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Author Topic:   Moral high ground
Rahvin
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Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


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Message 198 of 318 (645767)
12-29-2011 8:02 PM
Reply to: Message 195 by jar
12-29-2011 7:00 PM


Re: You cant create the utopia until you free people from religion and get rid of it.
Yes Liberal Christians do try to shield folk like you. We pray for your soul too. Yes we are a shield against extremism.
I'm not necessarily saying that I agree with Hooah in his analysis of liberal Christians. I haven't thought much on the topic, so I don;t know what position to take.
I will say, however, that "praying" is a fancy word for "doing nothing useful whatsoever." "Praying" for reduced extremism does effectively nothing to curb it.
A real "shield against extremism" would require actively reaching out to extremists and attempting to convince them of the error of their ways. I suppose the "liberal Christian" version of that would be actively attempting to gain converts from the more extreme denominations. Not just looking at a story about a bombed abortion facility and thinking "oh, that's sad, they shouldn't do that," and then praying for the victims and for reduced violence, but actively seeking out the anti-abortion protesters and reminding them of the "love your enemy" bits of the Bible to discourage the less rational from taking matters beyond protest.
I don't see a lot of that. I see a lot of apathy.
That said, I see a lot of apathy from the vast majority of people, inclusive of those who agree that extremism is very bad and needs to be stopped, across all belief systems. Actual active attempts to curb extremism are rare. I don't know that "liberal Christians" are sufficiently different from everyone else to be singled out by that sort of criticism.

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 195 by jar, posted 12-29-2011 7:00 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 200 by jar, posted 12-29-2011 8:20 PM Rahvin has not replied
 Message 208 by Chuck77, posted 12-30-2011 4:33 AM Rahvin has not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 211 of 318 (645822)
12-30-2011 12:57 PM
Reply to: Message 210 by New Cat's Eye
12-30-2011 10:36 AM


Re: You cant create the utopia until you free people from religion and get rid of it.
And he thinks that he has the moral high ground
Who needs to count deaths!
Saying nothing whatsoever about Hooah's position...
I think that murder carries just a smidge more moral weight than being a dick.
In a consideration of the "moral high ground," if you consider manners to be anywhere remotely as important, even so close as to be worthy of mention in the same debate as things like genocide and torture, you need to re-evaluate your system of morals.
I'd take Fred Phelps and his hatred-spewing posse over even a single murderer any day. He doesn't have the "high ground" over many people, but he can at least say he's not a murderer.

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 210 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-30-2011 10:36 AM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 213 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-30-2011 1:57 PM Rahvin has replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 217 of 318 (645837)
12-30-2011 3:38 PM
Reply to: Message 213 by New Cat's Eye
12-30-2011 1:57 PM


Re: You cant create the utopia until you free people from religion and get rid of it.
I doubt that jar and GDR have murdered anyone...
Right, but this thread isn;t about the moral high ground of individual posters. You made a sarcastic snipe at Hooah about how he claims atheism to have the moral high ground, but he's being a dick.
I was just calling out your bullshit, because dickishness isn't how we measure the moral superiority or inferiority of religious persuasions, given that far more important factors are in play. Hooah himself may or may not behave like a dick. Atheists in general may or may not behave like dicks. Regardless of which way that goes, it would say nothing at all regarding the moral superiority or inferiority of atheism as compared to other belief systems.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anyway, on the actual topic:
Personally I think a large portion of this topic is moot. Atheism doesn't have any tenets, no suggestions for moral or immoral conduct or rules governing ethical behavior. I don;t think atheism can be credited for any moral or immoral act because it makes no suggestions along how those should be defined. Suggesting that atheism bears responsibility for charity or for injustice would be akin to suggesting that the belief in the accuracy of the Theory of Gravity also bears similar levels of responsibility for moral or immoral action. It just doesn't make sense.
The exception would be if someone were to show that moral behavior can only stem from belief in a deity (not just the existence of one, but belief in it, since an atheist could potentially exist in a world where deities exist). I think I can predict the course of that particular debate, should it occur.
Christianity, on the other hand, is more than simple theism, it actually has a specific set of moral instructions. I think that to some degree Christianity can be credited with both the good and the evil that it inspires, since it actually contains moral suggestions to do the inspiring.
Unfortunately I also think (and I'm sure many would agree) that the Bible is immensely contradictory on its moral suggestions, leaving the specific interpretation of Biblical morality up to the individual believer. The Bible tells us to love our neighbor...but to kill homosexuals or rebellious children. The Bible tells us not to kill or steal...unless God promised you some land that some nonbelievers are occupying. The end result is what we see - thousands of Christian denominations, many of whom have explicitly contradictory beliefs on morality whenever the Bible is either hazy or specifically contradictory. We have Christians who believe homosexuality is fine, and those who think it's a sin worthy of execution. We have Christians who believe in a woman's right to choose, and others who think if she chooses the "wrong" way she's a murderer. We have Christians who believe in charitable action, and those who think the poor deserve to suffer.
I don't think that atheism can have any position at all on the "moral high ground" totem pole, since atheism does not suggest a system of morality. If an atheist gives to the poor, he's not doing it because he doesn;t believe in a deity; he's doing it because of his actual moral system, which of necessity must be independent from atheism. The only relevance to morality is that atheism precludes deity-based authoritarian moral systems, which is only one subset of all possible moral systems.
I think that Christianity can bear moral responsibility, but that its confused and self-contradictory dogma inspires both great charity and horrific crimes against humanity.
I can't say one is superior to the other, because one option can't be on the scale to be measured. It's like asking which is more wet, a fish or the number four.
Now, if you wanted to compare actual moral systems, like the Ten Commandments authoritarianism vs humanistic preference utilitarianism, we might be able to have a debate.

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 213 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-30-2011 1:57 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 218 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-30-2011 4:00 PM Rahvin has replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 219 of 318 (645852)
12-30-2011 4:31 PM
Reply to: Message 218 by New Cat's Eye
12-30-2011 4:00 PM


Re: You cant create the utopia until you free people from religion and get rid of it.
To be fair to Portillo, he did metion atheist regimes rather than just atheism.
To be fair to making any sense whatsoever, if "atheism" cannot bear moral responsibility, I fail to see how an "atheistic regime" might have any relevance, either.
If the "atheism" part cannot bear moral responsibility, then it's irrelevant. One might as well discuss "regimes that happen to believe the sky is blue," or "regimes including a supreme leader who has the ability to drive a car."
The structure of the comparison is set up to apply a judgment of morality on atheism by comparing the regimes that (may or may not) have been "atheistic" to those that (may or may not) have been primarily "Christian." But if we agree that "Atheism" says nothing about morality, then an "atheistic regime" can also say nothing about morality; it must be some other characteristic of those regimes that would drive them to good or evil, because atheism can do neither.

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 218 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-30-2011 4:00 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 220 by Tangle, posted 12-30-2011 5:00 PM Rahvin has not replied
 Message 251 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-03-2012 2:10 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 266 of 318 (646362)
01-04-2012 12:09 PM
Reply to: Message 264 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 10:57 AM


Re: What is Religious Motivation?
But a more overarching god, who's will just be's done, shouldn't really count as having some religious motivation.
Are you seriously suggesting that omnipotence excludes moral accountability? That if a being's desires simply happen that said being is not responsible for the consequences of its every whim being enacted in reality?

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 264 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 10:57 AM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 268 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 12:23 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 269 of 318 (646368)
01-04-2012 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 267 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 12:21 PM


Against a very small subset of Christianity... Most people know The Flud was a myth. How does that myth being in the Bible lower the morality of Christianity, in general?
Do most people know the Plagues of Egypt, particularly the slaying of the firstborn, was also a myth? Do they hold their God to be righteous after he sent the Angel of Death to kill every first-born, from cattle to human children, in Egypt?

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 267 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 12:21 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 270 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 12:43 PM Rahvin has replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 272 of 318 (646377)
01-04-2012 1:13 PM
Reply to: Message 270 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 12:43 PM


I don't know.
Are you sure that "most Christians know" that the Flood was a myth and not real?
How do you think you know that? What's your source?

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 270 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 12:43 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 274 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 2:01 PM Rahvin has replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 277 of 318 (646390)
01-04-2012 2:56 PM
Reply to: Message 274 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 2:01 PM


I looked it up in my gut... feel free to reject it in making your argument tho.
Do you honestly think that most Christians think a global flood actually happened?
Your "gut" is not a reliable source of information. It's worthless, in fact - you're making a statement as fact when you knowingly acknowledge that you have no data upon which to support such an assertion.
I don't know how many Christians globally think that the Flood was real vs myth. I haven't seen a good survey.
I do know several individuals and multiple churches who treat it as fact from personal experience, but I have no idea how my small representative sample from my own life (not random, limited to specific denominations in specific geographical areas and where not every individual was polled) compares to Christianity as a whole. In argument, my experience would be proof that there are at least some Christians who believe the Flood to be historical fact, but would be useless to determine what most Christians do or do not know.
I imagine that your own "data" are similarly limited, yes? Rationally, that would preclude you from making any such claim about what "most Christians" do or do not know, wouldn't it?

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 274 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 2:01 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 279 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 3:09 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 281 of 318 (646400)
01-04-2012 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 280 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 3:10 PM


Re: Topic Drift
Yeah, we've all pretty much agreed with that. Well, I'm still not seeing the connection between believing that your god did something bad in the past, and being a bad person.
If you believe that your god did something bad, and you believe that it was okay for your god to do that, then you have at minimum an inconsistent system of morality.
Whether you're a "bad person" or not depends on the ethical system in play. From an authoritarian standpoint, where morality issues from obedience to the authority, Action X can be ethical one day and unethical the next depending on the whim of the authority.
Personally, I find that sort of morality to be repugnant, as it allows the authority to commit or condone acts of genocide, torture, and rape and still be called "good."
I practice humanistic preference utilitarianism. To me, any act of genocide or rape or torture, regardless of who is doing it, "god" or mortal, is reprehensibly evil, and anyone who believes that such an action was okay is also evil.
So yes, I think that if you believe that your god killed the world or killed all of Egypt's firstborn or even just that human sacrifice and scapegoating (ie, Jesus) are morally right actions, then I think you are a bad person. Not as bad as if you had actually committed the acts yourself, but I don't think it's acceptable to think that those sorts of actions were ever acceptable for anyone.

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 280 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 3:10 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 286 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 3:54 PM Rahvin has replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


(4)
(1)
Message 287 of 318 (646415)
01-04-2012 3:58 PM
Reply to: Message 286 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 3:54 PM


Re: Topic Drift
Wow, I'll keep in mind that you're going to judge my moral worth based on my personal beliefs next time I consider sharing them with you.
Personally, I think that's disgusting.
Do you think that genocide was morally acceptable at some point int he past?
If so, I find you to be disgusting.
That would include the Flood, the "cleansing" of the "Promised Land," the Plagues of Egypt, and basically all of Revelations.
If you think any or all of those would be morally acceptable for God or Bob or anyone then you have a fucked up sense of morality. Only bad people can look at genocide and call it morally good.

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 286 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 3:54 PM New Cat's Eye has seen this message but not replied

  
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