The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
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18-01-2015, 11:25 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
I had to go back and re-read the OP a few times to be sure I understood. Because I think Chas summed it up pretty well right off the bat.

The concept of eternal law, in my mind, presupposes divinity. I think it's important to define your terms when posing such questions; e.g., is "eternal law" created and dictated by an eternal higher power, or does it exist independently? If the latter, does the existence of a deity even matter where morality is concerned? Because it would imply a "law" that is above an omniscient, omnipotent deity. You could say that God (or whoever) is the embodiment-of-sorts of the eternal law, but that could imply an ethical free-for-all (case in point: the old testament).

This is not a new argument. And I actually hesitated to bring it up for that reason, but it's something to seriously consider if you have a theistic worldview and want to discuss morality.

Can I assume your second question is rhetorical?
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18-01-2015, 11:43 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-01-2015 11:23 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-01-2015 10:35 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Most people today probably do believe that morality is objective and eternal, and probably all of the early civilizations of humans who established moral codes did too.

It isn't so much a matter of having to presuppose it, it is a matter of not knowing that there were any other alternatives.

Let's assume this is in fact true, that most people today and historically, have believed this about morality, that it is objective and eternal.

Then it would be safe to assume that when these people, have moral disputes amongst each other, whether one is pro-slavery or antislavery, whether one belongs to the party protesting an injustice, or to the party deemed as perpetuator of this injustice, that such beliefs about objective morality, eternal moral laws, continue to exists in the background, as the presupposed beliefs of both parties?

Or in other words, it would be safe to assume that since both parties believe there is an objective moral standard, that there are eternal moral laws, that both parties see themselves as attempting to convey what the eternal law requires of all of them. Would you agree?

As they say, "The road to hell is paved by people with good intentions." So yes, it is probably fair to say that when 2 moral absolutists face one another where both believe morals are objective and theirs is the good and just one, do indeed fully believe that they are acting as moral agents in accordance with their beliefs.

That doesn't actually make their actions moral though (Je Suis Charlie). In fact, one can't be a moral actor if all you are doing is following a set of moral guidelines given to you, because that presupposes that the commandments given to you are objectively moral. Even so, blind adherence to something commanded of you, doesn't make you moral, it makes you amoral. And if the commandments are immoral, then that makes you an amoral person acting immorally.

But it isn't only religious and moral absolutists who oppose moral injustices. Indeed, one can oppose the immorality of things such as slavery while recognizing the subjective nature of morality.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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18-01-2015, 11:48 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
Something isn't moral because a person or group of person's deems it so. Morality is derived from society and perhaps even more innately from the basic instincts of the survival of the species (or more correctly the survival of the family).

This is why morality changes generationally. And it is why we can look back and judge our past actions as moral or immoral (hindsight is 20/20). By doing this (judging our past selves), we can help one another learn what is and isn't moral or good or just, so that we may hopefully refrain from devolving back to our more primitive roots of barbarism (Je Suis Charlie, Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials, etc).

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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18-01-2015, 11:52 AM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
It isn't the person who wonders if they did the right thing or not that bothers me. In fact, I admire and respect that person because they are using their internal moral compass to judge themselves and their actions. It is the person who seems confident that they are correct and moral and just, without so much as a second thought. These people confidently do immoral things believing that they are moral (Hitler, Je Suis Charlie, etc).

This is one of the big issues I have with religion and religious beliefs. It operates under the assumption that as long as it adheres to the commandments of its god, then it is doing the right thing. The Nazis thought the same thing.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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18-01-2015, 12:28 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-01-2015 11:52 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  It isn't the person who wonders if they did the right thing or not that bothers me. In fact, I admire and respect that person because they are using their internal moral compass to judge themselves and their actions. It is the person who seems confident that they are correct and moral and just, without so much as a second thought. These people confidently do immoral things believing that they are moral (Hitler, Je Suis Charlie, etc).

This is one of the big issues I have with religion and religious beliefs. It operates under the assumption that as long as it adheres to the commandments of its god, then it is doing the right thing. The Nazis thought the same thing.

the irony to all of it is that they don't even agree on some of their "god given laws" they interpret it in whatever way pleases their egos
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18-01-2015, 12:30 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-01-2015 12:28 PM)Ace Wrote:  
(18-01-2015 11:52 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  It isn't the person who wonders if they did the right thing or not that bothers me. In fact, I admire and respect that person because they are using their internal moral compass to judge themselves and their actions. It is the person who seems confident that they are correct and moral and just, without so much as a second thought. These people confidently do immoral things believing that they are moral (Hitler, Je Suis Charlie, etc).

This is one of the big issues I have with religion and religious beliefs. It operates under the assumption that as long as it adheres to the commandments of its god, then it is doing the right thing. The Nazis thought the same thing.

the irony to all of it is that they don't even agree on some of their "god given laws" they interpret it in whatever way pleases their egos

That is because they fail to see that they are using their own wishes and desires to interpret their "rules" to conform with what they want them to say.

To some, Jesus is totally pro-gay and antislavery. To others, he is a homophobe who was totally cool with owning humans.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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18-01-2015, 12:32 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-01-2015 07:37 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  You're speaking more about behavior, I'm asking about beliefs in particular, such as MLK's beliefs, that the injustice of his people, was a violation of an eternal law.

Where do you think such a belief in an eternal moral law came from?
I think you are correct Tomasia.
It's important to separate behaviour from moral beliefs, they are two different things.

Where do beliefs come from?
They are taught or conditioned into people. Sometimes people just think themselves into beliefs.

There are may ways that people come to believe in things.

Generally it is due to a willingness to close their minds to the alternatives.
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18-01-2015, 01:44 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-01-2015 11:43 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  As they say, "The road to hell is paved by people with good intentions." So yes, it is probably fair to say that when 2 moral absolutists face one another where both believe morals are objective and theirs is the good and just one, do indeed fully believe that they are acting as moral agents in accordance with their beliefs.

I think it's is important, that the perception in question here, is not one particular to a handful of believers, but the perception of most people, since most people are believers of some sort. Only a few people, believe morality is subjective, relative. The rest of humanity, past and present perceives morality as objective, as part of some eternal law. This perception is important thing to consider here.

When most people hear about the New Delhi rape incident, their perception of the wrongness of it, is not seen as subjective, but as objective, as a violation of some eternal law, like Rev. King saw the injustice of his people. This aspect is present in most people's moral perceptions, always in the background.

When countless individuals of various religious stripes, muslims, christians, declare the actions of the Charlie Hebdo as immoral, as wrong, it's important to remember that they don't perceive this wrongness as subjective. In fact even when those who believe morality is subjective enter a side, it’s a side that presupposes a violation of something eternal.

Quote: Even so, blind adherence to something commanded of you, doesn't make you moral, it makes you amoral. And if the commandments are immoral, then that makes you an amoral person acting immorally.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be blind adherence. MLK perception of injustice doesn’t seem to a product of blind adherence, but he anchors and perceives his sense of wrongness, as not merely a strong feeling, but rooted in something higher than him, perceived as a violation of something sacred and eternal.

Quote:But it isn't only religious and moral absolutists who oppose moral injustices. Indeed, one can oppose the immorality of things such as slavery while recognizing the subjective nature of morality.

Of course you can. But I highly doubt that when you declare the wrongness of something you perceive as heinous, you qualify it by indicating that it is only subjectively so. While you may personally believe it is, that aspect is usually left undisclosed, and as a result your moral outrage and protests goes along the tide of everyone else, who believes this wrongness is not subjective. While you might not be religious, you have the benefit of partaking in the religious imaginations of everyone else, who perceives the rightness and wrongness of this, as objectively right and wrong, and not subjectively so.

Why I think this seemingly religious perception is important even if false, is that it creates an illusion, of binding principles, rather than to each his own, gives a sense that we are obligated to something higher than ourselves, to things such as justice, goodness. It’s better to be parties arguing about the moral law, what is the just, and good course of action, than to be a part of parties that believe in lawlessness, and deny such a law all together. It’s the difference between having something to argue about, to challenge a series of actions, than to lack a foundation to do so.
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18-01-2015, 01:52 PM (This post was last modified: 18-01-2015 01:56 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
(18-01-2015 01:44 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Only a few people, believe morality is subjective, relative. The rest of humanity, past and present perceives morality as objective, as part of some eternal law. This perception is important thing to consider here.

Prove it.
You don't know that. Let's see the poll. Now.
Catholics, one of the LARGEST religions in the world, Muslims and Jews all look to their group's leaders to interpret moral laws RELATIVE to individual situations. The POPE claims HE alone is infallible with respect to "faith and morals". Why would anyone need these clerics if what you say is true.

You're simply full of shit. You continue to demonstrate that with each successive post.
Maybe you could go to the clue store.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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18-01-2015, 01:56 PM
RE: The Religious Components of Moral Beliefs
Even if all believers don't agree on everything regarding what is moral, Nearly all believers believe they are obligated to do what is moral. That there in fact is an eternal moral order, that their lives are obligated to, are to be committed to pursuing. So even if over time their perception of what is moral changes, perhaps aligning itself to the sort of goodness you believe in, that sense of obligation still persists, as an eternal calling.

If there is no moral law, or if we all recognized that such a thing does not exist. We can see how we can get out of this binding conundrum, by declaring something that religious people have not been able to declare before, that we have no moral obligations, that it's all just fictions, a series of beliefs brought along by misfirings of the brain.

The dimension of this religious perception, is that we are always trying to perceive and decide what is moral. Outside of this, the question is able to offer something different, why be moral at all? The only one seemingly capable of raising that questions is non-religious people, but hardly any of them ever raise it.
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