Re: [asa] Expelled

From: PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
Date: Sun Apr 27 2008 - 23:32:49 EDT

On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 5:33 PM, Merv <mrb22667@kansas.net> wrote:
> PvM wrote:

> For the Christian, the Scriptural basis is everything, even if we don't (or
> maybe refuse) to always see it clearly. Here is what I find to be the more
> puzzling question: Why DO atheists adhere to the morality that they do
> have? Obviously they don't just (as a class, anyway) throw all social mores

For the same reasons Christians do.

> to the wind. They do accept societal conditioning and restraints on their
> behavior, if only for self-interest. I blush, from shame, if I'm caught
> doing or saying something shameful. Does an atheist feel shame. I'm
> going to bet many of them do. Probably because they were socialized to
> (they would say). The difference is, for them shame is a pathology that
> links them to a prudish religious past they are trying to lose. To the
> Christian, shame is a (usually helpful) motivator to make right choices in
> the first place.

Shame works well on anyone. Of course, neither the atheist nor the
Christian really has objective standards to cause them shame and thus
shame is impressed upon them by societal pressures.

> I wonder: If it were somehow discovered in some impossible "knock
> everybody down" revelation that no supreme being exists (or the supreme
> being that does exist appears one day to announce He is tired of us, he is
> leaving forever, and we should just do as we will...) then I wonder who
> would become the more dangerous class of people to be around on this planet?

The discouraged Christian you mean versus the atheist who has already
accepted that morality does not depend on such the existence of a
Creator?

> Atheists (who never believed or cared about God anyway, but just adopted
> whatever social mores they thought appropriate?) or Christians (who very
> much see the only legitimate grounding for morality as being in God). Of
> course, a good reason why Christians would "fall apart" without God is that
> we tend to be among those who most realize our need for him. "...not many
> of you were wise according to the world..." The pridefully self-sufficient
> do have the hardest time go through the eye of the needle. So it may go
> without saying that without God, the weakest collapse first. So I don't
> think it too far off to suggest that the Christians, along with all the
> theistic religions as a class would possibly become the nastiest in a hurry.
> Dawkins suggests something like this (one of the few things of interest in
> God Delusion), and this argument would be a good one except for its one
> glaring flaw: It's blissfully hypothetical. (thank God above.)

And yet, even as a hypothetical it presents a powerful argument I believe.

> But it does leave us with the non-hypothetical question: Whose morality
> is superior? Those who know God is watching and derive their guilt from
> that? Or those who simply adopt their morality from the society around

Although sin can be easily 'forgotten' in most religions through the
practice of some ritualistic processes such as confession in the
Catholic church where guilt remains a strong motivator or through the
realization that once one is 'saved' one will go to Heaven, as found
in some protestant interpretations.

> them? (& Christians can legitimately belong to both sets). I'm pretty
> sure, though, that even the Dawkins' of the world "adopt" some sense of
> morality from somewhere, despite denying any absolute basis for it. He
> virtually says as much. The Christian who over-elevates morality to a
> central status of differentiation between believer and atheist does, I
> think, find his argument severely weakened.

So what if morality is a combination of historical pressures both
societal as well as evolutionary?

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Received on Sun Apr 27 23:33:43 2008

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