RE: [humanism-174] Aha!

From: Marni T.
Sent on: Sunday, August 5, 2007 1:38 AM

Todd,

Marni didn’t insinuate that YOU were amoral; she was philosophizing on the possibility of a situation. If she knew she was misconstrued, I’m sure that she’d be sending this message instead of me, but she went to bed awhile ago.

Rest assured that your input is highly valued by the rest of us. You are the first Theist in the group to speak out- that in itself is conducive to this sort of discussion. “Is there a God?” is still the eternal question. Also rest assured, you can get ME going on politics & world events anytime!

You did raise a VERY good question- where IS the root of right & wrong for Atheists? That really made me think. I was going to spew forth my conjecture, but I’ll save it for later. I’m very tired, and you’ve probably had enough Theist-Atheist for today.

MARK


From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Todd Maher
Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2007 12:11 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!

 

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I believe in the Lord, and I don't feel enslaved. I probably won't change my view on my faith, but there were some interesting things that you mentioned in your paragraph. First, to say that I am amoral didn't really make any sense. Amoral, by definition, is to be without morals. Simply because the way that I conduct myself happens to be in line with my faith, doesn't make my morals less than anyone else.

I guess I just wanted to join the free-thinkers group to discuss world events, politics and other stuff. I wasn't aware that it was an atheist-oriented club. It might not be, but it seems like all we talk about is atheist vs. theist. We can't get the real trouble out of the way if this is the limit to our free thinking. There are very bad things being done by very bad people in this world that need to be addressed. Faith aside, these issues of International Communism, forced vaccinations, police state and population control are what I think about when I think about wicked conspiracies that need to be addressed. Sorry guys, I just am worried that we may be mowing the lawn while the house is burning down.

-----

Hi Todd,

 

In answer to your question about what gives Atheists morals, if it isn’t written in some book written by humans for humans, I believe, and I am not speaking for the group here, that my morals were taught to me by my parents, who are very wise indeed. Does this mean that they received their morals from a higher power, and just passed that knowledge onto me? I think not. I believe that as human beings, because of our intrinsic value, and our brains, which can think beyond what others tell us to think, we can reason that there is right and wrong. We decide for ourselves based on facts and the “doing unto others” rule, and we make our own decisions on whether to do the right thing or the wrong thing. Some people don’t care about morals, and that is their prerogative. They have chosen to think of right and wrong differently. I have never, for one second, believed that some ”one” is pulling my strings. To do so would be giving up my mind. I do not like to be led like a sheep, and I don’t think other people should be led either. Since I believe in the science, not the fiction, of how the Earth was formed, and the universe, etc. etc., there cannot be a “lord”, so therefore, there is no higher power with any hold on me or my life decisions. Why should people rely on books that are written basically to enslave and put fear in them? Why should they rely on these books at all? Of course, I would agree that the “ten commandments” per se are very good guidelines, but they were part of a story, and I don’t need a story to live by. Please don’t get me wrong, my favorite books are fiction – I enjoy Stephen King and Dean Koontz primarily, but I certainly wouldn’t live my life based on any moral code they would put in their stories. That would be ridiculous. I’m sure there might be people out there who think Stephen King is a “god”. More power to them. Why is it that people assume that because you have no religion and you don’t cling to the bible, or whatever other book is out there, that you can’t be a moral, upstanding citizen? I don’t believe in the devil either, so there goes the “devil worshipping” theory right out the window as well.

 

I definitely agree with your point that humans have the ability to either save or destroy. However, I don’t believe that humans are any more valuable on this planet, simply by being, than a butterfly. Without the help of the butterfly and the bee, we wouldn’t survive. Intrinsic value or not, if a small creature like the aforementioned, can create what we need to survive, doesn’t that mean it has a moral code as well? I mean, a bee can certainly sting you. Does that mean the bee is evil? Or is it just stinging you because you caused it to defend itself against attack? Do bees and butterflies have moral codes? Does any other animal on this planet have a moral code besides humans? I think they do. I think that by definition, any living creature on this Earth can be “moral”. According to the very definition of moral, it is so varied and based on so many circumstances, that one could argue for any given situation that an animal is presented with, that it makes moral decisions based on its environment and the other animals involved. Also, as far as humans go, one person’s morality may be another person’s sin. Interesting thought. So, if that’s the case, and one goes by one book to shape all of his/her moral behavior, there might be a very good possibility that I could call that individual amoral, simply because I don’t believe in that person’s code of conduct, and I don’t believe in the book from which he/she received morality.

 

Ok, I guess I’ve talked enough. Please know that I respect the fact that you have shared with us your belief system.

Thanks for reading.

Marni

 


From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Todd Maher
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2007 2:39 PM
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!

 

Hey, Mark,

I'm glad you were able to look through the Mises website. I work at a bank, and much like yourself, I am more driven by comfort than money. I like money, but the things I can buy with it is outweighed by the time I would have to invest.

Point of interest on whether you are a good capitalist or not... I agree that if you are lending out your equipment to work sound for a gig, there should be something taken off of the top for equipment depreciation, risk of damage, and general wear and tear to recover the purchase price of the equipment. However, as long as the business can maintain itself and those working in the business are happy, there is nothing wrong with that. However, in order to continue operating the business, money has to be made to support the lives of those working.

And on to Religion...

I would have to say that humans have more intrinsic value than a butterfly, simply for the fact that we have the ability to help or harm the world exponentially more than any other animal. Humans developed nuclear weapons, nerve gas, biochemical warfare, etc. A butterfly cannot do such massively destructive things. Humans have also created hospitals, charities, orphanages and political action committees, which are positive things that a butterfly would be unable to manifest. That on its face would indicate that the fact that we have complex brains and the bodies to be directed by them, would make us more intrinsically valuable. I would hire a human to do the sound for my wedding, not a butterfly.

I think that your philosophy is fine if it works for you. Mine works well for me. I try to be fearful of judgment of the Lord, but I often make mistakes. I guess  you can say that He is my conscience. In the case of atheism, what code do atheists use of what is right or wrong? The Bible, the Koran, the Talmud or whatever religion you choose have been the guiding morals of individuals in their respective regions. Where is the root of right and wrong for atheists? I'm assuming atheism has been around for a long time, but I don't know their source of morals.

 

Todd


-----Original Message-----
From: Marni Tiborsky
<[address removed]>Sent: Aug 4, 2007 3:32 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!



Todd,

I checked out the Mises site… fascinating and very informative. A lot of it is over my head at this point- but I intend to investigate further. A good deal of philosophy involved here- it may take awhile for me to fully digest it. I was wondering, are you a businessman? I had my own live sound business for several years- I actually was quite good at what I did, and had some great sound technicians working with me. Overall, I would say the business was a success- however, I can’t say I was a good businessman; for one thing, I’ve never been that much of a monetarily-driven person- I’ve always been more comfort-driven than anything else. Secondly, I was WAY too fair with my helpers- I would usually pay them the full cut for any “gig”, whereas any other “boss” in the same situation would take a cut off the top if he or she owned the equipment used, etc. Then I met Marni, and wanted to spend more time with her- so I began farming out my contracts. Soon after, Marni & I were engaged- and I desired to return to a “regular” job, so I wouldn’t have to work every single weekend. By the time we were married in June of ’04, my sound business had lapsed into oblivion. So I guess I‘m not the world’s greatest capitalist, ay?

Back to the matter of religion (or lack thereof),

I don’t feel as if I was “put here” at all. I see myself as an organism inhabiting planet Earth, an organism with a complex brain. I feel that I have no more intrinsic value to the Universe than say, a butterfly. And I’m fine with that! Also, since I don’t believe in souls & the afterlife, or heaven or hell for that matter, I have no fear of “judgment”- I’m fine with all that also. I’m not sure whether this is a classic atheist’s view of oneself or not, but these are my “beliefs” in a nutshell.

 

Mark  

 

 


From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Todd Maher
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2007 2:36 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!

 

The Corporatism in america has no place in the free markets. Government law protects Corporations from feeling any real pain. This is government protectionism that allows for this to occur. I would recommend a great thinker from the Austrian school of Economics, Ludwig Von Mises, to explain further. Going to his website www.mises.org, we will be able to listen to other free market capitalists like myself show how government interference, corporate welfare (government sponsored), supposed "free-trade" agreements are undermining the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Also, it'd be worthwhile to look at the role the United Nations and their treaties expel certain constitutional freedoms we have. I will debate this point, because it'll hopefully make me a sharper individual.

Government Religions and most organized religions are the victim of any large organizetion- power corruption, or the power attracting the corruptible. Should we trust man, a sinner, to uphold God's law and issue judgment upon us? I think not. That is His job and His job alone. However, if anyone does anything to endanger my life, liberty or property, to the gallows with them.



-----Original Message-----
From: Marni Tiborsky
<[address removed]>Sent: Aug 3, 2007 12:51 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!




Todd,

I must say that I agree with your politics! I think we all know, deep down, that a fundamental change is needed. The “system” is in shambles. Freedom, as the Founding Fathers had intended, has been slowly slipping away for 20+ years now.

I don’t think that the government is the sole bad guy though- is the “free” market really free? Corporate entities are now basically writing OUR laws. It’s capitalism run amok. Our despotic administration, most of congress, and most of their political cronies LOVE this… they make lots & lots of money, while the common man continues to get screwed in more and more ways. Some people who are more well-to-do might love corporate-controlled government too- especially the ones who have vested interests in corporations like Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, Dyncorp, big pharmacuticals, Wal-Mart, etc.....

I feel that your statement “religion doesn’t cause wars, government uses religion to create wars” is true in SOME cases- however, I believe that religion, especially organized religion, and worse yet, religion AS government, has caused countless wars and will continue to do so, barring some sort of major “human enlightenment”.

Sorry, can’t finish this email tonight- very tired!

MARK T.

 

 

 


From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Todd Maher
Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2007 12:29 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!

 

I would not call another's views blasphemous, for I am not He who judges (or at least I'm not supposed to be). The universal truth that I've been moving toward are that we are put here as a test to see how badly we can mess up. I have probably messed up more than most, but I am optimistic that I will be prepared for death when my time comes.

Do you think about why we think what we do? For example, the whole political propaganda paradigm (right vs. left) and why they are so eager to get us to pick sides? Why we are driven to consume that which we don't need, those things which enslave us to earn the right to own them? I am a free-market, freedom loving individual who believes that government and individuals have been in a struggle from the beginning of time, tugging and pulling (individuals wanting freedom, government pulling us into despotism through rhetoric and propaganda.) Religion doesn't cause wars, government uses religion to create wars, because it burns at the very souls of man. (They sure know how to press our buttons.) Well, I'll respond to any questions or comments I get soon.

Todd




-----Original Message-----
From: Marni Tiborsky
<[address removed]>Sent: Aug 2, 2007 12:19 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!





Todd,

If you click on the “messages” tab on our group meetup site, you can see ALL the dialogue that’s gone on from day one. It’s a good way to see what some of our more active members are like. The majority of us are indeed Atheists & Agnostics- some of the dialogue would probably be considered blasphemy by the very religious. However, for a Freethinker, is there such a thing as blasphemy? I think not!

We’re not looking to convert anyone… and we certainly aren’t looking for anyone to try and convert us. We’re all searching for answers to the universal questions, are we not?

We look forward to your input…

 

Mark

 


From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Todd Maher
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 11:55 PM
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!

 

That's cool. Us Libertarians believe that people should worship how they please. I think it's the point of free thinking. Also, we believe that if a group wants to be exclusive, they should be able to keep their group the way they wish.

Regarding your Brahman question, my wife is sleeping right now. We're expecting late December/ early January. I am only as familiar with Buddhism as she has taught me.

When I discuss freethinking ideas, mine are usually along my religious dialogue or my political views, which some call radical, others call extreme. Me, I call them founding father material. Ok, now that I am done being full of myself, we can move on to topic. Sorry for not adding to the conversation, but it was nice to see some of the back and forth amongst the group.


 

 
 
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