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  1. #1
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    Sep 2011
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    Secular Morality vs. Non-Secular Morality

    I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

    For the purposes of this debate, the terms are defined as follows:
    Morality: A system of standards & values used to evaluate actions as being good or bad with respect to the standards & values.
    Secular Morality (SM): A moral system (morality) which deals with morality outside of religious/theistic/dogmatic traditions and/or claims.
    Religious, or Non-secular Morality (RM): A moral system (morality) which is based on religious/theistic/dogmatic traditions and/or claims.

    This OP is not concerned with pointless questions or arguments surrounding subjective vs. objective morality - it deals solely with the moral systems which demonstrably/actually exist. Lines of argumentation relying on unsupported claims of subjectivity or objectivity will be disregarded.

    In order to determine which moral system is superior, the following criteria will be considered:
    1. The applicability of the system and it's standards & values to its participants.
    2. The system's ability to improve or be improved by its participants.
    3. The system's ability to provide reliable results according to its standards & values.
    4. The system's ability to resolve conflicts/disputes about its standards & values.

    Additional criteria may be suggested at any time.

    The following assessments can be made of each system according to each criteria:
    - The source of the (standards &) values is internal
    - The values are based on the views of the participants
    - By definition serves the interests of the participants
    - Authority comes from a demonstration that the results achieve the goals set by participants
    - The authority is accepted by the participants

    - The source of the values is external
    - There is no direct link between the values and the participants
    - Does not necessarily serve the interests of the participants
    - Relies on external authority
    - The authority is imposed on the participants

    - Dynamic, permit, and encourage change
    - Change is driven by the goal of better serving the participants
    - Uses past experience in order to ensure the change best serves the participants

    - Rigid, not conducive to change, and the goal of change is not necessarily to better serve the participants
    - If change happens, the source & authority is external & not necessarily applicable to the participants
    - Usually changes happen only due to changes in SM, again external

    - Builds on past experience & improvements, therefore there are less new/unknown situations encountered and the system is better at dealing with future situations
    - Has the express goal of providing reliable results, with checks & balances to identify whether the system is achieving that goal
    - Complex & flexible, ensuring better results by allowing for discussion & modifications when providing results

    - Not necessarily intended to provide reliable results
    - Unable to adapt in order to do so

    - Conflict resolution is based on skeptical inquiry, rational justification, data, demonstrable results
    - Relies on rational discussion/debate & evaluation of evidence
    - Inclusive, discussions take place between the participants

    - Relies on conquest, coercion or conversion
    - Rigid & divisive, conflicts aren't actually resolved, but the conflicting parties simply converted

    Based on the above criteria, it's clear that secular morality is superior to religious (non-secular) morality.



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