There has often been many debates against atheists including myself that if I have no god, there is no reason to be moral, so we take advantage of it and do immoral actions. Morality should not come from fear of being sent to a place of eternal punishment. Knowing what is right without having an excuse to be moral, in my mind is the best type of morality there is. People don't need religion to show them what is right and what is wrong. Religious people sometimes make excuses to do immoral things, thinking that if they ask for forgiveness from god, they can do whatever they please. Or sometimes religious people might think about their immorality and say that god wanted them to act immoral. A couple weeks ago I read a news article about a man that killed a USA soldier only because he was an atheist. I bet that man still thinks he can go to heaven. Atheists know what is wrong, and they don't make up a fairy tale excuse to make them look better. I mean, everyone makes immoral actions. Like just today i stole ice cream from the freezer without my fathers consent. I'm guilty as charged and maybe some day I will learn. Some religious people create dangerous situations, and they should be careful about what they do or say. So... what makes a person moral? Is morality really getting a fresh start on forgiveness promising to do the right thing out of fear? Or is morality a good deed. Or maybe morality is just being there for someone. Morality has often peaked many interests.
I have watched MANY debates between religious and atheist apologists and invariably the "Objective Morality" argument is trotted out. Though the atheistic proponent invariably mentions societal evolution for need of ethics, I am flabbergasted that they never challenge the "Objective" part. In my mind, by it's VERY NATURE, Morality is SUBJECTIVE, not OBJECTIVE. Look at bikini's for an EASY example. It wasn't too long ago that a young lady would be STONED for wearing a bikini. How can ANYONE even hesitate to say say morality is NOT subjective. Yea yea yea, I know... it's wrong to kill... Everyone knows it - it's objective - end of story. REALLY?
We kill animals.. No, that's OK because we were given dominion OVER the animals... (tell the Jain's that!)
OK, Holy Crusades. No, that's OK because GOD TOLD US TO DO IT!
OK, I kill someone trying to kill my family. No, That's OK because it's self defense...
OK, I kill someone by accident (hit with my car). No, that's OK because it wasn't "Murder"...
OK, I kill someone because I have a brain tumor pressing on my inhibitory part of the brain (which god gave me by the way - thanks god). No that's OK because it wasn't you're fault, you had a tumor...
Objective my ASS!
Here's a good quote I came upon on YouTube (I forget the username of the person who posted the comment, but that doesn't matter). It was this:
Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is right.
Great quote, I'm sure you'll agree...
yes, i agree exactly :)
Who gets to declare what is "right?" In a purely material world, I have just as much a right to say killing or murdering is actually good as you to say it is bad. These terms are meaningless as they are non-material. Everything just "is" and nothing can be declared to be "right" or "wrong." Isn't this is what is demanded of a thoroughly consistent materialist?
My friend says, "no good comes of no good". The Buddhists talk about doing "good" actions being a path to enlightenment. If you do bad things, you're just storing up trouble for yourself and spoiling your life.
I feel that morality is a matter of logic. I'm sure we've all been presented presented with a theist who says "Oh, you don't believe in God? So you don't believe in heaven and hell? So if you don;t believe in Heaven and Hell, then what's the point of even living? Why even bother being a moral person? You should be out killing and raping people, shouldn't you?"
Well, after I've stopped myself from taking an axe to their skull (Morality is such a bitch), I smile and very calmly explain that I can have morality, because I define my own idea of what is moral. Murdering and raping people does not benefit me in any way, nor does it benefit society. Nothing good comes of torturing the animals from which I get my meat, so I don't torture them. I give them the quick, clean end that I would want. Stealing from other people hurts them, and hurting other people is a good way to bring their anger and retribution down on you, so I don't do that either.
It's not the thread of consequences from Big Brother in the Sky that keep me from doing bad things, it's the consequences that my fellow human beings impose that keep me from doing stupid shit like that, as well as my own distaste for wanton pain and destruction. As psychotic as I tend to act on the internet, I have no love of unnecessary pain among my fellow man, and no tolerance for those who cause it.
No, my moral code does not stop me from killing. Rather, it sets very strict rules for why I end a life. I kill animals for their meat, if I feel I'd rather hunt my own prey than buy it from a slaughterhouse. I value life to a certain point, but when something, be it animal or human, becomes a direct threat to my life, the lives of my family, or the lives of my friends, I will take necessary steps to permanently remove that threat, because that "life" no longer has any value what so ever in my eyes.
When someone tells you don't have morality, they're simply trying to project their own weaknesses on you. They want to believe that other people need a Big Brother watching them all the time to be moral too. It makes it easier for them to come to grips with their ideas about morality if it is all written down for them by Daddy Dearest. I'll be the first to admit, I was raised in a moral household. My parents were very Christian, and thus on many points I agree with many Christians about what is right and wrong. I do absolutely believe children need to be taught from an early age what the difference between right and wrong, and what things are intolerable in a civilized society, but I do not believe they need to be spoon fed biblical morality.
Practice what you preach, treat other people the way you would want to be treated, do right because it is right, fuck rewards, and fuck anyone who tells you only theists can have morals. Obviously, they aren't worth wasting your breath on.
Jean - it sounds like you have very strong moral views, and are very much your own boss, morally. Apart from your Christian upbringing, who or what has influenced your moral beliefs? Do you have a moral authority whom you refer to?
I always think, "What would Judge Judy do?" I also have several friends who have given me my moral education, and I try to think what they would do.
Raping produces a greater degree of your progeny. In a purely materialist world, ultimate 'morality' is about perpetuation of the species, specifically your line of progeny. In that sense, what if I claimed rape was "good" and truly does benefit you? And what if I did it?
According to you definition of morality, you shouldn't be able to prosecute me, because "I get to define what my own definition of morality is...." I can equally call my act "good" because there is no absolute standard of morality, only consensus according to your views.
So in Germany, the consensus was through advocacy or abdication, that killing an entire race that threatened your lebensraum and progeny was ultimately "good." If they could have persuaded the whole world of that viewpoint, then consensus morality would be able to call the Holocaust, "good."
I am simply advocating a thorough consistency in your viewpoint. Celebrate your position, but don't imply there is any such thing as 'morality."
But morality is an abstract non-material concept. Who gets to decide on what is "moral" and why should they be the ones to decide? If everything is material, it seems as if "is" is the only category of existence. Morality implies a "should be" which is not objective in a purely naturalistic world, no? Help me understand that.