No Morality without Christ
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22-06-2011, 03:28 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(22-06-2011 03:16 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  More and more studies find signs of "moral" behavior in animals. Vampire bats for example, fill their throats with blood and bring it back to the nest, then share it with both their offspring and others in the group. When researchers prevented the bats from sharing the blood, the next time another bat came back with a full load, it would refuse to share it with the bat that didn't share the first time around. The sense of "fairness" seems to be more biological than rational, and certainly doesn't seem to have much to do with sacred books, which bats don't read.

One of the funniest examples of animal morality that I've read involved an experiment where monkeys were rewarded with a food prize if they handed in a certain amount of fake coins. The right amount got them grapes, the wrong got them a slice of cucumber. Grapes are obviously much tastier than Cucumber, so the monkeys wised up quickly. However, when some of the monkeys handed in the right amount, the scientists would give them cucumber slices anyway. This pissed the monkeys off so bad that they refused to take the slices, or they threw it back at them. They knew they were being stiffed. I could imagine one of those little guys thinking to himself: "THIS IS UTTER BULLSHIT!"
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22-06-2011, 03:47 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(22-06-2011 02:42 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Sy.

That's kind of an invalid complaint. EVERYONE acts morally because of the limits to freedom imposed on the individual within a social group, that is to say, fear of consequence is the universal motivation for morality. Just sayin.

I disagree with you. There are plenty of instances in which I can choose to help or not help another person and no ill consequences will come to me if I don't help. But I choose to help anyway. And not because that way I get to go to heaven, but because I am capable of empathy and wonder "how would I feel if the situation was reversed? Would I like it if the other person helped me?"

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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22-06-2011, 03:53 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
Hey, BnW.

You went off on such a tangent that I don't know where to begin. Although I admit, I meant to say "a" motivation, not "the" motivation.

A lot of the animal morality that people are discussing can be explained by the selfish gene theory.

The monkey fairness thing is interesting. It takes several years for humans to develop to the point where they comprehend fairness in that way. Speaks to the complexity of the monkey's brains.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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22-06-2011, 03:56 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
The BTK killer was a 'christian' who sent the death letters from a church computer.
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22-06-2011, 04:22 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(22-06-2011 03:53 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, BnW.

You went off on such a tangent that I don't know where to begin. Although I admit, I meant to say "a" motivation, not "the" motivation.

A lot of the animal morality that people are discussing can be explained by the selfish gene theory.

The monkey fairness thing is interesting. It takes several years for humans to develop to the point where they comprehend fairness in that way. Speaks to the complexity of the monkey's brains.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

I'm not sure how my response was a tangent. You said (I now see mistakenly) that we follow rules of morality because we are afraid of getting caught. I disagree. I still do. Fear may make you act appropriately but that is not the same as acting morally.

Again, I see morality as what you do when no one is looking and you can get away with "it", whatever "it" happens to be.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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22-06-2011, 07:45 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
I agree with what BnW said. Although I don't steal cable because TV sucks primarily.
I don't cheat on my wife because I believe it is wrong. No fear involved.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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22-06-2011, 08:11 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(22-06-2011 03:26 PM)BnW Wrote:  Morality is not what you do because you are afraid you'll get caught. Morality is a value system that you have and dictates how you act when you know that no one is looking.

And if you haven't at least seriously questioned the promise of a postmortem preservation of identity, I'm not sure I trust you to have sufficiently considered morality.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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23-06-2011, 10:56 AM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(22-06-2011 02:04 PM)FaceOfBoe Wrote:  I really get sick of the theist argument that there can be no morality without religion or christ.

I know of two cases of people lauded in their community as being good christians who then were found to be charged with serious crimes.

The Tax Collector

The Singing Minister

These are just two examples in my community. To say that belief in or disbelief in a religion will make you either more moral or less moral is absurd. People are people.
The two examples you cite only prove the existence of hypocrites who don't practice what they profess to believe. It has nothing to do with where morality comes from in the first place.

The belief that there can be no morality without God doesn't necessarily mean that only those who believe in God can be moral. Look at what the Bible says in Romans 2:14,15:
Quote:For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts.

God has created us with an innate sense of right and wrong. Because the human race has been affected by sin that knowledge is imperfect and perhaps even missing in some people and it can be overridden by false teaching but it is a gift from God, whether we acknowledge that fact or not.

The information in ancient libraries came from real minds of real people. The far more complex information in cells came from the far more intelligent mind of God.
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23-06-2011, 01:14 PM
RE: No Morality without Christ
(23-06-2011 10:56 AM)theophilus Wrote:  God has created us with an innate sense of right and wrong. Because the human race has been affected by sin that knowledge is imperfect and perhaps even missing in some people and it can be overridden by false teaching but it is a gift from God, whether we acknowledge that fact or not.

This is a classic example of wanting your cake and eating it too. If a person does something good it's because god created us with innate sense of right and wrong. If a person does something bad, it's because of sin that gives us imperfect knowledge of right and wrong. How convenient!

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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23-06-2011, 02:38 PM (This post was last modified: 23-06-2011 03:05 PM by Ghost.)
RE: No Morality without Christ
Hey, BnW and ludacris.

But morality isn't there just cuz. Being moral has a well-defined purpose. It creates social harmony in general and social benefit for the individual in particular. The society benefits from a reduction in disruptive behaviour and the individual's social status increases because they are viewed as person with good moral fiber (whereas the immoral are looked down upon, unless, y'know, they're bad boys, cuz then they get all the chicks... Bastards! PS: Classic). Where fear comes in is that there is a social consequence for acting immoral regardless of what society you are a member of and which moral code your society follows. So yes, I agree, I am a strictly monogamous man too, but the source of why I think it's wrong owes a lot to social consequence. Many societies consider adultery an immoral act, not because sex is particularly bad or that sex with lots of people is particularly bad, but because they also have the important social institution of marriage (I aint going ANYWHERE NEAR the gay marriage sanctity of marriage quagmire, this is just to say that marriage is an important social institution). So considering monogamy moral behaviour protects that social institution. So morality is intimately linked to what a society feels is important. Because let's face it, humans are disruptive. We all seem to want to maximise our freedom, but we are constrained by the demands of social organisation. That's a constant balancing act. Morality helps smooth the relationship by providing clear boundaries.

The instinctual "morality" that was discussed above (like the bats) is simple altruism. That's just selfish gene theory (I think Dawkins actually talks about the bats directly). But altruism dovetails with morality. They both offer a primary social advantage to the individual and a secondary social advantage to the society.

All of this is to say that consequence is an important part of all moral constructs.

Even the idea of "wrong" itself is a relativistic social construct. All wrong really means is, don't do that if you can at all help it.

What I find interesting is that in large hierarchical societies it's easier to be amoral because the cost of the social consequence can in some cases be vastly outweighed by the financial gain.

As for morality when no one is watching, there is no social cost whatsoever for being immoral if no one knows. None. But there's always that chance you'll get caught so that motivates some people. Also, morality is a practice. Some people might choose to be moral in all cases (I know a Baptist that excels at that to the marvel of everyone he knows). But that's not so much morality as it is being ethical. In his book "On Equilibrium", His Excellency, John Ralston Saul speaks about Jean Moulin, a French resister in 1940, who, when tortured for information about the resistance, tried to commit suicide instead of allowing himself to be broken.
His Excellency, John Ralston Saul Wrote:...The failed suicide of 1940 was far more important. It had the existential purity of a man facing only himself, as he confounded the tidal wave of public events with his own ethical bridge.
So being monogamous is being moral. Being monogamous in a situation where no one can ever find out is being ethical. Like Moulin, that struggle was within yourself (you being BnW) and had you given in, the consequences would only be within yourself. But if you cheat and people find out, there is very much a social consequence.

But if no one finds out about someone cheating on their spouse, there is absolutely no difference, in terms of social consequence, between someone who is ethical and adheres to their moral code, someone who deviates from their moral code (in a moment of weakness/anger/defiance/unethical choice/whathaveyou), a person whose moral code does not consider adultery immoral and a person that is amoral.

So this is what I mean when I say that fear of consequence is an integral part of all moral constructs.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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