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post #61 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 06:32 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Originally Posted by Itwasjustafantasy View Post
Well I just wrote an unnecessarily long reply...I get your position now. And I think I do agree with what you are saying...gotta stop taking everything so personally.
No problem.

I have to ask. I've always wanted to know. What would be okay to say when a person sneezes? I realize saying some form of "bless you", is unacceptable to an atheist. Does anything need said? I think not, if you know someone is an atheist. If you know someone is a believer, I think it is polite to say some form of "bless you".

What is respectful of all?

I think saying nothing is disrespectful. Maybe I am not being honest. It feels wrong to say nothing and it bothers me sometimes.


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post #62 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 07:11 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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No problem.

I have to ask. I've always wanted to know. What would be okay to say when a person sneezes? I realize saying some form of "bless you", is unacceptable to an atheist. Does anything need said? I think not, if you know someone is an atheist. If you know someone is a believer, I think it is polite to say some form of "bless you".

What is respectful of all?

I think saying nothing is disrespectful. Maybe I am not being honest. It feels wrong to say nothing and it bothers me sometimes.
For a long time well up until a few years ago I always said bleshoo, because I grew up thinking that's what people say when someone sneezes.

In more recent years I've stopped saying anything, because sneezing really isn't a big deal either way.

As an atheist I don't care if people say nothing at all, bless you, bleshoo, or whatever other words come to mind. Likewise I also feel no compulsion to say bless you to anyone who I know is a theist just to make them feel better.
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post #63 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 07:25 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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But why the NAP? Is it only because there is a general consensus of the "Golden Rule" across the vast majority of societies? Is it only right because it is popular?
The NAP is easily stated but is much more subtle than it appears. Read http://www.amazon.com/Spontaneous-Or.../dp/B012DL2SQ2 for a defense of the NAP (among many other useful and interesting things).

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post #64 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 07:36 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Lol, I actually agree with a lot of your post. I just thought that was an interesting similarity to the RCC’s position… Morality must come from a higher authority, not mere reason… men, although capable of doing moral things, are tainted by Original Sin (or the concept that they have a tendency to sin or otherwise do immoral things) and this, along with free will, means that we are bound to do wrong.

I’m glad you’re enjoying the thread. This is something I have a deep interest in, and it helps me to understand other commenters here on a much more fundamental level.

As to your questions and @MarriedDude's excellent points about the morality of war, of soldiery, of non-violent destruction… I’d say yes, they are inherently immoral, but because we don’t live in a perfect world, we will have to act, sometimes, in immoral ways, and pay the price of it. Prudence, and necessity, sometimes mean that our nature will trump morality.

Is it immoral to take a man’s life? Certainly. Is it always unjustified? That’s a lot murkier. Is it more immoral to let a murderer kill your children, and to flee, or to fight back, and potentially kill him? Because decisions never happen in a vacuum, we can find ourselves looking at decisions that are horrible, where there is no morally right option, only the least immoral option, or even merely the most expedient.

To me, there is something beautiful in the struggle to be moral, to try to do right, despite our nature and our impulses, despite what is easy and expedient. To know you will fail, but to charge that hill anyways, and to try to learn from those failings.
NAP says that it is not immoral to use force in defense, so I don't agree with this. To consider any force to be immoral means that you are a pacifist, not a libertarian (although you can be both).

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post #65 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 07:38 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

i wonder, why is everyone so concerned about morality?

if you are living a life you love and are proud of your every choice, then what difference does morality or ethics make?

personally, i can be happy in any circumstance. if i decide to be someone i can love, then why care if what i do is moral? if i love myself, if i really love myself, then how could i not love other people?


rather than ask whether morality is subjective or not, you might first want to figure out why you even care.

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post #66 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 07:39 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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What makes hurting others "not good" morally?

Now, regarding anti-theism, why would you be opposed to something that you admit makes people behave more in line with morally good? Do a few bad actors make an entire religion bad, or do we judge the religion on the ideas the religion promotes? What do you propose as a replacement?

You didn't respond to the comic page I linked to... so I'll just go ahead and posit this directly (it did better IMO): As an anti-theist, how far are you willing to take your beliefs? Are you willing to die for them? Are you willing to kill for them? Would you hurt, hinder, or condemn in the name of Secular Progress? I ask because....

Torquemada (The Inquisition): 4,000 dead (over the course of 350+ years) (Catholicism)
Pol Pot: 2,000,000 dead (Atheism)
Stalin: 10,000,000+ dead (Atheism)
Mao Zedong: 20,000,000+ dead (Atheism)

As it turns out, Christianity was much less bloody in its entire history (in the name of enforcing Christianity), than Atheism was just in the 20th Century.... As it turns out, Christianity actually promotes some truly great morals, which cannot be said of Atheism... so wouldn't it be better to convert to Christianity (or Buddhism, or several other religions) than to remain an Atheist?

RE: Eating Animals... that is too far into the weeds. We should address that in another thread. I'm not opposed to the discussion, I'd be glad to have it, but that discussion would be completely dependent upon a lot of the answers I'm looking to have you provide here in this thread.
The problem is not religion vs. atheism but aggression vs. the NAP.
Atheists or religionists who follow the NAP weren't been responsible for any of those deaths, other than in defense of themselves or others.

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post #67 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 08:39 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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I think saying nothing is disrespectful. Maybe I am not being honest. It feels wrong to say nothing and it bothers me sometimes.
As to it bothering you, I figure it's just because you are so used to it, anything else seems a bit strange so it doesn't feel right to you.
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post #68 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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i wonder, why is everyone so concerned about morality?

if you are living a life you love and are proud of your every choice, then what difference does morality or ethics make?

personally, i can be happy in any circumstance. if i decide to be someone i can love, then why care if what i do is moral? if i love myself, if i really love myself, then how could i not love other people?


rather than ask whether morality is subjective or not, you might first want to figure out why you even care.
If there are intrinsic, objective values, then we have something to guide our lives and decisions by.

Is there some intrinsic value to "Love"? If not, then why should love be your measuring stick? If a narcissist loves himself and knows no shame, can he do no wrong?

Why would it matter that we love ourselves? Or anyone? Especially if there is no objective right or wrong...

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
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post #69 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 09:01 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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I liked this post a lot RD, if indeed morality must come from a Higher Power (God) and if indeed there is no God, then we are far better off as a species and society believing in God (and morality) than we are in accepting Relativism. Because Relativism is really just a pretty way to mask Nihilism. And Nihilism, if acted upon is very, very bad for keeping people in line, and keeping societies cohesive and together.
Aye, but there lies a problem with that as well, for power as a rule, corrupts. An entity with that much power, who to keep it in line? Who to keep it accountable? The atrocities of God are many, and documented very well in the bible. Hence imagination is better than reality in this instance in my opinion. Double edged sword however, as can be seen with extremists. Overall though, extremists tend to be in the minority, hence religion, for me, is decidedly acceptable as a necessary "evil".
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post #70 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 10:04 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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If there are intrinsic, objective values, then we have something to guide our lives and decisions by.

Is there some intrinsic value to "Love"? If not, then why should love be your measuring stick? If a narcissist loves himself and knows no shame, can he do no wrong?

Why would it matter that we love ourselves? Or anyone? Especially if there is no objective right or wrong...
the problem is that there is nothing concrete to follow, unless you ascribe to a religion or a doctrine. there IS nothing intrinsic by which to measure things.

ultimately, the ONLY person that any of this matters to is ourselves. we can say all day long that it matters to other people, but it is impossible to really know anything about what others feel or think.

we will never be able to think a thought with or for another person, nor will we ever be able to feel a feeling with or for another person.

we truly are alone in our unique experiences. so, ultimately, the only person we CAN live for is ourselves. the objective right or wrong is ultimately determined by the individual.

morality really has nothing to do with everyone else, but everything to do with us. either we live a life we are proud of and love, or we live a life we are ashamed of and regret.

speaking as someone who actually was diagnosed as a sociopath, i can tell you that they are asleep. to them, they do no wrong. no moral system will convince them otherwise. to them, all of their actions are moral. but, i can also tell you that they do NOT love themselves.

back then, i used to tell myself all kinds of things to convince myself that i was above everyone else. that i was somehow better. but, i did not really love myself. if i had, i would have been happy. instead, i was just existing, constantly looking for my next exploit that would tell me that i was better. shame was an emotion that i actively fled from at every turn.

so, yea, they know what morality is. but they refuse to accept it. the only measure of morality is the self. and those who do not love themselves are not moral. simple as that.

i hated myself back then. i can admit that now. i despised people because i hated myself. nothing i did was every good enough to convince me otherwise. i always needed more, it was never enough.

from what i can tell, most people refuse to see themselves as an entity they have complete control over. since they dont see themselves as entities completely within their control, they have to find ways to justify their actions and thoughts. and hence, they struggle with morality. they cannot even define it.

so yes, i would say the only measure of morality is love. if you make a mistake while trying to love yourself and those around you as yourself, you have not done anything immoral. you have simply fallen victim of ignorance. if you want to never fall victim to ignorance, then you must be aware.

none of us are fully aware of anything. we are all bound to make mistakes. we can still be moral though, should we decide to be. even with the mistakes.


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post #71 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 12:46 AM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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No problem.

I have to ask. I've always wanted to know. What would be okay to say when a person sneezes? I realize saying some form of "bless you", is unacceptable to an atheist. Does anything need said? I think not, if you know someone is an atheist. If you know someone is a believer, I think it is polite to say some form of "bless you".

What is respectful of all?

I think saying nothing is disrespectful. Maybe I am not being honest. It feels wrong to say nothing and it bothers me sometimes.
Although I have now been living in the USA for most of my life, my native language is something that I have grown to appreciate tremendously...it could be difficult to comprehend for some unless like me, you grew up in a diffrent country with different values and culture etc. So, I love when I hear "salud" which essentially means "to your health."
But I do not expect to hear that often unless I am around Spanish speaking people. The "bless you" just never really felt genuine to me. Bless me? I have researched what it means and how this phrase came to be used. I do know there is no ulterior motive other than showing acknowledgement and concern for others. So I do not take offense to it at all, but again even after decades of listening to it I am uncomfortable with it. Sometimes I wish there were no such acknowledgment. At the expense of being crude, why acknowledge a sneeze and not a cough? Or passing gas? Or something similar? I am a rather shy person who suffers from seasonal allergies and I at times get the apparent neverending sneeze attack...and it makes me quite embarrassed to be repeatedly (unnecessarily) told "bless you" by all my collegues with whom I share the office! I know their heart is in the right place and the bottom line is that it is one of those things that people do out of habit. So I gracefully express my gratitude for their acknowledgement.
Now when it comes to saying bless you to others, well I do it cause it is expected. But a lot of the time I literally have to make a conscious effort to say it...it just does not come naturally to me. It is simply not genuine. I'd rather hand you a tissue and pretend nothing happened.
I mean here is the thing, when people sneeze sometimes stuff comes out of their noses, do they really want the attention? Ugh. Not me, please just hand me a tissue and give me a little space. I find some things rather uncomfortable. I know I am a very self-conscious person with an inability to keep replies concise.
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post #72 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Where do I derive my morals? I was raised Catholic. I went to an all girls Catholic school and grew up in a Catholic country in South America. I never felt that thing called "faith," so i believe I have always been an atheist, I just did not realize it until I was well into my adult years.
To me it all comes down to empathy.(Those of you familiar with my story in CWI are probably rollong your eyes right now, fair enough, I am no model of morality). Unless one is born a sociopath, one can basically understand that our actions have consequences and they have effects on those around us. Why in the world would we want to purposely inflict pain on others? Why?
I am a very flawed person and yet my whole life I have strived to cause the least pain possible and the most joy possible to those around me. I have failed more than once but I'd like to think that if I ever treat someone with kindness they know that I do it because I genuinely want to and not because I want a reward for it.
I do not believe in the concept of eternal life and to be honest I really would not want that. I like the idea that this is the one precious life I get to be the best person I can be and thus I will do everything in my power to enjoy it and to ensure that I bring joy and kindness to those around me. No more, no less.
Although I am anti-religion, I am not anti-religious people. I get ot, I used to be one. If it brings one joy and peace and a way of staying moral, then I am glad religious people have found religion for such noble purposes. But I still think many would do just fine and be just as moral without believing in some diety.
I hope you don't feel like I'm picking on you, because it's not intended that way. I'm just trying to flesh out the concepts myself and others have, where we agree, where we disagree, where we are holding beliefs that seem conflicting...

Let me get this straight... you are an atheist... who derives their morals from Catholicism and the God of Christendom? Or are you just using that to explain your upbringing?

You argue that you derive morality from pleasure / pain... so would it make sense to start using heroine, because it will eliminate pain and cause lots of pleasure? You argue that morality can be found outside of a religion / God (something I'm not necessarily in disagreement on) but how can it be found, in your view? What is the method to determining morality?

If it is your contention that we are flawed that implies a concept of perfection. From where do you derive this concept? (You can answer in broad strokes, I'm not looking for specifics necessarily)

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So, I am going to be honest and tell you that I am perhaps not the most educated person about historical facts about atheism. I just think it is fair to say that religion is not all harmless. That is all. I am also sure it has its postives but none i find useful in my personal life.
Being an atheist only means that I do not believe in a god, just like you probably as an adult do not believe in the tooth fairy or monsters under your bed. When it comes to morality, just by the mere fact that we are human we all, atheists included, may have failed at times to live up to some sort of moral code. I do not care to die for atheism (I will die eventually, why rush it?). I do not care for exterminating religious people. My anti-theism would be more in the form of making myself known as an atheist and refusing to indoctrinate my daughter into any particular religion. We live in an age where at least here in America being LGBTQ is becoming increasingly accepted as it very well should be and people are able to find support for coming out as their particular sexual identity. Only because I feel safe in an online forum do I talk about my atheism because it is one very important aspect of who I am. So what I do in real life is that I try to show through my actions that it is indeed possible to be a good moral kind hearted person "in spite of my atheism. " for example when I do a charitable act I often get the "god bless you." I simply smile and that is that. Other times I thank them and tell them that I do not believe in a god. They then give me the condescending "I will pray for you." In any event, I cannot get angry as I do understand that is what the majority of the population is, theist. I give to all charities but especially to secular ones. I love that most atheist aren't against women's rights and LGBTQ rights just because their "religion" tells them so.
Finally, I hate that I had been living a relatively moral life until the last year or so when I had an emotional affair. I hate that it damages the image I had of myself as a good, kind person. Yet this experince has helped me understand and perhaps be a bit more humble and open to and accepting of the need of religion for some people.
I think in the end we all strive to be good people. I intend to do so for the rest of my life without relying on religious faith.
Ugh...one of my biggest flaws, cannot be concise. I tried.
To say religion is not harmless, as an indictment of religion, would seem very odd. Very little in this world is harmless. Probably nothing is harmless.

I take exception to the tooth fairy being compared to God... even if God were a lie, he would fall under the concept of a Noble Lie, not a mere tale meant to entertain... useful in far greater ways, like G.K. Chesterton has famously said: " Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon"

Now, if you have no God, how do you define good? (I mean how do you come to that definition?)

I'm kind of intrigued at the championing of LGBTQ by atheists... for a people so rooted in "science" and wanting desperately to "debunk" myths, do you really support engaging in delusion a-la "transgenderism"? Science is very clear: you are what you are. A man can no more become a woman scientifically, than a monkey can become a snake. How strange, that atheists are so "accepting" of such a basic lie--a lie about something obvious--while they oppose something that is much more questionable as beneath them, and in need of opposition.

BTW, thanks for engaging in these difficult concepts.

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people / Who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth / There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end / And the sun will rise...
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post #73 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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The NAP is easily stated but is much more subtle than it appears. Read http://www.amazon.com/Spontaneous-Or.../dp/B012DL2SQ2 for a defense of the NAP (among many other useful and interesting things).
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NAP says that it is not immoral to use force in defense, so I don't agree with this. To consider any force to be immoral means that you are a pacifist, not a libertarian (although you can be both).
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The problem is not religion vs. atheism but aggression vs. the NAP.
Atheists or religionists who follow the NAP weren't been responsible for any of those deaths, other than in defense of themselves or others.
I don't think I've read this one. I'll check it out. I'm very familiar with the NAP, and I used to subscribe to it adamantly. I still think it's a very useful "rule of thumb" that has exceptions/caveats.

Regarding pacifism, I would only say that it seems to me that it is always immoral to take the life of a human. Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where it is justified, or where it is the least bad option, but it is still always bad. This wouldn't necessarily be extended to all force--there are times when initiation of force is moral. (also keep in mind "immoral" doesn't necessarily mean something should be unlawful)

Now, on the religion concept, RE: NAP would it not make sense to judge a religion by its ideas. If its holy texts promote violence, then it is a very bad (immoral) ideology according to the NAP, right?

Without me reading the book you've recommended, could you make a defense of the NAP in general, as to how you come to it being objectively immoral to initiate force against someone?

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people / Who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth / There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end / And the sun will rise...
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post #74 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 02:40 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

Haha, I also reckon it's immoral to take the life of a human being, however some "humans" have lost their humanity for me and therefore need to be cleaned out. Rapists and pedos for example, are beyond redemption for me, their actions must face the consequences and the consequence ideally in my opinion would be torture, but death would suffice as a compromise, preferably a horrid one.

Just my opinion anyway, I have my darker beliefs... but it's all talk as I remain leashed as a law-abiding citizen. If harm was to occur to my daughter however, I'm not so sure if I would be able to restrain myself from exacting revenge.
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post #75 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 07:26 PM
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I hope you don't feel like I'm picking on you, because it's not intended that way. I'm just trying to flesh out the concepts myself and others have, where we agree, where we disagree, where we are holding beliefs that seem conflicting...

Let me get this straight... you are an atheist... who derives their morals from Catholicism and the God of Christendom? Or are you just using that to explain your upbringing?

You argue that you derive morality from pleasure / pain... so would it make sense to start using heroine, because it will eliminate pain and cause lots of pleasure? You argue that morality can be found outside of a religion / God (something I'm not necessarily in disagreement on) but how can it be found, in your view? What is the method to determining morality?

If it is your contention that we are flawed that implies a concept of perfection. From where do you derive this concept? (You can answer in broad strokes, I'm not looking for specifics necessarily)


To say religion is not harmless, as an indictment of religion, would seem very odd. Very little in this world is harmless. Probably nothing is harmless.

Now, if you have no God, how do you define good? (I mean how do you come to that definition?)

I'm kind of intrigued at the championing of LGBTQ by atheists... for a people so rooted in "science" and wanting desperately to "debunk" myths, do you really support engaging in delusion a-la "transgenderism"? Science is very clear: you are what you are. A man can no more become a woman scientifically, than a monkey can become a snake. How strange, that atheists are so "accepting" of such a basic lie--a lie about something obvious--while they oppose something that is much more questionable as beneath them, and in need of opposition.

BTW, thanks for engaging in these difficult concepts.
No, I do not at all derive my morality from catholicism...I was just explaining my upbringing. I think what is most relevant is perhaps to explain that I am raising my daughter as a freethinker. No need for religion. It shall be interesting to hear from her how she defines morality once she becomes an adult who grew up without religion. I simply believe in being kind and loving...someone else said something earlier about love. I am the biggest skeptic there is...somehow even when I was a believer I never had any ESP experiences and again could never quite grasp the idea of loing or respecting or fearing a figure such as a god...I still do not get it. And I am olay with it. When I was younger I longed to feel that thing called faith, to love an obey a being that cannot possibly be proven to exist. The bible is not enough for me.
I do not care to question whether there are in fact transgender people. I do not need proof, the proof is if they believe then so be it. They sre not imposing their existance on me. Why would they ever choose to be part of a marginalized group? If any one individual does not do harm to me why can I just not be loving and kind to them? Life is diffult and complicated enough, why add to it more suffering and pain.
Finally, again going back to not being a sociopath. I have a concsience. If I can go to sleep every night peacefully, if I can look at myself in the mirror (more in a metaphorical sense) without shame and disgust for my actions, then I know I am being a good person. Perfect? Not possible. But every new day is a new opportunity to be better and do better. It really does not take much effort. At least that is the way I am raising my daughter.
One last thoguht, as I read back an earlier post I realize that I can come across as disrespectful towards religous or god fearing people. I have to keep myself in check to not treat such people with desdain or disrepect. I hardly ever get into these kinds of debates, my parents are religious, most of my acquaintances and collegues are too. It would be pointless to engage in any type of debate because I do not care to change their mind unless that is what they want. I teach my daughter to respect and love her grandparents and to realize that we are surrounded by largely religious people. I do not keep her from learning about world religions if she is interested. She is not a vegetarian like I am. It does not bother me. She is not an extension of me, she is her own person. And if some day she decided she wants to read the bible or go to Church she has plenty of loving people in her life that would love to offer her that kind of support. It just won't be me. I have taught her that I get to respect the beliefs of others and I expect the same courtesy.

I do appreciate this exchange of opinions. It is one of my passions. And I have to admit that I am perhaps not quite as knowledgeable as I thought I was.
I do have to leave this thread as I does take me a long time to write. Thanks again for the enlightening discussion.
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