@J1 - Re: Graham Marsden ... 20120720 12:19...
You said: "The issue is one of what is right and wrong. Who defines it, who sets the limits, who enforces. For the Atheist, there is no such thing.. Objectively, it does not exist.. Subjectively, make up whatever you like. Change it whenever you like.. base it on whatever you like.. it does not have to make sense etc.. your call. "
You are absolutely right that there *is* no objective critieria for what is "right" and what is "wrong". Just because someone wrote a book 1,500 or 2,000 or however many years ago saying "God told me this" and lots of people *choose* to believe that, does not provide any objective criteria ie it's simply something that someone, "subjectively, made up whatever they liked".
Unless $DEITY has personally appeared to you via some form of supernatural manifestation what you choose to believe comes from other peoples *opinions* so the only knowledge you have of Him/ Her/ It/ Them comes from other people. If you choose to reinforce that in your mind, that's up to you.
You choose to believe that your god has defined "right" and "wrong" and seemingly choose to dismiss anyone else's views on the subject, that is not providing an answer, that is arrogance. "I'm right and you are wrong because my god tells me so".
You tell me that my personal choice not to lie etc cannot be derived from Atheism and ask me "how is your view superior to theirs", the answer to that is that is *may not* be, but I am capable of having a rational and logical debate about the subject without needing to fall back on the argument that "$BOOK says $DEITY says so, end of discussion. If you can come up with an argument other than that for why my choices are wrong, please. let's discuss the subject, I'd be happy to engage in it with you, alas I don't think that's going to happen because you don't seem to comprehend that it *IS* just "one view against another" rather than "my belief is better than your belief".
You go on to say "Essentially, all you have said is.. do what ever you want. No one should tell anyone else a better way, because that would be classed as arrogance, or presumption" but once again you either misunderstand or fail to comprehend. There are those who justify atrocities, slavery, killings and so on because $BOOK says $DEITY says it's ok for me to do so (see the Books of Exodus and Leviticus for some perfect examples) in other words they can do what they want *because* their holy book says so. They don't have to think about it, they don't have to make a decision on their own, they've been *TOLD* that it's ok!
This is the difference between morals and ethics. Morals are things that are imposed from outside "Thou shalt do this, thou shalt not do that" etc usually because a particular religion says so. I, however, have ethics. I have considered what I can do and have made my own decisions. It's my choice, my responsibility, not that of an Imam, Vicar, Priest, Shaman or whatever to tell me what I should or shouldn't do. You seem to think that I would follow Aleister Crowleys "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" because I have chosen to make up my own mind, however, in fact, I prefer to follow the Wiccan Rede of "An it harm no other, do what thou wilt."
BTW I find it somewhat ironically amusing that you claim that *you* cannot tell me what to do, however your god does and can. Well, when and if he appears to me in person and tells me what to do, I may change my viewpoint, but until such time, all I hear are the words of *men* arrogantly telling what god wants me to do (and, of course, what I should *not* do!)
You continue by saying "In a society, you will always find people that will take advantage of the other.. that is why you have rules, laws and punishments if you break the laws.. what you seem to be suggesting is that the world can do without the laws, and law enforcement.. because everyone is able to decide for themselves, and does not need a 'nanny' to keep them in check.. the evidence would suggest otherwise" but yet again you show your misunderstanding (however your views would be welcomed by certain British Governments!)
The law in England is based on the premise that "anything that is not forbidden is permitted". Unfortunately there are too many who think that it should "anything that is not permitted should be forbidden" and, of course *they* are the only ones who are capable of being arbiters of what is or isn't permitted and believe that (as I've said before) if *they* don't like it then *we* should not be allowed to do it, be it drinking, looking at pornography, marrying someone they love if they are of the same sex or whatever. They consider that if *they* are not there to be "Nanny" then society will collapse, the country's morals will vapourise and we will descend into anarchy, so they are doing it to us "for our own good".
Well I say that that is nonsense. Despite what they (and, it seems, you) believe, people *can* behave in a responsible and reasonable manner and they don't need to be forced into doing it by repressive laws or religious dictats, all they need is education, not coercion.
So, please feel free to express your views, but don't be so arrogant as to think that just because *you* believe it, everyone else must too. History is laden with examples of what has happened when that attitude is taken to extremes...