Morality and Religion

  • Thread starter Amir
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  • #51
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Now, according to you, (and correct me if I'm wrong), you say that Atheism cannot be considered a religion because there isn't an Atheist book out there that describes how an Athiest should live; a book that would define culture, values, and/or behavior.
No. I never said anything about a book, anywhere. Although you have part of my ideas correct, adding that extraneous information suggests you don't understand all of them.

Last I checked, the definition of religion doesn't speak of needing a book or anything of that sort.
No, but it does speak of beliefs and practices, a part of the definition you continue to ignore. No amount of typing is going to make the definition of religion any smaller. Neither will it make the definition of atheism any larger. I've met people who aren't atheists who are not religious. You would take that from them. I've met atheists who are not religious. Who are you to deny them that?

This talk about governing principles is off topic and not meaningful to the question at hand. You would like to define them in a way that everyone has them, yet it is plainly obvious to me that there are people who have little or no grasp of morals at all.

This need of yours to make everyone like you disturbs me.
 
  • #52
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Locrian said:
No. I never said anything about a book, anywhere. Although you have part of my ideas correct, adding that extraneous information suggests you don't understand all of them.



No, but it does speak of beliefs and practices, a part of the definition you continue to ignore. No amount of typing is going to make the definition of religion any smaller. Neither will it make the definition of atheism any larger. I've met people who aren't atheists who are not religious. You would take that from them. I've met atheists who are not religious. Who are you to deny them that?

This talk about governing principles is off topic and not meaningful to the question at hand. You would like to define them in a way that everyone has them, yet it is plainly obvious to me that there are people who have little or no grasp of morals at all.

This need of yours to make everyone like you disturbs me.
Nah, everyone loves me. :P

No, they might not have the grasps of your morality.

Do me a favor and define religion, beliefs, and practices. Also, explain to me the difference between religious beliefs and beliefs. Also define awareness and what changes one's awareness. Define mindset and values. Please define all these with your own words. And also please explain to me how they all relate.
 
  • #53
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http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=religion

Why not start with that? To make a case that atheism is a religion you must do much more than show it can meet those guidelines, you must show it always does meet those guidelines (guidelines meaning one of the above definitions). Goodluck.

Tigron-X said:
Also define awareness and what changes one's awareness. Define mindset and values.
Very funny. I see no part these things play in the current discussion. Maybe you could look them up in the above link? I don't forsee your succesfully including them. If you do, we'll worry about defining them carefully then. You keep trying to bring off topic subjects into this. I'm not so naive as to allow it. In the end, the word atheism describes very little, while the word religion describes a wider set of things (regardless of what you choose for them). Whether a god exists can certainly be a part of religion. Reading the Bible can be part of a religion. This does not mean that atheism is a religion any more than reading the bible is a religion.

It is just that simple.
 
  • #54
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Locrian said:
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=religion

Why not start with that? To make a case that atheism is a religion you must do much more than show it can meet those guidelines, you must show it always does meet those guidelines (guidelines meaning one of the above definitions). Goodluck.
Uhh... You could go with the third or forth definition. One can be his/her own spiritual leader. I'm glad you put the definition in your own words.

Locrian said:
[Very funny. I see no part these things play in the current discussion. Maybe you could look them up in the above link? I don't forsee your succesfully including them. If you do, we'll worry about defining them carefully then. You keep trying to bring off topic subjects into this. I'm not so naive as to allow it. In the end, the word atheism describes very little, while the word religion describes a wider set of things (regardless of what you choose for them). Whether a god exists can certainly be a part of religion. Reading the Bible can be part of a religion. This does not mean that atheism is a religion any more than reading the bible is a religion.

It is just that simple.
Well, would you at least take a look then? And since you won't define "religion" in your own words would you at least state the purpose for religion?

All other religions such as Christianity, Budhism, Judhism, Wicca and so on describe very little just as Atheism does. Reading the Bible is studying a religion, and thus part of a religion but not the religion. Christianity is the belief that Jesus is Lord and Savior. So seeing how Atheism is a type of religion it isn't going to have the same definition as religion. The set of beliefs that go with Atheism tend to be "No God or god", "evolution", and/or "other scientific theories". Values tend to come from humanity or society. The practice is expanding the knowledge on these. If you want to say you know people that don't practice these things. That's the same thing as a Christian saying he/she doesn't read the Bible or go to Church. Does that make him/her not a Chrisitan? Of course not, because it's his/her beliefs that determine his/her religion. Anything else pretty much determines his/her denomination.

I can consider a person with atheistic beliefs without a set denomination rather than lacking a religion.
 
  • #55
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Who cares? What's important is that atheists will define any morality they have according to human reason or human feelings, and religious people will define it according to something from without. It doesn't matter whether atheism is considered a religion or not, I think the subject of this thread presupposes that it isn't since if it was EVERYONE could be considered to be religious.

Personally I think that atheism has no real foundation to base morality on. Sure, if a morality could be based entirely on reason then I would possibly be convinced. But so far I haven't seen such a thing; they all involve a value judgement. In which case, the 'morality' is nothing but personal preference, unless one begins with the same irrational belief in the value of something.
In the spirit of honest inquiry, can anyone present a clear morality based on pure reason with no value judgement at its foundation?
 
  • #56
russ_watters
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It doesn't appear to me that athiesm fits any of those definitions.
Uhh... You could go with the third or forth definition. One can be his/her own spiritual leader.
That's pretty thin: athiests don't practice, so there are no leaders, there is only one belief, and athiests don't "pursue" it.

Sure, you can say that lack of belief is a belief, but I don't think you can similarly say that lack of a religion is a religion.
 
  • #57
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Leon said:
In the spirit of honest inquiry, can anyone present a clear morality based on pure reason with no value judgement at its foundation?
Michael Shermer recently published a book entitled The Science of Good and Evil. He uses evolutionary theory to build a case for the development of morality in humans and his theory of "provisional morality." Provisional morality is presented as a compromise between the two extemes of transcedental morality (based on the supernatural or gods) and relative morality (morality is relative like motion is relative, in a sense). I haven't completely read it yet, but it is a good read so far.
 
  • #58
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Tigron-X said:
Uhh... You could go with the third or forth definition. One can be his/her own spiritual leader.
No, you couldn't. The definition of atheism does not include practices as part of its definition, and it does not include a purpose that is pursued with zeal. An atheist can have those things, but they don't have to, and not all do.

I refuse to believe that you do not understand the difference between something that a definition does not dissallow and something a definition includes. The definition of atheism does not include the zealous pursuit of a goal, but it doesen't dissallow it. That definition of religion does include that attribute - that attribute is necessary for that definition to be met, but atheism does not necessarily contain it. Therefore atheism doesn't fit.

And since you won't define "religion" in your own words would you at least state the purpose for religion?
What part of "I'm not wandering off the subject to amuse you" don't you understand? If you had an argument, you would make it. You wouldn't be asking for clarification of these terms.

All other religions such as Christianity, Budhism, Judhism, Wicca and so on describe very little just as Atheism does.
No, they don't. All of those contain enough information in their makeup to fit the definition of religion - except atheism. A few seconds of brainstorming what attributes each of those religions contains will bring up information that fits a definition of religion. Atheism will not.

I can consider a person with atheistic beliefs without a set denomination rather than lacking a religion.
Yes, you obviously do. However, you have no reason to think so. You have no rational backing of this assertion. I'm not sure why you would stick to such a rediculous stand after it has become overwhelmingly obvious you do not have any argument to defend it. Some people have a deep, driving need to believe that other people are similar to them, and therfore are threatened by a minority of humans who say they are without religion. Other people take this stand just to aggrevate and belittle others. What your motivations are I do not know - though I must admit I'm mildly interested.

In any case,

Leon said:
Who cares?
Is probably a fair appraisal from an outside party at this point. The question of the subjectivity or relativity of morals of those without religion is of interest and I will respond to it in another post. I will not respond to the question of whether atheism is a religion unless a real, meaningful argument can be put for that it is one.
 
  • #59
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Leon said:
In the spirit of honest inquiry, can anyone present a clear morality based on pure reason with no value judgement at its foundation?
I don't believe I can do this to your satisfaction, and I do not believe it is necessary. This is because I believe morality can be built upon with a very small number of value judgements that almost no one would disagree with - and those that would disagree would have no rational reason to do so. People are fundamentally very, very similar.

For examples of these moral constructs, see the Dalai Lama's "Ethics and the New Millinium" and "Elements of Moral Philosophy" by Rachels. These are good examples of how you can begin with a statement that, although it is difficult to argue with, seems too broad to be of any use morally. Then, through the use of reason, you can build a strong moral foundation. I find these kinds of moral foundations laid out in the above books to be far stronger than the christian one I was raised on.

Now I claim that atheists can have a moral structure. I makes no claim they do. The problem in my mind isn't coming up with a moral code that is independant of religion. The problem I see is that society does not allow it to be taught. A moral code developed without religion will have many things in common with religion, but it will have differences. For this reason, religious people do not want it taught. This leaves society in the unpleasant position of having people who, since they do not have a religion and have never been taught morality without religion, have very few morals. This is something I'd like to see altered in the future.
 
  • #60
arildno
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I would like to add that having a prescriptive judgment from an imagined God as the source of your morality, happens to be deeply problematic from a moral point of view.
It means, that basically, welfare,happiness&the lives of humans are morally irrelevant concerns (they are to be swept aside if your God tells you to do so).

Personally, I regard humans who base their morality on prescriptive religion to be morally immature individuals.
 
  • #61
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Locrian said:
The problem in my mind isn't coming up with a moral code that is independant of religion. The problem I see is that society does not allow it to be taught.
I agree that there are cultural pressures to suppress exposure to atheistic morality (to many, the term 'atheistic morality' would be an oxymoron).

The majority of Americans, for instance, cannot make the distinction between religion and morality because the "traditional" upbringing includes religion intertwined with transcendental morality. The feelings of fear, guilt, and shame associated with traditional religion prevent analysis of morality outside the realm of religion. And, of course, there is also the pervasive misconception that all atheists are evil, and therefore are incapable of practicing or elucidating on any sort of morality.
 
  • #62
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russ_watters said:
It doesn't appear to me that athiesm fits any of those definitions. That's pretty thin: athiests don't practice, so there are no leaders, there is only one belief, and athiests don't "pursue" it.

Sure, you can say that lack of belief is a belief, but I don't think you can similarly say that lack of a religion is a religion.
Locrian said:
No, you couldn't. The definition of atheism does not include practices as part of its definition, and it does not include a purpose that is pursued with zeal. An atheist can have those things, but they don't have to, and not all do.
In either of the religions you have the belief or you don't; there is nothing to be pursued in terms of the initial belief. What tends to be pursued is an understanding of that belief. What is interesting about Atheism is that the belief is so simple that there isn't much to pursue in comparison to other religions, even though one can pursue what affects such a belief has on one's life. So it seems that Atheist tend to pursue science or philosophy with a zeal for the explanation of life and/or the purpose of life. Most people tend to search for a purpose to life or at least his/her own life. Something that seems to affect one's morality. Does this cause one with Atheist beliefs to be his/her own leader that uses his/her own intelligence to give one self a sense of morality or to look to others with similar beliefs; maybe both? Does that not seem similar to what others, those with beliefs in God or god(s), do?

Locrian said:
I refuse to believe that you do not understand the difference between something that a definition does not dissallow and something a definition includes. The definition of atheism does not include the zealous pursuit of a goal, but it doesen't dissallow it. That definition of religion does include that attribute - that attribute is necessary for that definition to be met, but atheism does not necessarily contain it. Therefore atheism doesn't fit.
It's true that other religions make it much easier to do so because one is given a projected image to seek after, while an Athiest must imagine something from nothing. Those that do tend to lean to explanations of nature within scientific bylaws, but of course he/she does not have to be limited to such explanations. That's the beauty of imagination. Maybe my problem with understanding the difference is because I've came to understand that I can't comprehend nothing. Nothing is always something.


Locrian said:
What part of "I'm not wandering off the subject to amuse you" don't you understand? If you had an argument, you would make it. You wouldn't be asking for clarification of these terms.
I gave my attempt but it seemed you wouldn't acknowledge it, so I'm trying to see things from your perspective so I can re-word it from your perspective to show you what I'm talking about. And maybe you can correct me from there?



Locrian said:
No, they don't. All of those contain enough information in their makeup to fit the definition of religion - except atheism. A few seconds of brainstorming what attributes each of those religions contains will bring up information that fits a definition of religion. Atheism will not.
I'm sorry; I still can't see it. I'm probablly gonna die laughing if it's just semantics.


Locrian said:
Yes, you obviously do. However, you have no reason to think so. You have no rational backing of this assertion. I'm not sure why you would stick to such a rediculous stand after it has become overwhelmingly obvious you do not have any argument to defend it. Some people have a deep, driving need to believe that other people are similar to them, and therfore are threatened by a minority of humans who say they are without religion. Other people take this stand just to aggrevate and belittle others. What your motivations are I do not know - though I must admit I'm mildly interested.
I think that's what we're trying to get to the bottom of. I only seek understanding and knowledge. The more and more I look at various religions; the more and more I see similarities on the explanations of life, and the more I see how life flows (if you would allow me to use such a metaphor) or at least the possibilities of how life flows. I admit it's a bit selfish to cause an arguement to stimulate my own imagination, but it's pure inquisitivness, and thank you. :D
 

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