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What is God's opinion about slavery? What is our modern opinion about slavery? Why does the Bible support it, and not condemn it?

I'm with you man. I think the Bible has some pretty wacko ideas.

 

But just because cultures change their moral beliefs doesn't mean that morality is changing. With the slavery issue, I don't see it as we "decided" that slavery is wrong - I see it as always having been wrong, but it just took some people so damn long to figure out.

Ah, understand.

 

What you're suggesting is that there are moral concepts not even we know about today. We are, as human species, still figuring out the details of it, and there are a big chance we got many moral rules wrong today, and it will change over time. Correct?

 

So how is morality usually discovered? As far as I can tell, it has been mostly deep thinking philosophers involved when it happens. Doesn't the Bible rather suggest that the knowledge of morality is innate and intuitive and does not require thinking or serious mental activity? It even seems to suggest to have the mind of a child, being innocent and absorbing, but not old and reasoning. It's a bit anti-brainiac to some extent.

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The fact that people disagree about morality does not prove that morality is subjective.
But you specifically stated that morals come from God. If morals come from God, then shouldn't people who believe in God be able to figure out what is moral just from believing in God? Since people who believe in God can't figure out what is moral any less than unbelievers can, then doesn't that prove that the existence of God is irrelevant to what is considered moral and what isn't considered moral?

 

People are often mistaken about mathematics and logic, but that doesn't mean math isn't objective.
There's a major difference though between mathematics and morality. With mathematics, no matter how many times you solve a problem, if you solve it the correct way, you'll always get the same answer. With morality though even if you try to solve the problem the same way, the answers won't always come out exactly the same. Hence one reason why we have a court of law in the first place. If morals were objective, then why would

be bother putting people on trial? Why not simply sentence to death anyone who takes the life of another if morals are objective? Wouldn't solving such cases be a lot easier than it is in real life if everything in real life was simply good vs evil like in a Saturday morning cartoon?

 

The overwhelming population of the world all believe in the same basic moral principles, however clouded or distorted their views may become after religious fanaticism, greed, etc. all set in. Of course that doesn't prove that morality is objective either.
If the overwhelming population of the world all believe in the same basic moral principles, why is it that even in the majority of civilized societies, the overwhelming popularity of the world can't agree on the morality of things like equal rights for gays, proper education about sex and the human body, the role of women in society, how much role religion should be allowed in politics, the morality of certain pointless wars, etc. Are you somehow suggesting that these moral issues are not basic moral principles? Or maybe modern society disagrees on even basic moral principles more than you realize hence proving that morals are not as simplistic as you make them out to be?

 

My point is that if there is no God and morality is subjective, right and wrong are meaningless and have no value.
Why do morals have meaning if you only follow them because somebody bosses you around? That doesn't sound like morality to me. That sounds more like dictatorship.

 

If there is no God, all things are permitted - Fyodor Dostoevsky

If all things are permitted if God does not exist, then why do people who believe in God commit horrible acts? Why is it that the majority of the most horrific, immoral acts were committed by religious believers, like the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust (yes, contrary to popular belief, Hitler was a Christian), the Salem witch trials? Why did practically all the bible belt states supported slavery and used passages in the bible and their faith in God to justify slavery and the denying of equal rights of people from different races? What about how even in modern society, people will send planes into buildings because they believed that God would reward them 72 virgins in heaven, or how about countries where women are denied in any basic rights at all on the basis of belief in God, what about in countries where gays are executed in the name of God or how even in the modern societies like the U.S., gays still face persecution from believers because their faith permits them from treating them like human beings? You say that God gives us morals. Why is there no significance difference then between the lives of unbelievers and believers? Why is it that the least religious countries have lower crime rates than the most religious countries? Like why is it that such a godly "Christian" nation like the U.S. has a higher crime rate than a more secular nation like Japan, where only 1% of the entire country is a Christian? I think a far more accurate saying would be, If there is a God, all things are permitted if you just justify it with blind faith. If there is no God, not everything is permitted because of common sense.

 

But just because cultures change their moral beliefs doesn't mean that morality is changing.
But if moral beliefs are changing, then morality most certainly is changing because moral beliefs are a bi-product of morality. Or are you somehow suggesting that God just randomly throws out moral rules from his rulebook of universal morality to humanity every couple of hundred years whenever he's in the mood to do so?

 

With the slavery issue, I don't see it as we "decided" that slavery is wrong - I see it as always having been wrong, but it just took some people so damn long to figure out.
For a God you claim gave us our morals, it sure did take God long enough to give us that moral belief. What, was God just sitting around watching us from heaven while eating popcorn like we're some sort of action flick for his amusement before he waits to tell us "Hey, you know guys, I think it'd be a really good idea if you treated people from different races equally"? God sure sounds irresponsible for a moral and just God, wouldn't you agree?

 

You also still didn't answer this question.

Also, if morals come from God and we're good because of God, then why do some Christian commit evil anyway? Did God just forget to give them morality or are those not "real" Christians either because obviously "real" Christians are perfect people who never do anything wrong?
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Oh dear.

 

I can't help but feel deeply worried about people who only would not do something like that because God wouldn't like it.

That's not why I behave myself. I try to do good because it is good in itself.

 

Then the point you were making is null and void surely?

 

Clearly there can be a morality without God because nobody does right things just because God tells them to, people do right things because they can figure out what is right and wrong all by themselves.

 

This also allows us to judge God's laws, deciding whether God's laws are right or wrong according to what we can figure out about right and wrong.

 

On the other hand my reasoning is that I am a human being and to make another human being suffer or to cause them damage in any way is not a reasonable way to act if I feel that I would like my fellow human beings to show respect to me. It's not because I think my good behaviour will improve my standing with my fellow human beings. It is simply that I think I wouldn't like someone to behave that way to me so it makes sense (is consistent and logical) if I don't behave that way towards others.

Fine, just don't make the mistake of telling anyone that they believe in something morally "wrong" or that they're treating you unfairly when you have no basis for it.

 

You don't think my reasoning above could be used as a principle for moral truths for all human beings? You don't think the argument that we are all human beings and we all need to get on together to make society work is a basis for human morality that is binding on all human beings in society?

 

Or on the more personal level of there being some objective reason why things are right or wrong for every human being - a moral compass that all human beings share. Well, obviously whatever the moral compass there are going to be some people who just don't seem to have it - but I think my reasoning stated above is a moral compass that most members of the human race do have - I think it evolved so that we can live together in social groups. So there you have a morality evolving without a God

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The video you've linked is part of Zeitgeist. Zeitgeist is a film I have a hard time taking seriously for a whole number of reasons, but I would like to see more sources on how such incredibly detailed information is preserved about old characters as Buddha and Krishna.

 

I'd definately like more sources than Zeitgeist, which seems to advocate astrology (which is at least as ludicrous as Christianity).

 

Oh about morality:

 

Studies have showed that in most cases, morality is not subjective, it is something that is shared by most of the human population across religious and cultural borders. One such study can be found in The God Delusion.

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A moral choice? When you make the choice, was it because of "it felt right" or because "you were told that is the right thing regardless of how you feel"?

I think it depends on the context. Most times I think people know the right thing to do, other times they need to be told because they are immature or immoral.

 

Agree. There are rules we have figured out, however I don't buy into the all-or-nothing view Kant gave. To lie to save a persons life, I think life has a higher priority than the categorical imperative.

Yea I think Kant had a good idea with the imperative, but he took it way too far. I remember a scenario when talking about Kant's deontology in which if a woman was hiding in your home and an axe murderer came in and asked you if you knew where she was, you would have to obey the imperative and say yes.

 

Since you've read philosophy, you know about the trolly dilemma. So how do you solve that one? Is it better to let 10 people die, than actively have one killed to save the 10?

I don't know if I'm familiar with the example you're talking about, but I think I understand the moral dilemma - save the life of one and lose many, or kill the one and save many. This is way too tough a question I think...I would say depending on the situation, it might become a little easier to discern. If the one person was my daughter, I would say I'd be in the wrong to do anything but save her life. In most other cases, it's just too gray. I personally don't think God could hold you accountable either way in tough situations like that.

 

So how is morality usually discovered? As far as I can tell, it has been mostly deep thinking philosophers involved when it happens. Doesn't the Bible rather suggest that the knowledge of morality is innate and intuitive and does not require thinking or serious mental activity? It even seems to suggest to have the mind of a child, being innocent and absorbing, but not old and reasoning. It's a bit anti-brainiac to some extent.

I think we're all given the capacity to discern moral law; we're not born with it installed in us...kind of like we aren't all born mathematicians, but with practice and experience we can begin to understand numbers.

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Yea I think Kant had a good idea with the imperative, but he took it way too far. I remember a scenario when talking about Kant's deontology in which if a woman was hiding in your home and an axe murderer came in and asked you if you knew where she was, you would have to obey the imperative and say yes.

Yes. That's the same story that made me back away, slowly, from Kant. :HaHa:

 

I don't know if I'm familiar with the example you're talking about, but I think I understand the moral dilemma - save the life of one and lose many, or kill the one and save many. This is way too tough a question I think...I would say depending on the situation, it might become a little easier to discern. If the one person was my daughter, I would say I'd be in the wrong to do anything but save her life. In most other cases, it's just too gray. I personally don't think God could hold you accountable either way in tough situations like that.

To get the story right I will invoke the powers of the Holy Google, and here is one version (there are several variations):

 

A trolley's brakes have stopped working and it is hurtling down the track

towards 3 people, who will be killed. You can throw a switch that will change the trolley to another track where only 1 person is, so that only 1 person will be killed. Either way, at least one person will die: but you can cause 1 person to die instead of 3 if you throw the switch. Do you throw the switch or not, and why?

 

(One variation is that there's a fat man standing next to the track, and you can push him unto it and stop the trolley. Would you?)

 

I think the issue with that problem is that regardless of what you do, you can't really free yourself from some guilt. Regardless of what you do, you will feel bad. So one solution maybe is to throw oneself on the track? Here's a good excuse to be fat! :HaHa:

 

When it comes to if you're are accountable to God or not, then a follow-up question comes naturally. Does morality then reflect how God will judge someone? Is morality based on what God will judge you on? So if you act wrong, without knowing that it was wrong (non-discovered natural law), are you still morally guilty, and God can punish you? (This connects to criminal law too, that you are guilty even if you don't know the law you broke.)

 

I think we're all given the capacity to discern moral law; we're not born with it installed in us...kind of like we aren't all born mathematicians, but with practice and experience we can begin to understand numbers.

Then I think we're coming into a circular argument. How come the things I mentioned before, slavery, racism, womens liberation, etc, were not recognized and discerned by "holy" men in the past? Where their capacity lower than ours?

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But you specifically stated that morals come from God. If morals come from God, then shouldn't people who believe in God be able to figure out what is moral just from believing in God? Since people who believe in God can't figure out what is moral any less than unbelievers can, then doesn't that prove that the existence of God is irrelevant to what is considered moral and what isn't considered moral?

No and no. Believing in God doesn't make you magically a decent person. We get our morality from many places - society, parents, religion, role models, etc.

 

And the existence of God is the most relevant issue to what is considered moral and what is considered immoral - because if there is no God, there is no moral or immoral. But I think you touch on this further down this post.

 

There's a major difference though between mathematics and morality. With mathematics, no matter how many times you solve a problem, if you solve it the correct way, you'll always get the same answer. With morality though even if you try to solve the problem the same way, the answers won't always come out exactly the same. Hence one reason why we have a court of law in the first place. If morals were objective, then why would be bother putting people on trial? Why not simply sentence to death anyone who takes the life of another if morals are objective? Wouldn't solving such cases be a lot easier than it is in real life if everything in real life was simply good vs evil like in a Saturday morning cartoon?

OK, math is simpler than morality. Doesn't show one bit that morality can't be objective. Also, math is not always as simple as you think. I have a degree in mathematics - and even though the great majority of problems can be solved with complete finality, there are still debatable areas like infinity, complex numbers, etc.

 

If the overwhelming population of the world all believe in the same basic moral principles, why is it that even in the majority of civilized societies, the overwhelming popularity of the world can't agree on the morality of things like equal rights for gays, proper education about sex and the human body, the role of women in society, how much role religion should be allowed in politics, the morality of certain pointless wars, etc. Are you somehow suggesting that these moral issues are not basic moral principles?

Hell yes. A basic moral principle would be something like "don't murder an innocent person" or "love your neighbor." The issues you describe extend from and contextualize the more basic moral principles.

 

Why do morals have meaning if you only follow them because somebody bosses you around? That doesn't sound like morality to me. That sounds more like dictatorship.

Obviously it sounds like dictatorship if you describe it as someone "bossing you around." I don't perceive God in that manner.

 

If there is no God, all things are permitted - Fyodor Dostoevsky

If all things are permitted if God does not exist, then why do people who believe in God commit horrible acts? Why is it that the majority of the most horrific, immoral acts were committed by religious believers, like the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust (yes, contrary to popular belief, Hitler was a Christian), the Salem witch trials? Why did practically all the bible belt states supported slavery and used passages in the bible and their faith in God to justify slavery and the denying of equal rights of people from different races? What about how even in modern society, people will send planes into buildings because they believed that God would reward them 72 virgins in heaven, or how about countries where women are denied in any basic rights at all on the basis of belief in God, what about in countries where gays are executed in the name of God or how even in the modern societies like the U.S., gays still face persecution from believers because their faith permits them from treating them like human beings? You say that God gives us morals. Why is there no significance difference then between the lives of unbelievers and believers? Why is it that the least religious countries have lower crime rates than the most religious countries? Like why is it that such a godly "Christian" nation like the U.S. has a higher crime rate than a more secular nation like Japan, where only 1% of the entire country is a Christian? I think a far more accurate saying would be, If there is a God, all things are permitted if you just justify it with blind faith. If there is no God, not everything is permitted because of common sense.

There's no accounting for what people are capable of, religious or not. I'm not here to defend the heinous moral acts of Christians who don't abide by Christian principles. As far as your take on Dostoevsky, what do you mean "not everything is permitted" if there is no God? Do you mean to say that people won't be immoral because they have more common sense, or that they shouldn't be immoral?

 

That's interesting about the Japan comparison - I don't know much about politics or government, but I would guess that Japan has stricter punishment for crime than America.

But if moral beliefs are changing, then morality most certainly is changing because moral beliefs are a bi-product of morality. Or are you somehow suggesting that God just randomly throws out moral rules from his rulebook of universal morality to humanity every couple of hundred years whenever he's in the mood to do so?

The fact that beliefs about morality change has nothing to do with the morality itself changing. Morality has always stayed the same, our perspective of it is what changes.

 

For a God you claim gave us our morals, it sure did take God long enough to give us that moral belief. What, was God just sitting around watching us from heaven while eating popcorn like we're some sort of action flick for his amusement before he waits to tell us "Hey, you know guys, I think it'd be a really good idea if you treated people from different races equally"? God sure sounds irresponsible for a moral and just God, wouldn't you agree?

I agree, God's lack of involvement in the world is a huge problem for me. The two major issues that have caused me to migrate away from the church are the problem of evil and the doctrine of Hell.

 

You also still didn't answer this question.
Also, if morals come from God and we're good because of God, then why do some Christian commit evil anyway? Did God just forget to give them morality or are those not "real" Christians either because obviously "real" Christians are perfect people who never do anything wrong?

Yes, the short answer would be that those claiming to be Christians aren't really genuine Christians, or put another way - they aren't living according to true Christian values. Like I mentioned before, becoming a Christian doesn't turn you magically into a good person. It should change your perception of the world though, and it gives you purpose and meaning in life - which inspires you to do goodness.

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Clearly there can be a morality without God because nobody does right things just because God tells them to, people do right things because they can figure out what is right and wrong all by themselves.

 

This also allows us to judge God's laws, deciding whether God's laws are right or wrong according to what we can figure out about right and wrong.

Yes, there could be morality without God, but it wouldn't be objective. It would be all matter of preference, social convention, whatever. The only way you can have objective morality is if there is an objective moral law, which I believe could never exist without a Person behind it.

 

You don't think my reasoning above could be used as a principle for moral truths for all human beings? You don't think the argument that we are all human beings and we all need to get on together to make society work is a basis for human morality that is binding on all human beings in society?

Who says we "need" to get on together to make society work? Obviously when humans behave themselves that is the inevitable result, but there's no one who could say it "should" be that way. There is a difference between saying what should happen and what does happen.

 

Or on the more personal level of there being some objective reason why things are right or wrong for every human being - a moral compass that all human beings share. Well, obviously whatever the moral compass there are going to be some people who just don't seem to have it - but I think my reasoning stated above is a moral compass that most members of the human race do have - I think it evolved so that we can live together in social groups. So there you have a morality evolving without a God

Agreed, but my point is that this "moral compass" would still be relative to the person without God. There'd be no way to ground it.

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No and no. Believing in God doesn't make you magically a decent person. We get our morality from many places - society, parents, religion, role models, etc.
But you specifically said we got our morals from God yet now you're saying that we can get our morality from other places. Aren't you contradicting yourself when you say that God is the source of morals yet you've just proven that we can get our morals from other sources besides God?

 

And the existence of God is the most relevant issue to what is considered moral and what is considered immoral - because if there is no God, there is no moral or immoral. But I think you touch on this further down this post.
But you just said above we can get our morals from other places besides God. If we can get our morals from other places besides God, why is God relevant?

 

 

Hell yes. A basic moral principle would be something like "don't murder an innocent person" or "love your neighbor." The issues you describe extend from and contextualize the more basic moral principles.
But if morals are absolute, how do you define what murder is? How do you define what an innocent person is? Is abortion murder? Is a fetus counted as a person? What about killing in self-defense? Would that count as murder? What if someone has a mental condition where they can't control their body like insanity and almost kills you, so you have to kill the clinically ill person to survive? Who was the murderer in that situation and who was the innocent person? As I asked earlier in this thread which you didn't answer, what defines love? Some people think a God who would send people to hell for disbelieving in him is love. Others claim that a truly loving God would save them regardless of their religious beliefs. Which is love in this case if love thy neighbor is a moral absolute? If people can't agree on what love is, then doesn't that mean that bible verses like "God is love" are meaningless phrases? Even if you tried to claim that these are merely extensions of basic moral principles, the point still stands that nobody can agree on their morality and there is no simple black and white solution to these problems.

 

Obviously it sounds like dictatorship if you describe it as someone "bossing you around." I don't perceive God in that manner.
The key word here is "perceive." You perceive the morality of God's actions one way, I perceive it differently. Isn't the fact that we both perceive the morality of God in entirely opposite views enough to show that morals aren't always simple black and white issues?

 

 

There's no accounting for what people are capable of, religious or not. I'm not here to defend the heinous moral acts of Christians who don't abide by Christian principles. As far as your take on Dostoevsky, what do you mean "not everything is permitted" if there is no God? Do you mean to say that people won't be immoral because they have more common sense, or that they shouldn't be immoral?
Of course having more common sense doesn't necessarily mean you'll always automatically be moral, but wouldn't you agree that people wouldn't be so frivolous with their actions if they thought about what they were doing before they do it? Don't even most Christians use the saying to think before you act?

 

 

The fact that beliefs about morality change has nothing to do with the morality itself changing. Morality has always stayed the same, our perspective of it is what changes.
If morality never changes, only our perspective of morality, then does that mean the phrase "God is love" is meaningless? What's the point of saying God is love if we can't agree on what our perception of what love is? If our perspective of morality is what changes, how can we know what the absolutes of morality are if we can never come to a universal agreement on how to perceive those absolutes in the first place?

 

I agree, God's lack of involvement in the world is a huge problem for me. The two major issues that have caused me to migrate away from the church are the problem of evil and the doctrine of Hell.
Then why do you assume that our morality came from God? What if it was our immorality that came from God rather than morality? Because if God can give us morality but not be responsible for giving us immorality, couldn't it also happen the other way around and God really creates all the evil in the world rather than the good?

 

Yes, the short answer would be that those claiming to be Christians aren't really genuine Christians, or put another way - they aren't living according to true Christian values. Like I mentioned before, becoming a Christian doesn't turn you magically into a good person. It should change your perception of the world though, and it gives you purpose and meaning in life - which inspires you to do goodness.
But you yourself admitted earlier in the thread that the bible is inerrant and contradictory. If the bible is contradictory and inerrant, then how do you know which Christians are the true ones? For instance, if we're supposed to live by "true Christian values" (whatever those are), then is it a true Christian value for us to love our neighbors like Jesus said or should we murder all non-believers as Jesus commanded in Luke 19:27
But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.
If the bible is inerrant and contradictory, how do you know which Christian values are the true ones? Why do you assume that "true Christian values" suddenly = everything you think is right?
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Yes, there could be morality without God, but it wouldn't be objective. It would be all matter of preference, social convention, whatever. The only way you can have objective morality is if there is an objective moral law, which I believe could never exist without a Person behind it.

 

Well that is exactly how it is. Morality is relative and subjective, which is why people debate about it so much.

 

Who says we "need" to get on together to make society work? Obviously when humans behave themselves that is the inevitable result, but there's no one who could say it "should" be that way. There is a difference between saying what should happen and what does happen.

 

We may not need to get on together to make society work. But we certainly need to get on together for society to work and for everyone to be reasonably happy and content. So personal interest makes it logical to aim for that situation, and that makes certain types of morals pretty much inevitable for human beings trying to live together.

 

Agreed, but my point is that this "moral compass" would still be relative to the person without God. There'd be no way to ground it.

 

It is relative to the person. But people are a lot more similar than they are dissimilar - and so we find a lot of things that most of us can agree on.

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...

I agree, God's lack of involvement in the world is a huge problem for me. The two major issues that have caused me to migrate away from the church are the problem of evil and the doctrine of Hell.

...

Maybe what we perceive as "evil" is something good, because God wants a greater good out of all the evils he permits or even actively perform? Isn't that what Bible teaches? So God kills people, hurts people, let them starve etc, so we can learn to be generous and help them? Isn't that the summary of the method with which God is "training" us to learn the natural laws?

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But you specifically said we got our morals from God yet now you're saying that we can get our morality from other places. Aren't you contradicting yourself when you say that God is the source of morals yet you've just proven that we can get our morals from other sources besides God?

All those sources I listed derive their morality ultimately from the moral law which is eternally bound to God.

 

But if morals are absolute, how do you define what murder is? How do you define what an innocent person is? Is abortion murder? Is a fetus counted as a person? What about killing in self-defense? Would that count as murder? What if someone has a mental condition where they can't control their body like insanity and almost kills you, so you have to kill the clinically ill person to survive? Who was the murderer in that situation and who was the innocent person? As I asked earlier in this thread which you didn't answer, what defines love? Some people think a God who would send people to hell for disbelieving in him is love. Others claim that a truly loving God would save them regardless of their religious beliefs. Which is love in this case if love thy neighbor is a moral absolute? If people can't agree on what love is, then doesn't that mean that bible verses like "God is love" are meaningless phrases? Even if you tried to claim that these are merely extensions of basic moral principles, the point still stands that nobody can agree on their morality and there is no simple black and white solution to these problems.

I agree, when moral principles become contextualized it's often very hard to get everyone on the exact same page. But I personally don't believe people disagree as much as you're claiming. We all believe in the same basic virtues, we all generally believe that certain things like murder, greed, selfishness, etc. are wrong. There are some gray areas for sure, but think by and large people know basic right and wrong. I guess it's just a matter of different perspectives of the world.

 

The key word here is "perceive." You perceive the morality of God's actions one way, I perceive it differently. Isn't the fact that we both perceive the morality of God in entirely opposite views enough to show that morals aren't always simple black and white issues?

I never said that morals were always black and white.

 

Of course having more common sense doesn't necessarily mean you'll always automatically be moral, but wouldn't you agree that people wouldn't be so frivolous with their actions if they thought about what they were doing before they do it? Don't even most Christians use the saying to think before you act?

Agreed, but the point was that you said we should be more moral because we have common sense. People with common sense often do have better morals, but there's no one to say that people ought to be more moral.

 

If morality never changes, only our perspective of morality, then does that mean the phrase "God is love" is meaningless? What's the point of saying God is love if we can't agree on what our perception of what love is? If our perspective of morality is what changes, how can we know what the absolutes of morality are if we can never come to a universal agreement on how to perceive those absolutes in the first place?

I still don't think there's as much dissension among people as you're claiming. But yes, it's hard to agree on a lot of moral issues.

 

Then why do you assume that our morality came from God? What if it was our immorality that came from God rather than morality? Because if God can give us morality but not be responsible for giving us immorality, couldn't it also happen the other way around and God really creates all the evil in the world rather than the good?

Fine, I'll say that God gave us evil and not goodness. My pet name for him will be "Satan."

 

But you yourself admitted earlier in the thread that the bible is inerrant and contradictory. If the bible is contradictory and inerrant, then how do you know which Christians are the true ones? For instance, if we're supposed to live by "true Christian values" (whatever those are), then is it a true Christian value for us to love our neighbors like Jesus said or should we murder all non-believers as Jesus commanded in Luke 19:27

I agree, that's a pretty harsh verse :grin:. I don't think I know all the right values - but most of the Christian virtues make sense to me, and are often reflected in the philosophers before and after Christ.

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Well that is exactly how it is. Morality is relative and subjective, which is why people debate about it so much.

So does every moral argument you have end with the words "well, it's just a matter of preference"? Because those words should come at the beginning of every moral argument, and then anything you say afterwards will carry no weight at all.

 

But we certainly need to get on together for society to work and for everyone to be reasonably happy and content. So personal interest makes it logical to aim for that situation, and that makes certain types of morals pretty much inevitable for human beings trying to live together.

Inevitable just means that is what will happen eventually. Without God, you can make no prescriptions, only descriptions.

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Maybe what we perceive as "evil" is something good, because God wants a greater good out of all the evils he permits or even actively perform? Isn't that what Bible teaches? So God kills people, hurts people, let them starve etc, so we can learn to be generous and help them? Isn't that the summary of the method with which God is "training" us to learn the natural laws?

I'm not a Bible scholar, but I think whenever God makes a commandment to kill, it's more of a justice thing. Sometimes, like in the case of Job, suffering is meant to teach, but mostly God is just vengeful in the Old Testament.

 

I can sometimes agree with what's called the "soul-making" theodicy - the idea that God allows evil sometimes to produce greater good. For instance, war is terrible - but it often creates incredibly strong friendships between soldiers that they could never have anywhere else. It teaches people gratitude, patriotism, thankfulness, honor, etc. Sometimes the only way you can have those things is to endure sacrifice and suffering.

 

However, I think that answer doesn't satisfy in other situations. Like children with cancer. I see nothing good that comes from that.

 

In actuality, like Kant proposed also - this is one of the reasons I believe in the next life. Because I believe in real justice and fairness, I think there has to be another life where wrongs are made right. Not necessarily a heaven and hell sort of thing - but some place where all things are reconciled and then some.

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All those sources I listed derive their morality ultimately from the moral law which is eternally bound to God.
So, what about say, the morale relativity of lying? Most everyone agrees that lying is a basic moral principle and that lying is immoral, but what about in cases where the justification or immorality of lying is blurred? Say, for example, that you're in a situation where you're the only one who can save another person's life but the only way that you can reach that person to save them is through lying. In this case, is it moral to lie if it saves another person's life or is it moral to allow another person to die through telling the truth even though lying is a basic moral principle?

 

 

I never said that morals were always black and white.
But you did say that morals were absolute. How can morals be both absolute yet not be black and white issues at the same time? Isn't that a contradiction?

 

 

Agreed, but the point was that you said we should be more moral because we have common sense. People with common sense often do have better morals, but there's no one to say that people ought to be more moral.
Why does the fact that we have no supreme higher being automatically mean we should not be moral? If we need to have a God to tell us to be moral in order to give being moral a purpose, then who tells God how to be moral? If God can supposedly find a reason to be moral without anyone telling him what morals to follow, then why can't humans? Or are you saying God has no purpose because he doesn't have anyone to tell him to be moral?

 

 

Fine, I'll say that God gave us evil and not goodness. My pet name for him will be "Satan."
But the bible says in Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
It doesn't say that a being called Satan created evil, it says GOD created evil. Or is this another one of those verses that's just happens to not be a "true" Christian value simply because you convinetely don't agree with it? Isn't it rather egocentric and self-centered of you to somehow assume that God's morals are aligned with yours and you somehow know what God's morals are, as if God's morals are concerned with the well-being of humanity just because you say so when you have no evidence for this?

 

I agree, that's a pretty harsh verse :grin:. I don't think I know all the right values - but most of the Christian virtues make sense to me, and are often reflected in the philosophers before and after Christ.
So, what makes these "true" Christian values again?
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I'm not a Bible scholar, but I think whenever God makes a commandment to kill, it's more of a justice thing. Sometimes, like in the case of Job, suffering is meant to teach, but mostly God is just vengeful in the Old Testament.
So, what was the message taught when God gave a commandment to kill in Judges 11:29-40?
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.

 

30And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

 

31Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

 

32So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands.

 

33And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

 

34And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

 

35And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

 

36And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.

 

37And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.

 

38And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.

 

39And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,

 

40That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

 

In actuality, like Kant proposed also - this is one of the reasons I believe in the next life. Because I believe in real justice and fairness, I think there has to be another life where wrongs are made right. Not necessarily a heaven and hell sort of thing - but some place where all things are reconciled and then some.
So, using that "logic", is God virtuous and just since God has never had to suffer before (and no, the crucifixion of Jesus doesn't count since that was rigged for Jesus to win from the start and it's debatable if Jesus really called himself God or not anyway). Here's an article that I think you'll find interesting: http://atheism.about.com/od/argumentsagain...rfectvirtue.htm
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I never said that morals were always black and white.
But you did say that morals were absolute. How can morals be both absolute yet not be black and white issues at the same time? Isn't that a contradiction?

Some moral laws are absolute, some are more like a scale I think. So in some situations, you can say "right" or "wrong" and in others it's a 1 to 10 kind of thing. And some times it's too difficult to apply the moral law.

 

Why does the fact that we have no supreme higher being automatically mean we should not be moral? If we need to have a God to tell us to be moral in order to give being moral a purpose, then who tells God how to be moral? If God can supposedly find a reason to be moral without anyone telling him what morals to follow, then why can't humans? Or are you saying God has no purpose because he doesn't have anyone to tell him to be moral?

No one tells God how to be moral, niether does he invent them himself. The moral law is eternally bound to him - it has no beginning or end.

 

Fine, I'll say that God gave us evil and not goodness. My pet name for him will be "Satan."
But the bible says in Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
It doesn't say that a being called Satan created evil, it says GOD created evil. Or is this another one of those verses that's just happens to not be a "true" Christian value simply because you convinetely don't agree with it? Isn't it rather egocentric and self-centered of you to somehow assume that God's morals are aligned with yours and you somehow know what God's morals are, as if God's morals are concerned with the well-being of humanity just because you say so when you have no evidence for this?

I've mentioned a couple times before that I don't believe in the Bible. Also, I said that Christian values often agree with the values I believe to be true. And like I said before, I also think people by and large agree on the same basic virtues.

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Some moral laws are absolute, some are more like a scale I think. So in some situations, you can say "right" or "wrong" and in others it's a 1 to 10 kind of thing. And some times it's too difficult to apply the moral law.
Hence morals are relative, not opposite good vs evil absolutes.

 

 

No one tells God how to be moral, niether does he invent them himself. The moral law is eternally bound to him - it has no beginning or end.
Evidence please? As I said before, aren't you being egocentric when you make baseless assumptions concerning the truth about God's morals? And if God created the universe, then God created morals which are apart of the universe. Or are you suggesting that morality is a separate entity that exists outside the universe? And if morality is a separate entity from God that has always existed, then are you suggesting that morality is a god itself?

 

 

I've mentioned a couple times before that I don't believe in the Bible. Also, I said that Christian values often agree with the values I believe to be true. And like I said before, I also think people by and large agree on the same basic virtues.
It still sounds like to me that you're cherry-picking which parts of the bible is "true Christian values" based on which parts are convenient for you to accept. You yourself just stated that you only believe in "Christian values" that you agree with and anything you don't agree with is conveniently cast aside, kind of like 99% of all Christians. If that's not cherry picking, I'd like to know what is and as I stated before, that sounds egocentric for someone who claims to believe in God to choose God's morals for him based on whatever you agree with.
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RJ,

atheists can be just as good or loving as the next person, but they have no reason to be if they are.

My reason is empathy. What's yours? Fear of hell?

 

If there is no God, all morality and beauty and love become just meaningless chemical reactions in your brain.

How can you call emotions meaningless? If you stopped believing in a creator deity, would you suddenly start chopping infants into pieces?

 

I mean that you're living under false pretenses. You live as if your moral choices mean something, but they ultimately don't if there is no God.

Why do you believe this, rpMcMurphy? The lack of a god doesn't nullify empathy. Empathy is empathy.

 

Why does it matter if you hurt someone? There is no right or wrong if there is no God. It might make you "feel bad" or something like that, but you could never really say what's truly right or wrong.

Sorry, but that's not even a real argument. You might as well say, if X is true, then that proves Y! Well, if X means a platypus lays eggs and Y means the earth is flat, then how does a platypus laying eggs prove that the earth is flat?

 

You could chop an infant up and make a baby milkshake and ultimately you would have to admit there's no way to ground your belief that something like that would be morally reproachable.

With or without a god, could you bring yourself to do that? Somehow I think that idea might appeal to you. Why else would you feel the need to credit your restraint to some deity?

 

Fine, let's play your game for a moment. Bad things happen in this world all the time, therefore God exists, and he's an evil bastard. See how stupid that sounds? But you're doing the same thing by claiming that morality is only worth something if there's a God! But it is what it is. We feel, therefore we feel. Period.

 

Didn't you make the claim somewhere on this site that you think for yourself? Why is it, then, that I've heard all these old, tired "arguments" so many times before?

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I've mentioned a couple times before that I don't believe in the Bible.

 

So how do you define christian values, except by what is in the Bible?

 

Also, I said that Christian values often agree with the values I believe to be true.

 

So you think the man should be head of the household, homosexuality is an abomination, thou shall not allow a witch to live, looking at a woman lustfully means that you have comitted adultery with her in your heart and women should not speak in church?

 

And like I said before, I also think people by and large agree on the same basic virtues.

 

Not everyone agrees with the christian values (from the Bible) mentioned above.

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Some moral laws are absolute, some are more like a scale I think. So in some situations, you can say "right" or "wrong" and in others it's a 1 to 10 kind of thing. And some times it's too difficult to apply the moral law.
Hence morals are relative, not opposite good vs evil absolutes.

Wrong. If morals were relative, you couldn't even have a scale, because you wouldn't know if 10 was better than 1 or 1 was better than 10. A scale implies a standard.

 

No one tells God how to be moral, niether does he invent them himself. The moral law is eternally bound to him - it has no beginning or end.
Evidence please? As I said before, aren't you being egocentric when you make baseless assumptions concerning the truth about God's morals? And if God created the universe, then God created morals which are apart of the universe. Or are you suggesting that morality is a separate entity that exists outside the universe? And if morality is a separate entity from God that has always existed, then are you suggesting that morality is a god itself?

Like I said before, hardly anything can be proven. I have my reasons for believing what I do about morality, but I could never prove them. And stop trying to use the Euthryphro dilemma - God didn't create morality, and neither is it a separate entity. I can say that the moral law is "eternally bound" to God and avoid both those issues.

 

I've mentioned a couple times before that I don't believe in the Bible. Also, I said that Christian values often agree with the values I believe to be true. And like I said before, I also think people by and large agree on the same basic virtues.
It still sounds like to me that you're cherry-picking which parts of the bible is "true Christian values" based on which parts are convenient for you to accept. You yourself just stated that you only believe in "Christian values" that you agree with and anything you don't agree with is conveniently cast aside, kind of like 99% of all Christians. If that's not cherry picking, I'd like to know what is and as I stated before, that sounds egocentric for someone who claims to believe in God to choose God's morals for him based on whatever you agree with.

I'm not sure I understand. It sounds like you're saying I shouldn't believe that my own morals are true. And the difference between most Christians and I is that other Christians will try and justify or re-interpret parts of the Bible they don't like. I plain and simple just reject those parts.

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RJ,
atheists can be just as good or loving as the next person, but they have no reason to be if they are.

My reason is empathy. What's yours? Fear of hell?

Nope. I just think atheists are fooling themselves if they think their morals or values are of any value. They haven't fully realized the consequences of their belief system (whether out of fear or delusion or whatever). If they did, they would all be nihilists.

 

If there is no God, all morality and beauty and love become just meaningless chemical reactions in your brain.

How can you call emotions meaningless? If you stopped believing in a creator deity, would you suddenly start chopping infants into pieces?

No, it would take a lot longer for me to lose my values than it would to lose my belief in God. In fact, I think a well-disillusioned atheist could comfortably coast on a wave of theistic values for decades before even realizing that he's been borrowing his morals from other belief systems.

 

Why does it matter if you hurt someone? There is no right or wrong if there is no God. It might make you "feel bad" or something like that, but you could never really say what's truly right or wrong.

Sorry, but that's not even a real argument. You might as well say, if X is true, then that proves Y! Well, if X means a platypus lays eggs and Y means the earth is flat, then how does a platypus laying eggs prove that the earth is flat?

Wow. I fail to see the relation. My point is that you can feel bad about something without it being morally right or wrong. This would be precisely the case if there were no God. Murder might make you repulsed, but it would be just as morally relevant as your being repulsed at the smell of bad garbage.

 

So don't say "murder is wrong" when you really have no grounds for it - say something like "murder makes me feel awful inside" - and we'll all get along just fine.

 

Fine, let's play your game for a moment. Bad things happen in this world all the time, therefore God exists, and he's an evil bastard. See how stupid that sounds? But you're doing the same thing by claiming that morality is only worth something if there's a God! But it is what it is. We feel, therefore we feel. Period.

It's a catch-22. You can't use the existence of evil to disprove God exists, because you have to assume the existence of God to prove that evil truly exists.

 

And like I said, "feelings" can't tell you good or bad or right or wrong if there is no God. They'd just be feelings.

 

Didn't you make the claim somewhere on this site that you think for yourself? Why is it, then, that I've heard all these old, tired "arguments" so many times before?

Probably because you don't examine them objectively and end up reciting the same tired old responses. At least I'm honest with my issues and am willing to admit my major problems with Christianity. Which is kind of ironic, seeing as how atheists are allegedly so "open-minded."

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I've mentioned a couple times before that I don't believe in the Bible.

 

So how do you define christian values, except by what is in the Bible?

I get my moral values from a lot of different places - my conscience, my family, traditions, role models, philosophers etc. Even the Bible has some wonderful virtues that I agree with.

 

And that does not imply that morals can't come from the moral law.

 

Also, I said that Christian values often agree with the values I believe to be true.

 

So you think the man should be head of the household, homosexuality is an abomination, thou shall not allow a witch to live, looking at a woman lustfully means that you have comitted adultery with her in your heart and women should not speak in church?

Those would fall under the category of things I don't agree with the church on :grin: . With the men leading a household thing though, I think a good deal of women look to men to lead them and their family. I feel that's perfectly natural and falls in with the way of things. When a man is abusive or ignorant, that's when it starts to flow against the proper mechanics of family.

 

And like I said before, I also think people by and large agree on the same basic virtues.

 

Not everyone agrees with the christian values (from the Bible) mentioned above.

Those you mentioned are pretty specific, I was talking more about things like honesty, selflessness, greed, murder, love, hate, etc. Basic stuff. And the witch issue is a not really a moral issue I think - it's an ignorance issue. If there really were evil witches who were casting wicked spells, it would make sense to want to do away with them. The problem stems from people being fooled into believing witches were real.

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Wrong. If morals were relative, you couldn't even have a scale, because you wouldn't know if 10 was better than 1 or 1 was better than 10. A scale implies a standard.
I think you're slightly confused. I think a more accurate description would be if morals were absolute, there wouldn't be a scale because all morals would be on the same number. After all, wasn't it Jesus who said that all sins are the same in the eyes of the Lord? Isn't that what people typically mean when they refer to moral absolutes, especially those that you claim are "true Christian values"?

 

Like I said before, hardly anything can be proven. I have my reasons for believing what I do about morality, but I could never prove them.
Then, why are you demanding us to accept your opinion that morals without God are meaningless if you can't prove that they are?

 

And stop trying to use the Euthryphro dilemma - God didn't create morality, and neither is it a separate entity. I can say that the moral law is "eternally bound" to God and avoid both those issues.
That makes no logical sense.

 

 

I'm not sure I understand. It sounds like you're saying I shouldn't believe that my own morals are true. And the difference between most Christians and I is that other Christians will try and justify or re-interpret parts of the Bible they don't like. I plain and simple just reject those parts.
I never said you shouldn't believe that your morals are true if they work for you. But you aren't just stating that you believe these are your morals. You're trying to enforce your moral worldview on us and demanding that we accept that our morals are meaningless if we don't accept your worldview. But if you want us to accept your worldview as the only acceptable one, you're going to have to do a lot better than coming up with pointless pseudo-philosophical word games to prove to us why your worldview is the only one with meaning. And if you can't prove anything like you say, then why are you demanding us to accept it?
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Those you mentioned are pretty specific, I was talking more about things like honesty, selflessness, greed, murder, love, hate, etc. Basic stuff.

 

The stuff that all religions and even most atheists agree with. The stuff that basically is to do with empathy - a natural result of being a social animal, a natural conclusion for anyone concerned with living with other human beings in a group, and a quite logical concern for anyone who can look at a fellow human being and think "that could hurt them like it hurts me. I wouldn't like it so I will refrain from doing it to them because I can feel their pain as if it was me".

 

And the witch issue is a not really a moral issue I think - it's an ignorance issue. If there really were evil witches who were casting wicked spells, it would make sense to want to do away with them. The problem stems from people being fooled into believing witches were real.

 

There are people who call themselves witches - there are pagans (both modern neo-pagans, and tribal 3rd world peoples) who claim to be able to work magic and hence are called witches. I don't believe that they can work magic - unless you refer to psychological techniques. But there are such things as witches.

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