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Morality And Ethics


Kyle
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Ok, here is something that keeps coming up in my posts. I truly feel like I'm a better person since dropping the xian belief system. I realize that it is easy to say because we all want to feel like we are progressing. However, I find that I'm more patient and understanding. I find it easier to put myself in another person's place and show empathy.

 

So as I look back, I wonder...WHY? If xianity is so caring and compassionate, why was I so arrogant? I think it comes down to "the greater good". For example, I could "hate the sin" because it was corrupting my world. My hate, no matter where the focus, was justified.

 

But now, I don't feel like my hate is justified. Therefore, I hate less. I realize that most people are doing their best to get by. Lots of people are limited by the tools they have to face the world such as.. education, logic, reason, upbringing. It was so easy in the past to condemn without seeing the other side. It was easy to point to the bible. But now I find it easier to be compassionate.

 

The hate I experience now is focused on intolerance and ignorance.

 

So here is my question to the forum... How has your moral standards improved since dropping xianity? I'm interesed in both internal and external evidence (i.e. "I let a little old lady go in front of me at the grocery store when I was in a hurry")

 

The thing that started this thought process for me is this. I can think of dozens of ways to make money off of the fundys, but I can't bring myself to do it for ethical reasons. Whereas in the past, as a fundy, I've made money for the church off of unbelievers and laughed all the way to the bank.

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I find it easier to put myself in another person's place and show empathy.

 

That sums it up for me. The reason we can do that more easily than the Christian is that Christians see themselves as separate from the rest of humanity. They know the Big Secret that the rest of us lost souls just don't know.

 

They are favored by their god, and we are their "projects." If they could relate to normal, regular people, then they wouldn't be so special. In other words, for all the humility they espouse, they feel superior to us.

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I find it easier to put myself in another person's place and show empathy.

 

That sums it up for me. The reason we can do that more easily than the Christian is that Christians see themselves as separate from the rest of humanity. They know the Big Secret that the rest of us lost souls just don't know.

 

They are favored by their god, and we are their "projects." If they could relate to normal, regular people, then they wouldn't be so special. In other words, for all the humility they espouse, they feel superior to us.

 

Should have known you could sum it up the best. Thanks again Florduh

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Ok, here is something that keeps coming up in my posts. I truly feel like I'm a better person since dropping the xian belief system. I realize that it is easy to say because we all want to feel like we are progressing. However, I find that I'm more patient and understanding. I find it easier to put myself in another person's place and show empathy.

 

I'm much less caring and empathetic than I was when I was a believer. As I've grown older I've grown perhaps more patient but less empathetic. Maybe because I've traveled quite a lot and experienced quite a lot and experience tells me I can't carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. Or maybe I'm just a dick. :shrug:

 

I don't, however, have the same twisted and contradictory moral values I had when I was a believer. I now understand why hell is a repugnant belief and I don't find any value at all in the xian ideal of lowering one's self as an evil worm in the eyes of my imaginary deity; just the opposite.

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As Thomas Paine said, "Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man." The god of Christianity is cruel, and that rubs off on Christians subconsciously. Letting that go naturally leads to better morals.

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As Thomas Paine said, "Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man." The god of Christianity is cruel, and that rubs off on Christians subconsciously. Letting that go naturally leads to better morals.

 

Oooooo, I like that.

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As Thomas Paine said, "Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man."

 

I think cruel men invent cruel gods. Gods always reflect the values of a society.

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I find it easier to put myself in another person's place and show empathy.

 

That sums it up for me. The reason we can do that more easily than the Christian is that Christians see themselves as separate from the rest of humanity. They know the Big Secret that the rest of us lost souls just don't know.

 

They are favored by their god, and we are their "projects." If they could relate to normal, regular people, then they wouldn't be so special. In other words, for all the humility they espouse, they feel superior to us.

 

And for the reason you just stated I am convinced that christianity attracts people who are very emotionally insecure and immature. It also attracts those who need to feel in control.

 

I think some of society is growing out of that need as we evolve emotionally.

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Kyle, I feel the same as you. Since I left Christianity, I have become a much nicer person both to myself and to others. I now accept my own faults and the faults of others as part of being human rather than something we should feel ashamed of. I also find it much easier to place myself in others' shoes and understand how they feel or what they think or believe, even if I don't agree with their behaviors or beliefs. When I listen to my family ranting and raving about how someone did this or that, or how stupid you'd have to be to vote for this person or believe in this religion, I think, wow, I used to be like that. Ugh. Not a pretty sight. When I say something like, "Although I don't agree with Tom, I understand why he would adhere to those beliefs since he was raised in them" or "Although I don't agree with Kim, I understand and respect her feelings on abortion" etc., my fundy family looks at me like I've grown 3 horns on my head. They think understanding and respecting someone means you agree with them. Sigh.

 

Florduh, you summed it up perfectly.

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So here is my question to the forum... How has your moral standards improved since dropping xianity? I'm interesed in both internal and external evidence (i.e. "I let a little old lady go in front of me at the grocery store when I was in a hurry")

 

I've always tended to see my own morality in terms of corporate morality. I might treat my friends and family badly, but back when I was a believer I donated money to charities--real charities like Oxfam and Unicef, never the church. Part of my interest in public service I guess comes from my early training in Christianity.

 

Now that I'm an atheist, I don't think I've changed all that much. I think that atheists need to do more charitable work. I tried to start a funding drive for Oxfam by means of the Flying Spaggetti Monster forum on facebook, but that went nowhere. I hope I'm wrong that people are less willing to voluntarily give to the poor after they deconvert.

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Well, personally I haven't run into a lot of charities I would give money to. I worked for an NGO and it and our partner NGOs were more money pits than helpful organizations. Moreover, I don't agree that charity work in Africa solves the problems there and if they are simply just feeding them they are only exacerbating the problem down the road. Investment in agriculture and industry in Africa will do much more than rice drops ever will for Africans.

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I have been active in local charities for years. That will not change. It is my day to day actions and thoughts that have changed.

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Well, personally I haven't run into a lot of charities I would give money to. I worked for an NGO and it and our partner NGOs were more money pits than helpful organizations. Moreover, I don't agree that charity work in Africa solves the problems there and if they are simply just feeding them they are only exacerbating the problem down the road. Investment in agriculture and industry in Africa will do much more than rice drops ever will for Africans.

 

I agree. I think that Oxfam is doing that. Micro lending and long term solutions are being incorporated into the plan. However, direct aid will always have a role. People should not starve in the presence of abundant food resources.

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Like Vigile, I believe I became less moral, less caring, less nice, less whatever, after I deconverted. When I was a Christian I would force myself to help the homeless, give money to the poor, be good to people, etc., because I thought God was watching and I wanted to make God happy. Now, I can hardly be bothered. Maybe I'm a dick, maybe my true nature is no longer suppressed, who knows... who cares.

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My basic moral beliefs hasn't really changed all that much since leaving xtianity. I still think murder, rape, stealing etc are wrong and you should follow the Golden Rule and give to the poor. I've swapped sides on some issues like abortion. Like before I only supported abortion in cases like rape or incest or if the mother's life was in danger, but now I'm officially pro choice. The biggest difference for me is now I'm not a busybody in other people's personal lives and I don't look at morals through the lenses of absolute morality anymore but my basic morals aren't really all that different.

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Excellent thread Kyle! And I find this to be true of myself as well. Prior to my deconversion I was a very dysfunctional person. I think part of this is that Christianity constantly TELLS you that you are a miserable sinner, and that anything good you do is just God working through you.

 

... scuse me I just barfed.

 

<ahem>

 

Anyway, after you leave Christianity you realize that you are a decent person after all. The feeling is quite liberating.

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kyle I basically am still the same person regarding my morals. Although I have to say I do worry about how to fix sexual morals into my brain. I need to discover that myself and not still be indoctrinated that unless your married sex is a no go. I feel like I have become so much more open and accepting to people and their different lifestyles and what not. Personally I am abhorred at some of the attitudes I had as a christian, and embarrassed. Morally though I still act the same, but there is a little relaxing of it. I have been wondering if now I am free I will become some horrible person. I still have that vague sense of guilt in my brain with sexual stuff. I know it is just indocrination but it has gotten me thinking to where humans get their morality from and so forth. Who decides whether one thing is wrong sexually or not? I dont think anyone can and it has to be your own decisions on what you want.

I have a lot more to say and think about..but at the moment I am tired and not thinking straight. Will get back to this.

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Since I left Christianity, I have become a much nicer person both to myself and to others. I now accept my own faults and the faults of others as part of being human rather than something we should feel ashamed of.

That's exactly how I feel. Whenever I feel short of my moral standards prior to my de-conversion, it was easy to remove the burden of responsibility from myself onto a xtian character. If I fell to temptation, then I thought Satan had provoked me to it. In my mind, the only mistake I had made was that I didn't pray hard enough to God in that moment. And if I made a moral mistake that had an outward effect on myself or others, I thought God had some sort of divine plan to use that mistake for some unseen greater good. Now that I don't have a scapegoat anymore, I have to take responsibility for my own actions. If I fall short of my morals now- which actually haven't changed all that much since I had always ignored the parts of xtianity that I never really agreed with- then the only way I can guarantee that the consequences will be handled constructively is if I make the first effort to correct them.

 

Although, I do have to admit that sometimes I still feel guilty for thoughts and actions that would only be considered immoral under religous principles. Sometimes when think about sex I remember the big no-no label xtianity places on those thoughts and I then feel dirty. I also feel remnants of guilt for questioning xtianity in the first place. Since almost everyone I know is xtian and expects me to follow suit, I feel like I'm letting them all down for abandoning their intellectual community even though almost none of them don't even know that I've stopped going to church. I know there's nothing immoral about that, but sometimes I can't help but feel like it is.

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Glad the two of you brought up sexual morality. I didn't even think of that.

 

I spent so many years being ashamed of natural urges. Remember, we are animals, we have natural instincts and desires. Sex is a part of nature.

 

Here is my take on sex. It all goes back to "do no harm". I have no problem with consenting adults engaging in sex. But let's remember that "do no harm" also extends to emotions. You can be consenting adults, but if you are cheating on your spouse, you are doing harm. If you are engaging in sex that endangers the health of yourself or another person, you are doing harm. Now, you can split hairs and say that engaging in sex that might create an attachment by one party and not the other is doing harm. Possibly. However, consenting adults are aware of the emotional attachment that may or may not occur.

 

So, in short, "healthy" sex is good. If you go into it with your eyes wide open and realize the risks.

 

Maturbation is ok. There is no shame in releasing the pent-up energy. There are probably a lot of victims of violent crime that wish their assailant would have just stayed home and beat off.

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Are Vigile and I the only ones who became less nice? C'mon y'all, what the fuck!!! :lmao:

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I don't think that I'm any more or less moral after leaving. I mean, I was already disturbed by the whole church hating the gays thing before I left it. I generally obey the law and don't get into trouble, but I did that before anyway. The main difference is that I no longer have fear of hell ruling my life.

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I feel as if any act I consider good actually feels, well, good. It feels more genuine, mostly because I'm not doing it to stay out of Hell. I don't feel obligated to bend over backwards for people and pretend that I give a damn just so that I can get them into the pews. I feel like I can be kind to people because it's the right thing to do.

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I feel like I can be kind to people because it's the right thing to do.

 

Well said

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So here is my question to the forum... How has your moral standards improved since dropping xianity? I'm interesed in both internal and external evidence (i.e. "I let a little old lady go in front of me at the grocery store when I was in a hurry")

 

I believe core values are something we inherit from our family, society, and education. I think when people feel their morals have improved after deconverting is actually them accepting themselves. The core values have already been instilled. They can be rejected or embraced, but religion is not the source of values. If a person senses hypocrisy in their religion and sheds it, they feel a renewed sense of self love and acceptance they were unable to find in religion which can lead to a more positive outlook if they find they are no longer conflicted or feeling hypocritical.

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Foxy, That is exactly what I've been thinking! As I grew further from religion, I found myself becoming more alive, more myself. No need to "please" the daddy in the sky, or look good to other christians. Doing good things just flowed out of love and concern for others. ANd when I couldn't or didn't have the means to respond, I didn't feel guilty.

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