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Author Topic:   Atheists must appeal to an absolute moral standard when complaining about wrongs.
GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


(1)
Message 11 of 71 (865159)
10-21-2019 1:57 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Chiroptera
10-21-2019 1:14 PM


Chiroptera writes:

How does it work between two people who believe in different "absolute standards"? I bet they have no better basis for convincing the other person to agree with their version of "right" and "wrong" than people who accept the subjectivity of morality.

Come to think of it, how do people who believe in an absolute morality figure out what those standards are and how to apply them to difficult real life situations? I bet it comes back down to "feelings".


The problem is that the argument seems to be about our response to "real life situations", and I agree that there is no absolute moral response to our actions in response to situations. It might be different for different people in different times and cultures.

If our real life situations require any kind of moral response, the moral decision should simply be based on it whether it is loving or unloving. Any absolute standard is simply about whether the response is loving, lovingly neutral or unloving.

I suggest that this standard is something that can be part of a Christian belief as well as for anyone of any religious faith or of no religious faith.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Chiroptera, posted 10-21-2019 1:14 PM Chiroptera has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by jar, posted 10-21-2019 3:49 PM GDR has responded
 Message 13 by Tangle, posted 10-21-2019 4:20 PM GDR has responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 22 of 71 (865207)
10-21-2019 8:21 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by jar
10-21-2019 3:49 PM


jar writes:

But again that is simply far too subjective; there is no standard based on loving. The Inquisitors loved their victims enough to torture then until the victims reached a state of grace where they recanted their transgressions and so were saved and died.

Of course it is subjective. As humans we can't know if the perpetrators actually did care about the victims or if they were, which is far more likely, simply sadists.
It is also easy to cherry pick an obvious example like that where the claim is made that they are doing something positive when it is obvious that they aren't.

Edited by GDR, : terrible typos. Should have taken the time to read it


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by jar, posted 10-21-2019 3:49 PM jar has acknowledged this reply

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


(1)
Message 23 of 71 (865208)
10-21-2019 8:24 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Tangle
10-21-2019 4:20 PM


Tangle writes:

Benefit or harm. That's it.

Not really. I might interact with a pan handler on the street and give him cash. That generally speaking would seem like a moral and loving thing to do. However if that money is used to buy drugs that result in death from an overdose it was obviously not a benefit and was harmful.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Tangle, posted 10-21-2019 4:20 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by AZPaul3, posted 10-21-2019 9:40 PM GDR has responded
 Message 28 by Tangle, posted 10-22-2019 3:06 AM GDR has responded
 Message 68 by Omnivorous, posted 10-31-2019 5:22 PM GDR has not yet responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 26 of 71 (865224)
10-22-2019 2:04 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by AZPaul3
10-21-2019 9:40 PM


AZPaul3 writes:

So it wasn't the loving thing to do either. Unloving to the max.
But, at the time you could not foresee this.

Tangle's view is equally as unforeseeable. It would have been beneficial except for the unforeseen.

Your objection is not reasonable.


Tangle's claim is that morality boils down to harm or benefit. I think that it is clear that it is a moral thing to do to reach out to help others even at our own expense. However sometimes doing a moral thing can have negative consequences so therefore it isn't as simple as harm or benefit.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by AZPaul3, posted 10-21-2019 9:40 PM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by AZPaul3, posted 10-22-2019 2:54 AM GDR has responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 32 of 71 (865251)
10-22-2019 4:19 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by AZPaul3
10-22-2019 2:54 AM


AZPaul3 writes:

The point, GDR, is that doing a moral thing can have negative consequences so therefore it isn't as simple as loving and unloving.
In your view you do a moral thing out of love. Tangle does the same thing out of benefit. You try to negate Tangle's good because of an unseen future negative, yet your good suffers the same consequence.

Does this negate the moral reasonings behind the initial action?


No it does not.

We are essentially on the same page. As I read what Tangle wrote using strictly harm and benefit as the criteria, then the emphasis is on the outcome and not on the motivation.

By making the criteria loving or unloving then the end result has no impact on the morality of the act.

AZPaul3 writes:

He can correct me if I'm wrong but I think Tangle, as you do, assigns the morality to the reason for the initial action.

In neither of your cases would either of you perform the initial action knowing of the negative outcome.

So you're back to square one. Tangle's morality comes down to the benefit expected from an action. Immorality comes down to the harm expected to be done by an action.

If the intention is to give benefit then it is a moral good. If the intent is to do harm then it is a moral bad.


Absolutely

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by AZPaul3, posted 10-22-2019 2:54 AM AZPaul3 has not yet responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 33 of 71 (865252)
10-22-2019 4:23 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by Tangle
10-22-2019 3:06 AM


Tangle writes:

Yes really. Morality is about intent.

If the person gave the cash wanting/expecting to improve the guy's life it was a good moral act. If he gave the cash wanting/expecting him to buy drugs and kill himself it was an immoral act.

Yes, but if the criteria is harm or benefit then you can't know whether it was harmful or beneficial until later or maybe never. In my example it was a loving act when the money was given but when the money was given it was an unknown as to whether or not it was harmful or beneficial.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by Tangle, posted 10-22-2019 3:06 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Faith, posted 10-22-2019 4:57 PM GDR has responded
 Message 38 by Tangle, posted 10-23-2019 3:10 AM GDR has responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 35 of 71 (865259)
10-22-2019 7:46 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Faith
10-22-2019 4:57 PM


Faith writes:

Are you talking about actual harm or benefit as the criteria? Isn't it about MOTIVE to do harm or benefit? Tangle seems to be talking about motive, you seem to be talking about what actually happens, but it's only the motive that counts morally.
If you intend to do good to the person you are morally in the right.


I'm sure you're right. I think though it rather than just saying harm or benefit it would be more accurate to say: intent to harm or intent to benefit.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Faith, posted 10-22-2019 4:57 PM Faith has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by AZPaul3, posted 10-22-2019 9:50 PM GDR has responded
 Message 39 by Stile, posted 10-23-2019 10:32 AM GDR has not yet responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 37 of 71 (865276)
10-23-2019 12:48 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by AZPaul3
10-22-2019 9:50 PM


AZPaul3 writes:

Would you say your action is taken with the intent to be loving or with the intent to be unloving? Does it matter that the adjectives are loving/unloving or beneficial/harmful? Are you trying to sneak in a religious connotation?


If we use the term loving then intent is implied. That isn't really the case with beneficial.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by AZPaul3, posted 10-22-2019 9:50 PM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by AZPaul3, posted 10-23-2019 11:19 PM GDR has not yet responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 44 of 71 (865342)
10-23-2019 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Tangle
10-23-2019 3:10 AM


Tangle writes:

All you're doing is substituting love - and by inference - hate, for benefit and harm. If you give the panhandler money out of love and he then buys drugs and overdoses you have an hateful outcome.

Intent.

I agree that intent is the point. Firstly being hateful and unloving are two different things. Hatred is unloving but it is only one aspect of it. In a broader sense unloving is simply indifference to the well being of others.

My point was that you can have a negative outcome from a loving moral act. Just to use the terms harm or benefit focuses on the outcome rather than the intent.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Tangle, posted 10-23-2019 3:10 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by Tangle, posted 10-23-2019 5:13 PM GDR has responded
 Message 49 by AZPaul3, posted 10-23-2019 11:57 PM GDR has responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 50 of 71 (865365)
10-24-2019 12:05 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by Tangle
10-23-2019 5:13 PM


Tangle writes:

Unlikely but possible but also irrelevant. Morality is an attempt to do the right or wrong thing.


So far so good. [/qs]
Tangle writes:

Help or harm.

..and there is the same problem again. An attempt to do the right thing can result in harm.

Help or harm are the result and independent of the morality of the original act.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by Tangle, posted 10-23-2019 5:13 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by Tangle, posted 10-24-2019 3:17 AM GDR has responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 51 of 71 (865367)
10-24-2019 12:11 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by AZPaul3
10-23-2019 11:57 PM


AZPaul3 writes:

We can judge all morality by beneficial vs harmful without ever considering the outcome only the intent, and without having to specify "intended to be" to modify the adjective.

..but we don't know if it was beneficial or harmful until after we see the results.
I'll go back to my initial example. I give money, out of care and compassion to someone who is homeless, but he uses the money to buy drugs. He later dies from an overdose as a result of having that money to buy the drugs.

The original act was moral because of the intent to "help" but the outcome was one of "harm".


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by AZPaul3, posted 10-23-2019 11:57 PM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 52 by AZPaul3, posted 10-24-2019 12:35 AM GDR has responded
 Message 60 by ringo, posted 10-24-2019 11:53 AM GDR has not yet responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 53 of 71 (865379)
10-24-2019 2:02 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by AZPaul3
10-24-2019 12:35 AM


AZPaul3 writes:

Paraphrase: The original act was moral because of the intent to "benefit"...

End of story. The morality equation has been satisfied.


That is exactly my point. It is the intent to "benefit". It isn't simply the benefit itself.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by AZPaul3, posted 10-24-2019 12:35 AM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 59 by AZPaul3, posted 10-24-2019 4:15 AM GDR has not yet responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 61 of 71 (865405)
10-24-2019 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Tangle
10-24-2019 3:17 AM


GDR writes:

Help or harm are the result and independent of the morality of the original act.

Tangle writes:

That's just not correct, actual outcomes are irrelevant, it's intent that decides morality.

That's what I said. The only point I am making is that an act that is intended to be helpful might be harmful. So, if you are going to distinguish the morality of an act you can't just say help or harm. Intent to help or intent to harm would define the morality of the act.

However, I would still go further than that because an even an "intent to help" can be self serving in that it might also be a benefit to the self making the act morally neutral.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Tangle, posted 10-24-2019 3:17 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by Tangle, posted 10-24-2019 2:04 PM GDR has responded

GDR
Member
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 63 of 71 (865409)
10-24-2019 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by Tangle
10-24-2019 2:04 PM


Tangle writes:

In any case, as this is supposed to be about religion, the moral acts of religious people are to further their chances of a happy afterlife. Couldn't be more self-serving than that. At least with an atheist you know their actions are honest in that respect.


I agree with the comment about atheism. In some cases I would agree with your statement about religious people. From a Christian perspective I would say that if someone performs a loving or helpful act to get themselves a benefit in the life to come then it is no longer a moral act. It is simply self serving.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by Tangle, posted 10-24-2019 2:04 PM Tangle has not yet responded

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