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Do Universal Morals Exist?


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#1 fmissing_*

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 05:04 PM

I'm interested in hearing thoughts from fellow Christadelphians and any others on whether universal morals and exist, and if they do, how it can be proven that these morals are, in fact, universal and not a product of contemporary society. :sarah:

For example, murder can be said to be a universal wrong but there are hundreds of examples where murder was a necessity to maintain the 'greater good' (e.g. the destruction of Jericho or the slaying of Joab).

J

#2 Guest_composer_*

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 07:43 PM

There appears to be something going on similarly here -

http://www.btdf.org/...mp;#entry332152

Cheers!

#3 fmissing_*

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 07:26 AM

There appears to be something going on similarly here -

http://www.btdf.org/...mp;#entry332152

Cheers!


Awesome. Thank you.

#4 hope_*

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 08:33 AM

Not sure if it'd be better to put these thoughts in the other thread, but...

There seem to be two as far as I can tell. One is the golden rule, "do unto others," and the other is to honour above everything else the authority you believe yourself to be under - the thing you belong to or are part of which is bigger than yourself, your god.

The different social manifestations of these come mainly from different beliefs about who the moral participants and beneficiaries are (how people understand self, others, and their god), and whether or not they believe there is a hierarchy in responsibility (and where different players fall into the hierarchy if there is one).

For example, an anthropocentric approach defines self and others as humans, so this approach asserts we have no moral obligation to anyone or anything that is not human (esp. animals), but that every human has moral rights and obligations. A common twist on the anthropocentric approach prefers others who are understood to be most like the self, so one's obligations are first to those who are closest in likeness to one's self (gender, family, country, religion, etc.), and one can rightly require the most moral consideration from these. There are other apporaches... I've got some text books at home if you're interested :) It's an interesting topic - you can't escape it in an environmental approach to science (so dear to my heart). Einstein and Oppenheimer are a great study in contrasts if you're looking for one (not Biblical though, sorry).

#5 Richard

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:15 AM

It's interesting that altruism is also found in the animal kingdom so this particular universal moral isn't particularly godly in itself. In fact if altruism is a general law of nature we humans are probably the worst at it because we often choose self above it even while heralding it as an ideal.

#6 Paidion_*

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 08:47 PM

For example, an anthropocentric approach defines self and others as humans, so this approach asserts we have no moral obligation to anyone or anything that is not human (esp. animals), but that every human has moral rights and obligations.


An inadequate basis for morality in my opinion. One of its ramifications would be that it is not morally wrong to torture an animal. This is clearly not the case.

Edited by Paidion, 07 July 2008 - 08:52 PM.


#7 Guest_composer_*

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:09 PM

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. {the man: or, Adam} (Gen. 2:15) KJV

My thoughts would be that God would hardly give us any task without also providing us with the intellectual and moral attributes and capacity to do that task as fully required.

Whether we utilise those inherent God given attributes depends on our " Free Will " that God also gave us to choose to do, His Will or Ours.

#8 fmissing_*

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 10:34 AM

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. {the man: or, Adam} (Gen. 2:15) KJV

My thoughts would be that God would hardly give us any task without also providing us with the intellectual and moral attributes and capacity to do that task as fully required.

Whether we utilise those inherent God given attributes depends on our " Free Will " that God also gave us to choose to do, His Will or Ours.

Adam would have been able to 'dress and work' the Garden irrespective of whether universal morals exist or not. Unless I'm misunderstanding your point...?

#9 hope_*

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 11:56 AM

For example, an anthropocentric approach defines self and others as humans, so this approach asserts we have no moral obligation to anyone or anything that is not human (esp. animals), but that every human has moral rights and obligations.


An inadequate basis for morality in my opinion. One of its ramifications would be that it is not morally wrong to torture an animal. This is clearly not the case.


I agree completely. Although it's the most popular, in social practice anyway, form of ethics. People who want to maintain an anthropocentric view would assert that the reason it may be wrong to torture an animal is that is causes discomfort and suffering to people who have identified with the animals. This, rather than the suffering of the animal directly, is what makes the action wrong in their view. Interesting logic! Completely insane in my opinion. But it explains perfectly the meat-manufacturing business, puppy mills and so on - just so long as no one identifies or becomes attached to the animals, all kinds of attrocities become allowable or even desirable. Especially if it can be asserted that these things are for the good of people (for profit usually or jobs).

It's interesting that God placed humans in the garden to tend it - sounds like human service to nature, to me. Morals come into it in terms of how we understand our obligations and rights, which make us inherently moral agents... that is, we can't think of serving without understanding our moral situation, and this is what gives our lives and our selves real dignity. Having a responsibility that we are conscious of makes us automatically moral beings, which I think is what it means to be made in God's image. Our intellectual capacities, I think, are present in us to help us to become conscious of and to develop our morality in becoming more like Him. Rather than to make us feel good about how clever we are and how much control we can assert over our environments... That attitude, imo, betrays a lack of consciousness about our responsibilities in general, and therefore is both symptomatic and evidence of the Fall.

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 08:49 PM

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. {the man: or, Adam} (Gen. 2:15) KJV

My thoughts would be that God would hardly give us any task without also providing us with the intellectual and moral attributes and capacity to do that task as fully required.

Whether we utilise those inherent God given attributes depends on our " Free Will " that God also gave us to choose to do, His Will or Ours.

Adam would have been able to 'dress and work' the Garden irrespective of whether universal morals exist or not. Unless I'm misunderstanding your point...?

My emphasis is placed more on the ' keep it '. (Gen. 2:15) KJV

Strong's -
BDB/Thayers # 8104
08104 shamar {shaw-mar'}
a primitive root; TWOT - 2414; v
AV - keep 283, observe 46, heed 35, keeper 28, preserve 21, beware 9,
mark 8, watchman 8, wait 7, watch 7, regard 5, save 2, misc 9; 468
1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to keep, have charge of
1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life
1a2a) watch, watchman (participle)
1a3) to watch for, wait for
1a4) to watch, observe
1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory)
1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain
1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands),
perform (vow)
1a8) to keep, preserve, protect
1a9) to keep, reserve
1b) (Niphal)
1b1) to be on one's guard, take heed, take care, beware
1b2) to keep oneself, refrain, abstain
1b3) to be kept, be guarded
1c) (Piel) to keep, pay heed
1d) (Hithpael) to keep oneself from

(My Bold)

The Lord God took the man and placed45 him in the orchard in46 Eden to care for it and to maintain it.47 (Gen. 2:15) NET

47tn Heb “to work it and to keep it.”

I mean unless they had the God given morals of ' keeping it as it currently stood ' then they could have abused their position and ' kept it ' in a less than satisfactory condition just as we have damaged the world with our own lusts since.

#11 seekeroftruth_*

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:15 AM

I wrote this article in the first place because it always struck me as odd that we libertarians are fascinated by right and wrong, and pour prodigious effort into arguing that society or people should do this or that, and yet our opinions rarely rest on a universal foundation of ethical reasoning. If pressed, we appeal to "the greatest good for the greatest number," or "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," or state that economic inefficiencies are bad, taxation is evil, violence is wrong, government power corrupts and so on.

Universal Morality: A Proposition
artical by by Stefan Molyneux
01/26/2007

Edited by seekeroftruth, 10 September 2008 - 08:19 AM.


#12 Evangelion

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 10:55 AM

The only universal morals are those which God has determined for humanity.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#13 Evangelion

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 10:57 AM

I wrote this article in the first place because it always struck me as odd that we libertarians are fascinated by right and wrong, and pour prodigious effort into arguing that society or people should do this or that, and yet our opinions rarely rest on a universal foundation of ethical reasoning. If pressed, we appeal to "the greatest good for the greatest number," or "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," or state that economic inefficiencies are bad, taxation is evil, violence is wrong, government power corrupts and so on.

Universal Morality: A Proposition
artical by by Stefan Molyneux
01/26/2007


You may be interested in my article: Morality is Meaningless without God. I have attached a copy to this post, along with the file containing copies of the overhead transparencies I used when presenting it as a public lecture.

:book:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.




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