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Featured Religious belief and morality

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Evangelicalhumanist, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    We've heard it before: you cannot be moral without God, or other similar sentiments. (A friend of mine, Dr. Robert Buckman, great humanist and oncologist, wrote a book called "Can We Be Good Without God?" He passed away a few years ago, sadly.)

    But thinker Steven Weinberg once said something along the lines of "believing in an omniscient creator doesn't contain any inherent moral value -- you still have to decide whether to obey His commands."

    Thus, think of Abraham, prepared -- at the command of God -- to slaughter his son Isaac. His own son! Now, to me, it is a spurious theological argument to suggest that, since God interfered at the last moment and supplied a goat for the purpose. Abraham, as a human being with a moral sense of his own, should have KNOWN BEYOND ANY SHADOW OF A DOUBT that to kill a child -- on anybody's "orders" -- is simply wrong.

    Likewise, the Israelites under Joshua, killing all the Canaanites, except for the virgin girls who could be put to "better use." Surely the Israelites were moral agents, and could reason for themselves whether such a command from God could be the right thing to do -- could they not?

    Please try to stick to the argument in question: does "divine command" outweigh your own sense of moral behaviour, or is it better you should do what God seems to command, even if you feel queasy about it?
     
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  2. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    To me feeling queasy about something probably means that you are misinterpreting what appears to be a "divine command".

    This is not true of the psychopath/sociopath, but for most people their inner sense of what God wants is critical.
     
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  3. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Can't be a believer if you're not going to follow God, says the atheist.

    Probably the main thing that started me on the path towards atheism was being unable to accept the morals of the Christian God.

    Myself, I make no claims of being good. What's right for me is what is right for me. Hopefully no animals are getting harmed in that process.
     
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  4. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    For me personally, I trust my own moral sense more than 'divine command'. From an early age growing up in a community that held being a good neighbour, being honest, pulling your share, and more as the ethics to live by, despite the religious diversity there, I learned it, and was shamed if I didn't follow it. It came from parents, other adults, and never from religion.

    But then when I did explore the main religion there in rural Alberta, I found hypocrisy rampant. Believers being arrogant, not associating with non-believers, favouring their own kind, hidden alcoholism, hidden adultery, and so much more. As an observant child, it turned me off that variety of religion. Not everyone but some.

    Now as an adult, with several more decades of experience behind me, I've concluded that religious belief and morality are distinct concepts, and neither side is more or less moral. Morality depends on the sum total of that person's experiences, or nature, and it boils down to looking at every individual as they are.
     
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  5. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Why can't a person of their own volition just stick to the great virtues that produce love, joy, and peace?

    And eschew all the things that grow mistrust, harm, and bad relations?

    A person has that potential within themselves! A God isn't going to make or break what a person decides for themselves what they ought be. Out of the Love's of a person's own heart they become who they are. The heart says yes, or no, the heart decides. A person makes up their own heart's by way of their understanding.

    The worst thing a human can do is deny their own potential for good for the sake of what some book calls Divine command. Rather it would be better to contemplate for one's own self the reason's why they do the things they do. Not out of fear, or guilt, but out of understanding, and self awareness, and awareness of others.

    Nature is precarious and we are all born without knowledge eager to learn. At some point it would be good to know thyself, and the powers of self one has of their own accord.

    It's been researched that many babies take toward friendliness, and helpfulness while they reject those that are hurtful, and harmful.

    It's best to increase one's understanding of reality first hand then to listen to Divine commands without reason of why those commands are good or bad.

    A person can only operate from their own understanding, whether faulty or well informed. So the logical thing is to seek out better understandings.
     
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  6. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Most people, then, are morally retarded; following rules just because they're rules, rather than considering their intentions, purpose or consequences.
    This sort of Divine Command deontology leads to all sorts of negative conscquences -- in the name of morality.
     
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  7. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    We all have to go. No need to be sad.

    And as we have said before, morality changes with every wind of thought... God's morality doesn't. Yesterday's morality is today's definition of "antiquated".

    Not quite but a great thought. It isn't that the Omniscient Creator doesn't contain any inherent moral value but rather, regardless, you still have to decide whether to obey his command.

    What a shallow interpretation of a great moment of God working in tandem with an authority on the earth, man.

    Very shallow viewpoint of a picture of Jesus Christ. Very weak viewpoint of Abraham opening the door for the promised seed. What a superficial understanding of the faith of Abraham.

    1) Abraham said three days before, "We will go and worship and we will come back"
    2) Isaac carried the wood, Jesus carried the wood
    3) Isaac was called to be a sacrifice, Jesus was called to be a sacrifice
    4) Covenant enactment... what is yours is mine (Isaac) and what is mine is yours (Jesus) --
    5) There is no harvest unless a seed dies. Abraham was willing to sow the seed (God just need to know that his heart was willing), so that God can so His seed because He was willing from the foundation of the world.
    6) A ram was a substitute for Isaac, Jesus was the substitute for mankind
    7) The ram was caught by the horns of his head with a bush of thorns, Jesus was crowned with a crown of thorns on his head
    8) Isaac was going to be sacrificed on Mount Calvary, Jesus WAS crucified on the same mountain
    9) Abraham believed Isaac was going to be raised from the dead, Jesus believed and was raised from the dead.
    10) Isaac returned and Jesus will return
    11) Isaac could not pay for the sins of mankind, Jesus is the Lamb, the Ram, of God that takes away the sins of the world
    12) Isaac means laughter and we can now laugh because we are free.

    your version is biased. You're in the medical field... think deeper.

    If you feel queasy... don't do it. It probably isn't God. You said it right "seems"! is an appropriate verbiage. Let love guide you.
     
    #7 KenS, Oct 23, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
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  8. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    Abraham obeyed from faith not just obedience. He believed God would raise Isaac from the dead if necessary because God had already promised that Isaac would be the promised seed. (Genesis 21:12) The one who would be father of many nations. It was a test of faith much more than obedience. As James points out in James 2:20-22 and Paul agrees it was an act of faith in Hebrews 11:17.

    As for divine commands they should be obeyed; unless you want to be stubborn. Then you'll miss out on whatever good thing God had planned for you.
     
  9. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    If your nation drafts you and tells you to “go kill Russians”....what are you going to do?
     
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  10. Moz

    Moz Religion. A pox on all their Houses.

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    It is funny. When i was growing up morals had much to do with sexual matters. It seems that sex and morals are not even in the same ball park anymore and look where that is leading us. Now the only morality in sexual matters is the contention that if you do not fully accept and embrace sexual diversity you are somehow immoral.
     
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  11. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    No one is teaching morality in the public schools. And no one is teaching it at home, either. Sure, there are rules, and everyone is being told to obey them "or else", but that's not teaching anyone why there are rules, and what they're being based on. So without religion, who is even bringing the subject of morality up? Without some concept of God in the minds of most humans, why would they care what it means to behave in a moral manner?

    I think the idea of there being a higher power and the idea of there being a higher standard of behavior go hand in hand. They are both the result of humans wanting to do better, and to be better than just a bunch of dumb animals fighting with each other over the baubles of life.
     
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  12. Amanaki

    Amanaki Living in the moment

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    Refuse to kill.
     
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  13. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    You can't really mean all this surely? Not see children taking their behaviour and attitudes from others - often their parents or other adults, and also their peers, along with all media influences too. Children (this one at least) usually imbibe most from a parent by their examples, so they get moral tuition on-the-job so to speak. There are obviously some rules that are instilled into us as children, with many just worked out for ourselves when we see the consequences of our or other's actions. That is, we tend to work out why we have certain rules - often it will result in something bad for us or another or it might just not make the world a better place - if we all just pursued our selfish desires or express ourselves without a thought. Do we really need to be taught explicit rules and why we have them, particularly when we have to bend them so often because circumstances dictate such.

    This is one of my main problems with religions. Often the rules are set in stone and thus often keep us tied to the past when life just has a way of moving on as we develop as a species. One might look at the more fundamentalist aspects of many religions to see this - the way that they insist on a literal interpretation of some particular religious text. There are after all some basic aspects of morality that few would dispute apart from particular circumstances when mostly we all seem to agree to suspend them - in war for example, or where a person is not in control of themselves.

    As above though - there is a flaw in this - we get religions tied to some past time (and the conditions applying then with any appropriate (lack of) knowledge) and we also get varying interpretations of any divine source (via quite error-prone humans) and competing with each other - since religious belief just appears to be (for some of us at least) a natural phenomena which attempts to describe existence and how we should act - but often just fails - because of the two reasons given - amongst others.

    Positing a God and any subsequent moral laws might be a convenient stick to enforce morality but it seems to come with a few tags that cause us more than enough problems in addition to those we have naturally - divisions and such, along with so many different interpretations of morality anyway. Perhaps it would be better to do without such and just come to a consensus on how to behave?
     
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  14. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    It is quite obvious for anyone who bothers to look at the Bible that it is no functional source of morality.

    If anything, it is a menace for such a sense, at least if the idea that morality "comes from God" is presented with it. I actually have a Brazilian Portuguese page with a list of some of the worst passages.

    That is something that I have noticed that previously-Abrahamic atheists often fail to realize: that most other creeds do not expect people to be followers of rules as much as to work on their morality.

    Actual morality as I understand it requires active analysis of situations and evaluation of the likely results of each course of action (or inaction).
     
    #14 LuisDantas, Oct 24, 2019
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  15. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Oh, my!

    On the other hand, perhaps we simply misunderstand the message driving the akedah.
     
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  16. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I find it odd that you so thoroughly missed the point of my post. I don't think I'm that bad of a writer. :)

    Aping the behaviors of others isn't learning, to me. It's called "aping" for a reason, and the reason is that even dumb animals can do it. Yet apart from religion, doing what we're told to do and aping the behavior of others is pretty much all we humans get in regards to moral guidance or instruction. We don't teach it in our secular schools. We don't teach it in our homes. We don't see it being discussed or debated in our mainstream media. Lots of "good guys and bad guys" in our stories, but not a peep about why the good guy is good, or the bad buy is bad. Or why it's often so difficult to tell the difference in real life. And I do agree with you that sometimes even religion falls into the 'blind obedience' and 'aping' method of achieving morality. But for the most part, religion is significantly involved in the idea of the righteousness/unrighteousness of human behavior, particularly toward other humans. And not just as dictation, but as part of a whole philosophy/theology.
    I think you're tripping over your own bias, here.

    I look at it this way: the very concept of a possible 'higher power' brings along with it the concept of a possible 'higher authority'. And if the power is superior to our own (in that it creates and sustains us) then so must be the righteousness with which that power is being wielded. Which means there must be a higher expression of morality than that which we humans are currently willing to achieve. Nearly all religions come to this conclusion at some point, and in some fashion. So, like it or not, they are the most common and outstanding generators of moral import.
     
    #16 PureX, Oct 24, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  17. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    Why not take a look at the other side of that: if you do not fully accept sexual diversity, you are obviously asserting your right to insist that everybody else be just like you...no matter what.
     
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  18. Moz

    Moz Religion. A pox on all their Houses.

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    Well that is a strange comment...... i have no right to assert anything. I do not insist everyone has to be just like me, that is just you trying to impute bad motive to my belief. I merely wish to follow the morality that my society has championed for 4000 years. I firmly believe that the prevalence of sexual confusion in the world today is a result of disordered thinking being promoted by a humanity that has lost its way.
    You ask me to take a look at the other side of that..... ok. If i look at the sexual climate today and extrapolate the trends i see nothing but a disaster ahead. In the last ten years we have gone from 2 biological sexes to now over 60 genders. Do you honestly believe that there are over 60 genders and do you think that encouraging this delusion is the moral thing to do? Oh i get it... you don't want to judge anyone. Yet morals are about JUDGEMENT. Cowardice or the fear of offending someone is NO reason to capitulate common sense.
    .....................................................
    So it seems that to you sexual matters are not subject to any morality.... although it would be very easy to get you to admit that even in sexual matters of choice there are some moral implications. Pedo's and bestiality for instance.
    But..........Is adultery immoral? Are multiple partners immoral?
    .................................................
    The "no matter what" line was ominous. The gays have got their freedom, no one is suggesting that their liberty be infringed, that fight is over. Yet now the opposite is the danger.
    New Campaign For Free Speech polling results demonstrate just how vulnerable free speech protections are in the United States
    51% of Americans think the First Amendment is outdated and should be rewritten. The First Amendment protects your right to free speech, free assembly, and freedom of religion, among other things.
    48% believe “hate speech” should be illegal. (“Hate speech” is not defined—we left it up to the individual participant.) Of those, about half think the punishment for “hate speech” should include possible jail time, while the rest think it should just be a ticket and a fine.
    ...................................................
    I really think that you see community or cultural standards as being what morality is. You are wrong. In Plato's Apology of Socrates, Socrates claimed to have a daimonion (literally, a "divine something") that frequently warned him—in the form of a "voice"—against mistakes but never told him what to do. That is what sets your morality.... your inner daimonion. It is this same phenomenon that Paul is referring to when he talks about your conscience. Nietzsche wrote in "Will to Power" that the death of god would require man to invent new values... he was unsure whether we were capable of such a feat and predicted a nihilistic fragmented world if we failed to live up to the awesome resposibilities of being our own Gods. They were right. Morality requires the divine.


     
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  19. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    What right would a state have to tell me to go kill people, or do any other immoral act? An accident of birth does not give a state authority over me.

    One cannot abdicate moral responsibility for one's actions. No-one else can take your sins upon himself. You are individually responsible for your every action. "Just following orders" is not a valid defense.

    If my neighborhood council, city council, state or country tells me I must go attack some other group for some reason am I under any obligation to obey?
     
  20. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    So you want people to be just what they have between their legs. Their feelings, in your view, shouldn't enter into it, right?

    I have spent my lifetime trying to live by the maxim that "people's feelings are real." How you feel is, really is, who you are. You, on the other hand, seem to be saying, "you shouldn't feel that way, so get over it."

    And a wee question for you: how many people are we talking about here? I see dozens, sometimes hundreds of people every day, and rarely, very rarely, do I ever come across someone who identifies as other than the physical gender that they were born into. How many do you see every day, that it gives you such concern?

    And, no, morals are not about JUDGMENT. JUDGMENT is about getting even after a moral indiscretion.

    I am a moral person. I don't wave my genitals in anybody's face, nor do I call people unkind names, and I don't spit on the sidewalk. I don't do any of these things because I am concerned about causing discomfort to others. That's what being moral is. And I don't judge others for the things that are beyond their control -- as you seem to want to do. I find my way to be moral, a lot more moral than yours.

    But I'm also gay, and though I am a man, the person I sleep with every night for these many years is also a man -- and he's the only one I sleep with. I also call that moral, while you might think otherwise. I've known Christians who actually thought it would be MORE moral for me to sleep with a woman I couldn't love or even be attracted to, just because, well, just because. I'm also fascinated that those people didn't even seem concerned with what that might mean to the woman I was doing it to -- as if she didn't even figure into it! Unbelievable!
     
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