I agree with Jessie; Great Post! Also with Jetson, you totally pwnz0red BibleStudent. I would like some (hopefully minor) clarifications, as there are parts I'm just a little confused about. Hopefully these should prove to be some minor addendums I'm sure you just overlooked.
At first, I typed thanks. But you have to understand, sensing sarcasm in the first sentence of a post is hard to do online. After reading the whole thing, I see you were not being serious. Oh well.
This sounds like you're saying our opinions on what is morally right and wrong is equivalent to our opinions on weather or not chocolate milk is tasty.
What do you mean by "equivalent"? I believe that opinions are formed for different reasons, and carry different amout of weight in our lives, but that they are still opinions. Chocolate milk is tasty to me because the neurons connected to my sense of taste and smell tell me so. I believe killing people is wrong because my life experiences have led me to understand that I would not like to be killed, so others also probably wouldn't like to be killed too. They are both opinions.
Moral opinions obviously carry more weight in our lives than food tastes and favorite baseball teams, but they are still opinions none-the-less. So in that respect they carry more importance. I guess my answer is yes, and no.
You are saying that the "world rose up against the Nazi's" because we disagreed on a matter of no more import than the tastiness of chocolate milk. Would you agree with this sentiment?
Not exactly. Some opinions form the basis for the way we live our lives. Some opinions form the basis for what we drink at dinner time. People don't generally go to war over their favorite beverages. It was, however, the opinion that the Nazi's were wrong to do what they did, that sent the world into war against Germany.
Also, you preface this statement with 'Luckily', indicating it was a good thing.
In my opinion, yes. You or anyone else is free to disagree.
Would it be a similarly good thing if the majority of the world that found chocolate milk tasty rose up against that portion that didn't find it tasty and killed them (the way we did the German soldiers and civillians) for the disagreement? If not, why not? (I'm assuming you'll say Genocide and Choclate Milk tastiness are different. I personally think Genocide and Chocolate Milk tastiness are in two different categories as well. You just got through saying all disagreements are equivalent though, per your statement I quoted above, so I'm all sorts of confused)
Because someone's like or dislike of chocolate milk does not infringe in the rights of other people to live their lives in peace. I don't rise up against chocolate milk haters because they aren't hurting anyone. If a "Chocolate Milk hating club" rose up and started killing, raping and pillaging my town, I would rise against them too. Similarly, if all the Nazi's did to the Jews was give them noogies and throw spit balls at them, I wouldn't have thought it prudent to go to war with them either.
I'm not sure what you mean by 'sense of justice' here. Is it just consensus? You mentioned in the same post the percentages of 99% and 1%, is that the kind of consensus needed for our sense of justice to take over? If so, were those the actual percentages of people who agreed/disagreed with Nazi's on the whole (according to you, trivial) genocide question? Did somebody count? If those are numbers you just made up, then what kind of consensus is needed? 60/40? 51/49?
A large portion of the people of the world thought what the Nazi's were doing was wrong. All I was saying is that, at that point, they acted because they had collectively formed a similar opinion (ironically, this is what the Nazi's did too). Going to war with another country is a tough decision to make. One person doesn't usually
make that kind of decision alone. But I don't think you are asking that. You are asking something different. You want to know if I think a consensus of opinion is necessary in order to take action.. is that right? If that is what you are asking, then no, it doesn't take a consensus of people to act in defense of our own opinions. In fact, very small groups of people could be compelled to act on their own "sense of justice". I dare say a consensus of one is all that is needed for someone to act on one's own moral opinion.
I have no idea what % of the people of the world agreed and disagreed with the Nazi's. I made them up. If you find out the numbers, let me know.
You also said later on in your post
Quote from: JeffPT on 15 hours agoIt is? First of all, according to your 'morality is like weather or not we like steak' idea, what does 'innocent' mean, anyway? Innocent usually means lacking in wrongdoing, but since right and wrong are equivalent to the tastiness of steak or chocolate milk, 'Innocent' would just mean... what? Lacking in disagreement over various aesthetic preferences? With whom? You? The majority? In that case I don't think anyone would be innocent. I'd love to hear how you define this whole innocent life thing, as it's quite confusing.
You simply prove beyond any doubt that the morality of the atheist is far superior to that of the religious person (as long as the criteria we are judging morality on is the preservation of innocent life).
I'm sorry you are so confused.
I think I clarified this above. Some opinions drive our daily life and some tell us what tastes good. They are both opinions, but they are not equal in the way we go about using them daily. We do not usually rise up against the things that have no bearing on human suffering. Each of us will rise up against the things that give each of us the most problems. Everyone is different that way.
The term innocent is used in relation to a crime. The way I use it here has to do with whether or not each individual Jew had committed any crime worthy of death as a punishment. As the Nazi's were not killing the Jews for any specific individual crimes, and were killing them solely based on their heritage and their beliefs, then my view is that the Jews were innocent of any crime worthy of death. The Nazi's felt otherwise.
Further, supposing we could nail down 'Innocent', why is 'preservation of innocent life' a standard against which we can judge the atheist morality to be 'superior' to that of the Christian?
It is a standard that I
used in this case, and I added that statement in parenthesis for exactly that reason. Perhaps I should have said "I" instead of "we".
Even if you were correct that the atheist morality preserved more 'innocent' life than the Christian, would you suppose it would be OK for the Nazi to then say something like 'True, but on the standard of killing as many Jewish people as possible, Naziism has both atheism and Christianity beat hands down.'? If you're unprepared to admit Naziism is superior to your worldview (at least according to some definitions), could you explain why not?
It depends whether or not one values the killing of Jewish people. As the Nazi's valued that, sure they could make that statement. If you want to judge "good" based off of how many Jews you can kill, then Naziism is far better than atheism or Christianity (at least during WWII. A good case could probably be made that Christians throughout history have killed more Jews than the Nazi's). I am prepared to admit that the Nazi's are good at killing Jews. I am also prepared to admit that the Nazi regime constructed the autobahn, built massive infrastructure and brought Germany out of a severely depressed era after they lost the first world war. Those are good things. You have to take it on a topic by topic basis. But if you judge morality on the basis of saving innocent life, I do not believe the Nazi's have the "superior" world view, as they were killing people left and right. You are free to disagree.
We all have the right to live our lives the way we wish as long as I do not use my rights to supplant someone elses.So does that mean we really shouldn't have gone to war with the Nazis, even though they were committing a bona-fide genocide against a truly frightening number of people, because we were supplanting their right to live in a world lacking in Jewish people?
Good point. I should clarify, as times can often come up when you are left with no choice but to infringe on someone's rights.
In situations where it is unavoidable to supplant the rights of one person over another, such as the Nazi situation, everyone chooses what they value most. In this case, I believe the Jewish right to live supercedes the Nazi desire to have a Jew-free world. It seemed a large portion of the rest of the world thought the same. That is my opinion. As your morality is completly subjective as well, you are free to disagree as the Nazi's did.
Does that mean that BibleStudent was right when he advocated not lying to the Nazi officer, because it infringed upon the Nazi officers' right to an accurate understanding of events? I'm worried that by continuing to be a Christian, I'm supplanting Hitchens' right to live the way he wishes, in a world without Christianity, but if I drop Christianity then I'm not living the way I wish in that I'm not trusting in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. Either way I'm gonna have to supplant somebody's right to live their lives the way they want, I was just wondering if you had any guidance on how I can avoid this moral dilemna I find myself in.
Again, I believe the Jewish right to live supercedes the Nazi desire to live in a Jew free world. You can disagree if you like. I am sure you wouldn't be alone. The Nazi's would happily join you. The advice I can give you is that your morality is your own. It is subjective and not beholden to any diety or dusty old book of any kind. When faced with the decision to infringe on Christopher Hitchens right to live in a Christian free world, or choosing to live with Jesus as your Lord and savior, you must decide which you value more... truth or fiction. If you value truth, then drop Christianity.
One more thing I'm confused about here. You said above that there is no "right" or "wrong", just "Steak is tasty" or "Steak sucks!" Doesn't that mean that the statement "We all have the right to live our lives the way we wish as long as I do not use my rights to supplant someone elses." carries precisely as much moral weight as "Chocolate Milk is delicious!" Would it follow that as long as I get enough people to achieve a majority so that "our sense of justice takes over", we can remove your "don't supplant other people'se rights" silliness and supplant any of your rights we please? That doesn't sound very nice. I'm not sure I like your majority rule system.
You really are a confused person. I think we covered this a while back. Morality is an opinion about right and wrong. Opinions about right and wrong carry more weight in our lives than opinions about steak and chocolate milk. While they are both opinions, we don't go to war over what we think taste's good.
Whether you "think it sounds nice" or not, that is how the world works. The consensus of the majority wins. To the victor go the spoils. That is how the Nazi's came to power. That is how the American Indians were pushed out of their homes. That is how laws are made. That is how witches got burned. That is how the books of the bible came to be canonical and the other gospels got left out. Majority rule. I am not here to hold your hand through it. I am just here to show you that this is the way it is, and we have to live with it. If you are too scared to embrace the truth, then I have pity for you. It's really not all that bad, because most people have similar opinions about what "good" is.
Can you honestly get a bunch of people together and supplant any rights you please? If you get enough, yep you can. Just like the Nazi's did. But don't expect the rest of us to take it lying down. I am sorry you don't like it. Sometimes the truth is hard. If it makes you feel any better, I wish ice cream didn't make me fat, but I am S.O.L there too.
Are helping each other and respecting each others rights good things then? WHat do you mean by 'good' here, as opposed to 'bad'? You just got through saying goodness and badness are subject to individual interpretation, are you implying that helping each other and respecting each other's rights are globally good? If not, isn't it meaningless to say 'The vast, vast majority of people here are still good people?' Shouldn't you instead say 'The vast vast majority of people still agree with each other on some things, but not on others' ?
Helping each other and respecting each others rights are things I personally believe to be "good". Based on my knowledge of people in general, I can say that a large portion of the world shares that opinion. I am not implying that they are objectively good
. I am saying it is my opinion that the vast majority of people here fit my criteria of "good" (helpful, friendly, unwilling to kill others, respectful, etc). And since I know from the experiences I have had in 35 years of life... that a large portion
of the people of the world share most
of my opinions about what constitutes a "good" person, I can form that opinion, yes. I can say "The vast, vast majority of people here are still good people" based on my opinion about what constitutes a good person.
It does seem like you think there's some things we really ought to agree on, like religion, nationalism, sexism, homophobia, racism, and other things are bad things. (And what do you mean by bad, anyways? Do the scare quotes indicate they're not really bad, just "bad?" Are they "bad" the same way not liking Steak is "bad?") You say these are long standing problems, and that the world would be better all these divisions were gone. What about that other pernicious division that has long beleagured humanity, that of Chocolate Milk lovers vs those hated Chocolate Milk tastiness deniers? Would the world be a better place without that division? Why or why not?
Of course I think everyone ought to agree with me on morality. It's my morality! Doesn't everyone think that? Do you know anyone who says... "Hey MathIsCool, can I borrow your morality? Mine sucks!" Don't all groups think their morality is right and everyone elses is wrong? Isn't that why the Nazi's did what they did, because they believed they were right? Isn't that why the crusades happened? Isn't that what all religions preach? Isn't that what Biblestudent wants? Isn't that what Christopher Hitchens wants? Doesn't everyone think that their version of morality is the one true, greatest version and that everyone should follow theirs? That's the problem though. There IS no one, true, objective morality. Mine is mine, and yours is yours, Hitchens has his, and so does Biblestudent. The overlap is large in regard to most things, but there are some things that you would not want me telling you to do, and vice versa. I recognize this fact. That is why, even though I WANT everyone to agree with me on moral issues, I can honestly say it is a pipe dream. I don't pretend it's going to happen.
I grow tired of the Chocolate milk references. I wish you had kept your post shorter to begin with so I didn't have to reply to the chocolate milk references so far down in the response. I already talked about that. It was kinda funny at first, but this far into the post, it's just lame.
Everyone wants things to be the way they want them to be. But you wouldn't want anyone but yourself in charge of making that happen. That can be said of pretty much everyone on the planet. It's just more evidence that morality is subjective.