Disagreeing with old friends
#71
(05-14-2012, 01:20 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote:
(05-13-2012, 11:08 PM)Grasshopper Wrote: No matter what kind of moral structure you have, or what it is based on, there will always be people like the drug dealer who buck societal morality to further their own ends. The proposition that Nielsen is arguing against is that, if you take away religion, we will all be like the drug dealer. He doesn't accept that, and neither do I.

No-one is arguing that without believing in God everybody will automatically become like the drug dealer. That's demonstrably false.

Maybe no-one here, but that argument has been made. Nielsen cites specific examples of it and argues against them. They don't specifically mention drug dealers -- the phrase he uses is "keeping the wolf at bay" -- but they do claim that society will disintegrate and descend into anarchy and chaos, not only without religion in general, but without Christianity specifically. Maybe that position is a straw man, but it has been seriously advocated by some people. And James02 seems to be implying it with his contention that atheists have no morals. Remember how this started. He said there's no point in discussing a moral issue (specifically abortion) with atheists unless you first convert them. The implication is that atheists are incapable of discriminating between right and wrong. I think that is, as you say, demonstrably false -- and offensive to atheists and people who have atheists for friends.

As for natural law, Nielsen specifically addresses that as well, but I'm not going to go into any more detail about him or his book. Those who are interested can check him out. I only really mentioned him as an example of a serious philosopher who seriously advocates the position that you can have morality and ethics wihout God -- to show that this idea is not just some figment of my imagination. In any further discussion of this issue, I will mainly be speaking for myself, not for him.
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#72
Yes, Grasshopper, atheists can and will have morals and ethics without God.

What they cannot do is have an absolute rule, a positive good and evil, as I explained in the rest of the post that you did not quote.
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#73
(05-14-2012, 03:20 PM)James02 Wrote: For those Catholic philosophers out there, what you have before you in Grasshopper is an almost perfect example of a Modernist.  We like to throw the term around as an insult.  JayneK is a modernist, we all know that.  But that is bunk.

Here before you is a dyed-in-the-wool Modernist.  Observe his arguments carefully and you will truly see the synthesis of all errors.

See, Grasshopper, you can't leave.  I need somebody here to whom I can be compared and not seem like a Modernist.  Grin
(Seriously, I hope you stay.)
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#74
Quote: And James02 seems to be implying it with his contention that atheists have no morals.
The fact that you have to cling to this straw man should be making you uneasy.

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#75
(05-14-2012, 03:25 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:
(05-14-2012, 01:20 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote:
(05-13-2012, 11:08 PM)Grasshopper Wrote: No matter what kind of moral structure you have, or what it is based on, there will always be people like the drug dealer who buck societal morality to further their own ends. The proposition that Nielsen is arguing against is that, if you take away religion, we will all be like the drug dealer. He doesn't accept that, and neither do I.

No-one is arguing that without believing in God everybody will automatically become like the drug dealer. That's demonstrably false.

Maybe no-one here, but that argument has been made. Nielsen cites specific examples of it and argues against them. They don't specifically mention drug dealers -- the phrase he uses is "keeping the wolf at bay" -- but they do claim that society will disintegrate and descend into anarchy and chaos, not only without religion in general, but without Christianity specifically. Maybe that position is a straw man, but it has been seriously advocated by some people. And James02 seems to be implying it with his contention that atheists have no morals. Remember how this started. He said there's no point in discussing a moral issue (specifically abortion) with atheists unless you first convert them. The implication is that atheists are incapable of discriminating between right and wrong. I think that is, as you say, demonstrably false -- and offensive to atheists and people who have atheists for friends.

As for natural law, Nielsen specifically addresses that as well, but I'm not going to go into any more detail about him or his book. Those who are interested can check him out. I only really mentioned him as an example of a serious philosopher who seriously advocates the position that you can have morality and ethics wihout God -- to show that this idea is not just some figment of my imagination. In any further discussion of this issue, I will mainly be speaking for myself, not for him.

Absolutely nobody here is saying atheists can't be fine moral people.  But so what?  Theism is not a way to make people more moral.  Not the point at all.
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#76
(05-14-2012, 03:20 PM)James02 Wrote: For those Catholic philosophers out there, what you have before you in Grasshopper is an almost perfect example of a Modernist.  We like to throw the term around as an insult.  JayneK is a modernist, we all know that.  But that is bunk.

Here before you is a dyed-in-the-wool Modernist.  Observe his arguments carefully and you will truly see the synthesis of all errors.

I believe JayneK actually took the "anti-modernist oath" a year or so back, or at least said she would be willing to. But somehow "we all know" that she is a modernist. Give me a break.

As for me, you can call me what you like. If you have been paying any attention to my recent posts, you should realize that I don't even claim to be Catholic anymore, so the term "modernist" doesn't even have any meaning to me. What I am is a person who is seeking the truth, and no longer believes that such is to be found within Catholicism. Those of you who are absolutely certain that you are already in possession of the absolute truth about everything can stand on your pedestal and look down your noses at me and call me names like "modernist". It really doesn't bother me. I will simply ignore you and continue my search. Socrates is reported to have said something like "The only real wisdom is knowing you know nothing". Although that is a bit of hyperbole, I believe that I can learn more from people with that attitude than from those who think they know everything.

Any further discussion along these lines is really inappropriate for this forum, so aside from non-controversial threads in the Pig Roast and Music & Arts sub-forums, I will retire to the Cornfield. I don't guarantee that you'll even find me there, but I think I'm done here.
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#77
(05-14-2012, 03:47 PM)Grasshopper Wrote: Any further discussion along these lines is really inappropriate for this forum, so aside from non-controversial threads in the Pig Roast and Music & Arts, I will retire to the Cornfield. I don't guarantee that you'll even find me there, but I think I'm done here.

Grasshopper,

As I said before, be prudent and take it easy. Stick around, even if it's just in the Cornfield, and give Christ a chance.
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#78
Quote: Those of you who are absolutely certain that you are already in possession of the absolute truth about everything can stand on your pedestal and look down your noses at me and call me names like "modernist".
  If I looked down my nose at you, I wouldn't bother to respond.  As far as modernist, that is what you are.  Read the Syllabus of Errors and find out how many of the condemned propositions you agree with.

If you are really searching for the Truth, instead of fleeing from it, then stare long and hard at the question.  How can an atheist come to a determination of the Good?  How can he explain the feeling inside of himself, the response of his soul, to Beauty?

Perhaps you should investigate Aristotle and his Nicomachean Ethics.
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