Atheist Morality

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Atheist Morality

A place for atheists to discuss morality issues. What shapes your morality? What new perspectives have you found since abandoning faith (if you ever had any)? Is there any merit to religious moral authority?

Members: 414
Latest Activity: Aug 14

Religious Faith Morality & Epistemological Absurdities

Discussion Forum

Defining Evil in today's world

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner May 20. 2 Replies

Climate Destabilization Is Violence From Above

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Apr 9. 2 Replies

Natural Selection and Morals

Started by Steph S. Nov 15, 2013. 0 Replies

Thinking about science increases morality

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Aug 27, 2013. 0 Replies

The New Abolitionists

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jun 15, 2013. 0 Replies

Newborn Baby Flushed Down Toilet

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Steph S. May 28, 2013. 2 Replies

Markets suspend morality

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by A Former Member May 13, 2013. 5 Replies

Business people ignore their environmental values

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner May 13, 2013. 0 Replies

Comment Wall

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Comment by Diana on June 21, 2010 at 11:37am
I used to teach at a high school in Texas where EVERYBODY is Christian, and the moral level of the place was so low that I just couldn't bear to be there anymore. Parents started meetings with prayer, and then tried to intimidate teachers into changing grades. Administrators started meetings with gospel music, and then lied their way through the rest of the meetings. Teachers constantly sent religious glurges through the email system, and then lied while they covered for each other and took half days off. And not one of them ever noticed how their sense of what was moral was skewed by their own religious feelings that they were just automatically "good" and their actions justified because of the fact that they were Christian. There was no way to break into that system to point out the problems, no common ground to even begin a discussion of the problem. They saw no problem.
Comment by Glenn Sogge on June 21, 2010 at 11:02am
A recent post over at the Center For Inquiry is entitled "What Is the Purpose of Morality?" It is author Ronald Lindsay's contention that before figuring out a secular morality we need to be clear about what the purpose of a morality is.
Comment by Julian on April 1, 2010 at 1:05pm
just saw a segment on CNN about this research... thought it would fit right in over here. sorry if it's already been brought up...
the title says it all - "Moral judgments can be altered ... by magnets"
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/moral-control-0330.html
Comment by Amy on March 23, 2010 at 2:26pm
Regarding Signhild's post and responses: While I can accept prostitution as a contracted service, I see pornography as being very harmful to our society. The objectification of women in general is a natural progression of the patriarchal (christian) mentality that women were created for man's use and pleasure. Pornography is the same objectification on steroids. It's degrading to women, and fuels the destructive mentality that they're merely objects to be used for sexual gratification. Pornography is readily accessible to young people who are in the process of forming their understanding of the world, and finding their place in it (females and males). Many young girls and women are put under tremendous pressure to live up to the standards of models and porn stars. I read an article a couple of years ago about the number of women undergoing genital cosmetic surgery. This was directly attributed to the popularity of pornography, and the resulting additional pressures women now face trying to be "good enough". A woman is a lot more than a collection of body parts, contrary to what pornography teaches. Our sons need to learn this. Our daughters deserve it.
Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on February 14, 2010 at 1:00am
@John Hodges
Interesting reading. Thanks.

@Tara-Jane
If you can give me a contact point for these little Hitlers I would be happy to make a formal complaint to their parents, teachers, pastors or other authority figures.
Comment by John B Hodges on February 13, 2010 at 7:18pm
ATHEIST ETHICS IN 500 WORDS. John B. Hodges, Dec. 21, 2007.

How can you have any ethics if you don't believe in God?

The question must BE questioned. How can you have any ethics if you DO believe in a god?

Religious folk misunderstand morality at its roots. Religion teaches a child's view of ethics, that "being good" means "obeying your parent". Just as religious faith is believing what you are told, so religious morality is doing what you are told. Religious morality consists of obeying the alleged will of God, an invisible "Cosmic Parent", as reported by your chosen authority. But obedience is not morality, and morality is not obedience. We can all think of famous people who did good things while rebelling against authority, and others who did evil things while obeying authority.

Religious folk may be Good Samaritans or suicide bombers, it depends entirely on what their chosen authority orders them to do. If a believer, or a community of same, wishes to make war or keep slaves or oppress women, all they have to do is persuade themselves that their god approves. This seems not to be hard, and no god has ever popped up to tell believers that they were wrong. They do not have a code of morality except by the convenience of the priesthood. What they have is a code of obedience, which is not the same thing.

Atheism means looking at ethical questions as an adult among other adults. Civic morality is a means of maintaining peace and cooperation among equals, so that all may pursue happiness within the limits that ethics defines. This civic morality is objective. If you want to maintain peaceful relations, don't kill, steal, lie, or break agreements. As Shakespeare wrote: "It needs no ghost, Milord, come from the grave, to tell us this."

Because we are biological beings evolved by natural selection, most of us value the health of our families, where "health" is the ABILITY to survive, and "family" is "all who share your genes, to the extent that they share your genes." This is also called "inclusive fitness" by biologists. Essentially all living beings are going to seek this, because their desires are shaped by natural selection, and inclusive fitness is what natural selection selects for.

Because humans are social animals, who survive by cooperating in groups, we have a "natural" standard of ethics: The Good is that which leads to health, The Right is that which leads to peace. A "good person" is a desirable neighbor, from the point of view of people who seek to live in peace and raise families. Most people understand this intuitively. Understanding the logic of it is better. "If you want peace, work for justice."

There is a long history of philosophical thinking about ethics. Morality is not based on authority, but on reason and compassion. If I had to recommend just one book on ethics, it would be GOOD AND EVIL: A NEW DIRECTION by Richard Taylor.

I have a longer essay at http://civic.bev.net/atheistsnrv/articles/definition.html
Comment by John Secular Smith on October 7, 2009 at 11:15pm
Just joined Atheist Morality. I've been tossing around ideas of morality being based on the quest for truth, and once I work them out more I'll bring them here and let everyone else rip them apart so they can become better ideas. Should be fun!
Comment by Chuck on August 21, 2009 at 2:04pm
Glad to see a group on this subject.
Chuck
Comment by Luke on July 28, 2009 at 7:01am
Hang on there Signhild.

I'm not sure that it's appropriate to lump the pornographers and prostitutes in with the "violent offenders like pedos". Pedophiles do enormous harm to children through sexual predation. How do pornographers and prostitutes harm children. Pedophiles aren't particularly violent. Child sexual abuse is a betrayal of trust more than a crime of violence.

Because pedophilia does so much harm to children it is something that needs to be described in precise terms. Conflating it with everything else that you don't like is not useful. Pornography and prostitution cannot be linked to the harm of children.

Did you ever give consideration to the idea that prostitutes and pornographers want to work there professions and that they are doing no harm to themselves or others? There are people who have been hurt by their involvement in these professions. But it doesn't follow that everyone is harmed and many are sick of being painted as victims.

On your figures, if 60 to 70% of porn actors are christians then atheists are over-represented in these industries. I understand that approximately 85% of Americans identify themselves at christians. That means (on your numbers of 30 to 40%) that atheists are twice as likely to be pornographers or prostitutes as christians.

There is nothing hypocritical about being a prostitute or a pornographer if you are an atheist. I'm not aware of a humanist moral code that requires people to avoid these industries. Religions require very conservative sexual practices but I don't think that reason, logic and humanism has the same prohibition.
Comment by Signhild on July 27, 2009 at 8:29pm
From all religions, Christianity is the most hypocrite because they are truly the most inmoral of all. In USA more than 90-95% of inmates are christians, in special violent offenders like pedos. If anyone go to a "whorehouse" and ask the working girls their believes; more than 90% will tell you they believe in god. In porn idustry happens the same, at least 60-70% of actors, producers, believe in god too. Atheists have one of highest morality of all, reason, logic, humanism...
 

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