Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Andrew the Atheist answers, “The same place you base yours.”

Tim, you’re being silly.  OF COURSE atheism doesn’t make me a better person.  Just like Christianity doesn’t really make you a better person.  And no, we are not going to do a head count and compare horrible people.  That’s silly.

AND, I said before that even if Christianity DID make EVERYONE a better person, that has NO BEARING on the truth of its claims.  So neither this, nor the previous question, has ANY bearing on the truth of Christianity.  We could agree or disagree all day; nothing about this topic has ANYTHING to do with whether or not Christianity is true.  
Now it is clear that we do NOT base ANT of our morality on scripture.  Let’s get that out of the way RIGHT now.  The bible is a mess of conflicting ideas, bad ideas and stupid morality.  If you want to get into a “bible said; bible says” debate, fine.  Just know that for every example of a GOOD idea coming from the damned bible, I’ll find one that shows the opposite.  Maybe two. 

Besides, it’s clear that the scriptures aren’t clear.  If they were, we would not see so many diverse denominations of Christianity.  If two groups of Christians differ on a particular issue, there is no real way to solve the dispute.  The two groups split into two new factions that grow independently.  We see it all the time.  New groups and splinters of sects within christianty are formed every day as people cannot agree on what god says.  So we do not get morality from any holy book.

Before I go on to where everyone actually gets morality, I want to drive one more nail into the bible’s moral coffin.  Whenever I have this debate, (yes, I’ve had this one dozens of times before) people turn to the ten commandments.  I see you included a picture of them.  The ten commandments are an excellent example of where we do NOT get our morals.  Of ALL ten, only two have any moral value, and even then, they fail as absolutes.  As a moral code, 20% is a dismal number.  Any other list that only had 20% relevance would be cast aside as a load of crap.  This one ought to be no different.  Plus, there are different versions of the commandments.  Even within the bible, there is more than one set.  Clearly, any resemblance with actual morality is pure coincidence.

So where do morals come from?  How are we moral?  First, we need to acknowledge that morality is a human system.  If there were no humans, there would be no morality.  So when we talk about morality, what are we really discussing?  We are talking about the way humans relate to other humans.  Humans are indeed social creatures.  We are a herd animal.  Since before our ancestors were human, we have had to find a way to live together.  We have found great strength in working as a team or group.  We need a way to do this with as little conflict as possible.  How?

Morality is easily explained from your primordial soup.  As creatures evolve and form social networks, creatures of all kinds form rules that govern behavior.  It takes no imagination to see that any animal that must work with others must do so in a cooperative manner.  It takes no imagination to see that this forms the basis of our morality. 

Again, Tim, we’ve gone down a beaten path.  If you are really interested in how human morality is formed, there are SOOO many places to find this.  This debate has happened over and over again.  The argument you state is so old, I can’t imagine you’ve never heard anyone explain this to you before.  


  1. No one is saying that atheists are "bad people". But you're right, you do get your morality from the same place. You borrow it from religion.

    As I said before, morality implies an "ought". You cannot discuss "ought" from an atheist perspective, only and ethical "best practice".

    And just because it's an old question, it doesn't mean you have given a sufficient answer to it.

  2. I really don't like the comments such as "damned bible". You may not like it, it is a historical book that has good and bad things, but you should at least have some respect and not label it that way, especially when the person you are debating holds it to such high standard.

    Tim has been more than respectful and nice and I think the same should be applied towards him.

    You keep calling him silly, which is another way of saying "that it is stupid". If you guys are going to have a normal debate, stop with the name calling and stick to the points being made and state your case.

    Tim, God bless you for your patience and your respectfulness.

  3. Athanasius, you're going to have to make the distinction for me between morality and this "best practice" system. What are you talking about? I asked Michael this question and he never responded. What is the difference between an "ought" and a "best practice"?

    If you think I borrow anything from religion, you have not been paying attention.

  4. I have difficulty understanding how Christianity having different factions has anything to do with the truth or fallicy of the Bible. There is one Constitution, but many different interpretations. These interpretations do not mean that the Constitution is false or "wrong", just that people have gone through different experences and see things differently because of that.

  5. Morality or "oughts" are something we should do whether we think it a good idea or not. Ethics or "best practices" seem to be the right thing to do, but we are in no way bound to them.

    (And I am Michael, it's just that blogspot doesn't register me the same way each time. I also don't always see your responses.)

  6. Okay, Michael, or athanasius, or whoever you are, I still don't see a difference. How are we bound by "oughts"? What if something seems to be the right thing to do, but we also think it is a bad idea? Is it morality or ethics?

    Are we just playing a semantic game? Is there actually a difference?

  7. No, we're not playing a semantic game. You are lowering the standard so that it is easier to attain. You can construct ethics all you want, but no one is bound to agree with you.