Poll on Morality

September 14th, 2009 at 7:53 pm by David Farrar

I’ve just blogged at curiablog, on a poll by UMR. Respondents were asked how morally acceptable (or unacceptable certain activities were. Below is the morally acceptable score for each activity and the net acceptable score (acceptable less unacceptable)

From most to least acceptable, they were:

  1. 81%, +68%
  2. outside marriage 77%, +59%
  3. Having baby outside marriage 71%, +48%
  4. Stem cell research 63%, +38%
  5. Homosexual relations 61%, +29%
  6. 55%, +18%
  7. 55%, +21%
  8. 52%, +10%
  9. Animal medical testing 52%, +12%
  10. Wearing or buying fur 48%, +4%
  11. 43%, -7%
  12. Animal 27%, -40%
  13. 20%, -48%
  14. Married people having affairs 13%, -70%
  15. Polygamy 11%, -74%
  16. Human cloning 7%, -81%

Now this was asking about moral acceptability, not legality. So while only 55% think abortion is morally acceptable, that doesn’t mean only 55% think it should be legal.

Now what would my answers have been. None of the first ten I would regard as morally unacceptable. I do regard the death penalty as unacceptable – not keen on states being able to kill it citizens. Tend to regard suicide as morally unacceptable in most circumstances but not all (ie terminally ill). While generally I think it is not a good idea for married people to have affairs (and if married I would not), I’m wouldn’t label it as morally unacceptable as it is between those two people. I don’t think polygamy should be legal but nor do I regard it as morally unacceptable. And finally I don’t believe human cloning is automatically morally unacceptable.  I favour very very tight restrictions on it, but think there are potential benefits.

So bottom line is there is very little I believe is always morally unacceptable. Mainly just the death penalty really.

I’m sure very few here will agree with me!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

265 Responses to “Poll on Morality”

  1. andrei (2,529 comments) says:

    So its ok to cheat on your spouse but totally unacceptable to fry an arsehole like Graeme William Burton?

    And thats before we even think about literally dismembering the most vulnerable in our society because they would interfere with their mothers lifestyle.

    My God what a self absorbed society we have become. No sense of duty or obligation to others what-so-ever.

    No wonder that our so called right wing party National is actually just another ‘entitlement party’ of the left.

    [DPF: You think cheating on someone is somehow comparable to taking someone's life??? I'm very comfortable with my values]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    That sounds right for most New Zealanders… Have sex .. have a baby.. get married .. then Divorce.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    “I’m sure very few here will agree with me!”

    Close to how I’d look at all this too, both morally and legally. Same conditional ideas on suicide. A bit too soon for me to make up my mind on human cloning though, I have a lot of reservations about that.

    Doesn’t mean to say I’d follow the same path, eg I don’t think adultery is immoral, I can understand it to an extent, but wouldn’t do it. Surprised to see gambling as low as that. Wearing fur is something that has been done for a long time, no different to wearing leather.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    I believe we live in an amoral society so interested in the concept of morality in the 21st century. What is it? What are our ‘morals’ based on? Are there absolutes, or is everything relative to what was ‘morally’ acceptable previously.

    If modern morality is a game of creeping widespread acceptability, then what things do we regard as repugnant today that will be commonplace and climbing the rankings of acceptability in 50 years time? [shudders!]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Gulag Archipelago (162 comments) says:

    Wonder why our streets become less safe at night the more we eliminate morality.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    “Wonder why our streets become less safe at night the more we eliminate morality.”

    Morality isn’t being eliminated, some of it changes with the times. There were no questions on the morality of street violence or alcohol abuse.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    From my personal ‘morality’ point of view I see cheating on ones spouse, the death penalty, and suicide (on the grounds that its not terminally ill – i.e. Euthanasia) as morally wrong.

    Cloning I feel icky with, there may be reasons for it, but I haven’t seen a compelling argument for it yet. I don’t see inability to get pregnant through other means as a good enough reason either.

    Rest I don’t have any qualms with, each to there own. However it depends on how you read each, i.e. sex outside of marriage I am guessing is distinguished from cheating in that it is an open relationship etc.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    On reading the link I see the sex outside of marriage is sex before wedlock. Ha. 23% of people see that as morally unacceptable, ha ha, o dear. Guess thats why 17% of them (4/23) need the divorce as being acceptable :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Alan Wilkinson (1,839 comments) says:

    I mostly agree with DPF although circumstances alter cases so a % score doesn’t do it for me. There are definitely circumstances in which many of these would be morally unacceptable to me whereas in other circumstances they would be.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. jks (30 comments) says:

    well I am among the few here that agree with you, you sum up what I think almost perfectly, only I am still undecided on cloning. I’m surprised at 43% on the death penalty I thought it would be lower but glad it’s trending down. I’m surprised fur is on the way up though, clearly PETA and SAFE aren’t running a very successful campaign!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Gulag Archipelago (162 comments) says:

    You don’t get it, violence on the street is a symptom of something and murder can occur as a result of violence just in case you had not noticed. The death penalty has a connection with murder sometimes. Morality not being eliminated? Compare morality of 1959 with now and project the trends another 50 years and it will interesting to see what is moral now for most people is not an issue then.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    I’m surprised fur is on the way up though, clearly PETA and SAFE aren’t running a very successful campaign!

    Could be that possums figure larger in NZers’ minds as a perfectly valid fur source, while the other stuff is still looked on disapprovingly.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Steve (4,517 comments) says:

    Yet we still put up with drug addicts and the Phool

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Gulag Archipelago (162 comments) says:

    Eliminated is a bad use of the word rather it should be boundaries continually are shifting which can result in all kinds of personal interpretations which can result in chaos eg the Undie 500.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. andrei (2,529 comments) says:

    I guess people just don’t get it – the sexual morality stuff is all about ensuring that there is a next generation and that everybody, male and female, play their part in making this happen in the fairest way possible.

    It doesn’t really matter if you think it comes from the biblical injunction to to be fruitful and multiply or if you subscribe to Richard Dawkins hard core atheist selfish gene world view but if you do not breed there is no future for you, your nation or your philosophy.

    So while DPF and his fellow libertarians may be happy with their hedonistic approach to life there is really no future in it and it is the breeders who will provide the future generations.

    And what concerns me is the majority breeders subscribe to a morality totally at odds with mine and wish to create a world which I do not want to see my children inherit. ie the stoning of adulterers and hanging of gays.

    So while DPF might be “comfortable” with his values they are almost certainly unsustainable in the long term and it is my children and grandchildren, if my kids can be bothered to produce them who will reap the consequences.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. ben (2,412 comments) says:

    What does “morally acceptable” mean?

    Is it

    a) moral to me personally?

    or

    b) my judgment on what society i.e. everyone around me should accept morally?

    The phrase “morally acceptable” sounds like a reference to some absolute authority that we should all bow to when I don’t think there is one (with apologies to all believers)

    ps Andrei you come across as a nutter

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    “I find the doctors and the sages Have differ’d in all climes and ages, And two in fifty scarce agree On what is pure morality.” – Thomas Moore

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Madeleine (230 comments) says:

    “Morally acceptable” in terms of the question was clearly subjective.

    However, the truth is that morality is not subjective, it cannot be. If it were then how immoral acts like murder, rape, etc were would be up to each person to set.

    All I can say with regards to the results is how very sad.

    I also cannot fathom how one could have a problem with the state executing the likes of Clayton Weatherston but not with the state executing human fetuses. The former have forfeited their rights by their actions and have been found guilty in a court of law, the others have done nothing wrong except be an inconvenience. No one can ever offer any rationally consistent reasons as to why they are not human that does not logically entail infanticide so they just assume it, conveniently.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    .

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Rufus (641 comments) says:

    Ben 8:58
    ps Andrei you come across as a nutter

    I guess Andrei is referring to the different birth rates of various ethnic groups and how that might impact on our Western lifestyles in the future. Compare say, muslim birthrates to typical western birthrates.

    Those with the highest birthrates will in the end win. They’ll take over a democratic society and they will set the norms and determine what’s what.

    Andrei is worried. I am too.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    ben, no apology required. This is your view, and I for one respect it.

    Your (a) / (b) is above is interesting. I wonder how much of a distinction there would been between something one finds morally unacceptable for self, but morally acceptable for others on the basis that one shouldn’t express any desire to limit the absolute freedom of others.

    So is morality personal and absolute, or is it shared and evolving?

    If the former then what moral standard should be adopted? (I say this accepting that Christian morals have pretty much been kicked for touch in our secular society)

    If the latter, then we can expect that all sorts of stuff that’s abhorrent to most people today will become commonplace in future?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Chuck Bird (4,734 comments) says:

    I think there would be a big difference depending on the exact question. I suspect most people would think abortion under some circumstances like rape and/or incest acceptable but would view abortion totally on demand where a woman 8 months pregnant who had a big row with her husband could get an abortion no questions asked unacceptability. There are of course a lot of other scenarios in between.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. democracymum (660 comments) says:

    I don’t believe in the death penalty AND abortion – for the same reason
    In my opinion they are both murder

    In the first instance you are sanctioning the state to murder someone you believe has committed an awful crime
    In the second, you are sanctioning the state to carry out the murder of an unborn baby, who has harmed no-one.

    Their only crime – conception

    The only things on the list I don’t consider amoral are:

    # Homosexuality (I believe generally people are born homosexual)
    # Gambling (at least in small amounts)
    # Animal medical testing (in some circumstances)
    # Wearing or buying fur (this is probably the least amoral thing on the list)

    All of the others are things I personally would not do or approve of others doing.
    That is my definition of amoral.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. big bruv (13,454 comments) says:

    Why test on animals?, it is cruel and unnecessary.

    Lets test on people, if I have to pay for the upkeep of William Bell, Graham Burton, Clayton Weatherston and Lisa Kuka for the rest of their lives then the least they can do is offset some of that cost by being the subjected to medical trials.

    While I support the death penalty I think squirting highly caustic cleaning products into the eyes of Bell and Burton to see what effect is has is a much better idea, it is also far more humane than using some poor dog who has never done anybody any harm.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. big bruv (13,454 comments) says:

    Come to think of it, I would need to be convinced that any animal medical “testing” needs to be done.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. democracymum (660 comments) says:

    big bruv

    I like your suggestions – it reminds me of that scene in toy story where the little girl experiments with face painting Stinky Pete the Prospector

    Soley on your recommendation I am prepared to take Animal Testing back off my list.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. reid (16,066 comments) says:

    Moral acceptability is definitely defined within the context of the times. For example slavery used to be widely practicised even by pillars of those societies.

    What I see today is wide-spread amorality. It’s not immorality, which is deliberately doing the wrong thing. Rather, it’s indifference toward doing the right thing, people don’t seem to care about that as much as we used to. It’s selfishness and basically a spiritual wasteland since spirituality comes from voluntarily giving of your time and resources to help others. There is less and less perception of consequence and that is most striking in the sexual practices of many if not most young people. It’s getting worse and worse as more and more children are raised by parents who’ve themselves been raised to think little about the more altruistic aspects of life.

    War is a time when those things are re-assessed and the lifestyle aspects get put to one side in the name of sacrifice for the common good. We haven’t had one of those for 70 years now and that’s why we are where we are. I’m not of course recommending that but it’s a fact, isn’t it, that such events have that effect. Pity it takes that to make people change their behaviour.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    Animal testing and cruelty to animals is by far the most disgusting IMO.

    I find it kind of strange suicide is in there. Are you really going to give someone a telling off if they’ve tried to off themselves? Seems more of a mental health issue than a moral one.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    Without divine authority, we have no logical basis for the promotion of any value system, no matter what we think of that system. The standard of morality cannot have an objective reality without divine authority

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    Fletch: crap. Absolute crap.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    Fletch…???
    Most of our criminal justice system is based on an objective morality. I am not saying some of it is not derived from judeo-christian thought, but the main standard of public morality as demonstrated in our criminal statutes is based on prevention of harm to society, not in upholding “divine authority”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I’m a bit of reid (amorality) and fletch (outside of individual) with madelaine ( how very sad) thrown in for good measure.

    Morality if it doesn’t come from an outside source will be whatever we want it to be as individuals.
    Deborah Travers from plunket just after when she was an NZF MP posited that dope was ok because so many broke the law and did it.
    I replied in the dompost that many people want to have sex with kids like NAMBLA but it was repugnant now to society, by what she said if enough people wanted to do it then that would that make it ok to change the law.
    Everything is possible but not everything is healthy for individual, family society.

    democracymum
    the crime of the murderer is that of murder not conception – you overlook the crime.
    Some say rape is a little murder and paedophilia can’t be cured.
    To devastate a little life like that is worth a few years in prison?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. burt (7,948 comments) says:

    reid is right, moral acceptability is definitely defined within the context of the times. Oh and what people can get away with without other people finding out about it.

    Having an affair is rated less immoral than Polygamy, so secretly screwing multiple people is better than openly loving (and screwing) multiple people. Humans are a weird bunch.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. kiki (425 comments) says:

    Divine authority like those catholic priests?

    I think this is from islam but it’s what I try to follow

    If you follow your mind you are your master, if you follow your body then you are a slave.

    think about it, it works well.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    Fletch.

    I mean seriously just lol. That is like saying, hey without divine authority we cant think for ourselves.

    I call bullshit. Religion does not have a monopoly on morality or values, only a set of those which it likes to assert.

    I have no problem with religion, or those with religious beliefs, hell I even repped democracy mum because her views are constant (re death penalty / abortion), I respect that, even if I disagree with the abortion state (based on the belief an embryo to a point is not a human).

    However I do have a massive issue with people who believe the only way that morals exist is with the presence of a ‘god’. I believe the reason you get to this point is because you believe in certain morals which actually are indefensible on the basis of logic (i.e. your stance on homosexuality) and therefore get confused on ones which actually matter, being adultery, murder, rape, and to some abortion.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    If there is no God, then no man is in a position to force his opinion of morality upon another. One man’s subjective view of morality is equal to another man’s equally subjective view of morality. Thus, there is no reason to believe in any morality just because another man tells you that it is good.

    It would take an authority that was above having only a subjective view of morality to legislate that morality. God’s view of morality is objective, not subjective.

    Try to logical prove that killing is morally wrong. You will fail. Other than the reality of a god who declares killing to be morally wrong, there is no logically compelling reason for us to believe it is wrong.

    If we are designed and loved by a god, we have inherent purpose and value as opposed to self-assigned, imaginary purpose and value.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    John Locke is a good example of a secular Enlightenment thinker who developed his own view of morals. His idea of government was based around solely prevention of harm to individuals by force and fraud, based on the social contract.

    He was proof that an objective legal system can exist without religion.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    Fletch, that is one of the saddest things I have ever read. The sheer misanthropic viciousness of the idea that we are worthless unless there is a “better” above us whom we must serve is more dehumanising than any of the things on that list.

    Killing is wrong because we have the ultimate “ownership” of our own life, and no-one else has the right to dispose of that life without our express consent. The very fact that you need a “God” to tell you killing is wrong is quite depressing, actually.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    Jeff wish I could say it as good as that

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. kiki (425 comments) says:

    But Fletch who do we believe? jesus? Mohammed? Joan of Arc or the god that talked to Montezuma? which one?

    You are very clever with your language but that’s from 2000 years of dictatorship.

    Free thought is the greatest fear of those in power.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Before you can debate morality you need to define what morality is and from where it comes.Not from dusty old books or discredited religions but from mans nature as man and the requirements of it if man is to live and prosper as man.Reality is objective…full of absolutes….and morality is the same.No God required.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    Reality is objective…full of absolutes….and morality is the same.No God required.

    Morality is full of absolutes?
    If you’re a subjective moralist your morals can change over time. eg, Abortion wasn’t always legal but now it is; it wasn’t always ‘moral’ but now many see it as so. So which is correct? Then or now? Either abortion is wrong or it isn’t. If you’re a subjective moralist you can just change your mind and morals to suit the times.

    God says abortion is wrong and always has been and he’s not changing his mind.

    As for people dismissive of my conclusion that only God can objectively determine morality, you may dismiss it, but you cannot logically refute it. At best, you can only say that you are satisfied with subjective morality that is established by groups who have the power to legislate, in which case, you would be faced with the dilemma of might makes right and ad populum fallacies.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. michaelt (13 comments) says:

    I received a call from UMR for this poll back in May/June, I’m surprised at the delay between polling and publication.

    From memory, the death penalty is the only one I said was morally unacceptable.

    They also asked some other questions, about politics and sport (Rugby and Cricket, from memory).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “andrei
    So its ok to cheat on your spouse but totally unacceptable to fry an arsehole like Graeme William Burton? ”

    Other way around, affairs on 13% and death penalty on 43%. Sex outside of marriage means before.

    “getstaffed
    If modern morality is a game of creeping widespread acceptability, then what things do we regard as repugnant today that will be commonplace and climbing the rankings of acceptability in 50 years time? [shudders!]”

    Oh noes, we must defeat democracy before it defeats us!!

    “andrei
    I guess people just don’t get it – the sexual morality stuff is all about ensuring that there is a next generation and that everybody, male and female, play their part in making this happen in the fairest way possible. ”

    Social engineering much?

    “ben
    What does “morally acceptable” mean?
    Is it
    a) moral to me personally?
    or
    b) my judgment on what society i.e. everyone around me should accept morally?”

    Depends, many heavily religious people and other various authoritarian groups implicitly consider the answer to be B, most normal people consider the answer to be A.

    If I was running the survey I would have asked another question on the end saying how moral is it to force your own moral code onto others.

    “Madeleine
    “Morally acceptable” in terms of the question was clearly subjective.

    However, the truth is that morality is not subjective, it cannot be. If it were then how immoral acts like murder, rape, etc were would be up to each person to set.”

    Basic logic fail.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “Fletch
    God says abortion is wrong and always has been and he’s not changing his mind.”

    Correction, you say god says abortion is wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Reality is objective…full of absolutes….and morality is the same.No God required.

    Morality is full of absolutes?
    If you’re a subjective moralist your morals can change over time. eg, Abortion wasn’t always legal but now it is; it wasn’t always ‘moral’ but now many see it as so. So which is correct? Then or now? Either abortion is wrong or it isn’t. If you’re a subjective moralist you can just change your mind and morals to suit the times.”

    Im an absolutist moralist….not a subjectivist one.I just recognise the only existing source of absolutes we can actually examine and deduct from….the universe about us.You posit a creator of that universe…fine…produce it for examination.I will start at the only place we are all capable of….existence itself.

    “God says abortion is wrong and always has been and he’s not changing his mind.”

    Really…? Where does he say that…asuming he exists to start with.

    “As for people dismissive of my conclusion that only God can objectively determine morality, you may dismiss it, but you cannot logically refute it. At best, you can only say that you are satisfied with subjective morality that is established by groups who have the power to legislate, in which case, you would be faced with the dilemma of might makes right and ad populum fallacies.”

    No….no God is needed.The starting point for any examination of morality is mans nature as man…and the requirements that objective reality in the universe about us has laid down for man to live and prosper AS man.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. Jim (405 comments) says:

    The death penalty might be immoral, but after living under its threat for 8 years and seeing more of the other side of the equation (very low crime rate) I’ve become a little ambivalent. I still find the idea abhorrent, but perhaps slightly less abhorrent than its absence.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    So I take it you haven’t been living in the USA then?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Jim (405 comments) says:

    Correct

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Suspicious about this survey based on the gambling score. Only 52% approve ? I’m sure more than 52% buy lotto tickets when there’s a big one.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Fletch – so how do you objectively decide which imaginary god is the one who defines morality ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. Durandal (5 comments) says:

    Vampire bats are tiny with a high metabolism, and therefore have to make sure they get food nearly every day or they starve. Now, not all bats will be successful in hunting, so when the bats come back to the colony the ones who haven’t feed cry out. Those that have fed go and share some of their food with the crying ones.

    Now, it would therefore make sense if you were a bat to scam the system. To not go out and stay home and just cry every night and get fed for nothing. However, this doesn’t happen.. why? Because the other bats remember, they remember who has been crying and who has been feeding. If you cry too long and don’t share food with others on occasion yourself, you no longer get fed.

    There you go, natural morality (share and share alike – or be punished) with no need for any magic man in the sky.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    If there is no God, then no man is in a position to force his opinion of morality upon another.

    Heaven forfend!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    No….no God is needed.The starting point for any examination of morality is mans nature as man…and the requirements that objective reality in the universe about us has laid down for man to live and prosper AS man.

    James,

    You can’t derive an ought from an is.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > it is not a good idea for married people to have affairs (and if married I would not), I’m wouldn’t label it as morally unacceptable as it is between those two people.

    Two people? Hmmm, it actually involves three or four people, not just two. And then there are the kids that may be involved if one of their parents is having an affair. Interesting that you don’t think these individuals are worthy of consideration. Having an affair can wreak huge damage and is totally unacceptable. If you have issues with your partner, either resolve them or leave.

    As for torturing animals, I would have that near the bottom of the list. It’s interesting that some consider it ok to torture animals as long as there is economic benefit to be had from such a practice. The recent furore over pig farming proved that.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. KiwiGreg (3,211 comments) says:

    I’m ok with all those things. Maybe I just have ethics and no morals or maybe I’m just confused.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. reddeath26 (97 comments) says:

    @Fletch-
    You may very well be correct that only a God would be capable of being morally objective. However I am not seeing how this somehow makes your view on morality suddenly cease being subjective.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    Clearly there is no morality in NZ society, therefore nothing to comment on.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    “Having an affair can wreak huge damage and is totally unacceptable. ”

    It can wreak huge damage. Or not. Depends on the circumstances. There are not always children involved (or children still at home). And it can be consensual (all parties). Most of these moral questions aren’t black or white.

    “It’s interesting that some consider it ok to torture animals as long as there is economic benefit to be had from such a practice.”

    9. Animal medical testing 52%, +12% – no mention of torture, it could be, or on the other hand it could feasibly be beneficial to the animal.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    James said –

    No….no God is needed.The starting point for any examination of morality is mans nature as man…and the requirements that objective reality in the universe about us has laid down for man to live and prosper AS man.

    James, you still seem to be talking about an absolute RIGHT and WRONG. What is this “universe” you talk about that lays down what is right and wrong? Surely the universe is just the vacuum we live in? Or do you believe that the “universe” has a conscience? If you do, then you believe in some sort of god or being, who lays down an ultimate truth or morality whether you admit to it or not.

    transmogrifier said –

    Killing is wrong because we have the ultimate “ownership” of our own life, and no-one else has the right to dispose of that life without our express consent. The very fact that you need a “God” to tell you killing is wrong is quite depressing, actually.

    That’s your view or morality. But what if someone else’s version of morality says that HE has ownership of your life and he wants to kill you. It’s your version of morality against his still. The Nazi’s in WWII thought that they had the right to kill all the Jews. If they had won the war, perhaps we’d be living in a world without anyone who wasn’t blonde haired and blue-eyed. Sound far out? We’re aborting babies today because they might be born mentally disabled or have some other disease that is supposedly detectable in the womb.

    reddeath said –

    You may very well be correct that only a God would be capable of being morally objective. However I am not seeing how this somehow makes your view on morality suddenly cease being subjective.

    Christianity bypasses this problem by allowing for a positioning of absolute righteousness, for which God, in the context of His divine personality, serves as an objective moral standard. I can only tell you what I subjectively think is right, just as you can only subjectively tell me what you think is morally right. The difference in our subjective opinions is that I base mine on the desire to honor and please the personality of the god I know.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    The difference in our subjective opinions is that I base mine on the desire to honor and please the personality of the god I know.

    And does that make yours “better” by some standard? And if so, what is that standard?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. GPT1 (2,101 comments) says:

    So bottom line is there is very little I believe is always morally unacceptable.
    This is why I ask you for moral advice when I want a certain answer!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. pkiwi (111 comments) says:

    There are some funny results in here: 52% think gambling ok – but probably participation is >90% (if you include lotto to the local raffle). So people can think something is immoral, but do it anyway…cue adultery!

    Re: cloning – I wonder if anyone has got there head around this – I certainly don’t claim too. Cloning would result in an ‘identical twin’ separated by a generation or another birthing event. Could it be for an infertile couple, they may prefer to have a copy of one of them, rather than genetic material from some other people introduced into their kids? Slightly narcissistic, and not to my taste (I’m all for mixing up the DNA) but immoral? But if you had a dictator/celebrity or rich narcissist buying up wombs for implanting a whole lot of ‘mini-me’ that would be really creepy. Creepy also would be a Michael Jackson fan having a ‘Michael Jackson’ embryo implanted – resulting in kind of a reverse oedipal complex. Of course the kids may hate ‘big-daddy’. So creepy, narcissistic and unnecessary but not quite in the same league as the other ‘immoralities’ in terms of harm to others? Don’t know.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    I think that when you ask people if they’re in favor of cloning they’re thinking along science fiction lines, and are opposed to say, cloning Hitler, or breeding an army or whatever. But if you asked people if they thought it was moral to, say, clone someone’s islet cells if they have diabetes then I think there’d be strong support.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “What is this “universe” you talk about that lays down what is right and wrong? Surely the universe is just the vacuum we live in? Or do you believe that the “universe” has a conscience? If you do, then you believe in some sort of god or being, who lays down an ultimate truth or morality whether you admit to it or not.”

    You missed his entire point, he point was the focus of morality is on man, and mans relationship with one another in order to succeed socially as a species. What is moral is very much determined by what society currently determines as right, and an individual’s independent stance on what they think is wrong or right. Much of what people will consider wrong or right is based upon whether they would object to that act being committed to them, or whether they believe they should have the right to decide to undertake that act. This can be brought about by reasoned thought based both on mans, or humans needs, and his reasoned thoughts. People can arrive at this conclusion and they need no divine authority to arrive at it.

    There will always be people who are messed up who believe they have the right to kill, but they are a minority and are not what you base a current society’s belief of what is moral. Further morality thankfully can meld to the values of society; especially as I would put it society becomes more enlightened. What is morally right should change from what is morally right 2000 years ago, with the advent of greater knowledge and options.

    For example no sex before marriage was good in the days of pre contraception as it helped ensure children had parents to an extent. However with the advent of contraception, longer life spans and frankly a greater purpose in one’s life this conception is outdated and frankly useless currently.

    You rely on absolutes as you resist change, and the only way you can argue many of the things you think should be seen as immoral as immoral is by relying on something written to guide Sheppard’s thousands of years ago.

    Finally if you truly believe in god, you need I believe to truly believe that he truly did give humans freewill. Freewill by its very essence needs to be construed in such a way as being able determine our destiny and our sense of what is right and what is wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. ben (2,412 comments) says:

    The very fact that you need a “God” to tell you killing is wrong is quite depressing, actually.

    It is also ironic.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  67. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    It normally take 20-30 posts to get onto morality and religion. This is a most efficient. Pure genius DPF!

    I just wish I had more time to pile in..

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  68. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Fletch wrote:

    Without divine authority, we have no logical basis for the promotion of any value system, no matter what we think of that system. The standard of morality cannot have an objective reality without divine authority

    What about all the cultures which didn’t share your God? They have/had moral codes but had never heard of your God (whichever one that is). Where did they get their moral code from?

    Well that’s easy. They developed it themselves, over time.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  69. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Fletch wrote:

    If there is no God, then no man is in a position to force his opinion of morality upon another. One man’s subjective view of morality is equal to another man’s equally subjective view of morality.

    Wrong. People force their morality on each other all the time. We call it Government. Numerous variations have been tried, but at the moment we quite like the demoncratic version.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  70. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    DPF,

    I do regard the death penalty as unacceptable – not keen on states being able to kill it citizens.

    And yet you have no problem with abortion from a moral perspective (being in your top ten)?

    I always fail to see how anyone can view the death penalty for certain crimes as morally unacceptible, while viewing abortion as acceptible morally.
    It just seems a massive disconnect. We won’t kill criminals, but we’ll happily murder infants in the womb. (I used ‘kill’ and ‘murder’ deliberately in each of the cases considered).

    It’s a strange old world we live in.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  71. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    demoncratic version

    Typo? Not helping.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  72. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Kris,

    Clearly DPF doesn’t see abortion as murder, or even as properly killing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  73. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    Kris K – I can explain that. We’ve re-defined the term life so that abortion is no longer murder. So the little problem of conscience goes away with a sneaky little technicality. Well it should go away, but often doesn’t.

    And there are probably quite a few uber-socialists who’d like to re-define traditional murder, such that it is simply social condition, the result of colonisation, or capitalism or, well, anything really … other than the result of evil choice on the part of the person that most of us still [thankfully!] call a murderer

    So it all comes down to definitions. The best way to get ‘whatever the hell you want’ is to change any definition of terms that get in the way. Secular society has become pretty good at that.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  74. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    reid [September 14th, 2009 at 9:56 pm],

    What I see today is wide-spread amorality. It’s not immorality, which is deliberately doing the wrong thing. Rather, it’s indifference toward doing the right thing, people don’t seem to care about that as much as we used to.

    I think that’s it; it’s not so much immorality as amorality.
    Being immoral implies a recognition of moral law, and the deliberate breaking of that law.
    But if something is regarded as amoral then it is, by definition, morally neutral.

    An example would be the old ‘Open Road Speed Limit Sign’ (white disc with diagonal black stripe). You had to drive to the conditions (while still observing the 100 kph maximum) which was a judgement call by the driver. So if dry it maybe safe to drive at 100 kph, while if raining lightly say 80 kph, and if really hosing down say 60 kph. So while you may get a ticket for driving 100 kph in heavy rain you technically hadn’t broken the law as such. You hadn’t broken the ‘moral’ law (100 kph), you had simply not made the best choice (amoral). Hopefully you see my point.

    So as society changes laws to ever increasing liberal standards we see more subjectivity, and therefore less objectivity, entering the equation. Thus what may have been immoral in the past (eg homosexuality or abortion) are now regarded by many as amoral. Therefore these things are now regarded as no more than either a ‘lifestyle choice’ or an ‘alternative means of contraception’ respectively.

    Without an external objective standard by wich to measure our ‘morality’ then everything becomes relative to majority rule, or perhaps more accuratley, majority indifference. The ‘not in my back yard’ or ‘two consenting individuals’ argument. This can be revealed by the ever increasing call for the reduction in the age of consent for sexual relations. NAMBLA and the homosexual lobby are pushing hard for this one. And we wonder why homosexual men fiddling with little boys is on the increase. As well as pedofile men fiddling with little girls.

    Without an objective moral foundation then ultimately anything will be able to be justified (bestiality, necrophilia et al) if enough people push for it and it therefore passes into ‘law’. I don’t know about you, but this is a future that truly scares me silly.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  75. Scott (1,729 comments) says:

    Wow — DPF is really going for the big topics today.
    To me the point that some, like Fletch, are making is whether morality is something objective or subjective. People like Jeff 83 are saying that morality is subjective and evolves over time, according to society’s changing moral standards. But he is confident that we are moving to a more enlightened society.

    Fletch on the other hand thinks that morality is objective and comes from God, more specifically the God of the Bible. There would be no surprise to know that I agree with Fletch. Objective morality can only come from someone outside of humanity. That person would be God. God is the Creator of all things and has ordained how things should be.

    I am amazed that people believe we are becoming more enlightened. Those of us that actually work with the downtrodden know how painful many people’s lives are. Teenagers who get called sluts at school, children aching for the father they never knew. The teenage suicide rate is a matter of national concern. How many single mothers struggle to feed and clothe and bring up their children? Most of the problems I encounter every day are the result, in my opinion, of godless Liberal morality. If teenagers and children were all brought up by their married parents, then many of these problems would simply not occur.

    I’m afraid that reason just doesn’t help. DPF finds 15 of the 16 activities as reasonable. The only one he objects to, is capital punishment. So killing the unborn child, who is innocent, is in his eyes perfectly reasonable. Killing a murderer, like Clayton Weatherstone, to him is perfectly unreasonable. Whereas I, as a reasonable man, find his reason completely incomprehensible. There we are — two reasonable men — who totally disagree on what is right and what is moral.

    I come back to this main point — reason doesn’t help us — objective morality that is truly binding and life-giving can only come from the mind of God.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  76. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    I’m sorry, but how can any civilised person consider the killing of an unborn human being a moral act?

    I can see how some people can justify it in their own minds, how some just don’t care, how some can excuse their lack of conscience by espousing “free choice”. I can see people making very tough decisions to abort a baby and living with the consequences.

    But to consider abortion “morally acceptable”, I find disgusting in the extreme.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  77. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    I love how you have just managed to link the acceptance of homosexuality as one of the route causes of Pedofilia and as part of a greater NAMBLA conspricacy.

    What an interestin place your head is in there Kris. Would argue but there is no point, your statement is significantly detrimental to your ‘argument’ which you tend to believe.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  78. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    KK: “majority indifference”

    I think that is what is happening. Not just on the major things you mention, also on things like benefit “maximisation” and tax “minimisation”, thumping someone downtown if they look at you the wrong way, lighting fires in streets and throwing bottles at police etc.

    I know you want a specific “external objective standard” Kris, but like it or not more and more people here aren’t interested in that. They don’t want the current government telling them what they can and can’t do let alone some ancient writers.

    Do we need some sort of moral code that is acceptable for both religious and non-religious people? Would it make any difference?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  79. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Kris,

    It’s a shift of moralities, not a shift away from morality. People today value equality, tolerance, social liberty, live and let live, etc. Those are moral values. Inequality, intolerance and restricting people living how they want to are immoral by these new moral standards.

    But those standards are moral standards. They’re just not your moral standards.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  80. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Fletch [September 14th, 2009 at 11:01 pm],

    If there is no God, then no man is in a position to force his opinion of morality upon another. One man’s subjective view of morality is equal to another man’s equally subjective view of morality. Thus, there is no reason to believe in any morality just because another man tells you that it is good.

    Exactly right.
    Of course those adherants to evolutionary thinking have a real problem. If there is no God, and man is just another animal, then there can be no moral justification for anything. Man is just about survival and ensuring his genes are transferred to the next generation. So if you boil it all down there is no reason, for example, that I can’t murder my neighbour and his family simply because he has a bigger house than mine, and it will better ensure the survivability of me and my progeny. You evolutionists tell me that I’m wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  81. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    The bible dictated morals have evolved over the centuries anyway, all based on different interpretations of the same words. Being hung for blasphemy (eg Thomas Aikenhead), witch dunkings and burnings, the inquisition, all supposedly in the name of the God of the time. There would be few Christians now who agreed with the “moral standards” of the past.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  82. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull [September 15th, 2009 at 2:38 pm],

    Kris,
    It’s a shift of moralities, not a shift away from morality. People today value equality, tolerance, social liberty, live and let live, etc. Those are moral values. Inequality, intolerance and restricting people living how they want to are immoral by these new moral standards.

    But those standards are moral standards. They’re just not your moral standards.

    I can’t fault your argument Ryan.
    But you do support my argument that morals have become increasingly subjective, and are only founded upon majority opinion/indifference.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  83. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Of course those adherants to evolutionary thinking have a real problem. If there is no God, and man is just another animal, then there can be no moral justification for anything.

    Incorrect. Define “just another”.

    Man is just about survival and ensuring his genes are transferred to the next generation.

    Incorrect. Define “just about”.

    So if you boil it all down there is no reason, for example, that I can’t murder my neighbour and his family simply because he has a bigger house than mine, and it will better ensure the survivability of me and my progeny. You evolutionists tell me that I’m wrong.

    Of course you’re wrong. All you have to do is ask yourself why atheists don’t constantly murder their neighbours and their family because they have bigger houses.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  84. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    But you do support my argument that morals have become increasingly subjective, and are only founded upon majority opinion/indifference.

    I don’t think that morals can become increasingly subjective any more than triangles can become increasingly three-sided. They’ve always been subjective. There is an increasing awareness of this fact.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  85. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “I’m sorry, but how can any civilised person consider the killing of an unborn human being a moral act?”

    One is not saying something is moral, by not saying it is immoral.

    Scott you have listed allot of negative things about today society, many of those existed historically, some whilst unappealing to the person concerned (say solo mothers) are sometimes better than the alternative (living with an abusive spouse) which happened regulaly (still does, but now at least it is morally acceptible to leave the arse). Teenagers getting called sluts at school, nothing new there, and I would argue has more to do with being uptight about sexuality and our complete double standards for woman than some ill reflection on current view of moriality.

    There are positives as well however with modern society. People can actually be who they are, minorities are less oppressed and have the ability to actually be themselves because the majority have moved on from the fact that hey they are little bit different from themselves. Woman have the right to choose how to live their lives. The reason for something has to be demonstrated as being logical rather than being based purely in Dogma which cant be challenged. Men cant legally rape their wives. Men cant discipline their wives. Many life saving operations can be performed which many religions and sects try and ban, from transplants to fricken blood transfusions for crying out loud. Media, be it news, scientific discoveries, culture, plays, movies are not burdened by redicolous ‘moral’ religous dogma (right back to woman not being able to act). These are but a few of the positives of modern society.

    People can be people for the first time in history and not be ashamed of being human. I refuse, and will die refusing to be ashamed of being a human.

    Not going to debate abortion. Its one area which whilst I beleive in the right to choose, up to a certain point (first trimester say), I personally wouldnt make that choice, I think. But still think each has there right to choose and I dont think a fetus at 4 weeks is a human being.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  86. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Cerium [September 15th, 2009 at 2:46 pm],

    The bible dictated morals have evolved over the centuries anyway, all based on different interpretations of the same words. Being hung for blasphemy (eg Thomas Aikenhead), witch dunkings and burnings, the inquisition, all supposedly in the name of the God of the time. There would be few Christians now who agreed with the “moral standards” of the past.

    Men interpreting God’s word differently doesn’t imply that God has changed His value sytem for man.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  87. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    Evolution is a matter of fact, not a source of morality.

    If you require a logical source of moral facts, God actually may not help you either.

    Experience suggests that people’s moral sense is actually rather independent of whether objective moral facts actually exist (and a good thing too). They are certainly two different things, and it pays to keep the distinction in mind.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  88. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “I don’t think that morals can become increasingly subjective any more than triangles can become increasingly three-sided. They’ve always been subjective. There is an increasing awareness of this fact.”

    +1

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  89. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    nickb [September 14th, 2009 at 11:09 pm],

    John Locke is a good example of a secular Enlightenment thinker who developed his own view of morals. His idea of government was based around solely prevention of harm to individuals by force and fraud, based on the social contract.

    He was proof that an objective legal system can exist without religion.

    Once again, the problem with this kind of reasoning is who decided what is, and what isn’t, harmful to individuals? For instance, I consider the ‘forceful’ and ‘fraudulant’ claims of evolution which are taught to our kids in the (re)education system as both ‘harmful’ and a breaking of the ‘social contract’ between the state and the individual/family.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  90. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “Men interpreting God’s word differently doesn’t imply that God has changed His value sytem for man.”

    ‘Gods words’ were written by man, with the same prejudices as any human has writing.

    Personally, I am thinking a little bit of creative license went into the whole thing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  91. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    “Men interpreting God’s word differently doesn’t imply that God has changed His value sytem for man.”

    If there is such a thing as God’s value system it is impossible to know definitively what it is, there has only been human interpretations. What is written of it is simply the interpretation of the original transcriber plus the various translators, plus the reader. And they have all kept changing.

    Personally, I am thinking a little bit of creative license went into the whole thing.

    Still does, and also interpretations of convenience for one’s aims.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  92. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    I don’t think that morals can become increasingly subjective any more than triangles can become increasingly three-sided. They’ve always been subjective. There is an increasing awareness of this fact.

    Ryan, you’re absolute machine.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  93. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Kris K wrote:

    Men interpreting God’s word differently doesn’t imply that God has changed His value sytem for man.

    Kris, why are you having to interpret God’s words? And if you must interpret them, how can they be objective?

    If God’s words need interpreting them you must by definition be pulling in some morality from elsewhere. Where does that come from as you claim all your morality from God?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  94. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    Slavery. A topic of interest to me because I’m a direct descendent of a chap who worked with William Wilberforce to help pass the Slave Trade Act 1807. I’m quite proud of this family association actually. Prior to the abolition, owning and trading slaves may have been legal but it was widely regarded as immoral by most, other than those wealthy enough to have slaves, or those who traded them, or those who enjoyed the tax raised from the trade. For this small group, the absolute morality of the trade was pushed to the background in favour of a relative morality driven by ambition and personal gain. In my view those same factors are at work today, with garden-variety hedonism turning morality into amorality one action at a time.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  95. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “getstaffed
    Kris K – I can explain that. We’ve re-defined the term life so that abortion is no longer murder. So the little problem of conscience goes away with a sneaky little technicality. Well it should go away, but often doesn’t.”

    No, your religion has redefined the word fetus, so that you can call abortion murder to fit into your deluded religion.

    “Kris K
    Without an external objective standard by wich to measure our ‘morality’ then everything becomes relative to majority rule, or perhaps more accuratley, majority indifference. The ‘not in my back yard’ or ‘two consenting individuals’ argument. This can be revealed by the ever increasing call for the reduction in the age of consent for sexual relations. NAMBLA and the homosexual lobby are pushing hard for this one. And we wonder why homosexual men fiddling with little boys is on the increase. As well as pedofile men fiddling with little girls.”

    Did you forget getting utterly thrashed over this the other day? Key difference, children cannot consent, simple as that. But congratulations on turning a discussion of homosexuality into a discussion of pedophilia, yet again.

    In addition, pedophilia is not on the increase, instead, thankfully society is moving away from your destructive horrible religion, and the authoritarian power structures that come with it, which has lead to an increase in reporting, and less of “little sammy, you keep this between you me and god”.

    Finally, if homosexual sex should be banned because it is a gateway lifestyle to pedophilia, then should heterosexual sex be banned as a gateway form of sex to anal sex? slippery slope and all that.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  96. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Very interesting, Getstaffed.

    The abolition of slavery was a triumph of relative morality over absolute morality. The Old and New Testaments (your source of absolute morality, I assume) talks about slavery as an acceptable thing. The only way to interpret this is that God condones slavery.

    By condemning slavery, are you not contradicting your professed source of morality?

    cheers

    Malcolm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  97. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    No, your religion has redefined the word fetus, so that you can call abortion murder to fit into your deluded religion.

    Up until the advent of legalised abortion most people, irrespective of their religion (Christian, Islam, Atheism etc) would have regarded life as starting at conception. My grandfather did, and you would have needed a draft horse to get him near the doors of a church.

    No religion that I am aware of has made any attempt to define the word fetus. But you know that, it’s in the ‘Troll 101 – things to drop into comments’ manual.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  98. chiz (1,129 comments) says:

    kris k:Of course those adherants to evolutionary thinking have a real problem. If there is no God, and man is just another animal, then there can be no moral justification for anything. Man is just about survival and ensuring his genes are transferred to the next generation. So if you boil it all down there is no reason, for example, that I can’t murder my neighbour and his family simply because he has a bigger house than mine, and it will better ensure the survivability of me and my progeny. You evolutionists tell me that I’m wrong.

    As asked: You’re wrong. There’s been quite a lot of work over the decades showing that, for example, altruism can have an evolutionary origin. The notion that survival-of-the-fittest implies a lack of morality is false. The relationship between behaviour and survival sometimes turns out to much more complicated than that in ways that may not be immediately obvious.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  99. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    malcolm, I’m not sure the New Testament talks about slavery as acceptable. The term is mentioned for sure. I’ll look up the references. I do know that Jesus treated every person he encountered as equals, much to the chagrin of Jews who felt he shouldn’t mix or talk with the rich, poor, slaves, prostitutes, tax collectors and Samaritan woman (outcast them because of her ethnicity and gender!). In fact about the only group he wasn’t too keen on were the pious religious leaders – something a good many modern Christians would do well to remember.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  100. Scott (1,729 comments) says:

    Jeff 83 — you are obviously very happy with the way society is going. Again those of us that actually help people know how painful people’s lives are. That girls are called sluts is because of our highly sexualised culture. There is pressure on girls to have sex which didn’t exist 50 years ago. I know the pain these girls go through. That’s why I pray for them — because Lord Jesus forgives them the sins they have committed. He helps them to be clean and to be forgiven and to feel whole. This is something that people who haven’t experienced this forgiveness just find hard to understand.

    However I urge you to look seriously at the claims of Christianity. I believe that Christian morality is the highest morality that there is. I believe that secular morality is destructive and our society as it becomes more secular is heading down a path of destruction. Those that read the newspapers can see this any time they like. Rapes, murder, broken homes and broken marriages — the list goes on and on.

    Somehow secular people think they are the good guys. Euthanasia — the right to kill Granny. Abortion — the right to kill babies. When will you guys stop killing people? And somehow you believe you are enlightened? Surely you jest.

    And the person who said evolution is a fact. No it is not. It is a 19th-century theory only. Just Google “creation science” and “intelligent design” and find reasonable, qualified scientists who would definitely argue it is not a fact.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  101. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    However I urge you to look seriously at the claims of Christianity. I believe that Christian morality is the highest morality that there is.

    Highest by which standard?

    Because I have a sneaking suspicion that, upon inspection, it will turn out that Christian morality is the highest morality there is by Christian-moral standards – which is simply to say that Christian morality is the most Christian morality around. Hedonism is the most hedonistic, utilitarianism the most utilitarian, Buddhism the most Buddhist, etc.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  102. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    getstaffed wrote:

    malcolm, I’m not sure the New Testament talks about slavery as acceptable. The term is mentioned for sure. I’ll look up the references.

    This is one of the problems with claiming that morality comes from God (via the Bible). The Bible is subjective and needs interpretation. Hence it can’t be the source of absolute morality as you need to bring your own judgement/morality into the interpretation.

    Anyway, there isn’t much mileage in this discussion as you’re too reasonable. Where’s Kris?

    cheers

    Malcolm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  103. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “Euthanasia — the right to kill Granny.”
    No, not granny, yourself.

    “Abortion — the right to kill babies. ”
    Unborn babies.

    “When will you guys stop killing people?”
    I don’t know, when will you guys stop killing Iraqis? or since they’re Muslims, are they not really people?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  104. Scott (1,729 comments) says:

    In reply to Malcolm — the New Testament in particular was revolutionary on the question of slavery. Jesus in his treatment of people, reaffirmed the concept that people are equal in the eyes of God. The New Testament churches turned society on its head by inviting all people into its doors. So slave masters as well as slaves became brothers in Christ, often attending the same church. Over time this led to the abolition of slavery. William Wilberforce, a committed Christian, was at the forefront of the abolition of slavery.

    For example Ephesians 6 deals directly with this question –

    “EPH 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. EPH 6:9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.”

    This passage shows that our ultimate master is in heaven and we will all answer to him.

    Now some might say — why didn’t God just abolish slavery? To be honest I am not sure of the answer. My suggestion would be that society at that time, slaves being an essential part of the economic system, just was not ready for slavery to be abolished. Christians who tried to abolish slavery in New Testament times would simply have been ignored at best and persecuted and murdered at worst.

    It was not until centuries later that mankind was ready to listen to people like William Wilberforce. Even then, when he began his campaign to abolish slavery, he was ridiculed and vilified. It took decades for the majority of parliamentarians to bring into force the abolition of slavery.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  105. chiz (1,129 comments) says:

    getstaffed – its in Paul’s writings. Historically many people thought that Paul to be saying that slavery was acceptable.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  106. Scott (1,729 comments) says:

    Hi Ryan — I honestly cannot be bothered debating with you. I know that Kris K is much more reasonable than I. He can be bothered and I shall leave it to him. You know Christianity, you were once a Christian. Only God can change your mind. I will leave it to him.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  107. Scott (1,729 comments) says:

    Racer one — euthanasia is the right to kill Granny. Once there is a right to die, soon there will be a duty to die. I can imagine relatives around Granny’s bed — isn’t it time to end it all?

    If you think I am joking, just look at the Netherlands. Apparently about 1000 people a year die in the Netherlands through euthanasia, that never gave their consent. Old people in the Netherlands will not go to hospital. They know, that while they are sleeping, a doctor might just decide to end their life. Christianity is revolutionary in that every person is valuable — even old people. Even unborn babies. Honestly — how can you abide abortion?

    And your argument about Iraq doesn’t make sense. The army of the United States is not necessarily a Christian army. I understand that secularists serve in it to. And it is not Christians killing Moslems that is a problem in the world today. However I can point to many examples of Moslems killing Christians. Anyone interested should go to “voice of the martyrs” website, for many current examples.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  108. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    I actually said evolution was a matter of fact. As in, a question of how the physical universe is as opposed to normative/ethical standards.

    I didn’t want to go too deep into its truth or otherwise, because I prefer if there’s only one stupid argument per thread.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  109. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “Now some might say — why didn’t God just abolish slavery? To be honest I am not sure of the answer. My suggestion would be that society at that time, slaves being an essential part of the economic system, just was not ready for slavery to be abolished. Christians who tried to abolish slavery in New Testament times would simply have been ignored at best and persecuted and murdered at worst.

    It was not until centuries later that mankind was ready to listen to people like William Wilberforce. Even then, when he began his campaign to abolish slavery, he was ridiculed and vilified. It took decades for the majority of parliamentarians to bring into force the abolition of slavery.”

    I would say the very same thing in regards of homosexualty, pretty sure an ‘all knowing’ etc god wouldnt have a problem with the gender a person is attracted to.

    “. That’s why I pray for them — because Lord Jesus forgives them the sins they have committed”

    This is where you and me just cant agree. I dont think they have sinned. Sex outside of wedlock is not a sin and I believe that allot of the harm caused is by people judging people for such actions, which when committed between consenting adults etc should not be seen as a sin.

    As for considering christanity, my mother (a teacher) and sister are christian, my dad (a teacher and divorced from my mother) is agnostic I would say (as in doesnt believe but if you had catergorical proof) and myself I would at most call myself a theosit agnostic. I dont believe what is written in a book should be taken as being a definitive collection of where human morality should or needs to go. Having lived through, experienced, and seen in my eyes the bullshit behind organised religion I will never again I suspect subsribe to it. However I do agree that for many people it makes them a better person in doing so, as like Chris and yourself you need something do give some sort of authority to what you believe should be done. Personally my brain, and inner set of values which I have in part formed and in part taught and in part absorbed tell me that.

    And to be honest I guess your first statement is correct, overall I am happy with where society is going. There are parts which I am not happy about, but taking a whollistic approach I would rather, and I would rather my offspring to be, live in society as it is now than as it was.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  110. Scott (1,729 comments) says:

    Not stupid at all-actually at the heart of the debate. If God exists,who created us, then there is the possibility of objective morality.

    If God doesn’t exist and we are the product of evolution then morality is all pretty subjective.

    My objection to your comment is I do not agree with the theory of evolution as a matter of fact. In my view evolution is a theory that is still held today only because many people prefer its implications.

    If evolution created us then there is no God. No God no objective morality. No objective morality then we can do whatever we like.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  111. chiz (1,129 comments) says:

    scott:And the person who said evolution is a fact. No it is not. It is a 19th-century theory only. Just Google “creation science” and “intelligent design” and find reasonable, qualified scientists who would definitely argue it is not a fact.

    Evolution is a fact. It is a modern 21st century science that has developed enormously since the 19th century due to our discovery of genetics. Creation science and ID are psuedoscience. Many of the key players in promoting them have an established track record of deceit. By the way there are holocaust deniers with Phds too. Just because someone has formal qualifications doesn’t mean they know what they’re on about.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  112. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Scott wrote

    “EPH 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men…

    This passage shows that our ultimate master is in heaven and we will all answer to him.

    It also shows that the Bible is contradictory and vague. And needs interpretation. Which was my point. It cannot be the source of absolute morality as you need to bring so much outside morality to the table to even follow it.

    To be safe, shouldn’t Christians put slavery back on the table, at least until God sends a clarification?

    Now some might say — why didn’t God just abolish slavery? To be honest I am not sure of the answer. My suggestion would be that society at that time, slaves being an essential part of the economic system, just was not ready for slavery to be abolished. Christians who tried to abolish slavery in New Testament times would simply have been ignored at best and persecuted and murdered at worst.

    That doesn’t make sense. You’re answering why God didn’t just say slavery was wrong, then you postulate that God took into account the local economic conditions?

    You’re tying yourself in knots trying to reconcile all this stuff. It might make more sense if you consider that God does not exist and the Bible is just a collection of stories and myths written by easily swayed and (by today’s standard) very unworldly people.

    cheers

    Malcolm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  113. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “Racer one — euthanasia is the right to kill Granny. Once there is a right to die, soon there will be a duty to die. I can imagine relatives around Granny’s bed — isn’t it time to end it all?”

    once there is X, Y might follow, -MIGHT- X doe not equal Y.

    “Scott
    If you think I am joking, just look at the Netherlands. Apparently about 1000 people a year die in the Netherlands through euthanasia, that never gave their consent. Old people in the Netherlands will not go to hospital. They know, that while they are sleeping, a doctor might just decide to end their life.”

    I suspect that you are just socialist country scare mongering, not convinced of your argument from a quick google search, happy to read something from a reliable source though.

    “Christianity is revolutionary in that every person is valuable — even old people. Even unborn babies. Honestly — how can you abide abortion?”

    Because I find it immoral to force my morality onto others.

    And is that every person except gays, communists, blacks, Arabs, the poor, feminists, or are some people more valuable than others?

    “Scott
    And your argument about Iraq doesn’t make sense. The army of the United States is not necessarily a Christian army. I understand that secularists serve in it to. And it is not Christians killing Moslems that is a problem in the world today. However I can point to many examples of Moslems killing Christians. Anyone interested should go to “voice of the martyrs” website, for many current examples.”

    Do you not remember Bush praying for guidance and god telling him to invade Iraq? Have you not read about Eric Prince? Do you not realize that Cheney thinks he is a modern day Christian crusader? 1 million dead? what million?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  114. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    Fuck I mean your personal hatred of them runs so deep that you feel the need to call them “Moslems” not Muslims. Deep deep denial, that’s what your religion is good for.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  115. KiwiGreg (3,211 comments) says:

    “a greater NAMBLA conspricacy”

    The National Association of Marlon Brando Look Alikes is a conspiracy?????? Sorry, gratuitous South Park reference, completeley off topic etc etc

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  116. Rufus (641 comments) says:

    Fletch, I’m with you.

    Morality without an outside, authoritative source is subjective and has no meaning or authority over another’s view.

    Logic is a beautiful thing. Ordered by a gracious Creator.

    Rufus.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  117. Scott (1,729 comments) says:

    Thanks for your comments Jeff 83. I knew someone would say something like that, about something like homosexuality. The difference is, there are comments about slavery in the Bible. But I would suggest they are saying — if you have slaves then treat them well.

    With regard to homosexuality it is completely different. There are a number of references about homosexuality in the Old and New Testaments and they are always negative.

    Romans 1:26 is representative — “because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandon natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.”

    So in the discussion from Paul about people’s hearts becoming dark and their thinking futile, he looks for an example of particularly egregious behaviour and gives the one above.

    Now how do we decide this question, using reason alone? To you it seems reasonable. To me it seems an unnatural and disgusting act — two men having sex together. You think it’s reasonable, I think it’s unreasonable. We are at a deadlock.

    Again the only solution is a source of morality outside of ourselves. I believe that Christian morality is the true revelation of God. He knows how he made us and he knows what’s good for us. Homosexuality I would suggest is not good for anyone. We were not created to be like that. However sin has meant that we make wrong choices. We are attracted to things that in the long run actually hurt us.

    I believe that Christianity is an affirming faith that we can live by. It is a source of authority, but it is also a source of guidance and the source of life. Certainly having lived 24 years as a non-Christian, I can affirm the difference, a wonderful difference that Jesus has made in my life.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  118. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Not stupid at all-actually at the heart of the debate. If God exists,who created us, then there is the possibility of objective morality.

    Responding to Scott’s comment for anyone else who’s interested:

    Morality is inherently subjective. It’s a logical necessity, subjective by definition, not just the way things happen to be.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  119. Scott (1,729 comments) says:

    Racer one — I think you are seeing things that aren’t there. My use of the word Moslem doesn’t reflect anything. Other than the fact that is how Dragon NaturallySpeaking is spelling it.

    Must go now-Scott out

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  120. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Morality without an outside, authoritative source is subjective and has no meaning or authority over another’s view.

    Logic is a beautiful thing.

    Rufus,

    Logic is pretty cool. For example, can you answer this question?

    Why is an “outside” source authoritative? Doesn’t “authoritative” simply mean “one should do what this source says’?

    And doesn’t the “should” in that sentence imply some morality that’s logically prior to the outside source?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  121. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    transmogrifier [September 14th, 2009 at 11:10 pm],

    Killing is wrong because we have the ultimate “ownership” of our own life, and no-one else has the right to dispose of that life without our express consent. The very fact that you need a “God” to tell you killing is wrong is quite depressing, actually.

    There is in fact one Person who has both the right to give and to take human life.
    The reason any of us are here (whether you accept it or not) is because we were created. That same Person also has made available the opportunity to have eternal life through the antidote by which we no longer need to suffer spiritual death. Some of you guys really should consider whether there are consequences to many of the ‘moral’ choices you make. And whether your ‘moral’ choices actually measure up to the morality of the One who really matters; the One who will judge your life and all the choices you have made, especially the choice regarding the Christ of the Bible.

    Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  122. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    If evolution created us then there is no God.

    That is your belief. There are many people who believe that there is a lot of supporting science for evolution that also believe in God. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  123. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    racer1 – you really are a tool aren’t you. A spelling mistake evidence of personal hatred?

    You, like borker and MNIJ, are so blinded with hatred that anyone contemplating your religion – atheism – would probably prefer a large dose of polytheism.

    I challenge you to spend some time working on the street with the Sallies, or to find a church youth group that’s working with those that are falling between the cracks. If you are still convinced that these people are monsters then I guess that’s your choice.

    Until then perhaps you could lighten up on the bigotry and hatred

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  124. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    “…….need to call them “Moslems” not Muslims”.

    It is common spelling, originating in Persia I think.

    “Deep deep denial, that’s what your religion is good for.”

    Deep deep ignorance and a penchant for thinking the worst of everyone. That is what your athiesm is good for.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  125. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    malcolm [September 15th, 2009 at 3:56 pm],

    This is one of the problems with claiming that morality comes from God (via the Bible). The Bible is subjective and needs interpretation. Hence it can’t be the source of absolute morality as you need to bring your own judgement/morality into the interpretation.

    Anyway, there isn’t much mileage in this discussion as you’re too reasonable. Where’s Kris?

    I’m back. Nice to know that you missed me Malcolm, I missed you too.

    Back to topic:
    The Bible IS the source of “absolute authority”, it’s just our reading of it that can become subjective.
    The bible even instucts us as to the importance of right interpretation; it’s called rightly dividing the word of God, and relies on the very author of the scriptures, the Holy Spirit, to lead and give us understanding of it. The bible also says that it is spiritually discerned and that those without the Spirit CANNOT understand it, or the mysteries it contains.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  126. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    To Scott @ 4.20, further to Ryan above.

    Okay then. Let’s apply the same rigour that the thread seems to require of any humanistic idea to Divine Command Theory. Especially if we like logic so much.

    Why does someone having created us, or having the power to damn us, mean they get to declare what’s right and wrong?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  127. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “getstaffed
    racer1 – you really are a tool aren’t you. A spelling mistake evidence of personal hatred?”

    Commonly used as an offensive term, and it is always Christians doing it.

    “getstaffed
    You, like borker and MNIJ, are so blinded with hatred that anyone contemplating your religion – atheism – would probably prefer a large dose of polytheism. ”

    Atheism is not a religion.

    “getstaffed
    I challenge you to spend some time working on the street with the Sallies, or to find a church youth group that’s working with those that are falling between the cracks. If you are still convinced that these people are monsters then I guess that’s your choice.”

    They are not out there trying to force their beliefs on others, I have no problem with them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  128. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    … At the same time

    - I’ll maintain that distinction between moral facts and moral judgments

    - I’ll have trouble with someone who thinks evolution == no god

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  129. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Scott [September 15th, 2009 at 3:57 pm],

    Now some might say — why didn’t God just abolish slavery? To be honest I am not sure of the answer. My suggestion would be that society at that time, slaves being an essential part of the economic system, just was not ready for slavery to be abolished. Christians who tried to abolish slavery in New Testament times would simply have been ignored at best and persecuted and murdered at worst.

    Scott, if I may.
    I believe God didn’t abolish slavery (as early perhaps as some would have liked) for the same reason that He doesn’t stop – wars, murders, abortions, pedophiles, homosexuals, and all manner of evil which exists today. That reason being His Grace and love for those who are still lost in their sins. When God DOES intervene then any offer of salvation, to those that have already rejected it, will be off the table. God permits evil today for no other reason than He desires all that would come to Him would come. All of you reading this topic have been warned of the consequences of your sins if left unpaid. Time is short. I suggest you avail yourselves of the opportunity while it is still available. Many here would be more than willing to help you if you would only ask. But ultimately the choice is yours to make. Making no choice is still a choice.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  130. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    Oh what the hell. I’m just crabby because the claim that God is required for morality directly contradicts my personal experience. So I’ll consider that my whole argument. ‘Night.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  131. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Kris wrote

    The Bible IS the source of “absolute authority”, it’s just our reading of it that can become subjective.
    The bible even instucts us as to the importance of right interpretation; it’s called rightly dividing the word of God, and relies on the very author of the scriptures, the Holy Spirit, to lead and give us understanding of it. The bible also says that it is spiritually discerned and that those without the Spirit CANNOT understand it, or the mysteries it contains.

    Kris, you poor thing. You’ve got yourself trapped in a mental bubble. You’ve filled your head with all these self-referencing arguments and scriptures and now you can’t figure out how to pop it.

    Only Ryan can help you now..

    cheers

    Malcolm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  132. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Cerium [September 15th, 2009 at 4:41 pm],

    If evolution created us then there is no God.

    That is your belief. There are many people who believe that there is a lot of supporting science for evolution that also believe in God. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    While I sense your reasonableness coming to the fore Ceium, I really have to disagree; not with the statement, but with the implication.

    I believe that evolution is the foundation upon which modern-day non-belief in God is built upon. To believe evolution is true you have to throw out much of the bible; especially Genesis and the creation account.

    Therefore I believe that belief in God and belief in evolution are in fact mutually exclusive. QED.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  133. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    ” All of you reading this topic have been warned of the consequences of your sins if left unpaid. Time is short.”

    Time is relative.

    Again thanks for the humour and chucking in homosexualtiy at the same level as war. I thank whoever campaigned and died for the right for you to have no power of me with your beliefs.

    i respect GetStaffed, and Scott (albeit I disagree with strongly) but I put you in the little loony bin at the side, the nice person who tells me I am going to hell outside of a dance party.

    The simple fact is by and large I am happy with how I have lived my life, where I am not happy I will try and change. IF god exists as you believe, and IF he believes morality is as you say, I will call him a cunt and gladly burn rather than salute his retarded arse. But the simple fact is Ido not think that morality is defined by a book written by sheppards defines what God, if he exists, thinks is right and wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  134. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    Jeff83 wrote –

    What is morally right should change from what is morally right 2000 years ago, with the advent of greater knowledge and options.

    For example no sex before marriage was good in the days of pre contraception as it helped ensure children had parents to an extent. However with the advent of contraception, longer life spans and frankly a greater purpose in one’s life this conception is outdated and frankly useless currently.

    You rely on absolutes as you resist change, and the only way you can argue many of the things you think should be seen as immoral as immoral is by relying on something written to guide Sheppard’s thousands of years ago.

    Finally if you truly believe in god, you need I believe to truly believe that he truly did give humans freewill. Freewill by its very essence needs to be construed in such a way as being able determine our destiny and our sense of what is right and what is wrong.

    Well, let me try and summarize what you’re saying: what you’ve just said there is that you don’t believe in an absolute ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ or a ‘good’ or ‘evil’. It changes over time for you as whims change
    If you ‘truly believe in God’ then you’ll know that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His idea of what is good and evil doesn’t alter. Your vision of “free will” is not what Bible means. Free will means that there is a wrong way and a right way and that you have the freedom to choose one or the other. What it doesn’t mean is that good and evil change over time depending on our “greater knowledge” and “options” as you put it.

    Your use of the example of abstinence vs contraception proves my point. If we all practiced no sex until marriage and lifelong commitment to one partner then the AIDS virus would completely die out. It would take a little time perhaps to work it’s way out of the supplies of blood, but eventually it would happen; in fact, abstinence was the only way that Uganda managed to lower it’s rate of people with AIDS when nothing else worked.

    What is wrong is always wrong and doesn’t change.

    Pope Paul VI made 4 predictions in 1968 about contraception –

    He warned that the widespread use of contraception would lead to “conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.”

    He also warned that man would lose respect for woman and “no longer [care] for her physical and psychological equilibrium,” to the point that he would consider her “as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment.”

    The Holy Father also warned that widespread use of contraception would place a “dangerous weapon … in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.”

    Pope Paul warned that contraception would mislead human beings into thinking they had unlimited domain over their own bodies, relentlessly turning the human person into the object of his or her own intrusive power.

    All four of them have come true.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  135. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “I believe that evolution is the foundation upon which modern-day non-belief in God is built upon. To believe evolution is true you have to throw out much of the bible; especially Genesis and the creation account.”

    Correction to believe in evolution means to believe that the bible is not in fact word for word true, or to be taken literally, if you are religous.

    If ‘God’ was to describe actually how the universe was formed, it would of blown Sheppards little brains to smush, and when he told others he would have been like ostracised as a nut bar. Just like if he said modern day standards of tolerance and understanding rather than judgement, should of been imposed (he tried with Jesus but people like you still dont get it) again would of been ignored.

    The reason you need the bible to be interprted literally is it gives you an absolute. Well they dont exist.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  136. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “If we all practiced no sex until marriage and lifelong commitment to one partner then the AIDS virus would completely die out.”

    Thats like saying if we all walked to work air pollution would go away and 100s of lives every year would be saved. True but also completely absurd in that it would never be practised.

    The catholic church has the blood of millions of people on its hands due to its refusal to allow condoms and therefore proper sex education in poor areas and its redicolous expectation of celebacy until marriage, one partner for life bla bla bla.

    Actually going to leave now, made me annoyed (for example John Pauls assertion re woman is not only bullshit, it is false – I would say the opposite), however I genuinely believe the worst thing to have ever happened to humanity is the forming of the Catholic church.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  137. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Jeff83 5:34 pm,

    The reason you need the bible to be interprted literally is it gives you an absolute. Well they dont exist.

    Are you absolutely sure about that Jeff?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  138. Rufus (641 comments) says:

    racer1 4:50

    “atheism is not a religion”

    lucky that you’re not a humanist then, since Humanism is regarded even by humanists to be a religion. See the first Humanist Manifesto (1933), which describes the agenda of “religious” Humanists. Then there’s the preface to the 1980 Humanist Manifestoes 1 & 2 where Paul Kurz writes “Humanism is a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view”.

    Of course atheism is a religion. It has a theology (ie. “there is no God”), high priests and stark-raving-mad preachers (ie. Richard Dawkins), and it also requires a lot of faith since there is no empirical, conclusive proof to its truth.

    Atheism is a HUGE gamble: a gamble that there is no God and that He won’t hold you to account for your life one day.

    Especially when there’s this Book call the Bible which claims to be the Word of God and wherein He says He does exist and He will one day meet with us face to face.

    Good luck.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  139. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    “Atheism is a HUGE gamble: a gamble that there is no God and that He won’t hold you to account for your life one day.”

    No gamble at all. There is no God.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  140. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “Are you absolutely sure about that Jeff?”

    Sure enough, absolutely-well I just said there are no such things.

    However I dont live my life in fear of the unknown, fear doesnt help people make good decisions. And anyway I dont have a fear of any ‘god’ as the idea of some great being getting caught up on such trivial matters as to sex before marriage, same sex sex, is to me absolutely redicolous. Personally my god would have much more of a problem with those that persecute them and enforce their judgement.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  141. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Atheism isn’t a gamble, because gambling is a choice, and you can’t choose what to believe is true.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  142. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    So here’s my parting shot.

    If anyone is desperate to discredit Christianity, I’d suggest simply finding fault with the church. It isn’t difficult.. as churches are made up of imperfect, sinful humans like the rest of mankind. Many Christians are faithfully pursuing a life more like Christ, while others are simply clinging to tradition and religion for the sake of it. You’ll detect the difference pretty quickly. That would be job done. Even I can do this… as a Christian I could choose to see heaps wrong with my local church, find fault, lay accusations etc.

    But if you’re interested in understanding the essence of Christianity, start by reading about the life of Jesus himself. The Beatitudes is a really starting point. Then ask yourself if your life would be better or worse if you exhibited those values. What about your relationships… would they be better or worse? If better, then find a wise Christian and ask questions, challenge and ask more questions. You might be surprised at the results.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  143. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    “I believe that evolution is the foundation upon which modern-day non-belief in God is built upon. ”

    I guess it has taken over as the round earth theory as a whipping boy. But it seems a very simplistic (and incorrect) excuse to use.

    I didn’t believe in gods long before I knew anything about evolution.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  144. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    If anyone is desperate to discredit Christianity, I’d suggest simply finding fault with the church. It isn’t difficult.. as churches are made up of imperfect, sinful humans like the rest of mankind. Many Christians are faithfully pursuing a life more like Christ, while others are simply clinging to tradition and religion for the sake of it. You’ll detect the difference pretty quickly. That would be job done. Even I can do this… as a Christian I could choose to see heaps wrong with my local church, find fault, lay accusations etc.

    Well, it wouldn’t, because the truth of Christianity’s claims is not contingent on the perfection of people who believe them. Christianity doesn’t say that Christians are perfect, therefore pointing out that Christians are imperfect doesn’t disprove Christianity as a body of claims.

    But if you’re interested in understanding the essence of Christianity, start by reading about the life of Jesus himself. The Beatitudes is a really starting point. Then ask yourself if your life would be better or worse if you exhibited those values. What about your relationships… would they be better or worse? If better, then find a wise Christian and ask questions, challenge and ask more questions. You might be surprised at the results.

    Nor does the practical usefulness of following advice indicate the truth of associated claims. I could tell you to follow the Beatitudes while believing that they were inspired by aliens, but if following them made for a happy life, that wouldn’t make it more or less likely that they were inspired by aliens.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  145. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Cerium 6:18 pm,

    I’m sure that of those that deny the existence of the God of the bible (discounting other accepted religions, ie not atheism/agnosticism) the majority would accept evolutionary theory as fact. And would use it as further evidence against God.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  146. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    I’m sure that of those that deny the existence of the God of the bible (discounting other accepted religions, ie not atheism/agnosticism) the majority would accept evolutionary theory as fact. And would use it as further evidence against God.

    Only that kind of Christianity that believes in the precise literal truth of every part of the Bible. For those Christians who do not take Genesis literally, evolution is no obstacle.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  147. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    I have never thought of evolution as evidence against God, I have just considered it on it’s own merits.

    There is no evidence against God. Nor for God.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  148. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan,
    If you don’t mind me asking, what led to your loss of the faith?
    I can honestly say that I know of nothing that would cause me to doubt; even on pain of death.

    Sometimes I question the motivation behind some of your comments, especially when you, of all people, know exactly where the other person is coming from. For example this response to Getstaffed:

    Nor does the practical usefulness of following advice indicate the truth of associated claims. I could tell you to follow the Beatitudes while believing that they were inspired by aliens, but if following them made for a happy life, that wouldn’t make it more or less likely that they were inspired by aliens.

    Sometimes I just don’t get you.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  149. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Kris,

    Me popping out the other side of Christianity is too long a story for here. I’ll tell you over a beer sometime, if you’re interested.

    My motivation in responding to Getstaffed there was just to cut away fuzzy arguments. I was addressing the words, the argument, not whatever I might imagine his motivations or feelings might be.

    “The claims of Christianity are true” does not follow from “following the Beatitudes makes life more pleasant”.

    Similarly, “The claims of Christianity are not true” does not follow from “some Christians are quite horrible”.

    If someone engaged with either of these arguments, you’d end up in people arguing over whether or not following the Beatitudes really makes you happy, or people arguing over whether or not Christians who are horrible are really Christian, or really all that horrible, and all of it would be a digression from the topic at hand.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  150. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Gotta go, Kris. Talk to you again tomorrow.

    *dramatic chord*

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  151. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan,
    It would have to be an online beer; as I’m in Wgtn and I’m pretty sure your in Auckland (re your Waiheke Island trip).

    I think it was pretty clear that GS was making the point that his personal Christian experience outweighed other different flavours of Christians; the good, the bad and the ugly; the imperfection of the church, etc. It was an appeal to reasonable minded men, and not an argument as such.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  152. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “Rufus at 5:50 pm

    racer1 4:50

    “atheism is not a religion”

    Of course atheism is a religion.”

    No, no religious belief. It is a bit like santa claws, when you are 2 years old it is quite natural to believe in santa calws when your parents try to convince you of his existence, but as someone tells you he’s not real, that flying reindeer ect is just absurd, the correct default is to non existence.

    You religious lot are the ones claiming existence of something on the basis that it hasn’t yet been disproved, the natural position. Atheism does not ask for any leaps of faith, religion does.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  153. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    For those Christians who do not take Genesis literally, evolution is no obstacle.

    Was seven days seven literal 24 hour periods. I just don’t know. So do I take Genesis at literal face value? No, probably not. But I do accept the life was created by God. I also accept that adaptation, in some cases massive adaptation, has occurred. Of that we have evidence that we can study in real-time. But for me there are simply far too many gaps in the evolutionary story to believe that single celled protozoa evolved to become complex organisms. There’s as much faith required accepting the aggregated missing bits as there is faith required to accept that an omnipotent God was the source.

    Wow this thread is doing cartwheels. I suspect many readers may have thrown their hands up in despair!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  154. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    racer1 [September 15th, 2009 at 7:25 pm],

    “Of course atheism is a religion.”

    No, no religious belief. It is a bit like santa claws, when you are 2 years old it is quite natural to believe in santa calws when your parents try to convince you of his existence, but as someone tells you he’s not real, that flying reindeer ect is just absurd, the correct default is to non existence.

    You religious lot are the ones claiming existence of something on the basis that it hasn’t yet been disproved, the natural position. Atheism does not ask for any leaps of faith, religion does.

    Of course proof is in the eye of the beholder. And the evidence is plain to see if you bother to open them.

    Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    Atheism is in fact a belief that there is no God; despite the evidence that there is. And when so-called atheists stand before their Maker they will have no valid excuse or justification for His non existence. There will be weeping and nashing of teeth on that day.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  155. chiz (1,129 comments) says:

    Kris k:Of course proof is in the eye of the beholder. And the evidence is plain to see if you bother to open them.

    If you bother to open your eyes a bit further Kris you’ll discover that none of the evidence for God stands up to scrutiny.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  156. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Getstaffed,
    I reckon DPF starts these topics to throw the cat amongst the pigeons. Perhaps out of perverse pleasure, or maybe he’s wanting to be convinced about the reality of God. But either way, it certainly gets peoples juices going. I sometimes wonder why some people argue so strongly against the existence of God. I mean if there’s no God then no big deal, right. Of course if there is, then even a gambling man would be a fool not to hedge his bets, especiially with what’s up for stakes – his eternal soul.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  157. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    chiz 8:00 pm,

    Kris k:Of course proof is in the eye of the beholder. And the evidence is plain to see if you bother to open them.

    If you bother to open your eyes a bit further Kris you’ll discover that none of the evidence for God stands up to scrutiny.

    Ultimately time will tell which of our two viewpoints are correct.
    If I’m wrong – no big deal.
    On the other hand if you’re wrong, then let’s just say I wouldn’t be keen on trading places (and that’s putting it mildly).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  158. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    getstaffed wrote

    Wow this thread is doing cartwheels. I suspect many readers may have thrown their hands up in despair!

    I’ll second that. Perhaps a moratorium on religion/morality discussions. Either that or just let Kris and Ryan battle on indefinitely like two tireless robots :-)

    I think Kris is feeling the heat though. He’s falling back on the old tried-and-true “you’ll go to hell…”

    cheers

    Malcolm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  159. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    malcolm 8:13 pm,

    It’s the Energiser batteries that’s the trick.

    I always say forewarned is forearmed.
    No one can accuse me of leaving out any details at least.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  160. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    I think Kris is feeling the heat though. He’s falling back on the old tried-and-true “you’ll go to hell…”

    no no no.. that’s be Ryan who’s feeling the heat I shoud have thought ;)

    Kris: I’m drinking a nice Cat Amongst The pigeons 2007 Shriaz right now. Which has inspired me to post this on the morality of blind cricket. Enjoy. [sips wine]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  161. whalehunter (467 comments) says:

    where is philu… with all this pot smoking going on.

    i want to know why society wont let me marry 2 womem but alows me to marry a man.

    or why my house can get bulldozed for a motorway but i cant test shampoo on animals.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  162. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Getstaffed,
    My jolly u-tube’s playing up, will try again tomorrow. And as long as that Shiraz doesn’t taste like cat pee.

    Whalehunter,
    Indeed, but that’s the crazy world we live in.

    I’m off, see you fellow ‘warriors’ tomorrow.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  163. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    I find it amusing the idea that God gave us the great gift of free will to live as we pleased, and yet still sees fit to judge and punish us if we don’t do what he wants.

    It’s like me, as a teacher, encouraging my students to choose any topic they wanted for their essay and then failing everyone who didn’t write about elephants.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  164. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    For those Christians who do not take Genesis literally, evolution is no obstacle.

    The existence of our immortal soul is incompatible with the idea that we’re a vast collection of genes and proteins; the determinism of evolution is incompatible with the free will that Christianity claims we’ve been endowed with. I don’t think you can be a Christian and believe we’re an evolved organism.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  165. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Ryan:

    “James,

    You can’t derive an ought from an is.”

    You most certainly can.That bullshit cop out has been long debunked.From what else can you derive what ought to be done if not from the facts of what is…? Do you make shit up in your head and use that as the basis for your course of action in life? Good luck!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  166. reid (16,066 comments) says:

    I find it amusing the idea that God gave us the great gift of free will to live as we pleased, and yet still sees fit to judge and punish us if we don’t do what he wants.

    I find it amusing, transmog, to find people somehow hallucinating that God would play the game like that.

    It’s a chess game, you see. Each challenge in life that you experience is a move from G-d to help you learn and grow.

    Up to you how you play the move.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  167. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    Learn and grow to be what? Sounds to me like the Big Man just wants some approbation.

    I’m okay with religion, because it brings solidity and comfort to a lot of people, but the ad hoc nature of it all is too dissatisfying for me to ever take seriously. I’m happy with living my life, being a good person from my point of view, and if someone at the other end is going to tell me differently, well, I’ll politely tell them that they don’t know what they are talking about.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  168. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Hey DF, I haven’t read all the replies (seems to have morphed into the God thingy thread) so I apologise if someone has beaten me to it, but what’s your problem with legalised polygamy? Especially as you say you have no moral objection to it!!

    I’m confused…if a polygamous marriage is between consenting adults in a society like ours with (almost, but not quite) equal rights, why in the name of God (just joking) shouldn’t it be legal? What about polyamory?

    Tell you what, explain it to me Thurs night.

    Cheers

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  169. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    transmogrifier wrote:

    I find it amusing the idea that God gave us the great gift of free will to live as we pleased, and yet still sees fit to judge and punish us if we don’t do what he wants.

    Yeah, if you didn’t know better, you might suspect it’s all been made up.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  170. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Atheism is in fact a belief that there is no God; despite the evidence that there is. And when so-called atheists stand before their Maker they will have no valid excuse or justification for His non existence. There will be weeping and nashing of teeth on that day.”

    Bullshit godboy.Atheism is a LACK of a belief in a God……in other words a negative.All people are born A-theistic by default….religious pap only being learned later from other people.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  171. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    “Atheism is in fact a belief that there is no God; despite the evidence that there is. ”

    Thoughts in one’s head are not evidence, and that is all there is to support the God theory.

    Since God (of the kind to which the proofs/arguments relate) is neither an entity in the universe nor a mathematical object, it is not obvious what kinds of arguments/proofs are relevant to God’s existence. Even if the concept of scientific proof were not problematic, the fact that there is no conclusive scientific proof of the existence, or non-existence, of God mainly demonstrates that the existence of God is not a normal scientific question.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence_of_God

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  172. reid (16,066 comments) says:

    “Thoughts in one’s head are not evidence, and that is all there is to support the God theory.”

    Where do you think thoughts come from, Cerium?

    A bunch of chemicals?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  173. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    I cannot claim origination,
    as it’s been used through generations.
    Familiar prose has long been caught
    a thousand years a million thoughts
    so nothing can be new today,
    the same old words, a different play.

    The stuff it swirls around my head
    at dawn and daytime and the dead
    of night it comes and ebbs and flows
    then out my fingertips it goes.

    Is it new this exclamation
    or some weird regurgitation?
    Where do these thoughts come from and go?
    Floating free like radio?
    Or stored within the many heads
    entombed forever in the dead?

    The swirling thoughts inside my head
    Don’t come from nowhere, do the dead
    Somehow pass on their ancient muse
    So I can temporary use
    A borrowed phrase, a lended rhyme?
    A fleeting use in endless time
    A fleeting use in endless time

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  174. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    You most certainly can.That bullshit cop out has been long debunked.From what else can you derive what ought to be done if not from the facts of what is…? Do you make shit up in your head and use that as the basis for your course of action in life? Good luck!

    James,

    I can explain how it’s logically impossible, if you like.

    You can derive what ought to be done from the facts of what is, but only by applying prior oughts to those facts.

    For example, the fact (or belief) that pressing a button will kill someone, combined with the prior ought of “I ought not to kill people”, provides “I ought not to press that button”. But you can’t derive that prior ought from facts (unless applying an even more prior ought to other facts).

    Can you give me an example of an ought you can derive from an is?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  175. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    The existence of our immortal soul is incompatible with the idea that we’re a vast collection of genes and proteins; the determinism of evolution is incompatible with the free will that Christianity claims we’ve been endowed with. I don’t think you can be a Christian and believe we’re an evolved organism.

    Danyl,

    Evolution or not, it is clear that our bodies are vast collections of genes and proteins. You’d just have to believe that our immortal soul is perhaps separate but paired with a particular evolved collection of genes and proteins.

    And the determinism of evolution is only incompatible with free will in evolving. You’d just have to believe that free will only enters the game via the aforementioned separate immortal soul that captains the ship of the body.

    I should note that I myself find the notion of “free will” a contradiction in terms that logically cannot exist. But the issues you raise aren’t a Christian’s problems with evolution, but rather a Christian’s problems with pure materialism and pure determinism.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  176. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Was seven days seven literal 24 hour periods. I just don’t know. So do I take Genesis at literal face value? No, probably not. But I do accept the life was created by God. I also accept that adaptation, in some cases massive adaptation, has occurred. Of that we have evidence that we can study in real-time. But for me there are simply far too many gaps in the evolutionary story to believe that single celled protozoa evolved to become complex organisms. There’s as much faith required accepting the aggregated missing bits as there is faith required to accept that an omnipotent God was the source.

    Getstaffed,

    Not if you take into consideration the immense amount of time we’re talking about.

    But it seems to me that you’re agreeing with me – Christianity and evolution aren’t contradictory claims. If you don’t take Genesis at face value, but see it rather as a poetic interpretation by a tribe of desert nomads 3000 years ago of the general gist – that God created everything – then you can see evolution as one of the tools God used in creating.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  177. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Ultimately time will tell which of our two viewpoints are correct.
    If I’m wrong – no big deal.
    On the other hand if you’re wrong, then let’s just say I wouldn’t be keen on trading places (and that’s putting it mildly).

    Kris,

    What if you’re both wrong, and there is a God, but he rewards only people who don’t believe in him and punish people who fell into the sin of faith?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  178. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    # malcolm

    Fletch wrote:

    If there is no God, then no man is in a position to force his opinion of morality upon another. One man’s subjective view of morality is equal to another man’s equally subjective view of morality.

    Wrong. People force their morality on each other all the time. We call it Government. Numerous variations have been tried, but at the moment we quite like the demoncratic version.

    Oh sure, but I didn’t mean it like that. Sure one man can physically “force” his idea of morality onto another. If he considers it moral to kill, he could do that by killing you or me – look at the pilots who flew into the towers on 9/11 – I’m sure they considered it moral to do so. What I meant is that if there is no God then it can’t be proved whose idea of morality is valid. It’s the morality of the pilots against the morality of those in the towers.

    As for government –

    1. Our laws are largely based on the 10 commandments.

    2. Having said that, I think you’d be disappointed if you look to use the Government as a benchmark for what is considered moral or not. Governments aren’t the arbiters of morality; in fact different governments have laws completely the opposite of one another. Before Labour came and went, prostitution was illegal and smacking was not and now it’s the other way around; which one was moral? Although prostitution and abortion are legal, I think you’d find there are more people who consider them immoral. Government is an example maybe, of “might makes right”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  179. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    Kris,

    What if you’re both wrong, and there is a God, but he rewards only people who don’t believe in him and punish people who fell into the sin of faith?

    Now you’re just being silly….
    The relationship between God and people is closely mirrored in Earthly relationships such as those between a king and his subjects, or a parent and his children. Show me a king who rewards people who don’t believe in him, or a parent who rewards children who don’t obey his commands.

    I believe there is a God, but if there isn’t then Christians are still following the best example of moral laws (The Bible) that there is – and in fact commandments that our actual laws are based on.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  180. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    transmogrifier wrote –

    I find it amusing the idea that God gave us the great gift of free will to live as we pleased, and yet still sees fit to judge and punish us if we don’t do what he wants.

    It’s like me, as a teacher, encouraging my students to choose any topic they wanted for their essay and then failing everyone who didn’t write about elephants.

    What you haven’t taken into account is that God created you and I for a purpose – to know him, love him and be with him. He created a place of ultimate joy called Heaven and you have the free will to choose that or not. Your teacher/student example doesn’t ring true. It’s maybe more like your father and mother giving birth to you and giving you a place in their family – where you are loved and where your parents know you will ultimately be happy – but giving you the free will not to be in that family; to go off into the darkness if you wish. In fact, it’s like your dad so wanting you to be in that family and be happy that he went out into that darkness – where you had gotten into trouble, been charged with murder, and sentenced to death by the most excruciating method possible – and he took the blame for you and died that excruciating death in your place.

    If your dad did that for you, would you want to follow him, be with him, and do what he said? If not out of love, then out of thanks at least. But your dad has given you free will – because love isn’t love when it’s forced; it must be given and received freely.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  181. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Fletch,

    A parent who wants their children to become adults looks forward to the day their child thinks for themselves and doesn’t obey for obedience’s sake. But that’s besides the point. What if God existed and wasn’t like a nice king? Etc. Just pointing out that Kris’s “safe bet” attitude towards the matter is not quite so simple. There are other possibilities.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  182. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    then Christians are still following the best example of moral laws

    Some do, some don’t, I’m not sure if the proportion is different to any other group.

    And there is plenty of scope for debate over whether the moral laws from the Bible are a “best example” – even discounting the variations and contradictions and varying interpretations.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  183. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    Ryan, but we believe in the God of the Bible, who is very “nice” indeed. So nice that he took all the punishment due to you for every sin you ever committed or will ever commit. To be hammered to a cross for you and I, I consider very “nice”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  184. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Fletch wrote:

    What I meant is that if there is no God then it can’t be proved whose idea of morality is valid. It’s the morality of the pilots against the morality of those in the towers.

    Even if your God exists (for which there’s no evidence), that doesn’t mean his authority should prevail. Society weights up competing moralities and we decide what should and shouldn’t be applied to everyone in society. We agree that murder is wrong, but let people have sex with whomever they want. That consensus all comes from us.

    As for government – our laws are largely based on the 10 commandments.

    Do you mean these 10?

    1. You shall have no other Gods but me. [No]
    2. You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it. [No]
    3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. [No]
    4. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy. [No]
    5. Respect your father and mother. [No]
    6. You must not kill. [Yes - except under certain circumstances]
    7. You must not commit adultery. [No]
    8. You must not steal. [Yes]
    9. You must not give false evidence against your neighbour. [Yes]
    10. You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour. [No]

    But I know what you mean: no murdering, no stealing etc. How do you know that those commandments aren’t simply a statement of pre-existing norms? Do you think that murder and stealing where considered to be normal activities before these were written down? Plenty of other cultures figured those two out, yet had no exposure to Christianity. How do you explain that?

    I think you’d be disappointed if you look to use the Government as a benchmark for what is considered moral or not. Governments aren’t the arbiters of morality; in fact different governments have laws completely the opposite of one another.

    I don’t imagine many people do. I don’t. I look to the government to set laws for the common good. Morality comes from somewhere else. From society, your parents, history etc. It doesn’t need to have come from some magic place. We can handle it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  185. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    malcolm, Jesus said in the New testament that all the laws could be broken down into two –

    1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind
    2. Love your neighbour as yourself.

    It is debatable nowadays of course whether people follow the first, but if people followed the second we wouldn’t have too many problems in society.
    You can list the 10 commandments and put a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ beside each, but today’s modern laws closely follow the principles of the Bible. You only have to look at the original American constitution (for one) to see that.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  186. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    Do you think that murder and stealing where considered to be normal activities before these were written down? Plenty of other cultures figured those two out, yet had no exposure to Christianity. How do you explain that?

    Because God has given us a conscience.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  187. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

    There were times when this was punishable by death.

    6. You must not kill – unless you twist the commandments to suit your own immorality?

    Today’s laws follow selected principles of the Bible that have been chosen to fit today’s morals.

    2. Love your neighbour as yourself.

    This is important, a lot more people could go back to considering this. Except not too literally, you also have to remember:
    7. You must not commit adultery.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  188. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Ryan, but we believe in the God of the Bible, who is very “nice” indeed. So nice that he took all the punishment due to you for every sin you ever committed or will ever commit. To be hammered to a cross for you and I, I consider very “nice”

    Yeah, I realise that. Kris was just saying to someone that the possibilities are:

    1. They are right and he ceases to exist at death.
    2. He is right and he goes to heaven while they suffer eternally.

    There are plenty of other possibilities, involving them both being wrong – God exists and rewards only atheists, God exists and rewards only Muslims, God exists and rewards everyone, God exists and punishes everyone, etc.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  189. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Because God has given us a conscience.

    But my conscience tells me that there is nothing wrong with being gay. Did I get given a bung conscience?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  190. Scott (1,729 comments) says:

    I suspect this blog might have run out of steam — after nearly 200 responses. What I would suggest to Ryan — and I find myself talking to him again — is that the world offers us things that might seem appealing. Homosexuality for some people is one of them. For other people — who are not particularly drawn sexually to those of the same sex — it is the opposite sex which is both a delight and can be a cause of difficulty.

    As a married man the issue of morals is important, whether or not I am a Christian. Should I look at pornography? What if I’m attracted to other women? Should I act on those impulses? DPF — who is not married — thinks it’s okay. Yet I know if I spent all day looking at pornography and all-night chasing after other women, then my marriage wouldn’t last very long. So I forego those things, for the sake of a better thing — a healthy marriage with my wife.

    Similarly faith in Christ helps us. We forego some things of this world — for the sake of a better thing. I believe God has a better life in store for us when we follow him, than when we just pursue the things of the world. I have faith in Jesus — both in this life and the next. Once again, I urge others, to consider the life of Jesus as a model for us to follow.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  191. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    I suspect this blog might have run out of steam — after nearly 200 responses. What I would suggest to Ryan — and I find myself talking to him again — is that the world offers us things that might seem appealing. Homosexuality for some people is one of them. For other people — who are not particularly drawn sexually to those of the same sex — it is the opposite sex which is both a delight and can be a cause of difficulty.

    Well, homosexuality isn’t particularly appealing to me. It’s just my conscience says it’s okay for other people to be gay. There are plenty of things that may appeal to me in a given situation that my conscience says are wrong – perhaps stealing something I particularly want.

    Some things I find appealing that my conscience says are acceptable. (Reading a good book.)
    Some things I don’t find appealing that my conscience says are acceptable. (Gay sex.)
    Some things I find appealing that my conscience says are unacceptable. (Mmm, steak.)
    Some things I don’t find appealing that my conscience says are unacceptable. (Murder.)

    Though I suppose you could say that something in the world that is appealing to me is people being able to live however they choose, and that could be a seductive sin that’s crept into my conscience.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  192. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    And regarding your life, Scott, it sounds like your current life is pretty great too, regardless of bliss after death, and that being a good Christian is a strong factor in that happening. Which is excellent.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  193. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull [September 16th, 2009 at 7:16 am],

    Can you give me an example of an ought you can derive from an is?

    • You ought not to exceed 100 kph because there is a law against it.
    • You ought not to murder because there is a law against it.
    • You ought not to smoke because there is a high likelihood you’ll contract cancer.
    • You ought not to look lustfully at my wife because there is a strong possiblity of nose rearrangement.
    • You ought not to break God’s laws because there is a consequence in doing so.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  194. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    malcolm [September 16th, 2009 at 10:18 am],

    Even if your God exists (for which there’s no evidence), that doesn’t mean his authority should prevail. Society weights up competing moralities and we decide what should and shouldn’t be applied to everyone in society. We agree that murder is wrong, but let people have sex with whomever they want. That consensus all comes from us.

    Society may decide “what should and shouldn’t be applied to everyone in society” in today’s morally relativistic world, but ultimately God will reinstitute His full sovereignty and at that time there will be no debate at the ‘societal’ level. No shoulds, ifs, or buts about it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  195. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Excellent, Kris. I can demonstrate.

    • You ought not to exceed 100 kph because there is a law against it.
    Why ought I follow the law?

    • You ought not to murder because there is a law against it.
    Why ought I follow the law?

    • You ought not to smoke because there is a high likelihood you’ll contract cancer.
    Why ought I avoid contracting cancer?

    • You ought not to look lustfully at my wife because there is a strong possiblity of nose rearrangement.
    Why ought I avoid having my nose rearranged?

    • You ought not to break God’s laws because there is a consequence in doing so.
    Why ought I avoid those consequences?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  196. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    Well, [insert behaviour] isn’t particularly appealing to me. It’s just my conscience says it’s okay for other people to [insert behaviour].

    I find this interesting. I regard conscience as personal.. the early-warning system for my moral behaviour, rather than a set of feelings about the acceptability of the behaviour of others. My views on the behaviour of others is opinion which has, I regret to confess, ocassionally become judgement… although I’ve become better at identifying and stopping this of late. As a Christian I believe it’s exclusively God’s role to judge, whether in this life, or the next. My role is to live and model Jesus’s values, and to be enthusiastic about helping others get to the same place. I enjoy this!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  197. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull [September 16th, 2009 at 10:33 am],

    Because God has given us a conscience.

    But my conscience tells me that there is nothing wrong with being gay. Did I get given a bung conscience?

    Rom 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
    God has written His laws on men’s hearts; their consciences witness this fact.

    1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
    1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

    Rejecting the witness of the (Holy) Spirit can result in evil spirits searing the human conscience.

    Tit 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
    It is possible for the conscience to become defiled.

    Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
    Heb 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
    1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

    There are both ‘good’ (one open to God) and ‘evil’ consciences.

    So Ryan, you need to answer your own question,”Did I get given (or develope) a bung conscience?”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  198. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    You’re right, GetStaffed. Upon a little inspection, what I was really saying is that my conscience finds it wrong for me to act in any way to condemn or prevent consenting adults from doing what they want with their lives.

    I suppose I would feel guilty about it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  199. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    Ryan, you can suspend your conscience in respect of me. I want to have others hold me accountable for my morality, mainly because I believe it is healthy for me, and for the society that I contribute to.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  200. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull [September 16th, 2009 at 2:13 pm],

    Excellent, Kris. I can demonstrate.

    Why ought I follow the law?
    Why ought I avoid contracting cancer?
    Why ought I avoid having my nose rearranged?
    You ought not to break God’s laws because there is a consequence in doing so.
    Why ought I avoid those consequences?

    No reason I guess if you have masochistic tendencies. (Spending eternity in hell would have to be the ultimate masochistic wet dream).

    Of course, if you don’t lean ‘that way’ then contravening the above examples may not be a particularly pleasent prospect. But you do indeed have the free will to choose which ‘path’ you will follow. But having chosen a particular ‘path’ you no longer have any influence on likely outcomes. The human condition.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  201. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Ryan, you can suspend your conscience in respect of me. I want to have others hold me accountable for my morality, mainly because I believe it is healthy for me, and for the society that I contribute to.

    That’s where we start getting into interesting things called metavalues.

    For example, even if you and I have vastly different value systems (unlikely), we may share a value for people living up to their own values. Along with that goes a distaste for hypocrisy (people failing to live up to their own values).

    So if you and I both perfectly live up to our value systems, which may be different, we may share an appreciation for each other that we have done just that.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  202. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    No reason I guess if you have masochistic tendencies. (Spending eternity in hell would have to be the ultimate masochistic wet dream).

    Of course, if you don’t lean ‘that way’ then contravening the above examples may not be a particularly pleasent prospect. But you do indeed have the free will to choose which ‘path’ you will follow. But having chosen a particular ‘path’ you no longer have any influence on likely outcomes. The human condition.

    That still doesn’t solve the problem of justification. I was originally explaining to James why you can’t derive an ought from an is.

    Each of the examples you gave required some prior “ought” for them to make sense. You say I should not speed because it is against the law – that implies that one should not break the law, which raises the question again: why should I not break the law?

    You say I should not smoke because it will probably give me cancer – that implies that one should avoid getting cancer, which raises the question again: why should I avoid getting cancer?

    And so on. Your answer to those questions will raise similar questions.

    “Because cancer is painful, and it kills you.”
    Why should I try to live longer rather than shorter?
    Why should I try to avoid pain?

    Eventually you reach things that are not justifications, but rather simple facts of one’s existence. This is not deriving an ought from an is in the relevant sense, however, because “I just do” does not meet the requirements of the notion of justification. There’s no way to compare one “I just do” with another.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  203. James (1,338 comments) says:

    I OUGHT to eat,drink,sleep,breath,exercise etc because the fact IS I am a human being and to live (life and death being the ultimate absolutes for motal creatures such as us) I MUST do those things….to not do so is to die….the unavoidable absolute.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  204. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    I OUGHT to eat,drink,sleep,breath,exercise etc because the fact IS I am a human being and to live (life and death being the ultimate absolutes for motal creatures such as us) I MUST do those things….to not do so is to die….the unavoidable absolute.

    Why ought you live for as long as possible?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  205. James (1,338 comments) says:

    This sums it up so well…

    “It is only an ultimate goal, and end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible. Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. Epistemologically, the concept of “value” is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of “life.” To speak of “value” as apart from “life” is worse than a contradiction in terms. “It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible.”

    In answer to those philosophers who claim that no relation can be established between ultimate ends or values and the facts of reality, let me stress that the fact that living entities exist and function necessitates the existence of values and of an ultimate value which for any given living entity is its own life. Thus the validation of value judgments is to be achieved by reference to the facts of reality. The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do. So much for the issue of the relation between “is” and “ought.”

    Ayn Rand

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  206. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Those who can’t do, quote.

    Rand fails to address my point, as you do by cut-and-pasting.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  207. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Sorry, that was unfair.

    Rand is saying that life is a prerequisite for valuing, and that is true. Life is also a prerequisite for preferring one ice cream flavour to another. Doesn’t change that one can no more derive moral value from the fact “I am alive” than one can derive which ice cream flavour to buy from the fact “I am alive”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  208. James (1,338 comments) says:

    “Those who can’t do, quote.

    Rand fails to address my point, as you do by cut-and-pasting.”

    I don’t waste time reinventing the wheel.When someone has already said what I intend to I let them do so…My ego is well ok with this.

    “Doesn’t change that one can no more derive moral value from the fact “I am alive” than one can derive which ice cream flavour to buy from the fact “I am alive”.

    Ryan …thats so nonsensical I am stunned.Theres no escaping the FACT that if one is alive and wishes to remain so then discovering and implementing moral values is inescapable….reality makes it so.Just as the fish is unable to avoid the corollary fact of its nature that it needs water to breath and live in then so must man accept and respect the definded requirements and limits set by his nature.

    You yourself,to be still alive and blogging after all this time, must also have to be basing decisions on what is to still be alive and kicking here…..otherwise you would be long dead and gone….so why do YOU do it?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  209. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Ryan …thats so nonsensical I am stunned.Theres no escaping the FACT that if one is alive and wishes to remain so then discovering and implementing moral values is inescapable….reality makes it so.Just as the fish is unable to avoid the corollary fact of its nature that it needs water to breath and live in then so must man accept and respect the definded requirements and limits set by his nature.

    You yourself,to be still alive and blogging after all this time, must also have to be basing decisions on what is to still be alive and kicking here…..otherwise you would be long dead and gone….so why do YOU do it?

    For many reasons, almost all of them not being simply to stay alive.

    For example, I want to have a drink with DPF and others tomorrow night. I can’t do that if I don’t stay alive till then. So my continued living is a means to that end, but that end cannot be derived purely from the fact “I am alive”.

    If the things you call “moral values” are simply “those things which predictably bring about my continued existence”, then can you explain why you are engaged in this conversation right now, when you could be reading about diets, eating healthy food, exercising, checking your house for potential electrical faults, etc?

    I think I could make this clearer if you give me an example of a moral value you think can be derived purely from the fact that you are alive. Finish this sentence:

    “Because I am alive, I should…”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  210. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Ryan…..I see my mistake.I assumed you were a person who wished to remain alive….as Rand assumed a rational being would want to.But she was not considering those who for some reason don’t…..

    From here…http://www.objectivistcenter.org/cth–1285-IsOught_Dichotomy.aspx

    …”O’Neil’s criticism takes it for granted that the purpose of ethics is to provide a basis for morally condemning others; therefore, if it is possible for someone to act against the Objectivist ethics without the ethics providing a basis for condemning him, that is an essential failure of the ethical system.

    The idea of moral condemnation as the basic purpose of ethics comes from some elements of the Christian tradition, and is supported by the Kantian tradition; through most of the 20th century it was completely dominant and taken for granted in the philosophy profession (and mostly still so in 1984 when O’Neil wrote his article); but in the past two decades it has become much less dominant. While Rand did regard moral judgment, both positive and negative, as extremely important (mostly as a means for deciding which people it is in your interest to deal with), the idea of condemnation as the central purpose of ethics was completely foreign to her; the purpose of Rand’s ethics is not to provide a basis for condemning those who don’t choose to live, IT IS TO GUIDE THE ACTIONS OF THOSE WHO DO.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  211. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull [September 16th, 2009 at 4:03 pm],

    Sorry, that was unfair.

    Rand is saying that life is a prerequisite for valuing, and that is true. Life is also a prerequisite for preferring one ice cream flavour to another. Doesn’t change that one can no more derive moral value from the fact “I am alive” than one can derive which ice cream flavour to buy from the fact “I am alive”.

    Once again Ryan (and I think James has highlighted this), the fact that we have life; the fact that we exist at all, reveals the Creator God. And this presumes that if we were ‘created’ then there is a purpose to our very existence. If the creator God is a moral being, and we were originally created in His image, then we likewise are moral beings. And just as we reflect our Creator, then our morals should also be a reflection of His morals; His values.

    I believe our conscience (to a degree) is a reflection of God’s value system; more so if we submit to Him, less so if we do not. So thus our very existence reveals that we are moral creatures, and that our morals are (or should be) based upon God’s values, and God’s values are absolute. Therefore, ultimately, there are absolute objective moral values that we are to adhere to. And, as such, we have no right to subjectively develop our own moral system. We may try (I think Satan did this), but there are very real consequences for rejecting God’s value system, and we will reap those consequences both in this life (as evidenced in today’s society), and the next (without receiving the redemption for Adam and Eve’s original breaking of God’s law which we inherit through Adam).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  212. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Ryan…..I see my mistake.I assumed you were a person who wished to remain alive….as Rand assumed a rational being would want to.But she was not considering those who for some reason don’t…..

    That’s still not addressing the logical inconsistency in what she is saying.

    You still haven’t shown how one can derive an ought from an is, a value from a fact.

    You can say that people do value living, but that is not showing how that one ought to stay alive can be derived from the fact that one is alive.

    Deriving a bunch of oughts from “I ought to live” makes plenty of sense, which is what you and Rand are doing. But those are oughts from oughts, not ought from an is.

    I am asking you to (and you are claiming to be able to) complete the sentence:

    “Because I am alive (is), I should… (ought)”

    What you are doing instead is repeating:

    “Because I ought to live (ought), I should… (ought)”

    You claim that a rational being would want to stay alive. That itself is a logical leap.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  213. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    And regarding your quote, I have not said anything about condemnation. I am speaking of values purely as a system for personal decision-making, as is Rand. She is just making logical errors.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  214. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    There is an alternative source of a good values system – it’s called common sense.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  215. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Cerium [September 16th, 2009 at 4:53 pm],

    There is an alternative source of a good values system – it’s called common sense.

    Cerium, so called ‘common sense’ is derived from the conscience. And I suggest, if you haven’t already, that you read back over some of my (and others’) comments regarding the conscience, and where it comes from.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  216. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Sorry, James. I have to go soon. Will dive back in tomorrow. Have a good night.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  217. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    My conscience comes from what I have learned from my parents and my life experiences.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  218. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “Once again Ryan (and I think James has highlighted this), the fact that we have life; the fact that we exist at all, reveals the Creator God. ”

    The only thing it reveals in itself is the fact we exist, and the universe exists, as opposed to them not existing, anything more is not a fact, rather an interpretation.

    “Cerium, so called ‘common sense’ is derived from the conscience. And I suggest, if you haven’t already, that you read back over some of my (and others’) comments regarding the conscience, and where it comes from.”

    This is your interpretation of where it comes from. It could also come from basically well common sense, what humanity has learnt to survive and prosper. This suits me because we are always learning new things and accordingly common sense develops with it. For example common sense told native people when they got hit by influenza (due to no immunity) and had high temperatures to sit in lakes / rivers. Clearly this isn’t really a good idea and accordingly common sense has developed. Much like people have historically liked to persecute differences, be it because they wrote with their left hand or were attracted to members of the same sex. Previously our understandings were both were things which needed to be cured, now we understand better. Well most do, some get caught on trivial parts of ancient lore.

    “I believe our conscience (to a degree) is a reflection of God’s value system; more so if we submit to Him, less so if we do not. So thus our very existence reveals that we are moral creatures, and that our morals are (or should be) based upon God’s values, and God’s values are absolute.”

    Your entire line of reasoning is a convoluted chain. By believing that our conscience is gods will imposed upon us and the fact we have a conscience is therefore proof that god exists. It proves nothing other than we have a sense of morality, which there is no need for it to come from god and accordingly no need for it to be absolute, rather the opposite, as is proven by what is seen as morally correct by ones conscience being highly differential from which part of the world and culture one comes from.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  219. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    It is the fact that so many rely on there being a “better” life after this, I think, that devalues this one, and makes it a worse place to live.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  220. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    transmogrifier [September 16th, 2009 at 8:00 pm],

    It is the fact that so many rely on there being “NO” life after this, I think, that devalues this one, and makes it a worse place to live.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  221. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    How do you figure, Kris? Doesn’t the knowledge/belief that after this life you will have infinite eternal bliss kind of make this life, by contrast, an infinitely small, infinitely unpleasant preface?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  222. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    Christian philosopher and apologist Dr William Lane Craig puts the problem of morality without God rather neatly –

    It would, indeed, be arrogant and ignorant to claim that people cannot be good without belief in God. But that was not the question. The question was: can we be good without God? When we ask that question, we are posing in a provocative way the meta-ethical question of the objectivity of moral values. Are the values we hold dear and guide our lives by mere social conventions akin to driving on the left versus right side of the road or mere expressions of personal preference akin to having a taste for certain foods or not? Or are they valid independently of our apprehension of them, and if so, what is their foundation? Moreover, if morality is just a human convention, then why should we act morally, especially when it conflicts with self-interest? Or are we in some way held accountable for our moral decisions and actions? …

    Now it is important that we remain clear in understanding the issue before us. The question is not: Must we believe in God in order to live moral lives? There is no reason to think that atheists and theists alike may not live what we normally characterize as good and decent lives. Similarly, the question is not: Can we formulate a system of ethics without reference to God? If the non-theist grants that human beings do have objective value, then there is no reason to think that he cannot work out a system of ethics with which the theist would also largely agree. Or again, the question is not: Can we recognize the existence of objective moral values without reference to God? The theist will typically maintain that a person need not believe in God in order to recognize, say, that we should love our children. Rather, as humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz puts it, “The central question about moral and ethical principles concerns this ontological foundation. If they are neither derived from God nor anchored in some transcendent ground, are they purely ephemeral?”

    There was a famous radio debate between philosopher Bertrand Russell and Jesuit philosopher and historian of philosophy Frederick Copleston which went –

    Bertrand Russell [BR]: You see, I feel that some things are good and that other things are bad. I love the things that are good, that I think are good, and I hate the things that I think are bad. I don’t say that these things are good because they participate in the Divine goodness.

    Frederick Copleston [FC]: Yes, but what’s your justification for distinguishing between good and bad or how do you view the distinction between them?

    BR: I don’t have any justification any more than I have when I distinguish between blue and yellow. What is my justification for distinguishing between blue and yellow? I can see they are different.

    FC: Well, that is an excellent justification, I agree. You distinguish blue and yellow by seeing them, so you distinguish good and bad by what faculty?

    BR: By my feelings.

    Feelings….

    As Christian apologist Dr Ravi Zacharias said in The Atheists Challenge, if Copleston weren’t such a gentleman, he might have asked, “in some cultures they love their neighbors; in others they eat them, both on the basis of feeling. Do you have any preference?”

    Even Richard Dawkins said, “I’m a passionate Darwinian when it comes to science, when it comes to explaining the world, but I’m a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to morality and politics”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  223. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Rather, as humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz puts it, “The central question about moral and ethical principles concerns this ontological foundation. If they are neither derived from God nor anchored in some transcendent ground, are they purely ephemeral?”

    As usual, both atheist and theist thinkers ask meaningless questions before giving meaningless answers.

    “The central question about preference in ice-cream flavours concerns this ontological foundation. If it is neither derived from God nor anchored in some transcendent ground, is it purely ephemeral?”

    That is how absurd Kurtz’s question appears when the contextual nature of value is fully understood. To suggest that morality is impossible without some “transcendent” morality is like suggesting that taste in music is impossible without some “transcendent” value of music.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  224. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan 9:50 am,

    While I agree that the Christian’s view of heaven makes this life seem like a dim reflection, I do feel that belief in the next ‘life’ actually is linked to an overall sense of purpose. This sense of purpose makes our earthly existence have purpose as well. If there is no ultimate purpose to life then this life makes no sense either. So that actually makes this life ‘larger’ and more ‘pleasant’ strangely enough.
    That’s my thinking anyway, and I think other Christians share a similar belief in my experience.

    [PS Did you see my 4:40 pm (yesterday) comment to you?]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  225. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Fletch [September 17th, 2009 at 10:09 am],

    As Christian apologist Dr Ravi Zacharias said in The Atheists Challenge, if Copleston weren’t such a gentleman, he might have asked, “in some cultures they love their neighbors; in others they eat them, both on the basis of feeling. Do you have any preference?”

    This is the nub of moral thinking: If conscience forms the basis for our morals, then where does our conscience come from?
    As I tried to point out yesterday Ryan, either our conscience is submitted to God; and thus our morals are absolute and objectively based on God’s values, or, they are not submitted to God; and are therefore subjective to our ‘feelings’ and nothing else.

    Even Richard Dawkins said, “I’m a passionate Darwinian when it comes to science, when it comes to explaining the world, but I’m a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to morality and politics”

    The second part of Dawkins sentence is very interesting, and quite revealing for an atheist to make.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  226. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Kris,

    Can you explain what you mean by life “making sense”?

    I think you’re right about Christians seeing this life as important, or as perhaps an integral and important part of the eternal foreseeable future.

    Once again Ryan (and I think James has highlighted this), the fact that we have life; the fact that we exist at all, reveals the Creator God. And this presumes that if we were ‘created’ then there is a purpose to our very existence. If the creator God is a moral being, and we were originally created in His image, then we likewise are moral beings. And just as we reflect our Creator, then our morals should also be a reflection of His morals; His values.

    Except when they’ve been defiled.

    I believe our conscience (to a degree) is a reflection of God’s value system; more so if we submit to Him, less so if we do not. So thus our very existence reveals that we are moral creatures, and that our morals are (or should be) based upon God’s values, and God’s values are absolute. Therefore, ultimately, there are absolute objective moral values that we are to adhere to. And, as such, we have no right to subjectively develop our own moral system. We may try (I think Satan did this), but there are very real consequences for rejecting God’s value system, and we will reap those consequences both in this life (as evidenced in today’s society), and the next (without receiving the redemption for Adam and Eve’s original breaking of God’s law which we inherit through Adam).

    Do you really think you can choose what to find moral and what to find immoral?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  227. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    As I tried to point out yesterday Ryan, either our conscience is submitted to God; and thus our morals are absolute and objectively based on God’s values, or, they are not submitted to God; and are therefore subjective to our ‘feelings’ and nothing else.

    Yes, but if “absolute and objectively based on XXXX” means nothing, then it is not an indictment of morality to say that it is a feeling and “nothing else”. There is nothing else it could be, so it is the most it can be.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  228. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull [September 17th, 2009 at 10:39 am],

    That is how absurd Kurtz’s question appears when the contextual nature of value is fully understood. To suggest that morality is impossible without some “transcendent” morality is like suggesting that taste in music is impossible without some “transcendent” value of music.

    And just as I would argue that conscience (and therefore morals) come from God (we can silence God’s influencing our conscience of course), I would argue that music appreciation ultimately comes from God as well. If God created beauty He therefore gives us the ability to appreciate that beauty.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  229. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    And just as I would argue that conscience (and therefore morals) come from God (we can silence God’s influencing our conscience of course), I would argue that music appreciation ultimately comes from God as well. If God created beauty He therefore gives us the ability to appreciate that beauty.

    I use the example because it’s more common for people to understand the combination of meaningfulness and subjectivity in taste than in morality. Your view is pretty old-school. Thomas Aquinas was quite certain that God was the source of all standards of beauty too.

    So how about preference in flavours of ice cream? Even if you believe that God is the source of which is the best ice-cream flavour, do you see that it can mean something for someone to say, “My favourite flavour is French vanilla” without God existing? That the absence of God does not render such statements meaningless?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  230. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull 11:09 am,

    Do you really think you can choose what to find moral and what to find immoral?

    I beleive it’s more a matter of whether we choose to accept God’s values as ‘impressed upon us by our consciece, or whether we reject His ‘voice’ and attempt to derive our own subjective values.

    Ryan Sproull 11:11 am,

    Yes, but if “absolute and objectively based on XXXX” means nothing, then it is not an indictment of morality to say that it is a feeling and “nothing else”. There is nothing else it could be, so it is the most it can be.

    If you believe xxxx = nothing, then indeed our ‘feelings’ determine our morals. But we still have the problem; where do those ‘feelings’ come from? And whether we believe in God or not, I am arguing that our ‘feelings’ equates to our ‘conscience’ which comes from God. This is the thing I believe that separates man from the animals; the conscience; the ability to make moral choices in the first place.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  231. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    I beleive it’s more a matter of whether we choose to accept God’s values as ‘impressed upon us by our consciece, or whether we reject His ‘voice’ and attempt to derive our own subjective values.

    Well, it doesn’t seem to me that belief is a choice either. If something appears to be true to you, you can’t help but believe that it is true. If something appears untrue to you, you can’t help but believe that it is untrue.

    I don’t think you could choose to stop believing that God exists, for example.

    If you believe xxxx = nothing, then indeed our ‘feelings’ determine our morals. But we still have the problem; where do those ‘feelings’ come from? And whether we believe in God or not, I am arguing that our ‘feelings’ equates to our ‘conscience’ which comes from God. This is the thing I believe that separates man from the animals; the conscience; the ability to make moral choices in the first place.

    How does your conscience present itself to you, if not as feelings? You feel a desire to do what is right, a desire to abstain from what is wrong, happiness when you do what is right, guilt when you do what is wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  232. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull 11:30 am,

    I use the example because it’s more common for people to understand the combination of meaningfulness and subjectivity in taste than in morality. Your view is pretty old-school. Thomas Aquinas was quite certain that God was the source of all standards of beauty too.

    So how about preference in flavours of ice cream? Even if you believe that God is the source of which is the best ice-cream flavour, do you see that it can mean something for someone to say, “My favourite flavour is French vanilla” without God existing? That the absence of God does not render such statements meaningless?

    Perhaps your ‘favourite icecream’ is more akin to the ‘type’ of music you enjoy/prefer.
    So while your ‘favourites’ may be ‘vanilla’ and ‘jazz’, this is perhaps an indication that God made each of us as unique individuals with preferences (not necessarliy pre-programmed but choice/exposure derived). And because there is no ‘moral’ value placed upon what your favourite ice cream or music may be, then we are free to choose, and God gives us this freedom. Just as choosing to wear a yellow shirt is not a ‘moral’ choice.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  233. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull 11:48 am,

    Well, it doesn’t seem to me that belief is a choice either. If something appears to be true to you, you can’t help but believe that it is true. If something appears untrue to you, you can’t help but believe that it is untrue.
    I don’t think you could choose to stop believing that God exists, for example.

    I would argue that each of us is presented with the same evidence. It’s more a matter of whether we accept the implications of that evidence. For example, I believe that if someone denies God exists it is despite the evidence. And as I said before, I believe that our feelings/conscience are (one of) the evidence(s) of God’s existence, and thus our values (should) come from Him.

    How does your conscience present itself to you, if not as feelings? You feel a desire to do what is right, a desire to abstain from what is wrong, happiness when you do what is right, guilt when you do what is wrong.

    Exactly. I believe feelings are the same as conscience in the area of moral choice. If submitted to God then my desires are attuned to His desires/vaues. Thus doing right pleases God; and I have peace, while doing wrong displeases Him; and i don’t have peace.
    Even the unsubmitted conscience responds this way, although in a more dulled sense. For example, murder is wrong, but with perhaps more exceptions.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  234. Fletch (6,104 comments) says:

    “The central question about preference in ice-cream flavours concerns this ontological foundation. If it is neither derived from God nor anchored in some transcendent ground, is it purely ephemeral?”

    Yes, well the way you’ve re-phrased the statement says it all – preference. You’ve reduced down morality once again to preference. And if it’s my preference over your preference there is still no objective standard without an absolute force of good and one of evil. It’s just the same as Bertrand Russell’s yellow and blue colors.

    Mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer said in an interview –

    If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing..

    That’s what it comes down to. If there is no God, then it’s only Dahmers’ preference against yours, so why should his preference be denied if we’re only ultimately derived from pond scum?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  235. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Fletch,

    Jeffrey Dahmer is a one-in-a-million mass-murderer and cannibal. And quite possibly a little funny in the head. If he’s your example of an atheist/agnostic or the end-point of atheism, then you really need to get out more.

    Are you saying that you’d be a Jeffrey Dahmer if not for the restraining influence of your religion?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  236. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    Is that the modern threat? If you don’t believe in God or if you believe in evolution you are no better than pond scum? I guess it doesn’t put the shitters up the little kids as burning in hell.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  237. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Yes, well the way you’ve re-phrased the statement says it all – preference. You’ve reduced down morality once again to preference. And if it’s my preference over your preference there is still no objective standard without an absolute force of good and one of evil. It’s just the same as Bertrand Russell’s yellow and blue colors.

    Yes, and if morality is by definition preference, inherently preference, essentially preference, logically necessarily preference, then it’s not a question of “reducing down” at all. There is nothing “more” that morality could be, and there is no standard by which it is “lesser” for being what it is: preference.

    My point was that statements of preference do not lose their meaning because there is no objective source of preferability in the world, and by analogy that statements of moral value do not lose their meaning because there is no objective source of morality in the world.

    That’s what it comes down to. If there is no God, then it’s only Dahmers’ preference against yours, so why should his preference be denied if we’re only ultimately derived from pond scum?

    I prefer that his preference be denied. Collectively, almost all of us prefer that his preference be denied. I can say his actions are wrong-to-me, wrong-to-you and wrong-to-us, and those statements retain meaning regardless of the fact that it is not possible to say that his actions are Wrong.

    If I capitalise the initial letters of the words you use that require, for their meaning, a framework of “absolute” morality or value, my point may be clearer.

    You ask, “If there is no God, then it is Only his preference against yours, so why Should his preference be denied if we’re Only Ultimately derived from pond scum?”

    Look at the sentence with your absolute-referential language removed or changed to contextual terms and you will see that there is no problem from my perspective.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  238. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    I would argue that each of us is presented with the same evidence. It’s more a matter of whether we accept the implications of that evidence. For example, I believe that if someone denies God exists it is despite the evidence. And as I said before, I believe that our feelings/conscience are (one of) the evidence(s) of God’s existence, and thus our values (should) come from Him.

    I also don’t find myself able to choose how to interpret evidence. How I interpret evidence is not up to me, and that is a major reason why what I believe to be true is not up to me.

    Exactly. I believe feelings are the same as conscience in the area of moral choice. If submitted to God then my desires are attuned to His desires/vaues. Thus doing right pleases God; and I have peace, while doing wrong displeases Him; and i don’t have peace.
    Even the unsubmitted conscience responds this way, although in a more dulled sense. For example, murder is wrong, but with perhaps more exceptions.

    Like the death penalty.

    Then isn’t morality presented to us as feelings – among other, sometimes competing, feelings?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  239. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull 12:37 pm,

    I also don’t find myself able to choose how to interpret evidence. How I interpret evidence is not up to me, and that is a major reason why what I believe to be true is not up to me.

    So who is it up to? Who interprets the evidence on your behalf? And who determines what you believe to be true?

    Like the death penalty.
    Then isn’t morality presented to us as feelings – among other, sometimes competing, feelings?

    But isn’t this more an issue of interpreting your feelings/conscience regarding moral choices? Because we are imperfect beings this means we will get some variation based on interpretation, but this doesn’t necessarily alter the objective standard – it just means we got it wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  240. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    So who is it up to? Who interprets the evidence on your behalf? And who determines what you believe to be true?

    That’s like asking who feels pain for me if I’m burned. Belief is something that happens to you, not something you do.

    But isn’t this more an issue of interpreting your feelings/conscience regarding moral choices? Because we are imperfect beings this means we will get some variation based on interpretation, but this doesn’t necessarily alter the objective standard – it just means we got it wrong.

    It seems clear to me that “objective standard” is a logical impossibility, because all you are doing when you call a standard “objective” is calling it “the best”. And to do that, you must be implying some prior standard by which you are judging it as the best.

    That aside, my point here was that subjective/contextual moral statements aren’t rendered meaningless by a lack of God.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  241. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull 1:08 pm,

    That’s like asking who feels pain for me if I’m burned. Belief is something that happens to you, not something you do.

    No, belief is something you develope based on objective observation of the evidence.

    It seems clear to me that “objective standard” is a logical impossibility, because all you are doing when you call a standard “objective” is calling it “the best”. And to do that, you must be implying some prior standard by which you are judging it as the best.

    No, the “objective standard” is given to us by the ‘absolute authority’ as evidenced by our conscience. And the conscience can be further enhanced by the Spirit of God and the word of God. My whole submitted conscience argument.

    That aside, my point here was that subjective/contextual moral statements aren’t rendered meaningless by a lack of God.

    And I believe they are meaningless if there is no God. Without God subjective/contextual morals would only be based on feelings/conscience. And feelings/conscience are meaningless without God. If there is no God then man is just another animal without the ability to make moral choices.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  242. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    No, belief is something you develope based on objective observation of the evidence.

    Could you choose to believe that the seat under you does not exist?

    No, the “objective standard” is given to us by the ‘absolute authority’ as evidenced by our conscience. And the conscience can be further enhanced by the Spirit of God and the word of God. My whole submitted conscience argument.

    By which standard is God’s morality best?

    And I believe they are meaningless if there is no God. Without God subjective/contextual morals would only be based on feelings/conscience. And feelings/conscience are meaningless without God. If there is no God then man is just another animal without the ability to make moral choices.

    Then do you believe that the statement “I prefer French vanilla to all other ice cream flavours” is meaningless?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  243. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull 1:40 pm,

    Could you choose to believe that the seat under you does not exist?

    No, that would go against the objective observed evidence. (And of course the seat is morally neutral)

    By which standard is God’s morality best?

    God’s standard is the ‘standard’.

    Then do you believe that the statement “I prefer French vanilla to all other ice cream flavours” is meaningless?

    In a moral sense it is meaningless.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  244. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    No, that would go against the objective observed evidence.

    So the evidence makes you believe, you don’t choose whether or not to believe the evidence.

    God’s standard is the ’standard’.

    So all you’re saying is that God’s morality is the best by the standards of God’s morality.

    In a moral sense it is meaningless.

    But as an expression of preference, and as an expression of the experience of preference, it is meaningful, right? It means something.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  245. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    There is no observed evidence of a god – a belief is an opinion not based on proof, that is what belief means.

    be⋅lief
    –noun
    1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
    4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.

    Belief used to mean “trust in God”

    Encyclopedia- belief
    a mental attitude of acceptance or assent toward a proposition without the full intellectual knowledge required to guarantee its truth
    Belief in someone or something is basically different from belief that a proposition is true

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  246. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull 1:56 pm,

    So the evidence makes you believe, you don’t choose whether or not to believe the evidence.

    You choose to believe based on the evidence; ignoring the evidence doesn’t alter tha fact.

    So all you’re saying is that God’s morality is the best by the standards of God’s morality.

    Yes, God is the standard. There is no higher standard. ‘Best’ becomes meaningless; God is the ONLY standard.

    But as an expression of preference, and as an expression of the experience of preference, it is meaningful, right? It means something.

    Not in a moral sense. (In the same way as choosing to wear a yellow shirt is not a moral choice.)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  247. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    You choose to believe based on the evidence; ignoring the evidence doesn’t alter tha fact.

    Therefore you could, if you chose, believe that there was no chair beneath you.

    Yes, God is the standard. There is no higher standard. ‘Best’ becomes meaningless; God is the ONLY standard.

    But there clearly are other standards by which behaviour can be evaluated.

    Not in a moral sense. (In the same way as choosing to wear a yellow shirt is not a moral choice.)

    That’s irrelevant at this point. What I am saying is that the statement is not rendered meaningless by the lack of an objective standard for evaluating ice-cream flavours.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  248. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull 2:14 pm,

    Therefore you could, if you chose, believe that there was no chair beneath you.

    Only in the same way you could choose to believe there is no God despite the evidence.

    But there clearly are other standards by which behaviour can be evaluated.

    Not in an objective way.

    That’s irrelevant at this point. What I am saying is that the statement is not rendered meaningless by the lack of an objective standard for evaluating ice-cream flavours.

    It is meaningless in a moral sense. It is also a subjective choice. Even though it may be a ‘meaningful’ ‘preference’ to you.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  249. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Only in the same way you could choose to believe there is no God despite the evidence.

    So could you choose not to believe in God for the next, say, three hours. Then start again?

    Not in an objective way.

    But what does “objective” mean if not “best”?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  250. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “Only in the same way you could choose to believe there is no God despite the evidence.”

    What evidence, there is no definitive evidence he / it/ she / they exist. The only evidence is human testimony on how he has touched their life, that is it. Comparing that to choosing not to believe a chair is beneath you is false.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  251. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “Yes, God is the standard. There is no higher standard. ‘Best’ becomes meaningless; God is the ONLY standard.”

    Says who, a book. Many books say their way is the best. Many religions, and ethnic groups say their morality is not only the best, but the only correct one. Why? Cause a book says so. How can that be the best way, with everything we have been given to determine what is best, or what is only acceptible? Further those who misinterept the bible, are they damned because their interpretation is incorrect. Many (would argue most modern) christians do not side with the idea that homosexuality is a sin, many do. Further some believe that if you have not asked forgiveness for a sin then you cant be forgiven. Accordingly if your interpretation is incorrect, on some grounds say the commandment love your neighbour as you love yourself, overrode the original interpretation, and therefore by judging homosexuals as devients and sinners you have sinned, but you think you havent so you dont ask for forgiveness, and if your judgement that gods morality is absolute then your fucked. If the opposite others fucked.

    It makes no sense, as it shouldnt. Moriality is not absolute. Further humans have been given the ability to determine moriality, whether this gift be by evolution or god is near irrelevant, we have it, and we have it without relying on text.

    I mean other wise effectively of all the religions on earth, only one have got it right. If god really loves us that much it seems a pretty sick joke.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  252. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Jeff,

    You have to understand that, to the theist, “God exists” is not just a statement that happens to be true in their worldview and not true in yours. Their whole worldview is a God-exists-worldview, just as yours is a God-doesn’t-exist-worldview. These differences are so fundamental that the very meaning of words is different depending on the framework. The theist cannot imagine a world in which God does not exist any more than you can imagine a world in which mathematics doesn’t exist. You can both try, but all you’ll be doing is imagining the same world without a few peripheral bits and pieces, rather than imagining the radically different world that such a profound difference entails.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  253. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull 3:05 pm,

    Sorry, my brother popped around for a few hours.

    So could you choose not to believe in God for the next, say, three hours. Then start again?

    No. But even if it were possible that wouldn’t alter the fact one way or another.
    God’s existence is not dependent upon my belief of Him.

    But what does “objective” mean if not “best”?

    As soon as you link ‘objective’ and ‘best’ something becomes subjective, if you see what I mean. Especially in the biblical sense regarding God. Or likewise, I think vanilla ice cream is best, is a subjective statement.

    Exo 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
    Exo 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

    God is the pre-existant one and unable to be compared to anything within His creation. So to say God is ‘best’ is nonsensicle. Simply, God IS. Or, as He responded to Moses above, “I AM”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  254. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    No worries, Kris.

    Okay, I think this explains it better:

    Why should I do what is objectively good, rather than good according to other moral standards?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  255. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan 9:15 am,

    No worries, Kris.

    Okay, I think this explains it better:
    Why should I do what is objectively good, rather than good according to other moral standards?

    I guess ultimately it is you (the individual) that decides whether you ‘should’ do what is objectively good, or adhere to subjective standards; whether they be your standards, or other ones you may agree with (excluding the ‘objective’ good obviously by definition).

    In the same way as anything you decide to do is a free-will choice; whether they be ‘rules’, actions, thoughts, etc.
    Even the term ‘should’ implies an objective absolute standard, which points to the One who sets that standard.
    Perhaps the term ‘may’ is more appropriate to adherance to subjective standards.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  256. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    I guess ultimately it is you (the individual) that decides whether you ’should’ do what is objectively good, or adhere to subjective standards; whether they be your standards, or other ones you may agree with (excluding the ‘objective’ good obviously by definition).

    Okay, and how would I make such a decision? By which standard would I choose a standard? I hope that question’s clear.

    In the same way as anything you decide to do is a free-will choice; whether they be ‘rules’, actions, thoughts, etc.
    Even the term ’should’ implies an objective absolute standard, which points to the One who sets that standard.
    Perhaps the term ‘may’ is more appropriate to adherance to subjective standards.

    The should implies an objective absolute standard only if you’re operating within that framework to begin with. My main point here is that, for people who see value and morality as subjective, the word “should” does imply a moral standard, but it doesn’t imply an objective absolute moral standard.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  257. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    Kris, what do you think is more important, to believe in God, or to live by a good moral code?

    Some people who believe in God don’t live by a good moral code, and it is possible to live well without believing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  258. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan 10:10 am,

    Okay, and how would I make such a decision? By which standard would I choose a standard? I hope that question’s clear.

    For the unsaved person, he should listen to his conscience – this is his main link to the objective standard, and the standard maker. And while he may subjectively interpret conscience, a genuine seeking after truth will lead him ever more toward the objective truth, and, of course, to the One who sets that truth/standard.
    Of course, there are also those that have already found the Giver of the objective standard that can help the unsaved person likewise find the Giver of the objective standard.

    The should implies an objective absolute standard only if you’re operating within that framework to begin with. My main point here is that, for people who see value and morality as subjective, the word “should” does imply a moral standard, but it doesn’t imply an objective absolute moral standard.

    Perhaps the term ‘should’ means different things to individuals depending upon which side of the ‘fence’ they’re on.
    I believe, perhaps, my ‘should’ is more binding upon me than, say, your ‘should’; for no other reason than I am more accountable to the one that sets the ‘morals’ I am to adhere to. And because His standards ARE absolute.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  259. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    I believe, perhaps, my ’should’ is more binding upon me than, say, your ’should’; for no other reason than I am more accountable to the one that sets the ‘morals’ I am to adhere to. And because His standards ARE absolute.

    That’s interesting to me, because I don’t think the experience of finding one action right and another wrong is different between you and me. You are more accountable in terms of reward and punishment, perhaps. But in terms of experiencing an act as praiseworthy, good, bad or abhorrent, I think how it feels to make a moral decision is the same for both of us.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  260. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Cerium 10:11 am,

    Kris, what do you think is more important, to believe in God, or to live by a good moral code?

    Some people who believe in God don’t live by a good moral code, and it is possible to live well without believing.

    I believe that if one knows and follows God in obedience, then they will also endeavour to live in accordance with God’s absolute objective moral standard.
    Those that know Him but don’t live to His standards are disobedient (and may be punished in the here and now).
    Those that don’t know Him may listen to their conscience to ‘some’ degree, but once again this becomes a subjective choice; not an objective one.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  261. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan 10:47 am,

    That’s interesting to me, because I don’t think the experience of finding one action right and another wrong is different between you and me. You are more accountable in terms of reward and punishment, perhaps. But in terms of experiencing an act as praiseworthy, good, bad or abhorrent, I think how it feels to make a moral decision is the same for both of us.

    I think the main difference is (remember I’m imperfect too) that one of us has a ‘submitted’ conscience, while the other has an ‘unsubmitted’ conscience. So while I may have a submitted conscience, and therefore the Holy Sprit, and God’s word; you only have an ‘unsubmitted’ conscience. (I’m trying to explain, not be offensive).

    So while both of our ‘consciences’ might acknowledge that “murder is wrong”, mine is perhaps more from an ‘objective’ standard, while yours is more subjective; either by your own conscience, or by agreeance for the ‘common good’ (whatever that means). But remember that I believe all consciences ultimately come from God.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  262. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    I see where you’re coming from, but naturally, I disagree.

    Thanks for the chat, Kris. No doubt we’ll have another one soon. I enjoy this stuff more than bickering over parliamentary politics.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  263. Cerium (23,165 comments) says:

    Just as well we have a separation of religion from our politics then aye.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  264. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Ryan 11:27 am,

    Perhaps this stuff is more ‘life affirming’ than the somewhat more inconsequential political stuff I would agree.

    And when I do put forward a poltical view on other threads they are usually from a Christian/moral perspective (eg abortion, smacking, DPB, homosexuality, incest, and laws that no longer reflect a Judeo-Christian foundation, etc). As you would agree, many of the laws of our country are a direct reflection of the morals/conscience of both those that make the laws, and those that put them in power. Which is perhaps one of the main reasons I blog here, along with having meaningful conversations with people such as your good self.

    Look forward to the next duel. And thanks Ryan.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  265. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Cerium 11:34 am,

    Just as well we have a separation of religion from our politics then aye.

    It’s more the separation of good objective morals/conscience from our politics that I’m concerned about Cerium. Especially if the last nine years are anything to go by.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.