Thursday, February 18, 2010

Atheist Have Moral Values

I have often used Postings and Comments and on my Facebook Page to feature in my Blog. This is one of those times. I do some editing by not using full names and trying to edit the spelling and some structure but it is faithful to the content of the original discussion.

This Blog is based on a posting on my Page by a Friend(Louis) who is Conservative and Christian. He is interested in discussing why all Atheist are not practice hedonism. He believes that they are all pleasure seekers and cannot really believe they have commitments to the value of their fellowmen.


Louis I've given your many thoughts and beliefs some serious thought. Now I am more confused then ever.

If you are atheist then why do you care about the community so much? Wouldn't survival of the fittest be a better way to go?

Louis my sentiments exactly! I have made this argument with atheist many times. I often correlate Hitler's belief structure in line with atheistic beliefs as a matter of fact.

Why care about life if it has no purpose or inerant value to it?
The problem is in your point of view. You find value in life to come. My only value has to be in this life. I find value in Life Itself. The Human Community is my Family. Accumulating wealth at the expense of Family would be self degradation. Christians make the mistake of thinking that being atheist is a license to be Evil. 
Hitler was in fact not an Atheist. Neither were those who conducted the Inquisition. Neither were Crusaders who killed men, women and Children. Evil lies in Intent, not in Belief. Many of my nearly 4000 friends in my Circle are Atheist or Agnostic or spiritual nonbelievers. Almost to the person they find value in Human life and believe in a social safety network that protects the intrinsic value of each human life.
Religious people all to often have the attitude that "If you refuse to accept what we believe we have a right to persecute you in the name of our God." Being Christian does not always lead to Love of your Fellow man. Being atheist almost always does in a Democratic Society.
What give this life value? Why is that value different for animals, bugs, plants and all other living things?

What makes man different?

William Hodge
I am Man. I also value the life of other animals, bugs, plants and all other living things. I value the whole living life organism. But I also understand the food chain and the fact that the energy for all life comes from the Sun (Son of God) through the plant to the grazer to the predator. There is a complex living process that we are a functioning part of. 

My immediate value is to the individuals that make up the community of man. But my total value lies in the dynamic life organism and my responsibility to the interdependent environment that supports this living system. 

You view life as system of independent entities competing with each other for survival. You reject evolution as a Christian Creationist, but embrace it as a Social System for men to live by. You present yourself as free and independent of responsibility for the community, even though you are interdependent with every every other member in the community. 

In the end, "We are all in the same boat". The question is, do you choose to throw some out of the boat because you do not find them useful and wish to be rid of the burden.
So lets talk food chain. Is man at the top? What if a tiger ate your wife? Would you write that off as just part of the food chain? Would you want it killed in retaliation or to protect others?
Reasoning, you seem to have the ability to reason your way through things. Why is man the only creature who can do this?
It would take more than one Tiger to eat my wife.
But that is really not the point. The ecological system that supports life is interdependent. The idea of a top predator is a mental concept to illustrate a directional process. In fact, the process is not directional. 

When a predator dies he is eaten by the worms and bacteria at the supposed bottom of the chain. Sometimes he gets eaten by the worms and bacteria before he dies. Sometimes he is eaten by vultures. The life system is interdependent and dynamic. The process is affected by evolving conditions. 

You are trying to apply a moral concept to a natural process. Morality is an artificial concept by man to define the effect our behavior has on our fellowman. It is not an Absolute. It is relative to the moral values and traditions of the community.

I suspect you are trying to maneuver me into saying man is special because god made him so. The truth is man is special because he has evolved more efficient survival behavior and skills than other predators. He is the most successful life form because he has so defined himself and there are no apparent challengers to his self assertion. At least not yet. As long as I am a member of the community of man I will strive to advance that assessment. I honor the intrinsic value of all men because I choose to do so.
Tough wife? Good thing I'm not on her Facebook friends list.

Choice, there you have it. You get to choose and you can reason through your choices. You honestly think you evolved from some animal that could not reason like a monkey or ape?
Why haven't more creatures evolved in to thinking, reasoning beings? Why only man?
Man is not the only one. You should do your research Louis. Their is strong evidence that both the the Chimpanzee and the Bonobo have the ability to both reason and be creative. They have rudimentary language and the ability to recognize symbols. Even the Ocean Mammals appear to have intelligence that may be superior to ours and they live in cooperative societies and varying culture from pod to pod. The development connection across species lines is irrefutable in both observation and DNA Science ( In fact - in every Scientific Discipline).

You simply refuse to accept the validity of Science if it causes you to question your origin. I can do nothing to convince you if fear trumps truth and reason in your though process so I will not try. It is just a pity that someone of your intellect would choose slavery over freedom. 

There is enough in life that compels us, without surrendering our ability to reason. The Quest for Knowledge is the pinnacle of man's achievement. If you abandon it because you prefer the comfort of the Lie of the Absolute, you abandon the power to be Human.
I did my research last night William and I am here to report my findings. Now you have explained everything away with your science so I'm not so sure your going to believe anything I tell you about my findings, but here it goes any way.

I watched the evening news. MSNBC, yes. Not that dreaded FOX you so despise. For one hour I watched as people got into car wrecks, robbed banks, raped, went to war, came home from war, had children, discussed money, spoke about global warming and complained about too much snow and cold, and fought about politics. There was one story about some dolphins. It had to do with people nursing them back to health so that they could return to the sea.

What struck me as odd was that there were no dolphins, Chimpanzees, bonobos, or any such creature in all the news making decisions about doing the right or wrong thing. Its the damnedest thing! Everyone of the news stories was about people making decisions between good and bad, right and wrong, love and hate.

Tell me again how closely related to a monkey we 
One last thought... It was MSNBC and they were all monkeys dressed in suites opinionating on the news.
Watching news is not Research. If you wish to start simple just use Google or Bing and then expand to Scientific Research on the subject. You are trying to be cute. I know you are not that Dumb.

 I will offer this quote by a famous Atheist to comment on your original question: “An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.” - Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

If one believes this is his only life and sees self-gratification as meaningless, then he accepts life itself as the Prime Value and all other value is predicated on that. To spend life preparing for your reward after Death is to pursue an illusion.
Yes I was being cute, but serious at the same time. You don't know any reasoning dolphins that are crack smoking bank robbers do you? Your atheist quests are all noble, but so long as man has the ability to reason, make choices and choose between serving himself, the community and/or God you will never get there.

Is your way the right way? It probably is if it is a choice. Will it ever come to fruition? Not possible here on earth. Will you ever be able to get all members of the community to agree and pursue your utopian society? Highly unlikely. Why? Because God gave us a choice to decide for ourselves how we want to server the community. No matter how much you want heaven on earth you won't get it until you pass on from this life.  
You are on the right path with your care and concern for the community. However, your two flaws are you act like a God in your persistence in controlling people and yet you don't believe in him.
Louis, I cannot act like God because there is no God. The notion of Absolute Perfection is an illusion. You might as well claim that I want to act like Zeus, or Horus or Quetzalcoatl. You could pretend that I was seeking the enlightenment of a Buddha. 

The truth is, I do not seek perfection. I seek choices that improve the Human condition. Others may make choices that are different because their chosen values are different. There are no absolutes - Only probabilities determined by by observation and application of Scientific Methodology.

I act according to the best truth I can arrive at. If you are trying to claim you know Absolute Truth because God has revealed it to you, I would have to be less than amused by that absurd notion. If you are afraid of what you do not know, and prefer to believe in the Mystery Knowledge of a beneficent Slave owning God, then you have my Pity. There is little else I can offer someone who has choosen Slavery over Freedom.
I still don't get your value system. If this is the only life you have why not just go gang busters with hot women, rich food, fine wine or live and let live. What do you care if the next guy decides to serve himself and not the community?

I have no claim on absolute truth. No one does. What I have is faith, blind as it my be. My faith tells me I
might be wrong and probably am about most everything. It doesn't dictate that I force it on you or persecute you and it promotes many of the same ideals that you have professed a strong belief in living.  The only difference is you are chasing truth here on earth and I have faith that I will find it after.
You are an intelligent man, Louis, But I admit you confuse me. You say you are a Christian and a Creationist. But it is obvious that you are not a Fundamentalist. Either that or you have never really studied the Bible and your belief is in Ritual and not Dogma. 

You have hope in life after death with no knowledge of the price you must pay to receive it. The Tragedy is that it doesn't exist. A literal translation of the Bible has no validity. It is Mythology that was created by the earliest civilizations to personify the teaching of early Astronomy, Pharmacology. and animal and plant fertility knowledge man learned through observation. 

It developed into the practice of Astrology, Drug rituals, and fertility rituals in Religious Dogma. All subsequent religion is derived from this mythology. When the Protestant Reformation separated the Bible from the Priesthood that protected its interpretation, the literal interpretation created an aberration of meaning that is totally absurd. 

One does not have to be a genius to figure that out. A rudimentary understanding of Science made that clear to me by the time I was 16. All of the study I've done in the intervening years has only verified my conclusion. You appear to live by slogans and not conviction.

I am genetically motivated to survive for as long as I can,but I am who I am partly by Choice. Self gratification was and is part of my life but it lacks a sense purpose. The Human Family will live much longer than me and does have value and my interest. The older I get the greater the urge to act with purpose to continue the development of both the Human Family and the whole organism of life. I have no reason to believe in a god and no motivation to accept Slavery to Dogma created by others. I value my interdependency with and responsibility to the Human Community and the Ecology System of the Whole Earth.

William Hodge

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