Arguments and the origin of morality

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Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  Sgt Angry Egg on 10/21/2011, 23:50

Alas, the forums have died. I recall that in their heyday, the forums were most alive when people would argue about things. So, I think maybe if we started a little intrigue and some healthy debate, it would help to get things going again. Note that when I say argument, I don't mean mean-spirited name calling and hurt egos and such; I only mean two (or more) parties exchanging facts, statements, and conclusions in favor of their cause, and defending against the same for the opposing cause. Ie: the art of persuasion, the science of debate, whatever you want to call it.

So, here goes nothing. Let's see if I can get some blood to boil. I like to play the devil's advocate, but every once in a while I will argue for a point that I actually agree with, if need be. So, I am going to list some viewpoints on a topic. You can pick which one I will argue; you will argue one of the other viewpoints, or your own created viewpoint if you want. For the topic, I think I'll do the origins of morality.

Viewpoints:
1. Morals are given to us by God through the ten commandments and other parts of the Bible, and are absolute. (Killing is always wrong, lechery is always wrong, etc).
2. Morals are a mere abstraction and don't really exist anymore than the lines of latitude and longitude 'exist'. No action is inherently 'right' or 'wrong', it is society which dictates the 'goodness' of an action.
3. Morals are simply a result of maximizing your own pleasure; the 'warm fuzzy feeling' you get from helping an old lady cross the street makes you feel good, so really you do good things to feel good about yourself.

Now, pick one of those points that you would like me to argue for, and then state the viewpoint you will be arguing for. Then we can start debating. Let the games begin.
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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  0001 on 10/22/2011, 11:07

I LOVE THIS GAME!!! I as well could argue any of those viewpoints (and have) although my personal views are of course in line with Number 1. But I think an on going dialogue about this could be interesting, why don't you try arguing the point most liberal-atheists tend to take, which is that morality is a reflection of societies beliefs at the time. Also I moved this to the Christianity area, as I feel it more pertains to that.

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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  Sgt Angry Egg on 10/22/2011, 20:55

That's fine. It's more general philosophy, so I didn't know if it should go in Christianity or general.

Alright, so I'm arguing in favor of point #2?

Porn, sex, drugs, none of that stuff is inherently bad. We only think so because we're told by society to think that they are bad - but really, who do you hurt with any of those activities? We only call these things 'bad' for the same reason that we call bananas 'yellow' - there's really no reason, it's completely arbitrary and made up. Nothing has any meaning other than what we attach to it ourselves.
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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  0001 on 10/24/2011, 20:32

BEAUTIFUL! Now, out of context for a moment, I could easily resort to a straight "The Bible says no" rebuttle, but I feel as though that is too cliche and may turn away non-believers, so do you think an argument about the negative health and social aspects would be better, or would a straight by-the-book Christian perspective be better?

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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  80-0 on 10/25/2011, 10:04

This should be fun.

Viewpoints:
1. Morals are given to us by God through the ten commandments and other parts of the Bible, and are absolute. (Killing is always wrong, lechery is always wrong, etc).

Killing is not always wrong, murder is always wrong. Lechery is always wrong, just as love is not always wrong.

Morals ARE given to us by God, but the Commandments are a clearly defined source of morality: not the ONLY source of morality. God also gave to us all a conscience. That conscience is what makes us feel bad when we do wrong and feel good when we do good, what makes us flee when we do wrong and feel at home when we do good. We know we live in God's world, a world made by God, even when we aren't immediately thinking it. Because we are, when it comes down to it, God's creatures, and we regret doing bad things in God's world under God's watch and are comforted by doing good things in God's world under God's watch.

2. Morals are a mere abstraction and don't really exist anymore than the lines of latitude and longitude 'exist'. No action is inherently 'right' or 'wrong', it is society which dictates the 'goodness' of an action.

Bah.

Razz

3. Morals are simply a result of maximizing your own pleasure; the 'warm fuzzy feeling' you get from helping an old lady cross the street makes you feel good, so really you do good things to feel good about yourself.

It's not about the pleasure. The pleasure or displeasure which you feel following your actions stems from the conscience, as I said above. We can't possibly always do good things to feel good about ourselves because we are imperfect, and that level of perfection is unattainable on earth.
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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  0001 on 10/25/2011, 10:18

Very good answers my friend! What we're trying to do is figure out the most effective way to argue the morality point, as lack of morals tend to be the basis for a lot of our problems in general.

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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  80-0 on 10/25/2011, 11:43

The great thing about America is that our founders gave credit to God for the authority which they drew up in the founding documents. They knew and believed that all authority comes from God.

Therefore we have an advantage in talking about morality in America. Some people don't want to legislate morality, and don't want to "enforce one group's set of moral principles on a nation", but some things are intrinsic moral evils, and must be opposed on those grounds.
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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  0001 on 10/26/2011, 19:20

Very true, although the current popular opinion is that the founding fathers were Deists, this is in my opinion just another way to write God out of the picture by those who don't understand Him. I agree some things are intrinsically bad, which is funny because without God there is no "good" or "bad". That is where nonbeliever's arguments breakdown because they can't explain how morals came to pass, they tend to write them off as a social phenomenon.

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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  80-0 on 10/27/2011, 10:55

Great point about morality, and God being the source. It's true that Thomas Jefferson was a prominent Deist, but would they have written morality into the founding documents if they didn't believe Someone was watching? I think not.
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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  0001 on 10/27/2011, 13:11

Yes I agree completely, people just like to write God out of history and such because it makes them uncomfortable that God does exist, and influences our lives.

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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  80-0 on 10/27/2011, 18:19

A point which any believer in God can find comfort in is the fact that without God there would be no atheists.

It all comes down to conscience. People do bad things and want to believe there's no retribution: what belief system enables that "freedom"? Atheism. And it's not really freedom: it's slavery to the devil. Freedom is saying "no" to the devil when it's hard, as opposed to saying "yes" to every little thing you want.

Just so you know I don't consider myself perfect. I'm not saying I am perfect or I am free from sin or temptation or anything like that, very much the opposite. What I am saying is that some people are afraid of even admitting that the things they do are wrong because they are so attached to their lifestyle.

That's the great difficulty we face. The greatest evil the devil has worked upon humankind is convincing them that he doesn't exist. You better believe it.
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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  Jedi Joe on 10/27/2011, 22:50

80-0 wrote:Great point about morality, and God being the source. It's true that Thomas Jefferson was a prominent Deist, but would they have written morality into the founding documents if they didn't believe Someone was watching? I think not.

Yes, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine were very outspoken deists, with Jefferson even cutting out parts of the Bible he didn't agree with.

I don't think that morals are necessarily given to use through the ten commandments. People raised in different cultures entirely know not to kill and such. Some morals are built into our brains for the obvious goal of preserving the species.
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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  80-0 on 10/28/2011, 07:16

Yes, conscience is key as I said. It's true they didn't write the ten commandments into the founding documents, but it's obvious that they are the basis for most of the laws pertaining to morality.
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Re: Arguments and the origin of morality

Post  0001 on 11/1/2011, 10:19

@ Joe: Yes God did give us a Moral Conscience and therefore some morals are innately inborn into us. @80-0: Yes I agree as well.

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