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Legislating Morality

Posted by cornopean none (cornopean@hotmail.com) on
Sat, Mar 2, 13 at 9:24

Can we agree that every govt legislates morality? Every law is a reflection of some moral. Our laws against murder are based on the fact that we think it is immoral to take innocent life. Our laws against theft are legislating morality. We all hold stealing to be immoral and our laws against theft are based on that moral.
So it is not a question of whether we are going to legislate morality but whose morality are we going to legislate. yes?

Are we going to legislate biblical morality? Buddhist morality? secularist morality? etc.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Legislating Morality

The morality inferred from the golden rule. That's the basis of our laws. And that is not tied to any one religion or a specific culture's set of beliefs.


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But we still legislate morality....right?

also, I can't see how you can ever separate morality from religion. After all, your laws are only going to be as transcendent as the person who is giving the laws. As kids we would ask "says who?" by which we wanted to know who it was that gave us a given directive.

So....if you don't believe in an all transcendent being, then you cant have a transcendent moral code. no?

For example, how can a secularist tell anyone else that his/her actions are immoral? Says who?


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You could be wrong in your whole premise-it could just be that a society works better if certain rules are obeyed-most societies decide that murder is disruptive to a peaceful coexistence-you dont have to put any sort of moral onus on the act-or that theft is disruptive since people will fight over belongings so you make up a code of conduct that covers that-no morals ......
So a secularist does not necessarily tell people their actions are immoral.
A secularist can have a moral sense without reference to a higher power since we each have our own sense of right and wrong-then you ask the childish who I say-me. Is my sense the same as everyone elses-probably not. I dont get to live by any and every moral sense I have unless I want to bear the consequences. I was watching a documentary on Racists last night and one man found the idea of mixing races so morally outrageous that he would disown a daughter who had a mixed race child-most of us would not agree with his moral sense. He thought of himself as a religious man.


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patriciae: is there such a thing as an immoral action? Is it immoral to steal? murder?

and what about the guy who thinks it outrageous to mix races.....is he wrong? immoral?


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Thank you, Patriciae... one doesn't have to place faith in any higher power to live by a code of honor.


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I am not a member of any religion but I have a well-developed moral sense. I find it abhorrent to say that unless one has some kind of religious belief, one cannot be a moral person. Religion is not tied to morality.If anything, religion was developed out of a moral sensibility, not the other way around.


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Regardless--we individiually, and collectively, define "morality."

Those that eschew a higher power can claim and live a "morality," but who is to say their morality is superior or more valid than morality defined by a religion, or by another person?

Yes, government legislates morality.

As to whose morality, I suppose the majority that agree on definitions--regardless of the source.


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I think I hear a set up wheres the pitch?


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We individually and collectively define morality....and that's the basis of our common law system.


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demi - good explanation, and I agree!

I agree with the golden rule premise as jmc said. And you don't need religion for that.


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Prejudices are acceptable to those who believe in or propagate them. There are no laws that can regulate one's personal sentiments. What law is on the books that guarantees a father can't disown his daughter for something he considers a personal egregious betrayal? What law guarantees a bigot will have an epiphany of sorts?

I suspect the Biblical writers based their 10 Commandments (the first three being religious in nature, the remaining seven for the common good and to maintain social order) on the Code of Hammurabi, which surely would have been known to them. Though that Code might not be exactly thought of in religious terms in the same way some consider the commandments as divinely inspired, Hammurabi was supposedly given the extensive and all-encompassing set of mandates by the Sun god who was thought to be most closely aligned with justice.

Once agriculture found people settling in groups no longer comprised of kin, it just seemed logical that a set of ethical laws designed to keep a social order would spring up. Looking at it from the lowest common denominator, you might need these people during the course of life so it was simply wise not to kill them or steal what goods they might have.


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Extremely well said, Pidge, and quite logical in the scheme of things.

We already know that the religions practiced today developed out of other, more ancient beliefs and fears regarding life and death, the earth, the moon and stars, seasons, weather and other natural occurrences, etc... beginning sometime within the Paleolithic period. Morality didn't begin when religions were founded and first practiced. Logic tells me that morals, or values, were born partially out of man's need to get along with others, to work and live together as a tribe.

One does not have to believe in a supernatural or higher power, a god, in order to live a very moral life. Not one of my family members believes in a god, and we all have very strict codes of honor that we live by.

In fact, I would hesitate a guess that many religions were co-opted along the way, with lesser than moral intentions, for the purposes of controlling humankind through guilt and fear, making untold amounts of money through tithing and other "donations": and as a cloak to cover criminal and other less than above board activities. I offer the Catholic religion and its recent attention as an example.

The texts used often include writings that divide people by differences, are open to complete contradictory interpretation, are often inconsistent, etc. Of course, that's mostly my opinion, drawn on what I've learned and seen throughout the course of my life, and as an ex-Catholic.

Everything I need to live a moral, happy, fulfilling life is already contained within me.

Following laws that keep everyone safe and working or getting along together as a "tribe" simply makes logical sense.

Legislating morality from a religious standpoint is invasive and controlling. I'd rather not live under any kind of theocratic rule.


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I vote for Sharia Law. Off with their heads!

-Ron-


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That would mean all of the laws of North Korea are on some form of equality as the laws of the US.
They serve the perceived good of the state.
When a question is prefaced with a can we all agree or can we all assume, I immediately become disagreeable and not only because I'm a contrarian.
It sometimes not always follows that a bill of goods is to be sold on the granite or swamp being laid out.
There are those who believe the law of god must come before the law of the state. This goes back to Chalcedon which is where we are going when the law of god should supersede the law of the state. .You have a whole slew of people who signed on to The Manhattan declaration. It's important to them to say NYA NYA in advance of the state passing ordinances which they do not agree with some may say Oremus but it still amounts to the same thing. The state is immoral or amoral & we aren't .

This post was edited by labrea on Sat, Mar 2, 13 at 19:26


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"one doesn't have to place faith in any higher power to live by a code of honor."

I agree with the above statement. but you DO have to believe in a higher power if you want to label someone else's actions as immoral or wrong. If your moral standards only apply to yourself, then you have no right to tell Hitler or Mao that they are evil.

You can only tell someone else that they are immoral if both people are subject to a moral code. If everyone makes up their own moral code, then mine is as good as yours. Saddam's is as good as Mother Theresa's.


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Pidge, I believe you. I just don't understand how you can call some actions evil if you have no overarching standard to appeal to. If I came over and stole your wallet, I am guessing you would tell me I was wrong for doing that. but what if stealing is a moral action for me? if there is no moral code to which we are both subject, then.....where does that leave us? I believe it is moral to steal your wallet. You believe it is immoral.

Anyone with a theistic worldview, solves this easily by appealing to the laws of God to which every person is subject.

But if you don't believe in any kind of higher being, then neither can you believe in any kind of higher moral code to which all people are subject. So.....then neither can you call me immoral for stealing your wallet.


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But if you don't believe in any kind of higher being, then neither can you believe in any kind of higher moral code to which all people are subject.

Then I must be a flaming moral degenerate...and therefore a criminal to boot!

-Ron-


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Cornopean..you are confusing morals with religious beliefs-If you look up Morals in a dictionary you likely wont find any reference to religion, instead you get something like

"Morals- generally accepted customs of conduct and practice"

Societies have for centuries made up codes of conduct that lead to stable, peaceful, coexistence and it is no coincidence that all over the world there is a certain amount of similarity in these codes of conduct since the same issues are addressed. That simple, and with a plethora of 'gods' in the mix, or not as the case may be. A belief in a higher power is not necessary, it is a civil issue.


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cornopean said:
"Every law is a reflection of some moral."

I disagree with that absolute. From a practical view government does often seek to dictate some moral view. Since morality, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, such laws usually just muck things up.

I believe most law is designed to protect ownership, giving the weak an equal defense against the strong who would take from them. For one to have everything and another to have nothing might be considered immoral, but still law protects ownership without regard to morals. Simply, law protects ownership, be it a man's land, his horse, his dignity, or his life; no morals needed.

Sociaty works much better where the connerstone is compassion rather than morality. For morality is often used to rationalize taking a privledge not earned.


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pls8xx - Dude! Where ya been!


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Spread out over the internet so thin I'm almost invisable. That and doing a lot of volunteer work.


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Good to know you're still kickin', as they say. Don't be a stranger.


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cornopean, I don't see why you think belief in a higher power insures agreement about morality any more or less than non-belief.

It's quite obvious from looking at world religions that it doesn't.

I think what you were getting at is that atheists/humanists don't have the objective judge that a religious ethicist would have to go by in determining the morality of thier actions, but just because the lack of an objective judge doesn't deny the possibility of objective standards.

What if I told you that my moral guide is that I do not do anything that would not be universally possible; I avoid any action that each and every other person on the planet could not also do as well. Pretty objective yes?


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Well stated again, Patriciae... and others...

Morals and religious belief do not always go hand in hand, as evidenced by too many instances of those who claim such beliefs but act otherwise.

Religious war is the perfect oxymoron to throw out as an example.


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This is one of those "let's all chase our tails" kind of discussion. Cornopean appears to be convinced that if one shares no religious belief or faith in some higher power that she or he cannot judge whether stealing a wallet is wrong. That's absurd.

Anyway, who's to say that humans can't be their own higher power? If we can make up a religion to suit our moral sense, then obviously we're in charge of the whole thing in the first place.


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There is a term in our culture "Morals Charges" in Entertainment Contracts it was called a Morals Clause. Anyone reading the term in a magazine or paper knew if it had been violated what might be in question.
Generally not tax problems or passport irregularities.


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Way back when we wore the skins of animals and carried clubs people realized that some things just don't work for the benefit of the group. Rules were made to keep things in order and decrease the loss of members of the group by instant retaliation. This worked for quite a while until some one thought up a higher power such as the sun or lightning. Then was the opportunity for worshiping that higher power and the start of religion.

Each group, tribe or other designated division of the scarce population came up with their own mystical understanding of these un-understandable happenings and decided it was a higher power. It has been all down hill since.


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"Anyway, who's to say that humans can't be their own higher power?"

That's what I'm saying.

It seems to me that quite a few folks turn to religion out of desperation... when they no longer believe in themselves. They pray to a god that doesn't exist instead of asking for help from a friend or neighbor... and that's my opinion. Believers call upon a god... atheists call upon friends.

But this is a thread designed to elicit a specific response... and goes over ground we've covered just a few times... once more for posterity... religion and morality are not one and the same.


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cornopean, this is not my original thought; but I like it very much. It was stated to support the premise that "the law is always out of date".
"Laws are passed to maintain the status quo of the society. Since the society is always changing, the law is always out of date".


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 13:21

Yes, obviously the implication is that we need to set up a threocracy because otherwise we are living in Babylon.


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The source of the word moral is actually middle english-mor-with the latin version being moralis. It means customary usage-I looked it up so that I could be sure that my understanding of the word moral was correct-so morals or morality is indeed customarily accepted behavior-or unaccepted as the case may be. While religious people seem to think they have a lock on the word, in actuality they borrowed it from common society. Therefore of course governments legislate morality since it is through government that we express our common beliefs-that being what government actually is- a commonly accepted set of rules we live by that not being holy writ or written by anyone holy can change with our changes-Homosexuality is a great example, not all that long ago thought by a majority of people to be morally wrong-and therefore legally wrong, now we think it is perfectly socially acceptable and have changed our laws accordingly.


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So I'm reading today about an 87 year old woman who dies at a Senior Living Center (Glenwood Gardens) in Bakersfield. The nurse who place the 911 call would NOT perform CPR because it is against company policy. A nurse no less. Legislating Morality...hmmm.

Anyway, for those who might want to know...Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield is owned by

http://www.brookdaleliving.com/

And they own over 645 Senior Living Sites across the country.

-Ron-


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While religious people seem to think they have a lock on the word, in actuality they borrowed it from common society.

You mean to tell me I'm going to have to give up my head-hunting and cannibalistic ways? Even though that is part of my religion I was brought up in (I'm part PNG doncha know) just to satisfy society's so-called morality? Dang! This is so not right. I thought I had a right to my religious beliefs (and actions)!

-Ron-


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Ron, the nurse may have be limited by an existing living will specifying no resuscitation.


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Marshall, in the article, it stated that she told the 911 dispatcher that she wouldn't perform CPR because it was against company policy.

-Ron-


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I just heard that on the evening news, Ron. We need more info about this one.


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Patriciae is quite right... the definitions given for the word "moral" would lead one to believe that it has much more to do with an individual's conscience and sense of right and wrong, or rules of conduct followed that help us get along as a society, than it does with any religion.

I would say that religion co-opted the word, though exhibited behavior is not always in line with those morals professed.


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Ron, what policy? Liability for injuries during a successful resuscitation? I spent a couple of years as a volunteer EMT on a paramedic ambulance. We were at best some 20 minutes away from the nearest emergency room. Chest compressions on an elderly patient being transported in a rolicking and rolling ambulance do a lot of damage to ribs and cartilage.


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That would be my guess, Marshallz... something to do with liability, or something along those lines.

Everyone and their brother are so sue-happy that it's often recommended one doesn't give first aid at accident scenes, for fear they'll do something that they could be sued for.


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ok so let's suggest a test case. Upon what grounds would you say Hitler was immoral? Hitler says he was moral. You say he wasn't. How do we resolve this?


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No power of government ought to be employed in the endeavor to establish any system or article of belief on the subject of religion.
-Jeremy Bentham

(but only because the original post referred to religious morality)

I think it is the government's business to legislate morality with respect to what most (around the world, not just a majority of Americans) find objectionable. Rape, abuse, murder, things that lead to that. Not slippery slope lead to that, e.g. certain types of music--but the real things that lead to that, e.g. drunk driving.


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rob333, what gives you the right to say rape, abuse, murder, etc. are wrong? who are you? why should I listen to you?


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Sorry cornopean. EVERY criminal justice and legal class I had, said that it was. These are mala in se (inherently bad), whereas speeding, for example, is mala prohibitum (only "wrong" by prohibition). Don't listen to me, but mankind finds these to be wrong. And I did qualify it by saying most people around the planet. You're just in the minority. Those offenses have a class of laws all their own. The laws of this land, and many others, say so.


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This was a hot topic how & why? This was a fiddle the song is over for me.

This post was edited by labrea on Mon, Mar 4, 13 at 9:44


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Corn.....do you believe Hitler was a moral person?


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Corn.....do you believe Hitler was a moral person?


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Rob333, so which person or group of persons gets to decide what actions are inherently bad and which are not? do you see how silly this is? if there is no transcendent being, then there can be no transcendent law. and if there is no transcendent law, then all we can have is groups of people agreeing to regard such and such an action as immoral. We cannot say with finality for every person, that murder, or rape, or lying is always and everywhere wrong.


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Wow, a version of "natural law arising from a Higher Power." Legislatures and law courts have no natural standing and thus can be ignored, so it seems. There is no SECULAR arbiter of what is evil or immoral or good or moral. And labrea is backing out of the discussion, leaving robin and me to cope.


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OMG...

If morality is loosely defined as "an individual's conscience and sense of right and wrong, or rules of conduct followed that help us get along as a society", then it follows that Hitler had no sense of conscience and did or ordered many things done that go directly against what is considered moral and useful within a society.

We're talking about war, genocide, torture, murder, etc... you don't consider those things immoral? Most of society does.

Hitler was a heavy drug user and quite insane, according to many sources.

That's about as far removed from morality as an example can get.


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Yes. Yes, I can say, with NO (none, nada, zip, zilch, etc.) reservations that everyone everywhere finds thse immoral without a higher being involved. And I am higly Christian. Well known on this board. I even write a christian blog. I even mourn the ss soldiers eternity. I don't condone their actions one little bit, but such deep sorrow, as I cannot convey. why do you need a being to instruct you corn?


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It comes down to... which came first - morality or religion/god?

And the answer is, morality.

Religions came later.

Morality was born out of ancient mankind's need to interact and survive as a tribe, a group.

(Unless, of course, one believes that the Universe is only several thousand years old and that some god created Adam and Eve, who went on to create the whole human race through incest and interbreeding.)


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Bertrand Russell wrote about ethics without a high authority. Ethical Humanism covers this area also.
Cultural morals are also subject to zeitgeist how else would the great banking houses be charging interest without shame? Before actual corporal punishments of a society there are the emotional/psychic ones. Shame & fear of ostracism are often potent grounds for collective behavioral patterns, manners, customs, morals.


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An example of moral zeitgeist would come from out own nations struggle with slavery.

"Slavery, which was taken for granted in the Bible and throughout most of history, was abolished in ( presumed civilized) countries in the nineteenth century. All civilized nations now accept what was widely denied up to the 1920s, that a woman's vote, in an election or on a jury, is the equal of a man's. In today's enlightened societies (a category that manifestly does not include, for example, Saudi Arabia), women are no longer regarded as property, as they clearly were in biblical times. Any modern legal system would have prosecuted Abraham for child abuse."

Small groups from sewing circles to Fraternal Orders develop customs, rules written & unspoken over periods of time that are supposed to be the lubricant to facilitate smooth performances of these groups.
Something like the Masons would elevate it to a ritualized set or proscribed behaviors & oaths to gain entree to various departments/levels within such organizations. These manners/customs/rules while considered necessary possibly even sacred by these groups could easily be seen as being outside of the realm of moral behaviors. There is a bleed here as some nations seek for the sake of MORALITY to ban such Fraternal or Secret Societies.
After the founding of modern speculative Masonry in England in 1717, several Protestant states restricted Masonic lodges: Holland banned the lodge in 1735; Sweden and Geneva, in 1738; Zurich, in 1740; and Berne, in 1745. Catholic Spain, Portugal, and Italy attempted to suppress Freemasonry after 1738. Bavaria followed in 1784; Austria, in 1795; Baden, in 1813; Russia, in 1822; [1] Pakistan, in 1972
(Good just moral nations proceeding from a misguided?
desire to serve or promote a higher purpose passed good & just laws) making masonry a no no.

Yeah Hitler mnn didn't play nice broke a bunch of treaties not good that one.

Now many moralists called for the death of Michael Servetus (awful humanist Unitarian) they most certainly tried using the law to extradite him to France,
The great heretic Calvin wrote wrote to his colleague, Guillaume Farel, that should Servetus ever come to Geneva, “if my authority is of any avail I will not suffer him to get out alive.”

Here is a link that might be useful: Yadda


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ok so let's suggest a test case. Upon what grounds would you say Hitler was immoral? Hitler says he was moral. You say he wasn't. How do we resolve this?

Cornopean-I know this is going to be painful but you have to unsnap your concept of moral from any religious meaning or higher power. I think you are confusing the idea of sin with moral-Sins are dictated by religious belief and the dictates of higher powers. In the view of religious people a sin is a sin reguardless of the popular notion on the case. A sin is an eternal standard - for at least as long as that particular religious belief and god exist(remembering that Greeks actually believed in Zeus)

Since the concept of moral is by definition societal-hence the constantly changing standards of what is moral-the morality of an issue is decided by society-so we as a society can decide that Hitler was immoral. Hitler's opinion on the case has nothing to do with it. I can certainly have my own moral beliefs but if I act on them in a way frowned on by the society that I live in I have to pay the consequences-just like Hitler, because more people thought he was immoral than thought he was moral-in this case a world society.


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patriciae: ok so basically Nazi society said that jewish genocide was moral. american society says it is immoral. and there is nothing left to say. There is no overarching or transcendent moral code to which both societies are subject. right? so there is no way to resolve this issue. there is no higher moral code to authoritatively say that Hitler was wrong and you are right.

so...without a higher being, you have no grounds for calling Hitler immoral. then it also follows that you have no right to fight him or even to try and stop him. So WW2 was wrongheaded. ?

Where does that leave a society?


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Corn's strong belief that a higher power being necessary in order to have and apply morality has been a commonly accepted belief for centuries.

That it is no longer so completely accepted as a common sense sort of fact has been very disconcerting to many who do believe in a God especially imo a Christian God.
It is again imo the reason we so often hear now about the so called 'war on religion' and a 'war on Christians' etc. etc. This is a new and uncomfortable concept that is going through the uncomfortable pains of growth. I do believe it really is very difficult for a great many of us. We are a generation which has witnessed greater idological change than perhaps any other generation. Change is HARD, especially when it is seen as a change that isn't positive, that it means that one feels a loss due to the change.

The election of this President (and especially the re- election) must have been difficult for many who really did sense a greater natural superiority to races of color. Even for those who support the equality of all races, the growing success of that very idea might very well bring a certain sense of discomfort and loss.
People, especially atheists, are now beginning to be taken seriously because even many Christians themselves now accept the rational that a person can apply perhaps an even higher moral code than those who refer to themselves as Christian because they might be free of rules which might necessitate a support of discrimination against others, for example.

Labeling one's self as a Christian is no longer a flag used to naturally accept that this person is to be automatically considered to be a good and decent person. Life has proved to most that thinking of one's self as a Christian is too often a meaningless definition of character and behavior, just as ascribing a lower standard of morality to an atheist is no longer accepted as an idea with any valid meaning.
What a person says and especially does has more often now become the yardstick of how that person is defined.

This is being reflected in our laws now. Homosexuality was considered sinful by Christians in this country, therefore up until recent times, discrimination against them was accepted even legally. Violence against them was met with through the half lidded eyes of the lady of justice. This applied to pretty much any group of American citizens that were considered " less than" including all races other than white and all women including the white. Laws did support the discriminations and injustices, including violence against fellow human beings.

I have noticed that the more the idea of laws 'handed down by God' along with rules dictated by religion are ignored by legislation and judges - the more the decisions handed down actually are for the greater good.

In this, our country has greatly improved and have even found themselves closer to ideals our founding fathers themselves didn't fully realize they were in the midst of forming.

Sorry for making such a long response, for those who read it all thank you. My edit button doesn't function very well.


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Back to the moral arguments to slavery in this nation & the concepts of Honor & an old concept of Weregild (left over from Salic law)
Everything has a price under this law so we know the proper value of restitution.
This is moral zeitgeist again
"the value which a man's life had determined by his social standing within a tribal community. Thus if a man killed a slave, he owed the owner of the slave the amount of money he had paid for the slave or would have to pay to buy another slave of equal worth. If a man killed another free man he forfeited his own life, unless the slain man's family or tribe agreed to accept some amount of money or goods equal to the value of the slain free man's life within his own tribal group. Again, a man's honour is conceived of in terms of his social standing within his own tribal group. Thus, a slave has no honour since he is owned by another, but a free man's social standing is equal to that of another free man within his tribal group, but is subordinate to that of his tribal king. A free man will therefore defend his own honour with his life, or forfeit it (i.e., his social standing within his tribal group) and any affront to his honor by another free man must be repaid by the other man's forfeiting of his own life. Hence the custom of fighting duels. One who committed an affront to another man's honour or would not defend his own affronted honour would be regarded as a coward and suffer outlawry, i.e., he would lose his own social value and standing within his tribal and anyone could kill him without fear of retaliation from the man's tribal group."

The duality game is interesting for about 5 minutes impass is better when the moral authorities of a nation cannot say to the nation what is moral about something like Slavery. There are numerous laws on the books court cases that have juried outcomes based on "just
laws" standing law.
I would appreciate a comment on the link above regarding US laws morality & slavery.
There was a huge moral quandry supporting both sides.


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Hate to burst your bubble cornopean, but WW II wasn't fought for moral reasons to stop the genocide of the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals etc. Most governments and people really didn't care back then. One of the reasons why immigration to escape Hitler was pretty rarely allowed. You are looking back at WW II through the filter of your current view of a moral society. It was fought to stop Germany/Hitler from taking over any more countries after they invaded Poland.

Just like slavery was considered moral behavior for thousands of years, even by many blacks in the U.S. Free blacks owned slaves right up to the emancipation proclamation.

Moral behavior is about social contract, what most of the group perceives as right behavior. When the group's penalties for violating that moral behavior wasn't sufficient, they had to invent religion so a higher power was telling members of a society what to do.


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My point isn't that some people think slavery is wrong; most of us think that slavery is wrong FOR EVERYONE. But there is no moral yardstick big enough to cover everyone, if you don't believe in a higher being.

This is the problem with the secularist worldview. they can only make agreements that certain things are wrong. but this isn't true to our experience. we want to believe that rape and child abuse are always wrong for all persons. but...by what standard? Who says? None of your posts are addressing this issue.


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Try replacing "morals" with "ethics".

Morals are the tools by which one lives - however one came to arrive at them; ethics constitute the guidebook that codifies them for the commonweal.

Maybe one prefers the word "scruples" rather than morals... a scruple is an ethical consideration or principle that inhibits action. It's not a religious consideration.

I think what you're asking doesn't have pat answers. I can believe some acts are inherently wrong - (murder, rape, mayhem, slavery, Hitler marching on Poland with an eye toward the domination of the rest of Europe) - and are in complete opposition to my ethical code without interference or demands of a higher power. Sometimes all it takes is reaching the age of reason and augmenting that reason with some knowledge.

Ethicists struggle with "why" and the only answer you're likely to get is "because".


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This is the problem with the secularist worldview. they can only make agreements that certain things are wrong. but this isn't true to our experience. we want to believe that rape and child abuse are always wrong for all persons. but...by what standard? Who says? None of your posts are addressing this issue.
Side stepped it!


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Would the ideals of RJ Rushdoony be ideal for the US?


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duluthinbloomz4, whatever terms you want to use are fine. I am simply talking about how we can know something to be wrong for all peoples in all places at all times. Whatever you call that. I call it morals.


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labrea, good question but start a new thread. I am still trying to figure out how a secularist can know something to be wrong or right for anyone beyond himself or his group.

IMO, the secularist worldview is shown to be contrary to our experience. we all want to say that certain actions are wrong for everyone everywhere; but unless you believe in a transcendent being, you can't believe in a transcendent moral code. so that leaves us with a society in which everyone does that which is right in his/her own eyes.


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so that leaves us with a society in which everyone does that which is right in his/her own eyes.

How is that different from those that believe in a higher being and apply all views of right and wrong based on the beliefs of that religion? They are also applying what is right according to a set of rules, not individual rules, group rules. But is that any different?


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Quick, labrea, how many religions are there, and how many sects and cults of each religion, and give a summary of the unifying moral code shared among all those religions.


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I get you don't mind being clever with the Hitler game but side step the non secular religious holy war that surrounded Slavery. That was In this great land of ours! When the shamans & charlatans played my unique understanding of scripture trumps yours.
It was a holy war so many of the memorial say it was.
Some need the fear of hell or the eternal rewards you can be more in heaven then you ever were on earth plan to do the right thing and even then? Well I haven't engaged in Tailors of the Moral fabric of Society posts in quite awhile.
Shamans & charlatans playing dice with whats blasphemy versus heresy!
Was it an immoral act to execute Servetus?
Which laws were in play civil or religious?

: “It seems to us proper that the Christians and all others should have liberty to follow that mode of religion which to each of them appears best; for it befits the well-ordered State and the tranquillity of our times that each individual be allowed, according to his own choice, to worship the Divinity.”
This was Constantine's Edict of Milan.
Still to deny the trinity was threatening to the state threatening enough to enforce a death penalty though Justinian's Code says they should be expelled for the most part rather than killed. This was the interpretation of Justinian's Code used to kill Servetus. Also this was the code that granted the Inquisition the right to suppress the recitation of the Shema by practicing jews. "The Lord God of Israel is One"
(no he's not yes he is no he' isn't the law says so)

Theodosius was a favored of the Athanasian Creed which was probably never written by Athanasius.
You better believe or you may die it's for the good of the state & it's right true & just and everyone in town knows it & knew it since it was written and that was a long long long time so there with a hey nonny nonny and a ha ha ha!

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood by God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved..

Civil law supported it & you had better believe it


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"IMO, the secularist worldview is shown to be contrary to our experience. we all want to say that certain actions are wrong for everyone everywhere; but unless you believe in a transcendent being, you can't believe in a transcendent moral code. so that leaves us with a society in which everyone does that which is right in his/her own eyes."

Cornopean-rip, tear, disconect, unlink, your notion of transcendence in the context of moral-moral is by DEFINITION societal. It has NOTHING to do with eternal truths or ideas. It has everything to do with society, so NO you do not get to decide what is right in your own eyes-you do right in the eyes of the SOCIETY in which you live. I have been writing plain english here-why arent you getting that? If you do not operate within the moral code of the society in which you live you WILL suffer the consequences of that because we enact laws supporting our Moral code. Society can be your community, your state, your country and even your World. Offending the moral code of your what ever has consequences but the moral code of what evers is fluid-it changes. Religious principals are supposed to be eternal -if you believe in that sort of thing- They arent supposed to change. You are confused. Moral principals are not religious principals.


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Corn,

Do you think humans are kept in moral boundaries ONLY because they have a higher power in mind (sorry I can't quite figure out how to say, their eternity, reward, punishment avoidance=higher power)?

The flip side would be those who do not have a higher power do not have morals (because they are not worried about their eternity, reward, punishment).

So if you agree with the first statement, you must agree with the 2nd.

Do you?

And if you do, there is the conflict. Because people, atheistic or agnostic, are still inherently good. What makes them that way? Now, that would be something to probe. I think empathy, sympathy, compassion... those things come into play anyhow.


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Historically there have been any number of religions that have condone actually required human sacrifice. Is that moral? In my eyes and in modern first world society, no it isn't. But was it by the lights of that society? Was it any more moral or less because a higher power that they believed in ordered it?


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Well Cultural morals/laws in the west have been informed by waring religious factions since the reformation. before that (might made right and that was Holy Mother Catholic Church) might & right with a few kings & war lords to create beneficial arrangements..
In the Dark ages the local noble was often no better than he wanted to be.
The Ordeal was a method of ascertaining guilt by having you plunge your hand into boiling water to retrieve stones from the bottom of the pot. You were scalded and your hand bandaged and in several days it would be examined usually in the presence of a priest if it was healing well you may be innocent. If not oh well God had come down to earth and by not healing the hand showed your guilt. Same as trial by combat Judicium Dei (some how folks think we are a better planet now oh shock & awe gee wizz) or the ever popular if you float the water being pure is rejecting you.
Cathedrals & temples as the largest buildings in importance in a culture gave way to the sky scrapper.
Secular in deed. Corporations influence the law as much as any of the hobgoblins of the various shamanistic practitioners of any given moment.
My favorite Shamans of the moment also seek to influence the law they are the so called new Apostles of the Apostolic Reformation. C Peter Wagner's freak fest..
Cindy Jacobs can raise the dead & her 5 year old can make tornadoes stop. (who needs judicial review when you got these good folk around) I digress.

I often wonder how many trinitarians there would be around today had not the rule of law sweetened the pot so often with losing your head (don't go losing your head over a few more manifestations).

This is all over the place but then again so are the various shoots & ladders this topic brings up.

Now One of the first organizers in the chaos after the fall of Rome was the Church (what states there were often were in disarray)
Charlemagne offered a simple moral solution (code) convert or die. He did sentence countless people to death if they were caught being true to the faiths of their childhood/forefathers) He was an early community organizer & the community he organized was large & he did it with the aid of his multiple wives. (Marriage in front of a priest starts becoming law after William the Conqueror. (we still have here that common law Salic law again) who you sleep with & are seen with is your wife. Still he created some seats of learning and was starting to pull the mess together.

It's such a long long road we have trudge can't wait to we get to the Age of Reason the Enlightenment.


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Oh the Trial of Jean D'Arc is always a good one. Historical Canonical adversaries both supposedly of the same faith.
I suppose we can eventually get to the really bad examples of the Communist era when the state crushed the human (spirit?) with secular laws but come come 2000 years of Church and State hand in hand come first.

Of course this "is" carpet bombing of what seems to be little more than a bath mat.


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And here I thought the old belief of the noble savage was dead. Yet here it is being writ large once again. I expect most archaeologists would give you an argument as to that idea.

I will state it plainly. Man is not willingly kind, honest or moral. Such things are not innate. Those things must be taught. In every case, even the so called modern moral secular man must be convinced that the law is above him. Otherwise, since there is no God, the only thing he fears that keeps him moral is the fear of being caught.

There are so many flaws in your reasoning It is laughable and I am not even a believer.


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The fact that many religions have disagreements about moral standards is entirely irrelevant to this discussion.
Noone is addressing the issue. As Prager says, "If there is no transcendent source of morality (morality is the word I use for the standard of good and evil), "good" and "evil" are subjective opinions, not objective realities.

In other words, if there is no God who says, "Do not murder", murder is not wrong. Many people may think it is wrong, but that is their opinion, not objective moral fact. There are no moral "facts" if there is no God; there are only moral opinions."

There is no way around this.


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Somehow, I missed the Noble Savage defense of non-theocratic morality. Of course, this could well be one of those famous straw-man ploys to divert and amuse.


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As Patriciae admits, the concept of moral is by definition societal. If you don't believe in a higher being, then you are forced to believe that morality is relative to given societies. Which means that one society can never tell another society that their actions are immoral.

So....we cannot call Mao's mass-murders immoral b/c there is no objective yard stick by which to measure morality. mass-murder wasn't immoral in his book.


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There are 2000 years of legal facts & the cases that go with them & the codex created to handle the little people.
Then there seems to be your preference, hypothetical how many dictators can dance on the head of a pin! Really Corn you cannot discuss morality & the law without discussing the so called fashion designers of morality & legal moral zeitgeist.
Your opening is an agreement with yourself and you don't brook any historical exploration or examination.
The premise doesn't exist in a vacuum or is that how it's played in voucher education?


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Corn, let me lead you to further understanding of the issues of morality, natural law, the Enlightenment, and usefulness of theology in this discussion. I am linking you to a very thoughtful piece which in turn was prompted by a terrific article and discussion in The American Conservative. The gist:

---------------------------------------------------------------------snip-------

But here’s the problem: secular Enlightenment morality is also based on the natural law.

The idea of universal human rights was the greatest moral revolution in history since the Sermon on the Mount, and it has given us phenomenal, unimaginable moral progress, from reductions in cruelty to modern governance to unimaginable prosperity. Universal human rights are pretty important.

But of course, as any freshman philosophy student can tell, the problem comes when you try to ground those universal human rights. Where do they come from? Who confers them? Why should they be respected?

There’s basically only two ways to do so, one theistic and one non-theistic. Universal human rights are perfectly grounded if they come from God, as the Declaration of Independence asserts and as I believe in my heart of hearts. But not everybody likes that, and it sort of defeats the purpose of creating this secular moral system to begin with.

The only other way that I’m aware of to ground the idea of universal human rights is in, wait for it, the natural law. Without appealing to God, the only way to ground the idea of universal human rights is if there is such a thing as human nature, which is shared by human beings, because they are human beings, and which includes the endowment of rights. This is the classic formulation of secular Enlightenment morality. Because human beings are beings “of a rational nature”, they have rights, the Enlightenment tells us�"the key word here being nature. The insane still have human rights, the Enlightenment tells us, because even though they may not individually be rational, they share human nature, which itself is rational, and thereby endowed of rights.

This seems absolutely crucial to me. No human nature, no natural law, no human rights, no secular Enlightenment morality (as we have thus far been able to understand these things).

We’ve been talking about how if society decides to reject the natural law, it poses a problem for religious people, because it closes off an avenue of argument. But if society decides to reject the natural law, it poses a much, much more serious problem for the secular Enlightenment project, because the whole thing collapses.

At the risk of sounding tautological, the doctrine of universal human rights only works if human rights are universal. And human rights are only universal (and human) if you don’t have to earn them somehow, but instead are granted them simply for being a human. And if simply being a human confers rights, it must be because there is something about being a human that confers rights (yes, again, a tautology), which is to say, there is such a thing as a human nature that all humans share.

And to continue stating the obvious, universal human rights matter so much, because if you slice off one part of humanity as possessing no rights, not only is that intrinsically immoral, but pretty soon no one at all has rights. Universal human rights is the best (only?) bulwark we have against all of the worst horrors that humanity conjures, and they only work because they’re universal.

So, to circle back to the beginning of this post, if the natural law is rejected, it’s a problem for religious argument, but it’s an eminently surmountable problem. I don’t need the natural law to know, or express, how God feels about theft. For secular morality, however, it’s a fatal problem.

[[snip]]

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural Law And Secular Enlightenment Morality


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sorry, I am ADD. can't read a post that long. call me an idiot. if you can't express the gist of the article in a paragraph, then forget trying to discuss things with me.


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Sorry about that. This subject set is too complex to summarize in a few lines. Thus the value of faith which requires no lengthy thought or expression. The last paragraph in my last post is all you need as long as you are not challenged.

The alternative to religious morality is not atheism but universal human rights. If you deny universal human rights, you are left with religion. What the author ignores are the vast number of religions and their own sacred moral rules. That is my contribution to the discussion.


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Horse pucky!


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Thanks!


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You called, Joe? Horse pucky!?

I don't neigh anymore--my old throat is ruined by cigs and booze. p.n.drip and singing. I still have a good snort to give.


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The thanks was to you Marshalz not the horse pucky!


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 23:36

And he probably could make good use of some manure, so no foul either way.

Unless it's fresh.

This post was edited by bboy on Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 23:37


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RE: Legislating Morality

We have mounted police in The Village I'm not above scraping it up for my community garden!


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I am surrounded by horsey operations: dressage, horse trainers, horse boarders, polo pony properties, and the confluence of 4 horse trails. We don't use manure or composted manure on the farm, just compost made of green waste and mulch from coarser fraction of same.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Ok, you're right it is an opinion. But after witnessing and experiencing losing our loved ones or watching the anguish someon else suffers when a loved one dies, it didn't take very long for us to decide murder was inherently wrong. I don't buy into the theory we were savages who acted like animals fulfilling our animal needs until one day? we decided to just draw lines (real or imaginary) and that was "ours" and that we wanted life mates or anything else that "defines" us as humans. It's just a ridiculous thought! Yes, humans are innately good. I can think of no normal healthy (they don't even have to be fully healthy) person who isn't haunted all their lives from killing, even if justified. That is not taught or evolved. Even if I wasn't Christian. I cannot see that as an adaption (the part of evolution theory with which I FULLY agree).


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Thank you, Marshallz...

I call horse pucky, too. If one does not wish to take an active part in their own debate, or is not open to opposing arguments, one should simply say so. In such case, it becomes a statement, and not a debate or question.

No one in my immediate family believes a god exists... and yet, we are all very much law abiding, moral human beings who take our values very seriously. Morals are intrinsic to any human being with a conscience, in my opinion. No religion necessary.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Most of you just can't keep your eye on the ball.

Noone is denying that atheists can be moral people. Noone is denying that religions have a great deal of disagrements about what is moral or immoral.

The question is simply...upon what grounds, can a secularist (or atheist) assert that another person (or another society) is acting immorally?

Let me try to make this as clear as I can. Please finish the sentence:

Adolph Hitler's attempt to wipe out the Jewish race was immoral because _______________.


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RE: Legislating Morality

corn,

We are all clear and have our eyes on the ball. I do notice you keep side-steping the whole issue of:

only religion=knowledge of good/evil

Making the very foundation of your argument false. And personally, religious zealots are the most evil. So your argument is the antithesis of what you claim.

Look at the sentence you just posted, and explain why you see it (edited to add this) "your qualifier is that" a secularist is incapable of understanding morals/ethics/whatever name you'll call it next? If you can be rational about that part, you might "get" the answer for which you seek. Don't, and you'll just keep hearing the same. Stay in your corner or shine the light-you have the power.

This post was edited by rob333 on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 10:55


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RE: Legislating Morality

jmc01 answered correctly and succinctly in the second post.

Morality stems from the golden rule.

Have to keep the answers short because of ADD, (you know, that golden rule of respecting others who have issues, as you would wish them to respect your own physical / mental issues) but there is significant, lengthy proof of this at the wiki link -

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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Actually, I think I totally understand cornopean's question--while agreeing with many of you.

His point seems to me to be is whether a morality is defined, learned, given from God or innate, WHO is to decide what definition of "morality" is superior or correct?

His question is pure and distilled in my mind--while other comments may be valid, they are diversions.


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Then demi, why the qualifier? Or is that not also a diversion? I find that part distracting, if indeed, the question is ONLY about who decides it. It obviously is not an "only".


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Actually, if you look back through these posts, cornopean has repeatedly stated that if one does not believe in a transcendent being, she/he cannot make a moral judgment about any other person or event.


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Rob--to answer your question--I don't know, you'll have to get cornopean to explain his thinking to you in that regard.

Posted by pidge z6PA (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 12:05

Actually, if you look back through these posts, cornopean has repeatedly stated that if one does not believe in a transcendent being, she/he cannot make a moral judgment about any other person or event.

*

Well, anyone can make a judgment.

Absent a higher power to give us moral laws, or if some do not believe in a higher power to determine moral laws, whether one's judgment is valid or superior to the judgment of anyone else of their actions or beliefs, or the actions or beliefs of others (say Hitler, as has been brought up I believe),
is something that cannot be established.

If some argue that a consensus is proof enough, I disagree.

I would venture to say that Mr. James Byrd would differ in what was moral and right the day that he was dragged to his death--but he was outnumbered in who thought what was moral and right that day.

It didn't make him "wrong" and them "right," did it?

Why is one person's "eyes" or thoughts on morality any less valid than that of another? Certainly not BECAUSE more agree with them.

So the "consensus" or "majority" argument doesn't fly.

This post was edited by demifloyd on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 12:44


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rob333 your comment shows that you do not have your eye on the ball. I do not affirm that only religion=knowledge of good/evil.

I completely agree that people who are complete secularists know good and evil. There is a difference between recognizing good/evil and having good grounds or reasons to do so.


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RE: Legislating Morality

pidge, good point. I should clarify that to mean that w/o belief in a higher or transcendent being, you have no reason to call anyone else's actions immoral. Of course, many people do call the actions of others immoral; but if they are secularist, then they have no grounds for doing so. that is my position.


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Posted by cornopean none (cornopean@hotmail.com) on
Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 12:29

pidge, good point. I should clarify that to mean that w/o belief in a higher or transcendent being, you have no reason to call anyone else's actions immoral. Of course, many people do call the actions of others immoral; but if they are secularist, then they have no grounds for doing so. that is my position.

*

Yes, that was my point in my post.

One's idea of morality is no more valid than another's.


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Corn is not acknowledging a simple truth... morality came before religion or a belief in a god.


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demi, I ask you becasue you are good at explaining, but also because I'm sure corn will not let go of the whole "upon what grounds, can a secularist (or atheist) assert that another person (or another society) is acting immorally?". Cannot ask it another way. Cannot leave off the atheist portion of the argument. They are intertwinced because that is the intention.

I agree that it is not a "majority thing", but it cannot be anything other than innate to hate murder. We can even see the despair in a suffering animals' eyes and we are probably right on when they lose their own. It doesn't have to be in a humanized way or in a tamed animal like below. We can see this in our every day lives in extraordinary circumstances, but Koko surely shows it's an inborn reaction because Koko can use words we can understand. Chosen by her, not coerced in any way.

If we want to express the inverse, how or why do some justify murder, that is entirely different. That is unfathomable. That is learned behavior.

_________________________________
Corn, I'll say it another way. Leave off your atheist portion. Ask it differently, using a word that doesn't take religion into account. If that's truly what you're asking.

Here is a link that might be useful: Koko's loss seen


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Adolph Hitler's attempt to wipe out the Jewish race was immoral because it was horribly disruptive to a safe human society...easy peasy

It seems to me that human nature must dictate our moral sense since cultures all over the world who had no previous contact have similar standards(though they have completely different gods) but those standards do not exist because they are some how transcendent but because they address issues that lead to an ordered human society-Cows have rules, Chickens have rules, a herd of buffalo is an ordered society with punishment for those who step outside the accepted behavior spectrum. Humans have rights because it all works better when we do. When a culture loses its moral grounding you have anarchy, blood in the streets, no crops get planted and your progeny dies. Since nature is all about perpetuating yourself that is reason enough.

Keeping chickens is a popular urban pass time these days-Scientists have written reams about chicken behavior-so I suggest for those who think morals are only for humans should go watch a henyard. It will take you down from your human high horse. They have rules


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we posted at the stame time, saying the same thing. HA!


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patriciae, but Hitler didn't think it was horribly disruptive to a safe human society. he and the nazis thot it was necessary to rid the world of the Jewish race. He thot they were a bacillus, a disease. they were weakening the genetic superiority of the Aryan. so......where does that leave us? is he not entitled to his own opinion?


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so demifloyd if one's idea of morality is no more valid than another's, then......where does that leave us? If society really believed that, then how would we stop evil? there is no objective standard for defining evil and therefore, if one person wants to practice slavery, that's fine for him. If another thinks rape is good, well.....who are we to call him immoral?

This post was edited by cornopean on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 12:55


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cornopean wrote,

can you give me any reason why Hitler shouldn't practice genocide?

Do you mean, a reason that would convince him?


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Rob--I'm thinking that the higher power vs. atheists or secular view of morality brought into Cornopean's argument goes to the validity of the source. But as you said, you will have to ask him, I can't speak for him/her.

To assume or bow to a higher power's morality is to do so to a being or entity considered superior to us, as humans.

However, as humans--in the sense of our individualism, we are equal.

Therefore, one individual's idea of what is "right" is no more valid than what another individual's idea of "right" is.

A higher power can conceivably pronounce a morality or rules, but we're all equal and your idea or Hitler's idea or my idea of what is moral can be nothing but equal.

Now--I agree with you and always have about people possessing innate morality. That is why Christians, Muslims, atheists, and agnostics can all share the same sense of morality. Although a religion may dictate morality, I believe that it is primarily our innate sense of morality that causes us to live our lives by certain precepts, and not necessarily that of a religion or fear of retribution by a supreme being or hell.
Of course religious confirmation of our innate sense of morality serves to fortify those beliefs.

But there are those that either do not share that innate morality, or if they do, are comfortable ignoring it or justifying not following it.

So, as equal human individuals, what makes the majority special, and right, and their morality valid?

What happens when everyone turns Nazi and want to kill Jews? What happens when everyone in the country thinks it's okay not to work and live off the fruits of others?

I'm taking these questions to obvious extremes, and only for illustrative purpose, but the fact that more individuals embrace a common moral code does not in fact make it more valid, on it's face, than an individual who does not follow it.


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Factotem, I grant that there was probably no reason that would have convinced Hitler of his wrongness.

but, in your own mind, why was he wrong? by what standard can you judge Hitler if your moral standard only applies to you (or your group)?

For example, the US Constitution doesn't apply to Italians. I can't go there and call their laws unconstitutional. so is that all we have in terms of moral standards? is there no moral standard that rises above this and applies to everyone?


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cornopean, I always find the Hitler argument to be a cheap and easy way to avoid thinking about the morality of the general run of ordinary people. There were internment prison guards who shoved people into ovens during the day and then went home to play with their kids, make love to their wives, go to church on Sunday, and plant tulips in their gardens. They would have cast off any accusations of immorality in their behavior by saying that the responsibility for shoving people into ovens was not theirs, but the responsibility of the higher ups how gave them orders to do so.

I find your desire to reduce a discussion of ethics/morality to a black and white, yes or no answer to continual evasions and ever changing strawmen. Now we have a new strawman--the US Constitution and Italians. I know that is useless to discuss this issue with you because you are not a critical thinker and are unwilling to critically evaluate your own assertions.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Has practice with the Hitler argument can't deal with 2000 years of legal codes as directed by the faith fakers unless it's in 4 words or less.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Has practice with the Hitler argument can't deal with 2000 years of legal codes as directed by the faith fakers unless it's in 4 words or less.


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RE: Legislating Morality

cornopean wrote,

Factotem, I grant that there was probably no reason that would have convinced Hitler of his wrongness.
but, in your own mind, why was he wrong? by what standard can you judge Hitler if your moral standard only applies to you (or your group)?

The embedded fallacy in your entire line of argument is that a lack of universal concordance on any particular moral question voids all non-theistic positions on that question. There is no basis for this assumption, and the fact that it is embedded in your premise means you are engaging in the fallacy of begging the question.

A moral standard may have a scope of one individual, a group, state, country, or planet. It matters not how large or small that scope is from the standpoint of whether it is a true conviction of the holder of that standard. There is no logical constraint on my viewing someone else's act as a moral transgression in accordance with my own code, no matter how widely or narrowly that code is held.

One of the difficulties I have with individuals who adhere to moral codes dictated by a religion under threat of eternal damnation (or a bad hangnail, or whatever) is that they have, in fact, not arrived at a set of behaviors they internally consider to be right by their own experiences and thought processes. They have not crafted their own set of morals so that they must answer ultimately to themselves. Rather, they are simply obeying a set of rules dictated to them at least in part out of fear of external negative consequences (going to hell, etc.). I'm concerned about the motivations of people who have not arrived at a set of morals through a process of thought, and therefore for which they have a deep, internal conviction. It seems that for such people, morals may be akin to laws -- rules to be obeyed because some authority has imposed them. But we may think laws are good laws or bad laws, and we may go along with bad laws to not run afoul of the law and to get along with others, though in a representative government, we at least have a say in crafting those laws, so we can contribute our own convictions. With religious moral codes, there is no such input; religious morals are not the result of all parties to whom they apply providing their own opinions on morals. So, it seems to me that people who cede their own moral code craftng to the dictates of a religion have no morals at all, in a very real sense -- they are just following orders. Whereas individuals who have worked through moral questions to decide on their own positions (and who continue to do so as they go though life) can be relied up to be answerable to their own convictions when faced with moral decisions. That is more reassuring to me. Someone whose religion tells them that blacks are inferior is not permitted to form their own, differing moral judgment and act accordingy. Someone who has ceded the responsibility for moral positions to a religion does not have the right to craft their own moral code; God has already done that for them.They therefore don't need to assume personal responsibility for their acts in compliance with their religion's moral code, as they have no discretion to override that code with their own. For those who have their own, internal moral code, the buck stops with them.

This post was edited by Factotem on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 17:10


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RE: Legislating Morality

Without proof that morality and theistic belief are indivisible, you're entire point is moot, Corn.


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RE: Legislating Morality

I like that argument facto. Nodding in deep argreement on most! It's the opposite extreme, but great to bookend this morality/theism idea. Learned something new, well added a facet, but that's great too, today!


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RE: Legislating Morality

Facto,
You put it into words well.

When someone thinks through their current morals (and society's laws) and sees what they consider a better or higher moral position, they communicate it to the rest of their society either by example or words. If enough others of that society agree with the new moral, the society shifts and that becomes the acceptable moral behavior. That is how the abolish slavery movement spread in this countgry in the 1800s [although in the end abolishing slavery was a very small part of the reasons for the Civil War].

None of that moral shift on slavery required a belief in a particular god, gods or religion. And why would the Old or New Testamet be the basis for a new moral position needing to do away with slavery. Both includes lots of references to slavery as accepted behavior. So the moral shift wasn't dependent on belief in a higher power. If a shift in morals didn't need a god, why would it require a god to come up with the first moral position?


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RE: Legislating Morality

Precisely.


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RE: Legislating Morality

"When someone thinks through their current morals (and society's laws) and sees what they consider a better or higher moral position, they communicate it to the rest of their society either by example or words. If enough others of that society agree with the new moral, the society shifts and that becomes the acceptable moral behavior. That is how the abolish slavery movement spread in this countgry in the 1800s [although in the end abolishing slavery was a very small part of the reasons for the Civil War]."

Do you realize how scary this is? and do you realize that this is also how slavery was accepted? long before society grew to abhor slavery, society accepted slavery as an accepted moral behavior! the nazis also accepted Jewish genocide as acceptable moral behavior. and, short of any transcendent moral code, we have nothing to say to them.


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cornopean, what's scary is folks who think as narrowly as you do.


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Its not scarey at all. I wouldmuch rather face convincing people of a moral position that depend on having faith in a higher power who will punish me if I don't go along or reward me for following doctrine.

The fact that people are slowly evolving a higher moral position is worth calling a miracle. Only a few people protested Hilters genocide at the time across the whole world. Look at the allowed immigration rates for Jews and other targetted groups for all countries in the decade before and after WW II.

There have been more protests today about Darfur and more press given them than was given Hitler's death camps during WW II.

There are more suicide prevention hot lines today.

In the U.S. today, date rape is often but not always considered a crime.

I consider those higher moral positions, none of them required a Supreme being or even a pantheon to get there


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RE: Legislating Morality

Cornopean,
The difference in what Hiltler and Germany did and more moral countries can be illustrated in an old comedy bit. If Ghandi in his first protest had laid down in nonviolent protest in front of German tanks instead of British soldiers, that would have been that. The British at least cared what the world would think of them if not what they would think of themselves. Hitler didn't care what anyone including himself thought about anything.


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RE: Legislating Morality

cornopean wrote,

Do you realize how scary this is? and do you realize that this is also how slavery was accepted?

Untrue. Slavery was not accepted because of progressives lobbying others that it was moral.

long before society grew to abhor slavery, society accepted slavery as an accepted moral behavior!

And through public discourse and reason, society rejected slavery as immoral, because secular morality is subject to change via reason, whereas religious moral codes are fixed (though progressive changes in religious morality sometimes occur under the guise of some sort of divine revelation which is suspiciously aligned with a powerful societal pressure, as with the acceptance of black priests in Mormonism).

the nazis also accepted Jewish genocide as acceptable moral behavior. and, short of any transcendent moral code, we have nothing to say to them.

Wrong again. We can "say" to them that we disagree with their moral assessment of their actions, and as you have already agreed the issue is not one of convincing Nazis that they are morally wrong, there is no question of a lack of persuasive power based on the absence of a transcendent moral code, so that's a total red herring.

If we agree that there is a transcendent moral code, does that magically give us the power to say to Nazis, "hey, we think there's a transcendent moral code, and you are violating it," and they will suddenly say, "oh, damn, you got us on that whole 'transcendent' thing -- turn off the ovens."

Your argument is completely lacking logic.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Well, scary-yes it is scary but it is the method that we use and have always used. Any one person is free to develope his or her own moral code of conduct-and that was what motivated religious dessenters in Europe or early Christians in Rome but the society in which they lived disagreed with their code and burned, hanged, decapitated, tossed to the lions and generally treated badly those people who had their own code..so it goes. Hitler for instance crossed the line morally when he started invading sovereign countries(sorry but the war wasnt about killing Jews, Poles Gypsies and the infirm) A commonality of soveriegn countries took umbrage and you have history.
So is slavery inherently bad? For whom would be the answer-some thought the enslavers. The Christian old testament treats slavery as a given-moral?

No one wants to comment on cows having a moral code? Heck, my cats have a moral code. They think it is immoral to give treats to one cat and not the others. Being vocal cats they tell me about it-loudly.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Factotem through public discourse and reason, the Nazis concluded that the Jews were a virus that needed to be cleansed. through public discourse and reason, many southerners concluded that slavery was a positive good for African-Americans.

As for myself, I can say that the Nazi genocide is immoral b/c I judge their actions by a standard that is transcendent over all of us. In my worldview, every human person is subject to God's moral standards and by these moral standards, Nazism is evil and we have the right to make war on them and kill them.

Here is a possible dialog:

Me: You Nazis are immoral. Stop killing Jews.
Nazi: Who says?
Me: God says that every human life is sacred and His word binds all of us.
Nazi: I disagree.
Me: Ok.

You: You Nazis are immoral.
Nazi: Who says?
You: I do.
Nazi: Why should I listen to you?
You: Because I am the voice of reason.
Nazi: Well I think I am the voice of reason and I think you should listen to me.
You:. Oh. Ok.

and I quite agree that no Nazi would have been persuaded by this. that's not the issue. The issue is upon what grounds you can justify your assertion that the Nazi genocide was immoral. I do so based on God's law to which we both are subject. The secularist has no law to appeal to beyond his own opinion.


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RE: Legislating Morality

cornopean wrote,

The issue is upon what grounds you can justify your assertion that the Nazi genocide was immoral. I do so based on God's law to which we both are subject. The secularist has no law to appeal to beyond his own opinion.

Incorrect. Neither I nor the Nazis are subject to the law which you claim is God's law. We both disagree with your opinion about that. If, for your argument to succeed, you require acceptance of your premise that all parties are subject to the religious moral code you espouse, you have committed the fallacy of begging the question and your argument is void.

People who come to their own moral code by thinking can confidently justify their assertions by referring to the experiential and contemplative processes that produced their positions. They have convictions about their moral codes. Those are very solid grounds indeed.

People who follow a moral code dictated by their God have as their grounds only, "because He told me so."

This post was edited by Factotem on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 23:20


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RE: Legislating Morality

I always wonder how some folks think they get a message from a "god" that tells them what to do. And I have always thought this stances is so passive, so willing to abandon responsibility for their own actions.


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RE: Legislating Morality

The difference between a valid "message" pidge? Real ones aren't publicized. An oddly enough, it'll be something like:

You, you are the man for the job.

What job LORD?

To go speak the case for my people to be released!

Me?! But LORD I stutter. A mouthpiece? Are you sure you don't want someone else?

Yes, you go. You can take your brother to say the words. And I'll be there. Now take this stick and go.

It almost never makes sense when you hear it, but in the end, it all comes together. It's never some clear thing, like run for office.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Rob, you are certainly free to imagine such a "conversation" with a "god," but in my mind it's bunk. I think it's that people justify what they want to do by saying that some outside force told them to, instead of just standing on their own two feet and taking the blame or the praise for acting on their own desires.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Yet Rob333, Yahweh ordered an angel of death to commit murder of many Egyptian firstborne as well as boils, thirst, etc. to enforce his will on people who didn't believe in him and may have been innocent or even in favor of letting the Jewish slaves go. Was that moral? Or didn't the Egyptian firstborne count since they weren't Jews?


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RE: Legislating Morality

When someone says, "god spoke to me" or "god told me to do it"... I think that person either has a vivid imagination about the conversations they have with themselves in thought form... or, they have chemical imbalances within the brain that may require diagnosis and treatment, depending on how dark those thoughts are.

Gods have never been tangible things offering proof of their existence. It's more likely that mankind created the gods to allay fears, among other reasons... than it is that any god created us.


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RE: Legislating Morality

I don't think "Yahweh" ordered anything at all. Someone wanted all those children dead to maintain a power structure and then pretended that they were ordered to do it by a "god."


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I agree with you Pidge about the reality of the whole Exodus religous story. But I wanted to point out the very large holes in depending simply on God's law is my moral basis.


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RE: Legislating Morality

"People who come to their own moral code by thinking can confidently justify their assertions by referring to the experiential and contemplative processes that produced their positions. They have convictions about their moral codes. Those are very solid grounds indeed."

Factotem, people have used experiential and contemplative processes to justify the most horrifying evils. Reason alone will not bring you to respect human rights. in fact, in many cases, it is reasonable to kill people.

"People who follow a moral code dictated by their God have as their grounds only, "because He told me so."

all morality is based on a "he told me so". that's why we always asked as kids, "says who?"


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I do not claim to understand it all. Someday. I will say I don't like what happened when pharoah rejected. I cannot fathom the decimation (even if it was just the hailstorm) and deep sorrow. I don't understand. He is the God :) It's ok that we disagree. Faith is belief in the unseen.


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RE: Legislating Morality

cornopean,
I know it is not a morality issue but, if you faithfully follow speed limits, why do you do so?

Is it because the cops will give you a ticket for going faster than the limit? Because you believe the posted speed limit is the proper limit?

I admit I often go faster (even much faster) than the posted speed limit, especially when there aren't a lot of other people on the road. I know my car, I know my reaction time and I understand the physics of speed, weight, traction, stopping time etc., and I'm aware of my surroundings and where other cars are or could be. So I drive at what I consider a safe speed.

Am I the equivalent of immoral because I disagree and act on that disagreement with the speed limit that the state has set?


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Disagreement is the basis of discussion, Rob, I agree. It's how we learn things we did not know before. You and I go too far back to get in a fuss!


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Faith IS belief in the unseen... we simply don't believe in the same unseen things.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Posted by pidge z6PA (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 7:24

I always wonder how some folks think they get a message from a "god" that tells them what to do. And I have always thought this stances is so passive, so willing to abandon responsibility for their own actions.

*

God talks to all of us.

The ones that hear Him and understand are the ones that want to.


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A god doesn't talk to me. I am responsible for my own thoughts and actions.


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Even if/when God talks to me, I am responsible for my own thoughts and actions.


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cornopean wrote,

"People who come to their own moral code by thinking can confidently justify their assertions by referring to the experiential and contemplative processes that produced their positions. They have convictions about their moral codes. Those are very solid grounds indeed."

Factotem, people have used experiential and contemplative processes to justify the most horrifying evils. Reason alone will not bring you to respect human rights. in fact, in many cases, it is reasonable to kill people.

cornopean, people have used religious bases to justify the most horrifying evils. Religion alone will not bring you to respect human rights. In fact, in many cases, it is compliant with one's religion to kill people.

See how that works?

"People who follow a moral code dictated by their God have as their grounds only, 'because He told me so."'"

all morality is based on a "he told me so". that's why we always asked as kids, "says who?"

Incorrect. Children, like people who turn over moral strictures to religious authorities, do not have their own, complete, personally-developed moral code. In the case of children who say, "says who?", the condition is generally temporary, until they mature enough to fashion their own moral code. In the case of religious people, that day never comes, and they can never answer, "says me."

Intelligent people who rely on their own rationality and experience to form moral codes are open to improving their moral framework when presented with facts and reason, which they are free to analyze and accept or reject. Those whose morals are merely dictated are shut off and cannot change their minds -- because their minds are not involved.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Let me try again-Cornopean you believe that your God has dictated eternal morality. How do you reconcile your belief when most of the people in the world do not believe in your god. I gather that you are a Christian but Christians are not the majority religion-even when you add them all up

Aproximately 33% of the world's population is Christian in some form....the rest arent so theý out number Christians 2 to 1.

The above is only based on religions of today because in the past there were religions and gods that no longer exist. Those people believed just as sincerely in their own gods as you do.

Since 66+% of the worlds population does not share your belief in your god then you would have to believe they dont have any morals and yet that is not true therefore there has to be some flaw in your belief. Buddists for instance dont actually have a god nor do enormous numbers of Asians whose beliefs are a mixture of ancestor worship with local dieties.

The Christian Old testament has God telling the Israelites to kill all the members of some tribe-right down to their livestock-the equivalent of the Nazi attempt to kill all the Jews and a good many other people as well-is this moral? If God told you to go kill everyone in Idaho would you? Well naturally you could try but believe me the Moral Majority would lock you up in a looney bin-or maybe just a maximum security prison.


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"God talks to all of us.

The ones that hear Him and understand are the ones that want to."

No, that's merely a pious platitude, the kind of insincere religiosity that gets printed up on those little religious cards I used to see as a child.

This post was edited by pidge on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 14:53


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IMHO, any voice of God is more likely to be debating/wrestling with whatever can be arrived at by assessing your (generic) own free will options.


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RE: Legislating Morality

I think it's immoral for a government to control a woman's body against her will.

-Ron-


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I should live by my moral code, you should live by yours. Law should protect us from each other.


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In the absence of light you cannot see me the grounding principle is thought not light. In the creation of laws the grounding principle is the same thought.
Though rejected by most god believers the history of the laws as I have pointed out has been based moe on thought than anything else. The lord god of Israel hasn't changed unless you except open theism or an evolving deity. The laws of the last 2000 years most divinely inspired I 'm assured have changed muchly!

This post was edited by labrea on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 17:19


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Well stated again, Patriciae.

I would agree, Pidge.

So, it would appear that the answer to corn's question is... the majority will dictate morals.


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RE: Legislating Morality

No, that's merely a pious platitude, the kind of insincere religiosity that gets printed up on those little religious cards I used to see as a child.

*

No, it is NOT "merely a pious platitude."

It may be to you, but it's not to me, so it is not "merely" anything because YOU happen to think so.

It is what I believe from my personal experience in communicating with God.

If you have not experienced that--you have no basis for saying it is "merely" a platitude.

To you--perhaps.

To others--it is much more.


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RE: Legislating Morality

Factom at 14:32 on Wed, especially the about last third of her post, that was to me so excellent.
I have not contributed because I found this thread very good but *extremely* frustrating in many ways. Everyone has been able to express themselves very well and imo some excellent thoughts and ideas have been offered.
However, on a personal note, I am ann atheist and often find myself almost (but not quite) insulted by conversations such as this. Perhaps I am overly sensitive because I have always lived in too uniform of an environment which wasnt always a snug fit.

I reacted negatively to Demi's comment:
" God talks to all of us. The ones that hear and understand are the one's that want to"
I choose to believe that you do not present this as the insult an atheist could hear it to be, but instead that you simply deeply believe this to be true, Demi. However, in making this statement in a grouping that includes atheists, at the least it does strike me as slightly insulting.
I understand that this was NOT intentional on your part or the part of any person who believes in a God and makes such remarks in large groups but nevertheless, this is often how such obvious and less obvious statements falls upon the ears and the soul of the non believer.


Does one who believes in God make the a belief as a deliberate choice? Does one who does not believe in God make the a disbelief as a deliberate choice?
For me, my disbelief is as much a choice as is my heterosexuality.

In making the comment, "the one's that hear are the ones that want to" - in my opinion, assumes a choice has been made. Upon what grounds is that idea based upon?
Perhaps it is not a matter of being unwilling to hear. Perhaps it is more simply a matter of each of us speaking different a spiritual language.

I respect those who believe in God. It is a lot of religions and in particular the religious dictates I have big problems with. But a person's belief in any God which is based on love- I respect that belief.
I wish only simple acceptance without judgment for the differences between us. I am of a spiritual nature, grounded in the course of nature and evolution, the simple beauty of the cycle of life and specifically in my attitude and approach regarding my moral obligation to my fellow humans while I am alive. I was not formed without a strong moral and ethical compass.

I know that your basic question and premise must make sense to you Corn, but it makes no sense to me at all. It appears we speak different languages.


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You are very kind, mylab, and also thoughtful in your response above. I also respect those who believe in God--my husband is one of them--but I rarely find that people like me, who do not believe, get much respect in return.


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For the non theist since all things are interpretations & constructs of the mind all law proceeds from thought & is grounded in thought & many laws have been & are unjust & have been on & off for thousands of years.
Gee I don't like sacrificing my children every year like this (someone in the background shouted but it is the law) several others got together to talk about this & the filibuster ended when some one says "I had a dream" & in it the voice said thous shalt not burn up the kiddies. There's one down & 9,999,999 situations & problems to go that don't require killing 20,000 goats, cutting off the foreskins of philistines.
Karma how many more lives do I have to go through to figure out how to use the TV remote without taking somethings name in vane.

Yes much of the worlds is non Christian one I remember on an Episode of Joseph Campbell

‎"God against man. Man against God. Man against nature. Nature against man. Nature against God. God against nature. Very funny religion!" - Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuk, musing about the us/them nature of Christianity.

Lastly to belabor a much pummeled point

"Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind ..."
Score the Soundtrack & low & behold was the great code of Hammurabi hes the original eye for an eye guy!

Hey it was a start!

This post was edited by labrea on Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 8:34


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