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Featured Morality: Do you agree

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Nimos, Jan 24, 2023 at 10:46 AM.

  1. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    I would disagree.

    Because there are arguments for each of these claims, but I do agree, that a conclusion, either way, is not likely as it would probably have happened by now. But for example, "fine-tuning" is a common argument used by believers, whether it is valid or not is beyond the point. But is simply an example.

    But sure, in certain debates, let's say the topic was "Are atheists more moral than believers?", then there are obviously some things that have been agreed on beforehand or at least are not the point of the debate.
     
  2. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    But that means it is right or wrong independent of God. God just realizes which way it is.

    But that means that morality does not depend on God. There are deeper principles.
     
  3. AppieB

    AppieB Active Member

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    To be honest, I don't really see a difference between the two. Also "quality of life" depends on who you ask, although generally speaking we would see similarites between people. As in "well being".
    But I can imagine that someone would think "quality of life" seems a bit more specific than "human well being". Both work for me.
     
  4. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I posted the definitions.

    moral: concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character. moral means - Google Search

    Morality is the belief that some behaviour is right and acceptable and that other behaviour is wrong. ... A morality is a system of principles and values concerning people's behaviour, which is generally accepted by a society or by a particular group of people.
    Morality definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
    Those are not synonyms above, they are the actual definitions.
    How morality actually manifests itself in people's behavior is another conversation.
    My standard of measurement for moral behavior is what the Messengers revealed.

    Goodness of character or right behavior can reduce suffering for individuals and society.
    Wrong behavior or badness of character increases suffering for individuals and society.

    Goodness of character or right behavior increases well-being for individuals and society.
    Wrong behavior or badness of character reduces well-being for individuals and society.
    You are talking about something physical, being healthy or sick, but that is not the same as psychological well-being. What brings psychological well-being is not the same for everyone. For example, going out for drinks and having sex might increase the well-being for most people, but it would not increase my well-being.
    Again, if you are referring to physical things like clean air, that increases everyone's well-being.
    Thus it is the moral thing to do for governments to pass clean air acts, for example.

    Being hit in the face by a bat would increase both our suffering.
    Being hacked and have our life savings stolen would also increase both our suffering.

    Hurting other people physically or financially is immoral across the board.
    That is why it is immoral for people to hit others with a bat and that is considered a crime.
    It is also immoral for people to hack and steal other people's life savings and that is considered a crime.
    Morality has to do with right and wrong.
    Most people don't need religion to know what is right or wrong but there is no objective way to know right from wrong without religion.
    I did not say that good acts bring misery and despair.
    I said that moral acts can and often does increase suffering because it involves sacrifice of what one desires.
    For example, not engaging in adultery might involve sacrifice of what one desires and increase suffering, but ultimately it is better for well-being not to engage in such behavior because it hurts the person and the partner ho is cheated on.
    No, it is not the suffering that makes it immoral although some immoral acts such as adultery cause suffering.

    Lack of suffering does not make an act moral in and of itself. For example, a murderer often says he enjoyed killing (just as a swinging couple enjoys the swinging lifestyle). The murderer would not have suffered if he had not been caught by law enforcement. The swinging couple might never suffer if they were not religious and had no standards to live by.
    The method or standard to distinguish between good and bad behavior is set forth by God in the teachings and laws revealed by the Messengers of God. You can find most anything about good behavior in the Writings of the Baha'i Faith, and there is a lot of latitude in applying those Writings to everyday life.
     
  5. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    On ordinary speech, it is presumed everyone wants to win in any given game and the objectives are those that if achieved lead towards victory. In other words, the accurate wording would be to use something closer to 'win condition', rather than 'objective', but the latter term works just fine if we presume the players have as their utmost objective winning the game, which is generally the case. But I see this as a minor point with little relevancy to the overall debate.

    Monkeys without physical properties wouldn't be monkeys. And morality with physical properties wouldn't be morality.

    Then what game is being played in FIDE tournaments? The current rules are not the original rules.

    You can read about this on Wikipedia:

    "The rules of chess have evolved much over the centuries from the early chess-like games played in India in the 6th century. For much of that time the rules have varied from area to area. The modern rules first took form in southern Europe during the 13th century, giving more mobility to pieces that previously had more restricted movement (such as the queen and bishop). Such modified rules entered into an accepted form during the late 15th century[85] or early 16th century.[86] The basic moves of the king, rook, and knight are unchanged. A pawn originally did not have the option of moving two squares on its first move, and promoted only to a queen upon reaching the eighth rank. The queen was originally the fers or farzin, which could move one square diagonally in any direction. In European chess it became able to leap two squares diagonally, forwards, backwards, or to left or right on its first move; some areas also gave this right to a newly promoted pawn. In the Persian and Arabic game the bishop was a pīl (Persian) or fīl (Arabic) (meaning "elephant") which moved two squares diagonally with jump.[87] In the Middle Ages the pawn could only be promoted to the equivalent of a queen (which at that time was a weak piece) if it reached its eighth rank.[88] During the 12th century, the squares on the board sometimes alternated colors, and this became the standard in the 13th century;[89] whence the word "chequered"/"checkered".

    Between 1200 and 1600 several laws emerged that drastically altered the game. Checkmate became a requirement to win; a player could not win by capturing all of the opponent's pieces. Stalemate was added, although the outcome has changed several times (see History of the stalemate rule). Pawns gained the option of moving two squares on their first move, and the en passant rule was a natural consequence of that new option. The king and rook acquired the right to castle (see Castling § History for different versions of the rule).

    Between 1475 and 1500, the queen and the bishop also acquired their current moves, which made them much stronger pieces.[90][91] When all of these changes were accepted, the game was in essentially its modern form.[92]

    The rules for promotion have changed several times. As stated above, originally the pawn could only be promoted to the queen, which at that time was a weak piece. When the queen acquired its current move and became the most powerful piece, the pawn could then be promoted to a queen or a rook, bishop, or knight. In the 18th century rules allowed only the promotion to a piece already captured, e.g. the rules published in 1749 by François-André Danican Philidor. In the 19th century, this restriction was lifted, which allowed for a player to have more than one queen, e.g. the 1828 rules by Jacob Sarratt.[93]

    Two new rules concerning draws were introduced, each of which have changed through the years:

    Another group of new laws included (1) the touch-move rule and the accompanying "j'adoube/adjust" rule; (2) that White moves first (in 1889[94]); (3) the orientation of the board; (4) the procedure if an illegal move was made; (5) the procedure if the king had been left in check for some moves; and (6) issues regarding the behavior of players and spectators. The Staunton chess set was introduced in 1849 and it became the standard style of pieces. The size of pieces and squares of the board was standardized.[95]

    Until the middle of the 19th century, chess games were played without any time limit. In an 1834 match between Alexander McDonnell and Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais, McDonnell took an inordinate amount of time to move, sometimes up to 1½ hours. In 1836 Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant suggested a time limit, but no action was taken. At the 1851 London tournament, Staunton blamed his loss in his match against Elijah Williams on Williams' slow play; one game was adjourned for the day after only 29 moves.[96] The next year a match between Daniel Harrwitz and Johann Löwenthal used a limit of 20 minutes per move. The first use of a modern-style time limit was in an 1861 match between Adolph Anderssen and Ignác Kolisch.[97]"

    What does 'facing consequences' has to do with it? The authorities in power might decide to make you face harsh consequences regardless of whether you are playing by the rules.

    Games only work properly when all agents willing engage on them. Otherwise, they are not playing the game, or at least not the same game.

    Thank you!
     
  6. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    I am claiming that my moral code is written into every human being as truth. Why don't you care about it?
     
  7. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    God could decide those things but God didn't decide those things, not unless you believe the anthropomorphism of God in the Bible. I don't.

    God's standard is God's standard, and it is far above any human standard.
    It is not the omniscience that makes God good, God is good by His nature.
    God is omniscient means God is all-knowing, so God knows everything, which means God knows what is right, including what behaviors are best for humans..
     
  8. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    Best in what sense?
    'Best' is a word that doesn't mean anything without contextualization. For example, is the sharpest knife the best knife? Or is it the more durable one?
     
  9. vulcanlogician

    vulcanlogician Active Member

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    No.

    What I am doing with my flat earth example is criticizing the logical form of what is called the "cultural differences argument." Nothing more, nothing less. Let me explain.

    When people want to argue for moral relativism (cultural relativism being the most popular kind), they often cite the fact that different cultures believe different things as far as morality goes.

    Well, anyone who pays any attention to things can see that that is true. Some cultures practice the death penalty, others consider it immoral. In some places in the world FGM is practiced, while westerners tend to view it with disdain. The philosopher James Rachels began his essay, "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism" by citing King Darius who taught the Greeks about the Callatians. When the Callatians' fathers died, their children would eat his dead body as part of the funeral ceremony. The Greeks were shocked and revolted by this. After all, the Greeks burned their dead. When King Darius shared the Greek practice of burning their dead with the Callatians, they were similarly horrified at how the Greeks carried on their funerary practices. Rachels goes on to describe the Eskimo peoples (we'd say Inuit or Yuit these days) who practiced infanticide... leaving their newborns in the snow to die.

    Then Rachels explores several syllogisms:

    (1) The Greeks believed it was wrong to eat the dead, whereas the Callatians believed it was right to eat the dead.
    (2) Therefore, eating the dead is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong. It is merely a matter of opinion, which varies from culture to culture.

    (1) The Eskimos saw nothing wrong with infanticide, whereas Americans believe that infanticide is immoral.
    (2) Therefore, infanticide is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong. It is merely a matter of opinion, which varies from culture to culture.

    Rachels goes on to say:

    "Clearly, these arguments are variations of one fundamental idea. They are both examples of a more general argument, which says:

    (1) Different cultures have different moral codes.
    (2) Therefore, there is no objective truth in morality.

    Right and wrong are only matters of opinion, and opinions vary from culture to culture. Let’s call this the Cultural Differences Argument. To many people, it is persuasive. But is it a good argument—is it sound? It is not. For an argument to be sound, its premises must all be true, and its conclusion must logically follow from them. Here, the problem is that the conclusion does not follow from the premise—that is, even if the premise is true, the conclusion might still be false. The premise concerns what people believe—in some societies, people believe one thing; in other societies, people believe something else. The conclusion, however, concerns what really is the case. This sort of conclusion does not follow logically from that sort of premise. In philosophical terminology, this means that the argument is invalid."
    https://rintintin.colorado.edu/~vancecd/phil1100/Rachels1.pdf


    My use of flat earthers was merely a shorthand rendition of what Rachels is saying.

    (1) Flat Earthers think the the Earth is flat. Everyone else (including the scientific community) thinks the Earth is round.
    (2) Therefore, there is no objective truth about the shape of the Earth.

    The reason I chose the flat earth example is because (conveniently) we have indisputable evidence that (2) is false. But guess what? Even without such evidence the argument gives us no reason to accept (2) as true. We can determine that by logic alone. Even if we were to present the above flat earth argument to a person in ancient times, who was skilled in logic but had no idea about the shape of the Earth, even they would agree that the argument says nothing.

    Same goes for the cultural differences argument. It says nothing. Just like with the shape of the Earth, peoples' differences in opinion have nothing to do with the reality of the matter. No moral realist worth her salt makes the claim that everyone agrees or must agree in order for moral objectivity to be true.

    At no point in this thread have I presented an argument in favor of moral objectivity. I might have broached on the issue in a side discussion I had about the is/ought problem with somebody. But iirc I've only defended two positions:

    1. God does not (and can not) have anything to do with objective morality.
    2. The cultural differences argument (that supports cultural relativism) is not logically sound.

    I'm not a convinced moral objectivist. I just like to argue on its behalf because so many people sell it short as a metaethical theory. So many folks are moral relativists. And most of those people are (you guessed it) persuaded by the cultural differences argument.

    I actually used to be a cultural relativist, but I've since come to see that it isn't as well founded as I once thought it was. In fact, it's quite problematic when you get right down to it. So now I think only two plausible theories remain: moral realism (aka moral objectivism) or moral antirealism (aka moral nihilism). Moral antirealists are kind of like atheists about morality. They think it is a fairy tale. Something that simply cannot be true, perhaps having its basis in our emotions (there are several kinds of moral antirealism). Moral antirealism is waaaaay more logical a position than moral relativism.

    As far as I'm concerned, God either does exist or he doesn't. It's not like we've settled the matter but either one or the other of those is true. What I would consider extremely foolish is if someone thought God's existence was a matter of opinion. Someone might think he's drawn a decent "halfway view" between theism and atheism with that theory, but when you look at it closely, it's downright incoherent. Many people express different views about God's existence or nonexistence. And no one's come up with a slam dunk answer that nobody can deny. But that doesn't make it a matter of opinion.

    Same goes for morality.
     
    #249 vulcanlogician, Jan 25, 2023 at 2:40 PM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023 at 3:25 PM
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  10. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    “Beware, beware, lest thou be led to join partners with the Lord, thy God. He is, and hath from everlasting been, one and alone, without peer or equal, eternal in the past, eternal in the future, detached from all things, ever-abiding, unchangeable, and self-subsisting. He hath assigned no associate unto Himself in His Kingdom, no counsellor to counsel Him, none to compare unto Him, none to rival His glory.”
    Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 192

    A God who is detached from all things means that God is transcendent, beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human experience. However, that does not mean that God has no messages for anyone. God conveys those messages through the Messengers since that is the only way we ordinary humans could ever understand them.

    God is unchangeable means that the 'nature' of God never changes, God is the same yesterday, today and in the future. It does not mean that God's message never changes. God's message changes with every new Revelation from God.
     
  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I meant best in general. If you want to know what is best under certain circumstances you have to look at the specifics.
     
  12. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    What does 'best in general' mean on this context though? How would one figure out, at least in principle, what is better in any given case even if you had infinite knowledge?

    For example, I think you would agree that being born in hell and living forever there is not the best for us. But why isn't that the best for us?

    We tend to think on terms that whatever leads to a happier life (while keeping up with certain moral principles) is better for us, but this is a premise driven by our value judgment. In other words, how we interpret what is best for us relies on personal opinion and perspective. It has nothing to do with knowledge in itself. God wouldn't be able to answer what is best to us through knowledge alone.

    An example: Is it better to die young or to die old (all else being equal)?

    Can you answer that it is better to die old without, in the first place, valuing living longer? And you can't gain values from knowledge alone.
     
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  13. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    If we had infinite knowledge, as God has, we would know what is *best* for ourselves under any set of circumstances, but we do not have that kind of knowledge so we can only try to figure out what is best and we won't always get it right.

    For example, right now I am trying to figure out what is best for me and I have not been doing a very good job. I have been thinking that what is best for me is to get remarried now that my late husband has passed on, but maybe that is not what is best for me just because that is what I want. I probably want it because that is the only way I know how to live since I was married for 37 years, but my judgment is fallible. I believe that God knows better than I do what is best for me, so that is why I am not finding a man to marry. I accept that s my fate, at least for now.
    I agree that we tend to think in terms that whatever leads to a happier life is better for us, but this is a premise driven by our value judgment, which relies upon our personal opinion and perspective. Some of this is driven by conscious knowledge of ourselves but some is driven by emotions which are unconscious.

    I believe that God is all-knowing so God knows what is best for us by knowledge alone.
    No, you would have to value living longer in order to say that it is better to die old.
    Where do you think you gain values, if not from knowledge?
     
  14. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    Have you ever gained values from knowledge alone? It doesn't work like that.

    Our values revolve around our emotions, our empathy, and cultural and familiar influence.
     
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  15. F1fan

    F1fan Veteran Member

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    Your Messenger Baha'u'llah is prejudiced against gays, which is bigotry. Your religion admits to prejudicing against gays in certain ways due to Baha'u'llah's writings, and this has caused harm to gays. I would suggest it has caused harm to those who feel sympathy to the ongoing prejudice against gays in many societies. So a no win situation.


    Since God is absent, and Baha'u'llah has been dead for over 150 years, you are on your own. What you say here is that you follow a dead person who claims to speak for an absent God, so since neither are around to back you up you are THE moral decider. Unless a person can show there's a God, and this God says X is a moral command, it's all faith. It is no better than any other person making their own moral decisions, the difference is they are free to assess the good or bad of their morals. You have no choice but to adopt a bigoted attitude towards gays. You have no choice, according to your decision that Baha'u'llah is correct. That's the irony of religious morals, the believer is deciding the religious morals are valid.
     
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  16. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Sorry if someone already raised this point, but why does it have to be objectively wrong to oppose it?

    The opinions of society will get enforced regardless of whether they are objective or not.

    In my opinion.
     
  17. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    There is no difference between physical/non-physical properties of a Divinely created world. They are all just things that conform with parts of the Divine will and can be perceived only by the continuation of this.

    In a video game the visible character you control is not more 'objective' than the invisible mechanics that calculate damage received. Both are equally part of the game.

    That there is an external point of comparison by which the permissibility of an action can be judged, and people cannot simply opt out of this without leaving the 'sandbox'.

    Human life would be equally sandboxed if there were a God, except there would be no way to leave it even if you wanted to.

    Someone playing the old game and the modern game are not playing the same game, they are playing similar games that are often referred to with the same symbol (the word chess).

    The word chess has a referent, and this referent is contextually dependent.

    If I ask someone for a game of chess, the referent will usually be assumed to be the modern version. If I talk about ancient Persians, the referent is not the same thing.

    People use the word football for soccer, American football, Aussie Rules, Rugby, etc. These all have a common history too, but they are not the same game.
     
  18. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    In that sense I believe in objective morality. However, if a person is ignorant of what is right or wrong, that mitigates his possible punishment by God.
     
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  19. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Veteran Member

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    You're not getting it.
    I agree with that definition. The problem here is what actually constitutes being moral or immoral. Right or wrong. Goodness or badness. What is the difference between those things. How do you define good and bad? How do you distinguish between them.

    That's what this is about. How to tell the difference. Not how many synonyms can I list.

    I say the difference between them is the how they harm or benefit the overall well-being -in the broadest sense- of sentient creatures and / or groups / societies.

    So you agree with the standard I'm proposing?

    When I refer to well-being, I'm talking about the full package. Psychology included.
    And what I meant with the health/sick analogy is not that it's the same (as if "unhappiness" is caused by a virus or something lol), but rather in the sense of we can tell the difference - regardless of underlying causes.

    Expression and body language informs us in both cases that there is suffering going on.
    You mostly can tell the difference between a happy and an unhappy person, let alone a deeply depressed one. Psychological suffering is for the most part quite recognizable.

    I didn't claim it is.


    Yes, I agree.
    At which point in these arguments do you need to refer to these Messenger(s) of God(s) to come to those conclusions?


    I just gave you one. And you even acknowledged that it's the standard you use yourself also.

    Well-being = good
    suffering = bad

    From there, you can have an objective reasoned morality.
    Because we can distinguish suffering from well-being, as you also seem to agree to, we can say that there are right and wrong answers to moral questions. And whether it's right or wrong will not be determined by our mere subjective opinions. It will instead be determined by as objective as can be facts that distinguish well-being from suffering.

    Hitting someone in the face with a bat for no reason, is always going to be bad. Saying it is moral behavior is a demonstrably wrong answer.

    And I don't require appeal to any gods or whatever to come to that objective conclusion.

    So how is a religion or appeal to gods or messengers required exactly?


    So you're saying that the well-being outweighs the suffering.
    How about that. That's exactly what I said.
    That we keep the well-being <-> suffering balance into account to base our moral judgements on.

    Then what does?

    Tell me, what if the adultery act was with mutual consent?
    What if it doesn't cause any suffering at all and was planned and agreed upon by all parties involved?
    Would it still be immoral?

    If yes: explain why.
    If no: then that supports my case that it's the presence of suffering or a gamble of potential suffering that makes the act immoral.


    I'm sure the one being killed doesn't enjoy being killed.


    The murdered and all his/her loved-ones would have


    Every human has standards. Except - maybe - extreme cases of psychopathy / sociopathy.

    I have yet to see you require the invocation of such to make a moral point.

    Every example you gave so far where you made a moral argument to judge something good or bad, you used the secular standard of well-being / suffering to distinguish between right and wrong behavior.

    Show me an example where you can't get to a proper conclusion using the secular standard, but where you can using an appeal to supposed divine authority.
     
  20. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    Well, it would have to depend on God because he is the creator and eternal, outside time and space etc. he doesn't follow the same rules as we do. But it could be an interesting question to ask those that believe in God how morality works in relationship to God.
     
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