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Passions in Poetry

In Harmís Way

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Huan Yi
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25 posted 03-03-2006 07:13 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


It seems so many of these discussions end with a Gordian Knot
created by participants who become focused on the words used;
all the while, when it becomes real, there being an underlying hope
or faith that some Alexander will cut through it all and do the right thing.


Brad
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26 posted 03-03-2006 07:33 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Otherwise the words are pretty much synonymous.


Sometimes they are used synonymously, sometimes they aren't. I think this is one of the times when they aren't.

quote:
As far as your example of having a drink ... I don't think that actions or urges would necessarily correspond to reason, based upon the categories of "internal" and "external".  The urge to drink is itself an internal desire.  One may disregard what people think, in order to make the right choice.  But one may also disregard what people think, in order to make the wrong choice. ... "I'm going to have another drink, I don't care what people think."


Yes, I agree. The difference between an urge and a truly moral choice isn't one between the external and the internal, but between the ephemeral and the eternal.

Reason is seen as eternal.

Thus, if a dog runs into the house and saves the guy (while John was watching us argue), it isn't a truly moral act. The dog acted on instinct, not on moral grounds.

quote:
My understand of Kant's use of "heteronomic" has to do with external authority ... such as moral teachers, religious institutions, God as orthodox Christian Theism holds, etc ...  Man becomes autonomous, in the sense that he must "by his own reason" make moral decisions.


That's partly it, but also bodily sensations and such are ephemeral.

quote:
Yet Kant crosses his own Phenomenal / Noumenal divide, when he speaks of reason being universal.  Maybe he escapes that charge when he says "as if" ... but then it begs the question, why "as if universal" , if it's only "as if"?


Well, I'm not sure. Reason, properly speaking, is not in the noumenal world. It's not a thing, it's a concept. Should we nevertheless treat it as a 'thing as it is'?

Should we see something as true and permanent even though it is, by definition, flawed and fleeting?

Huan Yi
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27 posted 03-03-2006 07:40 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi



"(while John was watching us argue)"

Oh Brad, think of me as dead,
having no more than the ability to witness,
(I spent a year in Okinawa, albeit there
they believe the dead have more influence
than the living).

John
Brad
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28 posted 03-03-2006 07:47 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
It seems so many of these discussions end with a Gordian Knot
created by participants who become focused on the words used;


Sure.

Do you have to go into a burning house to save someone?

No.

Should you?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Would you?

Only if it was someone important to me. If not, and my life was in obvious danger, I most likely would not try to save the person.

Why?

Priorities. I have other human beings who depend on me

John, you're questions aren't any fun unless they are Gordian knots.

quote:
all the while, when it becomes real, there being an underlying hope
or faith that some Alexander will cut through it all and do the right thing.


When it becomes real? Are you joking?

Do you honestly believe that this thread is going to change anyone's mind if the real thing happened?

Huan Yi
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29 posted 03-03-2006 08:08 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It seems so many of these discussions end with a Gordian Knot
created by participants who become focused on the words used;
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ďSure.

Do you have to go into a burning house to save someone?

No.

Should you?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Would you?

Only if it was someone important to me. If not, and my life was in obvious danger, I most likely would not try to save the person.

Why?

Priorities. I have other human beings who depend on meĒ

Brad I respect that, and itís perhaps because there is no one that depends on
me so much for their material well being that I saw, (and still perhaps, though unhappily, see) things differently.   I, a very long time ago, decided that the existence of a good
caring god was not a concern of mankind but rather whether one, whether
He existed or not, was deserved.   In that context the capacity for self-sacrifice
played an important role.  I grant that if the person in that burning house was an adult male
there might be reservations, but if that person was a woman, (damn me for being chauvinistic ), or a child, (almost by definition innocent of anything that deserves being
burned alive),  then it becomes a matter of what beliefs, (leap of ), faith in the
value of mankind one is willing to die for so as to protect that belief, faith, in
others after.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
all the while, when it becomes real, there being an underlying hope
or faith that some Alexander will cut through it all and do the right thing.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"When it becomes real? Are you joking?

Do you honestly believe that this thread is going to change anyone's mind if the real thing happened?"


I had the good or bad fortune to experience someone to whom such incidentals
did matter.  I was lucky; she lives.  I am more concerned with another like
her reading.

John

Stephanos
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30 posted 03-04-2006 12:56 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

John,

I think heroism, to some degree, must remain a necessary ingredient of our thinking.  If not, heroism in experience dies completely.  There's still a reason that hero stories, as art, move us emotionally and connect with a deep conviction within us all ... namely that, heroism represents moral excellence, if not moral obligation.  


And yes John, I believe that conviction (that makes our stories so salient) has much to do with the self-sacrificing of God in Christ.  Without it, we are bound to look out for number one, and confuse chivalry with chauvinism, and heroism with foolhardiness.  Though theory does very little to make heroism a present reality, at least believing that such excellence is real and not imagined, may allow it to peek in from time to time.  I'm just one to believe that contemplation influences actions.  


Stephen.
Ron
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31 posted 03-04-2006 11:29 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Stephen, I'm not sure heroism should be defined by a single event.

A murderer, whether in thought or deed, who saves another at risk to themselves, whether in thought or deed, isn't necessarily a hero in my eyes. At best, they're just a little schizophrenic. At worst, they are playing God, taking it upon themselves to decide who deserves to live and who deserves to die.

I, too, believe we need heroes, Stephen, but I'd like to hold them to a higher standard than that.


Stephanos
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32 posted 03-04-2006 10:22 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron,

I see your point.  But I feel that all heroism contains personal risk.  That's why it doesn't mix so well with egoism.  That seems to be the tension of this thread, despite the problems of extreme theoretical examples.


Perhaps it's easier if we move away from the extreme of pulling someone from a fire, to the parable of the good Samaritan.  What do you think Jesus was trying to say?


Stephen.    
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33 posted 03-05-2006 02:13 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I believe every human equally deserves life and the safety and saving of his or her life from danger.  But I also believe this must be in the most reasonable safety and protection of the lives of those involved in working to help save that person as well.  In other words, the people coming into the danger to help must have an advantage over it.

People have a moral obligation to risk their lives, but the risk must be under conditions that they have advantage over and ability to minimize the dangers of, with as little harm to anyone involved as possible.  

Safety and saving of life is not just due to the other person in danger, but it is also due to yourself and everyone else involved.  You deserve your life just as much as the person that deserves to be saved.  

Grinch
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34 posted 03-05-2006 08:14 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Stephanos,

quote:
Perhaps it's easier if we move away from the extreme of pulling someone from a fire, to the parable of the good Samaritan.  What do you think Jesus was trying to say?


He was trying to show that a member of a perceived lower social standard could have a higher moral integrity regardless of his religious or political beliefs.

He was also trying to prove that there is a universal moral law.

While I agree with the first premise the second seems a little harder to swallow - the supposed universal moral law for instance didnít stop the Samaritans from being exterminated to near-extinction by the Christians  Ė theyíve dwindled from several hundred thousand to less than 650. I guess the Christians believed that the only Good Samaritan was a dead Samaritan.


Stephanos
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35 posted 03-06-2006 02:02 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch,

Jesus wasn't trying to "prove" a universal moral law.  Those he spoke to were Jewish.  He took for granted that they believed in a universal law, and imaginatively appealed to that inner knowledge when he told the parable.


But seeing that you deny a universal morality, I want you to at least notice one thing about your arguments ...  Your moral censure of those who ill-treated the Samaritans, actually presupposes a universal moral law.  What you are saying only has it's effect, when others agree with your ethical complaint, and experience the indignation it invokes.  The thunder of your argument only resounds, if this cloud covers us all.              


If particular violations discredit the moral law in you eyes, I think you're misunderstanding the whole idea of morality.  It is, by nature, volitional.  For someone who truly understands the nature of the moral law, both transgression and compliance, confirm it.


Also, discrediting a math teacher, by pointing out the wrong answers of those who skip class and don't do their homework, doesn't really work.  I would think the antithesis between what Jesus actually taught, and the dispicable behavior of men (even men who claim to be Christian, or are Christian only by cultural heritage and not inward illumination), ought to validate what Jesus said.  Why?  Because you have to agree with his standard, in order to make your case.    


Stephen.
Martie
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36 posted 03-06-2006 06:09 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

Isn't there some middle ground?  Instead of running into the burning building, couldn't one feel an obligation or responsibility to do something...even if it's a bucket of water or a garden hose.  I would.
Huan Yi
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37 posted 03-06-2006 11:06 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


"even if it's a bucket of water or a garden hose."

At some point you know
a bucket of water won't do . . .
Then things and who and what you really are
become too real for denial.


Essorant,

In the Marine Corps, in war,
I knew I would never be left behind,
as I knew I would not leave someone else behind;
it's what mattered . . .

Grinch
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38 posted 03-07-2006 05:51 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Jesus wasn't trying to "prove" a universal moral law.  Those he spoke to were Jewish.  He took for granted that they believed in a universal law, and imaginatively appealed to that inner knowledge when he told the parable.


Are you 100% sure of that Stephanos? Iíll admit my comment was just an interpretation Ė I read the parable and took a stab in the dark at the most likely meaning. Without any solid evidence thatís all I could do, how did you come to your conclusion? What makes your stab in the dark any closer to the truth than mine?

quote:
Because you have to agree with his standard, in order to make your case.


Actually I donít and thatís my point, you see I donít expect everyone to be shocked outraged or shaken by the revelation because I donít think everyone shares a universal moral law. The very fact that people exhibit differing moral standards is evidence that a universal moral law doesnít exist, you may try to explain this by saying that the law exists but people are choosing to ignore it.

Numquam ponenda est pluritas sine necessitate

Why complicate things Ė isnít it more likely that people have differing moral standards because they donít share one universal standard?

Stephanos
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39 posted 03-07-2006 07:27 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
Are you 100% sure of that Stephanos? Iíll admit my comment was just an interpretation Ė I read the parable and took a stab in the dark at the most likely meaning. Without any solid evidence thatís all I could do, how did you come to your conclusion? What makes your stab in the dark any closer to the truth than mine?


I don't know what you mean exactly by "solid evidence", but considering the audience is an important part of interpreting what any teacher's aim is.  His listeners were primarily Jewish.  That tells us two things ... 1) They believed that God was concerned about human behavior, and set forth moral absolutes (remember the 10 Commandments)? and 2) They tended to view Samaritans contemptuously, because of a misinterpretation of their own privileges.  


These generalities are not "a shot in the dark", if you consider what we know historically.  The Jews were monolithically a religious people, therefore believing in absolutes.  Even the Sadducees (who represented the most theologically "liberal" of the Jews) believed in God, and the 10 commandments.  


That's why it can be said with a fair amount of certainty, that Jesus was not at all trying to "prove" a universal moral law.  He didn't have to.  Another clue, is the text itself.  Does Jesus speak as a man trying to convince skeptics of a moral absolute, or does he speak like a man who is appealing to assumptions about morality, already held in earnest, by those who were forgetting that their application was valid even toward those they don't particularly like?  An argument for universal right and wrong, would naturally contain some hint of metaphysics, or abstraction, or something like that ... But we see nothing like that in Jesus' words.  That much is the backdrop, the implicit assumption, upon which this parable is built.    


quote:
Actually I donít (agree with Jesus' standard) and thatís my point, you see I donít expect everyone to be shocked outraged or shaken by the revelation because I donít think everyone shares a universal moral law. The very fact that people exhibit differing moral standards is evidence that a universal moral law doesnít exist, you may try to explain this by saying that the law exists but people are choosing to ignore it.


My point was ... whether or not you believe in a universal moral law theoretically, you assumed Jesus' moral standard long enough to rebuke the behavior of certain "Christians", in order to state your argument.  Thus the very impetus of your argument, is the moral indignation that ill-treatment of others naturally produces.  In essence, presuming upon the Judeo-Christian view of morality, in order to refute it.  See what I mean?  Either ill-treating Samaritans really IS despicable behavior, or your point about those particular mean-spirited "Christians" doesn't penetrate.


quote:
Why complicate things Ė isnít it more likely that people have differing moral standards because they donít share one universal standard?


Overcomplicating things is indeed a troublesome habit.  But so is oversimplification, or, as in the case of relativistic morals, non-explanation offered as explanation.  The differences between moral codes of pretty much all cultures, have been far less profound than their similarities.  The Judeo-Christian view of morals, explains such differences by acknowledging humanity's sin and imperfection ... imagine a room full of artists, ranging from very unskilled to very good, all trying to copy a masterpiece.  Differences?  Sure.  Similarities?  Striking.


Also, the existence of guilt, is proof that people do act against their own common moral sensibility, and are not merely adopting an alternate standard of morality.


Stephen.
Grinch
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40 posted 03-08-2006 05:36 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
I don't know what you mean exactly by "solid evidence", but considering the audience is an important part of interpreting what any teacher's aim is.  His listeners were primarily Jewish.


I donít have any solid evidence that the origin of the parable was Jesus and that the audience was Jewish Ė and I suspect that you donít either. So all I have to work with is the parable itself, which isnít a problem because all versions of the parable maintain the same basic framework:

A A person in need of help
B A person (or persons) who dislikes A
C A person who is disliked by A & B

If you like you can use the original topic and re-write the parable to encompass the original question.

A Muslim is in a burning building and a Christian walks past without helping, a member of the Jewish faith does the same but an Atheist rushes into the building to help.

If there exists a universal moral law the Atheist made the right choice Ė if moral standards are non-standard and variable they all made the right choice according to their own standards. A variable standard would suggest that different people would make different choices; some good some bad, it would also suggest that other people would judge those choices by reference to their own standards.

Sound familiar?

quote:
My point was ... whether or not you believe in a universal moral law theoretically, you assumed Jesus' moral standard long enough to rebuke the behavior of certain "Christians", in order to state your argument.  Thus the very impetus of your argument, is the moral indignation that ill-treatment of others naturally produces.  In essence, presuming upon the Judeo-Christian view of morality, in order to refute it.  See what I mean?  Either ill-treating Samaritans really IS despicable behavior, or your point about those particular mean-spirited "Christians" doesn't penetrate.


I understand what you mean Ė I just donít accept that a universal moral law constructed by God is necessary to explain whatís happening. Some people are sympathetic to the idea that ill-treating Samaritans is despicable based on their own gauge of morality, thereís no need to reference Jesus, God or a universal imperative. Your seem to be saying that God has the copyright on moral standards, that any reference to morals is a reference to Godís standard and that no moral standard other than Gods can exist - I donít agree. A moral standard that is a construct of man, fashioned by interaction and necessity and used to determine choices by individuals is a more plausible theory. The fact that such a theory predicts variable outcomes when faced with moral choices and the fact that that prediction mirrors what we see in the real world adds weight to that plausibility.

quote:
imagine a room full of artists, ranging from very unskilled to very good, all trying to copy a masterpiece.  Differences?  Sure.  Similarities?  Striking.


My moneyís on the original artist being human, inventing a supernatural painter is unnecessary.

quote:
Also, the existence of guilt, is proof that people do act against their own common moral sensibility, and are not merely adopting an alternate standard of morality.


If that were the case how would you explain instances where individuals commit despicable acts and feel no guilt?

A variable standard would suggest that in some cases people are likely to commit the most depraved acts and feel no remorse or guilt at all.
Stephanos
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41 posted 03-08-2006 11:39 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
I donít have any solid evidence that the origin of the parable was Jesus and that the audience was Jewish Ė and I suspect that you donít either.


Funny, even the majority of non-Christian scholars attribute the parable to Jesus, and are assurred that the audience was Jewish.  The New Testament has more manuscript attestation than any other work of ancient literature.  Some things are so well established, that the burden of proof is probably yours, if you want to say that the original audience wasn't Jewish, and that someone other than Jesus spoke the parable.

So my original points stand.  Jesus wasn't trying to prove a universal morality.  That much was assumed by his hearers.


quote:
So all I have to work with is the parable itself, which isnít a problem because all versions of the parable maintain the same basic framework



It's not like the parable is free floating in space, without any grammatico-historical context.  You're conveniently forgetting the remainder of the Gospel from which the parable is taken, the remainder of the New Testament, and other concurrent literary works, such as Josephus, among others.  There is more than enough evidence to support the fact that the primary audience of "The good Samaritan" was a Jewish one AND that the parable was originally told by Jesus of Nazareth.


quote:
If there exists a universal moral law the Atheist made the right choice Ė if moral standards are non-standard and variable they all made the right choice according to their own standards. A variable standard would suggest that different people would make different choices; some good some bad, it would also suggest that other people would judge those choices by reference to their own standards.

Sound familiar?



Not sure what you're getting at here.  But I do notice that your "variable standard" would necessarily entail that the Levite who coldly and knowingly passed by a wounded man in need, also made the "right" choice.  Intriguing theory, only nobody really agrees with it.


quote:
Your seem to be saying that God has the copyright on moral standards, that any reference to morals is a reference to Godís standard and that no moral standard other than Gods can exist - I donít agree. A moral standard that is a construct of man, fashioned by interaction and necessity and used to determine choices by individuals is a more plausible theory. The fact that such a theory predicts variable outcomes when faced with moral choices and the fact that that prediction mirrors what we see in the real world adds weight to that plausibility.



Helping a man in true need is not a necessity of interaction.  Arbitrariness carries with it nothing imperitave.  If morality is merely a construct of man, then egoism wins the day.  In your framework, there's no reason why the Levite, or the uninterested passer-by should worry about rescuing anyone, if it slows down his progress.  You may say that others will therefore not rescue him, when the time comes.  So?  That's a gamble many may be willing to take.  The odds aren't so against them, seldom coming into such dire straits.  


Another strike against you, is the psychology of those who help others.  How often do people say, afterwards, "I felt like it would be the best thing for myself".  No they rather say things like "I knew it was the right thing to do".


Also, I have no idea what you mean by predictions mirroring "what we see in the real world".  How does the theory that morals are humanistically determined predict anything?  

      
quote:
My moneyís on the original artist being human, inventing a supernatural painter is unnecessary.


Exactly why do you feel the differences in moral standards are more significant than the similarities?  If everyone in a room paints something pretty much like the Mona Lisa ... would it really be irrational to think that they've seen it?  


You never did comment on C.S. Lewis' juxtaposition of the moral codes of ancient civilizations, in the Abolition of Man.  Did you think he was wrong, and why?  


You'll have to humor me here, and give me more than just your wager.  Because as you know, I already think that many who call themselves atheists, are literally betting there's no God, in spite of some of their own better moral insights.            


quote:
Stephen: Also, the existence of guilt, is proof that people do act against their own common moral sensibility, and are not merely adopting an alternate standard of morality.

Grinch: If that were the case how would you explain instances where individuals commit despicable acts and feel no guilt?


The question is, which is the predominate case?  If more do feel guilt than not, then the absence of it is the exception to the rule.  It is an abnormal state which leads them into moral error.  The Christian explanation is that sin and depravity can darken the intellect and conscience so much, in certain individuals, that they seem to have no conscience at all.  Again, the exception to the rule.  One broken clarinet doesn't stop the orchestra.


quote:
A variable standard would suggest that in some cases people are likely to commit the most depraved acts and feel no remorse or guilt at all.


The thing that belies your position, is that you really do feel that such acts are vile and not merely a "different moral standard".  You forget that we call people who don't have consciences "sociopaths".    


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (03-09-2006 12:24 AM).]

Grinch
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quote:
Funny, even the majority of non-Christian scholars attribute the parable to Jesus, and are assurred that the audience was Jewish.  The New Testament has more manuscript attestation than any other work of ancient literature.  Some things are so well established, that the burden of proof is probably yours, if you want to say that the original audience wasn't Jewish, and that someone other than Jesus spoke the parable.


The majority of non-Christian scholars? Iíd have said Ďsomeí and I believe that even those would admit that thereís no solid evidence either way.

Just because people propagate myths and legends in literature doesnít mean that theyíre all factually correct. The fact that the myths and legends are well established doesnít make them true. Take your claim about Josephus, he allegedly mentions Jesus once in the Testimonium Flavianum but even the authenticity of that is highly questionable the oldest copy dating from the 9th century and probably highly edited.

The New Testament could be a work of religious propaganda or fiction or a compilation of myth and hearsay Ė you can claim it as evidence of fact but that still doesnít make it true.

quote:
But I do notice that your "variable standard" would necessarily entail that the Levite who coldly and knowingly passed by a wounded man in need, also made the "right" choice.  Intriguing theory, only nobody really agrees with it.


Nobody really agrees with it?

What about the Levite?

quote:
Helping a man in true need is not a necessity of interaction.


Helping a man in true need is a consequence of social interaction and a necessity for interaction to survive.

quote:
Another strike against you, is the psychology of those who help others.  How often do people say, afterwards, "I felt like it would be the best thing for myself".  No they rather say things like "I knew it was the right thing to do".


A man runs into a burning building and saves a childís life, in a television interview he says, ďI knew it was the right thing to doĒ.

A man runs into a burning building to save a child, the fire department arrive and end up saving the man but the child dies, in a television interview he says ďI thought it was the right thing to doĒ

A man runs into a burning building to save a childís life, the man, the child and four firemen perish when the roof collapses. In a television interview a spokesman for the fire department says ď If the guy hadnít have gone into the building nobody would have been hurtĒ.

For every one of the people saying they knew it was the right thing to do thereís another saying ďI thought it was the right thing to doĒ when the consequences of their actions turn out less than well. Added to that there are a whole bunch of people who might just say, ď I didnít know it was the wrong thing to doĒ if theyíd actually lived to ruminate on their choice.

quote:
Also, I have no idea what you mean by predictions mirroring "what we see in the real world".  How does the theory that morals are humanistically determined predict anything?


Itís fairly simple Stephanos, if I theorise that alcohol increases the chance of violence I can predict that thereíll be an increased incidence of violence in and around bars. Of course my theory isnít proven if violence is increased in and around bars but it is evidence to support it. If I theorise that moral standards are variable I can predict that thereíll be a variation in the choices people make based upon those standards. As it happens there is evidence of such a variation, which is what I alluded to in my Ďmirrors the real worldí statement.

A universal standard on the other hand would suggest universally similar choices based on that standard, so why doesnít the real world reflect such a prediction? And if one standard exists what is the correct thing to do when faced with a child trapped in a burning buiding?

quote:
Exactly why do you feel the differences in moral standards are more significant than the similarities?


Because the differences suggest that moral standards differ.

quote:
If everyone in a room paints something pretty much like the Mona Lisa ... would it really be irrational to think that they've seen it?


Not at all, my objection is in the unnecessary presumption that God painted it.

quote:
You never did comment on C.S. Lewis' juxtaposition of the moral codes of ancient civilizations, in the Abolition of Man.  Did you think he was wrong, and why?


I canít recall you asking me to, start another thread with a summary of his ideas and Iíll be happy to oblige.

quote:
You'll have to humor me here, and give me more than just your wager.  Because as you know, I already think that many who call themselves atheists, are literally betting there's no God, in spite of some of their own better moral insights.


Whereas youíre betting that there is a God and he happens to be Christian.

1 God exists and heís Christian Ė you win
2 God exists and he isnít Christian Ė you lose
3 God doesnít exist Ė you lose

1 God exists and heís Christian Ė I lose
2 God exists and he isnít Christian Ė I lose
3 God doesnít exist Ė I win

In one sense the real gambler here is you, youíre betting your whole way of life that a God exists and that heís Christian, if you win you get the chance to be judged. Iím risking nothing and stand to gain nothing; youíre risking everything on a chance to get more.


quote:
The thing that belies your position, is that you really do feel that such acts are vile and not merely a "different moral standard".


I feel that such acts are vile when gauged against my own moral standard, which is obviously different to the moral standard of the person(s) that commit such acts. If he, she or they had the same moral standards as me they wouldnít commit the acts. Just because I see something as vile doesnít make it universally vile.
Stephanos
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43 posted 03-09-2006 03:52 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:  
quote:
The majority of non-Christian scholars? Iíd have said Ďsomeí and I believe that even those would admit that thereís no solid evidence either way.


Sorry, Grinch, but the belief that the man Jesus of Nazareth didn't exist is a fringe belief.  It is usually found among the kinds of scholars who give credence to conspiracy theories, and raving historical revisionists.  


And those who believe that Jesus existed, absolutely would not say "There's no solid evidence either way".  If you really think that there's no solid evidence, it shows me that you haven't really looked into the evidence.  BTW, Josephus is not the only non-Christian source that mentions Jesus as a historical person.  


Really, this tit for tat ... "IS"... "IS NOT" ... "IS SO" ... "IS NOT", isn't getting us anywhere.  If you are prepared to refute the established fact of the historicity of Jesus, then post a new thread entitled "Did Jesus exist"?  I am prepared to give you plenty of historical information to reckon with.  But as I said before, firmly established historicity, leaves the burden of proof upon anyone who would deny it.


quote:
Just because people propagate myths and legends in literature doesnít mean that theyíre all factually correct.


Actually, if you knew your stuff, you would be aware that most serious Biblical scholars do not deny the historicity of the person Jesus ... they only deny things in the text which hint at the miraculous.  They do so, of course, only because they hold a philosophy of history which tacitly disallows anything supernatural.  But you do need to be aware of this, because your proposal that there is nothing historical about the gospels is such a miniscule minority among scholarship, that you might want to reconsider.  Again, believing and unbelieving scholarship is on my side here.  


If you want to say that there's no certainty in historical scholarship, then fine.  That would be taking a stand in the shadows of historical agnosticism, in which case most of history will be doubtful to you, and off limits for any serious discussion.  But don't continue to lead others to believe that there is a serious segment of historians who deny the existence of Jesus ... unless you want to back it up with more than just "The Grinch says so".  


quote:
Nobody really agrees with it?  What about the Levite?


That's my point.  No one agrees that this is a morally upright approach to legitimate needs, except the person who does it ... and then, it's only when he does it, when the rationalization is holding sway.  Rationalization usually diverts the moral question, in exchange for thoughts about one's own immediate interests, rather than "establishing another moral code".


The Levite, was also a man of the priesthood in Judaism ... more accountable than most to a high moral standard.  Most likely he was acting against his good conscience.  Which, in the case of wrongdoing is true of most, including you and I.  


You erroneously assume that people are incapable of acting against their moral better judgement ... only doing what was "right" for them at the moment.  That doesn't match up with our psychology, including our regrets, and our whole approach to others when they wrong us.  When the puzzle piece doesn't fit the whole, maybe it doesn't belong.  It's a lot easier to discard the piece than to try and construct a whole new puzzle around it.    


quote:
Helping a man in true need is a consequence of social interaction and a necessity for interaction to survive.


How does passing up an unfortunate soul, make it harder for the Levite to survive?  It is not strictly necessary, that's why we call it morality, and not necessity.  There are many cruel people doing just fine, according to their own standards.  Do you deny it?


quote:
A man runs into a burning building to save a child, the fire department arrive and end up saving the man but the child dies, in a television interview he says ďI thought it was the right thing to doĒ



Do you really think that's a likely scenario?  Most people who attempt rescue, and are unsuccessful, have some regretful feelings to work through about their failure, for sure.  But regret about their attempt?  I doubt it.  And I'm quite sure that man who tried to save a baby in a fire, would have had much more remorse if he had never tried.  


"I knew I had to try", or "I'm sorry I couldn't save the child", are more likely musings from such a person, than "I thought it was the right thing to do".


quote:
If I theorise that moral standards are variable I can predict that thereíll be a variation in the choices people make based upon those standards. As it happens there is evidence of such a variation, which is what I alluded to in my Ďmirrors the real worldí statement.



Why would anyone have to predict the variation of choices people make?  That's an already known fact.  People make moral choices, immoral choices, and everything in between.  There again, this is not predictive but descriptive.  It's just stating the obvious.


What you lose when you make moral standards variable, is the ability to choose among them, and to say which are better.  Of course I know you have a strong opinion about which are better.  And though you would say it's all pragmatic and result oriented, I would still note that interpreting results involves a moral standard.  What makes your moral standard better?  It's only variable when you theorize here.  It is much more absolute when you tell us how you really feel.  


I read your reply in the Alley about how reprehensible the Roman Catholic response was to cases of Child Molestation by the priesthood.  So did you have a really valid point, or was that just YOUR moral standard?  Was the RC church merely operating upon their variation of morals (which case you lose all serious ability to protest), or were they violating even their own moral standards about justice and right action, as taught in the Bible as universally binding?  If the former is the case, then all is pretty much subjective.  If the latter is the case, then you may have a real and valid ground for moral protest.  If the former is the case, then tit for tat. There's a reason why your observations about child molestation resonates within us all ... because it is morally detestable, period.


quote:
A universal standard on the other hand would suggest universally similar choices based on that standard, so why doesnít the real world reflect such a prediction?



How many times do I have to repeat myself on this point?  A universal moral standard does not dictate moral choices, it only categorizes certain elements of them as moral or immoral.  A universal moral standard does not rule out immoral behavior.  Conscience is not to be confused with will.


Morality does not rob us of volition.  Therefore why do you keep insisting that deviant behavior proves it to be non-existent?


Your conclusion is only correct if you prove your premise ... which is, a universal moral standard would necessarily cause universal moral behavior.  But since morality, is by nature volitional, that can't be the case.


Such a premise would be more plausible, if we never acted against our conscience, or better moral judgment.  But the autobiographical data of millions and millions of people refute you on this point.  Guilt and regret are very real.


The universality of morals, gives rise to a universal belief in real right and wrong, guilty concience, feelings of vindication, and an awareness of justice.  And such IS reflected in the real world, transculturally, at every turn.


quote:
Because the differences suggest that moral standards differ.


Not really.  I just explained that.  We often act against our moral insights, therefore differences cannot be rightly used to refute the idea of universal morality.  The best of philosophers have admitted that humans are often scoundrels.  This is in line with the Judeo-Christian belief in original sin, and the fall.    


quote:
I canít recall you asking me to, start another thread with a summary of his ideas and Iíll be happy to oblige.


I'll let you read it yourself.  Read the entire book if you get a chance (the book is readable online here).  Whether you end up agreeing with him or not, Lewis will engage you.  And "The Abolition of Man" is one of his best.  The following link just gives you an appendix where he has illustrated the many similarities between moral codes of ancient cultures, showing that differences pale before the likenesses.    
  
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/lewis/abolition4.htm


quote:
God doesnít exist Ė I win


obliteration is your victory?  


I'm not the biggest fan of Pascal's wager, since it leaves to one side the certainty of faith and revelation, and the accountability and knowledge of even unbelievers.  But I think there's some truth, and validity lurking in it.  No matter which way you cut it, believers are no worse off than unbelievers, if they proved to be wrong.  But believers are infinitely better off than unbelievers, if they prove to be right.


Call it sophistry if you wish, but there's never been an "atheist's wager" that gets anyone in line at the casino.


quote:
I feel that such acts are vile when gauged against my own moral standard, which is obviously different to the moral standard of the person(s) that commit such acts. If he, she or they had the same moral standards as me they wouldnít commit the acts. Just because I see something as vile doesnít make it universally vile.



You did say "depraved" and "despicable" in your descriptions earlier.  I guess you need to alter your language to fit your real beliefs ... and say that the serial killer, or child rapist is doing something "opinionatively vile", or "preferentially depraved", to indicate that there is really nothing superior in your view, above the perpetrator's view.  I'll try and remind you of that next time you mount the ol' soap box.          


Stephen.
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44 posted 03-09-2006 04:44 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Sorry, Grinch, but the belief that the man Jesus of Nazareth didn't exist is a fringe belief.  It is usually found among the kinds of scholars who give credence to conspiracy theories, and raving historical revisionists.


How did you get from my statement that there is no solid evidence that Jesus used the parable of the Good Samaritan to the accusation that I posited the notion that Jesus never existed?

Twisting my words to try and paint me as a conspiracy theorist or raving historical revisionist is a neat trick, do you want to ask me when I last beat my wife or kicked a puppy while youíre at it?

Stephanos
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45 posted 03-09-2006 08:14 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:  
quote:
How did you get from my statement that there is no solid evidence that Jesus used the parable of the Good Samaritan to the accusation that I posited the notion that Jesus never existed?


I took for granted that if you did believe in the historicity of Jesus (based primarily upon the gospel narratives) that you would have no real reason to doubt that the parable of the good Samaritan was spoken to a Jewish audience, and that it was spoken originally by Jesus.  You did such a good job of convincing me of your historical agnosticism, that it wasn't clear to me whether you believed in the person of Jesus.  You did call it "myth", and I was taking you at your own words.  I hope you take no offense at my misunderstanding.  I'm glad you've cleared it up somewhat.  But you didn't leave me with much to go on, that might convince me you actually believe in at least some historical validity surrounding the Gospels.


quote:
Twisting my words to try and paint me as a conspiracy theorist or raving historical revisionist is a neat trick, do you want to ask me when I last beat my wife or kicked a puppy while youíre at it?


I was meaning to ask you; Have you pushed any old ladies down lately, while crossing the street?  (lol).  


Easy there ... I wasn't really trying to liken you with conspiracy theorists, or historical revisionists.  I was rather trying to spare you the scorn that is typically heaped upon them, for their second-rate scholarship.       


Stephen.
Huan Yi
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46 posted 03-10-2006 12:45 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


ďA Muslim is in a burning building and a Christian walks past without helping, a member of the Jewish faith does the same but an Atheist rushes into the building to help.Ē

Doesnít that then suggest the Atheistís concepts of the values human
and  humanity were less corrupted by qualifiers.


ďA man runs into a burning building to save a childís life, the man, the child and four firemen perish when the roof collapses. In a television interview a spokesman for the fire department says ď If the guy hadnít have gone into the building nobody would have been hurtĒ.Ē


The man runs in because there are no firemen around at the time; the firemen
arrive after and are killed trying to save not just the child but the man as well.
The man and the firemen are acting in response to a similar imperative that
is allowed to overcome their urge to self-preservation; it is not instinctual;
it is a conscious, (though perhaps decided previously), choice about what world they
want to personally live in evidenced by their own personal actions the motivations
for which only they can appreciate the depth and sincerity of.


Ringo
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47 posted 03-10-2006 12:27 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

quote:
The very fact that people exhibit differing moral standards is evidence that a universal moral law doesnít exist, you may try to explain this by saying that the law exists but people are choosing to ignore it


Yep, right again. There is a universal moral law, and as you have used the example of carious religious faiths (or lack) as an example, allow me to do the same:

Christianity: He said unto him ,What is written in the law?...Thou shalt... love thy neighbor as thyself.  Luke 10:26-27

Judism: ...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself Leviticus 19:18

Islam: Allah loves those who do good to others Koran 3.152

Confucianism: This is brough about by the concept of Jen (wren) which is a sense of dignity of human life- a feeling of humanity towards others and self-esteem towards yourself. A man will sacrifice himself to preserve Jen.

Taoism: Love the world as yourself; then you can care for all things Tao Te Ching Chapter 13

Buddhism: This is shown through the concept of Sila (virtue, conduct, morality) which has 2 principles: 1) All living things are equal  and  2) Do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you.

Bill And Ted: Be excellent to each other Great Adventure.

There is actually, I believe 1 more major theological dogma, however it has been too long since my comparative religion courses.

Anyhow, If you will look not too closely (or even more closely, if you wish), you will notice that there is a comon thread that runs through ALL of these differing views of morality and spirituality:

Treat the entirity of the world, and all of its inhabitants as if they were yourself, do to others what you would want them to do to you, etc.
By looking at the reality of this Universal Moral Law, then (getting back to the original question) it is incumbant upon every individual to rush into that burning building to save someone else... even if he does not know that person.
The reality of the situation is, though, that not everyone will. Of the 20 people found at a fire scene (non-rescue personnel), 2 will go diving into the flames, 1 will attempt to control the scene outside, 1 will panic, 3 will attempt to calm the other down, 1 will contact emergency services, and 12 will stand there watching. These are not just my numbers, they are the numbers of a study I was required to read as part of my fire training when I was in the Marine Corps (actually it was civilian training) as a fire fighter.




To be merciful to the cruel is to be cruel to the merciful.  www.impressionsintime.net
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