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A question for all Athiests.

wierdman
Posts: 721
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12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?
CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
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12/24/2011 11:12:28 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Morality is a human construct that consists of the following..

1. An end goal, desired effect, positive outcome. For example, world peace.

2. Consequences to be avoided, undesired effect, and outcomes contrary to end goal. As an example to the former, hurting people in the process.

3. Some type of natural observation to base one's conclusions on. For example, it is observed that stealing generates discord and conflict among people, therefore, it isn't ultimately conducive to peace.

All morality is made up of these things, it is only their goals that change. Morality also evolves and changes over time. The different parts all bleed into eachother, and influence eachother to some extent.

Morality can only be objective in a relative sense. "Such and such is wrong" would be a complete statement without an "if" statement.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
tornshoe92
Posts: 361
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12/24/2011 11:15:15 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I would have to (as far as my knowledge allows) refer ro myself as a moral nihilist. I don't really see anything as inherently morally right or wrong as I don't have a source of moral correctness to draw from. Unfortunately I've often heard people then say, "Well then you have no reason to send someone to jail for murder because it isn't wrong". My response is that I don't support sending people to jail because murder is wrong, I support sending them to jail because what they did is harmful to society.
"Next time I see a little old lady going to church I am going kick her in the ovaries because she is personally responsible for this. Thanks Izbo." -C_N
socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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12/24/2011 11:16:40 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

Didn't someone just make an idiotic post just like this? Again, refer to the fact that divine command theory is merely one of the dozens of different moral systems proposed which have nothing to do with a divine entity e.g. utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, egoism, altruism, etc.
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.
ApostateAbe
Posts: 236
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12/24/2011 11:18:22 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?
I live my life according to my self interests and natural inclinations, and I take that approach to be roughly the same as how almost all other people go about living their lives. There can be no moral formula that will be nearly suitable for to make the best decisions. All moral decisions follow from a diverse and spectral set of objective realities and subjective values. A moral code would only screw me over.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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12/24/2011 11:26:07 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 11:16:40 AM, socialpinko wrote:
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

Didn't someone just make an idiotic post just like this? Again, refer to the fact that divine command theory is merely one of the dozens of different moral systems proposed which have nothing to do with a divine entity e.g. utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, egoism, altruism, etc.

What's wrong with you? Do you insult everyone you don't agree with? For heaven sake the guy asked a question, he didn't even assert anything.
"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
unitedandy
Posts: 1,173
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12/24/2011 11:32:24 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 11:15:15 AM, tornshoe92 wrote:
I would have to (as far as my knowledge allows) refer ro myself as a moral nihilist. I don't really see anything as inherently morally right or wrong as I don't have a source of moral correctness to draw from. Unfortunately I've often heard people then say, "Well then you have no reason to send someone to jail for murder because it isn't wrong". My response is that I don't support sending people to jail because murder is wrong, I support sending them to jail because what they did is harmful to society.


But why care if something is harmful to society? Doesn't this imply an objective"better" or "right"?
tornshoe92
Posts: 361
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12/24/2011 11:40:40 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 11:32:24 AM, unitedandy wrote:
At 12/24/2011 11:15:15 AM, tornshoe92 wrote:
I would have to (as far as my knowledge allows) refer ro myself as a moral nihilist. I don't really see anything as inherently morally right or wrong as I don't have a source of moral correctness to draw from. Unfortunately I've often heard people then say, "Well then you have no reason to send someone to jail for murder because it isn't wrong". My response is that I don't support sending people to jail because murder is wrong, I support sending them to jail because what they did is harmful to society.


But why care if something is harmful to society? Doesn't this imply an objective"better" or "right"?

No, it implies that, as a member of society, I subjectively don't want to be murdered and therefore would like those who are prone to murder locked up.
"Next time I see a little old lady going to church I am going kick her in the ovaries because she is personally responsible for this. Thanks Izbo." -C_N
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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12/24/2011 11:50:20 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

The same as you. If you think you get it from God. Then imagine god coming down and saying that, instead of murder being immoral, it's now immoral not to murder someone each day. How would that affect your feelings about murder?
UnStupendousMan
Posts: 3,475
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12/24/2011 12:10:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

Society tells you.
wierdman
Posts: 721
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12/24/2011 12:30:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 11:15:15 AM, tornshoe92 wrote:
I would have to (as far as my knowledge allows) refer ro myself as a moral nihilist. I don't really see anything as inherently morally right or wrong as I don't have a source of moral correctness to draw from. Unfortunately I've often heard people then say, "Well then you have no reason to send someone to jail for murder because it isn't wrong". My response is that I don't support sending people to jail because murder is wrong, I support sending them to jail because what they did is harmful to society.

You don't see a homicide as a moral offense in the sense that it is morally wrong?
wierdman
Posts: 721
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12/24/2011 12:31:15 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 11:15:50 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
There was another thread like this one from a few days ago in case you are interested.

http://www.debate.org...

Thanks
wierdman
Posts: 721
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12/24/2011 12:32:38 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 11:16:40 AM, socialpinko wrote:
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

Didn't someone just make an idiotic post just like this? Again, refer to the fact that divine command theory is merely one of the dozens of different moral systems proposed which have nothing to do with a divine entity e.g. utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, egoism, altruism, etc.

These all derive from the divine truth which is God to some ppl.
wierdman
Posts: 721
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12/24/2011 12:34:46 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 11:50:20 AM, drafterman wrote:
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

The same as you. If you think you get it from God. Then imagine god coming down and saying that, instead of murder being immoral, it's now immoral not to murder someone each day. How would that affect your feelings about murder?

Lol, I have no idea.

Ohh, I get it now, moral right and wrong is defined by ones personal believe.
Chthonian
Posts: 247
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12/24/2011 12:52:02 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

I suppose another set of questions is: 1) are moral codes relative? and 2) can moral codes be demonstrated as just?

The implication of these questions is that just because we have and follow moral codes doesn't make them more right than others who may not, or who define morality differently.
socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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12/25/2011 1:39:12 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 12:32:38 PM, wierdman wrote:
At 12/24/2011 11:16:40 AM, socialpinko wrote:
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

Didn't someone just make an idiotic post just like this? Again, refer to the fact that divine command theory is merely one of the dozens of different moral systems proposed which have nothing to do with a divine entity e.g. utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, egoism, altruism, etc.

These all derive from the divine truth which is God to some ppl.

Who's to say? Utilitarianism derives from the intrinsic goodness of pleasure, Kantianism derives from radical normative consistency, etc. What reason can you provide to show that none of them are based on what they say, that they're really based off of divine truth. Also explain what divine truth it. I'm not familiar with that term.
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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12/25/2011 2:44:03 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

I could ask a theist or christian how do you know what is morally right or wrong ? What will they say ? maybe they will say God told me such and such is wrong. Well God has told people that letting witches and homosexuals live is wrong. God has told letting the black slaves goes free is wrong. Invoking the God told me its right or wrong doesn't help, it just an assertion and can be used to justify literally anything.

I suspect most atheists and some theists take into account some sort of overall human well being as the objective and actions that hurt against this goal are bad actions that help in achieving this goal is good.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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12/25/2011 3:00:05 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Humans have an innate sense of compassion as well as self-interest. Both of these give humans a moral compass. Also, the golden rule is common sense and almost ingrained in everyone.

People who act immoral do so because of misjudgment of whats right, overlooking the golden rule, and letting self-interest ethics deviate and degenerate into greedy incompassionate acts.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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12/25/2011 5:13:21 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Didn't someone just make an idiotic post just like this? Again, refer to the fact that divine command theory is merely one of the dozens of different moral systems proposed which have nothing to do with a divine entity e.g. utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, egoism, altruism, etc.

That's a bit harsh. The OP is one of the fundamental questions that people have been asking for centuries. And just because people have come up with answers doesn't mean they're good answers. There are substantial counterarguments to all of those moral theories, to moral realism itself, and most of them are mutually incompatible with one another.
socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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12/25/2011 7:49:13 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/25/2011 5:13:21 AM, Kinesis wrote:
Didn't someone just make an idiotic post just like this? Again, refer to the fact that divine command theory is merely one of the dozens of different moral systems proposed which have nothing to do with a divine entity e.g. utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, egoism, altruism, etc.

That's a bit harsh. The OP is one of the fundamental questions that people have been asking for centuries. And just because people have come up with answers doesn't mean they're good answers. There are substantial counterarguments to all of those moral theories, to moral realism itself, and most of them are mutually incompatible with one another.

Yeah I guess I agree. It just seems like whoever wrote the OP at the least should have known that there exist other moral theories besides divine command.
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.
johnnyboy54
Posts: 6,362
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12/25/2011 5:48:24 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 11:16:40 AM, socialpinko wrote:
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

Didn't someone just make an idiotic post just like this? Again, refer to the fact that divine command theory is merely one of the dozens of different moral systems proposed which have nothing to do with a divine entity e.g. utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, egoism, altruism, etc.

How is it idiotic to ask a question of how you decide right and wrong? He is simply asking you to describe your reasoning or is possibly asking if reason can exist without God. It is most certainly not an idiotic question.
I didn't order assholes with my whiskey.
rogue
Posts: 2,325
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12/26/2011 2:46:10 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/24/2011 10:55:27 AM, wierdman wrote:
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I joined this site. If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?

You decide for yourself. I do not need dogma to validate my beliefs.
Gunther12
Posts: 1
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12/26/2011 3:12:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
If you are Atheist, how are you to know what is morally right or wrong? How are you to decide what moral codes to live your life?"

How are you to know God exists? You do not know. How do you define 'knowing' in your question, I'd like to ask? My concern is epistemic, of course. What does Man know? Man does not KNOW that murder is WRONG, for example. He does not. Knowledge versus Morality are conflicting forces that have their tense yet crucial interplay. If I kill my neighbor, say, I did so rightly: he had killed my brother. It is not so simple as acting on emotions or love, because these forces are contributors to and forces of our being. The matter is: what I knew to be wrong became right. What made murder right?

My circumstances and experiences vindicated me. I had witnessed violence so I responded tit for tat. Furthermore, I experienced love growing up with my brother and that pure love made it seem right to crush such wickedness (let's say =). It was knowledge that vindicated my actions and, as if by magic, made the wrong right. Knowledge and judgment have the final say over moral eruptions or even conundrums.

Where does that morality of justice-seeking come from? Not from God. It comes from my experience- my time, my love. If all that came from God, too- making all moot- you at once have a very dismal picture to call existence. 'How are you to decide'- great question. What does it take to make a true decision? Not a willy-nilly-go-with-the-moment choice, but a decision.

What decision am I supposed to make again? Who says?

I, myself, say that morality cannot be reduced to duality, i.e. deciding a moral code. It's a process of formation, over time, even a creative one; it's not a club to join, it's a journey to take. 'Deciding' is dualistic and primitive. We are talking about spirituality, essence, and the everlasting here, not magazine subscriptions or college majors.

How can you claim to know morality from something- i.e. God- which you cannot know? Nor can you know The Bible is God's holy word or the Quaran either; 'knowing' is naive in this discussion. You only think what you think, so what do you think? That's all you 'know'! But with God, in many cases, you don't have to think. You can pray, fast, confess; revert to notions and patterns already concocted centuries back. Be humble, self-sacrificing, obedient: virtues and values, and much else, is already decided for the religious, so what's the decision you bring up? Decision requires volition, not resignation. There are contradictions beneath the unstated. Maybe you should write a bit more!

You indirectly assert He/She/it proffers moral codes or even plays the moral governor, captain, engineer, touchstone. True morality has to do with consciousness. What separates us from the bestial, primitive wild? The fact that our nature is only so written. A plant or a lion- their nature is decided. Ours is not. We can choose to be active or passive. That's it: we can and we do. Call it free will, if you wish, but that is the acting arm of consciousness.

Only a fool, psychotic, or coward would contend that man is morally impotent without God. The individual is, because of the mind, able to form and test premises about what he or she sees, experiences, learns. Think! Try to refute this simple aphorism by stoning subjectivity. Subjectivity takes dedication compared to choosing- or being chosen by- some God that limits the need to think and exercise moral agency. What Would Jesus Do, or What Would My Minister Do equates in the extreme to the termination of moral development.
The real questions are: What Should I Do and Why? Why do I Think What I Think? How Am I to Act? What is Wisdom? Justice? Truth? Beauty? What is right?

Today, why does it seem good and noble to lazily inherit beliefs and standards; that is, answers to said questions that can only be answered substantively over the careful, happy years of the individuals life? What makes it right- actually right- to be faithful? What makes faith good? Why is claiming allegiance to old surviving myths supposedly true? Society just says, 'it is'. I do believe in absolutes: the individual can live or die. Also, man is not beast as long as he decides.

What are you to know? Realize, because you are man, you must not be so forlorn.

Moral agency versus moral allegiance. The latter is the easy way, the modern road. Country, Church, Schools: these are the givers of morality. Ha! That doesn't make sense! Morality is active- it is an engine, not to parrot Rand too excessively. Morality is not a touchstone. Children have moral agency without a compass. Adults have a compass and have to decide agency- only. Fundamentalists and idiots have renounced moral compass and agency.

The buffet line of moral premises (e.g. align with X, Y political party, A B or C church) is contradictory. Morality is from within. The individual acts based on impulses and conclusions, 'testing' the former against the latter. Morality is the volition, judgment, and scope of man's conscience. Man does not have this capacity without God? If you don't have it then you won't get it from 'God.'

At some point, you are your own parent (i.e. moral agent). Your morality is like a child that must be raised. It seems to me to be so, for there is a lot of interference between the individuals perspective and his or her ability to independently assess moral issues: hormones, pop/culture, schooling. In people's 20s they, often, relearn what they believe to be moral. Their new morality is a baby out from under the roof, newly out of the nest.

RE: this whole epistemology thread. Espousing a pre-packaged code of morality often holds that man is corrupt, hence, sexuality, greed, etc. In American churches, for example, you have active emphasis on sexual purity, which is moral indoctrination. You, or John Q Christian might say that he or she knows sexual purity is right. Do you? Well, sexual safety would be utilitarian and philanthropic. 'Safety' is not couched in moral quagmire while 'purity' is. To advocate sexual safety would be arguably right, because the individual will face the world differently and more confidently and, arguably, have greater self-efficacy. Who defines what is 'pure' comes and goes (Jerry Fallwel, Stalin, Luther, Joel Freaking Osteen), but the body and mind- not parents- ultimately decide what is 'safe'. I'd say rightness would go more with safe than other's 'purity'. Such is my argument for something that cannot be 'known'. What do you think and why do you think it? That's all there is.

Does God provide a moral compass? How many good, upright souls have there been that had faith, FAITH that we came from nothing? What about their morality? What makes man moral is not slapping on a label- e.g. Mormon- but choices and actions of the human being. If God upholds the contradiction that morality can be given, then he certainly doesn't give the captain a compass, he gives the ship a chaotic tempest. A storm of confusion. I stepped out of the storm several years ago and since have tried to actually think for myself. Without a crutch or angel or any of that crap.

The Bible, for example, provides moral guidelines, platitudes, exemplars, but this is not God. This is a tool of man that has been changed and altered for centuries. If we are talking Bible, it claims to be God-breathed. Such a notion- like creation in "seven days"- ought to be treated figuratively, because it cannot be proved. Exalting faith is base. That simple logic seems lost on American church culture.

How can you get concrete morality from abstract God? Belief in The Bible, alone, does not atone for the contradiction. It takes more than faith to deal with incongruities. It takes substance. What is substance? Certainly not what I choose from the buffet line or the church I join. These are common.
Ramshutu
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12/26/2011 4:10:28 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Human evolved as part of a society. Without the community, the humans die. Ergo we have evolved a number of emotions to protect the society and our place within it.

Morality is just the name we give to how these emotions present themselves.

Morality is learned from the community, from friends and from society. This is the reason a country can gas millions of people and think its okay, and also why a thousand years ago, no one thought anything of executing thieves.