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A question for atheists

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paradoxspiral
Post #565379
Member

3:29 am, Aug 11 2012
Posts: 5


I define my own sense of right and wrong as humane and inhumane, generally what is humane is for the good of society and what is inhumane harms society. Some religions may have a basic list of morality and justice, but I believe that morality is relative to an extent. Normality is relative as well. Humans define things on their own biases.

Nirhtuc
Post #565381
Member

3:35 am, Aug 11 2012
Posts: 167


I'm not really an atheist in the sense of having no religion- I just don't believe in 'God'.

I think the beauty of being a free-thinking atheist (i.e. a person that has absolutely no religious beliefs) is that if they do good, they do good for the sake of goodness, and not because they are expecting a ticket to heaven or a better afterlife. Moral motivation (taken from the basic 'commandments/precepts' from all religions) and fear of the POSSIBILITY of something bad occurring after death is what drives me not to commit 'mild misdemeanours' in life (e.g. drinking, stealing, beating up idiots etc.).

So I think complete atheists deserve a big kudos for doing good without expecting anything in return. eyes

Last edited by Nirhtuc at 3:42 am, Aug 11

ponbiki
Post #565386
Member

4:18 am, Aug 11 2012
Posts: 22


I think a lot of religious people are brainwashed into thinking atheists are all evil untrustworthy people, but that is really not the case.

Believing or not believing in historical stories or a particular god is NOT the same thing as not being able to define right and wrong. This kind of attitude from the religious sect and the whole condescending attitude religious people typically portray towards atheists is one of the main reasons there is such a divide between the two groups.

I really don't understand why the question of "do you believe in god?" can't be perceived the same way as "Do you like so-and-so food?". I think both sides are making this question out to be far more important than it really is. Our religion doesn't define us as people, our actions do!

"Right" and "Wrong" really have nothing to do with religion in the first place anyways. Religious as well as non-religious people both essentially define the two words the same ways as far as I am concerned.

Right and Wrong = What is best for me in the long run?

Right = Good for me in the long run.
Wrong = Bad for me in the long run.

One typically abstains from lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride because not doing so is not good for them in the long run. Likewise you don't kill, commit adultery, steal, etc... for the same reasons. All of these acts are usually bad for you in the long run! God didn't need to tell humanity any of this, and likely people avoided such vices long before any established religion.

You may tell yourself otherwise; that you are motivated by your wishes to stay in gods good graces, or you do things for the better of mankind, but in reality despite all these "selfless aspirations" people mainly just think of what is best for themselves in the end and adjust their actions accordingly.

In actuality even the principals many religious people hold so high, that they may think are selfless, of for instance staying in gods good graces, not wanting to go to hell, not wanting to fall under Satan's control, etc... are essentially all about themselves in the end.

You should take a minute and ask yourself, really ask yourself, have you ever done anything in your entire life that wasn't in some way about you?

Aeylis
Post #565390
user avatar
Yaaawn
Member

4:45 am, Aug 11 2012
Posts: 746


I recognize that other people are human beings with problems and concerns and lives that are as important to them as mine is to me. Thus, I will treat others with the same integrity that I wish to be treated with and live my life in such a way as to stay true to myself.

It is difficult to define right and wrong because it changes based on circumstance and each different party or perspective will have a differing concept of what is right or wrong in a certain situation.

But I'll try.

To live an existence that actively and purposefully hurts others or denies the integrity of myself or others is as close of a definition that I can get for what is 'wrong.'

It would take too long to describe what is right, and to be honest I don't feel that it is necessary to explain. (lazy) laugh

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Findy
Post #565391
Member

4:46 am, Aug 11 2012
Posts: 127


Right for me: everything that make me achieve my objective
Wrong for me: everything that stand in my way
in the end religion is simply another creation of man and the moment its not gave me anything profitable means bye bye~ biggrin

gojen
Post #565400
user avatar
Member

6:26 am, Aug 11 2012
Posts: 122


I used to base right and wrong on what I can or can't get away with, regardless of social norms. If I could convince others what I did was right, regardless of what was socially acceptable, then it was right.

Now I base it on the opinion of those around me. "If I do this, will my little sister hate me?" All my morals are based upon making sure my loved ones either never find out or if they do, they won't hate me for it. This leads to various degrees of right and wrong, since not every loved one of mine can agree on right and wrong for everything......

________________
"This year, they should give the Nobel Peace Prize to the inventors of cancer and accidents, because research shows those are the main causes of disarmament."
secretdesires
Post #565436
user avatar
Raw
Member

2:16 pm, Aug 11 2012
Posts: 854


I don't really care to answer this question.

It sounds incredibly naive, stupid and fairly insulting.

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No one gives a shit what trite garbage you write here.
heretickirin
Post #565457
user avatar
Member

8:11 pm, Aug 11 2012
Posts: 14


Ah the personal touch....a must for discerning connoisseurs everywhere biggrin

You ask how I make decisions about right and wrong? But that is part and the whole of the matter isn't it? What is right, and what is wrong ? That is the question you ask, and one that confronts me at every significant crossroad of my life.

From being a blinkered, selfless idealist raised by my parents to do the right thing, I have crept out from under the rock of certainty,selfless virtue and sacrifice right into the doubtful and dim luminescence of uncertainty and moral relativity.

I am currently muddling through life's decisions under a cloying weight of half baked philosophy, naked self interest, chains of cruelty, guilt, empathy and believe it or not, just a pinch of rationality tipped into a veritable stew of self deluding rationalizations all trying to convince me that I am trying to do the right thing

However as I stated, that I lean towards the belief that we are all sociopaths, with varying degrees of efficiency and this has turned my decision making path firmly towards a path with tangible material rewards, even if does involve a certain degree of absolute selfishness on my part. There are certain lines I know I won't cross, but I hope to myself that I will discover them before the rhetorical question becomes a literal one.

Doubt....the best argument against sobriety eh?

zimzimbadabim
Post #565482 - Reply to (#565372) by maplegirl102
user avatar
The queer
Member

11:33 pm, Aug 11 2012
Posts: 34


I am back, and there are so many posts to reply to!

Maplegirl102, thanks for your answer. I like your answer, but what would you say in a more specific situation e.g. stealing money from someone who has more money than they know what to do with even though you yourself don't need the money? Is there a good and bad in this situation?

Yuki-Miya, what are those beliefs you have created for yourself?

Cthylla, you didn't say much in the way of answering the question, but what do you mean by
Quote from Cthylla
Anyway I don't exactly believe in god in the normal sense


Saons, I really appreciate you getting intimate with these answers. That's not easy for many people. Why do you think smiles and laughter are contagious? What makes them contagious?

paradoxspiral, what is your idea of a good society, a strong/healthy society? Why?

Nirhtuc, this may be a hard question, but please try to answer. What is beauty? What is goodness?
I would love to hear an answer for this.

Ponbiki, it seems like you either very cleverly hid the answer to my question somewhere in what you wrote. It was a might hard to decipher. How do you know what is good for you in the long run/what is bad for you? Experience? If so, how do you make desicions in which you have no experience?

Aeylis, it doesn't seem like you want to write anymore, so I won't bother you for more information.

Findy, there are too many gaps in your statement for me to ask about. Sorry, but I don't even know where to start. You didn't give me much to work with.

Gojen, I LOVE that you brought up the factor of loved ones and their opinions. My question is a tough one. What is love? (baby don't hurt me. Don't hurt me no more. . . I couldn't resist)

secretdesires, I'm dissapointed that you feel that way.

heretickirin, I cannot begin to describe the satisfaction I felt while reading your reply. I thank you dearly for being so open and honest with me about this. I wish that we were aquainted IRL so I could have more conversations with you. You seem like someone whom I could gain very much life experience from speaking with. You have throughly answered my question of good and bad in the way I desired, and my question now is a very seperate one but one I hope you wont ignore? What is love? If you don't have an answer, that is fine. It has been a sheer pleasure. biggrin

Last edited by zimzimbadabim at 12:18 am, Aug 12

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heretickirin
Post #565550 - Reply to (#565341) by Myuym
user avatar
Member

6:35 am, Aug 12 2012
Posts: 14


Quote from Myuym
Why do I act upon my notions of what I think is right and what I think is wrong.
That is just one word "Reciprocity" I treat people the same way I like them to treat me.
I treat society like how I would like society to treat me. It's all connected. If you hit someone you can expect to be hit back, if you do not hit anyone the chance to be hit is smaller.

There are two rules
1 treat another like you would like to be treated yourself. (golden rule)
2 don't treat another how you would not like to be treated yourself. (silver rule)

I would say everything between these two rules is good (acceptable) and if everything outside is bad (unacceptable)

The problem is however that people's standards are not always equal. Someone who needs absolute silence to be happy and someone who likes to play music have different opinions on what is an acceptable level of sound.


You manage to convey a complex idea in a surprisingly easy way myuym, something that is close to my personal value system as well. Reciprocity does indeed have something to say for it but there is always the sense of something missing when you look at the philosophy of reciprocity and the so called golden rule.

How do you reciprocate in equal, can you measure the intangible effect a person's actions had on your life? It is good that you want to be good towards good people, I do too, but for me it becomes essential to attach a more important reason to reciprocate their behavior. I want to keep them around, good people, not just in behavior but also people who have other valuable skills, bring value to my life, make it more rich,varied and enjoyable, so it becomes imperative for me to keep them around and reciprocity with its implied equality principle becomes an ineffective method to practice. I will give them more than their due if I believe that they can add value to my life, to keep them around.

We all do this to some degree( see the concept of monogamous marriage), I am just verbalizing it.

Additionally the concept of the golden rule seems like an easy concept to get your head around, but I believe it has some dangerous inherent assumptions. It assumes that the person you are interacting with has the same value system as yours, so you treat them like you want yourself to be treated. But hey on closer inspection isn't this the easiest con job for all the selfish, complete sociopaths out there? Additionally what if I have a value system that is based on might is right? where does the rule stand on that?

Remember Kreia from SWKOTOR 2?The game lost all semblance of a plot towards the end but that lady sure was a mind bender, you might want to look her up..

zim I will delve into the question of love in my later posts if you don't mind please.... smile

Last edited by heretickirin at 7:35 am, Aug 12

Myuym
Post #565568
user avatar
Member

8:51 am, Aug 12 2012
Posts: 273



Quote
How do you reciprocate in equal, can you measure the intangible effect a person's actions had on your life? It is good that you want to be good towards good people, I do too, but for me it becomes essential to attach a more important reason to reciprocate their behavior. I want to keep them around, good people, not just in behavior but also people who have other valuable skills, bring value to my life, make it more rich,varied and enjoyable, so it becomes imperative for me to keep them around and reciprocity with its implied equality principle becomes an ineffective method to practice. I will give them more than their due if I believe that they can add value to my life, to keep them around.


There is no need to reciprocate exactly equal, there is no need to measure. It is intangible, a feeling, If you are nice to me I'm being nice back, If you treat me respectfully I will give respect back, If you buy me a beer, I will buy you a beer, If you are a good friend to me I'll be there when you need me. even if I do not believe I will ever get in so much trouble myself that I would need that kind of help. I just hope that there might be someone that would do the same for me.

There is no need to make reciprocate everything, Sometimes just the feeling of doing something nice for someone makes it worth it. You should do everything you do without expecting things in return, you may hope or wish or whatever but you should not demand reciprocity. You should not pay your date dinner only because you want to get laid, and use the "I bought you dinner" as pressure on the girl.

About the people you fill your life with, If you like to keep them around because they make your life wonderful more rich, enjoyable, colorful, the most reciprocity like thing to do is to try and make their lives also a little bit more enjoyable, varied and interesting. just do your best, don't feel a need to reciprocate exactly,

I believe that reciprocity is more a reason to be good (between the golden and silver rule) than it is to equalize things. In Dutch there is an expression that translates into something like "as he does as he meets". which means something like your behavior will be reflected in the people around you.
If you are nice you will have nice people around you, if you are an asshole people around you might be the same as you are.

It's more about the rules, if I go with the golden rule (the easier one) I am nice because I think that is how I would like to be treated, and that by being nice to others myself I have the biggest chance to meet others who are nice to me.If you are willing to help me out sometimes I'm way more likely to help you when you need it than if you would never help me. reciprocity is nice but there is no need for clearing

Quote
Additionally the concept of the golden rule seems like an easy concept to get your head around, but I believe it has some dangerous inherent assumptions. It assumes that the person you are interacting with has the same value system as yours, so you treat them like you want yourself to be treated. But hey on closer inspection isn't this the easiest con job for all the selfish, complete sociopaths out there? Additionally what if I have a value system that is based on might is right? where does the rule stand on that?


It is my personal Good/Bad system, it's not a replacement for law. But even for selfish sociopaths it would be an improvement. Selfish means you care less for others and more for yourself. For the rules is an selfish person would still like to be treated well. For example, lets take the ridiculously bratty girls from MTV's sweet sixteen. They think they are the center of the world and want to be treated as such. Golden/silver rules in combination with reciprocity would mean that they would need to treat everyone else like they want to be treated So they need to treat everyone like (s)he is like the center of the world)

Question is would sociopaths and brats follow the rules, I doubt it.

Quote
Remember Kreia from SWKOTOR 2?The game was shit but that lady sure was a mindbender, you might want to look her up..

I have the game (installed right now even) but I never got very far. I got bored and just quit at the start.
I think I got to where some smuggler was captured and then I got an airship or something.

-look it over this again after I've slept, I'm tired-

SliceA1A
Post #565576 - Reply to (#565285) by zimzimbadabim
user avatar
Member

9:30 am, Aug 12 2012
Posts: 49


Quote
The question is a layered one. How do you determine what is right and wrong?


Simple. Act in a way that minimizes harm

Quote
What does it mean for something to be right/wrong?


Acting in a way beneficial to another person is RIGHT. Acting in a way detrimental to another person is WRONG. Both theists and atheists act this way; faith is irrelevant.

Quote
What is good?


Can you be anymore vague? Seriously: Good is that which does no harm to another, or what helps another.

Quote
What is bad?


Picketing soldier's funerals while holding signs that say "THANK GOD FOR IEDs". The genital mutilation of newborn babies. The cutting off of hands and feet for minor crimes. Telling people that condoms increase the risk of AIDS. Telling children that if they don't believe in a certain religion they will burn in a torturous lake of fire FOREVER. I could go on, but do I really need to?

Quote
How do you know?


How can you NOT know?

Quote
Please do not answer all these questions in a single post.


Ooops eek

TaoPaiPai
Post #565578
Member

10:06 am, Aug 12 2012
Posts: 953


right and wrong is question of class
not a question if god exists or not

zimzimbadabim
Post #565685
user avatar
The queer
Member

1:30 am, Aug 13 2012
Posts: 34


Heretickirin & Myuym, I love the direction in which you two have taken my question; I'm about to take my question much further in that same direction as well as in a different direction all together. (Keep up if you can, and I'm sure you will.) P.S. Heretickirin, I don't mind at all.

SliceA1A, the reason I asked that you not answer all the parts of my question at once is so that I wouldn't seem rude while I ignore all parts of your post except the very first. Please define "harm."

TaoPaiPai, I have absolutely no clue of what you meant by your post. Please clarify and expound. It would be greatly appreciated.




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[Quдn7] Cayoss
Post #565688
Member

2:02 am, Aug 13 2012
Posts: 19


There is no good or bad. There is only bad and worse.

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