Morality

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Nils
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Re: Morality

#286

Post by Nils » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:27 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:Animals do NOT show a high sense of morality or any morality, they are not self-aware in a rational sense, in that way.
They may demonstrate what WE PERCEIVE as morals but the only way an act is moral is if the thing doing the act KNOWS that it is good.
One would have to prove conscious intent to do good on the part of the animal.
How would you do that?
First we have to define what we mean by morality. The Oxford dictionary for instance writes "Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour." and "A particular system of values and principles of conduct." To animals it's "principles of conducts" or rather "instincts of conduct" i.e. how an animal should act. To have instincts it is not necessary to have consciousness. I don't agree to your view that "the only way an act is moral is if the thing doing the act KNOWS that it is good". It may be necessary for "a high sense of morality" but I wouldn't say that animal has that.
With humans, it's different.
Nils

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Re: Morality

#287

Post by Nils » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:52 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:There have been many attempts to demonstrate the morals can evolve naturally, Sam Harris wrote a book on his theory on the matter.
Issue is that there is no evidence to support that theory and far too many questions without answers.
I haven't read Sam Harris' book, what's the name? There is plenty of evidence that animals have moral instincts. This instinct was certainly inherited to humanoids and humans. As I say repeatedly: Groups are good, Groups require morality/code of conduct. I don't see or have heard about any big problems with that view.
All cultures have there morals from a religious base that pre-dates the society of said culture.
As the evidence from the Gobekli tepe temple demonstrates religion pre-dates civilization.
It may be true. Niclas Wade writes in his book The Faith Instinct that religion was a way to motivate persons to have a high morality, to willingly sacrifice themselves on behalf of the common best. This occurred in pre civilisations.
Nils

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Re: Morality

#288

Post by Nicki » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:27 am

Glad my thread has sparked a robust discussion! I listened to a message at church this morning on the subject of kindness. The pastor said that in times BC kindness was not generally a very popular thing - he quoted Plato as advocating letting elderly people who couldn't work die instead of helping them. He also pointed to a Bible passage in Acts where the Apostle Paul as a prisoner was involved in a shipwreck; when all those on the ship made it to land (Malta) the people there helped them make a fire to warm up - Paul described this as 'unusually kind'. Kind because the people helped them to a degree rather than killing them or otherwise treating them unpleasantly.

The pastor mentioned that through the 200-plus years of persecution of the early church, the church kept steadily growing decade after decade; he thought that people kept being drawn to the church by the Christians' kindness compared to the conduct of the Romans and other cultures at the time.

So basically in other cultures there would have been moral codes and people would have been good to others as long as it worked for them, but when it came to being kind to the most vulnerable people who couldn't contribute to society, or to strangers, that was not necessarily the case.

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Re: Morality

#289

Post by Nessa » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:47 pm

Nils wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:There have been many attempts to demonstrate the morals can evolve naturally, Sam Harris wrote a book on his theory on the matter.
Issue is that there is no evidence to support that theory and far too many questions without answers.
I haven't read Sam Harris' book, what's the name? There is plenty of evidence that animals have moral instincts. This instinct was certainly inherited to humanoids and humans. As I say repeatedly: Groups are good, Groups require morality/code of conduct. I don't see or have heard about any big problems with that view.
All cultures have there morals from a religious base that pre-dates the society of said culture.
As the evidence from the Gobekli tepe temple demonstrates religion pre-dates civilization.
It may be true. Niclas Wade writes in his book The Faith Instinct that religion was a way to motivate persons to have a high morality, to willingly sacrifice themselves on behalf of the common best. This occurred in pre civilisations.
Nils
moral landscape..... sam harris book

Nils
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Re: Morality

#290

Post by Nils » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:37 am

Philip wrote:
Nils: You say that morality is God based.
No, not ALL morality is God-based. But much of it is born of religion-based influences - whether Christian ones or not. But not all - some merely see peaceful and fair interactions with their fellow man to be preferable to the opposite.
Nils: My question is why was there so little improvement of societies during the Middle Ages when Christianity (in western societies) had an almost complete monopoly.
Where you see unmerited violence and aggression ANYWHERE, you'll find people who are not following the behaviors God desires, that you find in the Bible - and that is a different thing entirely from people who merely call themselves Christians or are members of some church. There are those merely following religion, and those who are truly trying to live out their Christianity per the New Testament's directives, in their commitment to Christ.
You didn't comment my statement. Very little happened during the Middle Ages in improving the societies until the start of the scientific revolution and the enlightenment in the eighteenth century.
Nils: In my country the abolishment of capital punishment, the humanisation of the punishment system, the criminalisation of violence against children etc were not at all driven from the church.
And what country might that be? Capital punishment can be and should be, but often isn't, justly carried out. The principals of loving one's fellow man and how we are to treat them are long preceded by your country's good steps forward. But to think that your country developed its thoughts on humane treatment in isolation from the influences of other Western nations - whose democracies flowed from Christian roots, is naive.
Of course there were general influences of Christianity and the old Greeks for instance. But that doesn't mean that these influences were crucial. If they were, why did they happen right now?
Influences from neighbouring countries were certainly important.
Nils: The second question is if belief in Christianity is a better guard against violence and misconduct. You indicate that you think so but I doubt it looking at the history.
You'll never see Christians who take serious the teachings of Christ, and who OBEY them, engaged in a significant percentage of unwarranted violence and atrocities. Again, you will find, across history, many doing such things, who nonetheless merely call themselves Christians, but are not committed to Christ and His teachings - HUGE difference.
"You never see ... a significant percentage", indeed a weak statement. And again you define away those Christians that do "unwarranted violence and atrocities" as not being committed Christians .
I don't think that Christians generally have a higher or lower morality than non Christians but to come to a conclusive statement extensive physiological investigation are needed. I don't know if there are any, so I will leave the question open.
Nils: I only argue that secular morality is a viable and coherent philosophical system. I have seen some persons here denying that (you also?).
No, I don't doubt that secular people can be kind and concerned about their fellow man. But in many such societies, they are often immensely influenced by the residuals of Christian beliefs in their practices - whether or not they acknowledge or are even aware of these influences or not. NONE of what I am saying means Christians always act more moral than those of no faith or of religious belief. But it IS to say you'll often find far more concern for their fellow man amongst people who are influenced by personal beliefs that their morality came from above them, per some spiritual authority. And yet, that can work in another way, in which religions can influence horrible actions (Islam is one). Christianity, properly followed and believed, is not a religion and does not influence people to horrible actions.
There is no obvious answer to the question: who are the kindest or most evil, atheist or theist. There is neither an obvious answer to the question: how much are modern secular societies influenced by Christianity. However, I am not very interested in those questions. Again, my aim is to show that a morality based only on evolution and secular culture is a feasible, coherent view.

Nils

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Re: Morality

#291

Post by Philip » Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:44 am

Nils: "You never see ... a significant percentage", indeed a weak statement. And again you define away those Christians that do "unwarranted violence and atrocities" as not being committed Christians.
Nils, such people certainly are not following the teachings of Christ - ARE they? Scripture says we will know people by their fruits. If they are routinely abusing their fellow man, murdering, maiming, stealing, raping, etc., these are most certainly not people who are Christians. But such people may well CALL themselves and self-identify as such. You need to realize there is a huge difference between cultural "Christians" and truly committed followers of Christ who strive to obey His teachings. FAR fewer people who call themselves Christians actually are so.

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Re: Morality

#292

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:45 am

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:You do realize that it is a logical inconsistency to say that good is subjective BUT to disagree that "good" exist?
No; here is how it works: Good is subjective, means everybody has their own personal view of what is good, that varies a little from person to person. The vast majority of issues everybody will agree on, but there will be a small percentage of items that people will disagree on.
As far as “good” only existing in the make-believe world, that is because everybody brings their own personal view of “good” to the table, because those thoughts only exist in our heads.
PaulSacramento wrote: If you agree that good exists ( and you must for obvious reasons) then you agree that the comment, "there is such a thing as good", is valid, correct?
“Good” does not exist in the physical world, it only exists mentally.

This is probably one of the funniest post I have read in a bit !
Ken starts off by disagreeing that good exist and then goes about defining why it, that which does not exist, is subjective !

Any yet no justification for the universal view that sexually assaulting an infant is wrong.

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Re: Morality

#293

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:52 am

Nils wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Animals do NOT show a high sense of morality or any morality, they are not self-aware in a rational sense, in that way.
They may demonstrate what WE PERCEIVE as morals but the only way an act is moral is if the thing doing the act KNOWS that it is good.
One would have to prove conscious intent to do good on the part of the animal.
How would you do that?
First we have to define what we mean by morality. The Oxford dictionary for instance writes "Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour." and "A particular system of values and principles of conduct." To animals it's "principles of conducts" or rather "instincts of conduct" i.e. how an animal should act. To have instincts it is not necessary to have consciousness. I don't agree to your view that "the only way an act is moral is if the thing doing the act KNOWS that it is good". It may be necessary for "a high sense of morality" but I wouldn't say that animal has that.
With humans, it's different.
Nils
Why different with humans?
I think you are grasping at straws there.

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Re: Morality

#294

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:22 am

Someone that is moral is someone that does what is right.
That is the superficial view of course since no one would call someone that does good with selfish motives, a moral person.

A conscious understanding of good and bad and doing good because it is good is what being moral is.
One can hardly be moral by doing good by accident or with selfish motives and unless you can quantify the WHY of when animals SEEM to act moral, then you can't make that call that they are acting in a good moral way.
Even more so when it is instinctive.

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Re: Morality

#295

Post by Nils » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:48 am

Philip wrote:
Nils: "You never see ... a significant percentage", indeed a weak statement. And again you define away those Christians that do "unwarranted violence and atrocities" as not being committed Christians.
Nils, such people certainly are not following the teachings of Christ - ARE they? Scripture says we will know people by their fruits. If they are routinely abusing their fellow man, murdering, maiming, stealing, raping, etc., these are most certainly not people who are Christians. But such people may well CALL themselves and self-identify as such. You need to realize there is a huge difference between cultural "Christians" and truly committed followers of Christ who strive to obey His teachings. FAR fewer people who call themselves Christians actually are so.
Philip, I have objection to your definition of Christians, that they have to be truly committed, but if you use that definition when you discuss whether atheists or Christians are most moral, then the result will be misleading. With such a definition there are no unmoral Christians so then the Christians are winners by default.

But again I am more interested in a discussion of a coherent secular morality.

Nils

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Re: Morality

#296

Post by Mallz » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:15 am

Nils wrote: Philip, I have objection to your definition of Christians, that they have to be truly committed, but if you use that definition when you discuss whether atheists or Christians are most moral, then the result will be misleading. With such a definition there are no unmoral Christians so then the Christians are winners by default.
But again I am more interested in a discussion of a coherent secular morality.
Nils
Just wanted to jump in to hopefully clarify something for you Nils. Just because someone labels themselves as something, doesn't mean they actually fit the bill. You know that, right? If you want to know what a Christian is, you have to go to the source of what it means (which means you'd actually have to read the bible to find out). I actually disagree with Phillip as well and don't think his description is being helpful for you. I'm pretty sure he was trying to explain what I just said. Just because I say I'm a black woman, doesn't mean I actually am or that you should form an opinion about all black women based off of me (I'm a white male).

And if you actually went to the source to find out what it means to follow Christ, you'd easily recognize that the people who claim are Christians, that have and do the things you have issues with (and rightly so) are really just people doing what they want, justifying their own beliefs and actions with whatever system they can. One more thing, Jesus hated the traditions of man and the book of James tells us what our Father accepts as a religion James 1:27. It's very easy to test people and religious institutions if you know what you're testing it against. Don't be so foolish to accept what everyone says to you at face value, so says this black woman.

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Re: Morality

#297

Post by Philip » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:22 am

Nils: Philip, I have objection to your definition of Christians, that they have to be truly committed...
That's because you reject the BIBLICAL definition of what it means to be a Christian. You also ignore what Jesus taught about how to treat one's fellow man. And you probably do this because it disputes your secular narrative.
Nils: but if you use that definition when you discuss whether atheists or Christians are most moral, then the result will be misleading.
Of course, Christians commit wrongful deeds - sometimes, even evil ones. But to see such behavior in truly committed Christians - the extremes of behavior, like mass corruption, stealing, assault, murder, rape - these behaviors will all be minuscule amongst Christians, certainly in comparison to those atheist and agnostic.
Nils: With such a definition there are no unmoral Christians so then the Christians are winners by default.
I didn't assert Christians to always be moral - we struggle to do what God would have us do. But as a population, you will always see far fewer extreme behaviors in true Christians, compared to those of atheist and agnostic populations. And that is not to say that there aren't very pleasant people who don't believe in God - they can certainly be good citizens, fair, etc.

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Re: Morality

#298

Post by Nils » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:58 pm

Philip wrote:
Nils: Philip, I have objection to your definition of Christians, that they have to be truly committed...
That's because you reject the BIBLICAL definition of what it means to be a Christian. You also ignore what Jesus taught about how to treat one's fellow man. And you probably do this because it disputes your secular narrative.
Philip, I am very sorrow, I missed a "no". I intended to write: "I have no objection to your definition of Christians, that they have to be truly committed". Even if I have been educated in Christianity in school and read parts of the Bible later, have had long discussions with Christians etc, I am of course not an expert on the Scripture and wouldn't dream of commenting of how you want to define who should count as Christian and who should not. I apologise my mistake.
Philip:
Nils: but if you use that definition when you discuss whether atheists or Christians are most moral, then the result will be misleading.
Of course, Christians commit wrongful deeds - sometimes, even evil ones. But to see such behavior in truly committed Christians - the extremes of behavior, like mass corruption, stealing, assault, murder, rape - these behaviors will all be minuscule amongst Christians, certainly in comparison to those atheist and agnostic.
Nils: With such a definition there are no unmoral Christians so then the Christians are winners by default.
I didn't assert Christians to always be moral - we struggle to do what God would have us do. But as a population, you will always see far fewer extreme behaviors in true Christians, compared to those of atheist and agnostic populations. And that is not to say that there aren't very pleasant people who don't believe in God - they can certainly be good citizens, fair, etc.
Well, again, if you define away all (or only most?) nominal Christians with "extreme behaviours" as non Christians, of course there will be more atheists and agnostics with extreme behaviour than Christians with extreme behaviour. Isn't that self evident?

Nils

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Re: Morality

#299

Post by Nils » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:18 pm

Mallz wrote:
Nils wrote: Philip, I have objection to your definition of Christians, that they have to be truly committed, but if you use that definition when you discuss whether atheists or Christians are most moral, then the result will be misleading. With such a definition there are no unmoral Christians so then the Christians are winners by default.
But again I am more interested in a discussion of a coherent secular morality.
Nils
Just wanted to jump in to hopefully clarify something for you Nils. Just because someone labels themselves as something, doesn't mean they actually fit the bill. You know that, right? If you want to know what a Christian is, you have to go to the source of what it means (which means you'd actually have to read the bible to find out). I actually disagree with Phillip as well and don't think his description is being helpful for you. I'm pretty sure he was trying to explain what I just said. Just because I say I'm a black woman, doesn't mean I actually am or that you should form an opinion about all black women based off of me (I'm a white male).

And if you actually went to the source to find out what it means to follow Christ, you'd easily recognize that the people who claim are Christians, that have and do the things you have issues with (and rightly so) are really just people doing what they want, justifying their own beliefs and actions with whatever system they can. One more thing, Jesus hated the traditions of man and the book of James tells us what our Father accepts as a religion James 1:27. It's very easy to test people and religious institutions if you know what you're testing it against. Don't be so foolish to accept what everyone says to you at face value, so says this black woman.
Thanks for the comment, Mallz. However I have to repeat what I just wrote to Philip: " I am very sorrow, I missed a "no". I intended to write: "I have no objection to your definition of Christians, that they have to be truly committed".". I am not sure that my mistake really will affect your answer but after rereading it I think it does. My mistake made you think that I have opinions on who should be called a Christian and who should not. I certainly don't have any opinion on that, especially if we are talking about "true Christians" as Philip does. It should be an internal question for the Christians. If we go to demographics it will be different, there citizens' own description should count.

Nils

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Re: Morality

#300

Post by Philip » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:49 pm

Nils: "... wouldn't dream of commenting of how you want to define who should count as Christian and who should not. I apologise my mistake."

Nils, WE - that is - NO Christian can credibly define for ourselves what it means to be a Christian - that was defined by God, and given in Scripture. It matters not one bit what ANY man, Christian or not, thinks it means to be a Christian. We can only accept what Scripture teaches about this matter, or not. Now, if only men are making the definition - it is likely to be wide and very inclusive as to whom a particular person will define what it means to be a Christian.
Nils: "I certainly don't have any opinion on that, especially if we are talking about "true Christians" as Philip does. It should be an internal question for the Christians."
Again, the definition of what it means to be a Christian - it's certainly not MY definition (as if my or anyone's mere opinion on the term really matter) - rather, while I personally HOLD to that definition, I most certainly did not originate it - actually, NO man did. God is the one that took on flesh to better reveal Himself to man, and He's the One who gave us His terms as to who will be saved, and how. Oh, and the other thing is, we can't always KNOW a person is a Christian - other than by observing his or her actions and words, over a very long time. And even then, we can't always be certain. While we can identify the terms for salvation, we can't always look into a person's heart and mind to see their relationship with Christ. And Christians screw up - we all have bad days and sometimes atrocious behavior, yet hopefully, rarely so. The one thing we can know for certain, is the Bible's definition of what it means to become saved and have faith in Christ - and that is NOT a mere intellectual belief that He exists.

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