Quote from: Hamsaka on June 29, 2015, 09:58:19 PM
We came up with the ideology of equality all on our own. From the goodness inherent in us, in response to the not-so-good inherent in us. We can be our own authorities and not be struck by lightning. We can even trust ourselves to discern what is 'good' for us, and agree by consensus. What else have we been doing all these millenia? Believing that some god told us to do it this way? What's the difference between that and no god telling us anything?
You seem to be saying two different things here... If our idea of equality came from some "innate goodness" as you put it... What is the source for this objective "goodness"...? Or for that matter, what is the source for the "inherent" not-so-goodness... You seem to be saying we, human beings, came up with the idea of Truth and Justice from something... something inherent or innate, something we're born with... well, what is it...?
I don't MEAN two different things, that isn't quite how it goes through my head. It looks like you are saying 'innate goodness' must naturally come from an objective source, something outside the person. I'm saying 'innate goodness' is innate, already in there as a potential, and is there in varying degrees in all human beings.
Up until recently, all we could do is say 'in theory' we have these 'innate' potentials, but biologists who study the behavior of animals agree that the ones who live in societies (like herds, flocks, groups) display seemingly 'altruistic' behavior. I witness this quite often with my chickens. The other day, one of the roosters went nuts screeching the 'danger call', causing all his hens to scurry beneath bushes and hide. Up in the cottonwood trees was a red tailed hawk. The rooster didn't just hide his selfish butt, but perched on the fence in full view of said hawk and 'told' everyone in the yard to hide. Even the ducks and geese got the message. Heck, I even speak Chicken by now, I knew exactly what he was saying. I've had dairy goats for years, with llamas to 'guard' them. Llamas are excellent guard animals, they make a peculiar call when they see something dangerous to their herd.
Another way this 'innate goodness' is displayed is in primates, who give birth to very undeveloped young that need nurturing and protection long past most other species' young.
These are instinctual behaviors. Past a certain age, a human child will cry along with her friend who just got hurt. She won't know why she's crying, it's not conscious. "Herd" animals are programmed to care about each other, and the more complex the creature, the more complex the 'caring' behaviors. We humans have ratcheted it up into a very complex system of rules and expectations that we call 'ethics' and even 'morality'.
If there was an objective 'source' for any of this, it would have to be natural selection. Barring some kind of creator, that is, but so far a creator doesn't seem to have been involved.
You also say we are free agents, that we can act as our own authority... that we have free will.
When I say we are deciding what to do (whether we think God is telling us to do it or not) I'm not saying this is an act of 'free will'. I don't want to touch 'free will' with a ten-foot pole, thanks to Sam Harris and that Daniel Dennett guy. I'm not confident in how I understand it well enough to even go there.
The issue of free will is a non sequitur to whether or not a god is the objective source of 'goodness' rather than humans imagining him to be, when humans are and have been the source all along.
Well I shouldn't have to tell you this, being on a atheist website in all... but the vast majority of good atheists will say that "free will" or our ability to act as our own authority, is an illusion. But let's say we do have free will, (which also begs the question... if we're free to choose, what is the source of this "freedom"...?) the idea of free will puts us back into the camp of xtian philosophy.
The idea of free will hardly belongs to Christians. Discussing free will does not mean we must enter Christian territory or consider Christian doctrines.
We're free to reject God and trust our own discernment, or we can trust God to guide our discernment.
Either way, we are doing it, we are making it up and believing it to be this or that, and what we believe about it doesn't change the nature of what is actually happening.
I know, we're getting into the deep weeds now... But to address your question of "what is the difference between living our best life rejecting the idea of an objective truth, vs embracing the idea of objective truth..." - I don't know... I believe that I'm lucky to even be in a position to ponder such ethereal questions... Most people who have ever lived have had it much, much worse than me.
No kidding. To even have the time and energy to contemplate these things must mean we are well fed, feeling relatively safe and unbothered and unstressed.
Are we getting anywhere here...? Are we making "progress"...?
We must be, if we can sit here on our 'puters rattling the keyboard and arguing about religion instead of hiding from bands of renegade soldiers, or dying of Ebola, or sifting through the latest garbage outside of Mumbai. The rates of criminal death in the developed world has precipitously fallen. We actually BELIEVE rape is bad, and killing other people because of their religious beliefs is bad. We've come a long way.
If you subscribe to a purely naturalistic worldview, one where we exist as the result of blind stoooopid dumb luck... then you know that truth and justice are just constructs of the human mind, that there is no meat attached to the bone. So when people get all emotional over injustice (something you see everywhere these days)... I always think they're a little "out of touch" with reality...
I am going to start a Swear Jar type thing and charge people a dollar or a Euro every time they knowingly and deliberately mischaracterize natural selection as blind stupid luck, or random chance, or 'out of nothing', as if they don't know good and well this is not how natural selection works.
If concepts like truth and justice ONLY came from the human mind, which I'm convinced they did, there are other ways of looking at that information than concluding "OMG! It's worthless if it only came from humans and not a god!"
Do you see how you concluded that if Truth and Justice are human constructs rather than a gods, they aren't substantive? The assumption you make is that it has to come from a god for it to be 'real' or 'true' or 'worthy'.
Bullcrap. I'd ask you to show me that gods make better concepts than humans if you could show me there's a god to do it, but you can't (and not because you are stoopid or a bad Christian). Instead, use your reasoning to notice there are other possible conclusions to make about this.
Concepts of Truth and Justice and Mercy and Compassion and all these things are admirable, worthwhile and useful. The evidence of that is apparent, easy to find. And just think . . . little ole you and me, humans both, are members of a species of being capable of coming up with such wonderful and helpful concepts. This says something about US, as humans, and it says good stuff about us. Even if all along we're believing God is the source of these good things, if it turns out there's no such God, then who is the source? We are. In the absence of some god imposing these things on humans, that we've imposed them on ourselves is extraordinary, maybe even beautiful.
I'm not ignoring or minimizing the awful things humans are capable of. All that is true, too. We are capable of both.