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What gives your life “meaning” or “value”?

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Author: Mohana 
Posted: 06/12/2010 11:13 AM 
 
I do not believe in any inbred or inherent value to life.

What gives my life value to me is being able to look myself in the eye in the mirror and be satisfied with and feel good about the person I see staring back at me.

I try to live my life lending a hand as I hope to have a hand extended to me should I ever need. I try to give or help where I see a need hoping that the same will be extended to me should I need or want. I volunteer at an animal shelter as it is within me to care for and protect those that cannot care and protect themselves. I have to follow my heart and in doing so that is the value of my life.

I do not expect anyone else to value me. I rather care not that they do or do not. I set my own values and gauge my worth in how I measure up to them. Of course I no longer have to please an employer or follow someone else's rules, which affords me a lot of freedom I would not otherwise have.

One thing that is very close to my heart is my motto which is a quote from Nietzsche that says, No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. Holding to that standard gives me personal value and my opinion is the only one that counts.


 
Author: Anonymous 
Posted: 06/12/2010 11:27 AM 
 








Mohana wrote:
I do not believe in any inbred or inherent value to life.

What gives my life value to me is being able to look myself in the eye in the mirror and be satisfied with and feel good about the person I see staring back at me.

I try to live my life lending a hand as I hope to have a hand extended to me should I ever need. I try to give or help where I see a need hoping that the same will be extended to me should I need or want. I volunteer at an animal shelter as it is within me to care for and protect those that cannot care and protect themselves. I have to follow my heart and in doing so that is the value of my life.

I do not expect anyone else to value me. I rather care not that they do or do not. I set my own values and gauge my worth in how I measure up to them. Of course I no longer have to please an employer or follow someone else's rules, which affords me a lot of freedom I would not otherwise have.

One thing that is very close to my heart is my motto which is a quote from Nietzsche that says, No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. Holding to that standard gives me personal value and my opinion is the only one that counts.



Superb philosophy IMO....and about as distant from fundamental Christianity as one can get....The Christianity of Paul seems to me as selfish to the extreme, always begging for personal membership benefits in exchange for ritual performances and money...bless me, save me, heal me, forgive my sins, give me heaven, comfort me,hear my prayers...can you get any more selfish than that?


 
Author: Munchskreem 
Posted: 06/12/2010 01:31 PM 
 
I wouldn't even say that "divine" anything necessitates morality, just because you can not take an "is" from an "ought". That rings true for theists and non-theists alike. Hence, I would say that on the most basic level, no command holds moral weight, the weight to actually impel people to act in a specific way. It is the force behind such commands and the subsequent power which is exercised to supplement it which drives people to act. Morality is more of a sociocultural force than a normative principle.

That in mind, I find that any ethic is possible and no specific one is necessary, so the luxury of choice is ever present. It does not guarantee a relativistic view where all is acceptable, because that would contradict the original point which I am making. Relativism in and of itself cannot logically become an absolute ethic. In the end, what one believes is up to them.

I tend to stress personal discovery and understanding, self-improvement, development of the connection between an individual and his or her surroundings, and a social ethic focused on personal responsibility, valor, and loyalty.


 
Author: Mohana 
Posted: 06/12/2010 06:03 PM 
 








Flail wrote:








Mohana wrote:
I do not believe in any inbred or inherent value to life.

What gives my life value to me is being able to look myself in the eye in the mirror and be satisfied with and feel good about the person I see staring back at me.

I try to live my life lending a hand as I hope to have a hand extended to me should I ever need. I try to give or help where I see a need hoping that the same will be extended to me should I need or want. I volunteer at an animal shelter as it is within me to care for and protect those that cannot care and protect themselves. I have to follow my heart and in doing so that is the value of my life.

I do not expect anyone else to value me. I rather care not that they do or do not. I set my own values and gauge my worth in how I measure up to them. Of course I no longer have to please an employer or follow someone else's rules, which affords me a lot of freedom I would not otherwise have.

One thing that is very close to my heart is my motto which is a quote from Nietzsche that says, No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. Holding to that standard gives me personal value and my opinion is the only one that counts.



Superb philosophy IMO....and about as distant from fundamental Christianity as one can get....The Christianity of Paul seems to me as selfish to the extreme, always begging for personal membership benefits in exchange for ritual performances and money...bless me, save me, heal me, forgive my sins, give me heaven, comfort me,hear my prayers...can you get any more selfish than that?


Your reply reminds me of the so-called Golden Rule.

Who hasn’t heard Jesus famous commandment, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

This adage is not original in that it is found in slight variations in all cultures of the world. Among the Jews it was known to have been the central teaching of Rabbi Hillel (30 BCE – 10 CE), a spiritual and ethical leader of his generation.

Hillel said, “Do not do unto others that which is hateful unto thee.” This is not the same in any, way, shape or form to the twist put on his words that are attributed to Jesus.

Hillel’s statement tells what not to do to others. Jesus’ statement on the other hand is utterly different in connotation.

Jesus’ statement is about what we want from others. My behavior becomes dependent on what I can get or imagine I can get from others. This leads to using people for personal ends.

Again, Jesus’ statement obliges you to treat others in whatever way you want them to treat you. This is called prudential (directional) morality, a moral code that obliges us to do things for the betterment of our own souls. If we do good for others we will be rewarded for doing so. Philosopher Walter Kaufmann, in The Faith of a Heretic, writes that Judeo-Christian morality “does not know the value of a deed done for its own sake.” Jesus’ commandment is about desire. “Think about what you would like others to do for you, then do it for them, not for their good, but for the reward it will bring you.” This has nothing to do with responsible regard for others.


 
Author: DavidBG 
Posted: 06/15/2010 12:38 PM 
 








Zzyzx wrote:
.








DavidBG wrote:
Okay, none of your statements have said that there is any reason whatever, to not do any of these things. According to you, we all came about naturally. We're basically animals higher along the evolutionary scale. Among animals there is cannibalism, etc. Some animals like bees, are locked in a specific behavior pattern. So why shouldn't a man do as he pleases? Regardless of what you think of the person, it doesn't really matter to him. Animals don't always think of their race so why should we?

Only God has the solution to all of those problems.


David,

We often have the “without god everyone would do as they please” discussion as new religionists join the forum. Many have been taught or indoctrinated by their religion to believe that “god” is necessary for control of behavior – and some do not bother to think about the matter before stating a position.

However, that “teaching” conveniently overlooks the many examples of societies that are not “god oriented” – but which are orderly (meaning that everyone is NOT doing whatever they please). That is known by terms such as “social order” – implying that the society orders itself (with laws, mores and customs) in ways that allow the society to function.

Indiscriminate individual action is NOT conducive to an orderly, successful society. Individuals who insist upon doing whatever they please are typically imprisoned or banished by society – without beliefs in “gods” being required.

In nations that are considered “godless” or “atheist”, do individuals just do whatever they please? Do they (or the society) require a belief in “god” to control behavior?



I'm not sure if I should bring up an older thread again, but what I'm saying is not that you can't live morally without God, but rather why should you? After all, you're not accountable to anyone, you are simply an accident. Orderly society isn't morally right. Simply put, what is morality? What is good and evil?

What is your definition of evil?

Also, I am NOT a religionist. I do not believe religion (Buddism, Hinduism, etc) is going to help anybody. I am a Christian defending the Bible.


 
Author: Crazy Ivan 
Posted: 06/15/2010 12:56 PM 
 








DavidBG wrote:
Simply put, what is morality?



"Morality" can't be "simply put", because it is two different things, considering whether or not an "ultimate lawgiver" is acknowledged. I give the courtesy of considering that if a god exists, than the law passed down by this entity defines "good" and "evil", in very straightforward fashion. This courtesy is tendentiously NOT returned by the theist, that typically does not acknowledge that not believing in an "ultimate lawgiver" either eliminates the use of the word "morality" altogether, or forces its application in a different context, one of inherent subjectivity and personal perspective.


 
Author: McCulloch 
Posted: 06/15/2010 01:11 PM 
 








DavidBG wrote:

I'm not sure if I should bring up an older thread again, but what I'm saying is not that you can't live morally without God, but rather why should you?



This is an interesting question. Humans, being an intelligent social species, have evolved to live within the accepted mores of society. Individually, we behave morally because we get along better when we do and it feels good. No god required.









DavidBG wrote:

After all, you're not accountable to anyone, you are simply an accident.



Good morals can only happen with accountability? So, if you had the promise of absolution and forgiveness, what happens to your motivation to behave morally? If your motivation to behave morally is merely to please the old guy in the sky with a big stick, then is it truly moral?









DavidBG wrote:

Orderly society isn't morally right. Simply put, what is morality? What is good and evil?



Good question. How do you answer it? Is it that good morals is defined by obedience to the god? Or is it that good morals exist independent of the god?









DavidBG wrote:

What is your definition of evil?



From a humanist perspective, the pursuit of happiness is a basic goal of ethical life, both for the individual and society. This involves having a satisfying and pleasurable experience, creative actualization and human realization. We wish a full life in which the fruits of our labor contribute to a meaningful existence.


 
Author: DavidBG 
Posted: 06/15/2010 01:15 PM 
 








McCulloch wrote:
From a humanist perspective, the pursuit of happiness is a basic goal of ethical life, both for the individual and society. This involves having a satisfying and pleasurable experience, creative actualization and human realization. We wish a full life in which the fruits of our labor contribute to a meaningful existence.



Suppose someones' "pursuit of happiness" entails having fun annihilating the human race? Certain animals are cannibalistic. What would be wrong with human animals doing so? That is if it made the doer happy. Do whatever pleases you. Fights might ensue, but that happens in nature. It is part of the process of natural selection. Races live and die out. And not all members of a race do what is good for their kind.

I don't like your utopia.


 
Author: Anonymous 
Posted: 06/15/2010 01:37 PM 
 








DavidBG wrote:








McCulloch wrote:
From a humanist perspective, the pursuit of happiness is a basic goal of ethical life, both for the individual and society. This involves having a satisfying and pleasurable experience, creative actualization and human realization. We wish a full life in which the fruits of our labor contribute to a meaningful existence.



Suppose someones' "pursuit of happiness" entails having fun annihilating the human race? Certain animals are cannibalistic. What would be wrong with human animals doing so? That is if it made the doer happy. Do whatever pleases you. Fights might ensue, but that happens in nature. It is part of the process of natural selection. Races live and die out. And not all members of a race do what is good for their kind.

I don't like your utopia.



I don't think any human being would 'pursue a goal of happiness' by attempting to annihilate the entire human race. There would'nt be anyone left to have sex with. Societies develop rules and moral codes to preserve that society and to ensure order and progress...no god needed.


 
Author: DavidBG 
Posted: 06/15/2010 01:41 PM 
 
Cannibalistic animals don't care. They certainly aren't exactly caring if they number their race one less each time.

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