Statesboro, GA, USA
No, I haven't read Lewis' lessons on the Tao, though I am familiar with the Tao te Ching and have been doing a form of taoist meditation, the microcosmic orbit, for about twenty years. Perhaps you might off me a reference or a description to help put me on track?
Lewis’ use of the word “Tao” refers to the concept that there is a ‘rightness’ in nature, which was a part of Taoist thought. I thought you would have caught the link I put in my post earlier. Here it is again
Illustrations of The Tao
The alley is often infuriating, of course, but there seems a fair amount of difficulty with definitions there as well, in case you hadn't noticed.
Of course I’ve noticed Bob. But my point, again, wasn’t that homogeneity of opinion is true, but that you all tend to agree on a general definition of something, or else you couldn't even disagree about particulars. There's not even a precise definition of government either, and yet the discussion proceeds. (Well yeah, I guess since its the alley, we should attempt to define 'proceed' ... lol)
There you have it in the alley, Stephen, a definition problem with how to solve the budget problem. ... How does this fit with your moral arguments that such a significant portion of the population is actually trying to throw the rest of the population under the bus? This isn't simply a few outriders? These are folks who try to present themselves as the most moral of the most moral of people.
But if they rationalize their actions in moral language, what does this illustrate more than what I’ve already said? ... namely that people all share a remarkably similar set of moral principles. What is in question with politicians, is not their moral assumptions, but their actual moral behavior (of those who are dishonest) or the outcome of their actions (of those who are honestly mistaken about the implications of their programs). The proof of common moral ground is in the fact that politicians make moral appeals to things already agreed upon. It is an example of the use, and/or abuse of a common morality, for personal ends. Remember Bob, you’re the one who equates morality with power, which means that though your framework should explain both the “good” and “bad” examples, it really only explains the bad. My view, recognizing morality as something more than an arbitrary human construct, explains both good and bad examples.
In other words, this view can accommodate the shady Republican (or Democrat), but can yours accommodate the altruist, or the one who is primarily thinking of the good of others? If so, you haven’t explained it.
These folks argue that they are moral, even as they try to eliminate health care for millions of the least empowered women in the country. Do you agree with them? Does that make you moral or not moral? What is the definition that you use.
Whether I agree or not, is irrelevant to this thread, and would only launch it into politics. But I do want to remind you that party disagreements such as this center around disputing proposed outcomes of their respective plans, not disputing the moral good of beneficence, which both claim. Of course either group may be wrong, or dishonest, or have a mixture of motives. But that they both appeal to the common moral principle of beneficence, is evidence of a shared awareness of transcendent moral law.
I have one set of definitions around abortion, for example, and you have another. Are you telling me that both of us, each of us feeling that we are acting with some moral justification, are correct and are operating from the same moral principles?
No, I’m not telling you that both of us are correct and are operating from the same moral principles. But I am telling you that we are operating from the same moral principles. Again, in the abortion debate, both sides appeal to beneficence, and claim that human life is worthy of protection. They disagree about when human life begins.
All of this has a caveat. Great moral evil may be done, even while assuming (or claiming) the same morality. There is the possibility of simply being wrong about the question of when human life begins, with good motives. I don’t think anyone would argue that the Nazi regime would have been altogether wrong if their science really did prove that Jews were not human beings at all. But there is also the possibility of self deception, and other distorting motives. And I think most feel sure that something like this was happening with the leaders of the Third Reich, who made appeals to faulty science rather that to construct a "new morality".
These disagreements haven't left town because it's convenient for your proof of God this time to say they've left town, Stephen. And I'm not being a spoilsport because I actually remember them and think they need to be accounted for in the context of this discussion.
Indeed they haven’t left town. But I do think I’ve accounted for them. Moral disagreement and confusion do fit within the framework I’ve presented. And what I’m saying is in no way a reductionistic attempt to tidy up all moral questions like this. I concede that other disciplines must be brought to bear on issues of applied ethics. My claim though, is that the universal similarity of moral appeal among people is evidence of a God given, transcendent law, that we sinful human beings both cling to, invariably appeal to, and chaff against. It is a signpost, certainly not a destination. To think of it as a destination, or a means to tie up all issues, would be to confuse theology with moralism.
And that, Stephen, is why I am asking you to define what you're talking about. Because if we're talking about the same basic thing, you ought to be able to do exactly that, and you shouldn't need to attempt to bully me into agreement with you.
I’m sorry Bob, but I just love to bully you. I’ll never accuse you of bullying me, as you’ve done me. But I will point out, for your own consideration, that an obscurantist method can be just as unyielding (even dogmatic) as a pedantic one. It’s at least as easy for you to say “You haven’t explained enough” when someone has explained a good deal, as it is for someone to say “I have explained” when they actually haven’t at all. So it’s better to drop any stones that are likely to hit both our houses.
For what it's worth, the closest thing I've ever found to a decent discussion of morality is Lawrence Kohlberg's work on Moral Development, which is a stage theory. It's not simple, but it does account for some of the things we've been talking about. It's been a while, but some of the people at Harvard divinity school did some work with the theory of moral development and developed a theory of faith development that's extremely interesting as well, and might be helpful to you in some of your personal searching. Or it might not. I know that you do enjoy thought with your faith, and this stuff certainly has it.
Thanks Bob, I’ll take a look when I can. After Brad’s video at some point? Why can’t I get paid for doing this?? lol.