19th February 2010

“Human beings will find a balanced situation when they do good things not because God says it, but because they feel like doing them.”

Olof Palme1927 – 1986

39 Responses to “19th February 2010”

  1. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    This seems a very clumsy way to make this point, to my eyes. I don’t think we do ourselves any favors when we expose ourselves to moral relativism without a much more nuanced presentation of the merits of the position. That said, there are very definitely certain aspects of moral behavior that are not relative but are demonstrably universal and were adaptive to our earlier survival.

  2. Tech Says:

    Yes I whole heartly agree with that quote. There’s no merit in doing something good because you feel you have to do it ,for whatever reason.

  3. Holysmokes Says:

    I’m not quite sure what he means by a “balanced situation.” Reading between the lines …he appears to imply that humans have not yet mastered the art of doing things because they are the right thing to do, as opposed to doing them for a reward such as the promise of an afterlife. Not sure if I completely agree with that, but his point is taken.

  4. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Freedom from Religion Foundation files suit to end tax break for ministers:

  5. MagicAintReal Says:

    Well put CaptainZero. The religious seem to only help people in order to avoid damnation or appease the higher power. It’s not genuine charity if you’re forced to do it. One should help someone else because it is satisfying to help others, god existing or not.

  6. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    I don’t think the quote is quite nuanced enough, and the notion that religionists (or anyone else) do “good things” primarily due to fear of punishment or anticipation of reward doesn’t give people (or evolution) enough credit. On the other hand . . . quite a few religionists use the notion of rewards and punishments as incentives for their followers to believe certain miraculous impossibilities, as well as invective to condemn those who disagree with them.

    I think this way of looking at it is actually a harsher judgement than the quote is.

    And there is this story of the 14th century female Sufi Mystic Rabia al-Adawiyya (story lifted from wikipedia):

    One day, Rabia was seen running through the streets carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she said,”I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God.”

  7. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    Oxy – I very much agree that people don’t really do good or or bad things due to reward/punishment but only to the degree they don’t believe in literal interpretations of their holy books. Those in the thrall of literalist views very much measure their behavior against “what God wants me to do” and they really believe, like Tech and Solomon so clearly do, that I am bound for hell along with you. You and your friends are moderates and haven’t tied a biblical anchor around your necks.

    If I may, this could be a blind spot for you in considering the motivations of theists that are so far to your right that you’re in no danger of being hit by the shrapnel from their suicide vests as they do gods work. Kah! (Drink!)

  8. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Some of you may have seen this before:


    The following is an actual question given on a University of Arizona chemistry mid-term, and an actual answer turned
    in by a student.

    The answer by one student was so ‘profound’ that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of
    course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well :

    Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

    Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is
    compressed) or some variant.

    One student, however, wrote the following:

    First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving, which is unlikely. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

    Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than
    one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

    This gives two possibilities:

    1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

    2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop
    until Hell freezes over.

    So which is it?

    If we accept the postulate given to me by Cora during my Freshman year that, ‘It will be a cold day in Hell before I
    sleep with you,’ and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.
    The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct….. …leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Cora kept shouting ‘Oh my God.’


  9. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    I think we are pretty much on the same page on this one, Cap’n. Looking over my post, I don’t think I quite articulated my point very well. What the hell, you nailed it for me!

  10. solomon Says:

    THIS STUDENT RECEIVED AN A+ by a silly Tutor or whatever it is.
    In HELL all the scientific laws governing matter is of no significant.
    You are citing a lousy story & bullshitting away.

  11. solomon Says:

    Dear Oxymoronic Christhinker,

    I agree with the female Sufi Mystic Rabia al-Adawiyya story.Thats the way it should have been one should serve god whole heartedly, not by fearing his hell or for favouring his reward. But how many humans have that kind of quality?It’s very very scarce.Therefore god outlined the gratitude of reward & the infliction of fear to stubborn souls like your lots.

  12. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Dear Solomon,

  13. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Pretty good piece by Susan Jacoby, “Atheism and the Silly Goodness Competition”:

  14. Tech Says:

    Captain why do you keep tarring all believers with the same brush. I never ever said you were going to hell.I’m not on this to judge you or anyone else.I,m to serve the lord. I,m running in a popularity contest.Salvation was made possible trough Gods son Jesus Christ.He made it simple so everyone could avail of it. It’s a choice,one that I have made.

  15. Tech Says:

    PLease disregard my last post .I must have fallen asleep.

  16. Tech Says:

    Anyway caption I never ever said you were going to hell.I’m not on this earth to judge anyone. I’m here to serve not just God but also my fellow man.I think Its unfair to put all believers in the same bag.There are of good people out there Trying to do their best. Try building people up instead of tearing them down.This site fines something wrong with everything. You can’t have all the answers face it.Listen sometimes you may learn something.You know its possible too, that someone may listen to you.

  17. PEB Says:

    What ‘good’ things does god encourage us to do exactly? Religion always seems to preach a list of things you can’t do.

  18. Tech Says:

    HeyPeb, good to hear from. A list of dos and don’ts, yea thats sad.I thinks that a lot of the don’ts are for I own good just same.We still make our own choices in the end.

  19. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    Tech – But you did recently suggest Oxy get ready to have 666 (whatever that is) stamped on his head. That IS a judgement and one I can reasonably assume applies to everyone here. And not the first you’ve pronounced from your privileged position as one of god’s elect. So don’t claim you aren’t here to judge. Every time you “witness” to us you are demonstrating a judgement.

    Your problem, in my view, is that you claim to know something you can’t possibly know – god’s will. That, friend Tech, is towering arrogance. As is your witnessing. As far as me not building people up that is just rubbish. I hold people to a higher standard than a fundy possibly could because I say we are all responsible to one another, not the mythical human sacrifice-loving, genocidal monster of the bible.

    He couldn’t simply forgive us, oh no, that would have been too easy. He had to commit adultery (or rape – how concensual could Mary’s submission have been) and then have the fruit of his loins(!) tortured and murdered. For what? Then he wants us to be ritual cannibals every Sunday! These cannot be the acts of a loving being. These things would make an actual cannibal blush.

  20. Tech Says:

    You sound upset captain.?Something I said or are you under convection? Do and think as you please Captain.Another question for this site I’m sure someone will respond.Are you all trying to convince us or yourselves that there is no God?

  21. sjburnt Says:

    I believe the quote is kind of lame. I would have rather seen something like ‘We ought to practice kindness and tolerance by the golden rule, but not because of an institutionalized myth.’

    The point of the original quote, IMHO, was to discourage the use of a made up theology as a basis for your thoughts and actions.

    …and Captain, you have to see the humor in Tech defending himself by claiming he never said you were going to hell, then asking if you are “under convection”.


    Hell is a convection oven? That’s a nice twist!

  22. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    Convection? At best, frustrated by your inability to see your own hypocrisy. Upset, not so much. I don’t believe there is a god solely because there is no evidence for her existence. You arrogantly claim that you are provided with evidence that is denied, for some reason, to millions possessed of higher standards of evidence. If you’re right, then god hides herself intentionally from us even though she knows this will lead to our damnation. No human could commit such cruelty. And you feel the need to preach for this monstrosity? Mostly I pity the narrowness of your conception of your god, imaginary as I judge her to be.

  23. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    Yeah SJ – I got a chuckle out of that too! Convection Hell – cooks you faster but at a lower temperature than regular hell.

  24. Tech Says:

    Told off again. Well its my own fault. You have your own Ideas about life and you defend them to death.All best to you. Oh and by the the word was


  25. Greg Says:

    Convection Hell. Is that the new, improved Hell?

  26. John Says:

    Hell is in the mind of the christians and muslims. Or is it the minds of the christians and muslims; as it must be hell being so hypocritical…

  27. Tech Says:

    For a bunch of people who claim that God don’t exist.You spend a lot of time trying to prove it. Thats something to chuckle about captain.You must have miserable lives.

  28. Tech Says:

    Hey fellows according to you you have your proof so why don’t you just shut up and let people live. While your at get yourselves a a life.You must be tired of the same old same old you keep repeating over and over and over.Give your fingers a rest or find something new to talk about.

  29. Holysmokes Says:


    I have to agree with your assessment of the quote. It does make we wonder though; what percentage of people in this world would truly do “good” towards others, IF religion did not exist? Would we see more kindness, the same, or would we witness a massive drop off in good will? How much confidence would we have in the “human animal” to do the right thing …minus the threat of damnation?

  30. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    Tech – don’t be idiotic. I’ve never seen it said here that atheism has provided proof that god doesn’t exist. We are under no obligation to prove any such thing. Our position, consistently stated, if I may be so bold as to speak for others here, is that we see no reason to believe in a fantastic proposition if the only reason to do so is old books of dubious pedigree. I’m an atheist hanging out in an atheist forum. You are a theist preaching in an atheist forum. Clearly one of us has a need to prove something.

  31. sjburnt Says:

    Holysmokes, I have wondered the same thing.

    But then I guess I am naive. I like the golden rule. A lot.

    You may have a point there, HS. I truly do not have an answer.

    Captain, I would love to give you an “Oh Snap!”, but if a tree falls in the forest, can tech hear it anyway?

  32. Greg Says:

    tech, as Cap’n points out, we’re not trying to prove anything. But we certainly ask for proof from you.

    We’re here because we want to discuss the AQOTD. Period. You should be here for the same reason, although many times your comments are wildly off topic and accusatory in nature.

    Instead of telling us to shut up, why don’t you shut us out by not trolling in the forum any more?

    I am beginning to see that you really are no different than Solomon, which disappoints me because, for a while there, you were actually engaging in conversation rather than rhetoric. I had hope that you were becoming reasonable. Now, not so much.

  33. solomon Says:

    Ahh…..only wild accusations.They themselves are the ones who ignore several questions brought to them & can’t refute any doctrine that is put forth.Only repeating the same typical accusations.They have no point.They are doomed.

  34. solomon Says:

    Now who create the FIRST DESIGN?????

  35. Greg Says:

    I can’t wait to get to the imaginary hell! I’v read that it’s like a nice topless beach in Nice…not too hot but with a threat of a minor burn. But not to worry…there will be 72 virgins to rub lotion on me….mmmmmm…

  36. sjburnt Says:

    “…disappoints me because, for a while there, you were actually engaging in conversation rather than rhetoric. I had hope that you were becoming reasonable.” – Greg

    So just how far back will I have to go to find this?!?

  37. Greg Says:

    sjburnt, further back than allowed, unfortunately. I have a sneaking suspicion that tech and Solomon are one and the same troll. I can’t prove it….so I’ll just ignore both from now on.

  38. solomon Says:

    Dear Greg,

    You pretend to ignore us coz you can’t win an argument against us with your silly lies.

  39. Mohammed the Prophet Says:

    Solomon = ignorant liar
    Islam = lies