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View Diary: Santorum wants our porn now. Do these people even know what it means to be an American? (170 comments)

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  •  I know that atheists don't consider (0+ / 0-)

    masturbation a sin. I heard most atheists don't even consider murder to be a sin.

    •  the problem might be the word "sin" (5+ / 0-)

      That's a religion oriented word and therefore, for some, a word that is irrelevant. However the concept of "bad" still exists.

      •  How can there be morality without God? (6+ / 0-)

        Conservative Christians often argue that all morality comes from the Bible.  Some might grant that followers of other religions might have morality of a sort, but atheists, rejecting God's truths, cannot have any moral beliefs at all. This is arrant nonsense.  

        The Greeks and Romans laid out many schools of philosophy, including moral philosophies, two to three thousand years ago, with no awareness of the Old Testament and before the birth of Jesus.  From Stoic to Hedonist, the range is covered. Christian morality can hardly be described without terms and principles first elucidated by the Greeks. Christian morality is no more than a subset of philosophical principles that the Greeks developed long before His time.  Jesus was an ascetic eschatological teacher.  Good for him, but there are plenty of other teachings, not to mention our own minds, that can guide us to a peaceful, fulfilling, loving, and, yes, moral life.

        •  My question would be (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          2thanks, sagesource

          where is there the slightest shred of evidence that there can be morality WITH God? Or more to the point with religion.

          Religion is the antithesis of morality and godliness. It is the font of nearly all evil and the primary source or excuse for every possible crime or evil thing: war, torture, slavery, murder, theft, rape, etc.

          Diderot, D'Alembert, D'Holbach, Condorcet, [all atheists] are known to have been among the most virtuous of men. Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than love of God.
          -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814
      •  So even the murder of a child (0+ / 0-)

        isn't a sin? That's awful.

        •  it works like this: (5+ / 0-)

          In the atheist/agnostic worldview, the term "sin" specifically refers to the religious concept of evil or immoral behavior, as behavior that is prohibited by the deity.  

          Atheists & agnostics use the concepts of evil and immorality to refer to behavior that is prohibited under secular (non-religious) moral and ethical systems.

          In a secular deontological morality (arising from the inherent nature of things, as ascertained by science), murder is evil because it is the supreme example of treating a person as means to another end, rather than as an end-in-themselves.  For example both "murder for money" and "murder as crime of passion," wherein the act of murder treats the victim as a means to the end of either the enrichment of the killer or the emotional gratification of the killer respectively.

          In a secular consequentialist morality (arising from consideration of the consequences of actions), murder is evil because all of its consequences are supremely undesirable:  the loss of the victim's life, the grief of the victim's loved ones, and the risk that any degree of tolerance for murder will increase its prevalence in society.  

          So in both types of secular moralities, murder is supremely evil and harshly prohibited.  

          One doesn't need the threat of a bad outcome in a hereafter, or even the threat of life in prison, to produce adherence to moral principles.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 10:55:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So I guess atheists don't think (0+ / 0-)

            that child-killers go to hell. That shocks the senses.  /sn

            •  why do you find that shocking? (3+ / 0-)

              An atheist or agnostic who is a moral person will behave in a manner consistent with their ethics and not commit murder: to avoid going to prison (negative sanction), or to affirm their moral standing (positive sanction), or because it's as inconceivable to them as the thought of turning into a jellyfish that can ride a unicorn to the Moon.  

              All of those points are identical between atheists, agnostics, and theists.

              To those points, theists also add the risk of the approval or disapproval of the deity, and/or the promise or peril of a good or bad destination in the hereafter.  

              However if a person's moral behavior is only shaped by avoidance of negative sanctions of whatever kind (whether prison or hell), then in fact it stands on very shaky foundations: if they think they can "get away with it" or "justify it" they are more likely to do it.

              For example an atheist who is immoral might try to dream up a "perfect crime" s/he could get away with committing.  And a theist who is immoral might commit a crime that s/he believes will be approved by the deity.  This is also why ideologies that justify murder (or whatever immoral behavior) are particularly dangerous: they provide excuses that the morally unstable or immoral person might take advantage of.

              This is precisely why dominionism is a dangerous ideology: people such as members of The Family in Washington DC are told that they are members of "the elect" who are predestined for heaven regardless of their behavior on Earth.  That amounts to a "get out of hell free" card for whatever moral monstrosities they may choose to commit.  The rest follows from there.  

              As for whether a child-killer goes to hell, strictly speaking that's something that nobody can ascertain, and only the child-killer will find out first-hand (assuming there is an afterlife).  Since there is no way to ascertain the outcome, it can't be calculated into the means by which a pluralistic society attempts to deter and punish the murder of children.

              Thus we as progressives look to prevent crime via education and social programs, and deter and punish it with appropriate terms of imprisonment.  If we understand penology we also know the data that the key factor in deterrence of crime is the certainty of being swiftly caught and sentenced to prison, rather than the actual length of the sentence.  However we'll still call for life terms where individuals are of sufficient danger that the key purpose of imprisonment is to protect society from them.  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 07:02:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What atheist ever suggested (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DEMonrat ankle biter, milkbone, Ellid

          that the murder of child isn't a sin?

          •  "Sin" has no particular meaning (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            milkbone, carver

            outside the context of a religion.

            Most atheists wouldn't generally condemn something by calling it a "sin" because that word has no meaning coming from us.

            We'd generally use a more descriptive, secular phrase like "morally wrong."

            "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

            by kyril on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 12:02:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK I'll buy that (0+ / 0-)

              But the context of the comment I was responding to suggested that atheists not only do not consider the murder of child to be a "sin" but that they don't consider it to be morally wrong, either. That an atheist could casually murder a child (and probably cook and eat it) just because it's tuesday. No biggie, after all.

              Atheists, by definition, are utterly without moral compass and capable of any possible atrocity. Atheism is equivalent to psychopathy.

              This is the common blood libel used against atheists by religious apologists throughout history.

              "Without my god, and my version of religion, you are inevitably be capable of every possible atrocity and you lack the moral perspective or capacity to even know it to be wrong."

              Of courses the reality is that WITH GOD (or at least the corruption of religion), people are more than capable of every imaginable moral atrocity and usually use their religion (or someone else's religion) as "moral" justification for it. The vast majority of psychopaths and serial killers, not to mention terrorists are highly religious.

              Throughout history, religion has been the cause of more death and horror than any other force on earth. Bar none.

    •  It's pretty clear (4+ / 0-)

      most christianizes don't consider murder to be a sin as long as "the right" people are being killed.

      They don't consider it immoral to kill muslims or gays. They don't consider killing innocent people wrongly convicted to be a sin. Many brag about their desire to kill any and all people who are not white, conservative and follow their own particular brand of so-called Christianity.

      In fact there are very few people conservative "christians" would not consider free for murdering in most cases.

      Conservatism has always been a death cult.

      When it comes to acting morally or ethically, I'll take an atheist every time. They don't have a magic book giving them excuses to kill.

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