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The Conundrum of Moral Relevance Within and Without Religion

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posted on Jan, 13 2015 @ 09:56 PM
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I have been puzzled for some time by people saying "My morality" or "our morality" is better than another group, so I want to posit this puzzle and maybe we can get to the bottom of what is really going on.

For the entire time I have been on ATS, I have seen threads that completely dismiss religion, but to do that requires a moral standard, one that proponents of moral relevance have been touting, but here's the conundrum....

IF moral relevance is true then it is only true to the individual and therefore the individual must determine for themselves what is wrong or right to them. That is what moral relevance is, morality relevant to the individual. If moral relevance is true, then no matter what someone else does within their own framework of morality, then there can be no judgement against someone else. Hence, one cannot place a moral judgment against God if God is acting within His own frame of moral relevance. The Bible bashing then must cease, if moral relevance is true and applicable. I see it and hear it all the time, people saying they can be good without God, so let's just see if you can.

The Bible codifies and standardized the morality of the Jewish people since Moses walked down from Mt. Sinai with the tablets in hand, saw the people worshiping a golden calf that Aaron made, so he marched back up the mountain and went another 40 days until he had gotten the codified morality in stone again.

But let's see here, those who dismiss the Ten Commandments because it is based in a framework of codified morality beginning with worshiping God above all other gods, have a problem with the rest of the Bible, but to what are they placing onto the morality of the Bible? If they place their own moral standard, then moral relativism is no longer true. One cannot say morality is relevant IF they believe in moral retribution for acts they do not agree with. That's the conundrum of moral relevance.

I then ask, is your morality better than the Bible, if morality is subjective? To place any judgment against it flies in the face of moral relevance. Argue against it all you like, if you are placing judgment, then morality is no longer subjective, but objective and forces a standard onto the very thing you said you did not agree with, and that is moral standard.

If you are good without God, then who determined your goodness? If you determined your goodness, then how do you know it is good? If I say it is bad, then am I right or wrong? If you say I am bad, then by what standard did you determine my badness? If determination is based on subjective reasoning, then I am neither good or bad, no matter what I do. The same with everyone who acts according to their determined standards. Therefore, murder is neither good nor bad, so one should not call it murder.

You can't say a murderer is bad if you have no codified morality. OK, so you can have legal codification, but that legal codification is still a standardized morality that cannot come from moral relevance. And if you must say that murder is bad, therefore punishable by law, then you appealed to a less than subjective morality, and therefore moral relevance is not true nor applicable. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Moral relevance leads to a free for all, people doing what they want to whom they want, because moral relevance carries with it no concept of right or wrong within the macrocosm. So if you complain about the Bible's morality, you are a hypocrite because you believe that everyone has the right to do what they want, including God. No judgment can be placed where there is no codified morality.

Are you good without God? If so, who says you are? If you say you are, then you cannot say someone else is not good, they simply have their own moral standards. Therefore, all this stuff against "Zionist bankers", no longer wrong, because those bankers are doing what they feel is good. You can't judge them.

As you say, "don't judge" then don't judge, because you have no grounds for footing your morality, because your morality is wrapped up in your definition and is your morality better than someone else because you say it is? I say that if you don't want or need a codified morality, then don't complain when others exercise theirs.

Moral relevance is a conundrum, either there is good or bad or there is not. And if everyone does right in their own eyes, then no punishment or judgment can be placed onto anyone. I know, a lot of people are going to defend their own morality and judge God. But if God is acting on subjective moral relevance, then God can't be genocidal or a maniac, because those are moral judgments.

Have you been good without God? If so, then how do you know you have been good?




posted on Jan, 13 2015 @ 10:23 PM
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a reply to: WarminIndy
S&F, because you make some good points. Moral relevance only applies individually. Any time more than one person lives together, as in a group or society, there of necessity, must be agreements made among the group, as to right and wrong. Rules that govern individual conduct within the group. So for God to be judged, he either must be judged according to group etiquette and ethics. He cannot be judged by moral relevance.



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 12:24 AM
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Considering I dont go around butchering unbelievers or those who believe different .. I help those I see in need with no questions asked .. I dont condemn or discriminate against people due their sexual preferences ... I dont dictate to others how to live their lives .. so yes would say my way is superior over "christian morality"

could give many more examples but have things to tend to in real world .,



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 12:31 AM
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originally posted by: Expat888
Considering I dont go around butchering unbelievers or those who believe different .. I help those I see in need with no questions asked .. I dont condemn or discriminate against people due their sexual preferences ... I dont dictate to others how to live their lives .. so yes would say my way is superior over "christian morality"

could give many more examples but have things to tend to in real world .,


How is butchering wrong and helping others good?

Yes, your own moral relativism, how do you know it is better than someone else? Because you say so? I say you are wrong so prove me wrong.



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 12:49 AM
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a reply to: WarminIndy

Is it wrong to rape?

Is it wrong to murder?

Is it wrong to own another human being as property?

Is it ok to lie?

Is it ok to manipulate people for your own agenda?

I believe all those things to be wrong. All of those things the Abrahamic God did/does or commands others to do for him. My personal stance is that the Bible is very immoral but with some good teachings in it as well. Such as "do unto others", or in other words, treat people how you want to be treated. That may be the best piece of advice in the entire Bible. Though I don't attribute the words to God, but to men. I've never really thought heavily on morals or where they come from tbh. Is your argument that they come from God? If so he sure does one hell of a job leading by example. Is it good, in your opinion, to kill people for often times petty reasons? What about owning another human being as property? God does, evidently. I find that disgusting. I also find anyone who defends such moral perspectives as disgusting. So to answer one of your questions, I do believe I am more moral than the Bible.



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 12:55 AM
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originally posted by: WakeUpBeer
a reply to: WarminIndy

Is it wrong to rape?

Is it wrong to murder?

Is it wrong to own another human being as property?

Is it ok to lie?

Is it ok to manipulate people for your own agenda?

I believe all those things to be wrong. All of those things the Abrahamic God did/does or commands others to do for him. My personal stance is that the Bible is very immoral but with some good teachings in it as well. Such as "do unto others", or in other words, treat people how you want to be treated. That may be the best piece of advice in the entire Bible. Though I don't attribute the words to God, but to men. I've never really thought heavily on morals or where they come from tbh. Is your argument that they come from God? If so he sure does one hell of a job leading by example. Is it good, in your opinion, to kill people for often times petty reasons? What about owning another human being as property? God does, evidently. I find that disgusting. I also find anyone who defends such moral perspectives as disgusting. So to answer one of your questions, I do believe I am more moral than the Bible.


How do you know you are more moral than the Bible?

What is the moral standard you go by other than moral relativism?

Conundrum because you placed moral judgment which is impossible in the spectrum of moral relevance. So prove me wrong, can you do that outside of moral relevance?



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 01:33 AM
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originally posted by: WarminIndy
How do you know you are more moral than the Bible?

Well for one I don't advocate owning other human beings as property, or any of the other nasty things I mentioned in my previous post, or other places here at ATS. But in actuality you're right that I cannot "know" because it is a matter of perspective.



What is the moral standard you go by other than moral relativism?

I was raised as a Christian so I suppose a lot of the positive values in the Bible were instilled in me. Such as do unto others. I try to treat people like I want to be treated. I'm far from perfect of course and am perfectly capable of being an asshat in one way or another. Knowingly or unknowingly. Often I find myself reflecting on things I've said or done, judging myself and making mental notes on things I could do better (e.g. spend more time with my younger brother). Do I think I am a good person? I think in general, yes. Am I omnibenevolent (infinitely good)? No. In some areas of my life I would say I am a bad person.



Conundrum because you placed moral judgment which is impossible in the spectrum of moral relevance. So prove me wrong, can you do that outside of moral relevance?

Prove what exactly? That I'm better than the Bible? I can't do that with moral relevance. You know that. I would say the Bible's morals are no more or less subjective than those of anyone else. Can you prove they are not?

Klassified said:
"Any time more than one person lives together, as in a group or society, there of necessity, must be agreements made among the group, as to right and wrong. Rules that govern individual conduct within the group. So for God to be judged, he either must be judged according to group etiquette and ethics. He cannot be judged by moral relevance."

So I guess I'm judging based on societies general consensus of what is right and wrong.
edit on 1-14-2015 by WakeUpBeer because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 01:33 AM
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a reply to: WarminIndy

Well played friend



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 04:41 AM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer

All societies are different. In some societies it is perfectly socially acceptable to kill and eat your neighbor, in others it is acceptable to throw acid in someone's face who dishonors you, and the list can go on.

So, which society is the correct one to judge all by, and how can you make that determination if right and wrong is based solely on societal standards when every society is different?

Should there then be an absolute which transcends societal standards to which all should be held accountable through and by?



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 05:41 AM
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originally posted by: OpinionatedB
All societies are different. In some societies it is perfectly socially acceptable to kill and eat your neighbor, in others it is acceptable to throw acid in someone's face who dishonors you, and the list can go on.

In some societies, past and present, some pretty horrible things are acceptable and deemed moral. Though I'm sure we will both agree that the people of those societies are not in total agreement as to what their moral standards should be. Those people being the ones affected in a negative way by their societies standards. The neighbor being killed and eaten for example, probably isn't to happy about that. Though maybe he is? It really depends on how he was influenced by his society and culture. At any rate it is still all a matter of perspective I suppose.



So, which society is the correct one to judge all by, and how can you make that determination if right and wrong is based solely on societal standards when every society is different?

The human society. Not the Brits, not the Americans, not the Chinese or Russians, but all of us. There are still many things societies disagree about in regards to what is socially and morally acceptable but I think in general the big important ones are agreed upon. Those things involving human rights. Almost everyone in every society agrees that rape, murder, slavery, human sacrifice, lying, manipulation etc. are wrong. Does that make them actually wrong? Well I don't know, you tell me.



Should there then be an absolute which transcends societal standards to which all should be held accountable through and by?

You mean to ask do I think there should be a God or some other authority above humans to act as a law giver and judge? I honestly don't see how that would change anything. Some people believe one already exists. While I believe that is highly unlikely I'm willing to entertain the possibility.

Let's say the Christian God truly exists, and the moral lessons learned from his example and teachings are the absolute way to know what's good vs what's bad. Well I would disagree with God. As I'm sure you would as well. Maybe not, I don't know you that well. Perhaps if this was the system, and you were born into slavery, or passed down from one generation the the next as property, you would still sing the Lord's praises. Maybe you would thank him wholeheartedly after having your family slaughtered and yourself taken as a trophy of war, all at his command.

Maybe it's moral to test those that put all of their faith and trust in you to kill their own offspring? Let me ask you a serious question, no troll here. As a believer, if you truly felt God was speaking to you, and telling you to sacrifice one of your children (or any other family member. or any other human), would you do it? That is a 100% legit question.

I will hazard a guess and say the answer is no, you would never do something like that. Why not? My answer to the 'why not' question would be because it isn't a God or Bible that dictates morality. Though people may be influenced for good or ill by either.

Is it good or bad that you obeyed or disobeyed a perceived commandment from God, to kill your offspring?
edit on 1-14-2015 by WakeUpBeer because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 08:26 AM
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Morality is based on treating others how you would want to be treated. If you treat someone how they do not want to be treated then you are acting immorally. If you continually act immorally consciously then you are considered evil.

Say someone likes being cut and bruised and they ask you to help them do it. If you choose to help them cut and bruise themselves then you are not acting immorally because you are treated them as they want to be treated.

If there is someone who does NOT like to be cut or bruised but you still do it anyways, you are acting immorally because you are going against their own personal moral compass.

Subjective and objective morality can both be followed by asking others what they do or do not like done to them. If you treat them in that way then you are following both your own "objective" morality and their "subjective" morality.
edit on 1/14/2015 by 3NL1GHT3N3D1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 08:44 AM
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a reply to: WarminIndy
On second thought... I'm not so sure either of us is correct in our assumptions regarding this "conundrum". I haven't put my finger on it yet, but I will put some thought into it, and get back to you. Interesting thread.



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 09:57 AM
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a reply to: WarminIndy

Good thread, good arguments.

Morality corresponds to the evolution of disgust in human beings. So though morality is universal to humanity, it varies by certain degrees due to environmental factors.



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 10:00 AM
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Have you been good without God? If so, then how do you know you have been good?


i am not being chased by men in blue uniforms and white lab coats. i am not wearing an orange jumpsuit. and people do not run away or scream when they see me coming. and i dont enjoy doing things i KNOW are very hurtful and unnecessary. unless you hurt me first.

so maybe im not exactly good, but im definitely not what you would call bad.
edit on 14-1-2015 by TzarChasm because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 10:06 AM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer



My personal stance is that the Bible is very immoral but with some good teachings in it as well. Such as "do unto others", or in other words, treat people how you want to be treated. That may be the best piece of advice in the entire Bible.


Too bad that "piece of advice" didn't originate in the Bible.


The Ethic of Reciprocity is older than we can know. In an early written expression, an Egyptian papyrus from the Late Period (c. 1080-332 BCE) records, “that which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.”



Zoroastrianism, which the Hebrews encountered during the Babylonian exile, instructs “Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself.”



Buddhism, originally a practice rather than a religion, teaches, “Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”



Confucianism, a Chinese ethical tradition, says, “One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct: … loving kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”



Taoism, also originating in China, teaches, “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”


SOURCE

As far as the 10 Commandments being an original and superior moral standard, they also have competitors, some of which pre-date them.


I have not reviled the God.
I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
I have not done what the God abominates . . .
I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
I have not caused anyone's suffering . . . I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage . . .
I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
I have not kept cattle away from the God's property. I have not blocked the God at his processions.

Egyptian Book of the Dead



1. Trust good character more than promises.
2. Do not speak falsely.
3. Do good things.
4. Do not be hasty in making friends, but do not abandon them once made.
5. Learn to obey before you command.
6. When giving advice, do not recommend what is most pleasing, but what is most useful.
7. Make reason your supreme commander.
8. Do not associate with people who do bad things.
9. Honor the gods.
10. Have regard for your parents.

Solon the Athenian. Solon 638 B.C.E


SOURCE



edit on 14-1-2015 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2015 @ 04:46 PM
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a reply to: windword

I like how you put "piece of advice" in quotes!

It really isn't advice is it? It should be a no brainer.




posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 06:34 AM
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a reply to: windword


Which means that the Law of Reciprocity is universal.

And the Bible told you it was "What you sow, you shall also reap". The Bible never claimed exclusivity on that, but reiterated a truth that is universal.

Next, please.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:18 AM
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a reply to: WarminIndy




Which means that the Law of Reciprocity is universal.


A collective, intellectually learned lesson in empathy realized after hundreds of thousands of years of natural evolution, that squarely places the burden of morality directly on the shoulders of the individual, subjectively. It forces one to ask oneself, "How, if it was me, would I hope to be treated?"..... is what it means.

"Do unto others....." appeals to one's sense of self preservation and selfishness, that leads to to the intellectual decision that altruism is good for the individual, because it's good for the community.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 03:21 PM
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originally posted by: windword
a reply to: WarminIndy




Which means that the Law of Reciprocity is universal.


A collective, intellectually learned lesson in empathy realized after hundreds of thousands of years of natural evolution, that squarely places the burden of morality directly on the shoulders of the individual, subjectively. It forces one to ask oneself, "How, if it was me, would I hope to be treated?"..... is what it means.

"Do unto others....." appeals to one's sense of self preservation and selfishness, that leads to to the intellectual decision that altruism is good for the individual, because it's good for the community.


But not everyone thinks like you do. So how do your force your moral standard onto someone who doesn't think of the good of the community when moral relevance is not community based?



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 04:02 PM
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a reply to: WarminIndy

Who says I force my moral standard on anyone? Humans want to love, be loved and thrive. For that to happen, we all need to get along.

Ethics and morality start out as individual, critical survival skills used to meet the above mentioned goals, and eventually progress to fit the family, the extended family and then were collectively expanded to meet the social needs of community groups, cities and finally nations.

Laws are/should be based on community agreed upon ethics that are designed to, hopefully, promote the interests and well being of the community and to allow its individuals to love, be loved and thrive.



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