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April 12th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

Where do morals come from?

By Kelly Murray, CNN

Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which our sister blog CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from different areas of scientific exploration. This is the eighth installment.

(CNN)–
Being nice to others and cooperating with them aren't uniquely human traits. Frans de Waal, director of Emory University's Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia, studies how our close primate relatives also demonstrate behaviors suggestive of a sense of morality.

De Waal recently published a book called "The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates," which synthesizes evidence that there are biological roots in human fairness, and explores what that means for the role of religion in human societies.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Science

soundoff (1,276 Responses)
  1. Regarding morals

    Morals much like borders to countries only exist in the mind. Life wants to continue, reason for kindness/compassion.

    April 14, 2013 at 7:44 am |
  2. Austin

    R.B.... You just proved my point. Human subjective morality is at odds with God. Peace.

    April 14, 2013 at 2:50 am |
    • Science

      Austin.................. you mist of learned your morals from the kittie .

      April 14, 2013 at 6:12 am |
    • The real Tom

      How are subjective morals inferior to objective morals?

      April 14, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • PaulH

      Austin
      Lucky for us that they are, otherwise we'd still be slaughtering babies and selling our daughters into slavery.

      April 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      Austin: Man created "god" and his supposed morals.

      April 16, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  3. faith

    dorothy prefers, in fact she enjoys murdering innocent children by slowly starving them

    April 14, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Is "dorothy" your pet name for your god? Because your god LOVES to starve children....

      April 14, 2013 at 2:18 am |

    • How is your sister? Still being dead?

      April 14, 2013 at 2:21 am |
  4. the AnViL™

    pure, clean, irrefutable evidence of the fact that objective morality does not exist:

    no 11th commandment: thou shalt not own another human as property.

    zing!

    April 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Austin

      Morality can e obeyed, but the extent of morality in man goes ack to how
      God created us, and the in dwelling of His spirit. Practicing morality is mimic ing Godliness, as in

      ”the God of Israel"

      April 14, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • faith

      they died for political gain. to draw the roman empire into a tighter unifying force through christianity 300 years later. the girl is a remarkable scholar

      April 14, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Larry

      Austin
      Was it ever moral to own human beings?

      April 14, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • Science

      Austin.............Facts work when teaching children !

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

      April 14, 2013 at 6:59 am |
    • Saraswati

      I can't see how the existence of objective morality woul hinge on a list made up by one religion.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • Science

      Who would of thought of that Sara. Sherlock Holmes ?

      Peace

      April 14, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  5. tony

    Chad accuses atheists of having no morals. But his only evidence is in his own mind. That's breaking the 9th commandment, which is a moral code for believers.

    April 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • The real Tom

      He doesn't need a mind. He has Jeebus and the bible.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      Having no mind is a prerequisite to believing the bible.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • Pickle

      God can challenge people at levels many can't comprehend... on the other side, where it looks like nonsense, but isn't.

      April 14, 2013 at 2:38 am |
  6. faith

    “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has no where to lay His head.”

    April 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Sure. And that means what, exactly, in relation to the story, faith?

      Or are you so drunk you can't read?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • tony

      Given that god looks after his animals without requiring funds or sacrifices, why does his priesthood need collection plates?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Wow, faith. That's lame.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:17 am |
    • PaulH

      If he's still wearing that thorn crown thing why on earth would he even want to rest his head?

      April 14, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • Sam Yaza

      some ones never slept in a cave...... clearly

      the great thing about humans is we can lay are head any were on our "mother"

      April 14, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  7. Stephen Hawking is an Idiot

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXsWAAhnGhc&w=640&h=360]

    April 13, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  8. Austin

    I think we should have a discussion on the reason why the unbelief of the crowd bothered Jesus. Why would He take someone who He was going to do the miracle on , away from the crowd that bothered Him.

    Now, lets compare that, in all reality, that fact that the unbelief hindered and bothered the Lord, compare that to this forum.

    I have experienced spiritual revelation. I come here explaining that to yall A & A folk, and I have gotten to enjoy coming here and reading your poasts (hot like toast). But the honest thing for me is that I have gotten a load of downgrading and insulting rhetoric, and it hurts my feelings.

    The over all effect of this is I feel discouraged and a little mad at God that it is not easier and that people are so stubborn. I understand that you dont like being judged, but even when I promise you that what I experienced was supernatural, there is still no way I can convince you. Then my discouragement turns to sorrow, and I even start feeling , and hearing doubtful thoughts enter my mind. This is where the truth lies.

    The A and A rhetoric is a form of spiritual war that churns up a spiritual war in a believers life. This is not something that can be overlooked or brushed aside. Your rhetoric is combative to our spiritual confessions and testimony, and together you A and A exert doubt upon each other and innocent readers. You war against the truth. You war spiritually directly against God, His Word, and His people of faith. You have a chance to repent and be justified.

    April 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Austin,
      As an atheist, I respect your right to believe as you do. I don't consider it to have any less validity than my beliefs. I don't want to convince you that my beliefs are right and yours are wrong. I do have a question for you;

      Why are you more offended by my belief that there is no god, than by people who believe in a different god (false god from your perspective)?

      April 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • Austin

      There is no difference there between two wrong beliefs. That is obvious without me singling out what you believe. there can be only one truth.

      And I am not really offended that someone believes something that is in error. that is the world we live in. What is disheartening first off is the displeasure that people have for the way God is. And then , not that I recall you doing so, but many people abhor the idea of sin and resurrection, and the issues with the Bible. And so they are active in moralizing their way around God. And further slandering His word, and mocking Christians. And reality of sin is a bummer .

      My point is that even knowing the truth does not minimize the sorrow.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • JWT

      The truth Austin is that I have no god. Nor do I need one. You can have one though if it makes you feel good.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Austin, thanks for the clarification. I bet you have experienced some Christians that don't follow Christ's teachings and are often hypocrites. I certainly have experienced obnoxious atheists. I'm sure that most of the criticism is directed at hypocrites and boors.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Austin

      Yes for sure. I don't really take that as anything other than the human personality defect. But I am not really bargaining for equivalent philosophies as real. After experiencing revelation through struggling with the name and blood of Jesus, and not that I am even an average christian personality wise, I just look as philosophy as a worldly trap. Jesus really is God and His Holy spirit revealed this as fact to me. God is supernatural. Once you experience that once, you never need to experience it again to remember God's life and sovereign power, and then you look at the philosophy of man as a synthetic hobby.

      Faith is so far from many people who wont rely on God or become obedient to the notion that He is Holy and was crucified for atonement. It is a lack of belief or respect, take your pick. Unbelief is a sin that we will be held accountable for if we habitually carry it through life. Submission is necessary. Our will as humans is nothing and meaningless. We are powerless and retarded.

      The issue we need to keep on track with is sin, and not the Canaanites or slavery. God is real

      April 13, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Austin, that is good for you. Unlike you, I don't trust my own senses and feelings. They are too easily manipulated and deliberately fooled. Just ask any magician.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Austin

      Wow you have a lot of character and insight . That is a great thing bud!

      April 13, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Austin

      We all need that humility. And it is not me that I trust.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Austin, have a great night.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, Austin will have a fantastic night. He'll have a bunch of wet dreams and assume they're messages from god. He'll get on here tomorrow, Sunday, and yap about his "visions" while defending his participation here when he should be observing the Sabbath.

      He's a peach. Pit.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • PaulH

      Austin
      So, all that you can say really is that you believe in God because you feel that he's real? Why should we believe you?

      April 14, 2013 at 12:40 am |
  9. faith

    "brian's assistant
    Oh – none of that makes sense, faith because you didn't quote the whole thing. But then again, that's what you do – lie."

    in HELL as you burn to a crisp, discuss it all u want, dorothy. LOL

    FOOL

    April 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Tell It

      Rave on, herbie!

      April 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      And the torture-lover, your god says to you: Well done, my good and faithful servant for that reply.

      April 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • biggles

      Can u dig it? Lol

      April 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I guess it must follow then that since the bible never mentions or describes abortion as being murder, then Chard must deem it okay!

      Good to know.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
  10. Chad

    "Where do morals come from"

    First, you need to understand that atheists dont agree with the dictionary definition.
    Moralityrelating to principles of right and wrong in behavior

    atheists dont believe that definition, because they dont believe in an objective right and wrong (something that is wrong regardless of an individual view on that). They have no such thing as fundamental truths

    principleA fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning

    -
    Atheists believe there are opinions on right and wrong, when "enough" people share an opinion on right and wrong, it gets enough traction in society and it qualifies as a "moral". A "moral" is when "enough" people (or, it can also be "the right people") agree to call something "right" or something "wrong".

    So.. where do morals come from? The atheist believes they come and go as society changes it's mind, (they can also arise when atheists themselves decide to call some act immoral, but moving right along..)..

    so, atheists believe morals are whatever we want them to be.

    as such, atheists view they spring from opinion. They dont "come" from anywhere.. Everyone has an opinion..

    April 13, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chad, as an atheist I can't say what atheists believe and don't believe, I don't know how you think you can. I know some atheists and they agree on precious little.

      The ones that believe as you describe above do define where morals come from, a consensus or majority of people within the group.

      April 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      And Chad thoroughly and concisely dismantles another straw man.....***slow golf clap***....good for you Chad.

      April 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Chad

      The accusation of strawman only really works if you're able to demonstrate how what I said incorrectly captures atheist thought with respect to morality.

      I would simply love to see any atheist try to build a case that an atheist can believe in objective morality. 🙂

      April 13, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, people believe ideas based on their own assessment of them; they don't check with you first to see if it passes your logic meter. An idea does not have to be logical (and certainly not logical according to your ridiculous rules of reasoning) for an atheist to believe it. It's far more unreasonable for a Christian to believe in free will than an atheist. The Christian has to find a way to make the bible say the opposite of what it says, whereas the atheist only has to align with one of hundreds of different philosophical positions on the matter. Stupid Chad.

      April 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "if you're able to demonstrate how what I said incorrectly captures atheist thought"

      That's easy....there is no version of "atheist thought" on morality on any subject EXCEPT to the question of "do you believe in a god" as has been expained to you countless times. Therefore any broad sweeping generalization you make is a straw man. There are atheists that believe in a type of objective morality (not your narrow version) and there are atheists that believe there is only subjective morality, and there are people that fall in the middle. I am sure you will take issue that it HAS to be one or the other....and again you would be wrong. I could take the time to explain it to you but you will just repeat the same fallacious arguement next week so what would be the point....? *sigh*

      April 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "An idea does not have to be logical ... for an atheist to believe it."

      =>I agree 1000%

      thank you.

      April 13, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "There are atheists that believe in a type of objective morality".

      @Chad "please explain how.."

      April 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well of course you.re wrong Chad and I'll even show you why.

      First you claim: "First, you need to understand that atheists don't agree with the dictionary definition.
      Morality -relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior."

      I do agree with the definition. Notice the key words "relating to". It doesn't say "Morality is or "morals are principles of right and wrong behavior. That's your first mistake.

      Then you go on to define the word principle.
      "Principle -A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning."
      Since the inclusion of the words "or" allow for making a choice of which part best fits the meaning we are aiming for.
      This Is where our opinion is divided.

      Thus I agree with "A proposition that serves as the foundation for behavior or for a chain of reasoning."
      You however are stuck with: A fundamental truth that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior."

      See? We are talking about two different things. You think morality exists outside of personal interactions and events, without needing a mind.
      I think morality is applied to personal interactions and events, after the fact, as an evaluation of the mind. No interaction or no event and we have no moral conclusion.

      Divine command verses rational evaluation. I'll stick with the latter. The fact that we have consensus about the rightness or wrongness of particular situations only highlights the reliability of the secular approach. Where we differ in moral conclusions divine command runs afoul of rational evaluation. It's just that simple.

      April 13, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chad,
      Do you think Catholics, Protestants, evangelicals, etc. have exactly the same set of morals (not just a common set)?

      April 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I don't believe in objective morality, but I could certainly build a fine and logical case for it. It'd be simple.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I would be happy to Chad,

      Lets use the analogy of a game of poker. If a person has a Royal Flush it would be objectively wrong to fold your hand. Conversely if you hold a terrible hand it would be objectively wrong to call a bet. In between it can become situational depending on many, many factors, And in those situations there can be objective correct moves and incorrect moves, there can also be judgement calls where it could go either way, those would be subjective. Life is not all black and white though some situations can be.

      The oblective morality you seem to argue for is not only illogical it is amoral (not immoral.... amoral) in that you are just following orders from some perceived god, you are not the determiner of your morality, god is...therefore you are not practising morality...you are just obedient.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Chad

      @AtheistSteve "See? We are talking about two different things. You think morality exists outside of personal interactions and events, without needing a mind. I think morality is applied to personal interactions and events, after the fact, as an evaluation of the mind. No interaction or no event and we have no moral conclusion."

      @Chad "um.. I agree,
      you think morality is relative, I dont, as the root post says you view it as opinion.

      thanks.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "I don't believe in objective morality, but I could certainly build a fine and logical case for it. It'd be simple."

      =>well then, please do!

      cue reasons why you wont 🙂

      April 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chad,
      You may believe in an objective morality, but as a matter of fact, Christians as a group don't have an objective morality. Catholics and Protestants have different morals and are both Christian (although some Protestants don't regard Catholics as true Christians for these differences).

      How do you square that with objective morality?

      April 13, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Chad

      @Bostontola "Catholics and Protestants have different morals ...How do you square that with objective morality?"

      =>objective morality doesnt mean that all people agree, it means that something is true or false, right or wrong regardless of an individuals view on it.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chad, I agree with your definition of objective morality, there must be factual truth. As a group, Christians can't have that since what is true to Catholics is false to Protestants.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      No Chad it's not opinion. Situations exist both real and hypothetical that can only be evaluated as right or wrong regardless of opinion. The above analogy of a poker hand by Cheesemaker for instance. The same thing applies to making moral judgments. Just because you're stuck believing your God authored morality, something you can't prove in any fashion, doesn't mean objective morals are antithetical to the secular point of view.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • clarity

      "what is true to Catholics is false to Protestants."

      I will assume that this is, for the sake of brevity, an over-simplification and that no one here needs for me to go off with my over 40,000 denominations of insanity post. lol.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      To clarify what I mean by objective morality...it is situational, not relative. Without a situation to evaluate no moral conclusion can be reached.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I would be more than happy to explain how an atheist can believe in objective morality if someone I respected asked me to do so. I do not respect you, Chad, and having explained issues to you before--at length-with excellent evidence and examples, just to have you sh1t all over it and lie and misrepresent and the normal chadmodesh!t doesn't inspire me.

      After all, I want you to stay exactly as you are. I want you to keep posting just as you do for the atheist position. I thank you for your behavior, here that makes a mockery of your position and faith.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Chad posting as "Rachel" –

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/06/richard-dawkins-evolution-is-not-a-controversial-issue/comment-page-10/#comments
      Starting ~September 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm
      Busted – September 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Cheers, you dishonest douchebag.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      No reponse Chad?

      I take you agree with me that you are not a moral agent and are just obedient to some higher power right?

      April 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Clarity, yes it was shorthand. All that is needed for my argument is one example; Catholics regard the statement death penalty is immoral as true, Protestants regard that statement as false.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • Chad

      @Bostontola "As a group, Christians can't have that since what is true to Catholics is false to Protestants."
      @Chad "again, you are incorrect..
      Objective truth can exist, and -0- Christians accept it. That's the nature of objective truth, it is true regardless of an individuals view..

      April 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "There are atheists that believe in a type of objective morality".

      @Chad "please explain how.."

      @Cheesemakers "Lets use the analogy of a game of poker..."

      @Chad recognizing that three 'X's in row always win a game of tic tac toe doesnt mean you accept the notion of objective moral truth, it merely means that rules for a game have been established.

      feel free to try again on the topic of objective morality.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • clarity

      No Chad, that's interesting – now how does one come to know the validity of an objective truth when no one accepts it? What good is it to anyone if they don't know its a truth or a guess?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      No Chad it means there are answers to moral questions that can be objectively shown to be the correct decision. As Atheist Steve explained it is situational, not subjective.

      Answer a question for me.

      If you truly believed your god told you to kill your child, would you do it? Why or why not? Which would be the moral option and why?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Chad

      @clarity "how does one come to know the validity of an objective truth when no one accepts it? What good is it to anyone if they don't know its a truth or a guess?"
      @Chad "A. one need not know, nor accept it, for it to be objectively true..
      B. Whether you find that truth helpful or not is irrelevant.

      =====
      @Cheesemakers "No Chad it means there are answers to moral questions that can be objectively shown to be the correct decision. As Atheist Steve explained it is situational, not subjective."
      @Chad "if it is situational and , it is not objective 🙂

      =====
      @Cheesemakers "If you truly believed your god told you to kill your child, would you do it? Why or why not? Which would be the moral option and why?"
      @Chad "read Genesis 22 and Hebrews 11"

      April 13, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Gee, so Chard can't answer honestly. He has to cop out with a typical "read the bible."

      Quelle surprise.

      What an azzhole.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      I am going to assume that you would kill your child with your response. It is just as I thought you don't believe in objective morality, you believe in divine command, they are not the same thing. You are not a moral agent, you are a follower of orders, being obedient has nothing to do with acting morally. Your type of amorality justfies suicide bombing, your moral compass isn't broken.... it's missing.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It is right if God commands it because God commands only things that are right, or else it is right because God commands it. One of those, I suppose. Why have such a dodgy thing as a God that determines right and wrong?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheese,

      Objective morality requires a creator.
      The entity setting the standard of morality must be omnipotent, otherwise it isnt binding.
      I cant establish what is moral for you, but God can.

      Like it or not, you and I live in the God of Israel's reality, no changing that.

      I recognize the supremacy of the God of Israel, that's all there is to it.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Objective morality requires a creator."

      Define "objective morality." What consti tutes "objective morality", Chard?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • The real Tom

      When you finish that assignment, Chard, describe the alternative to "objective morality" and why it's not sufficient.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Chad

      objective moralityObjective morality is the idea that a certain system of ethics or set of moral judgments is not just true according to a person's subjective opinion, but factually true. Proponents of this theory would argue that a statement like "Murder is wrong" can be as objectively true as "1 + 1 = 2."

      April 13, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad, you imagined up your God of Israel. You are its creator. Man up, Chad, and take charge of yourself for once.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Chardo: do any atheists believe murder is moral?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "a person's subjective opinion, but factually true."

      Explain the difference. Which "person's subjective opinion"? How does one determine what is "factually true"?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Chad

      moral relativism (subjective morality) holds that some people do in fact disagree about what is moral

      "sufficiency" has nothing to do with it.

      either objective morality exists, or it doesnt, whether we find that convenient doesnt really matter (unless of course objective morality doesnt exist)

      April 13, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Other One "Chad, you imagined up your God of Israel."

      =>interesting
      now.. in all previous exchanges of this type, when you try to assert that God doesnt exist, you immediately back down when I challenge you to provide evidence to back up your assertion..

      I suspect this time will be no different...

      April 13, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Stop dancing. Do any unbelievers in Christ believe that murder is moral, Chard?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Bob

      Chad(Rachel), why does Rachel exist, and why doesn't she have a thigh gap yet?

      Get off your fat ass and get back on that treadmill.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Explain why "subjective morality" is inferior to "objective morality", Chard. Provide examples and cites to back up your opinion.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Chad

      " do any atheists believe murder is moral"

      Joseph Stalin
      Pol Pot
      Mao

      April 13, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Prove they believed it was moral, Chard. Then show evidence that their belief that what they were doing was "murder." After that, cite evidence that the murders they committed were based on their atheism.

      Better get going.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Chad

      "inferiority" has nothing to do with it.

      either objective morality exists, or it doesnt, whether we find that convenient doesnt really matter (unless of course objective morality doesnt exist)

      April 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It does exist in your imagination, Chad. That's necessary if for you are to build a coherent image of it as something you can describe and attribute things to. Can you demonstrate that it exists anywhere except in your imagination?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Hurry up, Chard. I don't have all night. Move your ass.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "either objective morality exists, or it doesnt"

      What makes you think it does? How is it superior to subjective morality? How do the two differ in any significant way?

      April 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Come on, ya bum. If you had the answers, it wouldn't require this much time for you to post them. Move it, Vegetable.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Other One "It does exist in your imagination, Chad"

      =>interesting
      now.. in all previous exchanges of this type, when you try to assert that God doesnt exist, you immediately back down when I challenge you to provide evidence to back up your assertion..

      in this case, you seem to be pursuing the "God doesnt exist until you prove He does" route..

      which, of course, is fallacious. It not only is an attempt to shift the burden, but it is always fallacious to claim that anything doesnt exist unless you can prove it does.. Existence of anything doesnt rely on the ability to prove it.. logic 101.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Bah, Chad must be told that a thing is right or wrong by something that has (or determines) an objective standard of right and wrong. He probably maintains that it is a necessary being. Not being able to find it by objective methods he must imagine it up from what he believes are its necessary attributes.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Don't be an ass, Chad. You instantiate God yourself when you assemble it, as I said, in your imagination.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • The real Tom

      TTTOO, I guess that must be it. Unless god says it's wrong, Chad can't make the determination. It follows, then, that Chard would believe murder was A-OK if the bible said it was.

      Wow.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Reposted:
      I guess it must follow then that since the bible never mentions or describes abortion as being murder, then Chard must deem it okay!

      Good to know.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What's the matter, Chard? Did your emoticon keys break? Or are you struck dumb?

      April 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • clarity

      The question I wrote above, I realize now is quite messy in several ways. Plus I meant to start with "Now", not "No". But based on the subsequent replies, let me simplify my concern:

      What defines an objective truth for us as humans? Sure we can theorize we think there are such things, but when do any of them become useful to us; when do we start to count on them and reference them as such; distinguish it from any other? How can we look at any one thing we consider to be an objective truth, like 1+1=2, and believe that it really is? Aren't we lost on it without some kind of consensus?

      April 13, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I suppose an objective standard could be built on moral precepts that we agree are necessary, similar to an axiomatic system. Even mathematics is on similarly shaky ground with axioms that some people are comfortable with, others not.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • the AnViL™

      objective morality does not exist.

      /thread

      April 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • clarity

      I agree, Anvil. I guess the only way I could see it being something is if the definition were so loose that it would include (without divinity) things like a plant bending to the optimal position to collect sunlight – if that could be deemed an objective "good".

      April 14, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Larry

      Chad
      Most atheists would believe in God if they had enough evidence and good reason too, whereas you guys are making the claim that God definitely is real. If you can make that extraordinary claim then it's up to you to provide the extraordinary evidence to support it. So far, what you've provided is much less than that in our opinion. Sorry, but if that's all you've got then you just aren't going to convince the entire jury. The ones you've convinced (the converted) may be impressed by emotional pleas, junk science, and fear mongering, but the rest of us are more interested in where the evidence in this case leads.

      April 14, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Morality is a spectrum, not the black and white of Chad's imagined reality. Saving a boy child from drowning is universally accepted as a good moral act. A win/win for both parties in that situation. By itself the experience of the situation is subjective to the participants. Acting morally is subjective. But what if we consider a different but similar event. Saving a drowning girl child. Or a teenager, a mother, a grandparent. All subjective players but a consensus that saving the drowning victim is morally good and true. Even if the drowner is attempting suicide it's still true. That's what determines objectivity.
      Or pushing a person off the roof of a building. Morally bad right? An act of violence, a lack of empathy and compassion. Objectively simple. But subjectively much more complex. What if it's self defense? Now revenge is never an excuse for immoral behavior but motivations can alter a subjects objectivity. Will you still consider it morally wrong and act in accordance to your to objective moral compass if the person had raped your daughter? Killed her? Killed your whole family? Blew up the school killing hundreds?
      Finally we get to moral dilemmas. In a moral dilemma it's always a matter of choosing the lesser of two or more bad choices. In this case it is always situational when we must balance morals against one another. And always subjective.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Objective morality requires a creator."

      Following rules is not morality, nor is it objective.

      You are a good follower of a supreme dictator Chad, that doesn't make your moral, just obedient. Your god is no more moral than Cronos, and just as real. Being a moral agent requires more than following orders.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:27 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad, if objective moraiity exists murder is either wrong or it isn't, but what you argue is that murder is immoral..... unless your god orders it..... then murder is moral.....which means objective morailty does not exist.

      You just single handedly prove you premise false.....well done Chad.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Chad

      You'll need to understand the difference between killing and murder..

      All murder is killing, not all killing is murder.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So what do you call laying your son on an alter and plunging a knife in his chest?

      LOL Chad....

      Your morality is subjective to the whim of your god.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Chad

      Objective morality is defined by God

      It can be no other way, only an omnipotent being can create objective morality. It is only in the ability to hold all persons accountable for an act that objective morality is created.

      If there is no such thing as universal accountability, there is no such thing as objective morality.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      But your God is defined by people like you. Since you haven't provided a solid case for that then your extension of an objective morality claim is likewise suspect.

      Circular reasoning chad...fail.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Chard, you have continued to evade and avoid answering the question: what ARE the objective morals of your god and how are they superior to subjective morals? You can't even come up with a good answer when asked how many unbelievers think murder is moral–instead you resort to the trollish answers we get the brainless fools here all the time: Pol Pot, Stalin, etc.

      If you can't do better than that, you should throw in the towel.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "If there is no such thing as universal accountability, there is no such thing as objective morality.

      Well, then there is no such thing as "objective morality," because there IS no universal accountability. Prove otherwise.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Objective morality is defined by God"

      Chad...that is called special pleading...of course you know this because you do it all the time.

      First you calim actions are moral or immoral regardless of the situation....

      AND THEN

      Morality IS situational AND you contiue to claim it isn't. You are plenty smart enough to know what you are doing....

      April 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      @ Chad "It can be no other way, only an omnipotent being can create objective morality. It is only in the ability to hold all persons accountable for an act that objective morality is created.

      If there is no such thing as universal accountability, there is no such thing as objective morality."

      You are exactly correct Chad. There is no univeral accountability because according to you your god is not accountable, hence there is no objective morality. If it was actually "objective" god would by definition be subject to them. Turning around and creating a special catagory for your god just makes you dishonest.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad did say "It is only in the ability to hold all persons accountable for an act that objective morality is created." God appears irregular, to say the least, in holding people accountable for their acts. Why is this profoundly significant work reserved for an afterlife that we have no reason to believe in?

      April 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Larry

      Chad
      "All murder is killing, not all killing is murder."
      If you can subjectively set classes where circ.umstance justifies some killing while regulating other killings as "murder" then it isn't objective at all as a term, is it?

      April 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • redzoa

      True. Not all "killing" is "murder"; however, under the Model Penal Code (Article 210 Criminal Homicide), the various atrocities commanded in the Bible (e.g. 1 Sam 15:3) are at best, criminal manslaughter (2d degree felony) and at worst murder. I know, I know, "God's law is not man's law!" But this apologist abdication of moral responsibility in endorsing child slaughter as justifiable fails as just another abhorrent invocation of a Nuremberg Defense. Obedience over empathy, authority over personal responsibility and culpability. This is how the Chads and freds of the world claim "objective" morality, like good little Brownshirts . . .

      April 16, 2013 at 1:26 am |
  11. faith

    "Then lead into temptation by a snake that their creator allowed to talk to them to pretty much force them into eating from a tree that they shouldn't even have had knowledge about, yet the perfect deity pointed it out to them?" dorothy the devil

    that is an argument straight from the pit of hell as usual. dorothy specializes in deception. she can't fool me. she fools herselves! there are enough of them. way to go dottie. love her. she is so obvious and so pathetic. pretty much forced them, huh dorothy? lol

    but it is too late 4 u

    April 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • rick

      "blah, blah, fvcking blah" – faith

      April 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • faith

      rick
      "blah, blah, fvcking blah" – faith

      temper temper Dorothy. u r perfect, member?

      April 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • brian's assistant

      Oh – none of that makes sense, faith because you didn't quote the whole thing. But then again, that's what you do – lie.

      April 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Tell It

      @faith
      "temper temper Dorothy. u r perfect, member?"

      Sure, herbie... keep up your nonsense.

      April 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  12. Salero21

    God the Creator of ALL things Created, granted man a conscience and the sense of Right and Wrong. God didn't do that with animals, that's why animals are unable to judge even among themselves. They just follow the basic instincts that God the Creator gave them to live and survive. Though they were Created before man!

    God allowed and granted man the unique Privilege to Believe, belong, have and Practice religion. Man however after sin was already ingrained in his soul, co-rrup-ted religion and started worshiping creatures and creation rather than Adoring and Worship the Creator God. The Evil consequences and the end result of that corruption that are so well known, caused entire civilizations to fall and fail.

    The Apostle wrote about it this way in his letter to the Romans:

    Ro. 1:20-27
    1:20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities –his eternal power and divine nature– have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
    1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    1:22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
    1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
    1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to se-xual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
    1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator –who is forever praised. Amen.
    1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
    1:27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed in-de-cent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Damocles

      @salero

      Before we get into civilizations and whatnot, let's look at the very first humans... A&E... supposedly created perfect, by a perfect deity. Then lead into temptation by a snake that their creator allowed to talk to them to pretty much force them into eating from a tree that they shouldn't even have had knowledge about, yet the perfect deity pointed it out to them? Why would he do that? Why were the first two humans pitted against forces they couldn't possibly have understood and the rest of us have to suffer because of that?

      You say sin was ingrained on our soul? By whom? The deity? So the perfect deity made flawed things? How can that be?

      April 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Salero21

      @ silly Damocles,

      Who told you or what makes you believe that Adam & Eve were created "PERFECT"? See, this is why I ALWAYS have to say that atheists are fools and that atheism is stupidity in Full bloom. Atheists are also ignorant and now it appears that they can't read well either.

      Pay attention you may learn something GOOD!

      What the Scriptures say is that God saw that what He Created it was GOOD! The Light was good, the earth and the seas were good, the plants and the fruits were good and so on. It does not say ANYWHERE that it was "Perfect".

      God Kept ALL Perfection to Himself and His Laws are Perfect, not us or Creation. Creation was Good and is still Good but Not Perfect. You can be good sometimes, I may be good sometimes but we're NOT perfect! ONLY God is PERFECT!

      Did you learn anything?

      April 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • clarity

      Since you referenced the Christian Bible, Salero21, are you ready yet to answer the question "who authored the gospels?", or do you want to continue the duck and hide game?

      April 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • redzoa

      How can a "perfect" being create something which isn't also "perfect"?

      April 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • ..

      Oh, Salero21 doesn't have answers. Salero21 is a phony Christian. Salero21 doesn't realize that many atheists are former theists who couldn't answer basic questions either, and saw the futility of the mental gymnastics required to swallow the book of Genesis hook, line, and sinker.

      April 13, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • lol??

      It looks like the real problem for A&A's is they can't find Moses' body or Jesus' body in the ground. They sure are petulant and demanding, though.

      April 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      silly christian cult dribble.

      there is no god. grow up and stop believing in fairy tales. you don't believe in ra, zeus or odin, right? ask yourself why not. because it's silly - just like yahweh is silly. realize there's more knowledge to be gained from reading dr. seuss than the bible. really.

      April 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Salero, I don't give a sh!t what you believe because you're an uneducated moron. I can read. I can write. I can also spot an idiot who never made it past community college.

      When you actually manage to get an education, let me know. Until then, you don't have a single point worth acknowledging.

      You're an idiot.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • lol??

      tom tom sayz,
      ".........never made it past community college..........." Communed colleges should be right up your alley. Who in their right mind would want a BA degree? From the beginning man has known he needs help, and not a Bachelorette Artsy associate from the gubmint.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • The real Tom

      It figures that lolly is too dim to grasp the meaning of English words.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  13. whatever

    A thank you to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for morals, and all the help you've given us over time. Also thank you for sending Jesus to die for our sins. You are the best, ever.

    April 13, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      A thank you to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for genocide, misogyny and codoning slavery as well as a host of social ill that haunt the entire world to this very day, Also, Jesus, You should have done better, I expect more from an all powerful "god".

      ***fixed***

      April 13, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • lol??

      Is Ms O'Gyny a daughter of Mrs. O'Gyny?

      April 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Cheesy, remember 1 Corinthians 6:9 is His Truth.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Science

      BS = HS

      April 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "remember 1 Corinthians 6:9 is His Truth."

      No....that is Paul's claim

      April 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      jesus died for his own sins.

      April 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  14. Vic

    The Foundation of a Great Nation

    Preamble

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain

    unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    United States Declaration of Independence
    July 4, 1776

    April 13, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The foundation of our governance and country is the Const.itution, which does not mention god, Jeuses, ect, other than to specifically restrict its impact on the gov't. Quit lying, the founders did not want a christian nation for a reason, think about it.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • JMEF

      Good stuff, but the for the next 125 years or so, the great nation proceeded to remove Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness from the aboriginal people that lived in the land, complete with deceit and cruelty.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • JMEF

      Vic, slight correction..
      We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal....(except for Indians and Slaves and Women have a whole lot of catch up to do)...

      April 13, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • lol??

      jmuff, you'd rather have king george be their, ahem, king? now we gots the king big o. any indians fight for the americans?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • JMEF

      Normally, I ignore your oh so stupid comments, but if you knew a lick of history you would know that Indians joined the Americans in the war of 1812 and also served in both WW1 and WW2. So yes Indians fought for America and still do today.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • lol??

      any indians fight for the americans? in the revolution??

      April 13, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Learn some history and quit being an idiot. American indians were not a collective. Also your assertion that they somehow deserved their treatment after the Revelutionary war shows a complete lack of ethics.

      Members of the Mohawk fought on both sides. Many Tuscarora and Oneida sided with the colonists.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • lol??

      cheesie, i just thought it odd jmuff left out that war. they should have insisted on SSN's on their dog-tags. socialists don't discriminate, unless of course, it's a nationalistic type. WWHD?

      April 13, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ok, I admit, the "idiot" part is a tall order....

      April 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Not so fast, Vic

      Theodore Roosevelt did not take the oath of office on a Bible in 1901.

      John Quincy Adams swore on a book of law.

      William Howard Taft, the only U.S. President to also hold the office of Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court:

      I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe.

      As Deist Christians, the first five presidents including John Adams, James Madison & Thomas Jefferson were likely to have quite a different notion of God than the Christian God of today. Deist Christians may have followed Christ's teachings, but usually refuted the divinity of Christ. They were always ready to call out on the dark side of organized religion:

      I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history. "

      (John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816)

      Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

      (Thomas Jefferson, from Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785)

      During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

      (James Madison, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights – from A Memorial and Remonstrance as delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785.)

      John Tyler, the 10th POTUS was a Deist Christian.

      Many believe Abraham Lincoln was a Deist.

      John Remsburg, in his book Six Historic Americans (1906), cites several of Lincoln's close associates:

      After his assassination Mrs. Lincoln said: "Mr. Lincoln had no hope and no faith in the usual acceptance of these words." His lifelong friend and executor, Judge David Davis, affirmed the same: "He had no faith in the Christian sense of the term." His biographer, Colonel Lamon, intimately acquainted with him in Illinois, and with him during all the years that he lived in Washington, says: "Never in all that time did he let fall from his lips or his pen an expression which remotely implied the slightest faith in Jesus as the son of God and the Savior of men."

      The Deistic side of John Adams comes out strong in these paragraphs A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (1787-1788)

      The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

      Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Vic

      The Founders of the United States of America were Inspired Brilliant individuals who created a quasi-secular system while they themselves believed in God!!!

      That approach is called "Separation of Church and State" which protects both!!!

      April 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Larry

      Vic
      Why do you consider it a quasi-secular government system?

      April 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Vic

      "Natural Law" is from God (Natural Revelation) no matter what tag you put on it!!!

      April 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • ..

      So we all now know that lol?? will not be collecting her SS, you know, on principal – and we further know that she still has no clue what "socialist" means. We know that she is bigoted against indiginous people. We know she hasn't a clue about history. Did I forget anything?

      April 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • lol??

      Not so fast, Vic sayz,
      "Theodore Roosevelt did not take the oath of office on a Bible in 1901........."

      "Mat 5:36-37 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."

      April 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • ..

      Lol??, move to a theocracy. You clearly hate this country, and you clearly think a country has to be ruled theocratically for you to feel fulfilled. Iran or Vatican City. Take your choice. Just get the fuck out.

      And it's SAYS. Same amout of letters, you toothless hillbilly. Lazy twat.

      April 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • clarity

      Vic: ""Natural Law" is from God (Natural Revelation) no matter what tag you put on it!!!"

      I don't think the key founders would argue with that statement by itself, Vic. But if they learned about your Christian belief and your concept of God, I'm sure they would have a lot to discuss with you. Perhaps you missed this part of my post:

      As Deist Christians, the first five presidents including John Adams, James Madison & Thomas Jefferson were likely to have quite a different notion of God than the Christian God of today. Deist Christians may have followed Christ's teachings, but usually refuted the divinity of Christ.

      April 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • lol??

      Socies are experts at makin' refugees. No property rights, no siree!

      April 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • clarity

      And some people are so paranoid about socialists and write about it here so much, that I wouldn't be surprised if they talk to they own body parts the same way.

      April 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Vic,

      That's not really the issue being addressed here nor is a non scientific doc ument from a couple of hundred years ago evidence in such a discussion. The issue is that all societies have morals with some differences, but a lot of overlap. Many non-human animals – with limited communication and no religion or grand ethics – exhibit social behaviors that are very similar to our own. We can look, then, at the biology behind these behaviors and sentiments as well as their group survival benefits and the cultural stories that develop in humans to get a sense of how we got where we are today.

      April 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Akira

      Well, yeah, lol??, the indigenous people to America certainly didn't have any property rights, did they?

      April 13, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • lol??

      .. double dot sayz,
      "So we all now know that lol?? will not be collecting her SS, you know, on principal......." No interest, no inflation adjustments?
      What are you some kinda cwook?

      April 14, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  15. Let us not forget...

    What makes America great as a nation is its faith in God. One nation under God.

    April 13, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • You mean,

      of course, One nation under many Gods.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Let us not forget, One nation under god was added later, the original motto was better, e pluribus unum.... which is inclusive instread of devisive.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Constiitution was written in 1776. Within that is a simple amendment that makes it very clear that the USA is a Secular country.
      In God We Trust was not added to money until 1956 and honestly I wouldn't count on it always being on your money...this like a great many other things is bound to change.
      The one thing that can't be changed so easily is the Constiitution.

      btw: I'm Canadian and I comprehend the meaning of your Constiitution better than you do...sad, isn't it?

      April 13, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  16. No God? no morals

    Case closed!

    April 13, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • No God? no morals

      There needs to be a point of measure for all absolutes. That point of measure for morals can only come from God.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      There are no absolute or objective moral standards.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • No God? No morals

      If there is no perfect source for morals, then ten people in a room will each come up with a definition of 'morals according to their individual 'perception'. All morals come from a moral law giver, and that moral law giver is NOT man, it is GOD.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Much like what Robert Brown posted below I think when we talk about morals theists and atheists are talking about two different things. For the theist morals are defined and determined by divine law. In other words whatever "God" wants. That's fine and dandy if you believe in such things but even divine command is interpreted differently in different circumstances. That's why taking a life falls under multiple categories. Murder, manslaughter, self-defence...etc.

      Humanists and by extension atheists define morals as social contracts. As a group people decide what appropriate actions to follow that result in the highest degree of well being. Thus an individual cannot define morality purely for themselves if it runs afoul of general well being toward others. Making moral decisions is dependent on favorable results based on fairness, compassion and equality.

      Theistic and secular morality are different approaches to similar ends. Given the results I'll stick with using the latter more sensible method of arriving at a moral decision.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Indeed, ten people will come up with different moral standards. If they want to form a society that is of mutual benefit they will adjust their standards accordingly.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • No God? No morals

      I am talking about morals, not ethics. The absolute measure for right or wrong ought to come from a divine source that is able to establish the absolutes of morality. Society can live with a code of conduct that can be classified as ethical , very different from morals.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Semantics. Ethical behavior is moral behavior. Absolute morals don't exist outside of social contracts. Also none are black and white except for some few that we would all agree upon by our own systems A man alone on an island is incapable of behaving in an immoral manner because there is no one else to be affected by his actions. What you think is moral as defined by your religion is in many cases "not" moral. For instance labeling same gender unions as "immoral" runs directly afoul of fairness, equality and compassion. Therefore divine command in this instance is clearly not moral.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • No God? No morals

      It is just not semantics, there is difference. Ethics can be collectively framed based on collective thoughts of a group, culture,people. Morals are beyond that, it transcends human thoughts, it comes from a supreme being that is able to establish the absolutes of moral right and wrong. The moral law giver cannot be man, it has to be God, because he is the absolute source for morals.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Thus why I started by saying we are talking about different things. What you consider moral by your definition doesn't exist in my reality. You're barking up a tree when you make an argument for something you believe exists but I don't.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • No God? No morals

      You may not believe in God, atheist Steve. You can live 'ethically' according to standards set by man. But morality is a very different thing which cannot be tinkered by man per whims and fancies. Morality comes from an absolute source and that source is God not man.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Says you. I'm not convinced. The moment you resort to using words like "transcendant" to support your conclusions you've stepped over a line. What exactly is something that transcends human thought? How do you determine what that is or that it's correct? You are trapped in metaphysical nonsense speech that can't be verified by any means. Without a means to verify what you claim about your "absolute morals" how can you be certain you've got it right? At least with secular morality the rules are clear making the conclusions true.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • No God? No morals

      We have to agree to disagree, morals are absolutes established by a perfect being who is creator God, Ethics are man made that can be established by a collective group of people.
      What really matters and is of eternal consequence is the grace that we receive from God and his transforming power in our lives to be saved and accept Jesus Christ as our lord and savior.
      AtheistSteve, I shall say a word of prayer for you that you will come to that saving knowledge in Christ.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Thanks but save your prayers for someone who thinks they will have an effect. I have no concerns for eternal consequences because mortal consequences are all that I need worry about. Standards for morals are by all accounts human constructs. By humans and for humans with zero examples that can be shown to be otherwise. You believe differently and that's fine. I'm not about to change your mind about this anymore than you could actually demonstrate where I'm wrong.
      Peace.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "We have to agree to disagree, morals are absolutes established by a perfect being who is creator God"

      In order for this assertion to be correct, you would have to prove not only "a god exists" but which one. Since that has never been more than a baseless claim, your statement is an even bigger bag o' cr@p.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Correct Blessed are the Cheesemakers,

      If I think your god is imaginary it follows that I don't believe it or anything else authored morality. Morality is the end result, the evaluation of consequences of a chain of events, not the other way around. And far from absolute it is situational.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      That's right Steve, AND nothing that can be shown to be ORIGINAL to the Christian god has anything to do with "morality".

      April 13, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • ..

      Yeah, many people inhabiting this earth have never heard of your God, No morals. And guess what? They have them.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The "case" isn't closed at all. To claim that it is is a flat out lie, which suggests that belief in god is not a source of morals.

      April 13, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • redzoa

      @No God?No Morals – But your God does not reflect an absolute source. Contrast Exodus 20:13 with 1 Sam 15:3. God first commands not to murder, then commands the brutal slaughter of children and infants.

      April 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Jericho

      Firstly, selective reading of the Bible narratives as individual verses rather than as passages will not help you gain any understanding on the nature of God.
      Secondly, the Bible addresses sinfulness, consequences for sin and disobedience and the ultimate grace that comes in the redemption of mankind. Again, you are not interested in knowing the truth else you would not have quoted the verses out of context as you have.
      Thirdly, stop blaspheming God.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:15 am |
  17. My Daddy

    .
    Unbelief in what, Allah, Vishnu, the FSM, the devil, confession clears your sins, What?

    April 13, 2013 at 8:37 am |
  18. Robert Brown

    From a humanist perspective you can strive to be a better person, the rules are different however. The humanist says, to be kind, giving, loving, do no harm to others, and so on, but contradicts God in several other areas, for example, pride, fornication, drunkenness, and most importantly the love of God.

    As a humanist a person could love their neighbor as themselves, but this is the second most important commandment.

    April 13, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      If one doesn't accept that god exists, then there is no contradicting it.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:15 am |
    • My Daddy

      Robert Brown
      was a drunk, wh-oremonger and cruel wife beater, who was a good Christian, never missed a sunday service and spent a lot of time confessing so he could be forgiven for his sins. What the fvck makes you think that evil behaviour occurs only in humanists? Before you say it, he was not a true Christian but both he and his church accepted him as one, see how that works? You might also want to look again at the child abuse scandal that accepted the criminal behaviour as just a glitch and let the offenders stay in the church.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • Damocles

      @RB

      And how many humanists are saying be drunk and have lots of s-ex?

      I think the thing that gets your goat is that people can be kind and loving without a deity and it seems you think you are incapable of being good without some deific interference.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Robert Brown

      My Daddy,

      Even the devil himself believes in God. There is no way anyone can know the heart of this “good Christian” you described, but God’s word tells us that we will know them by their actions.

      I did not say that evil behavior only occurs in humanists. It is clear that humans are capable of most anything, whether they are humanists or Christians. I said there is a difference between morals according to humanists and morals according to God.

      A Christian could get drunk, commit adultery, or beat his wife. If they were really a Christian, God would convict them of these sins and they would feel guilty. A nonbeliever would feel guilty for committing adultery and beating their wife.

      Would a nonbeliever feel guilty for getting drunk or having s.e.x. outside of marriage even if they weren’t married? A Christian would be under God’s conviction for these also. See the difference?

      April 13, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • Damocles

      @RB

      So the wife beater suffers a bit of a guilt complex and we should just leave it at that. No trial or anything, they should stick together to try and work it out, she probably egged him on in some fashion, refused to be barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen. Not really his fault, him and the deity of reached an accord. If it happens again, well, he can always just say he will pray harder for guidance next time.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "Would a nonbeliever feel guilty for getting drunk or having s.e.x. outside of marriage even if they weren’t married? A Christian would be under God’s conviction for these also. See the difference?"

      AtheistSteve and I are not married and we have no guilt about our relationship. Most christians are no different and you are deceiving yourself if you think they are. Sex is purely natural amongst all species regardless of belief/disbelief and even christians enjoy it outside of marriage. So no difference at all in the end.
      As for the drunk portion...I know plenty of christians who get drunk and don't have regrets about doing so. What one does with their own body is their choice, not your imaginary friends and you have no right to judge anyone based on anything...it simply does not affect your life directly, so attempt to focus on your own life and not that of others.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • My Daddy

      RB
      The difference I see is that the Christian can ask for forgiveness, feel good about himself, continue his behaviour while the church does nothing and his punishment does not come until he meets his god, that des not exist. Great moral system you have going there Robert.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • .

      the greatest crime is unbelief

      April 13, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "the greatest crime is unbelief"

      Not if you live in secular country...it is not a crime if you can't be charged for it and none of us non-believers have been charged, so it is not a crime. Your imaginary friend can't punish us because it is imaginary, so we have no worries.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Would a nonbeliever feel guilty for getting drunk or having s.e.x. outside of marriage even if they weren’t married?"

      Nope, and nor should they...those are not crimes against anyone. Christianity is based on "guilt" and they way out. Christianity gives us the "disease" and then offers the "cure"...a great scam, but a scam none the less.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Damocles,

      “@RB

      And how many humanists are saying be drunk and have lots of s-ex?

      I think the thing that gets your goat is that people can be kind and loving without a deity and it seems you think you are incapable of being good without some deific interference.”

      No one is saying to do those things. I was trying to say as long as you don’t harm another you can do as you please, from a humanist perspective. While morality according to God goes a little further. It is wrong to harm another and it is wrong to sin against God.

      I agree that some people can be kind and loving without a deity and I think you would agree that some people can be rotten and mean with a deity. I probably would not be as capable as some at being good to others without God, but that is not the point. The point is that I definitely can’t obey God without him.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Damocles,

      “@RB

      So the wife beater suffers a bit of a guilt complex and we should just leave it at that. No trial or anything, they should stick together to try and work it out, she probably egged him on in some fashion, refused to be barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen. Not really his fault, him and the deity of reached an accord. If it happens again, well, he can always just say he will pray harder for guidance next time.”

      I should have taken that a little further I suppose. If a Christian sins then the conviction of the holy spirit does make them feel guilty, but that isn’t the end of the story. The only way that person can be relieved of the guilt by forgiveness is if they repent or turn from the sin. People do commit the same sin more than one time, but here is the thing, they will never be at peace until they repent. Nothing I posted in anyway suggested that they should stick together, work it out, or that the wife beater should not be prosecuted, and all that other stuff. And yes, it is his fault.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Truth Prevails :-),

      “AtheistSteve and I are not married and we have no guilt about our relationship. Most christians are no different and you are deceiving yourself if you think they are. Se.x is purely natural amongst all species regardless of belief/disbelief and even christians enjoy it outside of marriage. So no difference at all in the end.
      As for the drunk portion...I know plenty of christians who get drunk and don't have regrets about doing so. What one does with their own body is their choice, not your imaginary friends and you have no right to judge anyone based on anything...it simply does not affect your life directly, so attempt to focus on your own life and not that of others.”

      Yes, it is natural and is intended to enjoyed within marriage. Yes, Christians are just as capable of any human of doing it. Yes, Christians do get drunk. If God doesn’t convict them of their sin then they are not his.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      My Daddy,
      “RB
      The difference I see is that the Christian can ask for forgiveness, feel good about himself, continue his behaviour while the church does nothing and his punishment does not come until he meets his god, that des not exist. Great moral system you have going there Robert.”

      You can read above for more detail, the Christian can ask for forgiveness, but they will not receive it and feel good about themselves until they repent. There are biblical rules for how to handle someone who does something wrong within a church, so if the person you referenced was never dealt with or dismissed from the church, then it doesn’t sound like that church was following God.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers,

      “"Would a nonbeliever feel guilty for getting drunk or having s.e.x. outside of marriage even if they weren’t married?"

      Nope, and nor should they...those are not crimes against anyone. Christianity is based on "guilt" and they way out. Christianity gives us the "disease" and then offers the "cure"...a great scam, but a scam none the less.”

      I love it when a plan comes together. You just proved my point. Human subjective morality is at odds with God. Peace.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Robert,

      The only way getting drunk or having se.x outside marriage is morally "wrong" is as an offense to your god, I don't believe in your god so I don't give a sh!t what he "says". Morality has to do with causing actual harm, not a made up "crime" to some bs god. Nice try.

      April 15, 2013 at 2:13 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes thngs

    April 13, 2013 at 5:45 am |
  20. lol??

    Yogi on morals,

    A&A astronaught, "Houston, Houston, WE have a problem!"
    A&A Houston Control, "What'dya mean, "WE", Tonto?"

    April 13, 2013 at 4:16 am |
    • Science

      For you and AUSTIN

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18psZMHSLPA&w=640&h=360]

      April 13, 2013 at 5:28 am |
    • ..

      Lol?? proves once again just how pointless her posts are.

      April 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Austin

      I know those kitties .

      April 14, 2013 at 2:48 am |
    • lol??

      OK, boyz, I see my error and the need for a little polish to play in Branson. I left out Berra, as in Yogi Berra. You guys jumped to Bear, as in Yogi Bear, from being latchkey children. Right church (holywood), wrong pew (cartoons instead of real actors), sorry. I will reconsider Judas jokes for Branson, too. Joking about tragedy and betrayal needs to be carefully applied, 'specially since NASA uses commie dialectical group think.. From the original Lone Ranger series, the joke:

      Ranger, "Tonto, we're surrounded by Indians and are in big trouble!"
      Tonto, "What'dya mean "we", white man?"

      April 14, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • The real Tom

      Don't quit your day job, Shecky. You suck at comedy even more than you suck at writing.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • lol??

      sheckyland?? from wiki, ".............name change to Shecky Greene in 2004) grew up on the north side of Chicago, served in the Navy during World War II, and enrolled at a junior college to become a gym teacher,...." Sounds like the big O and his street fightin' humour. You hate the communer colleges. RELAX, God hates whites, even though we have the first white prez now.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • lol??

      Throw eggs at bob greene? I would not hold that against ya.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • The real Tom

      Talking out of your ass again, loopy lolly? It shows.

      Ever manage to read up on the law concerning ministers reaching out to the mentally ill?

      It's a shame your own priest didn't know better and never helped you get the meds you need.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • midwest rail

      " .......never helped you get the meds you need."
      There's not enough lithium in the country.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • The real Tom

      True.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • lol??

      TT sayz,
      "........Ever manage to read up on the law concerning ministers reaching out to the mentally ill?.........." If one of my loved ones got hurt because of a gubmint authorized church I would have to take it into my own little hands and hire a gubmint authorized pharisee and sue. Cubs win! CUBS WIN!

      April 14, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • The real Tom

      Still dumb as a post, aren't you?

      April 14, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • lol??

      c'mon rail. ain't you greene? Conserve that lithium for the batteries.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:46 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.