Does the practice of forced or commanded morality make you a moral person? I ran upon this quote and it was a revelation of sorts.
If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a "moral commandment" is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.
-- Ayn Rand: John Galt's radio address in Atlas Shrugged
And cue the bitching about Rand.
That's a nice quote regardless. Rand had a lot to say about such models of forced morality, such as altruism for example, and not much of it was positive. One of her main points was that these kind of systems are always used by the rulers and shepherds of society to justify sacrificing others for their own agenda by masking it as a moral obligation, or a virtue. E.g. telling soldiers to go to war and die, for the sake of the people/country/religion/god.
To me personally it doesn't make you any more moral. Think about the following example. We all know these theists who claim that without "God" society would have no morals to live by, and thus would descend into a state of apocalyptic anarchy.
"If not for God and his laws, who's to tell us that stealing is bad?! That rape is bad?! That murder is bad?! How would we know that these things are bad?!"
And we all know what this means, don't we? The person who says this basically admit in his own words, that if not for "God," he would be raping and murdering you. By his own admission, the only thing holding him back is that the thinks he's being watched. That's what it means. Would you think of this person as moral? Or would you think holy shit I have to get away from this potential psychopath! ?
Did their god say rape was bad? I thought he condoned it.
Yeah,but don't covet.
They "think" he did say that. That's what I was building my argument on.
Oh dear- sorry about that - here, have some genocide to replace it :)
I'll happily take that! I mean obviously the only reason Hitler killed so many people is that he was an atheist. Yep.
Hitler didn't kill anyone, he was a Catholic and it's against the 5th Commandment to kill, so he hired the SS to do the killing, and as everyone knows the SS were all Atheist doGless Killers. Isn't revisionist history writing fun? Next I will be showing how Stalin was the Real Santa Claus. :)
Only if you do it to a slave. But if you rape outside of that: Congratulations you are now married! Brings new meaning to the term "holy matrimony." It is an absurd law.
Is it that most people think they themselves would become crazed amoral persons without a supervisor, or society in general?
Most admit that biblical morality is questionable at best and subject to interpretation. Most of it focuses on worship anyways.
Yeah, don't know a great deal about Rand, did see some info about "cult status".
She had some OK ideas, some dumb ideas. No different than anybody else. Problem arises because people are too lazy to read her books, then take a quote out of context and get mad at her for vilifying altruism, for example, even though she had valid reasons.
She does have a point in that even most atheists simply assume that altruism or some sort of utilitarianism is the proper basis for morality, and she can be quoted as saying that no one has ever given any earthly reason it should be so. (plenty of people will judge an action moral or immoral because it is or is not altruistic; what they don't do is justify using that as the yardstick for judging morality)
She's claiming that an altruistic morality is in fact a vestigial Christian influence.