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Thread: The "problem of evil" debunked

  1. #51
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    The insistence that only God can give rise to a belief in good or evil is groundless. Being an atheist doesn't mean a person has no morality, no ethics, or even no spirituality. Happiness is good and misery is bad. Spreading happiness is Good and spreading misery is Evil. Just by definition.

    An atheist can see the path a person takes through life, and their impact on the world spreads out behind them like the wake of a boat. Everyone they touch goes on to touch someone else, and their impact on the world spreads out. After you die, the world is changed by you having lived here, and that wake spreads out across time through future generations, helping to shape the course of humanity. If there is nothing else, there is posterity, there is a sense of a debt owed to descendants, to try to increase happiness for as many people as possible in the future.

    What the fuck else is the point of all the religious mumbo jumbo anyway? Claiming that I have to believe in God to embrace the right-here-right-now beauty that is this life and this world is small-minded self-righteous horseshit.

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    One of the great quandaries that is explored in a lot of human art is, what makes people happy? Can you do things for somebody else's own good that they might not like at the time, and they think you're a bastard then but later on thank you for it? Can you intend to do that, but in fact just be a bastard? Not many people actually intend to be evil. They might be evil because they are afraid, and think they are protecting themselves somehow. Like religious zealots torturing and burning people who did not toe the line, for example, back in the day. They thought they were protecting their community from demons and such, and perhaps motivating their victims to repent and be saved for eternity.

    In the end, of course, they were just torturing people who had their own ideas, and that's pretty fucking evil when you step back from the insanity and see it for what it really is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by splansing View Post
    One of the great quandaries that is explored in a lot of human art is, what makes people happy? Can you do things for somebody else's own good that they might not like at the time, and they think you're a bastard then but later on thank you for it? Can you intend to do that, but in fact just be a bastard? Not many people actually intend to be evil. They might be evil because they are afraid, and think they are protecting themselves somehow. Like religious zealots torturing and burning people who did not toe the line, for example, back in the day. They thought they were protecting their community from demons and such, and perhaps motivating their victims to repent and be saved for eternity.

    In the end, of course, they were just torturing people who had their own ideas, and that's pretty fucking evil when you step back from the insanity and see it for what it really is.
    I'd say assuming the people had no sinister motive, and had a genuine conviction that what they were doing was good is.

    Ironically though, it seems that even most 'religious' corruption, such as the Inquisition, was motivated primarily by selfish motives such as political and monetary power - so it does seem that there's a fairly consistent link between materialism and evil behavior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reality View Post
    I'd say assuming the people had no sinister motive, and had a genuine conviction that what they were doing was good is.

    Ironically though, it seems that even most 'religious' corruption, such as the Inquisition, was motivated primarily by selfish motives such as political and monetary power - so it does seem that there's a fairly consistent link between materialism and evil behavior.
    True, but what is materialism? It's just people acting on a fear that they won't have enough. Enough food, enough clothing or shelter...you tap into that lizard brain thing and just keep hitting it and the reaction-- the quest to provide what is needed --goes a little haywire. Even the right kind of clothing and car and haircut...you don't get those, you will not be accepted by your peers, which threatens your ability to get a job, to feed yourself, to find a mate, etc. Advertising works pretty much universally on fear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Otto Throttle View Post
    So Jeffrey Dahmer is not evil. Because there is no evil. Got it.
    In the opinion of most people he is, therefore he is. You must have misread the post you referenced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmanmcfly View Post
    But, if we are looking at good and evil as concrete and definable terms within human activity, then we need to be able to define them in ways that can be accepted across the board.

    Things like sexual hang ups, people might think of as evil or good, but opinions aren't so important if the question is trying to determine what can be considered as objectively good or objectively evil.
    I don't see the need for a set of objective criteria. And I don't see the need for a religion to define them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmanmcfly View Post
    But, if we are looking at good and evil as concrete and definable terms within human activity, then we need to be able to define them in ways that can be accepted across the board.

    Things like sexual hang ups, people might think of as evil or good, but opinions aren't so important if the question is trying to determine what can be considered as objectively good or objectively evil.
    Is that true of words like "big" or "small" of "fun" or "strange" or "quiet"?

    There is no objective definition of any of them. They are only defined relative to other things, or to people's experience. Why can't the same be true of "good" and "evil"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    Lowercase. Unless it's at the beginning of a sentence, or in a title, "secular humanism" is lowercase. And all secular humanism states is that society is capable of defining its own morals without guidance from supernatural entities.

    Your slavery example is problematic though, because slaves are a part of society.
    What do you mean by "society", you mean a country? Unless you mean a "global society", then that would follow there is no reason to care about slavery in 3rd world countries, or anything but the welfare of your own nation.

    Either way, secular Humanism may not be "absolutist", in the sense of a fixed, unchanging set of specific rules, but it's "absolutist" in asserting that Humanism is the most 'correct' or true philosophy that a society should be governed by (a Humanist would say that democracy is objectively better than dictatorship, for example).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reality View Post
    What do you mean by "society", you mean a country? Unless you mean a "global society", then that would follow there is no reason to care about slavery in 3rd world countries, or anything but the welfare of your own nation.
    A society consists of the people that you personally interact with.

    And you are correct; there is no mandate in secular humanism to care about slavery in third-world countries. However, there's no prohibition against it either, and since those who tend to follow secular humanist philosophies already put people above gods, it's not a stretch to show empathy towards people outside of one's society.

    Either way, secular Humanism may not be "absolutist", in the sense of a fixed, unchanging set of specific rules, but it's "absolutist" in asserting that Humanism is the most 'correct' or true philosophy that a society should be governed by (a Humanist would say that democracy is objectively better than dictatorship, for example).
    What sort of person would follow ANY philosophy if that person didn't think it was the "most correct?"

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