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Old 11-18-2008, 10:46 AM   #31
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Morality has to do with self-interest with consciousness other people's self-interest.
I'm not quite sure what you are trying to say here, maybe it's the wording.

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If something is indifferent to all parties then it doesn't matter. If it's not morally indifferent you can bet that people will have opinions on what is right or wrong about it.
I'm not sure if you'll find much that is indifferent to all parties. I think that you'll find the majority of life lives in the gray.

Is killing wrong? Most would say yes, but then others could justify times when it isn't wrong.

Is stealing wrong? Most would say yes, but then others could justify times when it isn't wrong.

Is rape wrong? Most definately, but there will be times when you're not sure if it actually occurred or not.
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:09 PM   #32
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I'm not quite sure what you are trying to say here, maybe it's the wording.
I forgot to add consciousness "of".

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I'm not sure if you'll find much that is indifferent to all parties. I think that you'll find the majority of life lives in the gray.

Is killing wrong? Most would say yes, but then others could justify times when it isn't wrong.

Is stealing wrong? Most would say yes, but then others could justify times when it isn't wrong.

Is rape wrong? Most definately, but there will be times when you're not sure if it actually occurred or not.
I think I mentioned that in my last posts with Melon. People will disagree on what is a fact and what is not. A detailed view of good and evil or right and wrong is needed and oversimplification is usually a problem. Certainly TV soundbytes add to that problem. How you use words is a perfect example of what can add to the confusion. In the bible one of the commandments are translated as "Thou shall not kill" vs. "Thou shall not murder." There is a big difference depending on which translation.
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:28 PM   #33
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I forgot to add consciousness "of".
I don't agree that morality has anything to do with self interest. In fact I believe true morality would be to define right and wrong without the influence of self interest.

I benefit nothing from gay marriage, but my morality tells me that equality comes first and foremost.

My vengeful human nature may want to see the murderer of my loved one die, but my morality tells me the death penalty is wrong.

I think the biggest problem with today's "moral" right is that they define morality like you do and use self interest in defining their morals.

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I think I mentioned that in my last posts with Melon. People will disagree on what is a fact and what is not. A detailed view of good and evil or right and wrong is needed and oversimplification is usually a problem. Certainly TV soundbytes add to that problem. How you use words is a perfect example of what can add to the confusion. In the bible one of the commandments are translated as "Thou shall not kill" vs. "Thou shall not murder." There is a big difference depending on which translation.
But what you are describing here IS the gray.

You can't disagree with what is a fact and what is not. 1+1=2, that is a fact. There is no arguing that. If it's debatable than it is opinion.
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:26 PM   #34
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You can't disagree with what is a fact and what is not. 1+1=2, that is a fact. There is no arguing that. If it's debatable than it is opinion.


People disagree on whether a fact is a fact or a "fact". You can sit there and display what you think are facts and others will disagree with your facts and have counter "facts". Just look at think tanks to find your examples of "facts" disagreeing with each other. Eventually it becomes an argument on who's studies are more comprehensive and convincing and who's studies are manufactured to achieve a result. Just because something is stated as a fact doesn't mean it is. The topics we discuss on this board are more complex than 1 + 1 = 2. There are people who even argue about events and come up with conspiracy theories for example of Jews being partly responsible for 9/11. You can't even get people to agree on events and how they happened.

It's kind of depressing that we have to rely on "experts" but there is no other way other than comparing differing views and to come up with an opinion. No human being lives long enough to study all subjects to even have an educated opinion on all matters. Just look at the posts on here. It's just a bunch of U2 fans posting articles and arguing over which ones they agree with and why. This is hardly a place for facts but a place for opinions on what we think are facts.
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:38 PM   #35
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People disagree on whether a fact is a fact or a "fact". You can sit there and display what you think are facts and others will disagree with your facts and have counter "facts". Just look at think tanks to find your examples of "facts" disagreeing with each other.
Look at the definition of 'fact', there is no gray in the definition of fact. In order to be a fact it has to have truth.

If we're arguing the "facts" then they aren't truly facts. But often we're arguing the conclusions drawn from many facts.

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Eventually it becomes an argument on who's studies are more comprehensive and convincing and who's studies are manufactured to achieve a result.
Well this is another whole topic for another day.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:05 PM   #36
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I believe there is a standard to judge good and evil.

I believe there is a universal God and that he visited this planet as a human being.

Listen up


The Greatest Commandment

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."


~That Rebel from Nazareth
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:53 PM   #37
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I believe humans created morality because it makes life easier and works better. The bible has too many immoral things in it so followers ignore parts (especially in the Old Testament) like the burning of sorcerers.

I also don't like the idea of a jealous God because if a human can create resistance to jealousy then a human can be better than God

Even in Genesis you have a conundrum where God tempts Adam and Eve with the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If Man fell (losing access to the tree of life) because he was curious about the knowledge of good and evil then this knowledge is supposed to be forbidden. That sounds good for people who want "sheep" to follow them and pay tithes with no questions asked. Can't people see the anti-questioning on that story? "Don't be curious or you will be punished." Why would God as perfect as "he" is create life and use a flood to wipe out life and start over again? It's like God doesn't know what he's doing so he has to get a "do over"?

Yet why put the tree to tempt Adam and Eve in the first place? It just doesn't make any sense in our day and age to have a jerk God that plays games with people. It's laughably human.

What about Satan approaching Jesus and asking good questions about his divinity? Am I Satanic for asking questions? It's no different than in the Koran where different points of view and questioning are prohibited and discouraged. The only reason Christianity survived is because many Christian thinkers read Plato and Aristotle and adopted good philosophies of the pagans. Without that mixing of knowledge ("what is true and beautiful is Christian") allowed the system to have value and make the individual important. Covanents and Jesus dying for our sins elevates the individual.

What about the scene where Jesus sends some pigs over the cliff? Of course we know Jewish people don't like pigs but God created them. Pig meat apparently spoiled in the harsh sun so it was considered not of value. This is a cultural tradition. It makes no sense for Jesus to kill a bush for growing in the wrong season.

I know it's fearful to live in a world where there is no certainty as to why we exist but isn't it better to not believe in a religion that has Adam and Eve blamed for something God tempted them with and then damn the innocent children of Adam and Eve to the same fate for eternity? Do you notice that as time goes on in the bible the lifespan shrinks for people? Why would God punish innocent people? Even humans can create laws with more sense. If there is a God it is most likely so different than anything in any religious text and from looking at the complexity of the universe far more complex than our current brains can understand.

If a creation of God has the potential to be smarter than God then we have a serious problem with the bible. It's an old cultural document and tells a series of stories back at a time when knowledge was passed on verbally. Only when the printing press was invented were more average people able to actually read the bible for themselves instead of having priests manipulate the populace to get money and hide bible passages from sight. This lead to the Reformation.

I'm sure there are more errors and contradictions I could find but the ones I listed above are so brutal it shakes you out of belief. It also doesn't help that stories of Moses and Genesis can be found in Sumerian writing which is even older. These stories trancended time and cultures and have had generations adding to them which wipes out the idea that any of these texts are from God. God shouldn't need to do drafts and rewrite parts. That's what humans do.
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:56 PM   #38
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I'm not sure where your Biblical knowledge originates, but the majority of your examples are wrong, confused, or at least missing context. Maybe when I have more time I'll come back.

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Yet why put the tree to tempt Adam and Eve in the first place? It just doesn't make any sense in our day and age to have a jerk God that plays games with people. It's laughably human.
The point wasn't to tempt, but to provide free will.
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:18 AM   #39
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The only reason Christianity survived is because many Christian thinkers read Plato and Aristotle and adopted good philosophies of the pagans.

...

What about the scene where Jesus sends some pigs over the cliff? Of course we know Jewish people don't like pigs but God created them. Pig meat apparently spoiled in the harsh sun so it was considered not of value. This is a cultural tradition. It makes no sense for Jesus to kill a bush for growing in the wrong season.
As an aside, the latter POV, I believe, is reminiscent of the medieval Islamic Mu'tazili, where it was argued that much of the Qur'an was written for a specific culture in specific circumstances; and, as such, modern truth to be derived from scriptures had to be ascertained through reason and philosophy, particularly that of ancient Greek philosophy and Aristotle, which they had rediscovered.

In relation to your first point, Christian scholastics, particularly St. Thomas Aquinas, imported many of these philosophical ideas via Islamic Spain, hence developing the dominant theology of Roman Catholicism for the last 800+ years, Thomism. And I believe it is this mindset which is why Catholicism, unlike many Protestant sects, very clearly states that they do not believe in Biblical fundamentalism. Moral teachings and the Bible are guided by the tradition of the church, which is formed by the hierarchy, which is formed through, in their words, "reason." I do think, however, that secular "reason" and theological "reason" are not operating on the same definition, which is likely why many of us are driven mad by trying to figure out where much of their logic originated from.

But that would make sense, really, since Thomism, 800 years ago, is really the last time that the secular world and the theological world shared the same philosophy. Since then, it's been a case of divergent evolution, with secularism going the way of Western philosophy and the scientific method, and theology going in a radically different direction. We may share some of the same vocabulary, like "reason," but how such things as reason and logic are derived have changed dramatically over the centuries. And now, by the 21st century, we're seeing the gulf reach a kind of "critical mass"; the "theocons" and the secularists now can barely even agree on a common language for discourse, let alone reconcile.

In terms of "absolute truth," I read an explanation I found quite satisfying. It is true that things we once thought were "absolutely true" have turned out to be wrong, due to new understandings and knowledge. As such, there is a temptation to claim that absolute truth is a fiction and can never be attained, so it isn't even worth trying. On the other hand, the quest for what is "absolutely true" is still worth pursuing, in the sense that once it is discovered, it will have been "true" all along and in history. It may seem like a fool's errand to some, but the progress of civilization and the future is built upon the foundation of our ancestors and, likewise, the civilization of our descendants and the knowledge that they will pursue will be built upon what we choose to pursue. We will not get everything right, and it is certainly possible that, in A.D. 2808, people will laugh at us as much as one can laugh at many of the conclusions that Aquinas came to in his medieval understanding of "natural law." Nonetheless, Western philosophy and modernism itself was built on these foundations, and, as such, could not have existed without it. If we want to dream for a better future, then we have to do our part to create it. "The End of History"? Hardly.
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:50 AM   #40
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I'm not sure where your Biblical knowledge originates, but the majority of your examples are wrong, confused, or at least missing context. Maybe when I have more time I'll come back.

The point wasn't to tempt, but to provide free will.
I understand the free will point but at some point and if we look at everything as fables we still don't have that certainty that is preached by all churches. Context can be manipulated into what we see now which is Orthodox vs. Catholic vs. Protestant not mentioning sects. At this point it's better to learn comparatively in conjunction with philosophy.

Add examples as you will but please include what people in biblical times would have thought of these stories instead of updates in interpretation that came later.

Christ was supposed to return within the time of the apostles. When I asked a Christian about that problem she said that all Christians are Apostles. This has got to be false. People in biblical times must have been expecting the second coming of Christ quite soon.
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:56 AM   #41
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"The End of History"? Hardly.
Quite true. All we have to do is make choices and compare results. Science can give us incremental knowledge.

The problem with the universe is that our technology is so limited that we don't have any tests we can create to understand what happened before the big bang. Einstein said that if we managed to travel to the end of the universe we would double back on ourselves. Getting to the edge of the universe is impossible at this moment and would take unimaginable lifetimes if tried.

Science is limited by what further tests we can create to add to our knowledge beyond what we have now. Lots of room for added knowledge.
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Old 11-21-2008, 01:20 AM   #42
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I deny objective morality, there is nothing innate to the universe which makes an action inherently good or evil, no score card or retributions, this position eliminates the problem of evil and explains why good things happen to bad people.

I say bad people because of my own morality, how we treat others and how we act is in large part a product of evolution. Innate morality is part of empathy, animals which are hard wired to obey particular rules can thrive in social groups and pass on those traits to offspring. Evolution answers why we view murderers and child molesters as evil, the visceral reaction we have is instinct.

What our morality ought to be is a different question, God doesn't answer it. If God is good because God does good things the entity is subservient to a higher moral order but if God is the definition of good it renders the term meaningless. The concept of an intelligence which makes judgements about the morality human interactions doesn't seem very useful. What does make sense is that certain types of behaviour work well in group settings, and that in terms of increasing net happiness they are good. These behaviours are what we class as moral.

I really like it that it has once again fallen onto a right wing poster to provide dissent against the theistic consensus. Your examples may lack some context but you raise valid points. A very big one is the nature of free will, evidence is starting to answer if we actually make conscious decisions or are puppets with the illusion of choice. That question is a scientific one, but it has consequences for peoples beliefs.

As for absolute truth I feel that is ultimately the domain of epistemology but the scientific method and the process of finding out is rewarding in itself, I don't see the point of theology other than the study of cultural artifacts, it seems to be looking at dilemmas which do not exist, there is more beauty and truth in scientific puzzles than any contradictory Godhead.
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:12 PM   #43
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Well I find that Christianity did help the idea of the individual being important (through covanents) but I still believe in ethics because we all know that the golden rule and categorial imperative are useful tools in helping society. I've also learned lots from Buddhism on how the mind operates and how habits are formed by attraction and aversion. Also that the goal is equanimity as opposed to pure happiness. This is why self discipline is important to me. Without it there is less free will. I'm sure I could study more and get into ontology but I still think ethics are important no matter how many new philosophers avoid it. Since most people aren't avid readers of philosophy, ethics can be taught by parents and understood in a basic level that doesn't require a PhD.

I find I'm in agreement with Christians on many issues especially abortion but I meet them from a different angle. I guess I'm a right wing humanist which I think is not very numerous on the right.

Christians feel that God is watching them so they reflect on their choices. Buddhists sit down and actually reflect on their mental impulses and through mindfullness they are able to understand themselves and learn to control themselves through more practice to create new habits that are healthy after reflecting over their bad habits. The Greek philosophers especially Socrates (the unexamined life is not worth living) understood that we must be proactive and think and discover or else life is pointless.

These threads lead me to the conclusion that reflection of your actions and creating new actions that are based on those reflections lead to a better life. As I get older I find that relationships, health and the proper use of money lead to a long run contentment or equanimity that is as good a life as I can think of. Some things you can't control but there are many choices we can make and when we have self-discipline it can show desire for a better life can lead to better choices. Fear of social consequences gets people to fear making good choices in life and I think that people need to develop a tolerance for that fear to start the enjoyable feeling that you are the person that makes the best choices for yourself and not some philosopher king with the "truth".

We need to move beyond our emotions and use the rational side of our brains more. It's not that emotions are bad per se but it leads to making rash choices and moods can be made into habits and those habits can rule your life. As Buddhists would attest the power of your emotions and fantasies can disconnect you from reality. Being your own slave is no good.

Boy this thread is starting to sound like The Matrix.

YouTube - Matrix - The pill

I'll never forget that scientific test of a rat that has an electrode put in its pleasure centers of the brain. The rat has two pedals to push. One for a zap in the pleasure center and another to dislodge some food. The rat ended up just hitting the pleasure center until it got addicted and then it starved to death.

I don't want to be this guy:

YouTube - Cypher!
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