Does Atheism (Determinism) Negatively Impact Morality?

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Rich
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Does Atheism (Determinism) Negatively Impact Morality?

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Post by Rich » Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:39 pm

Does Atheism (Determinism) Negatively Impact Morality?

A new study shows that manipulation of a belief in determinism (an atheistic belief) adversely affects morality (as measured by cheating behavior). Who says atheism doesn't affect moral choices?

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Re: Does Atheism (Determinism) Negatively Impact Morality?

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Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:23 pm

That's a very interesting study Rich. I've had this conversation with some atheists and humanists and I've made the conciliatory remark at times that Atheists and Humanists can be ethical people and that a theistic worldview doesn't guarantee that people will act in a more morally or ethically consistent manner.

This puts some measure to it that I've not seen before.

On the other hand, anecdotally, there are many areas when observed at a high level relating to moral issues where the Church doesn't appear to behave practically in a more moral manner as measured by things such as abotion, divorce etc. when compared to the general population.

I've wondered at times if there were a way to move beyond those high level observations and determine what is measurable in a person's life that does begin to impact these issues. Is it the level of church attendance? Is it a prayer and devotional life outside church attendance? Is it participation in some form of accountable relationship group beyond a Sunday Morning Service such as a Bible Study, or Sunday School class where people interact on a more intimate level?

It may be that within the general umbrella of the Church as an organization that we have about an equal percentage of people whom in their own thinking and moral and ethical deliberation and responses, are as affected by the relativistic determinism of this post-modern age as is the general population.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: Does Atheism (Determinism) Negatively Impact Morality?

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Post by Rich » Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:49 pm

Yes, for a lot of measures, people of the church don't seem to be any different than people outside the church. However, this is because everybody who ever stepped foot into a church thinks that they are the real thing. Making some vague "profession of faith" when you are 18, but leading a life dedicated to self doesn't make one a Christian. There are going to be some surprises at judgment day:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' (Matthew 7:21-23)
Even so, the study shows that belief in determinism influences one to think that cheating is acceptable behavior. One has to wonder what other atheists' doctrines might influence one's moral behavior. The same kind of study could be done regarding belief in Neo-Darwinian evolution. I bet the results would be similar.

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Re: Does Atheism (Determinism) Negatively Impact Morality?

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Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:14 am

Rich wrote:Yes, for a lot of measures, people of the church don't seem to be any different than people outside the church. However, this is because everybody who ever stepped foot into a church thinks that they are the real thing. Making some vague "profession of faith" when you are 18, but leading a life dedicated to self doesn't make one a Christian. There are going to be some surprises at judgment day:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' (Matthew 7:21-23)
Even so, the study shows that belief in determinism influences one to think that cheating is acceptable behavior. One has to wonder what other atheists' doctrines might influence one's moral behavior. The same kind of study could be done regarding belief in Neo-Darwinian evolution. I bet the results would be similar.
Good points. I think you're right. I've been too conciliatory in my thinking on some of these points and this helps to address that for me.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

//bartsbarometer.com/

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