22 December 2010

Subjective meaning, purpose; moral

AndrewFinden left a comment at Revenge of the Godless Geeks which I happened to be tracking. I would like to address two points in the comment:

I’m no fan of Pell, but I think he is simply echoing the sentiments of Dawkins – without God, there is no objective purpose. Now that is not to say that most Atheists don’t have any purpose or lead lives without it; Cardinal Pell’s point is that if there is no objective purpose, such purpose is a subjective construct.

Do you think meaning and purpose is objective or subjective?

Putting Pell aside, it is a common claim by the religious that atheists' meaning and purpose of life is subjective. I do not see any reason why a conscientious, carefully thought-through, rational and subjective meaning and purpose is not a good thing. Human are social animals. Our meaning and purpose of life is modified by both the evolution forces as well as the forces from the society in which we live, participate and contribute. In this diverse society, each and everyone will have different motivation, priority, values, ability and circumstances. It does not take a genius to figure out that each of us will have formulated different subjective meaning and purpose. A straight-jacket, one-size fit all divine meaning and purpose simply cannot match individual aspiration and ability.

Is there any good if there exists an objective meaning and purpose of life but such meaning and purpose is immoral and destructive? Christians are quick to jump onto the love bandwagon and conveniently forget that their god is the best example of human behaving badly. One of their religious doctrine is to wait for the return of Jesus, which follows only after the complete destruction of this world. This apocalyptic mentality is not a positive outlook for a constructive, co-operative lifestyle.

Pell, like many other Catholic priests put the church before moral [example]. He has helped those who committed crime against young children escape from natural justice [example]. He is far from a moral figure. It is ironic for someone to think this liar in funny clothes' should worth a mention.

AndrewFinden also wrote:
The question is not whether atheists can be moral but from where the moral codes come to which we seek to adhere.

Andrew, my own moral code comes from empathy and compassion. I adhere to a simple moral golden rule which appears in almost every culture independent of whether that culture is religious or not. Mine came from Confucius who was at least 300 years elder to your Jesus. Andrew, if you seek to adhere to moral values from the bible, I hope they came mainly from the New Testament. Still, you are picking and choosing those which you like and rejecting those which you do not like. The bible is a fixed bag, it has something good in it, but there are many things inside too. It is you, yourself, who pick and choose. The bible is NOT a moral guide and it cannot be.

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