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Featured What does it mean to be a better person?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Israel Khan, Jan 15, 2020.

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  1. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Morality is pretty difficult to objectively assert and define given its not like we can have a mathematical formula to objectively state what is best (just research and studies to suggest if what we think is moral is achieving the desired results or not). But I'm pretty sure, confident even, that's is immoral to call a book "holy" when the good of that book wants so many people dead, condones slavery, a god that conducted and ordered genocide, concerns itself to observe and condemn consensual sex, and would kill apostates and rebellious kids. It's not suitable to use as a moral guide either. Even Jesus and his "golden rule" cannot be considered morally superior because morality, ideally I think, does not position "I" and what "I" want above others. I want more tattoos and peircings. That doesn't mean I should walk around with needles and ink to tap and pierce others. I can get really hard on myself, and I wish others works be more direct and upfront with others. However, with that in mind, I don't loose my inner dialogue on others because it does include much profanity, vulgarity, and other words of general rudeness, coarseness, harshness, and would be uncouth. So I definitely should not be calling others "lazy ***" to motivate them just because it gets me well motivated.
     
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  2. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    It is important to recognize that statements of something being "better" or "worse" are inherently normative declarations projected onto a subject rather than an intrinsic quality of it. These projections are grounded in the values of those engaging in the projection. As such, the only thing that makes something "better" or "worse" is a "because I said so" when we get right down to it.
     
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  3. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    The Aztecs did see it as moral because from what I have read they thought that humans are made from the blood of Gods and they wanted their blood back. So they had to sacrifice people for the good of their civilisation. To them it was probably a necessary sacrifice. But it seems that they were pretty overenthusiastic about it.

    For me it depends on why the atheist became an atheist, because just because one doesn't believe in God it does not mean that they can't be indoctrinated to do evil things. I think that if they are atheists because they use the proper fact based methadology to determine reality then they are much less susceptible to indoctrination and being manipulated to do evil. In my country it is difficult to tell because people who are practically atheists don't care to state that they are such.

    I am an only child so I will stick with the inherently selfish :p
     
  4. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    What people think is better or worse is what I want to investigate and then determine how they reached that conclusion. One persons better might be another's worse and vice-versa.
     
  5. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Belief in gods has much to answer for

    I can't speak for your country or those i don't know.

    I too am an only child. So environment factors.
     
  6. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg One Planet One People Please
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    I do not think that any one has to prove the Holy Book, as I see it is the balance of morality that humanity must find . That is why God does not leave us alone and keeps sending Messengers to give us the standards we need to live by.

    What is written will proved to be correct, it is the balance given to humanity and we can only find peace and security when we implement that given balance.

    There is no better example that that of what was given be Baha'u'llah for this age.

    One balance given was that of elimination of all predudices.

    Another is that of the Equality of Men and Women.

    Another is that of the unity of the one human race.

    That is but 3 of the aspects I see God has given as a balance in morality in this age. As such they will be proved right by our own actions. If we do not embrace them, is the world working when we take that path? If we embrace them, will the world become a better place?

    Thus the 'Word' is proved and defined by both our rejection and our acceptance. The Word does not need us to submit, our submission is a personal choice for the benefit of all, it is a choice of morality.

    Regards Tony
     
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  7. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Depends on the Gods. The Khoisan for instance had Gods but the Gods didn't affect their lives much. It is only when people started saying that the Gods could help people overcome what they feared, such as death, that it becomes a problem. Then those using them for control started making rules as to what people had to do to get what they wanted out of the Gods. Then if they didn't care about the Gods, they started creating punishments. Although the concepts behind these religions are much deeper than that and are pretty awesome and thought provoking once you take the indoctrination aspect out of them. The people were pretty creative in engineering them.

    And yeah, environment factors... so much for the only child excuse...
     
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  8. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Your explanation though doesn't need to include a Holy Book which is good. One can gauge the benefits of eliminating prejudice, equality of men and women and unity of the human race outside of your religion. It is the conclusion that people have come to outside of your religion.

    I mentioned the Holy Books just in case people want to say something is moral that in general people would see as immoral. So for instance someone might say that woman not speaking in a church is a moral imperative because the Bible says so (which most Christians do not believe, but some do). Or someone saying "believe such and such because God said so".
     
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  9. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    I never compare myself to others as morally "better". That is a value judgement that's not mine to make. I only can, and that is how I understood the OP, compare my past self to my current and future self, or, maybe, our past society to the current and future society.
     
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  10. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg One Planet One People Please
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    Yes I agree people can choose that outside any Faith.

    I personally see that further proves the power of what God offered and confirms it.

    It is said we are made in God's Image and to me that means we all have the potential in us. I see the best way to release it is by embracing the source, but it is possible to embrace morality, while not attributing it to a source. I see that restricts the power of change on a larger scale.

    Regards Tony
     
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  11. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    I see tribalism a bit more nuanced. Todays tribalism has become synonym with partisanship but "the tribe" was the reason why morality developed in the first place. You have to have a society for the need of societal rules arising. And "tribal" people are much more social and empathic than we, as individualists, can imagine. The problems arise only when there's an "other" tribe.
     
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  12. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    There are some general patterns that emerge across the human species for such things. For instance, we generally see humans are very anthropocentric when it comes to their value systems, especially in the non-animistic Western world which limits personhood (aka, valid ethical subjects) to humans. It is also not uncommon to so personhood limited to particular types of humans rather than all humans so it's not just anthropocentrism, it's self-interested anthropocentrism. From a survival standpoint this makes a lot of sense; by and large we really don't need to care about that which is so distant from us that it has no relevance in our day-to-day lives. For better or worse, human (mis)use of technology combined with overpopulation has upended a lot of that though, as impacts in geographically distant parts of the world are no longer quite so isolated.
     
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  13. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Well-Known Member

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    I think "morality" is an ever-moving target, as it primarily refers to a set of "rules" or "guidelines" that constitute living an ethical life.

    To live an ethical life, has to do with your social behaviour.
    Moral / good would be behaviour that increases net well-being in some way, be it physical (feeding the hungry) or psychological (showing compassion for example) etc.

    Immoral / bad would be behaviour that increases net suffering.

    Those are generic theoretical definitions. What that means in practice, requires evaluation of actions / decisions based on knowledge about the world.

    You need that knowledge to understand the consequences of your behaviour.



    I'ld say that the problem with "religious morals", is that their foundation is completely messed up.
    Where my foundation has to do with the effects of my behaviour on other people, the foundation of "divine command theory" rather is "good is whatever i believe god says is good". And that's how you end up with public stonings for trivial things, suicide bombers, guys flying plaens into buildings, pastors doing exorcisms instead of visiting a doctor, people refusing medication for their children, witch burnings etc etc
     
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  14. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Stop exhibiting your faults.

    .
     
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  15. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    I have a rather simplistic view of morals. Morals is about feelings. Do you feel good about what you are doing, do you feel guilting about what you are doing. It gets a little more complicated if we search for the source of these feelings. The could be experiential or cultural. They could be driven by religious or political ideology. What's important for me it to identify what I'm feeling and why I am feeling it.

    What is good IMO is a feeling of unqualified happiness and wellbeing. What is bad is whatever can interfere with these two. So good morality promotes happiness and wellbeing. Bad morality is what promotes unhappiness and physical/mental illness.

    I think the problem is that we are told what will bring us happiness and wellbeing by folks that don't actually know what will bring us happiness and wellbeing and honestly most people don't even know this for themselves.

    Religion says follow x, y, z rules and this will bring you happiness and wellbeing.

    Maybe this works well for some, not so much for others.
     
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  16. QuestioningMind

    QuestioningMind Well-Known Member

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    Moral behavior is really pretty simple. It's all about empathy. If you know you wouldn't want someone else to treat you in a certain way, then you shouldn't treat anyone else in that certain way. Sadly, religions often just tend to muddy the waters.
     
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  17. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    through profound sorrow, like job. things fall apart but nothing breaks like a heart.



    Ezekiel 11:19

    Revelation 2:17

    Ezekiel 36:26







    The birds, on fire with love, said: ‘How can the moth
    save itself from the flame when it wishes to be one with the
    flame? The friend we seek will content us by allowing us to
    be united to him. If now we are refused, what is there left
    for us to do? We are like the moth who wished for union
    with the flame of the candle. They bfegged him not to sacri-
    fice himself so foolishly and for such an impossible aim, but
    he thanked them for their advice and told them that since his
    heart was given to the flame for ever, nothing else mattered.’

    Then the Chamberlain, having tested them, opened the
    door; and as he drew aside a hundred curtains, one after the
    other, a new world beyond the veil was revealed. Now was
    the light of lights manifested, and all of them sat down on
    the masnad, the seat of the Majesty and Glor}^ They were
    given a writing which they were told to read through ; and
    reading this, and pondering, they were able to understand
    their state. When they w^ere completely at peace and de-
    tached from all things they became aware that the Simurgh
    was there with them, and a new life began for them in the
    Simurgh. All that they had done previously was washed
    away. The sun of majesty sent forth his rays, and in the
    reflection of each other’s faces these thirty birds (si-murgh)
    of the outer world, contemplated the face of the Simurgh
    of the inner world. This so astonished them that they did
    not know if they were still themselves or if they had be-
    come the Simurgh. At last, in a state of contemplation, they
    realized that they were the Simurgh and that the Simurgh
    was the thirty birds. W’hen they gazed at the Simurgh they
    saw that it was truly the Simurgh who was there, and when
    they turned their eyes towards themselves they saw that they
    themselves were the Simurgh. And perceiving both at once,
    themselves and Him, they realized that they and the Simurgh
    were one and the same being. No one in the world has ever
    heard of anything to equal it.




    Two birds, beautiful of wings, close companions, cling to one common tree: of the two one eats the sweet fruit of that tree; the other eats not but watches his companion. The self is the bird that sits immersed on the common tree; but because he is not lord he is bewildered and has sorrow. But when he sees that other who is the Lord and the beloved, he knows that all is His greatness and his sorrow passes away from him. When, a seer, he sees the Golden-hued, the maker, the Lord, the Spirit who is the source of Brahman, then he becomes the knower and shakes from his wings sin and virtue; pure of all stains he reaches the supreme identity.

    — Translation of Verses 1-3 of Third Mundaka Upanishad by Sri Aurobindo.
     
    #37 Fool, Jan 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  18. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Morality is centered on what is reliable and what is trustworthy. To break trustworthiness is to be immoral. To be trustworthy is moral.

    People of vices can not be trusted. People of virtues will operate in good faith according to their virtues.

    By giving up on vices and evils what is there to lose. Vices and evils try to seem good and glorious but are rotten to the core.

    Fulfillment rests with virtue, all else is void and empty.

    I always ask to myself where a person's loyalty lies. Would they do good to everybody as they deserve insomuch as that deserve is perceivable? Or would they violate deserve itself for the immediate gain or have? Do they honor the faithfulness of else and other relationships, or do they wish to weaken and expose that which is honorable for something it is not?

    A worthwhile relationship is freely and willfully entered into and the reasons are honest.

    Evil exposed and not sugar coated is a very ugly thing. Evil seeks an enemy to destroy for its own purposes. Goodness seeks a friend to see heart to heart with. That to me is the most basic morality there is that I found.

    Without some trust there is no society. And if people don't protect that trust things fall apart. The only reward worthy of having is with honesty.
     
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  19. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    I think you are over simplifying it.

    The problem with jumping to conclusions about what is morally right and wrong, at least in my opinion is that, so many things impact how we draw our conclusions.

    So for instant saying that killing is always wrong, is clearly only if we are talking about someone that is innocent. Imagine being in a cinema or something and suddenly someone starts shooting at people, if you had a gun and shot this person, you would have done the right thing, and not only that, other people would probably also hail you and get you all over the news as being brave and a hero etc.

    However have you mistakenly shot the person because you thought he had a gun, you would not only be considered a psycho, but also be thrown in prison for murder.

    My point is that how one is perceived depends on what situation one find themself in. To me the difference is actually not that big from you being mistaken about the person and shooting him, compared to someone being convinced that human sacrifice will please the Gods and therefore bring good times.

    In the moment you were convinced that you were doing the right thing, exactly as the shaman/priest whatever, being certain that a sacrifice is needed.

    My point being, that we can only judge what is right and wrong from our own perspective, which is highly influenced by the culture and current situation we live in.

    I obviously agree, that in general killing is wrong and if it can be avoided that is a good thing. But just want to make it clear that, being able to do immoral things are definitely not something one can point fingers at religious people for. Their scriptures in certain cases might add another layer and make them able to do immoral things that atheists wouldn't. But any immoral action or view as I see it, is basically just about conviction that we are doing good or bad. Which in the end is based on the current situation we find ourself in and the experiences we have had in our lives, mixed with some potential psychological issues.

    And its probably possible to find some religious people, that wouldn't kill no matter what. Whereas I as an atheist, would have no issues blowing the head off a religious terrorist about to blow themself up among innocents. :)
     
  20. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    I think it's a measure of forgiveness. Does a person forgive themselves and others? If so, then I think they are becoming a better person.
     
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