Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
Nils
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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Nils » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:35 am

Hi all,
I am new on this forum and have read this thread with interest. The moral argument for God existence that you discuss is perhaps the most import argument for theism as I see it. However, being an atheist and materialist, I don't agree.

In the discussion I find that the attitude from the Christian side is that the atheist side, mostly Kenny, doesn't understand what you say even though Kenny says that he does understand, but he doesn't agree. This, I think, depends on that you are so convinced of that you are right, partly because of you don't think that a materialistic explanation is feasible and more specifically, that moral has to be absolute and the only guarantor of an absolute moral can be God. If moral is absolute, I agree, it seems reasonable to assume that it comes from God. But I think that a subjective moral is possible. To explain:

Morality is a set of rules that governs interindividual interactions. It is necessary for groups of co-operating persons as well as animals. Moral behaviour has been found in different species for instance among apes and dog-species. They are altruistic and empathic within the group, they react negatively on unfairness, care about each other and don't kill each other but in very special cases. This moral behaviour is apparently created by evolution (I say, being a materialist) and inherited by us human. Unlike animals, we have also a cultural moral component. Different culture form versions of morality that depend on environmental factors and perhaps on individuals. Finally there is an individual-subjective component when I, for instance, form my own moral depending on my personal experiences, beliefs and rationality.

What then is right and wrong, good or evil? The answer is that I together with others in my group decide that those actions that will benefit us mostly are good. During the early history of humans the group was a tribe of hunter gathers that were in a low-intensity war with each neighbours. High morality within the group was very important to be able to fight the neighbours and to support a good standard of living. In the same way, in democratic states we decide together what is right or wrong for instance by making laws and moral rules with the aim to support a good society. But below these more or less rational decisions are our deep-rooted intuitions created by evolution and culture. However, this doesn't work in dictatorships because there are the laws made by an elite to promote their special interests.

This description is very short and sketchy but I hope it is understandable.

Nils

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Hortator » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:41 pm

Kenny wrote:Reply
As a Christian I understand it is your job to convert everybody to Christianity, but don’t take it personally; I am not looking for a key, or any type of understanding to fill a void, or to somehow make sense of my life. I never came here for that. I am here because I enjoy discussing with those whom I disagree with and to perhaps provide an alternative point of view that you guys will not get from just “preaching to the choir”. As I said before, there are many people I have talked to whom I’ve learned much from, and it seems there are those who have learned from me as well. It’s not always about conversion; if we can learn from each other, and leave a conversation a little smarter than when we entered it, we will both be better off because of it.

Hortator; is there anything you would like to add?


Tell us more about what you think Christianity is. Go on.

Also, does anyone here know how to "convert" somebody? Do you like, throw magic spells at them?

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Philip » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:25 pm

Nils, welcome to the forum!

The idea that morality is passed on because it has mutual societal benefits of peace and harmony, cooperation - really, while there are benefits in that approach, it's merely a result of whatever numbers of people agree with that approach, and that have the individual / collective ability to pursue it. But the history of mankind's blood-soaked past (and present), shows that such morality is entirely dependent upon who adopts it, and how many agree with it. But for many, especially those in positions of great power and the ability to dominate others, take a different approach - which is the Darwinian survival of the fittest - that the fittest take whatever they are able to, because it so suits their motives and desires. So, pursuit of a peaceful morality - it's not a universal. And one cannot say, in a purely materialistic world, that there is any one CORRECT morality - not if all morality simply evolved. In a purely materialistic universe, who can authoritatively assert that the predator murderer / cannibal's morality is any better or worse than the morality of a peace-loving vegetarian. Kill a man, kill a cow - in a purely materialist world - not one bit of difference. In such a world, there is NO good or bad - there simply IS! There are outcomes - with winners and losers. At some point, neither would continue to exist - unequal in life, but equal in the end. Ruthless, brutal, but simply the way things are - that's the materialist universe, of which all moral debates are rather silly!

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kenny » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:25 pm

Hortator wrote:
Kenny wrote:Reply
As a Christian I understand it is your job to convert everybody to Christianity, but don’t take it personally; I am not looking for a key, or any type of understanding to fill a void, or to somehow make sense of my life. I never came here for that. I am here because I enjoy discussing with those whom I disagree with and to perhaps provide an alternative point of view that you guys will not get from just “preaching to the choir”. As I said before, there are many people I have talked to whom I’ve learned much from, and it seems there are those who have learned from me as well. It’s not always about conversion; if we can learn from each other, and leave a conversation a little smarter than when we entered it, we will both be better off because of it.

Hortator; is there anything you would like to add?


Tell us more about what you think Christianity is. Go on.

I define a Christian as a person who believes Jesus is the Christ, and attempts to live their lives according to what the Bible says he taught. Of course different people will have different ideas of what it means to be Christian. You could probably ask a dozen people and get a dozen different answers.

Ken

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby PaulSacramento » Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:03 am

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Facts and Duties? By definition; facts don’t change or vary from time to time, or society to society; but duties do. I can agree with moral duties; (moral issues we obligate ourselves to) but moral facts? I can't go with cha on that one bruh!

Ok,
FACT: no culture has ever viewed stealing as right.
Can you dispute that?
Not justified mind you, was it ever viewed as right?


I am not going to dispute that. What's your point?

Ken


The point is that stealing is wrong is a moral FACT.


So if someone claims stealing is right, how would you prove them wrong?


If someone claims that raping an infant is right, how would you prove them wrong?

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby PaulSacramento » Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:08 am

Nils wrote:Hi all,
I am new on this forum and have read this thread with interest. The moral argument for God existence that you discuss is perhaps the most import argument for theism as I see it. However, being an atheist and materialist, I don't agree.

In the discussion I find that the attitude from the Christian side is that the atheist side, mostly Kenny, doesn't understand what you say even though Kenny says that he does understand, but he doesn't agree. This, I think, depends on that you are so convinced of that you are right, partly because of you don't think that a materialistic explanation is feasible and more specifically, that moral has to be absolute and the only guarantor of an absolute moral can be God. If moral is absolute, I agree, it seems reasonable to assume that it comes from God. But I think that a subjective moral is possible. To explain:

Morality is a set of rules that governs interindividual interactions. It is necessary for groups of co-operating persons as well as animals. Moral behaviour has been found in different species for instance among apes and dog-species. They are altruistic and empathic within the group, they react negatively on unfairness, care about each other and don't kill each other but in very special cases. This moral behaviour is apparently created by evolution (I say, being a materialist) and inherited by us human. Unlike animals, we have also a cultural moral component. Different culture form versions of morality that depend on environmental factors and perhaps on individuals. Finally there is an individual-subjective component when I, for instance, form my own moral depending on my personal experiences, beliefs and rationality.

What then is right and wrong, good or evil? The answer is that I together with others in my group decide that those actions that will benefit us mostly are good. During the early history of humans the group was a tribe of hunter gathers that were in a low-intensity war with each neighbours. High morality within the group was very important to be able to fight the neighbours and to support a good standard of living. In the same way, in democratic states we decide together what is right or wrong for instance by making laws and moral rules with the aim to support a good society. But below these more or less rational decisions are our deep-rooted intuitions created by evolution and culture. However, this doesn't work in dictatorships because there are the laws made by an elite to promote their special interests.

This description is very short and sketchy but I hope it is understandable.

Nils

Hi Nils,
The issue is that we all agree that morals CAN be subjective and that man actually are.
The point is that, if you agree that morals are subjective, then you must agree that there IS SUCH A THING AS right and wrong. Not what IS right and wrong ( which may be subjective) but that there IS A right and wrong and that is an objective and absolute statement, ie: a Fact.

We know this via common reasoning and rational thinking and also via the history of humanity ( anthropological).
That is why I used stealing as an example.
In every culture of the world, through the earliest recorded times, stealing has been viewed as wrong.
The means not only that there is an universal acceptance and reasoning that this IS such a thing as right and wrong BUT that there is at least ONE THING that is viewed as, universally, wrong.
So, while WHAT is right and wrong MAY be subjective, that there IS a right and wrong is not.

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kenny » Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:38 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Ok,
FACT: no culture has ever viewed stealing as right.
Can you dispute that?
Not justified mind you, was it ever viewed as right?


I am not going to dispute that. What's your point?

Ken


The point is that stealing is wrong is a moral FACT.


So if someone claims stealing is right, how would you prove them wrong?


If someone claims that raping an infant is right, how would you prove them wrong?


I can't! Because morality is subjective, I would be unable to provide absolute proof that raping an infant or any other act I deem immoral, as wrong. But since you believe morality is objective, how would you provide absolute proof that raping an infant is wrong?

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby RickD » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:14 am

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
I am not going to dispute that. What's your point?

Ken


The point is that stealing is wrong is a moral FACT.


So if someone claims stealing is right, how would you prove them wrong?


If someone claims that raping an infant is right, how would you prove them wrong?


I can't! Because morality is subjective, I would be unable to provide absolute proof that raping an infant or any other act I deem immoral, as wrong. But since you believe morality is objective, how would you provide absolute proof that raping an infant is wrong?

Kenny,

You just said that raping an infant isn't always wrong, even though you may think it is. I hope you think about that.
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Philip » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:15 am

Ken: how would you provide absolute proof that raping an infant is wrong?


Ken, how do you define what you consider to be "wrong?"

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kenny » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:43 am

RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
The point is that stealing is wrong is a moral FACT.


So if someone claims stealing is right, how would you prove them wrong?


If someone claims that raping an infant is right, how would you prove them wrong?


I can't! Because morality is subjective, I would be unable to provide absolute proof that raping an infant or any other act I deem immoral, as wrong. But since you believe morality is objective, how would you provide absolute proof that raping an infant is wrong?

Kenny,

You just said that raping an infant isn't always wrong, even though you may think it is. I hope you think about that.

No I didn't say that. I said I cannot provide absolute proof that it's wrong.

K

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kenny » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:44 am

Philip wrote:
Ken: how would you provide absolute proof that raping an infant is wrong?


Ken, how do you define what you consider to be "wrong?"

Right and wrong are judgment calls people make about actions they see around them

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby PaulSacramento » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:18 am

Kenny wrote:
Philip wrote:
Ken: how would you provide absolute proof that raping an infant is wrong?


Ken, how do you define what you consider to be "wrong?"

Right and wrong are judgment calls people make about actions they see around them

Ok, but what do people base those calls on?

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Kenny » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:22 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
Philip wrote:
Ken: how would you provide absolute proof that raping an infant is wrong?


Ken, how do you define what you consider to be "wrong?"

Right and wrong are judgment calls people make about actions they see around them

Ok, but what do people base those calls on?


Personal opinion.

K

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby Hortator » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:52 am

I'm sure Newton and Einstein had the same mentality of "It cannot be known" and "It's impossible to figure out" when they were creating great achievements.

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Re: Key Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

Postby PaulSacramento » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:19 pm

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
Philip wrote:
Ken: how would you provide absolute proof that raping an infant is wrong?


Ken, how do you define what you consider to be "wrong?"

Right and wrong are judgment calls people make about actions they see around them

Ok, but what do people base those calls on?


Personal opinion.

K

Based on what?


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