Eliminating Religion

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LunaCat

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There seems to be general agreement on this thread that religion is both powerful and irrational. People are always looking for answers and religion supplies answers. Nevermind that the answers are often silly or dangerously delusional, they are still answers, and that is enough for those people simply looking for a belief system to relieve themselves of the task of continuing to look for answers about the meaning of life. This makes religion popular for many people but it doesn't fully explain religion's power.

Is some kind of spiritual belief necessary for creating a system of laws capable of developing and unifying a powerful nation? I disagree with those who would claim that human rationality alone is sufficient for creating such a legal system. We have liberal rationality and conservative rationality, but no authoritative rationality that we can agree on.

A lot of people believe in human rights, but this is nothing more than a poorly defined spiritual belief. If we can define it better, and create some authority for it, we might have something solid to base our laws on.
On the "powerful" topic... who would argue that religion is not powerful? Of course it's powerful. Who cares?

American Idol is powerful.
People's love for their favorite sports teams is powerful.
Patriotism/jingoism is powerful.

Any tribal demarcation is powerful. Who cares? You can get most of the positives from religion in other ways while softening the negatives.

People are always looking for answers and religion supplies answers.
No it doesn't. That's my point.

Not only does it *not* supply any of those answers anymore than my saying Santa supplies an answer to how your Christmas presents arrive under the tree, it doesn't even add any meaning to anyone's lives if they'd bother to spend any time reflecting on it. That a god (or an alien for that matter) created you does not add any intrinsic meaning to your life. It certainly doesn't add any pleasant intrinsic meaning to your life.

Life was so scary not having someone tell me what my meaning in life should be, but it's so much less scary now that I know my meaning is to entertain and appease the arbitrary whims of some mysterious, all-powerful, and all-knowing entity that only communicates to me through an old book and coincidences. Yes, that's definitely comforting.

What religion provides:
--a tribal demarcation you can get elsewhere
--similarly a community... that you can also get elsewhere
--an abstraction that allows you to stop thinking about "deep" questions like "why are we here" without actually even remotely answering any of your questions.

While I find the abstraction irritating, I understand that people feel the need to pretend they have answers to their nonsensical questions. But you can achieve that without all of the baggage that standardized religion brings.

I actually think it's even less the whole answers thing... and more the simple fact that once we form a belief, it's difficult to get rid of that belief. And most of these beliefs are formed by children through the direction of adults... who had theirs formed as children by adults... and so on.

Again, hence this sort of thing: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/5-barna-update/196-evangelism-is-most-effective-among-kids
 

Drifter

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On the "powerful" topic... who would argue that religion is not powerful? Of course it's powerful. Who cares?

American Idol is powerful.
People's love for their favorite sports teams is powerful.
Patriotism/jingoism is powerful.

Any tribal demarcation is powerful. Who cares? You can get most of the positives from religion in other ways while softening the negatives.
Patriotism approaches religion in it's power, but patriotism, itself, is usually well infused with religion. The other ones you mention are totally useless for any attempt at world domination unless they somehow become a religious movement that gains a lot of followers. It isn't unheard of for a secular activity to become a religion, but it has to really catch on with a lot of people to have any real power. Chemirocha is an African religion that probably will never have any great, worldwide power. It arose from a few songs by an American country and western singer, Jimmie Rodgers.
Not only does it *not* supply any of those answers anymore than my saying Santa supplies an answer to how your Christmas presents arrive under the tree, it doesn't even add any meaning to anyone's lives if they'd bother to spend any time reflecting on it. That a god (or an alien for that matter) created you does not add any intrinsic meaning to your life. It certainly doesn't add any pleasant intrinsic meaning to your life.
For you religion doesn't add any meaning to your life but for many other people it does. It's not up to you to tell them what has meaning in their lives any more than it is up to them to tell you what has meaning in your life.
What religion provides:
--a tribal demarcation you can get elsewhere
--similarly a community... that you can also get elsewhere
--an abstraction that allows you to stop thinking about "deep" questions like "why are we here" without actually even remotely answering any of your questions.
Where else can you get something that provides all three at the same time?
While I find the abstraction irritating, I understand that people feel the need to pretend they have answers to their nonsensical questions. But you can achieve that without all of the baggage that standardized religion brings.

I actually think it's even less the whole answers thing... and more the simple fact that once we form a belief, it's difficult to get rid of that belief. And most of these beliefs are formed by children through the direction of adults... who had theirs formed as children by adults... and so on.
I agree there is a lot of baggage with religion, and that beliefs are hard to get rid of, but beliefs are very important. People live their lives according to their beliefs and many are willing to fight and die for these beliefs. It seems obvious that the differing beliefs can't all be true but the question no one wants to confront is - is it possible that all beliefs are wrong? Like the song says, "nobody's right if everybody's wrong".

This brings up the question: what is so special about your beliefs that people should abandon their own in favor of yours? This isn't meant as an accusation. Since there is so much more unknown than known in life we depend on belief to function, and each individual has a unique perspective resulting in individually tailored beliefs, but removing strongly held beliefs will create a void that people will want filled.
 

AnalogRTO

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This brings up the question: what is so special about your beliefs that people should abandon their own in favor of yours? This isn't meant as an accusation. Since there is so much more unknown than known in life we depend on belief to function, and each individual has a unique perspective resulting in individually tailored beliefs, but removing strongly held beliefs will create a void that people will want filled.
Drifter, this is by far one of the most profound questions out there. What makes someone think that their brand of religion (or lack thereof) has the monopoly on the one true answer? I like to look to a book like A Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein and think about the attitudes in there. It becomes interesting to think about--what if all religions aren't wrong, but they are right instead? It makes me wonder about a corollary to your question: what is so special about your beliefs that you feel it acceptable to do harm to those who do not believe in them? We have Christians and Muslims living side-by-side in Syria, until ISIL/ISIS comes through and wholesale kills off anybody who doesn't fall in line with their dogma.

I don't push anyone to accept my beliefs or call people 'fake' if they don't follow what I consider to be the proper belief system the way I think they should. Each of us has our own wants and needs in this life, and the sooner we can accept that there are different ideas and beliefs from our own, we can all get along better.
 

Drifter

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It becomes interesting to think about--what if all religions aren't wrong, but they are right instead?
My approach to this question is to consider that the drive many of us feel to discover our connection to the universe may not be just a natural selection gimmick that gives the human race some evolutionary advantage. I like to stay open to the possibility that there is something else "out there" and that the various religions are just ways different cultures have for dealing with it.
It makes me wonder about a corollary to your question: what is so special about your beliefs that you feel it acceptable to do harm to those who do not believe in them?
Moral issues in modern times are what raise the most profound questions for those not satisfied with knee-jerk responses. We have a greater awareness of science and of the diversity of religious beliefs, and this only adds to the confusion. As humans, the best we can come up with outside of religion are 'legal rights' that satisfy the majority, but many people feel legal is not always the same as moral, and that legal rights are not always the same as human rights. Those last two beliefs are spiritual beliefs that are often expressed by nonreligious people who have nothing but personal feeling on which to base them. Add to this the belief that the majority should not dictate to minorities and you have one big mess.

But, getting away from my moral philosophizing, the most direct answer to this question, for me, is to repeat that beliefs are very important to people. Our animal nature makes it acceptable to fight off perceived threats to our survival, and, unlike other animals, we have complex, abstract beliefs and take threats to our beliefs very seriously. It would seem that the human mind is capable of overcoming mental differences in order to learn to get along, but there doesn't appear to be much evidence that this can occur on a large scale.

So I guess the next question would be - why is it so hard for us to change our beliefs?
 

ScaredyCat

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So I guess the next question would be - why is it so hard for us to change our beliefs?
This is interesting question. I think, it's because each person's beliefs grow from personal experience. Our way of reasoning and making decisions depends on our beliefs. It's like a matrix our mind is working in. Changing beliefs is as difficult as an attempt to become a different person (we simply can't "rewrite" gained experience). Well, maybe with lil exception, when our current system of beliefs absolutely not function in certain circumstances..
And even then even the most open minded people would rather look for excuses to make their current beliefs to function, than try to change whole matrix.. My thoughts.. :)
 

DLGrif

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Our human biology makes it extraordinarily difficult to admit error. We are social animals, with millions of years of evolution telling us that if you are not aligned with the majority opinion, you will be shunned or killed. Given this, it's not hard to see why the natural response to a challenge to one's beliefs (especially beliefs supported by a large community) is to dig oneself in deeper. By contrast, enlightenment is conscious, difficult, and unnatural.

The reason we draw a hard line between "legal" and "moral" is that the law is only enforced by the government, and the government is a moral entity to whom we've given up our right to force. (i.e. The government has a "monopoly on force.") Morals determine whether individual actions are right or wrong, and laws determine whether individual actions are punishable or permitted. If God were real, there would be no such distinction; God's Law would be perfectly moral and always enforced perfectly. (Such a God obviously does not exist.) In the absence of perfect divine justice, and in the absence of perfect police enforcement, moral intuition is required to allow individuals to castigate or applaud one another -- but VIOLENCE among individuals is not permitted, per the monopoly on force.

More importantly, a God who was found to be tyrannical could never be overturned or ignored, because his power is total. Likewise, a government that emulates a God's perfection attempts to quash all dissenters. Enlightenment principles do not work here, because in religious communities and theocracies, admitting error results in immediate and total loss of political power.

Even if all the good that religion lays claim to is necessarily religious, all of that combined pales in comparison to the progress that is possible when rationality, not conviction, becomes the currency of political power.
 

Drifter

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In the absence of perfect divine justice, and in the absence of perfect police enforcement, moral intuition is required to allow individuals to castigate or applaud one another

Even if all the good that religion lays claim to is necessarily religious, all of that combined pales in comparison to the progress that is possible when rationality, not conviction, becomes the currency of political power.
Both these are instances that rely on the beliefs of individuals. There is no moral standard nor any rational standard with which to base a judgement on to settle disagreements. What is moral and what is rational varies from person to person with very little unity outside of a few basics like believing murder is wrong, and even in that case there is disagreement on how to define murder. We need some kind of an authority because, without it, political power, itself, becomes the authority, and the currency of political power will always be wealth and charisma.
 

DLGrif

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I was with you until the very last statement. The society we find ourselves in is, indeed, confronted with serious moral and ethical disputes among individuals and disparate cultures. This sucks! But an appeal to consequences does not change the fact that an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent entity does not exist, and therefore, Divine Commandment Theory is no better at providing sound moral principles than, let's say, G.E.M. Anscombe's intentionality or Mill's utilitarianism.
 

Zendot

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I think we can all agree that religion can both be positive or negative. Therefore there's no need to eliminate it because the problem isn't religion per se.

As for morals and values argument that religious people, usually christians, like to throw around let me just say this, people have morals and values not because of religion, is something inherent in humanity whether you're religious or not.

Also if you don't commit morally wrong acts, like murder for example, because you might be punished by the law or by God, stop fooling yourself into thinking you're a good person. You're just afraid of the consequences. I'm always astonished at this kind of argument, if you need someone or something to tell what's right from wrong you have a bigger problem.

Good, moral and just people, do the right thing because that's what they do. It's part of them. There's not a single human being that is perfect but most of us are more often loving, kind and compassionate, just because that's what most human beings are at their core.
 

Drifter

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Since we don't all agree on which acts are right and which ones are wrong, someone in society will make that determination and also decide what the consequences will be for those who commit acts deemed to be wrong. Predetermined legal and social consequences exist because they really do influence behavior. In other words, some people will refrain from committing certain acts, not because they don't want to do these things but because they don't want to suffer the consequences. This is seen as morally acceptable, or even good, in the eyes of society. We expect people to control their impulses to a socially acceptable level. This is what good people do because it is the right thing to do. If society says that deviant sexual acts are wrong, for example, then good people will not commit those acts, and the people that get caught committing such acts will receive the justified punishment.

This is all just great, and it is the way things should be, but the question still remains - who is the authority on social moral values? The answer is simple in a society that has an absolute ruler: the ruler is the final authority. But things get complicated in a democracy. In a true democracy the majority of the people will be the authority when it comes to deciding moral issues. But in modern democracies the role of the majority is hobbled by the indefinable notion that everyone has equal rights. This is loosely interpreted to mean that some minorities are entitled to the same amount of power as the majority when it comes to creating moral law. The result is what you see today - no moral authority except for the law itself. The reality is that legal and moral have become the same thing. A lot of people are uncomfortable with this reality, but only religious people can point to a moral authority outside social law.
 

AnalogRTO

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Since we don't all agree on which acts are right and which ones are wrong, someone in society will make that determination and also decide what the consequences will be for those who commit acts deemed to be wrong. Predetermined legal and social consequences exist because they really do influence behavior. In other words, some people will refrain from committing certain acts, not because they don't want to do these things but because they don't want to suffer the consequences. This is seen as morally acceptable, or even good, in the eyes of society. We expect people to control their impulses to a socially acceptable level. This is what good people do because it is the right thing to do. If society says that deviant sexual acts are wrong, for example, then good people will not commit those acts, and the people that get caught committing such acts will receive the justified punishment.

This is all just great, and it is the way things should be, but the question still remains - who is the authority on social moral values? The answer is simple in a society that has an absolute ruler: the ruler is the final authority. But things get complicated in a democracy. In a true democracy the majority of the people will be the authority when it comes to deciding moral issues. But in modern democracies the role of the majority is hobbled by the indefinable notion that everyone has equal rights. This is loosely interpreted to mean that some minorities are entitled to the same amount of power as the majority when it comes to creating moral law. The result is what you see today - no moral authority except for the law itself. The reality is that legal and moral have become the same thing. A lot of people are uncomfortable with this reality, but only religious people can point to a moral authority outside social law.
Now the question comes up: should there be laws that are based on morals? If you think about many of our laws, they are based on violating the rights of another, not morality. Traffic laws are based on public safety in order to avoid violating the rights of another. So what laws should we base on morality? Should you ask some religious types, homosexuality and a number of other 'deviant' sexual acts should be illegal. But why should the law extend to what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom? Should we use religion to base our laws upon? If so, which one? Christianity? Islam? Buddhism? Hindu? Pastafarianism?
 

ScaredyCat

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Now the question comes up: should there be laws that are based on morals? If you think about many of our laws, they are based on violating the rights of another, not morality. Traffic laws are based on public safety in order to avoid violating the rights of another. So what laws should we base on morality? Should you ask some religious types, homosexuality and a number of other 'deviant' sexual acts should be illegal. But why should the law extend to what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom? Should we use religion to base our laws upon? If so, which one? Christianity? Islam? Buddhism? Hindu? Pastafarianism?
Ditto :thumbsup:

Drifter, I know it's difficult to admit, but I think not all the people behave good expecting a reward, and not behave bad fearing the punishment..
Now I think that moral judgments are above religious beliefs, above any beliefs. Good and bad are just words we refer to certain emotions we experience after some actions. Anger is bad, offence is bad, compassion is good, respect is good. But all these are feelings, not an ethical act!
This reminds me "Lord of Flies" the movie, where without control from adults all the kids should have been united around the strongest one, but somehow this didn't happen..
Why? Because social reward or social punishment is not what make us act one way or another. That's why idea to subordinate feelings to ethical beliefs seems to me deviant itself..
Beliefs have too many but's: murder is bad, but murder on war is good. Unlike beliefs, the feelings are always true.
Maybe just religious people more often being deaf to their feelings..
So, is what we call a moral judgement really something nurtured? Why certain feelings makes us cry, other makes us smile? Even little kids who never had social contacts (with other kids) before, experience it. And where the terms "good" and "bad" came from, our mind or our feelings?

Update:

So "good" and "bad" are probably just relative definition of our feelings (as consequences of certain actions). Ability to empathize allows us to understand (feel the same) and predict other person feelings.
In other words I could say that:
Bad deeds = actions that evoke "bad feelings" (make other person feel "bad"). And can make the person who committed this action also feel bad..
Though, dilemma is that not all the people can empathize.. :sweatdrop:
 
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Cottontail

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Interesting thread. :)

I mostly tend to regard religion as "chicken soup for the soul"--which is to say that its primary virtue seems to be making believers feel good. And that's not all bad. In fact, I'm mostly in favor of things that make a person feel good. The trouble with religions is that they're pretty hard to believe unless you grew up with a parent and a priest driving them into your brain. From the outside, most are almost laughable for the conspicuousness of their made-up-ness. At the same time, religion is serious stuff, because a lot of people are into it. Up until only a few short years ago, I used to take every opportunity to disparage religion and make fun of people who claimed to believe the things found in scripture. That I no longer do isn't a sign that I believe. Far from it. But I've regarded it long enough to see its appeal, and to convince myself that most religious practice isn't worth getting too fired up about.

On the other hand, I do strongly disagree that religion is in some way required, or is a pillar of civilization. An inevitable function of civilization, perhaps. It was certainly a major factor in the particular way in which our modern civilization got to precisely where it is now, but the ends don't justify the means, nor should they be used to over-glorify them. I sort of view the claim that religion is required as similar to the claim that some vestigial piece of anatomy--the appendix, for example--was central to human evolution. Well, ok. I mean, obviously we wouldn't be precisely the species we are if evolution hadn't at some point decided we needed whatever an appendix is or was, even if they're often worse than useless to us now. But that presumes there weren't other routes between inanimate matter and human life, and that's a much harder position to take. For me.

As for whether religious morals should be the basis of our laws: Sort of. I mean, scripture is full of silly stuff, but there are pearls of common sense in there--like the stuff about not killing, stealing, etc. So, yeah, get that basic legal framework in place, and credit religion if you need to. After that, though, things get harder for me to swallow. Anything done or not done with the aim of pleasing a deity should remain well outside the law books, IMO, and for obvious reasons: That deity hasn't appeared anytime recently to represent his/her/its wants, and the millennia-old, hand-me-down testimony of that deity's believers certainly isn't admissible as evidence under any western legal standard. If it were, then we would be in real Hell.
 

giantguy99

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So I sent that info to you via PM. I'm sure you don't want a huge amount of info about you spread over the internet any more than I do. You want to question my credentials or credibility, you damn well better back up your argument.

Considering how "convenient" it is that you yourself got that thread closed with a argument with Zeek61 and then deleted I think it would be better to ask Fruitkitty or a moderator about that thread. You see I also remember how that thread was deleted last year. But the fact of the matter is that would very likely involve privileged information that no one needs to bother the mods with since we both know the truth. You said you where a EMT once then suffered a injury that prevented you from returning to that job then you claimed you went into Software development or something that has next to nothing to with the kind of engineering you claim you have. As for the information you sent me via PM please forgive me but you could very well pretend to be someone other then yourself and I would never know. I simply will not trust a word you have to say and considering this conversation is getting off-topic I can simply ignore you because of your lack of credibility.


So, wait, let's get this straight...your arguments are based off hearsay and you haven't bothered to fact-check any of it? Well, that matches your argument about how many G's it takes to kill a person, not to mention your argument that I claimed medical expertise. Do you still want to stand behind your claim below:

Well if you want to call Fruitkitty a liar that was feeding us false information last year then be my guest. But considering I don't believe in everything I'm fed on TV or the internet like some people here on this site you can talk as much as you want. No one has to take you serious if they don't want to. If people can't handle the notion they don't check their sources of information for credibility then that is their prerogative. Just because I decided to think for myself does not mean I buy into every act out there unlike some people.


Or do you want to provide some evidence that it is not just a correlation to first-world countries having access to clean water, ample food, and better healthcare than the rest of the world?

Japan was rebuilt by the U.S after WWII which ties into why they are so prosperous. The same can be said with a lot of Asian countries as well. As for the U.S being so prosperous it is not because of our resources in the land here. It's because the U.S learned how to harness those resources. Think about this. 1/3 of the worlds landmass is found in the western hemisphere. there are going to be more resources found in the eastern hemisphere. If you're trying to say that showing compassion to our general once allegedly did not result in what became the worlds most productive and healthiest population of workers then that is a delusion anyone can believe in. The U.S used to be the worlds largest producer and consumer once. Our economy has clearly suffered due to a lack of compassion which is what has been repeatably worn away at for decades for a lot of reasons including fake christians that misrepresent the church. We are no longer the worlds largest producer anymore and It's just starting to show. I'm not going to discuss this further with you because this is getting off-topic and I don't have to take anything you say seriously.

- - - Updated - - -

Our human biology makes it extraordinarily difficult to admit error. We are social animals, with millions of years of evolution telling us that if you are not aligned with the majority opinion, you will be shunned or killed. Given this, it's not hard to see why the natural response to a challenge to one's beliefs (especially beliefs supported by a large community) is to dig oneself in deeper. By contrast, enlightenment is conscious, difficult, and unnatural.

Yes I know this is part of the reason why people believe in their own lies sometimes. Please keep in mind I'm not singling anyone out when I say that. It's just basic human psychology to react this way.


The reason we draw a hard line between "legal" and "moral" is that the law is only enforced by the government, and the government is a moral entity to whom we've given up our right to force. (i.e. The government has a "monopoly on force.") Morals determine whether individual actions are right or wrong, and laws determine whether individual actions are punishable or permitted. If God were real, there would be no such distinction; God's Law would be perfectly moral and always enforced perfectly. (Such a God obviously does not exist.) In the absence of perfect divine justice, and in the absence of perfect police enforcement, moral intuition is required to allow individuals to castigate or applaud one another -- but VIOLENCE among individuals is not permitted, per the monopoly on force.

Actually such a god does exist even though things are not perfect. Why? Because it's not gods fault that we have free will. Humans I suspect where not supposed to have free will according to gods plan but I really do think some malevolent intelligence (I don't like using primitive terms like demon because one word can't be used to describe anything that has intelligence effectively) really did trick the first people into getting free will. Honestly I'm not so sure that the "forbidden fruit" is not fruit at all in the way humans understand such things. It's people that cause all these problems not God. Just because God has decided to not destroy us all because of compassion does not make god any less real. The absence of perfect divine justice is the result of a misconception on what that really is. Would any of us really know what that is?


More importantly, a God who was found to be tyrannical could never be overturned or ignored, because his power is total. Likewise, a government that emulates a God's perfection attempts to quash all dissenters. Enlightenment principles do not work here, because in religious communities and theocracies, admitting error results in immediate and total loss of political power.

Actually that is totally incorrect. How many religions have died out because of a lack of interest in them? Quite a few actually. But I can't say I don't blame you for thinking that way because of all the misrepresentation out there about every religion in existence.


Even if all the good that religion lays claim to is necessarily religious, all of that combined pales in comparison to the progress that is possible when rationality, not conviction, becomes the currency of political power.

Actually when all these qualities meet one day because that is what is happening right now (I.E rationality, conviction, as well as religion) I think religion will work perfectly. Of course I think that will not happen in our lifetimes though. It's just happening incredibly slowly because everyone cannot see it all unless we somehow become perfect. You can't eliminate the bad things with religion without eliminating the good things as well. It is possible to make things work though if people wanted to follow a flexible religion that clearly results. People just try to see things in black and white and forget that good and evil are relative.

- - - Updated - - -

This is what good people do because it is the right thing to do. If society says that deviant sexual acts are wrong, for example, then good people will not commit those acts, and the people that get caught committing such acts will receive the justified punishment.

People not only said that about Hitler and how "good" his governance was but they also believed as well. There's a difference between punishment and justice that most people think they know all about. Unfortunately those types tend to believe in their own lies so much they think it's the truth.

This is all just great, and it is the way things should be,

Try telling that to someone who just watched their kids get slaughtered by ISIS for disagreeing with them. Try telling that to a victim of famine. If this is your idea of everything being "just great" and how things "should" be I am glad I have the free will to think for myself and respectively disagree.


but the question still remains - who is the authority on social moral values?

A human being with imperfections in even their own moral values. Why? Because we all are like that.


The answer is simple in a society that has an absolute ruler: the ruler is the final authority.

Until free will enters the equation and people think for themselves. It's has happened before on numerous occasions including how the U.S originated.


But things get complicated in a democracy. In a true democracy the majority of the people will be the authority when it comes to deciding moral issues. But in modern democracies the role of the majority is hobbled by the indefinable notion that everyone has equal rights.

Yes things get complicated because humanity is still practicing what freedom really is. This is why there are loopholes in the constitution because of the fact that what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular. No we don't have equal rights yet but we are definitely well on our way there. Just because someone's believes in their own opinions does not necessarily mean anyone has to take that opinion seriously. Please keep in mind I'm not talking about anyone specifically at all actually. Merely talking about having a healthy skepticism by simply not buying into the crowds beliefs unless it happens to be the truth.

- - - Updated - - -

Now the question comes up: should there be laws that are based on morals? If you think about many of our laws, they are based on violating the rights of another, not morality. Traffic laws are based on public safety in order to avoid violating the rights of another. So what laws should we base on morality? Should you ask some religious types, homosexuality and a number of other 'deviant' sexual acts should be illegal. But why should the law extend to what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom? Should we use religion to base our laws upon? If so, which one? Christianity? Islam? Buddhism? Hindu? Pastafarianism?
None of those. I think it's going to get to the point that everyone alive is going to know what they are talking about though that is going to take a while. Be advised I actually agree with you about what you said.
 

AnalogRTO

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Considering how "convenient" it is that you yourself got that thread closed with a argument with Zeek61 and then deleted I think it would be better to ask Fruitkitty or a moderator about that thread. You see I also remember how that thread was deleted last year. But the fact of the matter is that would very likely involve privileged information that no one needs to bother the mods with since we both know the truth. You said you where a EMT once then suffered a injury that prevented you from returning to that job then you claimed you went into Software development or something that has next to nothing to with the kind of engineering you claim you have. As for the information you sent me via PM please forgive me but you could very well pretend to be someone other then yourself and I would never know. I simply will not trust a word you have to say and considering this conversation is getting off-topic I can simply ignore you because of your lack of credibility.
I had taken this discussion to PM because you dragged it off topic, but you want to put it back in the thread here. Your memory is faulty, and if you can't accept that memory is never perfect, you're going to run into a lot of trouble in life. I've sent you information, and simply am asking what it would take to prove that to you. I have a feeling that you're going to say that nothing would work, you remember too well. So what is it? Is your memory completely infallible, or is there some proof that could be offered?
Well if you want to call Fruitkitty a liar that was feeding us false information last year then be my guest. But considering I don't believe in everything I'm fed on TV or the internet like some people here on this site you can talk as much as you want. No one has to take you serious if they don't want to. If people can't handle the notion they don't check their sources of information for credibility then that is their prerogative. Just because I decided to think for myself does not mean I buy into every act out there unlike some people.
I'm not calling Fruitkitty a liar at all. What I am saying is that your memory is already showing signs of not getting things straight, and because you don't actually fact check the claims you make. You claimed six G's is where average, untrained humans die based off information you got from a buddy who was a USAF pilot. A simple check on the web will let you know that it depends on the axis the body is subjected to, that an 'eyeballs in' can handle many more. At the same time you argued that we needed that many G's to reach escape velocity, that you understood the physics, but again, you don't understand the difference between velocity and acceleration.
Japan was rebuilt by the U.S after WWII which ties into why they are so prosperous. The same can be said with a lot of Asian countries as well. As for the U.S being so prosperous it is not because of our resources in the land here. It's because the U.S learned how to harness those resources. Think about this. 1/3 of the worlds landmass is found in the western hemisphere. there are going to be more resources found in the eastern hemisphere. If you're trying to say that showing compassion to our general once allegedly did not result in what became the worlds most productive and healthiest population of workers then that is a delusion anyone can believe in. The U.S used to be the worlds largest producer and consumer once. Our economy has clearly suffered due to a lack of compassion which is what has been repeatably worn away at for decades for a lot of reasons including fake christians that misrepresent the church. We are no longer the worlds largest producer anymore and It's just starting to show. I'm not going to discuss this further with you because this is getting off-topic and I don't have to take anything you say seriously.
You're going into irrelevant information here. Your claim was that it is a proven fact that Christians lead longer, healthier lives. You are sitting here discussing how everything got to where humans now lead longer, healthier lives and claiming a Christian basis for that. I'll give that to you, it's not relevant to your claim. It wouldn't matter if Nazi Germany made the improvement in lifespan available. It doesn't matter if a mutant space goat made it to where we live longer and have healthier lives. You don't seem to understand that. Look at your claim again and read what it says.
 
A

acorn

Guest
....... You said you where a EMT once then suffered a injury that prevented you from returning to that job then you claimed you went into Software development or something that has next to nothing to with the kind of engineering you claim you have......
Naw, the schmitt trigger always flip-flopped over his diodes except when he was falling out of airplanes.

If I remember correctly, as in modest - I cannot refer back. The person who fits the bill as described (retired, post injury) is in fact Crinklemedic.

As always – back on topic: Sooos, if perchance while in space something does jettison its craft with a parachute, we will only have Analogue to blame.

God , Donald Trump - son of God or John Boehner, whatever; His name might change but we will always have religion in one fashion or another.
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Drifter

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Now the question comes up: should there be laws that are based on morals?
There is a moral element present in nearly every law, and with many laws the moral element is the defining issue. This is especially true with all the divisive and emotional problems we are presently facing. Sexuality, racism, sexism, immigration, prostitution, abortion, warfare, poverty, and many other issues all have a practical side to them but the real struggle is with the moral aspects of all these issues. The question is not whether our laws should be based on morals, because they already are and will continue to be based on moral values as long as the civilization survives. The question is who's moral values should we base them on?
But why should the law extend to what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom?
Everything in your question implies laws are needed to regulate this activity. "Two" is an arbitrary legal limitation. "Consenting" is a legal term. "Adult" requires an arbitrary legal definition. Even "privacy" would need to be legally defined. The U.S. constitution already gives it's citizens the right to do anything they want to do as long as there are no laws specifically prohibiting it. If you want to make sexuality outside your preferred parameters to be illegal then you need to create laws that intrude in people's private lives, which is exactly what people have done. Very few people have any problem with that because most people feel some sexual behaviors are immoral and should be illegal. The argument isn't over whether or not laws governing sexuality should exist, but over which acts should be illegal, and that is mostly a moral question.
Should we use religion to base our laws upon? If so, which one? Christianity? Islam? Buddhism? Hindu? Pastafarianism?
I don't know of any religion that, in my opinion, would be a practical basis for our moral laws. On top of that, in the U.S. the 'establishment' clause shoots down any idea of a religious institution having direct involvement in legislative proceedings. Religion, itself, doesn't appear to be the answer right now. Although the power of a unified religion that had majority support could easily become the major force in politics, this unity isn't likely to happen in our current society. Still, for nearly everyone, there is a sense of right and wrong that can only realistically be described as spiritual. Some people may claim these feelings are simply bio-chemical reactions, but this questionable 'knowledge', even if true, would have no real impact on our day to day struggles with reconciling laws with moral values. Our laws reflect our beliefs; both are combinations, or compromises, of morality and practicality. I don't believe you can remove the spiritual element from morality without reducing morality to nothing than another name for practicality.

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So "good" and "bad" are probably just relative definition of our feelings (as consequences of certain actions). Ability to empathize allows us to understand (feel the same) and predict other person feelings.
In other words I could say that:
Bad deeds = actions that evoke "bad feelings" (make other person feel "bad"). And can make the person who committed this action also feel bad..
Though, dilemma is that not all the people can empathize.
I don't have a problem with your philosophical theory but I don't see it as being a practical basis for moral laws. It would be too complex to serve any legal purpose. Someone feeling bad over the actions of another doesn't necessarily mean the actions were bad or the person doing the action is bad.

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I do strongly disagree that religion is in some way required, or is a pillar of civilization.
Again, I'm not a history expert, but I don't know of any major civilization that didn't have close ties to a religion as it rose to power. If you manage to find one it would be the exception rather than the rule. It is possible the connection is purely coincidental but, for me, the connection appears so consistently in history that I believe religion is a real factor in building powerful civilizations.
As for whether religious morals should be the basis of our laws: Sort of. I mean, scripture is full of silly stuff, but there are pearls of common sense in there--like the stuff about not killing, stealing, etc. So, yeah, get that basic legal framework in place, and credit religion if you need to. After that, though, things get harder for me to swallow. Anything done or not done with the aim of pleasing a deity should remain well outside the law books, IMO, and for obvious reasons: That deity hasn't appeared anytime recently to represent his/her/its wants, and the millennia-old, hand-me-down testimony of that deity's believers certainly isn't admissible as evidence under any western legal standard. If it were, then we would be in real Hell.
I agree that archaic laws based on ancient beliefs about deities are not practical for modern laws. But, as explained earlier, I do believe there is a spiritual element to moral values. Even if this 'spirit' is undefinable and unprovable, I believe it is human nature to think there is some kind of moral right and wrong that somehow exists above and beyond individual personal feelings or social laws. It seems it would be more practical to recognize and accept this rather than try to eliminate it.
 

LunaCat

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For you religion doesn't add any meaning to your life but for many other people it does. It's not up to you to tell them what has meaning in their lives any more than it is up to them to tell you what has meaning in your life.
Nah. My argument is that it adds no meaning to anyone's life. I've yet to see a good argument/description for meaning religion adds other than "it does".

I've asked for examples. Most people don't bother giving them at all, and when they do, they typically fall apart under analyzation at which point people shut down.

When you boil it down, what people have to be believing is that the fact that some entity created them gives their life meaning. But as soon as you start delving into that like... what about life we may one day create? What about the lives of our children for that matter? You quickly see that being created by something adds no inherent meaning even to people saying that's what god adds to their life.

Again, to me, the reality of it is simply:
--People want there to be an afterlife, and they'll swallow any pill that promises that
AND/OR
--People grew up immersed in a belief system

Where else can you get something that provides all three at the same time?
Who cares?

Why does one thing have to provide all our psychological wants?

but the question no one wants to confront is - is it possible that all beliefs are wrong? Like the song says, "nobody's right if everybody's wrong".
Who are you including in that? I'm fine with that.

If you want to come and upend our understanding of gravity tomorrow, as long as you have some evidence for that, everything's golden. Make a claim? Present evidence. Understanding is modified. That's how everything is supposed to work. Religion doesn't deserve the pass it gets at that. (Nothing does.)

If you start producing actual evidence for any deity... awesome. I'm not opposed to there being a deity. I have a problem with people stating there is one and providing no evidence at all for their claims.

This brings up the question: what is so special about your beliefs that people should abandon their own in favor of yours? This isn't meant as an accusation. Since there is so much more unknown than known in life we depend on belief to function, and each individual has a unique perspective resulting in individually tailored beliefs, but removing strongly held beliefs will create a void that people will want filled.
I don't like beliefs in general in the context of religious discussion. Religious belief is immutable and faith based, which is an irrational approach to anything.

Immutable beliefs and faith go hand in hand with irrationality.

The only subjectively good thing I can see with faith (barring some personal placebo like affect) is perhaps in a relationship. Faith/trust in each other can improve a bond between individuals... but the key to that bond is really a bi-directional vulnerability which most religions inherently cannot have. i.e. the god in popular monotheistic religions has no vulnerability, so faith/trust is a one way street. In any other relationship, you'd refer to that as being unhealthy.

If I say I "believe" something, it's implied that it's a functional belief. i.e. it's worked out fine for me, came from a source I consider credible, but one I will freely abandon in the face of new evidence.

*That takes a lot of work and vigilance*... and probably isn't worth it to most people... that's fine. I don't really have a problem with peoples' magical thinking. It just never stays with them. They feel the need to spread it.

Drifter said:
So I guess the next question would be - why is it so hard for us to change our beliefs?
This is a more interesting question IMO.

Just shooting things off the top of my head:

--Our brains are essentially sophisticated pattern recognition devices

--There might be evolutionary advantages to pattern recognition being stronger to a fault than the opposite. i.e. better to have false positives than not pick up on a pattern at all. A lot of early "advances" were based on this sort of thing. Basically correlation is often defaulted to causation in our brain... that makes sense, because it takes much less work to notice a correlation than it does to figure out a causation. As long as the correlation causes you to avoid things that would keep you from reproducing or seek out things that would help, it doesn't really matter how accurate the resulting belief is.

--It requires a good deal of work to modify a belief... because that belief is linked to other beliefs. It's not just a matter of saying "gravity is a repelling force not an attractive force"... you have to consider all the ramifications of that. If something passed the muster to become a belief in the first place, why not just continue with it. It hasn't killed you thus far.

But those are just ideas. Who knows :) There is currently plenty of work being done on this though, because it's A. interesting and B. has a profound sociological affects.

---------------

On the whole morality based laws bit... I'd say if the law is based on religion, it's right out. That isn't to say "Thou shalt not kill" is a commandment, so we don't use it. Rather, "It's a commandment thus it should be law" is not the reason to make it a law. If that's all you have to bring to the table, back to the kiddie table please.

I think the only thing you can really go on with laws IMO is:
--Everything is allowed by default
--Reduce those things on a basis of "harm caused"

This is in no way an objective thought process. If you're trying to do *that*... well, that's never going to happen with or without religion. We can't decide on what "harm" entails in most cases, because the fact of the matter is that "harm" is defined on a per person basis.

I mean, my grandfather was molested when he was a young child, and considers that his first sexual experience (as in, yay!). While that's an extreme example, it just goes to show how widely that spectrum can go. Meanwhile you have people talking about trigger warnings when they see, say, blood. I've always been irritated at that whole concept, and there will always be fringe groups that would like to codify that sort of nonsense into law.

Probably the best you can do is have a majority rules take on it in a general sense at least. You'll always have "$x falls through the cracks" scenarios that you have to just deal with on a case by case basis.

But this isn't really related to religion in my mind except through:

--Religion's tendency to poke it's head into every aspect of life... for, in my mind, obvious reasons.

--Psychopaths' lack of empathy necessitating nonsense belief systems in order to be incentivized to not behave in a psychopathic manner.

That second bit is something I waffle on a lot. The optimist in me says that's not necessary but for a tiny segment of the population. The pessimist in me says the opposite :)
 

Zenka

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Religion is the un-enucated way of explaining the unknown. But that can go too far. I think that if your religion is important enough to kill for, the first target should be yourself, then all the hateful people would be gone and we would have these people who really are really nice, yet extremely religious.

But religion also works as a placebo. People who 'put their lives in God's hands' are not really giving their life away. They really believe that some higher entity is helping them, so they feel a lot less stress, with less stress, there is clearer thoughts and overall more happiness, making for better decisions which in turn make for a better life, which makes them think that God is making their life great when it is really them letting go of all worries
 

ScaredyCat

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There is a moral element present in nearly every law, and with many laws the moral element is the defining issue. This is especially true with all the divisive and emotional problems we are presently facing. Sexuality, racism, sexism, immigration, prostitution, abortion, warfare, poverty, and many other issues all have a practical side to them but the real struggle is with the moral aspects of all these issues. The question is not whether our laws should be based on morals, because they already are and will continue to be based on moral values as long as the civilization survives.
Racism, sexism, abortion implies violation of rights. There are no laws controlling warfare and poverty. Limited number of laws based on morality (restricting prostitution, sale of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) actually most often lead to growth of criminality, since government agencies do nothing regarding the demand. As long as there is a demand there always will be the supply, and suppliers simply go underground. Anyway, I would not focus on laws based on morality as they inherently problematic and in some way violates someone's rights (our law against "LGBT propaganda" is example of such violation).

I don't have a problem with your philosophical theory but I don't see it as being a practical basis for moral laws. It would be too complex to serve any legal purpose. Someone feeling bad over the actions of another doesn't necessarily mean the actions were bad or the person doing the action is bad.
Empathy is a necessary condition for voluntary compliance with the rights of others. It has been already mentioned in this thread as a "Golden Rule". I just pointed that it is not a mindset product but unconscious matter based on feelings. Those who have strong ability to empathize would never violate rights of others, regardless their systems of beliefs. For those who don't care about others, well, I guess, rewards and punishments is the only way to keep their behavior on socially accepted level. The question is - what religion can offer regarding the situation? The same way as secular laws, it's a system of rewards and punishments. It just substitutes real (material) rewards and punishments with supposed ones (afterlife). It offers deeper control - not only deeds but thoughts, feelings and motivations can also be considered as sin. Omniscient God provides this control. I have doubts that religion can make anyone better, as I have doubts that empathy can be learned - you either have this ability, either not. Criminals would rather regret about they had been captured than about the fact they hurted someone, and neither jail, nor religion can fix this. Fear of the punishment is the only restrictor that keep them from repeating crimes.
As for whether religious morals should be the basis of our laws: Sort of. I mean, scripture is full of silly stuff, but there are pearls of common sense in there--like the stuff about not killing, stealing, etc.
I wonder why commandments, such as "thou not kill", "thou not steal", were included in scriptures? I mean, the love of God is the dominant good anyway, and murderers and thieves can also count on salvation. If only achieving of empathy feeling (i.e. they should sincerely regret about hurting others) is the condition to pass heaven's door? Yet I've no idea how this condition can be practically achieved...

Practical application of my theory? I've no idea :tongueout:
Well we could come up with utopian solutions for this issue, to make this world better. We could gather all criminals (actual and potential) and kill. What? This could be quite effective method to solve this issue.. Or we could force criminals to become "good" by implanting restrictors on physiological level (refer to Anthony Burgess' Clockwork Orrange).
Now seriously, if I assume that we all originally born with ability to empathize, but can loose it later, in childhood, under certain conditions (committing a crime without significant consequences), then improvement of education is the only way we can make this situation better.. in the future. :chin:
 
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