bill tomlinson

Frazier Park, CA

#21 Nov 18, 2008
@ Lil Ticked

"WHY does an atheist need to defend his/her character. Why can't the religious accept them for who they are as people?"

I believe that the religious person's concern is justifiable, if they believe that an atheist cannot have an objective morality and even if he/she did there would be no self interested reason for him/her to try to follow that morality. That atheist would be a sociopath, dangerous to all. But this is in fact what many religious believe.

Since: May 08

Location hidden

#22 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
@ Lil Ticked
"WHY does an atheist need to defend his/her character. Why can't the religious accept them for who they are as people?"
I believe that the religious person's concern is justifiable, if they believe that an atheist cannot have an objective morality and even if he/she did there would be no self interested reason for him/her to try to follow that morality. That atheist would be a sociopath, dangerous to all. But this is in fact what many religious believe.
That philosophy reveals the holder of it to be the one that's truly immoral.
bill tomlinson

Frazier Park, CA

#23 Nov 18, 2008
Headhunter 300M wrote:
<quoted text>
That philosophy reveals the holder of it to be the one that's truly immoral.
That is interesting. Could you elaborate? Why would that indicate the holder to be immoral?

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#24 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
@ Lil Ticked
...I believe that the religious person's concern is justifiable,....
No, it's hateful predjudism in that it has absolutely no basis in truth what-so-ever. The very idea that religious people who are supposed to be the shining example of loving kindness could feed such hateful mis-understanding is sickening.

And it serves to highlight exactly how easily people can be lead to believe whatever their religious authorities tell them. That's what makes religion so dangerous.

Since: May 08

Location hidden

#25 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
<quoted text>
That is interesting. Could you elaborate? Why would that indicate the holder to be immoral?
One that believes that god-belief is necessary to morality, and what we equate to "being a good person", is saying that without the belief they would not adhere to such behavior. They do so out of fear of punishment and/or promise of reward.
bill tomlinson

Frazier Park, CA

#26 Nov 18, 2008
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
No, it's hateful predjudism in that it has absolutely no basis in truth what-so-ever. The very idea that religious people who are supposed to be the shining example of loving kindness could feed such hateful mis-understanding is sickening.
And it serves to highlight exactly how easily people can be lead to believe whatever their religious authorities tell them. That's what makes religion so dangerous.
I don't think so. I really believe that some of the religious cannot see a good reason to be moral if there were no simple reward and punishment. This is the character flaw that I believe Headhunter might have been referring to. Also, because of disagreements about what is right and wrong, they may see no way to discover an objective morality without a god to give it to them. Either one of these by itself would be enough to fear an atheist. Note, also, that many atheists are relativists, supporting the religious claim.
Odd for me to be defending this type of religious person, but their belief is not a simple prejudice without a reason.
nina

Ottawa, Canada

#27 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
@ Lil Ticked
I believe that the religious person's concern is justifiable, if they believe that an atheist cannot have an objective morality and even if he/she did there would be no self interested reason for him/her to try to follow that morality.
the fact that atheists are unrepresented in prisons is lost on them

that many murderers beleive god told them to do their deeds, is lost on them

that people can determine that murder, rape, assault and stealing is bad all on their own - is lost to them

that assault and rape are not on the commandment list of no nos is also lost on them

that morals are often situational and not absolute is lost on them

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#28 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't think so. I really believe that some of the religious cannot see a good reason to be moral if there were no simple reward and punishment. This is the character flaw ... they may see no way to discover an objective morality without a god to give it to them.....
That is exactly what I'm referring to. Without their religion to teach them how immoral they would be without religion, this predjudice would not exist.

Are you saying that without god you would not know that killing is wrong?

Since: May 08

Location hidden

#29 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't think so. I really believe that some of the religious cannot see a good reason to be moral if there were no simple reward and punishment. This is the character flaw that I believe Headhunter might have been referring to. Also, because of disagreements about what is right and wrong, they may see no way to discover an objective morality without a god to give it to them. Either one of these by itself would be enough to fear an atheist. Note, also, that many atheists are relativists, supporting the religious claim.
Odd for me to be defending this type of religious person, but their belief is not a simple prejudice without a reason.
You are defending it and yet also have acknowledged the truth in my statement. I appreciate your honesty, but it leaves me confused. When you say that the believer is "justified", what do you mean exactly? Do you feel that they should hold this view, or merely understand why they do?

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#30 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
<quoted text>
...Odd for me to be defending this type of religious person, but their belief is not a simple prejudice without a reason.
Prejudism - "an irrational attitude of hostility", "an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds".

By definition, there is never a good justification for prejudism.

Any group who condons such attitudes cannot be said to be peaceful or loving or caring or any of those things religious people hold up as being morally righteous. That's hypocracy at it finest.

Since: Nov 08

Frazier Park, CA

#31 Nov 18, 2008
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
That is exactly what I'm referring to. Without their religion to teach them how immoral they would be without religion, this predjudice would not exist.
Are you saying that without god you would not know that killing is wrong?
No, what I'm saying is that some of them might not understand how to show that killing is wrong, without their god and the rules given to them. It's not because they are taught that killing would not be wrong if there were no god. It's more a lack of ever having to make a serious effort to discover a foundation for morality, because they never had to.

@nina
"that morals are often situational and not absolute is lost on them"

I argue in my book that ethics can be situational, and at the same time absolute. Hard to go into here, but when we think we cannot define rules for behavior without reference to specific situations, it might be because we are not identifying the correct objective morality. If our examples of morality are as simple as 'never lie', of course we are going to find a context that would show it unsatisfactory. That doesn't mean that we couldn't come up with a more general morality that could cover all the cases. It will often depend upon how you describe your situation.
I probably haven't made that clear enough here, but it is an important distinction. What I think I can defend is that we can cover the "situations" you have in mind with a general absolute ethic, but such an ethic will not look like the simplistic ones given to us by religions.

Since: Nov 08

Frazier Park, CA

#32 Nov 18, 2008
Headhunter 300M wrote:
<quoted text>
You are defending it and yet also have acknowledged the truth in my statement. I appreciate your honesty, but it leaves me confused. When you say that the believer is "justified", what do you mean exactly? Do you feel that they should hold this view, or merely understand why they do?
By "justified" I mean given there starting assumptions, and possibly their lack of reflection, it follows. I do believe that they might be made to reflect, not enough to give up their religion, but to see that fear of an atheist because he is an atheist is unjustified.

Since: Nov 08

Frazier Park, CA

#33 Nov 18, 2008
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
Prejudism - "an irrational attitude of hostility", "an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds".
By definition, there is never a good justification for prejudism.
Any group who condons such attitudes cannot be said to be peaceful or loving or caring or any of those things religious people hold up as being morally righteous. That's hypocracy at it finest.
I see what you are saying. You are right. I would then have to restate my position. They do not have a prejudice, but an erroneous belief, that makes them do and say things we would expect from a prejudice person. But once we understand where they are coming from, we only have to show them why their belief is erroneous to deflate their argument and possibly weaken their fear and anger.

Since: May 08

Location hidden

#34 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
<quoted text>
By "justified" I mean given there starting assumptions, and possibly their lack of reflection, it follows. I do believe that they might be made to reflect, not enough to give up their religion, but to see that fear of an atheist because he is an atheist is unjustified.
Thank you for the clarification.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#35 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
<quoted text>
No, what I'm saying is that some of them might not understand how to show that killing is wrong, without their god and the rules given to them. It's not because they are taught that killing would not be wrong if there were no god. It's more a lack of ever having to make a serious effort to discover a foundation for morality, because they never had to.
....
So, you are pleading stupidity as an excuse for prejudism?

That has not been my experience in any debate on this issue. All the pious that I've come in contact with firmly and most adamantly believe that one cannot be moral without their particular god.

That attitude must be taught. I am reminded of the song "You've Got To Be Taught" from the movie "South Pacific" (the original, not the remake...for some reason they left this song out of the remake).

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#36 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
<quoted text>
...I argue in my book that ethics can be situational, and at the same time absolute. Hard to go into here, but when we think we cannot define rules for behavior without reference to specific situations, it might be because we are not identifying the correct objective morality.....
Check out "Of Headhunters and Soldiers: Separating Cultural and Ethical Relativism"
By Renato Rosaldo

http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v1...
nina

Ottawa, Canada

#37 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
<quoted text>
@nina
"that morals are often situational and not absolute is lost on them"
I argue in my book that ethics can be situational, and at the same time absolute....
the problem of morals, is that there are many theories on morality

so, what's moral depends on what moral theory you are operating under

rule based codes do not allow for rule conflict

and none of them seem to account for motivation

saving someone from drowning seems good on most fronts

but, what if you rescued an evil person and they continue their evil ways?

what if you rescued them for a reward, instead of to save another person?

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#38 Nov 18, 2008
bill tomlinson wrote:
<quoted text>
I see what you are saying. You are right. I would then have to restate my position. They do not have a prejudice, but an erroneous belief, that makes them do and say things we would expect from a prejudice person. But once we understand where they are coming from, we only have to show them why their belief is erroneous to deflate their argument and possibly weaken their fear and anger.
I wish it were that simple, but again, that has not been my experience.

And I would again underscore that the real problem with this issue is that this erroneous belief is being repeatedly reinforced by their religious institute.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#39 Nov 18, 2008
nina wrote:
<quoted text>
the problem of morals, is that there are many theories on morality
...
You might enjoy Check out "Of Headhunters and Soldiers: Separating Cultural and Ethical Relativism" also (I didn't mean to post it twice, but my finger slipped and did a double-click...oops).

He has a facinating example of a headhunter tribe that believes war is immoral, but it's their logic for this position that's so facinating!
nina

Ottawa, Canada

#40 Nov 18, 2008
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
I wish it were that simple,....
isn't erroneous belief just a nice way of saying prejudice?

I don't see the point in candy coating that they are in word, in intention, in deed and in fact, prejudiced

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