Why does it seem that there are so many atheists who want to go the exact opposite extreme of religion? Maybe I’m more of a humanist then because I do still have a very strong ethical code that I decided on using logic and a true sense of compassion towards others. Moral judgment can be based on the net positives it can provide for the whole of society. Aren’t we all striving to improve ourselves and our communities? Freedom is a wonderful thing worth fighting for, but if those freedoms are not for the betterment of society then we must question if that particular freedom would be best if regulated instead.
As others have pointed out earlier, we are attempting to talk about two different subjects as if they are the same thing.
1) Is engaging in prostitution (selling or buying) more helpful or harmful for all who are involved? (This is basically your question above)
2) Should engaging in prostitution be illegal?
While these may superficially sound the same, the are two absolutely separate questions. You need to understand that making something illegal does not eliminate it from from the face of the Earth. Take alcohol for example. Its consumption on a global scale causes, without question, more harm that good. Certainly humanity as a whole would be better off if alcohol did not exist. But banning it does not make it go away, it simply makes it illegal. When making laws we must consider the conditions that the law will create.
One more example: sex education for the youth. It is well known that there are many more teen pregnancies in areas were abstinence only education is taught. Just because we teach teenagers about safe sex practices does not mean that we are telling them to go have sex. We need to go about things in this way to make practical, positive, real world changes.
Perhaps the more relevant question would be, how do we all derive our moral code? Do we make judgments solely based on the benefits we receive from performing a certain action? If so, is it acceptable to gain a level of benefit at the expense of someone else? Each individual determines their own moral code; in this sense it is relativistic, but we don't live in a bubble. Each action we make will somehow affect others and it is this fact that allows us to make judgments about moral scenarios. It is obvious that many atrocities in history have been religiously motivated and even mandated by a religious deity. These atrocities would be condemned in any other situation, but somehow they get overlooked once god puts his stamp of approval on them. Society has evolved despite religious dogma and not because religious belief has compelled us into morality. Many atheists are moral, but where do these morals come from? This is the question being posed. Right and wrong can't simply be based on what provides an individual pleasure. One must take into account the consequences of each action and realize that if something fails to be a net positive for the affected individuals then it should be avoided. It would be far more beneficial and productive to hear how others make these judgments.
Thanks, babe. This is the better way of deriving the responses that I'm looking for.
Human morality and ethics evolved long before and quite separate from any religion, especially crapstianity and jesse's crap; that's the way both sound to me anyway. ;-)
"Doing the right thing" was a positive action in the early hominid groups and they must have collectively realized it and reinforced the idea probably before humans developed the language to express it.
They just misappropriated the moral high ground before anyone saw it coming and having done so that claimed that all who didn't agree with their version was a "sinner" and headed to the hot place; sort'a like Texas this June. 100 deg. F in Decatur today and all this week; whew!
One can only wonder why some bible-pounder hasn't realized how much fun it is for us sinners to get it on in air conditioned rooms when compared to un air conditioned and started trying to outlaw AC systems or at least to call them agents of the devil and sin. ;-)
Agreed, that's stupid. However, in relation to the very concept of religion I am "exact opposite". I do not do the church thing in any shape, form or fashion and have not set foot in a sanctuary for over 20-years and have no intention of ever doing so for the rest of my life.
Be that as it may that does not imply that I abandon all moral precepts; I am the "exact opposite extreme" as I place a high value on morality and ethical behavior rather than give it only public lip service as I've seen many "believers" do. Religion allows some to be the "exact opposite extreme" as they claim it's justified by some stupid and idiotic verse in some nefarious volume of Bronze Age utterances they call their bible.
[...] religious claim that people cannot be moral without religion [...]
The problem with that statement is that the emphasis has been shifted to an erroneous paradigm. It is NOT about CAN or CANNOT. We all "can".
Any child will learn any morals you teach them. Later on in life, experiences will create amendments to those morals, but overall, morality is set in early infancy.
Anyone "can" be moral, the point is do "I" have to abide by "your" morals. In this modern globalised world, many people would like to impose their sense of morality onto others, that is where the word "morality" is horribly abused, some say it's nothing but a personal sense of ethics, which I entirely disagree with. Morality is created/written, by a human, within a given social context, in order to create ORDER. The very essence of the word morality is that it's a set of rules, the question is WHO creates those rules, you or me?????? The people who wrote the bible and religious tenets which are taught to children had a political agenda. And to be blind to that political agenda is equivalent to willfull blindness.
Everything is relative. You may think you have some strong ethical code, but we are all corruptable. I once held myself to some high standard, but something happened. I fell below the standard I had set for myself. It felt horrible to be betrayed by my own self, but we cannot judge ourselves so harshly. We will make mistakes. We are not perfect. I find it much better to just live believing I will make good decisions, but knowing that I will make mistakes. The important part is learning from our mistakes. The best part is hearing from others that you have a "good heart".
I don't feel any set of standard morals that define my life. Most people have a good sense of what is appropriate behavior ("good") and what is inappropriate behavior ("bad"). I don't believe in good and evil as metaphysical forces, influences or presences. The supernatural connotations of these words to me are misleading.
I don't wish to ever kill, but I will if I have to (in self-defense or the defense of others). I don't steal, but what if my family is starving and my only options are to steal or watch my family die?
Morals are usually defined by society and learned while growing up. We learn which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Sometimes people do not learn how to discern from "right" and "wrong" and society either punishes them or tries to help them.
What comes into question is which behavior has negative effects who or what is affected? I think people should be free to be as immoral as they want within the confines of law. There are consequences to our actions. Society determines how to deal with immoral behavior which negatively affects that society or violates the rights of others. We make laws and change them. We have a constitution which guides us in the laws that we make. We are free to ammend it.