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Ex-christian Morality


Markkasan
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Christians like to say that ex-C's and atheists don't have morals or ethics. The thinking goes that Christianity provides a set of clearly defined rules and ideas that followers use to base moral judgements on, therefore those who do not profess to Christian dogma have no morality.

 

As ex-Christians, what do you base your moral decisions on? Do you use Judeo-Christian values anymore, or perhaps another moral code from another religion (like the Wiccan Rede)?

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I still think the Golden Rule is a sound way to orient my moral compass. That doesn't mean that I always give choclate to people because I want to be given chocolate. Mainly it means that I try to be considerate of people other than myself.

 

I've heard variations on the Golden Rule. Didn't Kant have one? "Don't do anything that you wouldn't be willing to let others do also."

 

Here is a link... http://www.jcu.edu/philosophy/gensler/goldrule.htm

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As ex-Christians, what do you base your moral decisions on? Do you use Judeo-Christian values anymore, or perhaps another moral code from another religion (like the Wiccan Rede)?

 

 

I certainly would never base my values on Judeo-Christian ethics. I do like the Wiccan Rede and Asatru's Nine Noble Virtues I must admit. However I don't follow any religion's moral code, I believe most people (aside from sociopaths) have a basic sense of what's good and what's bad; and are for the most part good people. I base my moral decisions on my own gut feelings and on what seems logical to me.

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I base my morals on principals, rather than a set of rules laid out in some book. These principals are pretty self-evident; they exist in many intelligent mammals.

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I tend to go by the Wiccan Rede even though I'm not Wiccan. Basically, do what you like, as long as no one is harmed. Sort of a simplified golden rule.

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I tend to go by the Wiccan Rede even though I'm not Wiccan. Basically, do what you like, as long as no one is harmed. Sort of a simplified golden rule.

That sounds like more of a simplified Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism can be thought of somewhat at an expanded Golden Rule, but it overcomes the problem with the Golden Rule that not everyone wants the same thing.

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I base my morals on principals, rather than a set of rules laid out in some book. These principals are pretty self-evident; they exist in many intelligent mammals.

 

Do you prefer basing your morals on high school princiPALS or elementary school princiPALS. :scratch:

 

Sorry, just struck me as funny.

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My moral code, in a nutshell:

 

First, I challenge myself to be honest in all possible ways (This includes challenging my own attitudes and confronting internal inconsistencies.) If asked a direct question, my only options are to tell the truth or to state that I'm not willing to answer.

 

This also translates into keeping my word. If I make a commitment it doesn't get bumped for another one. I strive not to overbook myself with promises, but once I make one it will get kept unless a dire emergency overrides it.

 

Secondly, I try to minimize the harm that I do to other living beings. (Spent a decade or so as a vegetarian, and still occasionally revisit it.)

 

Other than that, all bets are off. If someone attacks me, I do fight back and I fight to win decisively. If someone lies to me or breaks a promise to me, they do not get a second chance. I don't even consider forgiveness before full restitution has been received, and even then I may choose not to trust that person again.

 

So I guess my morality is:

 

1. A weird subset of the Buddhist precepts (avoid killing; no stealing, lying, or cheating on one's significant other; but I'm perfectly okay with beer, mead, wine, and other drinkable intoxicants).

 

2. An attempt to put the Ásatrú Nine Virtues into practice every day of my life. Especially big on Hospitality (I throw a mean Jól party) and Perseverance (Keep going, keep trying -- When things are tough, it generally makes the difference between victory and failure.)

 

3. A take-no-prisoners stance on people who attempt to hurt me.

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My moral predispositions most closely mirror the Wiccan Rede, the Nine Noble Virtues, the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path, and the Elven Satanic Rules of the Earth.

 

Basically, I try to avoid harming others and treat others as I'd like to be treated, but if I or loved ones are attacked, I retaliate. I also try to better myself by re-examining what I believe in and looking for ways to improve.

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Generally living by the Golden Rule.

 

Not taking advantage of others, or doing so and then lying about it.

Don't act like a victim, when your aware of the situation, or you hold some responsiblity

Ethics

Empathy

Treating others with condemnation

Greed

Cheating

 

I can forgive a person for lying to me. People lie for a number of reasons, and while not being perfect myself, I can give a second chance, however, realizing that everytime you discieve me, a little piece of your character is chipped away. If you have a strong character, then you could survive a little chip here and there.

 

Most infractions I can get over, and I generally don't stay angry for very long. Keeping a longterm vendetta is immoral in my book.

 

Realize that we all weren't raised the same way, or with the same opportunities.

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Christians like to say that ex-C's and atheists don't have morals or ethics. The thinking goes that Christianity provides a set of clearly defined rules and ideas that followers use to base moral judgements on, therefore those who do not profess to Christian dogma have no morality.

 

As ex-Christians, what do you base your moral decisions on? Do you use Judeo-Christian values anymore, or perhaps another moral code from another religion (like the Wiccan Rede)?

 

Christians have the always-applicable luxery of "God-did-it" to answer questions like these. A typical questions goes something like this:

 

Christian-I know it is wrong to steal because God created the universe; I am, therefore, subject to him; and he commanded me not to steal. How do you as an atheist account for your moral beliefs? Why should anyone follow your beliefs at all? Don't you have to be a moral skeptic?

 

It is a rather tricky spot for atheists of the materialist persuasion (as opposed to, say, Buddhist atheists). When an atheist gives any moral principle (like those given above), the Christian asks, "But why should anyone else follow that?" The atheist might say that it is better for society or something to which the Christian responds, "Why should someone care about society?" Their goal is to demonstrate that without the Christian God's commands, there is no foundation of morality and that atheism would lead to chaos and is, therefore, undesirable or false.

 

There are many responses to this (e.g. an atheist may be a platonist or hold some kind of evolutionary ethic), but I tend to simply question the assumption that moral relativism leads to chaos and is undesirable. Whether or not moral relativism is the case, the Christians argument is defeated because their conclusion proves to be unjustified.

 

The question is whether or not relative judgments are valuable. One must only consider judgments about motion to see that they can be. Say that two people are standing next to each other and one looks at a parked car and screams, "Oh Shit! That car is moving!" The other one looks and says, "No it isn't; that car is perfectly motionless."

 

Both people are correct, but each from different relative viewpoints. From the relative framework of the other cars and buildings on the street, the car is not moving. But that car is resting on a continent that drifts, an earth that rotates on its axis, an planet that revolves around the sun, in a galaxy that spins around its center, and in a galaxy that is speeding away from other galaxies in an expanding universe. From all of these viewpoints, the car is moving.

 

All judgments about motion (and mass) are relative, but that doesn't mean they are without value. Usually, it is not difficult to agree about judgments about motion from a specific framework. It is easy to agree that, given spatio-temporal framework X, the car is either moving or stationary.

 

So, let's say that moral judgments are, like Christians say, relative. All moral judgments are based on moral frameworks that are made up of millions of different factors (think Quine's "web of belief"). Nothing makes one framework more "preferrable" to another in a universal sense. A person is governed by their own framework and no one framework can be said to be the "correct" framework (just as there is no "correct" framework for making judgments about motion).

 

Would this lead to moral skepticism? Certainly not. Imagine that I see a man attempting to harm a child. While I can recognize that this action is justified by some moral frameworks, that doesn't mean that I must jettison my own framework which not only condemns his act, but also obligates me to stop the action in ways permissible in my framework. In other words, recognizing that any action can be justified by a specific moral framework does not negate my own framework that demands that I try to stop immoral actions from happening (i.e. "immoral" according to my own moral framework).

 

Moral relativism, then, does not lead to moral skepticism any more than "motion relativism" would lead to motion skepticism (i.e. if there were such a thing). Relative moral judgments can, therefore, still be objective in that they are object given a certain moral framework.

 

So, how would societal morality work if this is the case? Probably through moral bargaining and contractualism, through compromise and interests, etc. Moral law would belong to inferences from relative moral frameworks, and social law would be hammered out through complex relationships of the interests of the different parties (e.g. wealthy people would want laws to protect their belongings, poor people would demand a certain social safety net in order to honor the wishes of the wealthy, so they would agree to make laws against stealing AND for distributing wealth in the form of social services to the poor).

 

If you were asking about my personal moral beliefs, though, and didn't have in mind what I said above, I would simply answer that a good, general maxim for me is: Enjoy my own life without hurting others and, within reasonable means, help others enjoy their lives as well. If a Christian asked why I followed that, I would say that it is an inference from my moral web of beliefs. This web, though, is probably like Heidegger believes it to be and cannot be made explicit (i.e. a lot of indescribable skills are involved). I would say that society could function very well relying on moral bargaining and that a universal moral framework is unnecessary.

 

I would, then, suggest that this same question poses a problem for Christians in the form of the Euthyphro dilemma.

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Modified Wiccan Rede.

 

I side with Isaac Bonewits and practice the same ethics in my spiritual persuits as I do in my physical persuits.

 

I try my best to go after my desires without hurting anyone else, and if I do, to make restitution.

 

If attacked, I will defend myself. Vigorously. That means I have very little patience with "prayer warriors". To use a phrase from the aforementioned Mr. Bonewits, these "Christian warlocks" really get under my skin.

 

I am also brutally honest. Folks who know me know not to ask a question they don't want an answer for.

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Christians like to say that ex-C's and atheists don't have morals or ethics. The thinking goes that Christianity provides a set of clearly defined rules and ideas that followers use to base moral judgements on, therefore those who do not profess to Christian dogma have no morality.

 

As ex-Christians, what do you base your moral decisions on? Do you use Judeo-Christian values anymore, or perhaps another moral code from another religion (like the Wiccan Rede)?

 

I learned some good morals from Christianity, and I'd like to think I'll keep some of them. Other values are just values that I have myself and have little or nothing to do with the fact that i was a christian.

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I base my morals on principals, rather than a set of rules laid out in some book. These principals are pretty self-evident; they exist in many intelligent mammals.

 

Do you prefer basing your morals on high school princiPALS or elementary school princiPALS. :scratch:

 

Sorry, just struck me as funny.

 

Yeah I noticed this one. Digital, not sure if you were one of the people criticising Leaf for his spelling, if you were, you need a slap on the wrist mate! :P

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Christians like to say that ex-C's and atheists don't have morals or ethics. The thinking goes that Christianity provides a set of clearly defined rules and ideas that followers use to base moral judgements on, therefore those who do not profess to Christian dogma have no morality.

 

Sure they like to say it. Although it is more for their own sense of moral superiority. By saying that atheists and other nonbelievers have no morality or ethics, they innocculate themselves (and their religion) from the horrors humanity is capable of.

 

No matter what a criminal may say about their faith, christians have the "comfort" of disbelieving them just by saying they weren't "really" a christian (becasue if they were, then they could not have committed that murderously violent crime). After all, christians will SWEAR no matter how much evidence you show them that proves otherwise, that Hitler was an Atheist. That total BS is based on that desperate need to have those outside the accepted social group be moral and ethical deviants, and if someone inside the accepted group behaves wrongly, then they are obviously members of the unacceptable group regardless the evidence to the contrary.

 

I'm willing to bet that there are christians somewhere claiming the catholic priests found to be pedophiles were not christians based on their socially unnacceptable behavior.

 

Is that realistic? Obviously not. It is the Theologic version of "wishful thinking" or just plain old dirty DENIAL.

 

As ex-Christians, what do you base your moral decisions on? Do you use Judeo-Christian values anymore, or perhaps another moral code from another religion (like the Wiccan Rede)?

 

I weigh consequences. What are the consequences if a choose a particular action, or if I choose to not take a particular action? Is the consequence acceptable? Acceptability is weighed between the personal values assigned to harm to self and harm to others in both the short-term and the long-term.

 

In an effort to minimize harm, I try to associate or align myself with people who have similar harm values to my own (which is of course, how I came to be here). It would make little sense for me to go out of my way to hang about with devout christians as they would likely be distressed by my views, so I don't do that.

 

But if a devout christian seeks ME out (as happens on this Board on occasion) then I base my level of discretion on their level of courtesy and willingness to understand. If they have none, I give no discretion (and I'm not the only one who does this).

 

Here is a scenario (WR is going to have fun now):

 

A toddler is squalling it's snotty little head off in a fine eating establishment where I am trying to dine. Do I kill it?

 

The toddler is only marginally aware of it's existence, and having only two to three years life experience under it's diaper, killing it would not be a significant loss to society as a whole. Plus, the killing would restore the peace I came to the restaurant for. If I wanted to be around screeching brats, I would have eaten at McDonald's right next to their Playground. Not to mention, the parents of this spawn deserve a consequence of some type for inconvieniencing other diners who had no say or responsibility concerning the existence of this offspring.

 

Now the downside.

 

The moment of peace gained by ridding the world of this noxious little being would be instantly and permanently lost as the parents would very likely start interrupting the peace quite loudly, as would other patrons who, while smarter that these parents in that they had the intelligence to get a damn sitter for their snotty hordes before coming to a place requiring reservations, would likely empathize with the parents who would now be feeling anguish.

 

And while the parents of the screaming brat deserve a consequence for interrupting the dining of others with their kid, I think it is safe to say that murder does not equal the offense (undeserved level of deliberate harm). It is definitely "over-the-top".

 

Not to mention of course my own personal freedom would be taken away (obviously causing harm to ME), and it would be unlikely I'd get to finish the meal that had been interrupted in the first place (totally inconvienient!). Which would of course, entirely defeat the purpose of putting the squatty little pink monkey out of my misery to begin with.

 

The appropriate response, seeing as the type of parents who would do this in the first place are totally incapable of understanding criticism (after all their precious little mobile waste factory is soo CYOOOTE!!), would be to have a word with the manager to see about relocating myself out of earshot of said screaming brat.

 

It's not that I don't like kids (they can be okay once they are capable of handling their own hygiene), it's that the places I go are not appropriate places for young children. They do not belong there, and I do not respect the presence of anyone incapable of appreciating where they are. I wanted to shake an old lady to death for complaining that the stones were too uneven for her (despite having been previously informed of walking conditions) and demanding to know why the whole place wasn't properly paved. Where were we? The archaelogical ruins of Pompeii. Yeah....I still hope she got hit by a bus.

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White Raven I think that you need to get in better touch with your dark side.

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Dark side? What dark side?

 

I'm almost angelic! :P

 

And on the plus side, no one ever asks me to babysit!

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Christians like to say that ex-C's and atheists don't have morals or ethics. The thinking goes that Christianity provides a set of clearly defined rules and ideas that followers use to base moral judgements on, therefore those who do not profess to Christian dogma have no morality.

 

As ex-Christians, what do you base your moral decisions on? Do you use Judeo-Christian values anymore, or perhaps another moral code from another religion (like the Wiccan Rede)?

 

Due to the nature of Christian belief, most Christians will assert that there is only one 'true' morality, one set of doctrines and values that is universally upheld by God. I've heard all of that before, but I've never heard anyone say that if somebody doesn't follow a specific set of rules, he has no morality. How many people do you know 'have no morality'? For one to have no morality, he cannot adhere to any set of values (whether they be divine or merely invented [as all values are]) that will permit him to recognize an action as right or wrong. If 'right' and 'wrong' have no meaning to him, how can he judge the actions of others? How can he judge anything, for that matter? A man without morality would be unable to judge, and indifferent to the world. That's something I've yet to see in anyone.

 

I base my values on intuition alone. As Sam Harris once wrote "If a person doesn't already understand that cruelty is wrong, he won't discover this by reading the Bible or the Koran".

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