What is morality?

For discussions about religion, but not specifically Christianity.
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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 GregB » September 14th, 2010, 6:58 am

Bev wrote:
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.

Perfect! This exonerates the governments of nations from defending their citizens by the use of force as they are not constrained by Biblical teachings whereas individual Christians can put their pacifism into practice relying on God to come to their aid (while always having a second line of defence in the nation's armed forces, of course, just in case... :grin: )
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Bev » September 14th, 2010, 3:11 pm

That would be a good conclusion, except one of the issues we've been discussing is that war and violence has been Christianized (justified sometimes as even being God's holy war against evil), which for a worldly mind solves a lot of problems --- that is, unless you sit down and really study the teachings of Christ.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby GregB » September 14th, 2010, 7:03 pm

Irrelevant. The main topic here lately is not the Christianisation of war at all but the justification of secular democratic states in resorting to war to defend their way of life and their people, which will include those Christians who benefit directly from such policies. Let's not fudge the issue - my previous post sums the situation up concisely.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Bev » September 14th, 2010, 9:09 pm

Well, then, it would appear we were shouting across a divide thinking we were on the same road. :D
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Theophilus » September 14th, 2010, 9:14 pm

Bev wrote:
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.


Is this also your response to my post, giving the requested for "words of Jesus"? If it is then my response is to ask the question: what of earthly rulers who become Christians, or Christians who become earthly rulers?
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Re: What is morality?

Postby 2ndRateMind » February 29th, 2012, 4:07 pm

CheshireCat wrote:I'm making a spontaneous flying visit to the board. It seems not much has changed in the last 2 years.

There is a lot of talk about the decline of morality in society, which is ironic given that much of the British media seems to lean towards atheism these days. There seems to be a general belief that a real morality exists, that some things are naturally right or wrong, and yet there is a contradiction. If you don't believe in a transcendental morality then how can something be considered definitely right or wrong?

Morality in such a scenario becomes a matter of opinion, in a sense arguments become what one human thinks against what another human thinks. People have used the argument that what the majority of people think is morally right, must be what is morally right. But what if most of a country believes that a minority within that country should be exterminated? Following that logic, you could argue that it was allright for the Nazis to persecute the Jews because most of the country actually supported it. (Even if they didn't support the Holocaust, the majority supported getting the Jews out of Germany).

If you take out God, then this means you either believe in the contents of the human brain creating a transcendental morality (which isn't transcendental because some break the basics) or not believing in a transcendetal morality. Therefore, you cannot judge another person's morals because either morality doesn't exist, or different people have different natural levels of morality.



Back to the OP. While I was an atheist, it was my belief in a transcendent morality that led me to believe in God. From there, it was but a short step to intellectual ruin. Anyway, the point is that while people are different, and are are all sinners, and therefore have a vested interest in what is, and is not, a sin, we sin and are good in different ways. We see perfect morality through the tainted lens of our own characters. Therefore, we all come to different conclusions about ethics, good where we are good, and corrupted as we are corrupt. The only antidote to this, as far as I can see, is to discuss widely and freely, listen to what others have to say, and take the consensus on board. It's not foolproof, I grant, so we should always maintain a healthy scepticism about our own and others' morality. But it's surely better than institutionalisng immorality by voting in an authoritarian high priest to tell us what to do, say and think, as catholicism does. It may be that this democratic way forward offers us the state of the ethical art, and even if it is not perfect, that may be because that perfection is not attainable in our current age. The best we can hope for, I think, is to provide a solid platform for the younger generations to build from, so they can achieve more than we were able. And the desired end? Utopia on this world, and universal salvation in the next, they two being completely compatible.

Best wishes, 2RM.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Sweet Peace » February 29th, 2012, 11:44 pm

I think you're leaving God out of the equation here. Sure we ought to work out what is right and do it, but no amount of righteous effort is worth a fig compared with the acceptance of the presence of Christ in the Holy Spirit in our lives. A person could tie themselves in knots trying to be ultra-righteous and still have no assurance that they are loved and forgiven by the almighty and all-loving God who made us, and ultimately it is peace in each person's heart that will bring peace on earth.
Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Bev » March 1st, 2012, 5:08 pm

Maybe what SP is emphasizing (I'm guessing here) is that without the Holy Spirit, we simply can't focus on Jesus' two greatest commandments. By loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind we strive to put first all Jesus said about how we are to be towards one another. But, the actions we take on, if everyone were to accept the Holy Spirit as their guide, if everyone were to truly love ones neighbor as oneself, could lead to a Utopian society here on earth.

I watched a documentary on the American Amish communities the other night, and it would seem these people have come the closest to creating such a community here on earth. But, even there, a few who were interviewed recounted how they left the community because they found it too controlling, too stifling. They in turn found tremendous happiness and freedom to be who they were not allowed to be while they remained a part of the group.

It would seem one of the more urgent reasons Jesus came on the mission he did has something to do with how difficult it is for humankind to completely surrender to the Holy Spirit, even among a body of believers.
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Pondero » March 27th, 2012, 11:12 am

Yesterday,Ontario's highest court allowed brothels or "bawdy houses". This decision which is about prostitution is quite complicated in describing what is allowed and what is forbidden. But, it is a retrograde step morally. The feds are bound to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, as the Conservative government under Mr.Harper wants to keep the present laws which were challenged in Ontario.

In today's National Post there is an article entitled BOOZED -UP BRITAIN, together with a photo of a woman lying on the street during a night out in Newcastle,Northern England. ,apparently an astounding 40% of patients admitted to UK emergency rooms have some kind of alcohol-related ailment.
From the emergency room to the football riot, the UK has become the land of round-the-clock,blitzed-out, stomach-evacuating inebriation. So writes Afsun Qureshi, in London,UK.
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa, The bookmark of Teresa of Ávila, [28]
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Re: What is morality?

Postby Lyn » March 27th, 2012, 11:27 am

Yet most of us who live here do not see anything like it, Pondy. We know it happens in certain areas because we also see it on TV, especially documentary programmes about hospital emergency departments. However the vast majority of people do not binge drink - it's an expensive habit for a start. It's usually young people who go out on a Friday/Saturday night and drink too much. When they get a bit older and have more financial responsibility, they stop it. What is different nowadays to when I was young is the fact that there are more places selling booze open at all hours. Strangely enough, "the local pub" is less popular than it used to be. They nearly all have to serve food - and I mean good meals - to attract custom. You rarely get people going out for a pint at the local these days. Wine bars with music and dancing are more popular with youngsters. Pub quizzes are still popular!

The idea of licensing "bawdy houses", or brothels, is to keep prostitution off the streets and also to have some control. I don't know what it is like in Canada but over here we hear about young women from Eastern Europe being trafficked to this country, on the promise of a good job but ending up in illegal brothels. A very sad - shameful - business. It is also not particularly wholesome to see women standing around on the street soliciting business from men in cars, dangerous for them too. That is why, in some countries, prostitution is legalised with certain controls. It is to protect the public from no go areas and the women doing the job. The other way is escort agencies which cater to a higher paying clientele and provide some protection to the escorts. I can understand that licensing brothels goes against the grain but it is going to happen anyway so keeping an eye on the business makes it safer.
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