Gotta agree with Grif here, at least to a degree.Grifman wrote: ↑Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:25 amStawman, religious people don't think death is meaningless. And if you are held to account for your actions in this world, you might actually care MORE about how you treat people. Using your logic, why care about some slub you treated badly if you can get away with it?
Belief in ultimate accountability is one of humanity's most beneficial moral developments. Almost every civilization has had some version of it (judgment by the gods, the wheel of reincarnation, inherited curses, shame upon one's family, whatever) because it is very effective and probably the only thing that keeps some people decent. The crooked timber of humanity and all that.
Of course this doesn't mean any of the mythic or religious versions are true, but if you're going to eliminate them you have to wrestle with the question of what replaces them. And since the quality of moral life in a society depends a great deal on shared values, this quickly becomes a social problem rather than an individual one.
I think we can agree that most people don't behave morally just because it's rational to do so--especially when it so often isn't.GreenGoo wrote:Fear of an old man in the sky is not a rational reason not to murder people if you can get away with it.
To lay my cards on the table: I am an unbeliever, but I know that most people throughout history have seen (and most have embraced) religion as an incentive to be good. As we move towards a post-religious civilization, what do we have to offer in that direction? History is pretty clear that fear of secular punishment or social ostracization isn't quite enough.
This is a real problem for atheists.