Are You Moral or Just A Good Rule Follower?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Huntn, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #1
    Let's say God in heaven has put forth his rule book to humans. Follow these rules or else be damned for eternity!

    Faithful Joe, after sinning as a youth, sees the light and becomes reborn, goes to church, follows all the rules. So with the threat of punishment is Faithful Joe a moral person? Or does this make him simply a good rule follower?

    The next question- what would God want? Does he want truly moral people who act in a particular way because it is the right thing to do, or because they know Big Brother is always watching and they are going to be caught if they are bad? Do you see the dilemma? If you are acting solely based on the threat of punishment, does this make you moral?

    Ok, so how can God end up with truly moral people? Maybe he needs to allow them to develop, make choices, and eventually arrive at the desirable place. I'm willing to bet anyone here that the concept of punishment is a primitive man made idea unworthy of a God. Thoughts? :D
     
  2. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #2
    Some of what you wrote here is why I always say a good atheist is more moral then a good religious person any day. We do good just because its the right thing to do. Religious people do good for the reward or don't do bad in fear of punishment.
     
  3. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #3
    Bingo. Could not have said it better.
     
  4. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #4
    Some of us don't do good whether we are religious or not.
     
  5. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #5
    Speak for yourself, if that's what you are doing, for once.

    I, for one, agree 100% with stevensteven123. :cool:
     
  6. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #6
    I don't believe in a god (worded it as "a god" to avoid using god as a proper noun), so I guess I'm…Moral?
     
  7. Macaddicttt macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #7
    I'm not sure what faith you're describing here. I can't speak for all Christians, but at least Catholicism does not think this, so let it be known that you're arguing against a straw man here.

    And while you're arguing against a straw man, there's some point in responding to the rest of your post. Again, I can speak to Catholic theology.

    Catholic theology states that the ideal way for a person to act is to do good because it is good, not for fear of punishment. It also recognizes that not everyone will act this way, and therefore doing good because of fear of punishment is good, but not ideal. Catholicism does not teach anything like, "Do this and you will definitely be saved," like Protestants, but rather, "Do what is right because it's right and hope that you will be saved," so this fallacy of, "I must do this or else I'll be punished" is harder to fall into.

    I view things as: Do what is right because it's right, and if God wishes to reward or punish me, so be it. I have no way of knowing if he'll do either, so it's pointless to try and use it as motivation for doing the right thing.

    So anyway, join me to the chorus of an atheist can be more moral than a Christian. No doubt about it.
     
  8. anjinha macrumors 604

    anjinha

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #8
    ^^ So you can be good all your life and god might still punish you?
     
  9. skunk, Dec 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2010

    skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #9
    I can get behind that.

    The "god" part is optional.
     
  10. Huntn, Dec 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2010

    Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #10
    It could be very possible for a religious person to do good because it makes them feel good. I'm sure they are out there, but at a subconscious level do they really know why they are doing something good? Do they feel good because it is right or on some level they know their actions are approved or both?

    If you are in the God-Knows-All camp, then he knows how you feel and I guess you get one admittance to heaven. But if you are doing it just to be approved, in this case punishment does absolutely no good. You followed the rules, right? But really your not such a good person.

    Option B- What if God was to say to the "acting for favor" individual, "ah, but I know if you were not threatened with punishment, you would not have been good so I'm not going to let you into heaven. What purpose does that serve, and how could such an individual ever be placed in a situation where they decide that doing the right thing is reward in itself?

    For heaven admittance purposes, the act-good-or-be-punished standard appears worthless to me. :)

    It depends upon what God's real standard is. If forces you to think about the best way the desired outcome can be achieved. I maintain that punishment, the traditional religious motivator is a man made concept.

    In no way am I arguing a straw man. Maybe the church you go to has toned down the rhetoric as compared to when I went to church. ;) Christianity puts forth rules, the primary rule that MUST be followed is that you must acknowledge that Christ is the son of God. If you refuse to do this you are not going to heaven. Secondly, you must ask for forgiveness for your sins. I'm not 100% sure about this but if you die as a sinner this may preclude entrance to heaven. As far as rules, you know the rules, the 10 commandments. :) And if Hell is not held over the heads of the believers as a punishment, what purpose does it serve?

    link.
     
  11. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #11
    Manipulation, of the finest order. ;)
     
  12. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #12
    There's an incorrect assumption in the original question that the church and religion is a source of morality in society. It is not.

    The Church's line on morality has not changed in 2000 years, yet the last 150 years alone have given us:

    - Emancipation of women
    - An end to slavery in the US
    - The Civil rights movement, and equal rights for all races
    - Respect for gays and lesbians, including marriage/partnership rights
    - Freedom of expression and publication

    The list goes on. And this has all been brought about by secular society and the rule of law.

    The Church has no right to lecture us on morality, and god can stick his book where the sun don't shine...
     
  13. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    #13
    How can you not see? You cannot make yourself right with Jesus (in a state of grace and redemption) without the Eucharist, or some other churchly ritual: you need the church to keep you straight with the afterlife. You will sin, probably rather often. After all, have naughty thoughts about the neighbor's spouse is entirely enough to make you unworthy of the heavenly reward. You could well be sinning this very moment with realizing it: getting to church regularly is the only way to be sure you have a chance of heavenly grace.

    In other words, the purpose of the threat of eternal damnation is to generate revenue for the church.
     
  14. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #14
    Thank yew very much for clearing that up. :p
     
  15. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #15
    This is optional, unless you are granted forgiveness in Confession, or whatever the other ritualistic religions have you go through.

    Then Bob's your uncle.

    Go for whatever feels good, and damn the consequences.
     
  16. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #16
    Technically you are supposed to go to confessional at least once a month to repent your sins. The last time I went to confessional was when I was confirmed 12 years ago.:p
     
  17. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #17
    I have always suspected that Priests are doing one of two things during confession.

    Wanking, or taking notes. ;)
     
  18. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #18
    Reminds me of an argument from Plato's early dialogs, Euthyphro, where the question is posed, "do the gods love holiness because it is holy, or is it holy because they love it?"
     
  19. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    #19
    In general, atheists are amoral. Morality is a set of doctrinal absolutes prescribed by a religion. Atheists have no doctrine to follow, so they do what works best at the time ("situational ethics"). This is not highly different from how religion works. It is not immoral to slaughter innocent people if "god" (the church, the mullah, whatever) tells us that it should or needs to be done. A sensible atheist, on the other hand, has no leader providing moral guidance and so must look at as much of the picture as possible to decide what the ideal course of action is. And humans are wired for approval-based reinforcement, so making someone else smile is often reward in itself.
     
  20. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #20
    Who said that morality is a set of absolutes prescribed by religion? Probably some religious guy, right. Simply not true. You don't need religion to have morals nor do you need religion to have a leader to provide moral guidance.
     
  21. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #21
    Morality is a human standard, usually determined by the majority. As a general rule, I'd say that most people don't need a God to tell them it is wrong to kill others.
     
  22. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #22
    Your moral leaders should be your Mother and your Father.

    In fact quite the opposite has proven to be true.

    If left to our own devices, by Church and State, we would usually live out our lives without killing anyone, sanctioned or otherwise.
     
  23. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Location:
    15 minutes in the future
    #23
    MY church always said that God did not want us to be good because it was good, or for fear of punishment. They said that he only wants people to glorify him, and as a result, they should be good.
    I'd be willing to bet that there is no correlation between religious and a lack of criminal activity, so all of this is moot.
     
  24. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #24
    I never understood that part of god wanting people to glorify him. Is that why we were created, so he could have People to tell him how great he is?
     
  25. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #25
    The christian god is vain, proud and wrathful. Another unpleasant part of the fairy story.
     

Share This Page