Where reasonable people discuss reason using methods both reasonable and unreasonable...
I "stole" this image from An Atheist's Answer blog because it exposes the general "unfairness" of christianity.And An Atheist's Answer blog is well worth checking out if you are so inclinded.
Who is the ultimate determiner of what is or isn't fair?
You left yourself open with that one, g. Qualifiers, man, qualifiers. This is one of the things I have always had a problem with Christianity; the absolving of sins. And this is the one thing which sticks in my craw when Christians accuse atheists of not having a moral compass. Granted in the religion, God is the only "decider" as to who is really "good" or not(I prefer Santa, myself), but the smugness of it all makes me want to puke. verification word: pulte(we almost bought a Pulte home once; I am glad I didn't)
It was actually a valid question, as long as one is willing to answer it seriously.If one looks at it from the biblical perspective (that all have sinned, none are good), then it isn't "fair" than ANYONE would go to heaven.I wouldn't say that an atheist (or anyone else) has no moral compass. Everyone has a basic sense of right and wrong. What I see as a problem with the atheist (or agnostic) view of morality is that the "compass" isn't fixed. There is no irrevocable basis for determining whether something is right or wrong.
As the world changes (and it does) a similar problem exists for religion. Basing morality today upon a book written thousands of years ago means that men are interpreting what is right and wrong (see abortion). The Catholics "fix" this with the Pope, but he's just a fallible man, too.The "all have sinned" thing is less of a problem (to this atheist, at least) because some things defined as "sin" impact only the individual. Onanism, say. And others are trivial... white lies, say. Many christians still believe that there are degrees of sin (even though that ain't in their bible). Catholics, for example, with mortal and venial sins.The "serious" answer to your question is that the collective society determines what is right and wrong. Laws. That is why folks go to jail. It is not perfect, but it is better than basing it upon a book of ancient rules from a mythological being.
Law and morality are different things, neither of which is a subset of the other. There is some overlap, of course (like murder in the US). Driving 90mph is illegal, but isn't immoral. Conversely, most people would consider adultery immoral, but it is not illegal. When one argues that right & wrong are determined by collective society, then we don't really have any basis to say that something like the holocaust was wrong. If the people of Germany determined that it was right, then who are we to say otherwise? Even if we recognize that world opinion was strongly against what was going on, what if it weren't? If a worldwide majority (or even a "supermajority") were to say that there is nothing immoral about killing Jews, would that mean it's ok? I assume that everyone on this blog (and every sane person in general) would say that it is wrong, no matter how the world may change.It is FAR from perfect. Any majority would be able to run roughshod over everyone else. The founders of our nation recognized that fact, confirming that there are certain rights that are "inalienable".
And adding an insane god to the mix solves nothing. Just saying it is right because "god said so" doesn't make it so. For example, lopping off the foreskin of a male child is considered moral by god. "I assume that everyone on this blog (and every sane person in general) would say that it is wrong, no matter how the world may change." - unless they were indoctrinated into that insanity by their religion. The bottom line is that people will govern themselves such that a reasonable society is imposed that protects our rights and those of others.
"lopping off the foreskin of a male child is considered moral by god."Not true.
Since it is actually a mandate are you saying it is an immoral mandate? Where exactly is the list of what is moral and immoral in the bible?
It was given as a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham, sort of an affirmation of a contract. (Genesis 17:11)There are parts of the Old Testament law that have to do with morality (e.g. don't murder, don't steal, etc.). Some laws only have to do with one's responsibility toward God. Some are practical issues. Some of them are exclusively for Israel.
By the way, I do understand your viewpoint when you said this:"The bottom line is that people will govern themselves such that a reasonable society is imposed that protects our rights and those of others."However, what I see in history is that people seem to be completely incapable of continuing, effective self-government. It usually takes some time, but it always seems to deteriorate to narcissism, greed, and authoritarianism.
OK. But if your viewpoint is that morality can only come from god, then where is his list of what is moral? The bible says... don't kill, don't steal... where does it say killing is immoral, stealing is immoral? And what else is immoral? Masturbation? Coveting? Homosexuality? Adultery? Where does god say that?
Morals would be the aspects of one's character, particularly in relation to other people, that are valid at all times for all people. You previously mentioned abortion. The "moral" aspect of the issue has to do with intentionally ending a human life. Of course, that moral basis also relies on the belief (I know you hate that word) that life begins sometime before birth.I think that every American would agree that intentionally ending an innocent human life is immoral. What I've said many times is that this particular issue will NEVER be resolved until we are given a legal definition (either by constitutional amendment or SCOTUS decision) of exactly when life begins.I am personally opposed to abortion because I believe human life begins at conception. If I believed life began when the umbilical cord is cut, then abortion would not be a moral issue for me.
Yet your "belief" that morals come from god cannot really be backed up. Many of the same people who abhor abortion also rally around the death penalty, which would ACTUALLY be the intentional ending of a human life. I see you later change to "innocent" human life, perhaps anticipating this argument. So your argument is convoluted and depends upon man's interpretation every bit as much as mine. So let's keep something that many people do not "believe" in out of what is right/moral, OK?Regarding abortion, I am no fan of it. Personally, I do not think it is within my character to condone aborting a fetus I had a part in creating. But I would not make that decision for everyone else.
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