I read posts here that call different things, "harmful to humanity." Others call something, "good" or "bad" or "evil."
A very simple question, who gets to decide the definition of "harmful to humanity" and what is there critieria? The same for "good," "bad," and "evil?" These are not material terms. If everything is material isn't there just "is" and not these moral declarations if one is being thoroughly atheist?
Help me understand your position so I am fair and honest about the views. Thanks.
Okay I think I see what you originally meant now regarding social morals. Do I understand it right that you are saying that people tend to fall in line with what their group believes without really putting a lot of thought into understanding the first principles behind it?
If that is the case, it does seem to match what has been uncovered in moral development studies.
I agree with you about Western ideology being the best that is out there so far. The notion of human rights does go a long way. I am not against western ideology. I just misunderstood what you said regarding ideology to mean that you thought that we had a stronger innate sense of morality than we do.
With the whole philosophy influencing morality thing, I agree that would be the better description of it. But I am not sure it would convey the same idea. I guess I can re-write it to say philosophy overpowers what we can agree is decent morality, on a regular basis.
I also agree about western society. There is not much else left as a reasonable alternative to it.
With baptists I would go after their whole substitutionary atonement thing with this:
The substitutionary atonement seems to argue that God is all-just so it is wrong to show mercy without appeasing justice first. The wages of sin is death. Whoever sins must be sentenced for their sins. Jesus pays that penalty. In this sense, Jesus plays a role of a loophole to circumvent the system of justice. The circumvention of justice does not seem all-just by any means. So these are my thoughts about the logic of the substitutionary atonement. It seems to leave two options A, or B.
A. Sin not being criminal as it is portrayed:
If something is not severe enough of an issue that it can be circumvented by a loophole, it is clearly not as big of a deal as it is presented to be.
B. Although the right thing to do (justice) is to punish the criminal, the criminal is getting off on a technicality:
Not only is letting a criminal off on a technicality not justice, there is no way that orchestrating the technicality before the trial is any kind of justice.
In this sense, if a penalty must be paid, it does not seem that God would be all-just by any means to allow a substitutionary sacrifice and we all go to hell without salvation. If it isn’t as great of an offense, then there is no need for an intermediary form of salvation, we will just be forgiven.
OR, there's a third alternative to A and B - shove your rule book up your Holy hole and let us figure it out for ourselves - SURELY you have better things to do --
(Talking to god here John, not you!)
LOL I just really enjoy engaging xians and backing them into corners and watching them squirm to get out. Maybe it's just my way of relieving stress from work, or maybe it's just the sadist in me. I'm a baaaaaaad man! LOL
ROFL... Thanks that brightened my day right before I have to sit down and do a lot of homework.
Everyone should have a bright day. Good luck with the homework, stay in school, don't do drugs - did I leave anything out?
@John - Cool, so it appears that we do agree, we just came at it from slightly different angles. :-)
I would like to point out to the xians out there - THIS is how to have a conversation about positions that seem to disagree at first, but ends up being complimentary. See how we both stayed calm and civil about discussing our positions? And asked questions with open minds rather than trying to manipulate the discussion with fallacies and ad hominem attacks? It's really not that hard.
As to how to address the baptists - that helps a lot, thanks! I'm sure I'll run into more of them, since the reason these two showed up is because there is a baptist church close by and they were "hitting the neighborhoods". They did bring up how jesus "died for our sins", I just didn't take the opportunity to point out the stupidity of that concept, but knowing it is a tenant that is forefront in their sect, I'll definitely prepare for the next time I get the chance. Thanks!
Morality is good merely by the dictionary definition of the term. Likewise immorality is bad for the same reason. That leaves it for us to define what morality and immorality are in practical terms since the dictionary can't help us with matters of values.
For all practical purposes, if most everyone believes something is true, it would be true in a cultural sense. Just consider what people in various cultures believe that seem like madness to us. All social morality is local. And whatever other sense could there be without believing in morality in some cosmic or metaphysical sense?
I don't think most atheists are going to buy into metaphysical morality. However, a non-metaphysical morality would be contingently true, not necessarily true. So, I think we're stuck with the morality around us as the prevailing morality OR whatever morality we conjure up for ourselves.
What is good, bad, and evil for the most part evolves along with human culture. There are a few things that are a little more clear cut and have always been bad; like not killing members of your group/tribe/society for no reason. Basically whatever helps our species continue to survive and thrive in any given environment and time is 'good' and whatever is detrimental to the human species ability to survive and thrive is 'bad.'
Morality can be defined as "good for oneself or good for others". Of course, there are different degrees of what can be considered moral, and even if it would be good to jump someone in order to harvest his healthy organs to save the lives of ten other people, almost nobody would think that doing so would be a good thing.
Almost everyone, at least in the United States, thinks it is wrong to throw acid in the face of your daughter because she embarrassed you. However, in the Middle-East, this kind of thing happens all the time. Just because it is acceptable under their religion does not mean it is good. And, that's one of the points of being an Atheist. One can choose for themselves which traditions, laws or codes he or she wants to follow and can change their mind without regret. Those who follow religion have a strict set of laws that they disobey only to their detriment, even if those laws are stupid.
As for "harmful to humanity", that is self-evident, at least to me. One could say that because McDonald's exists, there are more fat people, which hurts them and raises the burden of healthcare on the rest of the Americans. However, one can choose to eat at McDonald's or not, and even then choose how much to eat or what to choose from their menu. I believe that religion is harmful because it holds back human potential and makes everyone lazy. More harm than good has been done in the name of religion, which is why it must be stomped-out.
Good, bad and evil can be best described in an article I found, which I will post below:
I believe you will find it enlightening. Though your ideas may be different, this is a great place to start.
One may question my agenda to squash religion in the United States. However, hurt feelings doesn't hurt people and once they are freed from the chains of religion, I think they will thank me (if someone doesn't assassinate me first). Christians would call that evil, but only because they are following a rulebook that is backwards, twisted and just plain wrong.
"...freed from the chains of religion, I think they will thank me (if someone doesn't assassinate me first)"
Yep, all it requires is someone who fears freedom (i.e., who fears having to be responsible, or who fears being unable to blame others), and he might assassinate you.
I suggest that you not take freedom from people who want it, and not give freedom to people who don't want it.
I would hate if all the Christians banded together to give us the "Freedom that only comes from Christ". I agree Tom walking all over people's beliefs when Christian or atheist, is being socially irresponsible.
Keith, I was pointing out an inconsistency in your arguments. You suggest that vegans are trying to force their opinions "dogma" (or from Atheist Exile - zealotry) on you. Then you imply that to torture animals for entertainment is unethical. You asked Vick's friend, "So you think it's OK to torture animals for masochistic (did you mean sadistic?) entertainment?" It sounds like you are suggesting that You think it is not OK.
You say also, "Don't want to eat meat? Cool, more for me." How about this corollary, "Don't want to torture dogs for fun? Cool, more for me." It sounds like the same thing to me. "Don't want to own slaves?, Cool, more for me." Is it that the mean things we, ourselves, want to do are not unethical, but the mean things others do are unethical? Am I forcing my zealotry and dogma on you when I say that I think slavery is unethical? If not, how am I any more a zealot when I say that I think eating animals is unethical? I am not forcing anything on you.