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Non-theist morality

Storm

ThrUU the Looking Glass
A few points of clarity.

The Old Testament is rife with morality. Just, perhaps, not your morality.
Not modern morality, which was the distinction I was trying to make. :)

The Christian ethos is hardly an original foundation of modern ethics.
It's the environment in which they were shaped. It dominated the discussion for centuries, that leaves a deep and pervasive influence.

You can find many "barely" theists who do not accept homosexual behavior.
True, but the only justification they have for it is the Bible, really. Take that away, and they're left with "I think it's squicky."

These are just a few aside points.
And enjoyable they were.

As for the rest, thank you for your input. :)
 

gnomon

Well-Known Member
Not modern morality, which was the distinction I was trying to make. :)


It's the environment in which they were shaped. It dominated the discussion for centuries, that leaves a deep and pervasive influence.


True, but the only justification they have for it is the Bible, really. Take that away, and they're left with "I think it's squicky."


And enjoyable they were.

As for the rest, thank you for your input. :)

Interesting thread.

Also, thanks for taking those few points as I meant them. I edited my post to hopefully make clear what I meant but it was apparently unnecessary. I shall slap myself.
 

Papersock

Lucid Dreamer
Alright, I'll give my opinions to your questions.

Is it wrong to kill in defense of another?
Depends. Mostly no, especially if it’s the only defense.

Is it wrong to steal food for one's dependents, if there are no alternatives?
No, I guess not. I think the person should also be trying to get out of that situation, and other people should help. A person really shouldn’t have to make this decision.

Do we as a society have a moral obligation to provide for the poor?
You could call it a “moral obligation,” I suppose. I think it is a very good thing to do.

Is the death penalty just, or immoral?
I don’t like it.

Is promiscuity immoral? If so, where do you draw the line?
As long as it’s among consensual adults and they’re not spreading nasty diseases around, I don’t really care.

What about polyamory/polygamy vs. monogamy?
I have no problem with any of these things.

....prostitution?
It’s not a great or glamorous profession, but if someone wants to, it’s fine with me. If a person is a prostitute because they have no better options, then we should be doing something about that.

These are all questions that I use my spirituality to explore, and hopefully answer. What do you use?
My own best judgment.
 

michel

Administrator Emeritus
Staff member
Agreed. Morality has evolved with culture and society...

I bet way back when early humans roamed the Earth there were certain "rukes" to govern the tribe, also that each felt a resposibility toward their fellow being.

I wonder if this exist in primitive form amongst pack animals?
Sorry for the late reply;

I can come up with one example ; Central African tribes - right up to the late 1950s. The culture was such that it was against the rules to kill another member of the tribe, but quite in order to kill a guy from a neighboring village if meat was short.......

That is what I meant by tailoring of morality to accomodate "special needs".
 

methylatedghosts

Can't brain. Has dumb.
Id first like to say I do not believe there is such a thing as "right" or "wrong", because those terms are subjective. Something is only "right" if you think it is. It isn't "right" intrinsically.
Is it wrong to kill in defense of another?
Never

Is it wrong to steal food for one's dependents, if there are no alternatives?
of course not.

Do we as a society have a moral obligation to provide for the poor?
no.

Is the death penalty just, or immoral?
I disagree with it, but I make no judgements on its "rightness" or "wrongness"

Sexuality is a goldmine here:

Is promiscuity immoral? If so, where do you draw the line?
Nope. I draw no line.

What about polyamory/polygamy vs. monogamy?
That too.

....prostitution?
and that.

What I think is "wrong" is what we have done as a society. We have made rape, robbery, and murder possible. We have created the conditions in which we keep what we think is ours. We have claimed that there are good reasons why so many thousands of people die hungry every day, while bringing even more people than that into this world to begin a new life - and this we call LOVE? There are no good reasons. We have claimed that there are good reasons not to share our fortunes with others. There are no good reasons. We have claimed there are good reasons to hide our sexuality from others, that we have good reasons to put all sorts of taboos on anything to do with sex and repressing those thoughts. There are no good reasons. We have claimed that violence is sometimes a good answer to things. It isn't.

Give dignity to the poor. Feed the hungry. Provide opportunity to the unfortunate. Allow sexual freedom away from taboo. Settle arguments with love and understanding. This will go a long way to eliminate robbery, rape, violence, murder.

I find it absolutely ludicrous that society would much rather see a man dying without a whimper on the battlefield, than a woman making love with a whimper in the park.
 

Random

Well-Known Member
Is it wrong to kill in defense of another?

No. Though if by defending another killing can be avoided, do that.

Storm said:
Is it wrong to steal food for one's dependents, if there are no alternatives?

Rarely are there no alternatives. I personally would rather starve than steal, but I believe another who stole to keep themselves or their loved ones alive should be given absolution for their deeds and treated compassionately.

Storm said:
Do we as a society have a moral obligation to provide for the poor?

Yes. In fact, given the abundance of resources now available to us, there should rightly be no such thing as "poor" @ all. But things are not right with the world as they should be, and division of wealth and goods is unequal...that can be changed, but only with great difficulty.

Storm said:
Is the death penalty just, or immoral?

Just, for those who commit acts of treason and sedition against the human race.

Storm said:
Sexuality is a goldmine here: Is promiscuity immoral? If so, where do you draw the line?

Your body, being the only thing you are guaranteed to own all throughout your life, is your own to do with as you please. However, promiscuity is a sign of poor character, and a lack of spiritual discipline. Amongst other things, it can also be dangerous to one's physical and mental health. But you are free to engage sexually whosoever you want so long as you're prepared to take responsibility for your actions and be adult about it.

Storm said:
What about polyamory/polygamy vs. monogamy?

In Heaven, there is no formalized Marriage rite. As above, so it should be below. Marriage is a doomed institution, it just doesn't know it yet. A sort of perpetual (and conditional) state of Engagement is the ideal norm, which can be broken and remade as willed.

Storm said:
....prostitution?

See the answer about promiscuity. A woman has the right to do with her body as she wishes. However, some choices are patently better and more spiritually potent than others.

Storm said:
These are all questions that I use my spirituality to explore, and hopefully answer. What do you use?

Dolorosa.
 

Jistyr

Inquisitive Youngin'
I think it's also fair to ask whether or not the concept of Hell is ethical. If someone fully realizes its implication, then I can rest assured that they will understand how immoral it actually is.
 

McBell

mantra-chanting henotheistic snake handler
Is it wrong to kill in defense of another?
No

Is it wrong to steal food for one's dependents, if there are no alternatives?
No

Do we as a society have a moral obligation to provide for the poor?
No

Is the death penalty just, or immoral?
Just

Is promiscuity immoral?
No

What about polyamory/polygamy vs. monogamy?
Neither is immoral

....prostitution?
no
 

PureX

Veteran Member
I realize that the vast majority of atheists and agnostics are decent, intelligent people.

However, we live in a society whose shared ethos (and hence, law) is based on Judeo-Christian concepts of good and evil, sin and righteousness. Many J-C morals are obviously right on the money, i.e. cold-blooded murder, rape, and pedophilia are bad. (Yes, I realize that the Old Testament is pathetically immoral by modern standards. It ain't my book, so let's just stick with modern ethics.) We can ignore those. On the other hand, there are issues which are obviously based in dogma and rejected by many of us, i.e. homosexuality and premarital sex are bad. I don't see any reason to discuss those, either.... unless an non-theist actually adheres to them, which would fascinate me.

But there's a huge grey area, and that's what interests me. Examples:

Is it wrong to kill in defense of another?

Is it wrong to steal food for one's dependents, if there are no alternatives?

Do we as a society have a moral obligation to provide for the poor?

Is the death penalty just, or immoral?

Sexuality is a goldmine here:

Is promiscuity immoral? If so, where do you draw the line?

What about polyamory/polygamy vs. monogamy?

....prostitution?

These are all questions that I use my spirituality to explore, and hopefully answer. What do you use?
First, I would like to point out that the laws of the United States are NOT based on "judeo-Christian concepts of good and evil, sin and righteousness", or any other religious concepts. They are based essentially on what could best be described as the "golden rule", which is essentially a mutually agreed upon mutual respect. And it just so happens that some of the Judeo-Christian moral precepts are as well. The important difference I'm noting, here, is that Judeo-Christian religionists did NOT invent the fundamental principals behind the "golden rule", and so are not fundamentally responsible for the concepts upon which U.S. laws are based.

As to those instances that you describe as gray, I think the problem is with the assumption that "bad" and "wrong" are the same thing. But they're not. Once we understand that they are not, then we can begin to get a much clearer picture.

War, for example is always bad, but not always wrong. Killing other human beings is always bad, but not always wrong. Stealing is always wrong, but is not always bad. The differences, here, are happening because bad and wrong are both relative value assessments, and it depends upon the criteria being used to assess them whether or not they agree, or disagree. If the criteria is to preserve human life, and the problem is that you are witnessing one human trying to kill another, then it will be BOTH wrong to kill the killer, and right to save the victim's life. It's not that the answers are "gray" so much as that they are complex and so can't be broken down into being one of the other.
 
to giant space amoeba,,hi you gave some good answers,but some of these are complex questions. Seems there are too many questions here to do justice to them all.Quest. "is it wrong to kill in defense of another "..ans,,this falls under self defense,the ans. is what you can do for yourself , you can do for another. I you were in the others position being attacked ,you have a right to defend yourself,ergo you have that same right to defend the other person.Quest. Is it wrong to steal food for you dependents if there is no alternative,,,you answered the question in your initial question "is it wrong to steal..",,stealing is taking that which does not belong to you,and thats what you 're doing. When is taking anothers property ever justified?. Quest. is the death penalty just or immoral?,,isn't the death penalty just society trying to self defend itself? quest. is promiscuity immoral? here we come to the crux of many problems,,what is morality? is it just the mores ,and standards of society .? Is it just a subjective decision?,,or as the pundits say morality is is what man in society ought to do, to preserve the greatest good for the greatest number. Wld a promiscuious society be the best of all possible worlds?,or wld it be better off if man wld conqueor his passions? Have we struck gold yet in this goldmine?...Harley85
 
to all ,,,seems to me most people here seem to think morality is cultural,or whatever society feels is right. That makes it a very subjective study doesn't it,if we have 10 people discussing morality ,we have 10 different ethical systems. Seems there are some moral imperatives present in humanity,present as written in the very hearts and minds of humanity. Who wld take issue with thou shall not murder [as the original Torrah states],,who wld take issue with thou shall not steal,or do unto others ,or do good and avoid evil. My point is that it's not a personal matter ,but one that is very objective,whether we like it or not...........harley85
 

Storm

ThrUU the Looking Glass
First, I would like to point out that the laws of the United States are NOT based on "judeo-Christian concepts of good and evil, sin and righteousness", or any other religious concepts.
Please see post #21 for clarification.
 

methylatedghosts

Can't brain. Has dumb.
See the answer about promiscuity. A woman has the right to do with her body as she wishes. However, some choices are patently better and more spiritually potent than others.

Not trying to make a big deal of it. Only I'm curious as to why woman? What not a male prostitute...?

Just something to think about maybe - break through the stereotypes.
 
to methylodghost,,hi in reply to your recent post ,,you say women have a right to do with her body as she wishes,,wrongo!!,,she is forbidden to become a drug addict by law,she has to stop at a red light in traffic,in most states prostitution is illegal, she has a moral imperative to do good and avoid evil etc,perhaps you may wish to re-examine your statement........harley davidson
 

methylatedghosts

Can't brain. Has dumb.
to methylodghost,,hi in reply to your recent post ,,you say women have a right to do with her body as she wishes,,wrongo!!,,she is forbidden to become a drug addict by law,she has to stop at a red light in traffic,in most states prostitution is illegal, she has a moral imperative to do good and avoid evil etc,perhaps you may wish to re-examine your statement........harley davidson

No, that wasn't me that said that.

But I will say:
- It would have been in context with prostitution
- She only has to stop at a red traffic light if she doesn't want to get fined or wants to be safe
- Just because she's forbidden to be a drug addict by law doesn't mean that it will stop if she wishes so.
- Prosititution is legal in NZ, and even if it wasn't, it still wont stop her if she really wants to do so.
- And as a side point, for me, "good" and "evil" do not exist.
 
to methylatedghost,,hi and sorry I indicated that you posted that piece, my apologies.I understand what you are saying,but you bring up two points. One is the idea of a right,I believe a right is something that is natural to man ,,you are born with it and it can not ne given away..The founding fathers, good deists that they were ,recognized this and quoted life,liberty,and the pursuit of happiness as rights.So she is not born with a "right " to violate the law. Secondly,for you good and evil do not exist,,another subjective idea. It seems to me this forum is filled with a lot of subjectivity which is unusual for people that are trying to find objective truth,,[but I suppose truth does not exist for you either]. Webster has many definitions of good,simply put ,it is something benefical to you ,,do you disagree with that? [but you can not disagree,as that wld benefit you ,and you don't believe in that ! lol].........harley davidson
 

PureX

Veteran Member
to methylatedghost,,hi and sorry I indicated that you posted that piece, my apologies.I understand what you are saying,but you bring up two points. One is the idea of a right,I believe a right is something that is natural to man ,,you are born with it and it can not ne given away..The founding fathers, good deists that they were ,recognized this and quoted life,liberty,and the pursuit of happiness as rights.So she is not born with a "right " to violate the law. Secondly,for you good and evil do not exist,,another subjective idea. It seems to me this forum is filled with a lot of subjectivity which is unusual for people that are trying to find objective truth,,[but I suppose truth does not exist for you either]. Webster has many definitions of good,simply put ,it is something benefical to you ,,do you disagree with that? [but you can not disagree,as that wld benefit you ,and you don't believe in that ! lol].........harley davidson
But what is good for me, is often not good for you. The relative nature of value is very difficult to transcend. Perhaps impossible. No one would argue that "goodness" as a value does not occur. The problem is that it's not an absolute value. It's relative to the criteria being used to assess it, and therefor to the person setting that criteria. There's really no way around that, that I can see. So the implication that "goodness" somehow supports the existence of a kind and loving God becomes itself a relative conclusion: ie, a subjective one.
 

PureX

Veteran Member
Is "what is good" = "good"? I mean, is the something that is good for you and the something that is good for me "good" in the same way?
I think that what we call good is what is good relative to ourselves. But what is good for ourselves isn't necessarily good for others, even when we're using the same criteria for assessing goodness, which we may or may not be doing at any given time.
 
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