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Is morality possible without a god?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by KenBrace, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    Some theists claim that without God there is really no such thing as morality. Since there is no God to define right and wrong, then who is to say what code code of morals we should follow?

    Here is my view.

    The first question that needs to be asked is; what is the purpose of morality? Without purpose then there is no point for it to exist. I think pretty much everyone would agree that the point of morals is to set a guideline of rules that make the lives of you and the people around you the happiest. Without morals and a set of rules to govern your life you would make tons of stupid descisions and be an unhappy person.

    So the purpose of morals is to create a standard of rules that makes for a happy life. Therefore the next question to asked is: what set of morals best accomplishes this job? Well... I can't tell you. The only way to know is to either learn from experience or gain the knowledge from older people who do have the experience. Either way it is something that must be learned via experience. Saying that you can't have morals without a God is like saying that you can't have have the blueprint for a building without a God. There is nothing devine about morality. It is like anything else and simply has to be learned. If you believe in a God then you believe that through him you can gain access to the perfect code of morals just like you also think that you could gain the perfect blueprint for a house or the perfect code for a computer program. However just like building a computer program or a house, it doesn't require a God/supreme judge. It can be learned through experience.
     
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  2. Morgoth Bacteria

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    To say that morality requires a big daddy in the sky watching your every move is ridiculous. Actions have consequences. This is the point of morality. God shouldn't even enter the picture.
     
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  3. gloria good Molecule

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    I do indeed see your point but it seems to me that people have more reason to be moral when they believe in a god. Most of the people committing crimes usually aren't religious from what I have seen. Then again religion can be a good cause for immoral actions. Islamic terrorism is a prime example though there is also a political aspect. The crusades were motivated by religion. So it's hard to say I suppose.
     
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  4. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    I think that bad people are bad people and good people are good people.

    If someone is an atheist, then most likely they have done a lot of thinking on the subject.

    For anyone who has done any amount of intelligent thinking would have come to a mature and reasonable conclusion regarding morality. They would have realized that "there's no god so I can do whatever the heck I want" is a very immature and silly attitude.

    A young child doesn't sneak cookies from the cookie jar because he/she is afraid of getting punished. As the child grows older however they should no longer need a parent watching over them, making sure they do what's right. They should develop their individual sense of morality and do what's right, because it's right. Not because there is some mysterious being watching their every move waiting to punish them if they do something wrong.
     
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  5. terminator Molecule

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    To say that morality requires a god is just plain silly. Morality isn't about heaven and hell, reward and punishment, etc. It's about the consequences of your actions. Some people choose to be parasites but for the most part I think the majority of people have a conscience and do there best to act in such a way so as to create the kind of world they want to live in.
     
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  6. galmal Plant Senior Member

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    I agree that the point of morals is to have a set of rules to live our lives by. But the rules don't have to be made by God. These rules can come from anywhere - whether it's your parents, the government ..... or yourself.

    I would posit the argument that a belief in God actually destroys morals, because so many horribly immoral things have been done in his name. One of the Ten Commandments (which could be called the first "morals") is "Thou Shall Not Kill", yet how many have died in "the name of God"?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
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  7. elles-belles Cell Senior Member

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    I don't necessarily think that morals need to be strictly defined by what God says or by God himself but I do think that when you believe in God your moral compass is sharpened so to say. You become a tad more alert of the morality code and you ensure that you live by and uphold your morals! Your guidelines will obviously come from the bible.

    With that said. I am not saying if you don't believe in God you are not a moral citizen... I am simply saying when you are a believer you have no choice but to do things in a morally aligned manner all the time! This is only of course in reference to believers who don't cherry pick scriptures that suit them and use the scriptures to do bad.
     
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  8. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    The only problem is when that moral code isn't completely moral and no room is left for reasoning people out of those bad morals. When you develop your moral code via logic and reason there is room for discussion. The terrorists who blew up the world trade center were absolutely convinced that what they were doing was right and no one could have reasoned them out of it.
     
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  9. Shimus Cell

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    I don't believe in God personally, in the way that everyone else does. I'm often looked down on for my views and if I were to speak them I'd be branded an unbeliever or worse, try to be converted into any one of the numerous religions around here even forcibly.

    That being said, I believe it is. Morals are instilled by the parents or guardians while growing up. If they're not instilled, then the kid will be a problem child, rebel against nature. Sometimes parents let kids go do their own things all the time to keep them 'out of their hair' but in reality this is giving them the wrong concepts and they explore some dark paths. Unless, you knew you could leave your kid alone because they were good, and they knew what was right wrong. Even if these 'parents' are in institution, like an orphanage, it wouldn't matter. There's still someone looking out for you, trying to make you understand right from wrong.

    Of course this doesn't hold true for everyone and everyone experiences questioning in their morals sometimes. But just think back; who taught you what you know about right and wrong? For me it was my parents. So I believe it's more then possible to have any numerous sets of ethics and morals without a "God" or "Higher Being"

    It's not like he actively influences what we do anyways, even if one did exist. Wonderful thing, free will.
     
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  10. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    I'm sure my parents had some influence on my thinking but ultimately it was me who came up with my own sense of morality based on reason. I know that when I hit someone it hurts them. That's not a good thing. So I try my best not to hit people when I'm angry. I know that when you steal from a store you are being dishonest and hurting someone else's income that they are working every day to make. The store owner puts a lot of time and money into his store and it's not right to take what is his without paying for it. So I don't steal. What about killing people? It's a horrible thing to take someone's life since it is the most valuable thing they own, but if someone is threatening my own life or the life of someone I love the I would take their life if I saw no other route. In that situation I don't think murder is immoral. In fact I think it would be quite the moral thing to do.

    You can do this with every aspect of morality. Morals are about cause and effect. Develop a set of behavioral boundaries for your life that you feel will produce the most positive outcome.
     
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  11. Jason76 Cat Moderator

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    Yes, I think morality is possible without a God. There are plenty of moral people in the world who are atheists or agnostics. Nonetheless, atheists or agnostics might be less puritanical about sex and other things. However, on other issues, their moral views might be as strong, or stronger than those of theists.

    However, remember, just because morality is possible without God, doesn't mean there isn't a God.
     
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  12. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    This is mostly because religious people tend to have a warped view of sexuality.

    It's why women in Iraq are suffocated in clothing and men in the US wish they didn't have sex drives.
     
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  13. Brizeida Molecule

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    I agree with you, but I also think that morality is also inherent to an extent. It's innate. A lot of it is learned through experience and upbringing, of course, but I also believe we are capable of making moral decisions before having been taught so. One of the reasons is, unless you are a psychopath, you possess the feelings of guilt, shame, that serve as a self-indicator as to whether you wronged somebody. Just giving an example here. In that sense, you always have some kind of internal moral compass present in you. Shared experiences and social learning/conditioning just amplify that.
     
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  14. JoshPosh Plant

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    Morality has no set standard when we think about it on a global scale. Cultures and age differences will make sure of that. Human will never decide on a set governed rules as to what should be called moral.

    If there is any set standard that is globally accepted it would be religious text. Millions follow the religious text. That is usually how standards are form. "In God We Trust". We all heard that one. Our monetary note was based on that.
     
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  15. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    To be honest there can never really be a set moral code because morality is about cause and effect: action and reaction. The is an optimal choice in every scenario. Every case is different. While it might be OK to steal in one case, it might be immoral in another. While it might be moral to kill a person in certain cases (defense of yourself or others) there are of course cases where it is very immoral to murder. The action which brings forth the best result in a situation, is the most moral thing to do in that situation. That's what morals are for.
     
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  16. jimbob Cat Moderator

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    I think that morality needs be separated into two categories:

    Learned
    and
    Instinctual (Intuitional)

    Other species exhibit morality. Theirs is almost totally instinctual.

    Humans have a grand set of learned moral codes created by those who wish to control the masses.
     
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  17. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    Interesting take on ethics. Haven't thought about it from that perspective. Can't disagree with it though.

    One interesting thought is the fact that instinctual/evolutionary morality often contradicts learned morality. When someone slaps you in the face your instincts tell you to hit back. However, your "learned" morality tells you to calm down and not retaliate in order to avoid a fight.

    In other cases our two sets of morality harmonize. When someone helps you out you instinctually feel the need to return the favor. Your developed morality also tells you to help those who help you.
     
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  18. jimbob Cat Moderator

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    Yes. And these are times when we have inner conflicts. (We are not at peace with our self.)

    But if we are going to live within a society we need to comply with the morals of that society.
     
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  19. KenBrace Bird Administrator

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    For the most part, yes. We need to comply with the laws at least. We all have different opinions on many moral ideas (fornication, homosexuality, death penalty, etc.) but we are still able to live together in peace. Certain things, however, are commonly accepted as "not open for discussion" in this society. First degree murder is wrong, rape is wrong, theft is wrong, and so on. You can't live peacefully in this society without adhering to these basic ethical guidelines.
     
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  20. jimbob Cat Moderator

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    Yes, you expressed that better than I did.
     
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