Acting morally on atheism

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Noah1201
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Acting morally on atheism

#1

Post by Noah1201 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:52 pm

Objective morality is impossible on atheism, yes, but would you say it is irrational to act morally, given atheism? The atheist would use the argument that it makes him feel good to do what he sees as good.

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Furstentum Liechtenstein
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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#2

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:19 pm

The nice thing about atheism is that you decide what ''good'' is for you. You can accept the social consensus of ''good'', you can define your own view of ''good'' irrespective of the consensus, or you can mix & match. And you'll always be right...and moral, because you determine morality.

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#3

Post by RazorSwift » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:08 am

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote:The nice thing about atheism is that you decide what ''good'' is for you. You can accept the social consensus of ''good'', you can define your own view of ''good'' irrespective of the consensus, or you can mix & match. And you'll always be right...and moral, because you determine morality.

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Atheists are borrowing from theist currency when they assert morality.
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Furstentum Liechtenstein
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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#4

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:43 pm

RazorSwift wrote:Atheists are borrowing from theist currency when they assert morality.
Yeah...so what? Most atheists just want a nice world where everybody appreciates the next guy and you mind your own business. And so they adopt the dominant morality because that's all they care about. In this sense, atheists are no different from other people.

It takes cojones to be a Christian, or to be an atheist that independently determines his own morality.

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#5

Post by Noah1201 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:50 pm

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote: Yeah...so what? Most atheists just want a nice world where everybody appreciates the next guy and you mind your own business. And so they adopt the dominant morality because that's all they care about. In this sense, atheists are no different from other people.
And do you think that's rational? To just unquestionably accept the dominant morality?
It takes cojones to be a Christian, or to be an atheist that independently determines his own morality.
How do you "independently" determine your morality?

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#6

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:06 pm

Noah1201 wrote:And do you think that's rational? To just unquestionably accept the dominant morality?
Yes, it is rational. There is no ''unquestionable acceptance'' about it either, it just is easier. Choosing the easy path demonstrates intelligence. Really dumb atheists make things hard on themselves.
Noah1201 wrote:How do you "independently" determine your morality?
Well, when I was an atheist, my morality was determined by what advanced me financially: what was ''good'' made me richer. Take it from there.

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#7

Post by Noah1201 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:06 am

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote: Yes, it is rational. There is no ''unquestionable acceptance'' about it either, it just is easier. Choosing the easy path demonstrates intelligence. Really dumb atheists make things hard on themselves.
So how is it rational, in light of the fact the dominant morality could be wrong, given that it was shaped in a haphazard manner?
Well, when I was an atheist, my morality was determined by what advanced me financially: what was ''good'' made me richer. Take it from there.

FL
So, on this view, would murder be good if it made you richer?

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#8

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:08 pm

Noah1201 wrote:So how is it rational, in light of the fact the dominant morality could be wrong, given that it was shaped in a haphazard manner?
It doesn't matter how the dominant morality came about: it is of no consequence whatsoever. Atheism recognizes that there is no such thing as objective right or wrong; these are determined by social consensus. An atheist can pick the principles he wishes to live by - for the moment or for life - and live by them. However, it will always be easier to live with the same morality as the dominant culture because...it's like swimming downstream, so to speak. It is just easier and everybody will accept you.

Get it?
Noah1201 wrote:So, on this view, would murder be good if it made you richer?
Murder is unacceptable for devout Jews & Christians but it is alright for proseletysing Muslims. Likewise, Latino thugs wear crucifixes and do the sign of the cross when passing in front of a church, but they'll slice their rivals to pieces. Most forms of Hinduism see murder as karmic justice. The Cosa Nostra throughout the world support the church and give it outward signs of respect but will gun you down unmercifully if you get in their way.

So, to answer your question, Yes! murder is good if you've decided so. Just don't get caught if you live in a culture that doesn't OK murder. The beauty of atheism is that you decide what is good or bad: there is no sin.

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#9

Post by Noah1201 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:21 pm

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote: It doesn't matter how the dominant morality came about: it is of no consequence whatsoever. Atheism recognizes that there is no such thing as objective right or wrong; these are determined by social consensus. An atheist can pick the principles he wishes to live by - for the moment or for life - and live by them. However, it will always be easier to live with the same morality as the dominant culture because...it's like swimming downstream, so to speak. It is just easier and everybody will accept you.
Of course, one is forced to at in the manner society perceives as 'moral' in public because doing otherwise is risking being ostracized. But one also isn't forced to adopt the arbitrary rules of behavior dictated by those in position of power as be-all and end-all standards for 'good' and 'evil'. If it doesn't serve the individual's self-interest, which happens more than seldom, it does not seem very rational to to abide by rules set by mere mortals.

So, to answer your question, Yes! murder is good if you've decided so. Just don't get caught if you live in a culture that doesn't OK murder. The beauty of atheism is that you decide what is good or bad: there is no sin.
FL
You seem to be talking as though I am contemplating to murder. I am not.

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#10

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:10 pm

Noah1201 wrote:If it doesn't serve the individual's self-interest, which happens more than seldom, it does not seem very rational to to abide by rules set by mere mortals.
Well, then, we agree. As an atheist, you select the behavior you wish because you determine what is profitable or unprofitable for you. I am using economic terminology because I want to avoid the meaningless - or morally loaded - terms ''good'' and ''bad.'' (By the way, Karl Marx also used this terminology in Das Kapital. Lenin, a great atheist, agreed that ''good'' and ''evil'' have little meaning divorced from the State.) So, your self-interest may be different from my self-interest but we are both right in the ''moral'' choices we make.

Isn't atheism great?! It's a moral free-for-all!
Noah1201 wrote:You seem to be talking as though I am contemplating to murder. I am not.
As an atheist, murder would only be reprehensible if you decided it were so. You are free to consider murder if it furthers your goals; and such consideration would not make you an ''evil'' person.

FL
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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#11

Post by Noah1201 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:32 pm

I am actually agnostic, but same crap.

I've mentioned above that it's only rational to abide by the rules set by the elite insofar as it benefits the individual. But here arrives the argument of what is beneficial to you. Even if there are no direct negative consequences for one's life, the mere negative emotion that one experiences upon violating certain intuitions in one's mind (from a naturalistic perspective, this is because these intuitions helped our ancestors in survival and replication), could cause one not to commit the 'immoral' act. But is this rational? If the action is really not wrong (which naturalism dictates) and our moral intuitions are only a product of socio-biological evolution, then it would appear that logic dictates these negative emotions should simply be suppressed because they are irrelevant and useless. The mere fact we feel them when we have furthered, rather than lessened, our chances of survival, is a flaw in the system. Deceit is not really wrong; we only feel it is because our ancestors would have risked being socially outcast for such conduct.

Do you agree with this? If not, why not? I am, myself, not sure what to think.

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#12

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:16 pm

Noah1201 wrote:I am actually agnostic, but same crap.
Similar but not the same. Agnostics are like a mixed-breed dog: from some angles they may appear German Sheppard but with a Golden Retriever personality... then they bite you.

From a biblical perspective, agnostics, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Freemasons, Mormons, et al are all unbelievers.
Noah1201 wrote:Even if there are no direct negative consequences for one's life, the mere negative emotion that one experiences upon violating certain intuitions in one's mind (from a naturalistic perspective, this is because these intuitions helped our ancestors in survival and replication), could cause one not to commit the 'immoral' act.
Those ''intuitions'' you speak of, are they real? Are you comparing them to an animal's instincts? Are not these intuitions dictated by the culture in which you live and directly tied to whatever it is you base your morality on? If life has no intrinsic meaning - if it is empty and meaningless as a dog's life - then what is the problem with acting...like a dog? Steal the other guy's food. Copulate with his wife if she lets you. Urinate on his land and take it from him if you can. Do you think that a dog who does these things has ethical misgivings? Somehow, I doubt it.

While a dog is unable to change its instincts, you can. Worldly wisdom says that whatever it is you accepted into your head - and believe - is what dictates your conduct. (BTW, the Bible says you are hopeless, like the dog, and that you can't change.)
Noah1201 wrote:If the action is really not wrong (which naturalism dictates) and our moral intuitions are only a product of socio-biological evolution, then it would appear that logic dictates these negative emotions should simply be suppressed because they are irrelevant and useless.


Yeah. This has happenned in the West insofar as our acceptance of what were once considered deviant behaviors. It is to be expected that other bahaviors not currently considered deviant (pedophelia, euthanasia, to name but two) will eventually come into mainstream acceptability.
Noah1201 wrote:the mere fact we feel them when we have furthered, rather than lessened, our chances of survival, is a flaw in the system. Deceit is not really wrong; we only feel it is because our ancestors would have risked being socially outcast for such conduct.
Now you're talking!
Noah1201 wrote:Do you agree with this? If not, why not? I am, myself, not sure what to think.
I use to believe all this until God called me to be one of His own. As an unbeliever, I did a lot of damage to a lot of people around me. I created a morality for myself that allowed me to act towards others with impunity and arrogance. Did I feel bad about this? No. Did I feel sorry for my victims? No. Nothing was important but my own advancement.

Not all unbelievers are so...evil. You may be a nice guy as the world sees ''nice'' but you are still on the wrong path. You are on the path I used to be on: it goes nowhere.

FL
Hold everything lightly. If you don't, it will hurt when God pries your fingers loose as He takes it from you. -Corrie Ten Boom

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#13

Post by Noah1201 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:19 pm

I told you certain things in PM, but more here...

Do you think it's rational, on the materialistic worldview, to act in the manner dictated by one's "conscience", against one's material self-interest, solely to avoid the negative emotion that will ensue otherwise?

Not what you would do. But whether it is rational.

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#14

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:51 pm

Noah1201 wrote:Do you think it's rational, on the materialistic worldview, to act in the manner dictated by one's "conscience", against one's material self-interest, solely to avoid the negative emotion that will ensue otherwise?
I think that most people don't sit down and think out their worldview. They just adopt it by osmosis, so to speak, and it is a mixture of their family values, general cultural values, the language they speak, their economic situation, the god they serve and the gods they unwittingly worship...and so many other things.

If you ask someone to choose between vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and they choose chocolate, is that choice ''rational'' or is it governed by something else? If you then ask them why they chose chocolate, you'll probably get a rationalization after the fact. But would that answer be rational as you understand rational? Would the answer ''I chose chocolate because I want to support cocoa growers in the Ivory Coast'' be more rational than ''I chose chocolate because I just like chocolate''? If you think one answer is more valid than the other, ask yourself why, and watch your own rationalization-after-the-fact.

Therein lies the plasticity of atheism: everything goes and any moral choice is equally valid. So, to answer your question,
Noah1201 wrote:Do you think it's rational... to act in the manner dictated by one's "conscience", against one's material self-interest, solely to avoid the negative emotion that will ensue otherwise?
...yes, I think it is rational for a person to make such a choice. If in doubt, ask the person why they chose to do what they did. Listen to their explanation and learn about how their brain works.

In any event, humans are rational creatures. Widom, however, isn't given to everyone; it is only for the few.

FL
Hold everything lightly. If you don't, it will hurt when God pries your fingers loose as He takes it from you. -Corrie Ten Boom

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Re: Acting morally on atheism

#15

Post by Noah1201 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:23 am

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote: ...yes, I think it is rational for a person to make such a choice. If in doubt, ask the person why they chose to do what they did. Listen to their explanation and learn about how their brain works.

In any event, humans are rational creatures. Widom, however, isn't given to everyone; it is only for the few.
Yes, you might be right. As I said, I'm not sure what to think. But consider... if the individual can recognize that the action that would leave to negative emotion is not actually morally wrong (since morality doesn't exist on atheism), and therefore neglecting to violate it is no more inherently significant than procrastinating the act of peeing, then one might argue that it's not rational. The whole point of the emotion is to prevent you from taking action that will decrease your chances of survival and replication. But if it, instead, increases them, then the emotion is doing the opposite of what it was designed to.

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