The Instigator
motherengine
Pro (for)
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The Contender
MissLenaElan
Con (against)
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"Without God"everything is permitted" or: Atheism Invalidates Moral Absolutism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/1/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 723 times Debate No: 74591
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
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motherengine

Pro

This argument presupposes both parties believe that there is a reality objective to human consciousness, and that consciousness is a requirement for belief.

I am defining god/deity as-

a universal architect and the conscious creative force behind human/animal existence.

I am defining moral absolutism as-

the belief that certain actions are intrinsically right or wrong.

If someone feels that I have created an argument which begs the question, please acknowledge in the comments section before challenging.

Argument

If:

Atheism is the rejection of, or disbelief in, a god/deity (gods/deities).

And:

A god/deity is the central component of a belief in a universe of purposeful design and, subsequently, a purposefully designed consciousness.

[I would not consider alien design of human consciousness as a valid point of argument as the rejection of ultimate design would relegate our morality to an experimental aspect as opposed to a universal truth.]

Then:

Without a god/deity human consciousness is a result of accidental processes and, therefore, accidental.

And so:

If human consciousness and, subsequently, moral belief are accidentally acquired, than moral belief can have no objective validation as a universal truth.

[No one part of an accident (or one person as a part of an accidental process) could be said to be on purpose, let alone more on purpose without purpose, than any other part; therefore appeals to social rules and laws are inevitably appeals to personal bias.]

If morality is merely an arbitrary aspect of, or the result of a mutations within, accidental processes, then all rules and laws can be challenged based on differing opinions of "should" and "should not".

If no path has been deemed correct by a universal consciousness, then any "chosen" path can be correct, even to the point that two or more completely contrasting moral positions can exist as correct simultaneously (e.g. "Killing can be right" and "Killing is always wrong").

Moral absolutism is invalidated by the theory of accidental existence which atheism presupposes.
MissLenaElan

Con

I agree with your definitions and accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
motherengine

Pro

Touch"

In all formal seriousness, though:

Because Con has used the first debate round to accept my definitions, I will wait for a counterargument in the next round; I believe it would be poor form to alter my initial argument in any way at this point.
MissLenaElan

Con

Thank you! Sorry for the long wait.

1. This is based on your title, and is on semantics. "Without God, everything is permitted" cannot be true, as laws exist.

2. "If no path has been deemed correct by a universal consciousness, then any "chosen" path can be correct, even to the point that two or more completely contrasting moral positions can exist as correct simultaneously (e.g. "Killing can be right" and "Killing is always wrong")."

What if this consciousness had varying views of an action? The popular God of the Bible does. http://www.godandscience.org...

3. Moral Absolution does not exist as a universal truth.

People naturally have opinions, and situations can always change things.

For instance, you could say writing someone a heartfelt kind letter is always 'right.' What if the letter was one of an insanely large number the writer had sent that week, without ever personally receiving an address from the person they were writing to

It at the least, the situation's 'rightness' gets questionable at that point.

If moral absolution doesn't exist, it can't be invalidated by atheism.

Thank you for the debate, I'm sorry I've been a little short on time. I've taken on a bit too many debates!
Debate Round No. 2
motherengine

Pro

I hope you do not take this the "wrong" way, but I did not intend a semantic debate; I am more interested in philosophical concepts than language games (as much as I love Alice's Adventures in Wonderland).

Obviously something cannot be invalidated if it does not exist in the first place. My argument is that the lack of belief in a god is not compatible with a belief in moral absolutism.

But hey"

""Without God, everything is permitted" cannot be true, as laws exist.""

Do laws exist without a God? Unless you actually know that there is no God in our world of laws, how can you be sure there is a contradiction in the statement?

"What if this consciousness had varying views of an action? The popular God of the Bible does."

That"s a fair question for a Judeo-Christian believer who argues for moral absolutism ; I just don"t happen to be such a person.

"Moral Absolution does not exist as a universal truth."

Is that a statement? And if so, are you absolutely sure?

"People naturally have opinions, and situations can always change things."

Can situations change things, or do things happen to change just as situations occur?

"For instance, you could say writing someone a heartfelt kind letter is always 'right.' What if the letter was one of an insanely large number the writer had sent that week, without ever personally receiving an address from the person they were writing to"

""the situation's 'rightness' gets questionable at that point."

I would argue that all situational "rightness" is questionable. But in the case of the writer, maybe the "rightness" is in the pleasure he/she is giving him/herself (e.g. "It"s the thought that counts; not necessarily sharing that thought with anyone").

"If moral absolution doesn't exist, it can't be invalidated by atheism."

Actually, moral absolution can exist without a god (someone only need forgive you). But I think you meant absolutism, in which case"I suppose I would have to concede. Or would I?

At any rate, You are welcome for the debate. Thank you for taking it on (in some form at least).
MissLenaElan

Con

Thank you for the opportunity, this has been a good debate.

Rebuttals:

"Can situations change things, or do things happen to change just as situations occur?"

Situations can change what we think of a certain action in terms of morality.

""What if this consciousness had varying views of an action? The popular God of the Bible does."

That"s a fair question for a Judeo-Christian believer who argues for moral absolutism ; I just don"t happen to be such a person."

If it would depend on the God at all, then you would have needed to specify a single one in the beginning because so many have so many different and contrasting beliefs about morality.

"I suppose I would have to concede. Or would I?"

I honestly can't argue this as you haven't clearly stated where you stand.

Concluding Statements:

Human beings are creatures with consciousness. We live in fairly modern societies where laws regarding things that would seem morally debatable (such as slavery) have changed drastically just over the past century. From our experiences in such a society, and from interacting with fellow human beings regardless of how similar or different you may be, we are able to create our own gauge of morality that most would agree with. Because we have not yet been able to definitively prove whether or not a universal consciousness exists, and she/he has not clearly contacted us with absolute moralities, we can assume that we would be able to come to these moral conclusions if a deity exists or not.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by motherengine 2 years ago
motherengine
Furyan5:

"You don't believe its wrong to kill. Ever. That implies you don't mind being killed."

I have to disagree. I don"t believe that it is "right" or "wrong" to do anything. I never use those words when I am speaking rationally (thus the quotation marks). As I posted before, I don"t think such words are reason-oriented.

I believe that killing is always unhealthy (especially for the person being killed). I would most probably be afraid of being killed if a situation arose in which I thought it was possible, and I am fully capable of empathizing with people who are suffering emotionally because someone they care about has been killed.

I don"t find pleasure in the idea of killing (I make it a point to put insects outside instead of stepping on them, as others do). I wouldn"t want to know a person who actively kills people; I definitely would not endorse the behavior. But I don"t think that my emotions represent absolute "truth" or reality.

I accept that killing happens but I don"t judge people based on my emotional reactions to their actions. I try to think about things dispassionately. You could argue that much of nature is largely dependent upon some form of killing. Are natural processes "wrong"?

"If you truely don't believe its ever wrong to kill then get professional help."

You may find my lack of moral belief disturbing, but this does not make it unhealthy. I have as many reasons for seeking "professional help" as the next person, but I don"t think that my reasoning is one of them. Though, maybe I would be less depressed if I were less rational. Should I seek out consoling to try and become more irrational? Maybe I should try to adopt a religious belief?

Who ever said being rational was a "good" thing certainly wasn"t being rational when he/she said that.
Posted by Furyan5 2 years ago
Furyan5
I quote "I guess that I am the exception then because I do not believe that it is ever wrong to kill."
You never said it, but you certainly typed it. You don't believe its wrong to kill. Ever. That implies you don't mind being killed.
My statement was an example not a personal belief. I agree that if it were true I would need to seek professional help.
And no. I'm not joking. Please. If you truely don't believe its ever wrong to kill then get professional help.
Posted by motherengine 2 years ago
motherengine
Furyan5:
"If you honestly don't mind being killed then you won't have a problem killing anyone. This is not normal behaviour and legally you would be considered a psychopath. I suggest if you truely feel this way that you seek professional help. Normal people like to live."

What are referring to? I never posted anything about not minding being killed. And a 'psychopath' would probably mind dying as much as anyone else.

"Normal people"?

Are you joking?
Posted by Furyan5 2 years ago
Furyan5
You right about one thing. Its about emotions. Specifically like and dislike. We develope morals as we grow up by discovering what we like and what we dnt like. I've said all this before so I'm not gonna repeat it. If you honestly don't mind being killed then you won't have a problem killing anyone. This is not normal behaviour and legally you would be considered a psychopath. I suggest if you truely feel this way that you seek professional help. Normal people like to live.
Posted by motherengine 2 years ago
motherengine
Voro:

"Morality is decided by the majority. Absolutism is acceptable in societies that have that as part of their culture. What the pro arguement is say is that, if there is no God then only relativism is the only alternative."

I am not a moral relativist. I don"t believe anything is ever actually "right" or "wrong". I never use those terms seriously, and I believe them to be irrationally inspired. I suppose you could say that I favor amoral rationalism.
Posted by motherengine 2 years ago
motherengine
Furyan5:

"God hates?
God hates gods that don't exist? Jealousy?"

Deuteronomy 4:24

For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."

From the Christian Bible (King James Version).

So"yep. Personally I don"t believe in any scriptural god, so I post this just for education purposes.

"Killing a man that's raping a child....What is more wrong? Killing or raping a child? Who decides?"

Subjectively? Everyone, or anyone. Ultimately? No one?

"You don't believe it ever wrong to kill.... Is it ok if I kill you and your family?"

If you think it is ok, then it is ok for you. I would not want you to do it and would try and stop you, even to the point of killing you. None of this has anything to do with reason. It is about irrational emotions. We are irrational animals capable of thinking rationally. It is a psychological paradox.

"I am the one not being rational?"

Yes; I would say you are the one not being rational in this discussion.

"The death penalty is abolished in most civilised countries."

Not this one.

"that's just you.... I certainly hope so."

I certainly hope that I am not the only person capable of separating my emotions from my intellect when I reason, as I absolutely believe that emotions corrupt reason.
Posted by Voro 2 years ago
Voro
Morality is decided by the majority. Absolutism is acceptable in societies that have that as part of their culture. What the pro arguement is say is that, if there is no God then only relativism is the only alternative.
Posted by Furyan5 2 years ago
Furyan5
God hates?
God hates gods that don't exist? Jealousy?
Killing a man that's raping a child....What is more wrong? Killing or raping a child? Who decides?
You don't believe it ever wrong to kill.... Is it ok if I kill you and your family?
I am the one not being rational?
The death penalty is abolished in most civilised countries.
that's just you.... I certainly hope so.
Posted by motherengine 2 years ago
motherengine
Furyan5:

"Religion teaches us its bad to kill but its ok to kill someone who doesn't share our belief. Contradiction?"

If there is one God that exists that hates the worship of gods that do not exist, where is the contradiction? What God wants God gets (R. Waters). The "beauty" of religion is that it doesn"t have to make any sense.

"God kills lots of people which is bad but God is good."

Is it bad to kill a person who is raping a child? Who has the authority to decide when killing is "good" or "bad" in any sense, let alone in an ultimate sense? I certainly don"t. If the God that created everything wants to kill then that God is "right" by virtue of setting the rules in the first place.

"Religion distorts our morality."

I would argue that morality in general distorts our ability to rationally examine behavior and react in a manner that services health rather than a subjective belief, which may hurt more than it helps depending on the perspective of the believer. I think religion is a red herring; morality is the "problem"; or, more specifically, the moral animal.

"An atheist knows [it"s] bad to kill. that's it. No exceptions."

I guess that I am the exception then because I do not believe that it is ever wrong to kill.

"If you kill you are (bad)."

Why? How? According to one accidental animal among billions? Even according to billions, one differing opinion contradicts any rule when all rules are accidentally acquired.

"No book required. No 7 commandments."

The "book" seems to give an objective value that we just do not have otherwise.

"If you don't [realize] killing is bad you don't lack religion. You lack empathy."

I totally disagree; killing is an action neither, good nor bad. Personally, I find such words to be vague and confusing; certainly not rational terminology for complicated phenomenon.

But that"s me.
Posted by Furyan5 2 years ago
Furyan5
Depends on your definition of morality. If morality is the ability to decern a good act, object, person or idea from a bad act, object, person or idea then atheists are more subjectively moral than theists. We develope our own moral standing early in life. Its merely what we like (good) and what we dnt like (bad). As we get older we learn new concepts like death and killing. We observe peoples reactions to death and it goes in the (bad) category. Religion teaches us its bad to kill but its ok to kill someone who doesn't share our belief. Contradiction? God kills lots of people which is bad but God is good. Religion distorts our morality. An atheist knows its bad to kill. that's it. No exceptions. If you kill you are (bad). No book required. No 7 commandments. If you don't realise killing is bad you don't lack religion. You lack empathy.
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