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My Awe-mazing Life, pt.2 – Morality

Why you think some things are right and others are wrong?

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Morality. What is right and what is wrong. Of course I’ve thought about this, I’ve decided to take the burden of deciding what is right and what is wrong on myself, and I think if we look hard enough some theists have too.

To understand my morality I will link a video here that explains the basis for a secular morality. This talk was given by Matt Dillahunty, a well known, outspoken atheist who is one of the hosts of The Atheist Experience, an atheist talk show (now on skype/internet stream) that actually welcomes questions and comments from theists.

GoldenRule-2.jpgFollowing the dictates of a higher power isn’t morality, it’s following orders. Basically the foundation for my morality is empathy. You know the “Golden Rule”, but just to stop your thought process, this isn’t a Christian idea. Every religion/culture throughout history has had this idea, if they didn’t have this simple thought the civilization wouldn’t last. It isn’t rocket surgery to know murder is bad, but in some instances I think we would agree that the death of one individual is acceptable. This is a very big thing, situational ethics.

moralityGood and bad are within us all because that is what is required to keep our society around. I see no reason to give the credit for our good deeds to a god, especially when we would still keep all the blame for the bad.

Can a deity be both just and forgiving? Forgiveness is to take away the punishment for a misdeed, while justice is the rightful punishment of a misdeed. Seems like a contradiction to me but, then again, it isn’t my god so I don’t have to rationalize it.

If you have a good sense of humor about your belief and could use a laugh check out this video of Tim Minchin’s song The Good Book. The morality part of the song lyrics are here:

Morality is written there
In simple white and black
I feel sorry for you heathens
Got to think about all that
Good is good and evil’s bad
And goats are good
And pigs are crap
You’ll find which one is which
In the Good Book
Cause it’s good and it’s a book
And it’s a book (yeah!)

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My Awe-mazing Life

Do you never wonder about the immaterial things like, why you have a conscience? Why you think some things are right and others are wrong? All the knowledge you hold about the human body and at the cellular level and the intricate detail involved in development and sustaining the metabolic process, you don’t ever wonder if their is an intelligent mind behind that design?  When you see you children conceived, developed in utero and then born thru this amazing process, it doesn’t make you wonder about the mind behind such a design?

 These are comments that were sent to me recently in an email, they reflect questions that many atheists are asked every day. I don’t think I’ve ever done a post about this particular stuff so here it is. I’m going to break down the quote into each question and address each one individually.

Do you never wonder about the immaterial things like, why you have a conscience?

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Of course I do, who wouldn’t!? I just don’t feel the need to answer every question with ‘god did it’. I can’t explain the exact parts that make us have higher brain functions than other animals but I am confident that it is something like Aristotle described it “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

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We don’t know exactly how much ‘feeling’ other primates or other animals have. It has been shown that mice will stop pressing the button that gives them food if they find out it is causing another mouse pain. Sharing and apparent caring have been observed in gorillas. To deny that animals have morality is some sort of special pleading and denial that we aren’t completely unique in this world.

More immaterial concepts exist; love, hate, etc. These are usually brought up so I will address them beforehand. Some people claim that the skeptic can’t be sure of love because there isn’t evidence for it. There is evidence if the love is there. In the little looks and caresses you and your partner share. A kiss feels much different when the feelings aren’t there to motivate it. Hate is much the same, except for the kiss part. A lovely post I came across recently on Imgur.com recounts children’s answers to the question ‘What is love?’

I’ll link this video by Tim Minchin here and the most relevant lyrics below.

But the human body is a mystery!
Science just falls in a hole
When it tries to explain the the nature of the soul.
….
Life is full of mysteries, yeah,
But there are answers out there
And they won’t be found
By people sitting around
Looking serious
And saying isn’t life mysterious?
Let’s sit here and hope
….
Does the idea that there might be knowledge
Frighten you?
Does the idea that one afternoon
On Wiki-fucking-pedia might enlighten you
Frighten you?
Does the notion that there may not be a supernatural
So blow your hippy noodle
That you’d rather just stand in the fog
Of your inability to Google?
….
Isn’t this enough?
Just this world?
Just this beautiful, complex
Wonderfully unfathomable, natural world?
How does it so fail to hold our attention
That we have to diminish it with the invention
Of cheap, man-made Myths and Monsters?

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