The Basis for an Atheist's Morality

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Reply Sun 15 Jul, 2007 03:54 am
The Basis for an Atheist's Morality
A good read and my point for many years.
 
evanman
 
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2007 09:23 am
Definitely a good read. All humans are moral beings. Hitler, Stalin, Marx, the Popes, Mother Teresa, all these had their own versions of morality. Morality in itself has little meaning if there is not a true basis for it.
 
Thorwald 1
 
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 02:36 am
More great articles and what I have been arguing for years:
- An Introduction to Atheism
- Definition of a 'Cult' (almost every point on the list directly describes TFI)
- Logic & Fallacies: Constructing a Logical Argument

I have recently become especially interested in the theory of memetics. This quote is a nice summary:
Quote:
The theory of memetics talks of "memes" -- sets of ideas which can propagate themselves between human minds, by analogy with genes. Some atheists view religions as sets of particularly successful parasitic memes, which spread by encouraging their hosts to convert others. Some memes avoid destruction by discouraging believers from questioning doctrine, or by using peer pressure to keep one-time believers from admitting that they were mistaken. Some religious memes even encourage their hosts to destroy hosts controlled by other memes.

Of course, in the memetic view there is no particular virtue associated with successful propagation of a meme. Religion is not a good thing because of the number of people who believe it, any more than a disease is a good thing because of the number of people who have caught it.

The memetic approach has little to say about the truth of the information in the memes, however.


As the author of the above, I am continually being asked: "Even if religion is not entirely true, at least it puts across important messages. What are the fundamental messages of atheism?" Below is a nice reply:
Quote:
There are many important ideas atheists promote. The following are just a few of them; don't be surprised to see ideas which are also present in some religions.

* There is more to moral behavior than mindlessly following rules.
* Be especially sceptical of positive claims.
* If you want your life to have some sort of meaning, it's up to you to find it.
* Search for what is true, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
* Make the most of your life, as it's probably the only one you'll have.
* It's no good relying on some external power to change you; you must change yourself.
* Just because something's popular doesn't mean it's good.
* If you must assume something, assume something easy to test.
* Don't believe things just because you want them to be true.

And finally (and most importantly):

* All beliefs should be open to question.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 12:58 pm
Thorwald wrote:

And finally (and most importantly):

* All beliefs should be open to question.
I would add to that: "... and the answers should, whenever possible, be independent of the belief in question."
 
tyciol 2
 
Reply Wed 8 Aug, 2007 07:12 pm
evanman wrote:
Definitely a good read. All humans are moral beings. Hitler, Stalin, Marx, the Popes, Mother Teresa, all these had their own versions of morality. Morality in itself has little meaning if there is not a true basis for it.
So what is the only 'true' basis, some old book?

We can only constantly amend our moralities to what seems the most real and accurate and truthful, and try to learn from the past mistakes to know what we feel we should avoid.
 
 

 
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