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Can Atheists be Moral?

ClassicRobert
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9/8/2013 9:33:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Of course atheists can be moral. Is that still even up for discussion?
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000ike
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9/8/2013 9:47:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
There are so many errors of logic AND commonsense in the OP I hardly know what to do with it....
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Installgentoo
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9/8/2013 10:26:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 9:47:15 PM, 000ike wrote:
There are so many errors of logic AND commonsense in the OP I hardly know what to do with it....

Please tell me how you can deign actions as right or wrong on an atheistic view of the world. What makes you want to help people who are starving in the third world or dying in foreign wars? You haven't experienced either, nor has anyone else around you. So why would there be a compulsion within you to help these people? Why do you regard this kind of suffering as inherently wrong?

The believer knows these things are wrong because God says so in the Bible. Next you'll be saying rainbows aren't a sign of God's Promise to mankind.
Sitara
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9/8/2013 10:52:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 9:32:18 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
I would say no.

After all, the Universe doesn't care about what we do to others.

Tough cookies. I would say yes.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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9/8/2013 11:05:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 9:32:18 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
I would say no.

After all, the Universe doesn't care about what we do to others.

The Fool: Many of us to care, and we are part of the universe, thus the universe has morality.

Now for the offensive..

1. If somebody is acting in a way, that moral people do, because they believe in a God who threatens to burn them in eternal hellfire for eternity, then they could never be moral. As they would only be acting out of fear for themselves. And not the love of others, or to be a good person.

2. We cannot act intentionally without a belief. Therefore the necessary condition to make a mistake or error is to act off a false and/or confused belief. And so all actions based off faith are by nature "Irresponsible" actions, As there is no way to account for their mistakes, And they therefore put everyone in moral danger, including the believer.

3. Religions, Western in particular, teaches to people that they are bad in nature, that humans are bad, and so they must follow God in order to be better. But making people believe that they are bad, creates a catalyst allowing a self-justification when being evil, as they can just repent, and blame it on their Human weakness, anyways.

The Fool: Om Mani Padme Hum
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
Orangatang
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9/9/2013 1:37:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 11:05:15 PM, The_Fool_on_the_hill wrote:
At 9/8/2013 9:32:18 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
I would say no.

After all, the Universe doesn't care about what we do to others.

The Fool: Many of us to care, and we are part of the universe, thus the universe has morality.

Now for the offensive..

1. If somebody is acting in a way, that moral people do, because they believe in a God who threatens to burn them in eternal hellfire for eternity, then they could never be moral. As they would only be acting out of fear for themselves. And not the love of others, or to be a good person.

2. We cannot act intentionally without a belief. Therefore the necessary condition to make a mistake or error is to act off a false and/or confused belief. And so all actions based off faith are by nature "Irresponsible" actions, As there is no way to account for their mistakes, And they therefore put everyone in moral danger, including the believer.

3. Religions, Western in particular, teaches to people that they are bad in nature, that humans are bad, and so they must follow God in order to be better. But making people believe that they are bad, creates a catalyst allowing a self-justification when being evil, as they can just repent, and blame it on their Human weakness, anyways.

The Fool: Om Mani Padme Hum


+3

Just got to add that OP is obviously very uneducated when it comes to how atheists actually think or very insincere.
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000ike
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9/9/2013 5:30:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 10:26:37 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 9/8/2013 9:47:15 PM, 000ike wrote:
There are so many errors of logic AND commonsense in the OP I hardly know what to do with it....

Please tell me how you can deign actions as right or wrong on an atheistic view of the world. What makes you want to help people who are starving in the third world or dying in foreign wars? You haven't experienced either, nor has anyone else around you. So why would there be a compulsion within you to help these people? Why do you regard this kind of suffering as inherently wrong?

The believer knows these things are wrong because God says so in the Bible. Next you'll be saying rainbows aren't a sign of God's Promise to mankind.

Morality is a set of emotional reactions that establish innate preferences for and against certain behaviors - it's conceivable that it stems from selective pressures in the process of evolution. And morality is not objective - god or no god.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Polaris
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9/9/2013 4:24:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 9:32:18 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
I would say no.

After all, the Universe doesn't care about what we do to others.

What do you think the purpose of morality is?
Wnope
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9/9/2013 4:44:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 9:32:18 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
I would say no.

After all, the Universe doesn't care about what we do to others.

How do you explain the lack of over-representation of atheists in prisons/jails?
Wocambs
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9/9/2013 5:10:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
You believe that morality can only be objective, but even if that is the case, it is still plausible that objective morality could be derived from reason rather than from God.

Anyway, consider the Euthyphro dilemma: is an action good because God commands it, or because it is objectively good? The former does not seem satisfying, and the latter questions the need for God.
StevenDixon
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9/9/2013 5:13:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hypothetical imperatives exist, in this sense, yes. In the sense of categorical imperatives, no, atheists can't be, but neither can anyone else.

Basically, in a subjective sense, yes.

In an objective sense, no, but neither can anyone else.
cybertron1998
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9/9/2013 5:14:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 9:32:18 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
I would say no.

After all, the Universe doesn't care about what we do to others.

Morals did not come from god, and the wording of your sentence makes it seem that the universe is an atheists god. (Which is horribly wrong)
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000ike
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9/9/2013 9:07:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/9/2013 8:47:43 PM, Citrakayah wrote:
Simple. I dislike suffering. Everybody dislikes suffering. Therefore, it is in our collective interest to avoid laws and deter actions which cause suffering.

Fixed*
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Citrakayah
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9/9/2013 10:54:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/9/2013 9:07:50 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 9/9/2013 8:47:43 PM, Citrakayah wrote:
Simple. I dislike suffering. Everybody dislikes suffering. Therefore, it is in our collective interest to avoid laws and deter actions which cause suffering.

Fixed*

Basically. I didn't feel like writing it out at the time.
slo1
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9/11/2013 2:31:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/9/2013 9:07:50 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 9/9/2013 8:47:43 PM, Citrakayah wrote:
Simple. I dislike suffering. Everybody dislikes suffering. Therefore, it is in our collective interest to avoid laws and deter actions which cause suffering.

Fixed*

Two corrections.

1. Not everyone dislikes suffering. There are individuals who do not have the capability of empathy due to biological reasons. Also as proof, it is very common in the nature of human relationships to have unlogical and unreasonable expectations on others which also causes suffering of others. There are many examples where one individuals have choosen to inflict suffering upon others.

2. It is not in our collective interest to reduce suffering as a whole. The human norm is not to extend any collective interest beyond one's social group. Granted that group can be as small as a tribe to as large as a race. Very few people include humanity as a whole in their social group.

A collective interest would be to continue the existence of humanity. However since not every human is required to participate to make this happen, we are still in battle against various groups for resources. The battles are very different in tactics today than they were thousands of years ago, but this battle continues.

We rarely give preference to suffering. Imagine a job interview where the candidate who is suffering the most gets the job.

We don't make national decisions based upon suffering. Decisions are based upon the security of the country in question despite the repercussions of suffering outside of the country in question.

Compassion and empathy may simply be an evolutionary strategy to make our smaller group that is fighting all the other groups more functional and strong.

Sure you can argue if that were applied to humanity as a whole we could be stronger as a whole, but that is an extremely rare belief among the populace of the world. It could also be argued that applied to humanity as a whole is impractical and only increases the number of people suffering rather than decreases it.

In short it is hard to argue reducing suffering is a subjective moral.
Stephen_Hawkins
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9/11/2013 6:03:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Let's assume God exists, Christians of a different denomination exist, and atheists exist. We could start discussing actual secular ethics, but let's put it aside for a moment.

Now, let's say you are a moral person, and you are confronted with an ethical dilemma (let's say the trolley problem). Is it possible for a Christian of a different denomination to act in the same way you do? Would they still be moral?

Is it possible for an atheist to act the same way you do? Would they still be moral?

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then atheists can be moral. If the answer to the first or third question is "no", then you're just factually wrong: the only debate can be held with the second & fourth question (it must also be both), in the claim that the intention matters, and the intention must be to "do as God commands" for an act to be moral (or to possibly be moral). To me, this seems ludicrous, and I think it would for many people. To claim that the work of Gandhi was commendable, but is somehow worth less because it wasn't a Christian doing so, is a morally sickening thought. Same goes for atheists acting.
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Drayson
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9/11/2013 7:37:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 9:32:18 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
I would say no.

After all, the Universe doesn't care about what we do to others.

Sorry, what?

If I broke into someone's house and stole everything, are you saying the owner of that house wouldn't care? They are part of the universe. So if they do care about being robbed, then your logic is wrong.
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Drayson
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9/11/2013 7:44:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 10:26:37 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 9/8/2013 9:47:15 PM, 000ike wrote:
There are so many errors of logic AND commonsense in the OP I hardly know what to do with it....

Please tell me how you can deign actions as right or wrong on an atheistic view of the world. What makes you want to help people who are starving in the third world or dying in foreign wars? You haven't experienced either, nor has anyone else around you. So why would there be a compulsion within you to help these people? Why do you regard this kind of suffering as inherently wrong?

The believer knows these things are wrong because God says so in the Bible. Next you'll be saying rainbows aren't a sign of God's Promise to mankind.

The question doesn't even make any sense - The fact is we DO deign actions as being right or wrong, that's exactly what morality is, the determination of actions as being right or wrong.

So how we do that is kind of beside the point.

And here's the problem with "God sez so" - It makes morality completely meaningless. If you are really to believe that there's this all-powerful being who decides ultimately what is good and bad, then it's nothing but an arbitrary decision.....after all, he can't be BASING it on anything....certainly not on any pre-existing notion of morality, because otherwise that would mean he is not the ultimate moral authority after all.

And that leads to a rather depressing conclusion, for you and your ilk....following these moral rules, ironically, doesn't make you moral. It just makes you obedient to authority. You're no more moral than any other scared peasant following the wishes of a ruling dictator.
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LevelWithMe
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9/12/2013 1:44:49 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 10:26:37 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 9/8/2013 9:47:15 PM, 000ike wrote:
There are so many errors of logic AND commonsense in the OP I hardly know what to do with it....

Please tell me how you can deign actions as right or wrong on an atheistic view of the world. What makes you want to help people who are starving in the third world or dying in foreign wars? You haven't experienced either, nor has anyone else around you. So why would there be a compulsion within you to help these people? Why do you regard this kind of suffering as inherently wrong?

The believer knows these things are wrong because God says so in the Bible. Next you'll be saying rainbows aren't a sign of God's Promise to mankind.

Obvious troll is obvious, nothing to see here, move along.
zmikecuber
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9/12/2013 2:18:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I see two ways of reading this question. Either presupposing objective morality exists, and asking if people with an atheistic worldview can act in conformity with this objective morality, or asking whether objective moral values can exist from an atheistic worldview.

I would say yes to the first. If objective morality exists, then atheists do have the ability to act in accordance with this.

However, I would probably say no to the second. It's rather hard to prove that certain actions are "immoral per se" from an atheistic worldview, without taking certain premises on faith.
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Rational_Thinker9119
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9/12/2013 2:55:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
No, and neither can Christians, as morality doesn't exist and is just an illusion. Whether I kill you or not means NOTHING to the universe; it's one spec ending another spec on on a grandscale, like a microorganism on your arm taking care of another on my arm pit hair. It matters to US, but that only means morality is subjective pertaining to certain groups and individuals. It doesn't matter to reality....
Rational_Thinker9119
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9/12/2013 2:57:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
If you are asking if Atheists can adhere to the ethical codes and conduct that us humans created to govern our interactions, then of course Atheists can be moral, as can anybody. It all depends on what you mean by "morality".
Citrakayah
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9/12/2013 4:47:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/11/2013 2:31:37 PM, slo1 wrote:
1. Not everyone dislikes suffering. There are individuals who do not have the capability of empathy due to biological reasons. Also as proof, it is very common in the nature of human relationships to have unlogical and unreasonable expectations on others which also causes suffering of others. There are many examples where one individuals have choosen to inflict suffering upon others.

Actually, I would probably count as one of the individuals who does not feel empathy on an emotional level. Nevertheless, I can feel it on an intellectual level by recognizing that the distinction between myself and others is rather arbitrary, and that I can cannot come up with a reason to only care about my own pleasure.

And everyone dislikes their own personal suffering.

2. It is not in our collective interest to reduce suffering as a whole. The human norm is not to extend any collective interest beyond one's social group. Granted that group can be as small as a tribe to as large as a race. Very few people include humanity as a whole in their social group.

Doesn't matter what people do, matters what they should do.

We rarely give preference to suffering. Imagine a job interview where the candidate who is suffering the most gets the job.

It would not minimize suffering to put an incompetent person in a job where much was demanded of them.

We don't make national decisions based upon suffering. Decisions are based upon the security of the country in question despite the repercussions of suffering outside of the country in question.

Yes, we actually do. Unfortunately, we limit that choice to inside our own borders.
AlbinoBunny
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9/20/2013 10:10:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/12/2013 1:44:49 AM, LevelWithMe wrote:
At 9/8/2013 10:26:37 PM, Installgentoo wrote:
At 9/8/2013 9:47:15 PM, 000ike wrote:
There are so many errors of logic AND commonsense in the OP I hardly know what to do with it....


The believer knows these things are wrong because God says so in the Bible. Next you'll be saying rainbows aren't a sign of God's Promise to mankind.

Obvious troll is obvious, nothing to see here, move along.
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slo1
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9/20/2013 11:40:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/12/2013 4:47:33 PM, Citrakayah wrote:
At 9/11/2013 2:31:37 PM, slo1 wrote:
1. Not everyone dislikes suffering. There are individuals who do not have the capability of empathy due to biological reasons. Also as proof, it is very common in the nature of human relationships to have unlogical and unreasonable expectations on others which also causes suffering of others. There are many examples where one individuals have choosen to inflict suffering upon others.

Actually, I would probably count as one of the individuals who does not feel empathy on an emotional level. Nevertheless, I can feel it on an intellectual level by recognizing that the distinction between myself and others is rather arbitrary, and that I can cannot come up with a reason to only care about my own pleasure.

And everyone dislikes their own personal suffering.

2. It is not in our collective interest to reduce suffering as a whole. The human norm is not to extend any collective interest beyond one's social group. Granted that group can be as small as a tribe to as large as a race. Very few people include humanity as a whole in their social group.

Doesn't matter what people do, matters what they should do.

We rarely give preference to suffering. Imagine a job interview where the candidate who is suffering the most gets the job.

It would not minimize suffering to put an incompetent person in a job where much was demanded of them.

We don't make national decisions based upon suffering. Decisions are based upon the security of the country in question despite the repercussions of suffering outside of the country in question.

Yes, we actually do. Unfortunately, we limit that choice to inside our own borders.

I understand everything in what you said and even agree, but the fundamental point is that when one does not believe objective morality exists, it gets a little flaky because subjective morals have the disclaimer that it is not time bound and can change as humanities collective goals change. A person moral years ago may not be moral today, not because his behavior changed, but the rules changed.

Take it a step further and let's face it as it exists today all morality is subjective, even those that proclaim objectivity. As a result morality falls in to being determined and enforced by the group that has the most power.

This goes back to the intent of the original post that there is nothing in the cosmos to police or hold to account the morality that mankind creates.

Maybe the ddo community needs to put forth the most logical process that could be used to create subjective standards to hold people to account against.
slo1
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9/20/2013 11:57:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/12/2013 2:18:27 PM, zmikecuber wrote:

However, I would probably say no to the second. It's rather hard to prove that certain actions are "immoral per se" from an atheistic worldview, without taking certain premises on faith.

There is an ability to build it upon a collective goal that benefits the most people. If one really thinks about it, the question of morality is:

Who has the authority to create the rules, which mankind gets measured to, which in turn determines how "good" or "bad" someone is.

There is nothing that says mankind can not create its rules. It can even enforce them. However one must realize that they will and have to change as mankind is not real good at getting things right.

There is definitely a feeling that the right set of rules would get the world focused on a common goal, versus the hodgepodge of bs rules from all the supposed objective religious standards.

Think of how productive, peaceful, and happy we would be if, "doing no harm to others", was a world wide standard that was truly enforced.

I realize that is an unrealistic and Utopian type thought, but it would be permissible to take that thought and drill down to something more specific. In fact one could argue that many of our institutions such as the Universal Contract Code, Judicial System, laws, and other items are a direct desire to hold people accountable to doing the "right thing" and not harming others.
zmikecuber
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9/20/2013 12:38:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/20/2013 11:57:46 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 9/12/2013 2:18:27 PM, zmikecuber wrote:

However, I would probably say no to the second. It's rather hard to prove that certain actions are "immoral per se" from an atheistic worldview, without taking certain premises on faith.

There is an ability to build it upon a collective goal that benefits the most people. If one really thinks about it, the question of morality is:

Who has the authority to create the rules, which mankind gets measured to, which in turn determines how "good" or "bad" someone is.

There is nothing that says mankind can not create its rules. It can even enforce them. However one must realize that they will and have to change as mankind is not real good at getting things right.

There is definitely a feeling that the right set of rules would get the world focused on a common goal, versus the hodgepodge of bs rules from all the supposed objective religious standards.

Think of how productive, peaceful, and happy we would be if, "doing no harm to others", was a world wide standard that was truly enforced.

I realize that is an unrealistic and Utopian type thought, but it would be permissible to take that thought and drill down to something more specific. In fact one could argue that many of our institutions such as the Universal Contract Code, Judicial System, laws, and other items are a direct desire to hold people accountable to doing the "right thing" and not harming others.

What you quoted me saying was in the context of "objective" morality.

That being said, the existence of "objective" morality in the real world around us does not depend upon our subjective rules we make. If we presuppose an objective standard of "goodness" and "badness" existing independently of us, then our rules don't change this.

If everyone said that a square had three sides, would it? I think not, since that's not the objective truth. The objective truth exists independently of our "opinions" and "rules".

The question is though whether or not there is objective truth about the morality of certain actions.
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"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."