The God Delusion - Chapter 7

Debate specific books

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18592
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 147 times
Been thanked: 215 times
Contact:

The God Delusion - Chapter 7

Post #1

Post by otseng »

McCulloch's questions:
Is there is a moral Zeitgeist that continually evolves in society, often in opposition to religious morality?
Do believers really use the Bible as a source of their moral values?

User avatar
McCulloch
Site Supporter
Posts: 24068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 9:10 pm
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 7

Post #2

Post by McCulloch »

Do believers really use the Bible as a source of their moral values?

I think that the answer is no.
Examples:
  • Long hair, good for women, bad for men.
  • Slavery, No scripture explicitly prohibits it.
  • Polygamy - worse than homosexuality in the eyes of many Christians, yet it was practiced by many of the faithful.
  • Capital Punishment - supportable by application of the OT Law but contrary to Jesus' teachings about loving your enemy.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18592
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 147 times
Been thanked: 215 times
Contact:

Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 7

Post #3

Post by otseng »

Is there is a moral Zeitgeist that continually evolves in society, often in opposition to religious morality?
Generally speaking, no, morality does not evolve.

In the previous chapter, Dawkins states:
"With corresponding minor differences, the Kuna show the same moral judgements as the rest of us" (page 225)

The Kuna have little contact with Westerners and no formal religion. Yet, they exhibit the same moral judgements. So, morality then would not be a function of a particular culture or society.

Do believers really use the Bible as a source of their moral values?
As I've mentioned in the previous chapter, following Biblical laws will not make anyone moral or good. So, though believers might use the Bible as their source of moral values, that would not be the purpose of the Bible. Rather, the purpose of the law is not to make us good, but to show that we are not good.

bunyip
Student
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 7

Post #4

Post by bunyip »

otseng wrote:McCulloch's questions:
Is there is a moral Zeitgeist that continually evolves in society, often in opposition to religious morality?
Do believers really use the Bible as a source of their moral values?
This question is posed as a dialogue between social and religious "morality". Social morality must evolve as new knowledge of Nature and ourselves emerges. Although i'm not certain the term "continuous" applies. Progresses in fits and starts would be more descriptive, i think.

Religious morality is derived from a narrower set of values and a vested interest by those propagating it.

I hope the Bible isn't used as a source of "moral values". There would be a lot fewer of us if that was the case. The moral values of the Good Book have already depopulated entire continents.

the bunyip

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18592
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 147 times
Been thanked: 215 times
Contact:

Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 7

Post #5

Post by otseng »

bunyip wrote:The moral values of the Good Book have already depopulated entire continents.
Actually, I believe the opposite is more the case.

Psa 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:

bunyip
Student
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 7

Post #6

Post by bunyip »

> "Actually, I believe the opposite is more the case."

Yair! You have a point. Go in and depopulate and/or displace an indigenous population and you can fill it up readily with your own. Just ask that mob buried in the Mission Dolores graveyard or any Aborigine in the Yawarra.

> "Psa 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:"

Not really. Children are the heritage of the limbic system.

the bunyip

User avatar
McCulloch
Site Supporter
Posts: 24068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 9:10 pm
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 7

Post #7

Post by McCulloch »

otseng wrote:Do believers really use the Bible as a source of their moral values?
As I've mentioned in the previous chapter, following Biblical laws will not make anyone moral or good. So, though believers might use the Bible as their source of moral values, that would not be the purpose of the Bible. Rather, the purpose of the law is not to make us good, but to show that we are not good.
But the question remains, "Do believers use the Bible as their source of moral values?"

The evidence seems to be against the assertion that believers do. Regardless of whether that was the purpose of the Bible, many believers insist that without the Bible our societies would collapse into a pit of moral relativism and degradation. This belief is, I think, clearly wrong.

If believers do not use the Bible as their source of moral values, then what is it that believers use as their source of moral values? Is that source in any way a superior source of moral values than those available to non-believers?
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

User avatar
Confused
Site Supporter
Posts: 7308
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:55 am
Location: Alaska

Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 7

Post #8

Post by Confused »

otseng wrote: Is there is a moral Zeitgeist that continually evolves in society, often in opposition to religious morality?
Generally speaking, no, morality does not evolve.

In the previous chapter, Dawkins states:
"With corresponding minor differences, the Kuna show the same moral judgements as the rest of us" (page 225)

The Kuna have little contact with Westerners and no formal religion. Yet, they exhibit the same moral judgements. So, morality then would not be a function of a particular culture or society.
I fail to see how morality could not have evolved. Recent history can prove this. It wasn't to long ago that society saw women as property with no rights and a man could treat them as they wished. The bible doesn't discourage this, save for adultery. Yet society has evolved to see this treatment as immoral. It wasn't to long ago that blacks were considered inhuman and slaves, the bible doesn't discourage slaves, it doesn't even encourage them to rise up against their enslavers. Yet society now considers this to be immoral.

Morality may not be a "function" of a particular society, but it is highly influenced and determined by the society.

{quote="otseng"]Do believers really use the Bible as a source of their moral values?
As I've mentioned in the previous chapter, following Biblical laws will not make anyone moral or good. So, though believers might use the Bible as their source of moral values, that would not be the purpose of the Bible. Rather, the purpose of the law is not to make us good, but to show that we are not good.[/quote]

Sorry, you lost me here a bit. I agree, the bible cannot make anyone moral and if one was to adhere to it strictly, I would add that by todays moral standards, it would make them immoral (basing this on American Societal norms, though even they are subjective). I agree that the can be a source for some morals, but not all. Now, I get confused (go figure), are you using law and bible interchangeably so your sentence would go something like: the purpose of the bible is not to make us good, but to show us we are not good"? If so, why would we need the bible for this. We can just turn on the evening news to know this.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18592
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 147 times
Been thanked: 215 times
Contact:

Post #9

Post by otseng »

I think perhaps we should first define what we mean by morality before debating about it.

I view morality as the concept of right and wrong, good and bad. A moral sense is our capability of choosing between right and wrong. Someone who is moral is considered to be good and right.

bunyip
Student
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Post #10

Post by bunyip »

> "I view morality as the concept of right and wrong, good and bad. A moral sense is our capability of choosing between right and wrong. Someone who is moral is considered to be good and right."

As a personal declaration, that's fine as it stands. Applying it in any universal sense is going to run aground on the shoals of logic and the reefs of experience.

For example, i think the last sentence is backwards. It should read "Someone who is considered moral is one who performs what we view as good deeds or makes judgements we see as right." There are simply too many shades and nuances involvled to consider this in absolute terms. The foundation for rational use of the terms is too slippery.

the bunyip

Locked