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A question for atheists

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SliceA1A
Post #565808
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8:22 pm, Aug 13 2012
Posts: 51



Harm

noun
1. physical injury or mental damage; hurt: to do him bodily harm.
2. moral injury; evil; wrong.

A bully beating on a victim is inflicting harm. A bystander that does nothing enables the bully to inflict harm. Another bystander who interferes with that violent act is minimizing harm.

Cthylla
Post #565809
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Mythical Creature
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8:25 pm, Aug 13 2012
Posts: 206


It's annoying that you ask everyone to explain every single little thing, especially the ones that are easy to understand. It's like you aren't reading at all.

Unrequited
Post #565812
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8:37 pm, Aug 13 2012
Posts: 66


You should try posting this question on reddit or something lol. You'd certainly get many more replies!

KaoriNite
Post #565813
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8:50 pm, Aug 13 2012
Posts: 395


I think most of my ideas on right and wrong are still derived from cultural and societal norms. Although I feel that thanks to being an atheist I have more freedom to decide to go against these norms without feeling guilty or that I am betraying something.

But I think people can derive ideas of what good and bad are without someone telling them. You just get a feeling when you are doing something bad like this is wrong and you might feel guilty or ashamed. I think that those feelings that you have on your own are more important than whatever the law or some religious book telling you what's good or bad are. I think it is your own personal feelings that keeps you trying to do what you consider good, and avoid doing what you consider bad. Unless your anti-social and think that it's cool to do what's bad. But then I feel like those people have just reversed their values and are doing what's wrong because it gives them a good reward

I also think that there are no absolutes. Because at the end of the day, things often fall in the "shades of gray" category without being absolutely good or absolutely bad. People just have to make up their own minds about what is best for them

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"Dangerous...Abstinence is Dangerous"
heretickirin
Post #565821 - Reply to (#565808) by SliceA1A
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9:23 pm, Aug 13 2012
Posts: 14


Quote from SliceA1A
Harm

noun
1. physical injury or mental damage; hurt: to do him bodily harm.
2. moral injury; evil; wrong.

A bully beating on a victim is inflicting harm. A bystander that does nothing enables the bully to inflict harm. Another bystander who interferes with that violent act is minimizing harm.


Slice.... you do an admirable job of concisely explaining the practical applications of a moral system, but being the incorrigible philosopher I am, I would like to indulge in a bit of speculation and create complexity in the black and white world you create.

I completely agree with you on the some of the bigoted, malicious things people do. I am intolerant of intolerance, especially if the object of hatred is something which does the society or its denizens no direct harm.

However the definition of harm you give is too restrictive in my opinion. What of the harm we do the bullied child when we keep saving him but do not teach him the value of strength? What of the criminals we punish too lightly for their crimes, creating incentives for a for new criminal generation?

Sometimes I think that many of the manga/anime story lines with their characters harping on the importance of strength and the Sith with their philosophy are nearer to the truth, than the mentality of entitlement and the inalienable rights of the individual prevalent in our generation . We have forgotten how to earn power/strength/rights/freedoms and the rewards that flow with them. Thus we do not value those accomplishments and it is reflected in our soft morals and the nature of persons our society keeps idolizing.

I am not bringing politics into the discussion, and neither am I chest thumping republican/right wing conservative.( But I sure do sound like a cantankerous old man). I just want to explore the nature of indirect harm we might do as a consequence of even our benevolent actions. When we protect the weak outright, don't we deny them the opportunity to get stronger?

According to me harm is just more than direct physical/mental trauma. It encompasses a whole greater degree of complexity which must be considered when making a moral choice that impinges on another person's life.

Now y'all kids get off ma lawn...... smile

zimzimbadabim
Post #565843
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The queer
Member

11:55 pm, Aug 13 2012
Posts: 36


[Quдn7] Cayoss, please realize that you have just described manga/manhwa and all that I consider to be beautiful in this world as something bad. Lest you appologise, I no longer wish to converse with you.

Slice, I don't know what you mean by "moral injury." Would you please explain?

Cthylla, I am sorry for not being as clever and understanding as you wish for me to be. I am trying my best (kind-of).

Unrequited, I'm not familiar with reddit. Do I need an account? What type of site is it? I guess I could check myself, but I am not interested enough. I like the manga reading community.

KaoriNite, I like your answer a lot; where do you think these "feelings of right and wrong" come from? By the way you wrote, I don't believe that you think they are a product of cultural upbringing.

heretickirin, You brought up a good point.
P.S. Don't rush on your reply to my previous question. I would like to hear an answer that you have given much sincere thought to.



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Natketty
Post #565854
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1:57 am, Aug 14 2012
Posts: 16


To me, there is no absolute right or wrong, it is a very complex issue.

But one thing I have for sure: this is a mutable concept.
50 years ago it was normal to someone openly say that this or that race was superior, that women were inferior, that gays were a plague in society. In modern times, when this occurs it cause at least some commotion, and the person commiting this acts can suffer a lawsuit.

As well, nowadays we don't allow slavery, and we think this as inhuman. But in the ancient world, this was common, even great names as Aristoteles, and many passages of the bible said that slavery was right and it was moral. It was not a evil thing in ancient times, but we classified this as evil today.

Why? Because morals change.

We don't think anymore (at least most of the world) that is correct to murder someone because of honor, or that is correct to punch your wife when she disrespect you.

The basic of morality comes from the empaty, 'would I want this to me?', but of course, not always this works, but mostly because sometimes, we can't see the other as a equal, and that can be seen with clarity in racial wars, religious wars... they almost don't reconize the other party as human beings.

KaoriNite
Post #565927 - Reply to (#565843) by zimzimbadabim
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3:08 pm, Aug 14 2012
Posts: 395


Quote from zimzimbadabim
KaoriNite, I like your answer a lot; where do you think these "feelings of right and wrong" come from? By the way you wrote, I don't believe that you think they are a product of cultural upbringing.

I think that there are feelings that people naturally have, without having to be taught them. There are some things that you learn from society, and then there are things that are just instinctual, that you just have a natural feeling about. I'm not sure where these feelings come from, but they're built-in.

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FormX
Post #565933 - Reply to (#565927) by KaoriNite
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4:05 pm, Aug 14 2012
Posts: 680


Quote from KaoriNite
I think that there are feelings that people naturally have, without having to be taught them. There are some things that you learn from society, and then there are things that are just instinctual, that you just have a natural feeling about. I'm not sure where these feelings come from, but they're ...

They have a word for that, you know. No need to have two paragraphs in two posts.
Conscience.

Okay I kind of want to suggest a question for you (OP) to ask... (since it's your thread)
For those that include society in their definition, what happens when society breaks down? Like, suddenly, and completely.
We often see that in manga.

If you want to to stretch it...
Others base it on themselves; what happens when you break down, for example depression?

Last edited by FormX at 4:49 pm, Aug 14

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二息歩行
[Quдn7] Cayoss
Post #565934 - Reply to (#565843) by zimzimbadabim
Member

4:24 pm, Aug 14 2012
Posts: 19


Quote from zimzimbadabim
[Quдn7] Cayoss, please realize that you have just described manga/manhwa and all that I consider to be beautiful in this world as something bad. Lest you appologise, I no longer wish to converse with you.



I have no idea how you got insulted from what I said, or how you related it to manga, lol.

KaoriNite
Post #565936 - Reply to (#565933) by FormX
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4:31 pm, Aug 14 2012
Posts: 395


The two posts was because I was asked to clarify and expand on what I was talking about before.

I guess the term conscience can apply to what I'm talking about. So sorry I didn't respond to the guy's question with a post that just said "Those feelings are your conscience". But I'd rather try to fully explain it in my own terms.

I don't know if the rest of the post is meant for me but I have some ideas on it. Like others (and myself) have mentioned before, the ideas of good and bad, right and wrong aren't absolute. As another poster mentioned, society changes over time so ideas of what is right and wrong will change as society changes. The same for individuals, as we grow older, gain more experience, our ideas change also.

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zimzimbadabim
Post #565953
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The queer
Member

7:00 pm, Aug 14 2012
Posts: 36


Natketty, thanks for your answer. Normally, I would nitpick, but I want to get on with phase2 of my question. I hope that you will give an answer for that as well.

KaoriNite, thank you for the explanation. If you are up for it, please answer phase2 of my question.

FormX, believe it or not, the word "conscience" means many different things to many different people. Explanations are a MUST in this thread. Misunderstanding happens far too easily because of a lack of explanation.

Cayoss, naturally, if every thing is bad or worse, and manga is indeed some thing, then it follows that manga, as well as anything that anyone might value, is bad or is something even worse. If that is not what you meant, then choose your words more carefully.

Phase2
To all who have given me answers so far, thank you. To those with pending answers, just focus on the question you are already answering; I am still waiting, but as I wait, I wish to pose a new yet not unrelated question to those who have already answered all the questions I've given them and to those just entering the thread.

This question is also layered, and in a way addresses the reverse side of my previous question.
Why continue living? Should one be/behave good/goodly? Why not be/behave bad/badly?

I am looking for answers beyond "the law/my mommy tells me so," but if that is the answer, include why you should obey the law/your parents. If the answer is "to avoid punnishment," include why punnishment should be avoided etc. etc.

I look foward to your answers.


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Chibi-Chibi
Post #565959
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8:29 pm, Aug 14 2012
Posts: 101


Before i entirely focus on answering your questions i think you should know some of my background as it may make you discard my answer entirely.

Spoiler (mouse over to view)
I was raised in what i consider rather old-fashioned christian family. Beside the usual teachings, certain values(?) were subtly strongly inflicted on me. I'll try to leave out the details as to >why< (i'm dealing with this question a lot in my personal live, which is why i believe it may turn out to be a bit difficult for me ^^') but it is extremely hard for me now to define myself as either christian, atheist, self believer or believing in religion that is unique just to me. I'd prefer not to label myself at all in this regard as each of the 4 i've listed are strong in me and than again i don't feel like my home is begin solely in one of them. Making a general output i do think(!) there is something invisible to our eyes but the role this something has is far from what typical religions are trying to present it as (mainly god(s)). But if somebody would force me to chose my religion among currently existing ones i'd probably go with the old shintoism as i feel it is closes to my views regarding deities and does little to inflict it's standers on each individual.
But over all when i do speak with people i feel closest to atheists which is why i even decided to reply to this topic. The other part is that i love to go against people and since i'm mainly surrounded with religious people my usual reply is that i'm non-believer


Quote
The question is a layered one. How do you determine what is right and wrong? What does it mean for something to be right/wrong? What is good? What is bad? How do you know?

Indeed these questions can be considered layered but for me it looks more like one. I really can't make myself use words good/bad(evil). I see no meaning in those two words or at least in the definition people generally tend to have (regardless of their religious status). Inserting here my personal story ... i was bullied during whole primary/elementary school which consisted of 8 years. During that time i've been what you could(!) say is a christian and i such manner i did ask "God" why this is happening to me, to save me, show me a way and/or give me strength.
There is a story in my country and the point of it is that if you don't accept the advices/help from people you're not accepting advices/help form God, for God is not physical being here on earth, but we people are Gods children (ie we're sort of a god as well) and thous through us people it's the only way we can accept God's help.
Well having that in mind my mom really did help me with one advice that i had huge difficulties to accept at first. She said i should ignore them, that when i won't let their words to hurt me they'll stop. I never managed to do that in primary school, but similar thing happened in high school as well and by the end of it i managed to ignore them, better said i stopped caring about them, and they really stopped (better said what they did just did not hold any meaning with me anymore). It's my personal effort and change of my though that changed things on the outside in my environment as well.
From general moral standards people who bullied me done wrong, but i'd gladly undertake same course of life if i could choose again.It made the person i am today and i actually like myself the way i am (taking in account how i was before school started ... i rather not even imagine what i'd be today if bullying would be taken out of my life). And this is something i've came to during that time and i still think so today, if them bullying me made them feel better, so be it, and i really do hope that was the case (later i heard that at least 2 of them had family problems and i'm pretty sure that their actions toward me where the consequences of that).
The list of similar things that happened to me is pretty much endless. What i'm trying to say with the above is that in most things i see some sort of duality, two sides of the same coin. And "good" and "bad" is the same, they're the same coin, part of one and just because "we" say it is "bad" it does not mean it's really something that people should not do or receive and just because "we" say its "good" it does not mean we should receive/give it by default.

Conclusion... my definitions of "good" and "bad" are pretty messed up, i prefer to question actions to fully understand why something occurred, and based on that i try to see/understand POV of the person who made the action, be it their justice or the trigger that made them move (i usually act with out thinking of good/bad concepts, accept in certain cases, but that is connected to the second phase). But it's not necessary that i personally will agree with their decision and this is probably where my senses of "good" and "bad" would come in, but the more i think about it (i've done that a lot in the past) i can't pin point it .... it really depends on case to case situation.

I'd love to work on second part as well, but this is quite time consuming so maybe next time >_<

TheShawn
Post #565963
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9:13 pm, Aug 14 2012
Posts: 247


Before coming to the purpose of my post, I'm afraid I must apologize to you. Despite your request that we read every post before making our own contributions, I must admit that I only made it to the end of page four. I hope you'll forgive my abysmal attention span.
-----

To preface, I'm twenty years old. By all measures I'm a very young person and so am relatively inexperienced, but I have dedicated the better part of the last five years to contemplating the nature of ethics and morality. I've read the work of dozens of history's greatest ethical minds in a concerted effort to understand right and wrong. My views are always evolving, but I can share what I know, and think I know, right now.

-----

Your first question of how I determine right and wrong has an unfortunately complex answer. In determining the rightness or wrongness of my own actions I borrow from Kant and use my intentions as the ultimate measure. That isn't to say that I don't consider any immediate and obvious consequences to be worthy of judgement, only that I consider the relatively unpredictable nature of possible outcomes to be a less reliable litmus test than the intent behind the action.

Given this method of judging the goodness and evilness of actions, how then am I supposed to judge the actions of others on a moral level? How can I know their intentions? Well, I can't. I have no method of reliably forming conclusions about the actions of others through my own system, and this has continued to haunt me for the past two years. I can only rely upon what they say and how their statements relate to their actions; if their words and actions are contradictory I can assume that they are lying to me and therefore are more likely to have had evil intentions. Event his is utterly imperfect as a system of measurement.

-----

You asked that we answer only one of your questions per post, so I'll leave it at that for now.



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Saons
Post #565977 - Reply to (#565482) by zimzimbadabim
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Manga Eater
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10:39 pm, Aug 14 2012
Posts: 442


Quote from zimzimbadabim
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?


If it wasn't made obvious already, I'm big into science. Smiles and laughter are first of all important because we're supposed to be responsive to them, as we are social creatures and our brains do a heck of a lot of work analyzing facial features. Secondly, they're a universal language among humankind: You could walk up to anyone in the entire world, secluded native tribes or what have you, and if you gave them a smile they would recognize that as happiness, and generally friendliness. In most cases, a smile is returned. Laughter even more so! Thirdly, the brain releases chemicals that make you happier when it feels you smiling and/or laughing, so it wants you to smile or laugh (almost like a very minor drug addiction, if you will). Rather straightforward, really smile


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