legality vs morality
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10-02-2012, 04:00 PM
legality vs morality
Freethinkers,

So, I was out for a pint or 7 with two fine fellows, and entirely by accident we got onto the topic of legality vs morality. It really rocked my moral compass and I would appreciate your guidance.

The hypothetical situation is this:

Picture for a moment that you are a happy, balanced and content atheist. As you sit supping your drink and enjoying your time with friends, you are accosted by a bigoted fundamentalist Christian. He wishes death upon you and your family. The fundamentalist actually does nothing, he merely threatens it.

When I heard that scenario, I felt angry, that must be wrong. Not so, according to the law - someones opinions aren't offensive, only if they act upon those impulses and enact violence upon you would that be considered illegal.

IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO THINK SOMETHING....even VOCALIZING THOSE THOUGHTS isn't considered wrong. That kinda rocked my world...surely...the thoughts of the bigot highlighted above are wrong...we can all agree on that, right?

But then, we can't, or rather, shouldn't police thoughts & opinions. Should we?

I don't know...should we? Who would be right if we did?

Would love your views.

S

"Christianity is like a diet where you eat lots of chocolate cake all week, and then on Sunday you mentally scold yourself and "try again" only to repeat the cycle." - Buddy Christ
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10-02-2012, 04:03 PM
RE: legality vs morality
Threatening death is illegal, at least in the United States where I live. You can you say you want a person to die, but you can't tell them that you're going to kill them.
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10-02-2012, 04:31 PM
RE: legality vs morality
(10-02-2012 04:00 PM)Shannow Wrote:  Freethinkers,

So, I was out for a pint or 7 with two fine fellows, and entirely by accident we got onto the topic of legality vs morality. It really rocked my moral compass and I would appreciate your guidance.

The hypothetical situation is this:

Picture for a moment that you are a happy, balanced and content atheist. As you sit supping your drink and enjoying your time with friends, you are accosted by a bigoted fundamentalist Christian. He wishes death upon you and your family. The fundamentalist actually does nothing, he merely threatens it.

When I heard that scenario, I felt angry, that must be wrong. Not so, according to the law - someones opinions aren't offensive, only if they act upon those impulses and enact violence upon you would that be considered illegal.

IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO THINK SOMETHING....even VOCALIZING THOSE THOUGHTS isn't considered wrong. That kinda rocked my world...surely...the thoughts of the bigot highlighted above are wrong...we can all agree on that, right?

But then, we can't, or rather, shouldn't police thoughts & opinions. Should we?

I don't know...should we? Who would be right if we did?

Would love your views.

S

That depends on the phrasing.
"I wish all you atheists would just die!" is not a crime.
"I want to kill you, you atheist!" is a crime.
Threatening someone is assault. Assault is a crime.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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10-02-2012, 04:41 PM
RE: legality vs morality
(10-02-2012 04:31 PM)Chas Wrote:  That depends on the phrasing.
"I wish all you atheists would just die!" is not a crime.
"I want to kill you, you atheist!" is a crime.
Threatening someone is assault. Assault is a crime.

Thanks Chas, you've neatly dissected my problem, I'm not okay with the "not a crime" group.

This group of people would quite happily see atheists/gays/jews/ninjas whatever rendered extinct.....that doesn't sit well with me....does it sit well with you?

But what's the alternative? Policing thought? The Nazis tried that with rather disastrous effect...I'm struggling with this one, hence my post.

"Christianity is like a diet where you eat lots of chocolate cake all week, and then on Sunday you mentally scold yourself and "try again" only to repeat the cycle." - Buddy Christ
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10-02-2012, 05:20 PM
RE: legality vs morality
Well even though its hypothetical, its pretty spot on to how many Christians feel. Weird since uttering that phrase doesn't seem to be very moral and we all know the bible is what teaches us about morality; can't have it with out god.
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10-02-2012, 05:38 PM
RE: legality vs morality
(10-02-2012 04:41 PM)Shannow Wrote:  
(10-02-2012 04:31 PM)Chas Wrote:  That depends on the phrasing.
"I wish all you atheists would just die!" is not a crime.
"I want to kill you, you atheist!" is a crime.
Threatening someone is assault. Assault is a crime.

Thanks Chas, you've neatly dissected my problem, I'm not okay with the "not a crime" group.

This group of people would quite happily see atheists/gays/jews/ninjas whatever rendered extinct.....that doesn't sit well with me....does it sit well with you?

But what's the alternative? Policing thought? The Nazis tried that with rather disastrous effect...I'm struggling with this one, hence my post.

No, policing thought is a no-go. I would like to see religion die out.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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10-02-2012, 06:12 PM
RE: legality vs morality
(10-02-2012 04:31 PM)Chas Wrote:  No, policing thought is a no-go. I would like to see religion die out.

Yeah...I tried that one....

So it's education then? We teach the next generations how to think without the aid of any religion and then the world's a better place...nobody would need religion and we enter a kind of Star Trek-like utopia....couple of curve balls though:

1. How's that different to policing thought? (that sunk me in the pub tonight)

2. What if you educate someone and they persist in the approach that Shiva or Jesus or whatever is the better way? If they've been educated and still persist, are they 'thought-criminals'?

I had to waffle something about needing to get home at this point and headed straight for this forum!

S

"Christianity is like a diet where you eat lots of chocolate cake all week, and then on Sunday you mentally scold yourself and "try again" only to repeat the cycle." - Buddy Christ
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10-02-2012, 06:15 PM
RE: legality vs morality
I don't think religion will ever go away. It is a huge industry and makes billions of dollars. But even if it does become to abnormal I don't think you would look at them as criminals unless they do a criminal act.

Justin
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10-02-2012, 06:16 PM
RE: legality vs morality
(10-02-2012 06:12 PM)Shannow Wrote:  
(10-02-2012 04:31 PM)Chas Wrote:  No, policing thought is a no-go. I would like to see religion die out.

Yeah...I tried that one....

So it's education then? We teach the next generations how to think without the aid of any religion and then the world's a better place...nobody would need religion and we enter a kind of Star Trek-like utopia....couple of curve balls though:

1. How's that different to policing thought? (that sunk me in the pub tonight)

2. What if you educate someone and they persist in the approach that Shiva or Jesus or whatever is the better way? If they've been educated and still persist, are they 'thought-criminals'?

I had to waffle something about needing to get home at this point and headed straight for this forum!

S

There can be no such thing as a thought crime. Freedom of thought is basic freedom.

Teaching critical thinking skills is not policing thought.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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10-02-2012, 06:35 PM
RE: legality vs morality
(10-02-2012 06:16 PM)Chas Wrote:  There can be no such thing as a thought crime. Freedom of thought is basic freedom.

Teaching critical thinking skills is not policing thought.

Chas - you're a 2 line Yoda! Nicely done...

"Christianity is like a diet where you eat lots of chocolate cake all week, and then on Sunday you mentally scold yourself and "try again" only to repeat the cycle." - Buddy Christ
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