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Chavez

"I don't trust nobody who don't love Jesus"

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I am in no way insinuating that you or anyone will get utility (happiness) from murdering someone.

 

You can think of better off by innumerable measures, but a logical one to think about would be material comfort (such as might be obtained by buying things with money (like a bigger house, better food, etc.)  It is very likely that a person could get more of this stuff if he behaved unethically when he could get away with it.

 

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You assume that it is the goal of every person to make more and more money, to get bigger and better stuff. It does not surprise me that an economist would think money accumulation is the prime purpose of everyone's life. It is THAT assumption that is the flaw in your argument. You are basing your opinion on a flawed foundation.

 

Or are you saying that in the absence of religion, money becomes your god?

Edited by cre8tiff

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You assume that it is the goal of every person to make more and more money, to get bigger and better stuff. It does not surprise me that an economist would think money accumulation is the prime purpose of everyone's life. It is THAT assumption that is the flaw in your argument. You are basing your opinion on a flawed foundation.

 

Or are you saying that in the absence of religion, money becomes your god?

 

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I never said that obtaining money was the prime purpose of a person's life--I don't believe that it is, nor would I expect do most other economists either.

 

You asked for a measure of happiness and I gave you one. If you don't think that having a new car instead of a broken down car, or living in a decent home instead of in a ghetto apartment would make most people feel happier, then you are living in some sort of fantasy world. We don't have to like it, but having more stuff (whether it is an X-Box 360 or some food to give to your starving child) makes most people feel better off.

Edited by wiegie

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Because belief in the Golden Rule is totally divorced from religion.

 

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umm, no. i totally disagree. the golden rule is a religious principle, pure and simple, and there's no way of avoiding it. it requires a sort of faith-based assumption that the consequences of our thoughts and actions are greater than what we can consciously perceive. the golden rule assumes a human universality, a collective interest greater than any individual interest. these are fundamentally "religious" assumptions. now you can rightly say that the golden rule is not strictly a christian principle, or a buddhist principle, or a jewish principle, or a humanist principle -- though it IS a principle of all these religious outlooks. but i don't think you CAN say that it in any way flows logically from a worldviews that expicitly denies human universality.

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atheism doesn't equate to anarchy, but a lot of people falsely believe that atheists lack morality... that would be a teensy hang up that might prevent an atheist leader/country.....

 

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i do think it's possible for a sort of "civic religion" to create enough ethical common ground among co-citizens that a society can function with that, and only that, as the principle holding back anarchy. this happened most clearly in our own country, where people from backgrounds that are historically religious rivals (protestants, catholics, jews, atheists) have been able, at many crucial times in history, to pull in the same direction in the name of the country, liberty, the constitution, etc. if enough people have sufficient faith in the secular, civic institutions, that faith can provide the glue for a society moving forward in the same direction. but...i don't know how well it works long term. i worry that civic institutions might lack the kind of ultimacy to really bind people together when the chips are down, i think perhaps there needs to be a more religious component as well.

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It is THAT assumption that is the flaw in your argument. You are basing your opinion on a flawed foundation.

 

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I'm not sure that wedgie is arguing as much as he is posing a series of questions.

 

That being said, I think that the main problem here is the supposition that persons base their behavior upon what may happen in the afterlife. Taken a step further, that persons want to act a certain way, but don't, for fear of repercussions in the afterlife.

 

I maintain that it is an exceptionally small, most likely negligible, portion of the population that alter their behavior based upon such a belief. (How one could determine this is another matter.) Therefore, that someone believes in a god (more accurately, believes in an afterlife in which one is punished in some way for misdeeds) does not make that person any more or less trustworthy than someone who doesn't.

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let me just say for the record that i, too, disagree with wedgie's economic/utilitarian rationale for religious behavior. any person of any religion who behaves one way or another based on some economic calculation of costs and/or benefits in this life or the next is ultimately engaging in some variation of pascal's wager, and is ultimately a slave to worldly comforts and desires. plenty of people may get to such a calculation via religious "belief", but in truth their heart is still in a very worldly, banal place.

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I think you'll find Furd was summarizing rather than opining.

 

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and I was painting the picture of the likely scenario

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umm, no.  i totally disagree.

Well, there's a shock. :D:D

 

the golden rule is a religious principle, pure and simple, and there's no way of avoiding it.  it requires a sort of faith-based assumption that the consequences of our thoughts and actions are greater than what we can consciously perceive.  the golden rule assumes a human universality, a collective interest greater than any individual interest.  these are fundamentally "religious" assumptions.  now you can rightly say that the golden rule is not strictly a christian principle, or a buddhist principle, or a jewish principle, or a humanist principle -- though it IS a principle of all these religious outlooks.  but i don't think you CAN say that it in any way flows logically from a worldviews that expicitly denies human universality.

 

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I get this sense of deja vu that we've been over this ground and not too long ago. I can see how the Golden Rule can easily be identified with religions, but I'd posit that it requires no faith in any higher being and is just as applicable to a non-religious viewpoint. This rather succinctly summed it up:

To apply the golden rule adequately, we need knowledge and imagination. We need to know what effect our actions have on the lives of others. And we need to be able to imagine ourselves, vividly and accurately, in the other person's place on the receiving end of the action. With knowledge, imagination, and the golden rule, we can progress far in our moral thinking.

 

The golden rule is best seen as a consistency principle. It doesn't replace regular moral norms. It isn't an infallible guide on which actions are right or wrong; it doesn't give all the answers. It only prescribes consistency - that we not have our actions (toward another) be out of harmony with our desires (toward a reversed situation action). It tests our moral coherence. If we violate the golden rule, then we're violating the spirit of fairness and concern that lie at the heart of morality.

So, all we need is knowledge, imagination and the GR - I see no religion. Religion may have co-opted the GR, but it did not necessarily spring from religion.

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Well, there's a shock. :D  :D

 

I get this sense of deja vu that we've been over this ground and not too long ago.  I can see how the Golden Rule can easily be identified with religions, but I'd posit that it requires no faith in any higher being and is just as applicable to a non-religious viewpoint. 

 

well there you're equating religion with theism, per se. that is an error.

 

So, all we need is knowledge, imagination and the GR - I see no religion.  Religion may have co-opted the GR, but it did not necessarily spring from religion.

 

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ok, where did it spring from?

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Religion:

 

1.

    a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

    b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.

3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

 

Theism:

Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in a personal God as creator and ruler of the world.

 

So, theism is a subset of the broad possible definitions of religion but are you going to base your position on the non-theist aspects of religion? I do not see how my statement that the GR "requires no faith in any higher being and is just as applicable to a non-religious viewpoint" is in error, other than maybe semantically in that I could have said non-theist as opposed to non-religious.

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ok, where did it spring from?

 

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Hardwired cooperative instinct?

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Religion:

Theism:

So, theism is a subset of the broad possible definitions of religion

 

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hey thanks. you proved my point for me. :D

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I think this thread may beat the "post something about the user above you" thread... at least this is useful/interesting. :D

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most people recite bible scripture and don't even know what it means...

 

they don't realize the bible has "god" encouraging slavery and beating your children...and if you don't obey him, he'll ravage your family..etc. etc.

 

I'm not agnostic or anything like that, I just don't follow any religion...someone/thing had to create everything we are aware of....the part where my brain shuts off at is who/what created what created everything we know...

 

then I go  :D

 

so I just know that something made everything...but doesn't control our fate...and it isn't judging us like the bible says...that's just trying to keep people in check...

 

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Avernus you are right on... why can't more people see things the way we do? Same result as the extremist religious ones but with more realistic ideals. :D

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Hardwired cooperative instinct?

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How about shared tribal memory? Evolutionary social instincts? We certainly had to band together as proto-humans to survive...

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Two things:

 

(1) Money doesn't buy happiness. If I obtained material comfort by behaving unethically, I wouldn't enjoy it or be happy with it. And it's not because I would fear punishment in the afterlife.

 

(2) The Golden Rule is not religious. You don't have to believe in god or karma or anything supernatural to believe that something is right because you would want someone else to act that way toward you, or wrong because you wouldn't.

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Two things:

 

(1)  Money doesn't buy happiness.  If I obtained material comfort by behaving unethically, I wouldn't enjoy it or be happy with it.  And it's not because I would fear punishment in the afterlife. 

 

(2)  The Golden Rule is not religious.  You don't have to believe in god or karma or anything supernatural to believe that something is right because you would want someone else to act that way toward you, or wrong because you wouldn't.

 

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1) why not?

&

2) why?

 

(Explain it to me as though I were your child and you had just told me that I should behave ethically and follow the Golden Rule.)

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Money doesn't buy happiness. 

 

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"Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a boat big enough to pull up right next to it!" - D. L. Roth

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1) why not?

&

2) why?

 

(Explain it to me as though I were your child and you had just told me that I should behave ethically and follow the Golden Rule.)

 

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Your question is a trap, as you can and have, just as a child, responded to every answer with. "Why?"

 

"Why are leaves green?"

 

"The chlorophyl is green."

 

"Why?"

 

"To better absorb light."

 

"Why?"

 

"So the plant can get more energy."

 

"Why?"

 

"So the plant can grow."

 

"Why?"

 

"So it can propagate and extend the species."

 

"Why?"

 

"For survival of the ecosystem."

 

"Why?"

 

"Shut up and go to bed."

 

 

 

Theoretically, you can keep this up forever, as I don't see you really wanting an answer, but rather to keep fishing.

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Theoretically, you can keep this up forever, as I don't see you really wanting an answer, but rather to keep fishing.

 

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No--I want a answer that explains why a rational, free-willed individual would voluntarily constrain his choice set so as to preclude himself from making use of strategies that would make him better off.

 

The best argument you guys have given so far is that humans actually do not have free will (i.e. the hard-wired extinct answer).

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Your question is a trap, as you can and have, just as a child, responded to every answer with. "Why?"

 

"Why are leaves green?"

 

"The chlorophyl is green."

 

"Why?"

 

"To better absorb light."

 

"Why?"

 

"So the plant can get more energy."

 

"Why?"

 

"So the plant can grow."

 

"Why?"

 

"So it can propagate and extend the species."

 

"Why?"

 

"For survival of the ecosystem."

 

"Why?"

 

"Shut up and go to bed."

Theoretically, you can keep this up forever, as I don't see you really wanting an answer, but rather to keep fishing.

 

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And by the way, in the end, if you can't answer the final question, then your whole system falls apart and the child realizes that there isn't a real reason to behave ethically. (With the "green leaves" question, a parent can finally reach the point where they have to say "I don't know, it just does" without it affecting a child's behavior; whereas to finally answer "behave ethically, just because you should" doesn't work so well.)

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So, all we need is knowledge, imagination and the GR - I see no religion.  Religion may have co-opted the GR, but it did not necessarily spring from religion.

ok, where did it spring from?

 

 

We are made aware of the "Golden Rule" by means of General Revelation.

 

Romans 1:18-19 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them."

 

Romans 2:14-16 "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus."

 

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

- Matthew 7:12

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hey thanks.  you proved my point for me. :D

 

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Not at all. I was clearing up the semantics for you. In common usage, religion implies worship of a higher entity - theism. You seemed to be making a point that the GR sprung from religion, but was not related to theism necessarily. I disagree - I think the GR has many roots, one of which may be religion, but isn't it possible that religion is based on the GR rather than the other way round?

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I don't trust nobody who believes in blind faith, blindly following literal interpretation of the Bible or any other book. Use your mind.

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No--I want a answer that explains why a rational, free-willed individual would voluntarily constrain his choice set so as to preclude himself from making use of strategies that would make him better off.

 

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That's all?

 

 

:D

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