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Thread: Secular families are ethical families

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Secular families are ethical families

    Well, well. It looks like religion really isn't necessary to raise ethical children. According to an article for the LA Times, Vern L Bengtson, a professor at USC who has been doing a generational longitudinal study of families, has added secular families to his studies in recent years, when he discovered that non-religious demographics were growing. His findings are quite enlightening:

    Many non-religious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious’ parents in our study. The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterised by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.

    ...non-religious family life is replete with its own sustaining moral values and enriching ethical precepts. Chief among those: rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of ‘questioning everything’ and, far above all, empathy.
    For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule. Treating other people as you would like to be treated. It is an ancient, universal ethical imperative. And it requires no supernatural beliefs.


    The results of such secular child-rearing are encouraging. Studies have found that secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the ‘cool kids’ think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers. When these teens mature into ‘godless’ adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study. Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.

    So, it seems that we finally have actual data to dispel the myth that religion is necessary in order to instill ethical moral decision-making skills.
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    Veteran Member GordonGecko's Avatar
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    I've often encountered Theists (Christians mostly) on these blog forums who have openly stated their beleif that "Without God and Heaven, people wouldn't be moral."

    Questioned about that belief on a PERSONAL level?

    ...some of them even admit that THEY would see no reason to be moral if neither God nor Heaven existed (and more obliquely, no Hell either).

    It's only after it's openly stated do they realize what they are saying....

    that without the "carrot" of Heaven or the "stick" of Hell....they wouldn't be moral people. That the ONLY thing, except getting caught here in this life, that keeps them "good people" is that reward/punishment paradigm.


    I pity these people.

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GordonGecko View Post
    I've often encountered Theists (Christians mostly) on these blog forums who have openly stated their beleif that "Without God and Heaven, people wouldn't be moral."

    Questioned about that belief on a PERSONAL level?

    ...some of them even admit that THEY would see no reason to be moral if neither God nor Heaven existed (and more obliquely, no Hell either).

    It's only after it's openly stated do they realize what they are saying....

    that without the "carrot" of Heaven or the "stick" of Hell....they wouldn't be moral people. That the ONLY thing, except getting caught here in this life, that keeps them "good people" is that reward/punishment paradigm.


    I pity these people.
    I just think that after all of the misrepresentation that atheists are, by definition, amoral hedonists who are incapable of formulating any moral codes, it's gratifying to know that we now have statistical data to verify that this is demonstrably not true.
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    LA Times, you say?

    Good newspaper, one of the last good ones.

    But, kinda biased.

    Don't know who the author is, but, I did note that your link goes to their "OP-ED" section, and, is dated January of 2015.

    I am NOT calling this "Fake News."

    But, it is just someone's opinion.
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    Veteran Member Kontrary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rorschach View Post
    LA Times, you say?

    Good newspaper, one of the last good ones.

    But, kinda biased.

    Don't know who the author is, but, I did note that your link goes to their "OP-ED" section, and, is dated January of 2015.

    I am NOT calling this "Fake News."

    But, it is just someone's opinion.
    And yet the notion that being religious is equal to being moral is also "just an opinion" too right?....and yet its treated like a fact and has to be disproven instead of proving itself as true, why is that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kontrary View Post
    and yet the notion that being religious is equal to being moral is also "just an opinion" too right?....and yet its treated like a fact and has to be disproven instead of proving itself as true, why is that?
    yes.

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    Council Member Djinn's Avatar
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    I'd argue that a moral secularist may well be a better person than a religious secularist.

    After all, moral religious people follow socially-acceptable behaviors because they have been promised rewards in the afterlife - and threatened with eternal damnation should they fail.

    By contrast, moral secular people follow socially-acceptable behaviors because they care about their society. Not to earn rewards. Not to avoid punishment. But because they care for others.

    Consider this... let's say that you're a religious person. You die, and (having lived a good life) qualify for heaven. But before you pass through the pearly gates, you are given the opportunity to give your "gate pass" to a stranger who didn't QUITE make the cut. Would you keep the pass for yourself, having spent a lifetime earning it? Or would you give it to the stranger, because the "eternal reward" wasn't the reason you led a moral life?
    Last edited by Djinn; 14th March 2017 at 12:21 PM.

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rorschach View Post
    LA Times, you say?

    Good newspaper, one of the last good ones.

    But, kinda biased.

    Don't know who the author is, but, I did note that your link goes to their "OP-ED" section, and, is dated January of 2015.

    I am NOT calling this "Fake News."

    But, it is just someone's opinion.
    The piece in the times may be opinion, but the study on which is it based is empirical data. That's the point. There is now empirical data.
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    But data creating statical/empirical​ point can be manipulated to prove one's point or position. So one study does not make a truth. The size of the sample and the margin of error needs verification.

    Laughter is good for the Soul.

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YodaOne View Post
    But data creating statical/empirical​ point can be manipulated to prove one's point or position. So one study does not make a truth.

    Laughter is good for the Soul.
    Except, clearly, this guy didn't have any agenda. His study predated the inclusion of non-religious families. He didn't start this study to prove anything about non-religious families. He only decided to start including non-religious families because he noticed the rise in non-religious demographics, and wanted to see what effect that change would have on the families. Your agenda suggestion doesn't fit the facts of the study, or the methodology.
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