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Author Topic: Ethics Vs Morality  (Read 7324 times)

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Offline Bucko

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Ethics Vs Morality
« on: April 12, 2007, 10:25:16 AM »
I started to hijack Milkie's thread, but thought better of it and have decided to engage a discussion here.

I was raised a low-church Episcopalian, where religious sentiment was better appreciated in solemn silence than showy theatrics, and where anything more ethnic than sliced turkey on white was considered ill-advised and un-American. I attended Sunday school before the sermon but after the collection plate had been passed, as is the general practice I suppose.

There we learned about a God who was the embodiment of love and compassion, with dimly-understood and heavily redacted stories from the Bible used as illustrations of this deity. It was only once safely out of grammar school that I began to hear dim rumblings of a jealous and wrathful God who plays favorites regarding the sanctity of human life (Jericho ring any bells?). My adolescent mind began to question this dichotomy, and it eventually grew until I could no longer say that the dogma of the church gave me any succor at all. I found everything just too much to be believed, what with resurrections and immaculate conceptions and apocalyptic visions and all.

I was also given several real-life examples of highly pious Christians behaving in contemptable fashion, from the social exclusion of my handicapped sister to the inappropriate overtures of a priest who left his order over the ordination of women but found nothing wrong in attempting to seduce a 15-year-old boy.

As I grew older I searched for meaning to my life, and found it in a code of ethics which I tailor-made to suit my particular situation and personality. This code of ethics involves respect for human dignity combined with an unadulterated hunger for contact on emotional and sexual levels, and includes both an afterlife and a reckoning of what I'd been able to accomplish, if not a specific judgement.

I believe in spirit, and believe that I am animated by one myself, as are we all.

But the idea of a vengeful God of wrath, supremely jealous of interlopers and also-rans micromanaging details of hygiene and diet has no place in my life. And I am both confounded by and compassionate toward those who try to live their lives according to the poorly-translated and committee-approved texts of copper-age nomads. Confounded as to how such beliefs hold relevance (and succor) to their daily lives, compassionate because it comes from a great place of longing for truthful answers to unknowable mysteries.

I propose that the term "morality" is exclusionary, ethics are all-encompassing. This is not semantical parsing. It's the disavowal of a freighted word that is corrosive and divisive. So much of the suffering we face is caused by fetishizing this hateful term.

Brent
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Offline thunter34

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2007, 10:41:23 AM »
That, my friends, is some gospel if I have ever read it.

Tremendous, Bucko.
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Offline aztecan

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2007, 10:52:50 AM »
Hey Bucko,

While not technically correct, I have always felt the term "morality" implicated, at the very least, judgement of others, while ethics concurs the notion of a code by which a person chooses to guide his life.

So, I guess that means I concur with your conclusions.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2007, 11:02:44 AM »
I've always thought that having a highly developed sense of ethics indicate personal growth and intelligent introspection, whereas morality merely means taking on someone else's paradigm.

Benj
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Offline Christine

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2007, 11:17:35 AM »
I was raised Catholic, with the teachings of a vengeful God, all knowing, judging. From early on, I questioned the morality of the leaders. Which always got me in trouble, and did cause conflict for me. On one side I was taught that the Priests and Nuns were beyond approach, and I had to obey. But then I saw the hypocrisy of their actions and words, and I questioned it...again getting in trouble.

When my parents divorced, the church sided with my Dad, (who happened to have the larger paycheck), even though he had committed adultery, lies, stole...

At that point, I stopped believing in God, because I could not separate God from the Dogma of the church. As time went on, I started to understand that I could believe in a higher power not related to the church.

When I was very ill in 2001 and almost died, some odd things happened. I saw things that I can't explain by any other means other than a higher power.

I do believe in God, an afterlife, morality based on kindness, and humanity not on church dogma.

Christine
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Offline manchesteruk

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2007, 11:19:13 AM »
I've always thought that Atheism is seen by some people as having a lack of morality or ethics come to think of it.  I always associate morality with being judgmental of others like Mark said above.  Having compassion and living by sense of ethics is completely separate from religion and morality in my view I don't see why they have to go hand in hand.  Don't even get me started on the phrase 'god fearing' !!
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Offline Bucko

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2007, 11:27:06 AM »
I've always thought that Atheism is seen by some people as having a lack of morality or ethics come to think of it.  I always associate morality with being judgmental of others like Mark said above.  Having compassion and living by sense of ethics is completely separate from religion and morality in my view I don't see why they have to go hand in hand.  Don't even get me started on the phrase 'god fearing' !!

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far.

I quoted ManUK above because it points to the us/them exclusion of traditional mindsets. I loathe any disicpline that is so jealous of the truth that it is kept only for the salvation of its members.

Brent
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Offline David_CA

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2007, 11:27:53 AM »
... I saw things that I can't explain by any other means other than a higher power.

I do believe in God, an afterlife, morality based on kindness, and humanity not on church dogma.

Nicely said, Christine, and a good thread, Brent.  I was raised Methodist.  As kids, we went to Sunday School every Sunday and church service often.  Most of what I was taught was of the loving God, not the fire & brimstone, judgemental, and vengeful God.  I wonder if this is typical of Methodist (and similar) teachings.  We were certainly not taught to judge others.  The judging and pushing of 'morality' on others, it seems to me, is what ruins 'most anything dealing with religion for a lot of folks. 

David
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Offline AlanBama

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2007, 11:30:41 AM »
A great post Brent!   Some of your best work, my friend......


Christine, I agree with you completely.   When you have personally been a target of the hypocrisy and lies of the church, it changes you. 
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline woodshere

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2007, 11:46:44 AM »
Wow, Brent!!!  How beautifully written and relevent.  I agree with so much of what you wrote.  I did want to respond to this statement:

But the idea of a vengeful God of wrath, supremely jealous of interlopers and also-rans micromanaging details of hygiene and diet has no place in my life. And I am both confounded by and compassionate toward those who try to live their lives according to the poorly-translated and committee-approved texts of copper-age nomads. Confounded as to how such beliefs hold relevance (and succor) to their daily lives, compassionate because it comes from a great place of longing for truthful answers to unknowable mysteries.

I don't believe in a God of vengeance, hate and wrath.  To me God is about love, compassion, justice, peace, forgiveness and grace.  I am not sure how much we know of Christ is fact and how much is embellishment.  However if you look strictly at what we are told of his teachings they embody those things I just mentioned.  The acts described throughout the New Testament that He performed are perhaps merely stories to show how a person should live their life. Someone in a previous post several months back used the example of Jesus feeding the multitudes when all he had was enough for himself.  Exactly how he did it we really aren't sure, but perhaps, as the poster suggested, he was able to get all who had food to share with those who had none.  (maybe the first church potluck dinner)

Being led by a God of love, compassion, justice, peace, forgiveness and grace makes it very relevant to how I lead my daily life.  Am I successful all the time, of course not, but I am always attempting to follow that path.  On Good Friday I heard something like this, Christ lived a good life in a wicked world, so that we would know how to do the same.  Whether you believe in God or some other higher power, if we all lived our lives putting love, compassion, justice, peace, forgiveness and grace before all other things think how much better our society would be.

Woods

edited for poor grammar
« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 11:51:46 AM by woodshere »
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Offline Bucko

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2007, 12:28:19 PM »
Woods-

It was in response to you specifically that I started this thread. I do not want to seem condescending or rude, but it's the "cafeteria Christian" approach that I don't understand.

I do understand wanting to believe in the loving God I was taught about in Sunday school. Such an omnipotent being would sure come in handy, provided he was on my side.

But how does one seperate the old and new testiment Creators? And why does this self-same deity insist on sacrifice? Even if you discard whole books of the bible, you are still left with ten commandments and human sacrifice.

I know what I believe, but truly cannot imagine the mental gymnastics required to label oneself a gay Christian.

Again, this is not putting you down, but it is putting you in the box, so to speak. I believe that people should be free to practice their spirituality in whatever setting and context they find appropriate. But is it the social constructs of your church that you find appealing, or is it there some deeper meaning that, after over forty years on contemplation, has escaped me?


On Good Friday I heard something like this, Christ lived a good life in a wicked world, so that we would know how to do the same.  Whether you believe in God or some other higher power, if we all lived our lives putting love, compassion, justice, peace, forgiveness and grace before all other things think how much better our society would be.


Why a "wicked world"? Isn't the setting of our lives bias-neutral?

Brent
(Who has much to learn)
Blessed with brains, talent and gorgeous tits.

The revolutionary smart set reads The Spin Cycle at least once every day.

Blathering on AIDSmeds since 2005, provocative from birth

Offline sdcabincrew74

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2007, 01:18:39 PM »
I was raised Catholic.  Now while I am spirtual, the idea of organized religion makes me want to vomit.  However, we had a priest once who screamed on the alter that if we were going to try to run each other down in the parking lot and flip each other off, we had better not even bother coming to church......it made me chuckle because it was true.  I think that is the first time I started to question things, I will never forget that and I was about 9 at the time. 

Also, I am not trying to insult anyone here, but are we really all that sure that Christ lived a good life?  IMHO his mom was probably not a virgin, he most likely had a wife and kids unless he was gay .... history is often not told properly and while the Bible is an interesting read, I certain would not take it as truth......

Here is the long and short of it folks .... treat others like you want to be treated, be kind, be gentle and be compassionate.  Do not lie, cheat or steal and live a life that when on your death bed, you are proud of.  I think in the end, that is really all that is important. 

Again just my humble opinion.
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Offline MoltenStorm

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2007, 01:40:28 PM »
Going from the Biblical perspective:

The old and new testaments were written under two different dispensations. The Old Testament was written under the Dispensation of the Law and the New Testament written under the Dispensation of Grace. Since Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law, a dispensation of grace started.

A lot of things in the Old Testament (OT) were symbolic in nature (as is most of the Bible). The sacrificing of a lamb or heffer for the atonement of sin was a precursor to the one a lot of people just celebrated (Jesus dying on the cross). He was the ultimate sacrifice for humanity. After his death, sacrifice was no longer needed. God came down, clothed himself in flesh, and died for the redemption of his creation.

Personal Perspective:

I'd like to point out that you're kind of putting God in a set box, Bucko. I don't mean that offensively, but who's to say that the Christian God can't be honored or followed outside of the Bible? Man wrote the Bible, not God. I've often had this discussion with my brother. Think about it. Back when the Bible was written, most people were iliterate. How better to give yourself the ultimate reference than by saying "God told you to what to write?" Am I saying that nothing in the Bible is inspired? No. Jesus put it in a nutshell when he said, "Let him who hath ears to hear, hear." I personally take all the black letters with a grain of salt. The letters in red, I pay attention to. I think a lot of Christian institutions throw out what the person they're basing their religion on said. They get too caught up in the "shalts" and "shalt nots" that they completely miss the point.

Having said that, I could throw you for a loop. :) Not only do I identify as a gay Christian, I also incorporate pagan beliefs/deities in with Christianity.

God to me is like a diamond - with all of the different deities being the different cuts and facets of the diamond, but ultimately still one Divine Being. Some get too focused that they can't see the forest for the trees.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 01:42:22 PM by MoltenStorm »
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Offline DingoBoi

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2007, 01:43:14 PM »
i reject all your cults.

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2007, 01:50:43 PM »
Brent,

I would most heartily recommend reading the second part of "Democracy in America" to understand the sort of "cafeteria Christianity" which is a rather distinctly Western (and most notably) an American phenomenon.

It's a form of pantheism.

"When the conditions of society are becoming more equal and each individual man becomes like all the rest... a habit grows up of ceasing to notice the citizens and considering only the people.... At such times the human mind seeks to embrace a multitude of different objects at once, and it constantly strives to connect a variety of consequences to a single cause.  The idea of unity so possesses man and is sought by him so generally that if he thinks he has found it, he readily yields himself to repose in that belief."

"Fixed ideas about God and human nature are indipensable to the daily practice of men's lives; but the practice of their lives prevents them from acquiring such ideas.... This is especially true of men living in free countries.  When the religion of a people is destroyed, doubt gets hold of the high powers of the intellect and half paralyzes all the others.  Every man accustoms himself to having only confused and and changing notions on the subjects most interesting to his fellow creatures and himself."

De Tocqueville keeps bringing up the point that social and political equality eventually degenerate religion into a mass of "pick and choose" ideas... he goes into why in great detail... but I don't have the time (nor the energy) to go into why here.

Just keep in mind this is the man who predicted the American Civil War about thirty years before it happened and the rise of the U.S. and Russia as competing superpowers.
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2007, 01:54:38 PM »
Going from the Biblical perspective:

The old and new testaments were written under two different dispensations. The Old Testament was written under the Dispensation of the Law and the New Testament written under the Dispensation of Grace. Since Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law, a dispensation of grace started.

A lot of things in the Old Testament (OT) were symbolic in nature (as is most of the Bible). The sacrificing of a lamb or heffer for the atonement of sin was a precursor to the one a lot of people just celebrated (Jesus dying on the cross). He was the ultimate sacrifice for humanity. After his death, sacrifice was no longer needed. God came down, clothed himself in flesh, and died for the redemption of his creation.

Personal Perspective:

I'd like to point out that you're kind of putting God in a set box, Bucko. I don't mean that offensively, but who's to say that the Christian God can't be honored or followed outside of the Bible? Man wrote the Bible, not God. I've often had this discussion with my brother. Think about it. Back when the Bible was written, most people were iliterate. How better to give yourself the ultimate reference than by saying "God told you to what to write?" Am I saying that nothing in the Bible is inspired? No. Jesus put it in a nutshell when he said, "Let him who hath ears to hear, hear." I personally take all the black letters with a grain of salt. The letters in red, I pay attention to. I think a lot of Christian institutions throw out what the person they're basing their religion on said. They get too caught up in the "shalts" and "shalt nots" that they completely miss the point.

Having said that, I could throw you for a loop. :) Not only do I identify as a gay Christian, I also incorporate pagan beliefs/deities in with Christianity.

God to me is like a diamond - with all of the different deities being the different cuts and facets of the diamond, but ultimately still one Divine Being. Some get too focused that they can't see the forest for the trees.

What about that bit in red that says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man can come to the Father but through me."

That sounds pretty damn exclusionary.  And Jesus H. Christ himself said it.
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Offline manchesteruk

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2007, 02:04:51 PM »
What about that bit in red that says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man can come to the Father but through me."

That sounds pretty damn exclusionary.  And Jesus H. Christ himself said it.

I've got an image now of Jesus stood outside the gates of heaven with a clipboard saying your names not down your not coming in haha.
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Offline Joe K

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2007, 02:05:34 PM »
I have always viewed Ethics as a code of conduct devised to monitor professional activity and historically the term has referred to the business sector.  On the other hand, Morals to me is another code of conduct, not written by man, yet still innate to all of us.  I believe that most people are decent and much of that comes from a shared consciencnless where we all can distinguish between what is essentially right or wrong.  We may argue on degrees of behavior but it does not change the fact that most people believe it is "immoral" to kill another person.  Given the diversity of this world, how is it that "globally" we share many of these tenets if they are not somehow ingrained into our core or DNA?

I have a horrible history with religion as I am a "recovering Catholic" who was forced from the church, once it was known I was gay.  Annulled my marriage (making my daughter a "bastard" in the eyes of the church (and you wonder why I don't talk about it.)  Even so, I can accept many parts of the various scriptures of the worlds religions, because at their core, they all seem to attempt to illicit the same "moral" behavior from their followers.

My take on the Bible is rather varied.  I believe that most of it attempts to teach reasonable behavior, at a time when most people were illiterate and stories were an important source of information and moral guidance.  Other parts of the bible seem so incredible, still I can look beyond the actual words and see that parts of it may be a human attempt, given the wisdom of the day, to make sense of this world and ultimately, humans.

Sadly, I believe that much of religion has been compromised by the inability to reconcile what science tells us about our history as opposed to the words of the Bible.  Take the universe and its creation.  How do you reconcile science telling us our universe ages in the billions of years and Genesis pegs the earths age around 6,000 years.  Huh?  To me Genesis indicates the belief that there is a supreme being, who, if they wanted to, could create the world, etc. in six days if they so chose.  To me it points to forces possibly beyond our comprehension and at the time, sought to give solace to the uneducated masses that all was well with the world, as long as we retained our compassion.

Unfortunately, leave it to some people, to take a good intent like religious teachings and warp them to suit their worldly pleasures.  In the Middle Ages, Catholics could purchase "indulgences" which were a type of absolution, forgiving your worldly sins, so you may enter Heaven.  Translation: If you had enough money, you could live like Caligula and offset your evil by purchasing enough indulgences.  This is not a slam, just a reflection of how hard it is to reconcile diverse teachings and so I have stopped trying.

For me, I live by a code of human ethics that I have devised and I can live with.  I believe we are all equal and  that I am a decent person who acts reasonably and I do not need others to instruct me on how to conduct my life.  The term Morality to me indicates a polite way to "bitch slap" someone who does not belief as you do.  It has nothing to do with living a moral life, because that further insults by requiring that not only must I believe as you do, I must act as you do.  I refuse to lower my stature as a human being by supporting the belief that I lack the intestinal fortitude to live a reasonable life.  Far to much "Borg" or beehive mentality for me.
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Offline Bucko

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2007, 02:08:47 PM »
Going from the Biblical perspective:

A lot of things in the Old Testament (OT) were symbolic in nature (as is most of the Bible). The sacrificing of a lamb or heffer for the atonement of sin was a precursor to the one a lot of people just celebrated (Jesus dying on the cross). He was the ultimate sacrifice for humanity. After his death, sacrifice was no longer needed. God came down, clothed himself in flesh, and died for the redemption of his creation.

Personal Perspective:

I'd like to point out that you're kind of putting God in a set box, Bucko. I don't mean that offensively, but who's to say that the Christian God can't be honored or followed outside of the Bible? Man wrote the Bible, not God. I've often had this discussion with my brother. Think about it. Back when the Bible was written, most people were iliterate. How better to give yourself the ultimate reference than by saying "God told you to what to write?" Am I saying that nothing in the Bible is inspired? No. Jesus put it in a nutshell when he said, "Let him who hath ears to hear, hear." I personally take all the black letters with a grain of salt. The letters in red, I pay attention to. I think a lot of Christian institutions throw out what the person they're basing their religion on said. They get too caught up in the "shalts" and "shalt nots" that they completely miss the point.

Having said that, I could throw you for a loop. :) Not only do I identify as a gay Christian, I also incorporate pagan beliefs/deities in with Christianity.

God to me is like a diamond - with all of the different deities being the different cuts and facets of the diamond, but ultimately still one Divine Being. Some get too focused that they can't see the forest for the trees.

Sacrifice was still required.

Brent,

I would most heartily recommend reading the second part of "Democracy in America" to understand the sort of "cafeteria Christianity" which is a rather distinctly Western (and most notably) an American phenomenon.

It's a form of pantheism.

"When the conditions of society are becoming more equal and each individual man becomes like all the rest... a habit grows up of ceasing to notice the citizens and considering only the people.... At such times the human mind seeks to embrace a multitude of different objects at once, and it constantly strives to connect a variety of consequences to a single cause.  The idea of unity so possesses man and is sought by him so generally that if he thinks he has found it, he readily yields himself to repose in that belief."

"Fixed ideas about God and human nature are indipensable to the daily practice of men's lives; but the practice of their lives prevents them from acquiring such ideas.... This is especially true of men living in free countries.  When the religion of a people is destroyed, doubt gets hold of the high powers of the intellect and half paralyzes all the others.  Every man accustoms himself to having only confused and and changing notions on the subjects most interesting to his fellow creatures and himself."

De Tocqueville keeps bringing up the point that social and political equality eventually degenerate religion into a mass of "pick and choose" ideas... he goes into why in great detail... but I don't have the time (nor the energy) to go into why here.

Just keep in mind this is the man who predicted the American Civil War about thirty years before it happened and the rise of the U.S. and Russia as competing superpowers.

Benj-
Thank you as always for understanding my question and answering it so brilliantly.

Such as:
What about that bit in red that says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man can come to the Father but through me."

That sounds pretty damn exclusionary.  And Jesus H. Christ himself said it.

Brent
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2007, 02:20:33 PM »
You're very welcome, Brent.

What we're witnessing here is, the philosophical braindescendant (not brainchild... this is several generations later) of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation on Christianity.

Unlike Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism (the dominant mode of religious expression in the US) is based on two pillars that are termed "sola fides" and "sola scriptura."

Sola fides means "by faith alone" and sola scriptura means "by Scripture alone."  These are the sole two justifications for Protestant theology, personal faith and personal knowledge (and interpretation) of the Bible.  Hence, the very heavy emphasis in the US on a Jesus Christ who "walks with you, talks with you and is a friend" and the constant references to Christianity being a "personal relationship with Christ."   

Martin Luther based his cosmology on his own personal interpretation of the Christian Bible and thought he was right... however, this philosophically opened the door for other interpretations of the Bible as well.  This is why in 1500, virtually everyone in Western Europe was Catholic, but by 1650, there were several competing variations of Christianity. 

He had opened a theological floodgate.

One of the primary arguments against the Reformation at the time, and you'll still hear it today in Catholic apologetics, is that Protestantism inevitably leads to a diffused Christianity because there is no centralized authority to decide what Scripture means and says (i.e. The Pope).  One can argue if this is a good or bad thing, but one can't deny that there are in excess of 30,000 Protestant denominations right now, all of them running the gamut from High Anglican to pseudo-pagan Christianity.

It all stems from Luther's paradigm that personal interpretation of the Bible is the way to get closer to God.

This is very well suited to a highly individualized culture like the United States, and it explains why very few of those who profess to be Christians actually know what their religion of choice says... the dominant culture which is based in Protestant philosophy essentially says that they don't have to, because it's based on a "personal relationship" with God.

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« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 02:23:51 PM by aupointillimite »
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Offline MoltenStorm

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2007, 02:40:51 PM »
Quote
What about that bit in red that says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man can come to the Father but through me."

That sounds pretty damn exclusionary.  And Jesus H. Christ himself said it.

Again, do you take a literal view or a symbolic view of it?

Literally, yes, it's exclusionary. Symbolically? No, it's not.

Arguing belief against belief is something of a losing battle. Arguing reason against faith is the same as well. Reason is based off strict intelligence and rational thinking. Faith is based off the heart. (Notice I use the word "faith" and not "religion," two entirely different animals.) Like many aspects of life, the heart and mind rarely see eye to eye.

Have you ever looked at the religions of the world and how similar they all are? Jesus, Oden, Osirus (to name a few) - all dying gods for the purpose of somehow bettering humanity or giving something to humanity. All of them (world religions) tell the same story but with a different perspective based on their culture.

Symbolically, if Jesus was God-in-flesh (going with the Christian belief), of course you wouldn't be able to go to God without going through God first.

Take the God & Goddess (Lord & Lady, etc) in Paganism. There's the tenet that every human being has a bit of them inside. Therefore, they can't go to them without tapping into that aspect of themselves. Same thing when you get down to the basics.

However, I'm bordering on hijacking Bucko's thread, and I don't want to do that.

"Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful nor conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, adaptation in A Walk To Remember

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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2007, 03:41:54 PM »
I fail to see anything symbolic in Christ's statement.

What's potentially symbolic about it?

You wish to make it symbolic because you don't like what it says.  A loving God?  You'll take that literally because you want to... but anything in the text that rubs you the wrong way becomes "symbolic" and therefore meaningless.

I'm sorry, I'm a devout athiest, but I find this cherry-picking of religious dogmas that one likes while discarding the others to be incredibly intellectually dishonest.  I am sick of people creating gods in their own image.  Why doesn't everyone just admit that either a) they don't believe in God, or gods, or higher powers, or b) admit they just don't like what their religion says and move on from there?


And there are many who would disagree with your definition of "faith."  Jewish, Catholic, and Orthodox theologies have a much more holisitic view of faith and reason that requires all aspects of the person, both emotional and rational, to be engaged. 


 
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Offline woodshere

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2007, 03:43:26 PM »
It was in response to you specifically that I started this thread. I do not want to seem condescending or rude, but it's the "cafeteria Christian" approach that I don't understand........
...... I believe that people should be free to practice their spirituality in whatever setting and context they find appropriate. But is it the social constructs of your church that you find appealing, or is it there some deeper meaning that.....

What a great thread and what respectful responses.  So refreshing in light of last weeks activity.

I am not philosophical like Benji or have as much knowledge of religion as Molten or write as well as Joe, all I can do is speak simply of my faith. I think the "cafeteria Christian" approach is certainly used by all Christians.  I know of no parent when their son disrespects them takes him to the center of town and stones him (some parents might like to but they don't), but we know of some religions that don't ordain women.  For whatever reason they have chosen to pick and choose.  I believe the Bible is a type of living guide that is interpreted differently by each person.  I use it as a guide to live my life and the teachings of Christ are the basis of my morals.

And yes the social aspect of my church plays a major role in my faith.  In my life I have been chruched and unchurched and what I have found is that when I attend church, learn more about my faith, talk with God and be with others who do the same I am a more content person.  Notice I didn't say happy and problem free.  I will always have problems and will not be happy all the time.  Last year I was diagnosed HIV+, my sister was hospitalized for 10 days before they figured out what was wrong, my nephew broke his back in a car wreck and my mom had a heart attack.  It was a tough year, but I handled it all, and yes Benji, because I felt there was someone walking and talking with me.

My faith is everchanging and growing.  I definitely think there are questions to ask and answers to seek and appreciate opportunities like this that cause me to think more and dig deeper.

Woods
« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 04:05:50 PM by woodshere »
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Offline woodshere

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2007, 04:04:52 PM »
I'm sorry, I'm a devout athiest, but I find this cherry-picking of religious dogmas that one likes while discarding the others to be incredibly intellectually dishonest.  I am sick of people creating gods in their own image.  Why doesn't everyone just admit that either a) they don't believe in God, or gods, or higher powers, or b) admit they just don't like what their religion says and move on from there?

I don't think it is Intellectually dishonest at all.  I think it is has to do with your understanding and interpretation of your religion.  In my case I in no way view the Bible as the end all say all of what it means to be a Christian.  As a thinking person I can't.  Some things relevant thousands of years ago, certainly are not today.  However, certain principles are just as important today as then.  I use it as one of several tools to guide my faith not the only one.

I don't think that is cherry picking at all.  Now someone who wants to pull one or two verses out of the Bible and their historical context to prove a point.....oh let's say ahhhhh, homosexuality is wrong, but yet has sex with his wife when she is on her period or works at Ford on Sunday both of which are condemned in the Bible is in my opinion cherry picking.

I suppose that since you are a devout atheist and I am a devout Christian, we will never accept one anothers views about religion.  But at least we can discuss them rationally.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 04:08:05 PM by woodshere »
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2007, 04:06:25 PM »
Woods, that is a very American, very Protestant response.

I was merely seeking to explain to Bucko the pecularities of religious expression in the United States.

Unfortunately, and I say this with the utmost respect and delicacy... you have completely failed to provide a justification for the juxtaposition of belief in Christianity and sexuality other than to provide a personal, emotional argument whose passion and conviction I don't doubt but whose reason I find to be lacking. 

Regarding the ordination of women, the letters of St. Paul.

1 Cortinthians.  Chapter 14.  Verses 34-37.

"34.the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. 35: If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36: What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached? 37: If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord."

For almost two thousand years, the vast majority of Christians from all denominations followed this stipulation and refused to allow women to be ordained.

Only in the last hundred years or so has that changed.

Your philosophy is one grounded in 500 years of Protestantism... and its logical conclusion is to whittle Christianity away to nothing.

Which I find to be a particularly fitting death for it, personally.  Christianity will not be destoyed from without like so many fear, it will be destroyed when its theological core being eaten away in the name of "personal interpretation" until there is nothing left.
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2007, 04:09:27 PM »
I don't think it is Intellectually dishonest at all.  I think it is has to do with your understanding and interpretation of your religion.  In my case I in no way view the Bible as the end all say all of what it means to be a Christian.  As a thinking person I can't.  What was relevant thousands of years ago, certainly is not.  However, certain principles are just as important today as then.  I use it as one of several tools to guide my faith. 

You either accept the whole of the Bible, or you accept none of it.  The book itself says so.  You can't have it both ways... according to the text that you profess to believe in.   

I think you're implying that God's opinons on things change.  If they do, then what's the point of the book?
 
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Offline woodshere

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2007, 04:50:44 PM »
For almost two thousand years, the vast majority of Christians from all denominations followed this stipulation and refused to allow women to be ordained.
Only in the last hundred years or so has that changed.
Your philosophy is one grounded in 500 years of Protestantism... and its logical conclusion is to whittle Christianity away to nothing.
Which I find to be a particularly fitting death for it, personally.  Christianity will not be destoyed from without like so many fear, it will be destroyed when its theological core being eaten away in the name of "personal interpretation" until there is nothing left.

You either accept the whole of the Bible, or you accept none of it.  The book itself says so.  You can't have it both ways... according to the text that you profess to believe in.   

Benji, I cannot and even if I could would I quote Bible verses to you or anyone, that is part of the big problem.  As Molten said when Christ was born things changed.  No bigger example of this is than when Christ speaking of the 10 commandments said that loving thy neighbor was the most important, not that you should have on other gods. The Old Testament says all kinds of things that changed after the birth of Christ. 

I have repeatedly said that I look at the Bible not as the final authority about my faith only as a guide or tool to a greater understanding of what I believe and how I want to live my life.  As far as accepting all or none of it I use this example. In biblical times blood transfusions did not exist and I guess there is a verse somewhere in the Bible that condemns blood transferring from one person to another that gives some credence to why Jehovah Witnesses don't have blood transfusions.  Am I going to following scripture when such medical practice wasn't even around, not hardly.  I just don't think we can take the Bible as the final word.  I think as a rule it is a good guide.

I am sorry I have failed to provide "the justification for the juxtaposition of belief in Christianity and sexuality" and my reasons are lacking.  I really feel I have no need to justify them, I was only expressing my views to something previously written.  You have developed your moral compass as to what is right and wrong through some means and I accept that.  Is it to much to ask that since I have developed mine through the teachings of Christ you accept that for what it is?

Woods

edited because unlike thunter I haven't figured out how to do a quote within a quote.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 04:52:36 PM by woodshere »
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2007, 04:59:13 PM »
Is it to much to ask that since I have developed mine through the teachings of Christ you accept that for what it is?

Well... yes.

You are existing as a contradiction.  A Christian who is a practicing homosexual.

Since you either refuse to provide, or cannot provide, any rational justifcation... I'd prepare for a life of explaining myself if I were you.
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Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2007, 05:01:57 PM »
The problem with christianity is that it only really makes sense if you accept that the bible is a magic book in which everything is literally true (the contradictions being the stuff of 'mystery') and that Jesus is a super-hero figure who will return at an appointed time (unknown to mortals) to smite the wicked and reward those deemed virtuous.

The only forms of christianity which then are legitimate are those which take a literalist view of scripture. Moderate christians (or 'normative christians') who view the bible as a "guide" fatally undermine their faith.

If you don't accept that the bible is a magic book and everything in it is true then Jesus becomes something of a socratic figure who really didn't say a great deal and the whole basis of christianity collapses.

MtD

/edited for a typo/
« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 05:18:45 PM by matty.the.damned »

Offline woodshere

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2007, 05:13:18 PM »
Well... yes.

You are existing as a contradiction.  A Christian who is a practicing homosexual.

Since you either refuse to provide, or cannot provide, any rational justifcation... I'd prepare for a life of explaining myself if I were you.


Nice one.

To go back and forth like this silly.  My faith, morals, whatever you want to call it is based on the teachings of Christ and my interpretation of how I am called to live my life.

Explain to who?  The Christians who believe I am damned to hell for being gay.  Gays who can't understand how a person can be Christian and gay.  Or an atheist who insists on discussing a subject he doesn't believe in to begin with. And why are people so interested in pointing out flaws as to how a person chooses to live their life. However, the bigger question is why should I feel I have to explain?

Woods

« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 05:15:58 PM by woodshere »
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2007, 05:15:44 PM »
I enjoy philosophical debate, nothing more.

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Offline woodshere

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2007, 05:19:28 PM »
I enjoy philosophical debate, nothing more.

I do also, however since your grasp of philosophy is far greater than my grasp of Christianity, I probably have gone as far as I can, plus it is time to go let the dogs out.  If only Jesus could work one of his miracles so I wouldn't have to constantly pick up poo..... :)
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Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2007, 05:23:35 PM »
Or an atheist who insists on discussing a subject he doesn't believe in to begin with. And why are people so interested in pointing out flaws as to how a person chooses to live their life. However, the bigger question is why should I feel I have to explain?

Actually Woods, that's a bit slippery of you.

We live in a world where the rules are determined by people hold religious views, especially christian ones. Atheists, with the excpetion of ignostic atheists (yes I did say "ignostic" not "agnostic") by definition discuss these subjects. It's the whole point.

But you are right the bigger question is why you feel the need to explain. You often say you don't have to explain yourself but you always end up doing so.

MtD

Offline ACinKC

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2007, 05:32:22 PM »
I would surmise that IF there is a god (which I am pretty sure there isnt) he cant be THAT big of a dick!  I mean the bible and religions make him out to be this prissy fuckin diva that if you say one bad thing about you're banned from the party!  I mean is he really that big of a drama queen?  

It seems as though he is an "all about me" kinda guy doesnt it?  Do what I say, worship ONLY me, i control your eternal soul blah blah blah!  Sounds like a prick, and NOT someone I'd want to hang out with for all eternity.  Always having to talk about HIS needs and HIS wants and if HE's happy with you or not.

 I wonder, if you are a good christian on earth (pay your cover charge) and get accepted into Club G upon your death and THEN you decide to sleep with all kinds of guys and girls and start tearin the place up, will he get the bouncers to kick your ass out?  Can you get back IN after that or is he too prissy to allow anyone back into his party?

With all the different "Gods" worshipped on this earth it must be like fuckin south beach in the great beyond.  With one heaven type night club after the other all lined up to serve the different faiths.  

Now, if it is true what the bible says and I am created in HIS image then THAT is a guy I want to party with.  But how do we know exactly WHO's image to base it on?  It's like a big cosmic game of roullette being played out at that point and you dont really know WHO to bet on.  

I personally do not believe in the eternal bliss of heaven or the brimstone fires of hell, nor do I believe there is a god of ANY type determining the fate of anything.  I do however respect those that do, as long as they dont try to "convince" me of their beliefs.  I do love a good spirited debate with points and counterpoints as long as I walk away from that discussion the same way I walked into it, respectful.

Thats MY opinion.  
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Offline Boo Radley

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2007, 06:46:47 PM »
I propose that the term "morality" is exclusionary, ethics are all-encompassing. This is not semantical parsing. It's the disavowal of a freighted word that is corrosive and divisive. So much of the suffering we face is caused by fetishizing this hateful term.

Brent
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« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 06:54:40 PM by Boo Radley »
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Offline Moffie65

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2007, 08:17:52 PM »
I just got home from the Doctor for an all day pull.  I can't wait to digest this thread, and you all can look forward to an Evangelical Ministers/Missionarys son tomorrow.  I love this shit.

Love, and thanks for doing this thread Bucko.

(who is a recovering Evangelical Bible quoter)
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This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
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Offline jack

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2007, 08:42:41 PM »
I am a Catholic, and while all you perverts are roasting in Hell, I will be up there, playing 18 every day,having cocktails and smoking marlboro reds.  I'll send you all a postcard if there is any mail service down there.

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2007, 08:47:19 PM »
I am a Catholic, and while all you perverts are roasting in Hell, I will be up there, playing 18 every day,having cocktails and smoking marlboro reds.  I'll send you all a postcard if there is any mail service down there.

Offer it up, Jack.

Offer it up.
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Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2007, 08:52:36 PM »
I am a Catholic, and while all you perverts are roasting in Hell, I will be up there, playing 18 every day,having cocktails and smoking marlboro reds.  I'll send you all a postcard if there is any mail service down there.

Sweetheart you're welcome to an eternity with child-molesting priests, Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry.

MtD

Offline jack

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2007, 08:59:04 PM »
Me and Teedy having vodka tonics on Heavens front porch. Maybe even get a babe in one of teedys famous DC sandwiches. You never get to drunk to drive in Heaven,so Teddy can drive us all home. Lurch would be a bore.
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Offline bocker3

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2007, 09:31:30 PM »
Is there ever a more destructive thing than people trying to "convince" others that "their way" is the right way.  How many have died over history from this??
I loved the original question, but it has developed into a discussion on Christianity.  The problem with faith (and, yes, even atheism is a faith, unless you can prove the nonexistence of a god) is that it is most absolutely NOT based in logic or reason.  One can not "win" this argument.  We all believe what we believe.  It doesn't mean a good debate can't be had -- but keep it on the topic and not the particpants (i.e. "You are a contradiction -- a christian and a practicing homosexual.") -- let's not attack each other for our beliefs.

For the record -- I was raised Catholic, and ran away from the church as quickly as I could.  I have only stepped into churches for weddings or funerals in the last 20 years (at least).  I can not tolerate a religion that condemns me.  However, I'd never try to convince my gay uncle that he his "wrong" for continuing to attend Mass.

Now - as to the original question -- I think Ethics and Morality do differ if it is coming from someone with a religious bent (which is most, I would guess).  I would include myself in that -- you can't easily deprogram from all those years of CCD.  ;-)

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Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2007, 09:38:29 PM »
Well actually Bocker, that's not entirely true. Bucko the Depraved (the OP) mentions christianity, christians and their funny little god more than once.

Here:

There we learned about a God who was the embodiment of love and compassion, with dimly-understood and heavily redacted stories from the Bible used as illustrations of this deity. It was only once safely out of grammar school that I began to hear dim rumblings of a jealous and wrathful God who plays favorites regarding the sanctity of human life (Jericho ring any bells?). My adolescent mind began to question this dichotomy, and it eventually grew until I could no longer say that the dogma of the church gave me any succor at all. I found everything just too much to be believed, what with resurrections and immaculate conceptions and apocalyptic visions and all.

. . . and again here:

I was also given several real-life examples of highly pious Christians behaving in contemptable fashion, from the social exclusion of my handicapped sister to the inappropriate overtures of a priest who left his order over the ordination of women but found nothing wrong in attempting to seduce a 15-year-old boy.

Thus rendering those topics germane to the conversation.

:P

MtD

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #42 on: April 12, 2007, 09:42:30 PM »
The problem with faith (and, yes, even atheism is a faith, unless you can prove the nonexistence of a god) is that it is most absolutely NOT based in logic or reason.


I beg to differ.

One's faith has to be based in some sort of logic or reason.

Faith that isn't based in some sort of rationality is generally called "delusion" and is treated with anti-psychotics.

The sole reason the great religions of the world have survived is because they've been able to be expressed to varying degrees of rationality and then written down and conveyed to others.  One can't write down a solely emotive system of belief and expect it to get very far.

Emotions are highly unstable stuff to be basing major systems of belief off of.
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Offline DingoBoi

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2007, 09:52:58 PM »
emphasizing benj's comments



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« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 10:07:55 PM by DingoBoi »

Offline bocker3

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2007, 10:14:08 PM »
I beg to differ.

One's faith has to be based in some sort of logic or reason.

Faith that isn't based in some sort of rationality is generally called "delusion" and is treated with anti-psychotics.

The sole reason the great religions of the world have survived is because they've been able to be expressed to varying degrees of rationality and then written down and conveyed to others.  One can't write down a solely emotive system of belief and expect it to get very far.

Emotions are highly unstable stuff to be basing major systems of belief off of.

I will not disagree with your last comment, however, I've read the Bible and am fairly familiar with Catholic dogma -- there is not logic or reason that I have ever been able to tease out.  There is some common sense entries, but the main point of the religion (like most) is to believe in something that you can not prove -- only in death shall we know (unless they are wrong -- then we are just dead).  One believes because you were brought up to believe -- and the fear of the unknown also keeps you in line (i.e. Hell, Purgatory, etc). 
No logic in surviving inside a whale's stomach -- no logic in a Virgin Birth -- no logic in assigning sin to newborns because Eve and Adam at an apple -- no logic.  If anyone came insisting they were pregnant and a virgin today -- someone might just consider some anti-psychotic drug.

Anyway -- my point certainly is not to advocate for anyone's particular faith -- only to point out that logical arguments are not likely to change it. 
And -- because I can't help myself (I'll just add it to the multitude of things for which I will burn in hell), as you try to argue against other's faiths by pointing out how they try to be the one true way -- you are advocating for atheism as the one true way.  Which, again, I won't argue against......   ;D

Mike
(who is off to bed now.....)

edited for very bad grammar -- I'm tired!   ::)
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #45 on: April 12, 2007, 10:26:45 PM »
I would disagree with you that one is

The mysteries of Christianity you choose to describe are just that... mysteries.

But the basis of all those things, a belief in a deity who gives a shit in some way... is one that can be rationally expressed.  There are hundreds of proofs for God's existence (and just as many proofs for his non-existence).  All of them are faulty in some way... but the fact that people have been trying to prove his existence rationally for years, and have been able to convince many people smarter than you or me to accept that belief... speaks to religion being more than something based on emotive reasons.

I, of course, quite cheerfully think that all religions are horseshit... but for me to say that the vast majority of the world's population is delusional or insane for believing in god would be... well... more than presumptuous... it would be downright idiotic.
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Offline DingoBoi

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2007, 10:35:04 PM »
call me an idiot then because that is exactly what I believe.

Religion, in my humble opinion, is a mass delusion designed to control.  Quantity of believers does not make a religion more valid in my mind than a cult in yours.

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #47 on: April 12, 2007, 10:42:43 PM »
call me an idiot then because that is exactly what I believe.

Religion, in my humble opinion, is a mass delusion designed to control.  Quantity of believers does not make a religion more valid in my mind than a cult in yours.

I'm not saying that more believers equals greater validity of a given belief... I am saying that more than 90% of the world's population can't be delusional idiots... and that it's idiotic to suggest that they are.  To put C.S. Lewis, Hillaire Belloc, and Thomas Bradwardine on the same intellectual rung as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and George W. Bush  is to ignore every fact about their respective lives and intellects.

Designed to control what, exactly?  People's actions?  To what end?

I'm sorry, maybe in ancient Sumeria and Egypt, when people were convinced that their rulers were gods, that argument made sense... but in the modern world, I fail to see many areas where religious institutions control people for its own benefit.  For money?  Maybe... but that's too transparent and easy... and there are other ways of screwing people out of their cash.
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Offline jack

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #48 on: April 13, 2007, 08:35:27 AM »
If it works for you, believe it and do it. One problem is when others attempt to use their religion to condemn others. Jesus said, love thy neighbor, he didnt say love thy neighbor except if he is gay. The other problem is so much of the bible is written by humans. Look at todays news on TV and newspapers. How often do we see news reported differently than what really happened? or interpreted differently by various sources?
The Church and other large Christian institutions appear to me to be the very types of organizations and people Jesus was fighting against in the new testament.

Offline Bucko

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Re: Ethics Vs Morality
« Reply #49 on: April 13, 2007, 12:36:49 PM »
I'm not saying that more believers equals greater validity of a given belief... I am saying that more than 90% of the world's population can't be delusional idiots... and that it's idiotic to suggest that they are.  To put C.S. Lewis, Hillaire Belloc, and Thomas Bradwardine on the same intellectual rung as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and George W. Bush  is to ignore every fact about their respective lives and intellects.

Designed to control what, exactly?  People's actions?  To what end?

I'm sorry, maybe in ancient Sumeria and Egypt, when people were convinced that their rulers were gods, that argument made sense... but in the modern world, I fail to see many areas where religious institutions control people for its own benefit.  For money?  Maybe... but that's too transparent and easy... and there are other ways of screwing people out of their cash.

There is a theory that humans posses a gene that predisposes us to religious inspiration. There is abundant evidence that our evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals took care in burying their dead according to ritual. And it is obvious that they practiced ethics of sorts, because many skeletons show signs of advanced age and marginal productivity within a group. They cared for their weak and fragile, provided for those who could no longer do so themselves and eventually buried them in red ochre facing east.

It is my understanding that much, if not most, of the books of the bible are Hebrew redactions of far older Mesopotamian and Egyptian texts. Certainly there is nothing new in creation myths, ritual sacrifice and resurrection stories. Osiris was dismembered by his brother only to be reassembled  and reanimated by his sister/wife Isis. And he sat in judgement of those able to be or culturally significant enough to be mummified. Their hearts were weighed on a scale balanced by a feather symbolizing right and reason (Maat). Those found with heavy hearts were devoured by an chimerical monster, their souls lost.

There are also theories that the bible was assembled from texts of two separate and contradictory disciplines. The Elohist writings stress a loving creator anguishing over the "decadence" of man while the Enochian God is all about punishments and apocalypses. Neither philosophies bring me much comfort.

But then I doubt that my strong belief in fate and destiny offers any solace in those wishing to believe in the concept of free will, which I personally discount as an idea spawned in the ego and unrelated to my actual experiences. I've found myself bound in repeating patterns until I've learned the appropriate lessons, at which point new, tougher challenges are provided.

Part of my code of ethics also prohibits disparagement of other's faiths. We all arrive at a similar destination regardless of the methods employed in arrival. But I do question how credence can be given to organizations that honor tradition more than personal experience and fear more than hope.

Brent
(Who sometimes peeks into the abyss)
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