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I would have to say that the inability to act because of cowardice is not only motivated by fear but by selfishness in the desire to preserve one's own self. There are people who have a lot to give to society and who can contribute a lot through their opinions, skills, voice, but who do not do it for fear of loosing something (status, friendships, power, money..). Society is at loss.

The tyrant's bravery is motivated by confidence in that his ideas are the best and only pathway to improving society. Although he might be wrong, it seems to me that tyrants vision their own twisted version of an ideal society. The problem is that it is twisted! However, at least they act and they risk their own well being for the achievement of an ideal. Eventually their vision will crumble, as the idea in itself, not being really the best, will encounter opposition in society.

Thus, the coward deserves more blame. There are so many people complaining, so many people who know for example that "war is bad", yet no one has the courage to step forward and oppose it actively; because we are too afraid.

2 points

Hey I just tried to access the link you posted http://seriousbusiness.createdebate.com and it just went back to the traditional main page, I can't find the "serious" debates there, unless I come back here to check on the list.

What do I need to do to check out the community page?

Thanks for doing this! it has been getting harder and harder to find interesting debates on the main page. :) kudos for that.

so whats your point? that everybody should hear two sides to every single story they hear?

The point is to illustrate that more information about a subject leads to better judgment on it. Ideally we should refrain from emitting moral judgments when we don't have enough information. The point was on how information, not the subjectivity of religion, leads to better judgments.

thats because you are talking to religious people using religious answers

Evidently, this is your case, as you are trying to pose a defense for god.

On questioning.

Questioning should not be "overcome" as if it was an obstacle. Questions just need answers. When religious people seek answers in prayer, the answer has a high chance of just being a subjective personal intuition. If religious people would really look for answers they would have to start by first questioning the very existence of god, and requiring proof.

you cannot say one has a better law just because it doesn't agree with your ideology

Of course it is possible to judge whether an ideology is right or wrong, just as it is possible to judge the morality of anything else. Laws that do not give equal treatment to it's inhabitants , are laws that lack a good morality. When slavery was accepted, for example, the definition of citizen was not applicable to the slaves, as they were not awarded the same rights. I do not agree with it, not because of some "personal ideology" but because I believe all human beings to be equal. In your example of a country that bans homosexuality, I would also find that rather disgusting - how can it be right to judge a person by what he/she does in bed? are they harmful to society? how?

Anyway, thank you for showing your low level of maturity. With this, I abstain from the ridiculous debate that you have created. But again, I don't have enough information to judge you as a good or bad person as I lack the information about your age, your educational level, and the degree of your faith. ... ;-) cheers. And I didn't need god to tell me that pre-judging a person is bad... Or maybe if I had god then I could make a quick prejudgment and say you are a bigot.

A choice always entails sacrifices. People weight the cost and benefits of their choices on many things, one of them, their convenience.

I do feel that convenience is a value that has been inculcated by capitalism, but that is also naturally embraced by us. A great majority of the population view "easy" as being "best". This is not true. The value of convenience is an "anti-value" for it not always brings the best for society in general.

It is easier to throw trash out than to sort it out. You can't argue with that. BUT it is not the best. The Japanese, with a culture which harbors values that benefit society in general more than the personal satisfaction of the individual, make better choices in terms of the public good. They value society more than their own personal convenience.

I think that the most dangerous way of thinking is to continue placing our personal convenience above anything else. We need to have our hierarchy of values reorganized. First I think of others (society, the environment) then, Ill think of myself. The first thought may or may not entail going through things the "hard" way (depending on the technology that is available - e.g. , carrying a pet bottle or finding machine that refills) , but we shouldn't see that "hard way" as something undesirable. I think it is a matter of values and change in mentality of what importance to give to our personal convenience v.s. our well-being as members of a society.

Products are meant to make our lives more pleasant, agreed. But does pleasant equal better? My life is certainly more pleasant with a car. But in the end it wont be better because of it.

This clash wouldn't have been a problem if we had had our hierarchy in order in the first place. Then we would now have a whole range of products that not only make our life pleasant, but also better (electric cars for example!). Because we would have started the design with society in mind, instead of just the individual.

We may not like the word "sacrifice", but at some point in time we will have to understand that every-time we choose one thing over another, the other thing is sacrificed. for a long time we have been sacrificing society for our own good, and to continue with this train of thought is more of the same thing. It is not just about convenience.

Kinda,

A warped sense of "reality" comes from religious dogmas that teach us to follow fairy tales and trust imaginary beings such as god, or else we go to hell.

I support a clear, objective understanding of reality, you clearly don't. You are still hoping that the god you believe in is real in order to base your morality on it. Morality does not require a god. Atheists are not immoral people. Muslims are not immoral people. Buddhist are not immoral. Everyone is capable of understanding and exercising good will towards others (in favor of a greater good), with or without a religious background. What I'm saying is, there is no need to believe in god in order to attain a greater good.

I still maintain that arguing which religion is right is absurd because it is like arguing about the preferences of santa claus. It is unnecessary. A waste of effort. And unfortunately it further divides us. I know people clash on different subjects, we all have differences.. however religious people tend to view others outside their religion as being inferior, or condemned, or in need. They view themselves as being "right" and this hinders communication and dialogue. While two people with differing opinions on politics or philosophy an argue and change their minds and grow; two very firm religious believers will not argue for the sake of developing their ideas. Their aim is to "convince" the other person that they need a "god".

Im very clear in saying that moral choices do not come from fairy tales. They come from judgement based on enough evidence about a situation.

When two friends of yours get into a fight and one comes to tell you about the situation, you have the choice to make a judgement without listening to the other side of the story. If you do, your judgement is more likely to be flawed than if you allowed yourself to listen to the other side. The more evidence you have, the better the choice you will make.

Religion makes us listen to only one authorative voice, the voice of god (whoever that one is).

When I talk about "evidence" please do not mistake this only with scientific evidence. When I speak of science I mean using the scientific method of inquiry. Of course moral judgments come outside of science! im not arguing or that or saying contrary. But INFORMED judgments come from more evidence and knowledge. Thats the difference.

When I hear "homosexuality is wrong!" from a religious person, no one is able to give me one reason between stuttering that doesn't boil down to "the word of god". This is an exampled of a moral judgement that is uninformed and inaccurate.

I find a lot of contradictions in what you are saying about belief in god. When I mentioned that faith is the certainty of things without the need for evidence, Im not making this up. Go look at the definition of faith in the bible and you will see what many followers already know. Questioning within a religion is not "wrong" but it is seeing often as an attack of the devil, a phase, or something that must be overcome. Because eventually, you just gotta believe, brother. or as you mentioned near the end of your post: you just have to trust the imaginary being above.

When you say that science does nothing, you sound like a very religious uneducated person. Science does nothing?! geez, now who sounds close minded? A scientific method of reasoning actually tells us to start all inquiries with the premise that we do not know, and thus, we keep on searching.

Religious people quit that search and take things by faith, that is, by lack of evidence. Including a lack of proof for the existence of god. If you show an atheist proofs of the existence of god, then it makes sense to believe. But when scientific proof comes out rebutting the possibility of the afterlife, or miracles, or of resurrection , the religious person closes his ears and stops listening. This also occurs when two religious people argue, from different beliefs... why? because they already trust "in their heart" so no point in dialoguing in order to find out if what they trust is true or not.

Judgement about whether one thing is good or not should come from information. Lets stop calling it science cause you seem to get confuse. In your example about immigration, if your judgement is based on the unfounded belief that people from other countries are inferior, then your judgement will be wrong. However if you judgement is based upon evidence about the effects of immigration on your country (whether good or bad), then you will have a better judgement, and therefore make better laws. Does that make sense? What is the need for a god ideology when in reality better judgement comes from more information? So isn't evidence useful?!? I find it appalling to be arguing with someone who says that science has done nothing, and who sees no point in gathering evidence before making a judgement about a person or a behavior.

Religion gives a warped sense of reality. Evidence clears out our warped senses and presents reality in a sharper focus.

Science tells us accurately about the effects of certain actions. E.g. smoking, drugs, alcohol, homosexuality, unprotected sex.... etc. But people are still free to make decisions. So sometimes, you have the contradictory cases of doctors who know how harmful it is to smoke, but still do it to themselves.

In religion, you run into the same contradictions all the time, especially in cases that in my opinion are more delicate in terms of morality because they are more fragile. The difference is, that religious people have no way to argue for why they should do right, other than to "praise god", and then they try to impose it.

Christianity is not the only religion. Contrary to your view, there are many gods out there and many types of followers. And the main thing they seem to care about is to argue that their god is the right one, in order to justify why they are following such absurd laws without really thinking them through. In this scenario , how is it that belief in god is for the greater good? which god?

Because of religion we are always focused on some sort of afterlife and soul saving exercises that take our attention from establishing a better society for all of us. I think it is an unnecessary distraction, all this god talk.

Now going back to science. People are still free to do whatever they want to their bodies, because they own them. However they are not free to do whatever they want to their neighbors body. Thus, it would be absurd to say that a doctor who is smoking in his bedroom is breaking a law. It would be absurd to impose that on him. Same with drinking. Only religion imposes some sort of virtual punishment to these people (here or in the afterlife) taking away their personal freedoms. However, when we are talking about society, we have to make laws based on factual evidence, not subjective feelings about things. Yes people make a "moral" choice about things, but this choice doesnt necessarily have to be based on fairy tales. It can be based on scientific evidence.

However, what if the doctor was smoking in a public place? In Japan they are already passing laws against smoking in public places (train stations for example). Why? Because we know that second-hand smoke is harmful, and so it makes sense to sanction those who want to harm others with their behavior.

Murderers also do things that are harmful to others and should go to jail. Drug dealers, the only reason they are doing something wrong is because it entails an economic transaction outside of government regulation. In Amsterdam, marijuana is legalized, based on the scientific study of the effects, and no one is prosecuting the owners of coffee houses for selling it to costumers.

A lot of moral laws of religion overlap with common sense (at least in the christian religion) but a lot do not, and they lead to hatred and discrimination based on nothing more than subjective claims that "god doesn't like it". Why is homosexuality wrong?

Belief in god entails faith, and faith is the ability to believe in something without evidence. Once you believe in god you start to believe whatever else anyone tells you (including the voices in your head - which are not always good) , and then we are steps away from becoming sheep. Science on the other hand teaches us to question. It gives us facts and then we can know what effects it will have for society. Of course science can say how drug abuse affects a country! Im talking about the scientific method of reasoning. Social sciences based on statistics and other forms of study deal with these problems everyday in every university. I think you are underestimating the value of inquiry and critical thinking. Maybe you are just trying to hold on to your subjective believe that you need god to know what is good or bad for you.

In my opinion belief in god does nothing for society. NOTHING. Religion puts a focus on things out of this world in order to give people a drive. Is this good? It is, on a very personal level. The problem is that people assume that it was meant for society. Thats where the Jewish had it right in wanting a messiah who would come and liberate them from the political oppression. And they got rightfully pissed off when they realized that this great Jesus did not give a damn about the world here. He cared about souls. Jesus did not accept the temptation of satan when he offered all the kingdoms of the world. remember that story? What does that tell you? that the world belongs to someone other than god. that god's laws do not apply to this world. that this world is better run without religious beliefs.

I also grew up in a christian environment and i feel i know the religion pretty well. But I really find religion and faith lacking in ways to help society improve. They help people be happy, find reasons to live, thank god in the midst of trouble... but leave it there. Denying homosexuals of the right to marry because god sees it as wrong, is bullshit. It is called discrimination. Denying women the right to abort because the fetus has a soul, is another bullshit that we cannot prove.

Saying you cant smoke a joint because god wouldn't like it, is retarded. Saying that you shouldn't smoke it cause it kills brain cells is a different kind of choice.

Use the bible for yourself. or the Koran. Or buddhist texts. Stop eating meat if god tells you. Cover your women. Tithe 10% of your salary to the church. go ahead, but dont say these things make society better. because eventually what religious followers have to be concerned with is to know and prove others that their god is the right one. that the bible is the word of god. not the koran. argh.

The example of a pastor is an extreme one, amongst many of the same nature (but not of the same level) of how people interpret their god given missions differently. sure the bible may not say that. but the bible doesnt say a lot of things either and people read into it. also it happens to say a lot of other stuff that makes no sense but people believe it blindly. i mean, have you ever seen a soul? honestly?? why do you blame that pastor? if religion teaches us to connect to some being outside of us and obey? i think all believers in god are deluded in different degrees. the killer pastor, just another one.

anyway. im tired of arguing because it clearly seems to me that you already have your faith based point of view, wanting to see that god's laws indeed apply to this world just because sometimes they overlap. the fact that they do is not enough to continue with such fairy tales. we know have evidence about many things, so we can use our reasoning to value whether or not we should take the blue or the red pill.

A. Products are made by companies

B. Environmentally friendly products are more costly, in terms of research and materials

C. The goal of a company is to make profit

D. Costs are lowered in order to make products affordable to both the consumer and the producer

E. The products made (and which are available) are not environmentally friendly- and if they are, they are more expensive.

therefore, we, as consumers need to make sacrifices on behalf of the environment.

One of the reasons that no one does anything for the environment is because it requires more effort. As consumers, it is easier to throw all our trash into one heap instead of sorting it out for recycling. It is more convenient to buy one pet bottle drink after another, instead of carrying our own thermos. It is easier to drive our car to the supermarket than to walk it out. And for poor countries, it is even worse as the majority of the population cannot afford products that are "organic" or "chemical free". They are expensive due to the technology involved.

Producers have also made the most "convenient" choice when making the products that we love and that make our lives oh so convenient. It is easier to dump their toxic wastes in nearby rivers than to implement high tech (high cost) technology to clean their waste. It is easier to use such a fantastic material as plastic to bottle their drinks than to go back to better more durable alternatives such as glass (fortunately third world countries still use glass to bottle soft drinks, though the vendors and buyers have to go through the inconvenience of returning them to the manufacturer after their use). It is easy to cut down trees in the name of "development" and marvel at the new malls built on previous forest land which cater to our needs, than to admit that industrialization does not necessarily mean development.

Our constant need for "convenience" has led us to where we are. We want things "our" way. The human race prides itself on conquering nature, but this is done through its mindless destruction. We need to shift our paradigm and reassess that we are not just "masters" of this world, but that we coexist with its other living beings (plants, animals). We need them and they need us. We all need each other. Our convenience should not be the main driving force of our efforts. Coexistence should be.

Unfortunately we didn't start investing in research for environmentally safe products until lately. We thought we would have the resources forever (or maybe we just didn't bother out of pure stupidity), so we built up a system that is harmful. Now to start investing in research is expensive, as it feels like we are just discovering how to make things work. The only alternative we have? is to change our ways as consumers, to choose to walk, to choose not to buy pet bottles over and over, to choose to recycle, and most importantly, to choose not to consume things that we do not need. Only then can we hope that producers will listen and invest everything they have into environmental research for the products. And in a while, maybe the costs will go down.

But in the meantime, we must accept that in order to save the environment we need to sacrifice something.

Everything big requires a sacrifice. But it is worth it. no?

3 points

And how do you account for the vast amount of religious people who also commit "evil"?

I argue that determining what is "right" or "wrong" based on belief is inaccurate and subjective. People do things "because god told me so" (no matter what god that is) without questioning why or really thinking for themselves. Scientific reasoning (I do not mean just science but perhaps the use of the scientific method) can lead us to find a "greater good" in a more objective way. Why is homosexuality wrong? Why is sodomy wrong?

A better measure would be to check whether or not your actions are harmful to you or to others, and then measure your behavior accordingly. This is better than just "god told me to do it" which leaves the issue open to having any god tell you any kind of crazy thing "god told me to go kill the abortionists". There was actually a case a couple of years ago in one state about a pastor who killed a doctor that was performing abortions. And the congregation supported him.

Im sure you will say "well, that is extreme, bla bla bla" and make some excuse about how those people were not true followers... but the thing is, religion is subjective and it is left to ones "relationship with god". How do you explain to that man that killed the abortionist that his relationship with god is not legitimate? How would YOU argue for that? Do you have a direct line to god?

things get easier if we have the means to determine whether our behavior is harmful to ourself or others. Now science can tell us a lot about how to behave in ways that are less harmful to ourself, to the environment, and to society in general. The bible does not say anything about protecting the environment, which is an issue of importance to all of us. But in my personal identification of "right" and "wrong" I say the overuse of pet bottles is wrong, because Ive learned the effects they can have on the environment. - Just an example.

What greater goods have come from the belief in God? I want you to explain to me how religion is NOT subjective. When followers have to listen to a pastor/priest interpret things for them. Or when followers constantly justify their own behavior with an explanation that all that matters is a "personal relationship" with God. I really wonder how God is speaking to all these people directly in ways that contradict each other.

thing about right and wrong- there is no proof to it

thats where we differ. religious people base their morality on a "gut feeling they cant explain". while non-religious people base their morality on actual evidence on whether something is harmful to myself or to my neighbor. It is quite a simple way to find out what is right or wrong without the need for a direct phone line to god. the knowledge of right or wrong does not require god. you say that you agree with god when you acknowledge that alcoholism is bad for you. i say that actually "god" agrees with you and science. there is no need for god to tell you alcohol is wrong. you know it is a harmful substance to your body. but thats it... end of story.

this "downward spiral" is just a spiral in the minds of religious people who see their morals (that have no actual basis) become eroded. i see nothing wrong with this. as long as the morality we are acquiring is one infused with tolerance and love for ourselves and our neighbor.

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Biographical Information
Gender: Female
Age: 37
Marital Status: In a Relationship
Political Party: Independent
Country: Japan
Religion: Agnostic
Education: College Grad

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