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On The General State of Things

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Local Rebel
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50 posted 08-09-2003 11:45 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I liked Toad the best.

Your identity crisis does inject another dimension to 'acceptable' conduct in society though -- and that is -- who you are seems to make a big difference as to what is or is not acceptable behavior.
Legion
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51 posted 08-09-2003 01:21 PM       View Profile for Legion   Email Legion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Legion


LR,

Toad couldnít write to save his life and was too argumentative.  

quote:
who you are seems to make a big difference as to what is or is not acceptable behavior.


Thatís absolutely true, any group given time will eventually evolve a hierarchy, the larger and more established the societal group the more complex the hierarchy. Along with complexity comes another interesting change, the judgement of suitability or acceptability swings from trust or position allotted by proof of action to trust allotted by type or label. Thatís why we assign more trust to a doctor above the family butcher and trust politicians about as far as we can throw them with one arm.

I think itís due to expected actions, Slim Shady is expected to be foul mouthed and abusive the Pope isnít. There seems to be a tolerance allotted to unsocial behaviour which can link allowable behaviour in the subjects to their expected behaviour -  Shady can bandy about as many expletives  as he likes, the Pope however probably wouldnít survive beyond the first [insert preferred profanity here]. This doesnít always happen though.

When a doctor or a priest does something that flies in the face acceptability there seems to be a reference to expected behaviour above actual behaviour, though this can manifest itself in a strange way. Instead of producing a higher level of outrage as would be expected, the subject can be afforded preferentially thanks to the security blanket afforded by previously allotted expectation.

The a priori picture of a priest carries with it a pre-defined element of trust which is hard to shake even when faced with incontrovertible evidence of wrong doing Ė we just canít believe a priest could do something so out of character. Regardless of the fact that we may not even know the character of the individual involved, the trust afforded in such a cases is trust by type or label.

Hierarchies are unavoidable, all men may be created equal but that equality is eroded or augmented from day one. These forums arenít immune from this inequality rather than colour of skin social standing or sexual persuasion here it falls into neat categories of membership status, number of posts, length of membership and popularity. Interestingly one big difference here as opposed to society in general is that ability isnít a factor. If youíre a senior member itís more likely youíll be listened to and less likely that youíll be banned, actually thatís probably unfair youíd be equally likely to be banned but more effort would be made to avoid it.

I should add that this isnít a criticism of these forums, the same thing happens everywhere and is a fairly natural human trait, to be honest my observation is that it isnít as pronounced here as everywhere else. Undoubtedly a consequence of the hard work put in by Ron and the Moderators but it still does exist.

[This message has been edited by Legion (08-09-2003 01:35 PM).]

Local Rebel
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52 posted 08-09-2003 01:45 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I believe that a personal attack was made by the more junior Legion on the more senior Toad -- this is unacceptable beheavior on these boards!!  

Nothing wrong with being argumentative.  I wish everyone was -- as opposed to being quarellsome.  An argument being a conclusion based on a premise.

Toad was smart.  Piffy even.  

You are correct to point out the nature of relational currency that a person brings to a community.  This virtual one being no exception.  

I don't think the 'status' of senior member necessarily dictates that currency -- it merely has allowed enough time for a person to have accumulated any or not.  Some only accumulate ill will the more they post.
Legion
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53 posted 08-09-2003 02:19 PM       View Profile for Legion   Email Legion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Legion


quote:
I don't think the 'status' of senior member necessarily dictates that currency -- it merely has allowed enough time for a person to have accumulated any or not. Some only accumulate ill will the more they post.


Youíre probably right LR, I suppose I should add that to my reasons for changing names - it acts as an ill will purgative.

I also have to agree that Toad was full of piffle.
Local Rebel
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54 posted 08-09-2003 08:35 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Did I say piffy?  

Bad brain, bad!

I meant pithy, pithy

(more than one way to purge ill will!)

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (08-09-2003 09:03 PM).]

Stephanos
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55 posted 08-09-2003 09:15 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Stephen : "But some still dare believe there is an external universe that exists independently of us. Likewise many believe that there is a moral standard in the universe that we are all accountable to."


Ron: "Would you agree to a federal law making it a criminal offence to even try to invent a perpetual motion machine? Should we be forced, through either coercion or social pressure, to live our lives according to the scientific beliefs of others? Is their "absolute certainty" necessarily enough to make them right?"


My analogy was based on one similarity between ethics and physical science, namely that they are far bigger than we can conceptualize.  Because of our limitations there is a lot of nebulosity in certain areas of both.  But one similarity that does not exist with physics and ethics is the ability to comply or not by sheer will.  If someone could build a perpetual motion machine, then they would not have transgressed physical law ... on the contrary they would have discovered a new vista, and it would be in the scientific journals before you could bat an eye.  There are many who believe there are universals in the moral structure of the universe which do not change with culture or time ... regardless of what applications or new moral insight we yet lack.  And those who transgress these lines are no more discovering new moral laws, than those who obey them are becoming morally stagnant and stunted.  So when there is a moral precept which can, unlike physics, be disobeyed by an act of will, then yes coercion and social pressure is sometimes appropriate.  

No, not always forced, and certainly not be me... Many have tried this method with poor results.  I believe ultimately that God is the primary enforcer.  But there have always been moral teachers, and prophets, and those who warn of retribution and the ill results that come through immoral practices.  To answer your question ... yes, even with science this is so!  It would be a foolish Doctor who did not strongly try to dissuade his Cardiac patients from eating high sodium diets, or not try to didactically influence his diabetic patients not to eat brownies three times a day.  


Stephen.


        


[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-09-2003 09:52 PM).]

Ron
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quote:
So when there is a moral precept which can, unlike physics, be disobeyed by an act of will, then yes coercion and social pressure is sometimes appropriate.

First, Stephen, the differences you perceive between absolute physical laws and absolute morality only exist because of where you stand in that Universe.

"Jump off a building and gravity will pull you towards the Earth." This can be empirically proven.

"Kill a man and you will ultimately be punished." Not so easily proven. But if you believe in absolute morality, it must be JUST as unbreakable.

Still, the apparent differences between absolute physical laws and absolute moral laws only serve to strengthen my earlier point. We can't claim 100 percent certainty about science, and that makes it highly inappropriate (and stupid!) to dictate the course of scientific inquiry. In the absence of harm to another, science needs the freedom to make choices. Needless to say, as a collective, we are far less certain about morality than we are about science.

The problem I have with absolute morality in practice is that no one can define its dimensions. It's a pretty big bucket and people have a tendency to throw anything into it they want. Do we all agree that killing a human being is wrong? Not really. So how in the world are we all going to agree on the dietary restrictions of pork or what two consenting adults can or can't do in the bedroom? I'm perfectly willing to accept the concept of universal morality. I even feel I know what should be put in the bucket. But I won't force others to live their lives according to my insights because, if I do, two or ten years down the road, I know I will in turn be forced to live my life according to someone else's insights. Persuasion is good. Teaching is even better. Coercion is, again, inappropriate and stupid!

In the absence of harm to another, humanity needs the freedom to make choices.
Stephanos
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57 posted 08-10-2003 06:09 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

""Kill a man and you will ultimately be punished." Not so easily proven. But if you believe in absolute morality, it must be JUST as unbreakable."


Why must it be just as unbreakable?  I don't agree at all.  Moral laws are unique in that we can choose to transgress.  In fact the whole concept of morality hinges upon the very ability to break it.  If we couldn't choose to cross these principles, then no one could ever have in the History of Earth been called "immoral".  And we know deep inside, that many have been and are in fact now, immoral.  Unbreakable morals is a contradiction of terms.  


". Persuasion is good. Teaching is even better. Coercion is, again, inappropriate and stupid! . . .In the absence of harm to another, humanity needs the freedom to make choices."



Well Ron, I still think "victimless crime" is basically a myth.  Pornography and sexual perversion do hurt societies and others since it tends to spread.  Adultery always causes unthinkable pain.  And apart from this, if I am reckoning rightly, a whole host of immoral actions directly harm others.  Murder is typically against the law in society, as is rape, vandalism, child pornography, etc.. etc... Do you think that coercion is inappropriate and stupid in these instances?  I bet you don't.  I'll bet you are glad that there are temporal laws which adequately reflect God's moral law in the universe.  I bet you are also glad that the State exists to enforce these laws.


I've heard you say before that laws are never based upon morals.  I don't agree.  I will concede however that there is great degree of pragmatic consideration mixed in with making laws.  But this is primarily because immorality always has negative consequences.  So laws exist to keep society at the functioning level from day to day, week to week, month to month.  Without these society would break down.  Just consider what happens in America when local law has to go without enforcement such as in the case of a natural disaster.  The Looting and pillaging begin.  People start carrying firearms around.  Here the law is still very appropriate.  Many things should be coerced by the powers that be.  This is God's design, that law should reflect justice.  Romans 13 tells us that in this general sense "all authority is of God".

But there are other areas that law cannot penetrate into.  Officials can't sneak into everyone's bedroom and basement with no evidence of wrongdoing.  Nor should they be able to.  Nor should the national law deal with every possible immoral act.  Laws would be too many to number.  But that's where moral teachers and preachers fit in.  This is where persuasion and teaching are apt.  Because while societies may function a long long time with these "lesser" immoralities unadressed, they will catch up sooner or later.  Adultery, fornication, perversion, greed, illegitimate use of drugs, all nibble away at the undergirding of societies.  The prophets have always warned about such things.  "Repent, or such and such will happen to your nation."  It hasn't changed.  For example, America is only a little over two hundred years old.  Yet the pride, love of money, inordinate materialism and perverted sex, etc... are going to contribute to our demise if we don't turn around.  Maybe law should or should not be used in some of these areas, but we do need teaching and persuasion.  And we especially need the type which reminds us that there is a moral Judge of the universe above humanity.  Even if we disagree between debatable points, the agreement that morality is not completely arbitrary at least gets people to examine closer their own lives and consciences.  That's all.  I'm with you in that I'm not wanting Big Brother breathing down my back.  But I still think we could use a little John the Baptizer around.  


As to the assertion that our morality is simply a byproduct of evolution ... there are considerable problems with that idea, I'll get to later.


Stephen
  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-10-2003 06:16 PM).]

Local Rebel
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58 posted 08-10-2003 07:02 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

You may want to do some extra work in these areas Stephan.  

On one hand you want to present an 'inborn' morality.  While this might make a pretty good case for naturalism I have to wonder if there are little bird prophets that have to go around telling the other birds to fly south for winter.  You've created a contradiction that you'll have to expound on or be trapped in.

Another consideration is what passes for morality today vs. what was moral in the time of those Old Testament prophets is somewhat different.  Take the area of sex and marriage just for starters.  In the time of Jesus it was unnaceptable for a woman to hug a man other than her husband.  Today, it's obviously different.  However -- if a man wanted to hug a lot of women -- he could marry them all.

It would seem the absolute laws of morality keep shifting.
Ron
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59 posted 08-10-2003 09:37 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Stephen, I don't think you have ever made a post where I found quite so much with which to disagree. I'm not even sure where to begin?

quote:
Why must it be just as unbreakable? I don't agree at all. Moral laws are unique in that we can choose to transgress.

You can choose to fly off a three-story building, too. And you will face the consequences. Surely, you're not saying that morality is simply something God suggested we should do? If there are no consequences to an act, in this life or the next, then there is nothing immoral in the act.

quote:
Pornography and sexual perversion do hurt societies and others since it tends to spread.
Uh? A lot of things tend to spread, from Christmas cheer to athletic enthusiasm, but that hardly defines them as hurtful. Before you can prove that pornography is harmful, you first have to tell us what it is (that's rhetoric, btw). For many, going into public without a veil is pornographic and will surely bring about the destruction of society.

quote:
Adultery always causes unthinkable pain.

I think you're attributing the wrong cause to the effect. You might as well say that marriage causes the unthinkable pain, since it too precedes the effect. A husband and wife who have been separated for four or five years are unlikely to be hurt by adultery. Those who don't care can't be hurt. Look more closely and I think you would agree that betrayal, whether as adultery or some other form, causes unthinkable pain.

quote:
Murder is typically against the law in society, as is rape, vandalism, child pornography, etc.. etc... Do you think that coercion is inappropriate and stupid in these instances? I bet you don't. I'll bet you are glad that there are temporal laws which adequately reflect God's moral law in the universe. I bet you are also glad that the State exists to enforce these laws.

I don't consider any of those laws to be a reflection of morality. Those are examples of the government doing the ONLY thing the government should ever do: Protect its citizens from harm at the hands of others.

Look at it strictly from a pragmatic viewpoint, Stephen. If you want to legislate your morality, you have to let us legislate everyone's morality. I have a few Amish neighbors who are likely going to upset your apple cart big time.

Or you can look at it strictly from a Christian viewpoint. Should a man keep the Sabbath because God said so? Or because we'll throw his butt in jail if he doesn't? God apparently wanted us to have free will and make our own choices. You really want to tell Him He was wrong?
Essorant
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60 posted 08-11-2003 04:35 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


If a God were to take a thing's life before your eyes would you deem that moral or immoral?  I believe that would be  most perversely immoral for what does an immortal all knowing and having God need to be given to take something's life for?   It seems all utterly contrary to divinity,  contrary to humanity and is only agreeable to nature in its rawest, crudest, basest humour.  Killing is for meat not for morals.  And no knowledge, law nor moral end whatsoever may justify it--because no living thing doesn't deserve its life.  What does a sentence to death do?  It omits punishment and correction and aquits the misdoer of consequents.  A man needs to confront his conciense, and learn to govern himself and morally wherefore.  If the Government outside forces in too much than man lacks government of himself, amd if it forces to little he lacks government the same again.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-11-2003 04:41 AM).]

Ron
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quote:
Killing is for meat not for morals.

Oh. So, uh, it's okay to kill your neighbor as long as you eat him? Never quite looked at it that way before, I guess.
Essorant
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62 posted 08-11-2003 12:00 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

No, That is contrary to humanity and nature---if there is no survival need.    

Whatever any man is he deserves his life.


  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-11-2003 12:01 PM).]

Essorant
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63 posted 08-11-2003 12:12 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I probably shouldn't try to adress anything when I am really mixed up lately.  I look at some of my own comments and think you all must think I'm totally out of my wits.  You are probably right...anyone want to come with me... I need a vacation and fresh air.. .

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-11-2003 12:13 PM).]

Stephanos
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64 posted 08-11-2003 01:24 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

LR: "On one hand you want to present an 'inborn' morality.††While this might make a pretty good case for naturalism I have to wonder if there are little bird prophets that have to go around telling the other birds to fly south for winter.††You've created a contradiction that you'll have to expound on or be trapped in."


I see no contradiction here, because I believe humans and animals to be vastly different.  The fact that animals have instincts that cannot be contravened, while humanity has a moral sense which can be transgressed, only tells me that we have a much higher capacity ... for good or evil.  Giants can stand the tallest, yet fall the hardest.  


It's a whole different kind of sense which is inbred.  There's no law which says universals must function in one direction.  Morality is an example of a universal sense ... I didn't say that all men are moral, but that they have a moral capacity.  Which means they can disobey their own moral insights.    


Let me also ask you ... Why do we feel abhorrence and moral indignation when "immoral" deeds are done to ourselves or those we love, if such actions are merely aberrations from instinct which couldn't be helped?  Why do we feel such anger at times, and that based upon deep seated thoughts that they, as well as we, know these actions are wrong?  Wouldn't these be irrational thoughts, if immorality were merely a natural glitch?  Why do we feel so keenly that there can be actions which were done from evil intent?  Yet "evil intent" is meaningless if our immorality is a just a genetic bug in the computer.  
  



Ron: "You can choose to fly off a three-story building, too. And you will face the consequences. Surely, you're not saying that morality is simply something God suggested we should do? If there are no consequences to an act, in this life or the next, then there is nothing immoral in the act."


No, I'm not saying that morality is simply something God suggested we should do, but neither is it something forced upon us by sheer power.  Immorality does have consequences.  But how interesting it is, that many of it's consequences lack the immediate obviousness that something like disobeying gravity would have.  Some practices DO have consequences only in the life to come.  But that lack of obvious unprofitableness doesn't make them any more moral than the ones which instantly show ill-results.  Some crops take longer to come in.  I think it had to be that way, because the moral question far transcends the question of our personal gain.  If morality were so obviously profitable and immorality so obviously futile, then it would perhaps fool us into thinking moral questions were all about how we fared in the matter.  I think I remember that Satan asked God of Job "Does he fear you for nothing?  Only because you've hedged him with your blessing".  This lack of obviousness which you bring up doesn't show that certain things aren't immoral, but rather confirms the need for moral teachers and preachers in society.  It's too easy to be decieved when God "rains on the just and the unjust", and things are apparantly prospering right along with immorality in place.  We're not the only ones who have ever marvelled at this discrepancy.  But there is a purpose in it.  


"There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth:  Righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve."   (Ecclesiastes 8:14)

& through a poetic caricature ...

"... I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  
They have no struggles;  
their bodies are healthy and strong.  
They are free from the burdens common to man.  
They are not plauged by human ills ...

This is what the wicked are like-
always carefree, they increase in wealth.  
Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure.  
In vain have I washed my hands in innocence ...

When I tried to understand all this,
it was oppressive to me,
till I entered the sanctuary of God
then I understood their final destiny ...
" (exerpts from Psalm 73)

  

"Uh? A lot of things tend to spread, from Christmas cheer to athletic enthusiasm, but that hardly defines them as hurtful. Before you can prove that pornography is harmful, you first have to tell us what it is"


pornography n. Written, graphic, or other forms of communication intended to excite lascivious feelings.  [from Greek pornographos, writing about prostitutes:  porne- harlot prostitute.

Obscuring things Ron, does not take away the truth that there is a common understanding of what this is.  I'm not saying that all nudity is pornographic.  Intent is implied.  I have no doubt everyone in this forum knew exactly what I meant when I said "pornography".  Would you agree?





" A husband and wife who have been separated for four or five years are unlikely to be hurt by adultery. Those who don't care can't be hurt. Look more closely and I think you would agree that betrayal, whether as adultery or some other form, causes unthinkable pain. "


You can't use the immorality of a broader concept to disprove the immorality of a narrower one that falls under the same category.  So adultery is a form a betrayal which also comes from deeper betrayal.  I am in total agreement with you here.  But what does that prove?  That adultery is okay?  I also disagree that those who don't care can't be hurt.  Because "not caring" is usually a facade anyway.  "Not caring for" is not the same thing as "not caring".  I come from a family with much divorce in our history ... I've seen the weight of care.    
  



"I don't consider any of those laws to be a reflection of morality. Those are examples of the government doing the ONLY thing the government should ever do: Protect its citizens from harm at the hands of others."


Ron, I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree here.  But the evidence is overwhelming to me that laws have always (in addition to pragmatism) had a measure of morality involved.  Study the history of laws and moral codes of all the ancient civilizations up till now.  You will find them rife with references to things like "Justice" and "equity" and "rightness".  Your point of view involves a tacit assumption that the makers of laws are not using their moral sense in legislating.  I find that just as incredible to believe, as to believe that you are able to go a week without using your moral sense in making decisions at home.  Of course there are laws and governments who make immoral and amoral laws.  But lawmakers can disregard morals as easily as individuals can.  I'm not saying that ALL law involves moral questions.  But you have little ground to say that NO law involves them.  It's at least highly likely that there are laws against people being harmed because everyone knows the pain in being unjustly harmed.  You are also at odds with the testimonies of many lawmakers themselves who have explicitly stated they strove to create just laws for the masses.


And Ron, my point in this thread is not to say "let's legislate my morality".  I don't want to be the King, not even for a day.   You keep saying that I must mean that.  But it's a bit of a slur.  I don't realistically think that all morality will be legislated, or even that it should be.  I agree that would be absurd.  I also agree that we would never agree on what laws are right (heck we don't now!) ... for the best of us see "through a glass darkly".  Our sense of morality does not perfectly reflect that which comes from Heaven.  But still, law always has and always will have it's moral aspect.  God also gave the Ten Commandments as Laws.  Likewise, are you going to tell him that he was wrong there?  There must be a balance between Freedom and Law.  I'm not touting the next theocracy.  We're always coming from opposite ends Ron in these philosophical discussions, but I'm not so sure that we don't agree more than we think.  We're just a bit wary of each other's extremities aren't we?


From a Christian standpoint, since you brought it up ... Can we bring people to the truth that they are "not under the Law" without having affirmed that without Christ they are indeed under it?  God's good news is that the "handwriting of ordinances that was against us" has been taken away.  But to tell people there is no handwriting of ordinances written by the finger of God within their very consciences which they are absolutely accountable to, is to incite rebellion, not repentance.  Remember that the law was supposed to be a "schoolmaster to bring us to Christ."  But those who never had grade-school can't graduate highschool can they?


Many are under the statutes of God which say "Do it or else" ... just to let them discover through earnestly trying that they can't do it anyway.  Those humbled and crying out to God for mercy usually see him come in and change their hearts in ways they never could ... then they love him and actions flow no longer from sheer legality.  But this never can happen until they see that God is requiring something of them, that they never can give.  Until we see this spiritual / moral dilemma we will hardly seek him for the answer.

And this has much more to do with preaching / teaching than it does with the laws of the land.  
      


Stephen.

  


    


[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-11-2003 02:24 PM).]

Stephanos
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65 posted 08-11-2003 01:54 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

"Whatever any man is he deserves his life."

Then why do we die?


Stephen.
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why do we die?


We die because life ends --it is not forever, so we deserve all its during howso long that may be or short.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-11-2003 02:36 PM).]

Ron
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67 posted 08-11-2003 02:59 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron



Stephen, my points about pornography and adultery were to show that you CANNOT conclusively demonstrate harm to be the result of immorality. Your passages from Ecclesiastes and Psalms agree with me, as they must if we are to accept faith as the only tenet of obedience.

I wish I could claim that the laws of our land were not tainted by morality, but I can't and I wasn't. My point, rather, was that they shouldn't be reflections of a morality upon which few can ever agree. The state should concern itself only with the affairs of man. My morality is, and must be, an issue between me and God.

quote:
Why do we feel abhorrence and moral indignation when "immoral" deeds are done to ourselves or those we love, if such actions are merely aberrations from instinct which couldn't be helped? Why do we feel such anger at times, and that based upon deep seated thoughts that they, as well as we, know these actions are wrong? Wouldn't these be irrational thoughts, if immorality were merely a natural glitch? Why do we feel so keenly that there can be actions which were done from evil intent? Yet "evil intent" is meaningless if our immorality is a just a genetic bug in the computer.

Why? Mostly, I guess, because we don't seem to know any better.

Our job is to stop people from hurting people so we can all live together. It's not our job to judge the morality of others or to assign evil intent. Attempts to do so only lead to Inquisitions, witch hunts, and about half the wars in history. The anger and indignation you cite ARE irrational, and probably a lot closer to "evil" than most of the deeds that lead to them.
Stephanos
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68 posted 08-11-2003 03:06 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

"We die because life ends"

"Life ending" is only a description of death ... just another way of saying "death".  The essence of your statement is "We die because we die" which is a non-answer.


My point in asking was ... if you think we deserve to live ... then why is death part of the picture?  If there is a God, then he is either unjust for causing or allowing death, or we somehow are deserving of death.  It's a deeper philosophical consideration that I am hinting at.  Maybe you just meant that for men to kill men is wrong.


Stephen.
Stephanos
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69 posted 08-11-2003 03:17 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron: "The anger and indignation you cite ARE irrational, and probably a lot closer to "evil" than most of the deeds that lead to them."


So the anger of a mother whose six year old girl got raped by an 18 year old man down the street is more evil than the rape?  Not acceptable.

You misrepresent a Biblical account of anger.  "Be angry.  And sin not."  is more the acceptable pattern.  Anger based upon a transgression of justice is not condemned, it is the murderous thoughts and actions that flow from it if it is not properly dealt that is called evil.  There is a such thing as "righteous indignation" which we all experience, even yourself.  If you say not, then you are lying.  If I hacked in PiP and destroyed it, you would be angry at me, and rightly so.  Don't worry I barely know how to empty my delete folder.  


Stephen.  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-11-2003 03:18 PM).]

Ron
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70 posted 08-11-2003 03:43 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

You're right, Stephen, the anger itself is not evil, just as love is not good. But we can promote good by advocating love and, if you eliminate the anger, you can eliminate much of the evil it causes. Jesus could afford righteous indignation. Jesus could, does, and will judge a man's moral intent. I can do neither, and judging from history, not many others can either.


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71 posted 08-11-2003 03:58 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Morals are the footprints of wisdom: if we want them to be distinct we must walk in them.   But the more we loose us to stray from them the more we walk into doubt and even stray when we don't mean to...and likewise I believe will laws.  Laws mustn't try to force morals but they should reflect them and influence with them, shouldn't they?
To me pornography is immoral because it plays upon a natural desire and twists this to a shameles and extreme addiction that keeps on getting yet more extreme.  These extremities are basically casual on the internet now.  And the maincourse of the internet, every sexual "fetish" seems to have a thousand sites. Is this what the internet was devised for?  What does this say about us-our tolerance?  Are we prepared to tolerate everything?? I don't think this doesn't show in real life - there are "streaks" of pornography in advertising, in the way people dress, behave, speak.  I can't get over it how excessive and explicit sexuality is today.
Lechery has never been as thickly foul and widespread in culture as it is in this one.  There used to actually be necessary form of erotic sensuality, perhaps could be called moral, and thats why there used to be a law to, that pornography needed to yet have a certain sensual aspect, an form of eroticness but this has been for the most part discarded.   Pornography is prostitution and lechery broadcast in media and we are accepting that in our society perversely.   Do you like how society is responding?  When People want freedom that goes beyond  morals and want the laws to make up for insecurity, I don't want to come out of my house.  I want to be ablle to trust that people have the substance and government in themselves that they expect to be in the law because the substance of that and much more is in the laws of the breast.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-11-2003 04:20 PM).]

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72 posted 08-11-2003 04:15 PM       View Profile for Legion   Email Legion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Legion

While reading this thread I keep returning to a question I asked earlier.

Who defines morality?

Itís easy to believe that everyone has an absolute set of in-built morals, that some people know that going topless, committing adultery and reading or viewing pornography is immoral but that they do it anyway. I don't buy it, by one persons moral standards they are immoral, by there own moral standards they arenít doing anything wrong. In fact according to themselves they are right, that isnít to say that they can do as they please, society might judge that theyíre most definitely wrong and if it does then theyíll soon know about it - and thatís really my whole point.

I believe morality is a second person measure, people just do what they think is best for them. The moral judgement comes later, from others who use their measure of morality to assess possible immoral behaviour.

Claiming that an individual has somehow knowingly transgressed against morality is only correct in the sense that itís someone elseís measure of morality that theyíve failed to measure up to. You might say the morality theyíve failed to measure up to is that of God, I, naturally, believe that the morality belongs to the people around them.

To answer my own question I believe that individuals define their own morality and that morality is changing, evolving to suit the situation guided by a natural selection of the morals that most fit the circumstances.


[This message has been edited by Legion (08-11-2003 05:41 PM).]

Essorant
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73 posted 08-11-2003 04:51 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"To answer my own question I believe that individuals define their own morality and that morality is changing evolving to suit the situation guided by a natural selection of the morals that most fit the circumstances."

I agree, I think  
Morality has been around for a long time.  And a long time has impressed it in many different ways...and we can judge how good these are by the goodness of their operations to situations. Perhaps morality may be called  the "success" of choice. But I don't think morality is a "cloud" that any individual may form as he pleases because of his own present situations...moralties must look at
other peoples situations, the past and the future.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-11-2003 04:53 PM).]

Ron
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74 posted 08-11-2003 05:53 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
The moral judgement comes later, from others who use their measure of morality to assess possible immoral behaviour.

Almost, Legion, but I don't think you're quite there.

For that statement to have real meaning, you first have to define who the others are. Do you agree that women are property and should always shield their faces? Do you think life and worship should revolve around simplicity and children should only be schooled to about the sixth grade? Do you believe that anyone older than you deserves your respect and obedience? There are many, many "others" out there, each with often very differing views of morality. How much influcene, though, do they have on you and I? Even if we move closer to home, how much do you really care whether your neighbor thinks you're a lecher or not?

I believe the only people who can define our sense of morality are those we want to please. I wrote a short story once about a man who was physically incapable of love. The wires just weren't there to make the connections. Turns out, he wasn't a very nice man.
 
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