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Istigkeit
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 03:55 AM
Can such a thing as secular morality exist? Is it possible to have ethics that do not have roots in religion?

I've been reading up on both Nietzsche and Nihilism (=migraine), and both philosophies seem to be at odds with each other and it had me thinking about the possibility of ethics without a theological backing. Could secular and non-religious governments like the Soviet Union and China have any real form of justice since it was not religious?

Nietzsche said that once religion dies man must find a new morality, and hence he becomes some higher being, while Nihilists believe that secular ethics cannot exist.

Also, is there any real reason for Atheists to fear death since they do not believe any judgement awaits them?

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Sorry this is not a rambling post and that I can't put it more eloquently. I'm not a good public speaker.

Leofric
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 08:45 AM
Can such a thing as secular morality exist? Is it possible to have ethics that do not have roots in religion?

I've been reading up on both Nietzsche and Nihilism (=migraine), and both philosophies seem to be at odds with each other and it had me thinking about the possibility of ethics without a theological backing. Could secular and non-religious governments like the Soviet Union and China have any real form of justice since it was not religious?

Nietzsche said that once religion dies man must find a new morality, and hence he becomes some higher being, while Nihilists believe that secular ethics cannot exist.

Also, is there any real reason for Atheists to fear death since they do not believe any judgement awaits them?

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

Sorry this is not a rambling post and that I can't put it more eloquently. I'm not a good public speaker.
I think a person can definitely be without religion (or at least, as without religion as is humanly possible) and yet have ethics.

I think it's very possible to develop a system of ethics that doesn't depend at all on anything metaphysical. I think Aristotle's ethical system is that way. I also think Kant's is.

And I think atheists can indeed fear death. In fact, in my experience, atheists tend to fear death more than religious folks. Religious people tend to think that death isn't going to be the end of their existence. Atheists tend to think that it is going to be the end. People don't seem to really be in love with the idea of ceasing to exist (except for Buddhist monks, I guess), so a belief that death won't cause that is a comfort to most of those who hold it. The absence of that belief leaves people somewhat unshielded from the potential nothingness of death.

I think the prospect of ceasing to exist is more terrifying the prospect of divine retribution. I'd rather receive a bad gift from God than nothing anymore ever again forever.



You might enjoy Taras Bulba's thread on Nietzschean Christianity:
http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=66109

Here are a couple of good excerpts:

But was a belief in God always indentical to a morality?
I doubt it.
One can have a moral code and yet believe in no God [and vice versa]. Haven't God and Morality rather been lumped together out of convenience rather than out of necessity?

It is true that one can have a moral code and not believe in God, though those who maintain that one must adhere to a strict moral code, such as Christian conservatives, do so by maintaining that God exists. That is their justification for imposing a moral code on people, and likewise, their belief in God means nothing more than that it requires people to live a certain way; it has nothing to do with love or transcendence, but only control. This is evidenced in the denial of the Documentary Hypothesis of the Pentateuch; if the Pentateuch were written by numerous people and synthesized during the Babylonian exile, it would seem that God never gave these commands to Moses on Mount Sinai, and for all practical purposes, there is no God, or at least no Yahweh. The only reason they maintain the existence of God is to control people. I won't say that this has always been the case; the belief in God was perhaps originally created in order to entreat him to send forth rain for one's crops.

Certainly, morality can exist without God.

symmakhos
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 10:32 AM
Also, is there any real reason for Atheists to fear death since they do not believe any judgement awaits them?

The ancient Greek materialists, for instance Democritus and Epicurus, argued exactly this: that death is not to be feared, since it is nothing. "Where I am, death is not; where death is, I am not" said Epicurus.

Also Socrates (for the sake of argument, he was not an atheist/materialist): "when are we ever happier than in deep, dreamless sleep?"

Still, I agree with Leofric, that it is usually not pleasant to try to imagine not to exist.

Moody
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 04:45 PM
Can such a thing as secular morality exist? Is it possible to have ethics that do not have roots in religion?

I tend to distinguish 'morality' [which for me has an implication of a metaphysical imperative] from 'ethics' [which for me has an implication of a situational imperative].

As a general rule I would say then that 'Morality' is religious, while 'Ethics' is secular.

So of course it follows that I believe ethics are possible without religion.

It is also possible that religion can be used to make people behave unethically, because there is usually a conflict between religious morality and secular ethics.

In order to follow his Faith a man may break the law and commit murder in the name of God, for example. Or he may take up civil disobedience in the name of secular Humanitarian Ethics.

Of course, when you say "religious roots", then it could be argued that as religion was once all-pervasive, then it necessarily influenced all morality and ethics.

However, the point is that ethics do not need religion.

Ethics can have a philosophical background, a psychological background and even a biological background.

So yes, we can root our ethics in things other than religion.


Could secular and non-religious governments like the Soviet Union and China have any real form of justice since it was not religious?

What is "real justice"?
Is the justice system in a Theocratic [religious] State [such as the former Taliban government of Afghanistan] any more "real" than the justice system of a secular state like modern France?
Don't all states operate justice by the application of laws?

It is noticeable that Fundamentalists, whether secular [like Marxists - and one could argue whether or not Marxism is a religion or not] or religious, like the Taliban, tend to regard earthly manifestations of law as being imperfect and unsatisfying.

Therefore it could be said that Moralists believe that morality is not possible here on earth due to our fallen state, while Ethicists (?) are much more pragmatic and accept that ethical systems are prone to imperfections because mankind himself is.


Nietzsche said that once religion dies man must find a new morality, and hence he becomes some higher being, while Nihilists believe that secular ethics cannot exist.

Nietzsche held the view that Morality is always a corrective.
Therefore if we look at the particular moral and ethical codes of peoples we can surmise what their inherent faults were/are.
So that an overly passive and victimised people would have an "eye for an eye" morality, while an overly aggressive people might impose "turning the other cheek" upon themselves etc,.

Some Anarchists believe that if we rejected all Morality/Ethics and Law then eventually society would find its own level and there would be no need for rules.
This is still in the realm of theory - I wonder why?
If all judgement is God's, then why have any laws or rules in society at all?

This latter suggestion implies that morality and ethics are not actually religious but are rather ritual form to experience].


Also, is there any real reason for Atheists to fear death since they do not believe any judgement awaits them?

The 'judgement' is meant not so much to put the fear of death into believers [or if so that is a side-effect]; it is meant to encourage them to behave in a certain way upon earth so that they may not be harshly judged in Heaven.

So the fear is a fear of Judgement, rather than of Death.

Of course, one can use judgement here on earth [punishments etc.,] to similar effect.

Indeed, it could be said that the man who is convinced that he will go to Paradise will not care how he is judged here on earth.

In that sense, religious morality could be seen as encouraging unethical behaviour.

Enibas
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 05:02 PM
Even if I do not belong to any religion, so I cannot imagine that nothing more comes after the death. It is fundamentally more difficult for me to imagine "nothing" as to think the following feature:

Maybe I believe in God and in a life after the death. If my assumption is wrong, I will not be able to learn this just like somebody who is atheist from the start. I have at least the hope, that it could go on and hope gives strength.:thumbup

Adopted I do not believe in God and in a life after the death. Now if my assumption is wrong and it goes on anyway, it then gets enormously embarrassing for me. :(

Chlodovech
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 05:06 PM
I think it's very possible to develop a system of ethics that doesn't depend at all on anything metaphysical. I think Aristotle's ethical system is that way. I also think Kant's is.

I think it's possible too, but I'm very weary of secular morality as a way of life for the nation. It's far too difficult to be reasonably sustained by the majority of a people - beyond the more intellectual circles and families. Such morals tend to be more flexible - or very time-bound.

Right and wrong, according to my book, should be backed by a higher authority than man. If it isn't one nation under (the) God(s), regardless of who (S)He is in this or that culture - it's one nation under a spell.

That said, I prefer an atheist with an ethnic conciousness to a globalist believer - 'cause ethnic preservation itself is taking care of he universe. :thumbup

Janus
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 05:29 PM
I do not think that morals or ethics without a metaphysical belief (which is not necesarrily religious) is possible since there is a higher instance needed to judge the right or wrong than men. Assuming I were an atheist and follow that idea consequently I am nothing more than an animal with the urge to reprduce (well since I'm asexual I don't have it but it's just about assuming this time) so I would use my cognitive abilities to do that. There is no place for morals or ethics in evolution it's just survival of the fittest. So for being a complete atheist ethics have no foundation since you'd need to reject darwinism for it and therefore you'd need a metaphysical entity to judge the right and wrongs. This can be a God, some kind of collective or whatever and keep in mind that thinking a god exists is not necessarily religious. Religion is just a system of worshipping it.

Theudiskaz
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 05:38 PM
I do not think that morals or ethics without a metaphysical belief (which is not necesarrily religious) is possible since there is a higher instance needed to judge the right or wrong than men. Assuming I were an atheist and follow that idea consequently I am nothing more than an animal with the urge to reprduce (well since I'm asexual I don't have it but it's just about assuming this time) so I would use my cognitive abilities to do that. There is no place for morals or ethics in evolution it's just survival of the fittest.
Human beings, just like other animals weren't put on earth to live morally. To me, reducing life to a search for morality is perverse. Rather, morality should be designed to help us live better.

Moody
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 05:49 PM
I think it's very possible to develop a system of ethics that doesn't depend at all on anything metaphysical.

As I have said in a thread on 'Honour', it is the sense of shame which most impells one towards ethical behaviour.
Shame before one's fellow men is always a stronger imperative than shame before God.

Ultimately ethical behaviour is guided by the stick and carrot found on this earth.



Maybe I believe in God and in a life after the death. If my assumption is wrong, I will not be able to learn this just like somebody who is atheist from the start. I have at least the hope, that it could go on and hope gives strength.
Adopted I do not believe in God and in a life after the death. Now if my assumption is wrong and it goes on anyway, it then gets enormously embarrassing for me.

This sounds like a version Pascal's Wager, put in a moral context;
'if I behave well, and God exists, then I will go to Heaven. If I behave badly then I will go to Hell'.
But if God does not exist then whether I behave well or not makes little difference.
Best thing is to behave well rather than take the risk'.

Hardly a courageous outlook.


I think it's possible too, but I'm very weary of secular morality as a way of life for the nation. It's far too difficult to be reasonably sustained by the majority of a people - beyond the more intellectual circles and families. Such morals tend to be more flexible - or very time-bound.

This is why it is good to belong to an Order which has its own strict ethics.
If you break the rules then you are shamed before your fellows and can be thrown out of the Order.
But here, as always, it very much the practical consequences which act as a stick and carrot [shame, punishment etc.,].


Right and wrong, according to my book, should be backed by a higher authority than man. If it isn't one nation under (the) God(s), regardless of who (S)He is in this or that culture - it's one nation under a spell.

But why?
Surely it is the easiest thing in the world to call God's Bluff and break that "spell".

I am going to blaspheme against God now! : what is God going to do to me - stike me down with a thunderbolt?

Doesn't the enforcement of morality/ethics ultimately depend upon the restrictions of law and shame [i]here on earth?


I do not think that morals or ethics without a metaphysical belief is possible since there is a higher instance needed to judge the right or wrong than men.

If that were the case then we woudln't judge anybody here on earth.
The fact is it is we here on earth who, as human beings, judge and punish fellow human beings - not God.

Question; are people more moral/ethical when they are more religious?

Aren't people just more moral/ethical when the state has a very strong and severe system of shaming & punishments?


There is no place for morals or ethics in evolution it's just survival of the fittest.

I disagree; examples of altruism are seen in Nature where the ethic is 'Thou shalt preserve the genes of the species'.
A particular creature may sacrifice itself so that the species may continue.

Religion is about the sense of awe and wonder felt by man towards the wider cosmos.
It has little to do with ethics. It is only because religion enveloped everything that religion became the custodian of morality too.

Just as religion tries to tell us what to eat in some situations - is food religious?

Revanchist
Saturday, September 9th, 2006, 08:59 PM
I think that it is possible to have ethics without religion, assuming that one has faith - which is not necessarily a religious quality - as well as understanding of fairness! Reading some of the Roman authors who wrote on education and ethics, who did not necessarily follow the relgions of the day, seems to back up my opinion.

Jack
Tuesday, September 12th, 2006, 01:41 AM
Of course ethics is possible without morality. Iris Murdoch, Plato, Aristotle, MacIntyre, Kant, Schopenhauer - I dare say most philosophers on ethics are secular. That said, I do draw a distinction between ethics and morality, like Moody Lawless does.

Drakkar
Friday, September 15th, 2006, 11:42 PM
I can't think of any form of morality that doesn't have some sort of religious foundation. Even though the United States tries to create a government that is secular, it's ways can be still traced back to Anglo-Saxon law, Roman law, and a little of Greek law, which were all theocratic civilizations in a way (AS=Heathenism, Greek=Hellenism, Roman=Paganism) I digress, but my point is that the founders of American law had tried to make something secular, but were religious which formed a Christian bias in their writing. Philosophers also have this ingrained bias, even though they try to distance themselves from it by writing about totally unheard of ideas. A person's life is constantly bombarded with social codes and the like which are a byproduct of the majority's religion or philosophy. I would appreciate some feedback if someone disagrees with me, but currently I really don't believe that it is possible to have a morality that is completely secular.

Moody
Saturday, September 16th, 2006, 12:07 PM
I can't think of any form of morality that doesn't have some sort of religious foundation. Even though the United States tries to create a government that is secular, it's ways can be still traced back to Anglo-Saxon law, Roman law, and a little of Greek law, which were all theocratic civilizations in a way (AS=Heathenism, Greek=Hellenism, Roman=Paganism)

Roman Law was certainly secular, as was the law of Greek city states like Sparta.


I digress, but my point is that the founders of American law had tried to make something secular, but were religious which formed a Christian bias in their writing. Philosophers also have this ingrained bias, even though they try to distance themselves from it by writing about totally unheard of ideas. A person's life is constantly bombarded with social codes and the like which are a byproduct of the majority's religion or philosophy. I would appreciate some feedback if someone disagrees with me, but currently I really don't believe that it is possible to have a morality that is completely secular.

I think you are on slippery ground if you suggest that because religion is very influential then everything is therefore religious.
Philosophy is about making distinctions, not collapsing them.

Clearly, a morality which claims to be God given and derive directly from the word of God is religious morality.

This cannot apply to a secular morality seen in the form of the laws made by states etc.,

The biggest difference is that secular law can be changed or ammended whereas religious law is unchangeable and inviolable because it is the word of God.

It is impossible to change God's law; therefore all law which can be changed is secular.

Muslims today regard the laws of the states they live under as "man-made law" and say that it does not have the same sway over them as does "God's law" - so there is a very real distinction to be made.

It may also lead to the realisation that those who put God's law before that of the state are living in constant treason and could be expelled upon that basis alone.

Aupmanyav
Saturday, September 16th, 2006, 05:41 PM
Can such a thing as secular morality exist? Is it possible to have ethics that do not have roots in religion? .. Also, is there any real reason for Atheists to fear death since they do not believe any judgement awaits them?Secular morality is quite possible. Hinduism has kept personal belief and 'dharma' (duty/right action) separate. Only the second is essential for all, the first depends on what the person considers as the truth. As a result, I am an atheist, but 'dharma' is still necessary for me (Hinduism has no word for religion). An atheist should realize that death is a fact, will happen to every person (at least during the present Century), it is painless (when brain's oxygen supply diminishes, it shuts off the pain centers to save oxygen), and if it is any help, no atom of a person's body is destroyed and none stops its usual functions.

Chlodovech
Sunday, September 17th, 2006, 01:22 AM
I think you are on slippery ground if you suggest that because religion is very influential then everything is therefore religious.

Not so when you view life as an organic movement (in contrast to viewing only your folk as an organic whole, for instance), where all components matter - where you don't fragmentize and make distinctions that aren't there, ... they're all human made. :)

And so I'd love to see life affirming laws and a life affirming culture.

Maybe I'm miscomprehending you, Moody, but this is how I see it:

Life is true mystery. It's larger than me and you. So it's the subject of (mystery) religion.

If 'reality as we know it' would be a game - if my folk wouldn't be in a lifely way holy, but say - nothing more than a digital animation on a computerscreen somewhere in the backwaters of nothingness, I wouldn't care much for any component of the program called life.

Nor would I care for my folk - and Skadi, if Skadi matters only sometimes.


Philosophy is about making distinctions, not collapsing them.

Not my kind of philosophy. I don't believe in fragmentarization or relativism. ;)

Philosophy is an act of life, it happens within life, and it can not happen outside of life, well, not for us mere mortals, anyway.

A philosophy can be anti-religious or focussing on very practical problems - that's right - however, every thing we experience happens within the larger mystery, life. Life outlasting us all. And influencing us all. Thus influencing the future.

Life: It's God or nothing. It's only meaningful as a whole. That's why an ideology or a religion should cover it like that: fully.

You can't go and say, that part of life matters, and this not. It matters to itself.

But God doesn't need to come out of the clouds. Even if we assume that God is dead, His creation still lives on.

I could approve of a political program without it mentioning God. I recall how Fascist Italy had some class/academy (?) dealing with fascism as some sort of reflection of life - a mystical fascism class? - alas, I don't recall enough.

You don't have to be religious or theistic or what have you, I think - but if you can't judge life as the most metaphysical event and 'place' we know - well worth fighting for, worth dying for every inch - you and/or your movement is very time bound, of lesser value - and will be defeated - even with ease.

Life is GOD enough to live it virtuously, according to your belief system - 'cause you can't do anything more than not letting yourself down, I think - and to strike at death where you see it, even in its root.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Sunday, September 17th, 2006, 06:55 AM
I have a friend who has a one sentence code of morality: "Never f--- your friends." Actually, this is a little harder than it sounds if you live it. Lots of little situations come up, shades of morality, which make doing this an actual choice which at first seems like it would never have to come to that.

Since being exposed to NS philosophy, I judge each action in terms of Honor, Duty, and Loyality. Of course, all three interact and occasionally make things hard. Usually though, it is a simple matter. For instance, cheating on your wife or girlfriend violates all three and so is a definate no-no. Sometimes a person has to leave a relationship, such as a job, if they are the ones asking you to violate your principles. There are whole organizations set up to purposefully violate this Big Three, the NSA, CIA and Department of Justice under George Bush come to mind. If caught working in one of these organizations with knowledge of what you are really doing, the only honorable course of action is resignation. The same would go for companies like Enron which defrauded millions of people. Maybe you guessed that I am unemployed.

Moody
Sunday, September 17th, 2006, 12:34 PM
Not so when you view life as an organic movement (in contrast to viewing only your folk as an organic whole, for instance), where all components matter - where you don't fragmentize and make distinctions that aren't there, ... they're all human made.


Those who believe in God believe that God made the world, for example, and laid down immutable God-given laws.

However, it is said in some religions that God also gave man free-will.

From the latter derives the distinction between man-made laws [secular laws made by man through his own free-will] and God's laws [religious and imposed by God].

The laws of rank ordering and Separation aren't "fragmentation".

Indeed, neglecting to uphold the laws of separation leads to dissolution and fragmentation as western society demonstrates.

An army without a rank system is chaotic.

Laws of separation can be construed as either having been made by God or made by man, depending on the type of culture/society belief system.

Of course secular laws can exist within a religious society just as religious laws can exist within a secular society. It is about making the distinction between them.

This brings in the notion of conscience; do you obey a secular law or do you flout it because your conscience tells you otherwise [and could have a conscience that was religious or secular].


And so I'd love to see life affirming laws and a life affirming culture ...
... Life is true mystery. It's larger than me and you. So it's the subject of (mystery) religion.

I presume you are saying that everything is religious and nothing is 'secular', so your real answer to the question 'can there be secual morality?' would be that there is no such thing as secularism.
According to this position, secularists, agnostics, atheists etc., are all deluded, I would guess.

However, this creates a difficulty with religions.
The wide variety of differing religions have different laws which often conflict with each other.
Combine this with the huge variety of what are called secular moralities [although to you I suppose these would be 'religious' too] and you have very confusing array of different do's and dont's.
According to you all these conflicting moralities are religious and therefore demand to be acknowledged as religious truth.

So what morality do you follow?
And on what basis do you make that choice?

Aren't you yourself forced to 'fragment'?

Or can you be all things to all gods?


If 'reality as we know it' would be a game - if my folk wouldn't be in a lifely way holy, but say - nothing more than a digital animation on a computerscreen somewhere in the backwaters of nothingness, I wouldn't care much for any component of the program called life.
Nor would I care for my folk - and Skadi, if Skadi matters only sometimes.

Are you saying that secularism/atheism/agnosticism [which are not presumably "holy"] are meaningless?
Are you saying that atheists care nothing for their folk?

Are all human beings then "holy"?

Are all religions equally "holy" to you ?

Are all religions then relative?

Do you accept all religions as being correct?



I don't believe in fragmentarization or relativism.

So what religion is the correct one - and where does that leave all the rest if you are not a relativist?


Philosophy is an act of life, it happens within life, and it can not happen outside of life, well, not for us mere mortals, anyway.

When you say "us mere mortals" the implication is that you believe that there is another order of beings [presumably 'immortals'] who would then exist outside of human life.
Why can't those immortals philosophise?
Perhaps human life is the result of an immortal being philosophising.


A philosophy can be anti-religious or focussing on very practical problems - that's right - however, every thing we experience happens within the larger mystery, life. Life outlasting us all. And influencing us all. Thus influencing the future.

Have any of life's mysteries ever been solved?
I think they have.
For example, men spent a huge amount of time wondering what would happen when you came to the 'edge' of the world - would you fall off? And where was the edge of the world?
The mystery was solved when it was discovered that the world was in fact, a sphere.
Was that mystery solved by God or by secular science?
Do you think that further mysteries will be solved in the future?


Life: It's God or nothing. It's only meaningful as a whole. That's why an ideology or a religion should cover it like that: fully.

There are secular ideologies which are holisitic too; you can believe in the whole if you want, without believing in a God or in a religion.


You can't go and say, [I]that part of life matters, and this not. It matters to itself.

Why not? If life is about living as you say, then we all - by the simple fact of not being able to be everywhere in the universe at once - value one part of life more than we do the others.
No single person is able to care about the "whole" in practical terms - he can say that he does, but in [b]reality he only cares about those things which are within his own circle of influence.

So a sensible outlook is not take an absolutist 'either/or', "all or nothing" view, but to see life as a matter of levels, or 'strata'.

We all can operate only on certain levels due our natural shortcomings.

This does not mean that the other levels don't exist - of course they do - but they are not of our immediate concern.

Therefore, in truth, we all [even the Pope] act as if only a "part of life matters".

Once we own up to that then we can start to get our own house in order.


But God doesn't need to come out of the clouds. Even if we assume that God is dead, His creation still lives on.

This assumes that God is separate from his creation ... wouldn't you call this 'fragmented'?


I could approve of a political program without it mentioning God...
You don't have to be religious or theistic .... but if you can't judge life as the most metaphysical event and 'place' we know - well worth fighting for, worth dying for every inch - you and/or your movement is very time bound, of lesser value - and will be defeated - even with ease.

Well, I don't necessarily disagree with that, but the facts are that when it comes to "fighting" the victors are always those who have the firmest grasp of reality, the better tactics, the better strategies and the better weapons.
The better science, in other words.
Secular states have a habit of winning.


Life is GOD enough to live it virtuously, according to your belief system - 'cause you can't do anything more than not letting yourself down, I think - and to strike at death where you see it, even in its root.

Do you mean 'GOD' as you have written, or 'GOOD'?



Since being exposed to NS philosophy, I judge each action in terms of Honor, Duty, and Loyality.

Would you describe that philosophy as secular or religious?

Pervitinist
Sunday, September 17th, 2006, 12:59 PM
Everyone can follow rules, no matter if he's religious or not, so everyone can follow a moral code. The only difference is how this code is justified. For the religious person the foundation of his morals is divine - guaranteed by prophecy, inspiration, visions etc. - while the non-religious person can pick from a variety of possible foundations: purely rationalistic (like in modern systems theory), hedonistic (like in De Sade), political-utopian (like in Communism), folkish-racial (National Socialism) etc.

I think that only the latter class of secular alternatives really enable someone to follow moral rules in a genuinely ethical way because only non-religious moral foundations are open to rational debate while religious foundations are not.

The religious person replaces justification and argument with belief, thereby turning philosophical discussion into a form of apologetics. This is not only boring and intellectually sterile but the exact opposite of being ethical. The religious person may develop some kind of "instinct" or stimulus-response-mechanism that keeps him within the bounds of his dogma, but he never reaches a point where he can actually justify his actions and discuss them with a free mind and in an open-ended manner. It always comes down to "God said X, so I may not do Y", "I did A, the bible says that B is ok, and A is a case of B" etc.

So, in conclusion I not only claim that secular morality is possible but that it is the only true (i.e. rational) form of morality. Religious morality is false, unethical, irrational morality.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 03:59 AM
Yes, Moody, my beliefs stem only from the secular. The "do unto others" commandment seems secular to me even though it is supposed to have come from God. To me, the whole morals and ethics thing is about how we treat other people. Within your own framework, this has to be consistant and fair or you have no morals or ethics. This doesn't even mean we have to treat all people the same. It only means consistancy within your particular framework.

Patrioten
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 08:36 PM
I'm not sure if one can be moral without being religious to some extent. I think most people need a god in the sky of some sort in order for them to follow an advanced moral codex which goes beyond the primitive empathy towards other people.

I can't rule out the possibility that i was influenced by religious ideas as a young child (although the only exposure in that case was going to a christianity based day care as well as being a scout for some years.) Today i am not a believer because i don't think it adds up, religion and all.

Clear is anyhow that i have since a quite young age thought of myself as being "superior" compared to my peers, i've held such ideas such as right and wrong, natural and unnatural, immoral and moral in high regard as well as a belief in what would best be described as honor (not trying smoking or snuff is a silly but suitable example, i can remember how i thought less of my friends who did use snuff, that they were weaker mentally compared to myself. And my early facination with wars and the idea of fighting for one's country which still holds me in its grip today).

Kaiser
Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 07:42 AM
Some Atheists may actually perform more ethically on this planet than religious folks if for no other reason than the fact that many believe their positive lasting memory of beneficial deeds to mankind and science is how they will exist eternally even if done so viscerally. Meanwhile, many perverse acts have been committed in the name of religion throughout the ages. If one chooses a moral code by which to live, then great. If one chooses an ethical code by which to live, great also.

It may be interesting that Atheists may also behave more ethically if their punishments for not doing so include lifespan lost in prison or even a premature death sentence. Conversely, religious fanatics may commit heinous crimes regardless, having no fear of earthly consequences due to a belief in an eternal existence or even a grand divine reward.

For me, my Race is my Religion. I have partaken in various religions and do so still whilst preserving my Free Will and Free Thoughts. As for the perilous situation where fellow Whites waste valuable time, resources, and even multitudes of lives battling one another concerning the many esoteric and religious philosophies, I find this a most revolting practice.

Hindu, Mormon, Muslim, Odinist, Atheist, Agnostic, Transhumanist, you are all welcome in my camp to further preserve and promote a positive future for White children. United we stand. Divided we fall. This openness extends to all political affiliations and other variances of our White Folk until we can regain some semblance of viability as a racial stock once again. Before debating the fruitfulness of the nuances of the myriad governances and religions of our Family worldwide we must soundly establish this basic tenet. Race first, all else second.

Hell or Heaven, Hades or Valhalla, or eternal silence..., I will find out soon enough what awaits me through the veil of death. Until then, however, I will focus all my energies and lifeforce and fight to leave a positive mark on the legacy of my Folk, my Family. Hail Victory!

Chlodovech
Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 02:37 PM
Thank you for the response, Moody. I'll formulate my thoughts tonight, for now, I stick to this excellent quote:

"A man may pile up mountains of gold, or he may order nations to war, or he may acquire great knowledge or skill, but if he does not direct his life in accordance with the One Purpose, he may as well not have lived." - Dr. William L. Pierce

EDIT: Make that tomorrow instead of tonight, I gotta be at work at sunset. ZzZzZzZzZ.

Chlodovech
Thursday, September 21st, 2006, 10:09 PM
The laws of rank ordering and Separation aren't "fragmentation".

I agree. I'm a friend of Leviathan, not his enemy.

With fragmentation, I'm hinting at the division secular/spiritual (and to a lesser extent secularity/religion) - but, if it makes any difference, I don't think each and every corner of society - or the major insitutions of the state (like the armed focres) should be influenced by a religion, or that a theocracy is a must.

But I'd be nice to have certain parts in a leading class that do entertain a holistic view of things.

I'd like to add that at least some, but perhaps all contradictions are only in our heads (muslim terrorists and the less militant muslims are looking at the same holy book, but reach different conclusions).

Even more so is the comparing of (always different) things. There's always truth in it to him who's comparing A to B.

We should keep that in mind when discussing.


This assumes that God is separate from his creation ... wouldn't you call this 'fragmented'?

God, to me, is the fist and last individual, historically, I mean - blew Himself up - and stopped being an individual - not unlike the artist who puts his soul into his own art. You can't think of the art without the artist. But His art can't be lost, not like we know it, anyway. For all happens within His creation.

God would be the foremost influencer - the consequences of His influence are beyond human scope of detection - all our influencing is merely sub-influencing within his reach of influence. It matters not if He's dead (is there a Life versus God? Who's to say?) - individually dead - or only came to being when galaxy came to life.

I can make changes on earth too, but on micro-scale. By making kids, for instance. Being me, it's impossible to imitate God, and I consider the very ambition morally insane. :)


I presume you are saying that everything is religious and nothing is 'secular', so your real answer to the question 'can there be secual morality?' would be that there is no such thing as secularism.
According to this position, secularists, agnostics, atheists etc., are all deluded, I would guess.

Well, like I mentioned above - I rather mean that there's nothing without God. Not that the public domain as a whole should be occupied by God too. There is such a thing as secularism, and secular morality. Clearly, there is.



This brings in the notion of conscience; do you obey a secular law or do you flout it because your conscience tells you otherwise [and could have a conscience that was religious or secular.

I stay away and as far as possible - from what in my concious is implemented as a sign of wickedness. And I don't cling on to a certain sets of commands for this and all moments, but merely to a credo. Love, by the way, is doing whatever is necessary, isn't it?


Do you mean 'GOD' as you have written, or 'GOOD'?

Hehe, the former, God. But anyone could read it as 'good', and still don't think something really different from what I think.


Well, I don't necessarily disagree with that, but the facts are that when it comes to "fighting" the victors are always those who have the firmest grasp of reality, the better tactics, the better strategies and the better weapons.
The better science, in other words.
Secular states have a habit of winning.

And I don't necessarily disagree with that either. But what good is winning battles, if you're winning 'm for the wrong thing. Take the West, for example... sure, The West is the best, when it comes to armed clashes... but to what ends does this civilization wage war. If we could get rid of our politics, I'd be a happy "loser" (winner?) - if a religion contributes to the disappearance of the morbid (and secular) West, a religion of the blood - or at least defending the blood - would be a sanctifying thing.

Not all victories are won on a battlefield, I guess. Not in life.


So what morality do you follow?

Perhaps no other morality in reality - than you. I can attribute as many divine value to a well placed cruise missile or a good kiss - as many my conscience allows me to with regards to the context of the explosion or the kiss - if it's meaningful.

My morality, I would say, is the Skadi mission statement. It was only written down some time ago, but in the soul of our folk, the thought, if you prefer, it must have existed always - sometimes, like in our day and age, only in the dark cellar of society.


And on what basis do you make that choice?

It isn't my choice. I don't believe humans have thoughts of themselves. The great men, perhaps they have thoughts of their own - the biggest influencers of our own world - I don't have any thoughts of myself. I follow, and I'm proud follower.


Aren't you yourself forced to 'fragment'?

I think I made my point on 'fragmenting thought' clear, a couple of times already in this post. Not all is one, nor can I find a reason why it should be - to me, most of the oneness humans get involved with, is blasphemy (for example, the extinction of the distinction between men/women), but all comes from one.


Are you saying that secularism/atheism/agnosticism [which are not presumably "holy"] are meaningless?

Absolutely not. All have a larger value that secularists aren't really aware of.


Are you saying that atheists care nothing for their folk?

No way! But a nice question, 'cause this is why I reacted to this thread in the first place. I respect an atheist racialist, but I still dislike his attitude towards life - if (IF!) he's poisoning his own habitat - with junk morals. If he's on the one hand racialist, but on the other hand addicted to rampant materialism.


Are all human beings then "holy"?

The art of God is holy, yeah. But holy beings can fight and kill.


Are all religions then relative?

I don't adhere to relativisim. No religion is relative. But only the first and only individual could tell you why.


Do you accept all religions as being correct?

Frankly, I don't care. Esoterically, perhaps they are, yes. Some have lousy (interpretations of) doctrines.

Chesterton: "Is one religion as good as another? Is one horse in the Derby as good as another?"

Some religions aren't as complete as others. But they play a part in our universe. The universe matters to me.


So what religion is the correct one - and where does that leave all the rest if you are not a relativist?

Correct - religions being correct about their 'description' of some sort of 'Genesis' - of God - or about His will?

No, being scientifically wrong or right about these things has nothing to do with the believers and doctrine being relative or not - not from a none scientifcally point of view (life is more than science)- if they can have enough impact on earth, they'll become even more important - but I admit we can't know God's will like we can know that of a teacher in front of a class. The thought of such a will is too large to think.

I really pushed your buttons by saying what I said about fragmentarization, huh? ;)


When you say "us mere mortals" the implication is that you believe that there is another order of beings [presumably 'immortals'] who would then exist outside of human life.

Mortality doesn't implicate immortality - as a hard fact. We mere mortals, can be mortal between everything else mortal.


Why can't those immortals philosophise?

The option remains open.


Perhaps human life is the result of an immortal being philosophising.

Human life would be even more awesome when it was created without philosophising.


There are secular ideologies which are holisitic too; you can believe in the whole if you want, without believing in a God or in a religion.

I doubt if I'd call such an ideology holistic - and if it was truly holistic, perhaps I'd call it no longer 'secular'.


Have any of life's mysteries ever been solved?
I think they have.
For example, men spent a huge amount of time wondering what would happen when you came to the 'edge' of the world - would you fall off? And where was the edge of the world?
The mystery was solved when it was discovered that the world was in fact, a sphere.

That's right.


Was that mystery solved by God or by secular science?

Since I believe in fixed fate, this question is an unsolvable riddle to me.


Do you think that further mysteries will be solved in the future?

Beyond any amount of doubt.



Why not? If life is about living as you say, then we all - by the simple fact of not being able to be everywhere in the universe at once - value one part of life more than we do the others.
No single person is able to care about the "whole" in practical terms - he can say that he does, but in reality he only cares about those things which are within his own circle of influence.

You act where you are, ofcourse. But you could do it with that whole (being partially visible, in your own surroundings) in mind, or not. In war, an individual still fights only a small battle - isn't the soldier not aware of the larger picture? The soldier himself is unthinkable without it.


So a sensible outlook is not take an absolutist 'either/or', "all or nothing" view, but to see life as a matter of levels, or 'strata'.

Why that would be sensible, is unclear to me. It's like anti-racists or anti-war protestors telling you that you shouldn't view life in black and white colours, when they're viewing Stormfront - or Bush as black, and themselves as white.

There is no such thing as a 'radical' position, people who speak of 'radicals' suffer from mind control. :)

I turn things around: people who act solely here and now, without a further context to their deeds, without having ideas about wrong and right - are perhaps meditating, but surely small in number.

Actually, there can't be a large mass of the people you mention, and if they are for real, then only during brief moments - perhaps a handful of people on this earth more than the rest, yes.


We all can operate only on certain levels due our natural shortcomings.

Thank God! It wouldn't be very wise to act and think globally at the same time.

This is where you and I differ, then. I don't believe in letting go of the great picture in a situation - because it's only happening in my room or garden. And since you seem a man of honour to me, I doubt you let go of your principles - in your own private life sphere - just because it isn't the whole world at once!


This does not mean that the other levels don't exist - of course they do - but they are not of our immediate concern.

If religion is an integral part of (a) Germanic culture, than that's enough reason to preserve it. Whether it is scientifically right or wrong or - perhaps - just allegorical.

There is no scientific answer as to why preservation is important, that's a weakness of the "religion of science" (and why I'm weary of it), and where belief comes into play.

Scientists may advocate the end of humanity one day, out of nihilism. And perhaps they're just doing that, unknowingly.

Siegfried
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 09:24 AM
In order to be truly compelling, morality cannot be antropocentric or subjective; it requires a foundation in superhuman spheres. I agree this does not necessarily require an antropomorphic personal deity as we find in folk theism.

Huzar
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 09:40 AM
Basically not.


Religion was born as a sort of help to ordinate better emotions and impulses. a super-structure abilitate to regulate the sphere of human conscience.

Of course we can't forget the other principal reason since all populations of world has created a thing called "religion" : the deep intimate need to believe in something other than material reality.

But this doesn't change the more pragmatic significance of "impulse regulation" proper of religion. Without dubt, through the millennia, the "regulation" concept (and its systematization in many cases. See the "ten commandments" etc. etc.) was largely used for "secular" finalities, until the direct abuse.

For sure the role of "impulse regulation" was born to regiment unorganized and undisciplined peoples of the past ages. It's reasonable to think that mature and conscious peoples don't need this psychologic super-structure anymore (or at least not in the same measure of the past). A mature people can understand what is right or wrong without external (undebt) help.

I'm not atheist (so i don't believe in the Marxist saying : "Die religion ist das opium des Volk....."., but i don't think to need a regulation from religion. (but at this point, we should separate religion from church : Religion. per sè, and the official interpretation given by the church who rapresent it)

Flash Voyager
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 09:46 AM
Human morality has often been proven that it's a product of our conscience and therefore is objective. It's even observed in animals. Fanatics and fundamentalists of the major religions and some religious scripture often regard the irreligious as immoral, usually for religious segregation and giving believers another reason to try to convert others and/or to prevent disbeliever to rise to power.

Taurin
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 02:45 PM
Of course, many people believes in the existence of an objective morality. But those very people don't agree on the actual substance of that supposed universal, objective morality - just think of the squabbles between Christians and secular humanists on abortion. As everybody knows, even Christians believe in a self-evident morality - which by the way should coincide with their own. Humanists usually show the same unwavering self-assurance.

Morality exists, of course - assuming in each historical occasion different forms, which are irreducible to each other. It is determined by times, by places, even by race I dare to say - and is devoid of a universal essence.

Just ask Spartans what would they do with weaklings and misfits, and compare with the present stance.

Ederico
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 03:19 PM
I subscribe to the ethics of natural law, now to describe that and counter all probable and possible objections to it would require writing too much. I suggest researching on it. This whole question is basically one involving ethical absolutism and relativism.

As a Catholic, I'll state the Catholic position as I know it.

Catholic doctrine denies that the non-Catholic are immoral per se, actually it denies the immorality of a person as a personal attribute but rather considers the immorality of a person's practical acts. In point of fact, Catholic doctrine essentially distinguishes the moral from immoral on the basis of natural law itself, the Catholic ethical doctrine (though in itself areligious, but mind you not irreligious). Religious affiliation to Catholicism doesn't presuppose moral rectitude in Catholicism and neither does it claim exclusive hold on morality.

Obviously, that is a doctrine that most self-identified Catholics probably wouldn't know about, thus giving rise to cultural fenomena such as the notion that the non-Catholic is necessarily immoral. I consider this cultural and socio-psychological and not ascribable to one's Catholic Faith. At most it is ascribable to a misunderstanding of one's Catholic Faith. What I think happens, as I observed in Malta, is that Catholicism is seen as a communitarian tradition and social reality which constitutes part and parcel of being in the social "in-group". Therefore Faith and social belonging get intertwined, not belong to the Faith results in not belonging to the social group, not belonging to the latter could result in being considered a social outcast, that in itself being tantamount to "immorality" in the social group conscience.

We must remember that in Malta Catholicism was a bulwark against Islam in pre-British Colonial history, and part and parcel of Maltese identity against the British Protestant usurper, oppressor and proselytiser. Eventually, through history not being Catholic being synonymous to not being moral, or not being Maltese which eventually meant being immoral (as in being treacherous after all).

This is how I see that notions of inseparability between religion and morality could arise in popular thought, in Malta as a traditionally Catholic society. Proper Catholic doctrine however, doesn't hold this.

Now however, there is another problem related to soteriology. The Catholic dogma of EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS (Outside the Church there is no Salvation) would seem to theologically imply that those not members the Church are damned (unless invincible ignorance is involved) to eternal hell. I am not theologically contesting this. The fact is that morality is not involved here, for as far as mentioned dogma is concerned the person's identified religious faith is a precondition for the potentiality of salvation, morality is not this precondition. Morality in natural law/Catholic doctrine is a question man's application of his practical reasoning to practical scenarios based on his usage of reason and reason alone. It has little to do in this context with one's salvation. The problem is that ignorance of Catholic doctrine results in the least instructed of the Faithful to think that since the dogma of EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS applies then the excluded must necessarily be IMMORAL. As explained above, in Catholic thought, that is not so.

Leofric
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 04:01 PM
I don't think morality comes from any god. Morality (etymologically speaking) is when you behave in a manner consistent with the customs of your society. Morality, then, comes from the society. In that sense, it can come from religion, because religion can be a societal institution. But the religious morality doesn't come from religion as a system of faith in gods or the supernatural, but from religion as a part of society. An social community can instill morality just as easily (and inevitably) as religion.

Even Skadi instills morality in us.

I think the benefits of religion are not morality, but spiritual health.




Human morality has often been proven that it's a product of our conscience and therefore is objective. It's even observed in animals.
I don't know about human morality being observed in animals ( ;) ), but morality in animals doesn't prove that morality doesn't come from religion. We know basically nothing about the religious beliefs of animals. It could well be that animals exhibit morality because of their religion. (Though as you can see from my response to the original post, I don't think that morality must be religious in its source.)

Taurin
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 05:30 PM
Catholic doctrine denies that the non-Catholic are immoral per se, actually it denies the immorality of a person as a personal attribute but rather considers the immorality of a person's practical acts. In point of fact, Catholic doctrine essentially distinguishes the moral from immoral on the basis of natural law itself, the Catholic ethical doctrine (though in itself areligious, but mind you not irreligious). Religious affiliation to Catholicism doesn't presuppose moral rectitude in Catholicism and neither does it claim exclusive hold on morality.

This is all well and good, but those who believe in a 'natural ' or 'rational' law contradict themselves about its content. A Catholic instinctively feels homosexuality as something unnatural and deviant - but this is enough for a saecular humanist to shriek about 'fundamentalism', as his own brand of objective morality doesn't care about sexual orientation. Same goes for abortion and contraception.

There have been in history, for instance, many societies - often great cultures - which were founded on human sacrifice, sexual debauchery, slavery (which is condoned even by the Bible, but is now frown upon by modern humanism as a hideous crime). Either we assume that every historical community has its own standard of judgment, or we must declare that entire human groups had fallen astray from the only true universal table of values. How to convince they are wrong, is a matter about which I haven't the least clue.

Janus
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 06:14 PM
Atheists always argue that they do not need to believe in something devine to be good but with stating that they already believe in something: the good (and the evil). Science does not know good/bad and acting in an altruistic way does not equal acting morally.

Therefore morality does indeed require a superhuman force which might not be necessarily the anthropomorphic God of common religions but can basicly just certain things seen as good or evil in an absolute and trancendent way. For example we can make life itself something devine and it's not really a religion but atleast a belief. So eventually we do not need to be religious to have morals but we need to belief in something supernatural.

AlbionMP
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 09:47 PM
I think, one creates their own morality, based upon ones traditional / religous upbringing.

SwordOfTheVistula
Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, 02:02 AM
I don't think one needs religion to be moral in a general sense, though in the case of many specific individuals it does help a lot.

Also morality varies between religions, cultures and time periods.

Religion I think was invented to give people moral guidance, explain that which could not be explained at the time by practical means, and also to prop up the existing power structure. There are of course other, perhaps better ways of giving people moral guidance.

Gagnraad
Monday, March 3rd, 2008, 04:00 AM
Hmm...


Well, I believe that morality are as abstract as the old "Good & Evil"-issue.

Some believe that nuking a muslim village is an act of good morality, because they are better off dead, while others would oppose that and call the others amoral.

I am a quite a moral lad, but I do not believe in any deity. So as to where my morality comes from? My spirit, my soul, perhaps? The ever-present sub-consciousness?
Or perhaps it may be the way my mother teached me of rights and wrongs throughout my childhood?

Blood_Axis
Monday, March 3rd, 2008, 10:11 AM
I don't believe in morality in the sense of "good & evil" -that is purely a dualistic distinction found in the semitic religions. Such morality deprives man of free will and enslaves the spirit.

Polytheistic religions have no notion of 'morality' in that sense. Morals are viewed as a rather multidimensional phenomenon, taking into account the specifics of every situation and the perplexity of the universe and of the Being.

Ulf
Monday, March 3rd, 2008, 08:36 PM
Morals needn't only come from religion. They also come from culture and the environment of people(s).

Good and Evil in the dualistic sense have been slain by philosophers long ago. IMO everything is relative to the view point.

What is 'evil' to me is anything that infringes on the basic rights of others. Good is whatever you want it to be.

This is all absent of religion. Your religion might be evil to me or good. It matters not.

Gorm the Old
Tuesday, March 4th, 2008, 04:32 AM
I think that everyone probably knows by now that I am an agnostic. Does that mean that I am devoid of a moral code ? OF COURSE NOT !

I have no respect for a moral code based on fear of punishment or anticipation of reward. What ? You won't behave decently unless some power greater than you threatens you with annihilation if you don't ? What ? You have to be bribed by promises of a pleasurable afterlife if you behave well ?
You call THAT morality ?

I am convinced that, unless it be suppressed or perverted by societal pressure or wrongful teaching, very man has an innate sense of right and wrong. Basically, it boils down to ahimsa, harmlessness. That which harms oneself or others is wrong. That which benefits oneself [but not at the expense of the welfare of others] or others is right. That which neither harms nor benefits is morally neutral.

I strive to do that which is right because it IS right, not because I hope to be rewarded or praised or otherwise to benefit from it, but because it is THAT WHICH IS TO BE DONE.

I try to avoid doing that which is wrong because it IS wrong, not because I fear punishment but because it is THAT WHICH IS NOT TO BE DONE.

That is my code, simple and straightforward. Some would call it simplistic. Morality easily gets lost in subtleties. It doesn't call for a god to threaten me or bribe me. It would be equally valid whether or not God exists.

Indeed, religions have promulgated some of the most immoral doctrines imaginable . The Bible is often used as a basis for moral instruction, so let's consider some of the fine moral lessons to be found in the Old Testament.

If you want to receive God's blessing, cheat your brother out of his inheritance by deceiving your blind father. [Yakov, Esau, and Yitschak]

If you want to arrange a particularly advantageous marriage for your daughter, manoeuvre her into a compromising situation with a rich old man and blow the whistle. [Ruth & Naomi]

I need hardly elaborate on the wickedness and crimes of the blessed King David who got to be an ancestor, on the distaff side, of Yeshua ben Miriam
[aka Jesus] It's interesting to note, though, that the omniscient Yahweh lied to David, saying "Thy throne will endure forever." which obviously it didn't.

It is my considered opinion that a finer and purer moral code is to be had by not allowing it to be polluted by religion.

Edenkoben
Tuesday, March 4th, 2008, 09:08 PM
The most ethical two people I have ever known--bar none--are Platonists...people who study the ethics of Socrates/Plato and structure their lives around what they hold to be behavior consistent with knowledge of the form of the good.

We haven't an internet large enough to list the many heinous christians, jews and muslims of the contemporary world, much less those scoundrels who have gone before them.

Religion is one good way to tell a moral story; science is another; politics too. But actions are the measure of morality, not dogma.

One question: Do we act ethically for its own sake or for a future reward? And if a future reward, do we mean one in our life or one in whatever afterlife there may be, if any? OK, that's two questions.

My answers: ethical actions are validated by the intent of the moral agent. True, some actions that we think were ethical at the time of commission (or omission) turn out to be wrong, but that's no immoral; it's simply ignorance (and 'knowledge of the future' is always ignorance). There may or may not be future rewards, but the action, the agent and the circumstances are set in the NOW.

SmokyGod
Thursday, March 6th, 2008, 02:25 AM
morals?

Morality is a tribalistic invention. A code by which all members of the tribe live. I believe tribes created moral codes in order to work together and focus on finding food and fighting other tribes. Your unit would suck as a cohesive fighting force if i was tempted to stab Bob in the back because he has a nice bow that i want. Morality is a code of law passed down from mother/father to child in the form of fables and fairy tales. A knight saves a princess from a dragon. The moral? 1) Always risk your neck to save a woman of your tribe, they are the ones who bear new kin. 2) if somebody is fucking with your tribesmen, kill them.

And i like it that way. Morality was meant to be applied on an ethnic scale, not on a multi-national, multi-cultural scale. Those other tribes are the ones competing with you for food and shelter. It isnt smart to let them.

Vikingland
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008, 01:24 AM
I first of all want to say, everybody left an interesting response and I could almost get away with my response by using quotes from everyone else's response!...

In my opinion though,
I base my morals off life experience and historical study.
I just tended to be magnetically attracted to various Pagan cultures, and I think the term is Pantheism, but I have realized the syncretism of many ancient traditions, and the general idea of morality is easily understood...
I have to agree that morals are both attributed to the culture or people to which they are attributed. There is no way, in any sense, that a general understanding of what is ..right.. or ..wrong.. will be understood by an entire global population due to the infectious beliefs of certain people, religious or not.

In the aspect of individualism, who is to tell me what is good for me...I myself understand that I should not harm others, because I am not enthusiastic about being harmed, but I can only hope that others around me aren't okay with stabbing me for a couple dollars....so that leads me to completely agree also that morality should be applied on an ethnic, tribalistic level.

I learned, and formed my own opinions, in a multi-cultural society, and now I would be considered immoral by any Judeo-Christian. Most of them have never experienced any sort of individual religious revelation, and their morality is indeed distorted. So I have to immediately question their actually spirituality and how 'religious' and 'pure' it really is....and then, obviously when looking back in history, I understand there was a change from our ancient traditions to the sickness named Christendom, and it has steadily declined from that point into this...
and by this I mean....
Morality is just dead. You can only fend for yourself now. You better be prepared to kill someone, regardless of who they are, or your morals. If they have no morals, and they find the money you have more important for their kin (or even lower, for themselves), you are in trouble. Unless morals from ancient traditions are revived, or new ones are formed. I think 'charity' and 'humanity' has just taken the minds of too many...
I find it Moral to not send all our money, if we expect to ethnically survive in this new capitalist multi-cultural empire, to help the starving....I mean we aren't harming them..We could help...and be 'moral'...Or we could let nature take it's course....Which I find to be even more so 'moral' And maybe survive for a couple more centuries....

I apologize if I offend any charitable humanitarians.
I guess I am just immoral!

Snorri Þórfinnsson
Wednesday, March 19th, 2008, 05:51 PM
I don't think religion is necessary to morality. Religion can inspire both good and bad so it wouldn't make any difference if you were religious or atheist. Some religious people devote their lives to helping the poor and others fly airplanes into buildings.

Alkman
Sunday, March 23rd, 2008, 03:48 AM
"With or without religion you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.

But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

I think Steven Weinberg had Abrahamic religions in mind when he wrote this.

arthor
Tuesday, April 29th, 2008, 04:19 PM
Cyfarchion

I don't think that religion is necessary to engender morals. As has been stated before, many totally non religious people behave and act in a way that I would consider correct. Also, there is a definite difference between organised and individual religion. I am a heathen and noone tells me how to act. I have always believed what I do and that has drawn me to the spiritual place I am now. Organised religion brings rules and with it less responsibility. If another body takes responsibility for your actions then you can do what you want as long as you confess (child molesting, burning people, torturing people) how immoral is that.
The sense of what is right and wrong and therefore what is morally right comes from within. If it matches your faith then fine. If it doesn't then you have a dilemma unless your religion takes over for you. If you have no religion then again, fine

wasshael

Maccuswæl
Friday, May 16th, 2008, 03:41 PM
Needing religion to be moral is a fantasy argument conjured up by people who would like to suggest that if you don't follow their religion then you can't be moral. In my opinion it comes from that and the basic fear of anything unknown. When you talk to a fundamentalist Christian and tell him that you are not, one of the things they are going to question is what exactly you might get up to without the fear of Hell-fire. This makes you an uncertain factor in their lives, as they have clear cut rules they follow and people outside their experience apparently do not. In their minds it's rules=order, no rules=chaos(?). I've heard more than once questions along the lines of "why would you follow rules/morality if you didn't have to". Which to me has always been telling, and I think it's why I've seen so many kids raised as strict Christians completely lose their shit when away from their parents for the first time.

But basically the idea of a person with a conscience and without a god (or different, scary gods) is a threat to their own faith or world view. I mean, if you've built up the idea that you're a good person because you're a "good Christian" (or whatever), then someone being a good person without that challenges your paradigms of what makes someone "good". It makes them feel much better to think that a atheist or non-religious person is automatically less good than them. Just look at the stereotypes that religious people place on the non-religious, or "weird" religious people.

From another angle, when you have an atheist who is a moral and upright person, who is just and noble and goodly, it gets real difficult to believe that Yahweh could be that much of an asshole to send this cat to Hell for all eternity, yeah? So you make the exception, "well God will have mercy on him for being such a good, but terribly misguided person", and NOW you've got people getting into Heaven without having to follow all the stupid rules that you do, right? And that could make anybody crazy, so a lot of fundamentalists just get angry and don't believe you can't really be all that moral anyway, because that way they don't have to deal with an unjust Yahweh fucking you over for all time on a technicality.

That's how I see it.

Lyfing
Sunday, June 8th, 2008, 02:29 AM
I think mythology or in this case I suppose religion serves several purposes one of which is what Joseph Campbell called the third function of mythology..


* Third is the sociological function. Myth supports and validates the specific moral order of the society out of which it arose. Particular life-customs of this social dimension, such as ethical laws and social roles, evolve dramatically. This function, and the rites by which it is rendered, establishes in members of the group concerned a system of sentiments that can be depended upon to link that person spontaneously to its ends.


http://www.folkstory.com/campbell/scholars_life.html

...


3. The Social Prospect

Nor is the situation more comforting in the moral, social sphere of our third traditional mythological function: the validation and maintenance of an established order. In the words of the late John Dewey (1859-1952)

Christianity proffered a fixed revelation of absolute, unchanging Being and truth; and the revelation was elaborated into a system of definite rules and ends for the direction of life. Hence “morals” were conceived as a code of laws, the same everywhere and at all times. The good life was one lived in a fixed adherence to fixed principles.
In contrast with all such beliefs, the outstanding fact in all branches of natural science is that to exist is to be in process, in change…
Victorian thought conceived of new conditions as if they merely put in our hands effective instruments for realizing old ideals. The shock and uncertainty so characteristic of the present marks the discovery that the older ideals themselves are undermined. Instead of science and technology giving us better means for bringing them to pass, they are shaking our confidence in all large and comprehensive beliefs and purposes.

Such a phenomenon is, however, transitory. The impact of the new forces is for the time being negative. Faith in the divine author and authority in which Western civilization confided, inherited ideas of the soul and its destiny, of fixed revelation, of completely stable institutions, of automatic progress, have been made impossible for the cultivated mind of the Western world. It is psychologically natural that the outcome should be a collapse of faith in all fundamental organizing and directive ideas. Skepticism becomes the mark and even the pose of the educated mind. It is the more influential because it is no longer directed against this and that article of the older creeds but is rather a thematic participation on the part of such ideas in the intelligent direction of affairs.
It is in such a context that a thoroughgoing philosophy of experience, framed in the light of science and technique, has its significance…
A philosophy of experience will accept at its full value the fact that social and moral existences are, like the physical existences, in a state of continuous if obscure change. It will not try to cover up the fact of inevitable modification, and will make no attempt to set fixed limits to the extent of changes that are to occur. For the futile effort to achieve security and anchorage in something fixed, it will substitute the effort to determine the character of changes that are going on and to give them in the affairs that concern us most some measure of intelligent direction…


Wherever the thought of fixity rules, that of all-inclusive unity rules also. The popular philosophy of life is filled with desire to attain such an all-embracing unity, and the formal philosophies haved been devoted to an intellectual fulfillment of the desire. Consider the place occupied in popular thought by search for the meaning of life and the purpose of the universe. Men who look for single purport and a single end either frame an idea of them according to their private desires and tradition, or else, not finding any such single unity, give up in despair and conclude that there is no genuine meaning and value of life’s episodes.
The alternatives are not exhaustive, however. There is no need of deciding between no meaning at all and on single, all poses in the situations with which are confronted-one, so to say, for each situation. Each offers its own challenge to thought and endeavor, and presents its own potential value.

In sum: the individual is no on his own. “It is all untrue! Anything goes!” (Nietzsche). The dragon “Thou Shalt!” has been slain-for us all. Therin the danger! Anfortas too was installed thorough no deed, no virtue of his own, upon the seat of power: Lord of the World Center, which, as Cusanus knew, is in each. The wheel on the head of the Bodhisattva, revolving with its painful cutting edge : Who can bear it? Who can teach us to bear it as a crown, not of thorns, but of laurel: the wreath of our own Lady Orgeluse?

The nihilist’s question, “Why?” {wrote Nietzsche} is a product of his earlier habitude of expecting an aim to be given, to be set for him, from without- I.e. by some superhuman authority or other. When he has learned not to believe in such a thing, he goes on, just the same, from habit, looking for another authority of some kind that will be able to speak unconditionally and set goals and tasks by command. The authority of Conscience now is the first to present itself (the more emancipated from theology, the more imperative morality becomes) as compensation for a personal authority. Or the authority of Reason. Or the Social Instinct ( the herd ). Or History, with an immanent spirit that has a goal of its own, to which one can give oneself. One wants, by all means, to get around having to will, to desire a goal, to set up a goal for oneself: one wants to avoid the responsibility (-accepting fatalism ). Finally: Happiness, and with a certain Tartuffe, the Happiness of the Majority.
One says to oneself: 1. A definite goal is unnecessary, 2. Is impossible to foresee.
And so, precisely when what is required is Will in its highest power, it is at its weakest and most faint-hearted, in Absolute Mistrust of the Organizational Force of the Will-to-be-a-Whole.

Nihilism is of two faces:
A. Nihilism, as the sign of a heightened power of the spirit: active nihilism.
B. Nihilism, as a decline and regression of the power of the spirit: passive nihilism.

Attempts to escape from nihilism without transvaluing earlier values only bring about opposite escape: a sharpening of the problem.

Pages 621-623 Creative Mythology

Later,
-Lyfing

Nachtengel
Friday, July 5th, 2019, 10:52 AM
Religious Decline Does Not Equal Moral Decline, Says Researcher

Morality is not rooted in religion and religion matters less for moral values now than it did thirty years ago, says a University of Manchester researcher.

Dr Ingrid Storm's findings, based on her analysis of European survey data, found that religious decline does not equal moral decline.

According to Dr Storm, whose research is published in Politics and Religion, involvement in religion makes most difference to morality in the most religious countries, and matters less for moral values now than it did in the 1980s.

"Religion has been in sharp decline in many European countries. Each new generation is less religious than the one before, so I was interested to find out if there is any reason to expect moral decline" she said.

Her study found that religion is only related to some moral values, and more so in religious countries and when people do not trust the state.

The respondents to questionnaires in 48 European countries over the period from 1981 to 2008 were asked how often they would justify various contentious behaviours, which she classified into two moral dimensions.

The first is about the individual going against tradition, for example it includes justifying abortion and homosexuality. The second moral dimension is more about justifying behaviours that are against the law and could harm others, such as lying, cheating and stealing.

Dr Storm said: "More Europeans are now willing to justify behaviours that go against tradition, but attitudes have not changed when it comes to breaking the law or harming others.

"As religion has declined in Europe there has also been an increase in acceptance of personal autonomy on issues concerning sexuality and family. Each generation is more liberal on these issues than the one before. In contrast, we find no evidence that moral values have become more self-interested or anti-social."

The research also found that religious people are slightly less self-interested on average, but this can largely be accounted for by their age. This is because the average religious person is older than the average nonreligious person, and older people, whenever they were born, are less likely to justify self-interest values.

"Religious faith and worship also makes most difference to morality in the most religious countries. To be effective, religious norms need to be validated by a moral community of other religious friends and family and social and political institutions" concluded Dr Storm.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160113101117.htm

SaxonPagan
Friday, July 5th, 2019, 07:34 PM
"All are not saints that go to church" was one of my Dad's favourite sayings :)

Somebody here (https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071104121039AAxWo3Q) takes this a step further and says: "going to a church doesn't automatically make you a saint (or even a Christian for that matter) any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car." :D

schwab
Friday, July 5th, 2019, 08:17 PM
Satan goes to church too, every Sunday and any time of time week.

Sigurdsson
Friday, July 5th, 2019, 10:05 PM
Absolutely not. Secular people are just as, if not more, moral than religious people.

Terminus
Saturday, July 6th, 2019, 06:44 AM
Can such a thing as secular morality exist? Is it possible to have ethics that do not have roots in religion?Of course. The humanist who respects and concerns himself with human rights on a daily basis is far better off than the average churchgoer who only concerns himself with other people's affairs once per week or on special occasions and family visits. Ethics that have roots in biology are incomparably superior.


I've been reading up on both Nietzsche and Nihilism (=migraine), and both philosophies seem to be at odds with each other and it had me thinking about the possibility of ethics without a theological backing. Could secular and non-religious governments like the Soviet Union and China have any real form of justice since it was not religious?Even Nietzsche made his fair share of mistakes in his critique of ethics.

It could be argued that a theological background could be viable if it took into account the psychological (like Origen did) and biological, the latter of which is grotesquely neglected even in secular circles.

LillyCaterina
Sunday, July 7th, 2019, 12:22 AM
No. Religion is not needed for morality.

Practicing a particular kind of established religion doesn't necessarily make one a Christian. While good conduct should be maintained, being a Christian is not earned by good work. Salvation is by Grace alone. And this is an entirely personal matter. :nod

Alice
Sunday, July 7th, 2019, 07:01 AM
No, because there are philosophical truths that can be known by reason alone. These moral norms can be known without recourse to religion.

Chlodovech
Sunday, July 7th, 2019, 04:59 PM
It's theoretically possible to have some basic morals without religion - enough to make you tolerable enough to be around. They're still ethics of a lesser nature and susceptible to change at a moment's notice depending on one's own interests/the latest trends/one's personal character - it makes you rather unreliable and unpredictable in an area of life in which one should be predictable. The irreligious can deny this all they want, but I don't believe they're the geniuses who figured out life and how to live by themselves and yet they all seem to make that claim on some level.

Is religion needed for high culture/art? Yes absolutely, the answer is much clearer than in the case of morality - there are examples of rather moral irreligious people, but not of irreligious societies cherishing beauty. The way religion is required for beauty, it is probably required for morality too, they're closely related anyway. Secularism gives us sculptures of dildos in city centers, but no Michelangelo. What goes for art and religion likely goes for religion and morality as well.

It's not that religious people don't mess up, but at least they're supposed to live up to a standard and can be held accountable when they don't, not so with those who lack religion - and hence a standard which can be easily defined. Which is a western disease.


Secular people are just as, if not more, moral than religious people.

That's how irreligious people delude themselves into thinking they're better than religious folks - and they don't even have to make any effort for it. And that's the main thing - they can do whatever they like AND be lazy AND still be morally superior (in their own eyes). I don't think so though. I don't see it. It requires making virtue out of vice - see the abortion/euthanasia epidemic - if you dress it up in moral language, you can present it as moral.

Another thing to consider is: tradition(alism) without religion is impossible - it's unthinkable and simply does not happen. What remains is hobbyism which can never catch on. If people stop adhering to religion, they also do away with tradition every single time.

Siebenbürgerin
Friday, July 19th, 2019, 08:05 PM
In my view, religious morality is the root or base of any type of morality. While there can be morally virtuous atheists, their set of morals is in reality borrowed from religion. The most simple and basic set of morals are the Ten Commandments. For example, do not steal, do not lie, do not covet, do not murder, and so forth. The Ten Commandments is an example of absolute morality. In the absence of such a moral system and a God who decides such issues, every moral decision would be relative. To some person, lying would be acceptable under some circumstances, to another not at all, and to another morals wouldn't matter. We can see moral relativism in secular societies. The rise of certain directions which were previously considered immoral or even sinful, and now are considered acceptable or even promoted. Unfortunately, moral relativism leads to social decay. For morality to function in society, we need a system of absolute morality, established by an unquestionable, higher authority who are themselves the most shining example of morals (i.e. God).

Terminus
Saturday, July 20th, 2019, 03:01 AM
In my view, religious morality is the root or base of any type of morality. While there can be morally virtuous atheists, their set of morals is in reality borrowed from religion. The most simple and basic set of morals are the Ten Commandments. For example, do not steal, do not lie, do not covet, do not murder, and so forth.That's absurd. First of all, by religious, you mean Jewish-Christian. Confucius and Buddha have been typically accused of being atheists by Christians. Second, biological morality is the root/basis of morality. Herbert Spencer was the first to anchor this idea in people's minds yet only Darwin is promoted. Why did Nietzsche go insane, despite his call for Europe to return to itself and his affinity with the pre-Socratic ancient Greeks?

Instinct is sympathy. Sympathy/altruism is promoted by Christians. Nietzsche's attack on this aspect of Christianity's ethics was a biological mistake.

All the commands you mentioned existed in previous civilizations and preceded Moses. Curiously, you've omitted to mention the precepts concerning the Sabbath and not serving other gods/images. What do these have to do with ethics?


The Ten Commandments is an example of absolute morality... such a moral system and a God who decides such issues...That's exactly what Ken Spiro (Jew) said: "absolute moral standard that comes from that god". And therein lies the problem.

For instance, if "thou shalt not kill" (deliberate English mistranslation) was taken to it's logical extreme, everyone would be parasitized and preyed upon. A world where one would be forbidden from killing ants, wasps, moths, rats, hares, etc. would perish.


In the absence of such a moral system and a God who decides such issues, every moral decision would be relative. To some person, lying would be acceptable under some circumstances, to another not at all, and to another morals wouldn't matter. We can see moral relativism in secular societies.
The rise of certain directions which were previously considered immoral or even sinful, and now are considered acceptable or even promoted. Unfortunately, moral relativism leads to social decay. Pragmatism is also found in Christianity, especially in the Jesuit sects.

Early marriage and polygamy offer Muslims incredible advantages over the Christendom. The monastic life tore Germans from reality. How can homosexuality be considered a "sin" if it's a mental condition and not necessarily a choice? It's even found among animals.


For morality to function in society, we need a system of absolute morality, established by an unquestionable, higher authority who are themselves the most shining example of morals (i.e. God).I'll admit that I find theocracy to be attractive, but the latter have always been lacking. Christianity has no such representatives. Christians are the last to keep their teachings.

schwab
Saturday, July 20th, 2019, 04:01 AM
The 10 commandments are sure a good base for morality.
Just imagine what would happen if every human being would abide by them? The world would be a different place.

SaxonPagan
Saturday, July 20th, 2019, 04:16 AM
I don’t know of any societies where lying, stealing and murder are deemed acceptable.

Morality is man-made, just like religion, but there’s a far greater consensus across the world about morality than there is about ‘God’.

Personally, I have my doubts about folks who model their behaviour on instructions from a book or pulpit. I’d be far more reassured if I thought they’d worked this stuff out by themselves. I'm sure that many of them would - it really isn't that difficult!

velvet
Saturday, July 20th, 2019, 07:22 AM
Personally, I have my doubts about folks who model their behaviour on instructions from a book or pulpit. I’d be far more reassured if I thought they’d worked this stuff out by themselves. I'm sure that many of them would - it really isn't that difficult!

Indeed. Much of "morality" is simply a biological imperative for a herd animal like humans. Just because we go about this more "sophisiticated" doesnt change that it's a biological result. We live in groups, and for groups to function it would be insanely bad if everyone would kill everyone randomly. For a group to function trust is important, so if everyone lies or steals all the time, there would be no trust. No trust = no group. Cooperation and in-group altruism can be found across the animal kingdom, ants are even called civilisation for that reason, they've reached such a high level of in-group organisation that it warrants that term, same with bees. Meerkats have kindergardens, a wolf pack exists only to provide social security for the offspring of the alpha couple, all large herd animals protect the herd's young. None of them needs christianity to behave "morally" for their group.

It is Nature that creates the "morality" for a group to function, gods are merely the protectors of the social concepts that arise from Nature. A single god cannot fullfil this role alone, a single god creates a standstill, entropy that halts development. A dance of balance of various powers/gods, just like in Nature, is a more healthy approach to social, cosmic and religious matters.


Christianity was from the beginning, essentially and fundamentally, life's nausea and disgust with life, merely concealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in 'another' or 'better' life. Hatred of 'the world', condemnations of the passions, fear of beauty and sensuality, a beyond invented the better to slander this life.