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Author Topic: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement  (Read 9717 times)

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Offline LostInTheMist

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #125 on: March 26, 2017, 08:14:01 PM »
Why not emancipate ourselves from this superstition and strengthen ourselves emotionally and intellectually instead of regressing to the easiest possible solution available to the lowest common denominator?

And the possibility that faith may actually provide emotional and intellectual strength should just be dismissed? Just because something doesn't work for you doesn't mean it doesn't work for anyone. There are a lot of people who derive emotional strength from the idea that there is a reason for everything that happens, or that it's all part of a plan.

Even if God doesn't exist, that doesn't mean that there is no value in religion. My church gets together and collects food for the poor, works at our local homeless shelter, drives to Mexico and builds houses, has a free meal weekly for all who wish it, and none of these require the recipients to pay anything or come to a service, or even believe in God.

I also object to the use of the word "superstition" to describe religion.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #126 on: March 26, 2017, 11:36:22 PM »
And the possibility that faith may actually provide emotional and intellectual strength should just be dismissed

Well, I would argue that any strength built upon something that cannot be shown to be true is tenuous at best, but that's just my personal opinion. We are not dismissing its use as a crutch for people who need it, we are questioning its accuracy regarding the nature of reality; obviously, after all, you can make do without it.


Just because something doesn't work for you doesn't mean it doesn't work for anyone. There are a lot of people who derive emotional strength from the idea that there is a reason for everything that happens, or that it's all part of a plan.

And we're not denying that some people view it that way. We're just saying that if religion had never been invented, people would still get their comfort in other ways. See, if you'd never been told that there was some great plan to it all, you wouldn't have that sense of loss you feel when you realise that no, there probably isn't (from what we can tell). It's also an idea that is more abhorrent when you look into it, and one that also contradicts the idea of Free Will, when you start thinking about it...and I find no comfort in the idea that all of my actions have been preordained by some invisible Sky Daddy. Or that if I don't follow the rules to the letter, I will be burned in hell for all eternity.
I mean...comfort is all well and good, but are you truly comforted thinking that a place like Hell exists?


Even if God doesn't exist, that doesn't mean that there is no value in religion. My church gets together and collects food for the poor, works at our local homeless shelter, drives to Mexico and builds houses, has a free meal weekly for all who wish it, and none of these require the recipients to pay anything or come to a service, or even believe in God.

But why do you need religion to do that? Surely that is just good people coming together to do a good thing. I can list a good dozen or so organisations off the top of my head that do the same thing, but without religion involved in any way shape or form. You don't need religion to do that, so...I don't get your argument here.

Also, the Catholic Church also supported the Nazi's during WW2 and is preaching in AIDS ridden countries not to use condoms. So there's that.
Not trying to say that religion is inherently evil, just that if you want to take credit for the good, you have to take the rap for the bad, too.


I also object to the use of the word "superstition" to describe religion.

Definition for Superstition:

- Excessively credulous belief in and reverence for the supernatural.
Does that not describe your belief that your visions came from God, despite not having any testable evidence? And since you revere God, I assume, that means you revere the supernatural.

- A widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief.
This definition is one that I think applies to your religion, but I can see why you would object to it, of course.

Offline LostInTheMist

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #127 on: March 27, 2017, 12:48:17 AM »
Well, I would argue that any strength built upon something that cannot be shown to be true is tenuous at best, but that's just my personal opinion. We are not dismissing its use as a crutch for people who need it, we are questioning its accuracy regarding the nature of reality; obviously, after all, you can make do without it.

But in what way is accuracy important in this case? It's not like people are going out and throwing themselves off towers  or jumping out in front of busses believing God will save them. (The Bible is very specific that that's not how it works, even for Jesus.)

I guess this comes down to my continuing belief that the realm of science and religion are two separate things that can coexist, which is a definition you reject. We've gone over that, and as I have said, seeing as I find they do coexist without a problem for me, that would seem to suggest they can. Yes, I can't test the existence or non-existence of God/Heaven/Angels, etc. But again, matters of faith reside in a realm outside of science. You either believe or you don't, and there's no testing that can be done.

This is splitting hairs and I hesitate to do it, but you note that scientists do tend to point out that there's nothing that can be absolutely proven. I mean, the theory of gravity used to fit all our observations, and it was very close, particularly for very large objects. Then it turned out that the theory of relativity was more accurate, but it turns out that breaks down in regions of high gravity and on a sub-atomic level, and we're working on a grand unified theory. Please do not twist this into my saying that these things are "only theories". I know the difference between "theory" in the common parlance and "theory" in science. Nor am I saying that I don't believe in the theory of evolution. I'm just pointing out that when you ask a real scientist, point blank, "has [blank] been proven yet", they usually will respond with "it fits all available data" or something along those lines. (This annoys me, because it allows people to doubt things that are clearly accurate, but I understand why scientist balk at stating that something is the absolute truth.)

And we're not denying that some people view it that way. We're just saying that if religion had never been invented, people would still get their comfort in other ways. See, if you'd never been told that there was some great plan to it all, you wouldn't have that sense of loss you feel when you realise that no, there probably isn't (from what we can tell). It's also an idea that is more abhorrent when you look into it, and one that also contradicts the idea of Free Will, when you start thinking about it...and I find no comfort in the idea that all of my actions have been preordained by some invisible Sky Daddy. Or that if I don't follow the rules to the letter, I will be burned in hell for all eternity.
I mean...comfort is all well and good, but are you truly comforted thinking that a place like Hell exists?

You don't have to follow the rules to the letter. In fact, you don't have to follow any of the rules. If you ask for forgiveness it is granted you, though that does require some belief in religion.

I don't believe in hell anyway, so... *shrugs*

But why do you need religion to do that? Surely that is just good people coming together to do a good thing. I can list a good dozen or so organisations off the top of my head that do the same thing, but without religion involved in any way shape or form. You don't need religion to do that, so...I don't get your argument here.

Also, the Catholic Church also supported the Nazi's during WW2 and is preaching in AIDS ridden countries not to use condoms. So there's that.
Not trying to say that religion is inherently evil, just that if you want to take credit for the good, you have to take the rap for the bad, too.

Part 1: You don't need religion to do that, but it is easier to volunteer with organizations as a group than solo. (It's harder to blow off your commitments too, when you're inclined if you know the rest of the group is counting on you.) I appreciate that when I want to do some community service I can go down to my church and find opportunities with a large(ish) group of people who want to go bag frozen food for "Food For Lane County", or something. I'm not someone who is comfortable pushing my religion on anyone, so I make sure that it's an entirely secular event before I get involved.

Part 2: I'm not a Catholic. There's a very big difference between Catholics and Protestants, though all of them are Christians. (Yes, our prayers mention the "holy catholic church" but it doesn't mean "Catholic".) And yes, the Protestant Church has done some bad stuff too. I am of the belief that the good outweighs the bad, but that comes down to a moral judgment, and is and opinion.

Definition for Superstition:

- Excessively credulous belief in and reverence for the supernatural.
Does that not describe your belief that your visions came from God, despite not having any testable evidence? And since you revere God, I assume, that means you revere the supernatural.

- A widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief.
This definition is one that I think applies to your religion, but I can see why you would object to it, of course.

I understand why you'd call my belief "excessively credulous". This is one that just gets into bandying definitions and words around, what is the meaning of one thing or the other. I don't consider faith to be "excessively credulous" (credulous having some negative connotations), but I can see why that would be. (Also "revering the supernatural"... theologically speaking, "supernatural" is a bit of a different bag from God, but yeah... that gets into some complicated theology that I don't think I'm really qualified to get into.)

TL;DR: I think this is getting into "agree to disagree" territory. I believe that religion is a positive force in society, or at least it has been a positive force in my life and the lives of billions of others. You believe that religion is a negative force in society, and it has had a negative impact on the life of millions of others. (Not sure what impact it has had on you, but I can understand if it has had an impact on you.)

Probably, to some extent we're both right. I believe that the positive has outweighed the negative, you believe the other way around, and there's no real measurable way to determine the impact, since so much of it is subjective.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #128 on: March 27, 2017, 01:00:58 AM »
I guess this comes down to my continuing belief that the realm of science and religion are two separate things that can coexist, which is a definition you reject. We've gone over that, and as I have said, seeing as I find they do coexist without a problem for me, that would seem to suggest they can. Yes, I can't test the existence or non-existence of God/Heaven/Angels, etc. But again, matters of faith reside in a realm outside of science. You either believe or you don't, and there's no testing that can be done.

I will state again; I never said that they can't coexist. I merely rejected your assertion that they do not overlap; that they address two different questions.
But once again, I will ask; if you cannot test the existence of a thing, why would you believe that that thing exists? Faith does indeed exist in a realm outside of science, because faith is the rejection of the scientific method for at least one thing...thereby leading to the cognitive dissonance that I earlier mentioned. "I'm going to test all my beliefs...except this one."


This is splitting hairs and I hesitate to do it, but you note that scientists do tend to point out that there's nothing that can be absolutely proven. I mean, the theory of gravity used to fit all our observations, and it was very close, particularly for very large objects. Then it turned out that the theory of relativity was more accurate, but it turns out that breaks down in regions of high gravity and on a sub-atomic level, and we're working on a grand unified theory. Please do not twist this into my saying that these things are "only theories". I know the difference between "theory" in the common parlance and "theory" in science. Nor am I saying that I don't believe in the theory of evolution. I'm just pointing out that when you ask a real scientist, point blank, "has [blank] been proven yet", they usually will respond with "it fits all available data" or something along those lines. (This annoys me, because it allows people to doubt things that are clearly accurate, but I understand why scientist balk at stating that something is the absolute truth.)

They do this because if there was some unknown factor that was skewing the results, then by definition, it would be unknown. I fail to see what that has to do with anything here, however; the Theory itself may be incomplete or incorrect, the but the law itself is based on something we know happens (EG, the Law of Gravity is that objects with mass attract; whether our explanation is correct or not, doesn't change the fact that the law is accurate). However, we do not know that God exists and have not tested for it...so why would you believe it? Why accept Faith as a reason, when faith can be used to justify literally anything?


I don't believe in hell anyway, so... *shrugs*

Well, I was using the Royal "You."


Part 1: You don't need religion to do that, but it is easier to volunteer with organizations as a group than solo. (It's harder to blow off your commitments too, when you're inclined if you know the rest of the group is counting on you.) I appreciate that when I want to do some community service I can go down to my church and find opportunities with a large(ish) group of people who want to go bag frozen food for "Food For Lane County", or something. I'm not someone who is comfortable pushing my religion on anyone, so I make sure that it's an entirely secular event before I get involved.

But again, that isn't to do with religion. If these people wanted to do this and there was no church organising it, then somebody else would come along and do just that. Again, I can give you a list of secular, non-religious groups that do this exact thing. So again...that "Good" isn't a case of religion doing good, it's a case of people who happen to be religious doing good.


Part 2: I'm not a Catholic. There's a very big difference between Catholics and Protestants, though all of them are Christians. (Yes, our prayers mention the "holy catholic church" but it doesn't mean "Catholic".) And yes, the Protestant Church has done some bad stuff too. I am of the belief that the good outweighs the bad, but that comes down to a moral judgment, and is and opinion.

Well, I more meant "Religion as a whole." You failed to specify a religion, so I took religion as a whole. I think that, on balance, there is not really any good thing that religion does for people that cannot be achieved by secular means, and plenty of bad that is achieved primarily through religious motivation. But that is just an opinion.


theologically speaking, "supernatural" is a bit of a different bag from God, but yeah... that gets into some complicated theology that I don't think I'm really qualified to get into.)

Well, is it part of the natural world? If it created the natural world, then probably not, no; it has to be outside of the natural world. Therefore, supernatural.


TL;DR: I think this is getting into "agree to disagree" territory. I believe that religion is a positive force in society, or at least it has been a positive force in my life and the lives of billions of others. You believe that religion is a negative force in society, and it has had a negative impact on the life of millions of others. (Not sure what impact it has had on you, but I can understand if it has had an impact on you.)

Probably, to some extent we're both right. I believe that the positive has outweighed the negative, you believe the other way around, and there's no real measurable way to determine the impact, since so much of it is subjective.

I have no issue saying that religion has done good. But it has also done a lot of bad, and has a tendency to infect whatever it touches with a lot of negative baggage. Take the AA, for example; Alcoholics Anonymous is a good idea, but it cynically exploits vulnerable people into accepting a "Higher Power" as a way to blame their addictions on somebody else, and then rebuilds their entire support system around that "Higher Power." Yeah, let's tell a bunch of addicts that they have no power and have to rely on other people to change their lives. That's REALLY bloody empowering, isn't it? Then there's the fact that religion tends to stick its nose in other peoples business a LOT, and when it can, tends to force its regressive ideas down peoples throats.
My general stance is that anything positive from religion can be achieved without religion...and religion has too much blood on its hands to ever be called a force for good (*cough* Paedophiles *unconvincingcough* )

Offline LostInTheMist

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #129 on: March 27, 2017, 02:34:26 AM »
Take the AA, for example; Alcoholics Anonymous is a good idea, but it cynically exploits vulnerable people into accepting a "Higher Power" as a way to blame their addictions on somebody else, and then rebuilds their entire support system around that "Higher Power." Yeah, let's tell a bunch of addicts that they have no power and have to rely on other people to change their lives. That's REALLY bloody empowering, isn't it?

Okay, that just got a little personal.

Are you a member of Alcoholics Anonymous?

Because I am, and you are completely wrong about it.

For one thing, we don't blame our addictions on God or anyone else. We accept that we are powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable. (That's step 1.)

We accept that a "higher power" can restore us to sanity, but they are very specific that this higher power need not be God. (One of the early founders was an atheist, and he made sure that they stated "higher power", rather than anything specifically religious.) You can find his story in the "Pioneers of A.A." in the back of the big book. The "Higher Power" doesn't have to be anything supernatural. For a lot of people the "Higher Power" is just the group in general.

There are even meetings designed specifically for atheists and/or agnostics, that include doubts that spirituality will assist in the recovery. These groups also do not include any opening or closing prayers. Mine is not one of these, but the group meetings I go to include no opening prayer, but rather a reading of the 12 steps and 12 traditions, and then there is a closing prayer which is optional. In between we share our experiences about alcohol around a topic chosen by whoever is running the meeting on that occasion. About a quarter of the group leaves before the closing prayer.

For clarity's sake, I was a believer before I went into A.A.

To be extra clear, I'm not offended that you don't understand A.A.; as very few people who are not members bother to learn about it. However... it is offensive that you stated outright lies* about an organization, the SOLE PURPOSE of which is to keep people alive who would otherwise be dead. If not for A.A., I might well be dead by now. Many other members, all of whom are near and dear to my heart (including agnostics and atheists) would absolutely be dead right now. As someone who trusts science and absolute fact above all else, you really should make sure that what you are presenting as facts are actually facts.

EDIT: *I do not believe these were intentional lies, but you did present as fact things that simply are not true.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 02:36:40 AM by LostInTheMist »

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #130 on: March 27, 2017, 02:54:53 AM »
Okay, that just got a little personal.

Are you a member of Alcoholics Anonymous?

Because I am, and you are completely wrong about it.

For one thing, we don't blame our addictions on God or anyone else. We accept that we are powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable. (That's step 1.)

We accept that a "higher power" can restore us to sanity, but they are very specific that this higher power need not be God. (One of the early founders was an atheist, and he made sure that they stated "higher power", rather than anything specifically religious.) You can find his story in the "Pioneers of A.A." in the back of the big book. The "Higher Power" doesn't have to be anything supernatural. For a lot of people the "Higher Power" is just the group in general.

Personally, no, but I'm very good friends with somebody who did go through that process. Hang on...

The Official AA Site.

Their Twelve Steps, as listed on the official site.

1) We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5) Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

But of course, the 12 Steps are in no way related to the AA, I'm sure.

Here's the thing; different groups of the AA operate in different ways, of course, but the groups my friend went to all kind of pressured him into taking those twelve steps. Not officially, but there was a lot of Social Pressure to do so. Now that probably isn't true for every group, but to say that the AA has no religious overtones whatsoever when their officially endorsed 12 Steps specifically mention God, Prayer and a Higher Power? Yeah. That is demonstrably false.

Also, you're wrong about the origins; the AA was originally created by the Evangelical "Oxford Group." Not that the origins have anything to do with the current state of the organisation, of course, but I felt like clarifying that part before moving on.


To be extra clear, I'm not offended that you don't understand A.A.; as very few people who are not members bother to learn about it. However... it is offensive that you stated outright lies* about an organization,

I never lied. The Twelve Steps specifically mention God, Prayer and Faith, and I have a number of other criticisms of the group as a whole. For example, one never "finishes" the Steps, and according to my friend, if somebody dropped out (at least in his group), the Steps didn't fail, they failed the Steps. There's also the case of certain groups becoming very dysfunctional with people abusing their power and "Thirteenth Stepping" occurring because of the fractious, disorganised nature of the organisation as a whole, and the fact that Twelve Step Programs in general - it is suggested by certain studies - has only a roughly 5-10% Success Rate. Then there's the tendency to blanket all alcoholism as one specific issue rather than a spectrum of different types of alcoholism (For example, it only addresses drinkers who don't have a choice; it doesn't address binge drinkers, hard partiers, or people with mental conditions that drive them into drinking).
It also adheres to the Disease Model of Addiction, which refuses to accept that people can actually be "Cured," and instead treats it as "In Remission." In a lot of ways, this model - and the 12 Steps themselves - can just end up disempowering people rather than building them up again.


the SOLE PURPOSE of which is to keep people alive who would otherwise be dead. If not for A.A., I might well be dead by now. Many other members, all of whom are near and dear to my heart (including agnostics and atheists) would absolutely be dead right now. As someone who trusts science and absolute fact above all else, you really should make sure that what you are presenting as facts are actually facts.

Hey, dude. If it worked for you, then awesome. I'm not here to take away your sobriety, and I'm not saying that the AA should be shut down. Different strokes, different folks.

However, as someone who trusts empirical data and facts, it seems to go against my principals to not look at the issues the AA has and say "Well, this enjoys an unfairly privileged position in society. Why?" Because hey, if it works for some people then cool...but it DOES have religious overtones and it doesn't have any higher success rate than any other anti-alcoholism organisation of the same type, so why is it the go-to program that the courts sent you to for a long time (I think they don't do it any more, though I'm not certain; my friend has been out of it for a while, and I don't live in America, soooo)?

Again. Not here to take it away or shut it down. But regardless of the good work it does, any organisation should be open to criticism, and I will criticise it so long as it is given its unfairly privileged position, especially when a lot of people paint it as the only cure to alcoholism, when that is simply not the case.


For what it's worth, I didn't mean to put down your own experiences with alcoholism, and I think it's awesome that you beat it. Please don't mistake criticism of the organisation as criticism of the people who find sobriety through it.

Online Oniya

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #131 on: March 27, 2017, 03:02:12 AM »
Let's try to keep this civil.  This thread was going along quite well, but in recent pages it's gotten downright hostile to anyone who might want to 'engage'.

Offline LostInTheMist

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #132 on: March 27, 2017, 03:20:04 AM »
I'm going to offer the following notes, but then I'm gonna leave this conversation, because this is not a comfortable subject for me.

AA Doesn't have an unfairly privileged position in society. I'm not sure where you got that opinion. You can't be forced to attend it by courts (I know at least one person who might still be alive today if they could) and you don't enjoy anonymity of communications.

Note the phrasing of three: "God, as we understood him" need not be an actual God, just whatever "higher power" we looked to in step 2. I'll admit the phrasing is kinda... crappy, and something I'm not particularly happy with. There is a certain reluctance to change the very base of the steps, since, just there are a lot of studies out there that suggest a much higher than 5-10% recovery rate. (You omitted to mention those, but that's okay; it's easy to cherry pick studies to show whatever you want.)

I don't believe there is a way to cure alcoholism. I can't drink in moderation. I have no control once I take that first drink. And this applies to people, however long they've been sober, whether three days, three months, three years, or 30, 40, even 50 years. My issue was binge drinking. If I start drinking again, my issue will again be binge drinking. Because I can go without alcohol for a week or longer at a time. That's why it was so difficult for me to determine what was happening for so long.

You never do finish the steps. The idea is to practice the steps in our daily affairs, to admit when we've done wrong, to remain patient and understanding, basically to avoid behavior that led us to drink in the first place.

I'm sorry that your friend had a bad experience. I can't say anything more than that.

This already has gotten way too far into a deeply personal experience, and I have no desire to continue the conversation. I'm sorry to make a few statements and then retreat, but this conversation no longer serves any useful purpose for me.

Offline Mathim

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #133 on: March 27, 2017, 08:47:13 AM »
All I was saying was that rather than using something as a crutch, we could and should strengthen ourselves in an effort to remove the NEED for a crutch in the first place. That particular point stands whether or not the thing in which a crutch is used is based on anything factual or not. If the only approach to feeling comfort, etc., is failing to acknowledge that there are options beyond an appeal to an imaginary friend, how can anyone possibly look at that objectively and feel it's a harmless, let alone healthy, mentality?

Offline Nimbuscloud

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #134 on: April 14, 2017, 12:16:03 PM »
Hello there!

I consider myself an anti-theist, which to me is an atheist that holds the point of view that religion as a whole is a negative force in our world that should be actively deconstructed.

I'm wondering if you'd mind if I weighed in on your discussions from time to time?  I was tempted to make my own thread, but since you're already established, I thought I'd ask about riding on your coattails. xD Better to save the space for another Trump-thread, there's only like fifty of those up now!

Let me throw you a few softballs while I'm here.

Recently I had an experience with a new co-worker asking about our policy for buying things on the clock, she wanted to purchase a children's bible story book.  I told her it's frowned upon, but everyone does it anyway, so if you really want to no one is going to bat an eyelash; but please don't by that book.

When she asked why I told her those stories are heavily censored, and if you actually give any thought to any of them, their messages are deplorable.  I promised her $20 today if she could tell me a bible story that wasn't "awful" in some way.  She tried to bring up Exodus, which should be laughable; I'd be happy to explain why if it isn't, and when I explained it to her she agreed.  She identified the problem, acknowledged it... and then willfully ignored it.

I insisted that her morals were better than god's.  They are by the very fact that she sees things god does as immoral, so she has a stronger compass with which she judges that.  "No." she replied, like a petulant child.  No reasons.  No arguing against that very simple logic.  Just "No.  God is good.  The bible is moral, and is where morals come from.

So I have several questions for you:

1)Why should you have to edit the perfect word of god to be appropriate for children?

2)Have you had debate or conflict in your flesh and blood life about religion?

3)Have you ever encountered that uncanny disconnect, where they seem to be able to accept the individual premises of an argument, but refuse to accept the larger picture?

4)How does that make you feel?  It makes me feel weird.  Like I'm surrounded by hills-have-eyes mutants, but instead of grotesque monsters, the mutations are on the inside.  That sounds cruel, I don't mean it like that, but it's that level of strange, and it's that glaringly, outputtingly obvious to me.

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Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #135 on: April 14, 2017, 06:14:45 PM »
Like any other problem, the conflicts within religions have to be acknowledged before anything can be done to rectify them.  Conditioning is carried out in many, many areas of life.  Religion is simply another type of conditioning.  The cognitive dissonance that occurs when religious people are presented with evidence that contradicts their conditioning is very powerful.  I've found that time has to pass before these things can really be tackled--presenting conflicting evidence, then giving it time to be considered, or even subconsciously absorbed.  My own deconversion worked much the same way.  It took time to slowly peel off the layers of conditioning.

And welcome to Elliquiy, Nimbuscloud :)

Offline Strident

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #136 on: April 14, 2017, 06:48:59 PM »
OK, as a theist, I'll take a bite... ;)

"religion as a whole is a negative force in our world that should be actively deconstructed."

Two problems here: first, "religion  as a whole" is far too large a category to be meaningful. You might as well say "language, as a whole".

Second, how do you know what the world might have looked  like over the past few millennia without religion? Would it have been, on the whole, better or worse? You can't possibly know. This is deeply speculative.

What we can say is that the handful of societies which have tried, as you suggested to "actively deconstruct" religion have not been a great success (to put it mildly).

Moving on:
"1)Why should you have to edit the perfect word of god to be appropriate for children?"

First, not all Christians believe the Bible is perfect. "The Word" is Jesus Christ, who became flesh...and it is he who is perfect in most Christian theology.

The most that any Christians would hold to is that the Bible, in its original texts, lacks error. It's not clear why lacking error should necessarily mean it is all, in its entirety, suitable for reading by Children. This can be a) because the text is beyond their level of literacy and understanding and b) may deal with material entirely appropriate for an adult but not for a child.
Also:

"3)Have you ever encountered that uncanny disconnect, where they seem to be able to accept the individual premises of an argument, but refuse to accept the larger picture?"

Yes. I find this often. Particularly with this argument:
1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist
2. Objective moral values exist
3. Therefore God exists.

I know very many atheists who routinely assert (1) to be true on a Monday, assert (2) to be true on a Tuesday but never allow themselves to reach the conclusion (3) on any day.

I'm not saying that's true of all atheists all the time...but it's true of a lot, a lot of the time. So your observation is far from a one way street in that regard.
Hello there!

I consider myself an anti-theist, which to me is an atheist that holds the point of view that religion as a whole is a negative force in our world that should be actively deconstructed.

I'm wondering if you'd mind if I weighed in on your discussions from time to time?  I was tempted to make my own thread, but since you're already established, I thought I'd ask about riding on your coattails. xD Better to save the space for another Trump-thread, there's only like fifty of those up now!

Let me throw you a few softballs while I'm here.

Recently I had an experience with a new co-worker asking about our policy for buying things on the clock, she wanted to purchase a children's bible story book.  I told her it's frowned upon, but everyone does it anyway, so if you really want to no one is going to bat an eyelash; but please don't by that book.

When she asked why I told her those stories are heavily censored, and if you actually give any thought to any of them, their messages are deplorable.  I promised her $20 today if she could tell me a bible story that wasn't "awful" in some way.  She tried to bring up Exodus, which should be laughable; I'd be happy to explain why if it isn't, and when I explained it to her she agreed.  She identified the problem, acknowledged it... and then willfully ignored it.

I insisted that her morals were better than god's.  They are by the very fact that she sees things god does as immoral, so she has a stronger compass with which she judges that.  "No." she replied, like a petulant child.  No reasons.  No arguing against that very simple logic.  Just "No.  God is good.  The bible is moral, and is where morals come from.

So I have several questions for you:

1)Why should you have to edit the perfect word of god to be appropriate for children?

2)Have you had debate or conflict in your flesh and blood life about religion?

3)Have you ever encountered that uncanny disconnect, where they seem to be able to accept the individual premises of an argument, but refuse to accept the larger picture?

4)How does that make you feel?  It makes me feel weird.  Like I'm surrounded by hills-have-eyes mutants, but instead of grotesque monsters, the mutations are on the inside.  That sounds cruel, I don't mean it like that, but it's that level of strange, and it's that glaringly, outputtingly obvious to me.

Online Oniya

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #137 on: April 14, 2017, 07:08:11 PM »

Yes. I find this often. Particularly with this argument:
1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist
2. Objective moral values exist
3. Therefore God exists.

I know very many atheists who routinely assert (1) to be true on a Monday, assert (2) to be true on a Tuesday but never allow themselves to reach the conclusion (3) on any day.

I don't know a single atheist who has claimed (1).  If anything, most are trying to assert that 'belief in a deity' (whether one exists or not) is not required for one to be a moral individual.  For the record, I'm not an atheist.

Offline Nimbuscloud

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #138 on: April 14, 2017, 10:07:31 PM »
OK, as a theist, I'll take a bite... ;)

"religion as a whole is a negative force in our world that should be actively deconstructed."

Two problems here: first, "religion  as a whole" is far too large a category to be meaningful. You might as well say "language, as a whole".

Says who? 

That is a false-equivocation, religion and language are vastly different things.  For one thing, language provides a useful function.  I'm aware I've said earlier religion serves useful functions, but 1) you gotta admit that was a sick burn anyway, and 2) all of them could still be provided from a secular opinion... many of them much more effectively, concerning a few issues relating to mental health specifically.

Religion, the broad concept, whether you're a harmless Jane, an obnoxious Westboro, a depressing(to me) Buddhist, or a violent Muslim(yeah I know, not all Muslims), and more specifically the general inclination it has to convince you you know things that you have no way of knowing, and often blatantly contradict what we know about reality, is detrimental in my point of view.  People should see reality for what it is, and if they don't like something they should try to understand and change it, rather than pretend it doesn't exist or won't affect them.

You don't get to just arbitrarily decide what I mean, or instate some weird rule that religions can only be judged on an individual basis.


Second, how do you know what the world might have looked  like over the past few millennia without religion? Would it have been, on the whole, better or worse? You can't possibly know. This is deeply speculative.

What we can say is that the handful of societies which have tried, as you suggested to "actively deconstruct" religion have not been a great success (to put it mildly).

I'm not saying anything about the way religion caused the world to develop.  I've seen Patton Oswald's Sky-cake bit.  I don't have a degree in theology or history, and I'd be poorly informed at best there.  I'm saying that here and now, in the western world, specifically the united states where I'm from, religion is an actively negative force.

Moving on:

Wait, I thought this was ask an atheist?  I mean, feel free I guess, I appreciate the input, but why are you answering me?  I don't even know if this dude wants me here yet.


"1)Why should you have to edit the perfect word of god to be appropriate for children?"

First, not all Christians believe the Bible is perfect. "The Word" is Jesus Christ, who became flesh...and it is he who is perfect in most Christian theology.

The most that any Christians would hold to is that the Bible, in its original texts, lacks error. It's not clear why lacking error should necessarily mean it is all, in its entirety, suitable for reading by Children. This can be a) because the text is beyond their level of literacy and understanding and b) may deal with material entirely appropriate for an adult but not for a child.
Also:

I hate  semantics.  I'm going to ignore the jesus-word bit completely.  I am against all forms of religion, but it's not a black and white thing.  I don't think progressive, scientifically literate christians are right, but I think they're much less dangerous than people who think the world is the 6000 year old center of the universe.

First of all, intentionally or otherwise, you're lying.  There is no surviving copy of the original text, (curious that the almighty wouldn't see fit to preserve his precious, perfect book in his plan), so you don't know if it was perfect or not.  Second of all, when hell is on the line, any deity who doesn't make his will expressly clear to everyone everywhere is a (^&!.  I'll extend a courtesy to you you did not give to me, and not pretend to know your intent, but you're suspicious to me now.  Third...  What survived, what I'm judging, what's in the here and now, is not perfect.  It's full of scientific errors, like light existing before the sun.  It's full of thematic errors, where king... Saul, I want to say, conflicts and reconciles with David like three times in a repeat of the same story, each unconscious of the other.  It's full of moral wrongness that anyone can see, and if you disagree I challenge you to find me an old testament story that isn't awful.  I'll listen to new, but I'm still rereading thru it, so I won't be as informed.  If you look at his character, and judge him with your own lens, the character of the god of the bible is monstrous, selfish, greedy, petty, and insecure.  His followers are laughably stupid and rebellious, in exodus they SEE HIS MIRACLES and decide to worship the golden calf on a whim, knowing there is a REAL, OBSERVED god that they were spurning.

It's so odd, in fact, I'd say it almost seems written, like a fable...

So you're saying that something can be unpleasant and moral?  Like drowning a world's worth of people to rectify your mistake of creating them?  They tell that story to children, but they don't mention all the murders god is directly responsible for, just the single family he saved.  Children couldn't deal with that, but... it's moral?  What about God hardening Pharaoh's heart in Exodus?  They never tell you that in sunday school.  They occasionally talk about it in the main service though.  It was explained to me he did it to glorify himself, he murdered the firstborn of a nation for the moral reason of narcissistically making them fear him by showing off...

Which didn't work, if the golden calf was any indication.

Again.  Tell me one story from the old testament that isn't awful (and morally wrong if you're going to be a jerk about the semantics).

"3)Have you ever encountered that uncanny disconnect, where they seem to be able to accept the individual premises of an argument, but refuse to accept the larger picture?"

Yes. I find this often. Particularly with this argument:
1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist
2. Objective moral values exist
3. Therefore God exists.

I know very many atheists who routinely assert (1) to be true on a Monday, assert (2) to be true on a Tuesday but never allow themselves to reach the conclusion (3) on any day.

I'm not saying that's true of all atheists all the time...but it's true of a lot, a lot of the time. So your observation is far from a one way street in that regard.

The thing is, objective morals don't exist, so one of your premises is flawed and your logic doesn't follow.

Even if you're going to argue objective morals do exist, that's not the problem I'm describing, by the simple virtue that I don't accept your premises.  If I did believe in objective morals, you would have a point.  Now you only have my increasing suspicion.  I believe you are a charlatan sir.

My arguments look more like this:

1)  (my first premise)  The God of the bible is described as a perfect, all loving, all merciful being, perfectly just.

She accepts this.

2) (my second premise) Inside the cannon of the bible, god is wrathful and petty, he murders, he orders rape and pillage, he demands blood sacrifice, and likes the smell of burning flesh.

Listening to me tell specific stories, she accepts this.

3) (my conclusion)  The god of the bible does not exist, cannon by definition exist, because of the content of the cannon of the bible.

Nope.

In contrast yours was:

1.(your first premise) If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.  (I don't know if that's true.  I don't believe in objective morals, but I don't see anything inherent in that statement that, or any reason they couldn't exist independant of god.  Say chemistry just dictates the part of our brain that deals with morals always forms a certain way, for instance.  I don't really care, so I'll ceed the point, but my first premise is unquestionably true, and can be researched.)

2. (your second premise) Objective moral values exist (Again, and much moreso this time, you're making a claim, not stating a fact.  Premises have to be factual to work.  I don't accept that morality is objective, so...)

3. (your conclusion...) Therefore God exists. (falls apart.)

Even when Christians do follow and agree with both of my premises openly, whether you personally do or not, the conclusion that must follow is where they turn their brain off.  You might think you understand, the experience is probably very, very similar, but I like to think it's worse when you can see you're actually right.  I mean I know you think you're right, but again... sick burn, huh? x3

Offline Nimbuscloud

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #139 on: April 14, 2017, 10:11:40 PM »
Like any other problem, the conflicts within religions have to be acknowledged before anything can be done to rectify them.  Conditioning is carried out in many, many areas of life.  Religion is simply another type of conditioning.  The cognitive dissonance that occurs when religious people are presented with evidence that contradicts their conditioning is very powerful.  I've found that time has to pass before these things can really be tackled--presenting conflicting evidence, then giving it time to be considered, or even subconsciously absorbed.  My own deconversion worked much the same way.  It took time to slowly peel off the layers of conditioning.

And welcome to Elliquiy, Nimbuscloud :)

Oh, I missed you there!  Thank you for the answer!

Fair points!  I'll try to keep that in mind, the next time I want to scrub it off of someone all at once.   So it's not all just talking to a brick wall, even when it feels like it? xD

Online Oniya

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #140 on: April 14, 2017, 10:43:25 PM »
Oh, I missed you there!  Thank you for the answer!

Fair points!  I'll try to keep that in mind, the next time I want to scrub it off of someone all at once.   So it's not all just talking to a brick wall, even when it feels like it? xD

Another thing to keep in mind is that a civil discussion generally has better results than something that can be perceived as condescension, regardless of the issue.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #141 on: April 14, 2017, 10:44:15 PM »
Actually, I'm an atheist and I do believe that an objective morality exists. I just don't think that it comes from a Deity.

I mean, morality is nuanced, but there are certain general statements that can be said to be mostly correct.

Life is preferable to death, health is preferable to sickness, pleasure is preferable to pain and happiness is preferable to sadness. A populace being healthy, happy and safe is good for society as a whole, and can therefore be considered "Moral," since morality is just about the state of human society as a whole.

Based on these, we can come up with the basics of an objective morality.

Morality is certainly situational, since no two situations are the same, but in each of those situations, there is always an objectively "right" answer. Since morality is simply about causing as much good and / or as little harm as possible to the most people (or the least harm to the least people possible), then there will always be an objectively correct answer as to which one that is. Whether or not you know the right answer is immaterial to whether it exists or not.

Whatever you say, morality isn't subjective. If a society decides that sacrificing babies and beating their women if they talk back is moral, then they are wrong. I don't care why they think it's moral. They're just wrong, and my sense of morality is superior to theirs in a measurable way.

Now people can know what's moral and still choose to do the immoral thing, because people are messy and selfish and sometimes we act more in our own self interests than other peoples. But that doesn't prevent or disprove the existence of an objectively correct answer, since in every situation, there will be a choice that objectively either maximises good or minimises harm. Just because you don't know which one is which sometimes, doesn't mean that they don't exist.

That's how I view things, anyway.

Offline Nimbuscloud

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #142 on: April 14, 2017, 11:45:16 PM »
Another thing to keep in mind is that a civil discussion generally has better results than something that can be perceived as condescension, regardless of the issue.

How do you tell someone they are clearly wrong, when they are clearly wrong, without condescending to them?  I try to use comedy, but my results are hit or miss.  Was that last post over the line?  I'm sorry.  Like I said, I won't lurk around here if you don't want me to, no offense taken or intended.

Actually, I'm an atheist and I do believe that an objective morality exists. I just don't think that it comes from a Deity.

I mean, morality is nuanced, but there are certain general statements that can be said to be mostly correct.

Life is preferable to death, health is preferable to sickness, pleasure is preferable to pain and happiness is preferable to sadness. A populace being healthy, happy and safe is good for society as a whole, and can therefore be considered "Moral," since morality is just about the state of human society as a whole.

Based on these, we can come up with the basics of an objective morality.

Morality is certainly situational, since no two situations are the same, but in each of those situations, there is always an objectively "right" answer. Since morality is simply about causing as much good and / or as little harm as possible to the most people (or the least harm to the least people possible), then there will always be an objectively correct answer as to which one that is. Whether or not you know the right answer is immaterial to whether it exists or not.

Whatever you say, morality isn't subjective. If a society decides that sacrificing babies and beating their women if they talk back is moral, then they are wrong. I don't care why they think it's moral. They're just wrong, and my sense of morality is superior to theirs in a measurable way.

Now people can know what's moral and still choose to do the immoral thing, because people are messy and selfish and sometimes we act more in our own self interests than other peoples. But that doesn't prevent or disprove the existence of an objectively correct answer, since in every situation, there will be a choice that objectively either maximises good or minimises harm. Just because you don't know which one is which sometimes, doesn't mean that they don't exist.

That's how I view things, anyway.

As I understand it Objective morals are morals that a true and constant because of intrinsic properties of a universe.  Murder is wrong because it's wrong, not because you think it's wrong, and all murder is wrong.

I hate the sacrificing babies example, because it's so over-the-top.  It's not impossible to think of an example, but it's needlessly complex, and I'm tired, so I'm gonna stick to murder.

If morality was objective, it would be wrong to murder someone.  If someone was going to murder you, or your family, it would still be wrong to murder them, even to protect them.  He would be doing wrong, but so would you, inherintly, by committing the murder in self defence.  In subjective morality, in most cases murdering someone is wrong.  Some people may think murdering a man who intends to murder you and your family is wrong, some won't.  The murderer will certainly tell you it's wrong to murder him, but your ma will probably thank you when it's over.

When you say there is always an objectively right answer to questions of morality... I think you're confusing terms, I don't think that's what he was saying when he said objective morality.  Your definition is a bit more colloquial, where he (I'm assuming) is sticking to the definition that morality is inherit in the universe(because it was put there by god).

I'd argue that you yourself are arguing for subjective morality, because the metric you're using to determine whether something is good or bad is how much good it does, not an innate property of itself.  Gay sex is a sin and immoral, because it is a sin and immoral, according to objective chrisitain morality, no matter who does or doesn't get hurt, and whether or not they liked it.

I wonder how you made it this far as a writer, and what the content of your work consists of.  George R.R. Martin has a series about characters struggling with impossible moral quandries. xD

So a woman is pregnant, but if the baby is born she will die.  Either way, a life will be lost, the life of the mother, or the life of the child.  The mother wants to die for her baby.  Her husband would rather have her live, and try again.  What is the objective answer to solve their problem?

Killing the mom, because the baby has more potential, and will ergo be the most objectively good?  Dad might have something to say about that.  So might the kid who has to grow up without a mom later.  Save the mother, since the couple can have another?  That might do some real psychological damage to mommy, that could also have a profound impact on the lives of her and her husband.  The late, great Hitch was an atheist who was pro-life.  I say life sucks enough as it is, don't force someone to bring a kid into the world that they can't take care of, which I think is an objectively better outcome.  If I had a choice, I would not have been born.   I think there are plenty of perfectly reasonable examples of cases of subjective, by your definition and otherwise.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #143 on: April 15, 2017, 12:01:10 AM »
As I understand it Objective morals are morals that a true and constant because of intrinsic properties of a universe.  Murder is wrong because it's wrong, not because you think it's wrong, and all murder is wrong.

That isn't what I believe at all. It's wrong to go out and just shoot somebody in the head because A) you wouldn't like it happening to you, and B) it causes more harm than good, to all people involved.


If morality was objective, it would be wrong to murder someone.  If someone was going to murder you, or your family, it would still be wrong to murder them, even to protect them.

Not what I believe at all. If somebody is about to kill you and your family, and you shoot them or twat them over the head with an iron poker and end up killing them, you did the right thing. The option was either defend yourself and get killed, along with your family, or defend yourself and stop them from hurting you. In that situation, the right thing to do is defend yourself; they have put themselves into the position where they are trying to hurt people, and you have put yourself into the position where you stopped them hurting people. Ergo, you are doing the objectively moral thing by stopping them from hurting people.


In subjective morality, in most cases murdering someone is wrong.  Some people may think murdering a man who intends to murder you and your family is wrong, some won't.  The murderer will certainly tell you it's wrong to murder him, but your ma will probably thank you when it's over.

I don't think you actually listened to what I said...I thought I made it very clear that A) that is situational morality and not subjective (there is a difference) and B) Objective Morality is not mutually exclusive with Objective morality, because in how I define objective morality, each situation has an objectively right and wrong answer.


When you say there is always an objectively right answer to questions of morality... I think you're confusing terms, I don't think that's what he was saying when he said objective morality.  Your definition is a bit more colloquial, where he (I'm assuming) is sticking to the definition that morality is inherit in the universe(because it was put there by god).

No, I'm not. I said that I believe in objective morality, but then I define what I meant because I know people mean different things when they say that. All objective means is that there is a right and wrong answer, regardless of peoples opinions on the matter. I defined what I meant, and how it differed from his. I'm not confusing terms at all, I'm just clarifying that I disagree with what he claims as the source of objectivity.


I'd argue that you yourself are arguing for subjective morality, because the metric you're using to determine whether something is good or bad is how much good it does, not an innate property of itself.  Gay sex is a sin and immoral, because it is a sin and immoral, according to objective chrisitain morality, no matter who does or doesn't get hurt, and whether or not they liked it.

No. Subjective just means "whether something is good or bad depends on the persons opinion," and nothing more. Situational is "It depends on the situation." It doesn't matter how many times that situation occurs, the right answer is always the same. But what is right in what situation is different to another situation. Subjective is when what is right and wrong depends entirely not on the situation, but the person IN the situation.
Two very different things. I support situational morality, but NOT subjective morality, because subjective leaves it up to people, and people can and are often wrong about what causes harm and good.


I wonder how you made it this far as a writer, and what the content of your work consists of.

I'm...sorry? I'm trying hard not to take this as an insult, but it's kind of hard when you start the sentence with "I wonder how you made it this far." Would you mind clarifying what, exactly, you mean?


So a woman is pregnant, but if the baby is born she will die.  Either way, a life will be lost, the life of the mother, or the life of the child.  The mother wants to die for her baby.  Her husband would rather have her live, and try again.  What is the objective answer to solve their problem?

The mother dying for her baby, simply because forcing her to get an abortion would violate her freedom of will, which would cause her more harm, emotionally, than simply her death would. Her body, her choice. The father does not get to override her wishes in the matter. It sucks, it's difficult, but in the end it's up to her.
If you are violating another persons freedom of will (when they have the freedom to make that choice, and the only person who is directly, physically affected is them) you are in the wrong.

Offline midnightblack

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #144 on: April 15, 2017, 12:09:53 AM »
If anything, most [atheists] are trying to assert that 'belief in a deity' (whether one exists or not) is not required for one to be a moral individual. 

That's pretty much how I always felt. "Good thoughts. Good words. Good deeds." should be your watchwords regardless of religious beliefs.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #145 on: April 15, 2017, 12:36:44 AM »
But what if you're only an atheist because you want to do evil, hateful things? What if you deny God so you can sin? Then you're obviously not following that creed!   :P

Offline Nimbuscloud

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #146 on: April 15, 2017, 12:45:05 AM »
That isn't what I believe at all. It's wrong to go out and just shoot somebody in the head because A) you wouldn't like it happening to you, and B) it causes more harm than good, to all people involved.


Um...  I never said that's what you believe, I said that's what objective morality is.  It's the literal definition.


Not what I believe at all. If somebody is about to kill you and your family, and you shoot them or twat them over the head with an iron poker and end up killing them, you did the right thing. The option was either defend yourself and get killed, along with your family, or defend yourself and stop them from hurting you. In that situation, the right thing to do is defend yourself; they have put themselves into the position where they are trying to hurt people, and you have put yourself into the position where you stopped them hurting people. Ergo, you are doing the objectively moral thing by stopping them from hurting people.

I agree with you, but this supports what is referred to by the dictionary definition of subjective morality.



I don't think you actually listened to what I said...I thought I made it very clear that A) that is situational morality and not subjective (there is a difference) and B) Objective Morality is not mutually exclusive with Objective morality, because in how I define objective morality, each situation has an objectively right and wrong answer.


No... you are the one who isn't paying attention.  YOU DON'T GET TO DEFINE WORDS.  There's a board or something that does that.  THIS IS WHY IN SCHOOL YOU DON'T DICTATE ENGLISH AND GRAMMAR, YOU LEARN THEM. x3  You CAN'T walk into a conversation where two people are talking about the (appropriately named) objective meaning of a word, and then inject your own argument, based around your own subjective meanings, and expect to know WHAT THE %$@! IS GOING ON(in my life right now? T_T)

I've already explained, if you use the same definitions we were, the literal, dictionary definitions (Type objective morality into google.  You're already on the internet.  Go.  Do it.  Learn!  That's all I really want here, for people to think and learn!) you support subjective morality, what you describe as a situation with an outcome that does the most good being objectively superior to everyone involved is not the same as it being objectively moral, in the literal, dictionary sense.  It is the opposite in fact!

No, I'm not. I said that I believe in objective morality, but then I define what I meant because I know people mean different things when they say that. All objective means is that there is a right and wrong answer, regardless of peoples opinions on the matter. I defined what I meant, and how it differed from his. I'm not confusing terms at all, I'm just clarifying that I disagree with what he claims as the source of objectivity.

AGAIN.  Something being objectively moral doesn't mean (I'm going to stop citing the dictionary.) that it's moral in your eyes.  Literally and figuratively.  It means it is moral, because it is inherently moral.  You are claiming that an act being moral is objective based on the good it does... which means the act has no inherit moral properties... which means it isn't objectively moral in any sense but the definition you're using.

I think you're trying to say the option that does the most good IS what makes it objectively moral... but no it's not, objective morality is based on the inherit properties of the act, not any kind of metric.

You are. confusing the terms.  How can you say you're not?  You're using your own personal definition to describe something that has a different definition.  You are wrong.

That's okay!  It happens to the best of us!  I know this so well because I had to study ethics in school, and I'm sure you could "school" me on a variety of other topics... What's not okay is rigidly sticking to your convictions without listening to new evidence, especially when it proves you wrong.  I'm not trying to make a fool of you, I'm trying to make you a more informed person.

No. Subjective just means "whether something is good or bad depends on the persons opinion," and nothing more. Situational is "It depends on the situation." It doesn't matter how many times that situation occurs, the right answer is always the same. But what is right in what situation is different to another situation. Subjective is when what is right and wrong depends entirely not on the situation, but the person IN the situation.
Two very different things. I support situational morality, but NOT subjective morality, because subjective leaves it up to people, and people can and are often wrong about what causes harm and good.

Again, according to your definition...  Okay.  You win.  According to your definition, morality is objective.   If you write an ethics paper to support your views, you'll flunk it, however, because in the ethics classroom, your definition of objective morality conforms to the classes' definition of subjective morality.

It's amazing the level of cognitive dissonance I'm experiencing here, from a self-purported atheist.  It's also amazing to me you support situational morality because you like what that entails more, rather than because it most accurately describes the truth of the world.  That's pretty much my biggest problem with religion.

You're also arguing with semantics, debating me on the meaning of words, which you seem to be adjusting on your whim... rather than actually taking on the subsistence of my argument, in which I'm fairly sure we share similar views.

 
I'm...sorry? I'm trying hard not to take this as an insult, but it's kind of hard when you start the sentence with "I wonder how you made it this far." Would you mind clarifying what, exactly, you mean?

That was meant to be somewhat provocative, but I don't think you should be insulted.   You basically denied the existence of complex moral questions, which I feel is the bulk of the interesting subject matter of most writing.  To me it equates to saying "there's nothing interesting to write about!"  Clearly not to you, and I'm not trying to say that's what you said or implied... but it's absurd to me.  Like a sort of oxymoron.  It makes me laugh, I was hoping seeing it spelled out would make you laugh too.




The mother dying for her baby, simply because forcing her to get an abortion would violate her freedom of will, which would cause her more harm, emotionally, than simply her death would. Her body, her choice. The father does not get to override her wishes in the matter. It sucks, it's difficult, but in the end it's up to her.
If you are violating another persons freedom of will (when they have the freedom to make that choice, and the only person who is directly, physically affected is them) you are in the wrong.

Yes.  You're not going to hear any arguments about violating a person's wishes being wrong to me.  Once again, for the umpteenth time, I think we'd agree on what we consider right and wrong most of the time.  That's not what we're arguing about, we're arguing about the meaning of words, and whether we should use your personal definition, or the one the rest of the world uses.

I don't see the example I outlined in that black and white of a light, and I think you're basing that solely on the feelings of the woman, while I think it's important to consider how the action effects everyone.  Her body, her choice, true, but whatever he choice is, that doesn't make it inherently moral, it's considering the effect of her actions on everyone involved that does that.

Offline Nimbuscloud

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #147 on: April 15, 2017, 12:52:16 AM »
But what if you're only an atheist because you want to do evil, hateful things? What if you deny God so you can sin? Then you're obviously not following that creed!   :P

So to me your points of view have become more and more suspicious.  This pretty much cinches it for me, there's no way you're not either a troll(in which case well done), or a christian trying to win credibility by posing as an atheist, it wouldn't be the first time I've seen that, and it's usually as transparent as this.

There are no atheists who only don't believe in god so they can do hateful things.  You don't deny god so you can sin.  That implies you know god is real, but you're choosing to pretend he's not, and says nothing about your belief.

If you know god is real, understand the consequences he's imposing on you, and ignore them anyway... you're an idiot, you're dumber than the calf-worshippers in exodus.  If you don't understand the consequences... he's a cruel ba@#@$ for punishing you anyway.

The fact that you think people could choose whether or not to believe something is also a red flag, you may want to try to hide that in the future.

Offline midnightblack

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #148 on: April 15, 2017, 12:57:41 AM »
Nimbuscloud, I'm fairly certain Vergil's quote is missing sarcasm tags.  :-)

But what if you're only an atheist because you want to do evil, hateful things? What if you deny God so you can sin? Then you're obviously not following that creed!   :P

I find it amusing that in places like my country, where 94% of the population is declared as belonging to a certain confession (orthodox christians for the most part, with very little of other christian groups), you end up with the majority of the "bad" people actually being fervent believers, at least according to their own declarations at the census. Then again, crime in general has been on a decreasing trend here for nearly two decades now, but I don't think it has that much to do with a good moral education (whether religious or not), as with the criminals moving over to more lucrative areas in Western Europe.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Ask an Atheist--An Opportunity for Engagement
« Reply #149 on: April 15, 2017, 01:19:18 AM »
I'll reply properly later. On my phone at the moment.

But yes, Nimbus, that shorter post was 100% sarcasm, mocking that common accusation. Take a chill pill. :P