Do Any Atheists Have Pure Motives?

FYI: this post has been moved here.


  1. The most motivated Atheist parody video, ever!
    This'll get moi the funkin' Oscar, FOR SURE!!!


  2. [b]If there actually are people who are moral due to fear of ... punishment we should not besmirch them but be pleased enough that they are moral and that they may be in a process of maturing[/b]

    Should we do both those things? On the one hand, I'd agree that we're better of if Joe Axemurderer fears punishment enough to keep his axe in the closet. I'm not sure I'd say he /is/ moral, but as his neighbor, I'd certainly be pleased enough that he's acting as if he were. Also, if it is indeed the case that keeping the axe under wraps transforms from a conscious avoidance of punishment to a habitual "that's just what I do" I'd be willing to grant it's a process of maturing, and moving from "that's just what I do" to confabulating some intentful reason like "I consciously do not go on axemurdering sprees because, uh... it's the right thing to do" might be maturation too.

    Then again, it might just be developing socially acceptable habits due to social conditioning (i.e. "Develop socially acceptable habits or suffer these preset consequences"), which doesn't fit so well into what I think of as 'maturation'. And I'm not convinced that displaying the correct conditioned behavior... no matter how acceptable... automatically makes someone moral enough to be pleased about that. Pleased they're not behaving badly, sure. Heck, I'm pleased every time a driver on the road near me refrains from doing anything stupid, which means I get to be pleased for a surprising 1/9 of the time I'm driving! "Not abjectly bad" ain't the same as "Laudably good" though.

    I mean, should we really get praise and appreciation for not wetting our pants?

    Back on the first hand, though - there /are/ some people for whom not wetting their pants (or not axemurdering, or whatnot) is a real and undeniable challenge. For whatever reason, it's a hard thing for them to do, and as one of the members of society trying to help condition this person, I can see some benefit in me giving them thanks and praise for doing the things that are reasonable to expect of any healthy person.

    I dunno. I can see it going either way, the issue of appreciating when people fail to be awful. It might make it a little easier for the awful folk to improve, but it also might lower the bar for normal folk and excuse higher levels of awfulness.