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Asmodeus
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14 Jul 2010, 9:11 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Wombat wrote:

As an individual it is in my best interest to cheat knowing that most people will be honest.



Until such time as your victims hire some muscle to break your knee caps. It is not in your long term interest to get people so annoyed with what you do that that retaliate with violence.

That is one of the reason why we hire police forces or hire body and property guards.

It is in your interest to live at peace with you neighbors as you get around to doing your rightful business.

ruveyn

You're employing religious/ethical rhetoric. Technically both work, depending on who you are/what you do:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma



wblastyn
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14 Jul 2010, 9:22 pm

Wombat wrote:
If there is no god or afterlife then why don't we choose to be psychopathic gangsters?

Humans evolved as a social species, and in order to exist as a society we must have rules. I suspect our conscience probably evolved as a measure to compell us to follow these rules. It isn't just something we can "switch off".



Sand
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15 Jul 2010, 12:49 am

wblastyn wrote:
Wombat wrote:
If there is no god or afterlife then why don't we choose to be psychopathic gangsters?

Humans evolved as a social species, and in order to exist as a society we must have rules. I suspect our conscience probably evolved as a measure to compell us to follow these rules. It isn't just something we can "switch off".


Only CEOs and leaders of oil companies and Wall Street financiers and high government officials are permitted to act as psychopathic gangsters. The rest of us may get away a bit with cheating on taxes. Catholic high officials can diddle with children but that is a special case and perhaps is going out of fashion. It's a privilege of special members of society.



LKL
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15 Jul 2010, 10:34 pm

Given wombat's frame of mind, it's probably better for all of us if he continues to believe that he'll be punished in hell if he misbehaves.

Perhaps atheism is only safe for those who aren't natural psychopaths.

As far as meaning goes, I have found that my life has *more* meaning if I think of it as all that I have: no do-overs, no second chances. I get one try to do everything that I want to do, and to do it right. There's a lot that I muck up, but a lot that I get right, too.



Meow101
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15 Jul 2010, 11:16 pm

LKL wrote:
Given wombat's frame of mind, it's probably better for all of us if he continues to believe that he'll be punished in hell if he misbehaves.

Perhaps atheism is only safe for those who aren't natural psychopaths.

As far as meaning goes, I have found that my life has *more* meaning if I think of it as all that I have: no do-overs, no second chances. I get one try to do everything that I want to do, and to do it right. There's a lot that I muck up, but a lot that I get right, too.


See, that's what I don't get. Many religions are heavily faith-based, that is, if you *believe* the "right" thing, you have a "get out of hell free" card that lets you basically do whatever you want as long as you believe. I don't have that as an agnostic. If I screw up, it's on ME, and there's no one to "take away my 'sins' (well I don't believe in sins, but you know what I mean)" and my feeling bad about it/repenting doesn't take away the consequences. To me, that's a greater responsibility and a greater meaning than opening up a rule-book and painting by numbers to get my rewards and avoid the punishments.

~Kate


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Awesomelyglorious
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16 Jul 2010, 12:05 am

Meow101 wrote:
LKL wrote:
Given wombat's frame of mind, it's probably better for all of us if he continues to believe that he'll be punished in hell if he misbehaves.

Perhaps atheism is only safe for those who aren't natural psychopaths.

As far as meaning goes, I have found that my life has *more* meaning if I think of it as all that I have: no do-overs, no second chances. I get one try to do everything that I want to do, and to do it right. There's a lot that I muck up, but a lot that I get right, too.


See, that's what I don't get. Many religions are heavily faith-based, that is, if you *believe* the "right" thing, you have a "get out of hell free" card that lets you basically do whatever you want as long as you believe. I don't have that as an agnostic. If I screw up, it's on ME, and there's no one to "take away my 'sins' (well I don't believe in sins, but you know what I mean)" and my feeling bad about it/repenting doesn't take away the consequences. To me, that's a greater responsibility and a greater meaning than opening up a rule-book and painting by numbers to get my rewards and avoid the punishments.

~Kate

I can understand that attitude. Christianity(one of the religions best known and known for faith and getting out of hell) is very much a matter of claiming men are guilty and then saying that God is in some sense thwarting justice for people who believe the right things. This ends up being ridiculous and kind of a mockery of the entire matter. The religion tells us that the only just thing to do for "wearing red shoes" is the death penalty, and that the only way to get out of it is become buddies with the judge, who had someone executed just to deal with the crime.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKgDDglSq2s[/youtube]

I mean, the entire notion of justice under many conservative Christian schemes is such a perversion that if one listened to it as if it was a secular court, it would seem an outright perversion of justice, and a very disturbed one at that. (And the video makes it clear.)

Even further, the "rule-book" in the case of Christianity is just disgusting in many places.



Meow101
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16 Jul 2010, 3:27 pm

Great video :D I agree it's an outright perversion of justice. The idea that someone could be a mass murderer and be treated better than I am by an "omnibenevolent" deity just because s/he believes the "right" thing and I don't is, to me, morally abhorrent. That's a big reason why I am not a Christian.

~Kate


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18 Jul 2010, 8:14 pm

just_ben wrote:
At the futility of their lives? I sometimes find myself in my darker moods to become rather apathetic towards my goals. As an atheist, I sometimes lack drive to achieve because of the sheer massiveness of the things that happen around me. Even the number of people in my town is enough to make me wonder what my impact on the world is. So I ask if anyone else goes through a similar thought pattern, or one more akin to my good moods; since I only have a finite time on the earth, I need to strive to achieve the best that I can, and to leave a mark for better.


You're still 21, and have only recently come to terms with the fact that you are not the center of the universe and that you will not go on living forever.

In another 30 years, you'll have gotten over it.

The world is a screwy place. Don't worry about leaving a mark or achieving anything. It really isn't important.