Morals & Values 4 – Good & Evil

Morals & Values 4  -  Good & Evil
 
While looking up something recently on Wikipedia, I discovered lots of comments about myself in discussion with Richard Dawkins.  Many of the comments following on from the discussion are statements like, “How ridiculous to think that morals come from any kind of God”.
 
Usually, in this kind of debate, there is a tendency to ridicule things that I have said. Well! That’s fine. I guess it goes along with getting involved and not being afraid of what I believe and understand – as well as being sure that it holds water and can stand up to cross examination. If one cannot stand the heat in the kitchen one shouldn’t really be cooking, should one?
 
I suppose I do get somewhat irritated in debates when people tell me what I believe, and then tell me how ridiculous it is to believe it, followed by an attempt prove how stupid I am.  Yet, all the time I am thinking, “I never believed that in the first place. And you have not given me space to say what I really do believe, or think.”  It’s what I call, “destroying straw men”. One puts up an argument, and then knocks it down. But if it was not an arguement in the first place, what is that? If I did not believe what they think I believe, and then they knock down what they believe I believe, without understanding or knowing or having me say what I believe, what is that?
 
In TV debates, especially those that are not live, there is the possibility that what was said is left on the cutting room floor.  I remember in one debate with Richard Dawkins, he said to me that he was more moral than me because he did not rape or pillage and neither did he require a God to stop him doing those things - whereas I did.  My reply, which I think must be on the cutting room floor was, “Bully for you. You ought to watch the news more often”.
 
If you watch the news you can see that there is an awful lot of inhumanity and suffering in the world. I live in one of those areas where young people can be stabbed or shot just because they happened to have strayed into the wrong post code area.  My questions are; “Why are we so awful to each other?  And what has happened to a moral basis?”  I would argue that as we move away from an understanding of a God, who ultimately will judge and question all of our life’s responses, we then become more selfish and less inclined to care for each other, or have any basis for moral decisions. Our moral compass deteriorates.
 
The humanist argues that our morals come from the fact that we are, “simply human”. They say that any sense of morality developes out of our selfishness and survival needs, or, as Richard Dawkins would argue; “The selfish gene is simply protecting itself by being moral towards others”.
 
I often ask the question, “Why do we have right and wrong? Where do we get such concepts?”  The arguements on Wikipedia, in answer to what I said about morals, seem to conclude that it’s just because we are human.  I’m sorry, but that just will not do.  If doing wrong gives me an advantage, and I can avoid getting caught, why not go ahead and do it?  Morals like that don’t seem to me to be moral at all.
 
In a discussion on morality, Richard Dawkins was asked: "If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?”  
Dawkins replied, "What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right?  I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”  
 
The interviewer wrote in response, "I was stupefied.  He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point."
 
Richard Dawkins' commentary on Adolf Hitler 
 Essay: Richard Dawkins' comment concerning Adolf Hitler  http://conservapedia.com/Richard_Dawkins 
 Richard Dawkins, atheist atrocities, and historical revisionism
 
 
 
 
Adrian Hawkes
For UCB
W. 724
 

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