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Morality of man without god?

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Hey guys, since y'all are so amazingly wise I figured I could ask for help as well as gain new understanding. Plus, its always interesting to see what everyones thoughts are!

“Consider what kind of moral and ethical standards exist if Man himself is the highest of powers.â€

“Discuss on what foundation such standards would be based if there is no Higher Power to which Man must give account than Man himselfâ€

I have to elaborate on these topics for my AP English class this fall. Whoop. I have a lot of ideas and supporting details, Im just having a hard time putting it all together!

Thanks in advanceee :D

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I was raised with a mandate :Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself

This is the bases for morals as far as I am concerned - being agnostic I don't look to a higher power to tell me what to do or how to live my life. My moral code is based on not hurting others, and being respectful to everyone. I am responsible for myself and my actions and hold myself accountable for them.

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Gotcha Chris! Thats a good one to live by.

Also leads me to question where morality came from anyway, and why it matters. Is it simply so we, personally, can live with others and preserve the human race? Or is it cause we truly care about others? Like, how come animals do not have a moral system?

What do you think?

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I'm an atheist ... so, my morality/ethics are not based in a higher power. I base them more on logic/reason. If I go out on a killing spree (not that I want to!), I'd eventually wind up in 3 ways: 1. dead, 2. a fugitive, 3. in jail. Which is just not conducive to what I would like to do with my life! In order to function in the world, and to live my life freely ... I have to allow others to function in the world and live freely. My idea is this: my freedom to swing my fist ends at another person's face. So, I'm not ever totally free. I can't ever violate the freedom and life of another person. Not only because I'm not a psychopath, but also because this would violate my own freedom.

Similarly, I help people because, if I were in ______ situation, I'd hope someone would do the same. I live in a world that is connected. Should civilization collapse - I wouldn't survive for long. So, I make sure some of my time and money goes to helping those who need it.

In terms of caring about others - yes, I care. It's not just logic in that case. I care out of a sense of camaraderie. We're all on this rock, spinning through space. In short, we're all in it together. I'd like us to be happy together. Ultimately. :)

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I don't think man would have any moral foundation to stand on without God.

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I always have a hard time with these types of questions. Sure I can see some men using logic/reasons to define morality but then again logic or rationality is not a universal rule. The phrase "common sense is not that common" is the main point here. Some people literally do not care about others nor do they have the benefit of themselves or humanity in their conscious. The weird thing about humans is that while we can sometimes cooperate and help each other out of the goodness of our hearts we can still happily kill or destroy other's life because we all have some type of lust, pride, greed or other imperfection that causes hatred, vanity and unrational behavior. I believe love/hate is something that is within all humans and it is in constant struggle. Some people actually like to see other suffer and be in large amounts of pain and it is actually not just the psychopaths we see in the news. Just as a simple (hopefully simple) example, for some reason Hitler decided that all Jews should be murdered because of his own rationality. He had an intense hatred for Jews that (for us) stemmed from an irrational thought process but for him it was a totally rational and logical idea. This idea was equally rational by many other followers of the third reich; not everyone but many of the commanders and leaders of Germany at that time.

I believe there are many other examples that show how rational/logical thinking is not a universal trait and how man can find his/her own logic whether or not it is in the benefit of human kind. Or worse they believe that mankind would benefit from genocide like how Stalin believed that the killing of christians and thus christianity would save humanity. Some people might find it perfectly logical to kill other people even if it meant their own death because that is their own rationale and this goes for people who are non-religious and religious (both parties), of any color, race or creed.

To answer your question because (from my POV) man in himself has a tendency to become prejudice, hate-filled, arrogant and above all else have a massive ego I do not believe that man being the higher power would have the ethical standards of humanity within their thoughts at all time. I believe that while man can be compassionate and loving he can also be selfish and cruel. I believe that for the most part man would have their own intentions within their mind. And this is not something that a few men/women share I believe it is something that is within every human and we must realize when it is overpowering us tp retain balance.

I believe a higher power through the history of mankind was necessary because at best it gave man a model to go by (i.e no drinking, no use of harmful substances, no sex before marriage, no hatred only love). I believe that for many having a higher power as a model is a lot better than having another human because all humans have a tendency to lose such morality because of their own logical/rationale thoughts. Whether man follows that model or not is his own rational but if the model set by a higher being did not exist I believe man would have a lower standard of compassion and follow a morality that frequently deviates into the "bad" rationale and logic that humanity has shown to posses.

So I geuss I agree whole heartedly with John Morgan! Sorry about the long post.

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Thanks loyalhero for your input! Long posts are very welcome and sought after by me :D I suppose it is impossible to answer that question without being biased anyway.

In a nutshell, I believe that if there was no God, nothing that represented a God, then we would not have a moral system - we would be like the other animals on Earth.

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"Consider what kind of moral and ethical standards exist if Man himself is the highest of powers"

“Discuss on what foundation such standards would be based if there is no Higher Power to which Man must give account than Man himselfâ€

Interesting topic, lets try debating the other side to give it a little balance since most of the previous answers were in favour of God.

Under the assumption that God does not exist then it is possible to argue that the foundation of such morals is genetic. Survival of the fitness means that genes that improve the chance of survival get replicated. It is possible to argue that these morals were developed based on altruistic genes being more advantageous than selfish genes. Altruistic behaviour is usually in the best long-term interest of a species (like in game theory) as long-term survival is dependent on others to work in successful teams. So the current moral foundation would be self-enlightened interest based on a person's conscience (which could arguably have been developed by genes because helping one another was originally in the species best-interest).

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Ok, good one. If we supposedly came from one single cell, then why do the animals not have the consciences and intelligence we do? How come we were singled out? Out of the millions of species of Earth, why are the only ones? Why does it matter anyway then?

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Just speculating

Humans only show altruism to other humans, everything else is food / enemy (or originally was). It is possible that other type of human species existed, such as homo-erectus (and various other fossil evidence). These species could have also been close to gaining the same level of intelligence so we wiped them out (or possibly interbreeding). So the reasons why we are the only ones is because any species that were a potential threat and were competing for our resources became our new food source.

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Haha I appreciate that. There is just so much to cover!

Thats possible, but highly unlikely I think. More about that later. Interestin you mention homo-erectus, I googled it for a bit, but didnt really get any conclusions. Is this just an ape with more humanlike qualities?

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Humans only show altruism to other humans, everything else is food / enemy (or originally was).

Respectfully disagree. Humans can also show altruististic motives towards other animals. For example, one of my passions is protecting endangered species. When I find someone harming them, they are usually in serious trouble - Bald Eagle, for example. Plus, if you assume that the ficitious evolutionary cycle is an ongoing process, then we should be eating all other animals today - which we don't. I'm not sure if I'd like coyote on wheat :) .

So the reasons why we are the only ones is because any species that were a potential threat and were competing for our resources became our new food source.

Don't think so. The black bear is a potential threat to the human race and has been around for quite a while - and we haven't devoured all of them yet. Just saying.

Hey Nick - I hope you don't think I'm just a disagreeable guy. You always have good points. And I certainly don't have all the answers. Learning something everyday - even from high school kids.

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I don't think man would have any moral foundation to stand on without God.

Good thing I'm not a man or I'd be in trouble.

;) Sorry, couldn't help myself. You walked right into it, and I just could not resist!

Otherwise, I'm ducking out of this debate, lol.

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Under the assumption that God does not exist then it is possible to argue that the foundation of such morals is genetic. Survival of the fitess means that genes that improve the chance of survival get replicated. It is possible to argue that these morals were developed based on altruistic genes being more advantageous than selfish genes. Altruistic behaviour is usually in the best long-term interest of a species (like in game theory) as long-term survival is dependent on others to work in successful teams. So the current moral foundation would be self-enlightened interest based on a person's conscience (which could arguably have been developed by genes because helping one another was originally in the species best-interest).

Understand your point but I have to disagree-respectfully of course :) .

Altruism though is the best for long-term interest I don't think it fits into the surival of the fitest mode. Altruism would mean that personA would care about personB and help them which, though nice, could sometimes decrease wealth and of personA which I think would be counter-productive to personA's survival. If survival of the fitest were in place then personA would still continue walking on because if personB cannot survive their genes are not worthy enough to pass on. In terms of lesser sophisticated animals personB could very well be eaten or killed if their surival actually decreased the safety or function of the species. I think if altruism was not in place the species would definately be selfish but they would work together to increase their own individual gains which in terms would help the species(i.e supply and demand- the seller works with the buyer but their is no compassion within the exchange of money only individual pleasure; at the end of the day the money is profit given back to the main source). I believe the concept of selfishness and altruism would be more of a learned type of thing. A child could watch the news and hear about how a person gave a homeless person money and the homeless person then ditched the disguise and walked away in a Benz; the altruistic person is now short of his/her hard earned money and altruism = not the best policy in some cases so selfishness rules. I contribute this more to human nature than to genes. Everyone has a choice.

Hopefully I have given some example that I don't really believe morals are genetic but instead learned by some theory placed from a belief in a higher power. Man's judicial system is not enough to direct the morals of man.

Just my 2 cents not tryin' to be argumentive.

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No worries at all, this is just everybodys opinions and their opinions on other peoples opinions ;) I agree loyalhero.

We all know stress comes with love and caring and worrying for the world and the ones we love, and of course stress isnt good for living! Scientifically, it has major contributions to illness and the immune system, etc etc. Then again, love and all of that can help you, but that is because we have a soul. It soothes the soul when we know there is love.

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It is not my opinion as such but I have had it debated against me enough to sort of know the arguments - so lets go with it another step.

I think I did not explain the context enough. These altruism genes were developed when we were cavemen and so at that point I think it would be fair to say at that everything that wasn't human (including the bald eagles) was potential food. Black bears that were a threat were killed and eaten, I did not mean it as specific, turning it into a worldwide effort for mass extinction. It was just offered as a potential explanation to why other homo species were no longer around (the other suggestion was inter-breeding).

(RYB - here is the info you asked for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo)

Remember that I am talking about cavemen and it is now certainly a choice whether we help (although I would think that everyone has a natural bias towards helping each other). However, for cavemen I would argue that it is programmed through genetics (like the bond between a mother and child - there are exceptions but generally). Your thinking of survival of the fittest in wrong way and your assuming that the cavemen of thinking of self-interest, when in fact self-interest and the best chance of reproducing are created from teamwork. For teamwork / society to work you need to have these qualities such as fairness, altruism etc

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Personally I blame religion for like 75% of why humans just can't get along with each other. I'm Jewish, so 6 million of my people were slaughtered in the Holocaust (I had relatives die in Auschwitz.) Christianity (specifically the Catholic Church) has, well...I'm not going to get into any details here because I don't want to offend. The morality of man without God would be a great morality, in my opinion. I am strongly against the concept/existence of religion, as I feel it has done far much worse than good. If religion didn't exist, gays could get married in every country in the world. As a female and as a Jew, I just can't bring myself to condone religion. Religion has hurt my gender too much, and is still hurting my gender too much.

Ah, this is no good...I'm going to end up ranting.

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." I kind of had to google this bible quote, but I think it's GREAT. Sadly, basically not followed at all, but whatever. Like Chris said: "Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself." You don't have to know that bible quote, and I only learned the bible quote a year ago. But even before a year ago, I always believed you should treat others the way you would like to be treated.

To sum it up, John Morgan wrote above: "I don't think man would have any moral foundation to stand on without God."

This is the exact opposite of how I feel.

Edit: I am talking about religion in general here. I am not talking about God.

Edit: I just want to add that while I am against religion, one of my best friends is an orthodox Christian. I know my post will sound quite harsh to those are religious. But atheists are more than perfectly capable of having very high moral standards (like me!) Everything I wrote was how I honestly feel, but I apologize of course if I have offended anyone.

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I forgot to say that I think religion (well I only know the details of Christianity and Judaism) has a lot to offer society. Take the ten commandments, for example - they definitely promote good morals. I have a friend who exemplifies the best of Christianity: she never disobeys her parents, she is a very honest person, she goes to church every Sunday...she's even completely sexually abstinent (never having sex, ever.) I think the bible talks about the importance of forgiveness (which I completely agree with) and repenting for your sins, or something like that. So while I think the bible has a lot of nice guidelines everyone should follow, it seems like overall, the word of God has been skewed which lead to the severe oppression of females, hatred towards gays, and sexual repression. This applies to absolutely all religion.

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Personally I blame religion for like 75% of why humans just can't get along with each other. I'm Jewish, so 6 million of my people were slaughtered in the Holocaust (I had relatives die in Auschwitz.) Christianity (specifically the Catholic Church) has, well...I'm not going to get into any details here because I don't want to offend. The morality of man without God would be a great morality, in my opinion. I am strongly against the concept of religion, as I feel it has done far much worse than good. If religion didn't exist, gays could get married in every country in the world. As a female and as a Jew, I just can't bring myself to condone religion. Religion has hurt my gender too much, and is still hurting my gender too much.

Respectfully disagree. I don't think religion is the problem in most cases. You mentioned the Holocaust, and how that only happened because of religion. Well, it did...but it wasn't religion that was the problem. It was the people who weren't religious and wouldn't tolerate or respect the beliefs of others. Kind of like, when you get politicians who are killed by people who oppose their views. You wouldn't say, "Well this just proves that having different political beliefs is a terrible idea." Rather, having different opinions and beliefs is something which makes for a more diverse society, but you have to respect people even if you disagree with their opinion.

Of course, people have killed each other because of opposing religious beliefs. But that's not really a failure of religion, per se, more people trying to twist religion to try and justify killing each other. "Oh, this person doesn't belief in God, and disrespects God, so I'm honouring God by killing them." Yeah, except your religion teaches you to love and respect others, not to kill them, and that the way to deal with people who don't believe or who disrespect God is to graciously try and teach them about what you believe, and they don't listen, you've tried your best, so just continue to love that person and pray for them. That's the teaching of most world religions, and it's not a bad teaching.

Now, I may be wrong, so correct me if I am, but it sounds from your post that you don't have a problem with people believing in God, but you don't like organised religion (Like I said, that's just the impression I get, so I'm sorry if I'm picking you up wrong). But I believe that being a member of a religion is better than just having a "personal" belief in God. I'll try and explain why as best I can...

I know you're an atheist, but just for a minute, pretend you believe in God. You believe that the universe and everything in it was created by an intelligent being, who offers His love, and the gift of eternal life, if you only follow His commandments to love Him and love others. Now, I think you can agree with me that, if you did believe that, then you'd see that was the most important thing in the world, and you'd want to do everything in your power to show that you loved God and wanted to do what He asked you. So that means, you find out everything you can about what God wants you to do, in terms of morality, and social issues. A lot of people will say, "Well, I can decide for myself what God wants me to do, I don't need anyone else to tell me what He wants." If you want to work that out yourself, that's fine, but a lot of people turn to religion to help them decide what He wants. It's a little like learning about anything else in the world.

Say you want to learn about mathematics. Well, you could try and discover mathematical truths and make up equations to use by yourself. But you'd probably realise that it's a very difficult way to learn about mathematics, so instead, you might get yourself a maths teacher, who can teach you everything they know about the subject. They in turn learned what they know from other teachers, who learned from other teachers, and so on, until you get to mathematicians like Newton, Archimedes, Pythagoras, Pascal, Gauss, and so on, who studied mathematics and came up with ideas. So you don't just try and discover things on your own, but instead, you use information and ideas already thought of, and this means that you get the knowledge and wisdom of thousands of different people, giving you a much better understanding. Same with religion. Religious organisations such as churches incorporate the knowledge and wisdom of thousands upon thousands of people, and centuries of studies, so you can use what they've learned to further your own understanding.

So you can use what religion has already discovered to learn about what God wants for us, and also more about God Himself. Remember that God is a being, as real as you or I, so it's also important to find out more about Him. To me, that's one of the most important things about religion: it helps you learn about who He is. Why is that important? Well, say when you meet your husband, you say to yourself, "I know I love him no matter what and want to make him happy, but I think I know him well enough now that I don't need to learn anything else." How insulting would that be? If you love someone, you want to know everything about them: their hopes and dreams, their past, their likes and dislikes, every aspect of their personality...And you know that you'll never learn everything, because there's just too much to learn, but you'll try to learn as much as you can. Same with God. If you love him, then you want to learn everything you can about Him, even though you know you'll never know absolutely everything.

So while I think the bible has a lot of nice guidelines everyone should follow, it seems like overall, the word of God has been skewed which lead to the severe oppression of females, hatred towards gays, and sexual repression. This applies to absolutely allreligion.

Okay, so you said all religion, so I take it you're including the Catholic Church. Well, I'm Catholic, and I can't see how any of those three things apply to me and my Church.

Firstly, you mentioned oppressing women. I'm a woman, and I feel liberated by being a Catholic. There seems to be a weird belief out there that the Church hates women. This ignores the fact, of course, that the most highly regarded human being in the Church and the saint held in the highest esteem is Our Lady. She's considered the most perfect human being who ever lived, in fact, the only truly perfect human being, and other than Jesus Christ, the greatest role model we have to look to. The Church gets criticised because of her ("Her"? Yeah, the Church is referred to as female, because of her wisdom, and her role as the Bride of Christ and the nurturing role she has towards her members) teaching on sex, abortion, contraception, etc. I'll come back to teachings about sex in a minute. The Church is seen as oppressing women by teaching that abortion is wrong. That's not because the Church wants to oppress women. Rather it's because science proves that life begins at conception, and therefore every abortion takes the life of a human being. The Church is consistent in her teachings against murder, regardless of a person's age. People may disagree with this view that it's always wrong to kill an innocent human being, but we can hardly accuse the Church of hating women just because she's consistent in her teachings. The Church is also accused of hating women because they "oppress" them by saying using contraception is wrong. Again, the Church is just being consistent in her teaching that every act of intercourse should be both about bonding, and open to life. This applies to everyone, not just women: everyone is forbidden from deliberately sterilising an act of intercourse, or from engaging in acts that are deliberately sterile. Also, looking at it rationally, contraception is not empowering to women, in my opinion at least. Fertility is not a disease, and women shouldn't have to take pills to "fix" themselves so they can't get pregnant. The Church expects men to respect women and their fertility just as God designed it to work. Hardly oppressive thinking. The Church is also not against women working. It's completely acceptable for a wife to work and her husband to look after the kids.

Second point you made: this idea that the Church hates gay people. She doesn't. In fact, Catholics are called to love everyone: family, friends, strangers, enemies, regardless of who they are. We're called to reject sin, but accept the sinner. We don't believe that having same sex attractions is a sin, any more than having sexual desire for someone of the same sex who you're not married to is a sin. We believe that it's only a sin when you act upon these desires. Now, the Church isn't saying that two men are incapable of loving each other, or it's a sin to love each other. Of course they love each other, and it's never a sin to love someone. But it's the way you go about expressing your love for someone. Sexual acts between people of the same gender are wrong because they don't respect the fact that God made us male and female, and that sexual intercourse should be open to life and unite the two genders in a way which makes them "one flesh", in other words, their bodies physically complement each other and work together. Again, I need to emphasise - it's not wrong for two people of the same sex to love each other, but like everyone else in the world, we are called to love as God intends us to love, respecting his design. And having a different belief about sexuality isn't hateful. If someone is deliberately hateful to someone because they're gay, then they're not doing what God wants. (Actually, promise me something: If you ever see a religious person being hateful towards someone who's gay, remind them that God calls them to love everyone, regardless of what they do, and that if anyone's sinning, it's the hateful "Christian" who's incapable of loving and respecting people as Christ taught them).

Last one: sexual repression. I'm not sure, but I take it you're referring to the Church's teaching about waiting till marriage to have sex. Again, I don't see how this is repressive. Scientific studies show that divorce rates are increased amongst people who don't wait. Waiting till marriage prevents babies not having both their parents to look after them, and it prevents the spread of STDs. The Church, by the way, doesn't think sex is a bad thing, or something sinful. Rather that it's a wonderful thing, but you need to follow God's design for sex. When you ignore this design, you run a terrible risk of getting things wrong. What's God's design? Well, we believe that He designed sex to be free, total, faithful, and fruitful. If you remove any of those aspects, you'll run into trouble. If sex isn't freely given, you end up with prostitution, rape, human trafficking. If people don't give themselves totally to each other in sex, you get the hook-up culture, friends-with-benefits, one-night stands. If sex isn't faithful and lifelong, you get adultery, threesomes, open "marriages". If it's not fruitful and open to life, you get contraception, abortion, and generally a culture where it's believed, as Dr Jennifer Roback Morse put it, "all adults are entitled to unlimited sexual activity without a live baby resulting". Emphasis on "live". So the Church has good reason to encourage people to wait till marriage. Evidence and common sense tell us that that's what's best for us.

(Wow, is this the longest post I've made? I think it might be...)

xxx

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Okay, everyone is entitled to their own opinion here. Naturally, as a Christian, I cant help but try to prove God's existence sometimes, and get everbody baptized and saved and into Heaven and all, but I think we've gotten a little off course here.

Although I would like to ask a few questions -as long as it doesn't hurt. I just dont want anybody getting overheated and offended in a debate. So remember that, we're not bashing anybody here. Just wanted to make sure of that before it happens.

Jegsy - I admire your passion!

Sophie, I just wanted to say that I am not denying in any way at all that you, as an atheist, are not capable of having great morality. Im just wondering where morality came to be in the first place, what defined good and bad (obviously I believe it was God who did in the first place), and was modified as time went by, to either eliminate religious principles or not. Sometimes I question my own morality without God. Of course, none of us were here when the universe was created.

Also, I believe religion did not corrupt humankind and cause all these problems, it is humankind who has corrupted religion. How can it be if humans created religion only to have religion corrupt humans and their actions?

The question is something like this : Considering there is no God at all, no religion or ideas of God, what moral foundation would there be?

If the big bang theory is real, and we evolved, morality would purely be based on man's own (selfish) opinions. And even then, I dont think we would have the level of compassion and intelligence we do today. Sure I do think the laws we have today could have came to be just so we could live together and get what we want. AKA, not getting our family members killed, possession of items, etc, but then again, it wouldnt be out of love, it would simply be out of preserving the human race and passing down our wonderful genes.

I just do not see any hope or meaning to Life without God.

I believe the theory of Evolution is a religion by the way. Thats just me though. And I had a bunch of other things to say, but I forgot.

I appreciate your opinions guys! !!

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Now, I may be wrong, so correct me if I am, but it sounds from your post that you don't have a problem with people believing in God, but you don't like organised religion (Like I said, that's just the impression I get, so I'm sorry if I'm picking you up wrong).

No, that's how I feel. :) I do see that those who believe in God find strength through Him through prayer, or at least feel safer because they believe they are being watched over. The same goes for someone who believes in any deity. I've met people who say, "I don't believe in God, but I do believe in a higher power." Basically they DO believe something spiritual and powerful is beyond the sky. I see nothing wrong with that. It is organized religion that can bother me. Still, I joined a youth group at a church to be with my friend more often. Everyone there was incredibly nice and I had an awesome time with them. It wasn't a religious thing (we baked, did laser tag, went to movies, etc,) and I had a great time. While organized religion doesn't appeal to me, I see nothing wrong with believing in a higher power, especially if it helps you through hard times. Personally, I hope there's something up there. That'd be nice.

Last one: sexual repression. I'm not sure, but I take it you're referring to the Church's teaching about waiting till marriage to have sex. Again, I don't see how this is repressive. Scientific studies show that divorce rates are increased amongst people who don't wait.

I totally agree that WTM is a wonderful choice. When I meant by sexual repression is that most religion (not just specifying Christianity) teaches you that pre-marital sex is a sin you go to Hell for. In the past, people waited until marriage because it was basically mandatory. Those who didn't wait (women, at least) were shunned. Having a child outside of marriage was seen as an atrocity. You couldn't even get the child baptized so it couldn't get buried in the public cemetery (something like that.) If people are going to wait, they should wait for the right reasons. Religious belief is definitely a right reason, but so is valuing love and your body and sex. Of course I'm not saying no one felt that way, but seeing as arranged marriages were abundant I'm guessing love didn't have much to do with WTM. Enforcing WTM is definitely sexual repression. I'm all for it as a choice, but a healthy sexuality needs options. Not that I am condoning casual sex (which is very unsanitary and disgusting, to be blunt.) I'm talking about the past, of course. Things have totally changed now. Most of my qualms with religion are because of reasons of the past.

Also, when I mentioned religion and the Holocaust I didn't mean to imply that religion caused the Holocaust. That was worded poorly on my part. From what I understand, many Jews worked at the banks because the Christian religion allowed giving money but not lending money (with out without interest, I think.) That's why there were so many Jewish bankers. So when the economy went downhill, Hitler blamed the Jews. I just meant that if the concept of religion never existed, who could he have used as a scapegoat? The bankers, I suppose, but that would have been a LOT less than 6 million casualties.

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Sophie, I just wanted to say that I am not denying in any way at all that you, as an atheist, are not capable of having great morality. Im just wondering where morality came to be in the first place, what defined good and bad (obviously I believe it was God who did in the first place), and was modified as time went by, to either eliminate religious principles or not. Sometimes I question my own morality without God. Of course, none of us were here when the universe was created.

No offense taken. I know religious people tend to be very confused as to how atheists can have equally as strong morals. They wonder where the foundation for those morals comes from and how they remain. To put it bluntly, I'm human. And humans are inherently good creatures. You don't need to believe in God to feel terrible if you accidentally close a door on someone's fingers, or if you make your friend cry, or if you hurt someone's feelings, etc. My moralities towards love and sex stemmed from being heavily influenced by the Japanese culture rather than the Western culture. You see, I've never had a TV and my parents were in their forties when they adopted me so they had somewhat old-fashioned, conservative beliefs. I loved (still do) Japanese anime and manga. Excluding the porn stuff (called hentai) there is basically no sex in anime and manga. Even kissing is taken very seriously. I once read a 36-volume romance series between a teenage couple who are in an arranged marriage (it's a hilarious romantic comedy,) and they don't even kiss at the end of the series. The romance is taken very slowly, and the author rushes nothing. In most anime and manga, the first kiss is built up to be this huge, important, romantic thing. I grew up with these romances (InuYasha, Ranma1/2, Full Moon o Sagashite, Land of the Blindfolded, Tokyo Mew Mew, Air, Clannad, etc,) and they were all very special, slow-moving, and never involved sex. By the time I started reading teen novels and watching TV on the computer, I was influenced enough by this conservative culture to realize something was very wrong with mine. It never even occurred to me to kiss someone I wasn't in love with. Plus, my parents never talked to me about sex and were really skittish whenever I asked questions so I figured that sex was a very private thing.

I'm an atheist, but I don't have sex. Nor have I ever shoplifted, cheated on a test, lied to my friends or parents, got on a sky train without paying...the three times I snuck food, I confessed.

Also, I believe religion did not corrupt humankind and cause all these problems, it is humankind who has corrupted religion.

Definitely a good point.

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"Humans are inherently good creatures" No, I dont think you have to believe in God to have good morals either.Thats just it. Where exactly do we get this goodness from? Genes, evolution? A higher power as in your parents? But why? Where did it all come from? There are a lot of variables, and its hard to cover them all. I do think we all have an inborn sense of morality, that being a gift from the Creator. What may widely be considered good may not be good for someone else in different cultures or even within the same culture.

Perhaps I overthink these things,it is a complicated subject, Im gonna take a little break before I make my brain implode. Although I will try to simplify it to morality just being necessary for human survival.

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I totally agree that WTM is a wonderful choice. When I meant by sexual repression is that most religion (not just specifying Christianity) teaches you that pre-marital sex is a sin you go to Hell for. In the past, people waited until marriage because it was basically mandatory. Those who didn't wait (women, at least) were shunned. Having a child outside of marriage was seen as an atrocity. You couldn't even get the child baptized so it couldn't get buried in the public cemetery (something like that.) If people are going to wait, they should wait for the right reasons. Religious belief is definitely a right reason, but so is valuing love and your body and sex. Of course I'm not saying no one felt that way, but seeing as arranged marriages were abundant I'm guessing love didn't have much to do with WTM. Enforcing WTM is definitely sexual repression. I'm all for it as a choice, but a healthy sexuality needs options. Not that I am condoning casual sex (which is very unsanitary and disgusting, to be blunt.) I'm talking about the past, of course. Things have totally changed now. Most of my qualms with religion are because of reasons of the past.

Ah, I see what you mean! I sort of got that you were talking about enforcing WTM, but didn't quite get exactly what you meant...On the issue of shaming unmarried women who have kids, I think you've got a point. Religious people have used their beliefs to mistreat others. Again, we're called to love everyone regardless of what they do, so I'm glad that nowadays there's less prejudice towards single mothers. But, if I'm honest, I think the feminists have got is all backwards on this issue. They recognised that men could have casual sex and women were the ones who'd pay the price. But the way they campaigned to fix it was the opposite of how it should have been. We should have been focussing on getting men to step up to their responsibilities, not on taking away the responsibilities of women. If a women got pregnant through casual sex, in the past, she'd be the one who'd have to look after the baby, and the man would be able to shirk his responsibility. Instead of making sure both men and women took responsibility in looking after their baby, we've made it so that neither have to take responsibility. So in many cases, the baby is the one who has to pay the price for casual sex of her parents, often with her life.

Also, when I mentioned religion and the Holocaust I didn't mean to imply that religion caused the Holocaust. That was worded poorly on my part. From what I understand, many Jews worked at the banks because the Christian religion allowed giving money but not lending money (with out without interest, I think.) That's why there were so many Jewish bankers. So when the economy went downhill, Hitler blamed the Jews. I just meant that if the concept of religion never existed, who could he have used as a scapegoat? The bankers, I suppose, but that would have been a LOT less than 6 million casualties.

Well, there were others besides Jews who were killed. Hitler's goal was making Germany "great", so it meant getting rid of people he considered inferior. Not just "inferior" because of religion, but for other reasons too. Black people, gay people, and especially the physically and mentally disabled were all killed to create a "purer", "stronger" race. He would've blamed all the problems in Germany on them instead (Well, he did blame them, but to a lesser extent than he did the Jews).

I once read a 36-volume romance series between a teenage couple who are in an arranged marriage (it's a hilarious romantic comedy,) and they don't even kiss at the end of the series. The romance is taken very slowly, and the author rushes nothing.

Off topic, but do you remember the name of the series? It sounds pretty cool!

Also, I believe religion did not corrupt humankind and cause all these problems, it is humankind who has corrupted religion.

Love this, redyellowblue!

xxx

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Remember that I am talking about cavemen and it is now certainly a choice whether we help (although I would think that everyone has a natural bias towards helping each other). However, for cavemen I would argue that it is programmed through genetics (like the bond between a mother and child - there are exceptions but generally). Your thinking of survival of the fittest in wrong way and your assuming that the cavemen of thinking of self-interest, when in fact self-interest and the best chance of reproducing are created from teamwork. For teamwork / society to work you need to have these qualities such as fairness, altruism etc

I think I did misunderstand you because I did not see that you were only talking about cavemen in your earlier post but I was thinking about men of today. I also think that my way of thinking about surival of the fittest is simply totally different from your way. My definition of survival of the fittest is: "Natural selection conceived of as a struggle for life in which only those organisms best adapted to existing conditions are able to survive and reproduce"-taken straight from dictionary.com :) . This has nothing to do with society or even a species but instead of a simple organism and how it adapts to the environment meaning that in homeless person A cannot adapt to the new world then he will be left behind along with his genes. I think we are going to have to agree to disagree because you think for caveman while I think for man and in their lies the difference. We also have a nature vs. nurture issue I think.

If I were to place the plain definition of survival of the fittest along the lines of today's present man then I don't think man contemplates self-interest from teamwork any more. When a person goes into a job interview he's probably not thinking "I will work with others to make my paycheck" instead he just thinking about the money and very little about the people he's working with. Look at how people argue with politics and religion (spaces that are very touchy, easily misinterpreted and can easilty insult) it would be better to actually work together and iron out the problems, prejudices and stereotypes that align with these two important topics but that rarely happens. People would rather physically/emotionally hurt someone over a political candidate than sit down like a team and agree to disagree. Some people would rather harm a person because of their skin color instead of using a little compassion and team work to understand. Again I am thinking about present day men. I believe that it does hit people that emotional/physical harm to a person is not the answer but it's sometimes after the act. I believe that humans can be altruistic but I still hold firm that a model has to still be in place. I reiterate that a higher power is still necessary because it creates a model or morality- it sets guidelines at the least. That at the end of the day the two political hot-heads might think I probably should not hit this person with a bat because of karma/God/Buddha etc or I cannot judge this person because of their skin color because of (insert deity) said this and this will happen. I don't think those types of thought process to ease an argument would not have ended the same way if in place of a deity it was the police/man authority. Humans would rather bow to a higher power than to another human.

While I can agree that people might have a natural bias to help other people they have very little push to actually act on that bias. If people actually acted on their bias to help other people then no one would be starving, there would be vigilantes everywhere and basically crime would ceast to exist becuase everyone would help each other.

I'm not trying to sound cruel or against altruistic qualities I truly believe that an altruistic/non-prejudice society would be the best way to flourish instead of through natural selection (my understanding of it). I believe that humans have the ability to make altruistic/compassionate and loving decisions to help their own but I also believe we have the same capacity to be selfish/hurtful/arrogant etc. We have to continuously fight to decide what is right. I believe that most traits are learned through parenting and the environment so more of a nuturing approach rather than nature. I kinda of think we are born as a blank canvas shaped by our parents, culture and environment- the genes only define our outward appearance and disease traits.

I believe that a higher power and texts such as a bible provide humans (especially children) with the ability to look up to someone who basically has the perfect morality and realize what is right and wrong since man can blurr the lines really easily.

Just as a side note I think since world is so entrenched within religion (it is in politics, culture, art etc) that even those who don't follow a religion ( China or North Korea are big examples) is still influenced.

LOL so many long posts.

I hope I explained my opinion and helped a little bit RYB!

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