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Thread: Moral Values

  1. #1

    Default Moral Values

    So many of the threads in this section deal in one way or another with what is right and what is wrong. Since no moral standard has been agreed upon it seems logical to assume that, whenever morals are discussed, we are talking about majority opinion. When opinion is codified into law morality can be eliminated in favor of legality in cases that are covered by law. In the other cases people can make whatever moral judgement they wish to make, but for what purpose?

    One of the things Christianity is used for is establishing a basis for moral judgements. This seems to be a misuse of original Christian teachings which exclaim, in one of the clearest and most powerful commandments, "judge not!" Is it possible that one of the main thrusts of Christianity, and maybe other religions, is to acheive a personal state where moral judgements are not made?

  2. #2

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    OK I will bit.

    This discussion should go the same way the thread I started about "what is Humane".

    Moral values are a standard of measurements/guilds that one person uses to form his or her own opinions and or the bases for their actions. So this is an individual ideology that there will never be an agreement as to the "absolute" right or wrong. Political-social-economical standards will be the base that any one person has had their self-expectations/values formed on and this will influence what they believe to be right or wrong.

    I could go on but it would just be saying the same thing over and over again.

  3. #3

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    In my recently self published novel, I mention The Kid's Survival Manuel. It's a book that's never been written, but every kid knows it from cover to cover. As kids, it's what got us through school, dealing with friends and with parents. We had an innate sense of right and wrong, what would get a laugh from our friends, and what would get us ostracized if we did or said something stupid.

    The later chapters mention The Grownup's Survival Manual and there are similarities and differences. Morality tends to be governed by the acceptance of the majority of society. As of late, there have been some significant divisions. We see it in our politics, in the media and regional divisions across the country. Things which were black and white and now gray or red or blue. There's something about the survival manuals. They're almost always correct. We know what lies on those pages and we understand the cost should we ignore its wisdom. I hope that's vague enough for you, because morality is becoming more and more vague.

  4. #4

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    Morality is a complex topic. Very (very very) broadly speaking there are three schools related to morality. The first is people who believe in objective morality. In other words, the idea that there's some kind of right and wrong and if you go out into the world and pay enough attention, you can figure it out. Objective morality suggests that it's possible to discover the right thing to do, even if every other person in society tells you that it's wrong. Objective morality can derive from religion, philosophy, or some intrinsic character of humanity not associated with any organized group manner of thinking. When applied to law, it could be called the theory of Natural Law, meaning that there exist laws that are in line with morality and other laws that are not.

    The second theory might be called subjective morality. In law it would be called Positive Law. This theory suggests that we need some kind of morality, but there's no perfect, objective, natural morality out in the world. Instead, we define a set of rules as a society and we all make sure that everyone else follows them. This theory suggests that we're all better off for doing this, so it's not just an exercise in futility, but it basically equates to the idea that when the majority speaks, it's right by default.

    The third theory might be called moral realism, or in law Legal Realism. This is the acknowledgement that we all are defined by what we do, not what we claim that we do. So it would be better to simply catalog what influences people. Maybe some people are nice because they had a good breakfast that morning, and we should help more people to have good breakfasts because it makes us happy. Things like that. This theory posits that there's really no objective morality or even an agreed-upon subjective morality. There's just stuff people do, which we can all try to understand as best we're able.



    Edit: As an interesting example, the United States Declaration of Independence might be the single most famous example of Objective Morality. It says

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;"

    Take a look at that again. It says "inalienable rights" that are "endowed by their Creator." It's an interesting approach because it uses God to be highly subversive of an established order. It seizes on the idea that there is an objective morality, given to humanity from a higher power, and that even the rulers of the greatest nations on earth lose their authority when they do not act in accordance with those moral values.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    One of the things Christianity is used for is establishing a basis for moral judgements. This seems to be a misuse of original Christian teachings which exclaim, in one of the clearest and most powerful commandments, "judge not!" Is it possible that one of the main thrusts of Christianity, and maybe other religions, is to acheive a personal state where moral judgements are not made?
    I would argue that the Bible's very purpose is as a blueprint for and testament of moral judgement. The "judge not" bit is widely misinterpreted, and refers to superficial, hypocritical judgements. See Matthew 7:2-5 for one of many disambiguations. In short: Judge others as you would be judged. Sorry -- not meaning to take any overt anti-religious stance here, just stating the obvious: We have whole theocratic nations whose governments are based on the principle of being God's proxy for moral judgement. The scriptural roots of this stuff are pretty clear and go far beyond any single Jesus quote.

    In terms of not making moral judgements, I would say that many predominantly Christian nations are ahead of the curve, at least if you view non-judgement as a good thing. Commit adultery in Saudi Arabia and your head can be cut off. They'll say that we've gone soft because we don't do that. And, if I force myself into their sandals, I kind of agree. In western society, religion has evolved to become... well... easy, for lack of a better word. When we encounter situations that disagree with our religious teachings, we simply find new abstract ways of interpreting those teachings so that everything is in harmony again. Religion has been demoted to "chicken soup for the soul," as they say. I'm not sure this sort of passivity is what Jesus had in mind.

    IMO. Not really a Christian, so... *grain of salt*

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontail View Post
    and, if I force myself into their sandals, I kind of agree.
    That is SUCH a racist thing to say.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AshleyAshes View Post
    That is SUCH a racist thing to say.
    You should watch Disney's Aladdin sometime. You'd have a heart attack!

    One sees, first and foremost, what one wants to see.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AshleyAshes View Post
    That is SUCH a racist thing to say.
    Explain how that is even close to racist? it is stereotyping, but not racist.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AshleyAshes View Post
    That is SUCH a racist thing to say.
    I feel that this is an excellent example of what I was attempting to say.

    One person sees "in there sandals" as races, another as stereotype. If "in their shoes" was used would be the correct quotation, however is it western stereotyping to the countries that sandals are in deed the preferred foot ware. There again what if "in their flip flops" was used?

    The point being that the black and white thinking of "morals" is not so black and white if you look at the issue from all levels. So who is moral and who is not?

    So the bottom line must be that morals are the rule and judgment is the application. Therefore, judgment is solely a personal perspective based on ones own ideology.

  10. #10

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    I haven't seen anything in any of the posts here that I would fundamentally disagree with. [Edit: Except maybe Ashley's] We seem to be pretty much on the same page, so I had to dig a little deeper to see if I could better identify the problem I see with moral values and I came up with this: moral values are similar in nature to superstitions.

    Many superstitions originated in practical, common sense advice but, over time, the reason behind the advice became obscurred while the advice itself remained, causing people to assign a magical (superstitious) value to it. For example, sometime in the future people could all have their own personal levitation device and ladders would be obsolete, used only as antiques for decorative purposes. The admonition to avoid walking under ladders would have no practical value at that time and would take on the status of superstition. Some people already look at walking under a ladder superstitiously, not realizing the common sense behind avoiding this behavior. Without this realization some people jump to the conclusion that some supernatural force will cause them bad luck for walking under ladders. In the same way moral values may start out as common sense social rules but if the original reasons behind the rules are lost or misunderstood these values can take on the magical qualities of superstition.

    Human sexuality is such a complex and socially important phenomenon that it is only natural for any society to regulate how it is to be expressed. Because humans reach sexual maturity before they reach emotional and intellectual maturity, it may be necessary at some point for society to offer "because we tell you so" as the reason for forbidding certain sexual activity, but there still needs to be a practical reason behind any prohibition so the adults can consider and debate the value of the prohibition. Without a practical reason behind moral values these values drift off into the superstitious area of the supernatural, and, when that happens, debate becomes irrational and overly emotional.

    The bottom line, IMO, is that moral values are a combination of practical ideas and superstition, and we should be trying to eliminate the superstitions.

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