Advising Morally
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27-11-2013, 10:24 PM
RE: Advising Morally
(27-11-2013 09:07 PM)joshChase Wrote:  my concern is that the atheist actively choosing deception for personal gain

I'm not sure this is the case. In a situation where a parent would choose to refuse financial support to their child, I'd be inclined to believe that other, even worse repercussions would come from coming out as an atheist.

Choosing to keep one's beliefs (or lack thereof) to themselves for whatever reason is not deception. It may just be wisdom. Either way it is a personal choice.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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29-11-2013, 09:25 AM
RE: Advising Morally
(27-11-2013 10:24 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  
(27-11-2013 09:07 PM)joshChase Wrote:  my concern is that the atheist actively choosing deception for personal gain

I'm not sure this is the case. In a situation where a parent would choose to refuse financial support to their child, I'd be inclined to believe that other, even worse repercussions would come from coming out as an atheist.

Choosing to keep one's beliefs (or lack thereof) to themselves for whatever reason is not deception. It may just be wisdom. Either way it is a personal choice.

I think I disagree with you on what is and is not considered deception. Passive deception is still an active choice to continue to deceive.

But I do agree with you that it is a personal choice and that's where the moral questions comes into play; it is a personal choice to be moral or not. By giving the advice to keep quiet the advisors are tacitly buying into the notion that the deception is okay. The advice helps inform the questioner's personal choice. That advice is being presented as a valid, moral option but that is incorrect (or at least not settled.)

The point of my original post was to start a dialog about ensuring that when we advise we do so with a keen eye on the underlying morality of that advice. We have to remember that we have no way of knowing whether a person will take our advice with a grain of salt or take it to heart. I used the example I did because it seems like an easy, settled question and it isn't.
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29-11-2013, 10:52 AM
RE: Advising Morally
(29-11-2013 09:25 AM)joshChase Wrote:  I think I disagree with you on what is and is not considered deception. Passive deception is still an active choice to continue to deceive.

Consider

Okay. You're right on that.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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29-11-2013, 11:15 AM
RE: Advising Morally
(29-11-2013 09:25 AM)joshChase Wrote:  But I do agree with you that it is a personal choice and that's where the moral questions comes into play; it is a personal choice to be moral or not. By giving the advice to keep quiet the advisors are tacitly buying into the notion that the deception is okay. The advice helps inform the questioner's personal choice. That advice is being presented as a valid, moral option but that is incorrect (or at least not settled.)

The point of my original post was to start a dialog about ensuring that when we advise we do so with a keen eye on the underlying morality of that advice. We have to remember that we have no way of knowing whether a person will take our advice with a grain of salt or take it to heart. I used the example I did because it seems like an easy, settled question and it isn't.

See, this almost gets into that silly argument from apologists and such. "What is morality?" Because I certainly don't think that anything you described is immoral, so we obviously have different definitions.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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29-11-2013, 11:15 AM
RE: Advising Morally
(29-11-2013 09:25 AM)joshChase Wrote:  
(27-11-2013 10:24 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  I'm not sure this is the case. In a situation where a parent would choose to refuse financial support to their child, I'd be inclined to believe that other, even worse repercussions would come from coming out as an atheist.

Choosing to keep one's beliefs (or lack thereof) to themselves for whatever reason is not deception. It may just be wisdom. Either way it is a personal choice.

I think I disagree with you on what is and is not considered deception. Passive deception is still an active choice to continue to deceive.

But I do agree with you that it is a personal choice and that's where the moral questions comes into play; it is a personal choice to be moral or not. By giving the advice to keep quiet the advisors are tacitly buying into the notion that the deception is okay. The advice helps inform the questioner's personal choice. That advice is being presented as a valid, moral option but that is incorrect (or at least not settled.)

The point of my original post was to start a dialog about ensuring that when we advise we do so with a keen eye on the underlying morality of that advice. We have to remember that we have no way of knowing whether a person will take our advice with a grain of salt or take it to heart. I used the example I did because it seems like an easy, settled question and it isn't.

I don't think the act of deception is itself immoral, our eyes constantly deceive us, we constantly deceive ourselves, nature constantly deceives, it seems about as natural to the world as rain. The butterfly deceives the predator so that it may survive as the child "deceives" the parents so that he may better survive. Both of them are choosing what parts to show in order to be most successful, and the harm comes to those who would do them both harm for simply being what they are.

A question I always ask myself when defining morality is "would I be okay with every single person in this situation doing this?" And to your question, I say yes. If the parent is a parent until they realize that their son/daughter does not believe in fairytales but otherwise loves them for who they are and are too shallow to look past that, then maybe it's better to keep them deceived- and you know what, if family is really important to you, you never have to come out if that is truly a risk.

This is a question based on values rather than morality. If you value family over complete honesty of self, then you'd want to continue to act as if you're not an atheist. If you value your personal education over being completely transparent with your parents, then continue until that personal education is satisfied, then reveal yourself if you feel that is what you need to do. It's all about values.

Another thing you should keep in mind is that if you make a decision that poses risk to you, it is not immoral to wait to make that decision until you are on equal footing with those who will recoil from it. I don't think we should ever preach that it is. If your parents are completely in control of your finances, and you know there would be severe recoil from them if they found out you weren't their faith, you should wait until you're on equal footing with them before revealing that information, that isn't a question so much of morality, but of life.

To test this, we can apply it to a different situation: You hate your boss, do you act like you don't while you work for them or do you tell them upfront? Most people would make the career smart decision to either tell them when they don't have control over their job, or possibly never tell them (which I think causes more trouble for the next guy, and may be slightly immoral depending on why you hate your boss). It isn't immoral to be upfront with your boss and explain what it is you hate about them (if it's constructive and you're very tactful then this could be the better decision), but it also isn't immoral to wait it out until you're on equal-footing (s/he has not leverage over you, you have no leverage of him/her).

Sorry that was a little long... I won't be offended if you ask for a cliff-notes version.
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29-11-2013, 11:54 AM
RE: Advising Morally
Morality is a make believe concept.
All we need to worry about are the consequences.
Normally if you "con" your parents out of money then they are going to be angry with you, stop giving you presents, not help you out financially, disown you. etc

But in this situation they are going to do that anyways, so you might as well get the money out of them first. It's like a game of double jeopardy, why not get want you want, if your going to pay the price anyways?
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29-11-2013, 06:33 PM
RE: Advising Morally
Eh, it does strike me as a shitty POV, but if the parents are willing to pay for their kid's college education, car bills, etc. that's on them ultimately. Morality is relative anyway.

Maybe it's proof that atheists are as shifty as anybody else!Big Grin
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29-11-2013, 06:51 PM
RE: Advising Morally
I will say this, and this is only me personally but I would wait till college is paid for just because I know that as a person with a disability they might someone's parents might not be quite as tolerant as mine and might toss on your ass regardless and job choices for the disabled if you're uneducated are not good
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03-12-2013, 05:57 PM
RE: Advising Morally
(29-11-2013 11:15 AM)Adrianime Wrote:  See, this almost gets into that silly argument from apologists and such. "What is morality?" Because I certainly don't think that anything you described is immoral, so we obviously have different definitions.

It may be the case that we have different definitions for morality. It seems where we part ways is on whether morality should be taken holistically for a given situation or is individualized to each actor (obviously, I trend toward the latter.) I am not sure there is an objective answer to which is more correct.

So I guess it boils down to which is the more preferable framework for dealing with moral questions - situationally or actor-centric.

In the situational framework I see the goal as being the most morally positive outcome possible. I can see how one could see it as moral to continue the deception in this framework. However I see this as a lesser of two evils type of argument - neither is optimal and both are wrong when taken individually.

In the actor-centric framework I see the goal as different - the goal is to ensure internal consistency. I think we can agree that truth is generally preferable to deception. If true, then the framework one chooses to take is what determines the assignment of which action is more moral.

Hmm...
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03-12-2013, 06:03 PM
RE: Advising Morally
(29-11-2013 06:33 PM)Juv Wrote:  Eh, it does strike me as a shitty POV, but if the parents are willing to pay for their kid's college education, car bills, etc. that's on them ultimately. Morality is relative anyway.

Maybe it's proof that atheists are as shifty as anybody else!Big Grin

Agreed and you may be right on the shifty-ness of atheists... but we can't hold a candle to the theists on the mental and ethical gymnastics they have to perform to justify God as being good (e.g. slavery.)
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