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Author Topic:   Moral high ground
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 286 of 318 (646413)
01-04-2012 3:54 PM
Reply to: Message 281 by Rahvin
01-04-2012 3:22 PM


Re: Topic Drift
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.
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.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 281 by Rahvin, posted 01-04-2012 3:22 PM Rahvin has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 287 by Rahvin, posted 01-04-2012 3:58 PM New Cat's Eye has seen this message but not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005
Member Rating: 5.3


(4)
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

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9531
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


(2)
Message 288 of 318 (646418)
01-04-2012 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 284 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 3:49 PM


CS writes:
No, I make judgements about how they conduct themselves... because, well, that's what morality is. As I said, beliefs are irrelvant.
You're trying to disconnect behaviour and beliefs - which is obviously wrong. If you didn't believe that it was Allah's will you wouldn't strap a bomb on yourself and blow up a train full of people.
Beliefs influence behaviour - for good or for bad.

Life, don't talk to me about life.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 284 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 3:49 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 290 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 4:25 PM Tangle has replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3320 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


(3)
Message 289 of 318 (646419)
01-04-2012 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 285 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 3:52 PM


Re: Topic Drift
If you did, that would make you a bad person?
Yes. If someone tells me that they think a genocidal war-mongerer is a good being, they have become a bad person in my eyes. Are they as bad as that genocidal, war-mongerer? Not even close. But they've slid over to the "dark side" at least a bit.
No, your conduct outweighs your admirations.
Well, I would say conduct coupled with motivation. If I save a drowning kid, I'm a good person. But if I saved them only because they were wearing my expensive watch and I wanted to get it back, I'm definitely not as good.
What I'm arguing is that morality is a spectrum. Doing bad things is bad. Believing bad acts are good is also bad, though not as bad as if you had actually done them.
And that makes you a bad person? Really?
Believing that atorcities are good is bad. Yes. For example, people in the south during the civil war who may not have owned slaves, but who still thought slavery was a good idea are not good people. They didn't do anything wrong, but they were still not people I would condone.
Does "being closer to being able to help someone" make you a good person? Or does actaully helping someone make you a good person?
Helping someone makes you really good. Believing that someone should be helped makes you less good, but still good. Believing that person should just die and let you get on with life makes you bad. Actually pulling the trigger to kill that person makes you worse.
Again, it's a spectrum, and while actions definitely push you closer to the extremes, beliefs and attitudes (admirations, etc) tend to tip you a bit.
Now, to be honest, it does take a calculation of all your actions and all your beliefs to make a full estimation of your "morality." But believing genocide is good is definitely a black mark.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 285 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 3:52 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 291 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 4:32 PM Perdition has replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 290 of 318 (646429)
01-04-2012 4:25 PM
Reply to: Message 288 by Tangle
01-04-2012 4:09 PM


You're trying to disconnect behaviour and beliefs - which is obviously wrong. If you didn't believe that it was Allah's will you wouldn't strap a bomb on yourself and blow up a train full of people.
Well, you might... But that's kinda what I'm trying to get at. Back in Message 168, I wrote:
quote:
Well, what the hell do you mean by "religiously motivated". I think it means that you did something because of your religion.
Like, the 9/11 attacks were religiously motivated by Islam.
On the other hand, Timothy McVeigh, while being a christian, wasn't motivated by christianity to bomb buildings, he was pissed at the government.
What matters is whether or not the belief that motivated the conduct was religious or not. But the actual belief, itself, doesn't go into weighing up the morality. We're already talking about bad things that have happened, the crux is whether or not they were motivated by religion.
Beliefs influence behaviour - for good or for bad.
Sure, and when the beliefs that influence bad behavior are religious ones, we would count those behaviors against the religion having any moral high ground.
But simply having a belief doesn't count. At least not for the purpose of this thread. Too, I don't think that things that are attributed to god, should count against the religion, itself, as having any high ground. Its about what the religion has motivated people to do.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 288 by Tangle, posted 01-04-2012 4:09 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 294 by Tangle, posted 01-04-2012 4:47 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 291 of 318 (646431)
01-04-2012 4:32 PM
Reply to: Message 289 by Perdition
01-04-2012 4:11 PM


Re: Topic Drift
Now, to be honest, it does take a calculation of all your actions and all your beliefs to make a full estimation of your "morality." But believing genocide is good is definitely a black mark.
I agree, that in general, morality is a continuum and simply having some beliefs could push you a little bit towards one side or the other. But in this thread were ascribing moral worth to the religion, itself, for actions that it has caused its believers to do.
If a particular person, of a particular religion, holds a particular belief, then I wouldn't count that as some mark against the religion, itself. Unless the religion motivated them to have that belief, and having that belief was one of the action we were measuring with. But that's not what we were supposed to be doing here.
How many deaths have been caused by religion?
-"well some of those religious people believe bad things!"
So what?
Now, to be honest, it does take a calculation of all your actions and all your beliefs to make a full estimation of your "morality."
I've also brought up that we're only focusing on the bad things that have been done and if you really want to find the moral high ground, you should look at the good things that have been done as well.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 289 by Perdition, posted 01-04-2012 4:11 PM Perdition has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 292 by Perdition, posted 01-04-2012 4:41 PM New Cat's Eye has replied
 Message 295 by Perdition, posted 01-04-2012 4:49 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3320 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 292 of 318 (646435)
01-04-2012 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 291 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 4:32 PM


Re: Topic Drift
Unless the religion motivated them to have that belief, and having that belief was one of the action we were measuring with. But that's not what we were supposed to be doing here.
I would agree that any particular belief held by someone who happens to ascribe to a particular religion should not be held against that religion - unless that belief is mandated or at least influenced by that religion.
I thought that's what we were doing here. If someone is saying that a religion is wrong because someone has bad beliefs that are not a product of that religion, then they're also wrong.
What gets difficult, however, is that we can seldom tease apart the motivations and influences for any particular belief. It may be a misunderstanding of their religion, or it may be simply their upbringing, or maybe even a neurological disorder...or a combination of these or other reasons.
What we can do, however, is look at trends. Does a particular set of beliefs or actions more commonly show up in a person who belongs to a particular religion or not. If most people who hold a belief also happen to belong to a particular religion (or closely related group of religions) it's fair to say that the religion probably has a hand in the formation or continuation of that belief.
I feel like I'm rambling a bit here. Unless something in my post jumps out at you, we can probably let this side topic fall to the side.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 291 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 4:32 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 293 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 4:46 PM Perdition has replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 293 of 318 (646438)
01-04-2012 4:46 PM
Reply to: Message 292 by Perdition
01-04-2012 4:41 PM


Re: Topic Drift
I would agree that any particular belief held by someone who happens to ascribe to a particular religion should not be held against that religion - unless that belief is mandated or at least influenced by that religion.
I thought that's what we were doing here. If someone is saying that a religion is wrong because someone has bad beliefs that are not a product of that religion, then they're also wrong.
What brought me in was the idea that the Flud story in Genesis should be counted in the deaths brought about by religion. I don't agree with that.
What gets difficult, however, is that we can seldom tease apart the motivations and influences for any particular belief. It may be a misunderstanding of their religion, or it may be simply their upbringing, or maybe even a neurological disorder...or a combination of these or other reasons.
My first post in this thread echoes that sentiment:
quote:
If political powers use religion as a tool to overtake a people, is it really that religion that caused all the killing?
What we can do, however, is look at trends. Does a particular set of beliefs or actions more commonly show up in a person who belongs to a particular religion or not. If most people who hold a belief also happen to belong to a particular religion (or closely related group of religions) it's fair to say that the religion probably has a hand in the formation or continuation of that belief.
I agree, and that's what should have happened in this thread. Instead, we've been arguing about what things should be counted as trends from a particular religion.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 292 by Perdition, posted 01-04-2012 4:41 PM Perdition has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 296 by Perdition, posted 01-04-2012 4:53 PM New Cat's Eye has seen this message but not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9531
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


(1)
Message 294 of 318 (646440)
01-04-2012 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 290 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 4:25 PM


CS writes:
But the actual belief, itself, doesn't go into weighing up the morality. We're already talking about bad things that have happened, the crux is whether or not they were motivated by religion.
I think you're being a bit disingenuous here, you must know that having an immoral belief has a bearing on the morality of the individual - religious or otherwise.
The Religious motivation simply follows. I doubt you would deny that having a strong Chritian belief can lead to many good behaviours, so you must accept that when in the hands of deluded extremists it can also lead to bad behaviours. So much is self-evident.
Or do you say otherwise?

Life, don't talk to me about life.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 290 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 4:25 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 297 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 4:54 PM Tangle has replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3320 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 295 of 318 (646442)
01-04-2012 4:49 PM
Reply to: Message 291 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 4:32 PM


Re: Topic Drift
I've also brought up that we're only focusing on the bad things that have been done and if you really want to find the moral high ground, you should look at the good things that have been done as well.
True, but there are some caveats. For example, people often bring up charities as a good thing from religion, but there are a good number of non-religious charities out there and atheists are just as likely to engage in charitable works as religious people, so that would seem to be a moot point. So any purported "goods" have to be ones that are exclusive to the religion.
"My religion may condone slavery, but it also tells me to feed the hungry, so it's at worst neutral."
"Well, my atheistic morality tells me to feed the hungry and it says that slavery is bad."
In comparison, all we can use to compare the two stances is the bad thing, since the good things cancel each other out.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 291 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 4:32 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 299 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 5:32 PM Perdition has replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3320 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 296 of 318 (646443)
01-04-2012 4:53 PM
Reply to: Message 293 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 4:46 PM


Re: Topic Drift
What brought me in was the idea that the Flud story in Genesis should be counted in the deaths brought about by religion. I don't agree with that.
Peronally, I'm torn on this point. Why did god flood the earth? If he did it because the people he created were not following his rules, and his rules are told through religion, I would call it a religious motivation.
If God had not created his religion, his reason would not have existed to flood the earth.
However, if he flooded the earth for personal reasons. Say he was curious how it would affect our development, I would say that was not religious, though just as heinous.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 293 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 4:46 PM New Cat's Eye has seen this message but not replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 297 of 318 (646444)
01-04-2012 4:54 PM
Reply to: Message 294 by Tangle
01-04-2012 4:47 PM


I think you're being a bit disingenuous here, you must know that having an immoral belief has a bearing on the morality of the individual - religious or otherwise.
Yes, but I wasn't speaking generally but rather specifically for the topic of this thread - which is weighing up the attrocities that have been brought about by religion.
The Religious motivation simply follows. I doubt you would deny that having a strong Chritian belief can lead to many good behaviours, so you must accept that when in the hands of deluded extremists it can also lead to bad behaviours. So much is self-evident.
Or do you say otherwise?
No, I've explicitly said that I accept that religion can cause poeple to do bad things.
I don't think that 'having a belief' is a bad thing that can be used to weigh up the attrocities caused by religion.
Although, on second thought, I suppose there could be a case made that a widespead belief in something that makes people bad could be considered an atrocitity in itself... however, that's not really what people have been talking about.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 294 by Tangle, posted 01-04-2012 4:47 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 298 by Tangle, posted 01-04-2012 5:14 PM New Cat's Eye has seen this message but not replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9531
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


(1)
Message 298 of 318 (646450)
01-04-2012 5:14 PM
Reply to: Message 297 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 4:54 PM


CS writes:
I don't think that 'having a belief' is a bad thing that can be used to weigh up the attrocities caused by religion.
Then we agree. Like I say, this is a bonkers thread.
What these debates always lack is balance. As Perdition has already said, there's a spectrum here. Personally, I tend to view Christians that believe in a vengeful god, floods and young earths as dangerous and dim. But those that have a more sensible attitude to their religion, allowing for metaphor and room for science's discoveries about our world, are generally more a force for good than bad. (Although quite wrong-headed of course :-)

Life, don't talk to me about life.

This message is a reply to:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 299 of 318 (646458)
01-04-2012 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 295 by Perdition
01-04-2012 4:49 PM


Re: Topic Drift
For example, people often bring up charities as a good thing from religion, but there are a good number of non-religious charities out there and atheists are just as likely to engage in charitable works as religious people, so that would seem to be a moot point.
But a religion can have a tenet like: Help the poor.
Without tenets, how can you assign the merit to atheism for motivating people to give?
When poeple bring up something bad, y'all go: No, atheism can't be held responsible because its just a lack of belief. But if we talking about good things y'all go: See, atheists do that too
So any purported "goods" have to be ones that are exclusive to the religion.
I'd say ones that are tenets of the religion should be counted on the religiously motivated side.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 295 by Perdition, posted 01-04-2012 4:49 PM Perdition has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 300 by Perdition, posted 01-04-2012 6:01 PM New Cat's Eye has replied
 Message 302 by Omnivorous, posted 01-04-2012 10:10 PM New Cat's Eye has seen this message but not replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3320 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


(4)
Message 300 of 318 (646463)
01-04-2012 6:01 PM
Reply to: Message 299 by New Cat's Eye
01-04-2012 5:32 PM


Re: Topic Drift
But a religion can have a tenet like: Help the poor.
Without tenets, how can you assign the merit to atheism for motivating people to give?
I'm not assigning it to atheism, I'm just saying that religion doesn't have a monopoly on the merit. Here, we get into the same problem with assigning deaths. Is the charity performed because of religion, or is there another motivation.
But I guess I agree. If we're going to assign a particular act of violence to religion, we should find acts of "goodness" that have religious motivations as well.
I'd say ones that are tenets of the religion should be counted on the religiously motivated side.
But you just said that atheism has no tenets. So, if we're going to try to use these calculations to compare, we're going to have tenet after tenet propped up by religion and the atheists are going to have nothing.
What we need to try and do is figure out which acts are religious, and which are maybe more cultural or even ingrained in what it means to be human. If atheists do an action about as often as religious people do, it should be considered a human attribute and not religious.
What most of these types of calculations come down to is, if we got rid of all religions, would the net effect make the world better or worse. Many atheists would argue that many wars would be eliminated (not all, by a long shot) but most of the good things, like charity, community, sense-of-purpose, etc would still exist.
So, if removing an institution would eliminate some unnecessary deaths, but have no effect on the good things being done, doesn't that mean the effect of that institution is a net negative?
Now, I'm actually curious, hypothetically, what would happen to the charities done under the auspices of religions, if the religion were abandoned. Would someone keep them going from a moral compulsion, or would they just stop operating, leaving only the non-religious charities in operation? If that were the case, the calculation becomes more complicated.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 299 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-04-2012 5:32 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 308 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-05-2012 10:47 AM Perdition has not replied

  
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