Why Are We Here?

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Homer
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Why Are We Here?

Post by Homer » Mon May 30, 2016 2:51 pm

Tough for an atheist to hear this:

http://parade.com/478561/marilynvossava ... were-here/

As she says, if there is no creator, there is no reason (why we are here) and thus life has no purpose or meaning. And that's it.

crgfstr1
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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by crgfstr1 » Mon May 30, 2016 3:26 pm

Yes. I have heard atheist argue that we can define morality. It seems like they haven't thought through the equation deep enough. If we evolved out of a series of accidents and are feelings and emotions are just there to make us more likely to survive why would human life matter at all? Or even life, for that matter? If no life matters then how can you have morals? If some lives matter or human lives matter what determines this?

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Paidion
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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Paidion » Mon May 30, 2016 6:16 pm

If we evolved out of a series of accidents and are feelings and emotions are just there to make us more likely to survive why would human life matter at all?
We all have joy in life (as well as sorrow). So the fact that we are alive matters, in order to maximize our joy while we are still alive.
Or even life for that matter. If no life matters then how can you have morals.
But no atheist or agnostic that I know claims that life does not matter. And because he does value life itself, he can recognize and identify moral imperatives. Morally right behaviour is that behavior that maximizes well-being for people (for oneself as well as for others). Morally wrong behaviour is behavior that harms people (oneself as well as others). Even as a Christian, this is my position. God knows what is best for people, and so he gives instructions in behavior through Christ, that which will most benefit oneself and others. The only difference for the agnostic and atheist is that he must himself judge what is best for people and what harms people. Sometimes he makes mistakes in judgment (though he is often correct).
If some lives matter or human lives matter what determines this?
Nothing determines the value of human life. Life is intrinsically valuable.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Homer
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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Homer » Mon May 30, 2016 11:06 pm

Paidion,

You wrote:
Nothing determines the value of human life. Life is intrinsically valuable.
If there is no creator, why would human life be any more valuable than an insect? Why would human life be valuable if it is purposeless and without meaning? Is there a flaw in vos Savant's logic?
Having a reason implies having a purpose, which indicates an intelligent being (or cognitive power, etc.) with intent. That’s what people call a god. So if you don’t believe a god exists, you can’t believe a reason exists. You must settle for assuming we got here through some natural process, and that’s that.

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by crgfstr1 » Tue May 31, 2016 6:55 am

Paidion wrote:
We all have joy in life (as well as sorrow). So the fact that we are alive matters, in order to maximize our joy while we are still alive.
But what does joy matter if they are but chemical illusions to make the fittest survive? Why should the joy of a human matter more than that of a dog? If I can prove that a dolphin is more evolved than a human then should a dolphins life matter more than a human? Why would a more evolved being matter more than a less evolved being. If you keep pulling on the thread long enough and don't arrive at a God then there is no standard by which to set what matters.
Paidion wrote:But no atheist or agnostic that I know claims that life does not matter. And because he does value life itself, he can recognize and identify moral imperatives. Morally right behaviour is that behavior that maximizes well-being for people (for oneself as well as for others). Morally wrong behaviour is behavior that harms people (oneself as well as others). Even as a Christian, this is my position. God knows what is best for people, and so he gives instructions in behavior through Christ, that which will most benefit oneself and others. The only difference for the agnostic and atheist is that he must himself judge what is best for people and what harms people. Sometimes he makes mistakes in judgment (though he is often correct).

Nothing determines the value of human life. Life is intrinsically valuable.
Why? How is any chemical reaction of intrinsic value? If thought, love and joy sprang forth out of matter and energy then it has no value even if it thinks it does. It is all vanity that will disappear through decay. It is all illusion. If matter and energy was created by a thinking loving being then it can be said to have value by the creator because the creator has value. There is someone who has authority to set the standard of value.

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steve
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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by steve » Tue May 31, 2016 8:02 am

We all have joy in life (as well as sorrow). So the fact that we are alive matters, in order to maximize our joy while we are still alive.
But what if it is sorrow, rather than joy, that ends up being maximized—either in an individual or in the human race as a whole? What argument could be given to assure us that even the miserable life has value in itself? Without God in the picture, it becomes only a matter of narcissistic hubris. WIn such a case, would it not be best to kill or exterminate the whole race, in order to minimize sorrow? What, other than the fact that it violates a divine purpose, would make this, on balance, a bad deal or immoral?

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Paidion » Tue May 31, 2016 12:58 pm

Hi Steve, you wrote:But what if it is sorrow, rather than joy that ends up being maximized—either in an individual or in the human race as a whole?
As we well know, it is often sorrow that does end up being maximized. That is why people aim for joy and attempt to minimize sorrow as much as possible, both for themselves and for others.
What argument could be given to assure us that even the miserable life has value in itself?
A considerable number do not consider that life has intrinsic value apart from joy. That may explain the many suicides. Also the quality of life can be such that very ill people are in constant pain. That explains why in Canada, there is serious consideration being given to doctor-assisted death.
Without God in the picture, it becomes only a matter of narcissistic hubris.
I certainly disagree with that statement. Most people don't have God in their life's picture, and I have seen many such non-believers who are anything but narcissistic. Indeed, many of them have risked their personal lives in order to save others.
WIn such a case, would it not be best to kill or exterminate the whole race, in order to minimize sorrow?
For the simple reason that there is joy and potential joy throughout the human race, and for those who don't have it, others have helped make it available to them. Indeed that seems to be the very essence of Jesus' instructions to his disciples. For instance:

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them. (Matt 7:12)
What, other than the fact that it violates a divine purpose, would make this, on balance, a bad deal or immoral?
If it could be shown that there is nothing but sorrow and pain in the world, perhaps the elimination of that sorrow and pain throughout the world, through the extermination of the human race would relieve all that sorrow and pain. But as you know, this is mere speculation; that state of affairs has never existed in the world. There is always joy in the world and potential for joy. It is for that reason that life itself is intrinsically valuable.
Paidion

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Homer
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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Homer » Tue May 31, 2016 4:11 pm

Paidion,

If there is no God, could you show that the most sensible thing for a personal way of life would not be a calculated selfishness? I. e., maximize self pleasure in whatever way you can without causing others to harm you.

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by morbo3000 » Tue May 31, 2016 5:45 pm

crgfstr1 wrote: If we evolved out of a series of accidents and are feelings and emotions are just there to make us more likely to survive why would human life matter at all? Or even life, for that matter? If no life matters then how can you have morals? If some lives matter or human lives matter what determines this?
It isn't necessary to conjecture. Simply ask an atheist or agnostic, and respect their answers. Rather than dismissing them.
It seems like they haven't thought through the equation deep enough.
Disagreeing with their conclusions, does not mean they haven't thought through the equation deep enough. It means you don't agree with them.
When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
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Paidion
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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Paidion » Tue May 31, 2016 8:31 pm

If there is no God, could you show that the most sensible thing for a personal way of life would not be a calculated selfishness? I. e., maximize self pleasure in whatever way you can without causing others to harm you.
First, I want to make clear that I was not arguing what would be the case if there were no God. In fact, it is impossible to argue what life would be like without God, for life would not exist if there were no God.

What I was trying to show is that there is morality and righteous living without resorting to God's commands.

Some say that this is impossible because actions are morally right because God commands them, and other actions are morally wrong because God forbids them. Is this your position? If so, I heartily disagree. It's the other way around. God commands particular behavior because it is morally right and forbids other behavior because it is morally wrong.

I was also trying to show that to say an action is morally right is tantamount to saying that it benefits others and/or oneself, and to say an action is morally wrong is tantamount to saying it harms others and/or oneself.

I was also stating that there are many cases of atheists and agnostics and others who do not serve God, who, notwithstanding, are altruistic. Some of them have risked their lives or even given their lives in order to save the lives of others. If those who do not serve God do such things, then why do you presume that all such people live for no other reason than to maximize their personal pleasure?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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