In particular, to destroy the ONE ethical foundation of theists around the world.
“Because God said so”
This formulation of god based ethics that virtually all traditions of ethical monotheism are founded on is the original sin of ALL religious moral systems. For that alone can sanction both good and evil actions on a scale that would swallow the world.
God says we should give to the poor, and so this is good and just and righteous.
God says we should kill the infidel, and so it is good and just and righteous.
We have to find a way to force a crucible against all god based ethics, a test that will forever cement or break the chains of the moral minds of believers. Find a way to get muslims (and in a collateral wave of damage, everyone else) to defy the will of god because his commands are so monstrous that they would rather DIE and wither and burn for eternity than engage in an act of such pure malice with the sanction of “because god said so”
We have to destroy this justification for belief, without it I think the worst of theism will fall into impotency.
I think you are correct. I cannot conceive of how to do such a thing, however. You might as well say “We must find a way to disprove faith.” Impossible at the start.
One can take actions, I suppose, to encourage the spread of rational philosophy; perhaps a Gandhi-like figure who defies all faith and teaches people what to do without it could have a beneficial influence.
Such a person would probably end up inspiring a new religion that completely misrepresents their teachings.
Many of the commandments of the world’s major religions are very good ones! I’d hate to see people disobey those.
The world’s religions don’t need to be destroyed, only de-fanged. They can be kept around, so long as they are impotent – much like the Monarchs of England. A nice bit of tradition, but irrelevant to actual legislative power. The Pope is roughly in the same category: he hasn’t had anyone burned at the stake in simply years.
I wonder if it’d be easier to just piggyback on the God-Said-So phenomenon instead of opposing it. I mean, sure, it’d be danged hard to gin ourselves up a fake prophet who awes people with stage-magic miracles – but would it be harder to establish someone like that, shilling a message we approve of, or to break the God-Said-So sanction?
You put it like that, I’m maybe betting on the thaumaturge.
Oh, good. So you’ll be just fine if I decide to steal your stuff, correct?
Let me show you how far your attitude can take people. I’m in a discussion group, and there’s a woman in the group who is an atheist. She believes that morality is based on what society believes. She actually said that the Holocaust was moral behavior for Germany, because German society as a whole went along with it.
Unfortunately, our human instincts are much, much stronger than our logic. We are born with a desire to make sense of this world through purpose-driven explanations, and usually at some point in our early childhood this is drowned out by experience and education, but it still exists at our core. Religions satisfy these desires and probably will never go out of favor. It’s a limitation of our species and there isn’t anything we can realistically do about it.
Bizarre, are you suggesting that people only think stealing is wrong because they believe in gods? Or are you unaware that a belief in a supernatural being can give some groups justification to steal in the first place?
She is correct, morality does come from society. There is no other place for it to come from seeing as there is no evidence that any supernatural beings exists.I suspect she was making point about the derivation of morals rather than whether the holocaust was a good thing.
Of course rather more common is the religiously derived belief that historical genocides were fine because the various gods commanded it.
Got news for you, that is not the “one ethical foundation of theists around the world”. Since you’ve now proven that you have no grounding in the topic, it’s quite likely safe to not pay attention to your pronouncements on said topic.
But I am genuinely curious about one thing here: since you think it’s all theists with that issue, why are you singly out the “theocracy of Islam” (which, by the way, there is no such thing)?
In Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, Socrates points out the problem with the ‘god said so’—justification of morality: either that which is morally right is commanded by god because it is morally right. But then, whether something is morally right is wholly independent of whether god wills it.
Or, that which is morally right is morally right because god wills it. But then, what is morally right is arbitrary: god could decide tomorrow that killing is all hunky-dory, or that you should love infidels, or whatever else. Furthermore, if morality just depends on god’s whim, we could still decide whether to obey, or refuse: god might command killing, but we could deny this command.
So, either there is an absolute morality, or what is morally right is subject to debate and deliberation. But these are just the options we had before anybody dragged ‘god’ into it. So god’s whim and will simply doesn’t have any bearing on the issue.
Of course, the argument was made nearly 2,500 years ago; yet it doesn’t seem to have had much success in shutting down the ‘because god wills it’-line of reasoning. Because obviously, anybody who uses it isn’t really concerned with what god wants. They’re bullying others into doing what they want, using god as a sock puppet, with the threat of divine retribution as the ultimate deterrent. God, of whatever flavor, very rarely seems to will anything detrimental to those proclaiming said will.
They tried that with the Jesus. didn’t work, theists were still using their religion as an excuse to oppress other cultures, as well as their own.
The thing is, is that after the war, most Germans were aghast at what they had done, cooperated in punishing those who perpetuated these horrors, and vowed not to do that again.
This is not the case with the genocides that were commanded by god in the bible.
While the nazi regime certainly was no more moral than those cultures described in the bible, the Germans got better. The believers did not.
curious here. If you do not believe that God is the ethical foundation of most if not all of the world’s religions, then what is? I was always taught that that was in fact the case, that are morality sprang from divinity.
If you are claiming that is not the case, then where would you say that religions find their morality?
All moral systems have equally arbitrary foundations. The non-religious ones are just newer and better thought out. “God says so” is a shitty justification, but get rid of it and “Descartes said so” or something just as silly will replace it. What we need is education, critical thinking and introspection regarding moral issues, not simply replacing belief A with belief B.
This is an issue. Sam Harris said something awhile back that many people latched onto.
Sam Harris: (paraphrasing) At best, religion offers bad reasons to be good.
The problem I always had with that statement, even though I agree with it completely, is there is an implicit assumption that as a consequence we should replace the bad reasons of religion with the better reasons of… rational thought? The wisdom of the ages?
I’m in favor of all of that, but my pessimistic side believes that because of the broken logical foundations of the human mind, and how it thinks and feels and prefers and behaves, many people may NEED bad reasons to be good. Or put another way, perhaps bad reasons are more effective for large chunks of humanity to behave more nobly than better reasons someone like Sam Harris favors.
Very pessimistic, but there it is. Still, if we have so many examples of a rotted out husk of a belief system like Islam spreading its cancer over the world, I want to work towards ripping the foundations of legitimacy from its moorings for that faith. And if as a consequence we shake loose the faiths of others? Oh well.