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Passions in Poetry

Society and Religion

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Phaedrus
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since 01-26-2002
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25 posted 04-11-2002 02:41 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus

Brad

I believe tying morality to society directly doesnít really work, society doesnít own nor have any morality, above and beyond that surrogated from the individual members of society. Society doesnít make moral decisions (the law makes judgements based on morality but thatís not the same, and I believe why Ron is so insistent on a separation of the two), society doesnít change moral standards Ė it reflects the changes in individual morality when those changes become the majority consensus.

Lets take a look at specific:

Bear baiting was once adjudged to be a morally reasonable pastime, at a point when the number of individuals in society who judged it morally incorrect outweighed those that thought it otherwise society changed itís moral standard. Society changed the law shortly afterwards.

The majority is the key issue here, society judges majorities in different ways and rarely based on numbers. Take communism for instance, the idea seems sound but all examples of it so far have had a fundamental flaw with regard to morality Ė a minority has dictated the morality of the majority. It sounds a lot like an oxymoron but what communism has so far lacked is a bit of democracy.

Maybe at some point a perfect societal  structure will develop Ė a cummunacy perhaps?


[This message has been edited by Phaedrus (04-11-2002 05:22 PM).]

Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


26 posted 04-13-2002 05:11 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Yeah, but the individual's morality comes from those individuals who are around him. We call these individuals society.

The relationship between one individual and any given society is often portrayed as oppositional but it's symbiotic. You can't have one without the other.

The problem with communism or any system that privileges the 'society' is that they never, of course, privilege society. They privilege, as you say, a minority. In order to sustain both the rhetoric and the power, that minority must inevitably go outside this relationship -- the afterlife in a theocracy, the future utopia in communism.

And since these outsides are always untestable (they have to be untestable, they wouldn't work otherwise), they can rationalize anything.

Why not focus on that relationship rather than going outside?

Now, we do that anyway (we have to, don't we?) but we might be able to makes things a little better if we kept our eyes a little more down to earth.

Brad
Phaedrus
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27 posted 04-13-2002 10:38 AM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


quote:
Yeah, but the individual's morality comes from those individuals who are around him. We call these individuals society.

The relationship between one individual and any given society is often portrayed as oppositional but it's symbiotic. You can't have one without the other.


I can see that society without morality may be impossible but is the opposite correct? Iím not sure it is - but itís worth thinking about.

Off the cuff I have a one minor reservation:

It infers that the individual, outside of society, would be amoral.

Does that mean that morality is the rule by which we measure others or our interaction with others but not the rule by which we measure ourselves?
Local Rebel
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28 posted 04-13-2002 04:01 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Haven't the time for an in-depth read of this thread (apologies all around) but have scanned and would ask this:

This thread seems to have taken a rather myopic turn toward the Judeo-Christian tradition of religion and tended not to explore the question from the vantage point of, say, an ancient society such as Greece, Rome, Persia, etc.

What happens to the topic if Zoraostrianism, Greeek Mythology, or even Buddhism are substituted in the 'religion' field?
Phaedrus
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since 01-26-2002
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29 posted 04-13-2002 04:36 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Hello LR

Good question, however:

We were steered away from religion and itís role in morality and towards the more general nature of morality Ė individuals - and societal interaction (I believe barking and trees were mentioned )

The consensus seemed to be that the thread could be mired in the question of the source of morality and theological debate instead of how morality effects society and vice versa.

My personal feeling is that the source has an effect, and not always a good one, on how people and societies interact. As I said earlier I'm happy to waffle on with or without the religion, but this isnít my thread.

Brad?
Local Rebel
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30 posted 04-13-2002 04:52 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Not even going to get into the question of conventions within the context of the thread itself but the whole notion of 'morality' here seems presented from the J/C viewpoint.

Many point to societies that have expired and would say they did so becase of a lack of morality (and I liked Ron's definition -- could also say morality is respect for other people's rights which I would prefer since I can respect someone's rights without loving them and isn't that more paramount?  respecting freedom of speech with which we disagree? -- for example)

Many have said our society has prospered because of our superior morals (even though the European society that fathered us was rooted in the same.)

The Muslim society once dominated the globe during one the most successful runs on the planet -- did it fall because it turned away from it's own morals or because it's morals were inferior?

Same question for Rome, Greece, China, etc.

The thread topic seems to me to be -- does religion (read paradigm of morality) make society work (or fail?)

Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


31 posted 04-13-2002 11:59 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

It certainly doesn't have to be Christianity. Earlier Ron brought up Legalism but we do have an example of that (so the textbooks say) in the Chinese Chin (Qin) dynasty. It didn't last very long (because of the philosophy so the textbooks say) but it did unite China and set the stage for the much more successful Han dynasty. The Han dynasty lasted because of the Great Synthesis -- a fusion of legalism, Taoism, and, you guessed it, Confucianism.

Oh yeah, among other things, The Chin started building the Great Wall.

But they also burnt books, Confucian books.

 
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