So we shake the faith in God, we retain moral fiber, and we live productive lives. How many times has a faithhead pointed out that if you have no absolute moral code, then you're free to do anything? ANYTHING! Which is normally followed by pointing out: rape, murdering, and stealing.

So how come atheists aren't all engaging in orgies of pleasurable but consequence free activities such as actual orgies or generally having more fun than our theistic counterparts? I mean seriously, is it because we've been polished by our society until we hold the same distaste for sinful behavior even though we know it's not sin?

Or are atheists doing this and just not inviting me! That's horrible, and I want in :P

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Replies to This Discussion

I agree, but that Big Daddy Moral Code is by and for Christians, not me. I look at the aspects of possible damage to society, individuals, the earth. So I feel that I can sleep in, eat steaks & strawberries whenever I want, run around naked in my backyard, speed on back roads, leave mail in my mailbox for a week, wash the windows once a year. read until the wee hours...etc. all I want. The local FunDummie minister tells me these are all "sins"...actually he used to tell me, he is no longer welcome some 3 years now. The marshmallow/jello crowd can have it all...they are not much fun and forced conversations to be sociable are not me. You really only have yourself to answer to is correct, and my answer is: I am just fine, how are you?
Are you suggesting that orgies have social harm?
I don't believe much differently now than I did back in my religious days. There is just less useless guilt.

I have never been interested in wild, drunken or wantonly licentious parties. Nor have I ever been in the slightest bit interested in partner swapping or other unusual sexual behaviour. Not my kind of fun, ever. I've had my share of mutually satisfying sexual experiences and a few which don't quite qualify or that label. Being Christian didn't stop that.

I haven't stopped being "moral". It is just easier to be that way as an atheist. In fact I discovered the immoral aspects of Christianity at around 16 or so when I became aware that my church did not approve of divorce. It did not gell with the horrid state of my parent's failing marriage and the serious damage that it had done to me and my brother and sister.

Both my parents were highly religious and both had personality defects. My father kept his conservative beliefs until the day he died. My more intelligent mother lost them and became a rationalist (=atheist) in her late 40's. She still has personality problems, but at least she is sane on the religious issue. She has spent most of her life helping migrant and working women improve their lives. My father, however, was really up the wall. He remained selfish and miserly all his life.

In other words, religion will not make a person moral and may even give them an excuse for being immoral. (Fred Phelps, for instance). Nor does atheism cause well socialized people to lose this salutary effect of learning. The relationship between morality and religion and immorality and atheism are very red herrings thrown out by religious apologists. There is no basis for these beliefs in reality.
So you wouldn't be a hedonist regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof? Interesting.
To Lee,
Awesome. I shall return guiltfree to my imaginary (as the present case is) orgies. I just wonder in a nonsense way why one of the benefits of atheism isn't having more pleasure of some sort. It doesn't have to be sexual but that would be a category that many of our religions would quickly disapprove of but freethinkers leave to the individuals involved to decide.
I'm using the concept of more sexual options to advance the argument that modern atheists are tame because of the effects of major religions upon us. The reason sexual options strike me as more relevant than happiness in general is that the forms of religion I've been closest to see the restriction of sexual freedom as an important component.

For atheists to answer, as they have, that they don't want orgies and that's why they don't have them is perfectly fine to an extent. And then as Renee seemed to agree, I am left to wonder if I'm not participating in a more pleasure centered experience because I've already been corrupted on a much deeper level by the high levels of religion based morality that are present in my environment.

For me, happiness and sex are very entwined. I think sex is just a specific technique to be used to engage in a happy act. But I want to be able to use all the clubs in my golf bag should the situation provide the right opportunity. And I think this might mean I put more effort into finding the optimal experience for me sexually or involving pleasure in general than my peers on this forum. At least that's my current impression.

I wouldn't have it said that I think hedonism or any sort of pleasure seeking is necessarily selfish. I tend to assume people manage their own affairs and the pleasure seeking component is just one part of a much broader experience. And I think I overlap in agreement with Lee that it has a humane component. If you know where the party is at, there is no reason to think your friends can't benefit from that to. And so the baseline quality of life can be increased by more efficient pleasure seeking.
I don't rape, kill or steal because it is my belief that these things would make myself and others feel horrible. I don't need no stinkin jesus to tell me that :-)

Some things like taking the Lords name in vain or pointing out that the biggest villain of the bible was the almighty himself, on the other hand, cause me great joy and I feel that it is my duty to plant these seeds of doubt in people who may take offense. I am horribly offended by irrational and inexact thought. I have been bombarded by it my entire life and its payback time! hahah.
I hear you. Now that we've got our own ship to sail by our own values, there is a whole wide open selection of choices we were taught to ignore.
Oh my renee..."I don't believe in bettering myself through denial." ... How lovely!
We aspire to civilization...we are not civilized. Christian aspirations sound great but the fact is that they engage in distasteful behavior as often as non-Christians. They talk a good talk but they "sin" just as much as the rest of us. There is a certain pleasure they obtain by standing in church and confessing their wrongdoing...it sheds guilt and fear momentarily...then they go home and do it before lunch is served. The Christians add many weights about their necks; Fear, Hypocrisy, Intolerance, Bigotry, and Lying (in the name of Jesus of course) to name a few. They just don't spend enough time in church is what I see. So encourage them to go to church and pray for you...this will keep them off the streets and out of our children's pants.
Interesting perspective, Ogden.
There is a podcast that covers definitions of pleasure which is pretty thoughtful and answers my question many times over. You can get to it here http://philosophybites.com/2009/04/thomas-hurka-on-pleasure.html.

Hurka divides pleasure into four categories: simple pleasures, pleasures-that, specific pleasures, and generalized pleasures. Simple pleasures and specific pleasures seem related by being sensual. Simple pleasures were compared to eating eclairs and specific pleasures were described as being localized pleasure. Pleasures-that and generalized pleasures seem more cerebral. Pleasures-that are sort of understanding based and generalized pleasures are like being in a good mood, being a sum of many unidentified parts coming together in a non-localized way.

He suggests that different combinations of pleasure can be said to be equally pleasurable comparing the monk to the sensualist. And continues to say that pleasure is not the only good. He lists achievement and morality as other factors in good. There is complexity added when he acknowledges that achieving and morality are both something you can be pleased by. That's circular but it makes sense. The output of the moral line of reasoning could be an input to pleasure and both moral reasoning and pleasure sensing are types of good.

So if you are asking what is the most pleasurable, you might automatically answer hedonism. But if you were to say what is the most good, you would be forced to consider the costs of hedonism on the other factors that are aggregated as good or "un-good".

Oh, I liked the addition that utilitarian hedonism overlooks the value of skilled labor and trying to do complex things. I hadn't considered that in terms related to good or pleasure and that was thought provoking.

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