View Poll Results: Are Secular Ethics Possible?

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    36 72.00%
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Thread: Is Religion Needed For Morality? Are Secular Morality and Ethics Possible?

  1. #31
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    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.

  2. #32
    Senior Member AlbionMP's Avatar
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    I think, one creates their own morality, based upon ones traditional / religous upbringing.

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    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.

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    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?

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    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.

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    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.

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    Morality versus Religion

    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.

  8. #38
    Senior Member Edenkoben's Avatar
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    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.

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    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.
    Tequila Sunrise

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    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!

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