The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
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18-02-2015, 12:35 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-02-2015 08:00 AM)mordant Wrote:  
(17-02-2015 05:32 PM)Stevil Wrote:  In a hypothetical situation, how can a lonely person choose to behave immorally?
They can't. Morality only exists when two or more people need to cooperate or coexist. It is the implicit and explicit negotiations concerning how we treat each other and our shared resources in ways that sustainably create and maintain the kind of civil society that most of us want to live in.

That doesn't mean that, e.g., littering a beach is in a solitary person's rational self-interest. There is still the implicit and explicit agreements one can have with oneself. But these cannot be properly termed "morality".
Yeah, I guess it depends on how you define morality.

If morality is a personal belief that some actions are bad (for whatever reason) and choosing to do those "bad" actions constitutes immorality.
Then I can conceive that a lone person can feel guilt for believing that they have behaved immorally i.e. a Catholic person having masturbated or a person who enjoys the beauty of nature feeling guilty for having littered.

Moral beliefs are personal beliefs, it's upto the believer to decide the terms of why something is moral or immoral. Those terms don't necessarily have to involve other people.

But I can also understand that there are many people whose personal moral system mean that for them they can't behave immorally if there are no other people whose interests are impacted by their actions.
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18-02-2015, 01:48 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-02-2015 12:35 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Moral beliefs are personal beliefs, it's up to the believer to decide the terms of why something is moral or immoral. Those terms don't necessarily have to involve other people.

But I can also understand that there are many people whose personal moral system mean that for them they can't behave immorally if there are no other people whose interests are impacted by their actions.
One has to be careful that one isn't rationalizing that it won't impact anyone else. The reality is that even the rare off-the-grid hermit can't totally say that his actions or lack of action will never impact anyone else. Certainly most of us have obligations to family, neighbors, community, etc and must pay taxes and obey speed limits and feed parking meters and such.

In saying that morality doesn't apply to a hypothetical but non-existent totally solitary person, I was taking a technical position that doesn't really apply purely to anyone , not even really in the privacy of their own mind because self-absorbed behaviors end up as habits that end up impacting your ability to live up to social mores. It's difficult to switch other-awareness on and off so you might as well leave it on.
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18-02-2015, 02:45 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-02-2015 01:48 PM)mordant Wrote:  In saying that morality doesn't apply to a hypothetical but non-existent totally solitary person, I was taking a technical position that doesn't really apply purely to anyone , not even really in the privacy of their own mind because self-absorbed behaviors end up as habits that end up impacting your ability to live up to social mores. It's difficult to switch other-awareness on and off so you might as well leave it on.
Yeah, understand that this hypothetical doesn't really exist but it is a valid philosophical musing with regards to attempting to understand what the term "morality" actually means. Especially in the context of subjective morality where there is no common understanding/agreement.
I feel that morality is a judgement made by an individual based on that individual's moral beliefs as to what is wrong and what is right. I don't think that precludes the possibility that an individual feels guilt for acting immoral even if there are no "victims". The Catholic church for example create a lot of feelings of guilt in many of their followers for victimless "transgressions". And it qualifies as immoral because in the eyes of the person judging it to be so, that is their belief, they really do feel guilt.

Regarding your use of the term "self-absorbed behaviors" I think ultimately all our behaviours are self-absorbed, I think the key differentiator is whether we can behave in the short term or long term, many people struggle with delayed gratification and it is often those people that are accused of being "selfish".
With regards to "live up to social mores" I guess there is a balance of being true to yourself and altering your life in an attempt to fit in. Personally I lean more to being true to myself and am less concerned with what others may think. But of course there comes a point where either approach (taken to extremes) is detrimental toward living a fulfilling life.
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19-02-2015, 09:29 AM (This post was last modified: 19-02-2015 09:36 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-02-2015 02:09 AM)Stevil Wrote:  So you are saying that an entity is good because of who they are and not what they do?

Sort of, but not necessarily who they are, but stemming from certain qualities of who they are. A product of certain virtues which compose a persons charachter. Good and bad are more or less character judgements, rather than a calculation of the consequences.

Quote:That the Christian god can be called good despite intentionally drowning babies and kittens and puppies.

I think by the way the question is worded, it seems more appropriate for a fundie evangelical, which I’m not. But as much as that would be an excuse for not having to answer questions about some supposedly global flood that likely never occurred, the question could still find itself into existence in a variety of ways. But I’ll answer it in terms that would be faithful to a literal account, where we are passing moral judgment on God as a character in the story of Noah. A story that likely was written at in time in which the Hebrew perspective on suffering, and natural disasters, were seen as form of punishment from God, a perception that seemingly changed by the time of Job, and seemingly subverted by the Gospel imagination.

The God in the Noah story sees that the humanity in which he created, has descended into wickedness, the what their hearts “conceived was always nothing but evil”. And he regrets his creation, except for Noah a man who walked with God, who was righteous and blameless. With a stroke of his brush, he floods the world, erasing all that preceded it and recreates humanity anew.

He acts for the sake of ridding the world of its rampant wickedness, and regretfully sees that this requires ridding the world of humanity all together. God pushed the button on the flood, the way in which a body of regretful politicians pressed a button, dropping a bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to end a brutal war.

But the God of this story, is not particularly satisfied by his act of recreation, in fact he appears remorseful. He repents of what he did, and makes an oath to never curse the ground again, bringing to a life a rainbow as a remembrance of that promise.

Do I see this God as a particularly bad? No I don’t. He doesn’t seem particularly omniscient, since he seem surprised by the rampant wickedness, and he only realizes after the fact that his solution doesn’t even solve the problem, so he repents and takes an oath to never do it again. A number of things could be said about the God character of the Flood Story, but bad wouldn’t be one of them.

Quote:If not through ones actions, how can you come to a judgement as to who is good and who is bad? What does it mean to be a good person? What does it mean to be a bad person?

Well, judgements don’t come as easy as they do here, than for those who subscribe to other moral frames where it becomes almost a taxonomy in which various actions get labeled as good and bad, in the frequency in which we label different varieties of plants. So where in such common secular frames, good and evil, are some series of external occurrences, in the Christian worldview, these dynamic are rooted in the inner life of a person, in the interrelated concepts often labeled as the image of God, and sin. So the struggle between good and bad, is a inner struggle, which often has external manifestations.

Quote:What does good mean?

Good would be, to come into position of a certain sense of being, to be of a certain character, and acquiring those virtues associated with that character, such as charity, temperance, kindness, humility, often summed up in Christian theology as love, and for whom the embodiment of this is Jesus, who is seen as a living representation of the image of God, of Goodness itself.

While secular moral frames don’t particularly have models, and often are calls for refraining from certain actions, Christianity is a call to participation in particular form of life, a life of love.

Quote:What does bad mean?

All that stands in stark opposition to the Good, conceived as a form of rebellion, or sin. If Goodness has a form it’s in the very life of Jesus, and if sin has a form, it’s all that nailed him to stick. It’s the body of resentments, and apathies that turn a blind eye, all our failures and inabilities to partake in the life we crucified.

Quote:Can a bad person change from being bad to being good?

Sure, once they cease rebelling against it. Once a man is able to take his hand off of his brother’s neck, and live a life were he ladles benedictions rather than curses. But it’s all much easier said than done.

Quote:Did the god create good and bad souls just to make things interesting?

I don’t know about good and bad souls, but all the dynamics of life, both good and evil, its joys and tragedies, are a product of God's intentional act of creation, like an author of a great novel, who created the world for no other reason than for the sheer of love of doing so.
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19-02-2015, 04:54 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(17-02-2015 01:47 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  This is more of this poor mental expounding manner of boiling this down to an all or nothing line of thinking that doesn't reflect society.

I’m assuming by this all or nothing, you mean how I frame morality as either objective or just a matter of personal taste, and devaluing it to be no more than musical preferences? That I’m not leaving room for some third option? Is this kind of what you’re protesting, this seeming unwillingness on my part to allow for the existence of some nuanced third category? That I paint the positions as either belonging to one extreme or the other?

I personally don’t see how a third category could exist, though perhaps there’s one that I’m missing? But I do acknowledge that by devaluing morality as analogous to musical taste, I’m dismissing the strong feelings and investments people have in relation to morality, which are absent in regards to musical preferences. While people may find Katie Perry to be a bad musician, it’s a different sort of “bad” than when they say this of rape. This moral sense of “bad” elicits a far greater reaction, revulsion, and protest, than when we’re forced to listen to a bad singer. And I think this is generally why these moral discussions with atheists, particularly the sort that feel quite strongly about their moral beliefs, tend to rub people the wrong way. You’re basically trampling on beliefs that people value a great deal.

And I think the strong attachments many atheists have to morality, often leads them to imagine there is a third category here, one that doesn’t require objective moral truth, nor one that relegates morality to series of likes and dislikes, but I’d argue this is an illusion, one that’s quite difficult to let go.

Quote:Even if it were true in the way you describe. It clearly DOESN'T reflect the different manners of how societal impacts shape and describe out actions in grouped manners.


Even if it were true, it wouldn’t reflect the dynamics of our moral discourses, which proceeds as if the illusions we tell ourselves are true. In fact our moral discourse appears as if all parties believe morality is objective, that moral claims are truth claims, rather than statements of personal preference. We seem to declare the wrongness of things, the way in which we might declare the wrongness of a math problem.

Quote:Which are, WHAT would it imply REALLY, is what I'm asking. And you constantly don't go to anywhere upon that. You've gone to the "if true" hypothetical set up situation.


That’s because that’s a question without a real answer. I have very little to go off of to predict what the overall effect would be, if we all acknowledged and accepted that morality is just a matter of personal preferences, and continued in moral dialogues with this implicitly in mind. For me in particular, such an acceptance, would take a great deal of potency out of my moral beliefs. It would add a layer of self-consciousness to any moral protest, and involve a conscious recognition of the futility of such things. It also would lead me to be skeptical, and question, any sentiment of wrongness that may arise in me, that it amounts to no more than just a serious of physiological sensations, that can pass in do time.

In reality I’d likely find myself abandoning moral language all together, as mere vestiges of religious beliefs, but are now a string of vacant and incoherent sentences. A taboo, for an era no longer built on beliefs where they were something more. While that pill might be easy for me to swallow, I think it’s hard for many liberal minded, humanistically inclined unbelievers to accept.
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19-02-2015, 07:04 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
Firts, I'd like to say thanks to Tomasia for taking the time to answer my questions.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A product of certain virtues which compose a persons charachter. Good and bad are more or less character judgements, rather than a calculation of the consequences.
OK, I understand what you are saying.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:That the Christian god can be called good despite intentionally drowning babies and kittens and puppies.

I think by the way the question is worded, it seems more appropriate for a fundie evangelical, which I’m not.
Yeah, not meaning to appear as Anti-Christian, or to be throwing out strawman at your or whatever. I find it very hard to make sense of the bible, it comes with some pretty horrific stories, certainly ones that paint the Christian god in a sadistic, aggressive and dangerous light. I am aware that many Christians interprete the bible in many different ways. It's a direct consequence with regards to the style of writing and the mixed messages within the books.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  But as much as that would be an excuse for not having to answer questions about some supposedly global flood that likely never occurred
I don't think I'll ever understand it when Christians tell me that their bible is the inspired word of their god and yet they also insist that many of the anecdotal stories never happened as described in the bible.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  But I’ll answer it in terms that would be faithful to a literal account, where we are passing moral judgment on God as a character in the story of Noah.
Since you insist the flood never happened, I am of course wondering what the point of the story is? Why the mundain details about clean and unclean animals, why the mundain details about the size of the boat...?

(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A story that likely was written at in time in which the Hebrew perspective on suffering, and natural disasters, were seen as form of punishment from God, a perception that seemingly changed by the time of Job, and seemingly subverted by the Gospel imagination.
Yes, us humans are often trying to explain external events in a way that makes it appear that we can control them rather than being at the mercy of random luck. I expect in order to give us hope and make us feel that what we do matters. It's called optimism.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  He acts for the sake of ridding the world of its rampant wickedness,...
The ISIS are acting in a way that rids the world of what they perceive to be "wickedness", they may think that they are on a holy and righteous path but we don't see it that way, do we?
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  God pushed the button on the flood, the way in which a body of regretful politicians pressed a button, dropping a bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to end a brutal war.
There are major differences:
1: USA, being mortal, is vulnerable to attack.
2: Japan attacked USA, killed many USA soldiers and destroyed a USA Navel base
3: Japan invaded many of USA's allies, killing many people
4: Japan fought many USA troups, killing many people
5: Japan's millitary were willing to fight to the very end, even when the outlook was hopeless, they felt they had nothing to lose except for their honour. Hence it was a matter of death before dishonour.
6: Dropping the bombs on Japanese civilians probably saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of allies.
7. USA had no alternatives
The god of the bible is supposed to be immortal, beyond the capability of being hurt. It is supposed to be all powerfull. It could have put all the "wicked" folk onto an isolated island and talked to them and reasoned with them and tried to convince them the error of their ways. Much like a parent guides their chldren. We don't kill them off and start again.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Do I see this God as a particularly bad? No I don’t.
...
A number of things could be said about the God character of the Flood Story, but bad wouldn’t be one of them.
Being an amoralist, I don't paint things as good or bad. So I too don't label the god of the mythical flood story as bad.
I would however call it sadistic, unpredictable, and dangerous. It would be an entity I would be motivated to incapacitate or to avoid.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:What does good mean?
Good would be, to come into position of a certain sense of being, to be of a certain character, and acquiring those virtues associated with that character, such as charity, temperance, kindness, humility, often summed up in Christian theology as love
If Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, atheists etc can all just focus on cohabitating peacefully together in a non judgemental, non aggressive fashion then I think we would all just get on fine together. I don't think Christians focussing on charity, temperance, kindness, humility is necessarily in conflict to that.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  While secular moral frames don’t particularly have models, and often are calls for refraining from certain actions, Christianity is a call to participation in particular form of life, a life of love.
Yeah, i'm not too concerned with regards to a person's form of life. If a person is selfish as opposed to charitable or is bold and confident as opposed to humble with humility. All that is important to me is that these people don't present a threat to my life and liberties.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:What does bad mean?
All that stands in stark opposition to the Good, conceived as a form of rebellion, or sin.
I'm worried about people labelling things as bad because they often look to forcibly stop people from being bad, or to punish people for being bad.
I agree with stopping people from being a threat to me or society, but I am happy with letting people be "bad" whatever that means.
(19-02-2015 09:29 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  If Goodness has a form it’s in the very life of Jesus, and if sin has a form, it’s all that nailed him to stick. It’s the body of resentments, and apathies that turn a blind eye, all our failures and inabilities to partake in the life we crucified.
In all honesty I have to call you up on this. References to Jesus have no meaning for me. I understand the character is a hero or role model for you, but it has no significance for me, I can't connect, I can't associate or even try to understand what you are trying to communicate when you go off on this tangent.


(19-02-2015 04:54 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  In reality I’d likely find myself abandoning moral language all together, as mere vestiges of religious beliefs, but are now a string of vacant and incoherent sentences. A taboo, for an era no longer built on beliefs where they were something more. While that pill might be easy for me to swallow, I think it’s hard for many liberal minded, humanistically inclined unbelievers to accept.
I have abandoned moral language. I find the moral language obfuscating of the stuff that really matters. Too many people use the moral terms to mean too many different things. I can't tell what a person means when they say something is good or that something is immoral.

I think moral language is unnecessary, however in saying that. Moral language is the norm and trying to avoid it makes someone appear awkward, overly detailed or with some kind of bug bear.
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20-02-2015, 10:28 AM (This post was last modified: 20-02-2015 10:40 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(19-02-2015 07:04 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I find it very hard to make sense of the bible, it comes with some pretty horrific stories, certainly ones that paint the Christian god in a sadistic, aggressive and dangerous light.

I like the Bible, though I know it’s not particularly palatable to certain sensibilities, and makes for quite a difficult children’s book. I think it gets underappreciated, because its fails at being a good science or history book, and gets maligned as the result of its laissez-faire attitude towards violence. It includes a story in which the consequences of children ridiculing a balding man, is getting mauled by bears. Or another story in which a haughty man makes an oath that if he wins in battle, he’d sacrifice the first victim that knocks on his door, only to be brought low when that victim ends up being his own daughter. Biblical stories like ancient myths in general, unlike Disney stories, have no qualms in making us feel uncomfortable. But there’s a great deal of pathos and ethos among the ancient Hebrew community, a rich moral complexity of folks living in a time of great severity and uncertainty, and this perspective grows and expands in quite radical ways through their history as a people.

I think this “very hard to make sense of” more or less is saying something about our inabilities to put on another set of shoes, of people who seem so unlike us. I think it’s much easier for folks to make sense of the bible when they can relate to the characters and see themselves in their roles. I think it says more about the person reading the bible than the bible itself. It sort of like watching people dance and move to the rhythm of a song we find ourselves unable to sync with. That’s the seeming predicament of unbelief, that religion just doesn’t jive well them.

Quote:I don't think I'll ever understand it when Christians tell me that their bible is the inspired word of their god and yet they also insist that many of the anecdotal stories never happened as described in the bible.

I never understand why when conceiving of scriptures being “inspired”, that this inspiration should result in a series of historical facts, rather than a short story or a poem. If I were inspired by my wife to write something, it wouldn’t be a series of such facts, as it would be some poem, some homily, a series of things that involves a great deal more gravity than just words on pages. It would be a work conveying all that she invokes in me, rather than a seeming list of objective observations of a series of facts. It would convey what she means to me, rather than a historical account of our relationship together.

Quote:Since you insist the flood never happened, I am of course wondering what the point of the story is? Why the mundain details about clean and unclean animals, why the mundain details about the size of the boat...?

Seemingly mundane details is something many writers incorporate. Cormac Mccarthy ended his post-apocalyptic story about a father and son, with an abrupt description of brook trouts, their smell of moss, their “polished and muscular and torsional”. Mundane details.

Flood stories seem to be abundant in a variety of religious expressions. They seem to represent something of importance to the cultures of the time, that we ourselves are not particularly attuned to. Perhaps it served as a way for the Hebrews to have a retelling of their own, incorporating ideas of water and rebirth, clean and the unclean, the sacred and the profane. But where in other tellings the moral dichotomies are represented by competing gods, each with their own interest and desires, the Hebrew version places these dimensions as part of one God, who brings on the flood, and who is also remorseful of it. He regrets and repents of his very act of recreation, recognizing in the aftermath that wickedness unlike an infectious disease in which we can just get rid of the hosts, is rooted in the human heart itself. A seemingly irresolvable dilemma, that no flood could cure.

Quote: The god of the bible is supposed to be immortal, beyond the capability of being hurt. It is supposed to be all powerfull. It could have put all the "wicked" folk onto an isolated island and talked to them and reasoned with them and tried to convince them the error of their ways. Much like a parent guides their chldren. We don't kill them off and start again…..Being an amoralist, I don't paint things as good or bad. So I too don't label the god of the mythical flood story as bad.
I would however call it sadistic, unpredictable, and dangerous. It would be an entity I would be motivated to incapacitate or to avoid.

These sort of criticisms comes off to me, like someone protesting the barbarism of the Three little Pigs. “Why didn’t someone report the wolf after his first murder? Someone must of saw him tear that pig's house down. Why didn’t any sensible anthropomorphic farm animal attempt to stop this, or call the police? And why do we elevate the third pig as an ideal, when he boiled the wolf alive and ate him? Why do we condone his act of cannibalism and convey the story to our kids, with him as the moral icon, when he should be subject to a mental health evaluation and permenatly asyulmed.”

Quote: Yes, us humans are often trying to explain external events in a way that makes it appear that we can control them rather than being at the mercy of random luck. I expect in order to give us hope and make us feel that what we do matters. It's called optimism.

It’s never really been a matter of control of the forces behind nature. In fact the whims of the Gods, of nature, seem beyond controlling. I think the concern here is relational. It’s not a question of how we explain tragedy, but rather how we relate to it. It comes down to dealing with the turmoil, and anxieties, and uncertainties of a person and his fragile communities, to live confidently and hopefully rather than in constant panic and despair. This predicament may not translate well into our own, where the closest we can relate is through a series of frustrations, the car not starting, the internet being down, or the power going out, which serves as our most intimate connection with tragedy and chaos. I think it’s mistake to envision their world as like that, offering them the same hobbyist curiosities as our own,

Quote:The ISIS are acting in a way that rids the world of what they perceive to be "wickedness", they may think that they are on a holy and righteous path but we don't see it that way, do we?

No, ISIS unlike other Islamic terrorist groups, has a great deal more complexity to it. It seems to be able to recruit young disenfranchised men, with the appeal and romance of violence and revolution, the way that Che Guevara shirts fail too. On the outside they seem indistinguishable from violent Mexican cartels, for whom their violence seems in parallel with. ISIS on the other hand seems to posses a deep moral undercurrent, beyond the sheer monstrosity of their violence. They seem to have a deep commitment to reordering a just society. They ensure the shop owners treat their customers fairly, that drugs and alcohol are banished, that the poor are taken care of and fed, that wealth is redistributed from the wealthy among them, to the not so wealthy among them, that local grievances and concerns are heard and addressed. They scorn the maladies of the modern world for the promises of the old one. Whatever can be said about ISIS they do in fact seem concerned with the lives of their people, in ways that other Islamic Governance’s have not, and probably have not been since the time of Muhammad. Whether this holds in the long run is anyone’s guess.

The reality is that ISIS offers something to it’s young and bewildered parishioners who were unable to escape the seeming futility of life. They promise them a life of meaning, a life of a deeper sense of brotherhood and fellowship, And they have in fact been able to give them the life they promised, in ways that should make any Army recruiter envious. If the world is devoid of meaning, we have little to say or offer those who find it somewhere else. We can’t offer any deeper or fuller way of living, when there is no deeper or fuller way of living to offer.

Quote:Yeah, i'm not too concerned with regards to a person's form of life. If a person is selfish as opposed to charitable or is bold and confident as opposed to humble with humility. All that is important to me is that these people don't present a threat to my life and liberties.

I wouldn’t say I’m particularly concerned with your form of life, but I am in regards to those who are a part of my community, the lives of my friends and family, and those whom I truly care about. My desire for their lives is not that they just find ways to survive, but rather that they have something to live for.

I think the easiest way to perceive this, is when it comes to one’s own children. I don’t want my kids to merely refrain from harming others, or merely avoiding threatening someones life and liberty, I want them to be Good. To have a kind and compassionate heart, even to those who may wrong them. To live their lives with a sense of fire in their belly, that if the lights of the world go out, that they’re quick to turn them back on. I would want them to recognize that a true and meaningful life is found in love more so than anything else, and that this life transcends any predicament we find ourselves in, and cannot be taken away. I want them to see life through eyes of all that is sacred and beautiful, rather than through the false shadows that sees it all as a futility. I don’t just want them to merely make it through life till old age, I want them to partake in a rare form of life, that offers them fullness. I can’t promise them that such a life would be a long and healthy one, since the last person to fully embrace that life, found himself strung-up in his mid-thirties.

Quote: In all honesty I have to call you up on this. References to Jesus have no meaning for me. I understand the character is a hero or role model for you, but it has no significance for me, I can't connect, I can't associate or even try to understand what you are trying to communicate when you go off on this tangent.

All I meant was that whatever I mean by Good, I find this sense of Goodness, embodied in the very person and life of Jesus, and of course I wasn’t expecting you to agree with me on this, on a character which you see no connection with. I was just expressing the connection it has for me, and possibly for his early followers as well.
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21-02-2015, 09:42 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
Rolleyes

When valour preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with.
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21-02-2015, 11:01 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(20-02-2015 10:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I like the Bible, though I know it’s not particularly palatable to certain sensibilities, and makes for quite a difficult children’s book. I think it gets underappreciated, because its fails at being a good science or history book, and gets maligned as the result of its laissez-faire attitude towards violence.
I don't understand what the point is of the bible.
If it were sold as a gruesome fictional horror story with weird, non-sensical plots and twists then I might be somewhat interested in parts of it. Just for entertainment value.

But when Christians tout it as being a book of Truth written by a Good and all loving god, well, it is very hard to read the book in that context.

(20-02-2015 10:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  But there’s a great deal of pathos and ethos among the ancient Hebrew community, a rich moral complexity of folks living in a time of great severity and uncertainty, and this perspective grows and expands in quite radical ways through their history as a people.
Perhaps it is just a set of fictional stories written by various authors with gruesome themes and tied together with a mythical god character. Perhaps that is all it is. But why are Christians spouting out it being a book or morals, a book about a loving god?

(20-02-2015 10:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I think it’s much easier for folks to make sense of the bible when they can relate to the characters and see themselves in their roles. I think it says more about the person reading the bible than the bible itself. It sort of like watching people dance and move to the rhythm of a song we find ourselves unable to sync with. That’s the seeming predicament of unbelief, that religion just doesn’t jive well them.
I'm not really into holy wars, misoginist messages, blood sacrifices, punishing children for the actions of their parents. The parts of the bible I have read are very preachy, very repetitive and well, it's just not the book for me. I actually really liked the "unholy Ghost" books "Downside" series, a book that is a fictional pure entertainment book. It's hero is certainly no saint, she's a drug addict and her boyfriend is a thug, so I have no qualms about "immoral" characters. It has magic in it so I have no qualms about fantasy. It is the preachyness and the fact that millions of people sell the bible as if it is a story of Truth that is quite off putting.
But I certainly don't think people have to read the Downside books. I don't go around preaching the word of Chess. I don't go around telling people they will burn in hell if they don't read Unholy ghosts.

(20-02-2015 10:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I never understand why when conceiving of scriptures being “inspired”, that this inspiration should result in a series of historical facts, rather than a short story or a poem. If I were inspired by my wife to write something, it wouldn’t be a series of such facts, as it would be some poem, some homily, a series of things that involves a great deal more gravity than just words on pages. It would be a work conveying all that she invokes in me, rather than a seeming list of objective observations of a series of facts. It would convey what she means to me, rather than a historical account of our relationship together.
I have no idea as to what the point of the bible is?
Why Christians can take a view that the bible is poetry and also insist that Jesus really existed, had magical powers and rose from the dead.

(20-02-2015 10:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  These sort of criticisms comes off to me, like someone protesting the barbarism of the Three little Pigs. “Why didn’t someone report the wolf after his first murder? Someone must of saw him tear that pig's house down. Why didn’t any sensible anthropomorphic farm animal attempt to stop this, or call the police? And why do we elevate the third pig as an ideal, when he boiled the wolf alive and ate him? Why do we condone his act of cannibalism and convey the story to our kids, with him as the moral icon, when he should be subject to a mental health evaluation and permenatly asyulmed.”
If people were running around preaching that the third little pig was all powerful and perfect and loving then perhaps I would speak up and suggest that if it were all powerful, it didn't need to kill the wolf. This is what skepticism is, pointing out issues with stories that are told as being truth but have some serious flaws in them.

(20-02-2015 10:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  It’s never really been a matter of control of the forces behind nature. In fact the whims of the Gods, of nature, seem beyond controlling.
People feel that they can influence the gods by performing sacrifices or being good or what not. This gives them a sense of control.

(20-02-2015 10:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I think the easiest way to perceive this, is when it comes to one’s own children. I don’t want my kids to merely refrain from harming others, or merely avoiding threatening someones life and liberty, I want them to be Good.
I want my children to be independent and happy.
It is not for me to tell them what good is, and it is not for me to judge them.
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22-02-2015, 08:14 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-02-2015 02:45 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I feel that morality is a judgement made by an individual based on that individual's moral beliefs as to what is wrong and what is right. I don't think that precludes the possibility that an individual feels guilt for acting immoral even if there are no "victims". The Catholic church for example create a lot of feelings of guilt in many of their followers for victimless "transgressions". And it qualifies as immoral because in the eyes of the person judging it to be so, that is their belief, they really do feel guilt.
Morality for the individual reflects their (non)perception of societal morality and their reaction / response to it -- including, as you point out, the calculus of fitting in vs self actualization, and timing / delayed gratification. I was speaking more to societal morality which is a consensus or average of the individual morality of all the participants.

To your point about delayed gratification, some individuals are able to delay gratification indefinitely, as when they give up their lives for others. I'd take a bullet for my wife, even though there is absolutely no percentage in it for me in terms of self-actualization -- other than that it fulfills my primal need as a man, to protect my woman, and that I value her survival over mine, if forced to choose between them.
(18-02-2015 02:45 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Regarding your use of the term "self-absorbed behaviors" I think ultimately all our behaviours are self-absorbed, I think the key differentiator is whether we can behave in the short term or long term, many people struggle with delayed gratification and it is often those people that are accused of being "selfish".
Self absorbed is a relative term. I totally agree that in a pragmatic sense, no one does anything in which they don't see some kind of value for themselves -- if not for their surviving and thriving, then at least for their identity (e.g. the identity of pair-bond protector mentioned above). Thinking people hopefully want to remain true to themselves even on pain of death, at least in certain situations. In this way I feel people transcend self-interest. A sufficiently thoughtful and aware person finds self-interest in self-sacrifice.
(18-02-2015 02:45 PM)Stevil Wrote:  With regards to "live up to social mores" I guess there is a balance of being true to yourself and altering your life in an attempt to fit in. Personally I lean more to being true to myself and am less concerned with what others may think. But of course there comes a point where either approach (taken to extremes) is detrimental toward living a fulfilling life.
Yes, everyone threads that particular needle in their own way. I was socialized to care a lot about what others think, but have since modified that as I've found it ill serves me and mine to carry that to a fault. Also as one gets older, and has seen it all before, you spot bullshit more reliably and quickly, and have more clarity about the things that really matter to you.
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