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.
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.
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."
@ Dogly - It is not the same because when animals are killed so we can eat them, it does not mean they were treated badly. I whole heartedly support causes that will reduce animal suffering but it stops there. What about insects? They need to be controlled. Do you give killing insects a pass? If so, I would like to know why.
Mabel, I judge each individual insect by the quality of his character. :-)
@Dogly - At no point did I suggest vegans are trying to force their opinions on me or anyone else. I simply made the comparison between vegans and xians (as they both have a "dogma", as it were).
Yes, I did mean sadistic. And yes, I think it is NOT okay to torture animals for pleasure.
You can try to make a corollary between eating meat and torturing animals, however if you think the two are equal, you are a disturbed individual. There is a huge difference between choosing your own diet and being expected to be allowed to torture for pleasure. That is a leap worthy of a religiot. Torture, slavery, these are concepts that support the suffrage of other beings. THAT, in case you can't tell, is where the line is drawn. I do not support the unethical treatment of animals, even those I eat. It is as simple as that.
You are the one trying to complicate it, whether simply for the sake of creating aggression and arguments or just out of raw stupidity, I don't think I'll entertain any more of your posts until you actually come up with something rational and reasonable, rather than unjustly accusing people of jumping to conclusions that you, yourself fabricate.
I may be, as you say, "a disturbed individual" and a ?religiot (?). But, Keith , what makes you think that torture and slavery are concepts that support getting the vote for other beings?
You've received more serious consideration than you give. You have enjoyed more respect than you've earned. You've enjoyed more tolerance here than you'd ever find on a believer website.
You should quit while you're ahead.