Atheist Morality

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Atheist Morality

A place for atheists to discuss morality issues. What shapes your morality? What new perspectives have you found since abandoning faith (if you ever had any)? Is there any merit to religious moral authority?

Members: 413
Latest Activity: Jul 9

Religious Faith Morality & Epistemological Absurdities

Discussion Forum

Torture - symptom of Decadence

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Idaho Spud Dec 16, 2014. 6 Replies

How Religion can make you happy to kill! - Thunderf00t

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Jimmy McCann Dec 16, 2014. 7 Replies

Defining Evil in today's world

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner May 20, 2014. 2 Replies

Climate Destabilization Is Violence From Above

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Apr 9, 2014. 2 Replies

Natural Selection and Morals

Started by Steph S. Nov 15, 2013. 0 Replies

Thinking about science increases morality

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Aug 27, 2013. 0 Replies

The New Abolitionists

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jun 15, 2013. 0 Replies

Newborn Baby Flushed Down Toilet

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Steph S. May 28, 2013. 2 Replies

Markets suspend morality

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by A Former Member May 13, 2013. 5 Replies

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Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on February 14, 2010 at 1:00am
@John Hodges
Interesting reading. Thanks.

@Tara-Jane
If you can give me a contact point for these little Hitlers I would be happy to make a formal complaint to their parents, teachers, pastors or other authority figures.
Comment by John B Hodges on February 13, 2010 at 7:18pm
ATHEIST ETHICS IN 500 WORDS. John B. Hodges, Dec. 21, 2007.

How can you have any ethics if you don't believe in God?

The question must BE questioned. How can you have any ethics if you DO believe in a god?

Religious folk misunderstand morality at its roots. Religion teaches a child's view of ethics, that "being good" means "obeying your parent". Just as religious faith is believing what you are told, so religious morality is doing what you are told. Religious morality consists of obeying the alleged will of God, an invisible "Cosmic Parent", as reported by your chosen authority. But obedience is not morality, and morality is not obedience. We can all think of famous people who did good things while rebelling against authority, and others who did evil things while obeying authority.

Religious folk may be Good Samaritans or suicide bombers, it depends entirely on what their chosen authority orders them to do. If a believer, or a community of same, wishes to make war or keep slaves or oppress women, all they have to do is persuade themselves that their god approves. This seems not to be hard, and no god has ever popped up to tell believers that they were wrong. They do not have a code of morality except by the convenience of the priesthood. What they have is a code of obedience, which is not the same thing.

Atheism means looking at ethical questions as an adult among other adults. Civic morality is a means of maintaining peace and cooperation among equals, so that all may pursue happiness within the limits that ethics defines. This civic morality is objective. If you want to maintain peaceful relations, don't kill, steal, lie, or break agreements. As Shakespeare wrote: "It needs no ghost, Milord, come from the grave, to tell us this."

Because we are biological beings evolved by natural selection, most of us value the health of our families, where "health" is the ABILITY to survive, and "family" is "all who share your genes, to the extent that they share your genes." This is also called "inclusive fitness" by biologists. Essentially all living beings are going to seek this, because their desires are shaped by natural selection, and inclusive fitness is what natural selection selects for.

Because humans are social animals, who survive by cooperating in groups, we have a "natural" standard of ethics: The Good is that which leads to health, The Right is that which leads to peace. A "good person" is a desirable neighbor, from the point of view of people who seek to live in peace and raise families. Most people understand this intuitively. Understanding the logic of it is better. "If you want peace, work for justice."

There is a long history of philosophical thinking about ethics. Morality is not based on authority, but on reason and compassion. If I had to recommend just one book on ethics, it would be GOOD AND EVIL: A NEW DIRECTION by Richard Taylor.

I have a longer essay at http://civic.bev.net/atheistsnrv/articles/definition.html
Comment by John Secular Smith on October 7, 2009 at 11:15pm
Just joined Atheist Morality. I've been tossing around ideas of morality being based on the quest for truth, and once I work them out more I'll bring them here and let everyone else rip them apart so they can become better ideas. Should be fun!
Comment by Chuck on August 21, 2009 at 2:04pm
Glad to see a group on this subject.
Chuck
Comment by Luke on July 28, 2009 at 7:01am
Hang on there Signhild.

I'm not sure that it's appropriate to lump the pornographers and prostitutes in with the "violent offenders like pedos". Pedophiles do enormous harm to children through sexual predation. How do pornographers and prostitutes harm children. Pedophiles aren't particularly violent. Child sexual abuse is a betrayal of trust more than a crime of violence.

Because pedophilia does so much harm to children it is something that needs to be described in precise terms. Conflating it with everything else that you don't like is not useful. Pornography and prostitution cannot be linked to the harm of children.

Did you ever give consideration to the idea that prostitutes and pornographers want to work there professions and that they are doing no harm to themselves or others? There are people who have been hurt by their involvement in these professions. But it doesn't follow that everyone is harmed and many are sick of being painted as victims.

On your figures, if 60 to 70% of porn actors are christians then atheists are over-represented in these industries. I understand that approximately 85% of Americans identify themselves at christians. That means (on your numbers of 30 to 40%) that atheists are twice as likely to be pornographers or prostitutes as christians.

There is nothing hypocritical about being a prostitute or a pornographer if you are an atheist. I'm not aware of a humanist moral code that requires people to avoid these industries. Religions require very conservative sexual practices but I don't think that reason, logic and humanism has the same prohibition.
Comment by Signhild on July 27, 2009 at 8:29pm
From all religions, Christianity is the most hypocrite because they are truly the most inmoral of all. In USA more than 90-95% of inmates are christians, in special violent offenders like pedos. If anyone go to a "whorehouse" and ask the working girls their believes; more than 90% will tell you they believe in god. In porn idustry happens the same, at least 60-70% of actors, producers, believe in god too. Atheists have one of highest morality of all, reason, logic, humanism...
Comment by KnowsNog-ds on July 5, 2009 at 6:40am
To me, if your moral code is based on fear (i.e. bible teachings of everlasting hellfire), I don't think it is truly your moral code. When people (i.e. idiots like Steve Harvey) say you can't be moral without g-d, I ask them how many of them would still live this "pious" life if they were suddenly convinced there was no higher power? I would suspect very few would.
Comment by mxyzptlk on May 3, 2009 at 4:12am
lstpuzzlepc,

A better poll question would be "Can society survive peacefully and productively with religion." After all, we have evidence for that one -- not likely. It seems that existing "peacefully" and "productively" are the stated aims of most religions, but "peacefully" and "productively" are often at cross-purposes. Even Buddhists go to war.

But we don't really have evidence for society as a whole surviving without religion -- it just hasn't been tried, if by society they mean civilization. (Besides, "society" is a wishy-washy, imprecise and vague term.)
Comment by Brad on March 26, 2009 at 1:49pm
I was just surfing and read a bit on topix.com and there was a poll, the question posed was one I'm sure most of us have wondered, it was this "Can society survive without religion?" the results.... well they didn't shock me at all, but they will always upset me. :( this battle (which should never involve a physical approach is not going to be won on one front, there are other angles to be observed as well as the scientific or the evolutionary. It just seems to me that the debate within religion and atheism has become stagnent, or stuck in this perpetual loop of thought. There's angles of betrail to be considered for a reasons for people to not believe, human rights issues of brain washing children to believe what we adults are debating... there just seems to be a very sinister plan going on here, right under our noses, and has been for a very long time, since before the colonizing of this country, which was part of the same plan. As human beings are we "just" as ignorant as we are intelligent? what makes that so? Is it our lack of humility? Is it our bias and pride, developed by greed?

So many things to ponder, and we don't take the appropriate time to do so.... Vision quest, walkabout, meditation,....

Why does the turtle always win the race? We have lost something over the many many many many many years living these fast paced life-styles, that style isn't conducive to an awakening.... atleast not for most.

for what it's worth, here are the results to that disapointing poll.

Can society survive without religious structure?created by: Author Bradley Fowler | Oct 23, 2007
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Results

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9,514
votes

Posted in the Top Stories Forum
Hot Polls | Recent Polls
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No Maybe. Perhaps it can. I don't think so. Definitely Not sure. Yes. God will not like it. Islam is about God religion is man-made No 4790 50%
Yes. 1584 16%
religion is man-made 1002 10%
Definitely 940 9%
I don't think so. 379 3%
Perhaps it can. 278 2%
Maybe. 195 2%
Not sure. 129 1%
God will not like it. 123 1%
Islam is about God 94 0%
Current Total 9514
Comment by Marcelo A. on February 16, 2009 at 7:58pm
Hello everyone;

In respect to morality for a lack of a better word, I think the way to look at it is to analyze the ethical problems individually as they come along and based on both the facts presented and what your emotions dictate. I think that the ideas of Nietzsche are worth looking at, specially the book “beyond good and evil” for anyone interested in atheist morality. Personally as a nihilist I think that the only way to live a good life is to act on your emotions." Although I think that one must use its personal criteria to understand when is necessary to take rational decisions or to shut down emotionally. For example war.

Any impute is appreciated.
 

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