What is morality?

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For discussions about religion, but not specifically Christianity. Christians and members of any faith or of no faith are welcome, provided they treat others with respect at all times. Remember that detailed discussion about the beliefs of a particular faith will be difficult if no member of that faith is available to take part.

Re: What is morality?

Postby Bev » September 13th, 2010, 4:52 pm

Theophilus wrote: Again I will say, like Greg, that you are confusing the personal Gospel message, and the correct responses of Christians who are in positions of responsibility.


If you could explain this in terms of Jesus' teachings, then I would understand. Not just opinion, but Jesus' actual words.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby godfrey » September 13th, 2010, 4:53 pm

GregB wrote:"Be holy as your heavenly father is holy". Do you really think that Jesus expected his followers to realise that in their lifetimes? Or was it, like most of his teaching such as the Sermon on the Mount, an ideal to aspire to but with the proviso that we would be forgiven for not living up to it when it became virtually impossible?


Part of the reason I dropped off Sparrows was that Brenda challenged me as to whether it was possible to lead a sinless life. It was a very uncomfortable question: the answer from Scripture clearly appeared to be yes (I don’t recognise Greg’s exact scripture above; I can find 1 Pet.1.16, "Be holy, because I am holy." And Matt. 5.48, Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.) but that did not at all tie with my experience. Brenda, on the other hand, had a testimony of how by God’s grace she supernaturally lived a totally holy life for 18 months. So I dropped out of fora to seek the Lord about it.

Well, I have not walked on the heights she has, but I have come to a revelation she had come to earlier: that God has already done everything we need for holiness. So much of the epistles, in dealing with God’s provision, is in the past tense. The cross has dealt with our sin nature once and for all. In any given situation I can sin, and in too many situations I do sin; but in no situation do I have to sin.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Bev » September 13th, 2010, 4:58 pm

godfrey wrote:
GregB wrote:"Be holy as your heavenly father is holy". Do you really think that Jesus expected his followers to realise that in their lifetimes? Or was it, like most of his teaching such as the Sermon on the Mount, an ideal to aspire to but with the proviso that we would be forgiven for not living up to it when it became virtually impossible?


Part of the reason I dropped off Sparrows was that Brenda challenged me as to whether it was possible to lead a sinless life. It was a very uncomfortable question: the answer from Scripture clearly appeared to be yes (I don’t recognise Greg’s exact scripture above; I can find 1 Pet.1.16, "Be holy, because I am holy." And Matt. 5.48, Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.) but that did not at all tie with my experience. Brenda, on the other hand, had a testimony of how by God’s grace she supernaturally lived a totally holy life for 18 months. So I dropped out of fora to seek the Lord about it.

Well, I have not walked on the heights she has, but I have come to a revelation she had come to earlier: that God has already done everything we need for holiness. So much of the epistles, in dealing with God’s provision, is in the past tense. The cross has dealt with our sin nature once and for all. In any given situation I can sin, and in too many situations I do sin; but in no situation do I have to sin.


This is an excellent post, and it echoes how I feel. Yes, the cross has dealt with our sin nature once and for all. What I'm most trying to ferret out by this discussion is that we can't under any circumstance call our 'sin' right or God's will or any other type of justifier. We still are obligated to call our weaknesses weaknesses our sin sin. The problem is some people try to justify war or acts of aggression as god-ordained, but based on Jesus' teachings, we simply can't.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Pondero » September 13th, 2010, 5:02 pm

Well, godfrey I cannot remember a canonised saint in the RC church that said he was perfect, as only God on earth was perfect. All the saints acknowledged that they were sinners - which doesn't say much for the rest of us - but, it is true. Not one saint, that I have heard of said he lived a sinless life.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby godfrey » September 13th, 2010, 5:04 pm

@Bev

Were any of Jesus' teachings 'rules for society'? The old covenant is full of what we might call 'legislation' - civil, criminal, military, moral and religious. But after all, the old covenant was made with a nation.

The new covenant is with individuals.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby godfrey » September 13th, 2010, 5:11 pm

Pondero wrote:Well, godfrey I cannot remember a canonised saint in the RC church that said he was perfect, as only God on earth was perfect. All the saints acknowledged that they were sinners - which doesn't say much for the rest of us - but, it is true. Not one saint, that I have heard of said he lived a sinless life.


Saints is an interesting word. As often as not, when Paul writes to a church, he writes to the saints there.

I've seen a DVD course where the presenter puts it in these terms: Once you were a frog. A princess kissed you and you turned into a handsome prince. You are sitting in a restaurant and a fly zooms past. You put out your tongue and ... slurrp ... swallow it.

Does that make you a frog? No, you're a prince exhibiting frog-like behaviour.

So Paul writes, not to the sinners at Ephesus or Philippi or wherever - but to the saints. Saints who sometimes sin.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Pondero » September 13th, 2010, 5:17 pm

Bev wrote:

The problem is some people try to justify war or acts of aggression as god-ordained, but based on Jesus' teachings, we simply can't.


Usually, our enemy does that :grin: we never do ???

Last night I found out that the CCC says something about the conditions of a justified war: here they are -
2309:
The strict conditions for legitimate defence by military force requires rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

----- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave and certain;

----- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

----- there must be serious prospects of success;

----- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weights very
heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.

The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgement of those who have responsibility for the common good.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Pondero » September 13th, 2010, 5:28 pm

godfrey replies as follows:

Saints is an interesting word. As often as not, when Paul writes to a church, he writes to the saints there.

I've seen a DVD course where the presenter puts it in these terms: Once you were a frog. A princess kissed you and you turned into a handsome prince. You are sitting in a restaurant and a fly zooms past. You put out your tongue and ... slurrp ... swallow it.

Does that make you a frog? No, you're a prince exhibiting frog-like behaviour.

So Paul writes, not to the sinners at Ephesus or Philippi or wherever - but to the saints. Saints who sometimes sin.


If you believe in fairy tales when the princess kissed you you become a handsome prince! It is quite as likely to happen as some of the latest theories of human beings

I think the point is that a Saint has humility, and as such really considers him/herself a sinner, although to others (s)he may not be so considered.
We don't know whether we are going to make it to heaven or not until we get there, in the realm of probabilities we may be able to predict that we will, but mathematically, I don't know how this can be done. Of course saints sometimes sin, usually in their earlier years, witness the life of St. Augustine of Hippo who wrote his Confessions. But, it is most unusual, although one can never tell, to sin grievously if you have lived for years a holy life, but temptation of one kind or another never leaves us. You could not really say as Brenda said ( according to you) that she lived a perfect holy life, some venial sin probably was committed even though not mortal sin was committed. (I don't really want to discuss Brenda but you mentioned her). and that is the end of it for me.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Theophilus » September 13th, 2010, 5:46 pm

Bev wrote:
Theophilus wrote: Again I will say, like Greg, that you are confusing the personal Gospel message, and the correct responses of Christians who are in positions of responsibility.


If you could explain this in terms of Jesus' teachings, then I would understand. Not just opinion, but Jesus' actual words.


But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

The Gospel is simple: repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Our earthly lives are the vehicle in which our repentace takes place. That earthly life includes the family we are born into, the country and culture we are born into, and the position we are born into. God is sovereign in all of this, and not only ordains people within the Church, but within the world itself. So, the position we are put it, the hand we are dealt, is beyond our control, but our response to it is not. If a Christian finds themselves in a position of earthly authority, then what are they to do? Abdicate their responsibility? Or use their position for the glory of God. If a nation has a Christian culture, history, and language, then that will save no one on its own. However, it will provide a better arena for any individual to work out their salvation with fear and trembling than if they are born into a nation where the culture is fundamentally "anti-Christ". So if those rulers - rulers we are entreated to pray for - are in a position of being head of a Christianized society, then it is their responsibility to protect "the little ones", and not bring them into a situation where a good means of salvation (a Christian culture and language) is lost. And that culture can be lost either through the wrong action or inaction at the wrong time.

I realize that some of the above seems incredulous to someone in a modern Western country, as we are used to leaders who are elected by the public. Therefore, to become a leader, you must want to become a leader. That causes problems in itself, and makes their actions less easy to defend. Yet this doesn't take away from the fact that this is only a relatively modern state of affairs. In the past, the fact that God ordained leaders (for good or for bad) can clearly be seen, because the leaders themselves had minimal choice in their roles.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Bev » September 13th, 2010, 6:13 pm

godfrey wrote:@Bev

Were any of Jesus' teachings 'rules for society'? The old covenant is full of what we might call 'legislation' - civil, criminal, military, moral and religious. But after all, the old covenant was made with a nation.

The new covenant is with individuals.


I've never been able to find in Jesus' (or Paul's) messages any kind of instruction to the greater society. HIs audience is always followers. Paul instructs the saints, not the community outside the saints.

One of the things that keeps happening in this thread is that a confusion is being made between Jesus' message to followers and the world outside the saints. There is a distinction, one that is made clear in these same teachings.
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