Atheist Petra Fans

A place for Petra fans to discuss other topics
User avatar
rexreed
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 927
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:21 pm
#1 Album: Beyond Belief
Pethead since: 1991
Location: Houston

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by rexreed » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:28 pm

pmal wrote:What is "moral" to an atheist?
Please tell me who has the monopoly on morals?
Image

User avatar
Mountain Man
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 928
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2003 9:11 pm
#1 Album: Wake Up Call
Pethead since: 1983

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Mountain Man » Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:39 pm

rexreed wrote:All the athiests I know are moral people. I recommend you go to an atheist group or website if you really want to know what they believe, instead of trying to determine their beliefs from your recliner. It would cut through the endless metaphors and comparisons and you might learn a thing or two about yourself.
That was never a point of contention. The question is, what obligation do atheists have to live morally?

Again, I recommend the essay by Dr. William Lane Craig to understand the full implications of this question.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/can-we-b ... ithout-god

It basically comes down to this: Once you've rejected the first commandment then there's really no reason to accept the other nine.

User avatar
fiendik
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 130
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 11:48 am
#1 Album: Beat The System
Pethead since: 2010

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by fiendik » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:22 pm

You can have morals without them being biblical morals. Outside of Christianity there are also Muslim morals, Buddhist morals, etc. But atheists embrace chance as the cause of their existence, and from that perspective you cannot have morals, because nature follows no external guidelines.
"Fiends are a gift from above, fiends are devoted and true..."

User avatar
Mountain Man
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 928
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2003 9:11 pm
#1 Album: Wake Up Call
Pethead since: 1983

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Mountain Man » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:17 pm

The real issue is moral obligation. Even if an atheist wanted to contend that objective morality is a brute fact of nature like the laws of physics, that still doesn't give him any actual obligation to live morally.

User avatar
dihigo
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:11 pm
#1 Album: Back to the Rock
Pethead since: 1988
Location: Nashville, TN
Contact:

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by dihigo » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:17 pm

Am I the only one who wishes this thread would migrate over to "Other Topics?"
What are ya lookin' for the Devil for when ya oughta be lookin' for the Lord?

User avatar
pmal
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 510
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2003 8:44 am
#1 Album: All of Them
Pethead since: 1985
Location: South Carolina
Contact:

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by pmal » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:35 am

Let me rephrase my question then: to an atheist, what is a "moral"?
May the downforce be with you!

User avatar
fiendik
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 130
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 11:48 am
#1 Album: Beat The System
Pethead since: 2010

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by fiendik » Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:36 pm

dihigo wrote:Am I the only one who wishes this thread would migrate over to "Other Topics?"
I assumed it was a well known fact that this entire website is "other topics". You can't expect this crowd of weird old people to stay on topic 8) :lol:
"Fiends are a gift from above, fiends are devoted and true..."

savage
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:42 am
#1 Album: Beat The System
Pethead since: 1984

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by savage » Wed May 20, 2015 2:01 pm

As an atheist I believe morals come down to the individual. There is no way everybody would agree on a set. The topics can range from murder to drinking caffeine being drug abuse so really how do you set a standard? Please don't say the Bible because it's all over the place in terms of this.

For me, if it concerns something that harms my fellow man, I consider it wrong. If it doesn't hurt anyone how can it be wrong? Of course, I don't believe in a definitive right or wrong either. The bottom line is, there are no absolutes.

gman
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 1059
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2003 10:03 am
Location: Used to be Grand Rapids, MI after leaving the beautiful beaches of NJ. Now it's PA.
Contact:

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by gman » Thu May 21, 2015 11:35 am

savage wrote:As an atheist I believe morals come down to the individual. There is no way everybody would agree on a set. The topics can range from murder to drinking caffeine being drug abuse so really how do you set a standard? Please don't say the Bible because it's all over the place in terms of this.

For me, if it concerns something that harms my fellow man, I consider it wrong. If it doesn't hurt anyone how can it be wrong? Of course, I don't believe in a definitive right or wrong either. The bottom line is, there are no absolutes.
My opinion is that the Bible is the standard. Certain things, it is clear on. Other things are left up to the individual to make their own decision, but it does say something along the lines of what you did, which is consider your fellow man; your brother in Christ.

User avatar
Mountain Man
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 928
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2003 9:11 pm
#1 Album: Wake Up Call
Pethead since: 1983

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Mountain Man » Wed May 27, 2015 1:50 pm

savage wrote:As an atheist I believe morals come down to the individual. There is no way everybody would agree on a set. The topics can range from murder to drinking caffeine being drug abuse so really how do you set a standard? Please don't say the Bible because it's all over the place in terms of this.

For me, if it concerns something that harms my fellow man, I consider it wrong. If it doesn't hurt anyone how can it be wrong? Of course, I don't believe in a definitive right or wrong either. The bottom line is, there are no absolutes.
Exactly the sort of wishy-washy epistemological train wreck I've come to expect from atheists who have no concept of a moral grounding. For one thing, you seem blissfully unaware that the assertion "There are no absolutes" is self-contradictory since it declares an absolute. Then you claim that the Bible is "all over the place" when it comes to moral instruction, but what that tells me is that you really have no idea what the Bible actually says since God's commandments are 100% consistent from beginning to end. I can already hear you saying, "But what about...!" Please don't tell me you're one of those dim-bulb atheists who mistake Old Testament cleanliness rituals for moral law, or that God using the nation of Israel as his instrument of judgment somehow violates his command to us that we should not commit murder.

There's also hypocrisy evident in your answer. I assume that you would feel compelled to stop someone from harming another since this seems to define whatever vague notion of right and wrong you possess, but on what basis would you do this since, according to you, "morals come down to the individual" and "there are no absolutes"? What right do you have to impose your subjective, non-absolute sense of morality on someone else?

The only philosophy consistent with the moral "standard" you've laid out is "live and let live", and what a hell on earth that would lead to.

merlin
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:41 pm
#1 Album: Back to the Street
Pethead since: 1989

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by merlin » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:07 am

It's been a few years since I was last in this discussion but I'll try and address a few points as honestly and completely as possible. My views do change and grow so there may be differences to comments I made in the past to. I did tune out of the conversation early as I wasn't entirely sure how to respond. I was being told a lot of things about me that are just not true and by people that don't know me. Firstly I think Christians and I are similar on a number of points (though not the crucial one). We are both ostensibly interested in truth.

I am an atheist but I am not a nihilist. I am also not an anti-theist. I fit into the spectrum as an agnostic atheist - I simply believe there is insufficient evidence to claim that a theistic god exists. It falls into the category of possible but not likely for me. I call my self an atheist primarily because in any sense that matters I don't believe in god. I don't feel that I can claim some sort of neutrality in the debate by virtue of "not picking a side". I have picked a side by thinking about it and coming down on the side of not believing.

Now in terms of the discussion about my ethics - as a moral agent (being human) I don't believe you can sum up right and wrong in a book or a list of ten commands or from a pulpit. In this sense I'm a relativist in that there are at least as many right and wrong responses to a given situation as there are situations themselves. So morality to me is relative to the situation. I'm not an existential relativist though - I don't hold the view that morality is relative to me or my feelings. In short there is a right and there is a wrong whether I accept it or not. I believe this because I am mathematically inclined and I believe the universe is fundamentally ordered. If it weren't mathematical principles wouldn't actually hold. This oversimplifies my beliefs a lot but it will suffice for this context. I believe there is probably an order to things outside of our own thoughts and feelings.

I think there is a right, and there is a wrong but I don't know 100% what that is. I try my best. Is my best good enough? I have no way of knowing. The limit is the limit - good enough becomes irrelevant in the face of as good as it can get given what I know, so I attempt to know as much as I can. This means I won't close an avenue of discussion until it is provably exhausted thus why I am still weighing into this discussion. Faith? I don't have faith in my gut feelings as they have been wrong in the past and no doubt will be again. In the absence of reasons I follow my gut but I will always give preference to solid reasoning over my gut feelings (or at least try to). I'm not perfect - I'm about as imperfect as you. So here I have said quite a few things most Christians would agree with. Only one that is not in agreement - I don't believe god exists and by extension I don't accept that Jesus is gods son or anything else that flows from that belief.

In terms of whether nihilism is the logical conclusion of atheism - I don't think so but ultimately I don't know. Mathematically there is a difference between countable infinity and uncountable infinity. There are also different sizes of infinity. I know this all sounds crazy and counter intuitive but I can prove it ... mathematically. Anyway I see the topic of whether a god is needed for order similar - it assumes that order must be sentient and must be willed. It assumes a single "size" for infinite. My point is you can have order without a conscious decision maker. I'm pretty sure a definition of god as a set of mathematical principles without consciousness would be insufficient as a claim of faith in the christian god - yet it is a logical position and it is not a nihilistic position.

So there's my position. I put it out there even though a lot of assumptions were made about my position and motives in this thread because like you I'm not interested in winning an argument - I'm interested in truthfulness. So this is my attempt at transparency. The better we understand each other the more truthful and productive our discourse.

My position isn't complete. I don't know everything. I don't believe you do either thus the impasse.
Last edited by merlin on Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
p-freak
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 1427
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2003 10:01 am
#1 Album: Unseen Power
Pethead since: 1992
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by p-freak » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:47 am

Wow, that's an old thread revived! I didn't contribute to the previous discussion, and I doubt I have much wisdom to share, but I wanted to point out the one thing in your post that strikes me as quite essential.
merlin wrote:
Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:07 am
I simply believe there is insufficient evidence to claim that a theistic god exists.
Isn't that the whole point of faith? There will never be enough scientific evidence to firmly say that God exists/doesn't exist, because science only deals with the physical, not with the metaphysical. So if a theistic God would exist, you would never find sufficient evidence to prove/disprove his existence. Insufficient scientific evidence cannot automatically lead to the conclusion that therefore he doesn't exist. This is where faith comes in. You believe a theistic God doesn't exist, I believe God does exist. One way or the other, we are both believers. Neither of our points of view is based on scientific fact.

Regarding the whole ethics (and the source of it) debate, I would recommend reading 'The Abolition of Man' by C.S. Lewis.

merlin
Pethead
Pethead
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:41 pm
#1 Album: Back to the Street
Pethead since: 1989

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by merlin » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:01 am

p-freak wrote:
Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:47 am
Wow, that's an old thread revived! I didn't contribute to the previous discussion, and I doubt I have much wisdom to share, but I wanted to point out the one thing in your post that strikes me as quite essential.
merlin wrote:
Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:07 am
I simply believe there is insufficient evidence to claim that a theistic god exists.
Isn't that the whole point of faith? There will never be enough scientific evidence to firmly say that God exists/doesn't exist, because science only deals with the physical, not with the metaphysical. So if a theistic God would exist, you would never find sufficient evidence to prove/disprove his existence. Insufficient scientific evidence cannot automatically lead to the conclusion that therefore he doesn't exist. This is where faith comes in. You believe a theistic God doesn't exist, I believe God does exist. One way or the other, we are both believers. Neither of our points of view is based on scientific fact.

Regarding the whole ethics (and the source of it) debate, I would recommend reading 'The Abolition of Man' by C.S. Lewis.
It's a good point and it certainly pinpoints where the differences lay in our positions. Yes it is the point of faith as you say, and I do have "faith" in certain positions. Not cast iron faith, I don't hold an opinion that is not proven that is unchangeable. I'd argue that we all do have faith in some things - and I think you'd agree with that. It comes down to what I believe is likely. I don't think the existence of a sentient god is impossible but I believe it to be very unlikely such that while I don't terminate the discussion of it I do not find it compelling at this point either. But yes I do have faith in things. It is necessary to have faith in the absence of knowing everything. But you can't operate on the belief that everything is true when clearly it isn't. So I weigh it up on what is likely to be true and then keep the lines of discussion open in case I'm missing something.

But yeah I came back to the discussion after a few years because frankly it got too heated earlier and I felt that people had already decided what my position was before I'd made it so I didn't think the discussion would go anywhere useful. I was curious and came back and read the posts and felt now was a good time for a response.

Edit: I have read CS Lewis and if you make the assumptions he makes about god then his position works somewhat. I do have issue with the idea of morality from personal authority though which he leans very close to. There is a stark difference between an unfeeling natural law and a feeling god who whims things to be correct based on a position of power. One is because it is and the other is because it is willed. It is the difference between a mountain and a despot. One stops you going onward because it is and the other because it wants to. There are a lot of hard to reconcile conclusions I think I'd have to draw if I assumed morality was determined by power or patronage. I do get the nuance though - the Christian god represents both the mountain and the person. I don't think there is a strong argument for a personal god from the point of moral necessity.

Also the problem is that we only deal with the physical. Science looks at what we sense and tests it. If we can't interact with something consistently we can't test it. So the limitation isn't science it is us. And yes this is consistent with Christian thought too as god needs to reach out to us (reveal himself to us) for us to have faith, and we can't reach god. I think Calvin was pretty strong on that. So it is. If a personal god exists then that is how it is. There's no lightbulb in there with me saying "here I (god) am I (god) exist!". And no other reason why I should believe it. I definitely don't accept the Pasqualean position of the wager. If I believed in god because of the fear of damnation sure a god would know I was playing points. Seems a very shallow position that one. You didn't raise that but I get that argument a lot - "why not believe the thing that promises better reward". Well because it's not just about belief, and checking a box. I would need to be willing to love and die for that faith. I wouldn't if it were just to escape punishment - I'd never be sure I got away with it. As I stated before though, I'm not arguing against you here, I'm refuting a point you didn't make.
p-freak wrote:
Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:47 am
Neither of our points of view is based on scientific fact.
No, but the position of believing in the more likely in preference to the less likely, while not scientifically proven, is a more scientific approach to faith in terms of methodology.

P.S You made a strong point and I think it really is the heart of the discussion - where is the point where a leap of faith is warranted? When something isn't provable where is the point where it is likely enough to warrant faith? And I agree we have both taken a position (opposite), and that is essentially one of faith at its core in both cases.

User avatar
Mountain Man
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 928
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2003 9:11 pm
#1 Album: Wake Up Call
Pethead since: 1983

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Mountain Man » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:09 am

p-freak wrote:
Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:47 am
Wow, that's an old thread revived! I didn't contribute to the previous discussion, and I doubt I have much wisdom to share, but I wanted to point out the one thing in your post that strikes me as quite essential.
merlin wrote:
Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:07 am
I simply believe there is insufficient evidence to claim that a theistic god exists.
Isn't that the whole point of faith? There will never be enough scientific evidence to firmly say that God exists/doesn't exist, because science only deals with the physical, not with the metaphysical. So if a theistic God would exist, you would never find sufficient evidence to prove/disprove his existence. Insufficient scientific evidence cannot automatically lead to the conclusion that therefore he doesn't exist. This is where faith comes in. You believe a theistic God doesn't exist, I believe God does exist. One way or the other, we are both believers. Neither of our points of view is based on scientific fact.

Regarding the whole ethics (and the source of it) debate, I would recommend reading 'The Abolition of Man' by C.S. Lewis.
That's an incorrect or at least an incomplete understanding of faith. Faith, to define it according to the Bible, is an expectation of future performance based on past experience. For instance, a man who says, "I believe my wife will be faithful to me in the future because she has always been faithful to me in the past" is a making a declaration based on faith. He can't prove in a scientific way that his wife will be faithful in the future, but it is a reasoned belief based on the evidence of past experience. This is what Paul meant when he said that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".

How this relates to theism is that we have evidence of God's faithfulness through historical writings, through the testimony of fellow Christians, and our own personal experience. So based on this, I have faith -- that is to say a confident and rational expectation -- that God will fulfill every one of his promises to me.

User avatar
Mountain Man
Pethead Fanatic
Pethead Fanatic
Posts: 928
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2003 9:11 pm
#1 Album: Wake Up Call
Pethead since: 1983

Re: Atheist Petra Fans

Post by Mountain Man » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:02 am

merlin wrote:
Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:07 am
I simply believe there is insufficient evidence to claim that a theistic god exists.
I'm curious what you mean by "evidence". If you mean scientific evidence then you're probably right, but that's only because the question of God's existence is outside the boundaries of science. But there's actually a lot of what we hold to be true that is outside the boundaries of science. That's why philosophers and theologians exist, to answer the questions that science can't, and there are many. However, science can tell us quite a lot about the physical nature of the universe and its origins, and based on this, we can work backwards and conclude that the most likely explanation for the universe's existence is that it was deliberately created by an omnipotent, timeless, immaterial, personal intelligence. Any other attempt to explain why the universe exists as opposed to simply not existing falls flat. Dr. William Lane Craig explains this reasoning in considerable detail in The New Atheism and Five Arguments for God. I've linked to this essay before, and it's complex stuff, but it's always worth reading.
merlin wrote:
Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:07 am
Now in terms of the discussion about my ethics - as a moral agent (being human) I don't believe you can sum up right and wrong in a book or a list of ten commands or from a pulpit. In this sense I'm a relativist in that there are at least as many right and wrong responses to a given situation as there are situations themselves. So morality to me is relative to the situation. I'm not an existential relativist though - I don't hold the view that morality is relative to me or my feelings. In short there is a right and there is a wrong whether I accept it or not. I believe this because I am mathematically inclined and I believe the universe is fundamentally ordered. If it weren't mathematical principles wouldn't actually hold. This oversimplifies my beliefs a lot but it will suffice for this context. I believe there is probably an order to things outside of our own thoughts and feelings.
Even if that's true, it doesn't answer the question of moral obligation. If atheism is true then what does it really matter, in the end, if a man lives selfishly or selflessly when there is no ultimate judgment for his actions?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests