Good and Evil

General discussions
nozzferrahhtoo
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by nozzferrahhtoo » Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:27 pm

Great post. I could only add one small thing.
Hemingway wrote:No doubt a theist would claim that what I have stated above the message the bible gives us, the golden rule to “Love one another”.
I also point out to theists who make this claim that the "golden rule" predates the new testament by quite a number of years. It is also referred to as the "ethic of reciprocity". From example this from everyones favorite, Wikipedia:
An early example of the Golden Rule that reflects the Ancient Egyptian concept of Maat appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant which is dated to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040 - 1650 BCE): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do".[5] An example from a Late Period (c. 1080 - 332 BCE) papyrus: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another".
And it provides this also from the ancient greeks:
"Do not to your neighbor what you would take ill from him." – Pittacus
"Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing." – Thales
"What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either. " – Sextus the Pythagorean
"Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others." – Isocrates
"What thou avoidest suffering thyself seek not to impose on others." – Epictetus
"One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him." - Plato's Socrates
So far from being you stating the bible message, what in fact is happening is both you and the bible are stating someone much older's message.
bockedy
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by bockedy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:57 pm

If I may rephrase the OP's question slightly - is is possible to be a good person without God?

I had a doorstep debate with a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses about this topic recently. Great fun.

From my own perspective - of course it is. I think I behave morally most of the time. There is nothing wrong with a rationally based morality. Indeed, the many contradictions in the bible only leave the reader with a puzzle to solve as to what would be the "correct" moral message - and guess what folks, that probably involves rational thinking. (Although many Catholics would probably say something like "the Holy Spirit showed me the solution")

You often hear the religious bleating that any such notion of a rational or non-biblical morality leads to their favourite put-down: "moral relativism". Well, judging from Sean Brady's recent defence of his knowledge for two decades that Brendan Smyth was a child rapist but did not bring this to the attention of the authorities, this is as clear a demonstration as you'd want that moral relativism is alive and well in the very heart of the Catholic Church.
May Ea smite thee with the might of his fist!
Hemingway
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by Hemingway » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:20 pm

bockedy wrote:You often hear the religious bleating that any such notion of a rational or non-biblical morality leads to their favourite put-down: "moral relativism". Well, judging from Sean Brady's recent defence of his knowledge for two decades that Brendan Smyth was a child rapist but did not bring this to the attention of the authorities, this is as clear a demonstration as you'd want that moral relativism is alive and well in the very heart of the Catholic Church.
Interesting article reported in the Irish Times about this case today......

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/bre ... ing39.html
Dont try to fix me, I'm not broken
Dev
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by Dev » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:18 pm

EireannachforGod wrote:If there is no God how does one determine what is good and what is evil?
I find this question far far easier to answer than lets say a similar one beginning with "If there is a God how does one . . ."

As it implies far less as one would have to say "which god?" and "how do we know he exists over other claimed gods?".

As Hemingway pointed out the Epicurus rationalization that exposes such a contradiction - If god exists why does evil exist?

Also good opening points by bokedy and F Derek.
bipedalhumanoid
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:55 pm

EireannachforGod wrote:If there is no God how does one determine what is good and what is evil?
I'd like to understand better how you would define good an evil as you understand it. Christians seem to talk about good an evil as if they are states of matter or something. I don't really understand it.

I think utilitarianism is as moral as you can get but tends to take away from the selfishness that comes from being an emotional being. ie. wanting to protect your immediate family over strangers and such things. Morality is such a confused topic. What confuses it is not logic but rather emotion.

In any case, religious people generally tend to have the same moral insticts as non-religious people. Where you claim to get it from the bible you are cherry picking. You leave out leviticus, ignore Jesus telling you "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" (Matthew 10:34) and just keep all the good bits. The way you decide which are the good bits comes down to your own moral instincts that we all have.

I did say 'in general'. I say that because there are plenty of cases where that moral instinct is corrupted by religion. It becomes ok to fly planes into buildings. It becomes ok to blow up abortion clinics and shoot doctors. It becomes ok ot ostricise members of your community for not beLIEving what you do.
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
EireannachforGod
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by EireannachforGod » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:16 am

Regens Küchl wrote:
EireannachforGod wrote:Thanks for removing my double post. I'm still new to chat forums.
We all were at some point of our past :D Welcome :wink:
EireannachforGod wrote: Can you define the word "evil" in answer to my question?
That is not as easy as you think, for "evil" lies in the eye of the beholder and is rather subjective than objective. But here is an example of my definition of "evil" :idea: :arrow:

In a TV documentary about Inuits an Inuit Shaman said that "Christian missionarys are evil Sorcererers" :idea:

And I am absolutely sure that this Shaman is right, I know that what he said is true :!: :idea:

You should read "Bruchko", the story of missionary Bruce Olson and the Motilone tribe in northeastern Columbia and western Venezuela. They sure were glad he came to live with them. You can also read "Spirit of the Rainforest", A Yanomamo shaman's story. Another good read is "Peace Child", the story of missionary Don Richardson to Papa New Guinea.
"The more I study nature the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. " Louis Pasteur

“Contemptuous of the faith of others, its proponents never doubt their own belief. They are fundamentalists.” Gary Wolf on the new atheists
EireannachforGod
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by EireannachforGod » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:17 am

nozzferrahhtoo wrote:
EireannachforGod wrote:If there is no God how does one determine what is good and what is evil?
Simple. Good and Evil are just words we put on the concept of the actions we perform on each other in a society where we live with each other.

The best source of information on how to live with each other is.... wait for it.... each other.

So I can quite literally answer your question with one word. How do we determine what is good and what is evil?

"Together".

Thats how.

You and I have different ideas on how to live with each other. So how can we ever agree on it. That approach is a recipe for confusion.
"The more I study nature the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. " Louis Pasteur

“Contemptuous of the faith of others, its proponents never doubt their own belief. They are fundamentalists.” Gary Wolf on the new atheists
EireannachforGod
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by EireannachforGod » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:29 am

Logorrhea wrote:
EireannachforGod wrote: Can you define the word "evil" in answer to my question?
Your question was already answered but in response to your inability to use a dictionary: http://www.dictionary.com has evil defined as "morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked"

Do you have a specific definition you work off that makes your point more relevent?
Are not the words you supplied merely synonyms for "evil"? Those definitions don't explain the meaning of evil; they only add to the confusion in my opinion.
"The more I study nature the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. " Louis Pasteur

“Contemptuous of the faith of others, its proponents never doubt their own belief. They are fundamentalists.” Gary Wolf on the new atheists
EireannachforGod
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by EireannachforGod » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:56 am

funkyderek wrote:
EireannachforGod wrote:If there is no God how does one determine what is good and what is evil?
I don't think I'm inferring too much if I say that your question suggests that if we remove the first five words the answer would be obvious, and moreover would be "God". Am I correct in this inference?

Assuming I am, how does that answer the question?
How do we determine which god exists and what He (or She/It/They etc.) wants?
How do we determine if He is good or evil?
Is something good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is good? If the former, then what is that other than "might makes right"? If the latter, then there is obviously an independent standard of good and evil, to which an atheist can adhere as easily as a theist.

I eagerly await your reply.
Thanks for your reply.

You are correct in your inference. May I answer your third question, "How do we determine which god exists and what He (or She/It/They etc.) wants?"

There is one primary way to determine if the god of the bible exists. My faith isn't intellectual; it is experiential. You can have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Please let me tell a story to illustrate my point.

One day at the University of Chicago Divinity School, a Doctor Paul Tillich came in to speak for two-and-a-half hours trying to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar, book after book, and concluded that there was no resurrection. He then asked if there were any questions.

After 30 seconds or so, an old preacher stood up at the back. "Docta Tilich, I got one question," he said as he pulled out an apple from his bag and started eating it. "Dochta Tillich, as he munched, my question is simple (munch, munch). Now I ain't never read them books you read (munch, munch). I don't know nothin' about Neibuhr and Heidegger (munch, munch), and I can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek." He finished the apple. "All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate - was it bitter or sweet?"

Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: "I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple." The old preacher dropped the apple core into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly," Neither have you tasted my Jesus."
"Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusts in Him" (Psalm 34:8).
"The more I study nature the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. " Louis Pasteur

“Contemptuous of the faith of others, its proponents never doubt their own belief. They are fundamentalists.” Gary Wolf on the new atheists
mkaobrih
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Re: Good and Evil

Post by mkaobrih » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:13 am

Argument from personal experience won’t wash here. Try harder.
The church complains of persecution when it's not allowed to persecute.
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