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November 24, 2009

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May I suggest two relevant sources:

1. Ethical Culture. A humanist movement affirming ethics does not need God. aeu.org

2. Good Without God. Book by Greg Epstein, Humanist chaplain, Harvard.

May I add something off topic...

Holy Day today!

1. Publication of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" today, Nov 24, 150 years ago.

2. Spinoza was born today in 1632.

Here's what I want to know: Why don't athletes "sky point" when they drop the would be winning touchdown pass or strike out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth? If all glory goes to God, then he should be praised when you are basking in the euphoria of victory or wallowing in the misery of defeat.

If it's all part of "God's plan," then any result -- good or bad -- is part of the plan.

Been there. Thought that way also. Now think like you do and like how you put it.

What I see as a limitation in the doing it for a religion or guru or a god is it too often ends up not doing it for other people but only for that religion, guru, god and if it can't profit 'them', it doesn't happen.

We tried to get the last church to which we belonged to do service things where we live like giving clothing or food to someone needy, providing a place where needed goods could be distributed, but without strings; but they were only interested in doing what would get them credit to bring in new members or to help those already members. To do something truly altruistically, it would be for no gain or credit. That is a goal to strive for and not found that often in religions where there has to be glory (for the god) or no gain (in the doing).

The Brights' Net "Reality about Morality" Project
http://the-brights.net/action/activities/organized/arenas/1/

Statement A:
Morality is an evolved repertoire of cognitive and emotional mechanisms with distinct biological underpinnings, as modified by experience acquired throughout the human lifespan.

Statement B:
Morality is not the exclusive domain of Homo sapiens-there is significant cross-species evidence in the scientific literature that animals exhibit "pre-morality" or basic moral behaviors (i.e. those patterns of behavior that parallel central elements of human moral behavior).

Statement C:
Morality is a "human universal" (i.e. exists across all cultures worldwide), a part of human nature acquired during evolution.

Statement D:
Young children and infants demonstrate some aspects of moral cognition and behavior (which precede specific learning experiences and worldview development).

Supporting Research Studies:
The corresponding list of research studies that provide multiple lines of evidence to support each of the above four statements about morality has been placed on the website.

'So I turn to you and I say
Thank goodness for the good souls that make life better
So I turn to you and I say
If it wasn't for the good souls, life would not matter'

Lyrics from starsailor who i thought rang true. Surely altruism and selflesness embody all that is noblest of the human condition?

I dont know if there is a god or whether such a god rewards or punishes based on earthly performance - but if there is its surely these charitable individuals that bring hope into the lives of others that will be rewarded most.

Even if there is not an afterlife, charity rewards both the giver and receiver; and seems to be about as close as we get to transcending the dog-eat-dog existence that typifies so much of nature and society.

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