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Dostoevsky's Statement

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posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 08:36 AM
"He wrote "If there is no god , then everything is permitted."

My task for you is to critique the phrase and examine whether or not it is a valid argument or not.

I am of the personally opinion that it is not valid and is quite insulting. I will share my reasons why later after a few have posted.

I do not want this turning into a quarrel about religious preference please. Stick to the quote and your views and rationally debate others.
This thread is about knowledge not about proving anyone's religion wrong. Thanks in advance!

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 08:51 AM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

Can I nitpick here?

It's not Dostoevsky's statement. He didn't say it, he didn't write it. A literary character of his never said it.

It's a statement that has been widely attributed to him, in error. Things like this propagate around. Sorry, personal quibble of mine.

Taking Dostoevsky out of it for a moment if I may, I'll comment on the statement.

Once you accept his premise, even a lunatic can make sense.

I'd paraphrase thusly, "If there is no God, then everything is up for discussion." I think that's a truer representation of the proposed hypothetical. With no objective moral authority, nothing is off the table.


As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 08:56 AM
reply to post by IamBoon

Isn't the full argument, in the writer's mind, something like this?-
"If there is no God, everything is permitted.
But that is absurd.
Therefore there must be a God."

In other words. it's a version of the argument that non-believers have no rational basis for setting themselves moral standards.

[edit on 29-7-2010 by DISRAELI]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 08:56 AM
reply to post by yeahright

Yes I seen that when researching it. It really doesn't matter to my goal though. I just would like to discuss it's ramifications on moral / religious thought.

You can interpret anything to be anything.... that is not the purpose of the thread. What is stated is quite clear and most take it to be so. I kind of see where you are going with what you say but I do not understand a lot of it.

What is up for discussion? Why does belief factor in? What god are we speaking of ? etc.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:01 AM
"Do what thou wilst shall be the whole of the law." - AC
Where did good people and bad people go before God was invented?
( or imposed if you didn't invent him your self)

I worked for a guy who had been clinically dead 17 times over the years.
Accident prone.
He has said:
"It isn't going that hurts it's coming back."
He goes to church on Sundays
He is the biggest blackmarketeer I have ever seen.
He ain't worried
All dogs go to heaven.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:06 AM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

reply to post by IamBoon

My point is that absent a supreme objective moral authority, all there is, is us. That being the case, there's nothing preventing "us" from determining in a subjective, convenient and personal way, what's right.

This has some very large ramifications, as was noted by the founders of the United States in the document that created the country.

From the Declaration of Independence...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


The alternative would be that people only have the rights others permit them to have. If Man can grant it, Man can take it away.

If the notion that appropriate permissiveness is subjective, then anything you, or anyone else, can conceive of could potentially be permissible. Anything.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:10 AM
reply to post by DISRAELI

That is the general consensus of the part I quote and extraneous to it. I really would like to hear thoughts about the saying , not its origin.
I feel it is absurd but I really do not know so much about ethics. I know this is a huge moral question regarding innate human morality vs. god's morality. I just do not know if it stands up and would like to hear more about the idea behind it.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:16 AM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

reply to post by IamBoon

It's deep stuff. Hard to go into in a forum post and really do it any kind of justice. If you're really interested in it, I'd suggest looking into Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke for starters.

That's John Locke who wrote Two Treatises of Government, not the Lost character.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

[edit on 7/29/2010 by yeahright]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:16 AM
reply to post by yeahright

Ahh , so without any "supreme" moral figure society would be forever damned in its evils and false social constructs?

Isn't morality in society subjectively based on nationality , group , philosophy , and well-being?

What isn't subjective about today's high standard of morals in most societies?

Where does god get involved and how?

Thanks in advance!

BTW do you have some groupies following you with stars ?lmao

[edit on 29-7-2010 by IamBoon]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:17 AM
reply to post by yeahright

There is a moral limit:
At some point, mans' behavior becomes non survival..
directly or by consequence...

Can't have that...
So constitutions and secondarily laws are what man rightly creates as if there was a god who cared, he would have said:
Did I just create a fail?
Make it work.

PS late add
FANDS for fun
good topic

[edit on 29-7-2010 by Danbones]

[edit on 29-7-2010 by Danbones]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:21 AM
reply to post by Danbones

"Do what thou whilst is the whole of the law."

I think no other statement entirely encompasses human nature besides other statements that say the same thing!

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:31 AM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

reply to post by IamBoon

Not necessarily. Sure, there's a lot of subjective morality. The point is, is there an absolute? Is there a threshold which absolutely should not be crossed? Is there anything so abhorrent that it shouldn't be up for discussion, much less permitted, even in a society where everyone agrees it should be permissible?

Is "survival" the ultimate goal, or do we aspire to more than that. Where do those aspirations come from? Were we endowed by a creator with inalienable rights? Or should we acquiesce to whichever mortal has the dictatorial power to force their view?

For all the talk about religion being a "tool of oppressors" (and it most certainly can be), which view provides the most positive result for the most people? We're on our own, better accept whatever comes down the pike because might makes right so shaddap and deal with it? Or... you have a divinely granted right to live, and while you're here, maybe it would be a good idea to get along and help each other out?

Which direction is most comfortable? You can be voted as dinner, or you have an inalienable right to exist? Remember, whoever grants it can take it away.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:40 AM
reply to post by IamBoon

"If there is no God, Then everything is permitted". So in the latter statement, Who is permitting? This to me, would indicate that there sits an authority in judgement to permit. Why is not "There is a God who does not pass judgement, who see's all of his creation equally" . My humble suggestion, do not subjegate your own consciousness with dogma and scripture. Seek from within. No answer's will come from an outside source.
If you were to start a real time strategy game on your computer, would you sit in judgement at the moves made by the antagonist? Without the negative, there would be no positive, no movement, stagnation, no game to play, the game would not work. OR would you love to watch and play the game that you have created?


[edit on 29-7-2010 by Klaatumagnum]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:55 AM
I think what it means is this.
If you do not have the yoke of conscience to "civilize" your behavior, you are free to exploit anyone, everyone, anything, and everything at your personal whim.
The purpose of a creator (that is "designed" by men of influence) is to modify the behavior of the masses and make them "good" citizens.
These same men of influence, in my mind, are not bound by those same rules of conduct, ie, they have NO conscience, and are therefore free to exploit anyone, everyone, anything, and everything for their personal benefit. Of course, sociopaths exhibit the same sort of personality traits without a plan to control the masses.
Ultimately, it is up to the individual whether pursuing ones own selfish interests (at the expense of anything or anyone) is moral or immoral.
There is a very good reason why certain powerful people do not seem to adhere to moral (or legal) constraints. They do not have the yoke of conscience, or the fear of justice for that matter.

That is how I interpret it, with examples of how it plays out in the real world.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:02 AM
I think the phrase is purely justification for some people actions, on the flip side you have priests that clearly believe in god doing unspeakable things to children. I live my life by the mantra of treat others with respect and try and be a better person even in the face of adversity. Even in it was scientifically proven without doubt that God did not exist it would not change who I am. All boils down to what religion really is and what people need from their religion.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:07 AM
reply to post by yeahright

Are those inalienable rights given or a reaction to forces prohibiting those actions?
To me it is like begging to say pain is an inalienable right when it is just a tool for survival.

So without objective morality "where it comes from I do not know as everything is subjective" we as human couldn't find a basis for ethics?

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:13 AM
Well, fine, but the quote represents one Christian tradition's parochial view about the form of moral regulation, not just the basis of it.

A typical Muslim position is that you are judged by God on the net good or bad that you have done in this life, a standard which is sometimes called "the scales." I could have sworn that I have heard some Christians say much the same, but I don't know of any Christian church where it is dogma.

Anyway, obviously, such a belief system asserts both "God exists" and "Anything is permitted," with the proviso that anything bad is offset by other deeds, "good deeds."

Also, Dostoevsky was a Russian Orthodox Christian, whose ideas reflect that tradition, and not all of Christianity. Other Christians are very radical about sola fide salvation, that really the one and only thing needed is faith in Jesus and his sacrifice.

Now, if you confront such a person, you will get an argument, of course. But, at then end of the day, everything is, al least is some sense, "permitted" in that view, too. And you aren't even put to the trouble of offsetting good works (or, if you prefer, the "act" of faith is the good thing that offsets whatever else).

So, I don't see that belief in God, as such, is a reliable indicator of what is demanded of the believer in the way of morality. I think it is much more significant that many Abrahamics believe there is a "plan," into which anything anybody ever does "fits."

Not only is anything permitted, but everything ultimately serves some greater good.

Being terrified that the boss will fire you ( = God will smite you) provides little guidance about how to live, IMO. Obviously, he puts up with a lot when it suits him, and smites everybody sooner or later anyway.

[edit on 29-7-2010 by eight bits]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:19 AM
reply to post by IamBoon

Replace "God" with either "Morals or Ethics" and then take 30 seconds to think about the current world we live in.

Not only is it a valid strategy, it has been executed perfectly in the "civilized" world.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:24 AM
It would certainly seem more a philosophical debate as opposed to a religious one, and for the most part based around morality and whether or not it's subjective in nature or perhaps universally definable.

I've always considered morality to be subjective in nature, since to be universally definable (by god) ultimately begs the question Who's God? What God? What have you...

With regards what is moral and what is immoral I don't think there will ever be definitive lines drawn between the two that can't eventually be blurred by another individual's perspective, culture, religion, experience or upbringing.

Morality basically being the difference between right and wrong .... but Whose "right" and Whose "wrong" would seem the near undefinable question here.

Cannibalism, for example, is considered an abhorrent act to nearly every civilized culture on the planet, but try telling that to the tribes and peoples who to this day practice the same ... some even considering it a means by which to keep the since deceased spirit alive and with the living.

While I realize we all typically have "our lines" with regards what is right and what is wrong, what is moral and what is immoral, but I think we'd be hard-pressed to form any sort of unilaterally-agreed to edict when attempting to apply the same on a global scale.

One of those age old queries and pause for ponderance type questions right up there with whose God is The god. Whose "right is The "right"

My head hurts.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:26 AM
I'd like to play with the idea of God as conscience - the innate sense of knowing/feeling the difference between what's right and what's wrong. If 'God = good' then with him out of the equation ie, ' no God = bad' then anything goes which would include that which we 'know' as bad.
Wish I had more time to develop what I'm trying to get at...

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