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[BLOG] Religion and Morality
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Author Topic: [BLOG] Religion and Morality  (Read 22436 times)
Eon
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« on: November 20, 2008, 08:51:34 EST »

http://www.idrewthis.org/2008/11/religious-conservatives-are-all-worked.html

Hurray for cans of worms and the opening thereof! I can already see the battle lines being drawn.

I, of course, agree with Seagull.
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Kaerius
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2008, 10:23:11 EST »

I do as well, I'm a deeply moral man who is also about as religious as Stephen Hawking's toenail clippings.

In fact, you can turn the argument around, that the religious people who only do good because they fear the consequences of not doing it are of weaker moral fiber than the atheists who do good because they feel it's the right thing to do.
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johndmes
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2008, 11:29:36 EST »

IMHO, most of the problems come from confusion between morals and ethics.

As Heinlein once said, ethics are social rules that coem from within a society, and help define how people interact from within a society,  As such, you cannot escape or deny them, as they are the bedrock of that society.

Morals, on the other hand, are social rules imposed from a external source, such as a religion.  Being that they usually have little congruence towards the way a scoiety actually works, there are often conflicts and rationalizations that have to occur.

BOTH can be beneficial to a society - when they are congruent.  it's when they becoe too dissimilar that major conflict can arise.

This should sound familiar to anyone who's stuided history
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wodan46
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2008, 11:33:44 EST »

In fact, you can turn the argument around, that the religious people who only do good because they fear the consequences of not doing it are of weaker moral fiber than the atheists who do good because they feel it's the right thing to do.
That is my precise attitude actually.  Religious people act moral because if they don't, the big spectral policeman in the sky will kick their ass, and that as the monkeysphere article said, are made to feel upset when they violate the big spectral policeman's edicts.  I act moral because if I don't the big burly policeman at the local police department will kick my ass, and because I feel upset when hurting others because I was raised to emphasize my already existent empathy.  The difference between those two approaches is that mine is far more grounded in reality.  If a Religious person had their mental defense mechanisms that justify their ridiculous beliefs fail, all of the sudden their entire moral framework goes kablooey and they run around blowing up nuns or somesuch.  The same shouldn't occur to me, because my feelings are not directed towards ethereal concepts and my actions are not held in check by those same ethereal concepts.

Also, if you are only moral because God tells you to be, and you only do what God tells you to do because you want to go to Heaven, you aren't even the slightest bit moral, and in fact, near sociopathic.   The systems which emphasize that you do actions not because God would punish you otherwise, but because you love God and wish to do what God loves, that's somewhat better, but still dependent on non-physical concepts for your morality.
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wodan46
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2008, 11:35:24 EST »

IMHO, most of the problems come from confusion between morals and ethics.

As Heinlein once said, ethics are social rules that coem from within a society, and help define how people interact from within a society,  As such, you cannot escape or deny them, as they are the bedrock of that society.

Morals, on the other hand, are social rules imposed from a external source, such as a religion.  Being that they usually have little congruence towards the way a scoiety actually works, there are often conflicts and rationalizations that have to occur.

BOTH can be beneficial to a society - when they are congruent.  it's when they becoe too dissimilar that major conflict can arise.

This should sound familiar to anyone who's stuided history
You are wrong on your definitions.  Morality has 3 meanings, one of which is the exact same thing as Ethics.  We are not confusing the two.  They are overlapping.
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Heq
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2008, 11:59:59 EST »

I would argue a good degree of dislike for atheists is the same as the dislike for vegans.  It's not that people -really- think that it's a neccessary requirement, but the majority of such people they have encountered have been preachy, judgmental pricks.

Just like how when people think of gays they think of those douchebags for Queer Eye rather then a guy eating breakfast and reading the news.

It isn't neccessarily thier fault, either, atheists have done a piss-poor job of picking their spokespeople or ever saying "This guy doesn't speak for me", bless their angry little hearts, people on the hard religious right distance themselves from people who say things that are really racist or crazy, but atheists still let Dawkins off the leash in public (Hitchens is at least witty, Dawkins is a dabbler at best [and seems to be a proponent of biological determinism, ala Walden II]).  Am I the only one who remembers the open antagonism of the early movement?

With bellicose asshats doing all the talking, is it any wonder people assume atheists tend towards jerkdom?  Given their defining trait is the lack of faith, it is not illogical to draw the connection that a lack of faith equals more jerkdom.  If you act like Louis Farrakhan, expect to be shunned.  If you let Farrakhan claim you as a follower and say nothing to contradict him, expect people to assume you agree.

Off the top of my head, only MBLA (Man Boy Love association) has a worse PR campaign then atheism.
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Himatsu
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2008, 18:29:02 EST »

Wow, so the reason people don't like atheists is because they're preachy, judgmental pricks? Last time I checked, atheists weren't the ones consigning others to an eternal lake of fire for imaginary "sins".

We're not cowering in the corner and letting the religious treat us like dirt, so that makes us "militant" in their eyes.
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John
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2008, 18:54:48 EST »

In fact, you can turn the argument around, that the religious people who only do good because they fear the consequences of not doing it are of weaker moral fiber than the atheists who do good because they feel it's the right thing to do.
This is how I feel, yes. However..
Religious people act moral because if they don't, the big spectral policeman in the sky will kick their ass
I don't make the mistake of assuming all religious people only do good because of this. It mainly covers those who think atheists can't be good people.

atheists still let Dawkins off the leash in public
How am I suppose to say Dawkins doesn't speak for me when I don't even know who he is. Its not like atheists have a church that we are members of. Each atheist is a separate person who most of the time doesn't belong to an atheist group (I can only imagine what crazy groups you have in America so I said almost).
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wodan46
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2008, 19:17:06 EST »

People like Dawkins make a religion out of atheism, just like vegans make a religion out of dieting.  Normal atheists (and vegetarians) lack such pseudo-religious zeal for their ideas.  As a result, they don't try and force it down the throats of others, which in turn means that no one will hear about their beliefs, whereas we'll hear plenty about Dawkins.  Having a PR campaign by normal Atheism would go against its very nature.
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purplecat
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2008, 19:54:33 EST »

So the conversation has immediately segued into the usual accusations about being too forceful or too angry.

Someone else replied to these in a far better way than I could.

and since we're onto morality, and the difference between morality and ethics, I feel obliged to quote myself at one of my more snarky times.
Quote
Morality is Ethics for the hard-of-thinking. A path that replaces the need to think coherently about actions and consequences with Arguing By Capital Letters.
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Icedragon
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2008, 22:47:59 EST »

Ethics and morality are totally separate things.  Why, two words, Alignment grid.

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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2008, 00:25:47 EST »

It isn't neccessarily thier fault, either, atheists have done a piss-poor job of picking their spokespeople or ever saying "This guy doesn't speak for me", bless their angry little hearts, people on the hard religious right distance themselves from people who say things that are really racist or crazy, but atheists still let Dawkins off the leash in public (Hitchens is at least witty, Dawkins is a dabbler at best [and seems to be a proponent of biological determinism, ala Walden II]).  Am I the only one who remembers the open antagonism of the early movement?

Dawkins is our Malcolm X. Only less overbearing, and more tolerant. PZ Myers makes a decent go of the same kind of behaviour.

We've yet to get an MLK Jr., but the BHA and AHA are making a half-decent go of that role.


Ha, the image of solid snake is taken from super smash bros. brawl videos. They could have at least taken it from a metal gear game...
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And if i catch you comin' back my way
I'm gonna serve it to you
And that ain't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do
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Archae
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2008, 02:31:41 EST »

All any of us have to do is look into where the scummiest of the scum live.

Prisons.

The biggest religion in prisons is Christianity.

Next, Islam.

The tiniest group in prisons?

Atheists.

Speaks volumes, doesn't it?
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wodan46
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2008, 03:10:42 EST »

So the conversation has immediately segued into the usual accusations about being too forceful or too angry.

Someone else replied to these in a far better way than I could.
I'm not angry about Galileo though.  Let me show you a picture of Galileo's thought processes:
Galileo: Let's see, my incredibly rude douchbagness has pissed off everyone in the scientific community, and Kepler is still crying after I made fun at him.  You know what I should do now?  Rudely make fun of my personal friend the Pope during the Protestant Reformation in a book.  Even after the church told me that I should either collect valid scientific evidence, present the book as theory, or write it in Latin, whereupon they wouldn't mind what I said, I did none of the above.  DURR! LOLZ! IM SO SMART.

Quote
Morality is Ethics for the hard-of-thinking. A path that replaces the need to think coherently about actions and consequences with Arguing By Capital Letters.
I'd say that pretty much sums it up.
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paddyfool
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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2008, 05:50:41 EST »

This is an important issue.  However, it has to be kept clear that this is not an anti-religion issue, but rather an anti-anti-Atheist bigotry one (there has to be a better way of saying that).  Most religious people, in my experience, are not first-and-foremost moral cowards who do the "right" thing only for hope of eternal reward and/or fear of damnation, but, like atheists, are guided primarily by compassion, respect for others, our shared human experience and social mores.  And most thinking people who are morally driven in that way should in theory have no problem with an ethical atheist.  In practice, however, they've often been taught differently, and only by being open about who we are can we hope to change this.

I've lived in cultures where I was usually the only openly atheist person around (principally Uganda).  My religious friends fairly quickly figured out that I wasn't evil; many of the more considerate did, however, persist in worrying about my going to hell, but that's not quite the same thing.
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