1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured What does it mean to be a better person?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Israel Khan, Jan 15, 2020.

Tags:
  1. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    From all perspectives, whether theological or not, what does it mean to be a better person?

    By this I mean, how do we know that we are progressing or digressing as human beings morally?

    And, how do we define morality? Is it merely a social construct or is there an innate morality in humans that we are progressively discovering through religion and debate? Is it maybe something implanted in us by God?

    But, be warned, if someone says that we must obey a certain morality that a God defines through a Holy Book just because the Holy Book says so, that someone has to first prove that their Holy Book is undoubtedly sent down by God. Because, if we are to follow something a book says just because it says so, then we have to prove that that book has validity.

    So it would be best to prove the logical reason why a said religions morality is correct and should be followed by not appealing to the religion itself.

    :)
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • Creative Creative x 1
  2. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    21,979
    Ratings:
    +16,574
    Religion:
    None
    Morality is a human concept, stolen by religion to exclude and vilify those not of a particular cult,i say cult because different branches of the same religion will willingly mock the morality of other branches.

    I am atheist and sincerely believe i im a more moral person than many religious people.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  3. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    I agree with you on this, as the religions often include rules that their followers would say are immoral in other circumstances, such as promoting slavery and war, to oppress others. So they manipulate humanities good nature in order to control those good natured people to perform evil deeds.

    But, since you perceive yourself as more moral, how do you personally determine what is moral or not?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    21,979
    Ratings:
    +16,574
    Religion:
    None
    What is moral? It is very simple, everyone knows (or should know) the difference between right and wrong).

    For example, i know it is wrong to kill, certain religions have no problem with killing those of a different (or no) faith. In fact their holy books suggest their deity recommend it and is guilty himself. Jolly good way to teach morality... Not.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    Do you not think that your answer is circular? If I ask you how do you determine what is right and wrong would you answer, "Just because we know it is right and wrong"?

    Is it not the equivalent of:

    Q: "Why is your religion right or wrong?"

    Answer:"Because everyone knows (or should know) that it is the right one"


    Regarding your example, isn't it also true that there are atheists who do what is wrong?

    I am by no means saying that ideologies and religions do not play a role, they most certainly do, but if morality is innate then people should automatically do what is right without influence right?
     
    • Creative Creative x 1
  6. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    14,120
    Ratings:
    +5,769
    Religion:
    Philosophical Taoist/Christian
    Most people hold an idea in their mind of someone they admire, and would like to become more like. It might not be an actual person, but a conglomeration of traits they've seen exhibited by various people throughout their lives. This is their "better person", or "better self".
    Morality is a different issue. The morality of any decision or action will be determined by how it relates to one's relevant ethical imperative. Morality is a function of our ethical priorities.
    It's all of the above and more: nature, nurture, experience and contemplation.
     
    #6 PureX, Jan 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
    • Useful Useful x 1
  7. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    46,087
    Ratings:
    +19,018
    Religion:
    Love
    To me, it means following ones inner intuition about what is expected in any situation. External rules can be helpful reference points for some, but in the end it does not matter whether someone is a monotheist, polytheist, atheist or a lover of nature.

    What matters to me is that anytime we're faced with a choice, do we choose to try to act with kindness, compassion, understanding, love or not.

    In my studies, I've found that after stripping away the theology to focus on the root messages of religion and secular humanism, I see the same basic ethics/morality.

    So whether one focuses on the Christian "Greatest Commandments", Buddhist compassion or caring for others as stated in the Humanist Amsterdam Declaration 2002, they're all basically espousing the same core value.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  8. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    You are making me think.....

    Better person is more open ended than I intentioned, but I will leave the question in there because i suspect it will enrich the conversation. Being a better person includes more than being a moral person then. So then people seek to progress in more areas than their morality, although I suspect that all idealised traits says something about where the person is heading in pursuit of being their ideal being.

    Do you think that there is an ideal morality to aspire to as the human race?

    Do you think that the addition of nature, nurture, experience and contemplation leads different people to a different ideal of what is ethical and can all variations come together and determine an ideal set of ethics?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    21,979
    Ratings:
    +16,574
    Religion:
    None
    I don't think it circular, knowing what is right and doing what is right are what i consider as human. Knowing what is wrong and doing what is wrong is immoral.

    Religious people know it is wrong to kill yet make excuses for their deity committing mass murder, they know rape is wrong yet revel in the fact their deity condones sex slavery.

    Oh i am sure there are atheist's who commit wrong doing but i dont know any or know of any who commit wrong in the name of atheism

    Morality is tempered by environment and education. If a person sees enough repeated immoral acts their own morality (call it self preservation, do unto others as you would have them do unto you) can be impacted. If a person is taught and blindly follows teachings of wrong then again their morality is screwed
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2016
    Messages:
    9,968
    Ratings:
    +1,729
    Religion:
    Light Impressed with Love

    altruism, compassion, loving mercy.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    That is awesome.


    I have found the same from my studies to an extent but they often have an extra deviant ethic/morality, such as enslaving people or the approval of genocide. So they have a basic common morality, but tribalism gets in the way and adds its own taint.
     
  12. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    2,172
    Ratings:
    +1,754
    Religion:
    none
    Morality is a self given set of rules and guidelines to live by.
    Most of these rules and guidelines are arbitrary and few are really self given but adopted from the surrounding culture. There is, however, one guideline that is directly derived from the definition: the principle of equality. I.e. if I'm going to follow my own rules they should be consistent. I should treat all people equally in similar circumstances and I should expect to be treated by the same rules.
    So, the most abhorrent crimes against morality, in any system of morality, are hypocrisy, inconsistency and bigotry.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    46,087
    Ratings:
    +19,018
    Religion:
    Love
    I also see tribalism and other lower motivations causing people to go astray.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    This is a good point. People wouldn't be making excuses if they didn't know it was wrong. But isn't that because they are raised in a community that has grown to disprove of such things? I don't think that the Aztecs bothered to make excuses for what they did.

    I was using atheists as a standard of measurement, since they have no religious belief. So in the absence of such an influence they could be considered a clean slate to see whether people automatically are moral. They might have been indoctrinated into other ideologies not religious that make them do wrong, but I am referring to an atheist who isn't influenced by indoctrination.

    I agree. Oppression, exposure and indoctrination often lead people down a path of immorality.

    My current understanding of morality is this:

    Humans are inherently selfish and want to preserve themselves. But they do have empathy which affects how they treat others. So as an example, I don't want to be killed because I enjoy life, which is a selfish desire. But because I don't want to be killed I am sure that others don't want to be killed, so I won't kill them. It is immoral to deprive people of something that I desire. Also we desire other peoples company, in fact we need it as humans, so we want to make other peoples lives happier because we appreciate them and their happiness makes us feel appreciated.

    A lack of empathy prevents this. So if I dehumanize someone else then I will be OK with killing them. And through indoctrination, this is what many religions and ideologies do.
     
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    How did you conclude the above?
     
  16. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    Definitely. Tribalism is the most major negative influence on peoples morality in my opinion.
     
  17. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    Equality makes sense. I never thought of using the word before though. So if the base line is that I don't want to be killed, then it makes sense that I shouldn't kill others because otherwise they have the right to kill me.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    2,172
    Ratings:
    +1,754
    Religion:
    none
    Yes, that's basically it. The Golden Rule can be more or less derived from the principle of equality.
    I was a long time proponent of relative morality and I still think that most of what we think of as moral is relative. It only occurred to me recently, through a discussion, that the principle of equality is indeed an absolute moral value.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  19. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,646
    Ratings:
    +878
    Religion:
    Non Religious/ Loves Religions
    It is something that I also recently discovered but I never explained it in terms of equality. My explanation has more to do with humans being social and thus we appreciate others and we want others to appreciate us. It also includes selfishness and empathy, so we can see ourselves in others.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    21,979
    Ratings:
    +16,574
    Religion:
    None
    The Aztecs probably considered human sacrifice to the gods to be moral.

    In my experience an atheist is equally or more moral than a theist, this of course this is not a global statement, just my experience which is all i can go by

    I see your inherently selfish and raise you an inherently fair by way of empathy.
     
    • Like Like x 1
Loading...