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Provisional Morality


jerryb
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"My mother groaned,my father wept,into the dangerous world I lept".

William Blake.

It truly is a 'dangerous world'...this world where we seek to know the difference between right and wrong. And the question arises...do we need God for that?

 

Jean Sulivan wrote..." For the god who fills human hunger,is at the same time the Unknown,the Stranger. Only his absence-presence allows a person to be oneself".

 

So...are we on our own in discerning right from wrong? What say you?

 

 

Jerryb

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jb

 

I believe that literally there is a little bit of God in each of us, and that we were/are made in His/Her image and likeness. With that in mind and to heart, when we enter new territory in interpersonal relations, we automatically use these gifts unconsciously to navigate our way through the interpersonal labyrinths of the world.

 

Of course deception exisits, so cumulative experience must increasingly inform our actions along the way. Trusting in God means everything in our making the appropriate choices.

 

flow.... :)

Edited by flowperson
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I need to go back and look, but CS Lewis answers this well in (I think) the first chapter of Mere Christianity. The idea, generally, is that since people (independent of religion) agree that some things are right and some wrong and often agree on specifics, there must be a source of those ideals. He, much more eloquently than I, argues this as a proof for God. I found it quite persuasive in my unsure days.

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The "we mostly agree on what is right and wrong" is very limited: adultry (?), murder, and incest.  Everything is culture.  The source, one could argue, is suvival, ie Evolution.

October, this logic is too quantitative; even if the prohibition of murder were the only cross-cultural moral standard in existence (which it isn't), it's still the most fundamental standard on which a society can be based. The fact that it is shared nearly universally is a strong argument against moral relativity.

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The "we mostly agree on what is right and wrong" is very limited: adultry (?), murder, and incest.  Everything is culture.  The source, one could argue, is suvival, ie Evolution.

October, this logic is too quantitative; even if the prohibition of murder were the only cross-cultural moral standard in existence (which it isn't), it's still the most fundamental standard on which a society can be based.

 

Too quantitative? That was not my argument. The point is that it is just as easily explained by evolutionary survival.

 

The fact that it is shared nearly universally is a strong argument against moral relativity.

 

 

No, it isn't. The only universal standards are those which I listed. I'm fairly certain I have not missed any. Anyone here take anthropology?

 

Not too long ago (historically speaking) it was immoral for a woman to show her wrists and ankles. Now the idea is laughable. OTOH, it still exists in some cultures (I'm thinking of my Muslim neighbor). The list goes on and on and on and on. When I was growing up going to the movies was a sin. Guess where I"m headed in about 15 minutes? To the movies. My parents even go to the movies now.

 

To take an evolutionary "moral" and suggests it points or proves that God exists is laughably similar to the tenants of Intelligent Design.

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Not too long ago (historically speaking) it was immoral for a woman to show her wrists and ankles.  Now the idea is laughable.

This is my point exactly. You can't compare murder to showing ankles in public, because one is a (nearly) universal principle of morality, while the other is simply a social norm. If you seriously think the prohibition of murder is nothing more than a mere social norm, then you really have gone off the postmodern deep end, and any further philosophical argument is going to be pointless. How do you argue with someone who believes that a homicidal rampage is on the same moral level with showing your ankles in public?

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Not too long ago (historically speaking) it was immoral for a woman to show her wrists and ankles.  Now the idea is laughable.

This is my point exactly. You can't compare murder to showing ankles in public, because one is a (nearly) universal principle of morality, while the other is simply a social norm. If you seriously think the prohibition of murder is nothing more than a mere social norm, then you really have gone off the postmodern deep end, and any further philosophical argument is going to be pointless. How do you argue with someone who believes that a homicidal rampage is on the same moral level with showing your ankles in public?

 

 

And this is related to what I wrote how exactly?

Edited by October's Autumn
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Well there are mores (showing ankles, etc.) and there are morals (murder, etc.). I think incest has had a more mixed cultural background. It is usually considered wrong, but there are cultures that practice it (think deep south for a moment). I'm not sure I believe it always wrong (ok sisters and brothers, yes) but I mean other types of blood relatives like cousins. OTOH, it doesn't seem to be very good from a survival point of view (genetic disease).

 

--des

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Well there are mores (showing ankles, etc.) and there are morals (murder, etc.). I think incest has had a more mixed cultural background. It is usually considered wrong, but there are cultures that practice it (think deep south for a moment). I'm not sure I believe it always  wrong (ok sisters and brothers, yes) but I mean other types of blood relatives like cousins. OTOH, it doesn't seem to be very good from a survival point of view (genetic disease).

 

--des

 

 

Johann Sebastian Bach married his 2nd cousin (Maria Barbara).

 

His second wife ( Anna Magdelena ) was 19 years his junior.

 

 

He was 36 and she was 19.

 

 

MOW

Edited by MOW
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  • 2 weeks later...
Well there are mores (showing ankles, etc.) and there are morals (murder, etc.). I think incest has had a more mixed cultural background. It is usually considered wrong, but there are cultures that practice it (think deep south for a moment). I'm not sure I believe it always  wrong (ok sisters and brothers, yes) but I mean other types of blood relatives like cousins. OTOH, it doesn't seem to be very good from a survival point of view (genetic disease).

 

--des

 

 

Incest meaning brother/sister parent/child is wrong in all cultures. (thank you anthropology 101) Cousins marrying is not incest. My great Aunt married her 1st cousin (they chose not to have children).

 

And I think that from the perspective of those who believed that showing ankles in public you'd get a different view point. They would consider it just as bad as incest or murder. We only see it as quantatively different because we can look back and laugh at the idea (I say as I sit in my sleeveless shirt with wrists, ankles, elbows and shoulders visible!)

 

My point still stands. Cross-cultural morals does not prove an existence of God.

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Some people do describe incest as blood relative. Mind you I don't think marrying cousins is wrong, but I think that some people might. There is the issue of genetic disease. It might not be for the best at all times.

 

 

--des

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