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(LA Times)   10 myths -- and 10 truths -- about atheism   (latimes.com ) divider line
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41409 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Dec 2006 at 6:28 PM (9 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-12-25 01:36:23 AM  
salty1: I mean I'm a guy who was full on raised Christian, send to bible camps, the works.... but I had never encountered the kind of righteous ferocity that some of these folks were demonstrating. It really does scare me.

I simply do not understand how the human mind can be so maleable in some cases.


I think it's mostly that many people have being "Christian" as part of their identity. That's the Us to them, and people that aren't Christian are "Them", and evil, and all of the other horrible things.

I'd guess that most of those folks have a pretty literalist view of the Bible, and that at some level it's conflicting with the evidence of their own eyes.

So, rather than review their idea of what the Bible is, they instead make an effort to show how devout they are by pounding their beliefs down the throats of others.

It's pretty narcissistic.
 
2006-12-25 01:41:03 AM  
The_Shoggoth: Because in all my experience, I have never seen any evidence of boogymen existing, much less moving objects about.

There's a Stephen King book that addresses that..somewhere...
 
2006-12-25 01:41:04 AM  
memilkisyummy

I actually heard Joy Behar's voice in my head when you quoted her. I winced in pain. It's like hearing a seal coughing up shards of glass.
 
2006-12-25 01:41:22 AM  
The claim that "Atheism is responsible for the greatest crimes in human history" is a myth is, in fact, not a myth. The simple reason: If you believe you have no accountability to a higher authority, there is no ultimate price for any of your actions. In other words, ultimate power implies ultimate impunity and self justification of any action.

Then again, in this world, thinking about one's self above all else is pretty trendy in this day and age.
 
2006-12-25 01:44:15 AM  
salty1: My church was among the first in the world to ordain women, and then accept homosexuality... going so far as to allowing the churches that desired it to ordain gay ministers and marry gay couples.

Liar liar. Anglican Church was.

and then we find out that Church of Canada is part of the Anglican congregation (it is, isn't it?).

Or that it was the Amish and no one's asked them about it...
 
2006-12-25 01:44:38 AM  
faethe: There's a Stephen King book that addresses that..somewhere...

I'll bet it makes for some gripping fiction, too. ;)
 
2006-12-25 01:44:44 AM  
Kniggit: The simple reason: If you believe you have no accountability to a higher authority, there is no ultimate price for any of your actions.

how would you explain the many examples of the contrary? (accountability to a higher authority, but absolute kill-happy bastards none the less - they're accountable to the higher authority, and that higher authority wants some killin' done)

atheism doesn't make assholes.
theism doesn't make assholes.

people are just assholes.
 
2006-12-25 01:46:20 AM  
Kniggit: The claim that "Atheism is responsible for the greatest crimes in human history" is a myth is, in fact, not a myth. The simple reason: If you believe you have no accountability to a higher authority, there is no ultimate price for any of your actions. In other words, ultimate power implies ultimate impunity and self justification of any action.

In general, atheists don't believe that there's no accountability. We're accountable to society at large. There's no eternal reward for committing atrocities and then begging forgiveness, so you better do it right in the first place.

If you believe that God is the source of all morality, then you should reread the bible and start taking a look at everything that was done in God's name or people who believed they were under God's orders. Start reading the history of Western civilization and see what people have "wrought in God's name." To say that the religious have a lock on morality is a delusion of the highest order.
 
2006-12-25 01:47:18 AM  
salty1: You say moderates are the thing that allow extremists to exist, wekk I submit to you that we are the only group that has a real shot of ending extremism without using violence.

We have the knowledge, and the personal common ground with them with which to force them to listen. They can't just dismiss us as non believers.


Like I said before, I wish for the end of religion period. But I'm not against religion solely because of the evil that can be done in it's name (evil can be done for any reason, after all). I want it to vanish because it encourages lack of critical thought.

And the extremists might employ the "No True Scotsman" fallacy and would paint you as a sell-out Christian.

But moderate Christians still have a better shot and making the extremists irrelevant now than do non-believers this is true.

Even today, though, I fear you have an uphill battle on your hands. You seem like a smart and decent human being though, and I wish more religious folk were like you.
 
2006-12-25 01:47:25 AM  
The_Shoggoth: I'll bet it makes for some gripping fiction, too. ;)

Depends on how far you are willing to take 'magical realism' (lol).
 
2006-12-25 01:48:15 AM  
Kniggit
And if you believe that you are operating on orders from God, the ultimate authority, then you can justify anything...
www.grategatsby.com
 
2006-12-25 01:48:19 AM  
I feel the need to restate that the largest charitable donation ever made in history was done so by an atheist.

/no morals my ass
 
2006-12-25 01:53:56 AM  
Funkmaster Frank: Like I said before, I wish for the end of religion period. But I'm not against religion solely because of the evil that can be done in it's name (evil can be done for any reason, after all). I want it to vanish because it encourages lack of critical thought.

Depends on which Church you are associated with. Most of the clergy in my church (Episcopalian which is part of the ANGLICAN communion) have degrees in studies aside from divinity. Our current Bishop (the one in charge of America) has a Masters in Zoology (? - might be oceanography - she's a dolphin freak I think). Then you look at some churches like the Catholics, Dominicans in particular, whose whole bit is about advancing knowlege. The local law college is part of a Dominican order - and some of the ivy league colleges are parts of similar orders.

So it depends on the individual. I would also like to state that if you fall down and start speaking in odd voices in an Episcopalian church, someone will call you a Doctor.

//the end.
 
2006-12-25 01:57:12 AM  
faethe: So it depends on the individual. I would also like to state that if you fall down and start speaking in odd voices in an Episcopalian church, someone will call you a Doctor.

i think everybody should, at least once, spectate a frothing pentecostal congregation.

if anything will give you a hinky feeling about religion without rationality, watching how contagious insanity is in that setting will.
 
2006-12-25 01:57:27 AM  
Waldo Jeffers: As someone just said...horseshiat. If I were to theorize to you (and this is an argument that the author of this article uses in his book) that a gigantic supernatural purple rabbit lives on Mars, you'd think I was an ignorant clown - and you'd be right to do so. And yet, there is no way you can actually be certain that one isn't there right now reading a magazine and having a cigarette.

The burden of proof lies on the religious and atheists saying 'no' to god(s) doesn't qualify as dogma or religious behavior - its just skepticism.


What the people don't get, the ones you're trying to explain this to, is that the existence of God is erroneously seen as the "default" position simply because more people hold it. They see it as your responsibility to prove their God does not exist simply because more of them believe he exists than not. I'm a little tipsy (Merry Christmas) bu perhaps you could help me out by coming up with an example where the majority once held a default position that was entirely wrong...Wait, flat earth?! Anyway, still tipsy....Fight the good fight.
 
2006-12-25 01:58:29 AM  
Mnementh2230

And athiests can have morals - treat others as you wish to be treated. Thus, I'm a very nice guy!

That sounds suspiciously like you STOLE it from religion and are using it for your nefarious, secular purposes, you no-good-nik!
 
2006-12-25 01:58:38 AM  
Funkmaster Frank: And the extremists might employ the "No True Scotsman" fallacy and would paint you as a sell-out Christian.

Heretic. Not sell-out. Sell-outs aren't made to stand outside because they might burst into flames.

and with that, nite nite fark :) Merry Christmas, and if that's not your thing, then good vibes and warm hugs to you all :)
 
2006-12-25 02:04:23 AM  
heap:

I don't have to explain examples to the contrary. All I'm saying is this: If you believe in nothing above you, and you believe or actually have ultimate power, you are your own authority. Dead stop, period. This is why Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and some other assorted assholes throughout history did what they did. For them, in fact, religion subverted their ability to rule with absolute power.

MrBill:

I wasn't speaking about individuals within society - I was speaking about the worst mass murderers of human history.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, that you believe in no higher power or authority but you do believe in the power of government and rule of law. If you have the opportunity to take a crate full of gold off of an armored truck, do you take it if you absolutely have no chance of getting caught?

For an atheist, the argument boils down to the utility value of claiming it for themselves versus others. If you've removed the penalty exacted by society, you're free to do whatever you want because you'll also believe that the insurance company will cover the cost. Now, you'll argue that an atheist can have morals. I don't dispute that; however, inherently there is no fundamental foundation for that position because of what I just stated - you gain with impunity, and you have nothing to lose. Those who have lost have the cost borne by their insurance.

In any case, this example is contrived, because all of the historical figures I mentioned did in fact have ultimate power within their sphere of influence. For them, their ideology was absolute. For a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or Buddhist, there would be limits.

Richard M. Nixon:

Very cute, but it proves my point: without consideration for others, the chance to begin a conflict is far greater. Do unto others as you would have done to you.
 
2006-12-25 02:04:25 AM  
heap: i think everybody should, at least once, spectate a frothing pentecostal congregation.

Like Jane Goodall in the wilds of Borneo tracking down the elusive Bonobo chimpanzee? I've been there, man. It's like an excuse to shed all personal dignity without actually having sex with anyone.

if anything will give you a hinky feeling about religion without rationality, watching how contagious insanity is in that setting will.

Yup. Most especially when I walk in the door and am informed that I need to be 're-baptised' in such and such's denomination or else I'll be going to hell. Like there's a bus in the parking lot for people like me, with blacked out windows or something...

But these are the people who almost always make me stand outside (lol). One day, when I'm feeling particularly masochistic, I think I'll volunteer to be 'saved' - then confess before the entire congregation that it's because I am gay as Barbara Streisand isn't, then tell them dirty stories.

They like the dirty stories. Makes them feel better about rolling around on the floor like epileptics, I think (no offense to epileptics).

Nite nite for real :) Merry Christmas, Heap ***hugs***.
 
2006-12-25 02:11:39 AM  
Kniggit

Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, et al. did not kill people because they were atheistic. That is, their killings were not in the name of atheism. They were in the name of their chosen philosophy (communism, socialism, nazism, what have you) or simply because the dictator would harbour no competition. Thus to say "atheism" was the reason they killed is spurious at best and out right wrong at worst.
 
2006-12-25 02:12:27 AM  
Kniggit: If you believe in nothing above you, and you believe or actually have ultimate power, you are your own authority.

again...you are ignoring the multitude of examples to the contrary. where there is a belief in a higher authority, but there's still death-o-plenty happening. they just think that higher authority wants them to do some killing.

hell, look no further than fundaloonistic islam for a current example. the higher authority/lack there of isn't the litmus test for assholism. assholistic actions are. what you use as support for those actions are just window dressing. you can get the faithful to do some damned goofy shiat if ya just convince 'em god wants it done, same as absent a higher authority than man you can convince people to do goofy shiat.

faethe: They like the dirty stories.

imagine the response to 'no, i'm not a christian' in that setting.
 
2006-12-25 02:13:06 AM  
faethe: Merry Christmas, Heap ***hugs***.

oh yah - merry christmas, and have a happy ho-ho =^)
 
2006-12-25 02:26:34 AM  
It's_A_Farking_Secret: That smug chin rubbing laugh as they enjoy making people of faith flail in frustration.

To be fair, that's only because it's so easy and predictable.

[Rubs chin]
[Laughs smugly]
[Watches frustrated flailings]
 
2006-12-25 02:31:13 AM  
The scientist as a non-believer always gives me a chuckle.....

To the scientist....
Life originated from a long process that we can scientifically theorize began at the big bang.
Before the big bang? There was nothing, ie non-existence, ie the anti-God.....

Can the scientist prove the existence of nothingness, the anti-God, any more than a person of faith can prove God exists? Of course they can't.

Aethism based on the lack of proof of God has hypocrisy as its base.
 
2006-12-25 02:31:43 AM  
Kniggit;
Proves nothing. If you believe in an ultimate being or cosmic authority, you can use it to justify anything for which you are so disposed. If you do not you can still justify anything, the former simply shows a hightened predisposistion to self-delusion. Unless, of course, you are suggesting perhaps as athiests tend to be more intellegent they are therefore more dangerous, then touche.
 
2006-12-25 02:32:56 AM  
mjtonfark

there's no such thing as "before the big bang"
 
2006-12-25 02:33:17 AM  
mjtonfark: Aethism based on the lack of proof of God has hypocrisy as its base.

are you agnostic on leprechauns?
 
2006-12-25 02:34:06 AM  
Wasn't Festivus supposed to be over two days ago? How come all of you athiests are still in here airing your grievances? Get to the feats of strength, already!

/Oh, and Merry Christmas.
 
2006-12-25 02:38:54 AM  
Faethe

"Liar liar. Anglican Church was.

and then we find out that Church of Canada is part of the Anglican congregation (it is, isn't it?)."

I didn't say the first, I said one of the first. And I'm pretty sure the United Church of Canada did before the Anglicans... by at least 5 years, I think it's more like eight. And no we are not part of their congregation... the United Church is a union of the canadian Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches (among others... but they were the founders). We are the largest protestant movement in Canada and the second largest religious organization in Canada (behind the Catholic Church).
 
2006-12-25 02:40:44 AM  
Funkmaster Frank,

Thankyou very much. You make some interesting points. The no true scotsman thing is true... though it's really only happened to me a couple of times, interestingly enough, only on fark.
 
2006-12-25 02:44:26 AM  
After the author disavowed the athiest heroes, Stalin and Pol Pot, I stopped reading TFA.


/keep believing in the sky wizard of your choice
 
2006-12-25 02:47:10 AM  
there's no such thing as "before the big bang"

Do you have proof of this or should I take it on "faith"?
 
2006-12-25 02:48:59 AM  
mjtonfark

time does not exist seperately from the universe, but is instead an integral part of it. thus no universe means no time. therefore, the concept of "before the big bang" is an impossibility since there'd be no concept of time without a universe in place.
 
2006-12-25 02:58:48 AM  
time does not exist seperately from the universe, but is instead an integral part of it. thus no universe means no time. therefore, the concept of "before the big bang" is an impossibility since there'd be no concept of time without a universe in place.


Exactly my point, ie the anti-god version, and completely unprovable. BTW there was a question mark on the end of my "before the big bang?"
 
2006-12-25 03:04:09 AM  
are you agnostic on leprechauns?

NO! The bastards stole my lucky charms......
 
2006-12-25 03:05:17 AM  
Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin didn't collect stamps. Therefore not collecting stamps is responsible for killing millions.
 
2006-12-25 03:08:20 AM  
For what it's worth, athiest in general couldn't care less about the debate of whether or not a god/God entity exists. The problem is that you religious folks who can usually be reasoned with have been way too meek in keeping your own kind in check when they start overstepping their boundaries, and start perverting your religion for the sole sake of gaining power over some issue they have an agenda for.

Until you take steps to take your respective religions back from the crazy people at the top of the chain, athiests have no choice but to step up to the plate for you.

If we don't take a stand, who else will? Would it just be better for all of us to simply let these insane maniacs have their way with us and turn their perverse beliefs into law?

Athiests are not the enemy here... the true enemies lie within your own respective religions.
 
2006-12-25 03:09:30 AM  
mjtonfark

where did i say that is an anti-god version? nor is it unprovable. it is valid according to our current understanding of the universe and the theory of relativity and the curvature of space-time.

as far as it being an "anti-god version," it would be entirely valid to say that there's a CAUSAL relationship between god and the big bang, without there being a true temporal relationship since it is generally assumed that a god is something that exists outside of the universe. i did not include any mention of god in my statement because god is not a scientific position.

there ARE experiments we can (and have) done to prove relativity and the curvature of space-time, done enough that we can make educated guesses about the behaviour of space-time up until a few moments after the big bang. unfortunately, our current understanding does not allow us to rewind the click to the exact instance of the singularity and determine what happened then. however, as theories progress and our experiments generate results (whether positive or negative), we should approach the point where we can determine the behaviour of space-time at exactly that instant.

finally, i am not required to include terminal punctuation when quoting.
 
2006-12-25 03:11:45 AM  
chetbango: "Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin didn't collect stamps. Therefore not collecting stamps is responsible for killing millions."

There are no aphilatelists in mailbox-holes.
 
2006-12-25 03:15:39 AM  
mjtonfark

You're being obstinate. There's nothing to prove. You're basically asking him to prove that non-existence existed. Which means you clearly don't have a proper concept of non-existence.

Never mind the fact that your point has nothing to do with the existence of God. As if the two were mutually inclusive. In fact your so-called "Anti-God" theory is rooted in the same concept as God. There was no existence before God, there was no existence before time. Why is one easy for you to swallow but not the other?

Oh and you wanted evidence regarding the Big Bang theory?

Well, here is some evidence.
 
2006-12-25 03:23:55 AM  
mjtonfark
Aethism based on the lack of proof of God has hypocrisy as its base.

Why? Isn't the default position to not believe in something until evidence shows it exists? I mean, there are hundreds of stories about elves, fairies, unicorns, dragons, etc. but there's no evidence they exist; is it hypocritical to believe they don't?
 
2006-12-25 03:24:33 AM  
mjtonfark: "The scientist as a non-believer always gives me a chuckle....."

Is it one of those smug, knowing chuckles of somebody who is impressed with his own willful ignorance?

"To the scientist.... Life originated from a long process that we can scientifically theorize began at the big bang."

The big bang theory is something that is debated among astrophysisists. There is a lot of disagreement. But those theories are based on observable phenomena, such as the spectral red-shift of stars, indicating an expanding universe, as well as many other observable, measurable things.

"Before the big bang? There was nothing, ie non-existence, ie the anti-God....."

According to the theory, there would be no "before" since the big bang would mark the beginning of time. Time itself is just a theoretical construct that has to do with processes and rates of change. If there is no matter then there is no change, thus "time" itself is a meaningless idea. This is just part of the theory....I am probably misrepresenting it. I doubt any legitimate scientist claims absolute knowledge regarding the big bang theory. It is something that is argued for the sake of finding the best explanation given what we know.

"Can the scientist prove the existence of nothingness, the anti-God, any more than a person of faith can prove God exists? Of course they can't."

This question is in itself absurd. There is no burden of proof for somebody who lacks a belief in something. If you ask me, "Do you believe in Six-Headed Fire-Breathing Super Kittens?" and I say "No," then I am not obligated to prove to anyone that such creates do not exist. Rather, I need only point to the lack of evidence for their existence. Since there is no hard material evidence for such a wild concept, I can realistically say that I seriously doubt the existence of Six-Headed Fire-Breathing Super Kittens. On the other hand, if you say you believe in such things, then the burden of proof is definitely on you to explain why you believe this way. If you say "faith," that provides no compelling reason why anybody else should share your belief.

"Aethism based on the lack of proof of God has hypocrisy as its base."

Only if you define hypocrisy in the most illogical manner possible, which is what you are doing in your argument.
 
2006-12-25 03:26:04 AM  
The_Shoggoth

BlueGargoyle: There is no part of that statement that makes sense. How do you "commit" to the opinion that there is insufficient evidence there is or is not a god?
---------------------------------
Simply by being able to say there is no reason whatsoever that you might believe in a god. Why would there be evidence that there is not a god? Neither is there evidence that there is no FSM, are you agnostic about that as well? There is also no evidence to support that I am the King of Peru. If I made such a claim, would you be uncertain?

Not at all, seeing as Peru is not a monarchy, but a constitutional republic. :) Sorry, but if you'd asked a serious question you would have gotten a serious answer.


Let me pose a question. In my garage is a beach ball my kids play with in the pool. Is it red, or is it blue? And remember , The_Shoggoth , if you do not answer with "confidence," then you are being wishy-washy.
---------------------------------
This is not an apt analogy for a number of reasons. But significantly, there is no claim as to color in your above post other than the existence of your beach ball. But lets assume you have stated it is red. At that point I have only your credibility to go on, which is necessarily based upon a number of assumptions I might make about you (based on your Farkerness, nature of the argument, etc.). Ultimately, I conclude that I have no compelling evidence regarding the color either way.

But you picked a mundane attribute. A color. I know plenty of red things. There is something red on my computer desk right now. Had you asked me if the beachball had been placed there by boogymen I would be able to confidently state that no, it was not. Because in all my experience, I have never seen any evidence of boogymen existing, much less moving objects about.

You managed to write an awful lot there without actually saying much of anything. Whether you have seen red objects before or not is irrelevant. The assertions that a god does exist or that one does not are both equally unsupportable. It is absolutely no different for you to expect me to know one way or the other about god/s then it is for me to expect you to divine the color of my beach ball.

You have nothing to go on and you don't know where my garage is so you cannot investigate for yourself in any meaningful capacity. On one side of Fark are the 7th Day Beach Ball Witnesses who swear on their children that the ball is red, whereas the Round Object Inflatablists insist that it could only be blue. Which side is right? Don't be wishy washy now- show some confidence and answer the question. Either make a leap of faith to seek the truth, or use logic to determine the factual answer. Red or blue?

/I'll see how you are doing tomorrow after I'm done opening my presents.
 
2006-12-25 03:29:59 AM  
chetbango

Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin didn't collect stamps. Therefore not collecting stamps is responsible for killing millions.

FTW!!!
 
2006-12-25 03:32:31 AM  
Uewebawo,

I'm referring to the "anti-god" version in the context of the article that says most scientists don't believe in GOD. I wasn't trying to argue what relationship, causal or other, that God has to the big bang. To those scientist as they get closer to "that instant" there will be no God in the equation. As you say, God is not a scientific position.

The point about the punctuation wasn't to call out a misquote but to show that with the question mark and the sentenced that followed I was saying the same as you, ie there is no before, according to our current understanding of space-time etc.

The overall point being that scientists can no more prove the nothingness to big bang to universe then believers in God can prove the hand of God to big bang to universe.
 
2006-12-25 03:33:00 AM  
chetbango

How do you explain this then?

djmandy.com
 
2006-12-25 03:34:40 AM  
RobTheNerd: "Science, by the way, only exists in order to prove itself wrong and absurd every few years."

How so? There are isolated cases where scientists reverse their conclusions on specific matters, but most of modern science only serves to re-establish and strengthen itself over time. Scientists might not be sure to what extent coffee or milk are good or bad for you (and a lot of those studies are funded by the industries that stand to benefit from them), but core knowledge about things like biology, electricity, combustion and other things grows and grows. The only reason you think science disproves itself is that when it does, it makes headlines. But scientists themselves are the most interested and dynamic characters when it comes to challenging established science. That's how it gets stronger. They'll take 100 steps forward, then realize the last 1 step was false and re-do it. That doesn't invalidate the other 99 steps.

"It can only slap labels on the obvious, and -sometimes- explain how they work...but never -why-"

What would it mean for a scientist to say "why"? Scientists do provide cause-and-effect explanations all the time. If you're talking about a spiritual "why" then obviously that is not what science is about. That is more the realm of philosophy, or perhaps whatever mystical thing you're into.

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of people on the planet with a rudimentary understanding of perhaps one religion, and have used this as a basis to pronounce all religion is stupid and 'science' is god."

Would having an understanding of multiple religions make a difference?

I think you'd have a hard time finding any atheist who claims that "science is god." Why make anything into god? What does the word god even mean? There is no need to use that word. You might say that "science is where I look for answers about the origins of life," but that is not calling it god. And even then, I would imagine such a person would be smart enough to know in advance that science is not going to answer every question. Not all questions have to have immediate answers in order for one to get through life.

"Silly, silly little children."

Lame, lame condescending tone.
 
2006-12-25 03:36:42 AM  
mjtonfark

The overall point being that scientists can no more prove the nothingness to big bang to universe then believers in God can prove the hand of God to big bang to universe.

No shiat. The point is scientists admit it, which makes them logical. Christians refuse to admit it, which makes them illogical. Thanks for stating our point for us.
 
2006-12-25 03:46:21 AM  
Good Article.
 
2006-12-25 03:50:23 AM  
friendly_neighborhood_misanthrope: "If you can't defend atheistic morality, just say so. Quit pretending to have an argument when you have not once mentioned it."

Actually atheistic morality is just as valid as theistic morality.

I can't speak for all atheists, but to me the idea of "atheistic morality" means that one bases his morals on reason. "Theistic morality," on the other hand, is a morality based on "because god told me to."

Personally I have a lot more respect for a person who chooses to be moral because given all other options, they reasoned that moral behavior was the best way to go. A person who is moral simply because "God said I should be this way" hasn't really throught it through and is just being subservient to a perceived duty.

The next question might be, "How can somebody base morality on reason?" There are several answers to that and it has been debated and discussed by philosophers for centuries, going back before the existence of Christianity.

One of the more compelling reasons to be moral is that we are social animals that historically have relied on each other for survival. Moral behavior provides a functional way for us to coexist with the best possibility of mutual benefits. (There are also selfish psychological benefits to moral behavior. Living by consistent standards helps us get along with others and reduces the stress of conflict.) If you accept these ideas as axioms, then from there you can reason a whole set of ethical standards and guidelines for living.
 
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