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JLatimer
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« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2010, 09:26:26 AM »

As to whether one can have personal morality without religion, the answer seems clear enough to me: yes; I know lots of atheists and agnostics who are generally morally upstanding people. ISTM the questions that follow, however, are, what sort of morality(-ies)? and, are some moralities better than others? and, why does it matter?

First off, it doesn't seem to me a coincidence that most morally upstanding atheists living in Christian/post-Christian societies tend to espouse basically Christian morals. Why is that?

How does the atheist justify adherence to one morality amidst a multiplicity of possible moralities?

The last question, why does it matter?, is really just Ivan Karamazov's statement 'Without God, everything is permissible' in question form. An atheist certainly can be moral, but there doesn't seem to be any absolute reason why he should be; and without a should/ought, morality is dead.

Without God or the gods, each man must necessarily be his own moral arbiter. It is not enough to say, let the community decide: traditional societies have, rightly I think, always connected the community with the gods: 'our gods' defines 'our community'. The atheist society is necessarily a society of individuals, not a community.

As to public morality, which is to say, as to whether we can have a cohesive and just society, without religion, I would say that seems more difficult: on that question the historical verdict seems more likely to be in the negative.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2010, 09:45:18 AM by JLatimer » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2010, 07:08:34 PM »


The last question, why does it matter?, is really just Ivan Karamazov's statement 'Without God, everything is permissible' in question form. An atheist certainly can be moral, but there doesn't seem to be any absolute reason why he should be; and without a should/ought, morality is dead.

Without God or the gods, each man must necessarily be his own moral arbiter. It is not enough to say, let the community decide: traditional societies have, rightly I think, always connected the community with the gods: 'our gods' defines 'our community'. The atheist society is necessarily a society of individuals, not a community.

As to public morality, which is to say, as to whether we can have a cohesive and just society, without religion, I would say that seems more difficult: on that question the historical verdict seems more likely to be in the negative.

Something I've reflected on lately: if, as many atheists claim, there is no life after bodily death, then the universe ceases to exist when the person ceases to exist.  I do not mean this relationship along the lines of Berkleyan idealism but in the sense that, for the individual, the existence of reality itself fades concomitant with one's own fading out of existence.    

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« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2010, 07:21:10 PM »


The last question, why does it matter?, is really just Ivan Karamazov's statement 'Without God, everything is permissible' in question form. An atheist certainly can be moral, but there doesn't seem to be any absolute reason why he should be; and without a should/ought, morality is dead.

Without God or the gods, each man must necessarily be his own moral arbiter. It is not enough to say, let the community decide: traditional societies have, rightly I think, always connected the community with the gods: 'our gods' defines 'our community'. The atheist society is necessarily a society of individuals, not a community.

As to public morality, which is to say, as to whether we can have a cohesive and just society, without religion, I would say that seems more difficult: on that question the historical verdict seems more likely to be in the negative.

Something I've reflected on lately: if, as many atheists claim, there is no life after bodily death, then the universe ceases to exist when the person ceases to exist.  I do not mean this relationship along the lines of Berkleyan idealism but in the sense that, for the individual, the existence of reality itself fades concomitant with one's own fading out of existence.    



Just how they say how is started. Nothing to nothing.

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« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2010, 07:32:44 PM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.
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« Reply #49 on: November 29, 2010, 10:54:50 AM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
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« Reply #50 on: December 07, 2010, 01:39:44 AM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
So they claim. However, they are yet to demonstrate it. Without God, all things are permitted.  An atheist may be moral, but he is incapable of justifying why he should.
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« Reply #51 on: December 07, 2010, 03:06:05 AM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
So they claim. However, they are yet to demonstrate it. Without God, all things are permitted.  An atheist may be moral, but he is incapable of justifying why he should.

We are 'moral' for the same reason we value 'morality', it's programmed into us through millions of years of evolution as social animals. It's nothing metaphysical or mysterious, it's a simple matter of programming.
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« Reply #52 on: December 07, 2010, 03:55:22 AM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
So they claim. However, they are yet to demonstrate it. Without God, all things are permitted.  An atheist may be moral, but he is incapable of justifying why he should.

We are 'moral' for the same reason we value 'morality', it's programmed into us through millions of years of evolution as social animals. It's nothing metaphysical or mysterious, it's a simple matter of programming.
Who's "we"? I don't seem to recall you placing too much value on morality, nor claiming to be "moral."
Your determinism is showing. Which is a problem, because without free will, there is no such thing as the liberty of which you claim to be so excessively fond.
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« Reply #53 on: December 07, 2010, 12:40:35 PM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
So they claim. However, they are yet to demonstrate it. Without God, all things are permitted.  An atheist may be moral, but he is incapable of justifying why he should.

We are 'moral' for the same reason we value 'morality', it's programmed into us through millions of years of evolution as social animals. It's nothing metaphysical or mysterious, it's a simple matter of programming.
Would a materialist have to subscribe to determinism?
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« Reply #54 on: December 07, 2010, 12:53:28 PM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
So they claim. However, they are yet to demonstrate it. Without God, all things are permitted.  An atheist may be moral, but he is incapable of justifying why he should.

We are 'moral' for the same reason we value 'morality', it's programmed into us through millions of years of evolution as social animals. It's nothing metaphysical or mysterious, it's a simple matter of programming.
Who's "we"? I don't seem to recall you placing too much value on morality, nor claiming to be "moral."
Your determinism is showing. Which is a problem, because without free will, there is no such thing as the liberty of which you claim to be so excessively fond.

And yet, I tend not to murder, rape, or steal on a regular basis...what is commonly labeled 'morality' is little more than proper social behavior. The kind of behavior required for humans to live together. You seem to be over analyzing the whole issue, it's quite simple. As for liberty, that's nothing more than the lack of the use of violence by the state against her citizens. I don't see how 'determinism' matters one way or the other in that regard.
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« Reply #55 on: December 07, 2010, 01:01:14 PM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
So they claim. However, they are yet to demonstrate it. Without God, all things are permitted.  An atheist may be moral, but he is incapable of justifying why he should.

We are 'moral' for the same reason we value 'morality', it's programmed into us through millions of years of evolution as social animals. It's nothing metaphysical or mysterious, it's a simple matter of programming.
Would a materialist have to subscribe to determinism?

I think everyone has to ascribe to a certain degree of determinism, I mean we all expect the laws of physics to keep operating tomorrow and for the sun to rise on schedule. Humans and animals are also governed by the laws of physics, so there is a certain amount of determinism. However, there is also randomness in DNA transcription and cell mitosis, the brain is an analog system allowing for randomness due to quantum fluctuation, and the brain being a neural network makes probabilistic calculations that may or may not be used in the next step of thought. So while there is a certain degree of determinism and while we are certainly programmed by our genes as well as other environmental factors, the system is complex enough with enough randomness that it would not be possible to predict outcomes, thus not making everything strictly deterministic, I would rather argue that the universe is a stochastic process.
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« Reply #56 on: December 07, 2010, 01:20:40 PM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
So they claim. However, they are yet to demonstrate it. Without God, all things are permitted.  An atheist may be moral, but he is incapable of justifying why he should.

We are 'moral' for the same reason we value 'morality', it's programmed into us through millions of years of evolution as social animals. It's nothing metaphysical or mysterious, it's a simple matter of programming.
Would a materialist have to subscribe to determinism?

I think everyone has to ascribe to a certain degree of determinism, I mean we all expect the laws of physics to keep operating tomorrow and for the sun to rise on schedule. Humans and animals are also governed by the laws of physics, so there is a certain amount of determinism. However, there is also randomness in DNA transcription and cell mitosis, the brain is an analog system allowing for randomness due to quantum fluctuation, and the brain being a neural network makes probabilistic calculations that may or may not be used in the next step of thought. So while there is a certain degree of determinism and while we are certainly programmed by our genes as well as other environmental factors, the system is complex enough with enough randomness that it would not be possible to predict outcomes, thus not making everything strictly deterministic, I would rather argue that the universe is a stochastic process.
In a materialistic framework, could it be that what we see as "randomness" is not truely random, but a deterministic process that is simply too complex for us to, as of yet, map out?
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« Reply #57 on: December 07, 2010, 01:53:01 PM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
So they claim. However, they are yet to demonstrate it. Without God, all things are permitted.  An atheist may be moral, but he is incapable of justifying why he should.

We are 'moral' for the same reason we value 'morality', it's programmed into us through millions of years of evolution as social animals. It's nothing metaphysical or mysterious, it's a simple matter of programming.
Would a materialist have to subscribe to determinism?

I think everyone has to ascribe to a certain degree of determinism, I mean we all expect the laws of physics to keep operating tomorrow and for the sun to rise on schedule. Humans and animals are also governed by the laws of physics, so there is a certain amount of determinism. However, there is also randomness in DNA transcription and cell mitosis, the brain is an analog system allowing for randomness due to quantum fluctuation, and the brain being a neural network makes probabilistic calculations that may or may not be used in the next step of thought. So while there is a certain degree of determinism and while we are certainly programmed by our genes as well as other environmental factors, the system is complex enough with enough randomness that it would not be possible to predict outcomes, thus not making everything strictly deterministic, I would rather argue that the universe is a stochastic process.
In a materialistic framework, could it be that what we see as "randomness" is not truely random, but a deterministic process that is simply too complex for us to, as of yet, map out?

Yes. That is possible. "Randomness" (quantum/post-modern) or not (classical/modern), it seems to me the key claim of determinism is that the spirit/freedom is essentially an epiphenomenon of physics/matter/nature/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. Hence, "the illusion of free will". A materialist is certainly bound to accept determinism so-defined; otherwise, if he grants spirit a non-material cause/existence, he is no longer a materialist.
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« Reply #58 on: December 07, 2010, 01:59:10 PM »

The question wasn't really if athiests and others who don't believe in God can be moral. The question was really that can morality exist without God. That is, can it exist, even if God doesn't? I would have to say the answer is no, it can't.

Why not? Some atheists believe that morality can be created by culture, or intellect, or even that there is morality to some extent embedded in our very nature.
So they claim. However, they are yet to demonstrate it. Without God, all things are permitted.  An atheist may be moral, but he is incapable of justifying why he should.

We are 'moral' for the same reason we value 'morality', it's programmed into us through millions of years of evolution as social animals. It's nothing metaphysical or mysterious, it's a simple matter of programming.
Would a materialist have to subscribe to determinism?

I think everyone has to ascribe to a certain degree of determinism, I mean we all expect the laws of physics to keep operating tomorrow and for the sun to rise on schedule. Humans and animals are also governed by the laws of physics, so there is a certain amount of determinism. However, there is also randomness in DNA transcription and cell mitosis, the brain is an analog system allowing for randomness due to quantum fluctuation, and the brain being a neural network makes probabilistic calculations that may or may not be used in the next step of thought. So while there is a certain degree of determinism and while we are certainly programmed by our genes as well as other environmental factors, the system is complex enough with enough randomness that it would not be possible to predict outcomes, thus not making everything strictly deterministic, I would rather argue that the universe is a stochastic process.
In a materialistic framework, could it be that what we see as "randomness" is not truely random, but a deterministic process that is simply too complex for us to, as of yet, map out?

Yes. That is possible. "Randomness" (quantum/post-modern) or not (classical/modern), it seems to me the key claim of determinism is that the spirit/freedom is essentially an epiphenomenon of physics/matter/nature/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. Hence, "the illusion of free will". A materialist is certainly bound to accept determinism so-defined; otherwise, if he grants spirit a non-material cause/existence, he is no longer a materialist.
That's what I was getting at. Thank you for expressing it more clearly than I.  Smiley
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« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2010, 06:11:56 PM »

You can see Fr. Hans' opening statement as well as the videos of the debate on the American Orthodox Institute website.

http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/2010/12/can-there-be-morality-without-god/

http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/debates/

Please place these links in a more appropriate place if needed.
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« Reply #60 on: December 17, 2010, 08:37:52 PM »

This has been posted here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,31458.0.html
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« Reply #61 on: April 04, 2011, 04:57:23 AM »

My previous experiences with porn have shown me that using it makes me more tempted to go out and have sex, not less. J--king off with porn isn't enough eventually, I would need to go act out the fantasy.

I don't have sex either, and the best way to keep me from doing it is to channel those energies elsewhere, like in sports.  Smiley

You have a different experience?

For me masturbation is mostly a psychological thing... akin to feeding a mild addiction. But as with most mild addictions, I can give it up when I want to and feel like I have a reason to, and after the initial withdrawal period, I'm fine.

EDIT--took out some personal info, just for the sake of propriety (wait, I'm talking about this subject and worried about propriety?! anyway...)
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« Reply #62 on: April 04, 2011, 02:08:53 PM »

Fr. Hans Jacobse (Orthodox Christian priest of Ft. Myers, FL) debates with Matt Dillahunty (head of atheist group in Texas). I personally know Fr. Hans and he is a wonderful priest and pastor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr3sYBqpW9o

It's a debate in 9 parts (I'm on part 3 right now). The whole premise from the atheist perspective is that there can be morality outside of the existence of God. What do you all think of the debate?

In Christ,
Andrew

Well, I haven't watched any of it, but I must ask, what does morality have to do with anything? Morality is nothing but a quaint idea that makes some weak people comfortable, to tie 'morality' to arguments about truth is nothing short of absurd. Something doesn't have to be moral to be true and just because something is true, it doesn't mean that we have to like that it's true. The most horrendous and intolerable reality is equally likely to be true as the most palatable and loved reality...in short, morality is irrelevant.

You could say the same thing about truth. What I am driving at is that truth as an adjective is just as meaningless as morality without eternal values--that is God, without whom all else is word games.
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