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Thread: Gods and morality

  1. Top | #31
    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I am utterly uninterested in establishing the ontological status of gods ......
    Wow. I did not know that. So not only do you not know, you don't even care.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  2. Top | #32
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I am utterly uninterested in establishing the ontological status of gods ......
    Wow. I did not know that. So not only do you not know, you don't even care.
    No, because speculation and bluster are just that. I'm interested in religion, indeed fascinated with it, and vigorously participate in religion through both my personal and professional activities. But there is no rational basis on which to "prove" or "disprove" or "assign probabilities" God's existence, or elves, and I find the question itself dull, at least in that few new arguments or conversations are ever advanced to it, and those who are interested in it are usually too set in their ways to have a real conversation thereabout.

  3. Top | #33
    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post

    That depends on the nature of the deity that your imagination constructs. But the standard Christian god does not view humans as helpless, since they are supposedly gifted with the ability to defy his will and merit a trip to the fiery lake. Well, maybe that's not your favorite version of the Christian god, but we can sit around forever imagining gods, some of whom fit your criteria and probably many more who do not.
    Surely immortality or something close to it is a minimal part of the definition of deity? Humans laugh at the idea of taking life advice from someone only sixty years their junior. What about 600 years, 6000, or 60,000? If nothing else, you would have ample opportunity to see the outcomes of just about every sort of choice play out a million times over in such a (to us barely imaginable) span of time. Even in cultures wherein the gods are considered morally ambiguous, they are generally regarded as being wiser and more moral than humans. Coyote may be a archetypal fool compared to his brother, but humans still sought his aid in times of trouble.
    Immortality is compatible with all sorts of gods, including ones who repeatedly forget everything they've learned or want nothing better than to torture their human creations. Ruby beat me to pointing out the obvious flaw in your imagined being--one that actually needed to learn from experience. It us more common to imagine gods as beings that come equipped with perfect knowledge of one sort or another. That's the problem with imaginary perfect beings. It is impossible to imagine them without human limitations, and they are only useful to humans if they serve human needs. So gods are always deeply concerned with the behavior of human beings. If they weren't, then why bother believing in them?

  4. Top | #34
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post

    That depends on the nature of the deity that your imagination constructs. But the standard Christian god does not view humans as helpless, since they are supposedly gifted with the ability to defy his will and merit a trip to the fiery lake. Well, maybe that's not your favorite version of the Christian god, but we can sit around forever imagining gods, some of whom fit your criteria and probably many more who do not.
    Surely immortality or something close to it is a minimal part of the definition of deity? Humans laugh at the idea of taking life advice from someone only sixty years their junior. What about 600 years, 6000, or 60,000? If nothing else, you would have ample opportunity to see the outcomes of just about every sort of choice play out a million times over in such a (to us barely imaginable) span of time. Even in cultures wherein the gods are considered morally ambiguous, they are generally regarded as being wiser and more moral than humans. Coyote may be a archetypal fool compared to his brother, but humans still sought his aid in times of trouble.
    Immortality is compatible with all sorts of gods, including ones who repeatedly forget everything they've learned or want nothing better than to torture their human creations. Ruby beat me to pointing out the obvious flaw in your imagined being--one that actually needed to learn from experience. It us more common to imagine gods as beings that come equipped with perfect knowledge of one sort or another. That's the problem with imaginary perfect beings. It is impossible to imagine them without human limitations, and they are only useful to humans if they serve human needs. So gods are always deeply concerned with the behavior of human beings. If they weren't, then why bother believing in them?
    "Why bother believing in them"? What a bizarre question. I believe in the existence of plenty of things and people that don't serve me personally. I am a white guy, but not that conceited.

    But you agree with my basic point, that the moral question is kind of a red herring for the ontological question that is really being asked?

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    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    The question was obviously rhetorical, i.e. an assertion in the form of a question. One has no reason to believe in gods, if they serve no human purpose. I was responding to a remark that you made during the discussion, not addressing the "ontological question". It doesn't strike me as a red herring at all. Basically, it asks for an objective criterion to choose one putative god's moral code over that of another. Nobody, including you, seems to have come up with an answer, because there is no such criterion. If you acknowledge that, only then does it become clear that it is beside the point to ask for one. But you have to acknowledge the lack of such a criterion first.

  6. Top | #36
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    The question was obviously rhetorical, i.e. an assertion in the form of a question. One has no reason to believe in gods, if they serve no human purpose. I was responding to a remark that you made during the discussion, not addressing the "ontological question". It doesn't strike me as a red herring at all. Basically, it asks for an objective criterion to choose one putative god's moral code over that of another. Nobody, including you, seems to have come up with an answer, because there is no such criterion. If you acknowledge that, only then does it become clear that it is beside the point to ask for one. But you have to acknowledge the lack of such a criterion first.
    It seems like you've stated it backwards. If an objective criterion for a moral code can be identified it would obviate the need for a God.

  7. Top | #37
    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    The question was obviously rhetorical, i.e. an assertion in the form of a question. One has no reason to believe in gods, if they serve no human purpose. I was responding to a remark that you made during the discussion, not addressing the "ontological question". It doesn't strike me as a red herring at all. Basically, it asks for an objective criterion to choose one putative god's moral code over that of another. Nobody, including you, seems to have come up with an answer, because there is no such criterion. If you acknowledge that, only then does it become clear that it is beside the point to ask for one. But you have to acknowledge the lack of such a criterion first.
    It seems like you've stated it backwards. If an objective criterion for a moral code can be identified it would obviate the need for a God.
    But the objective criterion was about choosing which divine authority to take direction from. That criterion may have nothing to do with the moral code that the authority dictates. You don't ask questions of that authority. You just obey. OTOH, the original question was a bit convoluted and did seem to ask about an objective standard that exists independently of the deity.

    Question. How could we discern who the true god or goddess or gods are goddesses are if we do not rely on our own subjective opinions, or somehow find some objective moral standard that exists seperate and apart from the deities telling us which is right. These gods and goddesses are theoretically good and define good and are supposedly more wiser and powerful than we ever could be. So, how do we know which one is right assuming one does exist?

  8. Top | #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    The question was obviously rhetorical, i.e. an assertion in the form of a question. One has no reason to believe in gods, if they serve no human purpose. I was responding to a remark that you made during the discussion, not addressing the "ontological question". It doesn't strike me as a red herring at all. Basically, it asks for an objective criterion to choose one putative god's moral code over that of another. Nobody, including you, seems to have come up with an answer, because there is no such criterion. If you acknowledge that, only then does it become clear that it is beside the point to ask for one. But you have to acknowledge the lack of such a criterion first.
    It seems like you've stated it backwards. If an objective criterion for a moral code can be identified it would obviate the need for a God.

    Gods and morals are human inventions and both serve to facilitate control over human individuals and human groups. That is what they are all about control.' Very useful. No wonder humans adopted them.

  9. Top | #39
    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4321lynx View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    The question was obviously rhetorical, i.e. an assertion in the form of a question. One has no reason to believe in gods, if they serve no human purpose. I was responding to a remark that you made during the discussion, not addressing the "ontological question". It doesn't strike me as a red herring at all. Basically, it asks for an objective criterion to choose one putative god's moral code over that of another. Nobody, including you, seems to have come up with an answer, because there is no such criterion. If you acknowledge that, only then does it become clear that it is beside the point to ask for one. But you have to acknowledge the lack of such a criterion first.
    It seems like you've stated it backwards. If an objective criterion for a moral code can be identified it would obviate the need for a God.

    Gods and morals are human inventions and both serve to facilitate control over human individuals and human groups. That is what they are all about control.' Very useful. No wonder humans adopted them.
    Discussions about gods and moral codes are discussions about people and personal preference. No two gods are the same for the simple fact that no two people are the same, and nor do they share the same experiences. This is why gods are so different and so similar.

    Ultimately, whenever someone argues for the existence of a god they are simply arguing their own personal authority on a given matter or subject.

  10. Top | #40
    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    ...
    Ultimately, whenever someone argues for the existence of a god they are simply arguing their own personal authority on a given matter or subject.
    Exactly. And there are some advantages to that strategy. It augments the persuasive power of the argument to have it backed up by the creator of the universe. From a social perspective, it is considered rude to question or attack another person's religious faith, so arguing against the moral prescription justifies an aggressive response.

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