The Instigator
mastajake
Con (against)
Winning
65 Points
The Contender
KRFournier
Pro (for)
Losing
48 Points

An atheist is unethical for the mere fact that he is atheist.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/9/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,075 times Debate No: 5921
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (92)
Votes (22)

 

mastajake

Con

First off, who ever excepts this debate, I would like to thank you and wish you good luck during this debate.

Now whom ever takes up this debate should (1.) be religious (2.) be for (pro) on the topic/resolution (3.) Agree with the definitions below.

Definitions:

ethics (eth'iks): 1. a system or set of moral principles. 2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or governing a particular group, culture, etc: medical ethics. 3. the branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of actions and the goodness and badness of motives and ends. 4. moral principles, as of an individual.

atheism (a⋅the⋅ism) - 1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Contentions:

1. I simply believe this to be untrue. An atheist can be ethical. An ethical atheist is not an oxymoron. denying proposed religious beliefs does not make you unethical. All an atheist is, is a person of disbelief in a supreme being/God. How in the world does that make you bad(unethical). I don't believe in unicorns, am I now unethical for a mere disbelief .

2. religion has tried to hijack the word morality by stating that there is no good in the world without religion or God, ergo if you don't believe in god you are unethical. This is WRONG. Ethics is not confined to, or from, religion. I believe ethics to be solely the product of education(it doesn't need to be religious education for that matter).people learn from a wide variety of resources.

If anything a modern day religious person is unethical

I feel this is adequate for a first round of debate. I now await my opponent along with their rebuttal.

~ Mastajake
KRFournier

Pro

I thank my opponent for this interesting debate and sincerely hope the readers enjoy the match.

I am for the resolution that an atheist is unethical for the mere fact that he is atheist. I have some contention with the definition of ethics provided by the instigator, so I ask my opponent to accept the following definition:

Ethics: the branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of actions and the goodness and badness of motives and ends. This is point 3 of my opponent's definition. I exclude the other points because it creates a very broad definition of ethics. In particular, point 2 in my opponent's definition suggests that morality is relative, which I intend to argue against.

1. Morality is absolute.

The only reasonable approach to morality is that it is absolute. Relative morality is a self-contradiction. It takes the position that morality can differ from one entity to another. The entity might be the individual, a society, a legal system, or what have you. The problem is that relative morality implies that one entity cannot morally condemn the actions of another entity, which is an absolute position. Thus, for relative morality to be true, it must rely on the absolute morality that one entity cannot condemn another. If, however, one entity is allowed to condemn another, than we must appeal to a morality outside the entities in question, which contradicts the very notion of relative morality to begin with.

The self contradicting nature of relative morality is sufficient to refute its claims, yet it has another problem. Relative morality cannot account for actual history and human experience. Every time a minority group condemns the ruling class, it appeals to absolute morals. Ask any person if it would be morally permissible to kidnap children so long as it was legally sanctioned and the response would still be a resounding no. People take a relative moral position insofar as it suits their own agendas but will abandon it once it operates against them. Relative morality is both irrational and unable to account for human experience. Absolute morality, on the other hand, has neither of these problems.

To illustrate this point, my opponent believes that morality is "solely the product of education" from "a wide variety of resources." Note first that he does not substantiate this claim, so I can only guess that this is a presupposition of his worldview--a truth about reality that in his view needs no explanation. Under this line of thinking, a society that educates its members to steal whatever they need from others cannot be condemned. My opponent will likely defend my silly example by saying that a more educated society will know better. But differently educated societies will eventually conflict on an ethical level, and the only rational course of action then will be an appeal to a morality outside of education, i.e., absolute moral laws.

2. Moral laws are immaterial.

If morality is absolute, then we can appeal to individual moral laws (as people often do despite their worldviews). Such laws must transcend matter and energy else they be rendered arbitrary and no longer absolute. Any law, be it moral, logical, mathematical, etc., must have the property of being immaterial. Take away the immaterial nature of any law and we must claim that it is found instead in matter or motion, such as in the electrical impulses of human brains. But if laws are nothing more than synapses firing in our brains, then they cannot be absolute. Instead, they are relative to a person's biology and we are back to the problem of relative morality. Therefore, morality must be metaphysical.

3. Christian theism is the necessary precondition for absolute moral laws.

An immaterial and immutable God is the necessary precondition for immaterial and immutable moral laws. No other worldview can account for both properties. In denying theism, the atheist has few choices. If they adhere to naturalism, which most atheists do given their appeal to science on most matters, then they presuppose that metaphysical entities cannot exist, thereby relying solely on morality as being a convention of mankind. Some atheist may choose a dualistic world view, but dualism cannot guarantee immutability, since there is no way to know what the non-physical realm is without some sort of revelation. In other words, the dualistic worldview would say about morality, "your guess is as good as mine." Either way, true atheism cannot account for moral abstract entities. There are even certain theistic worldviews that cannot account for immaterial and immutable moral laws. For instance, Allah is rather capricious given Islam revelation and so cannot account for the law-like nature of morality. This is why I specified Christian theism, since the Christian worldview assumes a God that does not change and exists outside the natural order.

I concede to my opponent that unicorns are not a necessary precondition for absolute moral laws.

4. Atheism denies its premises when engaging in ethics.

Atheism cannot rationally account for moral laws. As soon as an atheist takes any absolute moral stand, they deny their worldview by appealing to immaterial and immutable laws. In other words, atheists unconsciously borrow the theistic worldview whenever they engage in ethical behavior or thinking. My opponent says atheists can be ethical. Indeed one who calls themselves an atheist can be ethical, but I've shown that in so doing, they are no longer atheists. A true atheist cannot be ethical. To adhere to pure atheism without self-contradiction necessitates an amoral position.

In conclusion, an atheist is unethical for the mere fact that he is atheist.

On a side note, my opponent says, "If anything a modern day religious person is unethical." I ask my opponent to substantiate this claim with evidence. Otherwise, he is engaging in simple name calling and should retract this statement if he wants to compete for the conduct vote.
Debate Round No. 1
mastajake

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for engaging in this debate,

"so I ask my opponent to accept the following definition"- KRFournier states.

- Yes, it is what I was hoping you would choose if any of these defining statements of the word ethics.

Now you have labeled your contentions with numbers, thank you I will be responding to them according to their number in which they were marked in my rebuttals.

Summery Of Opponents Response:

You replied as I thought you would, you hijacked morality saying that without belief in god (rendering God as the absolute law giver) it is impossible to be ethical, for you claim that it only turns into relative morality otherwise.

Contentions:

1. Well I do agree that relative morality is flaw prone.

2. But I disagree with the other majority of your response as i summed up in my summery.

Rebuttals:

This rebuttal counters your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th contentions for the issue.

(1.) What was once relative morality(meaning only helping in some sense) could have evolved into what we would now consider absolute morality(helping in all sense). I contend that morality got to were it is today via altruistic ways of evolution (NOT via a absolute law 'giver' known as God in your case). Now let me explain, there are two main genes that were factors in this morality issue, an altruistic gene and a selfish gene (these defines what morality is to this day). Given that an organism is expected to evolve to maximize its inclusive fitness, altruistic genes would be beneficial to the evolutionary process by benefiting the species in which ever way this be. The key in that last statement is that it benefited meaning; help, which is good/moral. There is no divine law acting upon this altruistic gene. It is doing so for SOV (survival of the fittest), in order to advance its species. When I am referring to this altruistic gene and it benefiting its species you will think, well ironically that seems quite selfish, well on a broad spectrum, yes. But I am speaking for the mere human species and none other ergo it is moral in our terms. Now there are also the selfish genes which help use define what is not moral/ethical, for they do nothing to benefit any advancement and simply leach of the efforts of the altruistic genes to survive( which in the end does not benefit any advancement) . Altruistic genes thus far have given birth to what we will now consider moral in an absolute sense. As you can tell in my similitude of evolution, religion and God has no act in the issue of morality. Leaving your absolute morality via something that must be metaphysical perverse.

In rebuttal to your 4th contention specifically,

(2.) Given in my above rebuttal I would now contend that it is religion that barrows from an atheistic view of morality. Not, contra . This is why I claim religion has attempted to hijack morality (or ethics for that matter).
Ergo atheism is not denying its premises when engaging in ethics.

In conclusion, an atheist is not unethical for the mere fact that they're (note my change commenter's from "he" to "they're") atheist.

And as for my statement "If anything a modern day religious person is unethical." I first would like to apologize for it is name calling and very spurious and non-topical of me to say, but if you would like to debate this in separate debate I would be more than happy to elaborate/substantiate this claim and why I think so. Otherwise it is irrelevant to the topic therefore I will not substantiate in this debate.

I feel my debate is now sufficient and I excitedly look forward to my opponents rebuttals.

~ Mastajake
KRFournier

Pro

This is shaping up to be a very interesting debate, and I thank my opponent for his quick and sharp responses. I extend my apologies for not being as quick.

I'd first like to comment on my opponent's summary of my arguments. He says the following:

"You replied as I thought you would, you hijacked morality saying that without belief in god (rendering God as the absolute law giver) it is impossible to be ethical, for you claim that it only turns into relative morality otherwise."

Either my opponent does not understand my argument or is putting words in my mouth. I respectfully ask the voters to disregard the summary, read my arguments in full, and summarize them for themselves. What my opponent calls "hijack" I call the "necessary precondition." This is an extremely important distinction. To hijack is to steal by force. I suggest such terminology is a straw man meant to defame my ability to argue logically. My opponent is welcomed to show my transcendental argument as invalid, but he should do so logically and respectfully.

1. Morality is absolute.

My opponent, in a sense, concedes the point. He says, "Well I do agree that relative morality is flaw prone," and later adds that "What was once relative morality (meaning only helping in some sense) could have evolved into what we would now consider absolute morality (helping in all sense)." Moreover, my opponent did not refute my claim that relative morality is a self-contradiction, so I will extend that argument into this round. We do, however, strongly disagree on the nature of absolute morality, which I will address in the next point.

2. Moral laws are immaterial.

My opponent lays out an evolutionary explanation of absolute morals. He does not offer scientific sources on the matter, so I am guessing he does not mean to present this as fact, i.e., something scientific. I think my opponent is using the argument as a hypothetical alternative to immaterial laws. That is to say, if he can logically show a naturalistic explanation for absolute moral laws, then he refutes my point that moral laws by necessity must be immaterial. I think this is a valid approach and hope I can defend this contention to the reader's satisfaction.

Even if we assume for the moment there are two genes, one for selfishness and one for altruism, and that these are the driving force behind our perception of morality, we still cannot adequately account for absolute morals. This is best explained by allegory.

Thieving Steve steals Honest Abe's car as witnessed by Lying Larry. According to the police report, Lying Larry testified that Honest Abe gave the car to Thieving Steve as gift, Honest Abe says his car was simply gone when we returned from his morning run, and Thieving Steve says he really only meant to borrow it. If the actions of these characters are driven by genetics, then who is right and who is wrong? If I say Thieving Steve is wrong, is it only because I have more evolved altruistic genes? If I condemn Thieving Steve, then I contradict my opponent's claim by appealing to a morality outside the genome. If I do not condemn Thieving Steve, then morality is not absolute and we are back to my first contention.

Evolution is probably the least rational way to explain morality. For example, my opponent says "Given that an organism is expected to evolve to maximize its inclusive fitness, altruistic genes would be beneficial to the evolutionary process by benefiting the species in which ever way this be." Fitness cannot be predicted in the evolutionary model. To do so is to render evolution as teleological, as having a purpose is if Mother Nature were designing each new species. In fact, fitness is only determined in hindsight; we only know which organisms are fit after they've survived. Survival of the fittest is a tautology; it might as well be called the survivor of the survivors.

Since evolution is always changing and has no purpose, it cannot account for absolute morals. Absolute morality can never exist within a moving, changing, or evolving physical universe and still be immutable. The only rational approach is to accept that morality exists outside of nature, that they are immaterial. Anything else reduces morality as arbitrary, especially evolutionary theory.

3. Christian theism is the necessary precondition for absolute moral laws.

This is likely the point of contention from which my opponent claims religion has "hijacked" absolute morals. This is not at all the case. If morals are absolute and metaphysical, as I have shown, then we must ask ourselves which worldview rationally accounts for both properties. This is called a transcendental argument--an argument for the necessary precondition of something else.

My argument is simple. This debate is about worldviews. A worldview is a set of assumptions adhered to, consciously or unconsciously, about the nature of reality. The atheistic worldview is generally naturalistic, presupposing that only matter and energy exist. The Christian theistic worldview presupposes a metaphysical reality. There are other worldviews and variations thereof, but I use these two since they represent the worldview battle at debate here. I argue that Christian theology is the necessary precondition for absolute moral laws due to the impossibility of the contrary. Atheism cannot rationally explain absolute morals given the constraints of its presuppositions.

4. Atheism denies its premises when engaging in ethics.

My opponent feels his explanation of absolute morals was logically sufficient and therefore claimed that religion borrows from the atheistic view of morality. This is only true if religion appeals to a relative morality located in the physical universe, since I have shown that relative morality is the only option for atheism. History and human experience, however, show otherwise. Humans appeal to absolute morals every day as seen in the justice system, legal system, the news, etc. In so doing, they appeal to something that must be immaterial and immutable. Since this only makes sense from a theistic perspective, I maintain that the atheist denies their worldview when taking a stand on any moral issue. The atheist borrows the Christian worldview, knowingly or unknowingly.

Since an atheist is no longer an atheist when engaging in ethical behavior, I affirm the resolution that an atheist is unethical for the mere fact that he is atheist.

On a final note, I thank my opponent for retracting his earlier statement about modern day religious people being unethical. I respectfully ask the readers to consider my opponent's good conduct in this regard when voting.
Debate Round No. 2
mastajake

Con

This has been a great debate! And it has come to an unfortunate final round of debate for me, but before concluding to debate I would like to thank my opponent for not only accepting this debate providing diligent responses on his perspective of the resolution.

First I would like to assess my opponents evaluation on my summary. First and foremost I would agree, summarize for yourself, that was merely my personal summarization of my opponents debate. Sorry if I came of brash, as if I was putting words in your mouth, but it is simply what I perceived from your debate. To put it in better words (considering you don't agree with the word "hijack", and I will agree it is a blunt term) but I would have to say it is still precisely what I mean, religion has seized morality as its own concept. You mention that religion is a "necessary precondition" for morality whereas I argue the same thing accept from my own perspective, the Darwinian ideal is a "necessary precondition" for morality and I shall exemplify this theory via my debate.

Rebuttals:

Rebuttal to my opponents "1. Morality is absolute."

"my opponent did not refute my claim that relative morality is a self-contradiction" - That is because I agreed with you as I stated "I do agree that relative morality is flaw prone". There is then nothing to refute for me. You then quoted me saying that I conceded the point with my statement as fallows "What was once relative morality could have evolved into what we would now consider absolute morality.". The key word is 'Evolved' in my statement, I am not saying that relative morality is right but wasn't necessarily defined as so till absolute morality started to show it colors in righteousness. To conclude this excerpt we agree, you just must have had a misinterpretation in thinking that I agreed but then later conceded with my example, that simply is not the case.

Rebuttal to my opponents "2. Moral laws are immaterial"

You say "He does not offer scientific sources on the matter, so I am guessing he does not mean to present this as fact, i.e., something scientific.". To answer this I shall first note that not all scientific theory is noted as "fact" (given its misconception to be so) but it is still a theory, and a popular one at that, but there is no certainty to claim it as a fact. If you ask many biologist or those that fallow a similar study they reply that "That is the beauty of science, we proceed are studies to reveal the more substantial truth of the world". My source(s) of the main theory I present to you (the genetic Darwinian evolution theory through the gene's eye view of life) are from two separate books but of the same author Richard Dawkins; His books "The Selfish Gene" and "The God Delusion", I have been using these as reference to this debate. In terms of my example being hypothetical, it can be if you don't want to render the theory as complete truth which is understandable for those that can't cope with the ideals of evolution, but either if you view it as hypothetical or not it gets my point across. Morality developed via evolutionary standards in which genes adhered to. I feel that this is MY valid approach in which I hope the readers appeal to, for there is actual substantial evidence in evolution that supports my argument.

Your example of Thieving Steve and Honest Abe along with Lying Larry has to many loop holes to be considered a descent refute to my morality stance within the genome. There are, for example, many factors that can be a role in the specific intentions of these characters that are not noted. Leaving your example as illegitimate. These specific actions of the characters I hope you will note had nothing to do with the advancements of genes in ones species, yet his example did have those of selfish nature it did not have those of altruistic nature acting as a force, only a victim of the two selfish natured characters. This is yet to concede my contentions.

"Evolution is probably the least rational way to explain morality" - I would have to strongly disagree here, I see it as the most rational way to explaining morality. As I have shown through my contentions, morality must have coincided with the evolutionary process for evolution to have even happened in the first place, for advancement would have came to a screeching halt if altruistic genes did not help its own development in evolution.

"Since evolution is always changing and has no purpose, it cannot account for absolute morals." - Has no purpose! Have you read and comprehended my debate at all? Its purpose is in many forms, advancements and survival of a species and the genes that ride inside of them. It can account for absolute morals, for it has, I am an example considering I am a product of evolution.

Rebuttals to my opponents "3. Christian theism is the necessary precondition for absolute moral laws."

I have argued this fact throughout this entire final round of debate and now contend that absolute morals via the evolutionary process is the necessary precondition in which theism has knowingly or unknowingly abide by. Considering it is theism that either knowingly or unknowingly abide by these terms, has then seized morality as its own.

"I argue that Christian theology is the necessary precondition for absolute moral laws due to the impossibility of the contrary. Atheism cannot rationally explain absolute morals given the constraints of its presuppositions."
--- Oh, but I have. Given your Christian theology stance on the presupposition of a metaphysical reality, it is limitless for it is a abstruse idea that I deem quite unfair in this situation because it almost alleviates all of the burden of proof for you. But this is understandable for it is an ideal (Christian theology that is) that was developed in a very primitive age of man were science was hardly a requisite. This leads to my presuppositions to be more profound for there is tangible reality in which can be analyzed whereas yours cannot.

Rebuttal to my opponents "4. Atheism denies its premises when engaging in ethics."

My states "My opponent feels his explanation of absolute morals was logically sufficient and therefore claimed that religion borrows from the atheistic view of morality. This is only true if religion appeals to a relative morality located in the physical universe, since I have shown that relative morality is the only option for atheism"
--- Since I have clearly shown otherwise, that relative morality is NOT the only option for atheism, this rebuttal on my opponents half is still insufficient .
my opponent also states "History and human experience, however, show otherwise. Humans appeal to absolute morals every day as seen in the justice system, legal system, the news, etc."
--- This only backs my contentions that via evolution we have developed as a species to advance in altruistic ways appealing to these absolute morals.
I was mortified when you stated (my opponent for those that are reading) "The atheist borrows the Christian worldview"
--- I and many atheist would beg to differ. Atheist completely refute the Christians worldview ( view of the world ) for we see it as being created and controlled in a completely different way that a Christian would see it as, making this claim completely wrong.

Conclusion:

An atheist is NOT unethical for the mere fact that they are and atheist, as I have exemplified to be true vie my debate . My opponent is still left to refute and prove my knowledge wrong which he has yet to have done. My contentions remain strong.

For the Readers, hopefully after reading this debate you can vote accordingly 'CON', for I have sufficed substantial and considerable debate for you to do so. Thank you.

Now I feel my debate is adequate and excitedly look forward to my opponents response.

~ MastaJake
KRFournier

Pro

This debate has been interesting and challenging, which hopefully means it's been entertaining as well. I extend my thanks to all the readers for taking the time to analyze our arguments and vote. I especially thank my opponent for instigating this debate and responding with so much care.

In case it isn't obvious, I argue against the resolution by discrediting atheistic presuppositions. If I can show that a naturalistic worldview is not cogent, then I can show how the theistic worldview, by contrast, accounts for human experience. You may wonder if my opponent is guilty of having made assumptions at all, and I contend that he has. In fact, we both have. Suffice to say, all people make assumptions about reality, whether they'd like to admit it or not.

For example, my opponent objects to my appeal to metaphysics when rationalizing absolute moral laws. On the surface, his complaint seems to have merit. But my opponent is no more neutral on the issue than I. He says his presuppositions are "more profound for there is tangible reality in which can be analyzed whereas yours cannot." My opponent claims that only tangible (i.e., physical) reality leads to profound knowledge. This claim itself, however, is not tangible but philosophical. My opponent assumes a physical-only reality whereas I assume a dual one, composed of physical and metaphysical planes. Neither of us can prove our positions via our senses.

So how do we determine which worldview is true? By evaluating which set of assumptions best justifies our human experience. Human experience is replete with appeals to absolute morals. There are some who say that morality is relative, but eventually appeal to absolute morality when another's actions hit too close to home. My argument has been that atheism cannot rationally account for absolute morality. To clarify this, I'll defend my contentions one last time.

1. Morality is absolute.

My argument began by proving that morals must be absolute to be coherent, and I did so by showing that relative morality was a self contradiction. Thankfully, as confirmed in my opponent's final round, we agree that morals are absolute. I used the term "conceded," but was really just affirming that he and I see eye-to-eye on this matter, not that he was "giving in" to my point in any sense. I apologize if I painted my opponent in a bad light. To state it more simply, he and I seem to agree that relative morality is not logically defensible. Therefore, I will not belabor this point further.

2. Moral laws are immaterial.

Our disagreement becomes obvious in my second point. Absolute morals must be immaterial in order to be laws, as anything else reduces morality to convention and unpredictability. While my opponent agrees with the logical problems associated with relative morality, his genetic explanation is not adequate to explain absolute moral laws. Genetic morality cannot be measured or predicted because evolution is non-teleological. When I said evolution has no purpose, I meant it has no goals, no ends, and no design for nature, and to say so leads to pantheism. Evolution is only about survival of species and perpetuation of genes. Organisms have just as much potential to devolve as they do to evolve, and we cannot accurately predict which will happen. Furthermore, there is no notion of "better" or "worse" with natural selection, only "different." My opponent claims we've evolved from relative morality to absolute morality, but how does he know whether or not we will evolve to be even more altruistic (or less)? Indeed, he doesn't know and can never know. His adherence on this genetic explanation for absolute morality is based on faith.

Atheists that presuppose only the natural order are forced to find morality within that order, but are unable to do so rationally. Whether found in genetics, brains, society, etc., morality cannot be absolute in their worldview. However, absolute morality is cogent when explained as being outside of nature, as being a law apart from humans and society. Only when they are immaterial can we say that something is always wrong or always good. Once immaterial moral laws are accepted, we are left with few worldviews and definitely not the atheist worldview.

3. Christian theism is the necessary precondition for absolute moral laws.

This point of contention relies heavily on how well I've convinced the reader of point two. If my opponent has conclusively shown that absolute morality is found in evolution, then you must accept his claim that religion has errantly claimed morality for its own. But if evolution cannot account for absolute morality, then my opponent's claim is empty. In my arguments, I show that only theism rationally justifies immaterial and immutable moral laws, for only theism accounts for immaterial entities whatsoever. Specifically, Christian theism accounts for such entities because it presupposes an immaterial and immutable God.

Again, this is a transcendental argument. We must ask ourselves what is necessary for metaphysical and unchanging moral laws to exist. Since we cannot empirically analyze the metaphysical, we must rely on reason and logic. Knowing that all people have a worldview, we can logically infer the necessary precondition by rejecting any worldview that cannot coherently account for moral laws. Atheism is one such worldview. By process of elimination, theism is the necessary precondition for absolute moral laws. (I do not have time or space to eliminate all worldviews here, but that is not necessary since atheism is the worldview in question in this debate.)

4. Atheism denies its premises when engaging in ethics.

My opponent says he was mortified when I stated that atheists borrow the Christian worldview. Reading carefully, the reader will notice that I said atheists do this knowingly or unknowingly. My logic is quite simple. If moral laws are absolute and non-physical, then only the Christian worldview can account for them. Ergo, when an atheist engages in ethical behavior, they contradict their own assumptions about reality and instead live as though they believed in the immaterial. Genetic morality may fit the bill when it comes to academic discussion, but when an atheist encounters a real life situation in which genetic morality is no longer in their favor, they will appeal to something transcendent--to immaterial absolute moral laws. Such appeals to immaterial, invisible, immutable entities only make sense given theistic presuppositions.

As stated earlier, this is a battle of worldviews. The atheistic worldview cannot account for absolute morals. Atheism is ideologically predisposed to amorality. Sure, people claiming to be atheists can be and often are moral. They love their children and kiss their wives, but in so doing, they live incoherently. They deny immaterial morals one moment and appeal to them the next. Thus, when a self proclaimed atheist engages in ethics, they deny the very ideology they work so hard to defend. They deny atheism altogether, even if unable to realize it. A true atheist follows the ideology without contradiction, and in so doing, accepts its implications. Insofar as morality is concerned, a true atheist accepts that morality is not absolute--that might make right. A true atheist is amoral. Therefore, an atheist is unethical for the mere fact that he is atheist.
Debate Round No. 3
92 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Meta-ethics woot woot!
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
Thank you for recognizing this. I put my vote out there because I want my objectivity challenged. If your objectivity is never challenged it is hard to remain objective.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
BTW, Mangani, thank you for commenting on your vote. You were the only one of 13 to do so. I do appreciate the feedback.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
"You are not consistent within your worldview."
-In fact, I am very consistent with my world view. It is your adultration of my statements and your lack of acceptance of my statements that lead you to claim I am inconsistent. In reality you cannot point out inconsistencies, and hope that simply saying so will suffice.

"As for the passages and your case against Christianity, perhaps we can debate this some time."
-Ready when you are...
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
"Do you not see the contradiction in condemning the Christian Right in one breath and then claiming that both sides believe in their own sets of morality? When you condemn the Christian Right, to what moral authority to you appeal?"
-I did not condemn the Christian right, nor do I claim any authority to do so. What I did was acknowledge that they are at odds with their opposite extreme, the ACLU, and both extremes are at odds with the majority of society which has more moderate sets of morality.

"What about those that desire destruction and death?"
-I don't believe anyone is born with the desire for destruction and death, nor is that desire developed through "normal" human interactions. Not many who desire destruction and death can claim to adhere to any moral authority, and those who do violate the very morals they claim to adhere to. Destruction and death are not basic human desires. Indeed the most animal of traits amongst humans is the drive to survive, and in survival it is natural to recognize the right of others to do the same, or live and let live.

"Then you proceed to explain how appalling Christians have been, but if morality is moral why be upset?"
-My claim is that Christianity does not provide absolute morality because even Christians develop different sets of morality while claiming the same book as their source. I did not state that Christians have been appalling, rather I listed rules of morality within the Bible that cannot be accepted as absolute morality.

"You want to paint Christianity as evil when you don't even have a definition of it."
-I don't know what the definition of Christianity has to do with anything I have said, nor have I tried to paint Christianity as evil. I was merely pointing out that Christianity does not teach, and therefore cannot be the source of absolute morality as you claim. In the process my statements also point out that morality is relative even within Christianity.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
You talk, Mangani, about inalienable human rights being based on basic desires, as if to assume that all people desire the same thing. What about those that desire destruction and death? Then you proceed to explain how appalling Christians have been, but if morality is moral why be upset? You want to paint Christianity as evil when you don't even have a definition of it. You are not consistent within your worldview.

As for the passages and your case against Christianity, perhaps we can debate this some time. I've already agreed to debate jason_hendrix and have little interested in discussion Christian theology in this comments section.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
My "If morality is..." statements were not all directed to you Mangani, I was simply making a point through repetition. I obviously do not agree with any of them. You say:

"Because morality is relative. You do realize that the majority of anti-civil rights activists are Christian, right? It is the Christian Right that labels the ACLU as immoral communists, and other insults. The ACLU lobbies for one set of morals, while the Christian Right lobbies for another. Many people believe both are extremes of their own sets of morality, and so morality is relative."

Do you not see the contradiction in condemning the Christian Right in one breath and then claiming that both sides believe in their own sets of morality? When you condemn the Christian Right, to what moral authority to you appeal?
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
We believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because as advanced conscious beings that is what we collectively want the most. These are our basic desires, and the basic desires we want for our own children. It does no require Christianity to realize this, it only requires life to realize we want to live, the prospect of captivity or oppression to want to maintain liberty, and hurt, anger, and anxiety to realize we want happiness. It is the knowledge that my life, liberty, and happiness is beneficial to your own that makes these basic human rights.

"Also, your understanding of Christianity is flawed. Perhaps you and I should debate a resolution on whether Christianity truly condones slavery and oppression of women."
-Maybe it is your own understanding of Christianity that is flawed. Indeed the good book contains passages which condone slavery and the oppression of women: Leviticus 25:44-46, Exodus 21:2-6, Exodus 21:7-11(sex slaves), Exodus 21:20-21 (the beating of slaves), Ephesians 6:5, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Luke 12:47-48

The bible also contains countless passages forcing abortion, the murder of pregnant women, the murder of children, the beating of children, and other atrocities. It is a very difficult argument you are making, that absolute morality comes from Christianity. Indeed it was Christians who enslaved blacks in America, and it was Christians who later prevented blacks from voting, and after blacks were given the right to vote, it was Christians that prevented women from voting. The Ku Klux Klan is a Christian organization, and they believe they act on Christian morality...
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
"If morality is defined by law, then why lobby for change?"
-I didn't argue that morality was defined by law. Law is defined by morality. We lobby for change because, since morality is relative, we don't all agree on what is moral and/or what punishments are befitting different immoral and/or illegal actions. Take drugs, for instance. It is immoral in Christianity to smoke marijuana, and they have lobbied heavily to keep it illegal. Christianity, however, has never lobbied to ban cigarettes or public smoking because of demographic similarities. The highest concentrations of Christians in America are in the Southern States- the same states that grow tobacco.

"If morality is defined by society, then why do minorities cry out for justice?"
-Because morality is relative. You do realize that the majority of anti-civil rights activists are Christian, right? It is the Christian Right that labels the ACLU as immoral communists, and other insults. The ACLU lobbies for one set of morals, while the Christian Right lobbies for another. Many people believe both are extremes of their own sets of morality, and so morality is relative.

"If morality is defined by genetics, then why condemn someone for something he/she cannot change?"
-Like what? I have not argued that morality is defined by genetics, nor do I understand this example.

"These are simple questions that cannot simply be ignored. Without absolute morality, what does it mean to say we have inalienable human rights?"
-Inalienable rights are basic rights that are common to the most primitive of beings. Indeed sharks have the power to kill each other for no reason, but they don't. This is not to say they have morals, rather it is instinctive not to kill without necessity. It does not have to be taught. As more conscious beings, we have other basic instincts that help define what we consider basic rights.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Agreed. Given adequate time, I'll try to have the debate started sometime today.
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