Morality vs. Legalism
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02-08-2015, 08:25 PM (This post was last modified: 02-08-2015 08:33 PM by 666wannabe.)
Morality vs. Legalism
I am a man of many theories; not all of them good, as is evident from my post "A Mathematical Argument Against Life Elsewhere in the Universe"

I would like to present a theory to my peers (other members of this forum) for your comments and opinions.

I think that much of the confusion surrounding religion is caused by the conflation of the concepts of "legalism" and "morality". I am defining legalism as obedience to a set of laws or rules with the express purpose of attaining a reward and/or avoiding punishment. A set of laws may be political, whereby they are given by a dictator or a legislature or they may be institutional, whereby they are established by the governing body of an institution, or they may be religious, whereby the "lawgiver" is claimed to be a supernatural being or beings, and revealed to a "prophet" by this supernatural being.

This can be contrasted with "morality" which, at least according to science, is the result of our evolution. The morality of an act is contained in the act, itself, not in the authority of the lawgiver. An act is not "moral" because it is stems from a political or institutional law or because it is the will of God, supposedly revealed to Abraham or Moses or Mohammad or John Smith.

To obey such rules or laws is mere legalism--not morality. We may not entirely understand what moral behavior is and what it is not, but we can be sure that that question of the morality of an act is an entirely different consideration from the question of what is a mere legality within the context of any particular religion. Morality can also be applied universally (cross-culturally). This is obviously not true of legal systems, whether political, institutional, or religious.

This cements my conviction that Human Rights (based on moral actions) must take precedence over religious freedoms (mere legalities).

Comments?

If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.--Voltaire.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." --Thomas Paine.
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02-08-2015, 09:16 PM
RE: Morality vs. Legalism
(02-08-2015 08:25 PM)666wannabe Wrote:  I am a man of many theories.

I also am a man of many theories.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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02-08-2015, 11:11 PM
RE: Morality vs. Legalism
(02-08-2015 08:25 PM)666wannabe Wrote:  I think that much of the confusion surrounding religion is caused by the conflation of the concepts of "legalism" and "morality".
Certainly there is a difference between "morality" and legality.
The problem I have is when people's expectations are that laws ought to be reflective of their moral beliefs.
Many religious folk then want all their morals built into law (forced on everyone).
They want a moral society and they want that to be enforced, although they praise their god for giving people "free will". Laws take away our ability to exercise free will so it seems to me that these two things are contradictory.

It could stem from the idea that their god's law defines what is moral and immoral. Hence to them morality is god's legality.
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03-08-2015, 06:10 AM
RE: Morality vs. Legalism
(02-08-2015 11:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  The problem I have is when people's expectations are that laws ought to be reflective of their moral beliefs.

Why not be more explicit here? You have a problem when people push laws for any other reason than for the sake of survival. Wouldn't that be more accurate?
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03-08-2015, 06:58 AM
RE: Morality vs. Legalism
A buddy of mine's father was a lawyer and he had a great quote on the subject, "There's right and there's wrong and then there's the law."
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03-08-2015, 01:27 PM
RE: Morality vs. Legalism
(03-08-2015 06:10 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(02-08-2015 11:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  The problem I have is when people's expectations are that laws ought to be reflective of their moral beliefs.

Why not be more explicit here? You have a problem when people push laws for any other reason than for the sake of survival. Wouldn't that be more accurate?
We've had this discussion in a couple of other threads. Do we need to do it again here?
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03-08-2015, 01:33 PM
RE: Morality vs. Legalism
Morals may be and frequently are the basis of laws --- but mere law is rarely the basis of morals.

Any moron can observe and follow laws - as they're spelled out explicitly. It takes a more thoughtful person to follow morals, as they must be self derived, debated and followed to be considered real.

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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03-08-2015, 01:50 PM
RE: Morality vs. Legalism
(03-08-2015 01:27 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(03-08-2015 06:10 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Why not be more explicit here? You have a problem when people push laws for any other reason than for the sake of survival. Wouldn't that be more accurate?
We've had this discussion in a couple of other threads. Do we need to do it again here?

We've primarily only discussed the questions of morality, not necessarily laws. And it was only recently that I learned that you take issues with Matt supporting laws based on his likes and dislikes.

So it doesn't just seem to be a matter of religious supported laws, but support of laws other than ones that can be rationally defended, evidentially supported for the sake of survival, or stability, or something along this line, that you take issue with as well?
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03-08-2015, 03:05 PM
RE: Morality vs. Legalism
(03-08-2015 01:50 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(03-08-2015 01:27 PM)Stevil Wrote:  We've had this discussion in a couple of other threads. Do we need to do it again here?

We've primarily only discussed the questions of morality, not necessarily laws. And it was only recently that I learned that you take issues with Matt supporting laws based on his likes and dislikes.

So it doesn't just seem to be a matter of religious supported laws, but support of laws other than ones that can be rationally defended, evidentially supported for the sake of survival, or stability, or something along this line, that you take issue with as well?
If you want to discuss this aspect with me, you could take it up in that thread (the one where it was discussed with Matt). I'm just a bit conscious that I have too much input in all these morality threads and I don't want this thread here to be all about me and my ideas.
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03-08-2015, 03:05 PM (This post was last modified: 03-08-2015 03:13 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Morality vs. Legalism
Morality is prescriptive. Most laws are proscriptive.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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