding to know whether or not there is a god)
[/quote]

And this is the first point where I disagree with you. Thomas Aquinas did an excellent job showing how, through the simple use of human reason, we can most definitely know that there must be a God. Now, I realize that many people think that modern science has debunked his conclusions but, as I learned in a rather lengthy thread on the claim with someone well versed in science, this claim is based on the redefinition of the terms used by Aquinas to the point where science was actually no longer addressing the same things he discussed. Basic things like what is time and what is eternity. Yes, we can know through the simple use of reason and experience that God does exist. I am no Aquinas so I will recommend that you read the Summa Theologia if you haven’t already.

[quote=Strength]I don’t consider myself an atheist…I don’t like to use that word, and I think it’s as lame as saying that you know that there is a god…so it would be lame for me to say that I know there isn’t…
[/quote]

Based on your description of your own views, you are quite right to object to being labelled as an athiest and I apologize for misunderstanding you in your original thread. The position you describe is, I believe, termed as agnostic. However, your dislike of using the word doesn’t seem reasonable, unless you mean using it in regard to yourself. There are those who do claim that there is absolutely no God. They are atheists.

[quote=Strength]So this leads us to relevance…what is the RELEVANCE of your belief that can be conveyed to a free thinking individual of adequate intellect? … Don’t you understand that almost everything you’re trying to convey to me regarding your belief system if subjective? This is what is worrisome about the world…this is why we have wars, crime, all out wierdness purveying every aspect of our society…this is why devout people scare the living lettuce out of me. Why are you so devout? What are you scared of? Have you done something horrible that you are trying to atone for? Do you suspect that you may be evil, and are looking for help? This is why I consider it a crutch.
[/quote]

First of all, we must clarify things here. It is merely your opinion that what we are trying to convey is subjective - just as what you are trying to convey is subjective. This sounds like the ridiculous arguments that there is no absolute truth. All truth is absolute and only absolute. However, take a look at the wide brush with which you paint the “devout.” Questions like “why didn’t god stop the tsunami” are not an indication of the “devout” in my opinion, but those still searching. In fact, they are often the questions raised against the devout as some kind of evidence our beliefs and I have had such questions directed at me for exactly that purpose. Therefore, your example serves to indict those who share your opinion at least as much as it can be used to indict those of faith. Why do you assume that our devotion is a result of fear? This is simply not reasonable. I am devout because I believe. It is as simple as that. I believe that God exists and therefore, I conform my life to what I believe he wants. And incidently, religious devotion is not the reason we have wars. Even in those occasions in the past where combatants were divided along religious grounds, the real underlying reason for the conflicts has always been political ambition (power) and not religion itself.

[quote=Strength]Incidentally…why is it that anytime someone wants to have any type of discourse with a religious person…the devout always mention things like “it’s good that you’re questioning”…or “you are obviously on the path toward god”…what kind of weirdness is that? That’s tantamount to me saying that the fact that you are engaged in discourse with me could be viewed as moving away from a god belief??? NONSENSE!
[/quote]

I guess that some people are so optimistic that they might read more into a situation than is really there. However, since you say that you cannot know that God does not exist then it is not logical to deny so forcefully the possibility that God might be having an influence in your question. At least those who make such statements are being consistent with their own position. And, yes, your contrary position “the fact that you are engaged in discourse with me could be viewed as moving away from a god belief” is also consistent with our own view.

[quote=Strength]I’m fascinated with the things that people believe and why…if you’re strong enough to post on a public forum then you should be strong enough to realize that someone may like to pick your brain a bit…plus I think it as my civic duty to help some of you people…hahahaaa…

So bottom line…can you objectively illustrate how you’re belief system enables you to lead a more fulfilling, just, moral life than an individual such as myself? AND once you realize that you indeed cannot do this…then hopefully you will start to realize how religion in fact divides us…holds us back from true universal compatibility and companionship with our fellow human beings.
[/quote]

You may point to times past when terrible things have been done in the name of religion but I can also point to terrible things that have been done in the name of science and intellect and which were done hand-in-hand with claims that the perpetrators had “freed themselves from the shackles of religion.” Once again, lack of religion does not result in morality just as the presence of religion doesn’t necessarily result in morality of individuals or groups.

As I stated in the other thread, without religion, the only “morality” that exists is based on what one can get away with and not on what is objectively good and bad. Just take a note of the reaction when religious people do “bad” things. Why is it such a scandal? It is because they have acted against the teachings of their religion. It is because there is an objective standard against which to compare their behavior. Society was shocked to learn the extent of the recent priest sex scandal in the Church but, in all the coverage, the news never bothered to point out that these men were engaged in the same behavior advocated by groups such as NAMBLA. Why? Because NAMBLA doesn’t have an objective standard provided by religion against which to compare their views. It is simply there opinion. If you object to their views they will tell you that you are just trying to impose your opinion on them. You see, your own views of morality and what constitute the “social contract” you mentioned in the previous thread become completely subjective. It is only in religion that you can find an objective standard for such things.

Now, it was your argument that this subjectivism of views is the reason for wars, crime, and “all out wierdness.” The last 400 years has seen the steady decline in the influence of religion in government. It has also be a time of steadily increasing occurance of wars.

[quote=Strength]Like I said…if you cannot demonstrate objectively that you somehow live your life more just, more moral than I can just by believing and worshipping a god idea…then yes…religion is a crutch…because how else is it relevant? The individual is

  1. Scared of going to hell
  2. Scared of the unkown…or
  3. Is harboring some type of guilt/problems, and is hoping for a god to save then from themselves.
    [/quote]

And we could say that not having religion is a crutch because the individual

  1. Doesn’t want to believe that there are any consequences to what is done in this life.
  2. Needs to believe it to think he knows it all.
  3. Is harboring some type of guilt/problems, and is hoping that there is not god who will judge him regarding them.
    :rolleyes:

[quote=Strength]I don’t think you read my post clearly, and I don’t see how your flipping the question makes any type of sense whatsoever? Radical skepticism? What?

Like I said…if you cannot demonstrate objectively that you somehow live your life more just, more moral than I can just by believing and worshipping a god idea…then yes…religion is a crutch…because how else is it relevant? The individual is

  1. Scared of going to hell
  2. Scared of the unkown…or
  3. Is harboring some type of guilt/problems, and is hoping for a god to save then from themselves.

Since it isn’t verifiable by any empirical means outside of our own subjective opinions and proofs (our mind)…then it is indeed a crutch…or a rock if that makes you feel better.
[/quote]

I think (this is an observation) that you want people to be objective. Fine, but you haven’t been accepting the objective reasoning. You call it subjective reasoing. Then when we switch to subjective reasoning you demand objectivity. That is like a dog chasing his tail.

Summary: Objective reasoning states there are Moral Absolutes that to define good, evil, God and Satan. (You call this subjective, but I claim “Thou shalt not kill” 7 “Thou shall worship the Lord Your God” as extremely objective & defines a Moral Absolute. Subjective reasoning states that I get to use subjective reasoning that I can show you that God esixts, but you want objective reasoning when i do this. Which realm do you want to use? Because it really doesn’t seem as if you WANT to be shown God exists, rather it seems you want to disprove God.

SG

JimO,

I’m an engineer as well and I love using mathematical and scientifical principles to show atheists that than cannot disprove God. They want an objective ‘proof’ that God exists, but they have no concept of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. That principle is relevant to measuring time and postion, but it ultimately demonstrates that ANY measurement has an element of uncertainty. Right? Well if that is the case, then athiests cannot prove the ABSOLUTE and objective existance of the ground they stand! Objectivity is gone at that point. Einstein struggled with Quantum Physics as well: “God doesn’t play dice!” Quantum physics begins to defy logic at some point, using science to objectively describe anything becomes a joke! Evolutionists can’t explain why the human eyeball has always existed. DNA has been examined to show that we all have common acestery. There are other scientific ‘proofs’…

SG

Is having Jesus as your crutch to help you get to heaven a bad thing?

Wow Mutant!

Some very profound thoughts on this matter. I admire your convivtion and well thought out explanation. You considered points I had not considered. Thanks for your insight, you have brought a knife to my table when all I had was a fork…thanks

SG

Let me just say that you guys are great…good answers…good questions.
The underlying tone that I’m still getting from the posts is that religion provides some moral absolute, and that basically humans are lost without it…This is my problem…this is what holds us back…(in your view)It’s almost like there was no world before jesus? There was much morality in the world…right and wrong were intellectually debated and there were societies working in harmony on par with what we have now (with jesus)?..I’m not clear on what religion brings to the table that’s new? Also, I don’t see how I’m waffling on the subjective/objective positions? Hey I’m not without error in my statements, and there is the possibility that I may have mispoken…but I have a good grasp on objectivity and subjectivity.

AND, I’m not asking anyone to prove the existence of god…because It’s not possible. I have read Aquinas…forget about it. Whether or not science busted his proof is worthless because it’s been busted philosophically anyway. I’m not knocking him…but he in no way proved anything except that he himself really believed in god.

You guys also seem to be hung up on the subjective position of what morality is…intellect solves this…peer review…etc…etc… If there is a society somewhere that seems to think it’s ok to have relations with individuals beyond the bounds of common sense etc… then they are simply wrong. What’s the problem? How does religion have any impact on the fact that these people are STILL wrong?

Our founding fathers set up a wonderful foundation that should and will eventually build a wonderful society…many of them were religious (in a really non catholic heretical sort of way :-)…but they were also strong enough - based on an amplitude of practical experience to leave religion out of the equation…a really anomaly if you ask me…but pure genius in it’s inception…this more than anything…strengthens my point.

Do you guys realize that from the death of jesus throughout the low middle ages, through the high middle ages that none of these so called “religiously affected societies” had even a rudimentary grasp of christianity? These people didn’t even have bibles! You know who did? The people with power…the emperors, and the popes (who were put into power and picked by the emperors) made the decisions…you should take a long hard look at the middle ages…and then look at how it has left our world. Religion or lack of religion isn’t what helps…we help ourselves with reason, and intellect.

Also I hope I’m not being too negative regarding the crutch thing…I’m not trying to “hurt” people and their feelings…we all have little “crutches” and superstitions…If I tie my shoes a certain way before each race…and then I do well…does that mean that my shoelaces really possess magical powers?..most likely not. If I forget my rabbts foot and then the plain crashes…did this rabbit foot have magical powers? Is this reality?..certainly no…so then we must move to relevance

And regarding the heisenberg principle…we need to get away from that…

  1. It really only thrives in the context of quantum mechanics…and QM itself is theory…

  2. It is possible to verify facts

  3. If you really believed/subscribed to the heisenberg principle…then you wouldn’t be a catholic for sure…and would probably off yourself! (kidding)

The people with power…the emperors, and the popes (who were put into power and picked by the emperors) made the decisions…

Popes were picked by emperors? Hmmm, last I knew there weren’t any Cardinal emperors–so I’d like your source on this, please.

As for “bibles”, the first printed Bible was not available until the late 15th century–hardly the “low middle ages”. . .

Before that, even the kings rarely had “bibles”–those lovely hand-written, gold-leaved manuscripts made by the monks. . .the Bible (complied in 382 A.D.) was very precious indeed. Of course, as had been done prior to 382, “word of mouth” and other techniques (stained glass windows, “passion plays”, local feasts, rosaries and psalters, for example) kept the average person informed of regular discipline and teaching, and since most places had the services of a priest, or a convent or monastery nearby, or a “scribe” (who by definition would have been educated in a monastery or clerically kept school) in the household of the major landowners or lord’s house, who would have spoken at table, or instituted some sort of “school” to seek out capable young boys from the area and send THEM on to further service and training), there actually was not the imagined “dearth” of Scriptural knowledge in the low middle ages that you might imagine.

[quote=Strength]And regarding the heisenberg principle…we need to get away from that…

  1. It really only thrives in the context of quantum mechanics…and QM itself is theory…

[/quote]

A theory accepted for more than 70 years.

*The underlying tone that I’m still getting from the posts is that religion provides some moral absolute, and that basically humans are lost without it…This is my problem…this is what holds us back…(in your view)It’s almost like there was no world before jesus? There was much morality in the world…right and wrong were intellectually debated and there were societies working in harmony on par with what we have now (with jesus)?..I’m not clear on what religion brings to the table that’s new? Also, I don’t see how I’m waffling on the subjective/objective positions? Hey I’m not without error in my statements, and there is the possibility that I may have mispoken…but I have a good grasp on objectivity and subjectivity.


1.) Um…most of us realize there was a world and problems that existed before Jesus, we also believe there were moral absolutes, before Jesus.
2.) Oh I think you DO have a good graps of subjectivity/objectivity. My problem is that I think you are switching. When a point is made objectively, you are countering it subjectively. Then when a point is made subjectively, you argue it objectively. I think you are doing it on purpose; I don’t think it’s an accident. As a result, God can’t be proven when you keep changing the thought process. Descartes, Aquinas both stuck with one mode of thinking…right or wrong.

Whether or not science busted his proof is worthless because it’s been busted philosophically anyway.

that’s a different issue really. Even most modern philosophers admire his reasoning and have not proved it flawed, but rather have developed different models of thought.

You guys also seem to be hung up on the subjective position of what morality is…intellect solves this…peer review…etc…etc… If there is a society somewhere that seems to think it’s ok to have relations with individuals beyond the bounds of common sense etc… then they are simply wrong. What’s the problem? How does religion have any impact on the fact that these people are STILL wrong?

No, we claim morality has to be based upon absolutes. Making something absolute makes it objective not subjective. Peer review, on the other hand, is subjective because it has a misture of individual personalities. Since individual personalities are different, then there is going to be an incongruency in the morality issue.

Our founding fathers set up a wonderful foundation that should and will eventually build a wonderful society…many of them were religious (in a really non catholic heretical sort of way :-)…but they were also strong enough - based on an amplitude of practical experience to leave religion out of the equation…a really anomaly if you ask me…but pure genius in it’s inception…this more than anything…strengthen s my point.

Many people today have debated the issue that the founding fathers might be shocked as to the state of the current government. That would be subjective would it not? The U.S. Constitution has the ability to be changed, hence the term ‘living document’. With that in mind, the moralities it defines are subject to being changed. You have already made the argument that morality is subjective; since the morality within the constitution can be changed, then it only follows (objectively, of course) that the U.S. Constitution is subjective. In this way, moral absolutes no longer exist and gives way to Moral Relativity. Earlier you mentioned that religion may not bring anything ‘new’ to the table, maybe you are right. But religion can re-establish moral absolutes.

cont’d

con’d

Do you guys realize that from the death of jesus throughout the low middle ages, through the high middle ages that none of these so called “religiously affected societies” had even a rudimentary grasp of christianity? These people didn’t even have bibles! You know who did? The people with power…the emperors, and the popes (who were put into power and picked by the emperors) made the decisions…you should take a long hard look at the middle ages…and then look at how it has left our world. Religion or lack of religion isn’t what helps…we help ourselves with reason, and intellect.

To adress this, I think you also have to consider that secular powers and religious powers were involved in a different kind of war then they are now. Now, of course, the wars are foguht much more intellectually. The reason for not everyone having a bible is that not everyone was literate. In fact literacy was reserved for the Teachers of religion and the elite of society. Much different from our current society, where literacy is an issue of public policy. Now, people can make the argument that religious wanted people to be kept dumb so that they wouldn’t learn how religion is wrong. On this point, I’m not intellectually astute to this issue and will have to leave it to someone else, because my basic belief is that much of our knowledge today far exceeds what it was in the middle ages. So, I can see literacy being a developmental issue in society as well.

[quote=Strength]The underlying tone that I’m still getting from the posts is that religion provides some moral absolute, and that basically humans are lost without it…
[/quote]

Simply stated, if you believe in, for the sake of argument, the Judeo-Christian God, then morality has a divine origin and is absolute and changeless. If you are a non-theist, then you believe that morality has a human origin.

Sure, both of these world views can result in common morality. A completely non-theistic society can establish a set of mutually acceptable morals/rules/laws that allow society to function at a manageable level. I don’t agree with those who state that religion is required to have a moral code.

However, there is a significant difference between these two world views. First, the non-theistic belief system allows for change based on the opinion/conviction/wisdom of the majority (or the powerful). Thus, nothing is absolute and any “moral” can change. What is totally unacceptable today can become widely accepted and practiced tomorrow. With the theistic belief system, there are absolutes, no matter how the opinions of people change.

The two belief systems can co-exist peacefully until, say, the theistic system tries to “impose” a new absolute morality on the non-theists. Another, and more common problem, is when the non-theistic system declares an action no longer unacceptable, and that action happens to violate the theistic absolutes. That is where our society is dividing at the moment.

The problem here is that if I am wrong and there is no God, then my opinions/convictions/wisdom should have equal weight in the non-theistic world view since all morals/laws/rules are based on the collective will of the people (social contract). It shouldn’t matter why I hold those convictions. On the other hand, suppose you are wrong about God. Suppose there are moral absolutes that you refuse to acknowledge. How am I supposed to respond when we disagree on something as fundamental as abortion, euthanasia, freedom of religious expression in public, and the other issues that divide these two world views in America?

You see, most non-theists insist that I keep my “religious” conviction to myself even though they believe that we have a “social contract” that takes into consideration the moral convictions of everyone.

I’ll be blunt with you, not to offend, but for the sake of clarity and brevity. I find that most non-theists are intellectuals who, deep down, consider themselves superior to others (because without a soul, the mind rules) and better equipped to set the moral standards for everyone. They consider religious people ignorant and superstitious and, therefore, dangerous when it comes to establishing the “social contract.” Marx considered himself superior to those who partook of the “opium of the masses”. Look even at the title of this thread “Your religion, your crutch…” Actually, that is an insult and belies an attitude that religious people are inferior and somehow handicapped - needing a crutch.

What many non-theistic people who consider themselves intellectually superior really want, although they won’t admit it publicly, is a society where the intellectually enlightened set the rules and the ignorant religious masses can practice their silly superstitious rituals as long as they keep it to themselves and out of the “social contract.”

Again, I’m not trying to be insulting and I know that I am generalizing, but there are many non-theists who I know that think this way and after a few beers and some lively discussion, you get down to it.

If there is no God and we are left here to make the rules, then why should my belief about what is right and wrong have any less weight than yours just because it is based on some “religious superstition?” I see no acceptable response to that other than that my voice should have equal weight.

Jim

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