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Why I Am Moral (By an Atheist)

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posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 11:10 AM
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reply to post by NeverForget
 


Sorry but who decides what are morals, You? Me? the other guy? the government?

You are not moral because you can you are moral because God gave you a conscience, which you realize what is right and wrong with.

It is your flesh that decides which morals you want to follow.

Is all stealing from an employer theft if they are a greedy dictator?? In my book as theft small or great is stealing.




posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by ACTS 2:38
Sorry but who decides what are morals, You? Me? the other guy? the government?

You are not moral because you can you are moral because God gave you a conscience, which you realize what is right and wrong with.

It is your flesh that decides which morals you want to follow.


An interesting scientific test, measuring brain activity.
When the people being tested were asked to describe their morals, Brain area A gained activity.
When asked about a certain other persons morals, Brain area C got the activity.
When asked about Societies morals as a whole, areas B,C, D responded.

When asked "So, what are god's morals?" area A activated again, as they describe their own morals again, but as if it were gods.

That's not 100% how it went, and I'm not gonna dig up a citation right now, but I've seen it referenced a lot. You get the jist of it.

And we all don't have the same morals. People living in some sharia law locations, feel it is immoral to let a adulterer live. Feeling the moral thing is to kill them publicly. Did god give them that conscience? Is that part of the same conscience that makes us feel it is immoral to be so brutal for such a relatively petty offense?
~
How do you, or anyone else, determine god's morals? As I already said, the bible certainly doesn't cut it. And there's no unified version of morality that every human feels equally. It doesn't add up to one deity with one's set of morals influncing humans morals. And theirs no prove that it comes from that god either.

I'd say, our capabilties of empathy, mixed with social conditioning, determines our personal sense of morality. That's logical, and doesn't require leaps of faith making assumptions about things we can't know about.



posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 12:28 PM
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reply to post by ACTS 2:38
 


You wrote:

["Sorry but who decides what are morals, You? Me? the other guy? the government?"]

A flexible, pragmatic consensus with mankind as the final referee.

Quote: ["You are not moral because you can you are moral because God gave you a conscience, which you realize what is right and wrong with."]

Which is a self-contained circle-argument, more in the preaching category.

Quote: ["It is your flesh that decides which morals you want to follow."]

That's ONE of the reference-points. There's also empathy and rational considerations.

Quote: ["Is all stealing from an employer theft if they are a greedy dictator?? In my book as theft small or great is stealing."]

Which it also is in many other 'books'. Your point?



posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 01:52 PM
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Originally posted by xxsomexpersonxx
~

Originally posted by charles1952
At least part of morality involves knowing what you should do. Where do atheists come up with the "should" idea. Why "should" I not steal if I need something? To protect society? Why should I protect society? To keep the race alive? The race will end eventually anyway, why should I keep it alive?


I'd assume the same place you do. It'd be a joke if you claimed to use the bible to know all your rights and wrongs. Would you truely not be against murder, or theft, if god never said either were bad? Are you ok with slavery, and slave beating, since god actually did condone these behaviours? Do you believe in excessive punishment(often stoning) for petty crimes and the mistreatment of women? Is online piracy ok just because god never said it wasn't? The list goes on, very long.

We have moral compasses within us. You use your moral compass when you pick and choose what parts of the bible to listen to, which to not, and which to declare no longer relevant. Ultimately, it's not the bible leading you, it's you leading the bible. Thusly, it's not you're source of morality.


Dear xxsomexpersonxx,

Thanks for your response, but I think we're missing each other. The topic was "Why I am Moral (by an Atheist)." I want to find the answer to that question, not "Why I am moral (by Charles1952)."

From an atheist point of view, God never said "good" or "bad" because there is no God. Nor would an atheist give any special weight to the bible. Indeed, since it talks about a non-existent (to the atheist) God, it is suspect and not to be trusted.

You seem to be left with saying "I'm moral because I follow my moral compass." Surely you see the problems here. First, why should you follow your moral compass? To make yourself feel good? Hedonism as morality? Second, what is a moral compass. Your feeling at the moment, depending on circumstances? Your desires?

Can others have their own moral compass different than yours? What is to be done when some people say murder is immoral and others say it is a necessary survival tool? Society then has no morality because every individual has a slightly different one. Are there some moralities that are clearly right? What makes them right and others wrong. Is it morality by majority vote? Then what would have happened to segregated schools, there was a majority then.

Of course there's more, but thanks for writing.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 02:32 PM
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Dear bogomil,

Forgive me for jumping into your exchange with ACTS 2:38, but I'm afraid I'm going to need some clarification before I can make sense of your response to him.

You write that morals are decided by "A flexible, pragmatic consensus with mankind as the final referee." However well that might work as a blueprint for drafting legislation, it can have nothing to do with morals.

Does flexible mean that in January something may be moral, but it's not in October? Are morals something that are bending and changing such that we need to check the paper to see if more morals have been passed, eliminating the old ones?

And what are we to make of "pragmatic?" The morals that get the job done are the morals we will have? Morals only exist to get the job done? What job? Who decided that that was the job that needed to get done? Efficiency has exactly what to do with morality?

"...[C]onsensus with mankind as the final referee." I do admire dreamers, but isn't this going too far? Consensus means unanimous agreement, but I will assume you are not using it that way, but you mean some kind of majority. What kind of majority 50% + 1? 2/3? 100% - 1? Is there no room on this globe for someone or some small group to say "I don't care what the world thinks, I know what's right?" Opposition to the slave trade was a minority position for a long time. Could that opposition be voted as immoral under your plan?

And who is the deciding body, the entire world, or only the "right" kind of people? Besides the impossibility of getting 100% turnout, where will the Muslims agree with the Christians? Where will the Communists agree with the Libertarians? What do you do with the billion or so people whose only thought is "How do I get food?" Or is the morality of the world to be decided by the college educated, the activists, the elite, the powers that be?

In short, I may be misunderstanding what you intended, but if I do understand it I can't support you. Besides, your proposition falls under the weight of logic and impracticability



posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 03:27 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


You wrote:

["You write that morals are decided by "A flexible, pragmatic consensus with mankind as the final referee." However well that might work as a blueprint for drafting legislation, it can have nothing to do with morals."]

Considering that most constitutional, egalitarian, liberal, secular democracies already use such a model, it's a bit late to say, that it's a blueprint.

Quote: ["Does flexible mean that in January something may be moral, but it's not in October?"]

Theoretically this could happen, but a constitution is a safeguard against such flimsiness. It's not changed overnight because of changing moods or fads.

Quote: ["Are morals something that are bending and changing such that we need to check the paper to see if more morals have been passed, eliminating the old ones?"]

Some knowledge of social and political philosophy wouldn't hurt to keep such orchestrated scenarios in check. This may happen in a south-american contry with a weekly revolution, not in the older democracies.

Quote: ["And what are we to make of "pragmatic?" The morals that get the job done are the morals we will have? Morals only exist to get the job done? What job? Who decided that that was the job that needed to get done?"]

I'm afraid, that your inclusion of "getting the job done" isn't part of my considerations, so you'll have to sort that one out for yourself.

Quote: ["Efficiency has exactly what to do with morality?"]

Pragmatism isn't automatically 'effective', though trial-and-error usually leads to some degree of pragmatic effectivity. Square wheels are e.g. out of fashion.

Quote: [""...[C]onsensus with mankind as the final referee." I do admire dreamers, but isn't this going too far?]

Nope. And I didn't say the recently started process is even close to being finsihed. There's much to do still. The first thing is to get rid of self-proclaimed authorites, be they divine or mundane.

Quote: ["Consensus means unanimous agreement, but I will assume you are not using it that way, but you mean some kind of majority."]

With the small exception of extremist groups of ideological fascists, I believe there is a consensus about the constitutional democratic system in constitutional democratic nations.

Quote: ["What kind of majority 50% + 1? 2/3? 100% - 1? Is there no room on this globe for someone or some small group to say "I don't care what the world thinks, I know what's right?"]

That's called egalitarian rights and is rather prominent in egalitarian countries. It does however not make it legitimate for any group to topple the overall system.

Quote: ["Opposition to the slave trade was a minority position for a long time."]

Such a system was not egalitarian, liberal, secular, constitutional democracy, just as Sovjet, Nazi-germany and various theocracies weren't. It was elitistic authoritarian and thus not in the model I support.

Quote: ["And who is the deciding body, the entire world, or only the "right" kind of people?"]

Presently no-one on a global scale. For the general social structure see above, where I already have answered on this.

Quote: ["Besides the impossibility of getting 100% turnout, where will the Muslims agree with the Christians?"]

They already do here in northern Europe. It's only the extremists, who really create big problems. Are you trying to enflame an orchestrated black/white scenario to prove a point?

Quote: [" Where will the Communists agree with the Libertarians?"]

As above.

Quote: ["What do you do with the billion or so people whose only thought is "How do I get food?"]

Strive for an extension of the societal principles outlined earlier here.

Quote: ["Or is the morality of the world to be decided by the college educated, the activists, the elite, the powers that be?"]

That would be a return to the fascism of Sovjet, Nazi-germany and theocracy just with another elite.

Quote: ["In short, I may be misunderstanding what you intended, but if I do understand it I can't support you."]

Further information under political and social philosophy and utilitarian philosophy, if the subject interests you.

Quote: ["Besides, your proposition falls under the weight of logic and impracticability"]

According to which criteria does it 'fall'?

PS Jump in all you like, there is no censorship or exclusivity here.



posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 04:48 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


If you look back on my post, I was replying to ACTS claim of god being the ultimate source of morality, and the claim there's no other good explanation for being moral without. That post wasn't directed at answering you're question, though I did reply more directly towards it in my first post in this topic.


Originally posted by charles1952
You seem to be left with saying "I'm moral because I follow my moral compass." Surely you see the problems here. First, why should you follow your moral compass? To make yourself feel good? Hedonism as morality? Second, what is a moral compass. Your feeling at the moment, depending on circumstances? Your desires?


This is, in my opinion, something rooted in natural emotion. You can't give a reason why you like being happy, you just do. You can't give a reason why you bother doing anything, because it's from emotion rather than logic. You can say pain hurts, but when you boil it down, it's back to non-logic emotion why you avoid it. Similarly, you can't give a truely logic based reason for why to follow your moral compass. It is something that just is, an absolute. Emotions are not about logic, though logic can guide them. Empathy is ultimately an emotion.

A moral compass is mostly in one of those "In your gut things", it's something deep inside you. You don't consciously control it. You can alter it though by being conscious of how your actions affect others. Broadening your knowledge of the effects of your actions, and trying to strengthen your sense of empathy. It can also be changed by others through social conditioning, and the invoking of the (not always bad) instinct of conformity.

Something always challenging to a theist who claims there's no reason to be moral without god, is why they even worship god in the first place. Love, fear of hell, because they owe him, they are all emotional arguements. They can't give a real reason to worship god, it boils down to "just because". If you can understand why they would worship god out of a "just because", you should see why I can be moral with the backing of it not being one of logic.


Originally posted by charles1952
Can others have their own moral compass different than yours? What is to be done when some people say murder is immoral and others say it is a necessary survival tool? Society then has no morality because every individual has a slightly different one. Are there some moralities that are clearly right? What makes them right and others wrong. Is it morality by majority vote? Then what would have happened to segregated schools, there was a majority then.


Of course others can have a different moral compass than mine, or yours. Are they still immoral, by my standards they are, depending on what they do, but they are moral by their standards. What happens is that when people, even if moral by their personal standards, are too harmful to the rest of society, they get locked up, executed, or committed to asylum. Our laws are(or at least should) be committed to protecting individual rights(Life, no being injured, not being stolen from, not being slandered). Having a different sense of morality is ok, but when you start hurting others because of it, you'll be removed by society because that's better for society.

Majority vote, is a double edged sword. It helps regulate people with a poorer since of morality. People with weaker empathy can end up conforming to the views of people with stronger senses. It also makes perfectly moral people get slice with the other edge because the majority doesn't understand them. Such as Slavery, the oppression of women, and the condemning of homosexuality.

~
I could write out my personal moral compass, but laying it out in written form would weaken the point of it. As there are rules that guide it, more it's open to examining the situation and making sure that following said rules are the best decision to make.

~
You do present thought invoking questions, which is always a pleasure. I hope my responses helped clear up my position, and feel free to ask anything else you're curious about.



posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 05:04 PM
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Dear bogomil,

I can't thank you enough for your kind and extremely patient answers. They have cleared up a number of my questions. I trust you will not be surprised, however, when I say your answers have created more questions for me. Please allow me to ask, as the subject is very interesting and we may even answer "Why I am Moral."

You identify an unusual group of people: constitutional, egalitarian, liberal, secular democracies. May I employ the barbarism of calling them CE'___'s? Then there will exist those countries that are CE'___'s, and those countries that aren't. (I meant nothing at all by using the Christian-Muslim reference. It was the first example that came to mind of two groups having distinctively different morals. If an apology is requested, I will offer one.)

If you wish to critique other countries' morals, do you say to the Others (non-CE'___') "Your beliefs are not CE'___' beliefs "and thus not in the model I support?" When the Others respond "CE'___' morals are for sissies, you'll never be right," how do you respond? Will your only response be "CE'___' morals are created by CE'___' countries, therefore they are better?" Or, perhaps "Your morals are not in the model I support, therefore they are worse?" Why are CE'___' morals better than Other morals?

The CE'___' approach to Others is to "Strive for an extension of the societal principles outlined earlier here." Not surprisingly, the Others will be striving to extend their principles to CE'___' states. At some level there must be a clash, a cultural conflict. How do the CE'___'s win? By violence? By persuading the Others that CE'___' is right and they are wrong? How do you manage that persuasion? Why should people follow CE'___' morals instead of Others' morals?

Even within CE'___'s there is disagreement over certain moral issues, such as immigration policy, homosexual relations, drug use, prayer in public, etc. Do we count on the passage of time to bring people together? That's not moral decision making as I understand it. Does one CE'___' strive to extend their principles to another? Why does the extending CE'___' think their morals are better that those of the CE'___' that is receiving their attention?

Just a little nibble. I believe there are countries in the UK that would fit your definition of a CE'___', but they don't have a constitution. Are their morals off? Does getting "rid of self-proclaimed authorities" mean the Queen has to go?

By the way, are you considering an international agency to speak for the CE'___''s?

Of course there's more. But for now

With thanks and respect,
Charles 1952



posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 05:41 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


It's getting late here, so maybe my answer will be brief. I'll pick out a few central points from your post.

Quote: ["If you wish to critique other countries' morals, do you say to the Others (non-CE'___') "Your beliefs are not CE'___' beliefs "and thus not in the model I support?"]

Yes.

Quote: ["When the Others respond "CE'___' morals are for sissies, you'll never be right," how do you respond?"]

"That's your business, if you keep it at home".

Quote: ["Will your only response be "CE'___' morals are created by CE'___' countries, therefore they are better?" Or, perhaps "Your morals are not in the model I support, therefore they are worse?" Why are CE'___' morals better than Other morals?"]

As I don't operate with 'absolutes', there are no ultimate 'good' or 'evil' principles to use as reference-points. There's the functionality mankind chooses (a point for possible later considerations).

Quote: ["The CE'___' approach to Others is to "Strive for an extension of the societal principles outlined earlier here." Not surprisingly, the Others will be striving to extend their principles to CE'___' states. At some level there must be a clash, a cultural conflict."]

If one part of such a cultural conflict is authoritarian, a clash is unavoidable.

Quote: ["How do the CE'___'s win?"]

I'm counting on mankind's small greed, mental laziness and slight hedonism. Conflicts are expensive and tiresome, and eventually most people want to stay at home being zombified behind a TV, overeating or whatever they want to spend time on. Dying on a battlefield isn't as attractive as getting some new idiotic electronic gadget you have no real need of.

Quote: ["Even within CE'___'s there is disagreement over certain moral issues, such as immigration policy, homosexual relations, drug use, prayer in public, etc."]

None of them are utopias. It all really started seriously just afer WWII, so it still needs some time.

Quote: ["Do we count on the passage of time to bring people together?"]

Slow does it. An overenthusistic earlier european immigration policy lead to some cultural problems, which aren't destructive for the overall social fabric, but will take some time to settle. As said, it's mainly fringe-groups creating such problems.

Quote: [" Does one CE'___' strive to extend their principles to another?"]

As there inside a CE'___' group is a need for 'diplomacy', so there also is between separate CE'___'s.

Quote: ["Why does the extending CE'___' think their morals are better that those of the CE'___' that is receiving their attention?"]

It's in human nature to cling to the known and fear the unknown. A kind of psychological territorial instinct. Making the unknown known makes contact smoother, but is a slow process.

Quote: ["Just a little nibble. I believe there are countries in the UK that would fit your definition of a CE'___', but they don't have a constitution."]

I'm unfamiliar with such examples. Please, can you give me some.

Quote: ["Does getting "rid of self-proclaimed authorities" mean the Queen has to go?"]

I live myself in a constituional monarchy and am quite content with it. Monarchy is practically 'toothless' these days and quite charmingly decorative.

Quote: ["By the way, are you considering an international agency to speak for the CE'___''s?"]

I believe growing internet-access will do the job. People will drool over the 'luxuries' in the west (where most CE'___' are).



posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 06:40 PM
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Dear xxsomexpersonxx,

I'm amazingly fortunate to have found you and bogomil, I can't recall seeing posts as thoughtful and important as yours. If I was that kind of person, I'd do a happy dance. The clarity and completeness of your answer gives me something to strive for.

Your explanation creates a certain sadness in me, though. I think that feeling comes mostly from this paragraph:

"A moral compass is mostly in one of those "In your gut things", it's something deep inside you. You don't consciously control it. You can alter it though by being conscious of how your actions affect others. Broadening your knowledge of the effects of your actions, and trying to strengthen your sense of empathy. It can also be changed by others through social conditioning, and the invoking of the (not always bad) instinct of conformity."

I'm not sure I can explain why I have that feeling, so please allow me to just throw some impressions out and maybe you'll understand a little. The moral compass is your most personal "inside" part of you, it is certainly "sacred" to the individual. But it's really not yours in the sense you created it, its something created by your parents, teachers, television, in short "society." You have no outside source you can turn to and say "This is real. This I can trust." Instead there are many forces attempting to bring your moral compass in line with theirs. Somehow I see the compass as being tossed about by a storm of magnets, some stronger or closer than others, but all pulling at the compass. Who can control it? How can you tell which way it should be pointing?

But there must be some way of knowing which way the compass should be pointing. For you, it seems, that not hurting someone else is the North Star, the one truth. But then what do we do with gangs? Suicide bombers? Leaders of the Communist purges? Concentration camps? Certainly, preventing harm to others is not their North Star. They have different North Stars which they find equally compelling.

Why not adopt their North Stars? I'm afraid I can't see any logical reason for believing they have it wrong and you have it right. (I agree with you that hurting others is usually a bad idea.) But my thoughts keep going back to the OP's headline "WHY I am moral (by an Atheist)"

Again, thank you for your considerate response.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 11:44 PM
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Originally posted by charles1952
Dear xxsomexpersonxx,

I'm amazingly fortunate to have found you and bogomil, I can't recall seeing posts as thoughtful and important as yours. If I was that kind of person, I'd do a happy dance. The clarity and completeness of your answer gives me something to strive for.


That's very flattering. You pushed my ego button just a tiny bit. I'm glad you find me (and bogomil) helpful. Being in discussions like this help me too, as it helps put my thoughts into more concise form.


Originally posted by charles1952
I'm not sure I can explain why I have that feeling, so please allow me to just throw some impressions out and maybe you'll understand a little. The moral compass is your most personal "inside" part of you, it is certainly "sacred" to the individual. But it's really not yours in the sense you created it, its something created by your parents, teachers, television, in short "society." You have no outside source you can turn to and say "This is real. This I can trust." Instead there are many forces attempting to bring your moral compass in line with theirs. Somehow I see the compass as being tossed about by a storm of magnets, some stronger or closer than others, but all pulling at the compass. Who can control it? How can you tell which way it should be pointing?


I understand that completely. This is why I try so hard to refine my personal sense of morality. I don't accept the social norm, or my gut instinct. I think new issues out thoroughly, make sure I have all relevant knowledge about it, and feed that information along my instincts rules to come to the most accurate conclusion I can.

A point I feel strongly about, is that, even if someone strives as hard as they can to do what they think is right, it'll only get them so far if the compass is pointed in the wrong way. Though, at the very least they are respectable for trying.

Social conditioning, tends to shrink when you think things over. It's instinctive to know "This is what everybody else thinks" when deciding on an issue, but when you also teach your self "This is what the facts and my powers of deduction say", you start feeding mostly off that instead.

If hypothetically, a deity(lets not use the christian god for this example, just a nameless different one), had infinite knowledge, and infinite reasoning skills, would it lead to the same answers on morality than us? Quite likely it wouldn't be too much different , actually, but it is truly impossible to know how close we are to 'right'.

Analogy: If you're an artist, trying to do a realistic portrait of someone, does it help to bog yourself down knowing it'll never be as accurate as a photograph? No, you use the skills you have and make it the best your skills will allow. Same with morality, we kinda just have to do what we can, and hope our best is close enough. With everything in life, we should either be content accepting our best, or try to better our skills. It's better to accept you'll never be perfect than let those imperfections spoil your disposition.


Originally posted by charles1952
But there must be some way of knowing which way the compass should be pointing. For you, it seems, that not hurting someone else is the North Star, the one truth. But then what do we do with gangs? Suicide bombers? Leaders of the Communist purges? Concentration camps? Certainly, preventing harm to others is not their North Star. They have different North Stars which they find equally compelling.

Why not adopt their North Stars? I'm afraid I can't see any logical reason for believing they have it wrong and you have it right. (I agree with you that hurting others is usually a bad idea.) But my thoughts keep going back to the OP's headline "WHY I am moral (by an Atheist)"


How to go about prevention of harm, is actually where talk of morality becomes interesting. Compared to deciding if something will lead to unjust harm of someone else(to simply my moral compass to a sentence), being too strict of using wrong methods of preventing harm, actually can lead to harm themselves. What's most effective, practical, and yet is fair, is much harder to sort out. Still, that's another thing that needs to be thought out carefully. There isn't any golden rule to it, just trying to make the best decision you can.

As far as knowing if your sense of morality is right instead of others, you can never know for certain. But a willingness to actually slow down and determine things, gives an advantage most people lack. Also, others don't have any way of knowing they are more right than you too.

I'd say, listen. If people have different stances on issues, hear their stances, and factor in the information that led them to those stances. If it makes you adjust your stance, adjust it, if it doesn't, don't. Again, we're all imperfect, you can't know that you're 100% right, but you can still try your best from your own logic and senses. Your best should be good enough.

~
I have a bad tendency to draw out my talking points. It's hard for me to say what I want to say in a short, efficient manner. Have you noticed? I'm sure the extra length won't bother you too much, but it's something I'm self-conscious about.

~
P.S. Here's a few videos that bring up the topic. They're mostly satirizing the bible/christians(In a civil way), but also are somewhat thought provoking. In case you're interested.

www.youtube.com...
www.youtube.com...
And on a slightly lighter note:
www.youtube.com...



posted on Aug, 26 2011 @ 10:02 PM
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Dear bogomil,

Another fine work, even though it was late when you wrote it. Perhaps that lateness accounts for the uncomfortable feeling I had while reading it. Since I'm talking about a feeling, it was probably due to something I ate and not your fine effort.

There were a few points where I wondered, however.


Quote: ["When the Others respond "CE'___' morals are for sissies, you'll never be right," how do you respond?"]
"That's your business, if you keep it at home".


Which I took to mean you saw it as a moral "wrong" or "violation" if an Other country tried to interfere with a CE'___''s system. Yet I don't see any problem expressed with a CE'___' interfering with an Other's system.


Quote: ["The CE'___' approach to Others is to "Strive for an extension of the societal principles outlined earlier here." Not surprisingly, the Others will be striving to extend their principles to CE'___' states. At some level there must be a clash, a cultural conflict."]
If one part of such a cultural conflict is authoritarian, a clash is unavoidable.


This possible interference, or cultural conflict, worries me. I'm not as confident in CE'___''s chances as you seem to be. Freedom is not the norm throughout history, nor in the world today, and it seems that the ATSers are convinced that freedom is being swallowed in gulps throughout the world as we type. Poverty is also the norm, with a few (10% ?, 1%?) at the top having the tools of power.

Some conspiracists seem to be saying that we will either be controlled by the Chinese or by Islam, neither a CE'___'.


Quote: ["Just a little nibble. I believe there are countries in the UK that would fit your definition of a CE'___', but they don't have a constitution."]
I'm unfamiliar with such examples. Please, can you give me some.


This is a small thing, and I hesitate to bother you with it, but my checking around indicates that the entire UK has no, one, written constitution, but rather it is a collection of various documents, court decisions, a bunch of other stuff (if you'll excuse the legal jargon), and laws passed by simple majority. So, indeed, their "constitution" can change monthly.

There are online texts on the subject ( I wouldn't bore you with those), and I didn't want to use Wikipedia (it seems, I don't know, too obvious?) So let me offer this: UK Constitution
Sure, I know the site is painful to look at, my apologies. Oh, I also found out that Israel is the only other (Modern? Western? Developed?) country to not have a written constitution.

BUT, LEAVING ALL ELSE ASIDE, I think you have hit on the very core of the matter in one inspired (Can I say "inspired?") stroke. Here it is;


As I don't operate with 'absolutes', there are no ultimate 'good' or 'evil' principles to use as reference-points. There's the functionality mankind chooses (a point for possible later considerations).


There are so many paths that you have opened here. You could prepare a book. Well done. (Sorry, it just dawned on me that neither my approval or disapproval may have any significance to you. Please accept my hopes for your best.)

With your permission, I think I'll take a little break. It's late for me, too.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Aug, 26 2011 @ 10:54 PM
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Dear xxsomexpersonxx

Thanks very much for steering me to those videos. I watched the first six minutes of the first link, but the second link took me to the same place. I also watched the third one. You were absolutely right, they are thought provoking,

I should tell you though, that I found the videos to be much less logically sound, and somehow less human than your writing. You made me see you as a normal human, searching intelligently and carefully for a distant goal. The videos sounded like stuffy know-it-alls that have decided that they have found the goal and you have to be there with them (even though they've gone off the road a dozen times and aren't close).

In bogomil's last post he mentioned that he had no use for objective morality. In spite of what the third link had to say, man, it sure is tempting to look at objective morality to see if it has anything to offer. Maybe it doesn't, but we (society) don't think or talk about it much, and I'd hate to leave it unexplored.

I don't remember the examples used in the "objective vs. subjective" video very well but let's pick something that might have been used. Maybe stoning someone for adultery? The videos indicated that morality was a set of principles to define good and bad actions and character. (Or, something like that.) The morality part of stoning someone for adultery is that adultery is bad. The punishment of stoning is another issue. My guess is that the morality statements in the Bible can be treated that way, unless they're health and hygiene issues.

But I don't want to center the discussion on the Christian god either. I think I'm trying to do two things; react to that third "subjective vs. objective" video, and persuade myself that objective morality, while it may or may not win through in the end, is not an insane position.

Xxsomexpersonxx, I really appreciate your understanding and your heart. Would that the world share your desire for a moral life.

With respect,
Charles1952

(I know this is short, but as I just wrote to bogomil, it's been a day and I have to fold up.)



posted on Aug, 26 2011 @ 11:51 PM
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Originally posted by charles1952
Thanks very much for steering me to those videos. I watched the first six minutes of the first link, but the second link took me to the same place. I also watched the third one. You were absolutely right, they are thought provoking,


Interesting. The first two links work for me. They're by the same person though, both part of a 3 part series. 3rd part not yet released.


Originally posted by charles1952
In bogomil's last post he mentioned that he had no use for objective morality. In spite of what the third link had to say, man, it sure is tempting to look at objective morality to see if it has anything to offer. Maybe it doesn't, but we (society) don't think or talk about it much, and I'd hate to leave it unexplored.


My standpoint on objective verse subjective, is mostly rooted in my belief that there is no being that would be able to determine the best form of morality. Being an emotion, morality is subjective in the terms that our sense of it can change. Still, moralities can be better or worse. The hypothetical deity I reference in my last post, that would know everything and had infinite reason to determine morality, would obviously have more solid morality than one of us with our limited knowledge and understanding. That's why we strive to better ourselves, because it may be objective what the best morality is, but our own is subjective because we haven't reached it.

Think of it this way, in the past, humans thought animals couldn't feel pain or suffering. Their morality was subjective, and mistreating the animals was moral by their standards. That doesn't mean it was just. We use a subjective, changing morality, so that we may refine our standards to what is more just. And it's more just to have at least some rules for the fair treatment of animals(exactly how far to go with animal rights, would be another topic all together. Actually one I'd like to see the responses in.) Even if, there is one objective sense of morality that would be the best, I view our progress there as a subjective one. We should never say that what we view now is the right morality, and block out new information that'd otherwise help better it.

I would accept an objective morality, if we had a source that could accurately determine what the best one is. I do not believe there is such source though.


Originally posted by charles1952
But I don't want to center the discussion on the Christian god either. I think I'm trying to do two things; react to that third "subjective vs. objective" video, and persuade myself that objective morality, while it may or may not win through in the end, is not an insane position.


I don't think objective morality on it's own is an insane position. But, the jumps you have to make to think that you have a sense of morality that is as just as can be, are rarely rational. I'd be very interesting in if someone had rational ones. Also, if someone mistakenly assumes they have the "objective morality" when they don't, that'll hinder their ability to progress and improve on what they do have.

~
Random observation, is 1952 your birth year? Just curious, I just noticed it. I got a younger impression from you, but that may have just been skewed from my own younger age.

Regardless, I'm enjoying this conversation. I shall await when you respond.



posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 02:07 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


You wrote:

["Yet I don't see any problem expressed with a CE'___' interfering with an Other's system."]

The non-interference is ofcourse to be two-ways. I'm no admirer of US world-policing.

Quote:: [" This possible interference, or cultural conflict, worries me. I'm not as confident in CE'___''s chances as you seem to be. Freedom is not the norm throughout history, nor in the world today,"]

To some extent it 'worries' me too, as freedom is very fragile and easily toppled, and there are enough potential dictators just waiting for a chance to take over. But the CE'___' I trust in is no bleeding heart, tree-hugging hippie-pipedream, it must have balls and be aware of the brutal parts of existence, balanced with so much cultural introspective capacity, that the difference between self-defence and aggression is manifest throughout the culture.

Quote: ["and it seems that the ATSers are convinced that freedom is being swallowed in gulps throughout the world as we type."]

My optimism is guarded, and I'm not naive about global social realities.

Quote: ["Some conspiracists seem to be saying that we will either be controlled by the Chinese or by Islam, neither a CE'___'."]

Should stamp-collectors for some reason get societal weight, I'm sure a take-over-the-world faction would arise amongst them. The real 'us' and 'them' isn't in religion, ethnicity, politics, but between the grazing herd of sheeple and the few percent sociopaths wanting to run everything.

The part on constitutions I'll have to look at later today, but I'll return on it. For now I can only add, that my main concern is the future of US constitution, which hasn't fared well recently (the last 50-60 years) after it was put under 'emergency'. My source here is R.A.Wilson (one of my few 'heroes') and may be outdated.

Quote (on moral non-absolutism): ["There are so many paths that you have opened here.....etc"]

(The etc. because I like xxsomexpersonxx also am flattered by the etc. part, but don't want to wallow in it. But thanks). Already from the start of any social studies, centralised authority profiles itself as inefficient in some contexts (no matter the ideological wrappings) and necessary in other contexts.

And I don't believe, that there exist any political-social-economical 'formula' for the optimal balance between individual/small group/national freedom-obligation options. Who could have guessed at the global communication-impact of internet just 40-50 years ago.

The first computer I ever saw (in the sixties) was a moron compared to what any contemporary science/technology pocket-calculator can do these days and using a telephone was a restricted luxury.

And while knowledge is a two-edged sword, it grows with such an exponential speed, that we better learn to live on the device: "Every changes" than on rigid dogmas. In spite of how much some politicians and religionists would like to cling to the safety of 'the known' of some absolutes.

Please look around on e.g. this forum and observe the sometimes HATE some individuals have for liberalism. It's significant. And I can to some degree understand it, because some of the changes have been stupid and failed social experiments with a high price. Take e.g. the fad of completely 'permissive upbringing', creating a generation or two of Eric Cartmans (if you are familiar with that character from South Park), where individual moral corruption stands out. That fad was an extreme pendulum-effect, not the gradual adaptive changes I believe are the best.
Sorry my thoughts wander a bit. This subject is so extensive, that it can go anywhere.


edit on 27-8-2011 by bogomil because: typo



posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 06:29 AM
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reply to post by Lionhearte
 

Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
I am in no way knocking your religion but I don't believe 99 percent of the crap people that I know spew at me daily. Why would I believe something someone I never knew, possibly said 2000 years ago? Especially something as arrogant as that. No, I think you are wrong. Morals do not come from God at all, they come from your heart. IMO



posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 07:33 AM
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Many thanks to all participants; it really is heart-warming to see such patience and understanding between differing beliefs or philosophical positions.

Keep up the great debate!



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 08:44 PM
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Dear bogomil and xxsomexpersonxx,

I must beg forgiveness again, you certainly have better things to do than wait around for me. I've been absorbed in a few personal matters, but I also wanted to do a little library digging. I know the internet may be much faster, but books are still special.

I ran across something that has, at first glance, filled me with a kind of excitement. It seems to combine xxsomexpersonxx's (and how in the world do you pronounce that?) desire to look both inside himself and study carefully, and bogomil's desire to reach across cultures, times, and societies do establish a workable universal system. (If I am misstating your goals, please correct me.)

There is a book written by C. S. Lewis entitled "The Abolition of Man." It's a short little thing, the version i found has 121 pages. But I was most attracted to the last two-thirds, and of that, the appendix which Lewis describes as examples of the Tao.

It seems he picked that name, not because he was describing the Chinese system of Confucius, but rather because it was simply a convenient shorthand which didn't carry particular cultural baggage for the West.

What is the Tao? Allow me to quote him:

"The Chinese also speak of a great thing (the greatest thing) called the Tao. It is the reality beyond all predicates, the abyss that was before the Creator Himself. It is Nature, it is the Way, the Road. It is the Way in which the universe goes on, the Way in which things everlastingly emerge, stilly and tranquilly, into space and time. It is also the Way which every man should tread in imitation of that cosmic and supercosmic progression, conforming all activities to that great exemplar. . . . This conception in all its forms, Platonic, Aristotelian, Stoic, Christian, and Oriental alike, I shall henceforth refer to for brevity simply as 'theTao.'"

"Wow" Or "sigh" Maybe I have a woolly headed, mystic streak in me somewhere that needs yanking out, but that really impressed me.

At the end of the book he quotes passages from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Precepts of Ptahhetep; the old Norse Volospa and Havamal; The Analects of Confucius, as well as many other sources from Babylon, India, England, the Jews, the Romans, Christians, American Indians, Anglo-Saxons, Greeks, etc.

I was astonished at the vast number of sources drawn from all places and times, all fitting within the Tao.
Could this be the start of something that can draw all of us together? No matter how many examples we might find, it is not proof, but surely it is evidence; evidence that our goal may well exist.

I've picked one internet link, more or less at random, to a discussion of Lewis' book. Take a look if you're interested.A Discussion of "The Abolition of Man."

With respect,
Charles1952
edit on 30-8-2011 by charles1952 because: Forgot to sign it.



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 09:02 PM
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reply to post by NeverForget
 

Dear NeverForget,

I share your appreciation of bogomil and xxsomexpersonxx. I'm sure that if I knew them personally, I'd be just as impressed.

You've noticed something happening here that seems to me to be very rare on ATS. Here, there are people who are not hurling insults, shouting incendiary slogans, or playing tricks to win some imagined prize or ego boost. These gentlemen are thinking about their beliefs, clarifying them for themselves and others. There is a sharing of viewpoints, thoughts, and knowledge, and it seems that everyone is coming out the better for it.

*******OFF TOPIC ALERT***********

Say, NeverForget, is the UK still the place of my dreams? I've never been, but I imagine small villages with pubs all over where I could spend an afternoon with a pint and a pipe watching people throwing triple twenties. Are the people generally polite and cheerful, welcoming to strangers? Could I join a London club? Buy a masterpiece of an umbrella? Spend weeks in museums amd libraries? My parents are Canadians, so I have no trouble with royalty. If it's as wonderful as I imagine, can I get in? I could babble for a page, but I've noticed they've imposed a limit on how much we can type. I'll never get near it, but still it makes me nervous.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Aug, 31 2011 @ 12:33 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


I've read about ten of Lewis' books, but not this one. My impression of him is, that he's a brilliant writer and a lousy theologian, and based on his other books your description of this one surprises me.

But it is true, that what's basically 'the direct experience way' (aka mysticism) is global and shows a uniformity (after cutting through the local 'wrappings' of language and symbolism), which is encouraging for a search of truth/reality. But being a highly individual way, it's also often in strong contrast to doctrinal systems resting on some kind of 'authority'.

The various 'founders' of the 'direct-experience' movements are often religious mavericks, there is even in fringe-'christianity' groups, which will put Jesus amongst such, and not surprisingly these groups are considered heretic (as is the case with other mavericks also in other religions).

In the present context, a comparative study of such 'direct-experience' movements would be of great interest. We already have observations from political and social philosophy on mankind's capacity of handling 'freedom with responsibility' (i.e. partly outside centralised authority), but the addition of a 'spiritual' dimension, from a housebroken source such as a social-science survey, would be of GREAT importance in big parts of ongoing theological discussions.

Not least because the 'direct-experience' can bridge some of the atheist vs. theist confrontations, creating a neutral middle-ground.

The disadvantage with the 'direct-experience' is, that it it requires a degree of active participation (and some knack) outside the scope of many people, so there is a tendency for it to become exclusive through natural selection.

An off-topic comment on your post to NeverForget. Europe is unfortunately also becoming rather stereotyped, and is loosing much of its former quaint charm.

PS Posting breaks are for me no problem. But to make sure that a post addressed to me is noticed, feel free to send a U2U to me.


edit on 31-8-2011 by bogomil because: syntax




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