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Silly Religion

To: alt.pagan,alt.religion.wicca,uk.religion.pagan,alt.startrek.vs.starwars,alt.chaos,,
From: (Paul Hume)
Subject: Re: Silly Religion
Date: 28 Jul 2003 10:06:10 -0700

> How does 'reason' know what morals are 'good' or 'evil', since there is no 
> good or evil without God.

You seem to disagree that there can be a rational basis for
designating actions as good or evil unless there is a religious
mandate to do so.

Yet systems of ethical philosophy have done so for centuries. Indeed,
man ethical philosophers have tackled the question to examine whether
one can have a consistent system of ethics outside of a religious

Rational bases for ethical systems include:
- the well being and stability of the community
- the well being and quality of life of offspring
- insuring the well being of others to insure one's own

Yet you seem to want to assert that honor, or responsibility, or even
enlightened self interest cannot provide a firm basis for ethical
judgements, but that ethics must be imposed from "outside" the
individual, and indeed, are only effective when backed with an
explicit or implicit threat of Divine punishment for unethical

> So someone who reasoned a conclusion is never wrong? What if I felt it was 
> morally reasonable for me to kill you for no purpose. Would that be okay?

You would need to demosntrate that this was essential to your own
well-being, AND explain why it was not all right for someone else to
kill you at whim (unless it IS all right for someone else to kill you
at whim). You would need to demonstrate how these decisions preserve
your own existence, advance the goals of the community, and indeed,
why they serve the purposes of the person you kill.

You seem you have not demonstrated that it is morally reasonable for
you to kill your correspondent. You have merely posited "what if" it
is morally reasonable to do so. Is such action commensurate with the
events surrounding it, for example? Does it overrule the claim society
has placed upon preserving the life of its members?

Is the only reason not to kill at whim because of the Decalogue? (Or
the Dhammapadda, or the Vedas, or other religious instructions which
take a dim view of killing at whim).

If your view is that humans are only capable of ethical action under
threat of divine punishment, then you need to make that clear - most
of your posts, forgive me, seem to be saying that if that factor is
absent, there is no other reason for moral action, which is inane. It
is a moral system that a five year old, or a thwarted criminal adult,
might adopt - "if only I wouldn't get punished for being bad, I would
be so bad" - but it speaks more to their stunted ethical judgement
that it does to the ethics of more mature individuals around them.


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