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Objective morality in 60 seconds or less


wynken vanaril

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I've discussed morality with many people and only few of them agree that there exists an objective code. I've been toying with one argument in particular that seems to be very simple but fairly sound so I figured I'd post it here. Now, I'm an objectivist by virtue of my Christian beliefs. I personally think Randian objectivism is laughable, but if God exists it's logically necessary that this universe and the morals that He established for us are objective. However, as the title claims we're looking for morality in 60 seconds or less, and people have been arguing God's existence for millenia.

The argument I'm interested in is simply this:

All people possess equal rights and deserve equal respect. They have been "created" equal.
Do you or have you ever valued your life/existence and your possessions?
Shouldn't we then logically assume that others also value those things for themselves?

All things being equal, if you have ever respected your own existence and property, you should respect that of others.

It's the golden rule, but in secular terms and with a bit more logical foundation.

I see two potential pitfalls:
1. There are those who argue that not all human beings are equal.
2. It still places an emphasis on the individual's feelings in order to establish intrinsic value. Basically, there are those who don't and never have valued their existence.

Any thoughts?

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The only problem with even the Christian viewpoint on morality is that while there is a true morality(and yes I am Christian) there is also a heavy influence based upon the upbringing one has.

I can, however, tell you that one's upbringing only affects a person's morales and values to a certain degree. If that were NOT the case than Christian missionaries to Fiji would not have been successful, or Africa, etc.(and I am not referring to the typical missionary that is there for good will, I'm talking about the ones who go to truly change hearts, change situations, etc).

But...back to your point...

No matter who you are, or what has happened in your life, there is always one person you truly care about. One person you would never want to see hurt, injured, etc. So, could you not say then that the value of THAT person is higher to you than anothers? Then, to use the previous example in the post above, if you would not wish harm upon them, why would you on someone else? What if THAT person is someone else's person they truly care about?

Just trying to shift the point of view here to a more "objective" point of view ;-)

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This is an interesting topic. :)

Hmm. . . I'd say moral values vary from person to person, depending on upbringing like Logan said. However, it seems like there seems to be an overall perception of good and bad, you know, that many people seem to sense in some way or the other. . .

But, to respond to your guys' points. . .
-I don't know whether all people are equal or not. Where did this come from, listed like a law? Isn't this actually part of the moral beliefs?
-Sure, I value stuff, I can safely assume most everyone values things (though I think some sociopaths, "abberrations," as we call them, sometimes may not in the sense we're talking about here), /but/

How did this leap to saying that we must therefore respect others'? Because we have our own things we value, we should respect that others do too? Because we love one person and wouldn't hurt that person, we should realize that others have their own persons, and we shouldn't hurt them? No, I think it would be more like, I value/love this object, therefore I am going to go to lengths of protecting it and improving conditions for it, disregarding what others want if need be. . . Because there's material scarcity, eh? We can't all have what we want.

Wellwell, okay then, why does the golden rule have so much sway then? Obviously not all of us treat each others exactly how we would want to be treated, etc., but at least many of us hold some respect for other people's wishes and desires.

Because of our societal contract, I guess. If we all went for getting the best for what we have, there would be too much conflict with others and that wouldn't be good for the species! So we banded up together and said, the best way to all get some of what we want is to all respect ea.'s others' to some extent. Now, that was crudely put, but do you kind of understand what I mean?

What I'm saying is, this "golden rule" we follow, it's not a thing of "morality" and such, but an understanding of what's necessary for the species. . .? The feeling of right and wrong is just an ingrained urge for survival, like hunger? . . .Well then, couldn't we continue as a species, you know, with a despot having all the others just fulfill his desires, and have the others mindlessly reproduce or something? Wouldn't we still survive as a species well enough like that? Hum, don't know, maybe the best species of them all is one that can survive /and/ have good living standards for all of the species. . .

Of course, I don't know whether morality is a real thing or not, I just tend to think in terms of survival. What need is there of moral codes, values, otherwise? Are we just an elevated species? Hm?

But, uh, of course, I have a moral code I feel about, just proposing a theory. I'm sorry about my cluttered way of presenting things, by the way. It also appears that I have a pennant for prompting questions. . . e__e Anyway, I might clean this up and try to improve it, but the bell's going to ring now. ^^U

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[quote name='Lulu' post='17310' date='Sep 25 2008, 10:43 AM']This is an interesting topic. :P

Hmm. . . I'd say moral values vary from person to person, depending on upbringing like Logan said. However, it seems like there seems to be an overall perception of good and bad, you know, that many people seem to sense in some way or the other. . .[/quote]
Objectivity by definition disregards the opinions or feelings of the individual. It matters not what you or I perceive to be moral because whatever the objective morals are they would exist regardless.

This is why the Christian God is sufficient in creating objective morality. If He exists, whether or not you believe He exists, His judgment and guidelines would be objectively perfect and would be delivered with all authority.

[quote]But, to respond to your guys' points. . .
-I don't know whether all people are equal or not. Where did this come from, listed like a law? Isn't this actually part of the moral beliefs?
-Sure, I value stuff, I can safely assume most everyone values things (though I think some sociopaths, "abberrations," as we call them, sometimes may not in the sense we're talking about here), /but/[/quote]
Equality is a logical assumption. It's not based on morals, it's merely based on the fact that we are all (for the most part) genetically/biologically the same and should therefore be treated equally. Also, even on a subjective or emotional level no one individual could claim superiority without contradicting any logical argument they could use to establish it.

Basically, the moment I claim that my rights or desires are superior to yours and you claim that yous are superior to mine we have a logical contradiction, and neither of us has any external evidence which supports the claim so you necessarily reach equality...

[quote]How did this leap to saying that we must therefore respect others'? Because we have our own things we value, we should respect that others do too? Because we love one person and wouldn't hurt that person, we should realize that others have their own persons, and we shouldn't hurt them? No, I think it would be more like, I value/love this object, therefore I am going to go to lengths of protecting it and improving conditions for it, disregarding what others want if need be. . . Because there's material scarcity, eh? We can't all have what we want.

Wellwell, okay then, why does the golden rule have so much sway then? Obviously not all of us treat each others exactly how we would want to be treated, etc., but at least many of us hold some respect for other people's wishes and desires.

Because of our societal contract, I guess. If we all went for getting the best for what we have, there would be too much conflict with others and that wouldn't be good for the species! So we banded up together and said, the best way to all get some of what we want is to all respect ea.'s others' to some extent. Now, that was crudely put, but do you kind of understand what I mean?

What I'm saying is, this "golden rule" we follow, it's not a thing of "morality" and such, but an understanding of what's necessary for the species. . .? The feeling of right and wrong is just an ingrained urge for survival, like hunger? . . .Well then, couldn't we continue as a species, you know, with a despot having all the others just fulfill his desires, and have the others mindlessly reproduce or something? Wouldn't we still survive as a species well enough like that? Hum, don't know, maybe the best species of them all is one that can survive /and/ have good living standards for all of the species. . .

Of course, I don't know whether morality is a real thing or not, I just tend to think in terms of survival. What need is there of moral codes, values, otherwise? Are we just an elevated species? Hm?[/quote]

I believe that in this entire section you're talking about natural law, which is an abhorrent method to establish morality. For instance, rape could be argued as an excellent way to perpetuate a species...apes and baboons do it so it must be moral.

Arguing that morals are purely for survival is no good.

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As an historian, mythologist, and atheist (take your pick), I have to disagree, Wynken. The Golden Rule not only antedates the Christian religion by centuries (at least), but has cropped up in many geographically disparate cultures and seems to have its basis in biological mechanisms. The famous atheist writer Christopher Hitchens, whom I despise, argues that the Golden Rule can be intuited, and this is one of the few points on which he and I agree.

The so-called "Samaritan paradox" has been demonstrated not to be much of a paradox at all, and I'm drawing on Frans deWaal and Joseph Campbell here. The "paradox" arises when groups larger than a nomadic clan-unit are considered, as I believe was argued by putative Serenity Prayer author Reinhold Niebuhr. Within the unit, compassion serves a clear and necessary function. Beyond that unit, compassionate action can seem strange and even counterintuitive... but it isn't. It's hard-wired into our behavior from hundreds of thousands of years of behavioral evolution.

"God" is a loaded term to me, a sign stimulus packed with millennia of accumulated meanings that are demonstrably culture-specific. As this is a friendly discussion, let us leave it at that; suffice to say that I require no teleological explanation for why I try to be nice. The hypothetical God you posit invites discussions of theodicy, moralistic vs. naturalistic fallacies, etc [i]ad nauseam[/i].

Equality is profoundly illogical; we are [i]not[/i] all the same, though we share many baseline traits. Our physical properties are diverse, highly diverse, though in a predictable range, but our neurological systems are so complex as to throw the assumption of equality straight out the window. I argue that the notion of equality is traceable to sign stimulus: after the threshold of threat assessment, we see something that looks like a mammal, and we tend to like it; we see something that looks like a human, and we tend to empathize with it. This empathy explains the cathartic power of tragedy, especially in its earliest forms, as we see the protagonist in a drama and share his/her suffering.

We do not, therefore, have any objective or empirical means of establishing superiority. That's a wordy way of saying I agree with your conclusion - that no one is inherently superior to anyone else - but that I dispute your means of having arrived there, since my assumption is that we cannot make any statement in the [i]absence[/i] of qualitative evidence.

Finally, your analogy of primate rape seems faulty, close to a straw-man fallacy. Rape is not a good way to perpetuate this species, not at all. Why? Brain size - pelvic width - difficulty and danger of childbirth - length of time to maturity. Do the math. Our species requires a great deal of mutual support to thrive, and violence (rape is a violent more than a sexual act) undermines that support and diminishes our capacity to live to the age of sexual maturity. We commit rape just as other apes do, but we cannot possibly hope to sustain a species with our cranial size and upright stature by means of forced intercourse. Again, I point you to de Waal.

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[quote name='Lulu' post='17310' date='Sep 25 2008, 10:43 AM']What I'm saying is, this "golden rule" we follow, it's not a thing of "morality" and such, but an understanding of what's necessary for the species. . .? The feeling of right and wrong is just an ingrained urge for survival, like hunger? . . .Well then, couldn't we continue as a species, you know, with a despot having all the others just fulfill his desires, and have the others mindlessly reproduce or something? Wouldn't we still survive as a species well enough like that? Hum, don't know, maybe the best species of them all is one that can survive /and/ have good living standards for all of the species. . .[/quote]
Forgot to address this. The flipside of de Waal and Niebuhr is that behavioral morality extends only to the nomadic clan unit. Beyond that, an unknown animal is subjected to threat assessment. Babies seem inherently to react positively to human faces, but adults survivalistically assume [i]any[/i] intruder might be a threat before any further assessment is made. Hence: conflict over resources. Our babies need to survive, and we'll kill you if you interfere with that. As a parent, I can assure you that the instinctive tendency to protective violence is very, very strong. Benevolent despot? Sure. You despots go be despots over there, and stay away from my little girls.

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Firstly i don`t think that the moral rule god made would have to be objective. Since all we know about him are things he wanted some prophets to know, he could as well be a jerk who randomly made up rules to see if we follow his every whim if he threatens us with hell. But I`m an atheist with a strong dislike for every organized religion so don`t mind what I say about god.

But now morality. Equal hmm we aren`t the same but yeah I `wouldn`t say humans aren`t equal since for them to unequal there had to be a scale to measure humans and what would that be (intelligence? the abtility to produce healty offsprings?), okay if i think that way i would have to say all living things are equal. But that doesn`t matter since i don`t see how equality results in moral rules. Sure my desires aren`t superior to other but they are more important to me since they are my desires. There is no reason for me to care what the desires of others are, that`s not saying my desires are superior nor saying they should back off to grant me what i want, it`s just saying that i don`t have to take care of others desires.

I don`t believe there is a objective morality. If i define a goal like "The median of the happiness level of all humans should be as high as possible" i could make logic deductions what`s the best way to reach it(developing a drug which makes them happy and pump them full with it), create some guidelines based on that and call it morality but that wouldn`t be objectiv since i randomly made up that goal. I could as well say my goal is "to make myself as happy as possible".

That said i have moral rules and i follow them but they don`t have a logic reason, i just do what feels rights to me. So they are just a result of my upbringing and genes (since humans are animals which live in groups a few moral rules are benefical for survival).

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[quote name='Cirith' post='17343' date='Sep 25 2008, 06:06 PM']Firstly i don`t think that the moral rule god made would have to be objective. Since all we know about him are things he wanted some prophets to know, he could as well be a jerk who randomly made up rules to see if we follow his every whim if he threatens us with hell. But I`m an atheist with a strong dislike for every organized religion so don`t mind what I say about god.[/quote]
Do you follow the randomly made up laws when governments threaten with incarceration? I bet you think government is just a bunch of mean jerks too. :)

[quote]But now morality. Equal hmm we aren`t the same but yeah I `wouldn`t say humans aren`t equal since for them to unequal there had to be a scale to measure humans and what would that be (intelligence? the abtility to produce healty offsprings?), okay if i think that way i would have to say all living things are equal. But that doesn`t matter since i don`t see how equality results in moral rules. Sure my desires aren`t superior to other but they are more important to me since they are my desires. There is no reason for me to care what the desires of others are, that`s not saying my desires are superior nor saying they should back off to grant me what i want, it`s just saying that i don`t have to take care of others desires.[/quote]
I believe you've just found yourself in the same logical trap that I warned about in my first post. If you don't care about others, why should anyone care about you? You will find yourself having less chance to receive the things you want, and you will also find yourself necessarily justifying all sorts of injustices that I don't believe anyone can argue for.

[quote]I don`t believe there is a objective morality. If i define a goal like "The median of the happiness level of all humans should be as high as possible" i could make logic deductions what`s the best way to reach it(developing a drug which makes them happy and pump them full with it), create some guidelines based on that and call it morality but that wouldn`t be objectiv since i randomly made up that goal. I could as well say my goal is "to make myself as happy as possible".[/quote]
Happiness is subjective. Randian objectivism uses happiness to establish morality and it falls on its face.

[quote]That said i have moral rules and i follow them but they don`t have a logic reason, i just do what feels rights to me.[/quote]
So was Hitler.

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[quote name='Tarquinus' post='17318' date='Sep 25 2008, 12:34 PM']As an historian, mythologist, and atheist (take your pick), I have to disagree, Wynken. The Golden Rule not only antedates the Christian religion by centuries (at least), but has cropped up in many geographically disparate cultures and seems to have its basis in biological mechanisms. The famous atheist writer Christopher Hitchens, whom I despise, argues that the Golden Rule can be intuited, and this is one of the few points on which he and I agree.[/quote]
I never claimed it was a Christian concept :)

[quote]"God" is a loaded term to me, a sign stimulus packed with millennia of accumulated meanings that are demonstrably culture-specific. As this is a friendly discussion, let us leave it at that; suffice to say that I require no teleological explanation for why I try to be nice. The hypothetical God you posit invites discussions of theodicy, moralistic vs. naturalistic fallacies, etc [i]ad nauseam[/i].[/quote]
We'll have to discuss theology in another thread. I have a fervor for intelligent debate.

[quote]Equality is profoundly illogical; we are [i]not[/i] all the same, though we share many baseline traits. Our physical properties are diverse, highly diverse, though in a predictable range, but our neurological systems are so complex as to throw the assumption of equality straight out the window. I argue that the notion of equality is traceable to sign stimulus: after the threshold of threat assessment, we see something that looks like a mammal, and we tend to like it; we see something that looks like a human, and we tend to empathize with it. This empathy explains the cathartic power of tragedy, especially in its earliest forms, as we see the protagonist in a drama and share his/her suffering.

We do not, therefore, have any objective or empirical means of establishing superiority. That's a wordy way of saying I agree with your conclusion - that no one is inherently superior to anyone else - but that I dispute your means of having arrived there, since my assumption is that we cannot make any statement in the [i]absence[/i] of qualitative evidence.[/quote]
Maybe I should have stated that I believe humans are ontologically equal. We exist equally and all possess the same intrinsic value...whether that be found to be very great or very small.

[quote]Finally, your analogy of primate rape seems faulty, close to a straw-man fallacy. Rape is not a good way to perpetuate this species, not at all. Why? Brain size - pelvic width - difficulty and danger of childbirth - length of time to maturity. Do the math. Our species requires a great deal of mutual support to thrive, and violence (rape is a violent more than a sexual act) undermines that support and diminishes our capacity to live to the age of sexual maturity. We commit rape just as other apes do, but we cannot possibly hope to sustain a species with our cranial size and upright stature by means of forced intercourse. Again, I point you to de Waal.[/quote]
I don't see how physiology has anything to do with it, but it's not a point that I argue strongly. Also, we view rape as a violent act only because of sociological ideology. In other animal herds or societies, it's merely something the females expect and think is well deserved of the males in the upper hierarchy. Which is another injustice performed in the animal kingdom...a clear caste system wrought with violence and disrespect. This being the case, I would think that with a 9 month gestation period, the math would work in my favor and it would make sense to impregnate as many women as possible in the shortest time frame.

In any case, there are plenty of other examples to draw from natural law. Theft, infanticide, pedophilia, murder...I could pick apart natural law as a means to justify moral behavior all day long.

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[quote name='wynken vanaril' post='17354' date='Sep 26 2008, 07:46 AM']Maybe I should have stated that I believe humans are ontologically equal. We exist equally and all possess the same intrinsic value...whether that be found to be very great or very small.[/quote]
You're entitled to your belief, but it is belief rather than empirical fact. Again, I agree with your conclusion, but because of the absence of reason to think otherwise, not because the idea is appealing.

[quote]I don't see how physiology has anything to do with it, but it's not a point that I argue strongly. Also, we view rape as a violent act only because of sociological ideology. In other animal herds or societies, it's merely something the females expect and think is well deserved of the males in the upper hierarchy. Which is another injustice performed in the animal kingdom...a clear caste system wrought with violence and disrespect. This being the case, I would think that with a 9 month gestation period, the math would work in my favor and it would make sense to impregnate as many women as possible in the shortest time frame.[/quote]
With respect, you might want to give it more thought. Physiology has everything to do with it, starting with our cognitive capacity and cascading backward from there. The size of the brain necessitates a certain kind of diet; the width of the pelvis determines whether or not the mother can walk upright AND give birth to a child with a skull of that size; and whether you intended to or not, you've conveniently ignored that gestation is only the first step in what is on average a [b]ten-year development period[/b] to sexual maturity. We are not hooved mammals, born with the ability to walk. For our development to succeed, we absolutely must have the support of a nurturing group, and we have developed biological mechanisms to ensure that this happens more often than not. Impregnation of many women, or of one sturdy woman repeatedly, is desirable not because of the gestation period of babies but because of the width, or more precisely, narrowness of her pelvis... which, as you surely know, resulted in very high rates of death in childbirth and infant mortality until the last century or so.

Suppose the mother brings the infant to term, and dies. Who, then, will nourish the infant? How will it survive? Monkeys don't necessarily seem to notice, let alone care, if an infant dies. Most apes do. That's incredibly significant, and more than anything you've presented, which starts with an axiomatic declaration of the objective perfection of a divinely imposed moral system, it looks to me like the basis of morality: a thing without which the species will not survive.

Analogies hobble, as the Romans said, but a broad comparison between human behavior and that of the entire animal kingdom can't even walk.

[quote]In any case, there are plenty of other examples to draw from natural law. Theft, infanticide, pedophilia, murder...I could pick apart natural law as a means to justify moral behavior all day long.[/quote]
Observing biological factors that seem to explain the roots of morality is not the same as commiting the Naturalistic Fallacy. If you can dismantle my position all day long, that is well, because it seems to me that you haven't even begun. The things you cite as immoral create more problems for you than for me, since the foundation of your moral system is teleological, or more charitably, philosophical rather than empirical. Life [u]is[/u] murder, as the Jainists aptly pointed out many millennia ago. What distinguishes us from other animals is our capacity to behave differently, which would help you if we humans were alone in having that capacity. We are not; other apes possess it, too, and they can only demonstrate the capacity to observe the Golden Rule by way of actions... actions which seem demonstrably rooted in biological causes.

Biology doesn't justify anything: it attempts to explain what is observed. You might argue that the distinction between explanation and justification is purely semantic in the context of your usage, but given the topic you've chosen you would be well advised to choose your words with care.

And as for theft... please consider whence the idea of "property" comes, and when it can be shown to have entered the scene of human development. It is not even a notion shared by all primitive human cultures, not in our sense, and without the notion of property the idea of theft ceases to have any meaning.

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Tarquinus said:
"We do not, therefore, have any objective or empirical means of establishing superiority. That's a wordy way of saying I agree with your conclusion - that no one is inherently superior to anyone else"

Cirith said:
"Equal hmm we aren`t the same but yeah I `wouldn`t say humans aren`t equal since for them to unequal there had to be a scale to measure humans and what would that be (intelligence? the abtility to produce healty offsprings?), okay if i think that way i would have to say all living things are equal."

wynken vanaril said:
"Equality is a logical assumption. It's not based on morals, it's merely based on the fact that we are all (for the most part) genetically/biologically the same and should therefore be treated equally. Also, even on a subjective or emotional level no one individual could claim superiority without contradicting any logical argument they could use to establish it."
continuing with:
"Basically, the moment I claim that my rights or desires are superior to yours and you claim that yous are superior to mine we have a logical contradiction, and neither of us has any external evidence which supports the claim so you necessarily reach equality..."


All three quotes end up saying that we can't say any human is inherently superior to any other human. I don't really agree. First of all genetically/biologically we are similar but not, for the most part, the same. If we go purely with the genetic/biology factors and not any external benefits or detriments, a person can be stronger, smarter, quicker, more fertile, and more socially adept. There are genetic diseases that leave people bedridden and their minds stunted. Add in external aspects and there are people with better social/political/financial assets or simply a monopoly on food or someone with the biggest gun. Advanced age, illness, and extreme youth are other versions of short-term or not so short-term attributes that lessen superiority.

Now it is easy to say that there is no empirical evidence to prove one man on the street is superior to another, but to say no human is superior to another is less than accurate. If one compared a healthy, happy, strong, intelligent, agile, wealthy, and fertile person with a sickly, depressed, weak, retarded, fumbling, poor, and sterile person of the same age, possibly with a debilitating genetic disease that caused part of the person's condition, one would be hard pressed to say one isn't superior to the other. Not all of these criteria may be considered important to this particular discussion, but the point of the example remains. I can only think of religious beliefs that would consider the two people equal. Even with 24 hour attention and large sums of money some people are never able to become capable of contributing vocationally (working), intellectually (artistically/scientifically/socially/philosophically), or genetically (breeding) to our race. It is only our caring for family or for 'the herd' that keeps them from being left to die, and at times, they have been left to die. Most people aren't in such a situation, but to say they there is no one that can be proven superior to at least some of the people in such a situation is doubtful. Criminal activities often do the opposite of contributing and can be considered even worse in some ways, but there are other variables that make criminals in general more gray. Any one criterion is not enough to claim superiority, but if all criteria people might logically choose to decide superiority is clearly more present in one person that another, wouldn't that make one superior? One might argue that there would be no two people so diametrically opposed, but I find it highly likely in over six billion people that at -least- two people would be so opposed.

As for the impasse where two people claim their rights are superior to the other, it is not so much a impasse as a position where one or the other can prove or disprove their inequality. It is only a logical contradiction if both people are correct in their claim. A person can be stronger, smarter, etc. but still not gain the social approval that they are superior because they don't have the tact and social skill to get what they want logically and in a way that seems reasonable to all involved. Fighting like a gladiator or blatantly snatching like a petty thief for what one wants only proves that one is lacking in the social superiority involved to have a chance at being more than an equal in a human environment. Tactfully pointing out how useful you could be if only you had ......(fill in the blank) to help you with your work, or noting if only you could get the money to take a few classes you could really help out the town.. are both ways, if done well, to get the full support from others in claiming that you need something, be it an item or money, more than anyone else. Carefully pointing out that the other person is rude, blunt, and crass while you have always been polite and helped old ladies across the street gives you social leeway in situations when deciding who is at fault. I'm digressing, but the point is, be it physically or philosophically, not everyone has or ever will be considered equal to everyone else, nor should everyone necessarily be. Though there are a huge amount of people that would be hard to compare, there are also people that could be compared resulting in a fairly clearly superior and inferior person. This is enough to conclude, in my mind, that people are not all equal and that there are members of humanity inherently superior and inferior.

That said, respecting others and their possessions, at least in the official public eye, tends to be the best social move to prevent other people from fearing that you will disrespect them and theirs as well. This fear can lead to social reproval, shunning, and even violence depending on the severity of disrespect. I, for one, also tend to enjoy being friendly and respecting others and their property, be it in public or on my own. Respecting people is not a good idea because people are equal, but instead because it is easier to get along with people if they aren't worried you are a person who disregards social mores and could steal their stuff, break their toys, or attack them. If you have power enough to not have to worry about getting along with people because they have no power over you in any way, it is truly up to you to decide how to treat them. I'd suggests treating them well anyway in hopes they might support you if ever they could help against someone that -was- capable of disrespecting you or yours.

Okay, on a more minor note:


Cirith said:
"That said i have moral rules and i follow them but they don`t have a logic reason, i just do what feels rights to me."

and wynken vanaril replied
"So was Hitler."


Doing what feels right without a logical reason actually tends to use the person's instincts and socially learned moral values. Saying "So was Hitler" about it is not only using a loaded name but doesn't really make much sense the way it is said. "So did Hitler" could be saying that Hitler did what felt right to him too, but even if that was what was meant, saying Hitler did similar things doesn't condemn Cirith for doing it too. Hitler could have thought rape was a horrible crime and that dolphins are intelligent, but that doesn't make a person horrible for having similar beliefs. In any case, doing what feels right without a logical reason often has an underlying reason if one takes the time to consider why it feels right. Even if that wasn't the case, in a tough situation, doing simply what feels right can be the best way to decide, since taking the time to logically evaluate everything could bring injury or death to you or others you wish to help.

PS
If anything I said was worded in such a way that makes it difficult to follow, I apologize for my own literary ineptitude. I will gladly attempt to explain some comment I've made in a more clear fashion if someone asks.

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Your taking my quote completely out of context and proceeding to refute points I did not make is objectionable to me.

This is what I said (emphasis added):

[quote][b]Equality is profoundly illogical; we are not all the same, though we share many baseline traits. Our physical properties are diverse, highly diverse, though in a predictable range, but our neurological systems are so complex as to throw the assumption of equality straight out the window.[/b] I argue that the notion of equality is traceable to sign stimulus: after the threshold of threat assessment, we see something that looks like a mammal, and we tend to like it; we see something that looks like a human, and we tend to empathize with it. This empathy explains the cathartic power of tragedy, especially in its earliest forms, as we see the protagonist in a drama and share his/her suffering.

We do not, therefore, have any objective or empirical means of establishing superiority. That's a wordy way of saying I agree with your conclusion - that no one is inherently superior to anyone else - but that I dispute your means of having arrived there, since my assumption is that we cannot make any statement in the absence of qualitative evidence.[/quote]

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Tarquinas, where exactly do you stand on this debate? I can't tell if you've taken a stance on anything other than to refute my rebuttal of natural law.

[quote name='Trafalgar' post='17464' date='Sep 29 2008, 01:56 AM']All three quotes end up saying that we can't say any human is inherently superior to any other human. I don't really agree. First of all genetically/biologically we are similar but not, for the most part, the same. If we go purely with the genetic/biology factors and not any external benefits or detriments, a person can be stronger, smarter, quicker, more fertile, and more socially adept. There are genetic diseases that leave people bedridden and their minds stunted. Add in external aspects and there are people with better social/political/financial assets or simply a monopoly on food or someone with the biggest gun. Advanced age, illness, and extreme youth are other versions of short-term or not so short-term attributes that lessen superiority.[/quote]
You're grading on a different scale. We're talking about the (debatably) equal value of cognitive human existence. If your grading scale were to be used one could argue that euthanasia and capital punishment are moral, as are forms of genocide based on intellect or physical constitution.

I'm willing to entertain the argument you're making because we are after all debating objective vs. subjective morals, but I'd first like you to express your willingness to take a hard stance on the logical path you've chosen here.


[quote]Okay, on a more minor note:


Cirith said:
"That said i have moral rules and i follow them but they don`t have a logic reason, i just do what feels rights to me."

and wynken vanaril replied
"So was Hitler."


Doing what feels right without a logical reason actually tends to use the person's instincts and socially learned moral values. Saying "So was Hitler" about it is not only using a loaded name but doesn't really make much sense the way it is said. "So did Hitler" could be saying that Hitler did what felt right to him too, but even if that was what was meant, saying Hitler did similar things doesn't condemn Cirith for doing it too. Hitler could have thought rape was a horrible crime and that dolphins are intelligent, but that doesn't make a person horrible for having similar beliefs. In any case, doing what feels right without a logical reason often has an underlying reason if one takes the time to consider why it feels right. Even if that wasn't the case, in a tough situation, doing simply what feels right can be the best way to decide, since taking the time to logically evaluate everything could bring injury or death to you or others you wish to help.[/quote]

Granted my claim is a logical fallacy, but I like to pepper in a bit of satire to help people see their own fallacious thinking. The point remains that if morality equates to individuals acting according to their feelings, one must accept that nearly everything is moral.

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Well you imply that IF god exist he would have created morals,then the best way to see that is in animals,since humans can think they may have distorted god's desires and morals,animals kill themselves for food and the for crowd control over a territory,they match with brothers and sisters(not to mention father and mothers) and its not uncommon to animals having relation with the same sex,animals with genetic problems tends to end dead(or by getting killed by predators or the mother/siblings eat them).

What im trying to say is simple the best moral is the one that maintain a balance,human morals doesnt maintain that since you must respect others just by the sake of respect,and this my friend is a big wrong in natural world,at that world you gain respect by various factors like colour,strenght,usefull,size,inteligence and more human factors like family,good,evil,charity and others.

Human says everyone has equal rights yet you need to make special things to different people thus giving more rights to those and less to the "common",this creates what you call jealously,the perfect society would be made of same people,no shades of gray only black and white literaly,people that would be diferend should be killed.

Indeed its cruel and i would never accept something like that coz if you have no war you wouldnt know peace and more importantly if it was like that everyoone thinking the same thing there would be no room for the greatness of man,hope.

Added Edited: And about the sense of good and bad that human have its called empathy,thats where morals come the hability to put yourself into another person situation,feeling what others feels.

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  • 4 weeks later...
:D I like topics like these for I feel it is important to think about.

First of all, the whole idea of God is that He created everyTHING (matter and thus time and all that goes with it). Why this is is because it has been recognised that the chances are incredibly slim that all of the conditions of life happened without a powerful force. The chances of order and the developement of elements in such a way that life could exist are the same chances as if you "dumped blank scrabble pieces on a table, stood five feet away, and flicked paint from your paintbrush onto the pieces to clearly form a line of Shakespeare".

As the Atheists see it, God is a made up character by man. It is very well possible that the characteristics that people claim are God's are not true....but the point is God is the beginning and the force behind everything; the starting point of life even if we exclude the name "God" and say "evolution" or "the Big Bang". How we live our lives are based on who or what we think is "god".

A Christian's God is a God of solid correctness as there are only two options for all things: right and wrong. Everything that is is right and everything that isn't is wrong (note that there is nothing that is and is not at the same time). God made something from nothing therefore He must be an "is".....an infinite source of "is". You have God's character right there!! He is in essence all that is good and righteous for He created all that is true. For those who have objections against religion....it is a TRUTH claim!! Who is it do you think is claiming the truth? Imperfect people? Even an Atheist is making a truth claim even though they say they are anti-religious. Nobody can prove the beginning of time or what started it therefore "religious" and "anti-religious" people are just hypothosizing. If a righteous God did not exist then I would still choose to live for what is and not what isn't (though I can't put it together in my mind anymore that God does not exist). I would want to live for what is right and purposeful according to the idea of perfect because it makes life a whole lot easier to not have to suffer the penalties of living in the land of fantasy (not true).

A question that seems to pop up all over is "if He is so good, why is there bad in the world?". The answer is that bad is something that isn't....it is a lie.....like doing something based on a belief that is not correct (which all of us do because we all have been wrong).....as long as there are truths there will be lies otherwise there would still be nothing. There can't be one without the other.

About being created equal.....We are created equal because compaired to an infinitely righteous God we are all equally sinful and we are all equally evil without God.

[b]In the dictionary, morality is a set standard of what is decent behavior in the eyes of the majority or personal opinion on what should be done based on the knowledge of right and wrong. This opens up the option of serving a different "god" and still being "moral". It does not mean that it is right. [/b]
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[quote name='ReDa' post='18817' date='Oct 23 2008, 08:35 PM']Why this is is because it has been recognised that the chances are incredibly slim that all of the conditions of life happened without a powerful force. The chances of order and the developement of elements in such a way that life could exist are the same chances as if you "dumped blank scrabble pieces on a table, stood five feet away, and flicked paint from your paintbrush onto the pieces to clearly form a line of Shakespeare".[/quote]
There will be no reasoning with you if you cannot recognize that the chance of the being you posit has a smaller probability of existence by many orders of magnitude. What is difficult to understand about simple conditions producing complexity, and that positing infinite complexity [i]a priori[/i] makes very little sense? In essence, there is no [u]reason[/u] whatever to assert the existence of such a being - it is a matter of "faith", which in most cases is antithetical to reason.

[quote]As the Atheists see it, God is a made up character by man.[/quote]
I would ask which God you think is the authentic one, but you have made your bias plain enough. Hail Zeus!

[quote]....but the point is God is the beginning and the force behind everything; the starting point of life even if we exclude the name "God" and say "evolution" or "the Big Bang". How we live our lives are based on who or what we think is "god".[/quote]
All of which presupposes we accept your baseline assumption, which is illogical in the extreme. But even many people of faith would take issue with your apparent contrast between God and evolution; frankly, I think you embarrass them with this kind of talk.

[quote]A Christian's God is a God of solid correctness as there are only two options for all things: right and wrong. Everything that is is right and everything that isn't is wrong (note that there is nothing that is and is not at the same time). God made something from nothing therefore He must be an "is".....an infinite source of "is". You have God's character right there!! He is in essence all that is good and righteous for He created all that is true. For those who have objections against religion....it is a TRUTH claim!! Who is it do you think is claiming the truth? Imperfect people?[/quote]
Truth is empirical. Saying something loudly does not make it true.

You assert many things on the basis of nothing but your own conviction and leap from one to the next as though it all makes sense. But it doesn't. Your dualistic conception of right and wrong is simplistic, putting it mildly, in a universe inhabited by an infinite being of any kind. And if there is no such being, the dualism simply disappears into perspective.

[quote]Even an Atheist is making a truth claim even though they say they are anti-religious.[/quote]
Yes, but what we atheists are saying is largely based on evidence. You present no evidence at all.

[quote]Nobody can prove the beginning of time or what started it therefore "religious" and "anti-religious" people are just hypothosizing.[/quote]
Ah, yes. Science is so very silly... it only gave you the computer on which to perpetrate this particular screed. The fact of the matter is that we can turn back the clock on space-time very far indeed, and if we take Loop Quantum Gravity or other theories into account, we can even approach the beginning. A theory and a hypothesis are not the same.

[quote]If a righteous God did not exist then I would still choose to live for what is and not what isn't (though I can't put it together in my mind anymore that God does not exist). I would want to live for what is right and purposeful according to the idea of perfect because it makes life a whole lot easier to not have to suffer the penalties of living in the land of fantasy (not true).[/quote]
You're dwelling in a land of fantasy conjured for the sole purpose of justifying your actions. There is a much simpler explanation: you evolved to think as you do, and you respond to environmental stimuli for reasons of survival.

[quote]A question that seems to pop up all over is "if He is so good, why is there bad in the world?". The answer is that bad is something that isn't....it is a lie.....like doing something based on a belief that is not correct (which all of us do because we all have been wrong).....as long as there are truths there will be lies otherwise there would still be nothing. There can't be one without the other.[/quote]
You can say this as many times as you want and still fail to see the absurdity of it. Good and bad are matters of human perspective. Omnibenevolence is a huge problem for apologists and students of theodicy alike.

[quote]About being created equal.....We are created equal because compaired to an infinitely righteous God we are all equally sinful and we are all equally evil without God.[/quote]
Sin. So much for omnibenevolence. If you hope to comfort me with the thought of infinite torment, you are howling at the moon.

[quote]In the dictionary, morality is a set standard of what is decent behavior in the eyes of the majority or personal opinion on what should be done based on the knowledge of right and wrong. This opens up the option of serving a different "god" and still being "moral". It does not mean that it is right.[/quote]
Yes. Saying a thing is right does not make it so. The logical conclusion is that morality and your god are tenuously connected - that the latter is in fact the outgrowth of the former, and not vice-versa as you claim.

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Therefore you are saying that nothing is certain because human perspective can't grasp how things really are. You cannot tell what is real and what is dream....it sounds to me like you are in a fog.

The reason that I am leaping through the subjects like it makes sense is because I have ran over it so much in my mind and have tried to make sense of it.....obviously, whether it is total fantasy or not a person can do that XD just like you. As for your comment on the insult of "my people"...I am not considering myself in a particular religious group (I just know where I am not) therefore I have no people to insult. I reach for independance when it comes to what people think because they are inconsistant. God to people can mean different things because people perceive the world in different ways.....god is whatever or whoever you live for....god is whoever or whatever you surve.....that is why I say that god (the beginning and creator, or a powerful being, or a meaning in life, purpose, cause....etc.) can be "the Big Bang" or "Evolution". You have a god that you live for too (probably yourself for you confide in whatever you feel like) though you insult the people that admit that something controls their decisions. I wonder if you think it would be better if the world lived for themselves and made themselves gods. No rules except your own exists.......God forbid. Maybe you should straighten out what you are really objecting besides my personal devotion to something other than myself because if the world has no rules but our own then I should have the liberty of living for whomever I please.

I am not trying to put people down as you are for you are hostile. Tell me what I am doing wrong...(?)

As for science, I acknowledge and appreciate it....but there is no way to prove how the earth exists. The only thing that has been proven is that an organism can adapt to an invironment.....not change species entirely (which has not been proven). It cannot be proven how the universe was made and it cannot be proven that a single prokaryotic cell can mutate into billions of cells that work together to form an organism. Science cannot prove God and science cannot prove that you are right in thinking that the universe is limited by human perception.

What I am trying to do is start at the beginning....perhaps in some places I could have worded things better, I admit. The main thing that I am trying to point out, or what I am going on, is that there is a defined true and false in everything. You say that I am in fantasy therefore I am in fault so you believe there is right and wrong as well or else you would not be arguing with me.

Given that there is a reality and that reality is of essence.....don't you think that it would be best to act on that reality and not on things that are untrue? (excluding the idea of God for the god that you see is not my god which makes bringing Him up irrelevant to you).

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Ah yes...and I forgot....since morality is based on what you believe you should do based on personal knowledge, morality is your god and your god is your morality. Whoever and whatever you find most important in life is your god...and what you should do according to your god is morality. Apparently you have no idea of what I am talking about when it comes to some words....which is the reason that you can't make sense of it. I will try to clear things up.

This is how it should be understood....(this is from the dictionary on microsoft word)

Definition of god: 1) a representation of a god, used as an object of worship. 2) something that is so important that it takes over somebody's life

I do not believe in supernatural beings or the supernatural in general. I do not believe in Zeus or the mythical god portrayed in literature. God is, in essence, what is true....everything that is untrue is against nature because the universe exists....things that are false cannot exist. Anything that we do is based on many conceous and unconceous thoughts....if any of those thoughts are untrue (such as....there is no sun (literal)) then the action is wrong. Furthermore, it is wrong to lie because a lie is incorrect and is therefore....NOTHING. You must admit that all things are true (right)....while things that are not are false (wrong). Given that....there is definitly right and wrong with no in between whether we perceive it or not. If you still fight this you are unstable and should not be heeded. You would be saying that there is no reality whatsoever and therefore you go against your own sayings.....you say stimuli exists.....if there is no reality then stimuli does not exist and you really are not reading this message......O.o

Just as the universe is right it is reasonable to think that whatever created it is right. Notice that we are the only beings (beside the idea of Satan and angels) that are capable of lies....doesn't that make us the odd ones out? Do you think that that just is and there is nothing connected to it? If there is a God would that not mean that we are damned because we are wrong and go against the universe and His very nature? Just as a note, when I say "sin" I say "incorrectness" and not necesarily "faithlessness in a mythical being". I am not trying to scare you either. I know very well that you will not be scared of infinity because you don't believe that you are part of it. By arguing with me though, I do think you are going against your own beliefs because according to you I am just reacting to stimuli like everyone else. If you really believed that then everything I or anyone else does should be perfectly fine and CORRECT and should not be neadlessly opposed because that creates unneaded, unnecesary discomfort. Not only that, but what other kind of animal fights over morality? *shrugs*

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[quote name='ReDa' post='18829' date='Oct 24 2008, 10:07 AM']Therefore you are saying that nothing is certain because human perspective can't grasp how things really are. You cannot tell what is real and what is dream....it sounds to me like you are in a fog.[/quote]
If that is what you took from my post, I have expressed myself poorly. I am saying humans can approach near certainty through empirical study. Absolute certainty is anathema to honest inquiry - we must always leave room for doubt, I think, so we can learn. If a theory is found to be incomplete or inaccurate, we can reject it and try to find a new one.

Faith is more absolute. I should say - I am friendly with a large number of people who live by their faith. I simply don't share it, though I think we share many other things (including open-mindedness and morality).

[quote]As for your comment on the insult of "my people"...I am not considering myself in a particular religious group (I just know where I am not) therefore I have no people to insult. I reach for independance when it comes to what people think because they are inconsistant. God to people can mean different things because people perceive the world in different ways.....god is whatever or whoever you live for....god is whoever or whatever you surve.....that is why I say that god (the beginning and creator, or a powerful being, or a meaning in life, purpose, cause....etc.) can be "the Big Bang" or "Evolution". You have a god that you live for too (probably yourself for you confide in whatever you feel like) though you insult the people that admit that something controls their decisions.[/quote]
I mistakenly identified you as a Christian. By this definition of god, yes, I accept that and live by it. I tend to think of a god as an infinite or highly complex being of superhuman power - I have no reason to believe in such a thing.

[quote]I wonder if you think it would be better if the world lived for themselves and made themselves gods. No rules except your own exists.......God forbid.[/quote]
Oh, dear, no. I don't accept that at all. I think there is a fundamentally human and sub-rational (or as I prefer to think of it, pre-rational) source of morality that is inherently concerned with other human beings. See one of my answers to Wynken, above, for my reasoning there. To me, moral behavior by definition takes the welfare of others into account, whereas amoral behavior is selfish or self-seeking. That is my definition, I admit, but it is shared by some others.

[quote]Maybe you should straighten out what you are really objecting besides my personal devotion to something other than myself because if the world has no rules but our own then I should have the liberty of living for whomever I please. I am not trying to put people down as you are for you are hostile. Tell me what I am doing wrong...(?)[/quote]
I have no objection to that; it is I who leapt to conclusions, in some matters. I apologize for my hostility. Atheists are often categorized as something they are not, and I supposed you had the same bias. Apparently you do not, and I thank you for it.

[quote]As for science, I acknowledge and appreciate it....but there is no way to prove how the earth exists. The only thing that has been proven is that an organism can adapt to an invironment.....not change species entirely (which has not been proven). It cannot be proven how the universe was made and it cannot be proven that a single prokaryotic cell can mutate into billions of cells that work together to form an organism. Science cannot prove God and science cannot prove that you are right in thinking that the universe is limited by human perception.[/quote]
I think you're putting undue weight on the word "proof", which is of limited utility in this discussion. My standard of proof is "overwhelming evidence" rather than "absolute certainty".

[quote]Given that there is a reality and that reality is of essence.....don't you think that it would be best to act on that reality and not on things that are untrue? (excluding the idea of God for the god that you see is not my god which makes bringing Him up irrelevant to you).[/quote]
Yes, that is my perspective almost exactly. Your definition of god is looser than most, and I can relate to many elements of it.

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I know the bias on Atheists and I also know the bias of Atheists on Theists and I agree that both are quite unreasonable. It pains me to see it.

I accept your apologies and thank you. There is a lot of time that I spend pondering things and I have covered many bases and asked many questions. I do think I relate some to your thought as well.....We are all in search for answers and I doubt I will ever be content on the subject as long as I live.

There is one more thing I must cover though. The beliefs of Theists vary considerably even within the Christian group. I disagree with most of the Christian group on quite a few things but then I disagree with most of every group therefore I do not place accountability in religious cliques. I would not say that my definition of God is more loose. I view God as something that cannot really be put into words for it cannot be fathomed because wherever everything came from is outside anything that we can observe. What really frustrates me is when people settle for lesser terms for what they don't understand. The only thing that can be said about Him is that He has an essence of reality for he is the source of all things. I don't know if He can be really considered a being but throughout the universe is a law, which we have already discussed, that portrays the character of it's source. As I said, we as humans don't match the law because we have the ability to lie and be "evil" (empty, idle, meaningless...etc). We, unlike anything else that exists, rebel against the nature of the universe. Does that sound weird? lol. It is hard for me to think that there is nothing to it....the only conclusion that I have come up with is that we are to be moral according to the laws of the universe (God) and not to the laws of people who live apart from life as it should be. We are ruled by the laws even if we rebel.

Though I do not hold myself to any rule of a particular religious group I am closer to being a Christian (and by definition standards I am a Christian) because to me it makes sense that if there was a man born on earth that was perfect and made no mistakes then he would have the same characteristics of wherever reality came from, thus God as Jesus said He was. From there on.....if the Bible is true....which I believe it is because of the studies done, my observation that the advice and commandments are morally correct, and that it has not been disproved as a lie and that it was written throughout hundreds of years in different areas with the same claim without interferance....then it is a testification for truth coming from God (reality) Himself (it does not hurt to believe it is true unless there is fault in the sayings). In that case, we are offered justification through making truth (God) Sovereign in our lives......to become slaves to it for that is the just thing to do being that we owe our lives to the law. Because we as people are not obedient to what truth is, we had to have a perfect man with the nature of God give us justification through what he did for us on the cross and our choice to be obedient to His nature.

All in all....if there was a perfect man (perfect as in clear of untruth) then what he says is the way it is unless he is, in fact, flawed. I have not found much direction anywhere else and I am happy to do what is right though I do an aweful lot of wrong. We all know I or anyone else will never reach perfection. It is my personal life choice to strive to do good and make a difference being supportive for people and in that I am content.

Anyway, hope I didn't go ranting too much. Feel free to write me whenever you want because I love to ponder new ideas and share possibilities. I am glad to have had conversation with you

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[quote name='ReDa' post='18840' date='Oct 24 2008, 03:32 PM']From there on.....if the Bible is true....which I believe it is because of the studies done, my observation that the advice and commandments are morally correct, and that it has not been disproved as a lie and that it was written throughout hundreds of years in different areas with the same claim without interferance....then it is a testification for truth coming from God (reality) Himself (it does not hurt to believe it is true unless there is fault in the sayings).[/quote]
I really have to disagree there: I think the textual evidence is heavily against you, and that the censorship of the Council of Nicea has become only too evident in recent decades. Check out the Gnostic Gospels and Apocrypha sometime.

Too, textual analysis of the "old testament" seems to reveal redaction after redaction. Genesis includes not one creation myth, but two.

I have much more to say about this, but a baby awaits delivery from the clutches of day-care! :P

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I think I have been there too. You do probably have a lot to say on the subject but.....to narrow it down for you I must say that my belief in the Bible does not include taking some stories literally, simply assuming what some things mean (after all....many things in Hebrew translated to English does not mean the same thing), taking flaws in the writer's predictions as flaws from God (which is impossible), and taking unbelievable stories literally....sometimes those are just analogies....sometimes those are very creative and thoughtful analogies or figures of speach. A lot of times it is the understanding that is flawed and not the words themselves. As for those that seem to be contradictions.....try finding a contradiction in the points of the Bible which is morality and what God expects of us and that Jesus did no wrong. The rest of the things are of much smaller importance and some are contraversal.....and....just......I am not up for it *yawns* :P

Yes but those things run deeper than that. Whether there are two Genesis stories or no....Some things we can't tell why are there. I know more difficulties with the Bible than that too.....I have not just read it and then did not study on it or search for validity. I can't believe something without thinking it through or it will bother me. It is not the stories (miracles) or the dating (which varies depending on origin) that is the main point of the Bible....it is that there was believed to be a perfect man, ......or a crazy man, a genius, or whatever is gathered from the teachings that this man did plus to be inriched in character by the stories whether they be analytical or literal. Those things were actually written and translated. It is the teachings that get my attention the most. Whether some of the Bible is not validated....in my mind I find purpose and truth in the points (good to live by). As I look at it, either way I win. If eternity does not exist for us then I had been happy with my life (at least I would be if I died now...I can't speak for the future). If eternity does exist for us then I will be judged accordingly and will just have to hope that God will have mercy on me for I am many times insincere and disloyal. If so, good, if not, good.

It is quite a long discussion. I try to avoid attempt at explaining things that are irrelevant to reasons to obey God when talking about morality.....many times those go in circles to nowhere. Anyway...It is neat that you associate with those of "faith". It is wise to look at many points of views and to keep an open mind. That is why I love culture and the many styles of things of beauty :). lol ok....I must go to bed before I start talking nonsense, if I have not already :P . Usually I can make it this long but my sister is making me get up at 4am.......it's a long story. I wish you luck and a lovely weekend.

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[quote name='Tarquinus' post='18819' date='Oct 24 2008, 01:41 AM']I would ask which God you think is the authentic one, but you have made your bias plain enough. Hail Zeus![/quote]
This one's easy. The only gods that could have possibly facilitated the creation of the universe are those that are not at all bound by any of its laws including time. That eliminates the entire greek pantheon, and you'll find that it really only leaves a small handful (maybe 2) gods that have been recorded throughout our history.

The FSM fails in this regard considering that it had the capacity for drunkenness...any God worth debating must be able to fulfill the requirements of the cosmological argument.


[quote]All of which presupposes we accept your baseline assumption, which is illogical in the extreme. But even many people of faith would take issue with your apparent contrast between God and evolution; frankly, I think you embarrass them with this kind of talk.[/quote]
Actually, the Genesis account only mentions God creating something directly in two occasions. The verses read, "and the Earth brought forth life". It leaves more than enough room for abiogenesis, evolution, and a Big Bang.


[quote]Truth is empirical. Saying something loudly does not make it true.
Yes, but what we atheists are saying is largely based on evidence. You present no evidence at all.[/quote]
Science can't achieve absolutes...neither can empiricism. All of the evidence in the universe could be dead wrong...the senses are not infallible, and on an absolute scale we really have no reason to believe that what they relay to us is reality other than convenience and convention.


[quote]You can say this as many times as you want and still fail to see the absurdity of it. Good and bad are matters of human perspective. Omnibenevolence is a huge problem for apologists and students of theodicy alike.

Sin. So much for omnibenevolence. If you hope to comfort me with the thought of infinite torment, you are howling at the moon.[/quote]
Not quite. Omnibenevolence and suffering are reconciled through the necessity for our free will, and also for free will in the physical laws. Fire burns, water drowns...it's just the way things go, and in order for us to have a capacity for true love, we must also have the capacity for true evil and hate as well.

God wasn't in the business of creating robots, and so we have suffering as well as love and happiness.

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Forgive for only picking out one thing to talk about, but don't understand this part... One of you, or several, since I think some of the others agreed, said:

"God is, in essence, what is true....everything that is untrue is against nature because the universe exists....things that are false cannot exist."

And seems like the thought is that humans are the exception because they can "sin"/do what is "incorrect," so we are supposed to choose to follow the laws, and this following is "morality"...

But also said: "the whole idea of God is that He created everyTHING"

If so, then did this god not also create not only us humans that can go against the laws, but also the possible paths to incorrect action; provide the incorrect actions? Think this person has not decided why humans have the ability to go against what is right, seems inconsistent when he decides an explanation for rest.

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