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Old 10-28-2006, 11:44 AM   #1
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Derivation of Morality

We are reminded incessently that religious tomes empart good morals to live by even though it is demonstrable that those same texts also contain commands to immorality.

The solution to this is that people select the real "message" of the texts and emphasise the positive morals while downplaying the negative ones.

This discriminating of what we believe is done by human beings, so how can it be said that morality is defined by belief when we define our belief around our social constructions of morality.
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:10 PM   #2
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Re: Derivation of Morality

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
We are reminded incessently that religious tomes empart good morals to live by even though it is demonstrable that those same texts also contain commands to immorality.

The solution to this is that people select the real "message" of the texts and emphasise the positive morals while downplaying the negative ones.

This discriminating of what we believe is done by human beings, so how can it be said that morality is defined by belief when we define our belief around our social constructions of morality.
Is this a genuine question that you actually want to discuss or have you already made up your mind, i.e. is there even the remote possiblity that you might consider another point of view.

Because if not, what's the point in even starting the discussion?
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:14 PM   #3
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What's the point of discussing anything if not to elucidate other opinions and improve your arguments? Debate makes us think and thinking is good; I came across this argument and I find it pretty sound and haven't found any sort of reasoned argument against it, and so far in this thread none has been offered.
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
What's the point of discussing anything if not to elucidate other opinions and improve your arguments? Debate makes us think and thinking is good; I came across this argument and I find it pretty sound and haven't found any sort of reasoned argument against it, and so far in this thread none has been offered.
Well, not everyone enjoys being a whetstone upon which you sharpen your sense of being in the right. Most people like to feel that they've got a shot at being heard also.

But nonetheless, I'll offer a response. Just not now. It's 3:25 A.M. here on this side of the world (as you know since I'm sure our time zones are not too far apart, if not actually the same) and I have to go to bed.
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:31 PM   #5
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Old 10-28-2006, 05:49 PM   #6
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I can't find much to argue with in the original post. As Wanderer pointed out, the argument is sound.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
I can't find much to argue with in the original post. As Wanderer pointed out, the argument is sound.
Wait for it. . .wait for it. . .

I about wore myself out on the New Jersey thread and a GIANT PM to AEON.

I shall return.
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Old 10-29-2006, 12:11 AM   #8
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1 Corinthians 2

You'll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God's master stroke, I didn't try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.

I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God's Spirit and God's power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God's power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.

We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it's not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God's wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don't find it lying around on the surface. It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven't a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn't have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That's why we have this Scripture text:

No one's ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him. But you've seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you're thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he's thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don't have to rely on the world's guesses and opinions. We didn't learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we're passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.

The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can't receive the gifts of God's Spirit. There's no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God's Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God's Spirit is doing, and can't be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah's question, "Is there anyone around who knows God's Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?" has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ's Spirit.

Bold type is mine.

(The Message)
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Old 10-29-2006, 12:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean


Wait for it. . .wait for it. . .

I about wore myself out on the New Jersey thread and a GIANT PM to AEON.

I shall return.
Yes - it a giant PM - but it was a great one to read! Thanks for spending some time on it.
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Old 10-29-2006, 12:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean


Wait for it. . .wait for it. . .

I about wore myself out on the New Jersey thread and a GIANT PM to AEON.

I shall return.

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Old 10-29-2006, 11:19 PM   #11
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I don't accept the premise.
The dichotomy isn't between "good morals" and "bad morals." That's a bit like saying there's good math and bad math. No, there's only math, which when followed will determine the correct answer...and wrong answers. And lucky guesses. "As long as algebra is taught in school, there will be prayer in school."--Cokie Roberts

No, I would argue we make our choice between morality and amorality. Morality, or the "law of human nature", the set of rules to best govern the actions of humans, much as the laws of physics define the motion of celestial bodies. With one huge difference--humans are given freewill to obey or disobey their laws.

I guess I would need specific examples to elaborate.
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
"As long as algebra is taught in school, there will be prayer in school."--Cokie Roberts
I've always loved this quote, and I wish more people would understand it, and leave it at that...


Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500

No, I would argue we make our choice between morality and amorality.

Who do you know who actually of sound mind chooses amorality?
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:50 AM   #13
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Re: Derivation of Morality

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
We are reminded incessently that religious tomes empart good morals to live by even though it is demonstrable that those same texts also contain commands to immorality.
Ok, it's 11:31 P.M., I've got work tomorrow and I really should go to bed but. . .I'm going to go ahead and tackle this anyway.

First off I can't speak for all religious tomes because my knowledge and experience with them is far too limited. I can only speak for the religious tome to which I subscribe which is the Bible.

And so I will address the question as it relates to the Bible.

As far as I'm aware nowhere in the Bible is immorality "commanded." There is a lot of immorality in the Bible. There's a lot of immorality done by those who are supposed to be the "good guys", the followers of God. But I don't see immorality being commanded.

So the first thing you'd have to do is not merely SAY that the religious tome, (in this case, the Bible), demonstrably contains commands to immorality, but actually demonstrate it.

Now the weakest part of my argument definitely has to do with God's commands to kill people. They're in the Bible. . .we all know they are. . .the commands to slay this person and smite that nation-- man, woman, and child e.tc.. We know the commands are there, let's face them head on. They are most definitely commands to do something immoral, aren't they?

Perhaps. But then perhaps not.

First off, if you don't consider warfare to be inherently immoral but sometimes necessary, then that addresses many of the "God commands to kill" stories. If you are okay with the necessity for warfare (and I'm pretty sure A_W, that you are) then you can't really fault God for sending his people into battle either. I think it's important to keep in mind that when God said "go up against this nation and destroy them" these weren't peaceful tribes of non-believers going their own merry way. These were tribes every bit as warlike if not more so than Israel, and surely would have destroyed them if given the chance. The Old Testament was written in brutal times, no question about it, and it reflects that brutality.


If you're not so okay with war (like me), I'll concede these passages could be more problematic--though even I understand that sometimes war is necessary--however horrific it may be.

Beyond warfare related issues, there's not much other evidence in the Bible that I can think of where immorality is commanded.

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
The solution to this is that people select the real "message" of the texts and emphasise the positive morals while downplaying the negative ones.
I'm curious as to why it is necessarily a bad thing to select the message of the text? What could possibly be wrong about trying to understand the context, culture, history etc behind a particular story. In fact it's the people who insist on taking the Bible absolutely at "face value" that I distrust the most. They're usually the most fanatical and extremist of believers. It seems to me unfair and extreme to expect that the Bible must not be analyzed or interpreted at all, but should just be taken "as is." Granted there is the potential for people to twist or misrepresent what the Bible says to fit their own agenda, but isn't that true of just about everything else too?

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
[BThis discriminating of what we believe is done by human beings, so how can it be said that morality is defined by belief when we define our belief around our social constructions of morality. [/B]
I'm not sure I agree that your statement that morality is defined by belief is applicable to all the believers. I'm not sure it applies to me. For this believer, morality is determined by reason, logic, and the sense of what is good, i.e. safe, helpful, enriching, for society and for individuals. I choose my faith, in a sense, based on what best represents morality as I understand it. For me, my faith is rooted in the concept that God is love. This fits with a reasonable, logical view of morality--love as the ultimate Good, the ultimate Power in the universe. Because that's what my faith teaches, that's why I choose to be a believer. At some point, if you feel that your faith system consistently lines up with a reasonable, logical morality, you feel you can trust it enough to say, "Well, if God says this is immoral, then I believe Him, though I personally can't see 'what's wrong with it.' After all His track record has been great so far, so I'll go with it, expecting the reasonable, logical pieces will fall into place eventually." And thus we arrive at the place where belief defines morality. Even then, for many--but not all--believers, the door to reason is never shut because these believers when encountering a morality that "doesn't make sense" are willing to consider at the very least that the problem may not be in what God says, but in their own fallible and human understanding of what God says.





I'm pretty exhausted so I hope all that made SOME kind of sense. Consider this my first volley. I'll refine and hone more as the discussion continues. I'm sure A_W and maybe others will have plenty to say in rebutal
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:21 AM   #14
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But love is biochemistry; if we are to associate the nature of God with an emotional response

I don't think there is a quantifiable element in the universe of love, I think that the emotional response is a mammalian behaviour

While not all who profess belief will argue that morality is defined by belief there are quite a number of them and it is the most frequent argument that I come across; the idea that in the absence of faith amorality is left, my two objections are that good deeds done on the basis of humanism (by anyone) without the impetus of reward or punishment are in some ways morally better than those done for a higher power and secondly that by virtue of reason and logic laws for the benefit of individuals may be defined and codified, cheifly through the no-harm principle.
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
my two objections are that good deeds done on the basis of humanism (by anyone) without the impetus of reward or punishment are in some ways morally better than those done for a higher power and secondly that by virtue of reason and logic laws for the benefit of individuals may be defined and codified, cheifly through the no-harm principle.
And where does the following fit:

Good deeds done because the nature of God within a person longs to do them?
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