What kind of a society (sans a god) do you think we would have if everyone believed they were born bad,couldn't help but to do bad--but that it didn't matter because they would never get thrown in jail.
In my opinion--it would be and IS chaos, but it IS chaos due to the influence of Christianity which holds to the above meta theory. (sin, repent, sin, repent--repeat when necessary without consequence)
So what is your view of a society that could do whatever they wanted to without consequences.
Are you saying that you only thought that your family was good, but since there is no objective reality that there is no bases or justification for your claim? Or , any of your other claims?--Hmm
On the question of objective morality, I would argue that we use Normative Ethical Theories to this end. The Divine Command theory is just one of many normative ethical theories. We can compare and argue about them as to which one does a better job of explaining moral phenomena, or even if their is such a thing as moral phenomena. It is in this realm that there is objective morality.
Theories such as Utilitarianism, which means doing what is right for the overall good--no gods required.
The Divine Command Theory, in which whatever god says is right is right, is one of the WEAKEST Normative Ethical Theories, as it has several fatal flaws, such as the epistemological problem. There is no way of telling whether a god or goddess has told anyone, including Moses and Abraham, anything at all. As an example, how do we know whether or not god told Andrea Yates to kill her children or not, when the bible tells us Yahweh told many people to kill others? Most Christians would say she is crazy, or that god did not tell her that, and at this point they are no longer using the Divine Command Theory, but are using different moral guidelines.
1. Practice - NET's are in fact used by people.
2. Best Explanation - NET's do the best job in accounting for the moral phenomena, and the competing NETs are also judged by which one does the best job in accounting for the moral phenomena.
Atheist, or anybody else, can use Normative Ethical Theories (NETS) to make specific moral judgements. These NETS provide a consistent framework for ethics. How can an ethical system be consistently imposed beyond an individual within this framework.
We have objective morality via NETS. They provide us with the framework to make specific moral judgements.
It is at this point that we can ask about the justification of NETS. This justification takes place not within the NETS, but beyond them, the justification takes place at the meta-ethical level. The most common defense of NETS is that the theory is, in fact, used by people. This defense has been used by various philosophers such as Kant and Mill.
Yes the fact that values change in the course of time and are not fixed proves that moral absolutism is not acceptable.
On the other hand the fact that values change in the course of time does not show that we do not have "objective" moral values. One should keep in mind the central role of normative ethics on the question of objectivity. When philosophers such as Mill, Kant present a NET, they suppose it s the one true view. Each of these philosophers not only presents a NET, they usually also indicate how the correct theory is established as being correct,The most common way to argue for an ethical theory is to attempt to show that it does a better job than its rivals in explaining the moral phenomena.
The fact that absolutism fails does not undermine NETs, such as utilitarianism, in which Mill's explanation that in different locations and different times, different means are best used to reach happiness. Our specific moral judgements would be "objectively true, but only derivatively and contingently true--if things had been otherwise, quite different sorts of actions would have been right." (J.S. Mill, Utilitarianism)
The fact that we may have moral disagreements is neither here nor there as we have disagreements in science, medicine, astronomy, etc.--yet these areas are still deemed to be objective.
This is an issue that I am willing to discuss at length on a post focused on this topic at some later date.
Personally, I don't recognize perfect, as I don't recall ever having seen it.
On the other hand, if I understand Cathy correctly, she is defining "perfect" as free from sin, and since I don't recognize the concept of "sin," for me - at least under that definition - everyone is perfect.
@ Arch. So can an atheist actually sin? *wry smile*
Only against the standards you hold for yourself.
Yes, you are exactly right. I am using the Christians own definition to prove a point. That is, given it's own standard, it leads to a greater tendency of "moral laxity."
Now we can move away from the notion of sin. The standards that one holds can be the result of holding to different Normative Ethical Theories, which generate direct moral rules. Hopefully this is accomplished through a dialectical process.
Please read my comment above on moral objectivity.
As for your assumptions, and that's all they can be called, see my earlier response to you, above.
She's creating a "what if" scenario, to prove a point.
Again, you are quite right, and I thank you for pointing this out. Offten times people fail to understand that I am only creating a "what if" scenario for the sake of the argument and to prove a point.
I would also add that Judaism and Christianity and Islam with it's "modesty" bull-crap that stems all the way back to the garden of Eden has created this "sex for fun" is evil or "naughty" attitude and the result is all these perverts who get off on being ashamed, just like ole Adam and Eve. They know they will be forgiven, lets face it, jesus loves prostitutes the best. When people says Christians are just as good as anybody, they have no reference what a world without all that bull crap would have been like. We are all in it up to our frikin heads. Who settled America, the PURITANS. Where were all the Epicureans when we needed them?
edit: yes..hangs head down low..i'm still an angry atheist, goddammit!
It is very interesting though to read some of the comments Christian missionaries made about how good the so called Native Americans were in regards to the Christian's own standard of morality--stealing, adultery, and murder, for instance.
Another example is the Christian notion of having dirty thoughts and the Abrahamic notion of "modesty" as you have pointed out. Then picture a culture where women and men walk around almost nude and yet by Christian standards moral laxity was significantly less in those cultures.
Foucault makes a similar point to yours in The History of Sexuality volume 1 and volume 2.
I read something very interesting about native Americans, especially the Aztec culture. War to them was mostly symbolic. When two tribes went to war, a token amount of damage was allowed and then a call for peace was made and things got settled. The Spanish invaders had no such morality. Nope, when the game was supposed to be over, they kept on killing. The Aztecs were so shocked that they were easily defeated by a vastly inferior force. Plus those giant deers that frothed at the mouth. Their own religion helped do them in as they blamed themselves and their gods for the catholic scourge.
Since you mentioned it, I would like to recommend a book to you that goes into detail as to how the "Christians" massacred Natives in North and South America by the millions--in such ways they are almost unfathomable. The book is called "Americal Holocaust" by David Stannard. Below, you will find an excerpt from said book:
"The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties, the more cruel the better, with which to spill human blood. They build a long gibbet, low enough for the toes to touch the ground and prevent strangling, and ganged thirteen (natives) at a time in HONOR OF CHRIST OUR SAVIOR and the twelve Apostles. When the indians were thus alive and hanging, the Spaniards tested their strength and their blades against them, ripping chests open with one blow and exposing entrails, and there were those who did worse. Then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive. One man caught two children about two years old, pierced their throats with a dagger, then hurled them down a precipice."
Christians have proven themselves to be some of the most brutal humans on the planet--and their religion teaches them that it is "ok" because, well, they were "born bad." Oh--how I HATE this religion!!