Religious people claim that their moral standrds are defined by religion and god. What or who defines atheist moral standards? Should atheists have some universally agreed and well defined moral standards? Willl having such moral standards make atheists a well defined community?

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I agree with The Nerd. It's not content (rules or standards for behavior) that unites us, it's "a process which is based in reality and in those things which we can agree are scientifically valid." It would be helpful to articulate our common process and discuss/celebrate it.

Ruth,

Your argument is quite correct but you know that the religious people frequently accuse atheists for not having any moral standards. I have stated that I have taken the above piece from Austine Cline's writing where he is trying to answer the religionists, so I expect an answer that can be given to them. I may also ask, why should we be averse to even a small agreed code of ethics that suits all cultures? Do you not think that such a code will benifit us and will reduce differences among us. Today, we are a small community, will we not need some basic code of conduct when we grow in to a truely large and  international community? 

John D

There are so many cultures in this world so you need to be  more clear in your answer.

Whenever people define themselves as atheists there seems to be a tendency to extrapolate their own thoughts to that of the whole group. Skepticism for instance is not a trait that is necessarily shared by all atheists. 

You can be an atheist conservative or an atheist fascist for all I care, as the ideology does not pertain to "atheism", which is simply the lack of belief in a deity. Just as there is no shared ideology among atoothfairiests or people that do not collect stamps. 

Atheism, despite the effort of some of us to "enrich" the term with political ideology still means nothing more or less then a lack of belief in a deity. 

Rob van Senten

A conservative atheist or anything of that kind is understandable, but surely, a facist can not be acceptable, at least that is my thinking because having that kind of an atheist will bring only disrepute to atheists and atheism. You must be aware that Pope Benedict once accused atheists for the holocaust as well as for the communist massacare. We will continue to give them such opportunities unless we make our stand clear in certain respects, and that itself will be a smalll cod of conduct. Any way, having something that is good never harms.

What you and I find acceptable has nothing to do with the terminology of "atheism" and whether or not a person is or isn't an atheist. If you can answer the question "do you believe in god(s)?" with a "no", you're an atheist. That's all, anything beyond this point has nothing to do with atheism. 

Atheism is only a label that has use because the vast majority of people are theists, in that sense being an atheist is a label to show that you are not part of a certain group. But except this there is nothing about atheism that contains a positive description of what atheists are. 

I for one am not the least bit worried that Stalin was an atheist, for instance whether or not he was an atheist is as important as whether or not he had a mustache. 

"We will continue to give them such opportunities unless we make our stand clear in certain respects"


The "we" that you speak of includes fascists, racists and sexists whether you like it or not.  There is no binding dogma or anything of the sort that binds us together in a certain political ideology. Atheism is about the rejection of theism, nothing more.


I mean, most of us here are "apastafarianist" and so are the Catholics, the Muslims and the Hindus, why don't we make a movement based on the rejection of the dogma of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

If that doesn't make sense, then why does it make sense to do the same to atheism?

John D

You are the one looking for a non existent perfect ethical standard

Yes, I am the one that you say Iam and I do not see anything bad or wrong about having good ethics. I also have stated why the question of ethics arises, I have again explained the same above to Ruth and would it be wrong to expect an answer in that context?

The simple answer is no. There is nothing about the lack of belief in gods and goddesses which contributes to any kind of moral standard. Atheists can adhere to any moral standard they wish, including those of religious groups. We can be virtue ethicists, utilitarians, consequentialists, etc.

The Big Blue Frog

Your thinking is the most common thinking among atheists. This is satisfactory as on today, when we are a small and non-influencial community. Just think of the present situation in America. There is a genuine fear that America will shed it's secularism and go back to the dark ages of religion. At such times, without being a political pressure group, atheist should be able to take a stand on this issue as a community. One day, we will have to be recognised as a community interested in and united for removing blind beliefs and their wrong influences on our societies. it is therefore desirable that we should create an impression that we are an ethical community, dedicated to public good.

If secularism is under threat, it is up to secularists to unite and to take action. There are plenty of religious people that understand the necessity of having a secular state. By excluding people based upon their religious view while you are trying to get support for a political issue, you are in effect excluding potential allies.

Atheist is not much of a label to go by, I for instance would prefer to be labelled a "scientific materialist" or "Pearlist"*.

* Physical Evidence And Reasoned Logic (scientific method)

"Are there atheistic moral standards?" No.  Should we atheists have certain, shared moral standards?  Well, I think everyone should  decide for himself what is honest,ethical, just, and compassionate behavior.  But, ethics is not what atheists have in common.  The ONLY thing we all truly share in common is that we don't believe in gods.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  The Humanist movement does share certain ethical standards.   You might find their sites very interesting.  They espouse a distinct philosophy and ethical code.  It is a human centered, not god centered morality.  

Dogly

Everyone does decide things for himself. We are talking of atheists as a community, and please note that this does not come out of my brain, other non-atheists do look upon us as a community and I see no reason to deny that position to us.

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