Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Who do you "respect" more?

Rate this topic


JJJJ
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have found myself "respecting"(disrespecting less) christians more than about 99% of the atheists i meet. Yes, christians and other religious people are clearly wrong about what is good/evil, right/wrong, but it at least "soothes" me somewhat that they are interested in the subject of good/evil.

On the other hand, most atheists you meet are relativists/subjectivists/nihilists and in my book they are the lowest of the low, and rank far below most religious people. It is of no use that they correctly claim that god does not exist, if they at the same time make this a basis to that there is no good/evil, right/wrong, or that they claim that good/evil is subjective. I never call myself an atheist anywhere when im discussing with people i dont know, becuase i dont want that people put me in the same category with these idiots. Even though im obviously an atheist, i refuse to call myself one, at least without an explanation.

Its not like i respect either, but are there any others who "rank" regular christians higher than they do most of the atheists?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to judge it on an individual basis. I know many perfectly nice Christians, Jews, Pagans, etc. It seems to me that the more a person has given serious thought to these questions, even if many of the conclusions they arrive at are wrong, the more moral they seem to be because they do go through a process of moral deliberation before they make choices and tend to take more responsibility for the choices they do make.

My $0.02

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most atheists don't practice what they preach. Atheism basically means to believe only in what you have evidence for.

Not believing in one of the gods of the many world religions doesn't make you an atheist.

Edited by Clawg
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its not like i respect either, but are there any others who "rank" regular christians higher than they do most of the atheists?
I agree with your post completely. In my experience, atheists are people who seem to have gotten only one thing right--that there is no God. From there, they seem to get just about everything else wrong: truth is whatever one thinks it is, morality is whaever your current level of social evolution says it is, liberty is whatever the state allows you to do, and the good is whatever others declare it to be. Discussions with such people never get anywhere because you cant even agree on simple definitions. I happen to know a number of christians who happen to be wrong on the existence of God, but are not so far from rational thinking on any number of issues.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing about Christianity is that if you take out the God element, a hell of a lot of it makes perfectly rational sense.

Half + of the advice in proverbs is just good old fashioned horse sense delivered in a religious package. The ten commandments are also +70% rational.

That's why Christianity has been, imo, so successful. Its rational enough for people to live with successfully while fulfilling that irrational impulse to put a creator behind everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then what does?

ruveyn

Objectivism does the job I think. If an so-called atheist doesn't believe in a god but believes in e.g. socialism he isn't an atheist because he can't defend his position.

@Greebo:

The thing about Christianity is that it isn't well defined and that that which you see as "Christianity" is the result of hundreds of years of adaption and interpretation of the 'original Christianity' (if there is such a thing) to reality. A religion that says to kill yourself in the morning won't last long in history, so kind of an evolutionary process is involved, too.

In earlier religions (including Christianity) drugs played a major role. It was thought that they were the gateway to heaven / a way to communicate to god. Another major part was astrology, the signs of the zodiac, the stars, the sun.

Of course if you strip religion of all that and reduce it to the social rules it states (that weren't derived from drug-related or star-related knowledge but from experience of how to peacefully live together) then, yes, you will find some rationality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course if you strip religion of all that and reduce it to the social rules it states (that weren't derived from drug-related or star-related knowledge but from experience of how to peacefully live together) then, yes, you will find some rationality.

What exactly do you think I was saying that's different from that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What exactly do you think I was saying that's different from that?

You need to take out more than the god element.

Oh, and I forgot, "The ten commandments are also +70% rational.", huh?

The commandements are useless because the words they are using aren't properly defined. 'Killing, stealing and lying' isn't necessarily irrational / immoral, it depends on the context.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You need to take out more than the god element.

Oh, and I forgot, "The ten commandments are also +70% rational.", huh?

The commandements are useless because the words they are using aren't properly defined. 'Killing, stealing and lying' isn't necessarily irrational / immoral, it depends on the context.

I think either your theological background must either be lacking or you come from a different school than that in which I was raised. I am a Pastor's kid. My father served both as a Lutheran and Methodist minister.

Thou shalt not kill is a commandment not to take another's life, but it isn't a prohibition against defending ones self. If it's you or the murderer attacking you, defending yourself isn't a sin.

Thou shalt not steal is a prohibition against taking that which you haven't earned.

That shalt not bear false witness (which is a fair bit more specific than thou shalt not lie) is prohibition against making up claims about others that have no truth.

Honor thy father and mother is a commandment to respect their teachings and learn from them, as well as pay them the respect they deserve for bringing you up properly.

Coveting - to desire something that belongs to someone else to the point of being willing to lie cheat or steal to take it, also forbidden.

Adultery - breaking your commitment of fidelity to your spouse

Please explain to me how, when dealing with another rational person, any of the above would be rational?

Remember that the commandments were passed down first by oral tradition, as was much of the old testament. There were scholars, certainly, but most people didn't read or write, they told stories. The explanation behind the stories, the morals, are the study of theology.

As for Christianity, Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto You is a statement of perfect rationality.

How about, if your eye offends you, pluck it out? Destroy that within you which is unholy to you.

Were it not for the superstitious beliefs tied up in Christianity, MUCH of Christianity would be an outstanding example of how to live. Except for the turn the other cheek nonsense....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its not like i respect either, but are there any others who "rank" regular christians higher than they do most of the atheists?

I think also religious people might make easier converts to Objectivism. They already know something about the importance of ideas, morality, values and a moral code, even if theirs are almost entirely wrong. In many moral questions regarding the use of force they do have the right notions.

If you look at some of the moderate religious right bloggers, like Michelle Malkin, or at sites like Townhall.com, you'll find lots of things to agree on regarding the current war and crime, for example, even some poionts in common in economics (especially by Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams).

But when these sites speak about immigration, homosexuality and evolution, they are so wrong they're positively disgusting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think either your theological background must either be lacking or you come from a different school than that in which I was raised. I am a Pastor's kid. My father served both as a Lutheran and Methodist minister.

I had to endure catholic teachings in school...

Thou shalt not kill is a commandment not to take another's life, but it isn't a prohibition against defending ones self. If it's you or the murderer attacking you, defending yourself isn't a sin.

Says who? A certain religious community? The bible? The Vatican?

As I've pointed out, the problem is the definition.

I agree with you insofar as it is possible to extract a number of reasonable rules from the whole amalganum of commandments, stories and beliefs.

The danger is this if you say that if you say that "Christianity isn't that bad" you also endorse other interpretations of the text.

Thou shalt not steal is a prohibition against taking that which you haven't earned.

Well, who defines what "I have earned"?

That shalt not bear false witness (which is a fair bit more specific than thou shalt not lie) is prohibition against making up claims about others that have no truth.

This is only true when dealing with rational people. There is no gain in telling a criminal the truth.

Honor thy father and mother is a commandment to respect their teachings and learn from them, as well as pay them the respect they deserve for bringing you up properly.

What if they taught me the wrong things? Why should I honor them because of that? Out of duty? This is a very vague statement.

'Mom, Dad, I don't love you, but God said I should honor you, so here I am, honoring you out of duty, not because I value you, I hope that makes you happy.'

Coveting - to desire something that belongs to someone else to the point of being willing to lie cheat or steal to take it, also forbidden.

Again the question how to define "belongings".

Adultery - breaking your commitment of fidelity to your spouse

I agree on that one.

As for Christianity, Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto You is a statement of perfect rationality.

No, it isn't, because this is a very subjective way of thinking, comparable to Kant's categorical imperative.

If I don't value my life very much and follow that saying may I treat others bad as well?

Please explain to me how, when dealing with another rational person, any of the above would be rational?

"when dealing with another rational person", that's the point. Unfortunately that's nowhere in the biblical text.

An Objectivist that lives after Christian teachings (i.e. that uses the definitions of force, theft, murder, property etc. from Objectivism and applies them to the teachings of Christianity) will probably live a happy life, yes.

Actually the main similarity between Objectivism and Christianity I see is that reality can't be faked. Christians believe in an all-seeing god that punishes sinners after their death. Objectivists "believe" in reality, that reality can't be faked and that any attempt in doing so will sooner or later fall back on you. Objectivists also believe in one's long-term interest.

I guess Christians can be 'converted' by starting at that point, especially because in today's world the lifespan is much longer. Telling kids that they will be punished after their death in 50-100 years and that they need to have a moral code isn't going to help them understand why they should follow a moral code. Explaining how reality works, why ultimately you can't fake reality, and why acting according to reality makes you happy is a much more convincing argument.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Coveting - to desire something that belongs to someone else to the point of being willing to lie cheat or steal to take it, also forbidden.

The part about "to the point of being willing to lie, cheat or steal" is nowhere in the text. An coveting merely means "to desire what belongs to another." This is pure thought crime. There is no merit whatsoever to this commandment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The part about "to the point of being willing to lie, cheat or steal" is nowhere in the text. An coveting merely means "to desire what belongs to another." This is pure thought crime. There is no merit whatsoever to this commandment.

cov·et Audio Help /ˈkʌvɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhv-it] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

–verb (used with object)

1. to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another's property.

The meaning of the word covet is significant..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing about Christianity is that if you take out the God element, a hell of a lot of it makes perfectly rational sense.

I'm going to remind you of that the next time they shoot a doctor in the street.

I rank people on a person to person basis. Number wise, of the people I know, I have a lot of respectable Christian friend (provided I do not contemplate the bad premises they endorse), mostly because there are more Christians. Percentage wise, I think its pretty even, maybe slightly more tilted in favor of atheism, mostly because I have yet to stumble across these anti-reason nihilistic hobgoblins I keep hearing about on Objectivist related sites.

Most of the atheists I know are pro-thought and reason. Very few are anti-thought (although few attack ideas with the same zeal that I do). In fact, I don't think I have ever met an out and out nihilist. Most atheists hold that morality is a human made construct (which it is). I don't think this makes them all neo-mystics. I've met plenty with bad ideas. I try to rectify that.

When I meet a bad Christian though, My lord! (No pun intended.) I once had a girl claim, right in front of me, that there should be legal prosecution against the producers of the Golden Compass film because they kill God at the end and it was a kid's movie. In another debate she tried to tell me that the Inquisition never happened and that Christianity did not mandate that all other thought systems outside of it were inherently evil.

Honestly I try to make friends with atheists because its people like that girl that have made me deeply uncomfortable near Christians. I can deal with a atheist who is wrong. He knows he can be wrong. I cannot deal with a Christian who is wrong. He knows he is always right! The gross idiocy and evil that Christianity has foisted upon the world gives me an inherent dislike of the whole system. Some of my atheist friends accuse me of an obsession or a vendetta against the whole of Christianity. I do not like it one bit.

I guess, ultimately, that some many people can be so immensely and provably wrong, and yet not notice drives me to distraction when I must be confronted with the fact.

While good can be drawn from and derived from Christianity, most of it is common sense and in direct contradiction with the bad. Jesus said "he without sin cast the first stone," but the old testament says its really o.k., provided it involves killing an old man who dared to work for his family on the Sabbath.

I also find it a little faulty to ask which do I prefer, atheists or Christians, since while Christians is a debatably close knit umbrella concept, atheist isn't. Its like asking, "Which do you like better, vegetables or liquid?"

Anyway, thats my uncomfortably bitter two cents. Buy a soda.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Listen, I'm not talking about Christians - they're, on par, the most hypocritical bunch of god fearing liars I've ever seen.

I'm talking about the rules for living that come from the Bible. Filter out the fictions and the genealogy and study the rules for living and how they've been taught for millennium and you get some pretty darn good common sense advice.

And thats why it hangs on. Because if people live by those rules, they do "ok".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The part about "to the point of being willing to lie, cheat or steal" is nowhere in the text. An coveting merely means "to desire what belongs to another." This is pure thought crime. There is no merit whatsoever to this commandment.

If you desire to have a car like Joe's, that's ok. If your desire is to have Joe's car, it depends on whether you want to steal it or buy it from Joe. So a warning aganist desiring another's person property isn't that bad.

What's bad is the commandment in question is about coveting another's property. It doens't end in "wife," but goes on to list other kinds of "thy neighbor's" possesions, therefore you're commanded to consider women, or at least wives, as property. That's evil, if not unique to either Christianity or Judaism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Listen, I'm not talking about Christians - they're, on par, the most hypocritical bunch of god fearing liars I've ever seen.

I'm talking about the rules for living that come from the Bible. Filter out the fictions and the genealogy and study the rules for living and how they've been taught for millennium and you get some pretty darn good common sense advice.

And thats why it hangs on. Because if people live by those rules, they do "ok".

Ah.

I see.

Well then, I have to say that makes a little more sense.

I honestly have to think that Christians do o.k. because they already lived by common sense and only take out the bad religious nonsense on sundays and when they get angry.

Its the ones who live it twenty-four/seven that really scary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...