Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

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What say you?

+1 Atheism
7
32%
+1 Theism
8
36%
lol i dunno cuz I'm a kitten
0
No votes
lol i dunno cuz I'm a agnostic
3
14%
Bollocks on top of bollocks on top of bollocks
4
18%
 
Total votes : 22

Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby tzor on Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:53 pm

crispybits wrote:The point is, there is no more evidence for existential beauty, or fragrant-ness, or whatever as there is for existential good and evil (as in something that exists independently of our culture/society).


Bah humbug, that's no point at all. You are trying to argue apples by using bananas as examples. That there is artificial selection in terms of flowers and fragrances is a nice point but has nothing whatsoever to do with the notion of good and evil (nor the notion of gravity nor heat and so on and so forth).
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby crispybits on Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:21 pm

The point is that there are a million different human concepts, fragrant/noxious, beautiful/ugly, fair/unfair, boring/entertaining, etc etc. As a society we generally agree which of those categories most things that those categories can apply to fall into because of social norms we are brought up within. Generally speaking, people will rate Charlize Theron as more beautiful than Rosie O'Donnell, and flowers as nicer smelling than sewage, etc etc. But the point is not in that detail.

We have concepts for good and evil. I am asserting that these are no different to any of the other concepts I listed - completely man-made and we generally agree on what they are because of the social norms we are brought up within. Others assert that these are actual qualities of things, totally independent of whether there is any societal or cultural standards by which to compare them to. They come from God, or at the very least God is the thing that shows us what they are.

So we disagree, and like with any disagreement I am trying to find out what the right answer is. I am completely willing to admit I am wrong if I get presented with either compelling evidence or argument why that is the case. But so far in my whole life I have seen no evidence that good and evil are actual existential qualities. It would end there if it didn't matter, but the fact is that the nature of good and evil is used as evidence for God, and God is used by people to try and enforce 1st-2nd century BC values on a society I have to live in in the 21st century, so it does matter. It matters a lot.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby Dukasaur on Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:38 pm

john9blue wrote:
crispybits wrote:Most people would agree that flowers smell better than sewage, does that mean that there is some objective reality that exists independently of us that governs which smells are pleasant and which are horrible? Or is it a subjective judgement, and the consensus of society defines how we describe those two smells?


so it's not CERTAIN that flowers smell better than sewage? it's just unknown?

To a human, sure. But I can think of quite a few species of insects and other invertebrates that would find the high-protein sewage a more attractive scrounging zone. So, no, there is not objective truth there.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby stahrgazer on Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:53 pm

crispybits wrote:The point is that there are a million different human concepts, fragrant/noxious, beautiful/ugly, fair/unfair, boring/entertaining, etc etc.


The REAL point is, if you can distinguish them, then they exist.


I could switch zero and infinity as concepts; they still remain opposite concepts no matter what I choose to call them.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby crispybits on Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:05 pm

Indeed, but they are still concepts rather than real things. Concepts that are defined by society rather than independent of society. Concepts that cannot be used as any form of proof for the existence of God (unless there's another part of the argument I haven't heard yet) or anything else.

Let me demonstrate just a little differently. The bible says that God is the source of all grace and beauty. But we don't see anyone claiming that because there are things that are beautiful, then there must be some independnt, objective quality called beauty that exists separately from us, and that this is a reason to believe in God. Or that because there are things that are graceful, then there must be some independnt, objective quality called grace that exists separately from us, and that this is a reason to believe in God. Are the existence of things we consider beautiful or graceful enough to prove anything about God or anything else at all?
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby tzor on Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:08 pm

crispybits wrote:We have concepts for good and evil.


We also have concepts for hot and cold. But the existence of concepts of hot and cold based on perception does not preclude an absolute concept for hot and cold. Yes the senses can be fooled as to temperature but that does not mean that there isn't an absolute scale. There are a lot of "concepts" for "good" and "evil." They do not preclude an absolute concept whereby these items can be measured.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby crispybits on Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:19 pm

You're right, but we can see other evidence for hot and cold apart from "feeling" it. We can put a bucket of water above a fire and watch as it boils. We can put a crisp lettuce leaf into that steam and watch it wilt. We can then take that leaf and wrap it around the bulb of a thermometer and watch the mercury expand to fill more of the tube.

That's why I purposefully avoided things like hot and cold and stuck with beauty, fragrant-ness, fairness, etc. These are concepts that really do exist, but the fact that the concept exists is no more proof of anything than the fact we have concepts for unicorns or fairies or leprechauns would mean that any of those things really exist.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby tzor on Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:50 pm

The problem is that in relating to notions like beauty, you basically take cover in an area that is not often discussed in a scientific manner. Scientifically, it's a really interesting subject, "When considering a mate, people's assessment of physical beauty is mostly about symmetry, scientists say." So, really, appeal to your own ignorance in a subject isn't a really good argument.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby crispybits on Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:14 pm

So everyone symmetrical is beautiful?

http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2011/0 ... cal-faces/

Some of them don't look so hot to me, but they're all perfectly symmetrical images.

Therefore we can determine that symmetry is not the only factor that determines beauty, though it may be one indicator that it's more likely that someone will be considered beautiful.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby tzor on Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:18 pm

There is a difference between "mostly" and "solely" you know.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby crispybits on Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:25 pm

Precisely, so we agree.

One asymmetrical and beautful face rules symmetry out as a defining factor of beauty. It's a common feature for sure, but symmetry isn't beauty, and beauty isn't symmetry.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby stahrgazer on Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:10 pm

crispybits wrote:Indeed, but they are still concepts rather than real things. Concepts that are defined by society rather than independent of society.


Wrong. How society chooses to perceives them, is all that's defined by society. The things themselves, exist. If they did not exist, society could not choose how to perceive them.

However, with good and evil, you can pretty much accept that that which promotes humanity is good, and that which does not, is evil.

Murder, for example, does not promote humanity; murder is evil.
Eating nutritionally promotes humanity; eating nutritionally is good.

Eating nutritionally may not be the diametric opposite of murder, but it sure beats eating poison. So, eating poison falls somewhere along the evil side, while feeding someone poison falls a little more toward the evil side.

You can change the names easily, but you cannot change that some sets of actions promote humanity, others definitely do not, and some are less obvious to discern (like, murder is evil, but all killing may not be considered evil or "as evil" for example if the killing is to protect something more innocent/less capable of protecting itself, like killing a murderer before it can kill a baby.)
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby tzor on Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:33 pm

stahrgazer wrote:However, with good and evil, you can pretty much accept that that which promotes humanity is good, and that which does not, is evil.


No. Not only is that a sloppy definition of good and evil, it's a generally wrong one.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby crispybits on Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:34 pm

Elves don't exist (or at least we've never found evidence that they do), but we can choose how to perceive them. Read Tolkein or many other fantasy authors and you'll find they are graceful and good and brilliant at archery etc. Read Pratchett or several dark fantasy authors, and there's something dark and twisted about them, they become the stuff of nightmares. Either way we have a perception of elves without them needing to be real instead of man-made imaginary constructs. In the case of elves the concept exists for entertainment value (or at a stretch as a way of making a wider metaphor depending on the author), but in the case of that list I made a few posts back or good/evil the concepts exist as a way of helping us to categorise the world around us.

However you slice it, the fact we can perceive a concept doesn't make that concept real independently of us.

And trying to categorise it as "good is whatever promotes humanity" isn't exactly cut and dry anyway - utilitarian/consequentialist ethics has some major flaws that have yet to be resolved. For example I might kill a teenage gang member in self defence during a street robbery gone wrong thereby defending myself and my family from being killed ourselves, but if I had not killed him he would have reformed his ways in prison in his twenties and become a scientist that found a cure for HIV in later life. The initial act is good in isolation, but the consequence is harmful to humanity as a whole, and we often have no way of knowing what those consequences can be on a longer timescale.
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Re: Christianity, Atheism, and Original Sin

Postby stahrgazer on Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:54 pm

tzor wrote:
stahrgazer wrote:However, with good and evil, you can pretty much accept that that which promotes humanity is good, and that which does not, is evil.


No. Not only is that a sloppy definition of good and evil, it's a generally wrong one.


I disagree.

crispybits wrote:Elves don't exist (or at least we've never found evidence that they do), but we can choose how to perceive them.


No, but you freely admit we can choose to perceive them as light or dark, and it's light and dark/good and evil that I'm claiming exists because we can perceive them, not "elves."

I said from the first that these concepts are written down in the bible to help us understand the universe. I've also said that actions we interpret may not always fall on the "absolute" side of these scales.

Your notion of killing the killer before he kills your family is a good one; "thou shalt not kill," is biblical, and killing itself doesn't promote humanity, so is on the "evil side," even if "killing to protect my family," is "less evil" than, "killing because I'm evil."

The greater good//less evil might be for you to protect your family but spare that killer's life, so that he can live to reform and find that HIV cure.

I don't have to believe in a "God of Abraham" to perceive that some things are good, some things are not, and some things are less good or maybe a little less bad... and obviously, neither do you.

So, God and Satan may exist, and may not, but the concepts of good and evil that they define, surely exist; even if we, ourselves, a're not able to perceive the full future ramifications of our actions as they occur.
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