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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 445585  
Subject: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 11:12 AM
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The origins of morality have been debated before on the boards, with some
posters arguing that morality requires the existence of a higher being to
have any validity and other posters arguing that morality is completely
relative. Neither of those answers is satisfying or complete, and so
another poster and I have undertaken to derive a moral code that is
neither relative nor dependent on a God figure. The moral code we have
developed springs from empirical facts about the human condition.

Human beings are created with a specific set of physical needs (food,
water,air, shelter) that are universal to the human condition. They are
also endowed at birth with free will. Free will is the characteristic of
an individual's mind that understands the concept of existence and allows
the individual to consider his own needs as an individual and then make
decisions about his environment in an effort to satisfy those needs.

Individuals, when created, are born with the same basic needs and the same
basic rights to be secure in their person and to exercise their will. These
rights and needs are allocated in equal measure to all individuals at
creation. No one individual has a greater share of these rights or needs
than another at the time of creation. Since, at
creation, rights are equal, it stands to reason that the equivalency of
rights persists until such time as an individual voluntarily chooses to
give up some of their rights to another individual for whatever reason.

Since all individuals have the same rights to exercise their free will
until such time as they voluntarily cede them, it follows that no
individual has the authority to compel another person to do anything,
unless the person has voluntarily given the individual permission. From
this we can derive the first tenet of morality:

1) All individuals are sacrosanct with respect to their person.

Two sub-tenets could be added to make clear the intent of the first
maxim. They are:

1a) no individual or group may compel the assistance of another without the
other's voluntary consent
1b) no individual or group has the right to initiate an assault on the
person of another

It has been shown that the equivalency of rights persists until such time
as an individual voluntarily chooses to give up their some of rights to
another individual for whatever reason. It stands to reason that an
individual would only voluntarily cede some of their rights to another if
they felt they would receive something of equal or greater value in
return. In other words, the individual would choose to give up some of his
right to unfettered exercise of his free will only if he thought he had
more to gain from giving up the rights than he would have gotten by
exercising unrestrained free will. The act of placing constraints on the
free exercise of one's will in the pursuit of one's core interests must, by
definition, be an act of free will in and of itself. This leads us to the
second tenet of morality:

2) Interactions of any kind between individuals must be the result of the
exercise of free will

Since interactions between individuals involve potentially trading away or
limiting an individual's most fundamental rights, , it follows that each
party is obligated to deliver what the other party expected from the
exchange. The system of interactions between individuals can not function
if the honesty of the transactions are not maintained. That leads to tenet
2a).

2a) Honesty is the cornerstone of free will interactions

It has been shown that individuals enter into agreements with other people
for the express purpose of satisfying some portion of their interest that
they would not have been able to satisfy on their own. Since interactions
between individuals are predicated on the exercise of free will, and free
will is defined as the ability of each individual to pursue their own
interests, it follows that an individual can not be compelled by another
into a transaction that goes against their interests. That can be stated
as tenet 2b).

2b) no individual can be compelled by another into a transaction that goes
against their interests

While pursuit of personal interest can result in the greatest benefit to an
individual, we need to consider that for some individuals, events may occur
in life from which they can not recover on their own. While no individual
has the right to compel assistance from another, it is nonetheless
appropriate for individuals to freely assist those who are in need. Our
condition of humanity and our natural preference for life over death give
us a common bond with other people that justifies providing voluntary
assistance. That leads us to a third sub-tenet under #2, namely,

2c)The proper exercise of free will includes providing voluntary assistance
to those who require it.

So far, we have shown that no individual has the right to compel assistance
from another and that any interaction between individuals needs to be based
on a voluntary exchange of things perceived by both parties to be of
similar value. As individuals set about pursuing their personal interests,
they may begin to amass property to allow them a higher degree of comfort
or to provide security against lean times in the future. This property is
the result of the individuals exercise of free will and represents a thing
of value created by that free will. As such, no individual can be
deprived of his property by another individual or group. To do so would be
to violate tenet #2 regarding the interactions between individuals, and
ultimately tenet #1, since seizing a persons property might leave them more
exposed should hard times come. This leads us to tenet #3, namely:

3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has an
inherent right to the property of another.

There are two main classes of property - animate property, and inanimate
property. The rights of an individual regarding the disposition of their
inanimate property are limitless. Since the property is the direct result
of the exercise of an individuals free will over time in the pursuit of
their interest, it follows that they can do whatever they wish with that
property so long as they don't negatively impact another individual.

Animate property, on the other hand, has basic rights by virtue of its
existence as a living thing. To treat animate property inhumanely is to
trample its basic rights as a living thing, and therefore is not
moral. Ownership rights of animate property are predicated on the humane
treatment of the property in question.

That leads to 2 sub tenets to tenet 3, namely:

3a) Rights to animate property are predicated upon humane treatment by an
individual for the animate property
3b) It is the right of the individual to dispense with their inanimate
property as they see fit.


That makes the complete code as follows:

1) The individual is sacrosanct with respect to their person.

a) No person may compel the assistance of another without the other's consent
b) No person has the right to initiate an assault on the person of another
for any reason

2) Interactions between individuals must be the result of the exercise of
free will

a) Honesty is the cornerstone of free will interactions
b) No individual can be compelled into a transaction that goes against
their interests
c) The proper exercise of free will includes providing oluntary assistance
to those who require it.

3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has
aninherent right to the property of another

a) Rights to live property are predicated upon humane treatmentby an
individual for the live property
b) It is the right of the individual to dispense with their inanimate
property as they see fit.

These rules for morality provide an underpinning for society as well.

The unrestrained exercise of individual free will in the pursuit of
satisfying individual needs offers the individual the opportunity to gain
the most benefit from activities he undertakes. However, not all the needs
of an individual can generally be met by exercise of his abilities alone,
and so the individual bands together with others to form a
society. Society is a voluntary agreement between individuals to place a
focused number of restrictions on their complete freedom to attain the
benefits offered by interacting with other individuals with different sets
of physical skills. Society can only function within the context of the
rights voluntarily ceded by the individuals making up the society at the
time of its formation. The rights of the individuals comprising society
can not be further restricted by society except with the unanimous consent
of the individual members. To do otherwise would be to violate the first
and second tenet of morality. All laws and regulations passed by a society
need to conform to the 3 tenets of morality to have any validity.
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Author: eswan Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20713 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 11:35 AM
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2) Interactions of any kind between individuals must be the result of the
exercise of free will


Impressive post, but for humans, contrary to widely held beliefs, possession of free will is only a dream. Strangely enough, lack of free will, does not, I beleive invalidate the efficacy of your assertions.



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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20714 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 11:39 AM
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Impressive post, but for humans, contrary to widely held beliefs, possession of free will is only a dream. Strangely enough, lack of free will, does not, I beleive invalidate the efficacy of your assertions.

I believe that the illusion of free will is, for our intents and purposes, as good as the real thing.

6

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Author: sonofed Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20715 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 11:42 AM
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but for humans, contrary to widely held beliefs, possession of free will is only a dream

Free will, as defined in the post, clearly must exist. Free will was defined as the capacity to direct one's abilities to modify one's environment to satisfy basic needs.

Since all people will endeavor to get what they need from their environment in order to survive, they must have some measure of free will, as defined.

Steve

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Author: eswan Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20716 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 11:44 AM
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I believe that the illusion of free will is, for our intents and purposes, as good as the real thing.

6


Only if masturbation as good as getting laid.

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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20718 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 11:51 AM
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Only if masturbation as good as getting laid.

Bad analogy. If masturbation with a virtual reality set so good you can't tell the difference between it and real life is as good as getting laid...

6

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Author: Kazim Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20726 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:33 PM
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I thought that was sofaking excellent.

I've been thinking about updating the FAQ a little bit. That might be a good thing to link to. Only thing is, I know this is a subject we don't all agree on. But I think your post is a good example of one possible way of reaching an ethical system without invoking supernatural help.

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Author: buy2win Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20727 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:37 PM
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I've been thinking about updating the FAQ a little bit. That might be a good thing to link to. Only thing is, I know this is a subject we don't all agree on. But I think your post is a good example of one possible way of reaching an ethical system without invoking supernatural help.

Now all she has to do is engrave her original post on a set of golden tablets, bury them in upstate NY and leave around a lot of clues that the Angel Moron left a message from god, and, voila!, we'll have an ethical system without invoking supernatural help with the force of an almighty supernatural god !

Oh wait. Didn't L. Ron Hubbard do this already ?





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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20728 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:41 PM
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Only thing is, I know this is a subject we don't all agree on

So, come on K, disagree! I know, I know, you're busy. I want response to this though.

Demanding6

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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20729 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:42 PM
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Oh wait. Didn't L. Ron Hubbard do this already ?

The real question is, didn't L. Ron Hubbard get filthy stinking rich doing this already?

6

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Author: buy2win Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20730 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:44 PM
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Oh wait. Didn't L. Ron Hubbard do this already ?

The real question is, didn't L. Ron Hubbard get filthy stinking rich doing this already?

6


I love your entrepreneurial spirit, 6 !



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Author: mcr2 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20731 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:48 PM
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sofaking6, I love to deabte this. Your post is well written and obviously well thought out. But I think it is a complete house of cards.

You talk about "rights." Who says anyone has any "rights." Rights are only acquired when enough people in a society band together and assert enough power to give people these "rights." If enough people band together and take "rights" away from another, they are gone. "Rights" are all a question of power.

So call it what it is: we are all born with a given level of power and it isn't equal. Some have more, some have less. When enough people get together and assert enough power to overwhelm the minority, then morality means whatever the majority says.

I know the whole Nazi example is trite and over used,so I use a slightly less trite example. If Stalinism had taken over, your code of morality would have been laughed at.

I still assert that one cannot define ethics or morality without God. Otherwise, it is contigent is upon the agreement of the majority. Because the majority can change, this "morality" can change. To me, "morals" don't change.

mcr2







No one individual has a greater share of these rights or needs
than another at the time of creation.

Since, at creation, rights are equal, it stands to reason that the equivalency of rights persists until such time as an individual voluntarily chooses to give up some of their rights to another individual for whatever reason.


It has been shown that the equivalency of rights persists until such time as an individual voluntarily chooses to give up their some of rights to
another individual for whatever reason. It stands to reason that an
individual would only voluntarily cede some of their rights to another if
they felt they would receive something of equal or greater value in
return. In other words, the individual would choose to give up some of his
right to unfettered exercise of his free will only if he thought he had
more to gain from giving up the rights than he would have gotten by
exercising unrestrained free will. The act of placing constraints on the
free exercise of one's will in the pursuit of one's core interests must, by
definition, be an act of free will in and of itself. This leads us to the
second tenet of morality:

2) Interactions of any kind between individuals must be the result of the
exercise of free will

Since interactions between individuals involve potentially trading away or
limiting an individual's most fundamental rights, , it follows that each
party is obligated to deliver what the other party expected from the
exchange. The system of interactions between individuals can not function
if the honesty of the transactions are not maintained. That leads to tenet
2a).

2a) Honesty is the cornerstone of free will interactions

It has been shown that individuals enter into agreements with other people
for the express purpose of satisfying some portion of their interest that
they would not have been able to satisfy on their own. Since interactions
between individuals are predicated on the exercise of free will, and free
will is defined as the ability of each individual to pursue their own
interests, it follows that an individual can not be compelled by another
into a transaction that goes against their interests. That can be stated
as tenet 2b).

2b) no individual can be compelled by another into a transaction that goes
against their interests

While pursuit of personal interest can result in the greatest benefit to an
individual, we need to consider that for some individuals, events may occur
in life from which they can not recover on their own. While no individual
has the right to compel assistance from another, it is nonetheless
appropriate for individuals to freely assist those who are in need. Our
condition of humanity and our natural preference for life over death give
us a common bond with other people that justifies providing voluntary
assistance. That leads us to a third sub-tenet under #2, namely,

2c)The proper exercise of free will includes providing voluntary assistance
to those who require it.

So far, we have shown that no individual has the right to compel assistance
from another and that any interaction between individuals needs to be based
on a voluntary exchange of things perceived by both parties to be of
similar value. As individuals set about pursuing their personal interests,
they may begin to amass property to allow them a higher degree of comfort
or to provide security against lean times in the future. This property is
the result of the individuals exercise of free will and represents a thing
of value created by that free will. As such, no individual can be
deprived of his property by another individual or group. To do so would be
to violate tenet #2 regarding the interactions between individuals, and
ultimately tenet #1, since seizing a persons property might leave them more
exposed should hard times come. This leads us to tenet #3, namely:

3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has an
inherent right to the property of another.

There are two main classes of property - animate property, and inanimate
property. The rights of an individual regarding the disposition of their
inanimate property are limitless. Since the property is the direct result
of the exercise of an individuals free will over time in the pursuit of
their interest, it follows that they can do whatever they wish with that
property so long as they don't negatively impact another individual.

Animate property, on the other hand, has basic rights by virtue of its
existence as a living thing. To treat animate property inhumanely is to
trample its basic rights as a living thing, and therefore is not
moral. Ownership rights of animate property are predicated on the humane
treatment of the property in question.

That leads to 2 sub tenets to tenet 3, namely:

3a) Rights to animate property are predicated upon humane treatment by an
individual for the animate property
3b) It is the right of the individual to dispense with their inanimate
property as they see fit.


That makes the complete code as follows:

1) The individual is sacrosanct with respect to their person.

a) No person may compel the assistance of another without the other's consent
b) No person has the right to initiate an assault on the person of another
for any reason

2) Interactions between individuals must be the result of the exercise of
free will

a) Honesty is the cornerstone of free will interactions
b) No individual can be compelled into a transaction that goes against
their interests
c) The proper exercise of free will includes providing oluntary assistance
to those who require it.

3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has
aninherent right to the property of another

a) Rights to live property are predicated upon humane treatmentby an
individual for the live property
b) It is the right of the individual to dispense with their inanimate
property as they see fit.

These rules for morality provide an underpinning for society as well.

The unrestrained exercise of individual free will in the pursuit of
satisfying individual needs offers the individual the opportunity to gain
the most benefit from activities he undertakes. However, not all the needs
of an individual can generally be met by exercise of his abilities alone,
and so the individual bands together with others to form a
society. Society is a voluntary agreement between individuals to place a
focused number of restrictions on their complete freedom to attain the
benefits offered by interacting with other individuals with different sets
of physical skills. Society can only function within the context of the
rights voluntarily ceded by the individuals making up the society at the
time of its formation. The rights of the individuals comprising society
can not be further restricted by society except with the unanimous consent
of the individual members. To do otherwise would be to violate the first
and second tenet of morality. All laws and regulations passed by a society
need to conform to the 3 tenets of morality to have any validity.

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Author: ogrecat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20732 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:52 PM
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I still assert that one cannot define ethics or morality without God. Otherwise, it is contigent is upon the agreement of the majority. Because the majority can change, this "morality" can change. To me, "morals" don't change.

The official state religion can change.


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Author: Kazim Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20733 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:56 PM
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So, come on K, disagree! I know, I know, you're busy. I want response to this though.

I said "we don't all agree", but that doesn't mean I don't. From my perspective you pretty much nailed it.

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Author: tenworlds Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20735 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:57 PM
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Author: mcr2 Date: 4/2/02 2:48 PM Number: 20731

'You talk about "rights." Who says anyone has any "rights." Rights are only acquired when enough people in a society band together and assert enough power to give people these "rights." If enough people band together and take "rights" away from another, they are gone. "Rights" are all a question of power."

This shows a complete disregard for humanity and the individual spirit, which really doesn't surprise me coming from the mindset that an ALL-POWERFUL being controls everything.

I believe the original post was merely stating that "morals" (ethics to me) can come from inherent human decency.

Peace~
Rich


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Author: eswan Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20736 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 2:59 PM
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Bad analogy. If masturbation with a virtual reality set so good you can't tell the difference between it and real life is as good as getting laid...

6


Was there any free will envolved in poking fun at a dsylexic sentence (not that there is anything wrong with that)?

You really do not know how much fun Venice can be by going to Las Vegas


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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20738 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:02 PM
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If I could redo that post I would take out the word "rights". However, what is meant by that is that if freedom is the ultimate good, whatever maximizes freedom is good and whatever reduces it is bad.

Stalin could certainly come in and laugh this idea right off the map - but that doesn't make him good - he's just a bad man with big guns.

Power is a reality but not a moral issue. Your god is all-powerful, and he said, "honor thy father and mother", but I'm certainly not going to jail for failing to obey. You can try to force morals on people by using power but if they are contrary to human behavior you will fail.

Otherwise, it is contigent is upon the agreement of the majority. Because the majority can change, this "morality" can change. To me, "morals" don't change.


That is what this is all about - I believe we can establish a moral code that will not change.

6

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Author: MLong13 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20740 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:04 PM
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>I believe the original post was merely stating that "morals" (ethics >to me) can come from inherent human decency.

>Peace~
>Rich

I would have to say that morals/ethics DO come from inherent human decency, since I have never been given any evidence of some supreme all powerful being and I have plenty of evidence to support that people exist.

Mark


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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20741 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:05 PM
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Was there any free will envolved in poking fun at a dsylexic sentence (not that there is anything wrong with that)?

You know I honestly don't believe in free will; BUT I believe that we have to pretend it exists in order to function, AND I believe that we are capable of attaining free will, one day.

6

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Author: mcr2 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20742 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:06 PM
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tenworlds said:

This shows a complete disregard for humanity and the individual spirit, which really doesn't surprise me coming from the mindset that an ALL-POWERFUL being controls everything.

I believe the original post was merely stating that "morals" (ethics to me) can come from inherent human decency

My reply:

First, I never asserted that an "ALL-POWERFULL being controls everything."

Second, I know my discussion shows a disregard for humanity and individual spirit. But ther are many societies where individual spirit is ignored.

While the original post may have been stating that morals/ethic can come from inherent human decency, it begs the question as to what "inherent human decency" is. I think my definition of "human decency" would be pretty much the same as most everyone's. I just disagree that it is "inherent." I think it for most it is learned and not inherent. And if it is learned, it can be changed. And to me morals/ethics that can change are nothing.

mcr2


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Author: Kazim Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20743 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:09 PM
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You talk about "rights." Who says anyone has any "rights." Rights are only acquired when enough people in a society band together and assert enough power to give people these "rights." If enough people band together and take "rights" away from another, they are gone. "Rights" are all a question of power.

I think you've got it a little backwards. Under a religious system of morality, people have no guaranteed rights whatsoever. They are subject to the arbitrary whims of the imaginary overlord; under your system, everyone already deserves to burn in hell, so when you come right down to it nobody has the right to do anything but kiss some holy ass and hope that he'll demonstrate some of that famous mercy of his. People can and have at numerous times in the past justified slavery and genocide through the use of well-chosen scripture. When it's not convenient to give somebody rights under a religious regime, they don't need to because that's just God's will. We're all sinners anyway, so what does it matter what we think of the system?

I still assert that one cannot define ethics or morality without God.

Of course they can. Just because not everyone agrees with the same definition doesn't mean it's impossible to define. It's impossible to define concepts like "green" or "hot" in a universally accepted way. I'm slightly color blind, and some shades of green look tan to me. My sister lives in Phoenix, so when I say "It's hot today" and she says "How hot?" and I say "85 degrees" I get laughed at. She doesn't agree with my perception of what's hot. But that doesn't mean that is impossible to make any definition of hot at all.

Sure you can define ethics without God; just as you can define ethics WITH God. Sofaking just gave a pretty good definition of Godless ethics. So you don't like that definition; so what? Your definition of ethics is "Godly", but I'm willing to bet you that it's different from Bonhoeffer's and Goldrush's in many ways. Does that mean your definition doesn't exist? No.

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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20744 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:10 PM
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This is a little snip of the email exchange that culminated in the post - it's a looong exchange but I will try to find interesting parts and post them when I can.

>The individual himself is in the best position to understand
>their specific physical needs and has the most highly vested interest in
>seeing those needs met. It follows, therefore, that allowing
>individuals to pursue their own interest without restriction is the most
>efficient way to satisfy the needs of the individual.
>And that is the essence of why the first tenet is the primacy
>of the individual. So far: We are endowed, at creation, with free will
>and a survival instinct. The combination of the two leads to successful
>life. It follows, then, that interference with the exercise of free will
>is quivalent to interference with a successful life. Therefore, freedom
>is necessesary in order to ensure the most successful lives for the most
>people. Therefore, freedom is good, lack of freedom is bad.
>
>Since satisfying basic needs of the individual must come before
>any more advanced activities in the pursuit of good can be undertaken,
>and freedom results in the most efficient path to satisfy individual needs,
>it follows that freedom is not just good, it is the ultimate good and the
>root of all other good.
>


6

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Author: tenworlds Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20745 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:14 PM
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MLong13 Date: 4/2/02 3:04 PM Number: 20740

">I believe the original post was merely stating that "morals" (ethics >to me) can come from inherent human decency.

>Peace~
>Rich

I would have to say that morals/ethics DO come from inherent human decency, since I have never been given any evidence of some supreme all powerful being and I have plenty of evidence to support that people exist.

Mark"


I agree. I was giving a nod to theistic thinking

Peace~
Rich
-Human by nature, Buddhist by choice-


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Author: mcr2 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20746 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:15 PM
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sofa said:

If I could redo that post I would take out the word "rights". However, what is meant by that is that if freedom is the ultimate good, whatever maximizes freedom is good and whatever reduces it is bad.

My reply:

OK, fair enough. Who says "freedom" is the "ultimate good"?

What if someone said I want the freedom to look at society and say "Stuff all of your mores. I want to do whatever the heck I want. Rape, kill, steal. But I promise to only do it against really, really bad people. please, give me this 'ultimate good.' "

If enough people with enough might got together and said they believed this, we would have a "moral code" based on the whims of the people.

I know I'm going to hear that this would never happen because it goes against human nature and is not sustainable. Maybein it isn't sustainable, but it occurs so often in history that one could argue that this is the norm and the freedom and civility we experience right now is just an interlude from the norm.


mcr2




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Author: MLong13 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20748 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:16 PM
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>I just disagree that it is "inherent." I think it for most it is >learned and not inherent. And if it is learned, it can be changed. And >to me morals/ethics that can change are nothing.

Of course morals/ethics can be changed because they are based on society. A primitive culture absolutely has it's own morals/ethics and those morals/ethics might be very different from what we consider to be moral/ethical. Whose morals/ethics are more correct?

Mark

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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20749 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:24 PM
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What if someone said I want the freedom to look at society and say "Stuff all of your mores. I want to do whatever the heck I want. Rape, kill, steal. But I promise to only do it against really, really bad people. please, give me this 'ultimate good.' "

Well, first of all, the code specifies that my freedom is only bounded by your freedom. So, you would be an immoral person if you infringed on the freedom of others...whether or not they're bad people.

Maybein it isn't sustainable, but it occurs so often in history that one could argue that this is the norm and the freedom and civility we experience right now is just an interlude from the norm.


It definitely can seem that way. However, it seems to me that we have no way to judge since only the USA has ever really specified freedom as a positive value, and that only recently. Were freedom universally valued, we might see drastic change. Currently murder is valued, oppression is valued, coercion is valued, etc etc etc. All of these happen specifically, IMHO, because nobody has dared to suggest that the moral codes laid out by religions are just as arbitrary as one that humans might make up, so let's just make up a better one and get on with it. I mean, the Ten Commandments are retarded. "Worship only me", what kind of a moral code is that?

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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20750 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:24 PM
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Whose morals/ethics are more correct?


Mine!

;)

6

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Author: tenworlds Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20751 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:25 PM
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mcr2 Date: 4/2/02 2:48 PM Number: 20731

"I still assert that one cannot define ethics or morality without God.

mcr2 Date: 4/2/02 3:06 PM Number: 20742

"First, I never asserted that an "ALL-POWERFULL being controls everything."
--------------------------------------

OK, I'm confused. Isn't God supposed to be ALL-POWERFUL?

Have I been jello-ed this early in the discussion?

Tell me it ain't so!

Peace~
Rich



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Author: mcr2 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20753 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:27 PM
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Kazim:

To be more precise, I should have said you can't define ethics or morals without an unchanging standard. And, to me, without a supreme being, there can be no unchanging standard.

I agree that in the past some have abused scripture. But if we are going to start mixing it up on hte issue of salvery and genocide, I ther probably more people that have engaged in those practices based on the mindset that there is no God. And if you study your history, slavery has been largely eradicated over the last 150 years by people who expressed their motivation based on Christian Scripture. More so than those who professed atheism.

mcr2

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Author: dcarper Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20754 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:29 PM
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I agree that in the past some have abused scripture.

I like this statement except for one thing; take out the phrase "in the past".

There is still a great deal of evil and immorality in the name of religion.

David

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Author: tenworlds Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20755 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:30 PM
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mcr2 Date: 4/2/02 3:15 PM Number: 20746

"What if someone said I want the freedom to look at society and say "Stuff all of your mores. I want to do whatever the heck I want. Rape, kill, steal. But I promise to only do it against really, really bad people. please, give me this 'ultimate good.' "
-------------------------------

Enter The Crusades

R


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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20756 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:31 PM
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And, to me, without a supreme being, there can be no unchanging standard.


Even with a supreme being, there is no unchanging standard.

So what you are really saying is that the word "moral" is nonsense.

6

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Author: FoolBalance Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20757 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:31 PM
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To be more precise, I should have said you can't define ethics or morals without an unchanging standard. And, to me, without a supreme being, there can be no unchanging standard.

Therefore you start with a fundamentally different assumption for how to define ethics... I'm sure you agree that even with an unchanging standard, ethics and morality do change based on situation. Therefore, even if you have a supposed unchanging standard, it is useless in practice.

Example: Killing another human being is considered morally and ethically wrong, except in many cases. Self-defense is an obvious one. But, less obvious, is in wartime when you have been told by your government to kill an enemy that in no way reasonably threatens yourself, your family nor your nation's well being (the Viet Nam war as a fine example).

Stealing another's property is also considered morally and ethically wrong, except when it is the only way to get a drug from the drug store that your daughter needs to live...

The examples of 'except fors' are endless...

Therefore, your assumption of an unchanging standard is practically meaningless even if necessary.

Paul

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Author: eswan Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20758 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:33 PM
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You know I honestly don't believe in free will; BUT I believe that we have to pretend it exists in order to function, AND I believe that we are capable of attaining free will, one day.

Yeah me too, someone said "fake it until you make it" works for them.

On the related point, someone said: (can't remember who just now)
"Strangely enough, lack of free will, does not, I beleive invalidate the efficacy of your assertions."



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Author: mcr2 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20759 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:34 PM
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Sofaking, you said:

Well, first of all, the code specifies that my freedom is only bounded by your freedom.

My reply:

To me, this is retarded. "Freedoms" can collide. Whose freedom bounds whose. If I say I have the freedom to take your widget, and you say you have the freedom to prevent me from taking your widget, whose freedom prevails if the majority of the world says the widget goes to the person who can take it and keep it -- first possession and/or 'lawful acquisition' means nothing. Might makes right?

mcr2



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Author: MLong13 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20760 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:36 PM
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>To be more precise, I should have said you can't define ethics or >morals without an unchanging standard. And, to me, without a supreme >being, there can be no unchanging standard.

Okay, even if I were to agree with this, whose God decides the unchanging moral standard? Is it the Christian God? The Muslim God? The Hindu Gods? The Norse Gods? The Greek Gods? Seems to me there are just as many religions out there for there to be one unchanging standard. And if you feel it is the Christian God that should set the unchanging standard please provide me with evidence that this God exists and supercedes all the other religions.

Mark

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Author: mcr2 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20761 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:37 PM
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tenworlds asked:

OK, I'm confused. Isn't God supposed to be ALL-POWERFUL

My reply:

I think he is. That doesn't mean he exercises this power. Sometimes, I think he sits back and let's humanity exercise their free will.

mcr2

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Author: ogrecat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20762 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:38 PM
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What if someone said I want the freedom to look at society and say "Stuff all of your mores. I want to do whatever the heck I want. Rape, kill, steal. But I promise to only do it against really, really bad people. please, give me this 'ultimate good.' "

If enough people with enough might got together and said they believed this, we would have a "moral code" based on the whims of the people.

I know I'm going to hear that this would never happen because it goes against human nature and is not sustainable. Maybein it isn't sustainable, but it occurs so often in history that one could argue that this is the norm and the freedom and civility we experience right now is just an interlude from the norm.


As an atheist, I assure you that I used to rape, steal, and kill at least once a day (sometimes there would be a Sunday matinee). Now that I am over 50, I only commit vile acts on Saturday afternoons; and only on victims who are in even worse condition than I am.



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Author: mcr2 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20763 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:39 PM
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David said:

I like this statement except for one thing; take out the phrase "in the past".

There is still a great deal of evil and immorality in the name of religion.


My reply:

Yes. Alot of evil is also committed by those who deny any god. Who cares? It is a straw man argument on both sides.

mcr2

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Author: JamesBrown Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20764 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:43 PM
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And if you study your history, slavery has been largely eradicated over the last 150 years by people who expressed their motivation based on Christian Scripture.

I'm curious as to which Christian Scriptures were used to argue against slavery. I can point to several Christian Scriptures that support it. My feeling is that "Christian Abolitionists" were abolitionist despite their Christianity.

Religion had 6,000 years to eradicate slavery. It didn't do it.

Philosophy had roughly the same 6,000 years to eradicate slavery. It didn't do it.

The scientific method combined with major advances in technology (i.e., the Industrial Revolution, et al.) eliminated slavery within two hundred years. Today, slavery only exists in small corners of marginal, low-income, and religously oppressive countries.

You can have your religion.

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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20765 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:44 PM
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To me, this is retarded. "Freedoms" can collide. Whose freedom bounds whose. If I say I have the freedom to take your widget, and you say you have the freedom to prevent me from taking your widget, whose freedom prevails if the majority of the world says the widget goes to the person who can take it and keep it -- first possession and/or 'lawful acquisition' means nothing. Might makes right?

You can win a fistfight and still be morally in the wrong. We're talking about ideal right and wrong here. Practical applications come later.

Freedoms obviously collide. There is a right way to handle that collision, and a wrong way. See?

6

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Author: mcr2 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20766 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:44 PM
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sofa:

Even with a supreme being, there is no unchanging standard.

So what you are really saying is that the word "moral" is nonsense

My reply:

I disagree. I don't see an unchnaging standard with a supreme being. I think that men's interpretation of that standard has changed at times but the ultimate standard remains the same.

I do agree that without a belief in a God, talk about "morals" is nonsense.

mcr2

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Author: tenworlds Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20767 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:45 PM
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mcr2 Date: 4/2/02 3:34 PM Number: 20759

"To me, this is retarded. "Freedoms" can collide. Whose freedom bounds whose. If I say I have the freedom to take your widget, and you say you have the freedom to prevent me from taking your widget, whose freedom prevails if the majority of the world says the widget goes to the person who can take it and keep it -- first possession and/or 'lawful acquisition' means nothing. Might makes right?"
-----------------------------------

Man-o-man!

Did you even READ the original post?

If, in fact, one TRULY respected anothers' freedoms, one wouldn't just TAKE the widget. That would be immoral.

R


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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20768 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:46 PM
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I disagree. I don't see an unchnaging standard with a supreme being. I think that men's interpretation of that standard has changed at times but the ultimate standard remains the same.

I do agree that without a belief in a God, talk about "morals" is nonsense.


Okay, so your answer is clear: you do not believe that morals exist without God. Thank you for your input, please go back to the CF board now so the rest of us can be productive, or at least interesting.

6

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Author: MLong13 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20769 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:48 PM
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>I don't see an unchnaging standard with a supreme being. I think that >men's interpretation of that standard has changed at times but the >ultimate standard remains the same.

If there's room for interpretation then your God didn't write it very well.

Mark

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20770 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:48 PM
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To be more precise, I should have said you can't define ethics or morals without an unchanging standard. And, to me, without a supreme being, there can be no unchanging standard.

Okay, even if I were to agree with this, whose God decides the unchanging moral standard? Is it the Christian God? The Muslim God? The Hindu Gods? The Norse Gods? The Greek Gods? Seems to me there are just as many religions out there for there to be one unchanging standard. And if you feel it is the Christian God that should set the unchanging standard please provide me with evidence that this God exists and supercedes all the other religions.


This is a tricky debate, and i don't feel qualified to take a very strong stand one way or the other. But i feel compelled to point out the futility of your above criticism.

By asking "whose God decides...?" you are still trying to impose human subjectivity where it doesn't fit. "Whose God?" is an irrelevant question. If God exists, it goes without saying (IMHO) that no human understanding of Him is complete or entirely accurate, thus no human conception of the "absolute standard" can be complete or entirely accurate, either. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The abundance of different religions and different versions of God is no more evidence against the existence of an absolute standard for morality than the abundance of different conspiracy theories regarding who killed JFK is evidence that no one killed him at all. Someone killed him, and i'm sure some theories come closer than others, though it remains unknown whether any explanation is entirely accurate or complete.

The analogy breaks down (as always) because we have conclusive scientific evidence that JFK was indeed murdered, but i do not believe any conclusive scientific evidence exists to prove there is a God. But as always that takes us back to the epistemological debate on what sources are valid for obtaining knowledge, and i don't wish to return to that one again.

The point is, IF any God exists at all, then it is plausible that an absolute standard for morality exists as well, and whether or not any religion comes close to understanding either is not evidence one way or the other.

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Author: crh310 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20771 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:49 PM
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Lisa and “X”, thanks for an interesting post. It is deserving of more than a one-line answer. I don't agree with every word, and you have (obviously) covered a lot of ground in a small space. One of my first readings outside of science fiction and engineering was a book called The Nature of Good and Evil. I forget the author's name (Hey, the book was written on parchment!), but it was 900 pages of relatively small print. It was a compendium of philosophical thought on good and evil since the earliest written records. It could only scratch the surface, so your post is of necessity skimpy on details.

You said: The origins of morality have been debated before on the boards, with some
posters arguing that morality requires the existence of a higher being to have any validity and other posters arguing that morality is completely relative. Neither of those answers is satisfying or complete, and so another poster and I have undertaken to derive a moral code that is neither relative nor dependent on a God figure. The moral code we have
developed springs from empirical facts about the human condition.


A most noble challenge.

Human beings are created with a specific set of physical needs (food, water,air, shelter) that are universal to the human condition. They are also endowed at birth with free will. Free will is the characteristic of an individual's mind that understands the concept of existence and allows the individual to consider his own needs as an individual and then make decisions about his environment in an effort to satisfy those needs.


Eswan has already commented on the possibility that free will may be an illusion. I don't think so, but the possibility exists. E also correctly noted that the rest of your thoughts are not dependent on this. I would substitute “Intelligent mind”.

Individuals, when created, are born with the same basic needs and the same basic rights to be secure in their person and to exercise their will. These rights and needs are allocated in equal measure to all individuals at creation. No one individual has a greater share of these rights or needs than another at the time of creation. Since, at creation, rights are equal, it stands to reason that the equivalency of rights persists until such time as an individual voluntarily chooses to give up some of their rights to another individual for whatever reason

Since all individuals have the same rights to exercise their free will until such time as they voluntarily cede them, it follows that no individual has the authority
I would say some may have the authority (meaning might, or strength), but not the Right to compel another person to do anything, unless the person has voluntarily given the individual permission. From this we can derive the first tenet of morality:

1) All individuals are sacrosanct with respect to their person. .


This is good. I like what you are saying, BUT it ignores an important issue, and this is where our thoughts diverge. You see, I would argue that no one has any innate rights, not even the right to live, until we (society, or the tribe) agree that such rights exist. The “we hold these truths to be self-evident” approach is what most of the 800 pages of my book covered. It is convenient for the survival of the clan, or tribe, to agree on a morality such as you have described. In other words, I reverse the English on your position. It is the agreement (however tenuous) that we are sacrosanct wrt our persons which is the basis for morality, not the other way about.


Two sub-tenets could be added to make clear the intent of the first maxim. They are

1a) no individual or group may [ethically]
(My insert) compel the assistance of another without the other's voluntary consent
1b) no individual or group has the right to initiate an assault on the person of another

It has been shown that the equivalency of rights persists until such time as an individual voluntarily chooses to give up some of his rights to another individual for whatever reason. It stands to reason that an individual would only voluntarily cede some of his rights to another if he felt they would receive something of equal or greater value in
return. In other words, the individual would choose to give up some of his right to unfettered exercise of his free will only if he thought he had more to gain from giving up the rights than he would have gotten by exercising unrestrained free will. The act of placing constraints on the free exercise of one's will in the pursuit of one's core interests must, by definition, be an act of free will in and of itself. This leads us to the
second tenet of morality:

2) Interactions of any kind between individuals must be the result of the
exercise of free will

This is such a 21st century idea! It would be completely ridiculous to anyone before Rousseau, and likely so even to the 18th century folks who followed him. It also smacks of Ayn Rand's ideas about the inviolability of individual freedoms. It turns the “social contract” idea on its head. For the most part, our society has come to agree that we can make collective demands on a person FOR THE GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY, whether he agrees or not. The prisons are full of people who disagree.

Since interactions between individuals involve potentially trading away or limiting an individual's most fundamental rights, , it follows that each party is obligated to deliver what the other party expected from the exchange. The system of interactions between individuals can not function if the honesty of the transactions are not maintained. That leads to tenet
2a).

2a) Honesty is the cornerstone of free will interactions

It has been shown that individuals enter into agreements with other people
for the express purpose of satisfying some portion of their interest that
they would not have been able to satisfy on their own. Since interactions
between individuals are predicated on the exercise of free will, and free
will is defined as the ability of each individual to pursue their own
interests, it follows that an individual can not be compelled by another
into a transaction that goes against their interests. That can be stated
as tenet 2b).

2b) no individual can be compelled by another into a transaction that goes
against his interests

While pursuit of personal interest can result in the greatest benefit to an
individual, we need to consider that for some individuals, events may occur
in life from which they can not recover on their own. While no individual
has the right to compel assistance from another, it is nonetheless
appropriate for individuals to freely assist those who are in need. Our
condition of humanity and our natural preference for life over death give
us a common bond with other people that justifies providing voluntary
assistance. That leads us to a third sub-tenet under #2, namely,

2c)The proper exercise of free will includes providing voluntary assistance
to those who require it.

These are fine, as they apply to transactions which only affect the two individuals. As the tribe gets larger, the interactions are more complex, and at some point a tacit agreement is assumed, alá the social contract.

So far, we have shown that no individual has the right to compel assistance
from another and that any interaction between individuals needs to be based
on a voluntary exchange of things perceived by both parties to be of
similar value. As individuals set about pursuing their personal interests,
they may begin to amass property to allow them a higher degree of comfort
or to provide security against lean times in the future. This property is
the result of the individuals exercise of free will and represents a thing
of value created by that free will. As such, no individual can be
deprived of his property by another individual or group. To do so would be
to violate tenet #2 regarding the interactions between individuals, and
ultimately tenet #1, since seizing a persons property might leave them more
exposed should hard times come. This leads us to tenet #3, namely:

3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has an inherent right to the property of another.

Now, this is definitely a very modern way of thinking. Modern, meaning in the last two centuries.

There are two main classes of property - animate property, and inanimate property. The rights of an individual regarding the disposition of their inanimate property are limitless. Since the property is the direct result of the exercise of an individuals free will over time in the pursuit of their interest, it follows that they can do whatever they wish with that property so long as they don't negatively impact another individual.

It is your last caveat which causes all the stickiness, isn't it?

Animate property, on the other hand, has basic rights by virtue of its existence as a living thing. To treat animate property inhumanely is to trample its basic rights as a living thing, and therefore is not moral. Ownership rights of animate property are predicated on the humane treatment of the property in question.

That leads to 2 sub tenets to tenet 3, namely:

3a) Rights to animate property are predicated upon humane treatment by an individual for the animate property
3b) It is the right of the individual to dispense with their inanimate
property as they see fit.


That makes the complete code as follows:

1) The individual is sacrosanct with respect to his person.

a) No person may compel the assistance of another without the other's consent
b) No person has the right to initiate an assault on the person of another for any reason

2) Interactions between individuals must be the result of the exercise of free will

a) Honesty is the cornerstone of free will interactions
b) No individual can be compelled into a transaction that goes against his interests
c) The proper exercise of free will includes providing voluntary assistance to those who require it.

3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has an inherent right to the property of another

a) Rights to live property are predicated upon humane treatment by an individual for the live property
b) It is the right of the individual to dispense with their inanimate property as they see fit.

These rules for morality provide an underpinning for society as well.

The unrestrained exercise of individual free will in the pursuit of satisfying individual needs offers the individual the opportunity to gain the most benefit from activities he undertakes. However, not all the needs of an individual can generally be met by exercise of his abilities alone, and so the individual bands together with others to form a society. Society is a voluntary agreement between individuals to place a focused number of restrictions on their complete freedom to attain the benefits offered by interacting with other individuals with different sets of physical skills. Society can only function within the context of the rights voluntarily ceded by the individuals making up the society at the
time of its formation. The rights of the individuals comprising society can not be further restricted by society except with the unanimous consent of the individual members. To do otherwise would be to violate the first and second tenet of morality. All laws and regulations passed by a society need to conform to the 3 tenets of morality to have any validity.

Well, 1)a, 2)b and 2)c, 3), and 3)b are vintage Rand. I am sure many would agree with them. I don't, at least not to the point of considering this profound insight. Limit the discussion to an interface between individuals, and I can agree. I hold that the tribe has some rights, which are required to be enforced if the tribe is to survive, which supersede those of the individual from time to time. Guess I am one of those wicked collectivists! Horrors!

cliff




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Author: Kazim Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20772 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:51 PM
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I mean, the Ten Commandments are retarded. "Worship only me", what kind of a moral code is that?

Mark Twain put this in slightly better perspective in "Letters to the Earth":

---

But wait - I am not fair; I am misrepresenting him; prejudice is beguiling me into saying what is not true. He did not say he wanted all of the adulations; he said nothing about not being willing to share them with his fellow gods; what he said was, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

It is a quite different thing, and puts him in a much better light - I confess it. There was an abundance of gods, the woods were full of them, as the saying is, and all he demanded was that he should be ranked as high as the others - not above any of them, but not below any of them. He was willing that they should fertilize earthly virgins, but not on any better terms than he could have for himself in his turn. He wanted to be held their equal. This he insisted upon, in the clearest language: he would have no other gods before him. They could march abreast with him, but none of them could head the procession, and he did not claim the right to head it himself.


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Author: MLong13 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20773 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:52 PM
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>The point is, IF any God exists at all, then it is plausible that an >absolute standard for morality exists as well

IF any god exists then it would have the POWER to dictate whatever moral code it wants to. If you didn't abide by it's moral code it would just blast you out of existance.

Mark

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Author: sonofed Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20774 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:52 PM
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To me, this is retarded. "Freedoms" can collide. Whose freedom bounds whose. If I say I have the freedom to take your widget, and you say you have the freedom to prevent me from taking your widget, whose freedom prevails if the majority of the world says the widget goes to the person who can take it and keep it -- first possession and/or 'lawful acquisition' means nothing. Might makes right?

From a practical perspective, we are all born with equal claims on continued existence. I do not believe you could identify a characteristic of an individual at birth that would make one more worthy of continued existence and one less worthy.

Since we all have equal claims to existence, it follows that there is no source naturally granting one individual moral authority over another without the other person's consent. As such, might does not make right. Might can certainly accomplish what you describe (taking the other guy's widet), but "can" and "ought" are two different things. Even if might could let one individual manage to wrest the widget from another, it would not be "Right" because the "mighty" one would be assuming for himself a supremacy over the other guy that does not fundamentally exist given the equivalency of each at the time of their birth.

In a nutshell, my freedom to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose. Just because I can probably knock you down with the punch doesn't give me the right to throw it in the first place.

Steve

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Author: mcr2 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20775 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:52 PM
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Mlong said:

Okay, even if I were to agree with this, whose God decides the unchanging moral standard? Is it the Christian God? The Muslim God? The Hindu Gods? The Norse Gods? The Greek Gods? Seems to me there are just as many religions out there for there to be one unchanging standard. And if you feel it is the Christian God that should set the unchanging standard please provide me with evidence that this God exists and supercedes all the other religions.


My reply:

Shouldn't this be the subject of another thread? I doubt you really want to hear what I believe is evidence?

mcr2


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Author: MLong13 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20776 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:55 PM
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>Shouldn't this be the subject of another thread? I doubt you really >want to hear what I believe is evidence?

>mcr2

Oh, I'd love to hear it but probably won't believe any of it.

Mark

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Author: dcarper Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20779 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 3:59 PM
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Yes. Alot of evil is also committed by those who deny any god. Who cares? It is a straw man argument on both sides.

I disagree. There is much wrong committed in the name of religion. There are organizations that use religion as an excuse to do evil. I know of no groups doing evil in the name of atheism.

Of course, I will admit that I am somewhat biased. So I don't see it as evil to take coerced prayer out of schools; I do see it as evil to kill girls on the way to school becuase they worship a different flavor of god.

David

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20780 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:02 PM
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I'm curious as to which Christian Scriptures were used to argue against slavery. I can point to several Christian Scriptures that support it.

Name one. Many, many Biblical writings seem to implicitly condone it by their conspicuous failure to condemn it, but that's hardly a valid argument that "Christian Scriptures...support it." It simply means that it was an accepted institution which no Biblical figure was equipped to oppose. Jesus himself attempted no political revolution of any kind. The physical state of any given human was clearly of far lesser importance than the spiritual state. Jesus frequently addressed the physical state to create a window of opportunity to address the spiritual, but i see no evidence that he desired to reverse any corrupt institutions. He sought to change hearts.

As to your first musing, i would answer by pointing you to those scriptures which exhort us all to love one another equally as ourselves, and which point out that we are all equal in the eyes of God. Slavery cannot coexist peacefully with such ideas.

My feeling is that "Christian Abolitionists" were abolitionist despite their Christianity.

I disagree vehemently, but how shall we prove our assertions on this matter?

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Author: dcarper Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20781 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:03 PM
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And if you study your history, slavery has been largely eradicated over the last 150 years by people who expressed their motivation based on Christian Scripture. More so than those who professed atheism.

Interesting thought. You might want to check out the recent issue of Scientific American, where they look at slavery. You might be surprised. Slavery is more rampant now than at any previous time in recent history. That's a far cry from 'largely eradicated'.

David

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Author: Kazim Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20782 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:05 PM
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I think he is. That doesn't mean he exercises this power. Sometimes, I think he sits back and let's humanity exercise their free will.

Sure, except that if they choose wrong then they get to be tortured forever.

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20783 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:07 PM
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IF any god exists then it would have the POWER to dictate whatever moral code it wants to. If you didn't abide by it's moral code it would just blast you out of existance.

You presume to know the mind of a hypothetical infinite being. Rather bold, and without basis, don't you think?

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Author: crh310 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20784 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:07 PM
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And if you study your history, slavery has been largely eradicated over the last 150 years by people who expressed their motivation based on Christian Scripture. More so than those who professed atheism.

I think if you look closely, you will see that many of the abolitionists were either Unitarians or Humanists. Those advocating slavery were Baptists and other xians.

Now, Unitarians are nominally christian, but many christians would disagree.

cliff

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Author: BONDJAMES007 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20785 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:07 PM
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Greetings,

I'm curious as to which Christian Scriptures were used to argue against slavery. I can point to several Christian Scriptures that support it.

Name one. Many, many Biblical writings seem to implicitly condone it by their conspicuous failure to condemn it, but that's hardly a valid argument
that "Christian Scriptures...support it."


For the curious:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl.htm

cheers,

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20788 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:19 PM
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For the curious:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl.htm

cheers,


I haven't thoroughly checked through the info in the linked page, but it has occurred to me that when i dispute the assertion that there exist "Christian scriptures" which "support" slavery, i am thinking only of the New Testament.

I should reiterate the fact that i view the Old Testament only as bearing witness to God's earliest intervention in humanity, with the Jews. I do not attempt to apply any of its commands to my life. I look primarily to Jesus's teachings when i want to know how to live on this earth, and further consider the rest of the New Testament for clarification, but everything takes a back seat to Jesus's teaching, IMO.

Regardless of whether anything in the OT supports slavery or not (i'm not sure off the top of my head), i would no sooner consider such teaching valid than i would consider halting all consumption of pork and letting my beard grow to full length. Much of what is contained in the OT is useful only to the extent that we are able to ponder the larger issues that might be elucidated by the specific writings.

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Author: BONDJAMES007 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20790 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:29 PM
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Greetings,


Source:http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl.htm

This is the bit that deals with the NT Christian Scriptures.


Neither Jesus nor St. Paul, nor any other Biblical figure is recorded as saying
anything in opposition to the institution of slavery. Slavery was very much a part
of life in Palestine and in the rest of the Roman Empire during New Testament
times.Quoting Rabbi M.J. Raphall, circa 1861, "Receiving slavery as one of the
conditions of society, the New Testament nowhere interferes with or contradicts
the slave code of Moses; it even preserves a letter [to Philemon] written by one
of the most eminent Christian teachers [St. Paul] to a slave owner on sending
back to him his runaway slave." 3

People in debt (and their children) were still being sold into slavery in New
Testament times:


Matthew 18:25: "But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded
him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and
payment to be made."


Priests still owned slaves:


Mark 14:66: "And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of
the maids of the high priest:"


One of the favorite passages of slave-owning Christians was St. Paul's infamous
instruction that slaves to obey their owners in the same way that they obey Christ:


Ephesians 6:5-9: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters
according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart,
as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of
Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service,
as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any
man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or
free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing
threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there
respect of persons with him."


Other passages instructing slaves and slave owners in proper behavior are:


Colossians 4:1: "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and
equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven."

1 Timothy 6:1-3 "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their
own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be
not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not
despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service,
because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These
things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to
wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the
doctrine which is according to godliness;"


In his defense, St. Paul incorrectly expected that Jesus would return in the very
near future. This might have demotivated him from speaking out against slavery or
other social evils in the Roman Empire. Also he regarded slaves as persons of worth
whom at least God considers of importance. St. Paul mentioned that both slaves
and free persons are sons of God, and thus all part of the body of Christ and
spiritually equal.


1 Corinthians 12:13: "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have
been all made to drink into one Spirit."

Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor
free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

Colossians 3:11: "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor
uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in
all."


St. Paul apparently saw no evil in the concept of one person owning another as a
piece of property. In his Letter to Philemon, he had every opportunity to discuss
the immorality of slave-owning, but declined to do so.

Deuteronomy 23:15-16, cited above, requires a Jew to protect a runaway slave,
and to not return him/her to their owner.. However, St. Paul violated the law.
While in prison, he met a runaway slave, Onesimus, the slave of a Christian. He
was presumably owned by Pheliemon. Rather than give the slave sanctuary, he
returned him to his owner. Paul seems to hint that he would like Pheliemon to
give Onesimus his freedom, but does not actually request it. See the Letter to
Philemon in the Christian Scriptures.



Passages from the Bible which Condemn Slavery

There are no passages in the Bible which plainly condemn or criticize the
institution of slavery. Nor are there are any verses which clearly denounce slave
owners.

However there are three passages which might be interpreted as bearing on
slavery:


Luke 4:18 describes Jesus as quoting a passage from Isaiah 61:1-2 which says
that "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to
preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty them that are bruised." The word captives is the most
common translation for the individuals who are to be delivered. It is used in
many English translations of the New Testament, including 21st Century KJV,
Amplified Bible, Inclusive Version, Jerusalem Bible, KJV, Lattimore, Living
Bible, Moffatt, NAB, NRSV, NSB, New World Translation, Rheims, RSV, TEV,
Tyndale, and Young's Literal translation. But the CEV, Ronald Knox Translation,
NIV, REV, and Schonfield's Authentic New Testament use the word
prisoners. And the NCV uses prisoners of sin. Finally, the Scholar's Version
uses the phrase: pardon to the prisoners. Many slaves started out as
captives. One might infer that Isaiah was referring to slaves in his writing,
not to actual captives or prisoners. But, as we say, it is a stretch.

1 Timothy 1:10 refers to groups of people that various translations describe
as "lawless, disobedient, unruly, unholy, profane, sinful, lawbreakers,
rebels, rebellious, unjust, or disobedient." One group are usually translated
as "kidnapers" or "men-stealers." But the New International Version and the
Revised Standard Version translates this as "slave traders." In the original
Greek, the word is "andrapodistes", which combines the words for man and
foot. It apparently means to put someone under one's foot - to control a
person completely. Most English Bible translations interpret this verse as
condemning kidnappers; the NIV and RSV condemn slave traders. A case could
be made for condemning persons who purchase a slave or who own a slave.
The passage is ambiguous.

Revelation 13:10 issues a curse: "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into
captivity..." It is unclear whether this refers to armies capturing the enemy,
or to individuals who capture people as slaves.



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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20791 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:36 PM
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Well, you didn't post any commentary, only the text from the link. So i'm not entirely sure where you stand. But i'll reiterate that none of the verses in the link "support" slavery, they merely accept it as an inevitable way of life. I see i significant distinction between the two.

"Well, since you're a slave, here's how you can live so as to best glorify God... etc. etc."

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Author: Hyacinthe Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20792 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 4:49 PM
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Unitarians are nominally christian, but many christians would disagree.

Unitarians come from a christian tradition, but the church as a whole does not consider itself that anymore (although some/many members do). I belong to a Unitarian-Universalist congregation, and I sure don't consider myself christian. At least, not in the Jesus-as-lord-I'm-saved sense. I'm probably stuck with the culturally indoctrinated christian traditions that I've picked up.

--Hyacinthe

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Author: mapletree3 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20793 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 5:00 PM
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I agree that in the past some have abused scripture. But if we are going to start mixing it up on hte issue of salvery and genocide, I ther probably more people that have engaged in those practices based on the mindset that there is no God. And if you study your history, slavery has been largely eradicated over the last 150 years by people who expressed their motivation based on Christian Scripture. More so than those who professed atheism.

"[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God...it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation...it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts." Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America

"There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral." Rev. Alexander Campbell

"The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example." Rev. R. Furman, D.D., Baptist, of South Carolina

"The hope of civilization itself hangs on the defeat of Negro suffrage." A statement by a prominent 19th-century southern Presbyterian pastor, cited by Rev. Jack Rogers, moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

"The doom of Ham has been branded on the form and features of his African descendants. The hand of fate has united his color and destiny. Man cannot separate what God hath joined." United States Senator James Henry Hammond.


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Author: JamesBrown Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20802 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 5:24 PM
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I'm curious as to which Christian Scriptures were used to argue against slavery. I can point to several Christian Scriptures that support it.

Name one.


Ex.21:2 "If thou buy an Hebrew servant...."
Ex.21:7 "If a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant...."
Ex.21:20-21 "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money."
Ex.22:3 "If he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft."
Lev.22:11 "If the priest buy any soul with his money...."
Lev.25:39 "And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee...."
Lev.25:44-46 "Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever."
Eph.6:5 "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ."
Col.3:22 "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God."
1 Tim.6:1 "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed."
Tit.2:9-10 "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
1 Pet.2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward."

Bon, you are correct that perhaps we are being too hard on the Bible. Perhaps the writers were constrained by the social mores and boundaries of the day, and that they attempted to work within the institutions that were firmly in place. Perhaps they felt: "We don't want to make any waves, now. Just be meek and humble and excellent servants, always obeying your masters, no matter how evilly they treat you. We are working on changing the system through legal channels and will get back to you when news warrants. In the meantime, keep your chin up!"

And yet, this portrait that has been painted by apologetic believers for so long does not mesh with other concepts.

First, the Bible is filled with individuals who bucked the system.
* Abraham fought with the local kings of Canaan.
* Moses confronted the Pharoah.
* Joshua, and later David and Solomon fought with the local kings of Canaan to establish Israel as a country.
* Daniel confronted the kings of Babylon.
* John the Baptist preached against Herod.
* Jesus stood firm against the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Roman regents.
* Paul argued the faith in Roman courts.

It does not follow that the heroes of the Bible are so willing to confront the rulers of the day, whereas the writers of the Bible merely wanted to address the conventions as is. After all, this is the Bible, right? The one, true source of God's voice. Surely, if God wanted slavery eliminated, He could have easily impressed upon the authors to take a stand, show some backbone, and write it down.

Second, the "we don't want to ruffle feathers" argument does not explain why the Israelites had to "accept the current institutions" when they were in the process of eliminating those same institutions. After conquering Canaan, there was the perfect opportunity to cast down the pillars of slavery, but they don't do so. Instead, they instituted their own versions of slavery. "Thank God we are no longer slaves to Pharaoh. Now we can get down to the business of being masters." At no time does a Biblical writer, whether surrounded by the enemies of his age, or writing from within the comfortable womb of political support, simply come out and say, "Thou shalt not put another man to slavery." Why is that?

Third, the "accepted institution" argument actually weakens the Bible's influence on current society. After all, if the Bible spells out lots of rules for an age that no longer exists, why must we pay so much attention to it today? Sure, we might be grateful for the ancient codes in building a firm foundation upon which we build our modern societies. But we didn't need the Bible to develop our current traffic laws. Perhaps we are just capable of dictating proper behavior ourselves in other areas as well.

The Biblical support of slavery has a long history. Noah, supposedly the only righteous man in all the world, condemned his grandson to slavery for his son's heinous act of innocently walking into his father's tent and finding Noah stone drunk and stark naked. The Bible does not condemn Noah's condemnation. Rather, it is reported neutrally. It is this action that many American Christians used to justify Negro slavery. I find it very easy to believe someone to simultaneously hold a support for slavery as well as "loving one another." After all, for those who are in power, it is easily asserted that all men are equal, but some are more equal than others.

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Author: sdedalus Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20803 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 5:30 PM
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6 (and co-writer):

Thank you for this interesting formulation of an objective moral system. I agree with you that it is possible to state objective moral principles in the absence of a divine being.

I recognize that you are arguing an essentially individualistic libertarian position. (That's libertarian-philosophy, not libertarian-politics). The analysis is good, but there are several points I would be interested in arguing with you, to wit:

2b) No individual can be compelled into a transaction that goes against their interests.

I am unclear as to whether this is intended to be a statement of fact or of moral principle. Do you mean "It is morally wrong to compel an individual into a transaction against their interests" or "It is not possible to compel an individual into a transaction against their interests"? The second seems to be false. The first I agree with.

3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has
an inherent right to the property of another.


A couple questions about this point. First, what about special cases where an individual's use of property causes harm to another individual or to the larger community? Second, what about limited communal seizure of property for the common good?

Very detailed formulation, though. Thanks for posting it.

sd


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Author: AOLFoolman Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20804 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 5:47 PM
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2b) No individual can be compelled into a transaction that goes against their interests.

I am unclear as to whether this is intended to be a statement of fact or of moral principle. Do you mean "It is morally wrong to compel an individual into a transaction against their interests" or "It is not possible to compel an individual into a transaction against their interests"? The second seems to be false. The first I agree with.



I've read only about 20% of the replies to this post, but I was wondering when someone was going to point out the fact that this is a very individualist/libertarian philosophy, going against much of the beliefs of liberalism.

Sd, I seriously doubt that sonofed and Lisa meant that it is in fact impossible for someone to be compelled into a transaction that goes against their interest. It happens everyday. Their message is mainly prescriptive, or what 'ought' to be.



3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has
an inherent right to the property of another.


A couple questions about this point. First, what about special cases where an individual's use of property causes harm to another individual or to the larger community? Second, what about limited communal seizure of property for the common good?


Sd, if anything, the overall and central message of their 'treatise' is that one cannot harm another, whether through outright force, confiscation of property or wealth, infringement of rights, or otherwise. Only through voluntary transaction can (may) one morally act. For example, I have a 'right' to pursue the purchase of an automobile. But it doesn't mean that once obtained, I have a right to run you over with it.




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Author: sdedalus Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20805 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 6:01 PM
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To be more precise, I should have said you can't define ethics or morals without an unchanging standard.

In the case of this argument "freedom" or "liberty" are that standard.

And, to me, without a supreme being, there can be no unchanging standard.

I have trouble wrapping my mind around some concepts relating to quantum physics, but that doesn't mean that those concepts are false. The fact that you can't seem to wrap your mind around the idea that liberty is an unchanging ideal upon which we can found an objective morality is not a particularly germane or substantive refutation of the argument. Try to find either a way to invalidate the argument (ie the conclusions do not follow from the given premises) or to show that one of the premises is false (ie not true based on objective fact, not personal opinion).

But if we are going to start mixing it up on hte issue of salvery and genocide, I ther probably more people that have engaged in those practices based on the mindset that there is no God.

Laughable, really. Can you name one atheist slaveholder? I can grab a history book and rattle off a bunch of people who wrote in defense of slavery from a religious perspective. And there is that troublesome passage in Exodus that says (paraphrased) "You may make slaves of neighboring peoples."

And if you study your history, slavery has been largely eradicated over the last 150 years by people who expressed their motivation based on Christian Scripture. More so than those who professed atheism.

That's because atheists, especially political atheists, know that professing atheism in this bigoted country is politically a long walk off a short pier.

sd

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Author: sdedalus Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20806 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 6:03 PM
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If I say I have the freedom to take your widget, and you say you have the freedom to prevent me from taking your widget, whose freedom prevails if the majority of the world says the widget goes to the person who can take it and keep it -- first possession and/or 'lawful acquisition' means nothing. Might makes right?

No, might does not make right. Might can give you the ability to seize something that is not yours or to silence or kill political enemies, but might does not make those actions morally right. It is still wrong.

sd


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Author: alchook Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20811 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 6:40 PM
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No person has an inherent right to the property of another...The rights of an individual regarding the disposition of their
inanimate property are limitless.


I'm lost in the mountains. I stumble across a cabin. No one is home. Do I have the right to break into the cabin to save my life? Can I eat the food that belongs to the owner?

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Author: alchook Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20812 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 6:42 PM
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However, what is meant by that is that if freedom is the ultimate good, whatever maximizes freedom is good and whatever reduces it is bad.

Why would freedom be the ultimate good? I would submit that freedom is a very modest good, and that we willingly subordinate our freedom for any number of things we hold to be much more important.

Most of us hold jobs that require us to sacrifice a great deal of freedom, and yet we do so willingly. We trade allegiance to a government for the security it provides. We become a tough con's girlfriend so we can shower in peace.

If a society were to be faced with the choice of submitting to a despot or face annihilation it would choose the former every time.

I would argue that the ultimate good is happiness.


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Author: mapletree3 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20815 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 6:50 PM
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Aha, but we must have freedom to acheive our happiness.

Why would freedom be the ultimate good? I would submit that freedom is a very modest good, and that we willingly subordinate our freedom for any number of things we hold to be much more important.

Most of us hold jobs that require us to sacrifice a great deal of freedom, and yet we do so willingly. We trade allegiance to a government for the security it provides.


Freedom of choice is the issue. Should someone voluntarily choose to immur himself in prison for 20 years because that would make him happy - that is an exercise of freedom.

From Webster's:

2 a : a political right b : FRANCHISE, PRIVILEGE
synonyms FREEDOM, LIBERTY, LICENSE mean the power or condition of acting without compulsion.

-mapletree

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Author: ogrecat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20816 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 6:54 PM
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I'm lost in the mountains. I stumble across a cabin. No one is home. Do I have the right to break into the cabin to save my life? Can I eat the food that belongs to the owner?

If you adhere to the rules of reciprocity and leave an equivalent value or at the very least an IOU that will be honored.

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Author: alchook Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20823 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 7:35 PM
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If you adhere to the rules of reciprocity and leave an equivalent value or at the very least an IOU that will be honored.

What if I can't?

Must I die?

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Author: ogrecat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20824 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 7:50 PM
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If you adhere to the rules of reciprocity and leave an equivalent value or at the very least an IOU that will be honored.

What if I can't?

Must I die?


The rules cannot always be enforced.

By paying back what you needed to survive, you assure that the means for your survival (or someone else's) will be available when needed.
If you take without giving the system ultimately breaks down; and you and others are the poorer for it.

I am a regular blood donor although I may never need a donation.

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Author: alchook Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 20825 of 445585
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 8:01 PM
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By paying back what you needed to survive, you assure that the means for your survival (or someone else's) will be available when needed.
If you take without giving the system ultimately breaks down; and you and others are the poorer for it.


But you aren't answering the question.

Am I wrong to take something that doesn't belong to me if my life depends on it?