Regarding morality that "descends from a belief in God," what other kind is there? ..........
I`ll end on a question for you
Craig...If Morals are truly just the random collection of a cultures
tolerances and taboos, then can you ever say with emphatic certainty
that "such and such" is Wrong or Evil?
If there are no absolutes and I don`t see how there can be if there is
no Absolute Being...Then is cannibalism in Australia just a dietary
preference in your eyes? Or burning living windows on top of
their dead husbands an acceptable religious expression just because the
Indians believe it so? And if Darwin is right regarding natural
selection and survival of the fittest then was Hitler justified in
trying to speed up the process? It seems like a large number of
people collaborated with his idea and were in agreement that it was a
good thing? Was it? Can you agree with me that it was
wrong, sinister and Evil? And if you do agree on what basis do
you come to your conclusion?
As I`ve said, a morality is simply a collection of policies, which are
like global rules,by which a person (and society) choose to live. Many
moralities descend from a religious belief system, but others descend
from the governmental organization of a society (i.e., the State).
However, morality also can be developed through a reasoned system of
The only universal moral statement I can think of is that "the Good" is
that which is life-enhancing. Any other morality would ultimately lead
to the elimination of the society, thereby making it a moot point.
We hear about the Golden Rule as being to "do unto others, that which
we would have them do unto us." Unfortunately, it`s misquoted and the
original is to "not do unto others, that which we would not have them
do to us." The "not" statement is more applicable, in that it assume no
action with rules. The modern version allows for all sorts of wrong
actions, with the only rules being peronal.
Even there, Confucius was the one who initially made the statement. We
know that Jesus traveled extensively in Asia, and that`s probably where
he heard it. He originally stated it as the "not" statement, it was
To the second question in the section I quoted:
"If Morals are truly just the random collection of a cultures tolerances
and taboos, then can you ever say with emphatic certainty that "such
and such" is Wrong or Evil? ........"
I didn`t say that morality is a "random" collection of rules. Some
moralities are indeed a collection of cultural taboos and tolerances,
but unless they`re organized in some form, it`s not a morality. Modern
value systems, being highly disorganized, aren`t a morality. They`re
merely a random collection of behaviors.
There are indeed absolutes, and this is the area of philosophy we would
call ontology. Any philosophy, religious or otherwise, is based on
human language (and, obviously, the capacity to think and reason). So
the absolutes are logical absolutes. In Nature (physics) we can`t yet
determine if there are absolutes.
Evil is one word, Sin is another. The two reference the nature of human
beings and human behavior, respectively. Both are terms, which means
they require definition. In a non-religious philosophy, we don`t
ordinarily use the term "evil," but I take your meaning.
The older I get, while holding that there is indeed a "larger"
component of consciousness than simply what we know when we`re awake
and walking around, the more I believe that life is like a collection
of novels---stories. Hitler didn`t consider himself evil, nor did the
population who put him into power. He was emphatically against the life
of many human beings, which would make him "not good," but I think we
have to consider a great deal more than his life.
Think about the overall evolution of human consciousness, and where we
would be had there been no Hitler? How much of today`s tolerance and
global awareness is a result of first having witnessed the catastrophic
results of national morality gone haywire? Without Hitler we wouldn`t
have had the Nuremberg trials, from which we (as a human race) decided
that "just following orders" is not an excuse for crimes against
As with any dramatic story, we need heroes and villains, triumph and
sorrow, disaster and relief. All things are interwoven, moving us
towards a wider, or evolved, or higher, or "something" consciousness.
To say that people or actions are evil is to say they`re really bad, in
a religious connotation. But it`s still only we humans with our very
limited abilities making that statement.
If you accept a soul, along with a dimension (or kingdom) of God, then
you also accept that we have no access to that dimension in any
immediate way. We have no idea what`s really going on in that context.
So our logical absolutes are useful ways to help us think, but they
can`t be applied in any other way than logically.
The bottom line is that a joyful life, filled with humor, honor,
harmony, goodwill, and hope is more fun to live than a desperate or
fearful life. Because the world is the way it is, we sometimes have to
defend our freedom and right to be happy, which means there has to be
violence in some cases. Is violence in and of itself evil? I can think
of many examples where it isn`t.
I`ve concluded that perhaps a close second in moral absolutes is that
the use of force should be only a last resort. By "force," I include
both physical and psychological force. And to that end, if someone
forcibly infringes on my enjoyment of the forums, then they are wrong
(not evil, just wrong).