Tag Archives | Morality

Morality requires a god, whether you’re religious or not

Moral commands are the commands of a unique, external, eternal agent. Chris JL

Moral commands are the commands of a unique, external, eternal agent. Chris JL

Gerald K Harrison, Massey University

I have no religious convictions. I am, or try to be, a man of reason, not of faith. Nevertheless, I believe a few simple arguments demonstrate that morality requires a god.

Take moral commands. It is trivially true that a moral command is a command. A command is a command, right? It is also true that commands (real ones, rather than apparent or metaphorical ones) are always the commands of an agent, a mind with beliefs and desires. My chair cannot command me to sit in it. And commands cannot issue themselves. It follows that moral commands are the commands of an agent or agents.

Many philosophers maintain that moral commands are commands of reason. They are right, I think. But the point still stands. Reason’s commands are commands. Therefore, reason’s commands are the commands of an agent or agents.… Read the rest

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The Solipsism of Evangelical Morality

Joel Penner (CC BY 2.0)

Joel Penner (CC BY 2.0)

Morgan Guyton writes at Patheos:

“Against you alone have I sinned.” These words from Psalm 51:4 are attributed to the Israelite king David speaking to God after he knocked up another man’s wife and had that man betrayed and murdered on the battlefield. Many evangelical pastors have praised this verse for how it names sin, but I consider it to be one of the most morally problematic verses in the Bible. It does do a very good job of encapsulating the solipsistic morality that I grew up with as an evangelical, in which sin had nothing to do with hurting other people and everything to do with whether or not I was displeasing God. Solipsism describes the delusion that I am the only person who actually exists in the universe. While I can’t blame anyone in particular for instilling me with this mindset, I grew up viewing morality as though the universe consisted of just God and me walking through a minefield of temptations, whether they were female bodies, drugs, or other objects.

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Playing Through the Pain

via Dystopia Diaries:

Emergency responders will tell you that pain is actually a good sign in trauma victims–the fact that nerves haven’t been destroyed leaves open the hope that injuries might be substantially repaired. But your typical lay person may not recognize this.

Andrea Tantaros doesn’t want to deal with this. She just wants the pain of America’s illegal and immoral torture programs to be over, hoping that simply shouting “America is awesome” will make it so. Although this attitude is dangerous and wrong-headed, she’s far from alone in this.

Contemporary society in general does not honor ‘playing through the pain’. It regards discomfort and inconvenience with unmitigated fear and disgust. It’s all a part of a consumerist world view that has rejected life in an infantile effort to ward off the inevitability of challenge and change; the only thing Americans value is immediate satisfaction of their personal wants.

Continue reading at Dystopia Diaries.… Read the rest

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Woman Files Suit Over Law Requiring Doctor’s RX To Purchase Sex Toys

Good for her. These laws exist in a lot more places that you might know, but don’t get challenged because people are ashamed to admit in public that they get up to the same kinds of things most Americans do in private. Chill out, morality police. Nothing is forbidden in the House of Love.

SANDY SPRINGS , Ga., May 16 (UPI) –A Georgia woman is suing the city of Sandy Springs over a law that requires a prescription or a legitimate reason to purchase sex toys.
Melissa Davenport filed the lawsuit hoping a judge finding the law unconstitutional.

The ordinance requires people to have a legitimate medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial or legal reason to purchase an “obscene” sexual device.

Davenport, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, credits sex toys with saving her marriage.

via Melissa Davenport files suit over sex toy ordinance Sandy Springs – UPI.com.

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Why We’re Addicted to Online Outrage

How does outrage serve us? How does it serve you? Share your thoughts disinfonauts.

Zola aux outrages

Zola aux outrages (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via The Week

When faced citizen to citizen in real-life social situations — with the notable exception of mass political demonstrations — the instincts that outrage porn tries to awaken in us are mostly suppressed or barely felt at all. Imagine treating the person sitting next to you at a bar with the touchy insolence of an internet flame war, or re-interpreting his colloquial impressions about the world according to the tendentious and aggrieved norms of the combox. It’s almost impossible. A guy could get his ass kicked trying. We usually tolerate the bar-stool ingrate, seek points of understanding (and often find a few), or dismiss him as deluded and mostly harmless.

But bathed in the glow of our computers, we imagine that we are in a battle of titanic scale.

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Laozi, Nietzsche and Kropotkin: Are The Common People Good?

Pic: Hugh Rankin (PD)

Pic: Hugh Rankin (PD)

What say you, Disinfonaughts? Are the common people, and the uncivilized, good? Are they better off than those on high?

via Bao Pu 抱朴

I picked up Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morals (1887) yesterday and found a passage which immediately made me think of Laozi. Here’s Nietzsche, writing about the origins of the concept of “good” :

… the judgment good does not originate with those to whom the good has been done. Rather it was the “good” themselves, that is to say the noble, mighty, highly placed, and high-minded who decreed themselves and their actions to be good, i.e., belonging to the highest rank, in contradistinction to all that wasbase, low-minded and plebian. It was only this pathos of distance that authorized them to create values and name them … Such an origin would suggest that there is no a priori necessity for associating the word good with altruistic deeds, as those [English] moral psychologists are fond of claiming.

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Moral Monday Movement Spreads through the South

Tintoretto's 'Allegory with a portrait of a Venetian senator.'

Tintoretto’s ‘Allegory with a portrait of a Venetian senator.’

Sue Sturgis writes at the Institute for Southern Studies:

After drawing thousands of protesters to the state legislature and inspiring the arrests of more than 900 people for nonviolent civil disobedience, North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement challenging the extreme conservative agenda of the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and administration is gearing up for more actions in 2014.

It’s also spreading to other states in the South where Republicans hold overwhelming power — and where legislators face re-election this year.

When the Georgia General Assembly convenes on Monday, Jan. 13, members will be met by progressive activists holding their state’s first Moral Monday protest. Among the issues the protesters are focusing on are Georgia’s refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, efforts to restrict voting rights, and policies that divert education funds from public to private schools. The Georgia NAACP is leading the coalition organizing the protest.

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DisinfoCast: 80: Daniele Bolelli: How to Be Less of An A**hole

Dan22

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I spring an entirely unplanned question on fighting philosopher Daniele Bolelli (“On the Warrior’s Path”, “50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know: Religion”): How can we all strive toward not being assholes? What develops is an interesting conversation on empathy, jealousy, violence, and the philosophical nature of good and evil.

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Just Thinking About Science Triggers Moral Behavior

k-bigpicLooks like they’ll have something to talk about in the atheist church this Sunday.

Via Scientific American:

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara set out to test this possibility. They hypothesized that there is a deep-seated perception of science as a moral pursuit — its emphasis on truth-seeking, impartiality and rationality privileges collective well-being above all else. Their new study, published in the journal PLOSOne, argues that the association between science and morality is so ingrained that merely thinking about it can trigger more moral behavior.

The researchers conducted four separate studies to test this. The first sought to establish a simple correlation between the degree to which individuals believed in science and their likelihood of enforcing moral norms when presented with a hypothetical violation. Participants read a vignette of a date-rape and were asked to rate the “wrongness” of the offense before answering a questionnaire measuring their belief in science.

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If Life Is a Video Game, Why Don’t We All Just Go Grand Theft Auto Up In Here?

Disinfonauts!

Part 2 of my discussion with Elliott Edge, of the Edge Bros gets into the question of morality and why we shouldn’t just steal cars and blow things up.  Check it out!

If you are interested in having these ideas expounded upon, please consider checking out the Edge Bros. fundraiser for making a feature length film about it.  http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/life-is-a-video-game-the-movie

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