Confederate Symbols

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This topic contains 98 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  PopeBeanie 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 61 through 75 (of 99 total)
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  • #32022

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @fullermingjr – I think I understand what you mean, when you say, what is the non-religious basis for saying that slavery is wrong?

    I’m saying it’s because it violates certain fundamental norms or values, including respecting the dignity and personal autonomy of the individual, and not harming people unnecessarily, especially innocent people, and the Golden Rule as well.  I’m sure there are more.

    To say that something is right or wrong is to say that it upholds or violates a norm, or perhaps as well, that it hinders the promotion of a value.

    #32023

    fullermingjr
    Participant

    @jakelfort – It may seem astonishing, but I am an American Citizen.  I’m also a computer scientist by training so I look for logic.  Putting these two ideas together, in the public square, a faith-based argument cannot be used, thus, I am seeking a non-faith based reason.  BTW, I didn’t bring up religion or Christianity as a basis for condemning slavery; I only brought it up to expose my own biases – you know, full disclosure and transparency since this is an atheist forum.

    About the golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), I also didn’t claim it came from Christianity.  There are similar ideas as ancient as the Akkadian empire under Sargon the Great from 2300 BCE and well as other ancient Near Eastern proto-historic civilizations. I did not bring this up at all.

    With regard it to rhetoric, I would encourage you to consider that your antitheist position might have unintentional negative consequences.  My children are adopted and many people will use the term “real parents”.  Well, the last time I checked, I was real!  I overlook it.  As a mature adult, I overlook many things.  Words impact emotions and humans can do bad things triggered by illogical passion and emotions.  So, in your strong and adamant stance against theism, I just encourage care be taken and wisdom be applied because most of the human beings on this planet happen to be theist of some form and unfortunately, outright verbal assaults will not persuade them to change.  Even worse, in certain context, word may trigger violent.  This may prove your point and explain why you are so against theism, and I would agree with you, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

    One last story: As a Black American, my wife and I had White friends over for a dinner party.  My mother-in-law was there.  She was a “wannabe black panther” in her youth (my wife is also Black).  My White friend was talking about how wonderful it was for all of us to be free Americans.  Then my white friend said, “that’s why our ancestors came to America – to be free!!”  I kid you not!  At a black family’s dinner party, my white friend said this!  Everything stopped for a minute, as you can imagine.  Her words were innocent but clearly wrong, as my ancestors were purchased on the Eastern Shore of Maryland or St. Augustine Florida at the slave markets.  Based on this alone, I have no desire to buy into moral relativism and  THAT is ultimately why I am looking for a non-religious answer that is not based on one mans opinion over another.  There may be no better explanation for slavery being wrong than survival of our species.  If the golden rule and being human are ways to say the same thing (that humans must survive)  then I’m okay – I accept the answer.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by  fullermingjr.
    #32024

    fullermingjr
    Participant

    @simonpaynton, Simon – thank you for your response.  The idea of upholding or violating a norm, or hindering or promoting a shared value may be a good enough answer to my question.  I’ll have to do more homework because, of course, collective values change over time, but this is a good place to start.  Yet, for just about every society that has ever been on the earth, “murder” is considered wrong.  Again, thanks, from your friendly neighborhood theist!

    #32025

    jakelafort
    Participant

    It occurs to me that the trappings of modernity divorce us from our innate sense of right and wrong. Military indoctrinates its members to devalue/dehumanize/destroy. Religion, especially when it is hard core causes its members to hate who th ey would not naturally hate, to kill who they would not naturally kill, to ostracize those they would not otherwise ostracize. Same thing with political ideology.

    I am not diminishing ethical systems. But when a person has to ask why slavery is wrong something is wrong in having to ask that question. What has been diminished is the individual.

    #32026

    fullermingjr
    Participant

    @davis, Great response.  It’s the latter, an explanation based on “some rational argument grounded in a reasoned moral system”.  You have provided some excellent material for me to chew on, specifically the idea that “virtue ethics and utilitarian ethics …have had a massive influence on contemporary western ethos [and] human rights”.  Clearly I have to do some philosophical homework to flesh this out, but YES, this is the vain in which I was asking my question about why these Confederate symbols and American chattel slavery can be argued as wrong without referencing religion.

    I do think enlightenment principles were guiding many of the founders, but so was faith.  I agree that the idea of inalienable human rights were influenced by enlightenment era philosophers which began advocacy against slavery. Yet, a few theistic ideas were infused, also, thus the phrase “all men are created equal and endowed by their creator  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in many of those discussions to hear the southern states justify their unwillingness to end slavery in the new republic.  I do wonder how many were gutsy enough to argue from nature or to argue from use of a few biblical passages used out of their historical context.

    Anyway, thank you.  I will indeed read up on deontological, utilitarian moral systems and consequential moral systems.  In fact, I’m taking an introduction to philosophy this fall (graduate level) and will ask my professor about these systems.  (Granted, all graduate programs have a bias, and mine is no exception).

    #32027

    jakelafort
    Participant

    fullermingjr, you are a human being first. Do you ask if genocide is wrong, if gang rape is wrong, if forced starvation is wrong?

    Christianity co=opted a lot more than just golden rule. I agree with ethologists that other animals have it too.

    No argument that words have connotations and denotations. You correctly identified filthy as one of those words with strong connotations. But the idea that one approach fits all to persuade is inaccurate. For some theists they will become too defensive to contemplate anything that feels like an attack. Others it will make them defend but later think. Still others will be open and may be amenable to deconversion. I know i have been instrumental in two deconversions. Reg is the resident expert in this topic as he engages with theists frequently.

    Your anecdote is revealing. There are so many tells. Lets see. They shipped the black kids in instead of they bussed the black kids in. That black lady is so articulate! I am half jewish and have a jewish last surname. Used to practice law. On one occasion had a client who wanted to know whether i knew of some Jewish person who lived two hundred miles away. I shit you not. I guess we are all so clannish…

    #32029

    fullermingjr
    Participant

    @jakelafort, I clearly think slavery is wrong.  I clearly think all of those other things are wrong.  My question wasn’t searching to find out if such things are wrong.  My question was simply looking for a non-religious foundation for it being wrong.  I’m not sure what my future holds, but I hope to encourage more peace in the world in my own little way and having a broader understanding of how people frame and establish the morality against slavery will, I think, help me do that.   Our nations current racial tension have been enlightening and I’m glad more whites are talking about this problem.

    And yes, we are all a little “clannish”! 😉  You mean all the Jews don’t know each other!  That is so sad that someone would seriously ask you that!   Anyway, I just want – in my cultural, social, and I might add religious identity and associations – to promote what is good; to promote peace.  This is why it is so easy for me to agree with much of your assessment of religious history.  I hate it, too!  I’m just not anti-theist.  I’m also not anti-atheist; we just differ.  I am, however, anti-bigot, anti-murder, anti-rape, anti-slavery, and as I get older, I find my self even a bit anti-war (although Hitler, Pol Pot, and others had to be stopped).

    Finally, OK then, keep using your “words with strong connotations”.  Some can stomach it, and others can’t.  Your goal of deconversion may be successful with some.  I just happen to think, as the old cliche goes, “you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar”.

    #32030

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Our nations current racial tension have been enlightening and I’m glad more whites are talking about this problem.

    Perhaps it is starting to really sink in deeper for many whites. Being politically correct all the time is like sweeping everything under the carpet. That is what has been going on. All of this nationalistic, ‘white pride’ was just simmering on the back burner during the Obama years until tRump figured out they were still out there. He normalized them and gave them their courage.

    I was surprised how many of my fellow musicians/friends revealed their ignorance because of the pandemic coupled with the Floyd murder. I can’t even talk with them about any of this, they loose their minds.

     

    #32031

    Unseen
    Participant

    Probably the grist for an entire standalone discussion but is slavery actually wrong in an objective way? or do we simply feel revulsion toward it, making our attitude subjective? Is it that we don’t want a society to include slavery? or is it that no one has a right to enslave, which begs the question of where rights come from and can they be anything other than the result of consensus and/or legislation?

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #32033

    @fullermingjr: In fact, I’m taking an introduction to philosophy this fall.

    As I have said more than once on this site; the study of Philosophy is but the introduction to Philosophy. I am paraphrasing a quote from Hegel.

    There is a new book out shortly that I think I will buy.

    Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides are Wrong in the Race Debate. I was a bit dubious about the direction it might take on first hearing about it. When I discovered it was by Kenan Malik I decided it would be a good read. Here is a related video by him.

    I often dip in and out of his earlier book, The Quest for a Moral Compass.

    #32034

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    is slavery actually wrong in an objective way? or do we simply feel revulsion toward it, making our attitude subjective?

    I think it’s wrong as far as it violates norms or harms values (kindness, fairness, dignity, respect, human rights, autonomy), and it’s objectively wrong as far as those norms or values are objective.

    Objectivity is really the “view from anywhere” or the view of anyone in my group.  So, I think that slavery, in the British empire, say, fails the objectivity test because so many people were known to disagree with it.

    Does it pass the “objectively wrong” test, if it consists of violation of these norms/values?  Human rights and autonomy are not seen as primary in some groups.  But kindness, fairness and human dignity and respect are, I propose, valued everywhere.

    Is it that we don’t want a society to include slavery?

    That too.  That would be the Golden Rule – changing places with others.

    Rights are asserted by the person and given/recognised by others.

    #32035

    @fullermingjr: YES, this is the vain in which I was asking my question about why these Confederate symbols and American chattel slavery can be argued as wrong without referencing religion.

    In general terms are you asking us “How can we be good without God”?

    #32036

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Keep in mind fullermingjr that i am an anti-theist, not an ANTI THEIST. I hate the sin. Not the sinner!

    The question of an objective basis for morality is one step removed from an objective basis for proof of our existence. I believe that evolution has given mammals a sense of right and wrong. We and other animals have mirror neurons that enable us to superimpose ourselves in the position of the subject. It is empathy that informs our sense of justice/right and wrong. If it would throw us for a loop to be in that position then barring unusual circumstances we think it wrong to put the subject in that position.

    There is a corollary that follows the simple animal examination of right and wrong. If others have empathy in deciding right and wrong it will selfishly come back to me and my loved ones. It is best for the group.

    #32037

    Unseen
    Participant

    Simon: “Norms” as generally used in the social “sciences” is subjective and really can’t be anything else. You can describe them in an objective way but that would still be an objective description of something which is a matter of consensus or legislation. And anything which is by consensus or the result of a legislative process cannot be held to be objective because imagining the opposite is neither impossible nor absurd.

    #32038

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Probably the grist for an entire standalone discussion but is slavery actually wrong in an objective way? or do we simply feel revulsion toward it, making our attitude subjective? Is it that we don’t want a society to include slavery? or is it that no one has a right to enslave, which begs the question of where rights come from and can they be anything other than the result of consensus and/or legislation?

    Fish school to survive, birds flock. Ants divide the labor. As brainy social primates surviving in a dangerous world, we cooperate.  We devise systems of protection for individuals, be they religion with gods and their rules and/or secular governments with courts and its laws. This is for self preservation and ultimately makes the whole species stronger. Every society has done this, and therefor so many gods and governors. If evidence appears to substantiate a creator/god perhaps we can find some external moral gold standard but until then we are it.

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