Author Topic: "Can We Be Good Without God?"  (Read 1754 times)

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Offline screwtape

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"Can We Be Good Without God?"
« on: January 17, 2013, 04:31:53 PM »
I came across a link to a 1989 article in the Atlantic Magazine in another online Article.  The original in the Atlantic is here.  It's long and dense, but I think it is worth the read.  I am sure you all will shoot holes in it, for it argues against the possibility of civil society without a xian god.

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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2013, 07:31:24 PM »
Never seen a white guy round my end of the world til about 1740,did not work out well for my people.Introducing my ancestors to the Godly way killed 90% by 1862.

We were Good without God,sure we had wars,but never on the scale of any Christian conflict
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2013, 08:11:00 PM »
Never seen a white guy round my end of the world til about 1740,did not work out well for my people.Introducing my ancestors to the Godly way killed 90% by 1862.

We were Good without God,sure we had wars,but never on the scale of any Christian conflict

Which means you weren't good at war. See, god makes people good at war. It's hard to be good at war without god. How else you gonna get people to fight and die for you if you don't lie to them?

Oh well, now I have to go do my homework and read the article in the OP. I thought I was through with school. Give me awhile screwtape.

Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2013, 08:57:56 PM »
The Haida were the strongest warriors in the area.....that is how we got our name,,,,when we approached the shore the enemy ran into the bushes yelling hide us hide us :laugh:
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline Nick

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2013, 09:20:34 PM »
No, if we did not have God in our lives we would have 30,000 gun deaths a year, kill elem school students, our politicians would cheat on their wives, the rich would hoard 70% of the countries wealth to themselves, and we would have kids watching violent video games.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2013, 07:42:30 PM »
i can be good without god, i can't speak for others. but i don't believe being good has anything to do with god, you're a kind person, or you're not, you're a criminal, or you're not, you should know right from wrong, you're truthful or you're a liar...with or without god, you are still these things. it's all about the choices we make for ourselves. i don't need god as a crutch to force my behavior if that's not how i'd behave. i'm me, and i will be me, god or not, i'm not going to waste my time worrying what god thinks about what i'm doing, i'm living for right now, cause who knows if i'll be sucking air tomorrow. i'm a good person, because i would feel bad being any other way. i don't like hurting people. not my nature. i'm a lover not a fighter :D

Offline Nam

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2013, 01:14:31 AM »
What's god?

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline wheels5894

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2013, 12:08:39 PM »
the article opens up with the concept that this god thingy is "deeply involved in the world" thus indicating that Christians ought to be so too - not spiritual and not of this world. In that case, why are there so many monks and nuns around the world who lock themselves away and expect people to give money to keep them?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2013, 12:11:18 PM »
Don't ask that question wheels. They've studied long and hard to become scamologists.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2013, 01:29:45 PM »
Good point!  ;D
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Nam

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 02:15:22 AM »
What's a scamologist?

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline Disciple of Sagan

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2013, 02:42:41 AM »
i can be good without god, i can't speak for others. but i don't believe being good has anything to do with god, you're a kind person, or you're not, you're a criminal, or you're not, you should know right from wrong, you're truthful or you're a liar...with or without god, you are still these things. it's all about the choices we make for ourselves. i don't need god as a crutch to force my behavior if that's not how i'd behave. i'm me, and i will be me, god or not, i'm not going to waste my time worrying what god thinks about what i'm doing, i'm living for right now, cause who knows if i'll be sucking air tomorrow. i'm a good person, because i would feel bad being any other way. i don't like hurting people. not my nature. i'm a lover not a fighter :D

My feelings exactly, Keeta. We non-believers are not burdened with a higher power to please, or an eternal punishment to fear to make us act contrary to our natures. We are good because it is our choice to be good, and that is far, more sincere in my opinion than those who "do unto others" because they are commanded to do so.
The cosmos is also within us. We are made of star stuff.

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Offline kin hell

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2013, 03:20:13 AM »
good without god is o
zero zip nada Oh! 

that looks like nothing I've ever seen
the delusional presumption
of the something where there is nothing
obscene
putting the ill in nil


god puts the nought in naughty
god uses o to make good
god made the green cheese moon
just like god gives the starving food
"...but on a lighter note, demons were driven from a pig today in Gloucester."  Bill Bailey

all edits are for spelling or grammar unless specified otherwise

Offline kcrady

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2013, 04:20:38 AM »
OK, so what about being good with "God?"  Is that possible?  If a believer is only being a nice person because they're chust followink orders--and their manual happens to include entire treatises on genocidal extermination with a soupcon of "Death Penalty fixes everything, including problems like girls having sex and people gathering kindling on Saturday"--then shouldn't the rest of us think of them as walking bottles of nitroglycerine, ready to go off in an explosion of random murderous rampage the moment they decide to take the wrong verse seriously?
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2013, 03:12:53 PM »
Well, I don't believe in God. I just got home from grocery shopping. A little old man (couldn't have been more than 5 feet tall) was unable to reach the cans of mushrooms with stems that he was after. He kindly asked me if I would assist him, and I happily did so. A very small, not that important, but nonetheless good deed. It was not necessary for any sort of divine influence for this to occur.

Living in a place that typically gets some brutal snowstorms, it is inevitable that I assist stranded motorists who are complete strangers. People get stuck in snow banks on the side of the road all of the time. I always offer assistance to them, and even keep a shovel in my trunk for such occasions. This often involves me getting both covered in snow, as well as sweat from the exertion of excavating a car and then pushing it out. By the time I am done, I am typically wet, have ice in my hair and beard, and have more than a few aching muscles. And you know what?It's a great feeling to be able to help someone in need regardless of those things. I have been similarly stranded, and others have come to my aid.

I think morality such as it is, the reason we do good things for random strangers without even hope of a reward, is because that's what our species has always needed to do in order to survive. Personally I believe that morality and ethical behavior is a result of evolution. Not in a sense that there is a "morality gene" or something, but in the sense that altruistic behavior amongst members of a group makes the group more likely to survive. Particularly in the case of highly advanced apes such as ourselves, this can be easily pictured. In many ways, to me it represents a sort of agreed upon symbiosis, because everyone needs help from someone else in some way, at some time.

Why does Bill Gates give away such a ridiculous amount of money? He doesn't believe in God, so there is no supernatural/afterlife influence here. I just recently read an article about polio, and the successful campaign in India to wipe out this disease. According to the article, there have been no new cases of polio in India for 2 years now. This is excellent news, and the Gates Foundation has contributed over $1.5 billion to the fight against polio. It's fair to say that a godless person almost single handedly financed this fantastic outcome. Most of the organizations like Unicef, Rotary, and WHO which championed this cause were given incredible donations from the Foundation, hundreds of millions of dollars to each.

Why not do these things because they are good things to do? I think a good deed done without divine sanction is a lot more genuine than someone who does something just because it's what the Boss says to do. We look out for each other, because its benefits are intrinsic, and because it is a valuable survival tool for our species.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline Nick

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2013, 03:41:30 PM »
All very good points Kaz.  I also helped a lady yesterday who was having a problem with her car.  You know if it were not for the baby eating thing we would be pretty nice people. ;)
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2013, 04:09:34 PM »
Thanks Nick! The irony of the whole baby eating atheist stereotype is that the Bible actually has people eating their children.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

keeta

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2013, 12:47:47 AM »
What's a scamologist?

-Nam

nam, it's like a scientologist, but without the red string around the wrist..

Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2013, 04:29:23 AM »
Late to the thread but.. What is 'good'?  (did anyone say that yet, because that to me the essential question)

I choose to define it (in the absence of absolute values derived from absolute authority) as 'intending to do no harm to others'  So yes, we can be good without 'god'.  I find the theist question insulting.  (Not really, but once in a while I like to climb up on my high horse)

Offline WaveForm

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2013, 01:27:52 AM »
well, i think a lot of this falls into what 'god' is, first off, and, then secondly, what is 'good'. First, lets give an example of a 'good' thing to do. Lets say someone is having a hard time with something, they really need some advice, they are beat up. So, this person is having this problem, you see are very troubled, but, are worried about saying the wrong thing to further upset them. You listen to this persons issues, and then come to the conclusion the 'good' thing to do would be to affirm this persons beliefs in that moment to comfort them, easing the pain. What if however they really needed to hear the opposite? what if they just needed to hear this thing that 'worsened' their mental state to get them to see, but, the perceived 'good' thing to do was to comfort them. See how that is. Stay with me

Adversely, and to look at how good and bad can be maybe are next to the same thing.  Say like saying something very harshly to one person, maybe you didn't even know for sure why you were saying something to this person, but, everyone around you would have the impression of, 'wow, this person seems to really be troubled, what a bad thing to do to this other seemingly sweet person'.  Therefore, you have now done a 'bad' thing.  See, but, maybe in that moment, this was something you really needed to hear, maybe the perception was 'bad', but in reality, it wasn't 'bad', or 'good' it was just what needed to happen, it was 'right'.  How do we decide that? well, we wouldn't not entirely at least, we would allow it. 

Can we be 'good' without 'god'? sure, we can be 'good'.  If you read the Metu Neter, it describes a spiritual society of egypt in which the people are very 'good'.  How do you want society ordered? what 'rules' do you follow and what will be 'good'??  Who is laying the cards down? Yes, i think it would be very easy to be 'good' wthout 'god', but, would it be 'right'. thats the question.

Offline WaveForm

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2013, 01:30:46 AM »
Also, really understand i'm not using 'god' in the typical sense, not like how the bible uses 'god'.

Offline Nam

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2013, 03:24:20 AM »
What is god?[1]

-Nam
 1. is anyone going to answer me? I mean,is there a context here, a generalisation? Are we speaking about multitudes of gods, or are we just speaking about a specific god? The Biblegod? The Qurangod? The Torahgod? The plethora of other Biblegods? Gods without religions? What god?
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Online Azdgari

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2013, 03:32:56 AM »
Also, really understand i'm not using 'god' in the typical sense, not like how the bible uses 'god'.

So why not use another word whose meaning is closer to what you're trying to express?
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2013, 04:16:02 AM »
What is god?[1]

-Nam
 1. is anyone going to answer me? I mean,is there a context here, a generalisation? Are we speaking about multitudes of gods, or are we just speaking about a specific god? The Biblegod? The Qurangod? The Torahgod? The plethora of other Biblegods? Gods without religions? What god?

Simples - god is something that has not explanation and to which one can appeal at any time, in an discussion or in real life, and be assured that it won't object.

Also, 'don't words mean what I say they mean' (Alice in Wonderland, I think, Lewis carol)
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline screwtape

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Re: "Can We Be Good Without God?"
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2013, 07:57:38 AM »
well, i think a lot of this falls into what 'god' is, ...

Hi.  Welcome to the forum.

Did you read the article linked in the OP?  It is long and soaked in xian ideas and assumptions.  Its central idea is that we cannot separate government and xianity if we want a good society.  I am looking for a response to that argument which is built up over several pages.

I am not looking for a response to the thread title.  Would you like to give that a try instead?
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