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How we cherry-pick religious values

AtheistExile
Posts: 30
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12/9/2009 3:54:25 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I believe that morality is derived from an infinitely variable combination of factors and sources. As such, there are different kinds or forms of morality. Certain morals are common to most forms of morality: for instance, murder is usually considered wrong whether or not we're considering religious, secular, or intuitive morality.

Family, culture and religion definitely influence morality. Those "seekers" out there who actually read scripture, philosophy and literary classics for their insights into the human condition are also influenced by their quest. Finally, there's abundant evidence that evolution contributes a hereditary component to morality: empathy and altruism have obvious survival value for social animals such as us humans and other primates.

But none of these factors are necessarily dominant, nor are they the same for everybody. For instance, scriptural influence can be undone by a personal quest.

The factor I find most intriguing is the evolution of empathy. In our most primitive days, before religion existed, experience informed us of what hurt or angered us, and empathy told us that the same things probably hurt and angered others as well. This combination of experience and empathy is enough to instill a generalized "sense" of the Golden Rule between tribe members -- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you . . . because we need each other to survive. This human sense, in practice, is reduced and simplified to: "Do no unnecessary harm."

Nobody is born with a moral code, of course, but empathy and experience are commonly shared by virtually all of us (except aberrant cases): it's part of the human condition. We start developing empathy as toddlers, when we recognize that others think and feel as we do. As we mature, this "moral intuition" matures: often without our realizing it. This moral intuition (do no unnecessary harm) is the crux of the Hippocratic Oath and should be the essential principle of our laws. I believe it constitutes a moral substrate that is often more powerful, in most of us, than the morality we learn from other sources. I think moral intuition is often stronger than other forms of morality because it's what we learn first-hand, through observation and experience. All the other sources I can think of are second-hand, from: other people, scripture, literature and authorities.

We actually see the power of moral intuition (and/or other non-religious forms of morality) at work when we consider religious reforms. Most of us – Christian or not -- no longer tolerate slavery, the subjugation of women, battlefield excesses, child brides, or criminal punishments disproportionate to the crimes committed. These are all values upheld by the Bible, yet we've long since rejected them. There are exceptions, of course, but in effect, our moral intuition has overruled and usurped religious morality. Our moral intuition actually decides what IS religiously moral.

If our own moral intuition actually decides what is religiously moral -- why do we need religious morality in the first place?
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
MikeLoviN
Posts: 746
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12/9/2009 4:11:36 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/9/2009 3:54:25 PM, AtheistExile wrote:
If our own moral intuition actually decides what is religiously moral -- why do we need religious morality in the first place?

IMO, just briefly, 'religious morality' is there as one extra layer to make you think twice about you say and do. It's great that we have it instilled in our society that murder is wrong, but that doesn't stop it from happening. Religious morality, for the most part, is there as an added reminder that a lot of people may find helpful in causing them to think before acting. It's meant to coincide with our natural moral intuition, not replace it. Sort of like putting an extra hull on the Titanic so that if it hits an iceberg it may not sink... hows that for a metaphor? :D
gr33k_fr33k5
Posts: 321
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12/9/2009 6:41:22 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/9/2009 3:54:25 PM, AtheistExile wrote:
We actually see the power of moral intuition (and/or other non-religious forms of morality) at work when we consider religious reforms. Most of us – Christian or not -- no longer tolerate slavery, the subjugation of women, battlefield excesses, child brides, or criminal punishments disproportionate to the crimes committed. These are all values upheld by the Bible, yet we've long since rejected them. There are exceptions, of course, but in effect, our moral intuition has overruled and usurped religious morality. Our moral intuition actually decides what IS religiously moral.

If our own moral intuition actually decides what is religiously moral -- why do we need religious morality in the first place?

You act like religious morality supported things like "battlefield excesses, child brides, or toleration of slavery, and suppression of women (and please don't bring up the Old Testament and say "yeahuh it does tolerate slavery"). It doesn't and never did, just because ignorant people DID support those things, doesn't mean that religious morality counted that as right.

Also. . . .this entire post relies entirely on the assumption that God doesn't exist, which is unsupported and untrue. . . .
I am free, free indeed!

ignorance is bliss
leet4A1
Posts: 1,986
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12/9/2009 6:44:02 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Also. . . .this entire post relies entirely on the assumption that God doesn't exist, which is unsupported and untrue. . . .

*Barely has the strength to type any more*

Ehh, burden of proof, extraordinary claims require...

*Falls asleep at desk after such a futile mission*
"Let me tell you the truth. The truth is, 'what is'. And 'what should be' is a fantasy, a terrible terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago. The 'what should be' never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no 'what should be,' there is only what is." - Lenny Bruce

"Satan goes to church, did you know that?" - Godsands

"And Genisis 1 does match modern science... you just have to try really hard." - GR33K FR33K5
AtheistExile
Posts: 30
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12/9/2009 6:55:06 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/9/2009 4:11:36 PM, MikeLoviN wrote:
At 12/9/2009 3:54:25 PM, AtheistExile wrote:
If our own moral intuition actually decides what is religiously moral -- why do we need religious morality in the first place?

IMO, just briefly, 'religious morality' is there as one extra layer to make you think twice about you say and do. It's great that we have it instilled in our society that murder is wrong, but that doesn't stop it from happening. Religious morality, for the most part, is there as an added reminder that a lot of people may find helpful in causing them to think before acting. It's meant to coincide with our natural moral intuition, not replace it. Sort of like putting an extra hull on the Titanic so that if it hits an iceberg it may not sink... hows that for a metaphor? :D

If that's how a person actually uses his religious morality, then I see nothing wrong with it.
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
AtheistExile
Posts: 30
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12/9/2009 7:02:30 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/9/2009 6:41:22 PM, gr33k_fr33k5 wrote:
At 12/9/2009 3:54:25 PM, AtheistExile wrote:
We actually see the power of moral intuition (and/or other non-religious forms of morality) at work when we consider religious reforms. Most of us – Christian or not -- no longer tolerate slavery, the subjugation of women, battlefield excesses, child brides, or criminal punishments disproportionate to the crimes committed. These are all values upheld by the Bible, yet we've long since rejected them. There are exceptions, of course, but in effect, our moral intuition has overruled and usurped religious morality. Our moral intuition actually decides what IS religiously moral.

If our own moral intuition actually decides what is religiously moral -- why do we need religious morality in the first place?

You act like religious morality supported things like "battlefield excesses, child brides, or toleration of slavery, and suppression of women (and please don't bring up the Old Testament and say "yeahuh it does tolerate slavery"). It doesn't and never did, just because ignorant people DID support those things, doesn't mean that religious morality counted that as right.



Also. . . .this entire post relies entirely on the assumption that God doesn't exist, which is unsupported and untrue. . . .

Ouch, gr33k_fr33k5!

Looks like I a touched a nerve :-)

Good. Let's touch some more . . .

We all know the atrocious depths of depravity revealed in the Good Book . . . don't we? One has to wonder what such perverse ideas are doing in God's divinely inspired scripture. If you're really trying to say you don't know what I'm talking about -- I don't buy it for a second. The short list I mentioned just scratches the surface.
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
AtheistExile
Posts: 30
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12/9/2009 7:08:18 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/9/2009 6:44:02 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
Also. . . .this entire post relies entirely on the assumption that God doesn't exist, which is unsupported and untrue. . . .

*Barely has the strength to type any more*

Ehh, burden of proof, extraordinary claims require...

*Falls asleep at desk after such a futile mission*

I agree, leet4A1,

Nothing there to debate.
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
gr33k_fr33k5
Posts: 321
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12/9/2009 8:53:29 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/9/2009 7:02:30 PM, AtheistExile wrote:
Ouch, gr33k_fr33k5!

Looks like I a touched a nerve :-)

Good. Let's touch some more . . .

We all know the atrocious depths of depravity revealed in the Good Book . . . don't we? One has to wonder what such perverse ideas are doing in God's divinely inspired scripture. If you're really trying to say you don't know what I'm talking about -- I don't buy it for a second. The short list I mentioned just scratches the surface.

you do enjoy yourself. . .. . BUT. .. .
if religious morality is absolute (which i believe and the Bible supports this)
The Bible "is" Jesus (John 1)
and God is perfect
and God is Jesus and visa versa (trinity)
then there is NOTHING that is perverse/isn't perfect in God's scripture. . . .. while in todays culture we may not see it that way. . . .. it really isn't perverse

*The Bible does deal with sin and has stories about sin. .. . but theres a difference between condoning and teaching about. . . .
I am free, free indeed!

ignorance is bliss