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Re: New guy

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  • Hannah Miriam
    Richard-- Religion is a structure to scaffold moral behavior to allow humans to live together effectively. That it gets corrupted by non-moral people into a
    Message 1 of 21 , Mar 2, 2008
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      Richard--

      Religion is a structure to scaffold moral behavior to allow humans to live together effectively. That it gets corrupted by non-moral people into a tool for prejudice, self-gain, etc. does not mean that the original tools are not good for individual personal development.

      Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

      What structure does your athiestic perpsective provide to answer the question "why should I play nice with others?" As well as what one's basic social behaviors should have for a goal?

      Hannah



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    • Richard Godwin
      I think you are right. I would say religion tends to support and reinforce moral principles, necessary in societies for survival and proper maintenance for
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 3, 2008
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        I think you are right. I would say religion tends to support and reinforce
        moral principles, necessary in societies for survival and proper maintenance
        for their member citizens. In my view, and that of scholars, morality or
        ethics came first chronologically and comes first in principle with needs of
        society, and then reinforced by attribution to divinity, rendering the
        people more likely to follow the laws created. This is plain in the first
        mostly complete extant laws, the Codes of Hammurabi, then later in the
        Hebrew Bible. I affirm the need and value of religion. The problem is that
        religion shows two sides in that exclusivity, conflict and violence occupy
        the side bad for humanity, obviously.

        I am not an atheist, and do consider myself a Christian liberal, albeit very
        liberal. Why people should get along with each other is an inbred need for
        survival, since survival depends on organizations of people, which is
        society: to answer your question. The sense of mutual cooperation is a
        propensity which is genetically inherited at birth and developed in the
        child brain upon confrontation with other people, parents, playmates, etc.
        as they learn to cooperate to get what they want. The basic social
        behaviors are developed through learning, based on propensities, that have
        the goal of survival and flourishing individually through necessary society.
        Altruistic religion is supportive, while exclusivity is damaging. The main
        problem with most Christianity is its exclusivity. Parents teaching their
        children moral principles, with laws of behavior and caring for others, is
        very beneficial I think, so long as total respect for others accompanies
        that. Any sense of exclusiveness is very bad.

        Thank you for your comments and questions,

        Richard.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Hannah Miriam" <baruch_emmet@...>
        To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2008 2:36 PM
        Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: New guy


        > Richard--
        >
        > Religion is a structure to scaffold moral behavior to allow humans to
        > live together effectively. That it gets corrupted by non-moral people into
        > a tool for prejudice, self-gain, etc. does not mean that the original
        > tools are not good for individual personal development.
        >
        > Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
        >
        > What structure does your athiestic perpsective provide to answer the
        > question "why should I play nice with others?" As well as what one's basic
        > social behaviors should have for a goal?
        >
        > Hannah
        >
        >
        >
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        >
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        >
      • Richard Godwin
        Christianity in the form of the real Jesus is very close to Buddhism. Jesus and Buddha essentially had the same ideas. Books have been written on that. There
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 3, 2008
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          Christianity in the form of the real Jesus is very close to Buddhism. Jesus
          and Buddha essentially had the same ideas. Books have been written on that.
          There are common insights in Buddhism that are based on human nature and
          truly address the human condition, especially that of suffering. Some
          Christians try to reconcile suffering with God's "nature", they call the
          problem of evil, but stumbling around with it in their confused ways, they
          just get tangled up in contradictions with a schizophrenic God.

          Richard.


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Hannah Miriam" <baruch_emmet@...>
          To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2008 2:41 PM
          Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: New guy


          > By the way, Richard...
          >
          > Judaism, in its true spirituality, is very close to Bhuddism. Some people
          > just get so caught up in the surface appearance that they aren't aware of
          > this. There are quite a few people who actively practice both in
          > conjunction, without conflict.
          >
          > Hannah
          >
          >
          >
          > ---------------------------------
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          > Search.
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        • bestonnet_00
          ... I don t think you actually intended that for him. ... No it isn t because it doesn t actually do that (moral philosophy is much better done without
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 3, 2008
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            --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, Hannah Miriam
            <baruch_emmet@...> wrote:
            >
            > Richard--

            I don't think you actually intended that for him.

            > Religion is a structure to scaffold moral behavior to allow humans
            > to live together effectively.

            No it isn't because it doesn't actually do that (moral philosophy is
            much better done without reference to non-existent entities).

            Religion was just our first (very bad) attempt at coming up with an
            explanation for how the world works and needs to be treated as such.

            > That it gets corrupted by non-moral people into a tool for
            > prejudice, self-gain, etc. does not mean that the original tools are
            > not good for individual personal development.

            It isn't corrupted by people, it corrupts otherwise good people.

            > Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

            We don't need any pithy platitudes here.

            > What structure does your athiestic perpsective provide to answer
            > the question "why should I play nice with others?" As well as what
            > one's basic social behaviors should have for a goal?

            It is more likely to be true than theism, that is enough to make it
            more moral since morality requires one to have accurate information
            (if you look at history you'll notice that most atrocities (including
            the very famous instances from last century) were done by well
            intentioned people who were misinformed about the world.
          • Hannah Miriam
            Richard -- Beautifully stated! Sorry if I mistargeted my comments... some of those layered replies people make to each other, are a bit difficult to peel
            Message 5 of 21 , Mar 4, 2008
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              Richard --

              Beautifully stated!

              Sorry if I mistargeted my comments... some of those layered replies people make to each other, are a bit difficult to peel apart, especially when tired.

              I think that Mohandas Ghandi had a wonderful idea, but it would take everyone's buy-in, at an altruistic level I doubt most can achieve. In his educational paradigm for India, he insisted that all children read and study daily, from their own faith, without forcing any faith on anyone.

              Of course, his tolerance resulted in the Pakistan split, but once again, it would take full altruistic buy-in by all participants...

              Hannah



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            • Richard Godwin
              Thank you. On the Christian Apologist list, I noticed one of the self-assured young Christians commented that too bad for Ghandi that he goes to hell because
              Message 6 of 21 , Mar 4, 2008
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                Thank you. On the Christian Apologist list, I noticed one of the
                self-assured young Christians commented that too bad for Ghandi that he goes
                to hell because he didn't believe in Jesus Christ. We continue to fully
                understand why so many intelligent people are atheist after all the orthodox
                Christian absurities since Jesus died and was interpreted by the early
                Christians into their agendas. I don't agree with the rebound against all
                religion because of the absurdities of some, actually, most of its
                expressions in the West.

                Your questions to the died in the wool completely closed-minded atheist here
                on morality and moral laws will be met with resounding rejection in toto of
                all your suggestions. But actually moral laws are fully substantiated by
                the survival, maintenance, and flourishment of societies with many
                commonalities appling to virtually all societies over history, easily seen
                with and since Hammurabi with his Codes. Religion is not the origin and
                does not justify moral laws, it reinforces them through the sense of divine
                authority people believe.

                Richard.


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Hannah Miriam" <baruch_emmet@...>
                To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 4:12 PM
                Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: New guy


                > Richard --
                >
                > Beautifully stated!
                >
                > Sorry if I mistargeted my comments... some of those layered replies
                > people make to each other, are a bit difficult to peel apart, especially
                > when tired.
                >
                > I think that Mohandas Ghandi had a wonderful idea, but it would take
                > everyone's buy-in, at an altruistic level I doubt most can achieve. In his
                > educational paradigm for India, he insisted that all children read and
                > study daily, from their own faith, without forcing any faith on anyone.
                >
                > Of course, his tolerance resulted in the Pakistan split, but once again,
                > it would take full altruistic buy-in by all participants...
                >
                > Hannah
                >
                >
                >
                > ---------------------------------
                > Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it
                > now.
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • bestonnet_00
                ... I think we ve all seen things like that. ... If you think it is that which makes people atheists then you are wrong (the absurdities of orthodox
                Message 7 of 21 , Mar 4, 2008
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                  --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Godwin" <meta@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Thank you. On the Christian Apologist list, I noticed one of the
                  > self-assured young Christians commented that too bad for Ghandi that
                  > he goes to hell because he didn't believe in Jesus Christ.

                  I think we've all seen things like that.

                  > We continue to fully understand why so many intelligent people are
                  > atheist after all the orthodox Christian absurities since Jesus died
                  > and was interpreted by the early Christians into their agendas.

                  If you think it is that which makes people atheists then you are wrong
                  (the absurdities of orthodox Christianity play a role to be sure but
                  there is more to it).

                  > But actually moral laws are fully substantiated by the survival,
                  > maintenance, and flourishment of societies with many commonalities
                  > appling to virtually all societies over history, easily seen with
                  > and since Hammurabi with his Codes. Religion is not the origin and
                  > does not justify moral laws, it reinforces them through the sense of
                  > divine authority people believe.

                  That's where a problem arises.

                  The sense of divine authority makes religious morality very hard to
                  change if it turns out that the moral code is defective, especially if
                  the morality is written down in a book (this is probably why civil
                  rights movements have tended to be started by atheists).
                • Richard Godwin
                  ... From: bestonnet_00 To: Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 7:32 PM Subject: [Death To Religion]
                  Message 8 of 21 , Mar 4, 2008
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                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "bestonnet_00" <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
                    To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 7:32 PM
                    Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: New guy


                    > The sense of divine authority makes religious morality very hard to
                    > change if it turns out that the moral code is defective, especially if
                    > the morality is written down in a book (this is probably why civil
                    > rights movements have tended to be started by atheists).

                    Not really. Pragmatics wins out, and religion adjusts in such cases.
                    Morality overall works to benefits, while restrictive paradigms such as
                    supported by religions are relegated to the periphery. Globalization with
                    its various major religions tend to expand the commonalities of moral
                    principles working with human rights to overcome religious restrictions.
                    Indeed the Taliban failed, became completely isolated, and is only a blip on
                    the scene. Defects in the moral codes work out through pragmatics and
                    religion follows since it must or become more isolated. The books get
                    reinterpreted. There remain of course, various differences in moral
                    principles that have some but not so much pragmatic effect. Stem cell
                    research is an example of the avenue to reason for human benefits slowly
                    overcoming religious restrictions about the sacredness of human life. It
                    takes a lot of time, as we see time. As the processes continue, religion is
                    the follower, no longer the leader.

                    Richard.

                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
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                  • bestonnet_00
                    ... True, very few Christians now would want to take the vote away from women but even so, it took far too long for the change to happen and it was the
                    Message 9 of 21 , Mar 4, 2008
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                      --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Godwin" <meta@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > ----- Original Message -----
                      > From: "bestonnet_00" <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
                      > To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                      > Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 7:32 PM
                      > Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: New guy
                      >
                      >
                      > > The sense of divine authority makes religious morality very hard
                      > > to change if it turns out that the moral code is defective,
                      > > especially if the morality is written down in a book (this is
                      > > probably why civil rights movements have tended to be started by
                      > > atheists).
                      >
                      > Not really. Pragmatics wins out, and religion adjusts in such
                      > cases.

                      True, very few Christians now would want to take the vote away from
                      women but even so, it took far too long for the change to happen and
                      it was the religious that were the last to change their minds (or in
                      some cases die off and let their less bigoted descendants take over).

                      > Morality overall works to benefits, while restrictive paradigms such
                      > as supported by religions are relegated to the periphery.

                      Eventually they are but that doesn't excuse religion from the delays
                      it causes (without religion would there be anyone picketing the
                      funerals of gays?).

                      > Globalization with its various major religions tend to expand the
                      > commonalities of moral principles working with human rights to
                      > overcome religious restrictions.

                      Secularisation helps a lot more (and human rights are mostly in
                      opposition to religion).

                      If all you've got are competing religions then all too often
                      disagreements over morality end up as a holy war.

                      > Indeed the Taliban failed, became completely isolated, and is only a
                      > blip on the scene.

                      They shouldn't have even existed in the first place (another US
                      foreign policy screw up, they should have just listened when the CIA
                      said the Soviet Union would collapse on its own and not bothered
                      getting into proxy wars with them or at least pick better people to help).

                      > Defects in the moral codes work out through pragmatics and religion
                      > follows since it must or become more isolated.

                      Yes, that is true (how many Catholics use condoms?), but religions
                      often wait until they look absurd for not changing their minds (and
                      many still discriminate where the rest of society has stopped).

                      > The books get reinterpreted.

                      Yes, but they don't get changed despite being wrong so fundamentalist
                      sects still appear that take them literally (or try to anyway).

                      > There remain of course, various differences in moral principles that
                      > have some but not so much pragmatic effect.

                      Some things are very harmful, not so harmful.

                      > Stem cell research is an example of the avenue to reason for human
                      > benefits slowly overcoming religious restrictions about the
                      > sacredness of human life.

                      It has nothing to do with the sacredness of human life since embryonic
                      stem cells are not human beings.

                      > It takes a lot of time, as we see time. As the processes continue,
                      > religion is the follower, no longer the leader.

                      Religion has never been a moral leader, always the follower (and the
                      follower of atheists).

                      Though of course different groups change at different times, the most
                      liberal of the religious (e.g. Quakers) usually get convinced pretty
                      quickly by the atheists that start the civil rights groups and join
                      early while the most conservative of the religious take a long time to
                      change (even the point at which some churches today won't allow women
                      to be priests and fundamentalists in the US tend to be more bigoted
                      towards blacks than those of lower religiosity and then there is the
                      infamous Westboro Baptist Church).
                    • Hannah Miriam
                      bestonnet wrote: The sense of divine authority makes religious morality very hard to change if it turns out that the moral code is defective, especially if the
                      Message 10 of 21 , Mar 5, 2008
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                        bestonnet wrote: The sense of divine authority makes religious morality very hard to
                        change if it turns out that the moral code is defective, especially if
                        the morality is written down in a book (this is probably why civil
                        rights movements have tended to be started by atheists).


                        ------

                        Well, now that's a can of worms.

                        Name the civil rights leaders you consider athiests.

                        Changing the code is very, very easy. That's why there are so many denominations and faiths out there... different people with different sensibilities change the codes, and go off and do their own thing.

                        Hannah




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                      • Richard Godwin
                        ... From: bestonnet_00 To: Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 9:34 PM Subject: [Death To Religion]
                        Message 11 of 21 , Mar 5, 2008
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                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "bestonnet_00" <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
                          To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 9:34 PM
                          Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: New guy


                          >>> Morality overall works to benefits, while restrictive paradigms such
                          >> as supported by religions are relegated to the periphery.
                          >
                          > Eventually they are but that doesn't excuse religion from the delays
                          > it causes (without religion would there be anyone picketing the
                          > funerals of gays?).

                          Well, let's not get that extreme. As to gay marriage, this is a difficult
                          point and not really a morality issue. And it does take time to work out
                          these matters. Everyone who counts accepts gay rights, even most
                          Christians. Marriage seems to be more a tradition and political issue.

                          >> Globalization with its various major religions tend to expand the
                          >> commonalities of moral principles working with human rights to
                          >> overcome religious restrictions.
                          >
                          > Secularisation helps a lot more (and human rights are mostly in
                          > opposition to religion).

                          These days the secular groups and most Christian and other religious groups
                          work together basically, such as in altruistic activities, and of course
                          human rights, a basic Christian virtue.

                          > It has nothing to do with the sacredness of human life since embryonic
                          > stem cells are not human beings.

                          That of course is a matter of opinion based on definition.

                          > Religion has never been a moral leader, always the follower (and the
                          > follower of atheists).

                          But history shows you are wrong. Atheism didn't even basically begin until
                          after the Enlightenment.

                          Richard.
                        • bestonnet_00
                          ... Why not? It may be only a few idiots right now but that doesn t mean they are somehow not representing the religion, nor does it mean that they weren t
                          Message 12 of 21 , Mar 6, 2008
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                            --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Godwin" <meta@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > ----- Original Message -----
                            > From: "bestonnet_00" <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
                            > To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                            > Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 9:34 PM
                            > Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: New guy
                            >
                            >
                            > > Eventually they are but that doesn't excuse religion from the
                            > > delays it causes (without religion would there be anyone picketing
                            > > the funerals of gays?).
                            >
                            > Well, let's not get that extreme.

                            Why not? It may be only a few idiots right now but that doesn't mean
                            they are somehow not representing the religion, nor does it mean that
                            they weren't more powerful in the past (which they were).

                            > As to gay marriage, this is a difficult point and not really a
                            > morality issue.

                            It is, if a loving gay couple wants to receive the benefits given to
                            heterosexuals who marry in most places they can not get them.

                            > And it does take time to work out these matters.

                            Yes, but it should not have taken so long.

                            There has been progress and gays in most places can come out without
                            any fear (though some parts of the US south are exceptions) but there
                            hasn't been enough (and this whole separate but equal crap about civil
                            unions...).

                            > Everyone who counts accepts gay rights, even most Christians.

                            I wish that were so, it is with women's rights and rights for racial
                            minorities but there are still people in governments (including the US
                            government) that don't accept gay rights.

                            > Marriage seems to be more a tradition and political issue.

                            I suspect there is already majority support for gay marriage, even if
                            it is only under the name of civil union (which will eventually be
                            changed).

                            > > Secularisation helps a lot more (and human rights are mostly in
                            > > opposition to religion).
                            >
                            > These days the secular groups and most Christian and other religious
                            > groups work together basically, such as in altruistic activities,
                            > and of course human rights, a basic Christian virtue.

                            I wouldn't be calling human rights a basic Christian virtue when
                            humans rights have historically tended to go against Christianity
                            (Christians basing their beliefs on the bible have always been on the
                            wrong side of all civil rights battles), even if modern churches have
                            re-interpreted the religion to be compatible with human rights.

                            It is true that many the Christian groups work alongside secular
                            groups to further human rights, but much of that is because they have
                            secularised to focus more on this world than the next.

                            > > It has nothing to do with the sacredness of human life since
                            > > embryonic stem cells are not human beings.
                            >
                            > That of course is a matter of opinion based on definition.

                            To define an embryonic stem cell as a human would mean that every
                            women would have an abortion a month when she isn't pregnant which is
                            just nonsensical.

                            > > Religion has never been a moral leader, always the follower (and
                            > > the follower of atheists).
                            >
                            > But history shows you are wrong. Atheism didn't even basically
                            > begin until after the Enlightenment.

                            There were atheists in the ancient world although very few (and even
                            fewer who would admit it) because even the most tolerant societies
                            back then often discriminated against atheists (or people accused of
                            atheism, e.g. Socrates) but even so there were arguments against
                            theism created back in those times (Plato demolished divine command
                            theory (although he very likely wasn't an atheist he did prove that
                            morality can't come from a god) and Epicurus came up with the argument
                            from evil).

                            Most moral progress though has come since the enlightenment (a lot of
                            the early stuff was done by deists who by not believing in a god that
                            does anything of importance to our day to day life are basically just
                            atheists who believe in a god).
                          • bestonnet_00
                            ... Very much so. ... There is http://nogodzone.blogspot.com/2007/02/slavery-and-christian-mythology.html about how it was not Christians that began the ending
                            Message 13 of 21 , Mar 8, 2008
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                              --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, Hannah Miriam
                              <baruch_emmet@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > bestonnet wrote: The sense of divine authority makes religious
                              > morality very hard to change if it turns out that the moral code is
                              > defective, especially if the morality is written down in a book
                              > (this is probably why civil rights movements have tended to be
                              > started by atheists).
                              >
                              > ------
                              >
                              > Well, now that's a can of worms.

                              Very much so.

                              > Name the civil rights leaders you consider athiests.

                              There is
                              http://nogodzone.blogspot.com/2007/02/slavery-and-christian-mythology.html
                              about how it was not Christians that began the ending of slavery
                              (though eventually Christians took up the position that it was wrong
                              and used their undeserved political power to end it).

                              Many of the early figures in the womens' movement were also atheists
                              (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger come to
                              mind) as were a lot of the early figures in the blacks movement in the US.

                              Though in many cases the atheists kept their beliefs about religion
                              quite (atheists back then were not as well accepted as now, even the
                              US has made significant progress).

                              It's also been quite a common statement in books by atheists that were
                              in the various rights movements right from the start.

                              > Changing the code is very, very easy. That's why there are so many
                              > denominations and faiths out there... different people with
                              > different sensibilities change the codes, and go off and do their
                              > own thing.

                              For an individual or small group of people yes, but over the whole of
                              society?

                              It does happen and it can happen within a few generations but it
                              should not take so long and were it not for religion would not take so
                              long (since without a god demanding that slaves be kept | women not
                              vote | gays be killed, etc we'd have people changing their minds,
                              instead of having to wait for them to die off).

                              There would of course still be problems and still be bigotry but
                              without religion people would be more willing to listen to reason and
                              to change their minds as well as less likely to pass their bigotry on
                              to their children.

                              It has always been the religious that opposed civil rights.
                            • Hannah Miriam
                              bestonnet wrote: Many of the early figures in the womens movement were also atheists (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger come to
                              Message 14 of 21 , Mar 21, 2008
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                                bestonnet wrote: Many of the early figures in the womens' movement were also atheists
                                (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger come to
                                mind) as were a lot of the early figures in the blacks movement in the US.

                                -----

                                You are confusing people who separated from organized religion, with people having a lack of faith in the Divine.

                                Margaret Sanger was indeed an athiest. Oh, look, one athiest. Nice. Out of how many?

                                Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a strong advocate of a UNIFIED CHRISTIAN FAITH... and the conversion of all people to that faith... and I quote her... "Belief is not voluntary, and change is the natural result of growth and development. We would fain have all church members sons and daughters of temperance; but if the Church, in her wisdom, has made her platform so broad that wine-bibbers and rum-sellers may repose in ease thereon, we who are always preaching liberality ought to be the last to complain. "
                                ---Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Address, First Annual Meeting of the Woman's State Temperance Society, Rochester, New York, June 1, 1853

                                She often criticized the Bible itself as man-written and easily misinterpreted as male-dominant, and therefore a distortion of Divine will, and the Church as a corrupted organization. She, however, also has many quotes referring to Divine will as something she did believe in.

                                From "The Women's Bible" -- "The equal position declared in the first account must prove more satisfactory to both sexes; created alike in the image of God -The Heavenly Mother and Father.Thus, the Old Testament, "in the beginning," proclaims the simultaneous creation of man and woman, the eternity and equality of sex; and the New Testament echoes back through the centuries the individual sovereignty of woman growing out of this natural fact. Paul, in speaking of equality as the very soul and essence of Christianity, said, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." With this recognition of the feminine element in the Godhead in the Old Testament, and this declaration of the equality of the sexes in the New, we may well wonder at the contemptible status woman occupies in the Christian Church of to-day."


                                Susan B. Anthony was "an agnostic, ... her work is her faith" (quote from Elizabeth Stanton in regards to Anthony) avoiding organized religion, but not athiest. To continue the quote, "... has been sustained by an unfaltering faith in the final perfection of all things... In ancient Greece she would have been a Stoic; in the era of the Reformation, a Calvinist; in King Charles' time, a Puritan..."

                                http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/stanton/years/years-X.html
                                -------

                                bestonnet wrote: "(Changing the code is easy) For an individual or small group of people yes, but over the whole of society?

                                -----

                                It only takes a few years for a nation to change its form of government. Revolution is very quick.

                                Our society follows much different rules than it did even a couple of decades ago, in many areas. Consider how confused someone popped into our time from the 70's would be, in regards to our priorities, views on crime, individual rights, race, sexuality, politics and freedom. They are all minor shifts, but taken as a whole it is an entirely different society. That is within one generation (less than 40 years). And this is within people of faith, not just athiestic types.

                                ----

                                bestonnet wrote: Religion is the main source of absolutes.

                                -----

                                Athiesm states "There is no G-d."

                                An absolute.

                                Athiesm states "Only that which we can directly observe is real; all else is unreal until and unless we can observe it through our five basic physical senses."

                                An absolute.

                                The non-religious codes and statutes of our country state that if a police officer makes the slightest error in evidence gathering, the criminal goes free, even with the preponderance of the remainder of the evidence against him/her.

                                An absolute. Our secular legal code is just up to its armpits in absolutes often applied illogically.

                                None of these are faith-based concepts.

                                -----

                                bestonnet wrote: Some secular philosophies can lead to the kind of dogmatism you see in
                                religion, communism being a good historical example as would the
                                ultra-lunatic fringes of the environmental and animal rights movements
                                (though they are probably not helping their cause) and those I'd be
                                quite happy to lump in with religions.

                                -----

                                You state that all dogmatic concepts are equivalent to religion. If all beliefs regarding ANYTHING are "religious," then your absolute belief in the lack of Divinity is religious... and therefore you berate yourself. You dogmatically refuse to accept anything outside your current mindset. You are therefore quite religious, by your own definition. Yet you condemn it. Perhaps you need some self-esteem counseling... happiness is only a sea of non-absolutes away... including a shift to agnostic "maybe/maybe not" lack of certainty, and a focus on one's own behavior rather than angst over the beliefs of others.

                                -----

                                bestonnet wrote: I don't think you actually follow a religious 'morality' (a religious
                                humanism would probably be the best description, just like the vast majority of religious people on the planet).

                                -----

                                Um, I'm not sure what you think "morality" is.... the dictionary definition is

                                1. The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.
                                2. A system of ideas of right and wrong conduct.
                                3. Virtuous conduct.
                                4. A rule or lesson in moral conduct.

                                or morality - motivation based on ideas of right and wrong

                                http://www.thefreedictionary.com/morality

                                Are you saying you don't think I make decisions based on a set standard of concensus ideas of right and wrong?

                                Virtuous conduct involves acting "rightly," which within my faith (Judaism) is to follow a strict code of generosity (tzedakah), study, behavior (commandments), and prayer.... all of which is wrapped up in the term "mitzvot."

                                -----

                                bestonnet wrote: There were cases of God directly punishing people (or even all the Jews) in the Old Testament.

                                -----

                                Always through natural consequences. If you turn away from sense of community (observance of the faith) and focus on selfish ends without concerns for others, the community starts to fall apart, your children have it worse, and you are open for invasion. Excess, or neglect, leads to physical illness.... pure science there.

                                For example, Saul was overly concerned with his own power and dynasty; it caused massive stress, headaches, stomach problems, and eventually losing his charisma and ability to rule. David acted selfishly, and it resulted in a lack of direction and faith for all but one of his children, and threatened his dynasty. If you look closely at every consequence, there is a logical progression as a part of the natural cycle and/or human behavior.

                                Science is showing the "how" of many of the Hebrew scriptural miracles. For a Jew, this merely reinforces the concept of G-d acting through His own Creation structure to fulfil His will and purpose. It's all in the timing and location...

                                ----

                                bestonnet wrote: Does it also require you to kill people who work on the Sabbath?

                                ----

                                Of course not; the death penalty for breaking Sabbath had to do with the lack of caring for the community that those so punished evidenced... and usually if you look at the people so punished, they had a bit of a rap sheet for anti-social behavior. Breaking Sabbath was just part of that rap sheet.

                                The Torah calls for the death penalty for the unrepentant and repeat offender who creates serious harm to the community.

                                It is also clear that one works if survival is at stake... if someone must have that income to ensure the roof over the head, food on the table, etc. The Sabbath is a gift, not a burden. Jews also eat on fast days if survival is at stake, etc. The biggest mistake made by Israel's enemies in the Yom Kippur attack was the idea that people would just sit around helpless because one does not work on that day.

                                There is a story of a man who worked on the Sabbath, as a tailor mending Gentile workman's clothes, in an industrial area of a big city, for years, because Saturday was when these workmen had the time to bring in their mending. Without that income, his family would lose their home, and be unable to buy enough food for all the family members. His son grew to work next to him in the business, until he could do all the tasks of running the business. One Saturday shortly thereafter, the man handed his son the keys, and told him the greatest blessing his son could give him was to continue the work of supporting the family, and in time he too could be "Shomer Shabbos" when his own son could take on that duty. The man then went, for the first time in years, to observe Shabbat, to pray, to study, and to rejoice in the gifts of a day of true rest. The Jewish faith sees this return as repentance... which does not have to be a time of grief and guilt, but instead a finding of
                                delight in following the rules.

                                ----

                                bestonnet wrote: (in regards to natural consequences for actions) Which are good self-interest reasons that do not require the existence of a god to justify.

                                ----

                                Never said a Divine origin was needed to justify them. You were the one who stated over the course of your posts, that codification of morality (see dictionary definition) was sourced from religion and faith.. and that you feel that religion and faith are in totality wrong. You then stated that any mopern legal code should be outside of all faith, using a consensus view based through logic. That's what legislatures are supposed to be doing...

                                My point is that the codification my faith follows IS based on logic and natural cause-and-efffect; debate of consensus is encouraged by Judaism, and the resulting codes are based on observable logical outcomes.

                                Therefore your generalized statements throwing out all faiths as Christian-style all-or-nothing leaders-are-infallible views is wrong.

                                Your rejection of all faiths is an absolute; your idea that all people of faith, and all religions are focused on absolutes, is not based on facts ... you are thinking in the very pattern of absolutism of which you accuse those you disagree with.

                                Israel appears secular because being "observant" to the lifestyle laws is often the only outward sign non-Jews see when looking for Jewish faith identity. Zionism and Israel are actually very faith-based. Our history, ethnic identity, and so on are our faith.

                                Same thing for the Arabs. We both spring from the same stock, and just took a divergent turn shortly after Abraham's love for both his sons muddied the waters.

                                ------

                                bestonnet wrote: But either way, it has been shown that it is the least religious on
                                both sides who want peace and it is the less religious who get tired
                                of endless pointless war the fastest.

                                ------

                                I beg to differ. I know many Jewish people of deep faith who are anti-war, and who want peace.

                                How do you make peace with people who destroy what you give them and then use the lack of resources to vilify you?


                                ------

                                bestonnet wrote: Ultimately the way to get rid of war is to have a world with only
                                democracies.

                                -----

                                Separate groups... different democracies. Even without religion, the different democracies will have disagreements.

                                If you think that the entire world can be united under one democracy, good luck! People will always find something to argue over.

                                ------

                                bestonnet wrote: Atheism itself doesn't really have a morality since it is just a
                                result (does theism have a morality) but it does allow for a superior
                                moral system to be used (and accepting reality is a requirement for a
                                person to be truly moral).

                                -----

                                What "superior morality" is that?

                                -----

                                bestonnet wrote: (in regards to attachment disorder and autism) Both are in a minority and from my understanding do tend to manage pretty well if given the necessary help.

                                -----

                                My point was that both groups have to learn intellectually and later on in life when formal reasoning sets in, because fairness is not something you are born with... it is learned.

                                -----

                                bestonnet wrote: The point of it was that religious people don't actually follow their
                                religious morality, instead they make up a morality that takes what
                                they see as the good bits from their holy books and a few other things
                                without including the bad (so you get don't murder and don't steal but
                                no kill Sabbath breakers).

                                ------

                                Religious Jews do follow the code exactly. The code is conditional on degree of offence, and one must look at all circumstances. The sacrifice of Abraham was one of ownership... and G-d stopped it before completion because He does NOT want us to sacrifice human life to serve our own ends, including in the quest for absolution. The whole story is about the refutation of human sacrifice. It does not mean that our faith demands human sacrifice... quite the opposite. You are confusing Christianity, which is actually a European/Mediterranean dying-god mythos tacked on to a misinterpretation and distortion of Jewish scripture, with Judaism.

                                ----

                                bestonnet wrote: For most parents teaching ethics in school would be more a case of the
                                school helping them with the few that oppose it probably not being very good parents.

                                ----

                                Don't confuse the reasoning skills of college level lab students with what is seen at the childhood level... the kids are absolutely little mirrors of their parents in regards to their morality and ethics. Read some Piaget.

                                And I didn't claim Kibbutzim were successful, just that they had more of what could be considered success than the secular creches that resulted in stunted and non-functional graduates (the worst being central Europe). The departure of the Kibbutz children show just how poorly creche systems work, even at the best levels.
                                ----

                                bestonnet wrote: Western Europe seems to be doing all right as do the non-insane
                                British colonies.

                                ----

                                They've got the same problems we do. Just because US news is so uninvolved in coverage doesn't mean it's not happening.

                                -----

                                bestonnet wrote: Well there are a lot of adults who decide that something which society
                                as a whole thinks wrong is acceptable and so if a person does not
                                agree with the collective morality then there'd be a need for a
                                judicial system.

                                ------

                                You claim not to agree with the collective morality because it is based on faith. Does that make you a criminal?

                                ------


                                To quickly address the rest of your post (dinnertime!) ... you waffle between adherence to consensus rule, individual choice, breaking laws being ok, people having the judgement to make effective moral choices, and people being stuck at selfish developmental stages that means that some higher authority would need to make determinations of behavior (judicial system).

                                So, who do you define as mature enough to make choices for everyone else, and how would you convince the others of the rights of those individuals to make the choices for everyone else?

                                Hannah



                                ---------------------------------
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                              • bestonnet_00
                                ... Yes, but whether the whole society changes is another matter. ... Yes, but the changes should have happened faster. ... Though most people of faith follow
                                Message 15 of 21 , Mar 21, 2008
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, Hannah Miriam
                                  <baruch_emmet@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > bestonnet wrote: "(Changing the code is easy) For an individual or
                                  > small group of people yes, but over the whole of society?
                                  >
                                  > -----
                                  >
                                  > It only takes a few years for a nation to change its form of
                                  > government. Revolution is very quick.

                                  Yes, but whether the whole society changes is another matter.

                                  > Our society follows much different rules than it did even a couple
                                  > of decades ago, in many areas. Consider how confused someone popped
                                  > into our time from the 70's would be, in regards to our priorities,
                                  > views on crime, individual rights, race, sexuality, politics and
                                  > freedom. They are all minor shifts, but taken as a whole it is an
                                  > entirely different society. That is within one generation (less than
                                  > 40 years).

                                  Yes, but the changes should have happened faster.

                                  > And this is within people of faith, not just athiestic types.

                                  Though most people of faith follow the same morality as atheists anyway.

                                  > bestonnet wrote: Religion is the main source of absolutes.
                                  >
                                  > -----
                                  >
                                  > Athiesm states "There is no G-d."
                                  >
                                  > An absolute.

                                  That's not how most atheists would define it.

                                  > Athiesm states "Only that which we can directly observe is real;
                                  > all else is unreal until and unless we can observe it through our
                                  > five basic physical senses."

                                  I probably wouldn't put it that way but it is how you are meant to
                                  make decisions.

                                  > An absolute.

                                  Only if the religious can't provide some evidence for the existence of
                                  god.

                                  If you've got some good evidence that there's a god you could get
                                  pretty much every atheist on the planet to change their minds, it's
                                  just that we've never seen any good reason to think that there is a
                                  god out there (of any form).

                                  > bestonnet wrote: Some secular philosophies can lead to the kind of
                                  > dogmatism you see in religion, communism being a good historical
                                  > example as would the ultra-lunatic fringes of the environmental and
                                  > animal rights movements (though they are probably not helping their
                                  > cause) and those I'd be quite happy to lump in with religions.
                                  >
                                  > -----
                                  >
                                  > You state that all dogmatic concepts are equivalent to religion.

                                  Close enough.

                                  > If all beliefs regarding ANYTHING are "religious," then your
                                  > absolute belief in the lack of Divinity is religious... and
                                  > therefore you berate yourself.

                                  No, to be quasireligious they have to be dogmatic which communism and
                                  the various lunatic fringes are and that means not open to change.

                                  http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/theistguide.html is a pretty good
                                  guide as to what it would take to get most atheists (or at least those
                                  who use the term) to become theists, you'll see it's quite possible if
                                  evidence can be provided.

                                  > You dogmatically refuse to accept anything outside your current
                                  > mindset. You are therefore quite religious, by your own definition.
                                  > Yet you condemn it.

                                  I need evidence to believe in something and so far no one has come up
                                  with any good reason to believe there is a god despite a lot of very
                                  smart people trying for thousands of years.

                                  > including a shift to agnostic "maybe/maybe not" lack of certainty,
                                  > and a focus on one's own behavior rather than angst over the beliefs
                                  > of others.

                                  I am an agnostic as I don't know if a god exists but to be rational
                                  one has to assume atheism if one is an agnostic.

                                  > bestonnet wrote: I don't think you actually follow a religious
                                  > 'morality' (a religious humanism would probably be the best
                                  > description, just like the vast majority of religious people on the
                                  > planet).
                                  >
                                  > -----
                                  > Are you saying you don't think I make decisions based on a set
                                  > standard of concensus ideas of right and wrong?

                                  No, I think you are a moral person, I just don't think that your
                                  morals come from your religion.

                                  > Virtuous conduct involves acting "rightly," which within my faith
                                  > (Judaism) is to follow a strict code of generosity (tzedakah),
                                  > study, behavior (commandments), and prayer.... all of which is
                                  > wrapped up in the term "mitzvot."

                                  Yet you interpret away the bits that you don't like so that you don't
                                  have to follow them.

                                  Have a read of http://www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/root.html

                                  > bestonnet wrote: There were cases of God directly punishing people
                                  > (or even all the Jews) in the Old Testament.
                                  >
                                  > -----
                                  >
                                  > Always through natural consequences. If you turn away from sense
                                  > of community (observance of the faith) and focus on selfish ends
                                  > without concerns for others, the community starts to fall apart,
                                  > your children have it worse, and you are open for invasion. Excess,
                                  > or neglect, leads to physical illness.... pure science there.

                                  Which can be explained without a god.

                                  > Science is showing the "how" of many of the Hebrew scriptural
                                  > miracles. For a Jew, this merely reinforces the concept of G-d
                                  > acting through His own Creation structure to fulfil His will and
                                  > purpose. It's all in the timing and location...

                                  It's also showing that much of the old testament is fiction.

                                  > bestonnet wrote: Does it also require you to kill people who work
                                  > on the Sabbath?
                                  >
                                  > ----
                                  >
                                  > Of course not; the death penalty for breaking Sabbath had to do
                                  > with the lack of caring for the community that those so punished
                                  > evidenced... and usually if you look at the people so punished, they
                                  > had a bit of a rap sheet for anti-social behavior. Breaking Sabbath
                                  > was just part of that rap sheet.
                                  >
                                  > The Torah calls for the death penalty for the unrepentant and
                                  > repeat offender who creates serious harm to the community.

                                  So you put morality before your holy book?

                                  > It is also clear that one works if survival is at stake... if
                                  > someone must have that income to ensure the roof over the head, food
                                  > on the table, etc.

                                  Yes, most people will quite happily ignore their religion if it
                                  interferes with something else.

                                  > The Sabbath is a gift, not a burden. Jews also eat on fast days if
                                  > survival is at stake, etc. The biggest mistake made by Israel's
                                  > enemies in the Yom Kippur attack was the idea that people would just
                                  > sit around helpless because one does not work on that day.

                                  I thought the biggest mistake they made was attacking Israel directly
                                  (even if they were counting on Soviet intervention).

                                  > bestonnet wrote: (in regards to natural consequences for actions)
                                  > Which are good self-interest reasons that do not require the
                                  > existence of a god to justify.
                                  >
                                  > ----
                                  >
                                  > Never said a Divine origin was needed to justify them.

                                  A Divine origin can't justify them so that's not a problem.

                                  The problem is that a lot of people do say that a divine origin is needed.

                                  > You were the one who stated over the course of your posts, that
                                  > codification of morality (see dictionary definition) was sourced
                                  > from religion and faith..

                                  I don't think any morality actually comes from religion, just that a
                                  lot of people claim it does.

                                  > and that you feel that religion and faith are in totality wrong.

                                  I haven't seen any evidence that they aren't wrong.

                                  > You then stated that any mopern legal code should be outside of all
                                  > faith, using a consensus view based through logic. That's what
                                  > legislatures are supposed to be doing...

                                  Well if you have to justify something on faith then it probably isn't
                                  a good idea.

                                  Modern legislatures are doing a pretty good job compared with what we
                                  used to have (and if we as a society don't like them we can vote new
                                  idiots in next election).

                                  > My point is that the codification my faith follows IS based on
                                  > logic and natural cause-and-efffect; debate of consensus is
                                  > encouraged by Judaism, and the resulting codes are based on
                                  > observable logical outcomes.

                                  Much of it is based on what works otherwise natural selection would
                                  have done it in but there are still things in it that don't make any
                                  sense (and which most believers just interpret away).

                                  > Your rejection of all faiths is an absolute; your idea that all
                                  > people of faith, and all religions are focused on absolutes, is not
                                  > based on facts ... you are thinking in the very pattern of
                                  > absolutism of which you accuse those you disagree with.

                                  Religions are absolutes, even if they allow debate they still take
                                  such things as the existence of a god for granted.

                                  > Israel appears secular because being "observant" to the lifestyle
                                  > laws is often the only outward sign non-Jews see when looking for
                                  > Jewish faith identity. Zionism and Israel are actually very
                                  > faith-based. Our history, ethnic identity, and so on are our faith.

                                  The atheist Jews I've known might disagree.

                                  Very few people who claim adherence to most religion, especially in
                                  well off countries seem to actually follow the religion (church
                                  attendance and theological knowledge tends to be very low).

                                  > bestonnet wrote: But either way, it has been shown that it is the
                                  > least religious on both sides who want peace and it is the less
                                  > religious who get tired of endless pointless war the fastest.
                                  >
                                  > ------
                                  >
                                  > I beg to differ. I know many Jewish people of deep faith who are
                                  > anti-war, and who want peace.

                                  This is a statistical thing so there will be exceptions.

                                  Admittedly the study I've heard about was testing for Right-Wing
                                  Authoritarianism which typically does correlate with religion (and did
                                  in the Israeli study).

                                  > How do you make peace with people who destroy what you give them
                                  > and then use the lack of resources to vilify you?

                                  Some of them are like that, others just want to not destroy what they
                                  are given.

                                  > bestonnet wrote: Ultimately the way to get rid of war is to have a
                                  > world with only democracies.
                                  >
                                  > -----
                                  >
                                  > Separate groups... different democracies. Even without religion,
                                  > the different democracies will have disagreements.

                                  Democracies tend to be able to resolve their disagreements peacefully.

                                  Read up on the Democratic peace theorem,
                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_peace_theory which seems to be
                                  pretty well established.

                                  > If you think that the entire world can be united under one
                                  > democracy, good luck! People will always find something to argue
                                  > over.

                                  It might end up happening (Europe is moving that way already) but even
                                  if it doesn't a world with only democracies would still be a pretty
                                  peaceful (although I'd prefer to have independent countries in space
                                  before world federalism happens, I don't want a stagnant society).

                                  > bestonnet wrote: Atheism itself doesn't really have a morality
                                  > since it is just a result (does theism have a morality) but it does
                                  > allow for a superior moral system to be used (and accepting reality
                                  > is a requirement for a person to be truly moral).
                                  >
                                  > -----
                                  >
                                  > What "superior morality" is that?

                                  I'm thinking secular humanism would do.

                                  > bestonnet wrote: The point of it was that religious people don't
                                  > actually follow their religious morality, instead they make up a
                                  > morality that takes what they see as the good bits from their holy
                                  > books and a few other things without including the bad (so you get
                                  > don't murder and don't steal but no kill Sabbath breakers).
                                  >
                                  > ------
                                  >
                                  > Religious Jews do follow the code exactly. The code is conditional
                                  > on degree of offence, and one must look at all circumstances.

                                  Which makes it sound like you can make things up as you go along to
                                  ensure it doesn't contradict a secular morality.

                                  > The sacrifice of Abraham was one of ownership... and G-d stopped it
                                  > before completion because He does NOT want us to sacrifice human
                                  > life to serve our own ends, including in the quest for absolution.

                                  Maybe so but the fact that Abraham was not chided for being willing to
                                  go through with it does not send a good message.

                                  > The whole story is about the refutation of human sacrifice. It does
                                  > not mean that our faith demands human sacrifice... quite the
                                  > opposite.

                                  It does mean that a person should be willing to perform human sacrifice.

                                  > You are confusing Christianity, which is actually a
                                  > European/Mediterranean dying-god mythos tacked on to a
                                  > misinterpretation and distortion of Jewish scripture, with Judaism.

                                  I won't argue with you about what Christianity is (I suspect it's
                                  pretty much the truth) but I don't see as much difference between the
                                  two).

                                  > bestonnet wrote: Western Europe seems to be doing all right as do
                                  > the non-insane British colonies.
                                  >
                                  > ----
                                  >
                                  > They've got the same problems we do. Just because US news is so
                                  > uninvolved in coverage doesn't mean it's not happening.

                                  Yes, but the problems are not as bad as they are in the states.

                                  > bestonnet wrote: Well there are a lot of adults who decide that
                                  > something which society as a whole thinks wrong is acceptable and so
                                  > if a person does not agree with the collective morality then there'd
                                  > be a need for a judicial system.
                                  >
                                  > ------
                                  >
                                  > You claim not to agree with the collective morality because it is
                                  > based on faith. Does that make you a criminal?

                                  Actually I don't think the collective morality is based on faith, even
                                  if people claim it is.

                                  > To quickly address the rest of your post (dinnertime!) ... you
                                  > waffle between adherence to consensus rule, individual choice,
                                  > breaking laws being ok, people having the judgement to make
                                  > effective moral choices, and people being stuck at selfish
                                  > developmental stages that means that some higher authority would
                                  > need to make determinations of behavior (judicial system).

                                  Yes, morality is a very complicated topic (which we seem to be somehow
                                  muddle through and still manage to get right enough).

                                  > So, who do you define as mature enough to make choices for
                                  > everyone else, and how would you convince the others of the rights
                                  > of those individuals to make the choices for everyone else?

                                  I would let the everyone else decide who is mature enough to make
                                  choices for them.
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