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Thread: Atheism And Moral Progress

  1. #11
    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    Here's a few possible definitions an atheist might use if they were speaking about 'moral progress':

    1. Whenever two people have a discussion about morality and as a result at least one of those people thinks about their view and changes it as a result, that is 'moral progress'. If history is the sum of all human actions then any cumulative effect across history of people talking/writing/discussing their ideas about morality and influencing each other and updating their views as a result of though, is 'moral progress'.

    2. Any historical survey of moral changes throughout history which attempts to identify some themes or draws any general conclusions from it about why changes were made.

    3. Any ongoing attempt to draw out abstract or generalized moral ideas from concrete ones, or to unpack moral intuitions. e.g. to go from "my gut/intuitions/conscience tells me that to pick up that knife and stab that person over there would be morally wrong" to the abstract thoughts of "intending harm to others is a moral wrong" or "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". So moral progress in this sense is any move from a concrete situational list of rules toward the abstract principles that underlie it.

    4. An approach that combines all three of those, that draws on psychological insights, historical insights, philosophical insights, political insights, and cross-cultural insights to attempt to come to an understanding of what humans have thought about morality and why and how that has changed over time and what can be said about the directions of those changes.

    5. Viewing your own moral view as the objective truth of morality (which most people, both atheists and theists tend to do) and viewing the past as a gradual movement toward those. e.g. "the abolition of slavery made moral progress, because we know slavery was wrong".

    It's pretty pathetic for you to be repeating this sort of thing when you're well aware that plenty of atheists, perhaps the majority, view themselves as having objective morals. You don't have to personally agree their morality meets your criteria of objectivity, but it just acknowledging basic facts to acknowledge that those atheists themselves believe they have objective moral standards. So when you start asking questions like "well if they don't believe in objective morality how can they believe in moral progress" you just look like a moron for denying they believe in objective morality. Just because you don't think they should believe in it, doesn't mean they don't believe in it.
    I agree with most of this but the crunch for the likes of seer is that "objective morality" must be eternally objective and unchanging (which to him means God-based). His problem is that he can never say what it is...other than a few vague references to the morality as contained in the New Testament or the Golden Rule.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

  2. #12
    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    for the likes of seer is that "objective morality" must be eternally objective and unchanging (which to him means God-based)
    From what I've picked up over the years from seer's nonsensical ramblings is that he actually thinks "objective" means "outside humanity", not "eternally... unchanging". For seer, God can come up with an arbitrary and whimsical system of morality to decree to humans, can change it up every few hundred years, and it's "objective" because it's coming from a non-human source. Whereas, even if every single human in history were to agree on an unchanging and everywhere-applicable universal standard of morality, in seer's mind that would be "subjective" because it's humans specifying it. I mean, your average philosopher would roll on the floor laughing at those definitions, but that seems to genuinely be how seer understands those words and what he means when he does 90+ page threads demanding an "objective" basis to morality.

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  4. #13
    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    From what I've picked up over the years from seer's nonsensical ramblings is that he actually thinks "objective" means "outside humanity", not "eternally... unchanging". For seer, God can come up with an arbitrary and whimsical system of morality to decree to humans, can change it up every few hundred years, and it's "objective" because it's coming from a non-human source. Whereas, even if every single human in history were to agree on an unchanging and everywhere-applicable universal standard of morality, in seer's mind that would be "subjective" because it's humans specifying it. I mean, your average philosopher would roll on the floor laughing at those definitions, but that seems to genuinely be how seer understands those words and what he means when he does 90+ page threads demanding an "objective" basis to morality.
    No, he actually says so, e.g. #274 “The-More-We-Evolve-the-Less-We-Need-God” thread: “The fact that we may not fully understand universal moral truths, or get it wrong, does not mean that they don't exist”. The fact that one subjectively interprets the biblical divine commands seems to escape him.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    It's pretty pathetic for you to be repeating this sort of thing when you're well aware that plenty of atheists, perhaps the majority, view themselves as having objective morals. You don't have to personally agree their morality meets your criteria of objectivity, but it just acknowledging basic facts to acknowledge that those atheists themselves believe they have objective moral standards. So when you start asking questions like "well if they don't believe in objective morality how can they believe in moral progress" you just look like a moron for denying they believe in objective morality. Just because you don't think they should believe in it, doesn't mean they don't believe in it.
    Really Star, how do objective or universal morals exist in your atheist world? What does that even mean?
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    From what I've picked up over the years from seer's nonsensical ramblings is that he actually thinks "objective" means "outside humanity", not "eternally... unchanging". For seer, God can come up with an arbitrary and whimsical system of morality to decree to humans, can change it up every few hundred years, and it's "objective" because it's coming from a non-human source. Whereas, even if every single human in history were to agree on an unchanging and everywhere-applicable universal standard of morality, in seer's mind that would be "subjective" because it's humans specifying it. I mean, your average philosopher would roll on the floor laughing at those definitions, but that seems to genuinely be how seer understands those words and what he means when he does 90+ page threads demanding an "objective" basis to morality.
    Now you know that is a lie Star, God's law is not arbitrary, since it is grounded in His immutable moral character and on His omniscience. Human law on the other hand is fickle, and based in ignorance of future consequences.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    I agree with most of this but the crunch for the likes of seer is that "objective morality" must be eternally objective and unchanging (which to him means God-based). His problem is that he can never say what it is...other than a few vague references to the morality as contained in the New Testament or the Golden Rule.
    That is wrong Tass and you know it, I have given you, more that once, a long and defined list of universal moral truths.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

  8. #17
    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    God's law is not arbitrary, since it is grounded in His immutable moral character and on His omniscience.
    But presumably you think his decrees are based on the situation humanity happens to be in at a given time.

    e.g. Moses ask for laws for the people, and God gives him a set of laws appropriate for that people. So a Moral Person of that time would have being obediently reading/learning those law codes and following those rules.

    Then, later, with Jesus, we see a rejection/"fulfillment" of the ritual/sacrificial laws given to Moses. God gives a different set of rules to the people. The Moral Person of that time is then no longer reading/learning/following those Mosaic law codes, but is now following a set of New Testament behaviors that are God-mandated.

    In light of that, I have to wonder how you could define "moral progress". If we compare a group of Israelites attempting to follow the Law as they understood it and being reasonably successful at doing so, to a group of Christians attempting to follow the NT teachings as they understood them and being reasonably successful at doing so, is there any "moral progress" there? Or is "moral progress" just a thing for a specific individual as they become better at following God's will as they understand it? Or is it when they are better at understanding God's will? Has a Seventh Day Adventist made moral progress over a Roman Catholic simply by virtue of being the one and not the other?

  9. #18
    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Really Star, how do objective or universal morals exist in your atheist world? What does that even mean?
    Given how many times I have explained it to you in the past, I think you're just incapable of learning.

    But I totally reject your definition of the word "objective" and think you're just completely wrong about what that word means. You use it totally wrong and have completely made up your own fantasy meaning. I suggest you entirely avoid using the terms "objective" and "subjective" ever again and instead explain yourself more clearly using other words and phrases.

    Your signature makes me laugh at you btw.

  10. #19
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    But presumably you think his decrees are based on the situation humanity happens to be in at a given time.

    e.g. Moses ask for laws for the people, and God gives him a set of laws appropriate for that people. So a Moral Person of that time would have being obediently reading/learning those law codes and following those rules.

    Then, later, with Jesus, we see a rejection/"fulfillment" of the ritual/sacrificial laws given to Moses. God gives a different set of rules to the people. The Moral Person of that time is then no longer reading/learning/following those Mosaic law codes, but is now following a set of New Testament behaviors that are God-mandated.

    In light of that, I have to wonder how you could define "moral progress". If we compare a group of Israelites attempting to follow the Law as they understood it and being reasonably successful at doing so, to a group of Christians attempting to follow the NT teachings as they understood them and being reasonably successful at doing so, is there any "moral progress" there? Or is "moral progress" just a thing for a specific individual as they become better at following God's will as they understand it? Or is it when they are better at understanding God's will? Has a Seventh Day Adventist made moral progress over a Roman Catholic simply by virtue of being the one and not the other?
    So what is your point? Of course the Christian would say that following the moral principles in the New Testament is moral progress, and even if the Christian is not under the Mosaic civil code you also know that there are moral principles that transcend both Testaments. And this would apply to the individual, of course as more individuals follow these principles the more the larger culture or church body will be influenced.
    Last edited by seer; 07-28-2018 at 07:09 AM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

  11. #20
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    Given how many times I have explained it to you in the past, I think you're just incapable of learning.

    But I totally reject your definition of the word "objective" and think you're just completely wrong about what that word means. You use it totally wrong and have completely made up your own fantasy meaning. I suggest you entirely avoid using the terms "objective" and "subjective" ever again and instead explain yourself more clearly using other words and phrases.

    Your signature makes me laugh at you btw.
    Objective means that which exists independently of the viewer (God's law exists independently of humankind, the viewer) . If you don't like that use universal. And no Star you have not explained this in the past. So I will give you another chance, name one universal moral truth and why it is universal.
    Last edited by seer; 07-28-2018 at 07:11 AM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

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