Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:35 pm

So an objective morality can't exist.

Snafu, Objective morality has to exist, the real question is, "can we know what it is, and how?" The point I am trying to get the folks here to see is, pragmatics do not equal moral, despite their claim. With respect to your example, (down syndrome) individuals or societies come up with an act they believe is moral, but if an objective absolute standard does not exist, there is no way to determine whether their judgement is accurate. You said
Morality is a value placed on behavior
and I agree with you but the problem is we can't even define what morality is if we don't first assume a transcendent absolute and objective nature to it to begin with. The fact that the folks here cannot determine if the effort to wipe out down syndrome was moral or not is not because morals are subjective, it's because they don't have a basis for doing so. They can neither condone nor condemn the action. The nature of the trap for the Atheist/naturalistic worldviews is that as soon as they pronounce a behavior "right" (moral) or "wrong" (immoral) they imply a standard to which they believe everyone should ascribe, so in effect with their pronouncement they are saying that objective morality exists, but their words deny it.

This is shown when you challenge one of them to behave consistently according to their presuppositions. If we assume there is no objective morality (as many here are trying to claim) and individuals and cultures are free to determine their own course, (as in the down syndrome example) what happens when cultures or individuals clash? I'll tell you what. Neither has a basis to claim the other is wrong. What's the logical outworking of that? Neither should not object to the others actions, but you and I know that is never the case. Everyone, regardless of their explicit worldview expression, will behave as though there is an objective standard. If my cultural or individual choice is to murder your children and take your wife, on what grounds do you object? There is no objective morality according to the assumption that 'morality is subjective'! Yet you most certainly will object. As will Atheists. Atheists cannot behave consistently with their presupposition there is no objective morality. They desperately try to claim pragmatic grounds for morality, but the problem there for Atheists is they are wedded to Naturalistic/Evolutionary views of reality, where murder and rape are completely effective and natural means for the survival and reproduction of an individual. Survival and reproduction are the goals, are they not? And if the problem is not one of the proportion of murder and rape, I just want to steal your stereo to sell it for food, you will still object.

When something "bad" happens to someone who asserts there is no objective standard, the only consistent response is to say "oh well, shit happens".

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  thecatslunch on Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:00 pm

Objectivitees wrote:
So an objective morality can't exist.

Snafu, Objective morality has to exist, the real question is, "can we know what it is, and how?" The point I am trying to get the folks here to see is, pragmatics do not equal moral, despite their claim. With respect to your example, (down syndrome) individuals or societies come up with an act they believe is moral, but if an objective absolute standard does not exist, there is no way to determine whether their judgement is accurate. You said
Morality is a value placed on behavior
and I agree with you but the problem is we can't even define what morality is if we don't first assume a transcendent absolute and objective nature to it to begin with. The fact that the folks here cannot determine if the effort to wipe out down syndrome was moral or not is not because morals are subjective, it's because they don't have a basis for doing so. They can neither condone nor condemn the action. The nature of the trap for the Atheist/naturalistic worldviews is that as soon as they pronounce a behavior "right" (moral) or "wrong" (immoral) they imply a standard to which they believe everyone should ascribe, so in effect with their pronouncement they are saying that objective morality exists, but their words deny it.

This is shown when you challenge one of them to behave consistently according to their presuppositions. If we assume there is no objective morality (as many here are trying to claim) and individuals and cultures are free to determine their own course, (as in the down syndrome example) what happens when cultures or individuals clash? I'll tell you what. Neither has a basis to claim the other is wrong. What's the logical outworking of that? Neither should not object to the others actions, but you and I know that is never the case. Everyone, regardless of their explicit worldview expression, will behave as though there is an objective standard. If my cultural or individual choice is to murder your children and take your wife, on what grounds do you object? There is no objective morality according to the assumption that 'morality is subjective'! Yet you most certainly will object. As will Atheists. Atheists cannot behave consistently with their presupposition there is no objective morality. They desperately try to claim pragmatic grounds for morality, but the problem there for Atheists is they are wedded to Naturalistic/Evolutionary views of reality, where murder and rape are completely effective and natural means for the survival and reproduction of an individual. Survival and reproduction are the goals, are they not? And if the problem is not one of the proportion of murder and rape, I just want to steal your stereo to sell it for food, you will still object.

When something "bad" happens to someone who asserts there is no objective standard, the only consistent response is to say "oh well, shit happens".

Morality is defined by human societies. Even in your system of thought morality is neither transcendent nor objective since it exists by divine fiat and apparently could be anything God decides it to be. For both of us, morality is defined by mind, in your case, a single being, in mine a human collective. There's nothing 'objective' about any of that. The only benefit my view has is that actions may be judged on some reasonable grounds, eg, the greatest good for the greatest number, whereas in your system God can and does say eating shellfish is a dreadful evil.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  snafu on Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:47 pm

objectivees, thanks for the reply.
I will ponder your perspective and your points for a day or so before getting back. I like to chew things in my mind for a while.

In the meantime, can I ask for a reply on some questions. They needn't be long, but just something.

1. Is an objective feeling an oxymoron?
2. Is wanting an objective standard for humour seeking an oxymoron?
2. Is seeking an objective morality an oxymoron?
3. What was tcl getting at when he said you are (in his opinion) presupposing an objective morality? What was his point about presupposing?
4. When you say "objective morality" do you mean objective to God also? or from God? or something else?


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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Nicholas on Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:01 pm

Objectivitees wrote:
Nicholas wrote:Objectivitees - Like I said, fancy footwork. But you're fooling no one. Have a nice day.
Yeah, I knew you didn't have the guts to actually cut and paste where tcl actually equated pragmatic with morality. Seems your fancy footwork doesn't include words at all, you just run for the door to avoid the problem. You make the claim he "explained" it, but you run when challenged to show it. You have a nice day too.

That would require copying and pasting most of his text, which I will not do. You are a big boy, read it yourself; it's all there in black and white. He has answered your questions sufficiently; you disagree with the fundamental proposition he makes, which is fine, but in doing so you avoid acknowledging altogether said response. I'm not playing this game.

"...where murder and rape are completely effective and natural means for the survival and reproduction of an individual."

You don't really understand the naturalistic outlook, do you? You equate the science of evolution with rampant individualism and nihilism. Even if the two could be linked, that would still not negate the fact behind it. But I digress.

By making this grossly misinformed statement, you are right off the bat making it clear that no matter what response we may come up with to your assertions, they will never be adequate or at least on par with your own objective view. You look down on something you clearly do not understand. How can anyone hope to have meaningful dialogue with that? TCL and snafu seem to have more tact and grace in dealing with you; for that, I commend them.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  MatthewOfCanberra on Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:05 pm

"Objective morality has to exist"

That's an assumption, and I suspect that most atheists would reject it. That doesn't mean that atheists aren't willing to look at somebody else's morality and say "that's wrong", though. And we are usually willing to justify our claim with reasons. Every atheist probably suspects that their own morality is the bee's knees, and the atheists who know them probably disagree on at least some elements of their morality. I doubt that christians are any different.

"With respect to your example, (down syndrome) individuals or societies come up with an act they believe is moral, but if an objective absolute standard does not exist, there is no way to determine whether their judgement is accurate"

So what does your objective standard say about new guineans culling kids with downs syndrome? I have to withhold judgment - I want more information. That's a pretty harsh way to deal with a problem, so I'd want to know how serious the problem was (i.e. how much burden downs kids placed on a group's resources and how much of a problem this posed for group survival/prosperity), how they killed the children, how many they killed, how they chose the kids to cull, who had a say in the decision, if they used any other methods (like not bonking after 50) etc. Primitive highland new guinea life was pretty harsh (if you believe jared diamond, cannibalism was a rational response to an incredible shortage of edible protein - which gives you some idea of the challenges), so lets not see this is an isolated, inexplicable act of bastardry in an otherwise idyllic eden. Even if I knew all the details, that doesn't mean I'd come to the same conclusion they did, at least without some experience in the actual situation. I know that's a heck of a lot more complicated than "god said no", but there it is. In today's society we would punish people who did something like that - but today's society also has the responsibility and resources to address the underlying problem itself. To the extent that any problem can be addressed in new guinea, that is (cynical comment about regional politics)

"This is shown when you challenge one of them to behave consistently according to their presuppositions"

Surely that goes for just about anybody?

"what happens when cultures or individuals clash? I'll tell you what. Neither has a basis to claim the other is wrong."

Nuh-uh. What happens is that the more powerful culture tries to impose its morality on the weaker. I'm not saying it's right - it's just what happens.

"What's the logical outworking of that? Neither should not object to the others actions"

That's not true at all. Even people who are quite clearly wrong (in my/our opinion) can still object to the actions of others.

"Everyone, regardless of their explicit worldview expression, will behave as though there is an objective standard"

And everyone believes their football team really is the best.

"If my cultural or individual choice is to murder your children and take your wife, on what grounds do you object?"

I object on the grounds that you're causing me and my family harm. Is that a serious question?

"There is no objective morality according to the assumption that 'morality is subjective'!"

I think that's a caricature. I reckon morality is "inter-subjective", i.e. it's a constructed, but shared and generally agreed-upon set of beliefs. It's a feature of the community within which it has effect, but believed by everyone to be their own. This is influenced by significant enclosing communities too - from home, suburb, town, region, state, country. Any set of moral beliefs, unless they're seriously psychopathic, are going to be based pretty solidly on what's required for a group to get along with maximum reasonable happiness for its members. We don't kill each other because it's such a destructive thing to do (and way outside most normal people's experience anyway). We don't steal because there are consequences if we're caught (and, yes, it makes other people unhappy which reflects back on us). That's universal, for the simple reason that any society which DOESN'T operate that way won't prosper (or possibly even survive).

"the problem there for Atheists is they are wedded to Naturalistic/Evolutionary views of reality"

Not necessarily. A lot of atheists just don't care about "big" questions. Naturalism just happens to be a very popular world view among western atheists and evolution is a successful explanation for how the variety of species we see around us came to be. They're not wedded to atheism or vice versa.

"where murder and rape are completely effective and natural means for the survival and reproduction of an individual"

But no, they're not. If we were living in a "state of nature" where we were literally forced to fight for our own survival as individuals or (maybe) small armed gangs, every man for himself, kill or be killed, then that would probably be a reasonable claim. But we're not, and we haven't been for thousands of years. We're smarter than that - we've built infrastructure and societies which give people safety and space to live a more peaceful and fulfilling life. We value peace and prosperity above all else. Anyone who started murdering and raping would be hunted down and dealt with in the harshest terms, because they threaten the society and harm its members. We rely on living in groups. Anything which doesn't take account of the needs of the group will attract consequences. We internalize this as we mature, but the real reason we don't go on a rampage is that we'll be punished for it. Our friends will shun us, opportunities will be lost - there's a cost. And I dare say that I think that's exactly what motivates christians as well.

"When something "bad" happens to someone who asserts there is no objective standard, the only consistent response is to say "oh well, shit happens"."

Who says that's the only possible response? If it's somebody we care about, we might help them ameliorate the harm. We'd set out to find the cause of the harm. We could put in place measures to prevent it from happening again. We might even say "hey, that sucks". Is saying "it's gods plan" any better than that?

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Objective morality

Post  Orion on Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:46 am

If you're saying that murder is only wrong if God exists, then you don't believe murder is objectively wrong - you believe it is wrong SUBJECT to the existence of God. You've placed a condition on its wrongness.

Futhermore, all you've done is shift it from being YOUR opinion to being GOD's opinion. Who's to say God's opinion is better than Satan's opinion? Is it God's opinion that his opinion is better? Then you've got a circular argument. Is it YOUR opinion that God's opinion is better? Then we're back to you being the arbitrator your own morality.

When I say "Murder is wrong", I mean that it is wrong based on my values. If someone broadly shares my values then we can discuss which of a given set of acts is more moral, based on their outcomes. The fact that we can do this doesn't mean we both accept a universal morality, just that we can come to agreement on issues, given that we already agree on some core values and the outcomes we both desire. When values differ a little, people have to be pragmatic and compromise.

If someone has a completely different set of values to me, then it's a simple fact that we will clash. Introducing God into the mix won't stop this happening. They'll probably just worship a different God, or take a radically different interpretation of the same God.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Neon Genesis on Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:36 pm

Objectivitees wrote:
If my cultural or individual choice is to murder your children and take your wife, on what grounds do you object? There is no objective morality according to the assumption that 'morality is subjective'! Yet you most certainly will object. As will Atheists.
You mean like how the nation of Uganda is trying to pass a law that will make homosexuality a crime punishable by death based on an absolute belief in your holy book, the bible? Or do you think gays should be executed simply for being gay?

Atheists cannot behave consistently with their presupposition there is no objective morality.
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Are you saying atheists are always inconsistently moral and only Christians can have consistent morals? Like when Ted Haggard was consistently moral when he had an affair behind his wife's back and bought crystal meth for sex?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:43 pm

Atheists can certainly behave consistently with their own values, and with the values of the society they live in. There's nothing inconsistent, unwise, or irrational about a country enforcing laws to keep the peace and help it prosper, and nothing inconsistent, unwise or irrational about the people living in that country to expect others to abide by those laws, regardless of their religious view or lack of them.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:38 pm

That would require copying and pasting most of his text, which I will not do. You are a big boy, read it yourself;

I did read it. Then I asked a question based on it, which was not answered. This is because they, (nor you) understand the nature of the question. Your 'big boy" sneer lacks the grace you claim I lack, and serves as yet again another avoidance on your part to answer the direct question TCL's "explanation" begs.

How does pragmatism = moral?


Remember, if you keep avoiding the attempt to answer this question, you won't risk losing the argument. Your footwork is better than mine.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:44 pm

snafu wrote:objectivees, thanks for the reply.
I will ponder your perspective and your points for a day or so before getting back. I like to chew things in my mind for a while.

In the meantime, can I ask for a reply on some questions. They needn't be long, but just something.

1. Is an objective feeling an oxymoron?
2. Is wanting an objective standard for humour seeking an oxymoron?
2. Is seeking an objective morality an oxymoron?
3. What was tcl getting at when he said you are (in his opinion) presupposing an objective morality? What was his point about presupposing?
4. When you say "objective morality" do you mean objective to God also? or from God? or something else?

1)The 'feeling' can be described objectively, it's interpretation (what one thinks it means) is inherently subjective.
2) Yes.
2a) No.
3) He was presupposing morality is not objective.
4)No. 4a)Ontologically speaking, an objective morality necessarily comes from God. It is transcendent only to us, it cannot be the case God is subject to it in the same sense we are.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:56 pm

Orion wrote:If you're saying that murder is only wrong if God exists, then you don't believe murder is objectively wrong - you believe it is wrong SUBJECT to the existence of God. You've placed a condition on its wrongness.




Orion, I'm not saying that. God doesn't have opinions. Therefore no circular argument. But all of that is an aside to my argument. Morality arises ontologically because if it does not exist objectively, it does not exist.

There are logically only two postions possible.

1)Morality exists objectively.
2) It is not the case that morality exists objectively.

When we assume the second case, we are saying it is subjective. If it is subjective, then everyone gets to determine their own "morality". When one "morality" is contradicted by another, one may assert itself over the other, but the option to claim it was "RIGHT" is non-existent as both sides had equal right to their own "morality". Since we cannot determine which was "RIGHT" and 'rightness' is necessary to the definition of "moral" we see an internal self-contradiction in the presupposition that morality is subjective. Logic tells us that which is self-contradictory cannot be true. This eliminates possibility two from contention as the nature of "morality". Therefore, "Morality" is objective.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:00 pm

Objectivitees wrote: It is transcendent only to us, it cannot be the case God is subject to it in the same sense we are.
In that case:
1. What does it actually mean to say "God is good". Is there anything your God could do that would stop him being good, or does he remain good regardless of his actions? If the latter, again, how can the phrase 'God is good' have any kind of meaning?
2. If it is possible for God to be moral without being subject to objective moral laws, why is it not possible for us?
3. Where does God's rules for us come from? You don't believe they are pragmatic. And they can't be based on consequences, or we could work them out without him. Are they arbitrary?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:05 pm

Objectivitees wrote:If it is subjective, then everyone gets to determine their own "morality". When one "morality" is contradicted by another, one may assert itself over the other, but the option to claim it was "RIGHT" is non-existent as both sides had equal right to their own "morality".
And this is exactly what one sees happening in real life! One party may certainly claim that the other person's actions contradicts their own stated ethics. But if one person says he believes it is moral to steal other people's stuff, there's not much you can do to argue them out of it. That's when the law kicks in. If that person choses to live in a state that enforces property laws, and he choses to steal, then he will suffer under that state's law. Threatening him with Hell isn't really that different from threatening him with jail.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:11 pm

Neon Genesis wrote:You mean like how the nation of Uganda is trying to pass a law that will make homosexuality a crime punishable by death based on an absolute belief in your holy book, the bible? Or do you think gays should be executed simply for being gay?

At least you are consistent in being off topic. Uganda does not have an "absolute" belief in "my" holy book. You've made a lot of assumptions here. Perhaps a short course in logic would help you argue better. Whether or not I believe gays should be executed is not germane to the argument, but just to put your mind at ease, of course I don't agree with Uganda's proposed legislation.

]Are you saying atheists are always inconsistently moral and only Christians can have consistent morals?
No. And i've said that before in this forum on threads you ostensibly read. You don't read closely do you? I believe Atheists are capable of behaving in a moral manner. I said Atheists when doing so, are not being consistent with their own worldview's presuppositions. A distinction you seem incapable of understanding.
Like when Ted Haggard was consistently moral when he had an affair behind his wife's back and bought crystal meth for sex?
Funny you should mention that, as his actions were condemned by the church, he lost his position over it, and has been disgraced. (But not executed) You see, Christianity does not claim that it's adherents are perfect, they only claim there is a perfect morality. The fact that Christians can't live up to the standard is evidence of the truth of their other proposition, that no one is perfect. You confuse being moral with the standard of morality, something else I've also expounded upon here, that you also seemingly didn't read.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:14 pm

I don't quite get the assertion that 'without objective morality you don't have the right to say x'.
Rights are given by the state. The state gives me the right to tell my neighbour he can't steal my car. If there's no law against stealing cars then it is a simple matter of fact that I DON'T have the right to tell him that. If my wife and I agree not to cheat on each other, then she has the right to tell me off if I cheat - I'll have broken an agreement.

Your argument seems to be based on your observations on how people act in the real world. But I'm not sure what you'd expect the world to look like if there wasn't a God giving us 'objective morality'. The way people act is exactly how I'd imagine them to act given pragmatic concerns, given that we're social animals who feel empathy and have to interact with other humans, given the way we've evolved to behave, given the way cultures develop, given the way we react to social mores, and given our brain chemistry (eg seratonin making us feel love for our kids, other chemicals making us feel guilt etc).

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:20 pm

That's when the law kicks in.

On what basis was that "law" adopted? You see, in your 'refutation' the "law" serves as the standard that was chosen. But what gives the society the right to choose it over another which chooses an opposed standard? And why is it "better"? It can't even be described as "better" without assuming a transcendent standard exists.

Rights are given by the state.

No, rights are protected by the state. They are not given by the state. Read your constitution a little more closely. God gave the rights, government protects them.


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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:25 pm

The way people act is exactly how I'd imagine them to act given pragmatic concerns, given that we're social animals who feel empathy and have to interact with other humans, given the way we've evolved to behave, given the way cultures develop, given the way we react to social mores, and given our brain chemistry

Which is a point I have brought up elsewhere. But what happens wen someone else's "brain chemistry", causes them to do "wrong" in your eyes? How can they be "guilty" when they had no choice? their brain made them do it. Unless the standard transcends us, as the constitution of my country acknowledges, then there is no guilt. No guilt = no morality.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:36 pm

I didn't say our brain chemistry makes it right. I said that if you are trying to work out why people act the way they do, there are a large number of factors to consider. If you want to know why a mother cares for her children, a big factor is the amount of seratonin in her brain. This is a simple, testable, fact.

This has nothing to do with arguments about 'their brain made them do it'.

"On what basis was that "law" adopted?"

Laws are adopted for all sorts of reasons. Generally laws are enacted to help the nation prosper. This is entirely rational. No-one would bother starting a business if there were no laws in place to protect that business. Compare Cameroon's financial state with America's.

"But what gives the society the right to choose it over another which chooses an opposed standard?"

Over another what? Another society? Each society determines its own laws. Not quite sure what the problem is here. Does one society have the 'right' to enforce its values on another? Not if it is part of an international agreement not to. If it isn't, then we have a rogue state attacking other nations. And again, it is entirely sensible that the other nations would choose to defend themselves. And again, I don't see anything in any of this that requires a God to explain.

"Read your constitution a little more closely."

My country has no constitution. Do you come from a nation that gave all men equal rights in its constitution? Presumably you are not American then, as that country allowed slavery for many years after independence. In fact the constitution made it clear that black people had fewer rights than whites. Out of interest, which country DO you come from?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Neon Genesis on Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:34 pm

Objectivitees wrote:

At least you are consistent in being off topic. Uganda does not have an "absolute" belief in "my" holy book. You've made a lot of assumptions here. Perhaps a short course in logic would help you argue better. Whether or not I believe gays should be executed is not germane to the argument, but just to put your mind at ease, of course I don't agree with Uganda's proposed legislation.
Uh, yes they do. Uganda government officials who have been behind the creation of this bill have specifically cited western evangelical Christian leaders like Richard Cohen and Rick Warren as the main inspiration for the creation of this bill. It's also been proven that western evangelical Christian leaders have not only been an influence on the kill the gays bill, but they even directly helped to create it: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34684945/ns/world_news-the_new_york_times/
But the Ugandan organizers of the conference admit helping draft the bill, and Mr. Lively has acknowledged meeting with Ugandan lawmakers to discuss it. He even wrote on his blog in March that someone had likened their campaign to “a nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.” Later, when confronted with criticism, Mr. Lively said he was very disappointed that the legislation was so harsh.
These are the very words of Uganda officials and evangelical Christians themselves that they helped make this bill. And if you don't agree with this bill, are you disagreeing with God when he commanded that gays be put to death in the book of Leviticus? Why doesn't God approve of killing gays now but he did in the book of Leviticus if God's morals are absolute?

No. And i've said that before in this forum on threads you ostensibly read. You don't read closely do you? I believe Atheists are capable of behaving in a moral manner. I said Atheists when doing so, are not being consistent with their own worldview's presuppositions. A distinction you seem incapable of understanding.
What is this atheist worldview you speak of and why didn't I get the memo that atheists had a worldview?




Funny you should mention that, as his actions were condemned by the church, he lost his position over it, and has been disgraced. (But not executed) You see, Christianity does not claim that it's adherents are perfect, they only claim there is a perfect morality. The fact that Christians can't live up to the standard is evidence of the truth of their other proposition, that no one is perfect. You confuse being moral with the standard of morality, something else I've also expounded upon here, that you also seemingly didn't read.
Why was Ted Haggard condemned by the church but when Tiger Woods committed adultery, Brit Hume claimed he would be a great example to the world and could make a clean break if he converted to Christianity. So, if you have an affair with women, but convert to Christianity, you'll be forgiven for it, but if you have an affair with someone with the same sex, you won't be forgiven? What happened to that consistent morality you claimed Christianity had?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:52 pm

Objectivitees wrote:No, rights are protected by the state. They are not given by the state. Read your constitution a little more closely. God gave the rights, government protects them.

Hmm. I'm not American, so tell me if the following is wrong:
"It has often been seen on the Internet that to find God in the Constitution, all one has to do is read it, and see how often the Framers used the words "God," or "Creator," "Jesus," or "Lord." Except for one notable instance, however, none of these words ever appears in the Constitution, neither the original nor in any of the Amendments. The notable exception is found in the Signatory section, where the date is written thusly: "Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven". The use of the word "Lord" here is not a religious reference, however. This was a common way of expressing the date, in both religious and secular contexts. This lack of any these words does not mean that the Framers were not spiritual people, any more than the use of the word Lord means that they were. What this lack of these words is expositive of is not a love for or disdain for religion, but the feeling that the new government should not involve itself in matters of religion. In fact, the original Constitution bars any religious test to hold any federal office in the United States."

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Neon Genesis on Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:38 pm

Is Objectivees actually using the constitution as proof of the existence of God or am I misreading something?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  snafu on Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:51 pm

Hi again objectivees,
Thankyou for your reply.

So objective humor is an oxymoron, but objective morality isn't. On what basis? There have been a few posts in this thread arguing that morality cannot be objective because it is a value placed on behaviour which resides in the mind, and therefore cannot be objective, because being objective means existing outside of the mind. I don't think I have read where you comment on this criticism of objective morality. Objective morality is an oxymoron just like objective humour is, for the same reasons. Your view on this specific (and technical) criticism?

In regard to TLC's point about presuppositions, I think you misunderstand. He contended YOU are PRESUPPOSING an objective morality. It seems to be a filter you are placing onto everything about this topic in your thinking. It is a bias, a lens. Just like when fundamentalists presuppose the innerancy of the bible. That is my charge against you also - that you are presupposing an objective morality. If you think you are not, I would love to hear how not. Because it sure does seem so. And are you open to the possibility that you may have this filter, but are not aware of it? (like the fundamentalists are not aware of theirs).

You seem to neatly summarize your line of thinking in your recent thread as follows

There are logically only two postions possible.

1)Morality exists objectively.
2) It is not the case that morality exists objectively.

When we assume the second case, we are saying it is subjective. If it is subjective, then everyone gets to determine their own "morality". When one "morality" is contradicted by another, one may assert itself over the other, but the option to claim it was "RIGHT" is non-existent as both sides had equal right to their own "morality". Since we cannot determine which was "RIGHT" and 'rightness' is necessary to the definition of "moral" we see an internal self-contradiction in the presupposition that morality is subjective. Logic tells us that which is self-contradictory cannot be true. This eliminates possibility two from contention as the nature of "morality". Therefore, "Morality" is objective.

There is something wrong with this approach, and let me show it by replacing "morality" with "good humour". I do this because I believe (you may not) that morality is a BELIEF in the MIND about SOMETHING (behaviour), and good humour is a BELIEF in the MIND about SOMETHING (humour).

So here goes..
There are two options possible..
1) Good humour exists objectively.
2) It is not the case that good humour exists objectively.
When we assume the second case, we are saying it is subjective. If it is subjective, then everyone gets to determine their own "good humour". When one "good humour" is contradicted by another, one may assert itself over the other, but the option to claim it was "funnier" is non-existent as both sides had equal right to their own "good humour". Since we cannot determine what was "funnier" and "funnyness" is necessasry to the definition of "good humour" we see an internal self-contradiction in the presupposition that "good humour" is subjective. Logic tells us that which is self-contradictory cannot be true. This eliminates possibility 2) from contention as the nature of "good humour". Therefore "good humour" is objective.

You can't measure or compare humour to some ultimate standard, because no standard exists. To not be able to measure funnyness is the definition of it's being subjective, not evidence for some self contradiction. Their is no self-contradiction at all. Same for morality. You can't measure for morality, it is subjective. If you point me to the bible and say that's the measure for everyone, I will point you to my definition for funnyness and say that's the measure in that realm for everyone too (which incidentally is satire - you've got to watch The Hollowmen, all about politics).

Can you possibly even conceive of morality existing where it is subjective? You seem to get hung up on the flow on impacts about subjectivity and ask questions about how one group can assert their morality over another and how can anyone judge who is right (which is your presupposition talking). You trip up on this and appeal to the existence of an objective morality to fix the problem, whereas previous posts are saying that yes, one group asserts their "morality" over another all the time, we see it in the real world, and who wins is (sadly) more about who is more powerful. You seem to not engage with this possibility that morality is subjective, and do not explore it in your dialogue. You seem to discount it as an unacceptable situation and run back to a belief in an objective morality. When I look at the world I see groups stomping over each other with their "morality" everywhere, and that is evidence to me for it's subjectiveness (although most groups have large overlaps in what they agree on). You seem to set your belief (objective morality) based on the consequences of the other (subjective morality).

This is all around the wrong way. Either an objective morality exists or it does not. The flow on effects are inconsequential. To believe this or that, because we like or dislike certain implications of said belief, is silly. The consequences bear nothing on whether it is true.

It is time to put your cards down on the table. What is the objective morality you speak of? What is it? Would you spell it out - the contents of it, where it came from etc... Tell me me all about it. If it exists, and it stacks up, then it exists. The flow on effects will fall as they will. But if you say "the bible" i'm going to have to post you a copy of "The Hollowmen" Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:22 pm

I would specifically like to get hear where Christians get the idea that slavery is wrong, given that Chrstians used the bible for hundreds of years to justify slavery.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  snafu on Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:02 pm

Orion, it's because one group of christians think it's wrong, and another think it's right. Being a christian does not mean they all perfectly agree with each other.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  thecatslunch on Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:24 pm

Hmm, so even if an objective morality exists, Christians, being fallible have trouble agreeing what it is. It's the exact same problem as having an inerrant text. There's no point in having an inerrant text if Christians can disagree with what it means at any specific point. (And they do.)

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

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